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Wright County Board Minutes

JANUARY 20, 2004

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Mattson, Eichelberg, Russek and Sawatzke present.

Russek moved to approve the minutes of 1-13-04, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Item E1, “Highway: Authorize Hire, Bruce Bersie, Highway Maintenance, Eff. 1-21-04, Step 1” (Norman). Gruber requested that Aud./Treas. Item 2 be pulled for one week, “Award Sale of Equipment Notes.” Heeter moved to approve the Agenda with the two changes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson questioned whether liquor licenses must be renewed with new ownership of a business. Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, stated that applications must be submitted by new owners. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:


1. Performance Appraisals: K. Davis, K. Hoyne, M. Rhodes, Sheriff.

2. Claim, Frank Madden, $3,343.40.

3. Letter From Delano Cancelling 2005 Law Enforcement Contract.

4. Schedule Civil Defense Committee Meeting For 1-28-04 RE: Completion Of County Emergency Operations Plan.

5. Schedule Boy/Girl County Day For 4-27-04.

6. Authorize Norman To Attend Association Of Governmental Pools (AGRIPS) Spring Conference, March 22-24, 2004.


1. Approve Tobacco Licenses: Circle C Convenience Center (Clearwater City); K-Mart (Monticello City); Circle C Convenience Center (Montrose); Circle C Convenience Center (St. Michael); Pete’s Grocery (Waverly City).


1. Parks Department 2003 Year End Report.


1. Acknowledge Resignation, Deputy Preston Cruser, Eff. 1-21-04 & Authorize Replacement.


1. Authorize Hire, Bruce Bersie, Highway Maintenance, Eff. 1-21-04, Step 1.

Gruber requested approval for imaging of the property transfer cards located in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. These cards track property owner history. Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, recommended the outsourcing of this imaging to AMI Imaging in Bloomington. Wright County does not have the machines or staff to perform this in house. By outsourcing, the entire 55,000 cards can be imaged over the President’s Day Weekend. The cost is $7000 (not to exceed) and recommended from Budget 820, Professional Services. The cost was not budgeted as they previously anticipated completing the imaging internally. Cards were updated through 12-31-03. Any information after 1-1-04 can be accessed through the County tax system on the computer. Imaging will provide efficiencies with employees from other departments being able to access information from their computers and through the elimination of typing information on the cards. Time of destruction of the cards will be determined by the Auditor. Heeter moved to approve the imaging of the property transfer cards with funding from Budget 820, Professional Services. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

Russek moved to approve a claim from Fyle’s Excavating for tree removal on County Ditch #33 ($3,275). The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0. Eichelberg requested that the ditch be monitored for brush growth.

On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve a plat, “INDIAN HILLS,” as submitted by William A. Metz, Sr. and Caroline T. Metz, husband and wife, fee owners of the following property described in part as: Part of the NW1/4; and part of the S1/2 of the SE1/4, Sec. 6, Twp. 118, Rge. 24, lying West of the Crow River; with all outstanding taxes, including green acre liability, if any having been paid; the park dedication fee has been paid (#96214); the road has been accepted by Franklin Township; and the title opinion letter and other documents prepared by Richard Grinley, attorney, has been reviewed by Thomas C. Zins, Assistant County Attorney, who finds the plat to be ready for recording.

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

A Building Committee Meeting was held on 1-14-04. Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

Security Systems and Processes. Door Access System; Security Camera System; Signage, Conceal & Carry; Escort After Hours; Panic Buttons; Motion, Temperature, And Water Detection systems; Fire Alarm System. Bill Swing reviewed a number of the automated systems and requested issues relating to responsibility for the maintenance and monitoring of the various systems be addressed to ensure they are functioning properly and batteries are in good condition. He requested authorization to add the camera system at the Human Services Center to the network which would involve a minimal cost. Swing mentioned physical building security audits were mentioned at a recent IT security symposium he attended. It was noted that Norman had suggested a security audit be conducted at earlier security issue meetings, but was not approved because of the budget situation. Hayes suggested the formation of a security committee that would review issues and make recommendations. He stated there is currently an annual maintenance of panic buttons and the fire alarm system, etc. There was brief discussion on training requirements on some of the systems. A representative from KNR stated he has conducted training for the Jail Administrator and maintenance staff, but noted there are some weak areas in monitoring the systems. Miller mentioned a meeting with the judicial area next week. They would like an additional camera in the corridor and for card access to be installed on three additional Jail corridor doors. He suggested the possibility of the bailiff staff doing some of the routine checks on the camera system, etc. It was recommended Swing, Hayes and Miller meet and develop a specific checklist of monitoring and maintenance items to present at the next Building Committee meeting for further discussion. Swing presented a request from an IT employee for escort service after hours. Hayes and Norman felt the function of the custodial staff is cleaning, and to ask them to escort employees to their cars places them in a vulnerable situation. Hayes suggested employees working late move their cars closer to an entrance in the afternoon, or leave with another employee. Miller stated Dispatch monitors the camera facing the west parking lot and employees can contact Dispatch when leaving the building to request they watch the employee walking to their car. Recommendation: Authorize Swing to connect the camera at the HSC to the network. Swing, Hayes and Miller to meet and develop a maintenance and monitoring checklist to present at the next Committee meeting.

Remodeling Project Update. Randy Engel stated the Auditor/Treasurer’s Department has moved back to the second floor and the Assessor’s office is in the process of being moved into the License Bureau area. The contractor is scheduled to start Phase 5 of the project this Friday with a completion date of February 4th. The Recorder’s Department will then move to the License Bureau area. The contractor expects to meet or exceed the March 19th completion date for all phases of the project. Engel reported he has completed final inspection of Phase 4 and items on the punch list from phases 1-3 continue to be worked on. He feels the project is going well and cooperation has been good among everyone involved. Engel stated Change Order 6 will include two minor items for the heat pumps as well as PR25 in the amount of $7,735 for required fire alarm add ons. Recommendation: Approve PR25 in the amount of $7,735 noting it is the final fire alarm add on.

Bob Hiivala distributed several handouts on the Capital Projects Fund for review. Discussion followed on expenditures to date, remaining projects, and the balance. There was consensus to make the following budget changes: 1) Building Repair (outside of bid) - $4,126.58 - move to Budget 111, Building Care; 2) Interior Signs - $2,000.00 - move to Budget 111; 3) Window Blinds - $1,500.00 - move to Budget 111; 4) Carpet Replacement - $10,000 - move to Budget 820, Site Improvement; 5) Wallpaper Replacement - $8,000.00 - move to Budget 820. The Public Works Storage Building was discussed and concern expressed that the cost not exceed what has been budgeted.

There was continued discussion from the last meeting regarding replacement of the corridor wallcovering on the second floor which was not included in the project. Hayes presented the following quotes for consideration: 1) Nelson Contractors - not to exceed $7,657 (final figure could be less depending on the amount of repair needed after the wallcovering is removed); 2) Smith Brothers - $7,070 plus $ .50/sq. foot for additional repair above what’s included in the quote; and 3) Buffalo Painting - $7,435 plus $1.50/sq. foot for any repair. There was consensus for the entire corridor to be done by Nelson Contractors at a cost not to exceed $7,657, with funding from Site Improvement.

Hiivala presented requests to: 1) proceed with furnishing the conference room in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Department ($3,500 of the $7,000 to be funded from the Recorder’s Equipment Fund); 2) traffic flow posts - $1,100; 3) computer terminals in the License Bureau - est. $4,800; 4) counter stools - $1,125. Following discussion there was consensus to pay the remaining $3,500 for the conference room furniture from Fund 34 since it will be available for use by other departments; purchase the traffic posts from Building Care; the terminals from Site Improvement; and the stools from the Auditor/Treasurer’s budget.

Hayes presented a request for card access to be installed on the two stairway doors on the second floor at a cost of $2,200/door. It was noted the decision was reached at earlier meetings to install card access during the remodeling process as a standard security measure. Hiivala stated the cost for the additional doors was included in today’s handouts.

Hayes presented a request from the Recorder’s Department for a corian counter top which would match the one across the hall in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Department. Engel stated the cost would be approximately $200/linear foot. The consensus was to hold this request for later review as the counter top could be replaced at a later date outside of the remodeling project.

Hayes reported the electrical system is operational on the South entrance concrete project, but caulking will not be done until Spring. Joe Scott stated a response has not been received from the contractor regarding the warranty on the waterproofing membrane.

At the 12-17-03 Building Committee Meeting, Hayes was requested to obtain a second bid for replacement of the Jail boilers in addition to CE Johnson’s bid of $62,500. At today’s meeting Hayes presented a bid of $78,000 from Horwitz, Inc. The consensus was to accept CE Johnson’s bid of $62,500. This an emergency repair to be funded from Site Improvement. (End of Building Committee minutes)

Chris Basgall, Onyx FRC Landfill, said that on 1-5-04, Onyx Landfill was notified by Gopher Resource Corporation that material delivered to the landfill had lead limits beyond the acceptable level. Both Basgall and Gopher Resources then contacted the MPCA. On 1-6-04, Basgall contacted both Eichelberg and Chuck Davis (Wright County Environmental Health Officer) to inform them of the situation and that they would be receiving a letter from the MPCA. On 1-5-04, four loads of material were delivered to the facility by Gopher Resources and were removed on 1-7-04 and 1-8-04. A meeting was held on 1-12-04 with Onyx Landfill, MPCA and Gopher Resources to discuss the situation. The consensus was that Gopher Resources would have 4-6 weeks to study data. Basgall explained that Gopher Resources is computerized and had not received non-detects since 1998. Onyx has been completing annual re-certifications on them. It appears the change may have occurred around mid-November to the end of December. They have mapped out where the material is in the landfill and there is no threat to humans or the health of the environment. The material is not leachable and comes from a glass furnace. Processes in the past have been clean and non-detect. Gopher Resources has been in the business since 1946 and Basgall said they are determined to identify what happened and resolve the problem.

During the hearings prior to Onyx Landfill winning the court decision, Russek said the issue was discussed that Onyx did not always know what was being placed in the landfill. He said this case is another example. If Gopher Resources had not come forward, this material would have remained in the landfill. Russek said this was and is his largest fear. Basgall explained that the material would be in the lined portion of the facility which is almost ready to be capped (cells 1-6). Mattson voiced concern with companies who may haul material in and not report a problem. Basgall said a sample is taken every three years. Customers are re-certified annually to make sure their material or processes have not changed. Basgall said that they have to rely somewhat on the faith of their customers. Mattson was concerned with underground water movement to the south and the many lakes in the area. Basgall restated that this is a lined facility. Tests are run and monitoring wells surround the site. Sawatzke questioned why Gopher Resources delivered the material prior to completion of testing and felt it made more sense to obtain test results first. Basgall said that is probably what the MPCA will ask. Basgall said the MPCA checks the landfill about every three months. Sherburne County comes out monthly to observe also. Eichelberg expressed appreciation for the public being notified of situations which occur. Sawatzke referenced a prior request to Basgall for information on host county fees and the future plans of Onyx. He stated months have passed since the request. Basgall indicated that he was working toward providing the information to Sawatzke.

At 9:37 A.M., Sawatzke closed the regular meeting and the Public Hearing was held for the Zero Phosphorus Ordinance. Notice of the Hearing was published in the legal newspaper and copies of the draft Ordinance were mailed to cities and townships. The Ordinance originated with the Water Management Task Force (WMTF). State Law establishes what can be regulated. The WMTF suggests following the metro area law which calls for zero phosphorus application. Asleson referenced Section 4.01 which indicates the jurisdiction is all of Wright County. At least six cities currently have zero phosphorus ordinances so the proposed Ordinance would not be used in those cities. Section 6 outlines the restrictions of the Ordinance. With regard to a previous question the Board raised on the sale of fertilizer containing phosphorus, Asleson indicated that the sale of this product cannot be regulated. By education and information, he hoped that most retailers would not carry a large amount of phosphorus fertilizer as the use is restricted. Heeter extended appreciation to the WMTF and the County Attorney’s Office for their efforts in putting together this Ordinance. Mattson received one letter and one phone call supporting the Ordinance. He also received a call from someone who felt there should be more education.

Tom Hammer, Howard Lake. Hammer is the WMTF Chair. He referenced previous discussions with the Board about three proposed Ordinances and all three are supported in concept by the Soil & Water Board. The WMTF is committed to protecting County resources. Phosphorus and sediment pose a large impact. Both the Ordinance and education are required, but he felt it will also require a cultural change in habits. The Ordinance is supported by the County lakes association and the newly formed Lakes & River Association. Hammer also spoke in support of the Ordinance, as President of the Lake Ann Association and shoreline volunteers. He recognized Brad Wozney, WMTF, who recently resigned from the Soil & Water District to take a position with BWSR. He said Wozney’s leadership with the WMTF was outstanding and applauded him for his efforts. He also thanked the Board for the new membership selected over the past several years. The members have been interested and active. The group continues to work on two other ordinances: 1) Construction Site Erosion, Sediment Control and Water Management; 2) Vegetative Buffers on Publicly Owned Ditches. They are also working with the Minnesota Erosion Control Agency on model ordinances for the State. A workshop was being held today at Wright Hennepin Electric on MN Construction Site Erosion Control & Shoreline Alteration, which is another piece of education.

Wayne Kessler, St. Michael Mayor and the City representative on the WMTF, urged passage of the Ordinance with education. Last year, there was a sewer plant addition which required that 100% of the phosphorus be removed to keep the river clean. St. Michael does not currently have an ordinance relating to phosphorus.

Jerry Johnson, West Lake Sylvia, spoke in favor of the Ordinance. He was also asked by Dale Gustafson, Wright County Lakes & Rivers Committee, to thank the Board for bringing forth the Ordinance to assist with lake quality.

Mattson referenced senate and house bills on the zero phosphorus ordinance for the metro area. He asked whether anyone knew of any senators or representatives from outstate areas supporting bills for areas outside of the metro area.

Carl Swanson, Lake Sylvia Board and resides in St. Michael. He was involved with this issue through a group called the Interagency Lake Task Force (set up on the State level). The original initiative was through the Department of Agriculture and was brought before the Legislature several times. The fertilizer industry was involved as they did not support the idea of a separate product. During a senate hearing, testimony was given by Association of Treatment Plant Managers who spoke of the cost to remove the phosphorus. He supported the Ordinance and education. Swanson spoke of golf courses blending their own fertilizers and not including anything that is not required. Mattson said 1 pound of phosphorus produces 500 pounds of algae.

Norman referenced a phone call received from Peter Ramme, Maple Lake, in support of the Ordinance. Russek was contacted by the Centra Sota Fertilizer Manager who was concerned with implementing the Ordinance this late into the season as they are now mixing. Russek supported implementation in August, 2004 or later to lessen the impact on those who sell fertilizer and have already ordered for this season. The Public Hearing was closed at 10:03 A.M. Russek moved to pass the Zero Phosphorus Ordinance #04-01, effective 8-1-04. The motion was seconded by Heeter. Mattson questioned whether a transition phase could be implemented for fertilizer which has already been purchased by the public. Asleson referenced procedures used with implementation of the Tobacco Ordinance (i.e., first year warning tickets were issued). Discussion followed on enforcement and education. Although there will be articles in the newspaper, many people will not read them. It was felt that some education would be received through publications by lake associations, cities and townships. The SWCD does publish articles on initiatives. Sawatzke suggested that the WMTF create a brief, accurate article to send to the lake associations for their newsletters. Heeter recommended some sort of correspondence to dealers. Asleson said that a summary of the Ordinance will be included with the minutes of this meeting and will be published. Asleson will send a notice to the cities and townships that the Ordinance passed. The WMTF may want to follow up with more information. The motion carried 5-0. A summary of the Ordinance follows:

The Wright County Zero Phosphorus Ordinance was adopted for the purpose of protecting water quality in the lakes and rivers of the County. Effective August 1, 2004, a person will not be allowed to apply a fertilizer containing phosphorus to lawns in Wright County. There are exceptions, most notably for new lawns and golf courses. This restriction is County-wide, although several cities already have such ordinances in place. Copies of the Wright County Zero Phosphorus Ordinance can be obtained by contacting the Office of the Wright County Coordinator.

A Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 1-12-04. Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss jail issues with the Department of Corrections (DOC) and members of the Legislative Delegation. Wright County is exploring the possibility of constructing a new jail. At the suggestion of Mattson, this meeting was scheduled to discuss alternatives and seek the direction of the State before proceeding.

Torfin presented statistical data on the jail. The average daily population for 2003 was 94.8 (the population has been running at 95 for the past 3 years). Boarding costs for 2003 were $311,000. Today’s jail population is 77 inmates with 34 inmates being boarded elsewhere (does not include weekend inmates who have been released).

Previously, a needs analysis was performed which reflected the demographics, population projections and average daily jail populations. These figures are projected to increase exponentially in the next 15 years. The needs analysis suggests a 300 bed facility by 2012. Incarceration rates by 2012 would be 1.105 which translates to an average daily population of 153. With these projections, the estimate of boarding costs in 2012 is $1.6 million with 67 people boarding.

Mattson questioned whether low income housing has any correlation to the criminal element. He felt Wright County was rich in the number of low income housing. Kelly responded there may be some correlation. Crime goes across the board but he felt statistics may increase with dysfunctional situations. Sheriff Miller identified methamphetamine use as a driver of incarceration for local and state agencies. A study completed prior to methamphetamine use reflected an 80% correlation between the drug culture and crime. Kelly estimated this figure would have increased due to methamphetamine use. Methamphetamine use was the number one topic at the 2003 County Attorney’s Annual Meeting and at Safe Schools Meetings. Miller said this will drive incarceration rates up.

Discussion led to the pre-sentence vs. sentenced status of the jail population. Norman said the Criminal Justice System is held up with pre-sentence inmates which is just opposite of the situation a few years ago. Kelly felt the situation had to be addressed through the Criminal Judicial System (continuances, procedures, steps in system, etc.).

Grinde was unsure whether data on counties surrounding the metro area were similar but said counties are growing and jails are filling up. She identified methamphetamine use as a problem. Minnesota is ranked 49th in the country for incarceration rates per capita. Merz said over the past five Legislative Sessions, over 25 new offenses or increased penalties to existing offenses have been implemented. This results in costs associated with more law enforcement and more arrests, all contributing to the problem. Jails are impacted with harsher penalties and defendants are less likely to admit to a stronger sentence and face prison time. Jails can only hold defendants for one year and anything beyond that constitutes prison time. People are asking for continuances and jury trials which contributes to the bottleneck problems. Many people are on pre-trail home monitoring. Merz estimated 7000 pre-trial inmates in the State prison systems and a similar number in county jails. There are about 135,000 that are out on some type of community supervision. All major crime statistics are down but jails and prisons are filling up.

Sheriff Miller said there would have to be some type of incentive for counties to elect to participate in a regional facility. Merz explained that he has seen several regional projects attempted but never realized. Russek previously supported regional facilities but has since learned that only 20% of inmates would fit into that type of facility. The other 80% are pre-trial cases and the inmates would have to be transported. Sawatzke suggested that if several counties created a regional facility, court could also be held at that location. He requested information on the cost/inmate/day in small jails versus larger facilities. Merz said the last per diem study range was $35/day to $150/day but the average is close to $65/day.

Merz said about three years ago during the Legislative Session, funds were appropriated for the issue of regional jails. Ten sites or districts were looked at and four came back with actual plans. A hearing was held at the Legislature and then nothing went further. It became a problem with turf issues as issues surfaced such as costs associated with transportation and staff time. At a previous Quad County meeting, it was agreed that a regional facility may not be a workable situation due to the lack of financial incentive from the State and not closing existing county jails. Norman pointed out that the $300,000 spent for boarding prisoners in 2003 was exclusive of transport costs, which are currently funded through the Sheriff’s budget. Senator Ourada felt for the short term (20 years), Wright County would have to deal with its own jail issues as neighboring counties are at different points.

As directed by the Legislature, the last two expansions for the DOC have been the takeover of state hospital type facilities. Those buildings were not designed as prisons. In medium security prisons, they only have the ability to lock down about 20% of the population (medium security prisoners). Additional staffing is required to maintain a secure facility which is very expensive. Merz indicated that a bonding proposal will be presented this year for the Faribault facility. This would enable them to move from the hospital portion to a new facility, resulting in a more efficient operation.

Merz said they are double bunking in every place where feasible and safe. Last year, the DOC received authorization from the Legislature to double bunk in the St. Cloud and Stillwater facilities. When the Wright County jail was planned and built, the DOC indicated that double bunking would never be allowed and the cells are designed accordingly (with the exception of one area that allows for ten beds). Merz said that special legislation was approved last year for the DOC to work with local facilities to allow more double bunking than in the past. Norman questioned how feasible it would be to add double bunking. Grinde responded that the last two inspection reports reflect that the Wright County jail is understaffed and therefore it would not be recommended. Sawatzke said that the reason provided by the DOC is because shifts are being covered with overtime, temporary help, or supervisor coverage. Merz said the DOC has the duty by statute to inspect and license to operate all correctional facilities in the State. Standards can be revised based on trends and technology. Uses of this type of coverage is decided at the local level but the DOC’s duty is to point out where a facility may be lacking or running practices which may be detrimental to the operation of the facility. One problem associated with staff performing overtime is the potential for burnout, resulting in turnover. Training also becomes an issue. Sawatzke said that overtime is used for coverage for sick or vacation time. With the economics of government, Wright County cannot afford to have extra staff to fulfill these duties. Merz said overtime should be the exception not the rule. Sawatzke said staff did not agree with the shift relief factor data. The required jail staffing level was 28. Currently there are 33 staff but 10 beds were added. Sawatzke said he would be interested in receiving a report on double bunking.

During the last Session, the State was faced with a $430 million deficit problem. The DOC was told they had to come up with almost $65 million in cuts. At the same time, the prison population continued to expand and they ran out of bed space. The issue of the short term offender was looked at (less than one year to serve). The idea was that prisons were not made for the short term offender. They were averaging about 800 offenders/day in their prison systems with less than one year to serve. Jails are authorized to hold people up to one year. The current Commissioner did not support placing 800 offenders on the local level due to the burden it would pose on counties. After meeting with counties and local legislators, it was decided to pursue placement of 600 or less offenders on the local level. Through studies, they had learned there were approximately 1000 beds available on the local level. Those 1000 beds did not match up to where the population was, so the Legislature recognized that it needed to assist counties. The final bill appropriated $1.2 million.

Discussion followed on the problems associated with court continuances, serving time locally to avoid prison time, plea bargaining, and manipulation of the system. Kelly suggested that all 87 counties, in conjunction with the State, address the overall justice system.

Merz said that on 7-1-05, the State will need to contract locally as they will not have space to house 600 offenders. The State will be responsible for them financially. The DOC is currently discussing this availability with counties looking to expand. State funding would not be available until after 7-1-05. Debt service could be rolled into the per diem. The use of the space by the DOC may accelerate the scarcity of bed space in the area.

The impact of the .08 Legislation was discussed. Federal funding is tied to law this year but can be recaptured if passed by 2005. Ourada indicated the liquor lobbyists will not continue to fight the .08 Legislation. Kelly felt repeat offenders with high alcohol rates were the problem. He felt the .08 Legislation will save lives but said this was not the problem that prosecutors face. Sheriff Miller said the predictions for the sentencing guidelines will result in a total of 1305 new convictions. With regard to the impact of the .08 Legislation, Miller felt that they have already educated those that can be educated. He agreed with Kelly stating most of the problems are associated with chronic drinkers. He supported more penalties for chronic offenders and did not feel the switch from .10 to .08 will make that much difference to people. Senator Ourada said he has not supported the .08 Legislation for that reason. He felt that it may be tough to pass the bill yet this year. The liquor industry has presented discussions on implementing a lesser penalty for first time offenders but he was unsure whether federal legislation will allow this.

Mattson distributed material from the internet on sexual predator laws in various states. He suggested that Minnesota incorporate “pop-ups” on the internet relating to sex offenders. In review of case information, Mattson found that the offenders did not report when they were supposed to. He felt the criminal was protected to an unbelievable point. Kelly stated that due to media attention, it was almost automatic in the public’s minds that the problem would be solved. He said some offenders will be committed but the vast majority will not be. If there was a level 3 sex offender in Wright County, it would cost $5000 for the Attorney General, who will then have a three-person panel (judges) who will cost $2500 each to work through the commitment process.

Merz said the county attorney makes the determination on whether a level 3 sex offender case meets legal requirements. The DOC perform evaluations and risk assessments. That information is provided to the county attorney and they would decide whether to pursue commitment. While being pursued by the county attorney, the offender would be held in a state hospital as it is a civil commitment not a criminal matter (cost of $300-$350/day). Mattson cited the problem of re-offending. Although an offender may be a model prisoner, they have not been around those they offended. Kelly said there would not be a commitment if they don’t meet the legal criteria. If the criteria is set high, the vast majority are not subjected to commitment. The only way to change this is to change the law. The question was posed as to what number of level 3 offenders have re-offended. Merz said one offense is too many. However, sex offenders are at a lower rate than any other crime in the State (with no treatment). He said 90% of sex offenders in Minnesota are familiar offenders (crimes committed against family or those with long term relationship). The stranger offender has a 35% rate of re-offense and this declines to 18% with completed treatment. The average rate of repeat offenses for crimes is at 60% (car thief, etc.). These figures are based upon information received. There are crimes which go unreported.

Discussion followed on the death penalty and associated costs. It is less expensive to incarcerate than to execute. Merz said although electronic monitoring and GPS are great technological tools to keep track of people, they will not prevent people from doing what they want.

Torfin said the jail is currently holding more inmates with mental health issues (formerly the responsibility of the Department of Human Services). Many go off medication and end up in jail. The December pharmacy bill was $6000. Wright County incurs costs of $9000/year for a physician to come to the jail two hours per week and for nursing staff for 5 days/week, 8 hrs/day. There is no incentive for hospitals to develop secure psychiatric beds. The jail is also performing detox internally as the detox unit will not take anyone who is suicidal.

Kelly speaks to many civic groups on the criminal justice system including discussion on prisons, beds and guidelines. The community feedback is a willingness to pay to fund prisons. Rep. Lindner said the problem lies in that taxes collected go into the General Fund and are spent on many other things. (End of the 1-12-04 Committee Of The Whole minutes)

A Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 1-13-04. At today’s Board meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Eichelberg. DLR Group has reduced the cost of the study to a not to exceed figure of $4,500. The source of funding will be Budget 820, Professional Services. Norman will draft a letter to DLR Group accepting their proposal at the not to exceed figure of $4,500. The motion carried 5-0.

Review Architect Proposals For Site Analysis. At the direction of the County Board, Norman distributed a Request For Proposals letter to four architectural firms to perform a site analysis for possible construction of a jail or jail/sheriff administration facility. The site to be analyzed is just North of our existing Public Works Building. It is an area of approximately 35 acres that has already been mined for its gravel. The proposals were to include the methodology to be used to perform the site analysis; i.e., drawings, computer imaging, etc., a time table for completing the work, and a not-to-exceed cost for performing the study. Proposals were received from the following firms: BKV Group, Buetow & Associates, DLR Group, and KKE Architects. It was evident from review of the proposals that any of these firms could perform the study. Norman and Kelly reminded the Committee that they are purchasing a professional service so they are not bound by the lowest quote. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Committee to hire DLR Group to perform the site analysis. (End of 1-13-04 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)

A Personnel Committee meeting was held on 1-14-04. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual. Norman stated that Personnel Division staff have worked over a several month period to revise the Manual. The draft Manual being presented today is the culmination of this effort. The goal is to have a finished product that meets with the approval of the State. This is one of the documents the State must approve in order for the County to have its own Federally certified personnel system. Melvin developed a summary of the significant changes in policy. Most of the other changes in the Manual were sentence structure changes and clarifications of existing policies to make the manual easier to read and more user friendly. It was the consensus that the draft Manual would be reviewed over several Committee meetings. At the meeting of January 28, 2004, the Committee will review the Introduction Section, as well as Sections 100 and 200. (End of Personnel Minutes)

Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #04-04 supporting a Charitable Gambling Application LG200R for Cokato Lions Club, Cokato Town & Country (Cokato Twp.). The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to reappoint Bob Schermann (5th District) to the Board of Adjustment.

Bills Approved

Ace Auto Upholstery 245.00

Ancom Communications, Inc. 2481.37

Ancom Technical Center 138.20

Aramark Correctional Services 9441.75

Assn of MN Emergency Managers 135.00

B&D Plumbing & Heating 461.00

Baers Body Shop, Inc. 942.05

Barker, Bob Co. 359.18

Bristows Kawasaki & Polaris 108.57

Buff’N’Glo, Inc. 125.00

Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Commerci 133.30

Carver County Treasurer 290.00

Case Credit 262.84

Catco Parts Service 1862.71

CDW Government, Inc. 124.49

Cellular One 121.86

Center Point Energy 1948.82

Centra Sota lake Region LLC 4380.01

Chamberlain Oil Co. 1422.17

Clemence, David 106.49

Copy Shop, The 834.69

Corinna Township 1066.80

Deatons Mailing Systems, Inc. 258.80

Delano Municipal Utilities 200.00

Facility Systems, Inc. 19,134.72

Franklin Township 2578.00

Greenview, Inc. 346.18

Herald Journal Publishing, Inc. 185.96

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 243.90

Int’l Assn of Assessing Ofcrs 254.00

Johnson, Carl Mechanical Contra 5464.83

JR’s Appliance Disposal, Inc. 1065.00

Kandiyohi Cty Sheriffs Departm 14,948.33

LaPlant Demo, Inc. 627.76

Loaf & Ladle 132.69

M-R Sign Company, Inc. 456.76

Marysville Township 1667.80

Meeker County Sheriff 17,600.00

Midway Iron & Metal Co., Inc. 129.48

MN Community Corrections Assn. 440.00

MN Counties Computer Co-op 6938.22

MN Dept of Public Safety 320.00

MN Juvenile Officers Assn. 165.00

MN Transportation Alliance 2670.00

Monticello Ford Mercury, inc. 713.98

Mostca 340.00

National Business Institute 269.00

North American Salt Co. 8058.98

Northern Tool & Equipment Co. 1725.26

Office Depot 1124.65

On Site Monitoring 8134.00

Peavey, Lynn Company 602.25

Photo I 1525.64

Praska, Tom 156.60

Press & News Publications 434.78

Quinlan Publishing Co. 260.73

Qwest 9648.70

Record Preservation Inc. 694.07

Reds Auto Electric 238.04

Rinke-Noonan 1719.10

Rockford Township 2462.80

Shell Fleet Plus 871.47

Sherburne Cty Safe Child Commu 140.00

Sirchie 177.43

SKC Communication Products 176.00

Special Operations Training As 1020.00

State of MN Intertech Group 223.78

State of MN-Info Tech Div-R Ha 719.20

Sterling Solutions, Inc. 600.00

Stieg, Theresa 513.00

Streichers 2234.97

Time Maintenance 500.00

Uniforms Unlimited 1662.60

University of Minnesota 770.00

Unlimited Electric, Inc. 138.75

Waste Management TC West 678.04

Wright County Highway Dept. 25,367.20

Wright-Hennepin Electric 3257.55

Xcel Energy 111.10

49 payments less than $100 2457.65

Final Total $182,546.05

The meeting adjourned at 10:25 A.M.

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