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Wright County Board Minutes

June 22, 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 6-15-04, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #6, “Set Technology Committee Meeting” (Norman); Aud./Treas. # 4, “Request To View Ditch 19” (Mattson); Item. For Consid. # 7, “RC&D Report” (Russek). Russek, moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

Sawatzke questioned B.1. “Claim, Rinke-Noonan, County Ditch 20 Legal Services, April 2004 (Fund 41-Ditch)” on the Consent Agenda. It was clarified the Board authorized this expenditure at a Ditch Authority Workshop meeting in April, 2004. Eichelberg moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Russek. Heeter questioned whether C.1, “Authorize Redirection Of Unspent Credit Card Surcharge Budget Toward Temporary Help” should be referred to the Personnel Committee for discussion. Mattson and Sawatzke also had questions regarding the surcharge budget. Russek moved to amend the motion to remove C.1 and approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0. Heeter moved to refer C.1 to the Personnel Committee, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

A. ADMINISTRATION

1. Performance Appraisals: J. Borrett, S. Dilley, T. Praska, T. Rasmuson, Assr.; B. Stone, Ct. Admin.; B. Gabrelcik, Recorder; K. Preston, Sheriff.

2. Authorize Board Attendance, AMC Leadership Development Summit, August 11-13, 2004, Giant Ridge, Biwabik, St. Louis County.

3. O/T Report, Period Ending 6-04ˆ04.

B. AUDITOR/TREASURER

1. Claim, Rinke-Noonan, County Ditch 20 Legal Services, April 2004 (Fund 41-Ditch).

D. HIGHWAY

1. Award Contract #0405 To Ridgedale Electric, Inc. For CSAH 35/Bison Blvd. Signal Project (CP 86-635-04) In The Amount Of $139,200.00 (Including The $3000 Alternate).

E. SHERIFF

1. Authorize Signatures Of Board Chair, County Coordinator & Sheriff On Grant For Off Highway Vehicle Safety Enforcement.

2. Approve Memorandum Of Agreement, Teamsters 320 Sheriff’s

Supervisory Group, To Allow Donation Of Accumulated Vacation Time To An Employee.

Bob Hiivala, Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer, requested a special meeting of the Deferred Compensation Committee be set to review a hardship request received from an employee. Heeter moved to set a meeting at 8:30 A.M., Tuesday, June 29, 2004, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Russek requested authorization to view County Ditch 28 per a petition from Elton Schuette. This is upstream from the portion of Ditch #28 which the City of Delano is requesting be transferred to the City to use as an outlet for the City’s drainage system. Russek stated the Ditch is overgrown and we may need to go out on bid for cleanout. Eichelberg moved to authorize Russek, Hiivala and possibly Saxton from SWCD to view the ditch, seconded by Russek. It was clarified the authorization is to view the Ditch and they will report back to the Board if further action is needed. Carried 5-0.

Mattson stated he was contacted regarding Ditch 19 for possible cleanout of trees in the ditch from storms a few weeks ago along with brush growth. He forwarded the e-mail to Saxton, SWCD, for their office to review and depending on a response from Saxton may be bringing the issue forth for action. This was provided as an information item.

Mattson moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Greg Kramber, presented a request from the American Red Cross for the County to sponsor a blood drive to be held at the Government Center in the Community Room (Room 120). This was discussed at the last Leadership Team Meeting. The Leadership Team supports the request and for County employees to be allowed to donate blood on County time. Mattson moved to approve the blood drive, seconded by Russek. In response to a question from Eichelberg, Norman stated the last blood drive was held at the Government Center approximately five years ago. Kramber stated it is his understanding the County was approached by the American Red Cross because of particular need at this time. Motion carried 5-0.

Kramber presented documentation from the State Board of Appeal and Equalization showing no changes for the 2004 assessment. This was the second year in a row without changes. Kramber stated this is one of the most challenged districts to keep up with valuation because of the amount of lakeshore and river frontage along with the proximity to the metro area. Kramber and his staff were commended for the achievement.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, presented a request for sewer hookups for Charlotte Shores West Subdivision. The preliminary plat was approved by the Planning Commission the end of May for six lots. Rules previously adopted for the Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Service District (CMSSD) indicate that all new residences in Phase I must be hooked up to the public sewer system. The landowner is requesting approval for seven sewer hookups; in effect, reserving capacity in the system. Gary D’Heilly, D’Heilly Engineering & Assoc. Inc., representing the owner, stated a seventh hookup has been requested because lot 1 is about 2.83 acres giving it the ability to possibly be divided in the future. Russek, who serves on the Planning Commission, expressed opposition to reserving a hookup that may never be used and could be used elsewhere, as well as the question of funding for the unused hookup. Asleson explained this is the first plat dealt with. There are a number of conditions which will need to be attached to the final plat approval covering reimbursement to the County for expenses incurred for engineering review of the plat, the basic trunk charge which is to be paid when the lots are transferred,and other costs which will be paid to the City of St Michael. Russek moved to approve 6 hookups, seconded by Eichelberg. It was noted that a condition of final plat approval is for junk and refuse from the property and ravine on lot 6 to be removed and properly disposed of. Motion carried 5-0.

Chuck Davis, Environmental Health Officer, stated the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) received a petition requesting an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) be required for a gravel pit in Section 35, of Southside Township. The EQB has determined that Wright County is the appropriate governmental unit to decide the need for an EAW. Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4410.1100 were referenced in regard to the requirements for an environmental review. It was clarified that the application for a Conditional Use Permit before the Planning Commission is currently on hold, and if the determination is made for an EAW to be completed, the Planning Commission cannot look at it again until the EAW is done. Bob Frappier, representing the citizens group, presented the following reasons an EAW should be required: 1) original request was for 40 acres which would have required an EAW to be done, but reduced the acreage to 38.5 to avoid the EAW and with the total number of acres purchased being 121.27 believes the intent is clearly for future expansion of the pit, 2) digging 6 feet below the water table will divert water from Goose Lake into Lake John, 3) residents in the area have shallow wells and there is concern regarding pollution and water diversion from digging into the water table, and 4) cumulative impact on the area due to the number of gravel pits in close proximity to each other and a residential area. Allen Christy, an attorney representing Jim Hudson who is a property owner on Lake Sylvia, the Lake Sylvia Home Owner’s Association and the Lake John Home Owner’s Association, also spoke in support of an EAW. He stated the main purpose of an EAW is to get additional facts and information in which a better informed decision can be made. He expressed concerns with the number of mining activities within the watershed area, shallow wells, additional truck traffic, dust and noise, visibility of the pit, and the reclamation plan which shows the base of the pit being 40 feet lower than the surrounding area. He presented a formal letter addressed to Tom Salkwoski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, and the Wright County Board requesting the EAW. John Kolb, attorney representing Annandale Rock Products, Inc., spoke in response to each of the concerns listed in the petition and outlined why the petition for an EAW does not meet the criteria under Minnesota Rules Part 4410. He stated Annandale Rock Products modified its Conditional Use Permit request based on concerns raised regarding the proximity to water features near the property which resulted in a reduction in the footprint of the pit from 40 to 38.5 acres, the mining plan does not include extraction of gravel below the regional water table other than for the purposes of establishing an appropriation pond for wash purposes which falls under the jurisdiction of the DNR in issuance of a Water Appropriations Permit, and that required setbacks and a screening plan, maintenance of the township road, and dust and noise are addressed in the Conditional Use Permit process. He stated the petition for an EAW is a delay tactic and the best way to address the concerns is through the Conditional Use Permitting process which is ongoing. He provided a memorandum to the County Board dated June 22, 2004 in written response to the petition. Mattson questioned Kolb as to the fear of having an EAW completed. Kolb stated an EAW will cause delays, duplication, and additional expense to address concerns which are already being addressed through other regulatory agencies. It was clarified that an Environmental Impact Statement cannot be required if an EAW has not been done. Mattson moved for an EAW to be completed. Russek requested the motion be modified. There was no second to Mattson’s motion. Russek stated the Planning Commission reviewed the property and because of the environmentally sensitive area and with an another 1.5 acres an EAW would automatically have been required he was making a motion to direct staff to prepare findings for an EAW to be presented for approval at next week’s Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson questioned whether the EAW would be followed by an Environmental Impact Statement. Sawatzke stated that would be determined after an EAW. Motion carried 5-0.

A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-04-04. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer provided the following summary of the meeting.

Discuss TH 101 Project Status

Fingalson introduced Robinson and Fields and said that they were here to talk about the development project that is planned near the intersection of TH 101 and CSAH 39 in Otsego. Both were looking for tentative approval by the County Board of the improvements that have been suggested by Mn/DOT as one of the accelerated bonding projects now scheduled for 2006. Interchanges and/or overpasses have been proposed at TH 101 and CSAH’s 42, 39, 37, and 36. The total cost is expected to be in the range of $42 million, with the County/City share to be 15% of that amount, or approximately $6 million. Mn/DOT has agreed to count the donation of right of way by the property owner as part of the local share. Robinson said that an EAW is being done right now and they hope to have this federal document by late summer, at which time they would look for final approval from Wright County. The project could then be given the ‘go ahead’ in September 2004. The letting date cannot go beyond April of 2006. The interchange at CSAH 39 will require massive steel construction and they would like to get a steel contractor lined up in 2005. On the east side of TH 101 at CSAH 37, Land Cor, Inc., has 47 acres they would like to develop. Sixteen of those acres would be dedicated to a trail system, park, and holding pond which would service the drainage off that intersection. They have proposed to relocate Mn/DOT’s pond and enlarge it. He mentioned that he has been working with Mn/DOT regarding the right of way so that this could be given to Otsego to use as credit toward the local participation. They have also been making improvements to the ditches along CSAH 39 that exist between the current bank and Embers. They will have quite a bit of fill from this leveling project that will be useful to help elevate TH 101 at that intersection. The plan to shift traffic from TH 101 over their property during construction meets with the City approval, and they are eager to get going on these development plans that include two restaurants, a grocery store, and a health club. Field distributed brochures showing concept plans of the proposed development. Fields commented that because of other projects in which he is involved he has become aware of how scarce funding is, and the fact that Mn/DOT is making funds available for such a major improvement as this has come at a good time.

Fingalson read a resolution that the City of St. Michael recently passed regarding this project. Basically, it states that though they approve the layout of the improvements to CSAH 36/TH 101, they have no intention of participating in the funding of this project. Sawatzke asked if any grant or bonding money for this project was affected by the Legislature’s failure to act this spring. Fingalson said that there was only to be $10 million designated for local grant money in the omnibus transportation bill for the entire state, and there was little chance that Wright County would have received the $5-6 million needed, but would have received something. Local levy or local bonding money will be needed for Wright County’s share of the expense. Sawatzke said that he is concerned that if Wright County decides to bond for this project, then the State may leave them out when they decide to bond next year. There is still some hope that the Legislature could pass bonding in a special session yet this year, but Robinson expressed his desire and need to know now if Wright County will make the commitment. No offers on property for right of way can be made until the County gives its approval. The County Board will also have to determine what the cost participation will be between the County and the Cities for the local share. In addition, the Board will have to determine what deal they will strike with Otsego if St. Michael refuses to pay anything toward this project as they have stated in their resolution. Will St. Michael’s refusal to pay a share stop the whole project? Kessler stated that the City of St. Michael really doesn’t benefit by the proposed improvements on TH 101; in fact, they will probably lose two businesses on the tax base as a result. In comparison, Otsego will benefit a great deal if the proposed development occurs near CSAH 39. Bot said that St. Michael is not objecting to the plans, but is objecting to paying for it because of the negligible benefit it would bring to St. Michael. Bot said that St. Michael has been focusing on planning for an interchange at I-94 and Naber Avenue. They have already put a lot of money into their priority roads, both CSAH’s 19 and 35, and also into TH 241. With the development of housing that Otsego has approved just north of I-94 on CSAH 19, traffic will increase greatly on the roads that St. Michael is working on improving nowˆand this has been at the expense of the City of St. Michael. Fingalson said that only the west leg of the TH 101/CSAH 36 intersection is in St. Michael, with the east leg in Otsego. The cost of that would be approximately $450,000 for each of the two cities at that intersection. Russek commented that just as St. Michael doesn’t want to contribute to this improvement because it doesn’t help them, Russek’s constituents probably don’t want to pay for improvements in the northeast corner of the county either, but they will be helping to pay for them. Fields suggested that St. Michael will probably benefit from future development also and that they should have conversation with Otsego about how development in Otsego is impacting them. Kessler said that they have talked with them, but have not really received any offers to help fund St. Michael’s road improvements, such as the one proposed for Naber Avenue, which will service many people from Otsego, when and if it is completed.

There was some discussion about the value of the property, before and after the proposed highway intersection improvements. Sawatzke expressed his concern that the development company stands to make big gains in property value as a result of this proposed highway improvement with relatively little investment for the road improvements. He wondered if there could be more of a contribution. Land Cor, Inc., has already agreed to donate 17 acres to Otsego and to move the holding pond owned by Mn/DOT. An additional three acres of right of way would be donated for this project. Fields said that his company has already contributed and been proactive in the process. Fingalson said that there is probably potential to assess the property owners for some of this improvement, and Sawatzke said that even though that may not work here, he does think that the increased profits as a result of the improvements on this highway should not be on the backs of the taxpayers. Fields said that the property will become better with the improvements, but it is not bad without them either. Fingalson suggested that the Board think about this a bit more and then discuss it again later in the meeting. He said that the project needs to be done and that the $6 million local share (County/City) will be reduced by any land value that is donated for right of way. Mattson asked about the reduction in cost from $9 million to $6 million in estimated local share, and Robinson said that they have now had a better chance to make a more accurate estimate of cost. He also said that Mn/DOT is looking at possible expansion on Hwy 169 from Elk River north to Princeton. There is no timetable for construction, but they are hoping that once the study is done, and if money is available, it could be done in the foreseeable future.

Eichelberg asked when the decision had to be made. Robinson said that the EAW will be completed by late summer, with the final layout going to the Cities and the County for final approval at that time. Approval by the County is needed before right-of-way offers can be made. The project cannot be delayed beyond the fiscal year 2006. That leaves a couple of months to consider the project. Fields said that the property owners and potential property owners need decisions from the Board soon so that they can decide what they are going to do. He encouraged the Board to make that decision today. As a developer, he would like to move forward and the City of Otsego has also expressed their desire to move forward. Mattson expressed his concern that if a decision is not made to move forward, then the County could be looking at an additional 15-20 years before the State makes funds available again. Originally, improvements on TH 101 were scheduled for 2013 before they were moved onto Mn/DOT’s accelerated schedule. If the project is turned down now by the County, Robinson said that it is unlikely that it will be considered for 2013 but would more likely be pushed back to 2018-2020.

RECOMMENDATION: There was no Board action or Board recommendation at this time.

2) Discuss Bernings’ Mill Bridge Project Status/Options

Approximately $2.5 million in bridge bonding money is needed from the State in order to proceed with this project, unless Hennepin County comes up with another source of funds. The Legislature has not voted to approve a bonding bill this year and it is unlikely that a special session will be held to reconsider this non-action. Hennepin County is hopeful that they will be able to do an exchange with some of the projects for which they already have dedicated bonding money. Right now, action needs to be delayed until more answers are available as to whether this can be done. Sawatzke asked if the State would put a lower priority on bonding money for this project if the Counties manage to come up with alternative funding sources, but Fingalson said that we can’t afford to lose the $1.5 million in federal funds that have been allocated to this project by waiting too long. The deadline has already been extended once and it is unlikely that this can be done again. If the $1.5 million in federal funds is forfeited, then Wright and Hennepin Counties will have to share that extra cost when the bridge project is commenced. In order to receive the federal funds, the project letting date can be no later than September of 2004. Fingalson said that this information is just for the purpose of updating the Boardˆno action is needed at this time. He will inform them and possibly ask for another TCOTW meeting when he has more information from Hennepin County.

RECOMMENDATION: No action was necessary or taken at this time.

3) Discuss NE Transportation Study Approval

A transportation study was recently completed which included the northeast portion of Wright County. Wright County’s share of the study’s cost of $200,000 was $25,000. Many public meetings were held to review the findings of this study and St. Michael has already approved it as it was presented. The City of Otsego approved the study with some qualifiers, as did Albertville. The study made certain recommendations about changes and improvements to I-94, and neither City was willing to give its full support. However, the study did include more than one option for change. Weigle said that St. Michael felt it was best to approve the study in concept as presented and then deal with recommendations for change later. Fingalson agreed with this approach and said that Wright County needs to adopt this plan so that it can be used as a basis for a request for an increase in state aid. Weigle said that the plan does include six different alternatives to traffic flow and highway improvements. He said that all worked, but that some worked better than others. St. Michael accepted the plan ‘as is’ because they didn’t want to exclude any options in the event that they become workable. Fingalson said that it is very important to adopt a system for the future so that plans can be made for securing right of way in preparation for development. The plan can be followed to ensure that enough land is dedicated for the four-lane system that is recommended for this portion of the county. Hawkins said that he is now reviewing plats in the Otsego area that have large dedications of right of way for future roads. This will save a lot of money in the future. When asked if there were a downside to approving this study, Fingalson said that he didn’t see one. Eichelberg said that he views this as a regional plan and that changes can be made at individual sites.

RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW to recommend that the County Board approve this NE Transportation Study and that Fingalson prepare a resolution stating such and present it at an upcoming County Board meeting.

At today’s meeting Eichelberg moved to approve the Resolution 04-35 Approving NE Wright County Transportation Plan, seconded by Heeter. Sawatzke stated the Plan is a good framework although some specific things may change. Mattson noted it affects the whole County and not just the northeast corner. Mottion passed 5-0 on a roll call vote.

4) Discuss Expansion of TH 55 Traffic Study to Cover the Rest of Wright County

Fingalson explained that this item is tied to Commissioner Mattson’s comment that the transportation needs in the entire county should be studied and that he agrees with that thought. He has previously stated his desire to have this study done, but it has not survived the budget cuts in the past. About $10,000 would have been needed for the study to expand the TH 55 traffic study to the rest of Wright County. However, Fingalson has found out that Mn/DOT is planning to extend their regional transportation model to include the outer ring of counties. This means that Wright County will be able to get this transportation information without paying for it, and this could be as early as next year. This study will project traffic volumes for all major highways by 2040. Hopefully, this will provide a basis for approaching the screening board for more transportation money. Mattson expressed his concern about the proposed development in Howard Lake that will add 300 homes to that area and expressed his desire to plan for the future growth. RECOMMENDATION: No action was necessary or taken at this time.

5) Discuss CSAH 18 Project in Monticello

Fingalson explained that improvements for CSAH 18 in Monticello have been included in the County’s Five-Year Plan, but that no dollar amounts have been attached to it. The City is taking the lead on the project and now has a better idea of where they want to go with it. Weiss said that the City has identified the need for a new interchange at CSAH 18 and I-94. The Federal Highway Administration has approved the City’s full interchange design in this area. Mn/DOT had expressed the desire to work together with the City in dealing with the bridges and straightening out I-94 on the eastern side of Monticello. There are also some property owners that are interested in development of this area, so this could help with funding for the improvements. There are about 50 acres available on one side and about 25 acres on the other side of CSAH 18. They would like to tie in directly with 7th Street. The concrete plant would have to be moved. Originally, Mn/DOT was considering removing the I-94 bridge, but the new engineer at Mn/DOT said that no changes are necessary. However, a new bridge deck will be considered. Timing of the project is an issue, because contributions by property owners could help with the costs, and Mn/DOT may be willing to share the cost to move this project forward. The City is looking at developing and making improvements to a significant transportation system that will benefit the entire county. Mn/DOT has said that they will help with the funding of these improvements and the property owners will also be assessed for a significant share of this. Frontage roads have been developed on both sides of the freeway, Chelsea and 7th street. The City would also like to build a storm sewer outlet and a sanitary sewer line at the additional cost of $8 - 10 million. Mn/DOT’s projected share would be $2-4 million, while the County’s share could be $2 million, based on the county participation model now in place. Five million would be assessed back to property owners and the City of Monticello would use funds that they have been collecting from developers in the past. Since these improvements would be a regional benefit rather than just a city benefit, Monticello is asking for County participation. This project has been pushed ahead of schedule, but they need to take advantage of it now because it will become more expensive in the future and there could be fewer participants. They are asking the County to pay what they normally would pay, and this does not include expenses for the bridge or for the interchange. They are proposing 2005 construction with completion in 2006. Funds for this project were not included in the current bonding bill that has not been passed by the State. Improvements in the road system now could help bring about more valuable development to the taxpayers’ benefit. The more valuable the development, the bigger the tax base. The concrete plant needs improvements, so now would be a good time for it to move. If improvements are made before a move, then the purchase price will be even more expensive. The city council is aware of this planning but has not taken an official vote on it. Weiss doesn’t expect much opposition to the plans. At this point, the proposed development would include three large “boxes;” a large general retailer, a home improvement store, and a general merchandising store. The only cost portion for the county would be associated with CSAH 18, which is about $2 million. TH 25 is already over capacity, and these improvements would also help with that. Because of the time frame, Weiss and Simola would like to have an answer from the County this month. They would like to take their plans to the city council with the support of the County. Weiss said that the City is probably looking at a 20-year bond for the City’s portion that is not covered by current available funds. RECOMMENDATION: No action was taken at this time.

6) Proposed Vacation of a Portion of CSAH 75 in Clearwater

Marquette informed the Committee that Clearwater property owner Heaton has made a request to obtain a portion of right of way that borders his property and is eligible to be vacated. Heaton said that he has been mowing it for years. Marquette said that a minimum of 75 feet from the centerline of CSAH 75 should be retained because of some drainage facilities located there. Approximately 0.8 acres could be vacated if the Board wishes to do so. Originally, the State received it in 1936 with a warranty deed from the City, and the County received it from them in 1981 in a quit claim. This could go back to the original owner (City of Clearwater) or could be put up for sale to the highest responsible bidder. There have been several instances in other locations where the County has been turning back pieces of vacated right of way to the local government. However, the County is unable to just give the property to Mr. Heaton. If they chose, they could put the property up for bids, but then he may not appreciate another bidder getting the property. Heaton emphasized that he is interested in acquiring it but not purchasing it. He has been maintaining it for years. He said that this parcel is almost landlocked, with the only access (other than over his property) being from Sunset Court, but then some mature trees would have to be removed. Marquette said that he would recommend that an appraisal be done so that a realistic value could be assigned to this property. Heaton said that if he acquires it, it will then go on the tax rolls as a benefit to the county. Sawatzke said that he is not interested in giving this parcel away because they do notknow now what it might be good for in the future (e.g. a possible tower site). Russek agreed that an appraisal should be done before any other action is taken. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Marquette ask County Assessor Greg Kramber to assist in determining a value on the property in question and then inform the Board of those results.

At today’s meeting there was discussion on whether Kramber should contact Heaton to see if he would be interested in purchasing the property. Russek stated action was only being taken on the minutes at today’s meeting. Mattson felt it is necessary to go through the normal process. Kramber was requested to provide valuation information to the Board and for the item to be placed on the 6-29-04 County Board Agenda.

7) Discuss/Recommend Funding Options

Fingalson said that the Board needs to establish a policy of how the County will participate in projects with Cities and when improvements are made to state highways, like TH 101. Currently, the County follows a guideline for traffic signals that are shared with cities, but they really don’t have a policy regarding improvements on the trunk highway system. Fingalson said that he likes the current traffic signal policy that calls for the City to participate in 50% of the cost of the project that is located within that city. The growth in the cities is prompting the need for the traffic signals. Originally, Mn/DOT had said that these improvements would not cost the County anything, but then they changed their policy when the new administration took over. He said that Otsego is probably looking at using the donated right of way to cover their share, but he questioned if the County should be able to count some of that against their share also. Sawatzke said that it appears that this interchange will serve the development very wellˆshouldn’t they contribute more? If Otsego were to share 50/50 with the County, then they could have the option of passing along some of their expense to the developer. St. Michael would not have that option because the portion in St. Michael is already developed. Fingalson said that whatever is going to be done here will be setting a precedent for the future. Though it might be tough to come up with the dollars, he feels that a 50/50 split is fair. He said that he would like to talk with Otsego and find out their reaction to this proposal. Sawatzke said that he would also like to find out if giving up the 17 acres is really a sacrifice, or if it will add to the aesthetics and other enhancement features that are planned. Regardless of what the developer’s share will be, Fingalson said that the Board will have to make a tough decision on what they will want to establish as a funding split with the cities. Fingalson said that Dakota County has had a long-standing policy of 55 County/45 City cost split for projects like this. Hawkins said that when looking at the big picture, this is an opportunity to get highway improvements done. It is coincidental that there is development at this time. Even if the development were not proposed now, the improvements would still be needed. This is good for the whole region now and he feels that it is important to find a way to get it done. Sawatzke said that he likes the 50/50 split. The County’s share would probably still have to come from bonding, with an outside possibility of getting some help from the state with grant money. Russek said that we have until 2006 to come up with the funds, but that we just have to agree now that we will find a way to do that. He would like to get an agreement worked out now. Weigle again reminded the Committee that the improvements on TH 101 are really not big benefit to St. Michael and that Otsego will benefit the most. If St. Michael does an improvement on Naber Avenue, then Otsego will also reap the benefits, but there has been no offer from Otsego to share in this cost. St. Michael doesn’t want to share in the cost of the improvements to TH 101, and if they refuse to participate, then Otsego will have to decide how much they want this project to happen. Weigle said that he will call them to discuss these issues. Fingalson said that there is a little time before a decision has to be made, but that there should be a meeting between the Cities.

Fingalson said that he feels that the CSAH 18 project proposed by Monticello is the project that needs a prompt recommendation. The City has drawn up their plans and they are just waiting for the County’s official approval and want to see that all parties pay a fair share. Russek said that Wright County has already agreed to contribute their share. The costs will be subject to the real construction costs. Sawatzke said that the message needs to be relayed back to the cities, after approval by the County Board, that the County is implementing a cost share policy of 50/50 for the local share of the TH 101 project. Weigle asked if there had been a decision on CSAH 36 for extending that past Quam for turn lanes and a signal and four lanes to the interstate. He wanted to know at what point the State’s improvements stop and the County’s begin. Fingalson said that CSAH 36 was built to the state specs at the time that it was constructed, and that was before the ‘paved shoulder’ policy. The State’s portion will be limited for future improvements. Paved shoulders will probably be done at the time of the next overlay. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the local cost of improvements to intersections of State Highways and County Highways be split at a 50/50 cost share with the affected city.

Discussion continued about the CSAH 18 project in Monticello. There was some discussion about whether the County could bond through the City of Monticello for a better bond rate and then pay the city back. This would also save in administration costs. Sawatzke asked if there were any plans to sell the ballfields by the schools, but he was told that this plan had only been mentioned when there was some talk of eliminating CSAH 75, but this is not an issue anymore. Weiss said that the City can take a look to see what the cost would be for the County to bond through the City. It was suggested the Wolfsteller talk to the County Auditor and see what the County is currently getting for a bonding rate. Heeter commented that this project is good for the whole region and steps should be taken to see that it happens. Even with no more development, traffic is already too backed out. Fingalson said that a future for this project will include turnbacks (e.g. CSAH 75 which no longer connects to I-94) CSAH 75 will end at the CSAH 18 signal light. An agreement will be done sometime within the next month, as soon as all the facts and figures are in. Weiss said that he would like a letter from Fingalson telling the City what the County’s intentions are. Perhaps Wright County Board action could come as soon at the third week of June. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the CSAH 18 project be approved and that Fingalson be authorized to develop an agreement with the City of Monticello which includes funding.

8) Discuss Options for CR 137 Turnback from Mn/DOT in Cokato Township

A portion of CR 137 was cut off in front of the John Deere property just east of the city when Mn/DOT put in a new approach to TH 12. On June 15, this will be officially turned back to the County. The County needs to retain a portion of this as necessary right of way for the remaining CR 137. There is a portion that was purchased from a landowner/farmer originally, but it is an uneconomic remnant and he doesn’t want it back but neither does he want it used for advertising. Neither township that borders this strip of land wants to maintain the ‘old CR 137’ roadway which is needed to provide access to three parcels. Fingalson read a letter from Cokato Mayor Bruce Johnson requesting that the land be transferred to the City. Cokato City would like to obtain it so that they can use it for a sign announcing the city. There was vocal opposition to this transfer by Commissioners. The implement dealer would like to obtain it for purposes of advertising and/or storage of equipment and have been maintaining it since Mn/DOT realigned the access to TH 12. Eichelberg suggested that legal counsel be consulted to find out what options are available. Asleson asked why Mn/DOT didn’t take care of these details, and Fingalson said that this was one of the frustrations of this issue. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Highway Department, the County Attorney’s office, Stockholm and Cokato Townships, and the adjoining landowners work out an acceptable arrangement for the assignment of this vacated property.

At today’s meeting, Mattson stated “but neither does he want it used for advertising” was not an accurate statement and should be struck from the minutes. There was agreement to end the sentence after “doesn’t want it back.”

Russek moved to approve the minutes with the correction in line 4 of Item #8, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-15-04. Russek moved to approve the Minutes, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0. A summary of the meeting follows:

Site Analysis

At the 6-1-04 Committee Meeting, DLR Group was requested to submit a proposal which would identify long term facility needs of the County along with projected costs. At today’s meeting, Jon Crump, DLR Group, reviewed the “Proposal to Provide a County-wide Master Plan and Needs Analysis” which was distributed at the 6-15-04 Board Meeting. The study will include an analysis of the following: potential uses of the existing jail and project budgets; potential uses of space vacated by the Sheriff’s offices if they are relocated; number of additional staff positions which can be accommodated through consolidation/reconfiguration of existing space; the need for certain departments to be located together; the feasibility of co-locating all Human Services functions, analyze CokatoSshop space as possible branch site; expansion potential of the existing Government Center - green spaces, adjacent properties, and other County owned property; parking; Public Works Building in conjunction with site location for jail (off season equipment) storage impact; Highway Shop; phased construction or single project; and update jail population study. DLR Group proposed a completion date of September 21, 2004 at a cost of $27,000 for professional services and approximately $2,000 for reimbursable expenses.

There was brief discussion on the desire for the Master Plan to be written in an understandable format, concern that the information be accurate and not obsolete in a short time, clarification that the study will look at space consolidation and not management changes, and address both positive and negative aspects of disconnecting departments and functions. Recommendation: Authorize DLR Group to proceed with the study as proposed.

Norman recommended the Quad County Meeting, which was to be hosted by Wright County on 6-29-04, be cancelled and rescheduled. Mattson moved to cancel the meeting, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

Sawatzke referenced a pre-invitation to the Strategic Planning Session (retreat) of the Economic Development Partnership received from Ollie Koropchak, 2004 Chair of the Board of Directors. The planning session is scheduled for 9-17-04. The goals and objectives of the Partnership will be reviewed for updating the 1994 Wright County Overall Economic Development Plan. This was provided as an informational item at this time.

Russek referenced a request from Helen Steiner for cleanout of beaver dams on tax forfeit land which she feels is holding water on her property. The question was raised as to what responsibility the County has in cleanout of the portion of the ditch which runs through the land owned by the State. Asleson explained that the County is essentially the caretaker of the ditch and, therefore, responsible for the maintenance of the ditch. State statute was changed a few years ago which allows for the cost to be assessed back to the property owners. Asleson stated with the tax forfeit land the costs can be recovered when the property is sold. Mattson moved to authorize Russek and Hiivala to view the ditch and report back to the Board, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

On 6-15-04 the Wright County Board of Commissioners held a Closed Meeting, as authorized by M.S. 2002, section 13D.05, subdivision 3, to discuss the possible purchase price of certain lands on or near Pelican Lake. Statute requires a list of people present to be available and to have a tape recording of the meeting. At the closed meeting Greg Kramber, Assessor, was authorized to submit a bid on the property. At today’s meeting, Asleson presented a Purchase Agreement for approval to purchase PID 213-100-362300, 213-100-354200, 202-000-012200 and 202-000-021100 for a sum of $1,803,600.00 including an 8% buyer’s premium. The property is being purchased by Wright County in cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife with ownership to be transferred to U.S. Fish &Wildlife at a later date. The $25,000 earnest money will be reimbursed to Wright County by U.S. Fish & Wildlife. There was discussion regarding a $20,000 donation from Ducks Unlimited to be used toward the earnest money or buyer’s premium. It was the feeling of the Board that it would be best for the donation to be handled directly between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Ducks Unlimited at a later date. Sawatzke stated he received a call from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife regarding 1) possibility of 3-5 acres going to the DNR for a boat launch, and 2) whether the County would be interested in the parcel which is not attached to the rest of the property for a park or educational use. It was suggested Marc Mattice, Parks Admnistrator, meet with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife regarding possible interest in the unattached parcel. Asleson was requested to respond to Ducks Unlimited regarding their donation. There was also support for a boat launch for the DNR. Mattson moved to approve the Purchase Agreement, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. Heeter moved to not sign an agreement with Ducks Unlimited for their donation at this time, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. Sawatzke expressed thanks for the support of those involved in the purchase of the property stating that it is a nice acquisition for the citizens of the County.

Norman presented a request to set a Technology Committee Meeting to discuss the MCCC Web Portal Agreement with NASCA, Inc. Heeter moved to set a meeting for 6-29-04, 10:30 A.M., seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Russek reported attendance at an RC&D meeting in Foley. The next meeting will be hosted by Wright County in late August on organic farming versus use of phosphorous fertilizers.

Sawatzke extended appreciation and thanks on behalf of his family for cards, memorials, plants, and words of sympathy during the recent death of his father.

Mattson referenced D.1 “Award Contract #0405 To Ridgedale Electric, Inc. For CSAH 35/Bison Blvd. Signal Project (CP 86-635-04) In The Amount Of $139,200.00 (Including The $3,000 Alternate)”, on the Consent Agenda. He stated he overlooked this on the Consent Agenda thinking it was going to be discussed later under Highway items and is opposed to the signal project. He stated he has received information in a brochure from the Minnesota Department of Transportation which he feels concurs with his position on the issue.

Bills Approved

Adv. Drainage Sys. Inc. $145.37

Albertville Body Shop Inc. 2,161.88

Amerigas-Cokato MN 351.97

Ameripride Linen/Apparel 465.68

AMI Imaging Sys., Inc. 225.00

Aramark Correctional Serv. 4,938.64

Assn. of Minn. Counties 11,400.00

B & D Plumbing & Heating 110.00

Blaine Lock & Safe Inc. 170.00

BLM Technologies Inc. 236.26

Boyer Trucks Rogers 66,888.00

Buff ‘N’ Glo Inc. 219.00

Buffalo Bituminous 17,299.52

Buffalo Hospital 8,400.00

Bureau of Crim. Apprehensn 100.00

CDW Government Inc. 2,563.45

Cellular One 820.81

Center Point Energy 2,057.69

Centra Sota Lake RegionLLC 14,637.00

Central Minn. Mental Health Ctr. 597.50

Climate Air 449.50

Decorative Designs Inc. 175.53

Design Electric Inc. 724.29

Everett Doolittle 1,663.60

Wayne Fingalson 497.39

Gale-Tec Engineering Inc. 1,655.60

Gateway Companies Inc. 3,644.00

Janet Gholson 115.50

Hance Utility Serv. Inc. 561.99

Beverly Hauswirth 437.10

Craig Hayes 127.81

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 237.50

Intereum 5,044.37

Interstate All Battery Ctr. 821.31

Interstate Automotive 133.12

Keeprs Inc. 629.21

Lake Region Coop Oil 910.60

Michael Laurent 104.00

Loberg Electric 181.84

City Maple Lake 2,301.10

Marco Business Products 766.39

Masys Corporation 4,978.87

Denise McCalla 306.11

Patrick Melvin 194.90

Mid-America Bus. Sys. 27,482.33

Midland Corporate Benefits SVC 750.00

MN Highway Safety/Research 206.00

MN Office of Justice Programs 105.00

MN State Auditor 4,657.29

City Monticello 65,000.00

City Montrose 584.48

Motorola Communication& 1,948.95

North Star Garage Inc. 16,752.00

Office Depot 3,188.58

Omann Brothers Inc. 195.44

Postmaster-Buffalo 503.00

Quinlan Publishing Co. 133.88

Qwest 9,421.14

Rinke-Noonan 945.00

Ryan Motors Inc. 192.27

Setina Mfg. Co. Inc. 237.78

Shell Fleet Plus 1,046.59

Sherwin Williams 224.07

M Smith Publishers 187.00

Streichers 3,001.17

Sunrise Specialty Contracting 2,000.00

Total Printing 1,811.36

Keith Triplett 262.13

Uniforms Unlimited 569.95

URS Corporation 984.18

Voss Lighting 533.73

Wright Co. Highway Dept. 423.99

Wright-Hennepin Electric 3,870.20

Ziegler Inc. 320.51

Xcel Energy 186.60

33 payments less than $100 $1,627.83

Final total $309,801.85

The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 A.M.


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