Wright County Board Minutes

AUGUST 24, 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 8-17-04, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Mattson moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:


1. Performance Appraisals: M. Sandquist, Atty.; P. Johnson, L. Pulvermacher, Aud./Treas.; G. Monroe, Hwy.; M. Westover, P&Z; N. Aarvig, E. Adams, A. Chaney, T. Olson, Sher./Corr.

2. Authorize Hire, Otto Lipponen, Custodian, Eff. 8-25-04 (Step 1).

3. O/T Report, Period Ending 8-13-04.

4. 2nd Quarter Training Reports.

5. Refer Court Administration Remodeling Request To The Building Committee.


1. Refer Buffalo Prosecution Contract To The Personnel Committee.


1. Endorsement Of Nasca/MCCC Contract For The Development & Support Of The Web Portal For MCCC Counties.


1. Acknowledge Appointment Of Sgt. Joseph Hagerty To The Position Of Lieutenant, Eff. 9-01-04 (Step J) & Authorize Replacement.

2. Acknowledge Appointment Of Deputy Sean Deringer To The Position Of Sergeant, Eff. 9-01-04.

Bob Hiivala, Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer, brought forth discussion on Ditch #33. Sawatzke said last week the ditch was reviewed. The area improved last year seems to be working correctly and has solved most of the significant problems on the north side of the freeway. Kerry Saxton, SWCD, has suggested that erosion problems at the outlet be corrected with placement of rocks or concrete at this point. There is also some concrete that needs to be removed from the field which was left over from the project. On the south side of the freeway there is a problem with a railroad culvert. The culvert is 4’ in diameter and 40’ long, and is 2’ plugged with dirt. This has raised the water level 2’ in the area. Saxton would like to proceed with review of the tile line but this cannot be done until the area near the culvert is drained. The culvert is not officially part of the ditch and it was there prior to the ditch. Last Fall, the railroad was contacted with a request to repair the culvert. To date, nothing has transpired. Sawatzke questioned any legal remedies if the repair is not completed by the railroad. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said that as the blockage is impairing the function of the ditch, statute would allow for misdemeanor charges. Sawatzke clarified that the ditch runs underneath the culvert on a tile line. The tile line runs under the tracks and the water is coming out very slowly. Sawatzke said Saxton‚s opinion was that if the culvert were cleaned out, the tile possibly will not need replacement. Sawatzke will contact the railroad to attempt to get someone to look at the problem. The last area viewed was near Farm Estates which is south of the culvert area. The culvert issue will need to be addressed before action can be taken. This was provided as an informational update.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson referenced a claim on page 10, East Central Regional Juvenile Center ($11,385.00). Mattson contacted the Court Services Director who indicated this is a one time per year expense for bed rental. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.

Greg Kramber, Wright County Leadership Team, said they received a request from the Wellness Committee to review the County’s Smoking/Tobacco Use Policy. The Wellness Committee has received feedback on the air quality around County building entrances and air intake units. The request is to review this Policy as part of the update of the Personnel Policy Manual. Discussion followed on action taken several years ago by the County to address this problem. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, felt there was language in the Policy addressing the air intakes but would have to consult the Policy to determine if other areas were designated. Heeter moved to refer this issue to the Personnel Committee, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Tracy Janikula, Wright County Feedlot Administrator, requested the Board schedule a Public Hearing relating to a variance request from the Feedlot Ordinance. The request is from Rich Kuechenmeister who would like to place a horse barn closer than 100 feet from the property line on a 200 foot parcel. The 6-acre parcel was created through a variance in 1988 and is narrower than normal. Russek moved to schedule the Public Hearing for 9-14-04 at 9:30 A.M., seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to reappoint Tony Onnen as Public Sector Representative on the Wright County Community Action (WCCA) Board of Directors for a three-year term. The current term expires 9-08-04.

Eichelberg moved to authorize attendance at the Organic Short Course for Ag Professionals, being held 9-08-04 at the Rockford Township Hall. The Course is being sponsored by the MN Department of Agriculture, RC&D Councils and USDA.

Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested approval of the nomination of the CSAH 42 Landslide Repair Project for the AMC 2004 County Achievement Award. If approved, Fingalson would fill out the appropriate paperwork and bring back a resolution for consideration at the next County Board Meeting. Russek moved to authorize this action, seconded by Eichelberg. Heeter questioned whether a County could submit more than one award nomination, as she was aware that MEADA also planned to submit one. It was the consensus that this was not be a problem as nominations are submitted under separate categories. The motion carried 5-0.

Fingalson distributed the 2003 Highway Department Annual Report for review and approval at the next meeting.

A Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting was held on 8-16-04. The minutes from that meeting and discussion from today’s Board Meeting follow:

The tour group assembled at the Wright County Public Works building and rode together in one vehicle to view various sites of concern that have been discussed at previous Transportation Committee of the Whole meetings.

On the way to the City of Clearwater, Wayne Fingalson pointed out the deterioration of the surface of CSAH 8 at the entrance/exit of the truck stop just south of Hasty. The uneven surface is caused by heavy and frequent truck traffic turning into and out of the truck stop. There appears to be similar wearing patterns at the entrance/exit of I-94 on both side of the bridge deck also. The Township of Silver Creek has asked the County to repair these areas to help eliminate the extra danger that they present to other vehicles that do not turn in to the truck stop and that are traveling at a faster speed along CSAH 8. Fingalson said that regular bituminous does not appear to have the wear quality for this traffic and concrete may have to be considered. The Concrete Paving Association of Minnesota is considering using this small area as one of its test areas and would be willing to give Wright County a significant discount in the price of repairing this area with concrete. This was just informational and no action was taken at this time.

Upon reaching the City of Clearwater, the group surveyed the piece of property (approximately 0.8 acre in size) that adjacent landowner Curtis Heaton requested be donated to him by the County. The parcel backs up against several properties and it appears that more than one adjoining landowner makes use of the land that is owned by the County. Stakes had been placed on this parcel by the County indicating the location of the property and right-of-way lines. The area was well maintained and appeared to be used and probably mowed by at least one landowner in addition to Heaton.

From Clearwater, the group headed south to Cokato, traveling on CSAH 3 part of that distance. Fingalson pointed out the smooth ride of this surface, a result of the new overlay from just north of French Lake (CR 129) to TH 12 in Cokato. It might be a good candidate for a merit award for construction excellence.

The next destination was a stop just east of Cokato at CR 137 and TH 12. The original route of CR 137 intersected with TH 12 several hundred feet to the east before Mn/DOT required the intersection to be moved to the west as part of the TH 12 improvement project. With that move, a section of CR 137 was left as a dead end (it was disconnected from TH 12) but still services three businesses along that section of road. Neither Stockholm nor Cokato Townships is interested in acquiring this section of road as it would be inconvenient for them to maintain and would not provide any benefit to them. The County is not interested in maintaining it either, but as long as it retains ownership, maintenance is its responsibility. The implement dealer located along this road has done snow/ice control in the past, but is unwilling to make that commitment for the future. The City would like to install a sign in the area of land (approximately 1.0 acre in size) that is located between this road and TH 12, which the County owns along with the road. It was mentioned that an area northerly and westerly of this parcel is scheduled for a rezoning at the next Wright County Planning Commission meeting.

The group then traveled to the intersection of CR 112 and TH 25 just north of Watertown and south of Montrose. The Townships of Woodland and Franklin are interested in realigning this intersection so that the site distance will be better. They would like to see it moved a bit to the north and then eliminate the intersection of a township road just a bit to the north of that. Right of way would have to be acquired in order to do this, and the entire project would cost about $80,000. Both Townships have said that they would contribute $8,000 each to this project.

From this location, the group traveled back to Buffalo via CSAH 14. Major reconstruction has been nearly completed on this highway, located between TH 55 and TH 12. The railroad crossing will be moved to its new location when the crossing arms arrive, expected in about a week or so. Russek expressed his desire to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the conclusion of this long project and its nice results.

The group arrived at the Public Works Building at 4:10 p.m. Pat Sawatzke, County Board Chair, called the meeting to order at 4:15 p.m.

1. Official Map Ordinance. Brian Asleson stated that he has no new information about the mapping ordinance, so this issue will be deferred to a future meeting.

2. Notice of Assessment for Albertville Truck Station. Fingalson mentioned that the City of Albertville has assessed the Wright County Highway Shop, located at the intersection of CSAH’s 18 and 19, for water and sewer in the amount of $70,878.00. This appears to be a fair assessment for this 1.8 acre parcel and can be conveyed with the property when and if the County decides to relocate that highway shop. This issue will be discussed further at a future date.

3. Discuss Status of Proposed Projects.

• CSAH 12 Pathway: Marc Mattice explained to the Board that the Parks Department received a grant last year for construction of a trail (separated wherever possible) between Montrose and Buffalo along CSAH 12. The grant was in the amount of $100,000 and his budget has a matching $100,000 line item for this trail. Construction of the trail will begin next year (2005) and will be completed up to 15th Street SW at that time. The trail will be completed from that point to Buffalo in 2007. Though the cost estimates were fairly close to the grant amount, there is an expected overage of about $14,000, but the exact amount won‚t be known until the right-of-way costs and the bids are final. Some additional right of way over what the road construction calls for will be needed in a few rural areas. Mattice told the Board that since the trail construction will be done in two phases, any shortage of funds or overage of expenses will not show up in the 2005 budget.

• CSAH 17 / TH 12 in Delano: Fingalson explained that Mn/DOT has decided to pay for all expenses for the grade separation at CSAH 17 & TH 12 in Delano when this improvement is done. This decision was based on the high benefit/cost ratio that Mn/DOT calculated showing a big increase in safety.

• Traffic Signal at TH 25 / CSAH 12 in Buffalo: Fingalson told the Committee members that the City of Buffalo is very adamant that a traffic signal is needed at this three-leg intersection. There is no right turn lane on TH 25 to allow right-hand turners to head south on CSAH 12, which would help improve the flow of traffic. Fingalson said that he felt that “no parking” and a right turn lane might help solve the backup of traffic without having to install signals. However, some right of way would have to be acquired for there to be enough room. Mn/DOT said that this intersection has met the warrants for a traffic signal, but Russek said that the stop signs have been working well to move traffic most of the time. Initially, the three-way stops were put in to help with traffic during some road construction. They were later removed after construction was over, but crashes started happening so they were put back up again. Sawatzke asked if the County can decline the City’s request that the County participate in the funding of this signal (County share of $25,000), and Fingalson said that he was unsure what the City’s response would be. This could be put on a future agenda, and Russek said that he doesn’t mind waiting to discuss this further. Fingalson said that the City is very much in favor of installing signals and that Mn/DOT is also thinking of this as a potential improvement. The total cost is about $200,000. Mattson asked if anyone had asked the nearby residents what they prefer. He said that he hasn’ heard from anyone in the area who wants a signal. This matter will be discussed further at a future meeting, when perhaps the City of Buffalo can be present.

4. Discuss Vehicle Storage Shed Options. Larry DeMars explained that the Human Services Department prefers to stay with its present arrangement for storage of the WOW van because of the high bids that came in for the vehicle storage unit. Human Services was going to contribute funds to cover some of the cost of this building but feel that present arrangements are preferable to increasing its participation in funding. Fingalson said that for convenience, there is a strong preference to have this building in the city limits to the east side of the PWB. Estimates were received for the construction of a pole-type building just north of the PWB in the township, but they came in at about $250,000 compared to the low bid of $320,000 for the building in the city limits, and it wouldn’t be as handy as the other location. One important consideration of constructing this vehicle storage building is that it would help free up some more room for the mechanics to work inside the PWB shop area. There was some discussion about what appearance would be suitable for such a building and whether or not the extra cost to mimic the appearance of the exterior of the current PWB would be worth the cost. Fingalson said that the proposed building of the new jail really doesn’t affect the appearance requirement because it is too far away on the site. Eichelberg asked if the planned improvements to TH 25 would be an important factor to consider in the building’s appearance, but there are and will be trees separating the highway from the building. It might be possible to build a smaller building, but Fingalson hasn’t gotten quotes on a price for that, so he doesn’t know what they might be. Fingalson said that he would talk to the City and see if they would reconsider allowing some discrepancies in matching the two buildings so that costs could be lowered.

5. Tour Visit Discussion.

• Parcel in City of Clearwater: Russek suggested that the other affected landowner next to this parcel be contacted to see if he has any interest in a portion of this parcel, and Eichelberg agreed that this would be the best approach. The County Assessor has estimated the property to be valued at about $40,000-$45,000, if an access to a road is granted and less if not. It could be divided into two different parcels so that it would be possible for both adjoining landowners to purchase one. It is obvious that one of them already uses a portion of it for part of his backyard. Heeter said that the nephew of property owner Heaton is planning to purchase his uncle’s property, but he would like to know the County’s intentions for the property before he buys it. Fingalson said that the County really doesn’t seem to have a purpose in retaining this parcel and it might be good to put it back on the tax rolls. Asleson said that the County could sell this to the City and then let them decide how to handle it because they are able to operate under different guidelines than is the County. Heeter agreed to talk to both Heaton and the other adjoining property owner and find out what their interests are in acquiring this property or just the portion that adjoins what they already own and report back to the other Board members.

• CR 137 and TH 12: Fingalson said that State law requires the County to provide access to landowners adjacent to a county road. This section of CR 137 had originally intersected with TH 12, but the intersection was moved to a point farther west on TH 12 and access to TH 12 was disrupted on this section of CR 137. Mn/DOT no longer needed this portion of CR 137 for right of way and gave it back to the County. Now it is a dead-end section, situated between TH 12 and the new intersection of TH 12 and CR 137. It is an inconvenient piece of roadway to maintain and neither adjoining Township (Stockholm or Cokato) are interested in acquiring this property. The City of Cokato would like to construct and install a “welcome” sign here. Mattson offered to talk to the City of Cokato to see if they would be interested in maintaining this small dead-end portion of CR 137 in exchange for permission to install a “welcome” sign on the piece of property next to the road. The agreement would probably be good for a number of years (10-15) and would not have to be permanent if either the City or the County wanted to be released. Fingalson said that he liked Mattson’s idea and Mattson said that he would talk with City officials to get their input.

• TH 25 / CR 112: CR 112 currently intersects with TH 25 at a location with poor site distance. The two adjoining Townships (Woodland and Franklin) are interested in moving the intersection a bit farther north along TH 25 for safety reasons. Each Township has agreed to donate $8,000 to the project, estimated at a total of $80,000. Heeter commented that she doesn’t think the change is a good value for the money, especially since the current intersection has had only near-misses and no crashes. The traffic count on TH 25 is not very high at this point, so it is not a high priority compared to other areas in the County. This subject will be discussed at this week’s Budget Committee of the Whole meeting. (End of TCOTW Minutes)

At today’s County Board Meeting, the following occurred as part of the review of the TCOTW Minutes:

• CSAH 14 Project: The Board consensus was that a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will be held on 10-31-04 at 11:00 A.M.

• Parcel in the City of Clearwater: Heeter had been in contact with Heaton who indicated the purchase of the parcel was an issue of affordability. Heeter was unable to reach the other adjoining property owner but will continue to attempt to reach them to determine their interest. Heeter will also contact Heaton’s nephew who plans to purchase Heaton’s property.

• CR 137/TH 12: The City of Cokato wants to construct a Œwelcome‚ sign. Mattson said an issue is the maintenance of the County Road. In discussing this with the Don Levens, City Administrator, Mattson understood that some property west of CR 37 would possibly be rezoned. Russek, who serves on the Planning Commission, indicated that the issue was presented to the Planning Commission and was laid over for a site inspection. The Planning Commission will review the request again on 9-30-04. Fingalson said the County legally must maintain that stretch of the road but would have the option of conveying it to one of the two townships (Cokato or Stockholm).

• TH 25/CR 112: Fingalson said that since the TCOTW Meeting, it has been determined that there have been two minor crashes at this location in the last five years. The traffic count on both roadways is low. The request has since been dropped from the 2005 budget. He will contact the State to see if they would contribute additionally toward the project. Fingalson felt the Townships will continue to work on this request and the project may be resurrected for 2006.

Eichelberg moved to approve the TCOTW Minutes from 8-16-04, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Bills Approved

American Bio Medica Corp. $442.50

American Business Forms 1,084.73

Ameripride Linen and Apparel 196.51

AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 221.52

Ancom Communications Inc. 4,963.80

Ancom Technical Center 547.13

Anoka Co. Juvenile Center 2,676.00

Aramark Correctional Serv. 10,519.20

Arctic Glacier Inc. 764.31

Bear Graphics Inc. 5,985.39

Jean Bresin 181.25

Buffalo Bituminous 406,772.80

Buffalo Hospital 8,409.75

Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt Commer. 11,089.85

Decorative Designs Inc. 175.53

E. Central Reg. Juvenile 11,385.00

Emergency Physicians PA 236.00

Exxon Mobil 271.66

Goodpointe Technology 3,580.00

Gordy’s Foods 124.88

Jane Hackenmueller 220.00

W Hall Co. 3,182.00

Hardings Towing 213.00

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 516.39

Intoximeters Inc. 958.50

Kandiyohi Co. Sheriff’s Dept. 13,458.81

Kramers Hardware 170.39

Lakedale Telephone Co. 107.70

LaPlant Demo Inc. 504.82

Michael Laurent 188.77

Law Enforcement Targets Inc. 263.12

Law Enforcement Tech. Gro. 164.54

Loberg Electric 228.59

Marlin Leasing Corp. 1,069.86

The Medicine Shoppe 0906 413.03

MN Assn. of Co Probation Ofcrs. 425.00

MN Counties Computer Co-op 1,764.00

MN Sheriff’s Association 400.00

MN State Auditor 18,297.75

City Montrose 1,321.28

Motorola Communication 2,918.96

Office Depot 2,067.38

Phoenix International SC 1,053.00

Qualification Targets 215.02

Qwest 2,271.09

Ridgedale Electric Inc. 128,358.30

Pat Sawatzke 326.37

Shell Fleet Plus 1,023.27

Sherburne Co. Sheriff 8,240.00

Southside Township 620.00

Sprint-Local Telecom Division 186.81

Stockholm Township 405.00

Streichers 412.46

Swanson Brothers Trapline SRVC 142.50

Tom’s Towing Service 111.82

Total Printing 783.41

Traffic Control Corp. 11,774.02

Keith Triplett 237.00

Victor Township 2,963.10

West Publishing Payment Ctr. 521.81

Woodland Township 367.94

29 payments less than $100 $1,871.18

Final total $680,365.80

The meeting adjourned at 9:49 A.M.