Wright County Board Minutes
November 16, 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 11-09-04, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #2, “Approve Expense Reimbursement Claim, Alison Sturm, $232.47” (Gooler); Aud./Treas. Item #3, “Letter” (Sawatzke). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Sawatzke requested that Item E1, “SWCD, Authorize Advertising For Two Appointed Positions On The Water Management Task Force” be removed for discussion. Heeter referenced Item A3, “Claim, DLR Group, $12,643.49” and inquired whether this would be the total bill including reimbursable expenses. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, indicated he was unsure whether additional reimbursable expenses would be billed. Additional expense could be incurred with relation to DLR’s review of an additional property. Sawatzke felt any additional expense would be minimal per a recent discussion with DLR. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda with the removal of Item E1:
1. Performance Appraisals: B. Schlimme, Atty.; J. Martinson, Hwy.
2. Set Closed Session For 10:30 A.M., December 14, 2004, To Discuss FLSA Litigation.
3. Claim, DLR Group, $12,643.49.
1. Approve Tobacco License, “Riverview Liquorette,” (City of Otsego).
1. Acknowledge Appointment, Terri Barfknecht, Communications Officer, Eff. 11-22-04 (Step 1).
2. Acknowledge Resignation, Rebecca Wirkkula, Deputy Sheriff, Eff. 11-17-04 & Authorize Replacement.
1. Promote Michael True From Automated Mapping Specialist I To Automated Mapping Specialist II, Eff. 11-17-04.
Item E1, “SWCD, Authorize Advertising For Two Appointed Positions On The Water Management Task Force” was discussed. The position vacancies are Citizen-At-Large and Township Representative. Sawatzke questioned whether those currently serving in these positions are interested in serving again. Eichelberg was unsure. Sawatzke said that when the Township appointment was made the last time, the township officers were consulted for a candidate. With regard to term limits, Sawatzke did not think term limits applied. Eichelberg moved to approve the request as presented, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0. It was the consensus that those who previously served in these positions are welcome to reapply.
Gloria Gooler, Administrative Confidential Secretary, presented the claims listing for approval. Mattson moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. Approval includes the claim to Alison Sturm, $232.47 as petitioned. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Sawatzke read a letter from Dawn Grossinger, City of Monticello, commending the Auditor’s staff and citing them as a tremendous group serving with the election process. Gooler was mentioned for her outstanding work including training municipalities on election procedures. The letter further extends thanks to the assistance the election staff provided not only on election day but the days preceding the election. Gooler said that municipalities also have many talented staff and that they could not coordinate the election without their assistance.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, presented the 11-08-04 Parks Commission Minutes and reviewed the recommendations:
Memorials. Numerous requests are being received for memorials in the Parks system. The Parks Commission felt no immediate action needs to be taken and that the issue should be tabled and reviewed in conjunction with the development of a memorial policy at the January meeting.
Easement through Ney Park. Mattice distributed a map outlining a 40-acre landlocked parcel on the east edge of the “Havel” property at Ney Park. The Parks Commission was unaware of any recorded easement that would provide access to the parcel and Dumas’s efforts to find an access through neighboring properties has been unsuccessful. The purpose of obtaining an easement is to allow construction of a house on the property. The Parks Commission voted to deny the request for an easement through the Park for reasons that the Park land would be dissected and that dissection would limit the use plan that has been developed for that area. Mattice provided the Dumas’s with contact information for the Township.
Fee Schedule. The County Board reviewed the recommendations to change the Fee Schedule for the 2005 Camping Season. The Board agreed with all of the changes but decided to increase the fees to $16.00 for Electric Site Camping and $14.00 for Non-electric Site Camping. Currently, revenue generated from campground fees is placed into the General Fund with the exception of $2.00 which is placed into Site Improvement for the purpose of land acquisition or facility improvements. The consensus was to schedule a Public Hearing for 12-14-04 at 9:30 A.M. for review of the proposed changes to the Fee Schedule for the 2005 Camping Season: Camping Electric Site, $16.00 ($1 increase); Camping Non-electric Site $14.00 ($1 increase); Group Camp $30.00 ($5 increase); Picnic Shelter Rentals Weekend & Holidays: Otsego, Schroeder, Collinwood, Beebe Lake, $35.00 ($5 increase); Clearwater/Pleasant $60.00 ($10 increase). The additional $1.00 revenue generated from the increase in campground fees will be placed into Site Improvement (total of $3.00 from each fee collected).
Request For Disc Golf-Otsego Regional Golf. The Parks Commission voted not to proceed with disc golf at Otsego Park because it does not fit into the current use plan for that Park. The person making the request was encouraged to approach the City with the idea of incorporating disc golf into City parks.
Grant Options. Four grant options were reviewed including: 1) Possible land purchase near Stanley Eddy Park; 2) Possible land purchase near Robert Ney Park; 3) Trail Grant along CSAH 17 from Delano to Luce Line Trail; and 4) Trail grant from City of Maple Lake Trail to Ney Nature Center. The Parks Commission recommended that two land acquisition grants and the trail grant from Delano to the Luce Line Trail be pursued and to hold off until the 2006 grant cycle for the Ney Nature Center Connection grant. This will give the Parks Commission an opportunity to check on the progress of the construction of the trail being built by the City of Maple Lake. The CSAH 17 grant would be a 50/50 match involving Federal grant funding. The maximum which can be applied for is $100,000 (will require a $100,000 local match). There is the possibility that some of the local match could come from park dedication fees in the Township.
Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations noting the County Board’s decision to increase the camping fees as discussed. A Public Hearing will be scheduled for 12-14-04 at 9:30 A.M. to obtain public input on the proposed increases in Fee Schedule for the 2005 Camping Season. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0.
Tom Zins, Assistant County Attorney, presented an Order and Authorization for Abatement of a Nuisance. The Order would authorize staff to hire removal of nuisance automobiles from the Karen Muse property in Corinna Township. It would also authorize collection through property taxes if Muse does not pay the costs associated with removal. This action was authorized by court order. Zins requested approval today to expend dollars to have the automobiles removed and assess the costs back to the property owner if needed. The Township initially received the complaint and it was forwarded to the court system. Muse was charged with a misdemeanor and plead guilty. The matter was continued for dismissal, a revocation hearing held, and the order followed. Barry Rhineberger, Planning & Zoning, provided photographs of the property. Review of the property by Rhineberger showed that 5-6 vehicles were continually on the property. The transcript of the court proceedings was included for review. Heeter moved to approve the Order as drawn and to authorize signatures of the Board Chair and County Coordinator on the document. The funding source to hire removal of the vehicles is Professional Services. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0. Rhineberger estimates it will cost about $85/car for removal.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, requested the Board schedule a Public Hearing to set the Solid Waste Debt Service Charge for 2005.
Russek moved to schedule the Public Hearing for 12-14-04 at 9:45 A.M., seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented a draft resolution revoking the designation of a portion of CSAH 35 in the City of Buffalo and designating a new alignment for that portion of CSAH 35. Yesterday, the City acted upon the resolution officially accepting the new alignment and portion of old CSAH 35. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #04-72, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Fingalson reviewed the 11-05-04 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes. The following change was made to the minutes: Under the Snow/Ice Control Policy, the 1st sentence should read (in part): “Fingalson explained that a committee had been set up (Eichelberg, and Russek taking Mattson’s place...)”. The minutes and discussion at today’s meeting follows:
Discuss TH 25/CSAH 12 Traffic Signal Proposal in City of Buffalo. Fred Naaktgeboren explained that City officials have been aware of the dissatisfaction of many Buffalo City residents in regard to the intersection of TH 25 and CSAH 12. Because the highway is in the city, most complaints probably get directed at the City rather than either the County or the State. The people who live nearby are especially frustrated because access to TH 25 is difficult because of the constant flow of traffic. The City has closed off 2nd Avenue South through Sturges Park and moved the intersection down to Park Lane, which makes for better stacking room for vehicles waiting on CSAH 12 to get onto TH 25. They have also put a gate up at the 2nd Avenue exit from Sturges to TH 25 to prevent traffic from cutting through the park to avoid the three-way stop intersection. The residents in the area said that there was quite a bit of traffic cutting through the park. Naaktgeboren said that this has been an issue for several years. Brad DeWolf said that the City contacted Mn/DOT early this summer and requested them to do a signal justification analysis. Mn/DOT has been dealing with the corridor south of TH 55 to improve the capacity, and the intersection of TH 25/CSAH 12 is a starting point. Mn/DOT did traffic counts on June 30 and found that this intersection meets the traffic volume marks. To qualify for a signal, minimum traffic volumes must be met for 8 hours between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. In this study, the minimum volumes were met for every hour in that time frame. The complaints are real and the delays are real. This is not a safety issue because this intersection has a very low crash rate, but it is a traffic volume issue. Mn/DOT asked the City if they wanted to take this on as a local initiative project. A left turn lane and a right turn lane will be needed, as well as a ‘no parking on the street’ ordinance in that area. The City is asking for the County’s blessing to move forward. It is not asking for any financial contribution. Dick Mattson expressed his opposition to the installation of a signal. He thinks that traffic flows smoothly now. Wayne Fingalson said that one main concern of the Wright County Highway Department is the lack of a right turn lane on TH 25 for the southbound traffic. Some drivers are currently using the parking lane as a right hand turn lane. About 50 percent of the traffic from the north goes south onto Montrose Boulevard (CSAH 12). He recognizes that this is not a safety issue, but rather a capacity issue. Jack Russek said that a signal would not alleviate the traffic and said that he feels the stop signs in place now do a good job of regulating the traffic. Everyone is very good about taking turns. He does think that a right turn lane would help speed up the traffic. Sawatzke suggested that a right turn lane be put in to see how that operates with the current signs. However, there is not enough room for a turn lane unless property is acquired for this purpose. He asked if this signal would be coordinated with the signal at CSAH 35/TH 25, and DeWolf said that they hope to do this. Mattson expressed his concerns about the stacking of traffic on CSAH 12 if a signal is installed. Karla Heeter said that the traffic volumes will only increase over time and she appreciates the fact that the City is willing to pay for the entire project. Virgil Hawkins added that there is major development on CR 147 which will also increase the traffic on TH 25. More than 200 units are in the planning stages at this time. Fingalson said that a signal may cause more crashes, but they are most likely to be just fender benders. That is probably a good trade off if traffic congestion is eased by installation of the signal. Elmer Eichelberg stated that once CSAH 12 is reconstructed (2005-2006), especially with the trail system, the traffic will increase and the signal would be beneficial. Mattson disagreed and said that the signal wouldn’t change the flow of traffic with the speed limit at 30 mph. DeWolf said that as development continues on TH 25, the City would like to request a speed study on that portion of TH 25 that heads south from Buffalo. DeWolf was asked if any modeling had been done on this stretch of highway to show how it would handle traffic with a signal. DeWolf said that modeling usually works best when a large area is studied rather than just an intersection. Sawatzke said that he would like to see some modeling of this before he endorses it. Even though the City has offered to pay for the entire project, he still has concerns because some people think the signal will make the situation worse than it is. Fingalson said that Tom Dumont would be able to do some modeling on this area to show the Board members how a traffic signal would affect the traffic flow. There was some discussion about the synchronization of the traffic signals in the City of Buffalo. DeWolf said that the signals on TH 55 will be synchronized when the current project is complete. It would probably not be possible to synchronize the signals on TH 55 with those on TH 25 as it runs through the city. Mattson asked if a temporary signal could be installed and then removed if it proved to worsen the situation. He said that an extra turn lane would probably be helpful, even without signals. Naaktgeboren said that building lanes for turning at the stop signs would probably create additional safety issues. The City will have to acquire more property in order to construct turn lanes, with or without a signal. They have not yet approached the property owners in regard to this. Fingalson asked if Dumont could do a modeling to show how traffic will be affected at the intersection of TH 25/CSAH 12 if a signal is installed, and Dumont said that he can work on this. This will be computer generated and can be displayed on a screen for this Committee. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Tom Dumont of Mn/DOT do a traffic modeling for the intersection of TH 25/CSAH 12 to show what impact the installation of a traffic signal is likely to have on the traffic on both TH 25 and CSAH 12 near this intersection. This modeling will be presented to the Board members at the next TCOTW meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, 2004, at 10:30 a.m. At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson explained that the City would fund anything the State does not fund. The County must approve the action as the road authority. Russek said to this point, the intersection is working well and felt the installation of lights may increase accidents.
CSAH 42 Speed Limit Changes in Otsego. Fingalson explained that the County Board adopted a resolution a couple of years ago that requested the State to do a speed zone study on CSAH 42 from the North County line to the City of Dayton. The original area of concern for speed was near the school between TH 101 and CSAH 39. Dumont explained that when the State does a study, they like to look at the entire highway in the area, not just a segment. At the conclusion of this study, the State recommended that the speed limit on a portion of CSAH 42 (south of the intersection with CSAH 39) be changed from 55 mph to 50 mph, and they also recommended that the portion of CSAH 42 north of CSAH 39 be changed from 30 mph to 40 mph. Dumont explained that the State is the only authority that can change speed limits from the statutory limits. The County has to make a request for a speed study (on a County Highway) before the State will do one. The State then likes to study an entire area rather than just a portion of the area and tries to be consistent in their recommendations to promote a uniform standard. One factor in determining a safe speed limit is the premise that the roadway is safer if most vehicles travel at a uniform speed, and that is usually the speed at which 85% of the drivers feel comfortable driving. Uniform speed helps prevent stacking up of vehicles and unsafe passing. Dumont said that a study is usually begun with test drives on the designated roadways. They will then take a sampling of speeds, at non-peak times (9:30-10:00 a.m.), with a radar gun. They do 100 checks each direction and get an idea of the speed that most drivers are driving. The State also looks at accesses, location of homes, roadway geometrics, shoulders or not, and width of lanes. People also take these into consideration when they are driving, which helps them determine the speed at which they feel comfortable. He said that most drivers are reasonable and that they will obey reasonable speed limits. Sawatzke said that his difficulty in accepting the new 40 mph on CSAH 42 is that the speed limit was 30 mph for at least 30 years before that. Eichelberg said that people were still driving at 40-50 mph, no matter what the sign said. Dumont said that the study showed that most people were driving at 39-40 mph. The presence of an officer on the road was helping to keep the speed artificially lower because of enforcement. Dumont said that his team does the study, writes a recommendation based on that study, and then forwards both to Mn/DOT headquarters in St. Paul. Fingalson said that because of the concerns of this new, higher speed limit that were relayed to him and his department, the County did its own speed study on this portion of CSAH 42, three weeks and five weeks after the new, higher limit signs were posted. That study showed that the average speed was 41 mph, just one mph over the speed they were driving when the speed limit signs were 30 mph. He agreed that speed signs don’t have much effect on traffic if they are not considered reasonable. In this area, the houses are set back a bit from the highway and there is an open field on the other side. Sawatzke said that the houses are pretty close together on narrow lots, so the density is greater there. Dumont said that this is really more like a rural area than it is an urban area. Because the houses are close together, there is some impact on the speed, but since they are so far back from the roadway and the other side is open, 40 mph can even seem slow. Sawatzke said that some of the residents have difficulty turning around in their driveways because of the narrow lot size, but it is hard to get out of the driveway with the faster speed of traffic. The most frequent complaint of those property owners is about the fast speed of the traffic that goes by their houses. Sawatzke expressed his dismay that the speed limit was raised after the study and commented that the County’s only real area of concern was south of CSAH 39. Dumont said that the State is obligated to look at the speeds a minimum of 10 seconds on either side of the requested study. In some instances, they need to go beyond that to see how an entire area works. Dumont drove that section himself and said that he feels 40 mph is the perfect speed. Sawatzke asked if the limit could be lowered back to 30 mph rather than waiting until later (when future development may lower it). Fingalson said that a study could be done at a later date if conditions change, and Dumont said that the State doesn’t speed zone for anticipated development. They don’t know how traffic will be affected by development until the development is there. Now they are bound by the study that was done. Sawatzke said that he would like to see this area bound to the rules that govern an urban district since this is in the city. Fingalson said that even if the highway is in an urban area, it must be a City road to be covered by those rules. The authority for the speed on the County Highways is the State, and the County does not have the authority to override the State. Dumont said that he does about 50 studies a year, most of which are requested so the speed can be lowered to 30 mph. However, in many cases, the traffic would not flow well at that speed. Gary Miller, who has had experience enforcing the 30 mph on this stretch of CSAH 42, said that in reality he feels that a 30 mph limit would be nothing more than a revenue generator. People have always driven at 40 mph along that stretch. This is more of an open area and 40 mph feels good. You won’t change the traffic pattern by enforcement. Vern Heidner agrees that people go faster than 30 mph, but he is afraid that posting at 40 mph will prompt drivers to go even faster. Sawatzke read a letter from a resident who lives along this highway who expressed his concerns about the increase in the speed limit on Parrish (CSAH 42). His concerns included the safety of those that cross the highway to get their mail, board the school bus, and spend time in their front yards. Heidner mentioned that the fatality which occurred a couple years ago involving a woman crossing the road to her mailbox was not speed related. Fingalson said that he felt the key to leaving the current speed limit in place is the fact that the speed of vehicles on the road has essentially not changed since the new posting. Sawatzke felt that people have not yet noticed the sign change and that when they do, they will drive faster. Fingalson said that it can always be checked in two or three months to see if things have changed. Dumont said that even if a signal light is installed on CSAH 42 north of CSAH 39, the speed on the road north of there probably won’t be impacted. Heidner said that he is trying to work with the Postal Service to see if mailboxes can be installed at the end of driveways rather than on the opposite side of the road from residences. Sawatzke again expressed his concern that the speed limit should be posted as an urban area as the pertaining State Statute outlines. However, Dumont said that further in the statute the distinction is made between types of roads that may be governed by the urban definition. Sawatzke was going to research this statute further to see if he could find support for lowering of the speed limit back to 30 mph on CSAH 42. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke said he was awaiting information from the Surveyor on house spacing on CSAH 42 and will research statutes with regard to urban definition.
Vehicle Storage Building Options. Fingalson said that several different options are being considered for a new vehicle storage building. He showed panoramic photos that were previously given to the City of Buffalo that show the view of the area that is being considered as a site just east of the PWB. This photo shows that a building, matching the PWB or not, is barely visible from TH 25. The city code requires that any building built within the city limits must match the original building (in appearance) already on the site. Fingalson said that the County is hoping to get a variance for this vehicle storage building. The Highway Department is also experiencing difficulties with the crowded space in the cold storage facility just north of the PWB. Even if a vehicle storage building is constructed, this will help only with space in the main shop area and not in the cold storage building. If the Highway Department decides to move the vehicle storage building to the north of the PWB in order to avoid the city codes, they may also look at different structures to build. Fingalson said that a meeting had been held to discuss the storage problems and that they had looked at the possibility of considering a large hoop (coverall) building. It might be possible to construct two large hoop buildings for the price of one more permanent building, thus alleviating space issues at the cold storage building also. A hoop building is not as desirable in the long run, but it is a good and affordable solution for now. It comes with a 15-year pro-rated warranty. There are a lot of different options to be considered for the pad and the design to create the type of structure that meets the space needs for vehicles at this time. Fingalson asked if the Committee members approved further research of this hoop building option. Sawatzke asked if the cheaper structure necessitated that they plan for more storage space than originally sought, and Steve Meyer said that the need for additional storage space becomes more apparent every time an accident report is filed as a result of collisions and/or incidents in the tight quarters of the cold storage shed. The Highway and Parks Departments have lots of expensive equipment and want to take care of it by keeping it sheltered when not in use, and the current space is just not large enough to do that. Keeping equipment protected will give it a longer life. Eichelberg asked which type of structure would be preferable if a variance is granted. Fingalson said that even if the City grants a variance and a vehicle storage building is constructed on the east side as originally planned, the lack of adequate space in the cold storage facility is still a problem. Jack Russek suggested that Fingalson continue to research what is available in hoop Structures. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Highway Engineer Fingalson and his staff continue to research what is available in hoop structures as a consideration for use as a vehicle storage facility, and possibly for use as an additional cold storage facility.
Discuss Selling Large Propane Tank/Buying New Ones for Outlying Shops.Currently, the Highway Department owns an 18,000-gallon propane tank that is located just west of the cold storage building at the PWB. (A photo of tank and “filling station” was shown.) This was originally used as a standby fuel tank for the PWB in the 1970’s when a back-up system was required, but it is no longer needed for that purpose. It was also used as a fuel source for various dual-fuel powered vehicles, which the County no longer uses due to safety and odor issues. Fingalson said that it has a value between $8,00010,000 and he would like permission to advertise for bids for the sale of this tank. The tank that we obtained from the Stemper property will work for filling our bituminous equipment tanks. He also said that two of the outlying shops (the ones not on natural gas) currently rent 1,000-gallon tanks from fuel companies. Bids are received each year for fuel with the rent cost included in the bid, but Fingalson said that he would prefer to purchase two tanks and then be able to shop around for fuel prices throughout the year. The cost of a new tank is approximately $1,500 2,000. Everyone agreed that Fingalson should advertise to sell the large tank and should look into purchasing two new tanks for use at the outlying shops. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Highway Engineer Fingalson advertise to sell the large18,000 gallon propane tank owned by the Highway Department and located west of the PWB and to also look into purchasing two new fuel tanks for use at two outlying shops.
Snow/Ice Control Policy. Fingalson explained that a committee had been set up (Eichelberg, and Russek taking Mattson’s place), Fingalson, Meyer, the Sheriff, maintenance men, a crew supervisor, and the Assistant County Attorney) to put together a snow/ice control policy. A draft policy was distributed and Fingalson said that once it is adopted the Highway Department will publish it once a year. This will be used as an educational tool on our website to help the public understand the intentions of the Highway Department for snow/ice control. It is a fairly general policy at this time but can be changed or modified in the future if necessary. With the exception of changing one phrase by removing “only” from “only one main crew” the Committee agreed that this policy should be forwarded to the County Board for approval. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the County Board adopt the Snow/Ice Control Policy as presented here [with removal of word “only” from “only one main crew”] and to make this available to the public through the County website and through publication in local papers once a year.
Discuss Option for Old CR 137 Segment. Fingalson said that it is the opinion of the Highway Department that the short, dead-end segment of old CR 137 (that was cut off when Mn/DOT changed the access of CR 137 to TH 12) should be the responsibility of a Township rather than the County. Sawatzke said that he feels the County should maintain it at this time since we have a truck right there and it is the most efficient solution for the taxpayers of the county. Mattson agrees that the County should be responsible for maintaining it. Heeter asked Fingalson why the County couldn‚t do it and he replied that it is possible, but he wants to look at what is best for county dollars. He said this dead-end route clearly does not function as a County Road. Russek said that since the County is already there, it makes most sense for them to take care of it. There is the possibility that the Township may establish a new road just across the new segment of CR 137, which would make it more reasonable to expect the Township to maintain the old segment at that time. But for now, he feels that the County is best equipped to take care of it. Fingalson disagreed and said that this sets a bad precedent if we don’t give it back to the Township. Eichelberg said that since it is currently a County road, the County should take care of it and try to work out something with the Township. Sawatzke agreed that it is currently the County‚s responsibility and will remain so until the road is given to the Township. The City of Cokato has requested to put up a “Welcome to Cokato” sign in a triangular section of property located between TH 12 and the old and new sections of CR 137, but the City Council has not been asked if they are interested in maintaining any portion of old CR 137 in exchange for this. Sawatzke and Heeter said that they were fine with allowing the City to place a sign there. Asleson suggested that it would be a good idea to expect the City to maintain the grassy area by the sign in exchange for permission to install the sign, and Committee members agreed that Cokato could install and display a sign there in exchange for grass maintenance at that location. A time limit was not set, but the County reserves the right to ask the City to remove the sign at some point in the future if and when they feel that removal is necessary (e.g. if the County sells the property). Committee members also agreed that the County will maintain the short segment of old CR 137 at least through this year. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the County Board approve the continued maintenance, by the Wright County Highway Department, of that portion of CR 137 that was cut off when Mn/DOT moved the new access of CR 137 a bit farther west on TH 12. The TCOTW also recommended that the County Board give the City of Cokato permission to install and display a “Welcome to Cokato” sign in that triangular area between TH 12, old CR 137, and new CR 137, in exchange for grass maintenance in that location. No time limit was set, but the Board will reserve the right to have the City remove the sign when and if they feel it is appropriate. At today’s County Board meeting, Fingalson explained that by proceeding with the revocation of CR 137, the County would maintain the road for two years. If the revocation is put off for a year, that would result in the County maintaining the road for three years.
Cokato Lake Access Road. Fingalson explained that the County had replaced three 24” culverts with one 48” culvert on CSAH 4 adjacent to the Cokato Lake access road, which should have provided for equal capacity, except for the fact that two of the 24” culverts were silted in before their removal. As a result, there is more water flow than before, and the recent flooding made this difference more apparent. Fingalson had received a letter from Cokato Township asking for help on this issue and met with them on 11/02/04 to discuss it. This road has already been turned back to the Township, so it is not a County road. He will work it out administratively with them. No action was taken.
Funding Status of CSAH 22 Bridge Project with Hennepin County; R/W Issues. Fingalson said that the CSAH 22 Bridge Project has been delayed to after the 1st of the year, with the hope that a bonding bill will be passed. It might be possible to borrow from Dakota County and the City of Minneapolis before the money is available and then pay them back when a bonding bill is passed. Fingalson said that another issue with this project is that the cost of right-of-way acquisition is running much higher than was budgeted. Damages for one of the two parcels is probably going to cost at least $300,000, but Fingalson said that the Board could consider purchasing the entire parcel for about $850,000 and avoid the extra costs of condemnation. After the project is completed, the County could then sell the part of the property that is not required for right of way (perhaps for more than $1 million). Mn/DOT and Hennepin County have done this successfully in the past. Chouinards are concerned that their property will be worthless to them after the project is done as it will no longer be very suitable for residential purposes. Asleson said that the County could partner with the City of St. Michael, thereby giving St. Michael more control over what this property is to be used for after construction of the bridge. Counties are a bit more restricted on the selling of property than are Cities. If the property is acquired through condemnation, then the County will be responsible for relocation costs for the owners of that parcel. Sawatzke made the comment that it only seems fair to buy out the property if you impact the whole thing. If the Highway Department were to buy the entire parcel and later sell the unneeded portion at a profit, then all agreed that the additional funds should go back into the Highway budget. Richard Marquette said that this property also has stores of gravel on it and could help offset the cost of purchase. Eichelberg offered to talk to the City of St. Michael about the possibility of purchasing the entire parcel. All Commissioners indicated their approval for the Highway Department and Attorney‚s office to continue pursuing the possible purchase of the entire Parcel. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Highway Department continue pursuing the possible purchase of the entire Chouinard parcel affected by the CSAH 22 Bridge project.
Official Map Ordinance. Asleson said that he did not have much to report today. Part of his delay is the attempt to come up with the best ordinance available, but not many Counties have done this before. However, it will be required to have an ordinance in place so that an official map can be adopted for the corridor on TH 55. This will give notice to the public for the changes that are planned for TH 55. An ordinance will be useful for other projects also. Changes can be made to the ordinance after adoption, if necessary. No action was taken.
County Fair Participation (referred from Labor/Management Committee). For the past several years, Wright County Highway Department has had a booth at the County Fair with the understanding that time spent working by employees at the fair during non-work hours will be taken as straight comp time the following week. This year, two people from maintenance and two from engineering were scheduled to work at the fair from Wednesday (opening day) through Sunday (closing). Though various people worked the different shifts, it still meant a lot of time was spent away from the regular duties. There was some discussion about the value of tying up the time of employees for this purpose and whether it is worth the good will gained from having a booth at a fair. Russek asked what other counties do, and Fingalson said that a few have displays at their county fairs, but the majority of county highway departments don’t. Mattson asked if it were possible to have a display only one or two days and Sawatzke asked about the possibility of having a display only every other year. He added that he thought four employees at the booth were unnecessary. It was mentioned that an open house at the PWB may be more beneficial. Heeter said that she thought a good display makes for a better fair, but agreed that four people were too many for one display. Sawatzke said that he is fine with the display and the manning of the booth by employees, but would like to keep the numbers reasonable. Mattson said that he agreed that four people are too many for the booth, but that he trusted the judgment of the Highway Department in determining whether or not they should have a display. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Highway Department make its own determination whether or not they should have a booth/display at the County Fair each year. It was also the consensus that two people manning a booth would be sufficient.
TH 101 Funding Task Force. Fingalson said that two members of the County Board need to be appointed to the TH 101 Task Force which will discuss the division of costs for the TH 101 project. This will also include two city council members and staff members from both agencies. Typically, the County splits costs 50/50 with the City, but Otsego is taking the position that they are doing all the work in picking up easements and in negotiations, plus spending time securing right of way. They would like credit for that. Sawatzke and Eichelberg volunteered to sit on this task force. No meeting date has been set. Recommendation: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Commissioners Sawatzke and Eichelberg be appointed to the TH 101 Task Force for the purpose of discussing local cost share of the upcoming TH 101 project.
Discuss Transportation Issues for 11/8/04 Meeting with Cities. Fingalson said that a meeting of the Cities and the County has been set for the evening of November 8 to discuss, among other issues, the funding splits for projects such as traffic signals. Several of the County Department Heads will be speaking to the group of mayors to give an overall view of functions performed by their departments. Eichelberg said that it is important to have the Cities understand the policies of the County. Part of the problem in understanding is that there is a turnover in city staff and not all policies are clear to the new people who are elected or hired. A comprehensive transportation plan for the entire county would be useful, but there are areas in the county that would benefit more from that than others would at this time. Commissioners entrusted Fingalson to briefly respond to the transportation issues raised by the mayors. Heeter said that she would like to meet quarterly with the Cities. (End of TCOTW Minutes). At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson moved to approve the TCOTW Minutes and recommendations, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
A Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee meeting was held on 11-10-04. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0:
Paul Coglitori and Jeff Berg of B & C Consulting, Inc. presented information on health care trends. New health care products being marketed include HRA‚s (Health Care Reimbursement Accounts) and HSA’s (Health Savings Accounts). Both types of plans have high deductibles and provide cost saving/cost shifting components. Premiums are less than traditional health insurance plans currently offered. In theory, these plan designs save employers money as premiums are considerably less than traditional health insurance plans. Plan designs includes mechanisms to promote more responsible spending of health care dollars that employees have in their individual accounts. HSA’s and HRA’s are relatively new in the market place sparking a lot of interest from consumers, but so far few health care purchasers have made the transition to offer these types of plans to employees. It is advisable to monitor the success rates of these types of plans as they are implemented elsewhere. P. Coglitori and J. Berg reported that most MN employers are shifting to health plans that have $20 to $25 dollar co-pays or 80/20 deductible plans. Our MCS2 plan has a $10 co-pay & our Mic 1 plan has a $15 co-pay. Wright County‚s current utilization rate is 85.23% of premium. Given this relatively low current utilization pattern, Wright County can anticipate a favorable, single digit renewal rate, however, B & C Consulting will use the 12 month experience accounting summary for the period ending November 30, 2004 to negotiate final renewal rates with Medica. Renewal rates should be established by early January 2005. Medica‚s average renewal rate for 2004 is 9%. Prescription drugs continue to be one of the main drivers of rising insurance rates everywhere. When comparing the amount of money spent on prescriptions drugs by Wright County members to all other Medica members, our group is 5% higher than the norm. Wright County has a higher concentration of members in the 45 to 64 range than is the norm for other Medica groups, which often correlates with higher prescription drug usage. B & C Consulting will look into the possibility of providing employees with a standard release form so that employees can receive an explanation of benefits showing dollars spent by them and their dependents for 2004. This form would likely be provided to employees during open enrollment. (End of Labor/Management Health Insurance Minutes)
A Labor/Management Loss Control Committee meeting was held on 11-10-04. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Heeter, carried 4-0 (Mattson absent):
Review of the 2003 Wright County Safety Report by Special Projects Administrator Patrick Melvin. The hire of a Safety Director was approved in the 2005 Budget with a hire date of 7-1-05. Melvin felt this will result in more progress in training and other aspects associated with the position. Currently, time constraints with Melvin’s position have made it difficult to give the attention desired to safety issues. Melvin works with the Highway Department on safety but would like to take a more proactive role for the Government Center. The Minnesota Safety Council has a wide array of training opportunities offered and Melvin thought more training opportunities will be available to employees after the hire of the Safety Director. Melvin reviewed the Wright County 2003 Risk Management Summary (attached) reflecting Accident/Incident Reports and First Reports Of Injury for the years 2000-2003. The Summary also outlined the Automobile, Property and Liability Claims for 2003. The largest accident/incident reporting took place in the vehicle/equipment area. Melvin said this is an important area due to the investment in the equipment. The personal injury area also experienced a substantial increase. Further analysis will be completed to determine what type of injuries occurred and potential corrective action. One possible cause for the increase may be that employees are more educated on the importance of reporting injuries. Not all reported injuries result in expenditures for the County. Norman added that although the number of incidences may be higher in comparison to other counties, the statistics may be relative to whether or not employees are reporting the information. Training for 2003 was reviewed. The departments of Highway, Parks and Surveyor underwent Adult CPR Training. A refresher course will be offered. As part of workplace accident/incident reduction training, Human Services was provided a defensive driving course through MCIT. Communicable disease training was also provided for specific departments. Defibrillators have now been installed in the Lobby and 2nd Floor of the Government Center. Defibrillators are also located at Public Works, Human Services Center, and in Sheriff squad cars. Training is currently in session for the defibrillators. A draft Workplace Emergency Procedures Manual was reviewed. Melvin will obtain information from Helgeson on Chemical/Biological/Radiological Exposure to include in the Manual. The draft will be brought forth at a future meeting for review before it is distributed to employees. Anderson said Highway Department employees recently attended chainsaw and forklift training. He suggested the future Safety Director be responsible for tracking of training and sending reminders to employees when updates are needed. Norman said with the update of the Personnel Policy & Procedures Manual, all personnel records must be held in the Personnel Department. The Records Management Plan calls for the same procedure. Any medical information on an employee shall be given to the Personnel Department and copies should not be kept in Departments. Holding these records in individual departments places the County at risk of a large insurance claim.
Review of the year 2002 goals and establish new 2003-2004 goals. The Committee discussed progress on previous goals. MCIT covers the cost associated with a MN Safety Council Membership. Recommendation: Adopt the following goals for the Labor Management Loss Control Committee for 2004-2005: Internal Emergency Procedures, Hearing Conservation Program for Public Works, Right To Know Safety Training, and Random Safety Inspections. (End of Labor/Management Loss Control Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 11-10-04. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0 (Mattson absent):
Revised Personnel Policy And Procedure Manual. The following policies were reviewed by the Committee:
A. 507 Compensatory Time. The following sentence was added to 507.01 Policy Statement in order to clarify computation of 40 hours of work. “Vacation, sick, and holiday hours are excluded from the computation of hours worked.”
B. 201 Employment Categories and Table Of Contents - Definitions. Definitions of “seasonal employee,” “temporary employee,” and “intern” were reviewed by staff for consistency and compliance with State statute and revised accordingly.
C. Presentation of Revised Personnel Policy And Procedure Manual For Approval. Norman stated with the approval of these final revisions he would like to recommend approval of the revised Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual. Staff will then prepare a clean copy with a summary of substantive changes and schedule a meeting to explain changes to department heads and supervisors. (End of Personnel Minutes)
A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 11-10-04. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
Request To Reallocate Budgeted Funds To Imaging Project And Approve Vendor Recommendation, Court Administration. Retention of court files is being done through microfilming. The public accesses a terminal to determine whether a record exists. If they request review of the file, an employee must assist them the entire time as the public only has access to the public version of the file. The confidential portion must not be viewed by the public. Microfiche records and copies are of poor quality. Nordeen understood that Court Administration will not be part of the Central Records Program for the foreseeable future. Court Administration currently is using space in the Records Center on a temporary basis. Other storage space must be found by the end of 2004. Instead of perpetuating the problem of microfiched records, Nordeen requested approval to proceed with imaging of records. This network solution would allow control of access to records by passwords. Swing added that the imaging system also allows access via the network which will facilitate retrieval and provide a backup in a disaster situation. This solution meets all State requirements for storage of records. The total one-time setup cost is $22,000 ($17,000 for network and network components and $5,000 for hardware). The quote is from Mid-America Business Systems. There is an annual maintenance fee of about $3,000 which will be funded through the Court Administration budget. Use of funds will be toward imaging instead of microfilming. Nordeen said Court Administration has experienced lower expenditures associated with credit card surcharges. She requested use of $18,500 from that line item. Costs above that amount would be funded from the Court Administration Furniture & Equipment line item. If approved, funding from these line items would not be reallocated but rather it would be recognized that the budgeted amount would be exceeded. Swing said that the control of the Court Administration network is not within the County but through the District Court System. With the State takeover of Court Administration in July, 2005, the imaging would become the State’s. Mid-America Business Systems has been working with Ramsey County in design of the MNCIS System (new State court system) and they are motivated to bring another County into the system. Discussion followed on the State takeover and use of County funds for this system. Nordeen indicated that the County is required to provide space to Court Administration once the State takeover has occurred. Swing said another option would be to share space in the Records Center. Nordeen also offered shelving in their current records storage area (basement) as an option. Recommendation: Approve request as presented to proceed with Mid-America Business Systems for the imaging system at a cost of $22,000 to be funded through the line items of Credit Card Surcharges and Furniture & Equipment. (End of Technology Minutes).
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 11-10-04. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0:
Crop Rental Contract. The County currently receives crop rental for the Rasset Site ($55/acre) and Stemper Site ($65/acre). A contract is held with Gapinski. Marquette said another party has expressed interest in submitting a bid for these crop rental contracts. The party was one of those who submitted a bid the last time bids were received but was considerably lower than Gapinski. Discussion involved future use of the Stemper property for possible construction of a Jail facility. It was the consensus that Jail planning should not impact rental of the property in 2005. Marquette said the Highway Engineer would like to be informed of any decisions in this regard so adequate time is given for mining of gravel. He also had concern with the flow of traffic to mine the gravel. Discussion involved access to the property and bonding. Plans for the Jail facility by DLR Group reflect a potential road coming from Braddock Avenue onto the property. This would be done with Mn/DOT’s assistance. Originally a frontage road was designed along CSAH 25 with Mn/DOT’s project. Sawatzke felt access into the property from CSAH 25 and exiting on Braddock may be advantageous. Recommendation: Authorize an addendum to the Contract allowing a one-year extension with Gapinski for the Rasset Site ($55/acre) and the Stemper Site ($65/acre). Exact acreage will be determined. The addendum will be drafted and reviewed by Asleson. (End of Ways & Means Minutes)
Allina Health Systems $500.00
American Institutional Supply 605.53
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 354.56
Ancom Technical Center 721.00
City Annandale 1,187.00
Aramark Correctional Serv. 5,136.46
Auto Garage Door & Fireplace 794.47
B & D Plumbing & Heating 112.00
Bachman Printing 221.63
Joe Backes 162.00
Bankers Advertising Co. 164.30
Bob Barker Co. 340.67
Batteries Plus 124.53
Beckius Truck Repair Inc. 112.83
Bound Tree Medical LLC 549.06
Boyer Truck Parts 386.18
Brownells Inc. 337.27
Buff ‘N’ Glo 230.89
Buffalo Clinic 1,440.00
City Buffalo 322.14
Tim Cameron 125.00
Center Point Energy 375.04
Centra Sota Lake Reg. LLC 16,785.10
Central McGowan 134.51
Central MN Mental Health Ctr. 140.00
Chamberlain Oil Co. 1,050.71
James Chouinard 1,500.00
Cokato Equipment Inc. 1,408.46
Cokato Township 586.85
Culligan of Buffalo 200.00
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc. 1,263.21
Robert Dubois 120.63
Elmer Eichelberg 183.00
Grant Eldred 157.08
Josh Erickson 164.55
Ernst Gen. Const. Inc. 4,900.00
Excel Systems LLC 605.69
First State Tire Recycling 702.74
Force America Inc. 111.55
Terry Frazier 125.00
French Lake Township 561.20
Gateway Companies Inc. 1,468.64
Gateway Safety Products 426.84
Todd Gau 201.75
GCS Service Inc. 521.49
Janet Gholson 176.12
Raymond Glunz 200.00
Go Corporation 26,186.78
Lisa Goenner 360.87
Hedlund Plumbing 105.00
Karla Heeter 336.00
Amy Hertzog 246.00
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 1,079.47
Indelco Plastics Corp. 202.65
Jerrys Towing & Repair 101.18
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 101.18
Kandiyohi Co. Sheriff’s Dept. 12,733.40
Karels Towing 117.00
Thomas Kelly 104.62
Klatt True Value Electric 125.49
Kramers Hardware 110.39
Kustom Signals Inc. 3,649.61
Lake Region Coop Oil 237.22
Little Falls Machine 844.64
Loberg Electric 2,358.30
Maple Lake Township 1,573.90
Marks Standard Parts 1,437.83
Martin-McAllisters Cons. 700.00
The Medicine Shoppe 0906 168.98
Minnesota Copy Systems 401.67
MN Counties Computer Coop 2,484.95
MN Fall Maintenance Expo 480.00
Monticello Ford Mercury Inc. 1,417.10
City Montrose 583.60
Margaret Munson 194.64
Nextel Communications 630.65
No. American Salt Co. 20,168.86
Office Depot 1,859.52
Olsen Chain & Cable Co. Inc. 110.76
Omann Brothers Inc. 255.67
Powerplan OIB 3,907.94
Red’s Auto Electric 291.63
Royal Tire Inc. 1,446.24
Robert Schermann 213.37
Sherry Schliesing 266.63
Software House Int’l Inc. 102.24
Southside Township 624.00
St. Cloud Appraisal Inc. 2,900.00
St. Cloud Times 110.50
Alison Sturm 232.47
Tom’s Towing Service 223.34
Total Printing 606.84
Total Tool Supply Inc. 375.89
Trimin Systems Inc. 2,421.07
Uniforms Unlimited 985.52
Waste Management TC West 405.27
Wright Co. Journal Press 110.61
Wright Hennepin Electric 1,788.20
Wright Lumber & Millwork Inc. 124.61
Xcel Energy 157.01
Jeremy Zachman 1,500.00
Zarnoth Brush Works Inc. 975.54
63 Payments less than $100 3,298.93
Final total $160,451.86
The meeting adjourned at 10:33 A.M.