Wright County Board Minutes
March 1, 2005
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
Russek moved to approve the minutes of 2-22-05, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #4, “Extension Meeting” (Mattson); Item For Consid. #5, “Open House, Proposed Signal, TH 25 & CSAH 12” (Heeter). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Norman requested that Item B1 be amended to read, “Approve Personal Leave, Annette Berg, Until 4-11-05.” Mattson requested that further discussion occur on Item C1, “Approval of Wright County Highway Right Of Way Plat No. 53, SP 86-612-16, CSAH 12.” It was the consensus of the Board that Item C1 be moved to Highway Engineer Item 3 for discussion today. Sawatzke moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the change to Item B1 and removal of C1 to the regular Agenda for discussion. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0.
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Barthel, R. Hagel, Bldg. Maint.; T. Fedor, R. Miller, Parks; W. Stephens, P&Z; J. Merritt, Sher./Corr.
2. Claim, MCIT, $1,388.00.
3. O/T Report, Period Ending 2-11-05.
B. COURT ADMINISTRATION
1. Approve Personal Leave, Annette Berg, Until 4-11-05.
D. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Approve Multimedia Proposal From EPA Audio Visual For The County Board Room, $44,514.
E. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:
A. 10-24 Developers (Chatham Twp.). Approve Establishment Of Rural Planned Unit Development District.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested that a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting be scheduled to review the 2004 Revenue/Expenditures. Heeter moved to schedule the meeting for 3-08-05 at 10:30 A.M., seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Hiivala received correspondence from Steve Gillman relating to a beaver problem on Judicial Ditch 15 in Stockholm Township. Russek moved to authorize Mattson to contact the Swanson Brothers to trap the beavers. Later action may include removal of the dams. The motion was seconded by Heeter. Hiivala will contact Meeker and McLeod Counties to let them know of the action. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala introduced new employees Jackie Sanft and Danna Friborg. Sanft will be working in the Auditor’s Office and Friborg in the License Bureau. Both were welcomed.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson said he did not have a question with a particular claim in the listing. He did send an email to the Attorney’s Office questioning whether the County should require an inmate’s family to sign off when surgery is required. Another option would be to utilize the family’s insurance to pay for the operation. On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
A Detention Facility Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-23-05. Heeter moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
Discuss Public Input Process. Revised informational brochures were distributed for further review. Norman distributed information from the Auditor/Treasurer regarding estimated property tax impact and bond information from Springsted. There was extensive discussion on financing questions, remodel or relocation of the courts system, inflation costs, interest rates, timetable, proposed options and their associated costs, and site preparation. Heeter, Torfin, Nordeen and MacMillan will form a sub-committee to work on content of the informational brochures. Springsted will be invited to attend the next meeting of the Committee to provide financial information. Crump summarized there are two issues to address: 1) the information/ educational process; and 2) the decision making/solution process. Norman suggested setting a work session to finalize some points of discussion in order to continue to move the process along, noting the time site preparation will require. Recommendation: The sub-committee will meet on 3-1-05 at 1:00 P.M. to review the informational brochures for final content. DLR Group will invite Springsted to attend the next Committee meeting on 3-9-05 at 1:00 P.M. (End of Detention Facility Committee Of The Whole Minutes).
Jay Wittstock, Surveyor, distributed background information on the 2005 Aerial Photography project. Proposals were solicited from thirteen firms with six firms submitting proposals. The proposals raised a question on Digital Elevation Model (DEM), which is vital to the accuracy of the digital aerial photo. Three DEM methods were presented: 1) Use the US Geological Survey (USGS) DEM that exists with guarantee of accuracy; 2) Supplement the USGS DEM in areas as needed; 3) Create a new DEM (4 of the 6 firms proposed this method due to the inaccuracy of the USGS DEM). The Technology Committee met on 2-23-05 and recommended the follow items be considered: 1) The contour support from the new DEM; and 2) The usefulness of contours to SWCD and P&Z. Wittstock subsequently contacted Tom Salkowski (P&Z), Kerry Saxton (SWCD), Wayne Fingalson (Highway) and Marc Mattice (Parks) on the DEM. It was the consensus that there would be some benefit realized with 5’ contours. Although 2’ contours are desired, the 5’ contours would be better than what is used today. A supplement was then sent to the six firms who submitted proposals asking them to respond to whether their proposals supported 5’ contour mapping and costs associated. From the proposals and supplements received, Wittstock said two proposals should be considered. The first, from Kucera International, Inc. totals $39,200 and uses the supplemented USGS DEM and does not support 5’ contour mapping. The second, from GE Energy/MJ Harden, allows for 5’ contouring Countywide (not to National Mapping Standards). The original proposal was for $51,000 but a $5,000 deduct would be allowed for a May flight. Wittstock referenced past experience in Dakota County where aerial flights were made in May three out of five years with no problem. Funding is proposed as follows: Plat checking fee estimated contribution $15,000; County Surveyor line item 6604, $5,000; and Cities contribution, $25,000. With approval, Wittstock said he would allocate an additional $1,000 from the Surveyor budget to make up the difference. At this point, ten cities have given approval for partnering with the County on this project. Wittstock will continue to work with cities on this issue and plans to discuss this issue at the City Mayor’s Meeting on 3-08-05. Sawatzke said questions have arisen as to why townships were not asked to participate in the cost. He clarified that the purpose of the project is for land use planning, which for townships is completed by the County. The largest reason for new aerial photos is due to the development occurring, which Sawatzke said the majority is occurring within cities. With the purchase of the aerial photos comes ownership of the product. Wittstock has been contacted by two firms interested in purchasing the flyover of the entire County. Eichelberg moved to approve the recommendation to proceed with GE Energy for the aerial photography project, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, distributed and read a letter he drafted to the County Board. Due to the upcoming annual township meetings, Salkowski presented two issues for consideration which involve the County’s relationship with townships. The first issue relates to townships performing their own Planning & Zoning. Salkowski plans to send correspondence to the townships on this subject. The law indicates that a township can only adopt ordinances and regulations that are as strict as or stricter than the County. Townships who elect to do so must follow the County Land Use Plan and residents may need to get double permits from the township and County if the township adopted any conflicting regulations. There was Board consensus on the need for the letter and the importance for it to go out. The second issue relates to updates to the County Land Use Plan. The current Plan was adopted in 1988 and was primarily completed in house with a grant from the MN Dept. of Agriculture. Several townships have since completed revisions and updates to their portion of the Plan. Salkowski felt the County should embark on a major planning effort regarding the future. He did not feel the Planning & Zoning Office could keep up with daily work along with completing a new comprehensive plan for the entire County. Contracting for this service is a possibility but would prove to be quite expensive. One option would be to concentrate on a new plan for the most critical areas of the County and combine three townships into a major plan update at once. This could possibly be completed in-house with a more limited cost than an entire new County-wide plan. Salkowski said if the Board wanted to pursue this option, he would proceed with the townships of Rockford, Buffalo and Monticello. Monticello Township started a plan update over a year ago but it was placed on hold when the annexation issue erupted. Rockford Township formed a planning committee that has completed some work, but Salkowski has not had much time to meet with them. Buffalo Township is bearing the brunt of the expansion of the City of Buffalo and has not reviewed its plan since the High School was moved into the country. If they want to participate, it would certainly make sense to include all of the cities in the “northeast,” meaning Otsego, Albertville, St. Michael, Monticello, Buffalo, Hanover and Rockford with the understanding that the effort is primarily aimed at township land issues. Salkowski supported the “northeast” portion as a critical area with the most immediate needs. If the Board agreed with this concept, he would inform the remainder of the townships that plan updates would not be pursued for them this year. Salkowski indicated that the partnership between the County and townships has gone well and he did not want this to come across as a threat. Salkowski wanted to send the information to the townships so it is available at their annual meetings. It was the consensus of the County Board that a letter should be generated to the townships indicating that the Land Use Plan will be looked at, whether as a whole or in quadrants. Dennis Beise, Rockford Township, said their township elected to perform their own planning & zoning so they could control the growth into the Township. He said Franklin Township did the same thing for the same reason. The County still performs the Land Use Planning for Rockford Township.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested approval of a condemnation resolution for unsigned parcels of ROW on CSAH 12 (SP 86-612-16). Richard Marquette, ROW Agent, said he met with 42 parcel owners and 10 of these are still in negotiations. These are listed on the draft resolution, which they are requesting approval of to preserve Federal funding for the project. Marquette said overall, the landowners felt the safety aspect of the project was important. Traffic counts reflect 3500 cars per day on the mid section of CSAH 12 with 5000 cars per day on either end (Montrose and Buffalo). Of the 10 unsigned parcels, 3 are being sold and are expected to be completed within the next week. Another parcel involves a landowner who is Arizona. The paperwork is being forwarded for signatures. There are 2 landowners with access issues that need to be resolved, 2 have monetary issues with the offers, and 2 are against the project in general. Marquette said that of the 42 parcels, approximately 3 of the unsigned parcels include landowners not in favor of the trail. Two power companies are working on realignment to save trees.
Mattson questioned whether notes were kept on all meetings held with landowners. He said he has been contacted by people and the process has not been a happy one. Marquette said that preliminary plans were discussed during the first visit and adjustments were made to try to accommodate owner’s requests. He said landowners are aware of what will be taken. Fingalson added that Marquette keeps an electronic diary which is well documented. Mattson felt the trail has created problems for all residents on the west side of the road. In a contact he made to Tim Mitchell, DNR, Mattson said one of the non-eligible things for a trail is to condemn land for a highway and include a trail within that area. He referenced CR #20 and the recovery area required for that project. With the CSAH 12 project, the trail would be within the recovery area. He felt different policies were being used.
Russek questioned whether additional land was being condemned for the trail or whether it was all within highway ROW. Fingalson said additional ROW is being acquired in a few areas for the trail and utilities but not in areas where homes are in close proximity to the road. With regard to Mattson’s contact with the DNR, the interpretation that land cannot be condemned for a trail is correct. The grant for this project was unanimously approved in 2003 by the County Board. The Parks Administrator recently contacted Tim Mitchell, DNR, who indicated that a trail can be placed on land that is condemned as long as grant funding is not utilized for purchasing condemnation. Fingalson said that the conversations Marquette has had with property owners have been positive. Some of those residents that were present at the Transportation and Board meetings have since signed. Mattson said the reason those residents signed is that they gave up as it was felt the project would proceed anyway. Fingalson told Mattson he had learned that 4-5 people were told by Mattson that they should not sign. Mattson confirmed that he told them to do so until they were sure of the condemnation issue. Fingalson questioned why Mattson would recommend this as the County Board authorized the Highway Department to proceed with signing people up.
Mattson referenced the CSAH 17 trail project. He said the County Board just approved application for grant funding, which can be turned down at a later date if desired. He said this could not be done with the CSAH 12 trail project. Fingalson said CSAH 17 is in early stages. The CSAH 12 grant project was approved in 2003 by the County Board. If the project were dropped now, the County would lose $900,000 in Federal funding for the highway project. Mattson said the highway project should proceed but not the trail project. Fingalson explained that the Federal documents cannot be changed at this point in the process. The design cannot be changed after receiving approval. He said if the County would not proceed with the project, not only would they lose $900,000 in Federal funding but it could impact future requests for funding. Referenced was past action by the City of Buffalo to not proceed with a bridge project. Fingalson said this cost the City 5 years of Federal funding opportunities.
Sawatzke referenced the information from Tim Mitchell, DNR, under the category of non-eligible projects, “Condemnation of any kind, including costs associated with, or reimbursement for projects associated to condemnation.” Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said he received clarification from Mitchell, who is the head of the recreational trail grants through the DNR. Mitchell indicated that no grant money or matching funds can be used toward the grant for condemnation of any kind including costs associated with the reimbursements or projects associated with the condemnation. These projects can include physical construction of the trail. They cannot include attorney fees, appraisal fees, legal fees, etc. Putting the trail on condemned land would be the physical construction. The land or anything to acquire the land is not reimbursed. Heeter said land cannot be condemned for a trail but a trail can be placed on condemned land.
Discussion led to condemned land on either side of the road. Fingalson said that 55’ would be condemned on the east side and up to 65’ on the west side in some areas. Mattice said the extra 10’ can be condemned but grant funding cannot be used for that. Fingalson said the only thing grant funding can be used for is construction of the trail. Discussion led back to CSAH 20 and its recovery area. Fingalson said that a recovery area is important for any roadway, and this road has the same requirements. The key in the recovery area and clear zone is to prevent placement of stationary obstacles, including such things as utility poles. The trail is not considered an obstacle. Mattson said he wanted to see in writing Tim Mitchell’s interpretation as presented to Mattice.
Fingalson conveyed the tight time line to proceed on this project. The County has until April 15th to submit the proper paperwork or it will lose $900,000 on the project. Sawatzke wanted clarification on ROW being obtained. Marquette said that 55’ of ROW would be obtained on the east side of the road. On the west side because of the trail, there are areas where 65’ of ROW would be obtained. Fingalson said that a variance has been obtained in areas where a home or wetland would be involved to maintain the 6’ spacing. There are some 50’ ROW areas on the west side due to the proximity to homes.
Sawatzke said it was typical to approve a condemnation resolution for a road project, but it was not typical to do so for extra ROW for trails. He wondered if the condemnation resolution could be approved out to 55’ which is what is required for the road ROW. Fingalson said the design was specifically designated in the documents submitted for Federal funding. To change the documents and move the pathway would be contrary to what is reflected in the plan. Doing so would require them to start over with the environmental process. Sawatzke felt the system was flawed if it were that inflexible and unable to allow resident input. Fingalson said what Sawatzke referenced was a change in the design and location of the trail. Set spacing is required between the road and trail, with the exception of areas that involve wetlands and homes. Minor changes can be made such as with drainage. Sawatzke said he felt bad for Mattson and his constituents as an extra 10’ of land is being taken from some residents who find it unacceptable. Fingalson said in areas where there is 65’ of ROW, he was not sure that this was the reason they were not signing. Sawatzke referenced the recent road tour and said he was disappointed that the trail was not marked. He said the Board is being placed in between the Highway Department and residents. The landowners are stating the trail is detrimental to their properties but the Board cannot decide if these are legitimate concerns as they do not know the trail layout.
Marquette said the majority of the trail within the four parcels identified is within the 55’ ROW. There are some areas where the trail is beyond that. With Parcel 36, there is a wetland involved so the trail is only 6’ off the edge of the road. On Parcel 32, there may be a couple hundred feet where the trail is beyond 55’. On Parcel 36, if there was not a trail, the fill slope may still extend beyond the 55’ line. There is also a Mn/DOT requirement for a permanent easement around centerline culverts. On Parcel 4, the large majority of the trail is inside of the 55’ ROW. It is in front of the maintenance building on CR 107. There may be some on the south end. With Parcel 9, in front of their home, all of the trail is within the 55’ ROW. South of the home, the ROW may increase. Marquette felt 80-90% of the trail is inside of the 55’ ROW on those parcels.
Heeter felt that Sawatzke’s attempt to find a happy medium did that. Marquette said drainage must be considered as there are shallow ditches between the road and the trail. Some of the width required is for drainage and would be required with or without the trail.
Russek inquired whether this was the first joint project involving a highway and trail. Fingalson said this is the first one involving the County funding the trail. Joint projects have been completed with cities. Sawatzke inquired whether in those cases if the trail were within the existing road ROW. Fingalson said in one case, area had to be acquired. Russek said he may have to change his position on applying for grants. He referenced CR 20 where people use the road shoulder for activities such as biking and jogging. He felt the County could take the $100,000 and extend the shoulder 2’ with rumble strip separations. He may have to support this method if trail requests started to hold road projects up. Fingalson said a paved shoulder is better than what is there now, but a separation would be much safer. The project on CSAH 12 was approved in 2003. With the CSAH 17 project, meetings have been scheduled earlier in the project to discuss the trail. Sawatzke questioned the process for a landowner who feels the proposal is unacceptable. He thought their recourse was to come and convey that it was unacceptable. Fingalson said the information was presented to landowners. In a few of the cases, he was unsure whether the trail was the issue. Every road project involves several condemnation resolutions. Eichelberg questioned if the Board decided not to vote for the trail and the project required redesigning, would the County lose the project funding. Fingalson said the County would lose the $900,000 and beyond that the ability to obtain Federal funding for the next 3-5 years. If the Board voted against the project as designed, it would delay the project another year and the costs would increase due to inflation. Fingalson said the County Board approved the project and work has been completed to obtain the funding. Staff has worked with landowners and have made changes where possible. They will continue to work with residents but the process must continue or funding will be lost. Sawatzke said in the areas where homes are, space is tight. He was unsure as to how many trees would be lost and that it was hard to interpret as they did not know the location of the trail. If the County Board felt the impact was too great in areas where homes were located, Sawatzke asked whether the trail could be placed along the road separated by a rumble strip. Fingalson said this could not be done. Sawatzke felt the process was flawed as they could not work with the people. Mattson said if the trail were run along the shoulder separated by a rumble strip there would be no resistance from landowners. Mattson said the trail should be straight, not be removed from the road and then enter back onto it. He did not understand how the trail could be determined safe on a bridge for a portion of a trail but not for the remainder of the roadway. Fingalson responded that it is not a case of the trail being safe on the bridge. Bridges are exempt from the project. Mn/DOT’s Bikeways staff indicated that without exception, it is much better to have a trail separated from the road. Mattson said this may be safer but people may not agree with what they are doing. Eichelberg stated that although he was not comfortable with all of the issues, he did not want the County to lose the Federal funding. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #05-15 approving the Condemnation Resolution for the CSAH 12 project. He said the Highway Department would do all they could to satisfy landowners along the way. Russek felt they were learning a lesson for off-road trails and that they should have a general consensus before another is approved. In this instance, they cannot lose the Federal funding for the road project. Russek seconded the motion. Mattson referenced the problems associated with the City of Montrose’s road project. Sawatzke agreed with Russek but thought the Board would have input on the layout. A plan should be drawn for the project before the grants are applied for. He did not feel a few should have to bear the burden of the trail problems. He felt there was a flaw in the system. Mattson said he will not sign the condemnation resolution and that the Vice Chair would have to do so. The motion carried 3-2 on a roll call vote with Mattson and Sawatzke casting the nay votes.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-14-05. Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
Discuss Issues in City of Rockford
1. Driver Feedback Signs. Fingalson explained that the City of Rockford is concerned about the excessive speeds of some drivers on a portion of CSAH 33, just north of CSAH 20. The speed limit is 30 mph, but some people coming into town are often exceeding that limit. A “driver feedback” sign has been developed and marketed by 3M and is becoming quite popular around the Country. It resembles the portable speed sign on a trailer that the Sheriff’s Department uses, but this one is permanently affixed to the speed limit sign. The sign combines radar that detects vehicle speed with highly visible hybrid LED signs that communicate speed to drivers. Cordell provided a handout which gave background information on this subject. Fingalson suggested that the cost be handled in the same manner in which traffic signals are handled, with a 50/50 cost split with the City. In this case, the total cost would be about $10,000, or $5,000 for the County and $5,000 for the City. The County would oversee the installation, and the City would be responsible for relamping and maintenance. Fingalson said that a memo of understanding has been drawn up, after he met with the Rockford City Council, which addresses the cost share and maintenance issues. There was some discussion about possible vandalism, and it was pointed out that the City would be responsible for those repairs. At the end of a 5-year period, Rockford will own the sign unless they move it off a County Highway prior to the end of that period. With written approval from the County, they can move it to another County Highway, at their own cost. If they move it to a City street before five years are over, they will have to reimburse the County. The sign comes with a 2-year warranty for replacement parts. There has not been a history of crashes at this location on CSAH 33, but the City is concerned about the safety in that area and is eager to get this sign installed. Because this is a pilot project with driver feedback signs in Wright County, the Board agreed to split the cost 50/50 with the City of Rockford as outlined in the memo of understanding. They agreed that vandalism should be addressed in the memo as part of the City’s responsibility for maintenance. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the County Board approve the Memo of Understanding with the City of Rockford which provides for the installation of a driver feedback sign, as a pilot project. The TCOTW agreed that the initial cost of approximately $10,000 will be split 50/50 between the County and City, and the City will be responsible for all future maintenance, including any vandalism to the sign. The City will own the sign at the end of a 5-year period, if the sign has not been removed from a County Highway before that time.
2. Realignment of CR 115 at TH 55. A development is proposed just south of TH 55 and on the west end of the City of Rockford. The City is proposing to have CR 115 realigned to match up with Gabler Avenue, but they need the authority of the County to exercise condemnation proceedings of the property that would be needed for the realignment. Fingalson said that the proposed change in the intersection would be a definite improvement for safety. The City would like the County to provide the backing for eminent domain. Fingalson explained that the Assistant County Attorney told him that in cases such as these, the developer’s attorney or the City Attorney would be appointed to act on behalf of the County (as a Special Assistant County Attorney), and the developer would then pay back any costs incurred by the County. Both Mattson and Sawatzke commented that they would like to have the developer approach the property owner and negotiate a fair price for the property rather than have the County get involved at this point. Russek commented that this proposed change would greatly improve the County Road, and Hawkins said that he is concerned that the cost of the property, for purposes of right of way, will be even higher in the future. It is not known whether the property owner has been approached but Fingalson said the City is preparing plans to take steps in the event that the property owner refuses to sell. The City is also proposing a bridge over the railroad crossing, so it is likely that working with the Railroad won’t be a problem. He said that this proposed realignment would be a good option for this County highway; and even if the property is condemned for purposes of a new roadway, the owner will still get a fair price. Members of the TCOTW approve the concept of the realignment, but they agreed that they would like to have the City/Developer approach the property owner and try and negotiate a price for the sale of his property before the County gets involved. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the City of Rockford/Developer approach the property owner near the junction of TH 55/CR 115 to negotiate a price for the sale of the property necessary to realign CR 115 before any action is taken by the County Board.
Review Albertville Truck Station Options. The current truck station, located at the intersection of CSAH’s 19 and 18, will need to be relocated within the next two years due to the proposed improvement to CSAH 19. A traffic signal will be installed at that intersection as part of the County’s CSAH 19 improvement project; and access to the shop will then become difficult. Meyer became aware of a site that is available for sale just north of I-94 and northwest of the mall (in Otsego) that would be a central location for that truck station, with an interstate crossing nearby for easy access to the entire area. There are several sites available that are about 4.5 acres in size, but more or less could be bought. There is already a road leading to this site. Sawatzke asked about the Mn/ROAD site that Mn/DOT had offered, and Meyer said that Mn/DOT wants the County to provide maintenance for that site if they are to use it, and the amount of maintenance would probably require a fulltime person. Otsego estimated that it will be about 4-5 years before water and sewer are extended to this development area. There are no plans at this time to extend water and sewer to the Mn/ROAD site. A well could be temporarily shared with Bauerly Bros. at this new site. Great Dane Trucking is also located nearby, and the area is zoned commercial. It also fits in with the future county highway system plan, since 70th Street is scheduled to become CSAH 37. Fingalson said that Mn/DOT may not be interested in allowing Wright County to use their site but said he will investigate that further. Russek questioned the price/value of the land and Marquette told him that he had gotten up-to-date information from the Assessor’s Office for the price of land in this area. This new site is available for about $3/square foot and utilities usually add about $2-5/square foot. Marquette showed a handout giving this information. Both Meyer and Fingalson agreed that this site is very centrally located for the district and that this would be ideal for the long-range plan. Some of the site work (minimal amount needed) could be done by the Highway employees and acquiring the site soon would allow for good planning to get things ready. Sawatzke expressed his concern that the Mn/ROAD facility offers pretty much the same advantages for no leasing or purchase fee, but Meyer said that Mn/DOT would expect a lot in maintenance. Fingalson said that he would pursue this further with Mn/DOT to find out what their expectations are and if they are even still willing to make an agreement with Wright County for use of their facilities. He said that he would like to deal with this issue during the 2006 budget planning. The current facility needs to be vacated by the end of 2006, a deadline that is prompted by the installation of a traffic signal at this intersection. Fingalson said that he has been getting some calls from people interested in purchasing the current site, but unless the County sells it to the City, the sale will have to be put out for bids. There is a site near the current Albertville Public Works facility that could also be considered for a shop, but neither Meyer nor Fingalson felt that it is as good a location as the one northwest of the mall. Sawatzke asked if the City of Otsego was comfortable with the new site, and Fingalson said that he had already talked with the City Administrator and the City approves of the site. Mattson asked if money could be put down on the new site to hold it until the bids come in for the sale of the current site (2.44 acres in size). That would help keep the price from rising while they are waiting for the sale. Sawatzke said that he would like to find out how much utilities would add to the cost. The value of the current property would probably be about the same as the cost for the new site, but more space is needed than is currently available at the current site. The Highway shop needs to be in a commercial/industrial area such as this, and residential expansion is not going to negatively affect this site. Fingalson said that he will check with Mn/DOT about their Mn/ROAD site and with the City of Otsego about the cost of utilities. He will then agenda this for a future meeting as soon as is possible. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Wayne Fingalson investigate further with Mn/DOT to see if the Mn/ROAD site is still available for use by the Wright County Highway Department and what the requirements for using that site would entail. Also, Fingalson will contact the City of Otsego for an estimate on the cost of extending utilities to this area when the City is ready to make that move.
Discuss Funding of Construction Program. Fingalson said that the State has decided to allow Wright County to advance encumber State Aid funds in an amount up to $1.5 million. He has also learned that the City of Clearwater will not be doing their improvement project this year, so the $200,000 budgeted for that will be available to use on other programs. Wright County will be responsible for 5% ($20,000) of the cost of the signal light installation at the intersection of TH 25 and CSAH 37, and Wright County needs to pay both Montrose and Waverly for its share of the costs on their projects. The bridge project on CSAH 22 (Berning’s Mill) will be let, hopefully in April, as soon as the Legislature passes a bonding bill. Hawkins has updated the budget for 2005 with some of the projects that were carried over from 2004, such as the Montrose project, the CSAH 6 bridge, and the St. Michael signal project. A handout was distributed for Construction Year 2005. Eichelberg commented that the new signal and turn lanes are a big improvement in St. Michael. Some work for the CSAH 18/I-94 interchange project in Monticello will begin this year. Hawkins said that he had met with Auditor Bob Hiivala and Assistant County Attorney Brian Asleson about the county ditch that crosses CSAH 12 just north of 20th Street. Currently, there is a 48” pipe at the crossing that is half full of debris, probably due to its low elevation. It could be replaced with a larger pipe for 100% capacity, but it will probably be replaced during the CSAH highway project at the same size and elevation and won’t adversely affect the county ditch.
CSAH 17 Realignment Options. Consideration is being given to realigning CSAH 17 when this highway is rebuilt, currently scheduled for 2006. Fingalson showed a map to the TCOTW members with several options for the realignment marked on the map. This had been reviewed on site at the Parks Committee of the Whole meeting the previous Friday. The major problems with the current alignment are the two severe curves in the roadway. Of the several options, two would require that the County pay the State back some of the State Aid money that was spent on CSAH 17 last year. Sawatzke said that he doesn’t see the possibility of having trails along some of CSAH 17. He would like to see the shoulders adjusted to 6 feet to allow more room in the right of way for the trail or would like to see the trail brought up to the shoulder in places. As the Board members studied the different options, Hawkins explained that the Highway Department would like to build to the current standards and not have design exceptions from the outset. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that two of the options should be considered further for realignment. Residents adjacent to these proposed realignments and to the current alignment will be notified of a public information session. [Public Informational Meeting, March 10, 6 8 pm, Delano City Hall.]
Proposed CSAH System. Fingalson explained that the Board has discussed in the past the possibility of receiving more money from the Screening Board for State Aid by approving plans for future changes in the current highway system. A Northeast County Study was recently completed as was a study on the TH 55 corridor, and the Highway Department drew up a proposed layout for an improved and expanded county-wide system. This was also based on the 1995 Transportation Plan done in Wright County. However, Fingalson said that in order to even be considered for receiving more money from State Aid, the County must first get rid of the portions of County State Aid Highways that more appropriately fit the definition of County Road, City Street, or Township Road. As long as a highway is on the CSAH system, the city in which it is located has some authority to make decisions on any changes to it (municipal consent). If a road is a County Road, then the County does not need municipal consent and can at will turn the road over to the city or the township. Fingalson said that he would like to put more roads on the CSAH system that have greater needs and that would help generate more money. He is asking for help from the Commissioners in eliminating certain routes from the CSAH system. Sawatzke said that he would like to receive a total plan of recommendation from the Highway Department and doesn’t necessarily want to give all roads in question to the cities and townships at one time. Mattson said that he would like to see a list of pros and cons with a corresponding price tag of how much money would be saved or spent. Fingalson said Wright County has about 41 miles of CSAH roadway that he would like to see redesignated. He said that removing them from the CSAH system would not adversely impact money received from State Aid because of other routes that will be added to the system. Hawkins said that revising the system in this way would help to get more money for the entire county, which can then be used for CSAH highways. About 8 miles have been turned back from the County since the 1995 Transportation Plan was completed. Fingalson explained that there are 15 members on the screening board, with 5 from the metro district and only one member each from the other districts, including District 3. Sherburne County has been successful in adding mileage to their CSAH system recently and in receiving additional State Aid dollars because of the additions. The Screening Board could throw out the entire request for additional dollars if the County is unwilling to clean up the system by getting rid of the portions of highway that do not fit the definition of a CSAH. Eichelberg said that he is in favor of the concept and would like to have Fingalson talk with the affected Townships and Cities to see how they feel about this. The other Board members agreed that they would like to have Fingalson contact the Townships and Cities after a detailed list is reviewed by the Board members. Fingalson said that due to the political nature of this proposed action, he will need the help of the Board members at those meetings. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Fingalson develop a detailed list of proposed jurisdictional changes and discuss financial pros and cons at a future TCOTW meeting. After direction from the County Board, meetings with Cities and Townships would follow. (End of Transportation Committee Minutes)
Removed from the Consent Agenda for discussion, the Board discussed the request for Approval Of Wright County Highway Right Of Way Plat No. 53, SP 86-612-16, CSAH 12. Mattson said the Board has not seen the plat so they are unsure what they are approving. Fingalson explained that the Surveyor completes the plat for the project, which is done routinely for all construction projects. The plat identifies the ROW needed for the project. Sawatzke questioned whether approval could be delayed for one week. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the Board approved the Condemnation Resolution which refers to this plat. In order to meet the time lines of the project, a notice of intent must be sent this week to all parties who have not signed off. The notice reflects that in 90 days, permission will be requested from the Board to start the project. Paperwork is then served for a court hearing. This must be done the second week of April to meet the April 15th deadline. The plat must be recorded so it can be referenced in documentation sent to landowners. There should be a formal, publicly recorded document once the decision has been made on how to proceed. Mattson said the request for approval of ROW Plat No. 53 was on the Consent Agenda, and approval of it would have been before the Board’s discussion on the Condemnation Resolution. Asleson clarified that the Statute under which ROW plats are recorded indicates this is informational. The Surveyor’s Office completed the work and the ROW Plat could be recorded without completing the project. Eichelberg moved to adopt Wright County Highway Right Of Way Plat No. 53, SP 86-612-16, CSAH 12, seconded by Heeter. The motion carried 3-2 with Mattson and Sawatzke casting the nay votes.
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 2-23-05. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
Performance Appraisal, Greg Kramber, Assessor. Based on review of five performance appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”.
Performance Appraisal, Bill Swing, IT Director. Based on review of five performance appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”.
Performance Appraisal, Richard Norman, Coordinator. Based on review of five performance appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”. (End of Personnel Minutes)
A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 2-23-05. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
Review Proposals For Aerial Photography. Jay Wittstock, Surveyor, distributed information relating to the proposals for aerial photography, city participation and cost share. Proposals were mailed to 13 firms and 6 were returned. The proposal results reflect a range in cost of $39,200 to $59,760. Wittstock recommended consideration of the proposals from Kucera International ($39,200) and Western Air Maps, Inc. ($48,840). The difference in the proposals relates to the digital elevation models. The proposal from Western Air indicates they may be able to generate 4’ contours (2’ contours are typical). Wittstock will consult with Kerry Saxton to determine whether there is a value in the 4’ contours for the SWCD. If so, Wittstock recommended the proposal from Western Air Maps, Inc. Funding was discussed. Participating cities will contribute $25,000 toward the cost. Approximately $15,000 will be generated annually from plat checking fees. Initially, it was felt one-third of the County would be flown per year. It was later determined that the entire County should be flown at once. There is $5,000 in the Surveyor budget that is currently used to rent photography that could be utilized for this project. That would leave the project $3,000 short. Two survey firms have indicated they would be willing to purchase information which may make up that difference. Discussion led to city participation in the aerial photography project. To date, ten cities have decided to participate. There are two cities who have indicated they may participate and two that will not. For those cities who do not participate, a fee will need to be developed for information requests. Collaboration on the aerial photography project will be discussed at the City Administrator’s Meeting on 3-09-05. Wittstock plans to attend. Ownership of the product was discussed. The proposal from Western Air Maps, Inc. indicates “Ownership Unknown.” Wittstock said the issue of County ownership was not addressed in the proposals. He will clarify this with the vendor. With ownership comes the right to sell the product to others. Recommendation: Wittstock will contact Saxton on the contour issues and Western Air Maps, Inc. to clarify ownership. If the proposal from Western Air Maps, Inc. includes ownership of the aerial photography, Wittstock will obtain ritten confirmation from the vendor. Upon confirmation of these issues, the Committee recommends approval of the proposal from Western Air Maps, Inc. at a cost of $48,840. If the proposal from Western Air Maps, Inc. does not include ownership of the aerial photography, the Committee recommends approval of the proposal from GE Energy (M.J. Harden Associates) at a cost of $51,000. Wittstock will present his recommendation to the County Board at their 3-01-05 Meeting.
Partnership With Cities. Swing and Wittstock have attended three recent City Administrator meetings to discuss collaboration. Swing distributed a draft agreement between Wright County and cities for the purpose of establishing mutual access to electronic data and collaboration on mutual technologies (attached). The purpose of the agreement would be to provide access to mutual technologies, information systems and underlying databases and to provide mutual access to a common network for the purpose of promoting cost savings, staff efficiencies and quality information. Swing said the key is the process and forum by which issues are discussed and projects endorsed. One would be the quarterly City Administrators’s meeting. However, not all cities are a part of this meeting as not all cities have a city administrator position. Recommendation: It was the consensus that this item be laid over to the 3-23-05 Technology Committee Meeting to provide an opportunity for review of the Agreement.
CAREFACTS System For Public Health Unit. Schefers said Public Health has been utilizing the CHAMP System since 1991. The system adequately served the automation needs of the Unit in the past but fails to meet the growing demands. Schefers distributed information on the CAREFACTS System (attached). Two other systems, CAREFACTS and PHDOCS, have been evaluated. CAREFACTS is recommended due to: 1) features that directly address the current and future needs of Wright County Public Health; 2) the integrity of the Company; 3) its endorsement by several large Minnesota Counties; and 4) the endorsement by Wright County IT relative to its software/hardware platform. The cost of the CAREFACTS System is $85,680. Implementation and training costs add $32,000 for a total of $117,680. The 2005 Human Services budget includes $60,000 for a Public Health System. The balance of $57,680 will be budgeted for in 2006. Annual maintenance is $14,481. This figure will be prorated based upon the date of acceptable implementation. Schefers and Swing will contact the vendor to discuss annual maintenance fees and warranty. Recommendation: Approve purchase of CAREFACTS System for the Public Health Unit.
Addressing & Emergency Vehicle Routing Along Amery Avenue NW, South Side Of Lake Ida. Wittstock was contacted by Brian Mattson on a safety issue on the vacated end of Amery Avenue. Amery Avenue includes a small dead-end section that includes the public access to Lake Ida. There is little or no space to turn emergency vehicles around to get to the desired location. Mattson contacted the County two years ago on this issue and Wittstock felt the situation was addressed. However, another situation occurred this past summer where emergency vehicles turned around in Mattson’s yard, damaging the landscaping. Mattson has erected a sign indicating there is no outlet on this dead-end road. Recommendation: The Sheriff’s Department will view Amery Avenue and bring forth a recommendation at the 3-23-05 Technology Committee Meeting. (End of Technology Committee Minutes)
Asleson said correspondence was received from Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty relating to the property that is for sale adjacent to the Fairgrounds. Asleson contacted the County Assessor on land value. Development land in that area is selling for $25,000-$30,000 per acre if it is close to the City. Asleson said the reduced price of $18,112 per acre reflected in the correspondence would be more in line due to the access issues. The Board can schedule a closed session to discuss this issue. The current access to the property allows for ingress and egress through the Fairgrounds. Access is only 33’ wide so it is not wide enough to place a City street through this area. There are also problems with the alignment of this access to an easement which runs from the south across the railroad tracks. Mattson suggested that if the easement were created because of farming, the easement could be locked off. Due to the reduction in price, Heeter moved to schedule a Closed Session for 3-15-05 and will be scheduled as the last item on the County Board Agenda for that day. The purpose will be to discuss the potential purchase of this property. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Heeter, all voted to appoint Commissioner Sawatzke to the Monticello Joint Planning Board.
Mattson said he recently testified at the State Extension Finance Committee Meeting. Mattson is obtaining a transcript of the testimonies which will be distributed to the Board upon receipt.
Heeter announced that the City of Buffalo will be holding an Open House on 3-03-05 from 6:00-8:00 P.M. for the proposed signal at the intersection of TH 25 and CSAH 12. The City Engineer will make a brief presentation at 6:30 P.M. This is an opportunity for public input. It was noted that more than two Commissioners may be present at this Open House.
Ameripride Linen/ Apparel $209.11
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 22,697.58
ANCOM Technical Center 288.99
B & B Products-Rigs & Squa 3,689.60
B & D Plumbing/Htg. 551.00
Terri Barfknecht 278.77
Barnes Distribution 445.72
BLM Technologies Inc. 377.90
Buffalo Clinic 1,394.00
Cardiac Science 226.00
CDW Government Inc. 316.56
Cellular 2000 of St. Cloud 146.21
Collins Brothers Towing 154.16
CPS Technology Solutions 195.00
Gateway Companies Inc. 3,161.90
Granite Pest Control Serv. 115.02
Patricia Heitland 327.32
Amy Hertzog 200.07
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 3,056.41
Holiday Inn-Alexandria 131.40
Institute of Police Technology 500.00
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 201.35
Kustom Signals Inc. 184.94
LaPlant Demo Inc. 512.04
Law Enforcement Tech. Gro 170.00
Loberg Electric 203.11
Marco Business Products 767.87
Robin McKay 184.38
Minnesota Elevator Inc. 1,191.99
MN Chapter IAAI 195.00
MN Community Corrections 580.00
MN Counties Comp. Co-op 464.12
MN Transportation Alliance 170.00
Office Depot 1,578.24
Pine Co. Health & Human Ser 344.00
Recall Document Mgmt. Ser. 100.23
Jack Russek 171.21
Shell Fleet Plus 1,473.50
Sheriffs Youth Program of MN 270.00
Software House Int’l Inc. 192.77
Sprint-Local Telecom Div. 187.26
SRF Consulting Group Inc. 2,304.72
St. Cloud Stamp & Sign 109.45
State of MN-Info Tech Div 258.03
Rosanne Stoltz 255.00
Thermal Technologies Inc. 2,145.94
The Travel Gallery 576.80
Uniforms Unlimited 173.29
Verizon Wireless 497.35
Victory Corps 262.46
James Weinberger 193.05
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 2,352.92
22 Payments less than $100 790.75
Final total $57,524.49
The meeting adjourned at 11:05 A.M.