Wright County Board Minutes
April 12, 2005
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
The following correction was made to the minutes of 4-05-05: Page 1, last paragraph, change from “Steve Mattson” to “Steve Madson” in all instances. Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Items For Consid. #5, “Ducks Unlimited Banquet” (Heeter); Items For Consid. #6, “MEADA Update” (Heeter). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Sawatzke requested that Item C1 of the Consent Agenda, “Highway,Authorize Attendance Of Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, At NACo Annual Conference” be moved for discussion as part of Items For Consideration #2, “NACO Conference, July 17-19, 2005.” On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda with the removal of Item C1:
1. Performance Appraisals: K. Horsch, M. Ruzicka, Aud./Treas.; B. Holmquist, K. Johnson, J. Klatt, L. Oestreich, Hwy., R. Williams, Sheriff.
1. Approve Tobacco License For New Owner-Maus Foods (Monticello City).
D. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:
A. Approve Request To Rezone From AG & S-2 To A/R & Part S-2, David & Ruth Neske (Marysville Twp.).
B. Approve Amended Request To Rezone From AG & Part S-2 To A/R & Part S-2, Doug & Dave Schmidt (Chatham Twp.).
1. Authorize Signatures Of Board Chair, Coordinator, & Sheriff On Federal Boat & Water Supplemental Grant Agreement.
As part of Boy/Girl County Day, students attended a portion of today’s meeting to learn more about County Board proceedings. The County Board introduced themselves, their districts, and answered questions.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested that the approval process for reoccurring special claims be changed. These would include the Lake Charlotte/Martha utility bills and the Lake Charlotte/Martha payments to McCombs, Frank, Roos that are normally listed on the Consent Agenda. Hiivala asked that approval be authorized through the claims listing. Sawatzke moved to authorize the Auditor to have these reoccurring special claims be made a part of the general claims listing. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 8, Sheriff’s Department, to the City of Annandale ($1,150) for training center rental. It was explained that this was for staff training for multiple days. Heeter referenced claims under Sheriff/Corrections associated with care and boarding of prisoners: Dental Care Associates ($800), Hennepin County Treasurer ($3,080), and Kandiyohi County Sheriffs Department ($4,656.60). Approximately 70-90% of the inmates are in Jail due to methamphetamine (theft, domestic abuse, sexual assault, manufacturing). The costs cited this week are low compared to other weeks. Russek referenced a claim on page 5, Office Depot ($135.11). The claim breakdown lists $18.66 as a charge and the description refers to it as a credit. Hiivala said the $18.66 refers to the purchase of recordable cd’s and was incorrectly listed on the breakdown. The claim will be corrected before it is mailed. Mattson echoed Heeter’s comments about the tremendous burden placed on taxpayers for inmate care. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Mayor Michael Beyer, City of Rockford, requested approval of a resolution associated with the City of Rockford boundary change, detaching the City from Hennepin County and placing it in Wright County. Beyer has been working on this project since he became Mayor five years ago. There are two avenues to pursue for this change. The first would involve a petition for the change which would be presented through the House, Senate and then to the Governor. The second would involve an agreement of the action by the two counties involved. Beyer’s past contact with Hennepin County Commissioner Steele and the Met Council was positive on this issue. Russek said one of the largest reasons this change is being sought is for safety. When an emergency occurs on the
Hennepin County side of the river, the Wright County Sheriff or fire department cannot be dispatched until a Hennepin County Sheriff arrives. Another reason would be for the convenience of residents to complete public business in Buffalo versus in Hennepin County. Beyer previously worked on a petition and obtained 25% in support of the change (130+ names out of 400). Sawatzke said if for some reason the boundary change is not accomplished through these means, he suggested the possibility of approaching the legislature for approval to allow a safety vehicle to cross county lines. The County Board felt they could support the request as long as Hennepin County was in favor of it. Beyer said Met Council did not oppose the request and he would use the same reasoning with Hennepin County. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #05-24 supporting the resolution for the City of Rockford change, detaching the City from Hennepin County into Wright County and authorizing signatures. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
At 9:30 A.M., the bid opening occurred for Contract 0501, 2005 Culvert Replacement. The culvert replacements are for eight various locations and the Engineer’s estimate was $80,000. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, opened and read the bids. At his recommendation, Eichelberg moved to lay the bids over for one week. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0:
Bidders; Bid Bond; Addendum #1; Total Bid
Midwest Contracting; Yes; Yes; $95,352.00
Mathiowetz Construction Co.; Yes; Yes; $95,726.00
Landwehr Construction Inc.; Yes; Yes; $93,681.66
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented the Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes (TCOTW) from 4-05-05. The following corrections were made to the minutes: Page 2, mid page, change sentence to read, “He said that a city official stated that nearby residents are frustrated with the constant flow of traffic; however, at the public meeting, no one wanted the stoplight because they were concerned about the speed and loss of parking.” (Sawatzke); and Page 5, 1st paragraph, change sentence to read, “Sawatzke said that he had talked with an Otsego Council member who told him that they may be looking for even “more additional shop space” in a few years, which would mean that Wright County could choose a site now but be able to turn it over to Otsego when they are ready for additional space, so Wright County would not necessarily have to remain in Otsego for 30-40 years if they chose to build a shop there now.” (Sawatzke). The corrected minutes follow along with discussion at today’s County Board Meeting:
Discuss TH 25/CSAH 12 Intersection Project in City of Buffalo. Fingalson explained that the County Board had initially approved (3-2) the installation of a traffic signal at the TH 25/CSAH 12 intersection in the City of Buffalo. However, since that time an informational meeting was held where some residents expressed their disapproval of this planned improvement. Fingalson said that the plans are ready for him to sign but that the controversy over the improvement has led to another discussion by the TCOTW. Naaktgeboren said that this issue was discussed at the City Council meeting last night and they are still hoping to proceed with the installation of turn lanes and signals. Lachermeier said that if this project is not completed now, Mn/DOT may not have money available for this project in the future. Mn/DOT is offering to pay 2/3 of the cost and the City of Buffalo is committed to 1/3 of the cost, with no cost to Wright County. She added that Mn/DOT has said that safety is not an issue in a 30 mph zone with a green light, and she would like to be pro-active and move ahead at this time to save the money and prepare for future traffic increases. Fingalson passed out a summary of the modeling showing how the level of service at this intersection is improved with the addition of turn lanes, with and without traffic signals. He also stated that the modeling simulation was set up now in Room 125 for those that wanted to see it. One possible problem of going with the turn lanes and NO signal is that the backup of traffic may force some southbound vehicles to wait in line just to get to the turn lane, which would hinder the movement of traffic. Mattson said that he feels that the only people in favor of installing a traffic signal at this intersection are the employees from the City of Buffalo and the Wright County Highway Department. He drives this stretch of road everyday and doesn’t see a need for change. Russek agreed that he thinks a traffic signal will cause frustration to a lot of people who have to wait for the light to turn green, and he is afraid that too many people will be racing to get through the intersection to beat the light. Heeter said that a signal will help to handle the volume of cars coming through the intersection, and with the development that is happening south and east of Buffalo, the volume will just increase. The traffic signal will help make a difference and Wright County will not have to pay for any of this improvement if it is done now. She said that Wright County has made a commitment to move forward on this based on the studies that have been done by the professionals from Mn/DOT. She feels that Mn/DOT wouldn’t offer to pay for this unless they felt that there was a real need for the improvement. Eichelberg agreed with Heeter’s assessment and said that he doesn’t know when or if the money will be available from Mn/DOT in the future. Waiting will just make the valuation of the property go up. He expressed his concern for the resident that is most negatively affected by this proposed improvement and said that he would like to see him taken care of somehow. Heeter said that adding a turn lane, with or without the signal, will have the same effect, so she would like to see the signals put in now. Sawatzke said that he is glad that the study was done, but he said that the Board was committed to the process, not to the actual project. Some things have come to light that may need reevaluation. He said that a city official stated that nearby residents are frustrated with the constant flow of traffic; however, at the public meeting, no one wanted the stoplight because they were concerned about the speed and loss of parking. They would rather have turn lanes than lights. Sawatzke said that he would rather see turn lanes put in first to see how well they work and then go to the next step of installing lights, if necessary. DeWolf said that the layout for the turn lanes would be exactly the same, with or without the lights. Sawatzke would like to seek a solution first that does not include the lights. Lachermeier reminded everyone that there is often a little hesitancy in accepting change, but she would like to be proactive in preparing for the future by making the improvement now while the money is available from an outside source. Fingalson said that Mn/DOT has a number of projects that meet the criteria for improvement. This particular intersection in Buffalo is on the list because of the high volume of traffic that passes through it each day. The cost of turn lanes and the cost of installing traffic signals are about equal, so the turn lanes could be put in at about half the cost of the entire improvement, and Fingalson said that Mn/DOT has indicated that they would be willing to be responsible for two-thirds of that project cost. If the lights are not put in now, there is no guarantee that money will be available from them in the future for this purpose. Naaktgeboren said that Mn/DOT feels that this intersection is ready for signals, based on the traffic volume. The cycle would be set at a relatively fast rate, about a 70-second cycle. Development is mushrooming south of Buffalo, with many new lots available for homes (200 at Rodeo Hills, 187 at Willow Bend, and 1,000 platted and 800 planned in Montrose, for a total of almost 2,200). Mattson said that he drives this road everyday and rarely has to wait more than a minute to get through the intersection. Fingalson said that there are generally a few more fender benders when a signal is put in, but since there are already some at this intersection, the number may not go up. Traffic modeling shows that the level of service will increase dramatically at peak time for southbound traffic if lights are installed. Fingalson said that one property owner has expressed great concern over lack of access to his property if turn lanes are put in. The City offered to work with him to provide another outlet, but he is no longer interested in discussing this. Sawatzke said that he likes the idea of spending only half the money now to see if this is a viable solution before spending money to do the entire project. This may result in a lesser total cost and he doesn’t see the drawback of doing it in steps. Lachermeier said that she prefers not to see people sitting in turn lanes and would like to prepare for the future as we are getting larger, not smaller. She feels that it is essential to take care of this problem now and would like the cooperation of the County Board. Russek said that he doesn’t feel that there is a problem at this intersection as nothing will help vehicles get through this intersection any faster. RECOMMENDATION: None. This will be discussed again at the upcoming County Board meeting where a vote might be taken.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson said he had been in contact with Mn/DOT’s Traffic Engineer. Mn/DOT would be willing to fund 2/3 of the cost for turn lanes. If the project were not approved at this time, it may be as late as 2012 before any funding would be available from Mn/DOT for a signal. Funding is designated for safety and Mn/DOT decides how to use these funds. Heeter spoke in support of the stoplight because of the traffic modeling (stoplights would bring the grading from F to A vs. F to C with turn lanes only). Heeter’s concern was with development, as 2200 new homes are expected in this area. She referenced the TCOTW minutes and reference made by residents being frustrated with traffic flow, speed and loss of parking. Heeter said the loss of parking would only occur with turn lanes but felt that parking should not be allowed in this area anyway due to safety. Mn/DOT and the City are willing to fund the improvements at no cost to the County. Although comment has been made that the intersection only needs stoplights at a couple of peak hours, she felt the stoplight that was installed near the Buffalo High School was a similar issue. Russek said most people do not have a problem with how the intersection currently functions. He felt the current 4-way stop worked well and said he drove the intersection a lot. Fingalson referenced a draft resolution which would be forwarded to Mn/DOT if the Board chose to approve the signal. He said the signal would make traffic flow more efficient due to the 70-second gap setup. He referenced other signal projects in the past where modeling supported signals and where a positive effect came from the installation. He suggested supporting the modeling for this intersection and said as the growth continues in this area, the need for a stoplight will be there. The signal would average out traffic so the overall wait time would be decreased. The 70-second timing would be set according to peak times and when there is traffic on all three legs. Russek said he has never waited 70 seconds to get through this intersection with the 4-way stop and has not heard complaints. He estimated 30 to 40 seconds of time required to pass through this intersection. Mattson felt it was the calmest intersection in Buffalo.
Eichelberg said he hadn’t changed his mind on the issue. He felt the Board needed to rely on the experts who work with roads, and that the intersection met warrants per Mn/DOT modeling. Sawatzke said he was one of those supporting the process for review in November and suggested a right turn lane first to see its effect. He understood that traffic gaps would make sense. His hope was at the end of the review process, a compromise would be reached. His position is now back to the right turn lanes. If they are not effective, stoplights could be installed when needed. He seldom drove that intersection and when he did, it was not during rush times. Sawatzke said he would defer to Russek’s position as he lives in that District, and both Russek and Mattson’s constituents drive through that intersection. He referenced a prior statement made by Brad DeWolf, City Engineer, indicating that the same layout was required for turn lanes or stoplights. Mattson said he would support turn lanes. Russek said he would support turn lanes but not a signal. Tracy Janikula, Feedlot Administrator, requested clarification on when the lights would be installed if approved. Buffalo Mayor Fred Naaktgeboren responded that if the stoplights are not approved at this time there would not be funding available from Mn/DOT in the future. Janikula drives this intersection two times a day and felt the right turn lane made the most sense. She disagreed with the installation of signals. Sawatzke said it is outrageous that Mn/DOT would have funding available today but if traffic increases in the future they would not have funds available. He did not feel Mn/DOT should be encouraging local government to spend more if there is a less expensive route. Fingalson said Mn/DOT made a promise to the City of Buffalo in 1999 on this intersection. The level of funding for future projects is such that signals would not be funded until 2012 as there are more needy project candidates. Mayor Naaktgeboren referenced the opinions of the Highway Engineer and Mn/Dot and said the intersection is inefficient. If the County Board made the decision to only support turn lanes, the City Council would have to discuss this. He said going through the process on this intersection had been disappointing. The Mayor referenced City Administrator meetings held with County staff to discuss working on issues cooperatively. He said the decision to not support the signal would be based upon expert advice that was rejected by two Commissioners from the beginning. Naaktgeboren said this decision would result in backward steps with regard to working with the County. Russek responded to the Mayor’s comment that this decision would set the cooperation level back between cities and the County. He said that the Board will make a decision and that does not mean they should not talk with one another or be mad. He normally supports the City but did not on this issue. He represents the people in that District and has received response that many do not support it. This was his decision and he would not be angry with anyone. Sawatzke said the Board is elected by all people in Wright County. They do have respect for other leaders in local government. He said there would not be such deliberation on this issue if they didn’t. Sawatzke hoped that one disagreement would not become an ultimate setback as there are many other issues that both cities and the county deal with. He hoped that they would agree 99% of the time but felt there was a problem if they could not ever disagree. Russek moved to authorize turnlane construction but no signal lights at the CSAH 12/TH 25 intersection. Fingalson suggested that the Board not deal with the resolution until the City comes back with a proposal. Russek clarified that the motion supports the turn lanes if the City decides to proceed in this fashion. Sawatzke seconded the motion. He said the turn lanes would be better than what is in place now and it is toward the City’s goals if the pressure of the intersection requires upgrade in the future. The motion carried 3-2 with Heeter and Eichelberg casting the nay votes.
Discuss Fifth Street Extension Project in Buffalo. Fingalson updated the TCOTW about the City of Buffalo’s plan to complete the extension of 5th Street in 2006. They received federal money for that purpose. They have worked out a new crossing with the Railroad and will eliminate the one by McDonald’s, Subway and the feed mill. This extension will require the removal of several buildings, including Second Hand Rose and a few homes to the rear of that. Fifth Street will continue on the north side of the water treatment plant down to TH 25. The jog in 5th Street will be taken out at this time, which will require the removal of another home situated along the west side of TH 25 (Central Avenue). The street known as Soo Lane will be closed and become a dead end. RECOMMENDATION: None was given at this time as this was informational. At today’s Board Meeting, Brad DeWolf, City of Buffalo Engineer, said the first Open House will be held on 4-12-05 from 6:00-8:00 P.M., Buffalo City Hall. He said they have already met with the majority of property owners.
Discuss CSAH 17 Alignment Options. Fingalson said that major reconstruction of CSAH 17 south of Delano is planned for 2006. There are two sharp curves on the current roadway, so two other options were also considered. Reference was made to a large map showing the various options. A public meeting was held to give nearby residents an opportunity to express their concerns and opinions. They were also asked to turn in a comment sheet if they wanted to do so. These nearly 80 comments were compiled and sorted according to preference of route and distributed to the commissioners, along with a chart showing the crash history from 2000 2004. Fingalson said that CSAH 17 is a needy improvement candidate, as it is a 5-ton route, has a capacity problem, is narrow, and is deteriorating. In addition to road improvement, a pedestrian trail may be added to the route, depending on which route is chosen. One of the big drawbacks of choosing a new route is that the old route will still need to be maintained by the Township, which amounts to about three miles of roadway. Fingalson said that continued use of the current highway will definitely require an overlay. Responding to a question from a resident, Hawkins explained that powerlines are usually kept overhead in rural areas, largely in part to the damage that gophers can do to underground lines. He said that it might be feasible to move them to the other side of the road in some locations, but the Highway Department is unable to dictate to the utility companies where to locate them. Placement is usually based on cost to the company. Resident Anderson said that he believes that most serious accidents occur when a vehicle crashes into a utility pole. Township Officer Steinbach said that a number of residents attended the Township meeting last night, and basically everyone in attendance expressed their preference for keeping the current alignment, as that would negatively affect the fewest property owners. The Township Board voted to adopt a resolution [Attachment 1] stating their support of the current alignment, accepting changes where necessary and obtaining variances where possible. Resident Krajewski said that she and her husband are more than willing to cooperate by allowing the second curve to be adjusted through their property if the first curve can stay close to its current alignment. That would help protect their property from a division that would occur with the southern alignment. Steinbach said that it would be helpful to residents if they could see what the modifications would look like on the current roadway. Mattson said that perhaps some staking could be done to denote the changes that would be necessary in order to give a visual effect for the residents. Resident Singer said that in all the years she has lived on the corner of Fenner and 11th, there has never been a fatality or serious crash. A few vehicles have gone off the road there, but it’s on the straight section that cars speed up. The fatality that occurred two years ago occurred because the person was on the road and was hit by a vehicle. Hawkins explained that it is likely that an urban design will be considered for some sections of the improvement, which would be a curbing rather than a larger right-of-way ditch area. This might be more appropriate in the Krienke Development area to help minimize encroachment. The general road will be rural, with some curbing possible on the east side. Russek said that it would be nice to address the speed problems with lower limits, but Mn/DOT is the agency that regulates speed limits. Anderson said that he feels the problem on CSAH 17 is due more to poor visibility and blind spots rather than the sharp curves. He would like to see the road evened out on its present course to help achieve better visibility. Hawkins said that the vertical curves will be adjusted to create a better site distance. He thanked everyone who took the time to come to today’s meeting and to fill out a comment card about this project. He said that the input was helpful in making decisions that will affect so many people. Consideration will be given to residents’ concerns when working with the current alignment and its modifications. The TCOTW was in agreement, as were the Highway Engineer and the Assistant Highway Engineer, that the current alignment, with slight modifications as necessary (Design Exception will be needed) and minimal encroachment as possible, is the best choice for the CSAH 17 roadway. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW to recommend that the current alignment, with slight modifications as necessary and minimal encroachment as possible, be used for the major reconstruction of CSAH 17 planned for 2006.
At today’s Board Meeting, Fingalson said they will proceed with the environmental assessment and the design will be looked at later this year. They will do what they can to minimize encroachment in the area where homes are close to the road. Discussion followed on petitioning the State to review the speed limit in this area. Fingalson said there are currently advisory speed signs up. The consensus of the County Board was for Fingalson to present a resolution at the next County Board Meeting requesting the State to perform a speed study in this area. Diana Ireland, resident, questioned whether the upgrade would still occur on CSAH 17, regardless of what happens with the speed zoning. Russek responded that it would, with approval of the TCOTW Minutes today.
Discuss Albertville Truck Station Options. Fingalson explained that the County’s current Albertville shop will need to be moved to a new location because of the improvement planned for CSAH 19, which includes installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of CSAH’s 19 and 18. Access to the shop at that location will become an issue. Two actions will need to be taken, that of selling the current site and that of purchasing a new site. The site at Mn/ROAD, previously considered, is no longer an option, but there are three other possibilities to consider, each with its own set of pros and cons. A summary handout was distributed. One site is located in the Scharber Industrial Park, another in Kittridge Crossings Industrial Park, and the third is next to the current City of Albertville shop. The site next to the Albertville shop is probably the least desirable location, as there is no direct access from a county highway, but it does lend itself to a partnership with the operations of the City. Mattson expressed his desire that the County get full value from the sale of the current site, and Fingalson said that there is possibility that the adjoining landowner might be interested in purchasing it because it will make his property more valuable. Kruse said that the Albertville City Council is more than willing to work with the County Board toward a solution that would benefit both organizations. They had talked about doing a trade, 1.7 County acres for 3.5 City acres. They haven’t talked actual numbers if the two transactions are to be kept separate. They have talked about making a joint effort to work together in hopes that this would save money for both the City and the County. Kruse said that the nearby location of the sewer plant near the City’s shop should have no impact on the value of the property and no odors have been reported. Sawatzke asked how the Otsego Public Works site fared in comparison to the others, and Meyer said that it is so far to the northeast in the county that it would be hard to be efficient with routes. He likes to put plows out from the center of an area to avoid unnecessary travel. Otsego would be possible but not ideal. Meyer said that he likes to look at the Northeast Study when trying to determine where the best site will be for the next 30-40 years. Sawatzke said that he had talked with an Otsego Council member who told him that they may be looking for even “more additional shop space” in a few years, which would mean that Wright County could choose a site now but be able to turn it over to Otsego when they are ready for additional space, so Wright County would not necessarily have to remain in Otsego for 30-40 years if they chose to build a shop there now. Fingalson said that he would like to get this ready for the 2006 budget discussion. The current site will have to be out on bids unless they agree to sell it to the City of Albertville. Sawatzke said that he thinks the best price will come from bidding, but Fingalson said that it might be worth more by selling it to the adjacent landowner before development takes place as that will increase the value of both his and the County’s property. He does not want to delay action too long in case the landowner is eager to sell soon. Alone, the access is still an issue for some types of business and may limit the list of interested buyers. If the County chooses to consider the Albertville site north of the freeway, the access road to the site will need to be upgraded (70th St. from McIver to CSAH 19). Mattson asked that this item be laid over until the commissioners have a chance to view the site in person. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the County Board choose a date to view this property next to the City’s Public Works shop before any decision is made about the location of a new site for the County’s Albertville shop. At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson suggested that a TCOTW Meeting be scheduled to include the following: 1) View sites for shop; 2) Hwy 36 project (east of 101); 3) Review list of turnback candidates as part of the new CSAH System. On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to schedule a TCOTW Meeting for 5-02-05 at 1:30 P.M., Public Works Building.
Discuss Permits for Spring Load Restrictions. Jerry and Laura Latzig own and run a business that requires delivery of heavy loads of lumber to their site on CSAH 7, about one mile south of CSAH 35. They have been in this business for over 20 years and try to get all the lumber in before spring restrictions go into effect, but this year the orders have been delayed and shipment has been slow. They were unable to get all their loads even though they were ordered early. They were of the understanding that this road was built to 9-ton back in 1964 and would like permission to have their remaining loads delivered during restrictions. J. Latzig said that about three loads/week are to be expected, however, there is still unavailability for some of the ordered supplies. A full load is nine tons, but it could be lightened to seven tons. Five tons is pretty much the weight of the truck and is non-workable. Mattson said that this is the area where Wright County has detoured traffic from a 7-ton road to a 5-ton road and he would like to have a waiver issued for detoured traffic. CSAH 7 is scheduled to be reclaimed and overlaid in 2006 to a 9-ton, or at the very least, to a 7-ton. Meyer said that even if allowance is made for 7-ton loads, these loads of lumber are closer to 9-ton. Latzig expressed his concern for the 22 people that work for him that will be affected if the lumber is not delivered. He is expecting about a dozen more loads. An order that used to take 1 2 months now takes about 3 4 months, and you have to take it when you can get it. He only wants to haul on the one-mile stretch south of CSAH 35. CSAH 7 north of CSAH 35 is already rated at 7-ton. Russek expressed his concern for the hardship on this business, but Meyer said that he is hesitant to make exceptions as more requests are sure to follow. Mattson reiterated his displeasure with the rerouting of traffic from a 7-ton to a 5-ton and doesn’t believe that it is fair to ticket overweight vehicles for following a detour route. Heeter expressed her desire to figure out a way to allow for these few overweight deliveries still to come. Sawatzke asked that this one-mile portion of road be checked to see if it was or could be rated as a 7-ton. Hawkins returned to the meeting with records showing that portions of that stretch (one mile going south on CSAH 7 from CSAH 35) are in the 9-10 ton range, with a couple of areas just under 7-ton. Fingalson said that he would take a look at this and work with the Latzigs to figure out a solution. He also thanked Mattson for the information that the detour has no warning signs about the drop from 7-ton to 5-ton. Detours are typically done in the summer months when there are no restrictions, so the advance warning signs were overlooked for this detour. Steps will be taken to resolve this issue. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Fingalson research the history of the road rating for CSAH 7 and work with the Latzigs and the Sheriff’s Department to find a solution to allow for 7-ton loads to be delivered to their place of business.
Discuss Delano Shop Options. Russek said that he had been approached by an individual interested in purchasing the Delano Shop property. Even if Wright County decides to build a new shop in the Delano area, it won’t be on that site. Currently, salt and sand are stored there so an alternate location would have to be found for that. Russek asked Fingalson to see what could be worked out with the City or Township for sand/salt storage before a decision is made to put this out for bids. Fingalson will keep the Board informed. RECOMMENDATION: Have Fingalson and Meyer check for loading site options, so that this property can be sold and put back on the tax rolls.
Review Official Mapping Ordinance. Asleson said that the County Board authorized the drafting of an official mapping ordinance in March 2003. After some preliminary work, he met with Township officials and in December 2003 he met with State officials and Mn/DOT personnel. A concern at that time was that the County might get in the position of trying to condemn property in Mn/DOT’s jurisdiction, a concern that is not directly addressed by statute. It might also be hard to get permission from a judge to condemn property if the project is still 10 years out. He would like to get a general ordinance in place. A generic ordinance would be good for any public facility and then one could be drafted that is more specific to the Highway 55 corridor. Asleson would like to make a few changes in the draft he has and then circulate it with some other county departments, such as Planning & Zoning, Surveyor’s, and Attorney’s Departments. This will need to deal not only with buildings, but also with land uses. This ordinance would be just for Townships, but it could be forwarded to the Cities as a template for them to use. Some Cities might already have some type of ordinance in place. Asleson said that one of the best results of having an ordinance is that it acts as an informational tool to people who own property near the corridor. Landowners within a certain distance of this corridor would have to be officially notified of this ordinance. He will share his draft with Fingalson before sending it to Mn/DOT. RECOMMENDATION: None at this time. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, including the recommendations and corrections, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. (End of TCOTW Minutes)
Tracy Janikula, Feedlot Administrator, requested authorization to hire a contractor/excavator to clean a bison feedlot with the cost being assessed back to the property owner. This could possibly include temporarily housing the bison at another location. Janikula said the property is located in Franklin Township (north of Delano) and involves buffalo owned by Daniel Tapio. The PCA has been involved since 1999. The Tapio’s asked for a feedlot application in 1999 and it was received in 2000. That was the same Summer the bison were taken over by the County and Humane Society for a brief period of time due to court action. Tapio received a notice of violation in April 2002 and did not respond. An interim feedlot permit was received in April 2003 and Tapio did not comply. An interim feedlot permit was issued in 2004 requiring Tapio to put up a fence for manure removal and he did not comply. An administrative penalty order was issued in November 2004 by the court and there was no response. Tapio is supposed to be submitting and following a manure management plan. The State will not assist financially with cleanup, as they do not have a means to assess the costs back to the property owner. The County can assess costs through property taxes. Copies of estimates for cleanout were distributed: Derek Nikko Excavating, Inc. ($18,980), Burns Excavating ($38,750), Crop Fertilizer Services ($43,200). The two higher estimates include removal of the manure and spreading, whereas the estimate from Nikko Excavating includes removal and stockpiling. It is hoped that the County can come to agreement with Tapio and his mother (owner of the property) to have these costs assessed on the property taxes. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the court has an order for Tapio to clean up the property which has not been done. One option would be to bring him to court and find him in contempt, which would result in jail time and penalties. However, there would still be the unresolved issue of property cleanup. As long as the estimates are under $50,000, competitive bidding is not required. If the Board gave authority to proceed, the costs could be assessed back if consent is received from the Tapio’s. Otherwise, the issue would come back to the Board and action would be taken to order the Tapio’s to clean up the property. Janikula said the current administrative penalty order of $7,187 has not been paid and the State will have to collect this amount. It is unknown whether the fence will be in disrepair when the manure has been removed. The estimate from Burns Excavating includes fence repair. Janikula said that is why they are unsure whether the buffalo will need to be housed elsewhere during cleanup. The size of the pen is over 4000 yards so it will take approximately 400 dump truck loads to remove the manure. One of the concerns the PCA has is what will happen after cleanup. She hopes that permits will place a cap on the number of animals allowed. Asleson said that if the Tapio’s do not agree to the proposal, the issue will be brought back before the Board. Sawatzke moved to authorize the County Attorney’s Office and Planning & Zoning to accept the estimate from Derek Nikko Excavating, Inc. ($18,980) and move forward with the proposal to remedy the situation. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a Public Hearing for 5-10-05 at 9:30 A.M. for a variance request to the Feedlot Ordinance as requested by George and Kay Bakeberg.
Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said when the mileage reimbursement rate was set for 2005 at $.39/mile, it was set lower than the Federal reimbursement rate. He said a number of employees use their own vehicles on a daily basis for County work. Norman proposed increasing the rate to $.405/mile. The Auditor has suggested that if the Board makes a change, to include authorizing changing to whatever the Federal rate allows in the future. The rate would then not require Board action. Heeter supported the request for an increase and said that the Board could always lower the rate if desired. She felt the Federal rate included both mileage and wear and tear on a vehicle. Sawatzke suggested that if the rate were increased, it be done July 1st so that claims are not submitted at different rates. Sawatzke moved to establish the mileage reimbursement rate at $.405 effective 7-01-05, seconded by Russek. Discussion followed on the Federal reimbursement rate. Norman said the County generally receives notice of what the Federal rate will be prior to December 1st. It was the consensus that prior to discussing the rate for 2006, research should be completed on how the Federal rate is set and whether it changes during the year. The motion carried 5-0.
Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, asked that the Board review the procedure for the Comprehensive Plan, as funds have been allocated for this project. He suggested that if anything is completed this year, that the NE corner of the County (Monticello, Buffalo, Rockford and eastward) be concentrated on first. Salkowski said he learned some things at a conference he recently attended on county planning possibilities, but this would require the cooperation of all cities and townships involved. Transportation planning would need to be included and school districts should be involved more. He said all government services provided by any local unit of government are affected by growth. He referenced a recent newspaper article highlighting Pelican Lake. Salkowski said this is an opportunity to save this massive Lake’s eco system in the midst of suburban growth. The DNR and Rockford Township are also working on planning issues. If appropriate, he would have staff start drafting an RFP to discuss in Committee. Eichelberg said that in previous discussions, it was felt that the RFP should include both the entire County and the NE portion. Salkowski said every city and township has issues that need to be addressed. However, the amount allocated would not cover the entire County. His suggestion was to use the NE portion as a model to apply County wide. He said Wright County will face the brunt of metro growth for years to come and it is important to save ag and preserve rural areas. He felt that due to the planning efforts of the past 30 years, Wright County has become one of the most desirable counties. Heeter said that $50,000 was earmarked for this process at the Budget Committee Of The Whole. Silver Creek and Corinna Townships will lobby to be the first to be reviewed. She supported doing the entire County but was unsure how that could be done both financially and politically. She felt the high growth area was where the need was (NE portion). Sawatzke moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole for 5-10-05 at 11:00 A.M., seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Consent Agenda Item C1, “Authorize Attendance Of Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, At NACo Annual Conference, July 18-20, 2005” was moved to discuss with Items For Consideration #2, “NACO Conference, July 17-19, 2005.” The NACo Conference will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii. Fingalson said he will be in Hawaii to attend the NACE Board of Directors Meetings being held July 16th & 17th. As in previous years, NACE pays for Fingalson’s flight. Fingalson asked for two nights lodging and conference fees to attend the NACo Conference to serve as a voting delegate for Wright County. Also discussed was attendance by the County Board at the NACo Conference. Sawatzke said both for the County Board and Fingalson, he felt NACo was sending a bad message to taxpayers to fund attendance at the conference in Hawaii. There were many places to hold the conference in the contiguous 48 States. Sawatzke would not vote for anyone to attend the conference. Fingalson understood Sawatzke’s protest. He said hotel rates are lower than conferences he attended in Phoenix and Chicago and that rates would be approximately $150/night. Eichelberg referenced the service years of Russek, Sawatzke and Mattson on the County Board. Up to this point, he assumed they had chosen not to attend the NACo Conference. Sawatzke said he attended one in the Twin Cities area. Eichelberg said that had been Sawatzke’s choice. When Eichelberg was elected to the Board, he said he spent the first couple of years learning. During this time, there was a National and State deficit. Eichelberg said that Russek, Sawatzke and Mattson made the choice that no one from the Board would attend the NACo Conference. He did not have that choice as an elected official and did not feel that was right. He referenced the recent AMC Conference where he said some Board members attended only the general session and one workshop. Eichelberg said he attends many of the workshops and stays overnight as he attends the meetings. Mattson said taxpayers elect Commissioners to represent them on County business. He said he gained more knowledge by reading publications by AMC, NACo and County government. Fingalson questioned whether Mattson saw any benefit in networking with other counties at these meetings that have similar types of problems. Fingalson has found this invaluable through the years and felt it would be difficult to do their job without networking. Sawatzke responded to Eichelberg that the Board has both approved and denied attendance at the NACo Conference in the past, due to varied reasons. He referenced past attendance by Jude in Washington and Atlanta and also approvals granted for Fingalson to attend conferences. When asked, Norman said he had not attended the NACo Conference for 12 years. Sawatzke said the location of this year’s conference bothers him and did not feel taxpayers would support this if asked. Fingalson said if you only asked that question to taxpayers, they may not. If you pointed out what may be gained by attending the conference, the response may be different. He did not see the value in protesting the location as it was not the County’s decision on where the NACo Conference would be held. Fingalson said he would be in Hawaii anyway attending the NACE Board of Directors Meetings and he felt it would be beneficial to serve as a voting delegate for the County and bring back information. Wright County has three voting delegates. Fingalson noted that he will be the only County Highway Engineer not attending the Washington Fly In that is part of a corridor coalition. Heeter felt there was great value in networking at these meetings. She referenced a comment made by the Planning & Zoning Administrator earlier in today’s meeting indicating that he learned about a new possibility for Planning & Zoning by attending a conference. She felt staff needed to go outside of the Wright County area to observe what others are doing. Although attendance in Hawaii does not look good, the County did not choose the location. She thought the decision not to allow attendance at the NACo Conference last year by Board members was due to budgets more than anything. She hoped that the County would not get in the mode where attendance at the NACo Conference is disallowed. Heeter could not attend the conference in Hawaii but said she would support someone else on the Board attending. She did not feel the costs were out of line for the Highway Engineer as the airfare is already covered. She understood Sawatzke’s concern on the location. It appeared Commissioner Eichelberg desired to attend but she was unsure if it was included in the budget. Eichelberg said most counties in Minnesota have Board members attend the NACo Conference. Eichelberg questioned payment of NACo dues each year if they did not exercise their delegation voting rights and bring back information. Sawatzke referenced attendance at meetings and said that many Commissioners in the State don’t attend the State National Policy Committee Meeting. Eichelberg said that although attendance at that meeting may be of high importance to Sawatzke, each Commissioner is assigned to various committees and must decide on a personal level what is most important for them to attend. Sawatzke moved to not allow attendance by Wayne Fingalson at the NACo Conference to include two days hotel plus the conference. The motion failed for lack of a second. Eichelberg then moved to authorize two nights lodging and registration for Fingalson at the NACo conference, seconded by Russek. Sawatzke said his vote against the motion would be to send a message to NACo on the location of the conference. The motion carried 4-1 with Sawatzke casting the nay vote. Sawatzke then made a motion to not allow attendance by the County Board or other staff members besides the one approved. The motion was seconded by Russek. Sawatzke said if anyone was so inclined, they could attend at their own expense. The motion carried 3-2 with Eichelberg and Heeter casting the nay votes.
Since discussion earlier in today’s meeting, Fingalson checked on the speed zoning request for CSAH 17. Mn/DOT did perform a speed zone check on CSAH 17 last year as part of a project in Delano. The results were received in January reflecting that there was no change due to the signing in the area.
On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to authorize attendance at the AMC Training, “Building Foundations-Making Solid Land Use Decisions.”
Russek moved to cancel the 5-31-05 County Board Meeting due to the occurrence of five Tuesdays in May. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0.
Heeter said the County Board was recently honored with a plaque at the Duck’s Unlimited Banquet for their assistance in acquiring 290 acres on Pelican Lake by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Special thanks was extended to Sawatzke for his efforts.
Heeter provided an update on MEADA activities. There are now MEADA groups in Delano, Rockford, Monticello and Cokato. The group recently hosted presentations by David Parnell in every school district. Parnell was a past meth user and attempted suicide. A MEADA brainstorming session will be held 4-20-05 from 2:00-4:30 P.M. at the Government Center. Members from the public and other initiatives are invited to attend.
Adult/Pediatric Urology $2,085.00
Albertville Body Shop Inc. 683.40
American Bio Medica Corp. 442.50
Ameripride Linen/Apparel 607.00
ANCOM Communications 231.64
Pennie Anderson 125.00
Annandale Advocate 103.00
City Annandale 1,150.00
APEC Industrial Sales/Serv. 453.18
Aramark Correctional Serv. 5,038.98
Aspen Equipment Co. 141.24
AT & T 164.70
Automatic Garage Door/Firepl 313.54
B & D Plumbing & Heating 826.00
Joe Backes 198.12
George Bakeberg 513.88
Lawrence Bauman 417.86
Blaine Lock & Safe Inc. 137.50
BLM Technologies Inc. 215.00
Bogart Pederson & Assoc. 1,445.00
BP Amoco 732.11
Buffalo Cleaners/Launderers 1,995.81
Buffalo Clinic 500.00
Buffalo Collision Repair 486.00
Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt. Comm. 122.12
City Buffalo 22,827.48
Burdas Towing 130.06
Tim Cameron 125.00
CDW Government Inc. 214.31
Center Point Energy 10,753.99
Climate Air 1,247.95
CNH Capital 208.64
Cub Pharmacy 1,438.86
Defensive Edge Trng./Cons. 900.00
Delano Rental Inc. 1,139.99
Dental Care Assoc. of Buff. 800.00
Dept. of Public Safety 120.00
DLT Solutions 336.00
Jessica Dupre 360.87
Enterprise Dispatch 123.88
David Epple and Son Inc. 16,626.00
Farm-Rite Equipment Inc. 3,307.78
Force America Inc. 280.54
Franklin Township 186.25
Gateway Companies Inc. 2,669.00
Todd Gau 242.19
Raymond Glunz 200.00
Gould Bros. Chev-Olds 239.63
Greenview Inc. 480.14
H & H Sport Shop Inc. 154.00
Hartman & Hallet Interpreters 265.00
Karla Heeter 260.13
Hennepin Co. Treasurer 3,080.00
Herald Journal Publishing 505.24
Robert Hiivala 142.93
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 3,066.20
Idexx Laboratories Inc. 831.40
Interstate Battery Sys. of Mpls. 693.59
Kandiyohi Co. Sheriffs Dept. 4,656.60
Klatt True Value Electric 198.59
Greg Kramber 100.23
Kramers Hardware 237.97
Kustom Signals Inc. 301.38
Lake Superior College 325.00
Lakedale Telephone Co. 397.04
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,169.17
M-R Sign Company Inc. 1,330.96
Marco Business Products 2,011.68
Marks Standard Parts 2,692.87
MASYS Corporation 2,628.87
Richard Mattson 423.44
The Metro Group Inc. 1,945.76
Midland Corp. Benefits SVC 750.00
Midway Iron & Metal Co. Inc. 131.36
MN Alcohol Traffic Safety 548.00
MN Counties Comp. Co-op 27,311.95
MN Counties Ins. Trust 103.00
MN Safety Council 195.00
Nextel Communications 633.70
Richard Norman 335.27
Office Depot 1,736.42
David Pederson 268.72
Pts of America LLC 624.00
Redneck Inc. 203.02
John Reid and Assoc. 395.00
Royal Tire Inc. 1,210.95
Ryan Motors Inc. 194.84
SBC Paging 810.82
Sherry Schliesing 307.32
Sharon Schubert 204.36
Craig Simonson 673.60
St. Cloud State University 790.00
City of St. Michael 32,107.50
Superior Ford 79,576.00
Thermal Technologies Inc. 16,237.44
Traffic Technologies LLC 217.26
Unlimited Electric Inc. 838.51
Videx Inc. 106.00
Waste Management TC West 410.49
Gordon Weber 404.60
W. Met. Buick-Pontiac-GMC 2,078.82
Wright Co. Auditor-Treas. 1,081.58
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 22,557.51
Wright Co. Journal Press 233.74
Xcel Energy 133.89
42 Payments less than $100 1,885.92
Final total $315,939.07
The meeting adjourned at 11:50 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal May 9, 2005