Wright County Board Minutes

April 26, 2005

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.

Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 4-19-05, seconded by Heeter, carried 4-0. Russek abstained from voting on the minutes as he was not present at the last County Board Meeting.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #4, “Set Deferred Compensation Committee Meeting” (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #4, “Cancel 4-27-05 Building Committee Meeting” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:


1. Performance Appraisals: M. Woodford, P&Z; J. Gutnecht, L. Schallock, Recorder; J. Brown, Sher.

2. Claim, MCIT, $2,500, Deductible, Appeal Of Planning Commission Decision.

3. Claim, MCIT, Deductible, Schneider v. Wright.


1. Approve Abatement, PID #’s 118-089-000020, 118-089-000030, 118-089-000040, Pheasant Ridge 5th Assoc. (Otsego City).

2. Approve Abatement, PID #210-000-161400 and 210-000-161300, Munstenteiger Farms (Maple Lake Twp.).


1. Approve Tobacco License For Cokato Lake Campground (Cokato Twp.).


1. Approve Sentence To Service Contract For The Biennium July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2007.

At the request of Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, Sawatzke moved to set a Deferred Compensation Committee Meeting for 5-03-05 at 8:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried unanimously.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, introduced discussion on a tax forfeit parcel (#205-000-093400) in Cokato Township. The parcel is located 3/4 mile west of CSAH 3 on the north side of CR 100. The lot is 1/2 acre in size and was split from another parcel sometime in the 1910’s or 1920’s. At that time, there was no address of the person that retained the parcel when the remainder was deeded away. Therefore, no tax statements were sent for decades. The Auditor identified this as an omitted parcel in the early 1990’s. It was placed into the tax system but statements were not mailed as there was no property owner known. The property went tax forfeit in 2003 and $1100 in taxes had accumulated. Prior to the 1990’s, taxes were not calculated or collected on this parcel. A map of the area was distributed. Gordon Raisanen owns the property to the north, east and a thin strip on the west of the tax forfeit parcel. The County and Raisanen have discussed this parcel and whether the County went through the proper steps for forfeiture. The Raisanen family has farmed the tax forfeit land for many years. Asleson said the Raisanen family would have a fairly good claim for adverse possession to ownership of the parcel. With regard to serving the tax forfeiture notice, the County is held to a higher standard of service if there is a building located on the property. The parcel was listed on the public sale list at one point but pulled after the Raisanen’s contacted the County. The Raisanen’s met with the Auditor and proposed a private sale under the provision that notice only needs to be provided to adjoining property owners. In this situation, the Raisanen’s are the only adjoining property owners. This provision can be used liberally to get undersized parcels back on the tax roles. This parcel has been a lot of record for many years and the best use of the land would be to combine it with adjoining land. Asleson said Raisanen offered to purchase the property for $3900, which was the estimated market value at the time of forfeiture. The market value is not updated when the property goes tax forfeit. Before the County can sell the parcel by public or private sale, there has to be an appraised value set by the Board (minimum bid price). The Board can also impose other conditions on the sale. Russek felt this was a valuable piece of property as a building entitlement can go along with it. The entitlement could be moved to anywhere on Raisanen’s adjacent property. Sawatzke said that the value of the property with a building entitlement is far greater than that of a 1/2 acre of crop land.

Gordon Raisanen owns 140 acres of land. He sketched a layout of the land reflecting the farm that his parents had owned since 1957. He first learned about the tax forfeit parcel through one of the Township officials’ family members, who indicated that the land was for sale. Raisanen said his family has farmed this tract of land for over 40 years and thought they owned it. He distributed copies of tax judgement books from the Auditor’s Office that reflect the owner of the parcel as Matti Mattila. A handwritten notation was made indicating that the tax statement was not to be mailed as it was a lost parcel from the early 1900’s. The total delinquent taxes are $1118.96 (half of which are penalties). Raisanen said he would have paid the taxes if he had known they were delinquent. He did not feel a deputy had posted any kind of notice as he walks or bikes that area each day. From his standpoint, he felt they owned the property and that they had a very strong claim for adverse possession.

Sawatzke said although there is a building entitlement with the property, the strip of land is very small and not a building lot. He felt the acreage should not have an entitlement and should be absorbed into Raisanen’s acreage. This would clear up what Raisanen thought he owned in the first place, which was farm land. Raisanen would then pay what farm land was worth. Asleson said that was proposed to Raisanen but that was not what Raisanen was interested in at this time, as the parcel is a lot of record. With regard to the delinquent taxes, the property owners at the time of forfeiture have the ability to repurchase the property by paying the taxes, penalties and interest. In 2003 when Raisanen found out about the property, he could have brought an adverse possession claim into court. Due to Auditor’s Office delays (short staffed on tax forfeiture matters), there is the possibility that the property could have been repurchased by paying these back taxes. Raisanen said as the lot sits now, it could not be built upon. However, he could add additional acreage to make it pass building requirements. He requested that the Board consider granting it back for whatever value is determined. He plans to grow crops but was unsure of future use. Sawatzke said if it were farmland, it was worth the $1100. However, with a building entitlement it may be worth $40,000. Even though Raisanen had farmed the land for many years, the property is owned by the government. Sawatzke said government does not sell anyone else a piece of property for 3-4% of its value and that the Board has been consistent in that regard. He did not feel Raisanen should capitalize on the situation.

Asleson indicated that the offer made by Raisanen of $3900 was with the building entitlement attached. It is assumed that they would be unwilling to pay that price without the entitlement. If the Board decided to attach that condition, they would need to decide what 4/10 of an acre was worth. The Board discussed options of how to proceed. Sawatzke moved to sell the property by private sale at a price of $1000 to the surrounding property owner, not as a building entitlement but to be absorbed into the farm as if it never was broken off in the first place. The motion was amended to a sale price of $1100 and was seconded by Russek. Raisanen inquired whether the Board would consider adding a component to allow the purchase with a building entitlement. Sawatzke said although they could do that, he presumed the area was zoned ag in the Land Use Plan which calls for one building site per 40 acres. He preferred to correct the situation to adhere to the Land Use Plan. Raisanen said this lot has been there since the early 1900’s and that they should at least be given the option. He would have to decide whether what was being offered was fair or whether other alternatives should be pursued. Russek suggested that the motion stand and Raisanen could counter offer if desired. Sawatzke said if this parcel is low land, granting the entitlement would take an unusual situation and give it something it doesn’t currently have. Russek said this was a lot of record for land and the Ordinance allows for that. In the event of a private sale, notice is only provided to owners of adjacent land. For tax forfeit purposes, a parcel separated from the subject parcel by a public roadway is not considered an adjacent parcel. There is a provision to follow if the property is not sold after a private sale. Asleson said that the motion as it stands does not limit the options. Sawatzke restated that the motion is to sell the property for $1100 without the entitlement. This condition would apply to both private or public sales. The motion carried 5-0.

Mattson provided a Joint Ditch 15 report. The beaver were trapped by Swanson Brothers. There are areas which may need clean out. The original beaver dam is in the City of Cokato which is still Joint Ditch 15. Mattson asked that a tour of the area be scheduled and that quotes be obtained for clean out. Heeter moved to schedule a tour of Joint Ditch 15 by Mattson and Russek on 5-18-05 at 9:00 A.M. Hiivala will also attend. They will meet in Cokato. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested approval to expend an estimated $6900 from the Campground Improvement Fund to blacktop the back camping loop at Schroeder Park. The balance in the Campground Improvement Fund is $27,000. This request was approved by the Parks Commission. Last year work was completed on the entrance road, septic system and dump station. The camping fees were also increased and revenues have been placed in the Campground Fund. Mattice said the public has been receptive as the funds are being used to make improvements. Eichelberg moved to approve the request, seconded by Sawatzke, carried unanimously.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the County Board has held several closed sessions to discuss the possible purchase price of Parcel #212-000-334300, which is 27.6 acres of land adjacent to the Wright County Fairgrounds. After the closed session last Tuesday, he conveyed the Board’s acceptance of the current asking price of $496,000. Today, he presented a purchase agreement for the County’s approval. Statute requires approval of the purchase at an open meeting. The transaction has a closing date of 10-31-05 and taxes will be prorated. An addendum was offered by the sellers for future rental of the property for farming purposes. The County has the option of countering or not accepting this addendum. The sellers will continue to farm the acreage this year. Mattson said his initial thought on purchasing this property was that the selling price was too high but changed his mind when he found out that the property had an easement through the Fairgrounds. He did not see this land as being a future building site for the fairgrounds. He would like to see a County Fair pay for itself. Heeter said the Fair Board would like to use 2-3 acres of land for excess parking. Discussion followed on future rental of the property. The consensus was that the addendum would not be accepted and that the County would probably accept bids for rental as they do with other properties. Asleson said the Board should revisit this issue at some point so the Fair Board knows use of the land for 2006 and beyond. This year, with the purchase agreement pending, the land will not be available for Fair parking. Sawatzke questioned what condition the land will be in at the end of the growing season. Dave Perry, Coldwell Bankers (representing the Gruenhagens) said that the property would be plowed back at the end of the season. Heeter moved to approve the purchase agreement for Parcel #212-000-334300, seconded by Russek. It was clarified that the addendum is not included and will be removed. The motion and second were amended to include authorizing the Board Chair’s signature on the agreement. The motion carried 5-0.

Relating to the earlier discussion on the tax forfeit parcel in Cokato Township, Sawatzke asked Perry what land values would be in the southwestern portion of the County. Perry responded that land values have gone up considerably in the last few years. Small parcels have increased in demand. He indicated that $40,000 on a 2.5-3.0 acre buildable lot was consistent with values 2-3 years ago. Now the values have increased to the $60,000-$70,000 range for 2.5 acres. A building entitlement is valued at $40,000-$50,000 and then approximately $10,000/acre should be added after the entitlement.

Asleson requested approval to continue consultations with Kurt Deter of Rinke Noonan Law Firm on Ditch 33. On April 20th, Commissioner Sawatzke and staff met with the City of Monticello engineer on the Carlisle Village plan. This is a new development that has a ditch running through it. He said the City will present a request to the County Board to outlet storm water from Carlisle Village into Ditch 33 and to take over a portion of Ditch 33 that runs through the new development. A site visit has been scheduled for May 5th (Saxton, Asleson, Sawatzke and Hiivala). Asleson encouraged other Board members to attend as well. His consultations with Deter will confirm that the County is proceeding under the correct statutes and doing what is best for the residents on the Ditch outside of the development. Sawatzke moved to authorize the Attorney’s Office to utilize Rinke-Noonan for this purpose, seconded by Russek. It was noted that the County Board may attend the May 5th meeting at Carlisle Village at 12:00 P.M. The motion carried 5-0.

A Detention Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 4-19-05. The following correction was made to the minutes: page 2, Item IX, 2nd to last sentence, change from “...at the April 19, 2005 Board Meeting” to “...at the April 26, 2005 Board Meeting.” Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Heeter, carried 4-0. Russek abstained from the motion as he was not present at the meeting.

Number of Beds/Double Bunking. Taylor reviewed a handout on number of beds by inmate classification and a sketch of a layout option for a 420 bed Jail with expansion space for an additional 240 bed pod for a total of 660 beds. He stated 420 is a more efficient number of beds to configure with a direct supervision ratio of 60/1. Support services (laundry, kitchen, etc) would be sized to support future expansion to 660 beds. It was clarified this was only an example for explanation purposes and that Wright County’s specific design and layout would be determined through the programming process which will be the next phase of the project.

Staffing Levels. Taylor presented a sample staffing analysis showing how staffing needs can be calculated according to formula. Staffing analysis would be part of the programming phase.

Construction Costs/Other Costs

Operational Savings. Revised budget figures were presented and reviewed. Changes reflect undefined owner development costs not shown in the original budget (commissioning, construction management, owner representative, bid printing, risk insurance, etc.), as well as increased number of cells to 240 and a more accurate representation of the Sheriff Department’s projected growth and space needs.

Number of Courtrooms. There was brief discussion on the number of current and future courtrooms needed. Eichelberg felt more definitive cost figures are needed in order to make a decision regarding whether Courts should be relocated at the same time a new Jail is constructed versus remodeling costs to build additional Courts at the Government Center for a temporary period of time. Sawatzke requested information on the square footage of the current Sheriff Department space also be provided. Sawatzke mentioned being contacted regarding potential sale of property adjacent to the Government Center and felt it should at least be investigated for space needs far in the future. There was general consensus for DLR Group to proceed with cost figures for the Courts area.

Site Selection. The Board took action at the March 29, 2005 Board Meeting to approve the land north of the Public Works facility as the future Jail site. Crump stated there are three potential construction sites, with the specific location to be determined during the schematic design phase. He stated the time line provides for gravel to be excavated from the selected site over the summer of 2006.

Schedule. The time line was discussed primarily in conjunction with the programming phase of the Jail project and obtaining additional cost information on moving Courts. The time line calls for construction to begin May, 2007 with occupancy in November, 2009.

Review Public Input Materials. Any additional comments or revisions of the mailer should be e-mailed to Ed Muehlberg, DLR Group. A final copy of the mailer and matching table top display will be brought to the next meeting.

Programming/Design - DLR Proposal. Crump presented a proposal from DLR Group to continue with the programming phase of the new Jail at a fee of $34,300. There was discussion clarifying there would be an interview process for selection of the architect for the project. Crump and Taylor left the meeting for discussion to continue regarding DLR’s qualifications to conduct the programming phase. It was the general consensus of the Committee for Torfin/Miller to research programming qualifications and fees of other potential consultants in addition to DLR Group, and make a recommendation at the April 26, 2005 Board Meeting. Norman stated it is his intent to recommend a Building Committee Of The Whole be set to discuss the RFP process for selection of the architect and presentation on use of a construction manager versus general contractor.

Next Steps/Meeting. Torfin/Miller will make a recommendation regarding DLR Group’s programming/design proposal at the next Board Meeting. The next meeting date will also be set at the Board Meeting. (End of Detention Minutes)

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 5-17-05 at 1:00 P.M. The Agenda will include: 1) Construction Manager v. General Contractor; 2) Architectural Services RFP; 3) AIA Contract; 4) Owner Representative; and 5) Jail Programming.

Russek provided an update on the Aggregate Mining Conference he attended last Monday and Tuesday in St. Cloud. Some of the discussion topics included reclamation, non-conforming mines, and the three types of stones mined (sedimentary, melamorphic, and igneous). The average person uses 32,000 lbs. of salt and 67,000 lbs. of aggregate material in their life. This was provided as an informational item.

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Heeter, all voted to cancel the Building Committee Meeting scheduled for 4-27-05.

May 1st is Law Library Day. The Wright County Law Library will hold an Open House on Monday, May 2nd from 9:00 A.M.-3:00 P.M. The public is invited to attend.

Bills Approved

Advanced Graphic Sys. Inc. $6,318.45

APCO International Inc. 259.00

Aramark Correctional Serv. 5,312.96

B & D Plumbing/Heating 1,552.00

Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt. Comm. 418.00

Josephine Carpenter 160.11

Climate Air 1,575.17

CPS Technology Solutions 195.00

CSI Ergonomics 134.19

Carter Diers 455.52

Ralph Douglas 478.00

ESRI 3,039.00

Exxon Mobil 175.74

Tom Feddema 193.44

Gordys Foods 238.39

Gould Bros Chev-Olds. 391.26

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 717.81

Jerrys Towing & Repair 117.15

Junction Towing & Auto Repair 191.70

Keeprs Inc. 180.95

KNR Communications Serv. 280.50

LaPlant Demo Inc. 508.25

Pamela Loch 260.21

Marco Bus. Products 295.11

Martin-McAllisters Cons. 350.00

The Metro Group Inc. 1,080.98

Millers Sewage Treatment Sol. 450.00

Minnesota Elevator Inc. 2,979.10

Miracle Recreation Equip. 41,996.19

MN Assn. of Co. Probation Of 350.00

MN Hwy. Safety/Research 873.00

Nat’l Business Systems Inc. 19,833.50

New Atlanta Communication 280.00

Office Depot 1,828.14

Pakor Inc. 340.63

Performance Office Papers 541.45

Phillips 66 Quick Shop-Delano 215.76

PMI Computer Supplies 214.74

Qwest 1,127.82

Recall Document Mngmt. Serv. 241.15

RS Eden 8,318.75

Jack Russek 194.18

Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge 941.44

Scharber & Sons Inc. 1,155.52

Shell Fleet Plus 2,230.01

Sprint-Local Telecom Div. 187.36

St. Cloud Fire Equip. Inc. 535.23

St. Michael Vet Clinic 265.29

State of MN-Info Tech Div. 118.18

Super Express 134.19

Superior Ford 19,894.00

William Swing 112.71

Total Printing 311.78

Varner Sheet Metal Inc. 140.00

Vibes Technologies Inc. 155.00

West Payment Center 2,016.71

Wright Hennepin Electric 281.10

22 Payments less than $100 934.80

Final total $134,076.62

The meeting adjourned at 10:14 A.M.

Published in the Herald Journal May 16, 2005