Wright County Board Minutes

July 19, 2005

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

Russek said he would not vote on the 7-12-05 Board Minutes as he was not present for the entire meeting. Heeter said she would also abstain from the vote as she did not receive her Board packet until this morning and the minutes were not included. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 7-12-05, seconded by Sawatzke. Mattson extended appreciation to Jay Wittstock, Surveyor, for the presentation made at the Township Association Meeting. The motion carried 3-0 with Heeter and Russek abstaining.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #6, “Set Jail Programming Meeting” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried unanimously.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: J. Russell, T. Waldron, Hwy.; P. Mackie, C. Torkelson, Sheriff.

2. Claim, DLR Group, $10,781.77.

3. Claim, Frank Madden & Associates, $269.64.

4. O/T Report, Period Ending 7-01-05.


1. July Park Commission Minutes.

Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, reviewed the 2004 population and household estimates from the State Demographer. Summaries for 2003 and 2004 population estimates were distributed for comparison purposes. Wright County’s population increased by approximately 4000 during 2004 to 106,827. Russek questioned the figures for Franklin Township indicating a decrease in population (2717 in 2003 to 2711 in 2004). Although area was lost due to annexation, he did not feel this could be accurate with the growth that has occurred. Heeter moved to acknowledge receipt of the 2004 population and household estimates from the State Demographer, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

The claims listing was reviewed. Hiivala said the amount paid in Road & Bridge claims was significant because of two contract payments totaling about $800,000. Russek noted the expenditures for jail medical, but said the County is required to provide care for inmates. On a motion by Heeter, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Chuck Davis, Environmental Health Officer, presented a request to not require an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) on the 73-acre gravel mining operation by Buffalo Bituminous, located in the SE 1/4 of Section 5 (Buffalo Twp.). As the mining project encompasses more than 40 acres, a mandatory EAW (Environmental Assessment Worksheet) was required by State law. A copy of the EAW was available for public review at the Buffalo Library and P&Z Office. Notice of the comment period was placed in the Wright County Journal Press and EQB Monitor, with little response received. One letter was received from an attorney representing landowners who were concerned with property values. Davis said land value is not in the purview of the EAW or part of the process. Mattson previously owned property in Buffalo which contained two 500-gallon fuel tanks containing a hairline leak. It was determined that cleanup was required for 150 cu. yards of clay as it was felt the soil was saturated. Mattson referenced the clay bottoms and liners of gravel pits and landfills that are supposed to prevent leaks. He could not correlate why he had to perform cleanup 10-15 feet deep when the clay liner suffices for gravel pits and landfills. He understood why people would request an EIS. Davis said there are no guarantees with the liners but the best method available is selected. A liner is required for a temporary bituminous plant. Planning & Zoning verifies this and EPA checks for omissions. The EAW looks at the general aspects of an area and precautions are taken to avoid problems. Mattson said he would not vote against the request for Buffalo Bituminous as work has already commenced at the site. However, he did vote against the negative declaration for an EIS for Lakes Sylvia and John presented several weeks ago to the Board. Russek said gravel must be mined in its location and it would be hard not to issue permits. Russek moved to support the findings and recommendation not to require an EIS, seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke pointed out that no one from the public was present to speak on the need for an EIS. One letter was received. He said it was not uncommon for people to request an EIS in more environmentally critical areas. The motion carried 5-0.

A Labor/Management Loss Control Meeting was held on 7-13-05. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

Overview of the 2004 Wright County Safety Report by Special Projects Administrator Pat Melvin. Melvin distributed and reviewed the Wright County Risk Management Summary of Accident/Incident Reports and First Reports of Injury for 2004. The figures reflect the total number of reports completed regardless of whether the injury or incident resulted in a claim. A more detailed listing of First Reports of Injury identifying the type of injury was distributed and discussed. It was noted that for 16 of the 43 First Reports of Injury filed there was no medical attention, lost time or the claim was denied by Workers Compensation because it was not a work related injury or condition. Helgeson suggested future reports indicate whether an injury for Sheriff’s employees was related to an arrest situation. A Wright County Risk Management Summary of Automobile, Property and Liability Claims for 2004 was distributed and reviewed. Total claim payments for 2004 were as follows: MCIT - $11,778.12 for Expenses, $28,000.00 for Losses; and Wright County Deductible - $14,571.53 for a total cost of $54,349.65. It was noted a number of the claims involved damage to squad cars by deer. Melvin distributed 2005-2006 Wright County Risk Management Goals (attached). Helgeson suggested adding training on lockdown procedures and anthrax as it relates to incoming mail. Camera surveillance and the intercom system were briefly discussed.

Review and Approve the Wright County Hearing Conservation Program. Melvin distributed a copy of the proposed Wright County Hearing Conservation Program which outlines policies and procedures to be followed by employees who are exposed to potentially damaging levels of noise. This is a mandatory requirement in accordance with OSHA Standard on Occupational Noise Exposure, 29 CFR 1910.95. The purpose is to 1) minimize employee exposure to potentially damaging levels of noise; 2) create an on-going process for monitoring and measuring noise levels in the workplace; 3) educate employees on the importance of preserving their hearing; and 4) conduct annual employee hearing tests for those staff covered by the Program and continue to monitor individual hearing losses. Noise level testing that has been conducted to date indicates that some Highway, Surveyor, Parks, and Building Care employees work in positions with noise levels that require them to be in this Program. It was noted responsibility for the Program will change from the Special Projects Administrator to the new Safety Director position once filled. Recommendation: Approve

Safety Concerns. A request has been received to increase the protective footwear reimbursement rate from $100 to $125. Melvin distributed a survey of reimbursement rates of other area counties. Following discussion, Norman suggested reimbursement claims for the past couple years be researched for additional information. Recommendation: Research reimbursement claims for the past two years for discussion at the next meeting to be scheduled on September 14, 2005. (End of Labor/Management Loss Control Minutes)

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the OSA (Office of the State Auditor) performed a random audit of records pertaining to three TIF districts in the City of St. Michael. Pursuant to State law, the findings of the OSA as to possible violation of the State’s TIF laws were forwarded to the County Attorney’s Office for consideration of commencing a civil action against the City. The City notified the County Attorney’s Office prior to receiving the OSA’s Initial Notice of Noncompliance. The Attorney’s Office and County Auditor have taken part in several meetings with the City and/or the OSA to help clarify the facts of the case. Three TIF Districts were identified dating back to the late 1990’s, including J&B Drainage, Business Center, and Countryside Cottages. The three findings outlined in the 4-12-05 letter include:

1). J&B Drainage TIF District: Undocumented Administrative Expenses totaling $13,059 for engineers and consultants in connection with TIF Districts but the records relating to the expenditures were not in the TIF files. The City was able to provide proof of a portion of expenditures and were willing to do additional research. The State acknowledged the proof but maintained the position that funds were spent on costs not authorized by the TIF Act.

2). J&B Drainage TIF District-Unauthorized Expenditure of TIF Bond Proceeds-Withdrawn. In the Initial Notice of Noncompliance, the OSA found the City spent $47,269.99 of bond proceeds on expenditures not authorized by the TIF Act. The City’s response clarified the accounting treatment of the bond issue and the City’s use of tax increment and bond proceeds did not violate the language of the TIF Act. The OSA withdrew this finding.

3). J&B Drainage, Countryside Cottages and Business Center TIF Districts-Unauthorized Retention of Interest Earned on Tax Increment. The OSA found that the City improperly spent $12,953 of interest or investment earnings on or from tax increment. This amount was based, in part, upon a calculation furnished to audit staff by the City. Asleson first learned about this issue before the December, 2004 letter. The City contacted the County indicating records had been sent to the OSA. The Attorney’s Office was asked to meet with the City to be briefed on the situation and became involved as the Statute calls for these types of matters to be referred to the County Attorney. The purpose is to see if there is need for litigation or civil action to recover some of the TIF funds labeled as improperly spent. Additional meetings were held in February and March and were attended by Bob Hiivala, County Auditor/Treasurer, as well. Hiivala provided his perspective of the situation from a public accountant standpoint. The OSA admitted that the errors were technical in matter, not substantive, and it could not be proven that the City spent these funds incorrectly. In late February, the City and County entered into a Memorandum of Understanding where the City paid about $5000 to the County. By Statute, if the City responds quickly and repays TIF Funds improperly spent, they can share in the distribution of those funds (to the City, County and School Districts). As outlined in the findings listed above, Finding 1 remains, Finding 2 was withdrawn, and Finding 3 was left up to the County. The document presented to the Board was the Stipulation for Settlement between the County and City outlining the repayment of $5,282.06 to the County Auditor for undocumented administrative expenses which will be split between the various taxing districts. As to Finding 3, dealing with failure to allocate interest to certain TIF accounts, no repayment of tax increment is required. This was handled during a prior period adjustment with the City making an accounting correction and transferring funds from the general fund to each appropriate TIF account. The Agreement further states that the City and County agree that any alleged TIF law violations in the OSA findings are technical or procedural in nature and not substantive and that no tax increment was spent for inappropriate purposes. The City has agreed to change procedures. The bottom line is this was settled without the need for litigation. The OSA was impressed by the level of cooperation put forth by the City and also that the County Attorney and Auditor and City Attorney became involved early in the process. This was provided as an informational item.

At 9:30 A.M., Mattson closed the bid process for the CSAH 12 Improvements (SP 86-612-16). The Engineer’s estimate is $2.7 million. Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer, said the proposals indicate 90 working days for the project. The schedule is for the first 1.5 miles to be completed this year and the remainder in 2006. The project is split into two years due to the limited number of working days remaining in 2005. Additional work could be completed this year, weather permitting. Hawkins opened and read the bids. He recommended they be brought back for tabulation. Since Federal funding is involved, Mn/DOT must approve the low bidder. This could take several weeks. Sawatzke moved to lay the bids over for staff review, seconded by Russek. At Mattson’s request, Hawkins will provide a breakdown of the bids, reflecting the contractor’s costs associated with the trail. The motion carried 5-0. The bids follow:

Bidder; Acknowledge Addendum; Bid Bond; Bid Amount

Buffalo Bituminous, Inc.; Yes; Yes; $3,062,243.90

Duininck Bros., Inc.; Yes; Yes; $3,911,087.79

Hawkins requested approval of Agreement 05-50 with the City of Cokato for improvements to CSAH 3. The City Council has approved the Agreement. CSAH 53 will become a County road in the future and County State Aid Highway status will be revoked. Russek moved to approve Agreement 05-50, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

Bids were opened at the last County Board Meeting for the PWB ventilation and heating revisions. Hawkins recommended the bids be laid over for one week. The County Engineer will be available at that time to discuss options with the Board. They are also waiting to hear back from M&E Engineering. Russek moved to lay the bids over for one week, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

A Labor/Mgmt. Health Insurance Committee Meeting was held on 7-13-05. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0:

Paul Coglitori and Jeff Berg of B & C Consulting, Inc. reviewed several Internet news articles on health care programs and trends. A double-digit increase in health care costs was predicted in 2004. Increases of 7.5% were realized nationwide and 11% locally. Wright County did not realize an increase. Some factors impacting increases included an aging population, prescription drug utilization, and medical utilization overall. As an approach to offset the rising costs, employers may offer tiered benefit packages with varying co-pays and deductibles. Wellness and employee programs are also being offered as a long-term approach to controlling health care costs. Medica Group Summary Data for the period of 6-01-04 through 5-31-05 was reviewed (attached). Claims for this period are running at 92.05% of premium. Of this, physician and ancillary costs are running at 34.94% of premium. Inpatient hospital was at 13.14% last year, but expenses have run higher this year than last. A schedule was distributed (attached) outlining the time line and process B&C consulting will use to seek Requests For Proposals for health insurance renewal. Medica has developed a three-tiered prescription drug plan for 2006. The plan will offer three co-pays: Generic - $10; Brand Name - $25; and Brand Name, Non-Formulary - $50. Currently, Medica’s prescription drug benefit co-pay is $11 for generic and $26 for Brand Name. The three-tiered plan would offer a 4% savings, while an increase of $5 in office visit co-pays would result in a 2% savings. Currently, many insurance plans cover MRI/CT Scans at 100%. Due to higher utilization, carriers are moving to an 80/20 coverage. More discussion will follow on preventive dental options. Some carriers are willing to quote this piece alone but would rather quote a comprehensive package. Another provider may be able to offer a wider provider base as there are only four dental providers in Wright County. Committee members were provided with information on Fit Choices by Medica, a program which offers fitness, nutrition and life management resources. This program offers a $20 credit on a membership when employees meet the minimum attendance guidelines. A similar program is offered through Syntregy Fitness in Buffalo. Employees can access www.medica.com to obtain information on claims, benefits and health improvement ideas. (End of Labor/Mgmt. Health Insurance Minutes)

A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 7-13-05. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0:

Performance Appraisal, Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator. Based on the reviews of five appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”.

Job Share Request, Kleeberger & Sparrow. (Human Services Board Agenda Item).

(End of Personnel Committee Minutes)

A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 7-13-05. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

City Contract Rates, 2006-2007. The current contracts have rates for 2004 and 2005 of $45.50 and $47.75 respectively. The increases reflect 4.6% in 2004 and 5.0% in 2005. Gary Miller explained the process they use to track expenditures of deputies. Last year, they were $1,500 short from contracts to expenditures. However, some redundancy in service is paid by cities for dispatch and other services. The consensus was to recommend the following rates:

2006: $50.00; 4.7% increase

2007: $52.25; 4.5% increase

(End of Ways & Means Committee Minutes)

Dr. Janis Amatuzio, Wright County Coroner, provided the 2004 Report of the Coroner. Dr. Butch Huston, was introduced as a Forensic Pathologist in the practice. The Statistical Summary for 2004 reflects 279 total deaths in Wright County (235-Natural, 30-Accident, 9-Suicide, 2-Homicide, 1-Undetermined, 2-Other). The focus is on accidental deaths. As Coroner, Amatuzio views death investigation as life investigation. One of her jobs is to provide information on patterns of injury. As the population increases, the number of deaths will also increase. During the past five years, Wright County had no SID’s related deaths. She felt this was due to placing infants on their backs and not placing toys and stuffed animals in the crib with the child. Hospice rates fluctuate, with 67 deaths in 2004. The fluctuation may be due to the number of hospice providers in Wright County. There were 30 accidental deaths in Wright County. Two subdivisions of this are motor vehicle crashes and non-motor vehicle deaths. Of the 8 motor vehicle crash deaths, 2 involved alcohol and the average age was 35. Amatuzio was impressed with the decrease in number of motor vehicle fatalities and said this was due to vehicle design, seat belt use, and roadway design. The number of deaths nationally is decreasing. Amatuzio would like to see speed limits lowered and favored no cell phone use while driving. The majority of fatal crashes are on sunny days and the issue is speed. The most dangerous day to drive was Monday and during times when people were commuting to and from work. Amatuzio pointed out new information provided this year includes a Five-Year Summary of motor vehicle crash fatalities by highway, city, day of week and time of day. This is in an attempt to identify roads which may require review from a safety standpoint. Interstates have proven to be the safest. Highway 12 had 5 fatalities in the five-year period, which is more than any other County road. Monticello had the most fatalities over the five-year period with 11. This includes both the city and township. She felt this was good information to share with the Sheriff Department and public safety. I-94 is not included in this information as the crashes are not necessarily at the exit to Monticello. The problems on I-94 have been seen to the west, near Silver Creek. Drivers lose control and cross the median. In 2004, there were 22 accidental deaths (non motor vehicle) compared with 7 in 2003. The 22 were of the following categories: 8 falls, 7 overdoses, 4 drowning, 2 exsanguination, and 1 blunt force injury. Amatuzio promotes the use of calcium for stronger bones and exercise. There were 9 suicide deaths in 2004 compared with 6 in 2003. The average age of death was 39 and alcohol was involved with 4 cases. There were no deaths under age 21 and no correlation to marriage. Suicide occurred more on weekends. There were a total of 2 homicide cases in 2004 compared to 0 in 2003. Over the five-year period, Amatuzio said the lethal resolution of conflict stays low in Wright County. There was 1 undetermined death and that was of a 2-month old. What this means is that through the autopsy, they were unable to determine whether the death was accidental, natural or suicidal. There were 2 cases involving the investigation of non-human bones (excavated by construction). There were 120 cremation approvals. The Coroner’s Office is required to investigate the deaths of all persons whose bodies are to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea. Funeral homes initiated 117 cremations on cases where the death was natural and the death certificate was signed by another physician. These cases required investigation by the Coroner’s Office. Cremations were authorized on 3 cases which had been already investigated by the Coroner’s Office. Jurisdiction is assumed on all accidental, homicidal and suicidal deaths and on apparent natural deaths of persons who have not seen their primary physician within 90 days of death, who die in the ER and were not personally known by the ER physician, or who are visiting from out of the area. There were 77 cases in 2004 compared to 66 in 2003. Jurisdiction was declined in 202 cases. This occurs when the scene investigation indicates no evidence of foul play, when the deceased has seen the primary physician within 90 days, and when the primary physician is willing to sign the death certificate. There were 52 autopsies in 2004 compared to 37 in 2003. Russek noted that there were no fatalities on Highway 55 during the 5-year period. Amatuzio said the good news is that motor vehicle fatalities are decreasing due to seat belt use, roadway design, and enforcement of speed limits. Heeter felt the Toward Zero Death Initiative has made a difference as well and requested information on meth use as it relates to deaths. Amatuzio said screens are completed on everyone and that an increased number of motor vehicle fatalities was being realized. She will provide information on meth to the Board. Amatuzio said the Sheriff’s Department has been extremely cooperative. Amatuzio was thanked for her report.

Richard Norman, County Coordinator, confirmed the date of 7-26-05 at 11:00 A.M. with representatives of St. Francis to meet on the school property. Heeter moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 7-26-05 at 11:00 A.M., seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0. Asleson will research whether a portion of the meeting can be held as a Closed Session if needed.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve a Charitable Gambling Application, Form LG220, St. Michael/Albertville Rotary Club, Silver Springs Golf Club (Monticello Twp.).

The Board discussed approving the hiring process to commence for positions authorized for July 1, 2005. Norman said counties did not receive any State aid cuts. The two bills of concern did not pass (taxpayer satisfaction survey and hard freeze on levies for budget year 2007). Russek moved to approve the hire process for positions authorized July 1st, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

Norman presented a draft Budget Committee Of The Whole Schedule for review of the 2006 budget. The schedule was developed after review of conflicting dates provided by Department Heads and the County Board. Eichelberg moved to approve the tentative schedule, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Norman was contacted by Jon Crump, DLR, with a request to schedule a JailProgramming Meeting. The suggested dates are August 11 or 12 at 10:00 A.M. Norman was directed to contact DLR to see if either of the following dates would work: August 11th at 1:30 P.M. or August 17th from 9:00 A.M.-12:00 P.M.

Bills Approved

AAA Striping Service Inc.. $101,756.50

Brian Abrahamson 193.05

Advanced Filing Concepts Inc. 178.06

American Bio Medica Corp. 442.50

American Health Care Supply 481.92

Ameripride Linen and Apparel 538.21

Ancom Technical Center 998.00

City Annandale 600.00

Aramark Correctional Serv. 4,931.25

AT & T 594.33

B & B Products-Rigs/Sqaud 140.26

B & D Plumbing/Heating 1,956.00

Bob Barker Co. 138.57

Boyer Truck Parts 194.35

Bristows Kawasaki & Polaris 195.33

Buffalo Bituminous 888,794.95

Buffalo Hospital 8,816.32

Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt.Commer. 3,554.90

Bureau of Crim. Apprehen. 300.00

Tim Cameron 125.00

CDW Government Inc. 113.72

Centra Sota Coop 165.00

Charm-Tex Inc. 148.61

Climate Air 960.00

Cub Foods 2,017.97

Dales Auto Repair/Towing 133.13

Decorative Designs Inc. 184.31

Diamond Mowers Inc. 358.02

John Dirksen 389.98

E-Z Flush 522.60

Eng. Repro Systems 101.00

Ernst Gen. Construction Inc. 225.00

Excel Systems. LLC 12,095.00

Federated Propane 2,028.60

Gopher State One Call 351.20

Greenview Inc. 13,120.80

Hardings Towing 159.75

Denny Hecker’s Monti. Ford 272.52

Henn. Co. Treasurer (ACF 4,675.00

Herald Journal Publishing . 102.84

Hospital Pathology Assoc. 100.00

Intoximeters Inc. 257.65

Junction Towing/Auto Repair 103.31

Klatt True Value Electric 108.57

Cheryl Klinger 100.00

Michael Laurent 113.20

Lawson Products Inc. 363.17

Loberg Electric 172.00

Lunda Construction Inc. 56,240.48

Lundeen Brothers Inc. 13,550.00

Marco Business Products 2,262.15

Martin Marietta Aggregates 403.53

Martin-McAllisters Cons. 700.00

The Metro Group Inc. 6,249.10

The Mobile Washer 117.24

Morrell Towing Inc. 125.14

Morrison Co. Sheriff 1,600.00

Office Depot 3,779.07

Orion Industries Inc. 258.80

Phillips 66 Quick Shop-Delano 109.56

Photo I 994.20

Polaris Sales Inc. 5,500.00

Powerplan OIB 250.46

Tom Praska 288.60

Precision Prints of Wright Co. 299.69

Qwest 6,999.62

Reds Auto Electric 440.90

Royal Tire Inc. 1,414.20

Jack Russek 148.32

Sherry Schliesing 370.50

Sherburne Co.Sheriff 17,685.17

Software House Int’l 256.67

State of MN Intertech Grp. 1,522.04

State of MN Info Tech Div. 360.29

Stationers Inc. 328.96

Streichers 1,112.35

Total Printing 1,328.51

Keith Triplett 135.33

United Locating Services 330.00

Viking Coca Cola Bottling Co. 595.20

The Wall Street Journal 150.52

Waste Management TC West 872.10

Zep Manufacturing Co. 322.66

35 Payments less than $100 1,952.23

Final total $1,183.426.04

The meeting adjourned at 10:20 A.M