Wright County Board Minutes

August 2, 2005

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

Russek moved to approve the minutes of 7-26-05, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #5, “Noise” (Russek); Item For Consid. #6, “Award Contract #0503, CSAH 12, to Buffalo Bituminous, $3,062,243.90” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: T. Decker, R. Erickson, Hwy.; G. Lebovsky, P&Z; K. Clemence, Sher./Cr.

2. Refer HAY Job Evaluation Results For Highway Design Technician Position To Negotiation Committee.

3. Refer Coroner’s Contract To Ways & Means Committee (2006-2008).

4. O/T Report, Period Ending 7-15-05.


1. Approve Abatement, PID#s 118-197-001010, 118-197-001020, 118-197-001030, 118-197-001040, 118-197-002010, 118-197-002020, 118-197-002030, and 118-197-002040, Martin Farms Development & Jean and Linda Kirk (City of Otsego).

2. Approve Abatement, PID# 118-159-001080, Shawn Flemming (City of Otsego).

3. Approve Abatement, PID#s 212-000-172200 and 212-000-172202, Carol Stueven, Matt & Paula Wente (Middleville Twp.).


1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For the Following Rezonings:

A. H. Lee Rutherford (Cokato Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend approval of the request to rezone from AG and part S-2 to A/R and part S-2.

B. Doug & Dave Schmidt (Chatham Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend approval of the request to establish a Rural Planned Unit Development District.


1. Authorize Signatures On New Two Year Grant For Off Highway Vehicle Safety Enforcement.

Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

A Building Committee Meeting was held on 7-27-05. Heeter moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek. Sawatzke questioned whether it was a requirement for each judge to have their own restroom as that would add considerably to the cost of the remodel. Heeter said the Committee took a tour and there is water availabile just below the proposed remodel area. Mattson said the recommendation of the Committee was to have Buetow & Associates Architects perform a study and come up with floor plan layouts. Today’s approval of the minutes would not be to take action on the remodel. Heeter made the following correction: 2nd paragraph, last sentence should read, “As programming for the new Jail is being completed, space for Courts should be considered.” The motion carried 5-0 to approve the minutes as corrected:

Court Administration Space Issues.

A. Sixth Chambers.

B. Judicial Staff Space.

C. Court Administration Staff Increases.

D. Plan For Sixth Courtroom.

E. Security.

F. Future Growth.

Nordeen said space requirements for the new judge and staff need to be addressed. Interviews have taken place and it is projected that the judge would start by December, 2005. Nordeen proposed remodel of the Jury Assembly Room to accommodate an additional judges chamber and court reporter. The guardian ad litem office would be remodeled into the law clerk office. It was requested that the public lounge be remodeled into a small courtroom for hearings. This space would not accommodate a jury. With the reduction in the size of the Jury Assembly Room, they would need to utilize the Community Room at least one time per month. Security would need to be provided in those situations. This proposal would serve as a make-shift approach to the long term growth needs. As programming for the new Jail is being completed, space for Courts should be considered. Costs and project time line associated with the proposal were discussed. A project cost of $50,000 or more would entail a formal bid process. Below that threshold, the County could obtain quotes. Hayes suggested retaining Buetow & Associates Architects for plans and specifications due to their experience and knowledge with past building projects. Nordeen stated that the current proposal does not reflect displacing the guardian ad litem nor growth in the Court Administration Office. She suggested utilizing three offices in the Extension Office for 4-6 staff. This would entail conversion of Conference Room C111 to office space. Two staff from Extension would move from the rear of the Extension Office and relocate in Conference Room C111. A partial wall would be constructed in the vacated area and house the guardian ad litem, Nordeen and several staff members during construction. Relocation of Extension to the 3rd Floor Annex was discussed. This area currently serves as the only large employee lunchroom area in the building. Departments are discouraged from having break rooms in their office areas due to safety concerns. The 10th Judicial District could then utilize the space vacated by Extension. It was felt that this option would provide adequate space for Courts for 3-4 years, to include staff additions, and would hold down remodel costs. As the Extension Office would need to have an open window to the public, the 3rd Floor may not have adequate space for a lunchroom in the future. Nordeen said that if Extension were moved to the 3rd Floor Annex, the judges chambers would be constructed in the space she currently occupies. There are currently temporary walls in this area. Permanent walls and a lavatory facility would be required for the judges chambers. The public lounge would be converted into the sixth courtroom and would require two exits. The second exit would be constructed through one of the conference rooms in the judicial corridor. Norman inquired on the potential of a seventh judge in the next 3-5 years. Moriarity explained that Wright County would not receive an additional judge in the next 2 years. He thought Anoka County would receive the next appointment with Wright County following, due to the growth being experienced compared to other counties. He projected that the remodel steps being considered today would accommodate the District for 4 years. He was uncertain what would transpire beyond that time. Swing said that Court Administration has been part of the Records Center. Given the State takeover, he suggested there was logic in their remaining a part of the Records Center. Moriarity said the State will continue to support the imaging effort with State funding due to more efficiencies being realized. New furniture was provided by the State for the law clerk offices and the desire is to dispose of the old furniture that has been moved to temporary storage. The County recently held their annual auction and does not have space to store any additional furniture. In the past, the County has sold desks for $5-$10 to used furniture dealers as there is no market for used desks. Hayes will provide Nordeen with the contact numbers of the furniture dealers. Security was discussed. Hayes said there is the potential of a card access door just past the Administration Office. The current lunchroom (proposed 6th Courtroom) would then be in the secured area. The Bailiff station could be moved by the stairwell and all public would be routed that way. With the contemplation of using the public lounge for Court Administration space, Norman voiced concern on future expansion of the Administration Office. Office space for the Safety Director being hired in 2005 will be in the same area as the Purchasing Agent and Special Projects Administrator. Within 3-5 years, Norman felt at least one more Personnel Representative would be needed due to the number of employees being hired annually. Recommendation: Retain Buetow & Associates to perform a study and come up with a proposal to include floor plan layouts. These layouts would be based upon moving Extension to the 3rd Floor, Annex. The judges chambers would be constructed in the space Nordeen currently occupies, to include a lavatory. The temporary walls would be removed and replaced with permanent walls. The public lounge would be converted into the sixth courtroom. The second exit would be constructed through one of the judicial conference rooms in the judicial corridor. This issue will be placed on the Agenda for the next Building Committee Meeting.

Board Meetings On Cable TV. Swing distributed an assessment of problems experienced with the multimedia system and corrective actions taken (attached). A technical issue involved with the new system was corrected. The remainder of the problems deal with cable broadcasting and operational issues. Swing said that clear training and operational instructions should have been obtained from the vendor from the onset. Hayes pointed out that EPA suggested a system operator but the County decided not to act upon this recommendation. Swing has assigned a staff person to review the system setup prior to each Board Meeting. Staff from P&Z will also be trained. Swing said the County currently uses analog recordings (VCR tapes) which is an inferior signal. He is working with Charter Communications and the City of Buffalo to move toward digital recordings through a direct line to either entity. Other options may be through the telephone line or to provide a digital recording (DVD) of the Board Meeting to the City for broadcast. If this occurs, the broadcast would be over a new television channel. (End of Building Committee Minutes)

Lt. Joe Hagerty requested approval of a resolution authorizing participation in the Safe and Sober Grant for 2005-2006. The Safe & Sober Program requires counties to refrain from the program for one year after three years of involvement. After taking this past year off, Hagerty said Wright County will apply for a grant in the amount of $27,300 for the period of October, 2005 through September, 2006. The grant covers overtime expenses, allowing the Sheriff Deputies and Police Officers to concentrate on traffic enforcement in vital areas of the County. The grant funding will provide 630 hours of additional patrol, to be split between the Sheriff Department and the Cities of Annandale, Buffalo and Howard Lake. A total of 10% will be used for equipment purchases and the emphasis will be on sober driving and seat belt use. Three paid waves throughout the year include: May Mobilization (seat belts), June-August (speed wave 7 days selected) and Labor Day (DWI’s). On-duty waves will include: Thanksgiving (seat belts and child seats) and Christmas (DWI’s). Last year, Wright County had 600 DWI’s or 2% of the State’s total. Wright County is in the forefront of DWI enforcement and hosts field sobriety education classes. Hagerty was unsure how the .08% legal alcohol limit would impact statistics. They are seeing DWI stops later in the night due to the change in bar closing hours to 2:00 A.M. Heeter moved to adopt Resolution #05-41 authorizing participation in the Safe & Sober Grant for 2005-2006. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Sheriff Gary Miller introduced a new initiative called “Drive Wright.” Lt. Joe Hagerty and Sgt. Eric Leander have assisted in researching and developing this initiative. If the initiative moves forward, violators of certain traffic laws may be given an option to attend an educational session on safe driving in lieu of a citation. This option would be given at the discretion of the Sheriff Deputy. If the violator elects to attend the class, they would need to register within ten business days for the two-hour course ($75 fee). Upon successful completion of the course, the citation would be dismissed. The violations which would be eligible include: Speed, stop sign or yield violations, stop light, lane violations, passing violations, fail to signal and illegal turns. Deputies will not make a referral to the program for the following: Alcohol related violations, parking tickets, multiple violations (more than one charge), tickets resulting from a crash, any misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony charge. There will be no referral if this violation would be the third infraction in the previous 12 months. Revenues generated will be directed to the DARE Fund to help facilitate additional educational efforts in Middle Schools. Sheriff Miller said many infractions are based upon a misunderstanding of the law. The program would reintroduce the rules of the road and give a person the option to keep their record clean. If approved, a pilot project would commence this month in cooperation with Safe Communities and MEADA. Sheriff Miller said over 200 citations are being written per week. Through education, he hoped to see a positive impact on roadways. One of the areas seeing the greatest increase for citations is driving after revocation or suspension. Wright County Deputies have responded positively in support of the program. A contract will be submitted for Board approval at a future meeting.

Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, presented a recommendation from the Planning Commission for denial of two rezoning requests. The first recommendation for denial was for Steve Hill (Southside Twp.), who had a request to rezone from AG (General Agriculture) and S-2 (Residential-Recreational Shorelands) to R-1 (Urban-Rural Transitional) and S-2. Russek said the Planning Commission did a site visit and one of the largest reasons for recommending denial was that they could not actually determine whether or not lakeshore property was involved. Russek moved to adopt the recommendation of the Planning Commission and their Findings and to authorize signature on the Notice and Order of Denial. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Tom Zins, Attorney, said it was important that when the Board addresses Planning Commission rezoning denial recommendations, that they review the Findings on each. The Planning Commission is the forum for the Public Hearing and a recommendation is brought forth. When the County Board adopts these Findings, they become the Findings of the Board. Zins noted for the record that Steve Hill was not present to serve the Notice and Order of Denial. Therefore, it will be mailed to Hill. Sawatzke said he reviewed the Findings and concurred with them as the Findings of the Board. Russek agreed. The motion carried 5-0.

The second recommendation for denial was for Kenneth T. Felger (Rockford Twp.), who had a request to rezone from AG (General Agricultural) to both R-2 (Suburban Residential) and R-2a. Salkowski recommended approval of the denial, adopting the Findings of the Planning Commission as the reason for denial. Zins said the Findings speak for themselves on this request. In summary, he believed the policy timing was not correct for this request and that was the general conclusion of the Planning Commission. In that context, the City of Rockford opposed the rezoning request as they could not do adequate planning for this development and provide an economical and systematical way for sewer planning, etc. The other reasons included the County planning activities in this quadrant of the County. The County is looking toward a comprehensive plan for this region. Zins said they want to slow down any activities that would contradict that effort. For these reasons, as well as others, the timing for this request is not appropriate. Zins wanted the record to reflect that the Planning Commission was ready to make a final decision on this on 6-30-05. Several days later, the County Board could have acted on the matter and the entire request would have been concluded. The issue on 6-30-05 was to rezone from AG to R-2, allowing for 2.5 acre lots. A motion approving the request was made by the Planning Commission but failed. Felger was then invited to amend to R-2a with a new petition being brought forth on 6-30-05. This petition was denied as well on 6-30-05 and formal findings were adopted by the Planning Commission on 7-21-05. Zins wanted the record to reflect that Felger was not present to serve the Notice and Order of Denial. Therefore, it will be mailed to Felger. Sawatzke said after reading the recommendation of the Planning Commission and finding them consistent with the Land Use Plan, he would move that the County Board accept the recommendation to accept the Findings for Denial as their own and to authorize signature on the Notice and Order of Denial. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

Salkowski hoped that during the next Legislative Session, AMC would oppose MN Statutes 1599 relating to the 60-day rule. He did not think Legislators understood the volume of paperwork as a result of this law. He said local government does not want to delay anything. As a result of the Legislatures action and court cases, it has made it nearly impossible for zoning officers to do their job. He felt this was a disservice to the people in the State of Minnesota.

A Civil Defense Committee was held on 7-27-05. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0. Sawatzke noted that a letter was received from a person complimenting the efforts of the Civil Defense Office staff and the outstanding assistance provided during that person’s move to Minnesota. The minutes follow:

Report From Steve Berg. Berg distributed and reviewed his work plan (attached).

Define Responsibilities Of Reese & Berg. Information was obtained from Hennepin County which Reese and Berg will utilize to develop a description of job functions. The Committee stressed the importance and desire to have the position delineations completed at the next meeting. The information should reflect the individual responsibilities for Berg and Reese in different emergency situations. This information will be supplied to Dispatch and consulted when needed for emergencies and disasters. The Committee discussed the definition of Emergency Management, defined in Chapter 12 of State Statutes. Sawatzke read a portion of the Statute and noted that the definition does not fit the description of Reese’s duties. Filipek said the County needs to declare an Emergency Management person and provide a delineation of their responsibilities (to include a flow chart if necessary). The Committee will discuss the department name change from Civil Defense to Emergency Management at their next meeting. Recommendation: Schedule the next Committee Meeting for 9-28-05 at 11:00 A.M. Reese and Berg will complete their position descriptions prior to this date and forward the information to the County Board and Norman. (End of Civil Defense Minutes)

A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 7-26-05. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations to include setting a Committee Of The Whole meeting to discuss “GIS Division in IT Department” which was Item #4 of the minutes. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Considerable discussion followed on whether it would be more appropriate to have the County Surveyor position filled prior to making a decision on placing the GIS Division in the IT Department. It was also suggested that Swing participate in the Surveyor interviews to determine GIS skill levels of candidates. Heeter referenced a narrative outlining the former Surveyor’s position on this issue (distributed at the Technology Committee Meeting). Richard Norman, County Coordinator, explained that the reason this letter had not been distributed previous to the Technology Committee meeting was that it had come as a cover letter to the 2006 budget. Copies of this letter and the IT Director’s budget cover letter will be copied to the County Board. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, supported a Committee Meeting which would allow for further discussion with Swing and Mike Minnick, (Surveyor staff). Norman referenced the motion, which included setting aerial photography data fees at $2,000 for a complete set. He inquired whether there was a specific statute allowing for the establishment of the fee and whether a public hearing would be required. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, indicated that Chapter 1303 of State Statutes, Public Data Section, allows the County to recoup costs if spent to develop a system or compendium of information. Asleson did not feel a public hearing would be required. The minutes of the Technology Committee reflect the expenditure and anticipated sales. Eichelberg amended the motion to include acceptance of the minutes and recommendations (not including Item #4, GIS Division in IT Department). The amendment was seconded by Sawatzke and the motion carried unanimously. With regard to Item #4, GIS Division in IT Department, Eichelberg moved to set a Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 8-08-05 at 3:00 P.M., seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 to discuss this issue further. (End of Technology Minutes)

Effective 8-01-05, MN Session Laws 2005, Chapter 163, Section 8, were amended relating to fees for providing copies of public government data. Two fee calculation methods were adopted. The first deals with 100 or fewer pages of black and white, letter or legal size copies. Entities may charge a per-page fee of not more than 25 cents for each page copied (50 cents for a two-sided copy). The second calculation deals with all other circumstances and lists what can be used to calculate costs using that methodology. Asleson said the fee calculation method 2 has always been in Statutes, relating to the costs of searching for and retrieving public data. The amendment is a clarification of what can be included in those costs. Fee calculation method 1 is a new law and may require changes to what some County offices charge for copies. Norman suggested that the copy fee rate be standardized across the organization, using fee calculation method 1 (25 cents per age for 100 pages or less). This would be effective 8-01-05. Russek moved to adopt fee calculation method 1 for all copies up to 100 and fee calculation method 2 in cases where that doesn’t pertain (i.e., cd rom or excessive copy amounts). The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0. Norman was directed to send information to departments on the fee schedule change.

The meeting was recessed at 10:35 A.M. and reconvened at 10:40 A.M.

Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented a recommendation to award Contract #0503 (CSAH 12) to Buffalo Bituminous in the amount of $3,062,243.90. Official notice was received from Mn/DOT that the contractor has meet EEO requirements. This is a requirement when Federal funding is involved. The project involves approximately 3.3 miles of CSAH 12 between Buffalo and Montrose. The low bid was about 12% over the Engineer’s estimate, requiring justification to the State. Fingalson said the difference is a result of not factoring in the correct amount for fuel costs for hauling fuel and bituminous. He said about $300,000 was saved on the Bernings Mill bridge project, which could be used to help fund this project. Discussion followed on what was budgeted versus what the bids came in at. Fingalson said more precise budget figures for State aid projects may need to be used in future budgets. However, there is the option of advance encumbrance with State aid funding to allow for inaccurate projections. Mattson was in contact with Mathiowetz Construction to determine why they had not submitted a bid on this project. He understood that Mathiowetz Construction was unable to provide a full crew on the project until after September 1st, due to the short time line provided to contractors to bid the job. Russek said that the CSAH 17 project should be bid earlier next year to avoid this situation. Fingalson said that problems associated with ROW and acquisition resulted in the delay. Mattson then questioned the match of $100,000 for aggregate rock included with the project and did not feel $200,000 would be adequate for the trail. Fingalson said that $73,000 covers the trail from the edge of Montrose to Buffalo. There is also red rock in other locations. A memorandum had been drafted by the Assistant Highway Engineer outlining the costs which come to $200,000. Eichelberg moved to award Contract #0503 to Buffalo Bituminous, seconded by Russek. Mattson inquired whether this project had a set time line. Fingalson stated this is a working day contract. The project may have to be split for grading dependent upon weather conditions. Mattson inquired whether any additional funds would be spent on trail rebuilding in the next two years (due to wetlands). Fingalson said the project carries a warranty to cover this issue. The motion carried 5-0.

Russek moved to adopt Resolution #05-42 authorizing the Wright County Surveyor to prepare a ROW Plat for CSAH 17 from South County Line to the South Limits of the City of Delano. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Russek said a meeting was held in Delano last evening and there were some people opposed to the trail. The road design is what was hoped for. Sawatzke hoped that trail issues would be worked out when possible to allow for a narrower distance between the path and roadway, providing less impact on residents. He felt that if the input from residents was not taken seriously, mediation problems could result similar to what happened with the CSAH 12 project. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #05-43 for final acceptance of Contract #0509 (Crushing & Stockpiling) and authorizing final payment. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Russek has been approached twice in the last week with regard to noise generated from trucks with jake brakes. Russek suggested possibly adopting an ordinance prohibiting jake brakes. When the County issues permits for bituminous plants, this is one of the conditions they don’t allow. Asleson will research Statutes to determine Board authority in this regard.

Bills Approved

Advanced Graphic Sys. Inc. 332.55

Albertville Body Shop Inc. 3,612.31

American Instit. Supply 366.30

Ameripride Linen/Apparel 581.46

Ancom Communications Inc. 1,444.00

Ancom Technical Center 641.25

Aramark Correct. Serv. 4,892.70

Auto Glass Center Inc. 471.47

Auto. Garage Door/Fireplace 970.77

B & D Pllumbing/Heating 397.00

Barker Co/Bob 120.86

Barnes Distribution 353.36

Blaine Lock & Safe Inc. 165.00

BLM Technologies Inc. 445.92

Buffalo Auto Value 407.98

Buffalo Clinic 121.00

Catco Parts Service 1,548.29

CDW Government Inc. 613.82

Center Point Energy 1,102.42

Centra Sota Lake Region 32,409.31

Chamberlain Oil Co. 2,351.29

Cokato Equipment Inc. 519.01

Comp. Integration Tech. 15,000.00

Diamond Mowers Inc. 251.66

Eagle Point 1,519.50

Fingalson/Wayne 406.50

Franz Reprographics 147.72

Frontier Precision Inc. 407.69

Gateway Companies Inc. 8,911.98

Gopher State One Call 177.95

Gordy’s Foods 139.43

Hecker’s Monti Ford 317.65

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 3,787.25

Indentix Incorporated 3,878.32

Int’l Assoc. of Property/Evid. 275.00

Interstate Battery Sys. of Mpls. 157.51

J Craft Div. of Crysteel Mfg. 169.94

Klatt True Value Electric 153.99

Kustom Signals Inc. 287.03

Laurent/Michael 103.24

Loffler Business Sys. Inc. 2,024.58

M-R Sign Company Inc. 118.10

Marco Business Products 1,151.29

McNamara Inc./B. 13,325.50

Metro Group Inc. 4,970.57

Mobile Vision 471.80

MTI Distributing Inc. 772.05

Mumford Sanitation 421.04

Munson Lakes Nutrition 121.59

Nextel Communications 2,457.28

Northland Pharmacy 123.35

Office Depot 1,880.75

Powerplan OIB 1,490.85

Prosource One 1,295.53

Proven Force 150.62

Qwest 122.80

Reds Auto Electric 125.70

Reed Business Info 1,012.02

Reid and Associates 395.00

Royal Tire 1,879.05

Russell Security Resource 808.18

Software House Int’l Inc. 34,372.58

Specialty Turf & Ag 1,617.10

St. Cloud Stamp & Sign 274.31

St. Joseph Equipment-Mpls. 122.78

Star Tribune 622.12

Streichers 248.95

Tires Plus 105.04

Uniforms Unlimited 119.82

Unique Truck Equipment 2,937.40

United Locating Services 180.00

United Rentals Hwy. Tech. 2,404.69

Unlimited Electric Inc. 350.66

Victory Corps 207.81

WalMart Store 01-1577 787.36

Waverly, City of 990.36

Weber, Gordon 231.20

Wright County Hwy. Dept. 27,507.30

Wright-Henn. Electric 3,861.41

Xcel Energy 2,243.55

Zee Service Company 282.00

25 Payments less than $100 1,306.13

Final total $205,852.99

The meeting adjourned at 11:02 A.M.