Wright County Board Minutes
September 20, 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 9-13-05, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0. Heeter abstained from the vote as she was not present at the last County Board Meeting.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #3,“County Ditch 16” (Hiivala); Aud./Treas. Item #4, “Kirk’s Travel Plaza Tobacco Fine Appeal” (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #3, “RC&D” (Russek); Item For Consid. #4, “Transportation Meeting” (Sawatzke). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Sawatzke referenced Consent Item 2, “Approval Of Post Employment Health Care Savings Plan For Non-Union Employees (Excluding Elected Officials), Eff. 9-20-05.” He said of the five County Board members, he was the only one that voted and he voted against the Post Employment Health Care Savings Plan. On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: K. Morrissette, Aud./Treas.; D. Bickmann, D. Pullis, Hwy.; N. Aarvig, R. Ferguson, R. Helgeson, P. Johnson, D. Miller, Sher./Corr.
2. Approval Of Post Employment Health Care Savings Plan For Non-Union Employees (Excluding Elected Officials), Eff. 9-20-05.
3. Appoint Bill Swing, IT Director, To Regional Advisory Committee.
4. 2nd Quarter Training Reports.
5. O/T Report, Period Ending 9-09-05.
1. Request Use Of $2000 From Unused 4-H Coordinator Salary To Extend Work Hours To Patricia Henderson, Temporary Employee.
1. September Parks Commission Meeting Minutes.
1. Refer To Building Committee: Request To Set Up An Office For New Lieutenant.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, brought forth a request from Fred Bengston, DNR, on repair work for County Ditch 16. The area is located in Albion Township, Section 7. Bengston said a blockage occurred in the structure recently installed by the DNR to restore the basin. The debris moved through the structure and into County Ditch 16, resulting in tile blockage. The DNR’s request is to replace plastic pipe under the road where they believe blockage has occurred. The immediate concern would be the impact on Lakes Willima and Henry from heavy rains. Bengston said the DNR would incur the cost of unplugging the tile. In the near future, he would attempt to secure DNR funding to replace the old tile line where needed. Estimated cost is $15,000-$18,000 including labor. Bengston was in contact with the contractor who installed the DNR structure and he would be available to start repair work next week. Bengston also talked with Jim Peterson (landowner) who is in general agreement with the repair. Bengston estimated the tile line to be 50-70 years old. When they replaced the old tile with new pipe, the old tile was 2/3 blocked with sediment and was brittle. The DNR will continue to investigate the cause of blockage in their structure. Bengston could not promise funding for replacement of the tile but they will identify and correct the blockage. That portion of the ditch may be left open. Bengston was not aware of any laterals draining to the area identified for repair. He estimated about 650’ of tile that should be replaced. Sawatzke extended thanks to the DNR for coming forward with the repair. Sawatzke moved to authorize the DNR to make repairs to County Ditch 16 in Albion Township adjacent and west of the Albion Township wildlife area. The motion was seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Russek moved to adopt Resolution #05-51 for approval of the Application for Cancellation of Tax Forfeiture for PID #103-125-002010 and #202-026-002010). This property should have been included in the request passed by County Board Resolution #05-39 on 7-12-05. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Hiivala received correspondence from Kirk Asplin on behalf of Kirk’s Travel Plaza (Cokato City) appealing a tobacco fine. Hiivala inquired whether the appeal could be heard on 9-27-05 at 10:30 A.M. when the Board will hear another tobacco appeal. Heeter moved to approve a tobacco appeal hearing on 9-27-05 at 10:30 A.M. for Kirk’s Travel Plaza, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. Sawatzke inquired whether any other appeals which may come up could be heard at that same time. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the last round of compliance checks was completed on 8-22-05. Businesses must appeal within 30 days. If anyone else appeals, Asleson would like the request brought back to the Board to schedule a date to hear the appeal.
Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson referenced a settlement claim for highway right of way. Discussion followed on the definition of taxable easement. Asleson explained that permanent easements must be reported to the IRS. Non-taxable easements would be considered temporary as use is only for 1-2 years. The motion to approve the claims carried unanimously.
Jon Crump, DLR Group, presented the Planning & Programming Final Report for the new Jail. An original study was completed in 2000 confirming space inadequacies of the current Jail. An additional study was performed in 2004 and outlined expansion options and site studies. The study in 2005 included space programming, budget development, and a site study. Several sites were reviewed including expansion of the current location, an existing warehouse, and land at the Public Works site. Options for reuse of existing space vacated by the Sheriff and Jail were analyzed. Following the study, space programming was completed. Crump said the Final Report defines the needs for a Jail in Wright County, including the budget and site study. The data is based on a future County population of 300,000. The Jail would be built to a capacity of 450 inmates (236 cells double bunked) with core support components sized for 600. These core components will be designed for 600 inmates at the onset as it may be nearly impossible to add onto those areas in the future if the housing area is extended. The total facility would include the Jail, Sheriff’s Department, and Communications Center (146,309 s.f.) and would be constructed north of the Public Works site. The site would allow gravel mining and stockpiling to occur and accommodate future facilities. Staff ratio comparisons were provided. The current staff per inmate ratio is 0.40 (41 staff for 103 inmates). The proposed staff for 2008-2009 is .30 (77 staff for <260 inmates). With inmate population growth, the staffing ratio would be more efficient (87 staff for 450 inmates or a 0.19 staff per inmate ratio). In response to a question by Sawatzke, Crump indicated that staff requirements would reduce if a pod were empty. He noted that the Report includes double bunking in the facility from the onset. The project schedule reflects construction to begin in December 2006 with occupancy in August 2008. Total project cost is $43,627,715. This would include everything necessary to move into the new Jail (excluding dispatch equipment and miscellaneous finance costs associated with bonding). Two alternates were also analyzed. Alternate I would provide a deduct of $2,342,657 for not constructing one pod. Alternate II would add $965,996 and would provide hard cells instead of dorms for work release inmates.
Discussion followed on the future of Courts (whether to add a judicial building at this time) and the feasibility of moving prisoners with the new Jail. The decision was made previously to move ahead with construction of the Jail and to continue discussions on Courts. Judge Halsey and Judge Mottl were present for discussion. Sawatzke asked for the Court’s position on video arraignment, if the law provided for it, as a means of providing more efficiency to the Sheriff’s Department and less cost to the taxpayers. Judge Halsey understood that this would only be permitted by obtaining a special dispensation from the Supreme Court. He said the Wright County Judges unanimously were not in favor of video arraignments. Their position would be when a person comes to court for the first time, they should be in front of the Judge to have their rights read and to make a decision on conditions for release.
Discussion resumed on the Jail. Crump indicated that the concerns brought forth by the State Jail Inspector were incorporated into the Final Report. Sawatzke questioned what mechanism the County could utilize to prevent an architect from creating something within the project that taxpayers may view as frivolous. Crump responded that as part of the architect selection process, they will be able to determine whether the architect is client driven. With technologies available, a computerized walk through of the facility should be available. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, suggested the Board determine whether to hire an owners representative or construction management firm as they should be involved early in the process. Heeter thanked DLR Group for the outstanding work completed on both the site analysis and the Jail planning and programming. She commended the DLR representatives from Nebraska for their work. When asked for his perspective on the project to date, Sheriff Gary Miller stated a lot of work was expended on the project during the programming phase and supported the product being presented. On a motion by Heeter, second by Eichelberg, all voted to accept the Jail Programming Final Report from DLR Group.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, introduced Heidi Peper and Kurt Kreitlow from SEH who were present for discussion on funding for the Clearwater River Country Bike Trail. Peper said the City of Clearwater has received transportation enhancement funds for preliminary work on a trail along CSAH 75 (from the north to south end of town). These funds will be available in October, 2005 and must be expended in a 24-month period.. This bike trail needs to cross the Clearwater River. In preliminary discussions with the DNR, they encouraged crossing at the dam or on the other side of CSAH 75 in the City Park. Peper explained the second option produces speed concerns so the dam crossing would be preferred. SEH was directed to a Dam Control and Crossing Project which involves 73-75 dams, of which the dam in Clearwater is #18 in importance of repair (projected repair 6 years out). A total of $2 million/year is available for repair. The dam is owned jointly by Wright and Stearns Counties and is not listed on either County’s project schedule for repair or replacement. Through the Project, the State would fund 50% of the cost with the remaining funded by the owner. Wright and Stearns Counties would be responsible for the other 50% (25% each). However, the Counties are not obligated to repair the dam in six years. If the decision is made not to proceed with the repair, funding would go to the next eligible dam in need of repair/replacement. Peper said the City of Clearwater is offering to participate in the repair and divide the 50% cost into thirds (1/3 each by Wright County, Stearns County, and City of Clearwater). With a total cost projection of $500,000, this would equate to an $83,000-$84,000 cost share for each entity. Peper stated the dam was constructed in 1931-1932 and was owned by the DNR. At some point, ownership was turned over to Wright and Stearns Counties. The City is in the process of obtaining an inspection report from the DNR to reflect what repairs are required. Peper cited potential safety issues associated with the dam. Fingalson went to the site of the dam and felt it had good structural integrity. The walkway railing needs repair. He presented the option of utilizing the $94,000 grant funding to add a pathway along the bridge. Peper explained the Capital Budget Request must be submitted by 9-30-05 for review with a statutory deadline of 11-01-05. Sawatzke referenced the proposal by the City to split the dam replacement costs three ways for about $84,000 each. He wondered if they would be willing to fund anything additional toward the project (beyond the $94,000 grant for the bike trail). In this way, the cost share by each entity would be reduced. He also inquired what Stearns County’s position was. Peper has consulted with the Stearns County Engineer and Assistant who indicated they would support the request if Wright County chose to do so. This issue will be presented to the Stearns County Board at their 9-27-05 meeting. The goal of the Bike Group is to have the trail cross the River. They were pointed in the direction of the Dam Control and Crossing Project as the DNR does not want to impact the River by a third crossing. Peper said the Group has received $264,000 from the Federal Government through the Transportation Enhancement Program for the trail. The Dam Control and Crossing Project is a separate funding request for $250,000 from the State. Sawatzke asked Kreitlow for his opinion on using the $94,000 for a bridge crossing (with DNR approval) instead of improving the dam at this time as it does not appear to need repair. Kreitlow responded that dam repair is likely to be on the west side of the dam where the pylons are located to provide strength. If a bridge crossing is constructed, it would likely be in the way of future repair. This would be the downside of installing a temporary crossing. He felt the foundation repair should be completed prior to the crossing. He provided this opinion based on limited knowledge of repair needed, as they have not seen the DNR’s report on repair suggestions. Kreitlow felt the walkway and steps under the bridge were currently a liability. After further discussion, Heeter made a motion for Wright County to participate as a 1/3 partner in the remainder of the funding needed, up to $45,000, seconded by Sawatzke. Fingalson said the advantage in delaying this action until 9-27-05 would be that more information would be available on the required dam repair. Even if both Wright and Stearns Counties approve of resolutions on a funding split, there is still the problem with bringing this dam project further up on the list. Action by the Legislature may be required as the project is scheduled for six years out. Peper will work with the Legislature either way, to move the project up on the list of repairs or to have a special appropriation for this repair. The motion carried 5-0.
The meeting recessed at 10:26 A.M. and reconvened at 10:38 A.M.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 9-07-05. The following changes were made to the minutes: Page 7, 1st paragraph, mid paragraph, correct the sentence to read, “He does not want to give the developer all the power to take away the property owner’s rights and leave the property owner powerless by condemning the property without negotiating a price.” The minutes of that meeting follow along with discussion and action taken at today’s County Board Meeting (in italics):
CSAH 17 Trail Status. Mattice informed the Committee that he had applied for public funding for the construction of the proposed trail along CSAH 17. In February of 2005, a public meeting was held and the County Board approved his request at that time to apply for matching grant funds of $200,000. The Board approved a budget of $200,000 for the County’s portion of this expense. Together, the total of $400,000 would cover the cost of the entire proposed trail. Wright County was chosen out of 107 applicants to receive $100,000, which is only half of what was needed for the matching funds. The Board now has to make a decision on whether they should proceed with the entire trail and take the risk of not receiving funds to cover the remaining $100,000, or whether they should just do half the trail and proceed with the second half when and if additional grant funds become available, or whether they should abandon altogether the idea of a trail. Mattice said that it is likely that the County will receive an additional grant in 2006 for the completion of this trail, but there is a chance that this will not happen. Mattice said he would like direction from the Board on how they want him to proceed with the money that has been offered at this time. Hawkins showed computer-generated photo renditions of how the road will look with a pathway under two different design options. Considerable discussion followed about the nearness of the trail to several houses along CSAH 17, and Fingalson explained that it is desirable for safety reasons to have as wide a separation as possible between the pathway and the highway (especially since two-way traffic will be using the trail). With only half the funds available, it was suggested that the trail be completed south to the Krienke Addition (“Krienkeville”), which would be about half the length of the entire trail. That way, the trail would still be very usable even if it did not connect to the Luce Line near the southern County Line. Hawkins said that one advantage of doing the trail at the same time as the road grading project is that the grading is done under road construction costs and is not a direct cost of building a pathway. The grading could still be done in preparation for an eventual trail, which would help lower the cost of doing a two-part trail. J. Day said that she felt that most people in the Krienke Addition would be opposed to the building of a pathway since it would take their front lawns and be very close to their houses. The opposition is coming from people that think the value of their property will go down because of the loss of trees and landscaping. Fingalson said that some trees will be removed, but that is because of the road construction and not because of the trail. Day said that the people she has talked to oppose the trail and doesn’t know why the County continues to pursue it. Russek commented that this was laid out three to four years ago with meetings and will connect to Lake Rebecca and the Luce Line. That’s why Mattice applied for the grant. Mattson commented that approval might not have been given if everyone had been able to see where the trail would go rather than try to read the dash lines on the plans. Sutton asked what traffic would be allowed on the trails, and Mattice said that non-motorized traffic (including horses) would be allowed but that motorized vehicles would not. The right of way is being expanded to measure 55 feet from the centerline in most areas, but to 65 feet in other areas (not by the Krienke Addition) where more space is available for the trail. Currently the right of way is 33 feet from centerline. Few trees or shrubs will be removed as a result of the pathway. In the Krienke Addition area, an urban design will be used to minimize encroachment and tree/shrub removal. Sawatzke asked if the right of way could be less than 55 feet, but Hawkins said that the width is needed for utilities and for a ‘clear’ zone. Fingalson said that the trail is not the reason that trees will be removed by the Day property. The road construction is the reason that pedestrians will be closer to the home than they are now, and safety is the main reason for the distance from the road. Sawatzke asked if an exception could be made to have the right of way narrower, and Hawkins said that there are times in the past where exceptions were made because of mound systems and closeness to homes, but he doesn’t know if this would qualify. Fingalson said that they have to make sure that there is a clear zone for cars that might go off the road. In response to Sawatzke’s concern about moving the trail closer to the road, Fingalson said that the issue (for the property owners opposed to trail) is not moving the trail, but to eliminate it altogether. This was confirmed by Mike and Janet Day at the meeting. Sutton asked why the trail had to be located here and why it had to connect to another, and Mattice said that the results of a DNR study indicate that recreational linear trails are the number one request of people when asked what they would like to see developed. Eichelberg asked if the trail could be less than 8 feet wide, and Mattice said that 8 feet wide is the minimum width and that most communities are going to 10 feet wide. Because federal funds are involved in the building of the road, the trail also has to meet the minimum guidelines. Sutton questioned the use of federal funds for this trail, but Mattice explained that the federal funds are used for the road construction and the money for the trail actually comes from the lottery and trail funds. Russek commented that there have been projects in the past that were opposed by some people (like CSAH 20 between Rockford and Hanover), but that after the project was completed the people like the results. The perception is that it will destroy things, but it doesn’t. The County will stay away from houses as much as possible. Eichelberg said that he is in favor of continuing to develop a regional trail, but he feels that the County needs to work with landowners as much as possible to minimize their concerns in a few crucial areas. Sawatzke said that he is in favor of proceeding with the trail up the point that will be covered by the $100,000 matching grant money. It more money does not come, then the trail can stop there. He would also be in favor of tightening it up because he feels that it will still be better than it is now. Mattson expressed his opinion that he is opposed to going onto people’s property and taking their land, condemning property for a trail. Mattice was encouraged to reapply in February for more funds to complete the trail. Mike Day expressed his desire that the County not construct a trail as a part of the CSAH 17 reconstruction project. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the trail be constructed as part of the CSAH 17 improvement project to the point that will be covered by the $100,000 grant money and the County’s matching funds, and Mattice will reapply for additional grant money for the completion of this trail to the south county line.
At today’s Board Meeting, Mike and Janet Day were present for discussion. They are property owners on CSAH 17 south of Delano. Mike Day said his greatest concern isn’t the bike trail but the growth in the County. He felt the County Board should declare that additional growth cannot occur. Day said Wright County is a gem that is destroyed when it is paved and blacktopped. Mattson responded that he has concern with condemning land for trails. Sawatzke said that the current and previous County Boards have attempted to preserve the ag land and rural areas of Wright County. He felt that this had been done quite well in the townships. However, most of the growth has occurred within cities who perform their own planning and zoning. Day felt the County Board should express their desire to control growth. Sawatzke indicated support for the trail and favored narrowing the shoulders and moving the trail closer to the road in the area of the Krienke addition. Russek moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson said he would not support the trail on CSAH 17 as he had not on CSAH 12. He said the main objective with CSAH 12 was for a good road and that no one wanted the trail except the Mayors of Buffalo and Montrose. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.
Options for Vehicle Storage Building Fingalson presented to the TCOTW a breakdown of pros and cons for the two types of vehicle storage buildings to be considered for construction at the PWB, a pole shed (post frame) or a hoop-style TCOTW Minutes (cont.): building. Part of the motivation to move vehicles out of the current PWB is to make more room for the mechanics to work on vehicles that are larger today than when the shop was built in 1975. Additional storage space will make it possible for vehicles and equipment to be parked under cover away from the elements of the weather, and some equipment that is now stored at the compost facility will be closer at hand, diminishing a loss of productivity. Sawatzke expressed his concern that whatever kind of building is built should accommodate all three departments located at the PWB (Surveyor’s, Parks, and Highway). Sawatzke asked why vans and pickups need to be stored under cover, and Luetgers explained that in the winter months it takes time to clean vehicles off and warm them up. Mattson suggested that a decision should be made about the size of vehicles that should be allowed in a storage facility, and Sawatzke said that he thinks equipment should be considered ahead of vehicles. Mattice said that he has concerns about the vehicles that have expensive tools and equipment in them and that it would be good to have them secured inside a building overnight. There was discussion about how to approach the bidding process, to see what kind of a building can be secured for a budgeted amount or to bid out both types of buildings and decide at that time. Russek said that he prefers to have both the steel and hoop-style building bid out for the same size and see which one is preferable after the bids come in, and Mattson agreed that this would be his preference also. It has been determined that the hoop-style structure has gone up in price considerably and is not as long-lasting as a post frame structure. Fingalson said that he would discuss this with Mattice and come back to the Board with a recommendation. RECOMMENDATION: Fingalson will discuss options with his staff and Mattice and provide the Board with a recommendation for bidding to best use the $172,000 available. (This was done at 9/13/05 Board meeting when a letting date was set for October 11, 2005.
A. Kruse said that various improvements are planned for CSAH 19 and the City of Albertville would like to see a temporary signal put in at the intersection of CSAH 19 and 50th Street (CSAH 18). They also see a need to improve the section of CSAH 19 near the outlet mall, but are wondering if a long-term fix should be considered rather than a short-term fix, which will need attention in the future and cause the traffic to be disrupted two times. They would like to improve the portion of CSAH 19 that runs north of the mall by allowing for a transition from a two lane road to a four lane road, and they would like to begin as early as 2006. They have begun some preliminary discussion with the City of Otsego and suggest that the Cities finance this improvement but that the County make payments to each City over a 15-year period for its share of the cost. Sawatzke said that he doesn’t doubt that the improvements are needed based on the growth in the area, but he feels that the commercial explosion is what is driving this growth and thinks that the cost should be assessed to the developers. Kruse said that Albertville is small and has had a lot of growth, but that most of the traffic that is traveling through Albertville is from other areas, so this is really more of a regional issue than a local issue. He feels it would be very cost effective to have the City front the money and get the project done and have the County pay them back later. The cash generated by this new growth would more than repay the County for their expenses. But Kruse said that he is open to other ideas and asked the TCOTW how they would suggest that traffic in this area be managed. Sawatzke asked if preliminary plans could be studied and costs could be estimated so that developers could pay for improvements. Kruse said that some of that is already being done if the fees can be justified, but they don’t have the ability to assess people outside their own jurisdiction. This is a county road and they are looking to the County to help find a solution. They would like to see the same formula used for improving the north end of CSAH 19 as was used for the upcoming improvements to the south end of CSAH 19. Fingalson said that the sooner this project is completed, the better. It is very similar to the project Wright County did with Albertville when tax abatement funding was used. CSAH 19 is clearly on the list, and he certainly understands that the outlet mall has been a big contributor and has paid for some of the improvements, and this new request seems reasonable to what Wright County has done in the past. The main problem is lack of state aid money to pay for this. Federal money was available for the other CSAH 19 project. Currently, CSAH 19 is the most heavily traveled county route in the county. When the tax abatement was set up for this project, the County ended up spending less money than they would have under the normal County policy. The cost could also be less if Wright County agrees to Albertville’s proposal for this project. The problem here is lack of available money. This could be included in plans for 2007, but there are a number of other projects that have already been deferred to 2007. Fingalson asked if the Board would like him and Hawkins to work with Albertville and give consideration to starting payments in 2007. Sawatzke asked again if the commercial properties should help to pay for these improvements, and Kasma said that having heavy commercial property in this area is also good for the County, since commercial property actually generates more taxes than residential does. Sawatzke agreed that this tax base is good for the County. Kruse said that the City does collect some user fees, but since most of the traffic comes from outside Albertville, it would be hard to justify the assessment. If the City of Otsego hadn’t approved a plan to build 3,000 houses on the border of Albertville, this expansion to a four-lane highway would not be needed. Hawkins said that expanding the capacity of a current highway is a first for Wright County. The Northeast Plan has already identified that expansion is needed in this area of the county, but it will be a struggle to figure out how to pay for it. The expansion to a four-lane up to 70th Street is not in the current five-year plan. Eichelberg said that he would like to encourage Fingalson and Albertville to work together to see if they can find a solution for funding this project in the year 2007. The longer the wait, the more it will cost. Fingalson encouraged the TCOTW to hold a Five-Year planning meeting by next spring. Projects need to be identified and then prioritized. Money is limited from state and local sources. Sawatzke asked if the City is making deals with the developers and counting that as some of their own funding, with the County not getting any of it. He would like to see some money coming from those that receive the benefit. Fingalson said that the TCOTW should give consideration to the fact that 70th Street was identified as a four-lane highway on the Northeast Study and that the County had looked at this as an option of the City building it to four lanes before the County would take it over. Kruse said that he thought the funding request might be more successful if the federal application were done jointly with the County. RECOMMENDATION: Set up a Five-Year CIP meeting by Spring, 2006, to prioritize the project.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
2. Kruse gave a brief update on the I-94 project. The County has received preliminary federal and state approval for road construction between the CSAH 19 and 37 exits. Drivers would exit on the east end of I-94 onto CSAH 37 and travel on a road to CSAH 19 without traveling through the present business district. There will be full access to CSAH’s 19 and 37, but they will be connected off the freeway. The City has been approved for $800,000 of federal funds for the design phase with no County involvement at this point. Mn/DOT and FHWA do not want two full interchanges where these two CSAH’s intersect with I-94 at this time because the spacing does not meet minimum guidelines. Kruse said that constructing this road is too big a project for a City to do alone, but if nothing is done, the system will fail. Albertville has not created the problem, but the traffic coming through the City is presenting the challenge. Fingalson said that the City had already completed a major step by securing approval from the Federal Highway Administration. Kruse asked the TCOTW to consider it a priority to allow Fingalson to work on a plan with Albertville to see if they can come forward with something to bring to the Five-Year Plan meeting. Sawatzke asked why no money was requested from Wright County when this was first brought up six months ago and now they want financial help. Kruse said that the scope of the project changed and went from $3 million to $20 million. RECOMMENDATION: Allow Fingalson to work with Albertville to evaluate options.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the recommendation. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
3. Kruse said that the City has a client that is interested in building a medical facility on a site that could involve the County’s current maintenance shop in Albertville. The client is anonymous at this point, but they would like to start construction soon. Russek said that he agrees that the County shop needs to be moved soon. Fingalson said that the shop needs to be moved out of there no later than the end of next summer because of the CSAH 19 project. The only thing holding up the move right now is that a new location has not yet been chosen. Three locations have been considered, including property next to the City of Albertville shop, property along 70th Street (Scharber property), and property at Kittridge Crossings. The advantage of selling the current shop property to the City is that the County would not have to go through the bidding process. Meyer said that he is not completely convinced that the Albertville City site is the one they want because he is concerned about a potential odor problem from the holding ponds located next to this site. He prefers the site on 70th Street. Fingalson said that waiting to sell the County’s property at CSAH’s 18 and 19 may cause the price to go down rather than up, because this property is worth more when it is connected to the property adjacent to the current maintenance site. Kruse said that he would like to have the County Board empower Meyer and Fingalson to meet with him and talk about whether the County trucks could be housed at the Albertville site while the County is deciding where to build their new facility. Perhaps an arrangement could be made for a two-year period rather than just six months so that there wouldn’t be pressure in the decision. Kruse said that the City needs to know what the County needs for the property. Meyer said that he would like staff to meet with the County Board before any figures are given out. Fingalson and Meyer will meet with Kruse to see if there is a way to work together on this. Kruse reminded everyone that time is of the essence. RECOMMENDATION: Set up TCOTW meeting to discuss options. (This was set at 9/13/05 Board meeting for 9/21/05 at 1:00 p.m.
4. Fingalson said that a portion of CSAH 18 that lies within Albertville should be turned back to Albertville once the City is part of the Minnesota Municipal State Aid System (MSAS). Kruse and Kasma will get something to Fingalson in a couple of weeks to respond to. This has to be resolved by the end of 2005 so that Albertville is eligible for MSAS funds.
Highway 55 Corridor Coalition Status. Statz explained that he was here to talk about the proposed realignment of CR 115 near the west end of the City of Rockford. There are proposed residential developments to the north (140 homes) and south (320 homes) of TH 55, which will affect the intersection of CR 115, Gabler Avenue, and TH 55. The City, through its agreements with these developers, has secured much of the financing needed to complete a proposed realignment, but more money and property are needed before this realignment can be done. The City is requesting that the County:
a) Contribute $100,000 towards the realignment project.
b) Contribute $50,000 towards the construction of a right turn lane on CR 115.
c) Use its power of condemnation to acquire the necessary right of way to complete the realignment of CR 115.
d) Pay fair market value for the property to be acquired.
Originally, the City had asked and the developer (to the south) had agreed to participating in the realignment of the road south of the tracks, but with the development to the north, new needs were recognized and now a new realignment is being considered. The county road is the one that needs realignment, and the City feels that this is something that the County can get done for a better price, of which the developer is willing to pay a significant share. Statz said that he has brought this before the 55 Corridor Coalition Technical Committee because it will be a benefit to TH 55 and it fits with the City’s transportation plan. There is no state funding at this time. The City would like to have this project done while the developer is still willing to participate in the funding. If the County does not participate and the cost is too high, the developer may withdraw its planned project. This is a good opportunity to get this done right. There was some discussion about the property that is located near the intersection of CR 115 and TH 55 and the necessity of acquiring much of this property in order to complete the realignment. Russek asked if the City or the developer had approached the landowner to negotiate a fair selling price, because acquiring land through the use of condemnation is usually the last resort. He was told that he had not been contacted. Sawatzke asked what the Corridor Coalition is able to use their grant money for, and Fingalson said that of the $1.5 million, there is $440,000 left, and this can be used only for studies or right-of-way acquisition. The $4 million that has also been granted will be available for the same activities plus safety improvements along TH 55, but the decisions of where that money will be used have not yet been made. The Technical Committee will most likely recommend that the money be spent 50/50 in Wright and Hennepin Counties. There are other competing projects in Wright County that have a high ranking based on crash data (CR 134/TH 55 and CSAH 12/TH 55). The realignment of the CSAH 12 should be relatively easy because there are not right-of-way issues, but the CR 134 realignment will be significantly more because it will be necessary to extend the four-lane section of TH 55 past that intersection to the east. Cost is estimated at $2.2 million, and Menards has already agreed to pay $200,000 for the signal that will be installed at this intersection. The signal project at TH25/CSAH 37 is also competing for funds not covered by the TH 55 grant. Russek said that he likes this opportunity to get the CR 115 intersection improved, but he doesn’t know that it is the County’s role to condemn the property at this point. Sawatzke said that the concept of moving the intersection is good, but he doesn’t know if the County has the money to participate. He does not want to give the developer all the power to take away the property owner’s rights and leave the property owner powerless by condemning the property without negotiating a price. Russek said that he agrees with the concept of having the developers participate in the project since their developments are driving the need. Fingalson said that if the cost of right of way could be determined by next Friday (meeting of the TH 55 Corridor Coalition Joint Powers Board), it might be possible to use part of the $1.5 million to purchase it. Russek said that he would like to continue pursuing this possibility and talk about it at the TH 55 Coalition meeting. Fingalson said that the TH 55 intersections of CR 134 and CSAH 12 now rank ahead of CR 115, but that the Corridor Coalition will have to decide how the $4 million should be spent and will have to prioritize the projects. Sawatzke said that safety is a good way to spend the money, but the County will have to figure out how to deal with the landowner. There was no recommendation at this time, but the Board will discuss this further when the minutes of this meeting are brought before them.
Asleson said that he reviewed the file on the official mapping ordinance and will distribute soon a revised version. There are still some issues to address, such as how to acquire land in the corridor that will be needed for right of way in the future. Will the Courts be convinced that the County can take the property if the project is still 8-10 years out? The ordinance must be adopted before any land can be acquired. After an ordinance is adopted, landowners along this corridor (1/2 mile wide) must be notified about any acquisition. He hopes to have an ordinance drafted by the end of this year.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson said Wright County has identified the two intersections of CR 134 & TH 55 and CR 12 & TH 55 for improvement. The improvements will be discussed at the next Highway 55 Corridor Coalition Meeting on 10-03-05. Fingalson said the Technical Committee’s perspective is that the grant funding split should be 50/50 between Wright and Hennepin Counties.
Hanover Signal Light. The City of Hanover has requested that Wright County install traffic signals at the intersection of CSAH’s 19 and 20, just north of the Crow River. A study was done by the County and it was found that the warrants for a signal will be met very soon. During the morning and late afternoon hours, traffic at the current 4-way stop sign can stack up to 1.5 miles in length. The City would like to pay for the signal now and be reimbursed at a later date for the County’s share. The current County policy states that the City and the County share the cost 50/50, but Hanover is asking the County to reconsider their policy in this instance and pay for 75% of the project since three of four of the legs at this intersection are county highways. Because its population is under 5,000, the City is not a State Aid City and therefore has no funding source other than their general fund. The traffic causing the backup in the city is generated by areas outside the city, and is only passing through this area. The cost of the installation will run about $90,000-100,000, and would be a significant burden to the community. Buchholtz said that the problem is getting worse, especially with the construction on I-94, and this is not only a traffic issue but a safety issue as well. He has been told that firefighters are unable to meet their response time when the destination is on the other side of the intersection. There was some discussion about Hennepin County’s participation in this, but they might be considering installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Hennepin CSAH 19 and CR 123, just south of the bridge on the other side of the river. Fingalson said that he doesn’t see this intersection as a unique situation when compared to other requests for participation. The 50/50 participation policy has been in place since 1981, and 50% of this cost can be funded with state aid money in next year’s program, as long as it meets warrants. Buchholtz said that Hanover does not have a real strong levy, nor does it have the commercial base that other cities do. Sawatzke commented that at this point the County has no choice but to stick with the current policy. Mattson agreed that the County should follow its policy at this time, but that the policy can be reviewed in the future. RECOMMENDATION: Wright County will continue following the existing County policy of funding traffic signals.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Overpass on County Line Road. Fingalson said that he had talked to Phil Kern, Delano City Administrator, about the request from a citizen for an overpass at the railroad crossing on the County Line Road. Kern indicated that there were two open houses held to address the exchange of one railroad crossing (3rd Street) for another (9th Street) and that the overpass as recommended does not address the traffic on Elm Avenue. The new crossing will affect people living on Elm Avenue (address of the citizen), but it will be an improvement over the crossing at 3rd Street that is being closed. The citizen request does not seem feasible. RECOMMENDATION: Russek will talk with Bruce M. Larson, who wrote the letter.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0 Heeter abstained from the vote as she did not attend the TCOTW Meeting. (End of TCOTW Minutes)
A Labor/Management Loss Control Committee Meeting was held on 9-14-05. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
Protective Footwear Reimbursement Rate. Melvin distributed a survey of reimbursement rates for other area counties as well as a listing of the Wright County reimbursement amounts made in 2003, 2004 and 2005 to date. The average cost for Wright County protective footwear in 2003 was $110.81 and $99.32 in 2004. Qualifying employees are eligible for footwear reimbursement once they have proven to their department head and supervisor that the current protective footwear is in need of replacement. The Foot Protection Policy does not reimburse employees for minor repairs to protective footwear. Those present agreed that if the Policy were to reimburse employees for replacing the sole and/or heal of their existing footwear that this would extend the life of the footwear. There was brief discussion as to whether more expensive footwear lasted longer and based on the data available Melvin was unable to draw that conclusion. Recommendation: The Committee decided not to increase the current protective footwear reimbursement rate of $100 and is referring the issue of County reimbursement for sole and heal repairs to the Public Works Safety Committee for further discussion. (End of Labor/Management Loss Control Minutes)
Russek provided an update on a recent RC&D Meeting he attended in Sherburne County. He said there were a couple of events that Wright County should be aware of. Next year, they are proposing to hold the Meat Goat Conference in Wright County. This year there was a Bio-blitz held between Stearns and Benton Counties and next year it may be held between Wright and Sherburne Counties, possibly in the Monticello area. The group is working toward these goals.
Russek moved to adopt Resolution #05-52 adopting the Region 7W Long-Range Transportation Plan. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Sawatzke announced a Transportation Summit Meeting being held on 9-21-05 at 9:00 A.M. in Sherburne County. Mattson and Sawatzke will attend on behalf of the County. Sawatzke moved to acknowledge the meeting and attendance by Mattson and Sawatzke, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Brian Abrahamson. $169.32
Allina Health Systems 500.00
Amerigas-Cokato MN 439.02
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 209.87
AMI Imaging Systems, Inc. 175.00
Aramark Correctional Serv. 10,399.52
Arctic Glacier Inc. 424.48
Association of MN Counties 150.00
B & D Plumbing & Heating 2,243.00
Dennis Biese 13,889.23
Betmar Languages Inc. 112.40
Buffalo Bituminous 24,476.75
Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt Commerc 241.98
Buffalo Quality Feed Mill 861.59
City Buffalo 42,212.99
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 540.00
Cellular One 269.50
Chatham Township 922.00
Climate Air 246.00
The Copy Shop 781.34
Corinna Township 2,756.94
D & H Fencing 295.00
Dash Medical Gloves 154.70
Emergency Physicians PA 160.00
Debbie Ernst 102.96
Tom Feddema 199.26
Gateway Companies Inc. 14,739.03
General Pallet Inc. 262.00
H & H Sport Shop Inc. 501.14
Robert Hiivala 324.01
Jerrys Towing & Repair 117.15
J Johnson Sales & Serv. 880.00
LEXISNEXIS Matthew Bender 110.00
Loberg Electric 9,987.24
Lorman Education Services 299.00
Frank Madden & Assoc. 2,703.64
Marco Business Products 867.77
Martin-McAllisters Cons. 1,050.00
MASYS Corporation 2,628.87
Minnesota CLE 195.00
Minnesota Corrections Assoc. 235.00
MN GIS-LIS Conference 405.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 111.83
Monticello Community Ed. 1,500.00
City Montrose 503,725.63
National Business Furniture 1,558.00
Nextel Communications 175.15
Office Depot 2,114.67
Pakor Inc. 340.80
Photo I 807.46
Playpower Lt Farmington Inc. 3,386.70
Augie Riebel 100.00
Russell Security Resource Inc. 232.49
SBC Paging 772.20
Sherburne Co. Sheriff 15,455.00
Soc. for Human Resource Mgt. 450.00
Software House Int’l Inc. 256.67
Tammi Solarz 117.45
Southfork Recreational Parts 409.66
Specialty Turf & Ag 506.67
State of MN-Info Tech Div 654.20
Stockholm Township 348.00
Strategic Equip. and Supply 121.41
Shawna Vollbrecht 125.00
Wright Co. Journal Press 241.28
Wright Hennepin Coop Elec. 1,279.77
Xcel Energy 314.46
30 Payments less than $100 1,755.85
Final total $694,865.22
The meeting adjourned at 11:03 A.M.