Wright County Board Minutes

September 27, 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 9-20-05, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #4, “Henshaw Lake Tax Property Update” (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #4, “AMC” (Russek); Item For Consid. #5, “MEADA Fundraiser” (Heeter). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson pulled for discussion Item D1, “Court Administration, Refer To Building Committee Request To Enlarge Juror Box In Courtroom 2 & Replace Juror Chairs.” On a motion by Russek, second by Heeter, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:


1. Performance Appraisals: C. Hayes, Admin.; B. Severson, Hwy.; J. Klein, P&Z; B. Gabrelcik, Recorder; J. Ahlm, S. Doyle, C. Poirier, Sher./Corr.

2. Approve Charitable Gambling Application Form LG220, Rainbow Sportsmans Club, Cokato Lake (Cokato Twp.).

3. Schedule Committee Of The Whole Closed Session To Discuss Labor Negotiation Strategies, 10:30 A.M., 10-18-05.


1. Approve & Authorize Signatures On Agreement For Prosecution Services Between Wright County & City Of Annandale.


1. Approve Tobacco License for Boonedock’s Saloon & Grille (Rockford Twp.).


1. Schedule Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting For 10-25-05 @ 10:30 A.M., County Board Room:

A. Radio Network Proposal.

B. Proposal For Law Enforcement System Upgrade.

Item D1 was discussed, “Court Administration, Refer To Building Committee Request To Enlarge Juror Box In Courtroom 2 & Replace Juror Chairs.” Mattson had concern with the number of requests generated from the Courts for improvements since the State takeover. Heeter responded that Wright County has an obligation to provide the facility and these improvements could possibly be incorporated into the remodel plan recently approved for Courts. A plan for Courts needed to be determined so it encompassed all requests and remodeling was not taking place every six months. Discussion followed on how funding for past furniture and equipment requests for Courts was handled. The Administration Department was directed to research this and to provide any information at the next Building Committee Meeting. Russek moved to approve Item D1 as presented, noting the concern on funding for the chairs and juror boxes. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.

Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested approval of the August Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. Mattson referenced page 2, Court Administration, and the high percentages the line items are running at for the year. Hiivala said that the Court Administrator purchased their supplies during the first six months of the year. Funds are also transferred to line items during May/June to cover COLA and step increases. Court Administration line items will not go up for the remainder of the year due to the State takeover of Courts. Mattson referenced page 18, Sheriff Corrections, noting that the Boarding of Prisoners line item was at 65% and Jail Medical was at 82%. He was happy to see the increase in Boarding of Prisoners Revenue. Hiivala said fuel costs will be over budget this year. On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a Deferred Compensation Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 10-25-05 at 1:30 P.M. to discuss fiduciary responsibilities.

Hiivala brought forth discussion on a tax forfeit property on Henshaw Lake (Albion Twp.). This was discussed at the 4-14-05 County Board Meeting. The County is responsible for clean up of the property. Chuck Davis, Environmental Health Officer, arranged for cleanup with costs estimated at about $10,000. One possible funding source is Pheasants Forever who will donate $1,000 toward the cleanup. The DNR has offered use of their equipment. Estimated cost to install a fence is $1,400 (1/4 mile). This is the second time this property has been cleaned up so fencing early is a necessity. Planting of trees or a deep ditch were offered as possible alternatives to fencing. An investigation into who was dumping on this property was completed. The cleanup will be paid for by the County and offset by future tax forfeit sales. This was provided as an informational item.

The claims listing was presented for approval. Mattson referenced page 11, Buffalo Floral ($52.28) for a flower arrangement. Mattson explained that Stanley Eddy Park land was donated by the Eddy family in memory of Stanley Eddy, who died at an early age. The Parks Commission sent a floral arrangement for Bernice Eddy’s funeral (mother of Stanley Eddy). Past County practice has been denial of such claims. However, the family donated a property worth millions of dollars to the County and it was felt this would be an acceptable expenditure. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried unanimously.

Referred from the last meeting, the Board addressed the Clearwater River Country Bike Trail River Crossing. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said that SEH will not proceed with the request for State funding as presented last week. They have learned from the DNR that the dam is in better condition than others listed on the Dam Control and Crossing Project listing. Therefore, it is unlikely the project would be moved up on the list for repair. ATP funding received toward the project will be utilized to place a crossing next to the bridge structure, pending DNR approval. Therefore, no resolution will be required. Sawatzke and Eichelberg made a site visit on their way to another meeting. Their perspective was that the dam was structurally in good condition but there were safety concerns with the walkway and steps under the bridge. Sawatzke questioned the impacts of removing the dam altogether if it does not serve a purpose. Fingalson felt removal would impact water conditions downstream and would require DNR approval. There could also be the argument that it does serve a purpose in that it has maintained the water level for 100 years. Doing so could impact upstream wetlands. Fingalson will work with the DNR and the City to correct the safety problems.

Russek moved to adopt Resolution #05-53 for final acceptance of Contract 0505 with Structural Specialties, Inc. and authorized final payment of $42,883.11. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, requested the Board schedule a date to consider adoption of a Meth Lab Cleanup Ordinance. Since early 2004, a work group made up of personnel from several County Departments has met to discuss issues relating to cleaning up meth lab sites. The Sheriff’s Office

estimates an average of sixteen meth labs are discovered annually and they are often a public health hazard. The local public health authority in State law, coupled with new legislation passed in 2005 dealing with methamphetamine, provide the basis for the draft Ordinance. The Ordinance would allow the County to recoup costs associated with clean up by placing a lien on the property. As of May, 2005, over half of all Minnesota counties had adopted a similar ordinance. Asleson anticipated providing a draft Ordinance to the Board within one week. A notice of intent to adopt the Ordinance must be published 10 days prior to when the Board considers adoption. Heeter stated that there could be significant costs associated with clean up. An attempt will be made to recoup these costs from property owners but there will be some situations where the County will have to incur the cost. Asleson said property owners would be ordered to clean up the property within 10 days. If this does not happen, the County would hire this done and the costs would be assessed to the property. If the property owner does not pay, the property will proceed to tax forfeiture. The Legislature did pass a revolving loan fund this past year. If a State loan is used for clean up, the State requires reimbursement first for any funds received. There is a provision that the County must bond for that amount of money. Mattson noted that the County has established the 2006 budget and there is not funding available for this. Sawatzke moved to schedule 10-18-05 as the date to consider the Meth Lab Cleanup Ordinance, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.

A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 9-20-05. At today’s meeting, it was suggested that Buffalo Township be copied on the letter being sent to the City. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek. Russek said Scott County just finished with their jail project. It was felt that a builders representative or construction manager should be hired as soon as possible. They could then be informed as to what the County is looking for in an effort to prevent frivolous items being included in the project. The motion carried 5-0 to approve the minutes as presented:

Discuss Space Issues. At a recent Committee Of The Whole Meeting with DLR Group regarding the jail project it was suggested that a separate meeting be scheduled to discuss space issues that involve other departments and the space that will eventually be vacated by the Sheriff’s Department. At today’s meeting there was follow-up discussion regarding annexation of land for the new jail site and road access off Highway 25. Norman stated materials had been forwarded to Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, regarding development of an RFP for architectural services. There was discussion on hiring an owners rep versus a construction manager for the jail project. It was recommended a survey be sent to other counties with recent jail projects to obtain input on their experiences with owners reps, construction managers, and architectural services. Remainder of the discussion centered on Court related issues involving security, transporting costs and staffing implications, and remodeling costs to accommodate growth associated with the Courts versus constructing a law enforcement complex at the outset. Hayes questioned whether a decision should be made regarding the future of the Courts before proceeding with an RFP for architectural services in order to know the scope of the project. Recommendation: Schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting to continue discussion when additional information regarding transporting is received. Proceed with a letter to the City of Buffalo regarding annexation of land for the new jail site. (End of Committee Of The Whole Minutes)

A Committee Meeting To Review Land Use Proposals was held on 9-20-05. At today’s meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:

There was an intensive review of the five proposals submitted:

1. McCombs Frank Roos Associates & Pettipiece Associates

2. Daghlgren, Shardlow & Uban, Inc.

3. Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.

4. URS

5. Hoisington Koegler Group Inc.

After discussion of the criteria listed in the RFP, there was a consensus that the following firms be recommended for interviews: SEH, URS, HKG. Recommended interview times are: October 11, 2005 at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 P.M. (End of Minutes)

Information was received on a workshop, “Annexation-How To Seize Cooperation Out Of Controversy” which will be held on 10-25-05 from 5:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. at the St. Cloud Kelly Inn. Russek said the County has little to do with annexation, most of this activity is between the cities and townships. Sawatzke moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

An AMC District V Meeting will be held on 10-10-05 from 8:00 A.M. to 12:15 P.M. in Milaca. Russek moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Russek attended an AMC District Director’s Meeting last week. AMC is proposing to send $40,000 to the NACO Organization to help with hurricane relief efforts. This was provided as an informational item.

Heeter announced a MEADA Fundraiser being sponsored by the Buffalo Lions. The pork chop feed will be held at the Buffalo Community Middle School on 10-20-05 from 4:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M. Ticket sales are through any MEADA or Buffalo Lions member at a cost of $7/adult and $6/child. From each ticket sold, $6 will go toward the MEADA initiative. Heeter expressed appreciation to the Buffalo Lions for this and past fundraisers.

Heeter said Marn Flicker attended the last MEADA Meeting. His son is a psychologist in Florida and is involved with a group commissioned by Governor Bush to meet on meth issues. The group has heard about the work completed in Minnesota and have asked that a MEADA representative attend one of their meetings. Wright County is being recognized nationally for the efforts to fight meth. Heeter was selected to represent the group in Orlando, Florida on 10-17-05 and expenses will be covered by the Florida group.

As part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration, there will be a historic bus tour of southwestern Wright County on 10-08-05. Sawatzke felt the tour was full but if anyone were interested, they should contact Buffalo Community Education.

The meeting recessed at 10:00 A.M. and reconvened at 10:30 A.M.

Tobacco Compliance Appeal Hearings were held for Quick Shop 66 (Delano) and Kirk’s Travel Plaza (Cokato). Asleson said any licensee or clerk cited under the Wright County Tobacco Ordinance has the opportunity to request an appeal hearing. Copies of the appeal letters and compliance check information was distributed. Joel Torkelson, Public Health, and Sgt. Eric Leander, were present for discussion.

Quick Shop 66. The compliance check was completed at around 5:00 P.M. on 8-22-05. The report indicates that an ID was requested from the under-aged person but the sale was made anyway. This was the third time in a 24-month period that a sale to a minor occurred at this business during compliance checks. A letter was sent to the Quick Shop 66 reflecting a $250 fine or civil penalty and the suspension of their tobacco license for 7 days. This suspension was supposed to take effect on 10-01-05 but is on hold pending the County Board’s decision.

Paul Sagh said the employee asked for the ID and did not check the date. The employee said that it would not happen again. This was the employee’s first offense but the third offense for the store in 24 months. Eichelberg supported upholding the penalty. Torkelson explained that businesses are provided with an Ordinance copy and information from the MN Department of Health when the license is applied for. Another information packet is sent when a violation has occurred. Notice is sent to business owners that compliance checks will be performed. Tobacco compliance training is not provided by the County. Sgt. Leander said when a violation occurs, they discuss with the business owner the details of why they failed and how to prevent it from happening again. False identification is not used during the checks.

Mattson inquired when compliance checks are performed. Sgt. Leander responded that they attempt to vary the times and try not to conduct them during busy times of the day. However with 100+ checks to complete, this sometimes does occur. It is very time consuming to perform the checks. There is also the issue of businesses alerting one another that checks are being completed.

Asleson said the Board needed to determine whether a violation occurred and what the penalty should be. The Attorney’s Office would draft findings and bring them back for review in one week. The date of the suspension would be drafted within the findings. Asleson recalled two other businesses who had their licenses suspended for 7 days. Both served their suspensions (one appealed, one did not). Sawatzke said the violation was acknowledged by the business. Discussion followed on steps businesses could take to make it easier for employees to check identification. Russek said this was the third time the Quick Shop 66 had failed compliance checks within one year. State law indicates that cigarettes are not to be sold to anyone under age 18.

Heeter made a motion indicating that the Quick Shop 66 failed the compliance check and since this is their 3rd violation they should pay the $250 fee. The motion also includes compliance with the 7-day suspension. This is in addition to the employee fine of $75. Findings should be drafted by the Attorney’s Office and presented back to the Board for approval. It was clarified that the motion’s intent is to uphold the Ordinance. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Asleson said there was not an appeal on the clerk’s fine so that will not be included within the findings. Sawatzke pointed out that the Ordinance was drafted after State Law which requires suspension if three sales are made within a 24-month period. The County is complying with State Law. The motion carried 5-0. Asleson will present findings for Board adoption next week. They will then be sent to the licensee. Asleson will work with the business owner on what needs to be done with regard to the suspension. In the past, the tobacco products were removed from the premises and the Sheriff’s Office checked to make sure they were not selling tobacco products.

Kirk’s Travel Plaza. The compliance check was completed at 6:30 P.M. on 8-22-05 by the same Sheriff and Public Health staff. The report indicates that an ID was requested from the under-aged person but the sale was made anyway. This is the first violation the business has received. The clerk and licensee were each fined $75. The appeal is for the licensee’s notice of violation.

Kirk Asplin, licensee, said the compliance check occurred during a busy time of the day. The employees of Kirk’s Travel Plaza are many times high school and college students and there is a lot for them to learn. Asplin is appealing because he tried to stop the person after they had purchased the cigarettes. He said the person gave identification to the clerk but the sale was still made. He agreed that what the clerk did was wrong. When Asplin saw the person carrying the cigarettes after the sale had been made, he tried to stop him outside of the store because he felt he was underage. The deputy then talked with Asplin about what had transpired.

Sgt. Leander understood that Asplin was well respected in the community. However, the sale was made and it was a violation. One of the purposes of the Ordinance is for employers to educate employees on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products. In this case, the sale was made and the clerk did not make sure the age was appropriate. He commended Asplin for his effort in attempting to stop the person. He said there also could be situations when the business owner realized it was a compliance check and didn’t want to fail. When checks are completed, unmarked cars are used but these are known as Sheriff Department vehicles. They park in an area to be in visual site of the front counter or they go into the store. The person used to purchase the cigarettes looks very young and is obviously not of age. The person is given $5 or $10 to purchase the cigarettes. The receipt is checked and the change is counted upon return to the vehicle to assure the sale was made. Asplin said it is not obvious where the vehicle parks but it was obvious the person was too young to purchase cigarettes. When he went into the parking lot to stop the person and saw the deputy, he realized it was a compliance check. Mattson previously worked in a convenience store. With shoplifting, it was not considered a theft until they left the store. Heeter said the difference in this situation is that the sale had been made. She felt the compliance check efforts should be supported and the Ordinance upheld. Sawatzke hoped that the employees would be more aware as a result of this check. He recognized Asplin for his efforts in attempting to stop the person who purchased the cigarettes but said the fact remains that someone illegally purchased cigarettes. When questioned by Sawatzke, Asplin said he was not appealing the employee fine. Asleson said the Ordinance reflects that a sale by an employee is considered a sale by the licensee. Sawatzke rationalized that it would be hard to impose a $75 fine to the employee and not reflect a violation at the business. Asleson said the Ordinance considers any sale to be a sale of the business. Sawatzke said the Board could waive the $75 fine against the licensee but enforce the violation against the business. If a second sale occurred within 24 months, the fine would be imposed at $200. If the same clerk sold again, the fine against the employee would be $200. If a different employee made a sale, the employee would be fined $75.

After further discussion, Sawatzke made a motion recognizing that a sale was made at Kirk’s Travel Plaza and it is the first violation. Due to the effort of the licensee to stop the sale, the motion would waive the $75 fee to the licensee but the first violation against the business would remain in effect. Eichelberg seconded the motion for further discussion. It was clarified that the intent of the motion was to impose the first violation against the business. Mattson questioned whether other business owners have come outside after a person. Sgt. Leander said there have been instances where managers come outside and yell at them when sales haven’t been made because they realize it was a compliance check. There also have been confrontations at the vehicle. He did not want the action today to set a precedent on violations, where business owners appeal fines because they realized a mistake was made after the transaction had occurred. Russek said he would vote against the motion due to that fact. Eichelberg appreciated Sgt. Leander’s comments and said he wouldn’t want to place employees in a confrontational situation because of Board action. Heeter agreed and said although the actions of Asplin were noble, the sale was made. Sawatzke said he would feel differently if a uniformed deputy walked up to the door. Asplin’s reason for going outside was to stop the person. He did understand the concern with setting a precedent. The motion failed 2-3 with Heeter, Russek and Eichelberg casting the nay votes.

Russek made a motion to uphold the Ordinance for the first violation for Kirk’s Travel Plaza and the $75 civil penalty. Sawatzke said he would vote in support of the motion. He would have supported some deviation to the Ordinance due to the circumstances but understood the feelings of the majority. He thought this would lessen the likelihood of close calls. Mattson said he would not support the motion. He said convenience stores are very busy at certain times of the day and many of the employees are young. Mattson was not impressed with the Ordinance due to his background in the convenience store business. Russek said that the staff from Sheriff and Public Health are upholding the law. Eichelberg expressed that his reasoning for seconding the previous motion was for more discussion and he appreciated the input from staff. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.

Asleson will incorporate the action into findings which will be presented for Board action at their next meeting. Business owners will be notified by mail. Mattson did not feel the Ordinance was resulting in a reduction in the number of youth smoking.

Bills Approved

AAA Striping Serv. Inc. 28,929.00

ADP Screening/Selection 190.00

Albion Township 1,898.72

American Sol. for Business 270.38

Ameripride Linen/Apparel 469.32

B & D Plumbing & Heating 131.00

Barnes Distribution 1,134.23

Big B’s Towing & Recovery 106.50

BLM Technologies Inc. 3,341.97

Todd Borell 1,642.00

Boyer Truck Parts 879.37

Buff. Hosp.-Otpt. Comm. 490.17

Catco Parts Service 270.63

CDW Government Inc. 329.91

Centra Sota Lake Region 23,627.26

Climate Air 1,569.04

Collins Brotheres Towing 488.57

Comm. of Transportation 8,139.21

Decorative Designs Inc. 184.31

Eagle Point 3,117.00

Nicholas Eldred 600.00

Robert Erickson 100.00

Joyce Farrell 3,000.00

Glendale 237.50

Gopher State One Call 241.40

Hardings Towing 266.26

Denny Hecker’s Monti Ford 744.67

The Inn on Lake Superior 366.12

Interstate Battery Sys. of Mpls 553.43

Jerrys Towing & Repair 117.15

Keeprs Inc. 1,069.46

Cheryl Klinger 100.00

Lakedale Telephone Co. 112.70

LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,046.26

M-R Sign Company Inc. 6,707.40

Marco Business Products 109.70

Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc. 732.49

MN Assn. of Assessing Ofcrs. 130.00

MN Counties Comp. Co-op 434.65

MN Dept. of Corrections 435.00

MN State Treasurer 210.00

Monti.-Big Lake Pet Hosp. 800.00

Monticello Times 244.48

Morrell Towing Inc. 102.25

Morries Buffalo Ford Merc 120.08

National Business Furn. 339.60

Office Depot 1,467.74

Olsen Chain & Cable Co. 115.56

Omann Brothers Inc. 201.00

Plastic Techniques Inc. 105.87

Prosource One 2,572.93

Public Agency Train. Council 495.00

Qwest 172.38

R J Sayers Distributing 104.43

Royal Tire Inc. 1,995.00

RS Eden 1,568.85

Ryan Motors Inc. 108.79

Savance 125.00

Pat Sawatzke 320.19

Ryan Schmidt 233.01

Shell Fleet Plus 4,557.19

Specialty Turf & Ag 364.23

Sprint-Local Telecom Div. 187.14

SRF Consulting Group Inc. 191.30

Structural Specialties 42,883.11

Sweeney Brothers 249.76

Thermal Technologies Inc. 441.00

Tom’s Snowmobile/Sm. Eng. 229.27

Chad Torkelson 349.98

Total Printing 1,679.77

United States Plastic Corp. 191.19

Verizon Wireless 535.14

Voice Data Systems 7,233.65

Tom Waldron 100.00

West Payment Center 603.48

Western Container Co. 1,198.82

Wright Co. Hwy. Dept. 38,644.44

Wright Lumber/Millwork 165.48

Xcel Energy 549.46

39 Payments less than $100 1,935.49

Final total $208,004.84

The meeting adjourned at 11:32 A.M.