Wright County Board Minutes
January 10, 2006
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
The following correction was made to the minutes of 1-03-06: Page 3, 2nd Paragraph, 1st sentence, replace “Health America Vote Act” with “Help America Vote Act” (Russek). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Agenda as presented.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: M. Doppenberg, L. Martie, Atty.; J. Niebolte. J. Putnam, Hwy.; T. Piram, P&Z; A. Boverhuis, J. Dirksen, J. Dupre, M. Fox, R. Halverson, M. Kaczmarek, M. Rhodes, L. Stine, Sher.; D. Evjen, Surv.; D. Ernst, VS/CD
2. Claim, Buetow & Associates, $3,206.80.
3. Claim, Nelson Builders, $35,085.41
4. Claim, Wright County Economic Development Partnership, $42,000 (2006 Allocation).
1. Approve Abatement, PID# 114-500-284300, Veronica May (City of St. Michael).
1. 2006 Tobacco License Renewal: Croix Convenience Albertville (Albertville City); Lake Center Bar & Grill (Corinna Twp.); Cruiser’s, HiWay Liquors, River City Lanes (Monticello City); Smokin’ Joe’s Roadhouse (Silver Creek Twp.).
1. Authorize Attendance Of Fingalson & Hawkins At NACE Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, MI, April 9-13, 2006.
1. Authorize Signatures On Contract Renewal For 2006 With Allina Hospital Of Buffalo For Jail Medical Services.
Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, requested approval of two change orders for the Courtroom project, as requested by Randy Engel, Architect, Buetow & Associates. The change orders total $1,442.53. The first relates to the relocation of the toilet in the judges chamber (wall hung in lieu of floor mount) due to structural cement beams directly under the floor mount location. The second change order adds structural sub-framing within the judge’s bench as the Architect has deemed this necessary. Mattson moved to approve the two changes orders totaling $1,442.53, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, provided information on an AIA Contract Teleconference to be held on 1-13-06, Room 153, 12:00 P.M.-1:30 P.M. Asleson was unsure of the content of the Teleconference but felt it may be beneficial with the upcoming Jail Project and AIA Contract. A portion of the Teleconference will focus on how to suggest changes to the AIA document. He recommended attendance by the Board due to the upcoming Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting in January to discuss the RFP for the Jail Project. Russek moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Greg Kramber, Assessor, requested the Board set the 2006 County Board of Appeal and Equalization Meetings. Russek moved to schedule 6-15-06 and 6-19-06 (alternate) at 9:00 A.M. with approval of the minutes at the 6-20-06 County Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0. Kramber noted that due to changes in the appeal process, some local appeals may transfer to the County in the event that a certified member is not present at the Local Board of Appeals.
Joe Jacobs, SWCD Water Resource Specialist, requested Board direction on filling three vacancies on the Water Management Task Force (WMTF). The terms have expired for the following:
1. Cities/Development Community Representative. The current representative, St. Michael City Administrator Bob Derus, wishes to be replaced.
2. Lake Associations Representative. The current representative, Bill Lieb of the Indian Lake Association, wishes to be replaced.
3. Mayors Association. The current representative, Charlie Nelson of Montrose, wishes to be reappointed.
Jacobs plans a press release announcing the positions, along with contacting city, lake and mayor organizations for potential representatives. Anyone interested in applying should contact the SWCD by 1-20-06. After applications are received, Sawatzke thought geographic locations of current and potential candidates should be reviewed to assure the entire County is represented. The consensus of the Board was for Jacobs to proceed as outlined. With regard to the status of the Stormwater Drainage Ordinance draft, Jacobs said the SWCD has been working on the document language and it is almost ready for review by the Water Management Task Force. Comments from other agencies will be sought as well.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested approval of a resolution revoking CSAH 53 in the City of Cokato. The resolution includes Cooperative Agreement #05-50. The request for approval was delayed until 2006 to maximize State Aid needs. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #06-03, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 12-21-05. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following corrections were made to the minutes: Page 1, Item 1, 1st sentence, change from “...to the city limits of St. Michael” to “...to TH 241 in St. Michael” (Fingalson); Page 4, Item 5, Bullet 2, 1st sentence, change from “CSHH 18/I-94 interchange project” to “CSAH 18/I-94 interchange project” (Fingalson). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
1. Options for CSAH 19 Project in St. Michael and Albertville. Fingalson explained that the CSAH 19 expansion project from 57th Street in Albertville to TH 241 in St. Michael has been approved for federal funding for construction in 2007. This will include a center median on the northern end and a center turn lane in St. Michael. Proposals were received from six different firms for consulting work on the environmental work and design, and these were reviewed by Kelvin Howieson (Mn/DOT State Aid Engineer) and a team from the Wright County Highway Department including Fingalson and Hawkins on December 20. SRF was the firm chosen to receive the contract, because of their overall low bid and because of their qualifications. The cities of St. Michael and Albertville concurred with this selection. Even with federal funding, the project costs too much to complete in one year without borrowing state aid funds from future years. However, the State will not allow the County to borrow more than one year in advance, so there will not be enough money to complete the project in one year unless other funds are used. Both St. Michael and Albertville would like to see the project completed in 2007, because it will likely cost more to spread the project out over two years and because it would be better to limit the disruption in traffic to one year. Also, when Mn/DOT reconstructs/improves TH 241, they plan to use CSAH 19 as a detour route, which would further congest this highway. Currently, the backup in cars at the intersection of CSAHs 18 and 19 can be as high as 75, and a detour would complicate this even further. A temporary signal at this intersection without turn lanes would not be the best solution. Turn lanes will also be needed at this intersection, because one left-turner can hold up the entire line. Bot said that he appreciates the County leading this project, but he has concerns about the economy of the cost and the disruption for residents if this project takes two years. Both Cities would prefer that the project be completed in one year rather than in two and are looking into the possibility of fronting some of the money so that this can be done. If the Cities can come up with sufficient funds to cover the deficit that state aid won’t cover in 2007, the County would then be able to pay them back with 2008 state aid funds. The Cities of Albertville and Otsego are also looking ahead to a planned expansion of CSAH 19, north of the outlet mall. Sawatzke expressed his concern that developers who stand to profit from the expansion of the highway should be responsible for part of the expense of the expansion and said that the City should keep the people from developing the property if they don’t participate in the cost of improvements. Fingalson said that the improvements are needed now, even without additional development. The County would need approximately $3 million more to do the entire project in 2007, which is where the Cities come in. However, by doing this, the County would then be taking on more debt by owing this amount to the Cities. When the portion of CSAH 19 north of 57th Street was expanded, the City of Albertville shouldered more than their normal share of the cost because they initiated the project. Sawatzke said that he felt there were some inconsistencies in the way cost sharing is done with certain Cities or developers, but Hawkins said that the County has been pretty consistent when the development takes place along a county highway. In this instance, there is really no one development that is driving this improvement; and it would be hard to determine who should pay for it. Eichelberg said that he would be in favor of having this project completed in one year to help keep the costs down. Hawkins reminded the committee members that Wright County has been very successful in obtaining federal money ($8-10 million) in the past few years. Eichelberg said that he would be in favor of going along with a one-year project if the Cities agree to help and if traffic from TH 241 would not be detoured in that same year. Fingalson said that he would prefer to do the project in two years but would like to take advantage of the Cities’ offer to front the money. By doing the Albertville segment as a State Aid project in 2007 and the St. Michael project as a federal project in 2008, it would be less costly overall. Mattson commented that he doesn’t want to use extra money just to avoid a detour because the Cities do their own planning apart from the County. Bot said that the Cities participated in the Northeast Transportation Study at a cost of $100,000, compared to the County’s contribution of $25,000. Bot said that St. Michael is not asking the County to make changes in their construction plans, but just to consider avoiding the inconvenience that a two-year program would cause the public. Hawkins said that it would make sense to do the entire project in 2008 where more funds are available, but then the CSAH 6 project would have to be delayed, and that project also has federal funds. The CSAH 19 project is programmed for 2007, but it could be delayed until 2008 without losing the federal funding. The only way to do this entire project in 2007 would be to get money from the Cities or to come up with other money, such as bonding money. Eichelberg said that he would like to recommend that this project be done in 2007, contingent on Albertville’s and St. Michael’s agreement to forward sufficient funding to the County for six months. Sawatzke said that he would like to see what the Cities would offer. Fingalson said that if there were a consensus to consider this proposal, he would put together a document for the Cities’ consideration that could be discussed at the next TCOTW meeting scheduled for January 4, 2006. Sawatzke said that he would like to see what the Cities’ would offer to do in order to get this project completed in a year. Bot said that the City of St. Michael has already paid for quite of bit of County projects, including almost fully funding the improvements at the intersection of CSAHs 19 and 35. They are also looking at expenses for repairs on CSAHs 19, 35, and 119, and haven’t asked the County for help on those. Fingalson said that the January 4th meeting will include discussion about proposed projects for 2009 and 2010, so discussion of this project will fit in well at that time and will give the Cities an opportunity to have a representative present. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the expansion project for CSAH 19 be discussed at the January 4 TCOTW meeting and that Fingalson notify the Cities that the County would like know what they are willing to contribute in order to enable this project to be completed in one construction year. They will also have the opportunity to let the Committee know what their plans are for the undeveloped property along that portion of CSAH 19.
2. CHSP Central Safety Fund Application/Award. Fingalson explained that Wright County had applied for $100,000 from the CHSP Central Safety Fund to be used on safety improvements, $75,000 of which was awarded. This money will be used to install overhead lighting at a number of rural intersections. Two locations where CSAHs 8 & 39 intersect had to be pulled from the initial list because of the smaller amount of funding received. Cordell said that he tried to prioritize the needs when recommending which intersections could wait until a later date. Fingalson said that next year would hopefully bring another opportunity to receive funding for lighting at additional intersections. Heeter expressed her dismay that the intersections at CSAHs 8 & 39 were removed from the list, but she agreed that it would be good to get lighting at the other intersections. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Highway Department, using the safety money awarded from the CHSP Fund, install overhead lighting at the following intersections: CSAH 3 @ CR 100, CSAH 3, and CSAH 38; CSAH 2 @ CR 136; CSAH 8 @ CSAH 9; CSAH 12 @ CR 107; CR 106 @ TH 25; CSAH 8 @ TH 12; and CR 137 @ TH 12.
3. Albertville Truck Station. Fingalson said that he hasn’t had a chance to find out the cost of filling in the low land on the parcel of Scharber’s property that is being considered as the replacement site for the current Albertville truck station. The County has until December 31, 2005, to cancel the purchase agreement with the party who is buying the current site, if the County can’t find a new home for the truck station. Fingalson said that either the Scharber site or the Albertville City site might work, but the actual cost of fill for the Scharber site has not yet been determined. He doesn’t feel that there is a good basis for canceling the purchase agreement and starting all over again. Sawatzke expressed his concern that the County will be setting a bad example if it fills in low lands and that maybe it is not something that should be done. He realizes that someone else may end up filling it in, but thinks that maybe it isn’t appropriate for the County to do this. Russek said that he would like to know how much of this four acres is usable and how much would need fill. Fingalson said that the location at Albertville City wouldn’t be as desirable as the Scharber property. He will have more information for the Board members at the January 4 TCOTW meting.
4. Tailgating Project Update. Informational: Fingalson explained to the Board members a project that the Departments of Public Safety and Transportation plan to implement on a portion of TH 55 between Buffalo and Rockford. This program is patterned after one in Pennsylvania that helped improve safety by discouraging tailgating. Anti-tailgating “dots” and associated signing would be installed on and along the highway, urging drivers to keep a minimum of 2 Dots away from the vehicle in front of them. Spacing of the dots would be determined by the speed limit on that portion of highway. This is planned for the coming spring or summer. An amount of $25,000 has been set aside for this project, but it has not yet been determined how big an area that will cover.
5. Project Updates
• A discussion of the CSAH 17 project from Delano to the south county line was held at the recent Delano City Council meeting. Permission was needed from the City in order to proceed on the part of the project that falls within the city limits, and permission was granted. Richard Marquette has contacted about 40% of the landowners regarding the right of way that will need to be acquired. The plan is in its final design, and the project memorandum was submitted to the State a couple of weeks ago. Fingalson said that the department hopes to have the project bid this spring so that the work can be completed this summer. Most people are in favor of this project, but there is a little resistance to the planned pathway.
• Fingalson said that the CSAH 18/I-94-interchange project is going very well in Monticello. The County’s payment for this is not due until 2007. A detour for CSAH 18 was set up when the bridge was removed over the freeway, and the project should be done by the end of this summer. Completion will probably coincide with the opening of several big box retailers at that location.
6. Options for Chouinard Property in St. Michael. Asleson announced that a closing was scheduled for 3:00 p.m. today with the Chouinards for their property located by CSAH 22. The County purchased the property for $415,000, but the value could be higher, depending on how it will be used. The property is partly constrained by the bluffs on the riverbank, with some area that is not usable for commercial purposes. The house on the property is 20-25 years old and does not have a basement, so it will not be possible to move it to another location. The property could be leased on a temporary basis, it could be resold right away, or the County could work with the City and sell it for commercial purposes. The property north of this parcel is used for bituminous recycling. If the County decides to sell the property, a request for bids will have to be advertised in the legal newspaper and in the area newspaper. A minimum bid price can be set, and the County can reserve the right to refuse if no bid is acceptable. If the property were leased, a request for bids would be required if anticipated proceeds exceed $15,000/year. Heeter asked if this parcel could be considered as a possibility for the new truck station that the County is seeking. Fingalson said that salt would be covered, so leaching into the river would not be a concern, and access to Nabor Avenue would be good. Strategically, the location is okay, but TH 241, on which travel would be necessary, is not a county highway. Russek said that he would like to find out what the selling price would be*he’s not interested in leasing or renting it. Eichelberg said that gravel could be mined from this location if the buildings were removed. This location has better access to water and sewer than does the Scharber property location, but the cost of that is unknown. If the County would decide to build an outlying truck station here, then it would be best to mine the gravel first. Fingalson said that the property could be leveled out, the same as the surrounding property had been. Russek said that he would like to know what the property is worth, what it can be sold for, where else the truck station can go, and how much that will cost. RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Fingalson contact the City of St. Michael to see what their response would be to having the County locate their truck station on this property. Some discussion followed about the recent fatal crash at the intersection of CSAH 12 and CR 138. Fingalson explained that his department had already been investigating the crash history at this wide-open intersection. Since that crash, the 36” stop signs have been replaced with 48” stop signs, larger ‘stop ahead’ signs have been installed, and a plate saying “cross traffic does not stop” had been added to each stop sign. Pavement markings, “Stop Ahead” and stop bars are also in place here. This intersection does not meet the warrants for a four-way stop (pending an upcoming traffic volume survey), and rumble strips would create a lot of noise for the nearby residents. (End of 12-21-05 TCOTW Minutes)
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 1-04-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following corrections were made to the minutes: Page 3, Item 2, 3rd to last sentence, change from “... the Railroad has been reluctant” to “Burlington Northern and Xcel Energy have been reluctant ...” (Fingalson); and Page 4, Item 4, last line, change from “... but it is only a 5-ton road now” to “... but CR 119 is only a 5-ton road now” (Fingalson). The minutes and action at today’s County Board Meeting (in italics) follows:
1. Review/Prioritize Proposed Projects from Cities/Townships for SAFETEA-LU Funding. Fingalson explained that three Cities had submitted requests for SAFETEA-LU funding, and two of these requests (Annandale and Maple Lake) were for projects identified as ‘enhancement’ projects, which requires the Board to prioritize their recommendation to the Region 7W Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). Hanover submitted a request for funding to extend 8th Street approximately 2,700 feet farther west and to include a 36-foot wide section from the industrial park entrance to CSAH 19. Eighth Street would then align with the existing CSAH 19/34 T-intersection. The cost of this project is estimated at $1,220,000, but turn lanes at all legs would be necessary for an additional cost of $275,000, for a total project cost of $1,495,000 (including roadway, storm sewer, and lighting). Benefits of this improvement include an alternate route for heavy industrial and commercial traffic to and from the Hanover Industrial Park, thus eliminating some of this traffic in residential areas. CSAH 34 traffic would also be able to access downtown Hanover without traveling CSAH 19. As this is not categorized as an ‘enhancement’ project, it will be in direct competition with any projects the County submits for funding, but Committee members agreed to act as the sponsoring agency in recommending Hanover’s project for funding. Fingalson said that it was unlikely, but not impossible, that Hanover’s request for funding would affect those projects that the County intends to submit for funding. John Meyer from the City of Maple Lake explained that the City has been working on a trail that would connect Ney Park to the High School and would now like to complete a trail from the High School to the public beach, located east of town on TH 55. Other connections are planned in this trail system, but they would be paid for as development occurs. This trail system would connect the most valuable resources, which include the school, the business center, and the residential areas. Trail crossing on TH 55 is located at the intersection with traffic signals. Funding from this program for the trail to Ney Park was approved a few years ago, but this is the second time that an application has been made for the trail to the beach, because the first application was not funded. Estimated cost of this project is $224,387. The City of Annandale has completed a trail from TH 55 to the school and will complete a trail by Triplett Farms when further development occurs. The City is requesting funding for a 10-foot wide bituminous trail that will begin at the intersection of TH 55 and go south to CSAH 38, at which point it will connect to an existing bituminous trail in the Triplett Farms development within the City of Annandale. The trail will then continue from the end of the development section and proceed southwesterly to the Southbrook development within the city limits. From there it will run north to CSAH 38 and then west to Lake John where it will turn north and run along the lake and continue to CSAH 39. Benefits include providing access to the existing trail system within the city and to the Wright County regional trail system. Demands for services of this nature increase as the population grows. Not only will the proposed trail enhance the existing trail system by providing access to town and the school system for the expanding population along CSAH 38, but it will also add a scenic route along Lake John. This will also provide a safe recreational facility for pedestrians, bicycles, and roller-bladers. Estimated cost of this project is $580,180. There was some discussion about the projects that have been submitted in the past few years and the fairness of taking turns when prioritizing projects for different counties. However, other factors can also influence the prioritization, such as the overall safety of the proposed project, the total cost of funding, and the value to the region. Several members of the Committee expressed their concern over the proposed trail crossing of TH 55 in Annandale at a point where there is neither a traffic signal nor a tunnel. This factor could influence the TAC not to consider this project for recommendation for funding until a safer crossing is established. Marc Mattice indicated that the topography would accommodate a tunnel, but the cost is very prohibitive. It could be part of a future phase. The cost of the project can also be a factor in the TAC’s recommendation to the 7W Policy Board, where the final determination is made. Both projects would be submitted, but the County needs to prioritize them. Though Committee members felt both projects were valuable and worthy of consideration, they decided to give Maple Lake’s request top priority because of its lower cost and because they felt that the safety issue of the trail crossing at TH 55 in Annandale should be addressed and solved before the trail is completed. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Maple Lake’s request for enhancement funding be given top priority and that Annandale’s request for enhancement funding be given second priority when submitting to the Technical Advisory Committee of Region 7W. Hanover’s request for transportation funding will also be submitted to the 7W Technical Advisory Committee. Wright County will act as the sponsoring agent for all three Cities.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson distributed draft resolutions in support of the projects. The County must adopt resolutions of support as the sponsoring agency.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Sawatzke, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #06-04 in support of the Maple Lake Trail Project (Swimming Beach Link-Phase II).
On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, roll call voted carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #06-05 in support of the Annandale Trail Extension-2008.
2. Discuss/Recommend SAFETEAU-LU Wright County Projects for 2009 and 2010. Fingalson explained to the Committee that Wright County had developed a 10-year work plan a few years ago. Projects identified in this plan were ranked according to safety, history of crashes, tonnage, and other factors. Several improvement projects were identified and funding was received for some. The highest-ranking project at this time is CSAH 6 from CSAH 35 to TH 55, with 131 points. Close behind is CSAH 3 with 127 points, followed by CSAH 12 from TH 55 north to CSAH 37, with 126 points. Fingalson said that completing improvements to CSAH 6 is consistent with past intentions, including a bypass around Howard Lake. The State has also talked about the County taking over TH 24, which would complete the north/south route of CSAH 6. Wright County has already been awarded $1 million of federal money to improve CSAH 6 north of TH 55 in 2008, and he would like to submit an application for funding to continue the improvements south of TH 55. Fingalson said that Wright County has received federal money for six years in a row, which has helped make a big difference in the number of projects that Wright County has been able to do. He also said that the next bridge project that needs repairs/improvement is the CSAH 75 bridge near the Xcel plant in Monticello. Even though very few trains (approximately one every four years) use the tracks from the plant, Burlington Northern and Xcel Energy have been reluctant to go to an at-grade crossing. Fingalson said that the bridge is deteriorating and he would like to get some funding for repairs/improvements. The discussion that followed concurred with Fingalson’s recommendations regarding CSAH 6 and the CSAH 75 bridge. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that applications for federal funding be submitted for improvements to CSAH 6 from CSAH 35 to TH 55 and for improvements to the CSAH 75 bridge near the Xcel Energy plant in Monticello.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to adopt Resolution #06-06 authorizing the County Engineer to submit an application to Mn/DOT for Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010 for federal funding for the following projects. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote:
Project; Description; Total Cost; TEA-21 Request
CSAH 6 (TH 55-CSAH 35); Regrading, Base, Bituminous; $4,500,000; $3,640,000
CSAH 75 Bridge (#5434); Bridge Replacement; $700,000; $560,000
8th Street; City of Hanover; $1,495,000; $1,196,000
3. Discuss Possible Financing Options with the Cities of Albertville and St. Michael for the CSAH 19 Project. Fingalson explained that SRF had been hired to help with the environmental and design work on the CSAH 19 project between Albertville and St. Michael. Federal money has been awarded for this project, but the County does not have enough State Aid funds to complete the entire project in 2007. Several options had been considered, including a possibility that the Cities would lend money to the County until more State Aid funds became available, that both phases of the project would be delayed until 2008, and that the phase from the south limits of Albertville to 57th Street be completed with State Aid funds and that the segment in St. Michael be completed with federal funds. Bot commented that it would be both St. Michael’s and Albertville’s first preference to have the project be completed in one year’s time, and Kruse agreed that a one-year time frame is preferable. If that does not work, he would like to see the traffic signal installed at CSAH 18/CSAH 19 to keep the traffic moving during construction. Fingalson said that he would prefer to have the Albertville segment completed in 2007 and the south segment completed in 2008. Both could be completed in one year, but then they would have to wait until 2008; and if the projects are combined, then they will have to deal with the environmental issues required by federal regulations. The advantage of using State Aid money is that the regulations are not as stringent, which makes the project less expensive. After discussing the various options, the Committee members agreed that the CSAH 19 project would be most easily handled over a two-year period. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the CSAH 19 reconstruction project between Albertville and St. Michael be completed in two phases, with the first phase (from 57th Street in Albertville to the north city limits of St. Michael) to be completed in 2007 with State Aid funds and the second phase (from the north city limits of St. Michael to the CSAH 19/35/TH 241 intersection) to be completed in 2008 using federal funds.
Discussion followed about Albertville’s and Otsego’s desire to reconstruct CSAH 19 north of the outlet mall. Kruse asked permission to continue working with Highway staff in considering and planning for this improvement. He said that it might be possible to work out a very liberal plan whereby the County would approve the project and the Cities would carry the County interest free for a few years. There would be a significant saving on right-of-way costs if the project can be started soon. Fingalson said that the County Board needs to have an updated 5-Year Plan to map out the future. Fingalson suggested that Kruse present this request at the 5-Year Public Meeting that will be held in the spring. There was some discussion about figuring a way to have the landowners who profit from the improvements to the highways share in the cost of the improvements. Kruse agreed that this is a good approach and said that developers are already contributing to a proposed $20 million ramp for the I-94 project, but some projects can cost more than the resources available. Even without further development, CSAH 19 will fail if no improvements are made. Albertville doesn’t have the ability to assess property in Otsego, and much of the traffic is being generated from the north. Kruse said that sometimes development is perceived as a detriment, and he shared with the Committee a breakdown of tax revenues that were received from one business located on CSAH 19. In 2005, this business generated a total of $124,995 in taxes, with $33,873 going to the County and $31,498 going to the City. This did not include assessments and this is just one business. If the improvement project is not taken on soon, then the right-of-way costs will continue to rise. He would like to work with the County to come up with a solution. Heeter said that she approved of their working together and Hawkins said that the issues are not limited to Albertville. He and Fingalson will be meeting with the City of Otsego on January 5 to discuss the increased traffic, which will be generated by a future development on CSAH 42.
Discuss Chouinard Property City of St. Michael’s Interest and/or Possible use as a County Truck Station. The County now owns the Chouinard property, located just off CSAH 22 in St. Michael. At the direction of the TCOTW on December 21, 2005, Fingalson contacted the City of St. Michael to find out if they had any objections to the County constructing a truck station there. Weigel said that the City’s land use plan for the next 15-20 years shows that property as office/business and not zoned for heavy industrial. The office/business zoning would make the entrance to the city more appealing than industrial. They recognize that Omann’s is located right next to that property, but the hope is that the industrial use of this property will not continue for too long a period. The location of a county truck station at the corner of a major intersection is probably not the best placement for this type of facility. Weigel said that they are not opposed to having it located within city limits and would be agreeable to considering allowing the County to locate this station on property that the City owns near CR 119. The City would have certain expectations for building criteria, but they might not be as strict farther away from the downtown area. Weigel said that a land swap could be considered if the County is interested. At this time, there are no city utilities available, so a well and septic system would be extra expenses. Weigel said that the City is planning to build a new Public Works facility on this property, but they are probably 10 years away from doing that. They would be open to having the County build a facility sooner than that. Perhaps some facilities could be shared between the City and the County. Asleson said that selling the Chouinard site as a residence would require the County to update the septic system and make repairs to the house, which shows signs of water damage. Heeter said that she would like to see what the equivalent is per square foot and consider a trade with the City. Fingalson said that the City’s proposed location has some advantages if Kadler Avenue becomes a thruway, but CR 119 is only a 5-ton road now. Eichelberg said that he would like to have S. Meyer and Fingalson assess the possibilities, and if it looks like a possible consideration, bring it back to another meeting. Sawatzke expressed his concern over not having city water and sewer available. S. Meyer asked if the Committee members would consider delineating the wetlands from the Scharber property located just northwest of Albertville. A soil analysis would need to be done and some of the wetlands might have to be mitigated. Russek said that he would be interested in finding out what it would cost to do this, but Sawatzke said that he doesn’t think government sets a good example by filling in wetlands. Sawatzke said that he likes the site next to the Albertville Public Works. Perhaps facilities could be temporarily shared with St. Michael and Albertville until a permanent site is chosen. It was also suggested by Commissioner Sawatzke that the County’s Albertville trucks be temporarily housed at the Buffalo shop. S. Meyer said that he does not prefer the Albertville site since it is located adjacent to a residential area. He prefers the location of the Scharber site because it is in an area shared by similar operations and it is in an area of the county where future county routes are planned. After further discussion, Heeter asked the Committee members for some direction on this issue, and they indicated that the Scharber property should not be considered as a County truck station. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Scharber property located northwest of the City of Albertville be eliminated as a possible building site for the new truck station that will replace the current one located at the intersection of CSAHs 18 and 19. The Highway Department staff was asked to look for other possibilities.
Review Proposed CSAH System. Fingalson explained that each county in Minnesota has a designated number of state aid highway miles, and that a Screening Board made up of county engineers meets twice a year to consider a County’s request to add to their mileage. A Mileage Committee has been created to work closely with the State Aid office and spends time scrutinizing the system and comes back with a recommendation to the Screening Board. They then vote to accept or reject the request. A County must show what additional miles they propose to be added and what miles should be removed if they no longer meet the designation of County State Aid Highway. Adding miles to the system allows the county to be eligible for more funding, but needs for these additional miles have to be shown. Fingalson presented a map showing his proposed changes to the CSAH system. Plans to accommodate expected growth in the future are considered a legitimate basis for need. Both Weigel and Kruse expressed their interest in being kept informed of the County’s plans so that they can participate cooperatively in their cities’ planning. Eichelberg said that he thought the Highway Department was on the right track and asked Fingalson to keep everyone informed. Fingalson will be discussing the proposal with the Mn/DOT District State Aid Engineer and others prior to the April 1 submittal.
Right-of-Way Ordinance. Fingalson explained that the draft ordinance still needs some modifications, but he wanted to give the Committee an overview of why one is needed. Hawkins explained that Wright County works with all utilities within the existing and new right of way when projects are done and that utilities are asked to relocate their lines when necessary. Utilities have been increasingly reluctant to move their lines because of the costs involved, and in a recent case Xcel refused to move their line even though the permit said that they would have to move it at the County’s request. As a result of their refusal to move the line, the line was hit and damaged. Asleson said that a permit without an ordinance has no teeth, but that with an ordinance each utility would be required to register in order to get a permit. This would also allow for information gathering on the locations of all utility lines. Asleson explained that it is the County’s policy to issue permits, but policy doesn’t mean much in court. An adopted county ordinance carries more weight and probably should have been adopted before now. He said that he would work with Cordell, Hawkins, and Fingalson to finalize the rough draft of the ordinance and get copies to Board members within the next month. He said that input would be needed from the Board for penalty fees and permit fees. Access management might also be incorporated into this ordinance.
Constitutional Amendment Resolution. Fingalson said that the Minnesota Transportation Alliance sent out a sample resolution to all Counties and Cities, which if passed, would state their support of the proposed constitutional amendment calling for a greater share of the motor vehicle sales tax revenue to be spent on transportation funding. This constitutional amendment will be on the November ballot, and each non-vote will count as a NO vote, so Fingalson said that it is imperative to get the word out about the need to vote YES to help increase the money available for the highway systems in Minnesota. Passing this resolution will help get the word out. Fingalson said that he doesn’t know how the other Counties have responded to this, but he will know more after the annual meeting of county engineers that he will be attending in two weeks. He was asked to add this to the agenda of the next TCOTW meeting. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Fingalson find out how other Counties have responded to the request from the Transportation Alliance to pass this resolution regarding an increased share of the motor vehicle sales tax for transportation purposes.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the 1-04-06 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes and recommendations, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
(End of Transportation Of The Whole Minutes)
The meeting adjourned at 9:54 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Jan. 30, 2006.