March 7, 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 2-28-06: page 2, 2nd paragraph, 3rd sentence should read, “This Plan was sent to each municipality and home school district” (Hiivala). Russek stated he would abstain from the vote on the minutes as he was not present at the last Board Meeting. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item F1, “Auditor, Approve Personal Leave, Andrea Bixby, Eff. 3-02-06 For 8 Weeks” (Norman). Consent Agenda Item A2, “Schedule Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting For 3-21-06 @ 10:30 A.M.” was moved to Items For Consideration (Norman). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:
1. Performance Appraisals: H. Bray, Hwy.; W. Stephens, P&Z; C. Ankney, D. Carlson, Sher./Corr.
3. Refer To 3-22-06 Personnel Committee Discussion RE: Policy 512, Personal Appearance Of Employees.
4. Allow Kiwanis Club Of Buffalo Use Of East Parking Lot, 5-13-06.
5. Claim, Buetow & Associates, Inc., $1,431.09 (Feb. 2006 Service).
6. O/T Report, Period Ending 2-24-06.
2. CIVIL DEFENSE
1. Approval For Genell Reese & Debbie Ernst To Attend National Radiological Emergency Preparedness Conference, St. Louis, MO, March 27-29, 2006.
3. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Refer To Technology Committee:
1. Recorder Compliance Fund Memorandum.
2. Request For Proposal For A Permit & Inspection System.
4. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:
1. Larry & Diane Brastad (Maple Lake Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend establishment of a Rural Planned Unit Development District.
2. Ralph Goelz (Maple Lake Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend the rezoning from AG to A/R.
3. Kenneth G. Beckius (Chatham Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend approval of the request to rezone from AG & S-2 to R-2a & S-2.
1. Authorize Signatures On 2006 Boat & Water Safety Agreement.
2. Authorize Signatures On Joint Powers Agreement Between The State Of MN & Wright County For Delivery & Use Of 3-Finger Identification Units, Sheriff’s Department.
1. Approve Personal Leave, Andrea Bixby, Eff. 3-02-06 For 8 Weeks.
Steve Jobe, Surveyor, introduced Michael Pooler who was recently hired as the Senior GIS Specialist in the Survey Department. Pooler previously worked in Stearns County. He was welcomed by the County Board.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, brought forth discussion on adoption of the HAVA Plan. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said a Public Hearing on the Plan was held on 2-28-06. Today, a draft resolution was presented which would: 1) Approve the Plan; 2) Authorize signatures on the Agreement for the State of MN Assistive Voting System Grant Application & Agreement; and 3) Authorize signatures on the State of MN Optical Scan Voting Equipment Grant Application & Agreement. Gloria Gooler said up to $3000 in State funding is available for municipalities to purchase assistive voting systems and optical scan precinct counters. This funding would not cover the entire cost of the equipment. Municipalities must purchase the Automark ballot. However, they do have the option of hand counting ballots. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #06-20 for adoption of the HAVA Plan, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Asleson requested authorization of signatures on a revised rental contract for the Fairgrounds property. Closing occurred on 2-27-06 for the purchase of 26.38 acres adjacent to the Fairgrounds from the Gruenhagens. A land rental agreement was previously signed with the Gruenhagens allowing for use of 4 acres for parking during the Fair. The land would be planted into a hay crop. The Fair Board had considerable discussion on the amount of parking required. The revised rental contract reflects a total of 11.28 acres for parking. The Fair Board will determine what seed will be used. Heeter explained that this area will be used for parking as well as other events. Mattson questioned whether this transaction would affect the Ag Society’s lease of the Fairgrounds. Asleson will review the lease to determine whether a legal description needs to be revised and to assure insurance coverage. Asleson said the property was purchased at a cost of approximately $500,000. The estimated market value last year (for tax purposes) was $378,000. For taxes payable next year, the estimated market value has increased to $540,000. He felt the timing was right for the County to purchase the land. Sawatzke moved to authorize the Board Chair’s signature on the Rental Contract for the Fairgrounds Property, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-28-06. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0:
Township Planning & Zoning. The meeting of January 25, 2006 was reconvened at 10:35 A.M. On 1-25-06 it was the consensus of the Committee to aggressively require that townships prove that they meet all State and County requirements in order to have their own planning and zoning program. Tom Salkowski stated two townships have been operating under the premise that they have their own planning and zoning program, although they have not provided documented proof to the County that they meet the legal requirements. Two other townships have indicated interest in doing their own planning and zoning. Salkowski distributed copies of correspondence concerning planning and zoning in Stockholm Township which included information regarding the documentation requested to establish proper adoption and administration of a township planning and zoning program. Tom Zins distributed a draft copy of proposed amendments to the Wright County Zoning Ordinance which essentially emphasize the requirement that a township planning and zoning ordinance must be at least as restrictive as the County’s both in terms of language and administration. This could result in individuals needing to make application to the County prior to applying for a permit at a township that has their own planning and zoning program. For information purposes, Zins also distributed copies of a court case in Olmstead County which upheld Olmstead County’s position. Following extensive discussion, it was the consensus of the Committee for Salkowski to correspond with the four townships to inform them of the County’s intention to amend Wright County’s Zoning Ordinance and to take an aggressive approach to ensure that all ordinances, regulations, etc. relating to land use activities are strictly adhered to. Zins distributed a draft Joint Powers Agreement Regarding Official Controls dealing with a subdivision ordinance with Rockford Township. Zins stated the County has a good working relationship with Rockford Township and the Joint Powers Agreement was initiated at the request of Rockford Township. The Agreement has been reviewed by Zins and Salkowski and the draft copy includes the County’s revisions. Salkowski stated it essentially states that the County and Rockford Township would continue to do things as they currently are done. The Agreement includes an automatic renewal each January 1st unless either party gives prior 90 day notice to terminate the Agreement. Zins will notify Rockford Township that the County Board is in the process of reviewing the Joint Powers Agreement. Recommendation: The meeting was recessed to Tuesday, March 28, 2006, at 10:30 A.M. in order to allow a response time to Salkowski’s letter to the four townships. (End of Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
The request to schedule a Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting was moved from the Consent Agenda for discussion. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said the original request was to schedule the meeting for 3-21-06 at 10:30 A.M. As the date for receipt of the Architect RFP’s for the Jail project was moved out one week to 3-24-06, this meeting date will also need to be scheduled for a later time. Architect interviews will be conducted the first week of April. Eichelberg moved to schedule a Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 3-27-06 at 9:00 A.M., seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
The meeting recessed at 9:25 A.M. and reconvened at 9:30 A.M.
Heeter recessed the regular meeting at 9:30 A.M. for the Public Hearing on the Regional Park Grant Application and the Remediation Grant Application. The intent is to acquire funding for the proposed acquisition of 180 acres near the Stanley Eddy Park which would be named the ‘Stanley Eddy Regional Park Alama Unit.’ The project would include boundary fencing as well as fee title acquisition. Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, distributed a map of the area. By mid-July, the County would be informed whether the grant was awarded. Negotiations with the landowner would be finalized in August or September and the project would be completed by the end of 2007. A trail easement would be required to connect this parcel with Stanley Eddy Park. The funding breakdown for the Remediation Grant is as follows: County Capital Improvement Funds ($500,000); Park Dedication Fees ($73,432); and Grant Funds ($500,000) for a total of $1,073,432. The funding breakdown for the Regional Park Grant Program is: County Capital Improvement Funds ($355,941); Park Dedication Fees ($73,432); and Grant Funds ($644,059) for a total of $1,073,432. The cost breakdown is $1,032,000 for land acquisition and $41,250 for fencing. If the grant is approved, total annual maintenance costs will be $4,250 and gradually increase to $5,950 in 20 years. The funding split over 2006 and 2007 would be determined. No public comment was received. The Public Hearing was closed at 9:40 A.M. and the regular meeting reconvened. Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution 06-21 for the Remediation Grant Application, seconded by Eichelberg. The draft resolution will be revised to reflect “Parks Administrator.” The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #06-22 for the Regional Park Grant Application, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Bids were opened for the CSAH 2 Bridge Project at the last County Board Meeting. Today, Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said the CSAH 2 Bridge Project was also discussed at the 2-27-06 Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting. The recommendation from that meeting was to not award the bid due to funding. Fingalson has since been in contact with the State and his recommendation was to award the project today. The County is eligible for $300,000 in bridge bonding funds through a grant. Fingalson did not feel the County should risk relying on potential funding awards being considered during the upcoming Legislative Session. Funding for bridges on CSAH routes only receive a 50% match. Project costs could rise with the potential that the bids may come in higher if the project were rebid. Fingalson distributed a cash flow summary including 2006 proposed expenditures. The figures include the sale of the Chouinard and Delano shop properties. Mn/DOT has agreed to advance encumber $1 million of 2007 funding. In the handout, that funding was divided between State Aid Municipal and the Cokato project ($125,000). The remainder was placed in the State Aid Regular Account to help fund projects listed on the handout. Fingalson distributed copies reflecting the bridge structure deficiencies. The bridge is 50 years old and records do not reflect how deep the tilings are. Rip rap may be required. Approximately $66,000 has been expended thus far on the project (including bridge design, ROW acquisition, and permits). The Engineer’s estimate for the project is $794,000 and the low bid from Redstone Construction was for $660,000. Fingalson did not feel there would be another opportunity to obtain bridge bonding and the attempt to obtain Federal Funding did not work. Heeter said her concern was if the properties did not sell. However, the consensus was that the County does have the responsibility to correct the bridge deficiencies. Mattson said he would support the project as long as funding for other projects would not be affected. Fingalson responded that this would be correct, taking into account the projects eliminated at the last TCOTW Meeting. A draft resolution for bridge bonding was distributed. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #06-23, Agreement to State Transportation Fund (Bridge Bonds) Grant Terms and Conditions, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Russek moved to award the CSAH 2 Bridge Project to Redstone Construction, low bid at $660,052.81. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Mattson.
Fingalson recommended awarding the contract for the CSAH 37/CR 117/CR 119 Safety Project to Mathiowetz Construction for the base bid of $231,244.66. The County received a $200,000 grant for a safety improvement project at the intersection of CSAH 37/CR 117. He did not recommend awarding the alternate for the CSAH 37/CR 119 intersection at a cost of $60,034.15 in view of the financial situation and problems associated with ROW. The County would have to proceed to condemnation to obtain the easement. Russek moved to award the base bid to Mathiowetz Construction for $231,244.66. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Sawatzke.
A Transportation Committee Meeting was held on 2-27-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following corrections were made to the minutes: Page 3, 2nd paragraph, add a sentence after the first sentence, “The Council actually approved a letting date of March 29, 2006 that evening, which will need to be changed since the plans have not been approved by State Aid yet.”; Page 3, last paragraph, 4th sentence should read, “DeWolf said that the City could upfront the cost for the County and that the County could then pay them back, but the County’s portion of the project won’t happen until 2007.”; Page 4, 1stt paragraph, last sentence should be deleted; and page 4, 2nd paragraph, last part of the last sentence should read, “.Annandale can pay for Wright County’s share of the CSAH 38 project and then Wright County can pay them back.” The following are the minutes and discussion at today’s County Board Meeting (in italics):
Discuss Construction Funding for State Aid Projects. Fingalson explained that in the past Wright County has borrowed ahead from future allotments of State Aid money in order to help keep local taxes low and to continue the program. The Board’s previous decision to use State Aid monies for all expenditures that were eligible and still do a sizeable construction program required advance encumbering from the next year’s allotment. This was a risk that caught up with us. The State has notified many Counties, including Wright, that borrowing ahead is not an option this year, so much on the 2006 program will have to be funded in another way or will have to be revised, or time-shifted, in order to have sufficient funds for the projects that are chosen. Fingalson explained that there is a shortage of transportation funding all over, largely due to no increase in the gas tax since 1988, but also due to a combination of other things. Some projects in the municipal category had overruns, which ate into the funds available for other projects, and some projects are experiencing a much higher than estimated cost of right of way expense. Fingalson said that he had received word last Friday that the State would advance Wright County $1 million for the construction of the CSAH 2 bridge project, a project for which bids will be opened at the County Board meeting tomorrow, February 28. Hawkins handed out a summary showing the projects on the schedule for 2006 and 2007 and how much money was needed to complete them. This list included projects that have been awarded federal funds which will be lost if the timeline is not met. The CSAH 17 and CSAH 19 projects are two projects that have been awarded federal funds and need to continue on schedule in order to take advantage of the money. A lengthy discussion was held about the merit of each project scheduled for 2006 and whether re-prioritizing the projects would be a reasonable way to approach the 2006 season without bonding for more money. Russek said that it would be nice if we could bond in an effort to get “caught up” so that we wouldn’t have to rely on advance encumbering. The CSAH 17 project is scheduled for road construction in 2007, with much of the preparation work including the purchase of right-of-way, estimated at $800,000, scheduled for 2006. This project has been awarded $1 million in federal funds, which will be lost if the deadline is not met. CSAH 36 needs road improvement because of its location in a flood plain and carries a cost of $500,000, but it has been bumped back a couple times already to make room for another project. Fingalson said that he has applied for special safety funds to help with the costs of improving CSAH 36, but he doesn’t know if funds will be awarded for this purpose. Approximately $200,000 will be Wright County’s cost for the project development work on CSAH 19 between Albertville and St. Michael, and this cannot be pushed back another year because of federal funds involved in this project. The ambitious plans to upgrade TH 101 between Rogers and Elk River include the addition of four interchanges that involve county routes, CSAHs 36, 37, 39, and 42. Though this is a Mn/DOT project, the new state funding policy requires that the local share of the project be set at 15%. The City of Otsego had made arrangements with the landowners to exchange certain city services for donations of right of way, but the value of the right of way does not cover the entire cost of the local share. Even though Otsego is willing to give Wright County credit for the right of way that Otsego does not need, Wright County still needs about $2 million to cover the remaining costs. The entire construction cost of the upgrade is about $63 million, with Mn/DOT contributing $53 million, so not advancing with this project would mean the loss of Mn/DOT’s share and a waiting period of possibly 10 to 15 years before this project could be done. Another project planned for this coming summer is the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of TH 55 and CSAH 12, just north of the new Buffalo elementary school that will open in the fall of 2006. Funds from the Highway 55 Corridor Coalition will be covering 80% of the reimbursable costs, with the State covering the remaining 20%, but that 20% in funding will not be available until July, 2007, so the County would have to cover that portion and wait for reimbursement. Mattson asked Fingalson to check with Buffalo Bituminous to see if they would be interested in contributing to the cost of the installation. The City of Hanover has also asked for help in funding a traffic signal at the intersection of CSAHs 19 and 20, of which the County’s share will be $70,000. Representatives from the Cities of Cokato and Annandale were present to discuss with the Committee their desire to complete the projects that the County Board had previously agreed to participate in by sharing in the funding. Wright County’s share for the Cokato project is $650,000 and for Annandale (Phase 1) is $600,000. Both Cities have signed agreements that state that the County will pay its share when the funds are available, but Cokato has asked that the money become available soon as they are not able to bond for that portion. Johnson said that the County had agreed with the City of Cokato two years ago to delay the City’s project in order to give Cokato time to prepare properly for funding, and the County had agreed to participate in the project, “subject to availability of funds.” Norman asked if this were on the 2006 construction program, and Hawkins said that it was but that some of the unknown factors, such as the cost of overruns on city projects, significantly affected the funds available. Also, the County had operated on the presumption that it would be allowed to advance encumber funds from 2007 but has now been told that this is not possible. Sawatzke commented that initially the County thought its share for the TH 101 project would be closer to zero, but now that figure is much higher. Eichelberg said that there is still a chance that the cost estimates are high and that the total cost could be lower than projected. Also, Otsego has agreed to act as a bonding agent for Wright County and allow for payments over a number of years. Johnson explained that bids were being let today [February 27, 2006] for the Cokato project being discussed. [The Council actually approved a letting date of March 29, 2006 that evening, which will need to be changed since the plans have not been approved by State Aid yet.] Meetings have been held with the neighbors, engineers have diagrammed out the detours and project overviews, and everything is ready to go. They have already eliminated everything they can to keep the price down to $1.4 million and they don’t have the $125,000 that it would take to buy down the bond for the total amount needed. The City is currently strapped, unable to bond for the total amount, and is counting on the County’s money. Johnson said that the City is hoping to begin the construction on April 1 and to have it significantly completed by August, with finish-up work to be done in the following spring. Russek said that because the City has gone this far depending on the County, it would be hard on them if the County doesn’t follow through. Sawatzke asked if there were any projects that could be cut this year and put off until another year. He said that he would be willing to bump the CSAH 36 flood control project, again, to the future (possibly 2008) as long as a strong commitment is made to get it done eventually. Fingalson has applied for a safety grant for the CSAH 36 project; so if money is awarded, this project could be put back on the schedule to be completed earlier than 2008. Mattson said that maybe the CSAH 2 bridge project could wait because it is not in imminent danger of collapsing, although it will need repairs soon. Fingalson said that the County could save $800,000 now by delaying that project until a future date. However, when Wright County was awarded some advance money from the State, this is the project that was the recipient of that advance money and Fingalson said that he would have to find out if the State would allow that advance money to be used on another project. Russek expressed his concern for the City of Cokato in that they depended on the County to help them with this project and he does not think it would be fair to the City to delay any longer. The CSAH 17 project has been awarded $1 million in federal funds, so that project has to be continued within the designated timeframe so that these funds are not lost. Russek suggested that the $800,000 from the bridge project could be used for the CSAH 17 project in order not to lose the federal funds. DeWolf said that Annandale’s agreement with the County is similar to Cokato’s in that payment for the County’s share will be made “subject to availability of funds.” The City is moving ahead with the $2.5 million project (first half), and the County’s portion will be the final lift of bituminous at approximately $600,000. Annandale will be bonding to meet the upfront costs and will be assessing its residents for their share of the expense. DeWolf said that the City could upfront the cost for the County and that the County could them pay them back, but the County’s portion of the project won’t happen until 2007. Fingalson said that using State Aid money on improvements to CSAH 38 might be a mistake as CSAH 38 really doesn’t fit the criteria of a “County State Aid Highway” and is likely to be removed from the State Aid system in the near future. If that is done, the County would then be required to pay back any State Aid money that was used in its improvement, so using local levy or bonding money would be the best choice for this project. Sawatzke suggested that local projects be scrutinized to see if money can be saved, such as the overlays. Norman said that caution should be used when making commitments to local levy projects because the Legislature could decide to impose levy limits again. Sawatzke asked how the City project compared to the overlay projects for importance and Hawkins said that overlays are generally a higher priority than City projects because they are benefitting more miles for the cost. Fingalson agreed that the overlays are a higher priority for the County. Care is taken to group overlays in close proximity to each other in order to help keep costs down, and Russek commented that some of the roads due for overlays this year are falling apart and need attention now. Norman asked if the funds set aside for the CSAH 2 bridge project could be used to another project, and Fingalson said that he would try to convince the State to allow Wright County to do that. Fingalson said that the Cokato project is in direct competition for funds with the CSAH 17 & 19 projects. The overruns on the Montrose and Waverly projects wiped out the County’s Municipal State Aid Construction account. Mattson said that it would be fine with him if the CSAH 12 project were delayed for a year or two and Sawatzke suggested that the CSAH 2 bridge also be delayed, with the assumption that the money for the bridge can be used elsewhere. Bids for the CSAH 2 bridge are scheduled for opening tomorrow and the award will be delayed at least a week. Fingalson said that the bridge could be delayed until 2008 and the construction of CSAH 12 could also be moved back to 2008, but this would not be desirable. DeWolf said that he doesn’t know of any reason that the City of Buffalo would object to this change, but Meyer cautioned the Committee that the delay in reconstruction of CSAH 12 will most likely result in very poor road conditions in the meantime and large maintenance expenditures. Russek reiterated that he would like to see both Cokato and Annandale taken care of by the County, and both Heeter and Sawatzke agreed that this would be the proper thing to do. Annandale’s portion of its project will be completed by November of 2006, but the final lift will not be needed until the summer of 2007. These are the discussed changes: CSAH 2 bridge will be moved to a future year, if state aid funds can be shifted to another project; CSAH 17 will have to be done on schedule because of the federal funds involved; the CSAH 36 flood control project will be delayed until 2008 unless safety grant money is awarded; the CSAH 19 project must be done on schedule because of the federal funds involved; the traffic signal at CSAH 12 and TH 55 will require a 20% cost share from Wright County, or $80,000, and is important because of the new elementary school that is scheduled to open in the fall. Ellis said that the state statutes require that payment be made within 30 days of completion, so this would have to be paid in 2006; the next phase of the CSAH 12 project could be put off until 2009, including the purchase of right of way, but the costs are likely to rise in future years; Hanover’s request for a traffic signal at CSAHs 19 and 20 could be done if Hanover is willing to wait until 2007 for Wright County’s share of $140,000; the bridge on CSAH 40, which will be shared with Stearns County, can be put off until 2007; Cokato should be paid $125,000 so that they have the ability to bond for the entire amount necessary to complete their project and Wright County will pay them the rest of their share as soon as possible; Annandale can pay for Wright County’s share of the CSAH 38 project and then Wright County can pay them back. When the budget was put together, the County had planned on receiving $3.7 million in an advance allotment, $3.2 million for regular state aid and $500,000 for municipal state aid, which would still leave the County $140,000 short because of the increased costs in right-of-way purchases. Fingalson said that any money received in 2007 and used for 2006 projects will directly affect the projects planned for 2007. Fingalson said that a Five-Year Public Meeting is planned for this spring and Sawatzke asked if it were necessary to hold one. Fingalson said that he felt it was important to let people know why certain projects were held back and to determine our work plan for the next few years. Norman said that a hearing could build up the expectations of the public and then disappoint them when no funds are available to do anything. Hawkins said that it is important to have a Five-Year Meeting in order to put together a 10-year work plan, which is necessary in order to get funding for these projects. Meyer also recommended having this meeting so they know how to plan for maintenance activities. Eichelberg asked if pushing the CSAH 12 project back would affect the trail portion of the project, and Fingalson said that Marc Mattice should be informed about the change in the schedule. Heeter commented that she doesn’t seem to hear from the majority of the other Committee members that they are interested in bonding so that the projects can be completed sooner, and Sawatzke said that Wright County has already agreed to be involved in bonding for the TH 101 project and wonders how much is too much. Norman reminded everyone that construction of the new jail will require a lot of cash outlay. Fingalson said that potential revenues could come from the sale of the Delano shop and the Chouinard property. Norman commented that the report from the state audit exit conference shows a reserve fund for Wright County at 37% of the total budget, which is at the low end of the recommended 35-50% amount. Fingalson suggested that the 2006-2007 construction plan should show where the money is coming from to pay for the projects. Sawatzke said that he thought bids should be sought for the sale of the Delano shop and the Chouinard property, reserving the County’s right to reject all bids. He also said that he would like to know what the value of the gravel and the home are worth at the Chouinard site, and Fingalson said that his staff would get the information. The City of St. Michael is planning to zone this property as Business Park. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the $1,000,000 state aid funds that have been advanced for the CSAH 2 Bridge project be used for another project and that the CSAH 2 Bridge project be moved back to a future year, if Wright County receives permission to use these funds for another project. It was also the consensus of the TCOTW that changes be made to the construction schedule for 2006 in response to the decision by the State to not allow advance encumbering of funds in 2006. A list of changes to the 2006 construction season is attached. [Attachment A].
At today’s County Board Meeting, discussion occurred on funding for the agreement with Annandale. The draft of the minutes had reflected that payments may be made on a payment schedule. It was the consensus of the Board that this had not been discussed. The minutes were corrected to remove the reference to a payment schedule. It was understood that payment for Phase I would be made in 2007 and for Phase II when the work was completed. Fingalson also stated that use of State Aid Municipal dollars will need to be restricted. With regard to CSAH 38, this was removed from the CSAH System and therefore there are not any State Aid dollars available for that project. Sawatzke said the County would have to levy for that project. That project will be completed by the end of the construction season in 2007. A total of $3.6 million was allocated to local projects in 2007 and about $600,000 was earmarked for this project. Norman said it would be desirable if the local share payment could be delayed until after receipt of the first half property taxes so funds would not have to be taken from reserves. Further discussion on this and other projects will occur during 2007 budget meetings. Heeter said as the County moves forward, she wants to make sure funding is available for projects before giving that indication to cities. Sawatzke said the County is financially solid but must discuss expenditures, especially with the reduction in State funding for transportation. Fingalson said that ten years ago, the County was soliciting projects and that is not the case anymore. Recent agreements have been revised to reflect that the County will only fund a certain amount. The situation this year is that the State did not advance encumber funds.
Agreement with Otsego for TH 101 Improvement. The planned improvement of TH 101 involves four interchanges with county highways. They are: CSAHs 36, 37, 39, and 42. The County’s cost share in this improvement is approximately $2 million, and Otsego is willing to bond on behalf of Wright County and allow payback over a period of time. Once the State has an agreement with the City of Otsego, the State will then proceed with the project. Mn/DOT’s new cost-sharing formula assigns 15% of the cost to the local share. Because some of this cost is being covered by right-of-way value, Wright County’s actual output will be less than 15%. Fingalson mentioned that Otsego will be paying for the St. Michael portion of the TH 101 project. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Wright County enter into an agreement with the City of Otsego which would allow Otsego to act as the bonding agent for Wright County’s cost share of the TH 101 project and which would set up a payback schedule for reimbursement to the City of Otsego from Wright County.
Request from City of Buffalo for Utility Easement. Fingalson showed the Committee a diagram indicating where the City of Buffalo is requesting an easement to extend city utilities to the west (from TH 25 by the Wright County Public Works Building) to the St. Francis Education Center located along CR 138 and for other development in the future, such as the County jail. This easement crosses an area that is green space but will probably result in the removal of two or more trees. DeWolf requested that this easement be provided to the City at no cost. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the City of Buffalo be granted the requested easement from Wright County, beginning at TH 25 and traveling west across the north end of the Wright County Public Works property to the St. Francis Educational Center. The County will not charge the City for this easement.
River Rider Contract. Fingalson explained that River Rider would be purchasing gas again from the Wright County Highway Department as soon as they are able to replace a nozzle on the gas tank with one that will fit their trucks. Fingalson said that River Rider uses the wash bay for no charge and he asked if the Committee would like to start charging them for its use like we do for Functional Industries. Sawatzke said that this service is shared by Wright and Sherburne Counties and that Sherburne helps River Rider out a lot with personnel issues. Allowing River Rider to use the wash bay, to park at this facility, and to use the fax machine is probably a pretty good balance for the services that Sherburne provides. Mattson agreed that the current arrangement is working well for now. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW to continue current arrangements with River Rider.
Discuss Status of Albertville/Otsego Truck Station. Fingalson announced to the Committee that the Scharber property that Wright County had been originally interested in for the site of a new truck station has now become available again. This property is located in Otsego and is just northwest of the Albertville mall. Wright County has a signed purchase agreement with Scharbers for four-and-a-half acres at the original price of 2.75/sq ft, or a total price of $539,000. The site that Wright County will be vacating is located at the intersection of CSAHs 19 and 18. Fingalson indicated that we had sold this property for $595,216. We received good results from the recent Phase II Environmental Site Assessments for this site. Fingalson said that he has not received an estimate on the costs of extending utilities to the new site. Fingalson and Meyer are checking into whether or not they’ll be able to use the same plan as was used at the Cokato site and would like the Board’s approval to continue moving forward with plans for the new truck station. The question of whether or not a facility can operate without a well or septic system was discussed, but Meyer said that it would be necessary to have both put in if city utilities aren’t available. Fingalson said that he and Meyer would like to proceed with the process and come back to the Board with answers about utility hookups and/or well and septic possibilities. July 1 is the target date to move into the new facility, and some demolition work might be required at the old (current) site. Fingalson said that he would like a recommendation to move forward on purchasing the property and to look into options for disposal of the current building. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Wright County move ahead with the purchase of the Scharber property in Otsego for the purpose of constructing a new truck station there and that Fingalson and his staff also look into options for disposal and/or removal of the current truck station in Albertville.
Right-of-Way Ordinance. Fingalson explained that Wright County has had a Permit Policy in the past but no ordinance that deals with activity in the right of way. Wright County has encountered some problems with Xcel Energy and their contention that they don=t have to follow a Permit Policy if there is no ordinance to back it up. Fingalson, Hawkins, Cordell, and Asleson have met to review other counties’ ordinances and have drafted an ordinance that they have revised three times. Other counties had a fee schedule, but it was separate from the ordinance so that the ordinance wouldn’t have to be amended with a change in the fee schedule. An ordinance can be adopted by the County Board, but there has to be notice of that and a public hearing has to be held. Fingalson said that it is important to get this ordinance adopted before more issues come up. Xcel’s dispute with the County has to do with the relocation of utilities on county projects and who has to pay for that relocation. This ordinance would also require utility companies to register with Wright County annually. Asleson said that it is important to set a date for a hearing so that the ordinance can be adopted. Commissioners were given draft copies of this ordinance, which still needs penalty fees added to it. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the County Board set a date to hold a public hearing at which time the proposed ordinance can be presented and discussed with all those that attend this hearing. [The hearing date was set for April 4, 2006, at 9:15 a.m., to be held at the County Board room at the Wright County Government Center.]
At today’s County Board Meeting, Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, requested the Board schedule a Public Hearing to receive comment on the proposed ROW Ordinance. The notice will be published one week. Sawatzke moved to schedule the Public Hearing on the ROW Ordinance for 4-04-06 at 9:15 A.M., seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Update on CSAH Changes Fingalson explained that the County has to go before the June Screening Board if they want to change the number of miles on the CSAH system. All documents need to be submitted to State Aid by April 1 to meet the deadline for the June meeting. More miles on the system generate more State Aid money. The Highway Department has identified 28.5 miles that should be removed from the current system, as these miles no longer meet the criteria of a county state aid highway. The department has also identified 62.43 miles that should be added to system to accommodate further growth and travel in the county, making a net change of +34 miles. Fingalson showed the proposed changes on a map. Identifying plans for the future can help in getting money for the needs, but the Screening Board won=t add miles to the current system unless a good faith effort is made to remove miles that no longer meet the criteria for county state aid highways. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Highway Department proceed with plans to meet with the Screening Board to add more miles to the current County State Aid Highway system in Wright County.
Constitutional Amendment Resolution. Fingalson described a resolution that some other counties have already passed which states support for modifying a provision in the Constitutional Amendment proposed for the expenditure of vehicle sales tax revenues. This resolution advocates strong support for dedicating 40% of those funds to public transit and 60% to highway purposes. It was suggested that this resolution call for 60% to be used for highway purposes and to leave any language referring to transit out of the resolution. Fingalson said that he would draft a sample resolution and bring it to the upcoming County Board meeting.
At today’s County Board Meeting, a draft resolution was distributed. Fingalson said the draft reflects three alternates relating to the motor vehicle sales tax. It was the consensus that the Alternate C be selected and revised as follows: “Be It Further Resolved, that Wright County supports statutorily setting the dedicated motor vehicle sales tax revenue to at least 60% for highway purposes.” Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #06-24 in Support of Constitutional Dedication of Motor Vehicle Sales Tax to Transportation. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Sawatzke then moved to approve the TCOTW Minutes noting the corrections made to the first item, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. (End of Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to set a Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 3-15-06 at 9:00 A.M. The meeting will be held at the Public Works Building. The Agenda follows: 1) Discuss Access Issues For The Cornerstone Development In St. Michael; 2) Discuss CSAH Changes For Screening Board Submittal; 3) Right-Of-Way Ordinance; 4) Hennepin County Agreement Involving County Line Roads; 5) Viewing Of The NW DVD Dealing With Roads & Loads.
Brian Abrahamson. $234.07
American Business Forms 318.80
Assn. of MN Counties 1,400.00
Atrix International Inc. 550.00
Auto Garage Door/Firepl. 2,971.00
BLM Technologies Inc. 2,641.78
BP Amoco 1,771.33
City Buffalo 21,893.61
Burdas Towing 216.20
CDW Government Inc. 219.38
Civic Research Inst. 169.95
Climate Air 877.66
DHS-SELF Program 183 160.00
Elmer Eichelberg 205.45
Gateway Companies Inc. 2,469.00
Todd Gau 313.28
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 322.56
Interstate All Battery Ctr. 707.42
Chris Jahnke 153.08
Tracy Janikula 113.60
Michelle Johnson 271.85
JP Printing 3,795.66
LaPlant Demo Inc. 538.55
Patrick Lavine 170.37
Law Enforcement Tech. 101,686.14
Maple Lake Lumber 209.89
Maple Lake Messenger 206.28
Marco Business Products 798.77
Richard Mattson 229.57
MN Assn. of Co. Officers 225.00
MN CLE Inc. 135.00
MN Counties Ins. Trust 3,004.82
MN Dept. of Labor & Indus. 140.00
MN Office of Enterprise Tech. 965.00
MN Supreme Court 436.00
MPI Technologies Inc. 750.00
Margaret Munson 446.99
Nat’l Recreation & Park Ass. 130.00
Neil’s Floor Covering 310.00
Nextel Communications 2,286.75
Office Depot 624.85
Rhodes Lock & Glass 195.43
Russells Security Resource 210.87
Pat Sawatzke 340.77
Sherry Schliesing 295.88
James Stevens 344.25
Brian Stoll 134.83
Thermal Tech. Inc. 2,145.94
Trimin Systems, Inc. 21,300.00
University of MN 200.50
University of MN Law Sc 195.00
Victory Corps 331.81
Dave Vogt 181.40
Voss Lighting 474.67
Walmart Store 01-1577 477.86
Janelle Webb 105.02
16 Payments less than $100 551.69
Final total $185,378.04
The meeting adjourned at 10:43 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal April 3, 2006.