Wright County Board Minutes

Date March 27, 2006

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

Russek moved to approve the minutes of 3-21-06, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #6, “Schedule Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting” (Norman); Item For Consid. #5, “KRWC Radio Show” (Heeter). Sawatzke moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

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


1. Performance Appraisals: K. Triplett, Assr.; K. Chrissis, Atty.; J. Coolen, W. Cordell, Hwy.

2. O/T Report, Period Ending 3-10-06.


1. Approve Abatement, PID #112-019-002010, Homes By Joe (City of Montrose).


1. March Parks Commission Meeting Minutes.


1. Acknowledge Receipt Of $6,400 Annual Plan Grant Executed Between The State Of MN & Wright County Sheriff’s Office For Operation NightCAP.

2. Authorize Signatures, Amend. #1, Homeland Security Grant, Buffer Zone Protection Program.

Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, introduced Denise McCalla who was recently appointed as the Chief Deputy Auditor-Treasurer/Property Tax Administrator. McCalla most recently held the position of Property Tax Administrator.

As the Chief Deputy position was vacant for two months, Hiivala requested approval to hire two temporary employees to be assigned to specific tasks. Sawatzke moved to authorize the hire of two temporary employees, seconded by Mattson. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said that temporary employees are limited to the number of days worked in a calendar year, based upon the collective bargaining agreement. The motion and second acknowledged this requirement. The motion carried 5-0.

On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to schedule a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 4-04-06 at 2:45 P.M. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss 2005 Revenue/Expenditures for the Highway and Human Services Departments.

At a recent meeting, clean out was authorized on County Ditch 7 by Fyle’s Excavating in the amount of $595.00. Hiivala said that the City of Cokato has since contacted him with a request for additional clean out on County Ditch 7. A proposal in the amount of $675.00 was received for the additional cleanout (behind Kirk’s Travel Plaza to culvert at railroad tracks). Mattson moved to approve the additional clean out by Fyle’s Excavating, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, brought forth discussion relating to the new outlet for County Ditch 33. Last year, the County Board was petitioned by the City of Monticello to outlet from Carlisle Village to County Ditch 33. At that time, discussion involved a possible new outlet to the river to drain a portion of the Ditch 33 watershed. Correspondence from the City of Monticello (dated 3-22-06) was received reflecting that the City is currently accepting bids for the portion of the outlet from the Mississippi River to the south side of CR 39, with construction to commence in June. The remainder of the outlet pipe will be installed with the utilities of the Hidden Forest Project later this year. Concern has been voiced by the developers on the lack of a written agreement or approval of this outlet which could delay the projects. Asleson has been in contact with Phil Elkin, WSB. Elkin questioned whether any formal approval by the County Board was required for construction of the outlet. Asleson indicated this probably would not be required as the ditch is not being changed. However, this outlet would take some of the water that would normally flow to Ditch 33 and divert it to the City’s storm water system. As the two projects proceed further, Asleson anticipated three separate approvals required by the County: 1) Petition to outlet storm water from the development to Ditch 33; 2) Approval for impoundment of waters; and 3) Approval for the City to take over a portion of the Ditch as the Ditch runs through a low area where water may be impounded. At this time, Asleson said the County has approved of the outlet in concept. He did not feel any approval was required for construction between CR 39 and the river. In response to Eichelberg, Asleson said permits from the Highway Department would be required for Highway right-of-way. The Board recalled that the original request involved Sunset Ponds and Hidden Forest developments. It was unclear as to why the name was changed to Niagara Falls, but Asleson thought the same two developments were involved. The areas which will be developed are part of the assessed and benefitted acreage on the Ditch. Sawatzke requested that it be clarified where the Niagara Falls development is located. It was the consensus that Asleson will respond to the correspondence indicating what applications and permits (including highway) are required. This was provided as an informational item.

Hiivala provided a sample of a 2006 property tax statement. During printing of the statements, some of the levies were combined together instead of being reflected on separate line items. The total tax due on all statements is correctly printed. All tax statements were mailed last week. This was provided as an informational item.

The claims listing was reviewed. Hiivala noted a claim on page 4, Office Depot ($2.23), for the Auditor’s Office. This claim has been pulled from the claims listing. On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Bill Swing, IT Director, requested endorsement to proceed with contracting with PSC Alliance of Minneapolis to conduct a joint Wright County and Sherburne County comprehensive plan for a 800 Mhz radio network using regional grant funds totaling $41,634. At the 10-25-05 Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting, the recommendation was to proceed with regional planning for a Regionwide Public Safety Communications System through the recently formed Central MN Regional Advisory Committee comprised of Wright, Sherburne, Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties. The goal discussed that day was to “take Wright County from an independent entity for purposes of public safety communications to a partner in shared system design, funding, maintenance and operation-consistent with Federal and State efforts.” The three key points Swing outlined were to: 1) Meet the 2008 requirements of phase six-mobile field reporting; 2) To be eligible for State matching grants ($9.5 million is available for local enhancements to counties in Central and Southwest MN); and 3) Considerations in planning for a new Jail facility. At their meeting of 3-17-06, the Central MN Regional Advisory Committee approved the allocation of regional planning funds in the amount of $41,634 to fund the proposal from PSC Alliance to conduct a joint Wright County and Sherburne County plan for a 800 Mhz network. Swing will provide a report to the Board by mid year on planning and implementation. Budgetary implications, including grant fund matching requirements, will also be presented at that time. Swing requested endorsement to proceed, not to include committing any funds. Mattson moved to approve endorsement to proceed with the contract with PSC Alliance, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Jane Hennagir, MCIT Account Executive, presented an overview of the 2006 Member Report for Wright County. Richard Norman, Wright County Coordinator, serves as a member of the MCIT Board of Directors. MCIT is a self-insuring risk pool, with membership consisting of 81 counties. Collectively the members self-insure losses and purchase reinsurance for catastrophic losses. With the decision to increase the amount of self funding, the cost of reinsurance was reduced without significantly increasing the exposure. The cost of reinsurance actually decreased by 6.8%, although reinsurers warned that costs did not reflect recent catastrophic weather related events. A cost increase of 20% may be realized. MCIT is encouraging rates to be based upon the experience in Minnesota. Wright County has been a member of MCIT since 1980 and employs 594 employees (full and part time). There is a total of $75,519,044 insured for property coverage and $1.5 million for mobile (highway) equipment, which includes 291 autos, trucks and trailers. The total dividend for Wright County is $1,348,494 (42% return). Hennagir said it is not often counties are commended for risk management and loss control but the numbers from Wright County are impressive. With regard to property/casualty claims, Wright County’s experience is higher with physical damage to automobiles. Costs have remained stable (the number of claims has decreased but the cost has increased). Wright County was commended for their participation in training, for on-site training sessions, and for the recent hire of a Safety Director. Wright County’s workers’ compensation history has remained below the average 1.0 experience modification so a credit is realized on the base cost of workers’ compensation. The focus in 2006 will be on-site loss control and risk management for the Highway Department, training and education seminars, and partnering with AMC to address issues that impact members from a risk management perspective. Mattson questioned coverage for volunteer drivers. Hennagir explained that the County’s coverage is in addition to the volunteers and will protect the County and volunteer.

A Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 3-21-06. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:

2005 Revenues/Expenditures. Hiivala distributed copies of the 2005 Year-End Summary of Revenues/Expenditures for review (attached). The summary includes a comparison of budgeted revenues and expenditures to actual figures for the General Revenue, Road & Bridge and Human Services Budgets; a Four-Year Trend Analysis for each of the budgets; and an analysis of the Capital Projects Fund. Hiivala stated the new accounting system coding provided the ability to include graphs in the 2005 Summary which show a breakdown county-wide and by individual budgets the source of revenues and expenditures, a comparison of projected revenues versus actual revenues received, and projected expenditures versus actual expenditures. The year end Statement of Activities is also a new report generated from GASB34 that shows a breakdown of what it costs the County to fund general government, public safety, human services, public works, etc. Hiivala provided an overview of General Fund revenues and expenditures. It was noted figures for Court Administration are included through June 30, 2005, at which time they became part of the State system. Following are some of the items Hiivala highlighted in the General Fund:

• Personnel Services account for 71.2% of expenditures

• 56.5% of revenues comes from taxes, 19.6% from charges for services, 6.4% from grants

• Surplus revenue in the Recorder’s Budget is designated for their equipment fund

• Surplus revenue in the Surveyor’s Budget is designed for aerial photography

• Jail Pay-To-Stay collected $106,313 above projected revenue

• Court Services collected $85,622 above projected revenue which was attributed to home monitoring

• County Program Aid was projected at a lower figure than what was received due to the uncertainty of State funding during the budget process

• $585,998 was collected above projected tax revenue due to TIF Decertifications - it was noted it would be helpful to have an idea where TIF decertifications may occur for planning purposes

• Reserve funds were used to cover the approximate $900,000 settlement with Deputies - $600,000 was charged against the Sheriff’s Budget and $300,000 to Liability Insurance for attorney fees.

Hiivala requested when the Board approves an increase in hours for law enforcement contracts they also approve an expenditure adjustment to be made in the Sheriff’s Budget rather than carry as a deficit. Hiivala stated Interest Income was $200,000 more than projected. He felt he had done well in this area with the need to keep a sufficient cash flow for the Deputy settlement and land acquisition. He acknowledged Premier Banks willingness to work with the County and keep money within the community. There was brief discussion on adopting a resolution for reimbursable expenses associated with architectural services for a new Jail. The State Auditor’s Office views an acceptable reserve fund balance as 35-50% of the total current expenditures. Wright County is currently at 37%. Norman recommended the Board set a target level within that range and determine the dollar amount needed to reach that level. Sawatzke suggested 42% which would be mid range. Hiivala stated he had to use some of the cash reserve to pay the Deputy settlement and recommended sufficient surplus funds be kept in the General Fund to replenish the cash reserve. There was brief discussion on the status of payments for land acquisition for Parks. Hiivala stated he has designated four funding sources under the Capital Projects Fund. The Board asked for an updated list of expenditures which have been approved but which may not show on the 2005 Summary. Items mentioned included Highway Department garage, Park and Fair Ground property acquisitions, Update to the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, facility repair and improvement items, architectural services for Jail, County phone upgrade, and law enforcement radio upgrade. The meeting was recessed to Monday, March 27, 2006, 2:30 P.M. for review of the Road & Bridge and Human Services Budgets. (End of Budget of the Whole Minutes)

A Civil Defense Committee meeting was held on 3-22-06. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

Emergency Evacuation Notification Procedures. Nolan indicated the County has installed a paging system which notifies employees of the Government Center of an emergency. Notification of employees at the Human Services Center and Public Works Building is through a phone line paging system. Last summer, speakers for the paging system were installed in all areas except restrooms and the Jail. In those areas, evacuation will take place through notification by evacuation attendants and Bailiffs. Speakers were installed in evacuation areas. The paging system message will be repeated several times and will outline what to do based on the emergency. The evacuation procedures are also outlined in the Emergency Procedure Manual given to employees at the time of hire. The Manual is available on the Intranet. Currently, the County has approximately 50 employees trained as evacuation attendants. Some have received additional training on use of the sling.

Emergency Management Coordinator’s Role In Emergency Evacuation. The procedure outlined in the Manual is for Dispatch to notify Civil Defense in case of an emergency. A call list is then initiated by Civil Defense. The proposal is to have Dispatch notify the Emergency Management Coordinator and that person can implement the paging system to evacuate employees. This would eliminate time spent on calling several people to perform the same function. Possible backup for evacuation procedures was discussed, including the Safety Director and Special Projects Coordinator. Until the Emergency Management Coordinator has been hired, the current evacuation procedures will be followed. Once the position has been filled, the Manual will be updated to reflect the change in procedure. Helgeson said the expectation is for the Emergency Management Coordinator to be available and prepared in the event of potential severe weather. This is the procedure at other agencies. Recommendation: Continue with current evacuation procedures until the Emergency Management Coordinator position has been filled. At that point, the Manual will be updated to reflect the change in procedures.

Severe Weather Day, April 20th & Lock-Down Procedure & Schedule Drill. The State-wide severe weather drill is set for April 20th. Plans are to hold the severe weather drill at the specified time for April 20th and the lock-down drill sometime this Summer. A memorandum will be sent to employees informing them of the drills and to review the Emergency Procedures Manual for evacuation locations. Department Heads will be directed to review procedures with new employees. With regard to security, all departments can be locked during an emergency. Recommendation: Plan for the drills as outlined. Send notice of drills to employees and Department Heads. (End of Civil Defense Minutes)

A Personnel Committee meeting was held on 3-22-06. Mattson moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:

Performance Appraisal - Kathy Gramsey, Administrative Clerk. Based on review of four performance appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”.

Policy 512, Personnel Appearance Of Employees. Norman stated his office is responsible for administering policies adopted by the Board and provided a copy of Policy 512 for discussion. Melvin stated he has talked with some Department Heads regarding appearance issues, most specifically wearing blue jeans. The policy states that “Employees are expected to report to work in dress that fits the type of work performed and still promotes a professional image of the County.” Following discussion it was the consensus of the Committee to refer the issue for discussion with Department Heads and Commissioners at the April 4, 2006 Leadership Team Meeting. Melvin also requested direction regarding enforcement of employee parking (Policy 510). He stated employees are parking in public parking areas. Personnel staff stated new employees are advised where to park during their orientation session when they are given their parking permit. Discussion followed on enforcement of the County parking policy as well as requesting the City to enforce those areas signed for two hour parking. Melvin will notify employees who have been observed parking in non-employee areas that they are subject to progressive discipline.

Job Description Evaluation Consultant Services. Norman stated in 1994 the County entered into an agreement with Hay Consultants to provide job description evaluation services. Since that time Hay has consolidated its services and now has a very small presence in Minnesota. Norman stated Hay has done a good job using the County’s system of evaluation, but anticipates the person who has been primarily working with the evaluations may be nearing retirement. Recommendation: Continue with Hay Consultants at this time.

Auditor/Treasurer Office Reorganization. The Assistant Finance Director position which has also served as the Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer has been vacant for a couple months. According to State statute, as an elected official, Hiivala has the right to designate who will serve as Chief Deputy. The Chief Deputy has authority to sign documents in the absence of the Auditor/Treasurer. He would like to designate the Property Tax Administrator as Chief Deputy and replace the Assistant Finance Director position with a Records Administrator position. Hiivala explained his immediate need for a supervisory position in the land records area. In 2008 it is his intention to request a new Assistant Finance Director position. Hiivala provided copies of draft job descriptions and an organization chart. Hiivala stated he is short staffed, does not have expertise in writing job descriptions or the time to do so, and requested assistance in expediting the process. Discussion followed on the proposed changes and the process which needs to be followed to establish the proposed positions, determine their appropriate placement on the salary schedule, and fill the positions. Norman recommended Hiivala place on the next Board Agenda designation of the Property Tax Administrator to serve as Chief Deputy. Hiivala stated he feels the person serving as Chief Deputy should receive compensation for those additional duties only for the duration of time they serve as Chief Deputy, and if a different person were designated the previous person should revert back to their original pay schedule. Recommendation: Hiivala to work with Personnel staff to develop the job descriptions to send to Hay for evaluation. When a reply is received from Hay the Committee will look at the placement of the positions on the salary schedule. Hiivala also presented a request from an employee in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to reduce hours and participate in a job share position. There was general discussion regarding the creation of job share positions, the advantages and disadvantages, and some of the problems that have occurred. Following discussion it was the consensus of the Committee that the deciding factor needs to be whether it is in the best long term interest of the employer. Recommendation: Deny request for job share. (End of Personnel Committee Minutes)

A Technology Committee meeting was held on 3-22-06. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Mattson. In response to a question by Sawatzke, it was clarified that the purchase of the Permit & Inspection System will be funded by the Recorder’s Compliance Fund. The motion carried 5-0.

Recorder Compliance Fund. The attached memorandum reflects the necessity of complying with statutory changes to the Fund and the interpretation of the changes by the land records departments. The memorandum also outlines a subset of technology projects considered compliant under the statute. Land records are considered public data. The departments involved are working toward making the data accessible while maintaining integrity. Public demand has increased. An approximate 50,000 documents are processed annually which will generate $1 million in revenue between the Recorder and Compliance Funds. Hiivala will contact the State Auditor’s Office for clarification on whether interest earned must remain in the Recorder Compliance Fund. Discussion on how such projects should be listed in the budget may be brought forth at a future Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting. The Committee discussed whether the Fund could be used toward staff and or consultant time spent on projects which are compliant. Unger said the goal is to decrease staff time spent in providing data and instead provide the information through various technology methods available. However, whether the fund could be used toward staff time spent with implementation of a compliant systems could be researched. Unger was directed to consult with the metro recorders group for their interpretation of staff support of compliant projects. Recommendation: Approve the interpretation of the impact of statute changes on the Recorder’s Compliance Fund and approve of the listing of technology projects considered compliant (as outlined on the attached memorandum).

RFP For A Permit & Inspection System. The request is to distribute an RFP for a new Permit & Inspection System for Planning & Zoning. The RFP would be distributed on 3-29-06. They must be submitted by 4-14-06. Nelson and Rhineberger will evaluate the RFP’s received. The estimated cost of the system is $120,000. The County Attorney’s Office reviewed the RFP and provided the opinion that the low quote does not have to be accepted because of language reflected in the RFP. Implementation of the system would be February, 2007. Recommendation: Approve. (End of Technology Committee Minutes)

A Public Hearing was held on 3-13-06. The purpose of the Hearing was to discuss and take public comment on proposed amendments to the Feedlot Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance. Many of the proposed changes reviewed relate to minimum State requirements. The amended Ordinances will be brought forth at the 4-04-06 County Board Meeting for approval. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #06-27 authorizing signatures on the Central MN Joint Powers Board Agreement, 2006-2008.

Correspondence was received from the Coalition of Greater MN Cities requesting adoption of a resolution supporting changing the proposed constitutional amendment designating 60% of the Motor Vehicle Sales Tax to the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund. The Board also received a memorandum from Wayne Fingalson, Wright County Highway Engineer, reflecting his position that Resolution #06-24, adopted by the Wright County Board on 3-24-06, is consistent with the language this organization is supporting. Norman was directed to forward a copy of Resolution #06-24 to the Coalition of Greater MN Cities.

Heeter was in contact with Radio Station KRWC. They would like to run a monthly spotlight show on the third Wednesday of each month. The interviews would be spread amongst the Commissioners so each would be interviewed 2-3 times per year. It was the consensus that this would be a good manner in which to keep the public informed of issues.

Bills Approved

Advanced Sys. Technology $145.00

City Albertville 2,049.20

Albion Township 1,148.80

Ancom Technical Center 203.78

Charles Ankney 414.95

City Annandale 1,157.60

Apec Industrial Sales/Serv. 398.84

Aramark Correctional Serv. 5,336.44

Armscorp USA 382.00

Auto Glass Center Inc. 253.25

Auto. Garage Door & Firepl 120.66

B & D Plumbing & Heating 854.00

Beaudry Propane Inc. 2,098.50

BLM Technologies Inc. 229.25

Bogart Pederson & Assoc. 1,765.00

Braun Intertec Corporation 3,954.50

Buff ‘N Glo Inc. 713.95

Buffalo Township 857.80

Careertrack Inc. 298.00

Catco Parts Service 173.81

Centra Sota Lake Region 5,456.54

Central McGowan Inc. 239.71

Chatham Township 1,753.70

Clearwater Township 1,010.80

Cokato Township 545.00

City Cokato 1,450.80

Collins Brothers Towing 159.75

Corinna Township 1,502.20

Decorative Designs Inc. 184.31

City Delano 10,705.70

Elk River Ford 121,938.00

EPA Audio Visual Inc. 507.48

First State Tire Recycling 510.30

Firstlab 255.50

Flyway Taxidermy 750.00

Franklin Township 2,426.50

Gateway Companies Inc. 2,766.00

Grainger 422.28

Grand View Lodge 420.00

City Hanover 1,689.70

Hardings Towing Inc. 195.40

City Howard Lake 1,017.00

ICMA 215.00

Jerrys Towing & Repair 117.15

JR’s Appliance Disposal Inc. 1,340.00

Junction Towing/Auto Repair 177.60

Thomas Kelly 130.38

KNR Communications Serv. 1,075.65

Kustom Signals Inc. 138.72

Lakedale Telephone Co. 112.70

LexisNexis 110.00

Lorman Education Services 309.00

James Lundberg 2,920.00

Magnum Tactical Supply 248.80

Maple Lake Township 1,492.30

City Maple Lake 1,792.80

Marco 1,625.19

Marco Business Products 1,799.75

Marysville Township 1,373.20

The Metro Group Inc. 2,304.20

Middleville Township 1,165.30

Mies Outland Inc. 8,150.00

MN Alcohol Taffic Safety 685.00

MN Counties Ins. Trust 334.00

MN Law Enforcement Expl 1,100.00

Mobile Vision 219.45

Monticello Auto Body Inc. 212.35

Monticello Township 2,393.50

City Montrose 624.00

Morries Buffalo Ford Merc 1,209.67

Neil’s Floor Covering 2,704.00

Office Depot 3,878.22

Mark Olson 434.95

Michele Pecharich 139.00

Scott Persian Construction 7,355.00

Phillips 66 Conoco 76 107.18

Postmaster-Buffalo 928.00

Qwest 614.73

Rockford Township 2,394.40

Roto-Rooter Sewer 1,020.00

Royal Tire Inc. 2,695.25

RS Eden 469.35

Ryan Motors Inc. 224.61

Sherburne Co. Sheriff 42,804.39

Software House Int’l 271.84

City South Haven 330.20

Southside Township 555.60

Sprint-Local Telecom Div. 187.14

SRF Consulting Group 1,375.14

St. Cloud Stamp & Sign 242.66

City St. Michael 5,500.80

State of MN-Info Tech Div. 588.52

Stockholm Township 351.00

Superior Ford 20,457.00

Truck Utilities Inc. 756.51

United Parcel Service 128.78

United Rentals Hwy. Tech. 23,424.68

University of Minnesota 100.00

Verizon 760.99

Walmart Store 01-1577 582.23

City Waverly 421.80

Jeremy Wirkkula 526.98

Woodland Township 858.21

Wright Hennepin Electric 3,230.54

Xcel Energy 1,504.87

Zee Service Company 130.63

35 Payments less than $100 1,701.89

Final total $341,594.83

The meeting adjourned at 10:17 A.M

Published in the Herald Journal April 24, 2006.