Wright County Board Minutes
JUNE 20, 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 6-13-06, seconded by Eichelberg. As Russek was not present at the last meeting, he withdrew his motion to approve the minutes and so did Eichelberg. Eichelberg then moved to approve the 6-13-06 minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #2, “Set Deferred Compensation Committee Meeting To Discuss Hardship” (Heeter); Hwy. Engineer Item #, “Set Bid Letting Date, River Country Regional Trail Project, 7-25-06 @ 9:30 A.M.” (Norman); Item For Consid. #3, “Washington Fly In” (Russek). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson removed for discussion Item B1, “Renewal On Sale Liquor License (including 2:00 A.M. Closing) For Boondocks Saloon (Rockford Twp.).” Sawatzke moved to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
1. Performance Appraisals: J. Borrett, Assr.; L. Dixon, R. Schmidt, T. Voigt, L. Winterhalter, Atty.; S. Bjore, P. O’Malley, R. Williams, Sheriff.
1. Claim, Frank Madden, $5,098.82 (May Service).
2. Auction Results.
4. Approve Placement Of Land Records Administrator On Class “H”, Non-Union Salary Schedule.
2. Renewal Annual On Sale Beer License For Whispering Pines Golf Course (Corinna Twp.).
1. Approve Traffic Signal Agreement No. 06-50 Between Wright County & The City Of Hanover.
D. HUMAN SERVICES
1. Authorize Install Of Four Telephones In Public Health With Funding From The Emergency Preparedness Grant.
Item B1, “Renewal On Sale Liquor License (including 2:00 A.M. Closing) For Boondocks Saloon (Rockford Twp.)” was discussed. Mattson questioned the approval of a 2:00 A.M. closing and whether the Sheriff had signed the application. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said State Law takes precedence over a county ordinance. For a 2:00 A.M. closing, the applicant is required to pay an additional fee. There are a couple of establishments in Wright County that previously applied for a 2:00 A.M. closing. If there are problems with a business, the County Board could consider action including suspension of a license. Russek moved to approve Item B1, “Renewal On Sale Liquor License (including 2:00 A.M. Closing) For Boondocks Saloon (Rockford Twp.)” as the 2:00 A.M. closing has been approved for other requests. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested that the Board schedule a Deferred Compensation Committee Meeting. A request was received from an employee to withdraw funds from their Deferred Compensation account due to a hardship. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to schedule a Deferred Compensation Committee Meeting on 6-27-06 at 8:30 A.M.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 23, PSC Alliance Inc. ($15,515). It was explained that the claim is for the first phase of the 800 Mhz System. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said consultants made a presentation several months ago on this project. Hiivala said the County expects to receive full reimbursement from Stearns County for Phase I (covered by grant funding). Stearns County is the fiscal agent for the grant. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Greg Kramber, Assessor, requested approval to pursue a contract with the City of Otsego for the 2008-2009 assessments. Pete Merges, the current City Assessor, is semi-retiring. Approval would authorize Kramber to bid on the contract using the same terms as are in place with 15 taxing jurisdictions in the County. Currently, staff assists Otsego due to the commercial growth that is being experienced. The work through the contract would require additional staffing, equating to 1.5 fte. Kramber will propose to add an additional person in the 2007 budget. He has contacted St. Cloud State University for the possible use of interns. Merges may also be available for temporary assistance. Kramber is scheduled to meet with the City Council on 7-10-06 at 6:30 P.M. to discuss this issue. The Assessor’s Office currently has four public spaces. These spaces will be removed and the space reconfigured for staff. The public will utilize the public space in the corridor outside of the Auditor’s Office. Sawatzke moved to authorize the Assessor to pursue a contract with the City of Otsego for the 2008-2009 assessments. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
The State Board of Appeal and Equalization was held in St. Paul on 5-31-06. The results reflect no changes for the 2006 assessment in Wright County, as has been the case for the past 3-4 years. Kramber commended staff and the local assessors working in Wright County. Wright County is the third fastest growing county in Minnesota. This was provided as an informational item.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, presented a request from bond counsel for Village Ranch, Inc. for the possible sale of revenue notes through Wright County. This is similar to the financing the County has done for others such as Elim Homes. The size of the proposed note issue, $1.6 million, would not appear to affect bonding the County may undertake in 2006. Asleson said Village Ranch is a licensed group home located at 13637 60th St. SW in Cokato. The County would have no liability with respect to the note. Sawatzke questioned the rationale behind the requirement for counties to proceed in this fashion. Asleson responded that MN Statutes 469.152-469.165 outline the procedures for non-profits to obtain financing at a lower rate through a public entity. There are limitations with regard to the location of the public entity or whether they are doing business with the public entity. Asleson said in this case, the applicant meets both. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #06-43, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. As part of adoption of the Resolution, the Public Hearing was set for 7-11-06 at 9:30 A.M.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, distributed the 2005 Annual Report for review and approval at the next meeting.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-02-06. The minutes and a summary of action taken at today’s meeting follows (in italics):
Pelican Lake Status. Bengtson said that he had been working on a feasibility study for lowering Pelican Lake, a designated wildlife lake, which is very valuable for wildlife control. This designation gives the DNR more authority to manage these lakes in different ways. One method of management that is available is the option of water level manipulation. Handouts were provided to those in attendance. Bengtson said that the DNR has been watching Pelican Lake for more than 30 years. It is a landlocked lake and the water level is about five to six feet higher today than it was in the 1970’s. Typically, the DNR prefers not to drain water from lakes, but would rather find another way to manage water levels. Approximately 3,000 to 4,000 additional acres of land are under water due to the high water level. The majority of the lake has a mud bottom with very little underwater growth. It turns green in the summer and has some fish in it that would normally die of winterkill, if the water were lower. An outlet for drainage has been considered, but it is possible that a huge reservoir of ground water is contributing to the high level of water, which wouldn’t be affected even if drainage were to happen. There are two outlet possibilities to consider, north through Monticello or east through St. Michael. The east route would be easier and cause less environmental impact on surrounding properties. The north route presents both engineering and landowner issues. Consequently, the east route is considered the most reasonable. The DNR began talking with St. Michael about this last year. The DNR has accumulated information about an outlet and though feasible, it will be expensive, somewhere in the neighborhood of $2-4 million. Preparation for draining water from Pelican Lake would occur in phases [Attachment A], with work beginning at the Crow River and headed upstream on stream improvement and erosion control. The DNR would be forced to work with the ordinary high water mark, which is nearly five feet lower than the current level. The lake could be drawn down a bit further, temporarily, because of its “shallow lake” designation. They would like to get the lake re-vegetated, which would help to kill off some of the rough fish, such as bullheads. Pelican Lake is really not considered a fish lake, because it used to have winterkill every three or four years. One significant issue to be considered is “impaired waters.” The DNR is trying to minimize the amount of phosphorous that goes into the water. Water release in the winter would have lower levels of phosphorous than compared to a summer release. They would like to do a wetland restoration with canary grass and cattails, which would restore this lake to a very shallow marsh. A summer release could also be done, but would involve a much smaller quantity of water. A preferred approach would be to split the watershed and relieve the water burden on the cities. The water could be spread out coming into St. Michael. The plans are in the conceptual state right now, and an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) will be coming out in the next month, which will be available for public comment on this project. The funding issue is also a huge issue. Bengtson was hoping for a dedicated account through legislation (from a constitutional amendment proposal), but this is not going to happen this year. Once the EAW phase is over, he hopes to be able to move forward to complete this project, which will take two to four years. Bengtson displayed a series of aerials that showed the changing landscape of the lake through the past several years. A number of islands have been submerged due to the rising water. He said that the lake is still a tremendous lake in its current form and gets fairly good migration, but it is not what is used to be. Pelican Lake is a tremendous resource and he applauds the County for helping the Fish and Wildlife purchase some more land. This has helped provide safe habitat for swans, geese, and ducks, and Wright County has gotten some good attention on this. He is now trying to get the EAW and feasibility report (currently in draft form) to full completion. Bengtson has found that the landowners are generally in favor of this project, with a few differences in opinion. Over and above the concern for the natural resources, Bengtson said that the DNR shares concerns about the high water that affects both the road and some houses. However, there is a process that has been set in place by the DNR and it is important to follow it so that it will not fail. If efforts are taken to circumvent the process, there is a greater chance that the entire project will fail. They have not run into any major roadblocks yet, but this will be a complicated project and he hopes to be able to respond to any and all concerns. Fingalson explained to the TCOTW that this item was on the agenda because the high water is impacting two current road structures, CR 117 and CR 119. Approximately $15,000 has already been spent on raising CR 117 with gravel, and this needs to be bladed regularly. CR 119 has recently presented its own challenge as the water has risen to cover the road, forcing the Highway Department to close the road when this occurs. The water was over six inches deep on CR 119 just last week. Because it will be two to four years before the water levels can be manipulated, Fingalson said that it is important to figure out what can be done in the meantime. He asked if the City of St. Michael had a position on this matter of the proposed DNR project. Bot said that the City of St. Michael is generally in support of this project, especially for the plan to begin downstream and work back upstream. One area of concern, from day one, is that completion of this project might enable full development in that area, which is not what St. Michael wants. They are supportive of this plan as a wildlife and regional treasure project, but not as a means to allow more development. Further development around Pelican Lake would only create a similar problem in the future. He would like to have a regional partnership so that all entities could agree on the future plans for this area. Connecting the old County Ditch 9 near Albertville would probably help relieve some of the flooding issues in Albertville. He also sees potential for a nice regional corridor along that ditch by developing a trail. No public meetings have been held yet, but he is cautiously optimistic that there will be a lot of positives to come out of the current plan for Pelican Lake. Bengtson said that they have tried to include as many entities as possible and have tried not to miss any. They have brought in additional communities and landowners, as well as agencies and individuals, which has worked fairly well. He is pretty impressed with the support in general. Fingalson asked if it is likely that there will be federal funding for this, and Bengtson said that this is what he was hoping for. He is hoping to submit grants for various things, and the DNR has been very supportive up through the Commissioner’s office and the Governor’s office. There might have to be special legislation for this. It might be a matter of convincing the administrators that this is a good project, but Bengtson didn’t think that it would be that hard to convince them. He said that he was at a regional meeting these past two days and the Pelican Lake issue was discussed a lot, and a lot of internal support was shown. He said that it is important to follow the process or the whole plan could be jeopardized. Meyer asked if there were any way to speed up the rate of evaporation, but Bengtson said that they don’t have the resources to do this. He said that part of the process would be to restore and improve the conditions of the stream. They will be looking at meandering it instead of having a straight ditch line. Winter release will also help make a big difference. He expressed his appreciation to the Board for their support and said that funding can come from a variety of sources, local, state, or national. Once this project is successfully completed, it will become a springboard for other good projects across the state. When others see that different entities can successfully work together, shallow lake management will be tremendously and positively impacted. Sawatzke said that there is one road under water now (CR 119), but since the lake level has gone up and down over the years, and since it is at its all-time high, odds are good that the level will go down from here. He said that he would hate to spend money on raising that road if the water will go down. He would rather use that money to contribute to water level management than road improvement. He also commented that he appreciated St. Michael’s stance that they don’t want the nearby property developed once the lake level goes down. Bot said that he doesn’t want this drainage to be the key to full development in Buffalo and Monticello’s plan. He likes it for the purpose that is being presented here, to help enhance a wildlife habitat. Sawatzke said that he would like to make sure that there is restraint enforced so that the improvements are for the wildlife, and would like to see that agreement ironed out before the lake is drained. Bot said that he appreciates that and that the County can help by giving their support to this idea. Mattson commended Bengtson on a great job, and Bengtson said that he appreciated that and said he wants to move forward, but does not want to step ahead of the process. Fingalson expressed his agreement with Sawatzke that he would prefer to solve the water problem rather than spend money on road improvement that will not be needed if the water level goes down. He said that this is just an update on what action is being taken at this time to manage the lake. Bengston said that matching money is very important with federal moneythe more partners you get, the bigger impact there is on receiving funding from the federal level.
Status of CSAH 19 Projects in Albertville and St. Michael. Fingalson passed out a notice for an Open House that is planned for next Thursday, June 8, which will give residents an opportunity to be updated on the CSAH 19 project. The project will include that area between a point just south of 57th Street in Albertville and TH 241/CSAH 35 in St. Michael. The project will be done in two phases, with the first phase (2007) starting in Albertville just south of 57th Street and ending just south of CSAH 18. The second phase (2008) will include that portion of CSAH 19 south of CSAH 18 to TH 241/CSAH 35. A combination of State and Federal money will be used to help pay for the project. The preliminary layout shows that the section of CSAH 19 in St. Michael will be narrower that the northern portion in order to reduce the impact on homes that are located close to the construction zone. A conduit will be installed for a future traffic signal at the intersection of Frankfort Parkway, but the traffic signal itself will not be installed in the 2008 project. Wright County is working with the consulting firm of SRF for this project. Together, they will study any comments that are received at the upcoming meeting. With this current plan, there is the likelihood that two or three homes will have to be relocated compared to the initial plan, which would have required 15 or 16 homes to be relocated. At least one of the currently affected homeowners is looking forward to the buyout. Whenever possible, driveways will be shifted to side roads so that they do not have direct access to CSAH 19, but this will not be possible for every one. Many residents will be able to keep their same driveway. Fingalson said that both Cities have worked with the County on arriving at this design. A median, not shown here, may be considered instead of left turn lanes. That would be a safer application but would mean that some driveways would have only right-in, right-out access. Fingalson said that he wanted the Commissioners to have an opportunity to view this preliminary plan before the Open House scheduled for next week. Estimated costs for this project, not including right of way, is about $6-8 million total to cover construction in both phases. The additional cost of right of way will add to the expense.
Request from Albertville and Otsego for Highway Improvements. Kruse said that he and engineering staff from Albertville met two weeks ago with Fingalson to talk of improvements/changes to the interchanges at I-94 and CSAH 19. He would like to create a Task Force, with Otsego and the County, to study possible solutions to the growing traffic problems. Kruse said that the City of Albertville has spent six years working on designs, and they have found one that they think might work, but they are faced with a $16 million dollar project which they can’t afford. As a search for the solution, they would like to team with the County to identify funding sources and maybe participate in that. With the TH 241 detour, both CSAHs 37 and 19 and the traffic systems are beginning to show signs of failure. CSAH 19 by the I-94 interchange has the highest count for traffic in the county, and this count is growing at a fast rate. He asked the County Board to appoint a couple of members to work with Otsego and Albertville to come up with some ideas. He would like it put on the Five-Year Plan, get permission to let the Cities do the project early, and have the Cities carry the financing. Fingalson said that everyone is in this together. CSAH 37 is headed for gridlock with a count of 21,000/day at CSAH 19 and 18,000 on CSAH 37, just east of CSAH 19. Something has to be done, which is what prompted the decision to get a task force together. Sorenson said that about 50% of the population growth in Wright County has occurred in Hanover, Otsego, St. Michael, and Albertville, an area that CSAH 19 cuts through. Projections for 2030 indicate that this hotspot of population growth will continue for the next 20 years. From that perspective, the importance of CSAH 19 to the whole county and county residents will continue to increase. The challenges have already been identified, but different solutions need to be considered. The traffic counts taken in December, January, and April indicated that there is a higher volume of traffic under the freeway. Traffic on CSAH 19 at the southern border of Albertville is 14,600/day and is at 9,000/day at the northern city limits, and this corridor is an important corridor for the entire county, not just Albertville. The costs of improvements between I-94 and the Outlet Mall entrance are estimated at $372,000, $200,000 for widening the Outlet Mall entrance, and $2,200,000 for the extension of four lanes northerly into Otsego. While one of the options is to “do nothing,” both Albertville and Otsego are recommending that these improvements be made now to restore the mobility and safety along CSAH 19. Albertville is planning to assess the cost of the improvements. Russek asked what Mn/DOT’s long term plans are for I-94, and Humbert said that six lanes are proposed to go all the way to the river crossing at Clearwater, but that isn’t planned until 2023. The extra lanes will be needed sooner, but the reality of funding is what will prevent this from happening any sooner. The traffic gridlock that is present on Saturdays and Sundays now will be happening every day in 20 years unless improvements are made. Kruse said that he would like to have two Commissioners be appointed to a task force so that they can help collaborate with federal and state funding. Mattson recommended that both Sawatzke and Eichelberg work with this task force because they represent the communities that are most affected. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Commissioners Sawatzke and Eichelberg work with the I-94 Implementation Task Force, made up of members from Albertville, Otsego, Wright County, St. Michael (since Naber Avenue is affected) and Mn/DOT, to discuss and work toward a solution for the problems presented by the heavy traffic (current and projected) on CSAH 19 north of I-94.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg reported that the Task Force Meeting originally set for 7-13-06 at 5:30 P.M. has now been changed to 7-19-06.
I-94 / TH 10 Connection in Clearwater Area. Heeter explained that the County Board was asked two years ago to take a position on Options A, B, C, or D that identify the location of the proposed new high speed interchange connection between I-94 and TH 10 that will be located somewhere between St. Cloud and Monticello. The County chose not to state a preference. However, since the options were first presented to the Board, Option C has shifted 1,300 feet. Several residents who will be affected by Option C were present at the TCOTW meeting to comment on this option. R. Schabel of the Fish Lake Community Association presented a collection of information [Attachment B] that outlines the Association’s opposition to Option C. He then read a three-page summary of this information. The purpose of the Association at this meeting was to ask the Board to “draft a letter in opposition” to the Option C that is currently Mn/DOT’s choice for an interregional connection. The Association feels that the negative impacts of the most recent modifications are much stronger than is documented in the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS). The original design of Option C was first presented to the public in April 2004, and the Association felt that this original design “presented dramatic social and economic negative impacts on the Clearwater area. Fourteen months after the last ‘public open house.’” Mn/DOT presented a modified Option C, which placed the construction zone partially in the Fish Creek Basin wetlands and directly across from Fish Creek. The amount of acreage needed for this modified plan also increased. Even though the Association felt that the original Option C would have had a negative impact on the Clearwater area, they felt that a challenge at that time would have been futile because the impacted land was mainly open rural land. In March of 2004, the County Board voted to oppose Option B but to remain neutral on the other options. It is the contention of the Fish Lake area residents that Mn/DOT presented the original version of Option C to gain public acceptance and then presented the altered Option C only after the public comment period was closed, giving residents no opportunity to register their opposition to the latest version. Following are some of the reasons that the Fish Lake area residents oppose the modified Option C:
• Relocation of at least four more residents will be required.
• Positioning of the ramp directly over Fish Creek and Fish Creek Basin wetland will subject this area to a number of environmental and safety impacts, including noise, exhaust pollutants, high intensity ramp lighting, fog and ice conditions (known to be especially bad at this location), and a sharp curve to the right which will enable further runoff into the basin.
• Requirement for acreage will increase from 75 acres to 120 acres.
• Approximately 200 acres will be removed from further residential land use.
• A walled structure (nearly a mile in length) will separate the Fish Lake community from Clearwater.
The Fish Lake Association would like a letter of opposition to the modified Option C from the Board before June 23, 2006. They feel that the original Option C is also a bad plan and would prefer to have Mn/DOT go with Option A. Humbert said that the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being written now for Option C. Durant said that the Association has huge concerns about the flow of water into the basin from the hill, especially with the proposed ramp being an elevated structure. This area was all wetland prior to the construction of the freeway and experienced huge flooding in 2002 and 2003. She said that the little wetland that is left would be impacted by Mn/DOT with Option C. Durant said that this lake is already an impaired lake and that the whole area is critical. Any amount of land that can be kept around the lake is of critical importance. This area was recognized as a wetland on May 22. Humbert said that the only wetlands to be impacted are near Fish Creek. Mn/DOT thought that the channel would be protected by the DNR, but it is not a protected waterway and the DNR wanted it shown as a wetland. There are 1.6 acres of wetland that will be impacted, and this has been coordinated with the DNR and Wright County Soil and Water District. They did a noise modeling near Fish Lake and found that the noise source from I-94 is so great that the addition of an interchange one-half mile north won’t significantly impact the current noise level. Durant said that she felt the field site chosen for the testing was not conducive to an accurate test and requested that Mn/DOT put up receptors at Fish Lake. Humbert said that when a noise model is set up, several locations are chosen, and if they get a reasonable correlation between the different sites, they assume they are correct with the figures. Durant expressed her concern about the dirt and grime that will go into the lake and river, but Humbert said that a drainage pond would be in place to clean up the run off before it goes into the water. Durant disagreed that this will achieve that goal. Jacobs asked if there is a treatment that is effective for salt removal, and Humbert said that he would have to check on that, but that the general trend is to reduce salt use, which will probably come from new technology. Durant said that until that time everything will roll down to Fish Lake and will contribute to its impairment. Kerwin said that none of the farmlands will be directly impacted, but his concern is that the freeway is going in the wrong place, and not because Mn/DOT didn’t have another place to put it. He said that he is sympathetic to the need to get people to Brainerd, but he doesn’t feel that Option C is in the right location. Sherburne County decided in their land use plan that the eastern half of the county would go to development and the western half would be preserved for farming. Developers have been able to get their plats approved with less hassle and the farmers and conservationists have been happy to have no platted areas. However, this road will be put right through the middle of the “farming” half. He said that Sherburne County has passed a resolution opposing this proposal. He said that he thought it would be very easy to put this road through to Becker, and Becker prefers that option. Freeman said that the City of Clear Lake has put a moratorium on building because the sewer ponds are not doing their job. To add more development opportunities near Clear Lake will not help this situation. She expressed her disappointment with the integrity with which Mn/DOT has conducted itself. She said that they were shown new maps of the different option only after she complained. After the new map was shown, they drew together a number of signatures on a petition but were told by Chad Casey that the comment time was closed. Humbert said that Mn/DOT has been studying this project for ten years now, including origin destination, tracking people, and movement. They started out with a low level of detail and added more as they went. Changes are anticipated as part of the process. They have worked with multiple jurisdictions and have tried to balance that. Throughout the process, a consensus was arrived at for Option C. He said that there are two other factors to consider, and one is that Option C was the only option that reduced the number miles/day and also provided time savings. Options A and D actually increased the miles/day but did reduce the time. There was also a wide range of environmental impacts to consider. The Mississippi River is one of the strongest environmental features that the DNR wants to protect. They did say that they would allow Option C to be constructed. Option D had more wetland impact. Option C impacts 1.6 acres of wetland whereas Option D has significantly more. Solving transportation needs while minimizing environmental impacts were best served by Option C. Any corridor that had been chosen would have had both support and opposition. Option D drew a petition from 90 residents in Wright County. Opposition is tough to deal with, but it happens on every project. A couple of design changes occurred. Once the corridor is chosen, then the detailed design can begin. Once it was determined where the golf course was, a shift was made, but they also had to stay out of the way of the sewer area of Clearwater and Clear Lake. Currently, they are over capacity at the sewer plant, but since they plan to increase that capacity, they shifted to stay out of that area. The biggest change was turning the 30 mph loop into a 50 mph loop, which requires a larger area. The Central Office says that they want it to come in on the right side to stay consistent with other ramps because that is what drivers expect. Sawatzke asked how many drivers will actually use that lane, and if not many, why not go back to a 30 mph loop. Humbert said that future traffic must also be anticipated. As St. Cloud and Becker grow, this other ramp will be used more. They expect 600 vehicles/hour at peak time and 6,000 vehicles/day. Humbert said that Mn/DOT is struggling with the extra loop also. Perhaps consultants can work with this and find out if there is a solution. People tend to drive based on the quickest time. Heeter said that Clearwater is concerned about commerce and the City may want to get rid of the loop. Humbert said that originally, the proposal was to stay with the simplest plan. However, the Federal Highway Administration forces them to address all needs for an interchange. B. Rademacher expressed his opinion that the road should be built where it will carry the most traffic. The impact on wetlands needs to be considered, but the road should be put where it belongs, which is where the most local traffic will use it. Humbert said that all modeling was based on weekday traffic. Weekend traffic is a factor but they did not base their decision on weekend traffic counts. There needs to be consideration for weekends because they have to carry recreational traffic, but the modeling was based on the weekdays. This road will help accommodate St. Cloud’s weekday traffic as commerce develops, from Brainerd to the Cities and from St. Cloud to the Cities. Kerwin said that he didn’t think any value was put on the local trips that are made, and feels that this goes against intelligent planning for use and traffic needs. Mattson said that he would have to view the whole area and all options before he could make a decision. Sawatzke said that he understands the State’s problem that they face opposition with every option. The Wright County Commissioners did not oppose this option when it was first presented to them, and the State doe not need authorization from the County to do this project. They have the authority to take over the road. If the project touches a city’s boundaries, then their consent is necessary in order to proceed with the project. Clear Lake has given their consent, but Humbert said that he has not talked specifically with the City of Clearwater about Fish Lake. Freeman asked if the push for Option C came out of Brainerd, but Humbert said that push to get a new river crossing came from the St. Cloud area. Fingalson said that the Commissioners did look at the bigger project in concept form when it was first presented to them. Humbert said that the comments that help Mn/DOT the most are comments asking them to look at the ramp again, and very specific recommendations are helpful. Mn/DOT can look at this again and see where that traffic is coming from and going to and could ask the Feds if this large loop can be taken out. He said that the political landscape is moving, but the planning and environmental studies have already been done. Heeter asked where this can go from here, and Eichelberg asked if there would be more information available in a month. Humbert said that he has already asked the consultant about traffic patterns and would like to make that information available. Heeter commented that the map of Sherburne County showing the division between the rural and metro areas is compelling. Kerwin said that only the draft EAW has been done and there is still a comment period before it goes to the state and federal officials. He said that the Law requires that all alternatives be brought forward equally. Humbert said that it is typical to bring all options forward until the draft EAW is completed. It has not been the practice to keep all options open until the final draft is ready. Humbert said that Mn/DOT does have maps of all corridors, but none of the others show any modifications. Changes were made after the corridor was chosen. Mattson said that he would vote for the smaller loop, but would rather not make a decision at this time. Heeter said that she would prefer taking the whole ramp out of the plan. She doesn’t think that it is wise to build something so expensive that will get only minimal use. Sawatzke said that he doesn’t understand the rationale of abandoning TH 24 and turning it back to the City for 30 mph local traffic. Humbert said that projections show that there will be about 14,000 trips/day on TH 24 by 2040. TH 24 will be a key to providing access to Clearwater and Clear Lake, but there will be no room for additional accesses. This project will probably be done about 2015 or shortly after that. Initially, they had hoped to build it by 2011, but the money that was going to be available from a state wide corridor fund is no longer available. Durant said that even if the loop were removed, this would do nothing to avoid the environmental impact to the lake. The ramp itself is a problem. It is squeezed into an area that doesn’t allow any exits. The City of Clearwater will be totally shut down and everything will be directed over to Clear Lake. Humbert said that Clearwater supports this Option C. Initially, they were opposed to it, but now they feel comfortable with it. Eichelberg said that he would like more time to continue this discussion and get more information on the loop. This could be continued to another TCOTW meeting when more maps could be viewed. Sawatzke asked if they should look at them all or only at Option C and determine what they think could be improved. He said that in fairness to Mn/DOT, they should have told them what they wanted back when they first saw the different options. Humbert said that he is hoping to release the final environmental impact statement by the end of August. Both Mn/DOT and the FHWA have received a draft copy and the consultants will make revisions and go to the cooperating agencies, who will then get a chance to review the final EIS. When the final EIS is published, there will then be a 30-day public comment period. The comment period will be on the final EIS. Sawatzke said that the Commissioners need to have a position in hand in order to respond to the final EIS. Heeter will attend the June 20th meeting at Clearwater to make comments or to find out more information. Fingalson will recommend a date for another TCOTW meeting. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that this issue be held over until the next TCOTW meeting and to tell the City of Clearwater that the County will concentrate on Option C because they did not make a decision not to support it when it was first presented to them. Fingalson will request that the County Board set a date for another TCOTW meeting to further discuss this position.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson clarified that the recommendation reflects that the County will concentrate on modifying of Option C. Mn/DOT will provide modeling information at the 7-25-06 TCOTW Meeting. Heeter said residents have hired an engineer and have brought forth the concept of a trumpet interchange. Fingalson said residents should meet with Mn/DOT prior to June 25th. Heeter will attend the City Council Meeting tonight and will indicate that the County Board has concern with the large loop proposed and who would utilize it.
TH 55 / CSAH 12 Project Update.Fingalson explained to the Commissioners that the permanent traffic signals planned for the intersection of TH 55/CSAH 12 will not be put in until the spring of 2007 because of right of way that will need to be acquired. Humbert said that Mn/DOT has come up with a temporary solution, one that will allow them to put up a temporary signal this summer, but one concern is about the strength of the shoulders. Mn/DOT won’t put in a traffic signal without turn lanes. The overlay could be put over the shoulders so that the traffic could move to the shoulders to free up the center to be used as a turn lane. If the shoulders are found to be strong enough to support traffic, then Mn/DOT could pave them so that a temporary signal could be put in. If turn lanes were put in, that would mean that the westbound traffic would be a couple of feet from the slope to Varner Lake. There is a 4:1 slope there, which is enough to make a gradual slow down but not enough to stay out of the lake if a driver loses control. Eichelberg asked if the speeds could be slowed down, but Humbert said that drivers perceive this as a rural highway so signs really don’t do the job. The average speed will slow down because of the stop in the signal. Mn/DOT would have to split the cost of this temporary project 50/50 with the County. This would be a one-year investment because they don’t anticipate that the shoulders could carry the traffic for longer than that and they don’t want traffic that close to the lake for over a year. Mn/DOT will provide the poles, signal head, and cabinet. They will design the plan and turn it over to the County, and the County will pay the contractor, get the wiring to the support heads, and supply the power. The County’s share is expected to be about $50,000. The signal has to be tied into the Railroad’s signal, so if the circuitry is not adequate to pick up the County’s signal, then it could cost even more. Fingalson said that the only reason this was brought up was because of the push by the School Board and others to have this done before the Northwinds Elementary School is open. If the County decides to wait until 55 Corridor funds are available to put in a permanent signal, then the County will be responsible for just the CSAH 12 road improvements, but it would be good to have it in place for school. Russek said that he doesn’t want to spend $50,000 for one year and then have to start all over again. Eichelberg asked if it would be possible to re-route some of the school traffic through town so that they could avoid that intersection. Heeter asked where the money would come from if it can’t be acquired from the 55 Corridor, and Fingalson said that this money is not budgeted. Humbert is working on the layout and will do a project memorandum (since federal money is involved). Hawkins said that a wider crossing and longer signal arms will be needed for the railroad crossing, and it typically takes a long time for the Railroad to get that done. Eichelberg said that he would prefer to wait until after Russek and Fingalson have been to Washington D.C. where they will get more information about funding; and he would also like to check with the schools for alternate routes. Sawatzke said that there isn’t a light there now, there wasn’t one there when the school decided to build there, and there was no promise that one would be put in. Wright County doesn’t have enough money to do permanent projects. How can they do temporary projects? He said that a deputy could direct traffic twice a day and that would cost considerably less than putting in temporary lights for a year. Heeter said that she is concerned about the school traffic, which includes moms and little children and not just school buses. The intersection is skewed, and that makes it hard to have good site distance. She understands the financial pressures, but it is likely that crashes will occur. Humbert said that a left turn lane could be done without putting in a signal light, but a signal light could not be done without a turn lane. Humbert would have to find out if the shoulders could support a temporary lane for about a year. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that a left turn lane be added to TH 55 at the intersection of TH 55 / CSAH 12, if the information gathered by Mn/DOT supports the decision to use the current shoulders as traffic lanes.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson provided an update on the Washington Fly In that Russek and he attended recently. They were successful in meeting with Kennedy and Oberstar staff members. The concern was with Federal funding obtained for the Highway 55 Coalition which indicated improvements for projects could not be utilized for safety improvements. It appears that the bill will be corrected by the end of the month allowing for use of the funding for safety improvements. The project at TH 55/CSAH 12 will not be completed until next year.
CSAH 4 Drainage Issue Near Cokato Lake. Three representatives from Cokato Township were present to address the water issue on the east side Cokato Lake, which is affecting the Cokato Lake boat landing, farmland to the east, DNR property, a campground along CSAH 4, and private land near the boat landing. Ever since the County replaced three 24” culverts with one 48” culvert, everything below that culvert is having water problems. Two of the culverts that were replaced were blocked and partially blocked, with the remaining culvert the only one that functioned as intended. The water that washes through now is undermining the township road, and every time that it rains 4” or more, the Township finds that it has to deal with this problem. They are asking for help to correct this problem. Whenever there is a heavy rain, the water crosses over from the south side of the township road and carries mud and silt into the yard of one property owner. Before the culverts were put in, there was a storm basin. Now the culvert is more at an angle, is bigger, and is aimed at the township road. They asked why a bigger culvert was put in. Fingalson said that an assessment was done by the engineering firm of Bogart Pederson & Associates, and their recommendation was to go with the 48” culvert to replace the two 24” culverts and a third culvert that were present. Hawkins said that the volume of the 48” culvert would be equal to the three culverts in place if they had been working properly. Cokato representatives said that they felt that the three were never operating at one time; and one of the culverts was below the others, indicating that it was never intended that all three should operate at the same time. Meyer explained that the heavy rains of 2002 created a situation where the campground was getting flooded, partially due to the culverts that had lost their capacity. Correcting this problem for one area created a problem for others downstream when the water was released. Currently, runoff from about 618 acres is going through the 48” culvert. Jacobs said that it is the contention of the Soil and Water Conservation District that the best way of solving this water problem is by dealing with the water before it gets to the road. He is currently working with the landowner to the east, which has a holding pond with a berm that has been there for about 15 years. However, it has lost its capacity. There is one on the east side of the campground that has also lost its capacity. He suggests that the current one should be cleaned out so that the original capacity can be restored. A terrace system starting at the top of the watershed would be a good approach, but this would be expensive. The State could cover 75% of this, but the remaining 25% would have to be borne by the landowner, unless other money could be found that would alleviate his costs. The water run off would be cut by one-sixth if this one landowner makes these recommended changes, but other landowners would have to be willing to make improvements in order to help solve the entire problem. The way the culvert is currently angled at CSAH 4 lines it up with the waterway, but representatives from Cokato said that silting has changed the waterway. The best solution is to deal with the problem upstream, because that’s what has contributed to this. Different solutions were considered and discussed, include blocking off part of the culvert, but the Commissioners didn’t want to take any action without first getting legal advice from either the County Staff or from Kurt Deter. The watershed needs to be studied and Jacobs can contact landowners. This item can be put on the agenda of a future TCOTW meeting. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the County Attorney be contacted regarding options for this water problem, and that the Soil and Water Conservation District contact landowner about possibilities for solutions, and that this be further discussed at a future TCOTW meeting in July.
Potential Bonding for CR 107 Overlay Project. Fingalson explained that this item was placed on the agenda because the Highway Department was $600,000 over budget due to the higher costs of our overlay contract. He asked the TCOTW members to proceed with bonding for this amount. The bid for the Otsego Truck Station came in lower than budgeted, so some savings were realized from that. Fingalson said that he talked with Bruce Kimmel about bonding, and he indicated that if the Board decides to go with bonding, street reconstruction bonds would be the best way to go, but this does require a unanimous vote by the Board. CIP bonds are an option that would require only three out of five votes. The CIP option would cost about $500 - $1,000 more because of work that would be done to prepare documents. Sawatzke suggested that this issue be held over until the next meeting in case other funds become available. Eichelberg said that the Board members need to move forward with the bonding if that is their intention to raise money this way. If the Board acts next Tuesday, the money might be available by August. A public hearing would have to be held and then advertisements would have to be published. Sawatzke asked Fingalson to collect information about budget estimates and actual bid and project costs and present them to the Commissioners at the June 6th Board meeting so that they will have a better idea of how much money should be raised through bonding. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Fingalson collect information about budget estimates and actual bid and project costs and present them to the Commissioners at the June 6th Board meeting.
Report from Screening Board Meeting. Fingalson presented a PowerPoint slide show that summarized Wright County’s request to the Screening Board for more state-aid highway miles. This presentation showed the highways that have been approved for inclusion on the state-aid system, which will then allow Wright County to draw needs from them and receive more state-aid funds. The Screening Board approved the addition of 7.77 miles to Wright County.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the TCOTW minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
(End of TCOTW Minutes)
Fingalson requested the Board schedule a bid letting date for the River Country Regional Trail Project on 7-25-06 at 9:30 A.M. The City of Clearwater has applied for Federal enhancement funds and the County must sponsor the project by default as the City has a population of under 5000. Fingalson suggested that this type of project be handled like Town Bridge projects. An agreement detailing responsibility will be drafted and presented for Board approval at the next meeting. The County would advertise for the bid opening, and open and award the bids. All costs are borne by the City. The City has not yet hired a consultant but will be required to do so as part of the agreement. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a bid letting for 7-25-06 at 9:30 A.M.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 6-14-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
Proposal For Engineering Study, Human Services Building. Hayes explained that air quality issues relate to providing adequate ventilation. The building was originally designed for a different purpose than its current use. Current CO2 levels are at 1200 ppm and should be at 1000 ppm. The County has taken measures to introduce additional air into the building but this has resulted in drafts. A copy of a proposal from M&E Engineering was distributed reflecting costs associated with performing mechanical and engineering services to assess the air quality at the Human Services Center. Phase I of the proposal would include evaluating existing conditions and providing a report on deficiencies and recommendations at a cost of $2,650. A proposal was received from Climate Air to install two new air handling units (to replace five of the existing fourteen furnaces and two of the condensing units). The total cost would be approximately $31,000 (excluding tax and electrical costs). Additional costs would be realized through roof repairs. Climate Air did not provide a guarantee on what level of CO2 would be reached but said they could remedy the situation. The County currently utilizes the services of Climate Air for maintenance of the heating and ventilation systems. Recommendation: Proceed with proposal from Climate Air to install two new air handling units as outlined at a cost of $31,000 plus tax and costs associated with electrical and roof repairs. Funding from Site Improvements.
II. Assessor Department Parking Needs.
III. Sheriff Department Parking Needs.
Kramber requested a designated parking spot for the County vehicle his department utilizes, which would provide secure parking during evening hours. The Sheriff Department requests designated parking for Communications Officers. Those employees report for work mid-day when parking in close proximity to the building is unavailable. Their shifts end during the evening hours. The request is made due to security concerns and because of the necessity for those employees to report to work during an emergency. At times they must park over a block away from the Government Center. Melvin stated this also applies to Corrections staff. Information was distributed reflecting that there are currently 312 employees at the Government Center and 241 available parking spots in County owned lots at this location. This is exclusive of the Deputies with squad cars. Norman said the County adds 15-20 employees annually to the entire organization, with most working out of the Government Center. Various options were discussed. The first was to expand the parking behind the Sheriff’s Department to provide additional parking for County-owned vehicles and Communications Officers. Another was to pursue blacktopping of the land adjacent to the West lot (upper Sheriff lot). The East lot (next to the Funeral Home) could then be designated for County vehicles. This option would provide additional parking for employees and result in less on-street parking. This would provide more on-street parking for Courthouse patrons. Associated costs would include blacktopping, lighting, and curbing. The Committee discussed the move of the Sheriff Department to the new Jail site in approximately three years. Although this will result in approximately 42 less Sheriff Department employees at this location, that many new employees could potentially be hired during that period. Recommendation: Research options and costs associated with expanding parking next to the West lot. To accommodate parking needs of the Assessor Department and the Sheriff Department (Dispatch), six parking spots will be designated as “Reserved” for this purpose. These parking spots are the first six spots located in the upper West lot on the left side as you enter from 1st Avenue NW. (End of Building Committee Minutes)
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-06-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke. The following addition was made to the minutes: Page 3, add language to end of the 3rd paragraph, “Mattson suggested a face to face meeting with township officials. Salkowski felt a number of opportunities to do so had come up with appropriate documentation and items requested by the County. Thus Salkowski felt such a meeting would be fruitless.” The motion and second amended the motion to include that language change along with mailing of the draft letter and staff analysis to the Stockholm Township Board. The motion carried 5-0.
Discuss Township Zoning. A brief update was given by Salkowski regarding township zoning. This committee met March 28 and set an ordinance amendment hearing. The Planning Commission hearing took place May 11, with 60-70 people in attendance. Another meeting has been set for July 20 at 7:30pm. There was concern over the allegation that the County wants citizens to pay a dual permit fee. Everyone in attendance has been provided with a copy of the statement which summarizes the position held by the County. Township documents were received from Middleville and Stockholm. It appears neither township has properly adopted township zoning laws. Zins prepared a summary of what was found in Stockholm. Middleville is willing to work with the County. Both townships were asked for a set of public documents.
In addition to the documents supplied, the County has found documents which may be of benefit to Stockholm. They have never held hearings on a comprehensive plan. It appears they may have adopted the Wright County Ordnance; they did provide notice of adoption after the fact. No DNR approval was ever given for flood plain or shoreland documentation. DNR rules require the County Board has to approve of a Township’s administration of these programs. Stockholm has never asked the County Board for this approval. A combination land use and plan map was submitted to the County by Stockholm Township. They have proposed land use on the map for agricultural and industrial use. It conflicts with the County land use plan and zoning map. It would appear this map is not legal and violates State Law and County Regulations. The County asked for copies of any hearings regarding the zoning of property, but none have been received. Sawatzke asked if anybody has driven to Stockholm to see if anything is happening. Salkowski stated that they had not, but the adoption of the map itself conflicts with the law. There has been no notice to the County that this map was being adopted until Planning & Zoning received a copy a few weeks ago. A Mr. Wozniak signed the map, although he does not hold an official position on the Town Board. Russek asked, “In order to change land use, doesn’t the County Board need to approve”? Zins stated that whatever land use plan Stockholm comes up with, they can’t use it for rezoning because the County already has a plan. If it’s a zoning district map that reflects changes not approved by the County, it is illegal. If their plan is less restrictive than the County, they may not be able to use it. If something is changed with zoning and it is consistent with the County Plan, or more restrictive, then it may be followed. However, if they are not following the County Standard, they are not following the law. Sawatzke said it appears the rezoning was done randomly. We do not have documentation that the Town Board ever met to discuss land use planning. Salkowski said a thorough review of Middleville has not been done yet, but chances are they will be in a similar situation, although they have probably not changed the County plan. Zins distributed a summary of where things are at with Stockholm. There was discovery of additional documents by the County that may require changes. It needs to be accurate to avoid any “finger pointing”. Salkowski stated that on May 24 the County Board received notice from Corinna Township that they will adopt a moratorium. If this process hasn’t been started, they can impose a moratorium until the Plan is in place. They have hired a consultant to assist them. Salkowski stated it appears a moratorium would be stricter. We need to see what they are adopting. The County provided a map of gravel pits in Corinna. He suggested a look at the State Statute on protection of aggregate resources. Corinna Township needs to be made aware that State Highway 24 is coming up and gravel is expensive. Hopefully they will have finished their moratorium because gravel will needed to when work on the highway commences. Mr. Mack, Corinna’s consultant, asked Planning and Zoning to help with work on digital data, which will be provided after an agreement is signed. It needs to be made clear that the County expects to see the plan as it progresses, and that Corinna Township is required, by law, to be as strict with their regulations as the County. I.T. policy is that the consultants can’t use data unless the County is reimbursed, but we can provide it free to the Township. Salkowski said two issues need to be addressed:
(1) What do we do with Middleville and Stockholm?
(2) Where do we go with amendments? No townships should need permits for doing the same thing as the County, but how do we oversee what Township zoning means, and how is it implemented?
Zins stated that County Attorney Kelly feels that if a Township is not going by the law with zoning, the County has to do something about that. Before the Township issues anything, the County needs to approve. If the County goes through the work, we need to be reimbursed. There has not been a meeting with the Townships since the May 11 Planning Commission meeting. Middleville seems very willing to work with us. There has been no indication from Stockholm that they will cooperate. Corinna has not adopted anything yet; they may have a plan this fall. We may need to have all permits come through the County for Stockholm Township. If they have issued anything that was not County approved, we may need to address this. Sawatzke asked how the Stockholm Township public would be notified if we are suddenly the permitting agency and that acting without a permit may find things undone. Do we send out a flyer to every house in Stockholm? Citizens need to come to the County to follow the Ordinance. How do we assure that citizens come here for their permit or prevent the Township from giving unauthorized permits? We need to notify the Town Board, with a legal analysis, of why we are doing this. There are between 500-600 property owners in Stockholm. A written notice could be sent. Zins said he will draft a brief letter from the County Board to Stockholm Township and give them 30 days to react. County could resume total responsibility for permits and planning and zoning, according to their December motion. Mattson suggested a face to face meeting with township officials. Salkowski felt a number of opportunities to do so had come up with appropriate documentation and items requested by the County. Thus Salkowski felt such a meeting would be fruitless.
Heeter said, if Corinna Township believes they want to do this, we would love to work with them if they want to be more restrictive in preserving agricultural and shore land. She believes that if there is double permitting, the people shouldn’t have to pay twice for the same thing. That is not the intent of the amendment. Her desire is to be sure that the County has an idea of what’s happening so we don’t have any surprises. If Corinna wants to be more restrictive, the County will be totally supportive. Sawatzke stated that future Town Boards may not be as strict as the current Town Board. There needs to be a process in place to ensure that the future Township Board(s) don’t take advantage of the County by not being as strict. Heeter stated she isn’t comfortable that the majority of people don’t know what’s going on. There may need to be different channels (i.e., public hearings, etc) so citizens can be kept informed. Sawatzke said if Corinna hadn’t notified the County, they would be doing their own zoning, according to their December motion. They didn’t even plan on having a discussion. We’ve helped to correct their decisions. Zins stated the Agreement with Rockford Township, to protect them from Rockford City subdivision regulations, was signed and passed. There is no County signature yet. Zins needs to get approval from the Board on one minor change. Zins will put it on the agenda. (End of Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 6-14-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke. Mattson requested that laptop security issues be referred to the Technology Committee. Discussion should include such things as use of laptops in the field, data privacy, liability, etc. The motion carried 5-0 to approve the Personnel Committee Minutes:
Reimbursement Policy For Meals. Copies were distributed of Wright County’s Personnel Policy #506, “Business Related Expense Reimbursement.” Also distributed were copies of Stearns County’s Policy. Norman explained that claims for meal reimbursement have been submitted for Board approval without proper documentation attached. This resulted in questions by the Auditor’s Office on proper procedure. The goal is for standardizing requests and proper documentation for auditing purposes. Recommendation: Make the following revisions to the Personnel Policy #506 for review at the next Committee Meeting:
(1) Add language relating to meal reimbursements:
“Breakfast: (reimbursable only if preceded by overnight stay or if travel must begin prior to 6:00 A.M.).”
“Dinner: (reimbursable only if immediately followed by an overnight stay, or if travel for the meeting/conference must commence prior to the end of the normal work day, or meetings which start during normal work hours and conclude after 6:30 p.m.).”
(2) Add language: “If meals are included in any registration or tuition fees, they will be paid in full as part of the registration fees. Other charges for meals which are already included in the registration are not allowed.”
(3) Add language indicating a detailed receipt must accompany requests for reimbursement reflecting date, time, restaurant, location, what was ordered, and cost.
(4) Add language indicating that snacks are excluded from meal reimbursement.
Bureau Of Criminal Apprehension Audit. As a result of an audit of background checks by the BCA, Thinesen reported that the County must take additional security steps. This will include running fingerprint/background checks on staff and contractors who have direct access to BCA computer records. Another option would be to ensure that Sheriff Department personnel are in their presence at all times. The Committee also discussed the potential of performing background checks on social workers and public health employees. Background checks would be provided at no cost by the BCA for individuals who could potentially gain access to the BCA information. Fingerprinting would be processed through the Jail. Costs associated with background checks on additional staff would need to be negotiated with the BCA. Norman will consult with Frank Madden. Any changes in the process will need to be made a part of the County’s Personnel Policy & Procedure Manual. Recommendation: This issue will be further researched and referred to the 7-12-06 Committee Meeting.
Discuss Revisions To Workers’ Compensation Policy. Melvin distributed Workers’ Compensation information and a draft revision to Policy #307, “Workers’ Compensation Insurance.” This material is an update from what was distributed at the 5-24-06 Committee Meeting. Since that time, Frank Madden’s Office was consulted for their opinion. Worker’s Compensation pays 2/3 of the wage that was earned on the date of injury. There are no taxes taken out. This is close to the equivalent of the employee’s normal wage at the time of injury. The State Statute says that the County can pay employees an additional supplement from sick, vacation, or compensatory time as long as this payment plus the Worker’s Compensation reimbursement does not exceed the employee’s current weekly wage. The Committee discussed options for supplementing up to 1/3 of the employee’s wage at the date of injury. To proceed in this manner would require the development of a formula to ensure that the employee is not compensated more than what their current level of pay is. Because the employee is compensated 2/3 of their wage with no deductions, that level of compensation is at a higher rate than their normal rate of pay. Paying an employee an additional 1/3 out of vacation, sick leave or compensatory time may place them at a higher wage than current wages. RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the Committee that the County should discontinue supplementing 1/3 of the employee’s wages through use of sick, vacation and compensatory time. Policy language will be amended to reflect this change and will be reviewed at the next Committee Meeting.
A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 6-14-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
Location Of Video Conferencing Equipment. Last December, the Committee endorsed the request to pursue placement of this equipment in C118, the Community Room, or the County Board Room. Swing now proposes the equipment be placed in Room 153. This is due to the potential conflict with availability of C118 and the 4th Floor Conference Room, the size of the Community and Board Rooms, and securing the equipment. Swing said the equipment is ideally suited for a smaller setting and placement of it in Room 153 has been endorsed by the vendor and State. There is the option of moving the equipment to larger rooms as needed. Placement of the equipment in Room 153 will also be in close proximity to the IT Department, allowing for ease with staff assistance. Two sessions can be done simultaneously. The equipment will be used as a collaborative piece with other units of government. The Human Services Center currently accesses video conferencing outside of the State system. With installation of the MNET System, a toggle switch was installed and Human Services staff can now utilize either system. The new equipment provides access through a network. If desired in the future, the other video conferencing system could be turned off resulting in an $8000 savings annually. Nolan reported that a study completed at MCIT reflected Wright County as one of only 4-5 in the State not on this new system (77 were on the MNET System). Swing suggested the purchase of an alarm on the unit to address security of the equipment. Recommendation: Approve placement of the Video Conferencing Equipment in Room 153. Details on procedures of scheduling will be worked out between Administration and the IT Department. (End of Technology Committee Minutes)
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 6-14-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke made the following changes to the minutes: 1st paragraph, 2nd sentence should read, “Limited repairs at the facility have been done in the past 6 years and he felt it was time for more.”; 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence should read, “Sawatzke asked if this should come out of the Solid Waste Surcharge Fund since the regulators are there to heat the facility for recycling.”; 2nd paragraph, delete the 2nd sentence which reads, “If not, use the Surcharge Fund.”; 2nd paragraph, 4th sentence, change from “Solid Waste Fund” to “Score Fund”; 2nd paragraph, last two sentences should read, “A total of up to $50,000 per quarter is spent, equaling $200,000 a year, which is all the County receives from the State. He doesn’t know when an increase in State funding may occur.”; 3rd paragraph, add a last sentence which reads, “All dollar amounts are estimates.”; Last paragraph, 2nd sentence should read, “Send letters to the roll off companies in Wright County and advertise in the Journal Press and Herald Dispatch.” Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said formal advertisement must be done. He felt Chuck Davis would be the most knowledgeable with regard to writing specifications. Sawatzke requested Norman assist with publishing notice and directed Davis to send letters to roll off companies in Wright County. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes as corrected and to set the bid letting for 7-25-06 at 9:45 A.M., setting a minimum bid price of $20,000. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0:
Discuss Repairs at Compost Facility. Davis stated that in mid-April Stephens smelled gas and noticed fire coming out of the regulators. Limited repairs at the facility have been done in the past 6 years and he felt it was time for more. Since this is part of plant operation, he wondered if it should come out of Score Funds. Sawatzke asked if this should come out of the Solid Waste Surcharge Fund since the regulators are there to heat the facility for recycling. The Score Funds are running low, but there is $800,000 in Surcharge Funds. Davis stated there are grants for recycling for cities and townships coming out of the Score Fund. A total of up to $50,000 per quarter is spent, equaling $200,000 a year, which is all the County receives from the State. He doesn’t know when an increase in State funding may occur. Davis stated it would cost around $1,500 to replace regulator valves. He also said exterior lights, including the big overhead door light, was burned out and needed replacing. They also need 6 more plastic bins for chemical drips and spills (should they occur), which would cost around $800.00. There are several areas in need of repair or maintenance, including: reset button on the furnace ($200), truck scale ($200), lighting, furnace, loader battery cables, and a roof leak in the Administration Building. All dollar amounts are estimates. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize up to $10,000 out of the Surcharge Fund.
Roll Off Truck Sale. The roll off truck at the Compost Facility has not been used for the past 8 years. Mattson suggested setting a minimum price of $20,000 for it, and having Steve Meyer, Highway Department, look at it. RECOMMENDATION: Schedule sale date for the roll off truck with a minimum sealed bid price of $20,000. Send letters to the roll off companies in Wright County and advertise in the Journal Press and Herald Dispatch. (End of Ways & Means Committee Minutes).
Russek provided an update on the Washington Fly In which he and Fingalson attended last week. They met with Legislators and staff members to facilitate language changes to a bill relating to Federal funding received for the Highway 55 Coalition improvement projects. Russek said they were confident that the changes will be made to allow use of funding for safety improvements for projects. This was provided as an informational item.
Action Radio & Commun. $463.28
Allina Health Systems 500.00
Allina Medical Labs 988.35
Arctic Glacier Inc. 295.00
B & B products-Rigs/Sqau 11,874.80
Bristows Kawasaki & Polaris 1,097.25
Buffalo Bituminous 182,749.60
Buffalo Hospital 9,347.24
CDW Government Inc. 2,149.11
Center Point Energy 279.97
Change Masters 8,750.00
Cub Pharmacy 689.28
Decorative Designs Inc. 184.31
Dale Engel 125.00
Fastenal Company 336.87
Thomas Fedor 122.00
Fyles Excav./Honey Wagon 558.00
Gateway Companies Inc. 1,808.37
Greenview Inc. 14,523.32
Greif Brothers Corp. 747.11
Robert Hiivala 188.00
Interstate All Battery Center 594.47
Michelle Johnson 133.05
JR’s Appliance Disposal Inc. 1,115.00
Karels Towing 427.00
Klein Bank 19,304.00
Cheryl Klinger 100.00
Kramers Hardware 365.51
Lab Safety Supply Inc. 107.88
Laerdal Medical Corp. 568.85
Lakedale Telephone Co. 127.69
LaPlant Demo Inc. 730.57
Loffler Companies Inc. 478.19
Marco Business Products 1,073.52
MASYS Corporation 89,389.00
Denise McCalla 451.81
Midland Corp. Benefits Svc. 750.00
MN Hwy. Safety/Research 628.00
MN Office of Enterprise Tech 370.00
MN Resort Association 734.00
MN State Bar Association 2,074.00
MN Supreme Court 218.00
MN West Community/Tech 179.00
Neopost Inc. 1,150.20
Nextel Communications 157.37
N. Central Radar 1,500.00
Office Depot 963.03
Prairie Land Mngmnt 780.00
Prosource One 619.87
PSC Alliance Inc. 15,515.00
Anthony Rasmuson 180.29
Jack Russek 290.59
Ryan Motors Inc. 200.00
Shell Fleet Plus 5,370.95
Software House Int’l 1,021.34
Taser International 160.00
Total Printing 732.14
Uniforms Unlimited 105.49
Univ. of Minnesota 11,329.92
Waste Management TC W 401.31
West Payment Center 603.48
Wright Hennepin Electric 179.55
20 Payments less than $100 954.34
Final total $416,688.20
The meeting adjourned at 10:30 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal July 24, 2006.