Wright County Board Minutes
WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD
JULY 18, 2006
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present. Commissioner Heeter was absent.
Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 7-11-06, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item D1, Highway, “Add Item To 7-25-06 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Agenda, Mapping Tool Demonstration” (Norman); Items For Consid. #4, “Summit Meeting In Burnsville” (Russek). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Sawatzke removed Item A4 for discussion, “Approve Bids To Replace 10 Courtroom Doors.” On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Turnquist, S. Pedersen, Aud./Treas.; T. Hackenmueller, J. Russell, T. Waldron, Hwy.; P. Fladung, Sheriff.
1. Approve/Authorize Signatures On 2006-2008 Collective Bargaining Agreement With Teamsters Local 320, Courthouse Unit.
2. Approve/Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Understanding With Teamsters Local 320, Courthouse Unit, For a Post Retirement Health Care Savings Plan.
1. Approve Abatement, PID #118-500-311200, John & Karla Kolles (City of Otsego).
2. Approve Abatement, PID #216-000-064101, Steven Huston (Silver Creek Twp.).
3. Approve Abatement, PID #105-032-000130, Levern & Marilys Vahlsing (City of Cokato).
1. July Parks Commission Minutes.
Item A4, “Approve Bids To Replace 10 Courtroom Doors” was discussed. Sawatzke questioned what happens with the doors which are replaced. He wanted to make sure that if the doors had value, that the County retained them. Russek said that sometimes a contractor will bid on the premise that they will be able to obtain what is being replaced. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, felt the doors would be removed and replaced but will confirm this with the Purchasing Agent. Two bids were received: 1) Nelson Construction ($18,568); and 2) Ernst Construction ($21,500). The recommendation was to accept the low bid from Nelson Construction. Sawatzke moved to approve Item A4 as presented, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, announced a Board position opening on the Clearwater River Watershed District (3-year term). If approved, a notice would be published in the Annandale Advocate and Clearwater Tribune. The application deadline would be 8-07-06. The position being vacated is currently held by Mark Campa. Eichelberg moved to authorize the Auditor to advertise for the position, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 11, Allina Health Systems ($500.00) for transport of an inmate. Mattson questioned whether the prisoner was transported by armed guard and, if not, suggested transport by the River Rider System. Hiivala said the claim reflected the transport was by ambulance. Mattson will follow up with Corrections on transport of inmates. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested approval of two draft resolutions accepting trail grant funding. The first applies to the CSAH 12 trail (from Buffalo to Montrose). In January 2006, the County Board voted to support application for Federal Recreational Trail Program funding. The grant requires funding to be expended by June, 2009. As the completion of the trail is unknown, Mattice contacted the grant administrators who said the County could accept the funding and ask for an extension to December, 2010. Mattice recommended approval of the resolution accepting $46,000 in Federal Grant funding. A $46,000 cash match by the County is required. Mattson said when the CSAH 12 highway and trail project was presented, they were told that Federal funding would be lost if it was not approved in 2006. Now the project has been delayed to 2010. He felt things should be presented factually. Mattice stated that the funds are administered through the DNR from the Federal Highway Administration. The local match has been included in the 2007 proposed budget for the Parks Department and in the Capital Improvement Plan software program. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #06-46 accepting trail grant funding for the CSAH 12 trail project (from Buffalo to Montrose), seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Mattice then referenced the second draft resolution for trail grant funding. This would be for the CSAH 17 project (Delano to Luce Line). In January 2006, the County Board voted to support application for Federal Recreational Trail Program funding. The project is slated for 2007. Costs have been included in the 2007 proposed Budget for the Parks Department and in the Capital Improvement Plan software program. Mattice recommended approval of the resolution accepting $100,000 in Federal Grant funding. A $100,000 cash match by the County is required. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #06-47 accepting trail grant funding for the CSAH 17 project (Delano to Luce Line), seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Noel LaBine, Wright County Economic Development Partnership, presented an application requesting use of $15,000 of the County’s revolving loan fund. The borrower is River’s Edge Automotive, LLC which is for the purchase of an automotive maintenance business in Monticello. The applicants are Peter Gueldner and Stephen Meltzer. The applicants were informed by the SBA that they should contact the County to obtain local revolving loan funding to build their operating capital. SBA approval is contingent upon whether they obtain additional working capital. LaBine said the County’s revolving loan fund is designed for this type of request. The Partnership’s Finance Committee reviewed the request diligently and supported the request due to the amount of personal equity being offered by the applicants. LaBine referenced handout material which reflected the Committee’s recommendation on Terms and Conditions. After discussion, it was the consensus that Terms and Conditions Item #5, Personal Guarantees, should be stricken. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the loan for $15,000 with the following terms and conditions: 1) The building has to be appraised and the value has to fall within the $280,000 that the seller is asking for the building; 2) The loan be approved for a 20 year term at 8%; 3) A subordinated lien position be placed on the property being purchased plus each of the buyers homes. This strategy will protect the County’s funds on three properties; 4) All fees associated with this deal (O&E’s, County & UCC filing fees, etc.) be reimbursed by the borrowers. LaBine said the County will issue a check to the borrowers and that he will provide proper documentation to the County.
Laid over from the last meeting, Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, brought forth discussion on the request to award the contract for the design/build of the Salt Storage Facility at the Otsego Maintenance Shop. Today, Fingalson requested discussion on this issue be delayed until after 8-14-06 as City concerns need to be addressed. The County Attorney’s Office is in the process of obtaining a letter from the low bidder waiving the 30-day requirement for the bid. Sawatzke moved to continue discussion to 8-15-06, seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke referenced the pole shed at the Albertville Shop and questioned what the deadline was for the purchaser to pay the County. The bid specifications called for removal by 8-01-06. Fingalson has attempted to contact the buyer to obtain payment prior to removal of the building from the property. However, the last time he was able to reach the buyer was three weeks ago. The County Attorney’s Office is working on the payment deadline for the Albertville Shop property. The property was sold to the City but delays have been experienced (the clinic lost their tenant). Fingalson said these delays should not have anything to do with the County. This issue may be discussed with the City on 7-19-06. The motion carried 4-0 to lay this issue over to 8-15-06.
The purchase of two tandem trucks had also been laid over. The Budget Committee Of The Whole met today to discuss this purchase. Fingalson explained that traditionally, Sterling trucks were purchased through the State Contract. Some problems have been experienced with the Mercedes engine. If the County were to switch to International trucks, which could also be purchased through the State Contract, a Cummins engine would be used and it would result in better mileage. If the two tandem trucks were ordered by 8-01-06, the County would not be required to pay for them until January, 2007. The recommendation of the Budget Committee Of The Whole was to purchase the two tandem trucks as the trucks were on the top of the Highway Department’s priority list for equipment purchases. The savings realized would be around $59,000. Norman referenced the savings analysis and a discrepancy in the net cost figures from 2006 to 2007. Fingalson felt the difference had to do with the extra costs associated with an automatic transmission but will verify the figures. Mattson questioned the cost associated with in-stock parts for vehicles. Any parts not on hand could be obtained locally. Fingalson did not see a problem and said the County will still own Sterling trucks. Any parts that are not on hand could be obtained locally. It was noted that the cost does not reflect sales tax (6.5%). Eichelberg moved to authorize the purchase of two tandem trucks, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0.
Fingalson announced a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the CSAH 2 Bridge on 7-19-06 at 1:30 P.M.
A Detention Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 7-06-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson stated that he did not feel there should be change orders associated with the Jail project. He felt KKE Architects were professionals and should be able to avoid them. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0:
Review Project Work Plan, Schedule & Key Dates. A Preliminary Project Schedule was distributed. Today was the kickoff meeting for the project. Phase I (Program Review, Site Analysis, Site Master Plan, and Schematic Design) is projected to be completed by October. At that time, KKE anticipates providing a package that the County can approve and move forward. Phase II (Design Development, Construction Documents, Bidding, Construction) will commence in October. The project will be bid around August, 2007 and construction is anticipated to begin in October, 2007. This schedule may move up dependent upon the interaction with the Construction Manager. The targeted move in date is late 2008 or early 2009. Project meetings will be held with County staff and DOC officials with findings presented back to the Committee in late July. Norman indicated that meeting notices must be posted three days prior to the meeting. A meeting can be recessed to a date and time specific. Asleson indicated that the Task Group meetings should be attended only by 1-2 Commissioners unless it is deemed a Committee Of The Board Meeting, Committee Of The Whole Meeting, or Board Meeting. Recommendation: A Task Group will be established to meet with KKE officials and staff on project details and will include the following representatives: Heeter, Sawatzke, Miller, Torfin, Asleson and Norman. All Task Group recommendations must be presented to the full Board.
Review Project Budget. A Cost Analysis and Project Budget Estimate was distributed (attached). Utilities were discussed. KKE has been working with the City of Buffalo on off-site improvement costs, which are estimated at just under $800,000 ($730,000 water main & $56,000 sanitary sewer). The water main will be extended 1.5 miles southwest of the site creating a loop to ensure fire flows and hydraulic pressures. Costs may be mitigated to other benefitted properties. The County and City will need to discuss this issue. The inflationary figure reflected in the budget estimate is at 4%. Lindemann explained that the current CCI (construction cost index) is running closer to 12% and that figure may need to be adjusted. Jail construction costs are estimated at $209/sq. ft. and the Law Enforcement Center at $165/sq. ft. Inflation is carried as a line item for the project and is included in the square foot estimates. Costs for communication equipment for the new Communication Center will need to be built into this budget as well. Heeter said the City has indicated that the fiber optic loop has been laid at their cost to accommodate the new Jail. Miller did not envision the 800 Mhz project to be in place by the completion of the Jail. Most of the infrastructure of the 800 Mhz system will be transferrable (hand held radio’s, counsels). The Project Budget Estimate, although not all inclusive, reflects a total project cost of $43,739,181 based upon 450 beds. Discussion followed on the original projected cost by the County of $35 million for a 450-bed Jail. Miller did not want the Jail project based upon an arbitrary number. Changes to oil prices and commodities were not anticipated. He wanted to avoid making the same mistake as with the current Jail. Sawatzke agreed and said that the Jail should be built based upon what is needed. The debate is whether 450 beds are needed when the Facility is opened. The $35 million figure was a projected number supplied by DLR Group and the project cost would not be held to that figure.
Review & Discussion Of Site Plan Options. A copy of Site Discussion items was distributed (attached). The current site will need to be annexed as it currently lies in Buffalo Township. The site is zoned R-1 (Residential) and there is currently a permitted use for government buildings which serve a public purpose. A conditional use permit will be required. Under the “B” Business class, setbacks require a 30’ buffer around the site. The “I” Industrial class requires a 50’ setback on public or city streets. The County and City will need to meet on those items. Lindemann did not feel annexation would need to occur until the process starts for moving dirt (about 1 year). Sawatzke said the Jail could be built within the Township if the City would agree to provide services. This site does not lie within the Annexation Agreement area. Annexation and the turn back of Braddock Avenue to the County are items which will continue to be discussed with the Township. Parking and off-street loading docks are also part of the CUP process. The DLR Report reflects a total of four 60-car lots, but class and allowable parking spaces will have to be negotiated with the City. KKE provided three parking options with the lowest projected number of spaces required at 343. Miller felt this was high as many staff drive squads which are parked at their homes. With regard to parking needs for inmates (work release), Torfin estimated only 12 of 300 inmates would need space. The City’s Zoning Ordinance requires two off-street loading docks. Torfin stated the Jail and Sheriff Department can utilize the same dock as loads for the Sheriff Department are infrequent. Landscaping requirements are also part of the CUP process. Those items will also need to be addressed with the City. With regard to utilities, the Preliminary Engineer Report shows a 12” water main loop at a cost of $730,000. The loop is necessary to provide adequate fire flow. An 8” sanitary sewer line is required at a cost of $56,000 and on-site sewage screening/grinding is required. Costs do not include ROW. There may be ways to mitigate costs as the entire community benefits from the line. Lindemann pointed out that there is a budget gap between the DLR Report (8-29-05) reflecting $100,000 for off-site utilities and the Preliminary Engineering Report cost estimate of $786,000. Access to the site will be limited to Braddock Avenue. The City’s Ordinance allows one access per 125’ of frontage on a City Street. The Preliminary Engineer Report requires by-pass and turning lane upgrades at the access point(s) on Braddock Avenue. Any access from TH 25 would need to be negotiated with Mn/DOT. The Historical Society and a private property adjacent to the Public Works site will gain access from Braddock Avenue. Gravel mining will be completed at the site for drainage and elevation purposes only. A preliminary report was previously provided to the Committee by the Highway Engineer. The site will be mined to meet the design after building placement has been determined. It was the consensus that KKE will pursue a right-in/right-out access on TH 25. Four options on property layout were reviewed. In all cases, Courts were separated from the Jail and Sheriff Departments. The buildings are not connected in the designs to allow for future connectivity. KKE will present what they deem as the best option in the new few weeks.
Review & Discussion Of Options For Jail Housing & Staffing. KKE distributed an outline of issues to be addressed, some of which could be at the Task Group level. KKE brought forth discussion on arraignment court as a means to reduce transport between facilities. Miller said the movement at the State level is to use arraignment court and it may not be an option to oppose this in the future. Although the Judges in Wright County are opposed to this method of arraignment, it was the consensus this should be revisited and potentially fit into the plan. It was clarified that this would be video arraignment, not an actual court facility in the Jail. KKE said the program does not include closed or covered parking. Miller said underground parking was found to be cost prohibitive. Inmate housing options were discussed. A diagram outlining KKE’s interpretation of the DLR Program was shown reflecting three major areas: 1) Indirect supervision or segregation (higher security); 2) Direct supervision area (general population, general security); 3) Work release dormitory configuration (for combining males/females). The Program starts with indirect supervision for single occupancy with expansion to limited double occupancy for the general population. Single occupancy would apply to those inmate groups as deemed appropriate. Females would be located in separate pods combining all different types of security (partially single occupancy with expansion to double occupancy over time). Work release would need a separate entrance but should be centrally located. The third option would combine both direct supervision and single occupancy. Larger pods could be built (60-cell pods expandable to 120 beds) with a 1:60 staff/inmate ratio. Design challenges are realized with housing various inmate populations (males/females, work release, etc.). The goal is to maintain staffing efficiencies. Torfin expressed security concerns (line of site, inmates all in one room) with 60-cell pods and favored smaller pods. KKE said an option would be to separate the two areas with a glass wall. Staff would be able to move between the two areas. Miller said that the design of the Jail was done to accommodate future growth so that the County is not placed in the same predicament. Miller favored building a Jail to meet current and future needs and for staff efficiencies, not to double bunk from the onset and then add pods as needed. That places the County back in construction mode and may end up costing more due to increased building costs. Sawatzke said the largest costs involve personnel and operation related items. Russek stated that the current Jail should have been built larger and referenced inflationary costs associated with building at a later date. Heeter felt committed to building it correctly for future needs but also agreed with Sawatzke on his concerns with staffing ratios and the size of the facility. KKE said all jails they have designed in the past 20 years provide cells to be eligible for double bunking. Heeter said the group needed to review layouts of different sized facilities (i.e., 260 bed vs. 390 bed) taking into account what is needed for different groups of inmates. It was the consensus that KKE should begin to meet with staff on a regular basis. A listing of Task Group meetings will be forwarded to Gary Torfin. There was general agreement that the County is looking toward construction of a future 650-bed facility. The blueprint should reflect a 5-6 pod design with the idea of constructing 3 pods initially (60-bed increments). (End of Detention Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 7-12-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0:
Revisions to Workers Compensation Policy. Melvin distributed the revised Policy 307, Workers Compensation Insurance. The revisions were made based on past meetings on this topic. Melvin spoke with Karen Ebert at Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, regarding Workers’ Compensation for volunteers. There are too many variables to define what volunteers would and would not be covered. Consequently, the sentence starting with “volunteer workers shall also be covered” has been removed. In Section 307.04, “Employee/Supervisor Responsibility”, the First Report of Injury goes to Melvin and the Accident/Incident Report to Nolan. Nolan and Melvin work together on reporting the injury. There are two separate reports that are filed. The First Report of Injury is submitted to MCIT and they start a claim. An Accident/Incident Report is done as part of County-wide risk management. The Accident/Incident Report is more an internal matter to investigate what caused the accident and if measures need to be taken to correct/change the work environment. Accident/Incident Reports are filed regardless of whether it’s a Workers’ Compensation claim or not. The MCIT reimbursement for time off to seek medical treatment has been changed from 100% to 2/3% based on the idea that the 2/3% is free of deductions, including tax. Under Section 307.07 “Three Day Elimination Period”, Workers’ Compensation benefits are not payable during the first 3 days of lost time. An employee must have missed in excess of 10 days, including Saturday and Sunday, in order for MCIT to pay for the first 3 days of lost time. If an employee’s injury is 7 days of missed work, they are required to use sick or vacation pay in order to be paid for those first 3 missed days. The County will allow employees to supplement Workers’ Compensation payments with sick, vacation or compensatory time. There will be a form created between Administration and Payroll to track how much sick, vacation and compensatory time is accrued at time of injury. The County is prohibited from allowing the employee to be out on Workers’ Compensation, continuing to accrue sick and vacation time, and being able to use the amounts accrued after the injury. Only the time accrued prior to the time of injury can be used. A sentence was added at the end stating “at no time shall total rate of weekly compensation exceed the rate at date of injury”. It was decided to refer to Payroll as “Payroll Staff, Auditor/Treasurer’s Department” in order to clearly define where Payroll is and who should be notified if an employee wants to supplement their Workers’ Compensation payment.
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Audit. A BCA audit was conducted and the Sheriff’s Department was notified that fingerprinting and background checks need to be done on custodians and any other employees who have or may have access to BCA computers. Norman wrote a letter to Frank Madden inquiring how to implement this policy as it may affect the employee’s work assignment and could potentially lead to disciplinary action. The employee would have to sign a consent form to allow a background check. The County needs to develop a plan for current employees, including any consequences for violations after the check is done. We also need to develop a policy to incorporate this background check into the hiring process for new employees. There is much work to be done on this, but we should be able to put something in place by September or October, depending on Pat Melvin and Frank Madden’s schedules. Any paperwork or policies should be reviewed through Frank Madden’s office. Human Services would also like to do a background check on their people. The BCA said it would be free of charge. It takes about 2 weeks or less to get a report back from the BCA. The worst case scenario for a current employee would be a re-assignment to an area that does not require BCA clearance. Thinesen thought the BCA would be amiable with a September or October implementation date. He will verify this and update Administration.
67 DAY TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT. (Human Services Board Item)
(End of Personnel Committee Minutes)
A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 7-06-06. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0:
RFP For A Permit & Inspection System, Results & Recommendations. The approval to proceed with the Permit & Inspection System was granted on 5-27-06. At today’s meeting, the Committee reviewed the results and recommendations of the review team (attached). Six proposals were received and four firms demonstrated their products. The evaluation was based on three requirements of the RFP including: 1) Improved Service; 2) Strategic E-Government Direction; and 3) Vendor’s Integrity, Experience and Strength. The recommendation of the review team was for the County to purchase the CityView Software from Municipal at a total cost of $159,806 with funding to come from the “Recorder’s Compliance Fund” as agreed to by the land records departments. Annual maintenance costs would be funded by the Planning & Zoning Department. Maintenance costs are $13,400 initially with potential discounts if multiple years are paid in advance. The proposal includes a 6% discount off maintenance if other counties join. Maintenance costs will include major software upgrades. Swing viewed this as the start of a possible collaborative approach with this vendor and other counties. MCCC and Scott County have both indicated interest. Recommendation: Approve request to purchase CityView Software at a cost of $159,806 with funding from the Recorder’s Compliance Fund. Annual maintenance costs will be funded by Planning & Zoning.
Discuss Agenda & Date For Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Swing requested a Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting be scheduled to address the following Agenda items: 1) 800 Mhz Radio Planning; 2) Web site development; 3) Geographic Information System Plan; and 4) Network Vulnerabilities & Plans For Enhancements. There is still uncertainty on State funding toward the 800 Mhz System. Swing anticipates providing cost information at the Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting. He will continue to work with the consultant on this issue. Recommendation: Schedule a Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting For 8-02-06 at 1:30 P.M.
New Wright County Internet Home Page, Demonstration & Discussion. A draft of the new Internet Home Page was reviewed. The draft was designed by the Web Committee. The primary goals are to provide easy access to information, to improve navigation through the site by conforming to a standard template, and to promote a more welcoming, user-friendly site. The site will provide links to some of the following features: County services and external sources, announcements affecting the public at large, meeting minutes/agendas, site maps, FAQ, and requested services and forms. Each department will be responsible to monitor information contained on the site. The data must be kept current. Any controversial items must be presented to the Technology Committee and then to the County Board prior to being posted on the site. Recommendation: Authorize proceeding with update of the new Wright County Internet Home Page.
Laptop Security. This issue was referred to Committee at the request of Commissioner Mattson who was concerned with security of information contained on laptop computers. Swing distributed a draft of a revision to the County’s Personnel Policy 711.05, Portable Devices, outlining the steps employees must take to ensure the security of portable devices, including computer viruses and data privacy. The policy revision would include cellular phones and that use of portable devices must be for County business only. Remote access capability is a pertinent issue. Recommendation: A draft of the revised policy will be brought forth at a future meeting. The portable device issue will be discussed with Department Heads at their next meeting on 7-11-06.
Other. It is the desire of Steve Jobe, Surveyor, to serve on the Technology Committee due to his involvement with the GIS component. Swing supported the request. Recommendation: Appoint Steve Jobe, Surveyor, as an official member of the Technology Committee. (End of Technology Committee Minutes)
Dr. Janis Amatuzio, Wright County Coroner, introduced Jerry Soma, Anoka County Human Services Division Manager. A new statute was passed this year, effective 7-01-06, calling for Forensic Pathologists to be titled as Medical Examiners. Therefore, Dr. Amatuzio’s title will be changed to Medical Examiner. The 2005 Report of the Coroner was presented. The Statistical Summary for 2005 reflects 310 total deaths in Wright County (257-Natural, 31-Accident, 16-Suicide, 1-Homicide, 1-Undetermined, 4-Other). More hospice cases are being reported, partially due to the number of excellent hospice facilities in Wright County and the increased incidence of people with terminal diseases. There were 104 hospice deaths in 2005, compared with 67 in 2004. There were 31 accidental deaths in Wright County. Two subdivisions of this are motor vehicle crashes and non-motor vehicle deaths. Of the 11 motor vehicle crash deaths, 4 involved alcohol and the average age was 34. The number of deaths nationally is decreasing and Amatuzio felt this was due to better road design. More men die in motor vehicle crashes than women, partially due to males not using safety restraints. Most motor vehicle crashes are on nice, dry days and between 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. She felt this was due to fatigue. The most dangerous day to drive in 2005 was Tuesday.
A Five-Year Summary of motor vehicle crash fatalities was provided by highway, city, day of week and time of day. This is in an attempt to identify roads which may require review from a safety standpoint. Interstates have proven to be the safest and crashes on interstates appear to be due to volume. Interstate 94 had 11 crash fatalities in the 5-year period. Highway 12 had 5 fatalities in the five-year period, which is more than any other County road. Monticello had the most fatalities over the five-year period with 17. Amatuzio felt this was due to greater traffic and the proximity to the freeway. Cable barriers being installed on freeways help to prevent air bound vehicles. The 5-year average reflects that most crashes occur on Wednesday and Sunday. In 2005, there were 20 accidental deaths (non motor vehicle) compared with 22 in 2003. The 20 deaths were of the following categories: 7 falls, 6 overdoses, 2 drowning, 1 blunt force injury, 1 industrial, 3 asphyxia. There were 16 suicide deaths in 2005 compared with 9 in 2004. The average age at death was 47 and alcohol was involved with 5 cases (31%). There were 11 males and 5 females who committed suicide. There was 1 death under age 21. The suicidal deaths had no correlation to marriage. There was 1 homicide and this involved the death of a 21-year old male who died in 1979 (the case was re-opened and ruled as a homicide). There was 1 undetermined death and that was of a 2-month old. There were 4 cases involving the investigation of non-human bones. There were 170 cremation approvals. The Coroner’s Office is required to investigate the deaths of all persons whose bodies are to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea. Funeral homes initiated 135 cremations on cases where the death was natural and the death certificate was signed by another physician. These cases required investigation by the Coroner’s Office. Cremations were authorized on 35 cases which had been already investigated by the Coroner’s Office. Jurisdiction is assumed on all accidental, homicidal and suicidal deaths and on apparent natural deaths of persons who have not seen their primary physician within 90 days of death, who die in the ER and were not personally known by the ER physician, or who are visiting from out of the area. There were 84 cases in 2005 compared to 77 in 2004. Jurisdiction was declined in 226 cases. This occurs when the scene investigation indicates no evidence of foul play, when the deceased has seen the primary physician within 90 days, and when the primary physician is willing to sign the death certificate. There were 54 autopsies in 2005 compared to 52 in 2004. Amatuzio said she has received excellent support from the Sheriff’s Department and Police Departments. Amatuzio was thanked for her report.
Amatuzio said a new facility to house the Medical Examiner will be constructed in Ramsey in 2008. Amatuzio will discontinue her private business, Midwest Forensic Pathology, as of 2007 and will enter into a new relationship with Anoka County. It was felt that a municipal building should not house a small, for-profit business. Bonding would be impacted by this arrangement. Amatuzio will contract with Anoka County as Medical Examiner. She felt this was important so that she could remain independent and impartial.
A handout was distributed defining the future relationship between Midwest Forensic Pathology and Anoka County. Soma explained that the Anoka County Human Services Division oversees the Coroners budget. There was a line item budget for the Coroner approximately 13 years ago when Amatuzio was hired. Death investigations were performed by County staff. As Amatuzio started working with other counties, a contract arrangement followed. The death investigators moved with her. Anoka County has a Capital Improvement Budget to construct a 12,000 sq. ft. facility in Ramsey. This location was chosen as it is closer to the counties Amatuzio services. Anoka County is in the process of purchasing the property. Through this venture, Anoka County will have taxable bonds and will pay property taxes. They will enter into a business relationship with Amatuzio and appoint her as Medical Examiner on 8-10-06 (effective 1-01-07). All new employees and death investigators will become employees of Anoka County. The property of Midwest Forensic Pathology will be purchased by Anoka County. Those costs will not be passed along to other counties. A new Medical Examiner Department will be formed and Amatuzio will provide direct supervision to staff.
Soma said an arrangement will be made with other participating counties such as that with the East Central Juvenile Detention Center. Costs associated with human resources, payroll, and administrative and attorney expenses will not be billed to other counties. Anoka County has decided to provide salaries to Amatuzio and the other doctors commensurate to the marketplace. The cost of transport to and from the morgue will be included in the budget instead of counties receiving a separate bill. Soma said both Wright and Anoka Counties were involved early with Amatuzio and have not kept pace with the ongoing costs. The current Anoka County budget for the Medical Examiner is $586,000 and will increase to $770,000-$880,000 depending on how many counties participate. The handout reflects a budget of approximately $1,847,000 based upon those seven counties currently serviced by Amatuzio ($2.73 per capita). Under this scenario, Wright County participation level would be at 18.59% or $301,823. Budget projections were also provided based upon eleven counties participating for a budget of $2,029,220. Wright County’s portion would reduce to 14.23% or $263,381 ($2.38 per capita). Anoka County would cover 2/3 of the cost and the remainder of the counties would fund the other 1/3. Anoka County is requesting commitment from counties in August to allow for budget allocations for 2007. Soma said they would like Wright County to continue with Dr. Amatuzio and Anoka County under the new arrangement. They would also invite counties to enter into a joint powers agreement so all counties can participate in decisions. In this time of government cutbacks on both Federal and State levels, Soma encouraged counties to work together on cooperative relationships wherever possible.
Norman stated that Wright County and Midwest Forensic Pathology currently have a contract for coroner services through 2009. The cost for 2006 is $178,511. The contract allows for a 60-day written termination notice from either party for any reason. The Coroner was not included in the upcoming Budget sessions as the contract depicts cost per year. Soma said Midwest Forensic Pathology would cease as of January 1, 2007. A sample contract from Anoka County would be sent to counties in August. If a county elected to participate, Dr. Amatuzio would send a letter terminating their contract at the end of 2006.
Tom Kelly, Attorney, offered support to continuing with Dr. Amatuzio. He referred to her as a top shelf Medical Examiner and has worked with her on Grand Jury homicide cases. Sheriff Gary Miller said the fiscal decisions are that of the County Board but some of the savings they might not recognize (such as costs associated with prosecution of cases they didn’t have to bring forth as the evidence was there). Since 1995, he was unaware of any complaint or concern voiced on death investigations. A price cannot be put on the service provided to Wright County and those who have suffered a tragedy. What is proposed is state of the art and more complex cases will be realized with growth. The proposed location of the new facility will be more user friendly to those involved. Miller said it was a large fiscal decision but felt it was money well spent. Officer Rick Lammers said his comments were on his behalf (not that of the Buffalo Police Department). He said it has been a distinct honor to work with Dr. Amatuzio on several occasions and described her service as world class. He echoed the comments of Attorney Kelly and Sheriff Miller. Lammers said this was the absolute best choice for Medical Examiner.
The County Board decided to take the information provided under advisement. Norman will incorporate into the draft 2007 budget the top figures based upon the per capita expenditures for 7 counties. This financial data is required for the first draft of the budget. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to accept the 2005 Coroner Report.
Mattson provided information on “The Changing Landscapes of Minnesota’s Waters,” a 2006 Lakes and Rivers Conference being held in Duluth on September 7-9, 2007. Sawatzke moved to authorize attendance by any Commissioner, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Mattson recently attended an AMC Summit Conference. During meetings attended, the importance of communication was stressed. Mattson offered the suggestion of meeting with townships at some level to discuss pending issues. He felt one representative could be selected from each township, the Planning Commission, the Board of Adjustment, and Planning & Zoning. Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, attends the quarterly meetings of the Township Association when it does not conflict with Planning Commission Meetings. He was not sure if Mattson was looking at something of a permanent nature or to address the pending Township Planning issue. There is a meeting scheduled with Townships on 7-20-06 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss Land Use Policy Amendments. A Planning Committee Of The Whole Meeting will probably be scheduled thereafter. In the meantime, he will talk with the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment members to see if there is interest. He felt it was important to keep in mind that there is strong representation by either current or former township board members on both of these groups. It was the consensus that the scheduling of a Planning Committee Of The Whole meeting be placed on the next County Board Agenda.
Due to time constraints, Russek decided not to report on the Summit Meeting he attended.
Advanced Graphix Inc.. $367.43
Advantage Brands 400.00
City Albertville 50,000.00
Allina Health Systems 500.00
American Messaging 727.69
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 777.91
Ancom Technical Center 1,249.70
Aramark Correctional Serv. 5,527.93
Assoc. of MN Counties 525.00
Auto. Garage Door & Firepl. 324.06
B & D Plumbing & Heating 109.00
Brothers Fire Protection Co. 864.85
Bryan Rock Products 177.13
Buffalo Bituminous 620,467.52
Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt Comm. 918.71
Business Ware Solutions 1,044.19
Tim Cameron 125.00
CDW Government Inc. 5,172.10
Center Point Energy 2,344.93
Centra Sota Lake Region 2,175.01
Climate Air 883.35
Comm. of Transportation 2,852.85
Culligan of Buffalo 205.19
Dept. of Public Safety 8,430.00
Design Electric Inc. 591.95
Firehouse Auto Repair/Towing 133.13
Fyles Excav. & Honey Wagon 200.00
Gateway Companies Inc. 915.92
Raymond Glunz 200.00
Going Under Dive Center 1,174.45
H & H Sport Shop Inc. 119.00
Hancock Concrete Products 1,546.38
Hedlund Plumbing 420.00
Karla Heeter 309.72
Interstate Autuomotive 106.50
KNR Communications Serv. 1,347.88
Lakedale Telephone Co. 130.89
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,030.38
Lawson Products Inc. 339.64
Loberg Electric 489.79
M.J.B. Concrete Lifting Inc. 300.00
M-R Sign Company Inc. 17,686.60
Magneto Power 129.01
Martin Marietta Aggregates 299.05
Martin-McAllisters Cons. 350.00
MASYS Corporation 2,628.87
McDowall Company 247.00
The Metro Group Inc. 7,326.19
MN Assn. of Assessment Pers. 245.00
MN Elevators Inc. 8,100.00
Mobile Vision 215.14
Monticello Times Inc. 303.20
Morries Buffalo Ford Merc 1,404.63
Motorola Communication 211.67
Mpls. Community Tech. Col. 129.00
Office Depot 1,568.09
Wallace Peterson 132.61
Phillips 66 Quick Shop-Delano 102.12
Prosource One 1,470.07
RDO Equipment Co. 3,248.25
Royal Tire Inc. 2,717.35
Jack Russek 137.50
Ryan Motors Inc. 364.36
Sherry Schliesing 628.34
Douglas Schmiginsky 125.00
Sherwin Williams 320.78
Software House Int’l Inc. 1,235.41
Specialty Turf & Ag 794.49
City St. Michael 4,444.60
State Supply Co. 460.46
Sunrise Specialty Contr. 460.00
Total Printing 511.20
United Locating Services 150.00
Voss Lighting 1,645.16
Waste Management TC W 401.31
Wright Co. Auditor Treasurer 140.00
Wright Co. Hwy. Dept. 895.90
Wright Co. Journal Press 242.86
Wright Co. Surveyor 120.00
Wright Hennepin Electric 186.60
41 Payments less than $100 2,120.67
Final total $801,799.04
The meeting adjourned at 10:58 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Aug. 21, 2006.