Wright County Board Minutes
MAY 8, 2007
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
A moment of silence followed in memory of Dean Schmidt, Buffalo City Council Member, who passed away.
Heeter moved to approve the minutes of 5-01-07 as presented, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Item A4, “Approve Contract With AFSCME Assistant County Attorney’s” (Norman); Aud./Treas. Item #2, “Mailing Equipment” (Hiivala); Hwy. Engineer Item #3, “Resolution Revoking A Portion Of CSAH 75 In The City Of Monticello” (Norman); Adolphson & Peterson Item #3, “Pay Application #1” (Norman). The Agenda was revised to move the following item from the Purchasing Agent’s Agenda Items to the Highway Engineer’s Agenda Items, “Bid Recommendations For The Sale Of The Excess Mn/DOT Right Of Way In City Of Buffalo” (Norman). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said Pay Application #1 requested by Adolphson & Peterson (A&P) is corrected to be based on the $30 million Jail/LEC construction figure. The motion carried 5-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:
1. Performance Appraisals: P. DeBoer, Aud./Treas; W. Vogel, Bldg. Maint.; W. Augustin, N. Carlson, K. Johnson, Hwy; R. Vaa, Parks; D. Flom, Sher./Corr.
2. Approve & Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contract Addendum, City Of Otsego.
3. Approve 50% Cost Share With City Of Buffalo For Transformer At Jail/LEC. Total Cost Is Quoted At $37,133.36.
4. Approve Contract With AFSCME Assistant County Attorney’s.
1. Approve Tobacco License For: St. Michael Marketplace (City of St. Michael).
1. Refer to Ways & Means Committee: Selling Of Property In St. Michael.
D. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings And Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Estate Of Thomas McKay (Franklin Twp.) To Rezone 40 Acres From AG General Agricultural To A/R Agricultural-Residential.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said at the last meeting the County Board approved the lease of a new postage metering machine. Since that time, he has been in contact with Deaton’s and confirmed the lease payment includes meter rental and maintenance for years two through five. Hiivala recommended purchasing the postage metering machine instead of leasing the equipment. The cost would be $3,363 less to purchase the equipment. Sawatzke moved to authorize purchase of the equipment instead of leasing, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson referenced a purchase by the Parks Department for shirts and hats and inquired whether the Parks Department had received approval to do so. Recently, the County Board addressed a purchase of flak jackets for the Court Services Department. At that time, the Board reaffirmed their position that such purchases must be approved. Norman responded that the Parks Department received approval to purchase these items years ago. Sawatzke added that the apparel has become part of the uniform so employees are recognized as Parks workers. On a motion by Mattson, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested approval of a resolution authorizing the City of St. Michael to prepare two right-of-way plats, one for CSAH 35 (from CSAH 19 to approximately on mile west and one for CR 119 from its current intersection with CSAH 35 to the new eastbound alignment of CSAH 35). The resolution was laid over from last week for clarification on costs associated with preparation of the plats. The draft presented at the last meeting reflected that SRF would prepare the right-of-way plats. Fingalson clarified that the authorization is for the City to prepare the plats. The City has chosen SRF to complete the work. There will be no additional cost to the County. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #07-23, seconded by Sawatzke. In response to Mattson, Fingalson said the County previously authorized the expenditure of $2 million for the entire project. This is a City initiated project and more than likely, the cost will be borne by the City. Either way, the County’s portion will be no more than authorized. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Fingalson requested approval of a draft resolution revoking a portion of CSAH 75 in the City of Monticello. This action was placed on hold in late 2006 until annexation issues in the City were resolved. As this has occurred, the road segment can be transferred to the jurisdiction of the City. Cooperative Agreement 06-55 was approved by both the County Board and the City Council in November, 2006. Sawatzke inquired as to whether the annexation agreement had been signed by both the City and the Township. Fingalson affirmed this has been completed. Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #07-24, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Bids were accepted at the last County Board Meeting for the sale of excess Mn/DOT right-of-way in the City of Buffalo. At that time, a recommendation was requested from the County Assessor on whether the bids were consistent with market value. Norman said the two bids received included: Tom LaPlant, $22,000 and BANATCO, Inc., $27,500. The Board would have the option of accepting the bid for $27,500 or rejecting any and all bids. Sawatzke had concern with the land value and whether it would be sold for substantially more after combining it with an adjacent property. As the County did not set a minimum bid, he had concern that bids may have come in lower. He questioned whether the County had the legal ability to counter offer the bid from BANATCO as high bidder. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the Statute relating to the sale of property is rather strict. The County must advertise publicly for bids and if unsuccessful, they could re-advertise. Another option would be to hire a broker. He did not feel there was any authority by Statute to counter offer. The County would have the option to discuss the value of this parcel in closed session. Fingalson felt the land may be worth $4/ft. if combined with an adjacent parcel. With 32,000 sq. ft., Sawatzke said that would equate to $128,000. Sawatzke felt the land was worth more than $27,000. Mattson had concern with people bidding in good faith and then adjusting things after the fact. He was comfortable with the bids received. Sawatzke said when this was discussed at the Committee level, he voiced concern about requiring a minimum bid. It was decided at that time that if the bids did not come in as desired, they could be rejected. Eichelberg felt the two options available were to enter into an agreement with the high bidder or delay this to the next Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting to see if any new information arises. Russek agreed with Mattson’s comments and felt that the property was only valuable to someone who owned adjacent property. He favored acceptance of the bid. Sawatzke questioned whether access rights would be granted if someone that did not have adjacent property bid and acquired the land. Fingalson said this would not be the case. He agreed that the property would only be of interest or value to the two adjacent property owners who had submitted bids. Sawatzke asked John Lundsten, owner of BANATCO, Inc., whether he personally owned adjoining land. Lundsten said the land is owned by BANATCO. He has no specific plans for the property. The property is not listed. Mattson moved to accept the bid from John Lundsten, BANATCO, Inc., seconded by Heeter, carried 4-1 with Sawatzke casting the nay vote.
Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, brought forth discussion on modular furnishings for the new LEC. A meeting was held with County staff, EDI (County’s Technology Consultant), A&P, and KKE Architects. The suggestion was to obtain modular furniture costs for the LEC to determine what portion of the FF&E budget would be required for that purchase. The LEC plan reflects space for 101 cubicles and 30 private offices. The Sheriff’s Department has requested that initially, 59 cubicles and 30 office spaces be furnished upon occupancy. Hayes requested authorization to hire Intereum (modular furniture vendor) to design the first cut for the LEC, not to exceed expenditures of $2,500. Intereum has completed an inventory at no cost of modular furniture components currently owned by the County. Hayes envisioned obtaining two furniture bids from Intereum, one which would include use of modular furniture currently owned and one that would include all new furnishings. Heeter and Sawatzke did not feel the County should have to pay Intereum to design what would be purchased from them. Hayes said the plan is to ask Intereum to design a standard cubicle and office space which would be replicated for the remaining areas. Sawatzke understood that the County was trying to create consistency with office furniture throughout buildings. However, this does not result in a competitive bid process. Hayes informed the Board that the County would be buying off a contract that has been bid nationwide. This would fall under the University of Minnesota (formerly the State contract). There is a price advantage to use the contract as well as an advantage of being able to interchange parts. Norman said the Intereum proposal reflects two floors with approximately 101 work stations and 30 private offices. Currently, the Sheriff’s Department has 33 work stations and 19 private offices. Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Department, said the plan was based on a five-year projection. The date of occupancy is in about two years. It was felt they should request additional space at the onset to avoid having to submit another request at that time. That way, the costs could be rolled into bonding. At occupancy, they would have 73% of the furniture installed in the LEC (77% of that occupied) and it would provide a five-year buffer. Other agencies also utilize space in the Sheriff Department during summer months. With regard to esthetics, the Board would have to decide whether to meld ten year old furnishings with new furnishings. Hayes clarified the request would equate to 59 cubicles and 30 offices. Norman stated that when the County purchased the former Pamida building, a standard cubicle and office was established. This standard was applied when remodeling was completed in the Courthouse. He felt a standard had already been established. Hayes said this was true, but the goal is to obtain a figure reflecting the sum of all individual parts. He would like Intereum to identify the individual pieces required in a standard office. There would be an effort to re-use some of the current furnishings. Sawatzke asked whether Intereum would dismantle current furniture and reset it up in the new location. Hayes stated they would. Sawatzke felt the cost could escalate in that scenario. Hayes said in 1996, the County relocated Human Services employees from the 4th Floor and half of 3rd Floor to the former Pamida building. The LEC project is not as large as that one (as far as relocating and re-use of furniture). Design services were used during that project. Sawatzke agreed with Heeter’s position that Intereum should be asked to provide design services at no cost. Heeter made a motion to furnish 30 offices and 59 cubicles using Intereum and to request that Intereum not charge a design fee. She clarified that the intent of the motion was not to include a design fee. Sawatzke seconded the motion, directing Hayes to work on this and to also try to utilize what furniture the County owns. Heeter stated this would be particularly true of the furniture in the Detectives’ offices. The motion carried 5-0.
At the last County Board Meeting, bids were opened for the West Parking Lot expansion. Hayes said the recommendation of Otto Associates (project Engineer) was to accept the bid from Knife River at $127,893.73. Mattson moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Sawatzke. Sawatzke requested that measures be taken to prevent materials from being tracked into the building from the site. He received an email from staff with concern in this regard. The motion carried 5-0.
John Uecker, Albion Township Chair, brought forth concern raised by the Township on several properties which need cleanup. These properties include David Lindala, Glen Miller, and Dale Harrison. He requested that the County Board address these properties to coordinate a plan. Material was distributed reflecting actions taken by the Township over the past year, letters from concerned residents, and photographs of the David Lindala property. The following is discussion that occurred on each of the three properties:
David Lindala property (Dave’s Recycling business). Lindala received a CUP from the Planning Commission in 1989 reflecting that material would be sorted in a 40’ x 50’ building with nothing to be stored outside. In 1994, letters were sent by Planning & Zoning to Lindala indicating that cleanup was required and threatened revocation of the CUP if he did not comply. In 2006, Planning and Zoning again sent a letter which threatened enforcement. In 2006, the County Public Health Department sent a letter indicating a public nuisance and requesting cleanup. Uecker said Lindala is still providing some recycling services in the County. Russek said the Township Board could request that the Planning Commission review Lindala’s CUP. A public hearing would be held and his permit could be revoked. This would prevent additional materials from accumulating. Heeter said the County needs to address this property. Many letters have been sent with no results. The County has set a precedence where a property has been cleaned up and the costs assessed to the property owner through the tax roles.
Tom Zins, Assistant County Attorney, said the options would include a misdemeanor charge or the revocation of the CUP. Another option would be for the County to clean up the property and assess the landowner through the tax roles. The County Attorney’s Office is ready to proceed with an Order, which would be served on the mortgage company. It would provide 30 days for cleanup. The Order would be personally served on Lindala. If the Order is ignored, it would be considered to be in default and the issue would proceed to District Court. If Lindala denies the allegations, the Court would affirm the Order or change it. That is the beginning of the process. The County would initially have to pay the costs for clean up and assess them back to the property. Zins said the County would place a lien against the property. If the property were sold, the County would fall in line after the mortgage company in recouping costs. That is assuming taxes are paid annually and costs are assessed against the taxes. Chuck Davis, Environmental Health Specialist, estimated the cost of cleanup at $7,000-$8,000 which would not include anything which may be uncovered during the cleanup process. He felt the only way the property would get cleaned up is if the County was to do so. Sawatzke said the litter includes years of recycling efforts by residents. He suggested potentially using Sentence To Service to assist with clean up of recycling materials. Those materials could be placed in roll off containers and recycled instead of placing them in the landfill. Davis has already contacted two recycling firms. Mattson moved to authorize the Board Chair to sign the Order for cleanup of the Lindala property, seconded by Heeter. Heeter requested a progress report in six months. Zins provided an overview of the Order reflecting that Lindala has 20 days to answer the Summons. The Order further reflects ownership and financial data, detail on when the CUP was issued including the conditions, problems with debris, information on correspondence sent and complaints, and the public health safety threat. The last page of the Order states the property must be cleaned up within 30 days from the date of service, with the site to be restored and made free of all hazards. If the Order is denied, the issue will proceed to District Court. Sawatzke said costs associated with STS assistance should be included in what is assessed against the tax roles. Davis requested assistance of the Sheriff Department during clean up of the property. Uecker asked that the Township be kept apprised of what is transpiring. The motion carried 5-0.
Lee Martie, Assistant County Attorney, joined the County Attorney’s Office five years ago. At that time, the County Attorney implemented a process for cleanup of junk properties. Martie was assigned to take charge of this process following guidelines established by the County Attorney. Martie has been working closely with cities and townships. The process involves those entities sending letters to properties in question, demanding cleanup in 20 days. If this does not happen, the issue is referred to the County Attorney and Sheriff Departments to proceed criminally. That process has worked well overall. An example cited included the City of Maple Lake where 36 demand letters were sent to residents. Of the 36 properties involved, 4 were prosecuted. Of those 4, they were able to resolve 3 cases quickly and efficiently. Those 3 plead guilty and were provided the option of it not going onto their record if certain conditions were met. One condition included clean up of the property within 60 days. If the property was not cleaned up, it would be a probation violation leading to a criminal conviction on the record and possible jail time. They are still working to resolve the 1 problem property. One month ago, the County Attorney’s Office met with townships to discuss this process.
Discussion led to the other two properties Albion Township brought forth for discussion.
Dale Harrison. The Board indicated they had not seen photographs of the property. Martie provided details of the actions taken thus far. Martie said the Township sent the 20-day demand letter. On December 5, Harrison plead guilty to a probation violation and was given 60 days to clean up the property. On December 30th, Harrison indicated that cleanup could not occur as the ground was frozen. The Judge gave Harrison until April to clean up the property. On April 3rd, Harrison did not show for his court appearance so a bench warrant was issued. Harrison appeared in court in July and denied his probation violation. On August 28th, the Public Defender requested a continuance, which was granted. On September 1st, the Judge ordered an execution of 44 days in jail with a new court date of September 18th. This would require Harrison to spend 44 days in jail unless proof of substantial compliance was provided. On September 18th, Harrison was not present for his hearing. The Judge issued the 44 day requirement. Harrison showed up at 4:00 P.M. on September 18th and provided proof of clean up during a 7-day period. Harrison was given a 5 day jail sentence. Martie said the Judges do not welcome requests to place people in jail for long periods for not cleaning up their properties, as Judges are dealing with cases involving other serious crimes. Martie said they would like to request that Harrison be charged again. If this proceeds to trial, he would ask that concerned residents come to the hearing. The Judge would see the concern of the residents which could provide better results.
Heeter asked Martie if this property differed from the Lindala property and whether the County could also clean it up and assess the costs back to the property owner. Martie said they are considering charging both Harrison and his wife criminally. Heeter said some property owners may not be capable of cleaning up a property. Martie said that is also what he believed up to this point. However, Harrison cleaned up 60-70% of the junk on the property in seven days when faced with a 44-day jail sentence. That is why the Judge only sentenced him to 5 days in jail. Although all but 30% was cleaned up, he felt that more junk may have accumulated over time. It was confirmed that Harrison owns the property. Discussion occurred on public health issues and the impact on children residing at this residence. Asleson is currently working with the Department of Health on those concerns. They are seeking to obtain an administrative search warrant for the home and property. The property holds hundreds of discarded tires which pose a public health threat due to the collection of rain water and mosquito breeding. They are approaching this from a public health angle and will proceed with criminal action ordering a number of days for clean up. Costs will be assessed back to the property.
The meeting recessed at 10:20 A.M. and reconvened at 10:32 A.M.
Brian Hedman, Albion Township resident and neighbor of the Harrison property cited debris and the condition of the property, and expressed concern for the well being of the children living there. He asked that the County clean up the property.
Mattson questioned the involvement of Public Health. Asleson said he is working with Public Health to approach clean up from a public health standpoint, with costs to be assessed to the property owner. They will know more on the condition of the home and property after the administrative search warrant is issued. Asleson said no action is required of the County Board at this time.
Glen Miller. Mattson said this property has had problems since 1996. John Uecker said the problem involves cars and appliances on the property. The Township has taken action in the past to move items out of the right-of-way with a loader. Asleson said that Martie is proceeding criminally on this property.
Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, extended thanks to the Township Board for their efforts. He pointed out that efforts between County Departments have changed quite a bit in the past 10-20 years. He recalled a time when there was not as much cooperation to work toward a goal. He cited the positive efforts of the County Attorney and Sheriff Departments in this regard. He also mentioned that there are townships that do not support the warning letters which are sent by Planning & Zoning to residents. The three cases cited today were amongst hundreds of cases in the County. There are other cases which are just as bad as those presented. It is not a simple process but he wanted it stated that they do make the effort. It is helpful when the township board supports their efforts. (This concluded discussion on the Albion Township cleanup request issues).
At the last County Board Meeting bids were opened for Bid Package #1 for the Jail/Law Enforcement Center project. At today’s County Board Meeting, Tara Martin, A&P, provided their recommendation for award:
Bid Category 2A-Earthwork. Martin recommended awarding the bid to Julian M. Johnson at a bid price of $375,000.00. Eichelberg moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Bid Category 2B-Site Utilities. Martin recommended awarding the bid to Annandale Contracting at a bid price of $314,760.00. Heeter moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Bid Category 23A-Geo Well Field. Martin recommended awarding the bid to Saathoff Inc. at a bid price of $1,232,500.00. The work will include the entire external geo-thermal system (outside of the building). When the estimate was compiled for this work, it was split between the Jail and LEC. Martin included the $413,000 figure for the LEC but forgot to include the $900,000 for the Jail portion. These figures have always been carried in the project. Mattson had concern with the number of contractors bidding (2). Martin said there was an additional contractor who pulled their bid at the last minute as they were awarded another job. Heeter moved to approve the recommendation to award the bid, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Martin received three proposals for the Site Surveyor work for the Jail/LEC Property. These included Westwood at $13,550; Meyer-Rohlin, Inc. at $19,620; and Clark Engineering Corporation at $25,770. The project budget for surveying is $25,000. Martin recommended the proposal of Westwood at $13,550. She informed the Board that re-staking may be necessary during the project if the stakes are disrupted. In that event, she would ask to fund this from the difference of what was budgeted and the actual proposal cost. Eichelberg moved to award the proposal to Westwood at a price of $13,550. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
At the last County Board Meeting, no action was taken on a request to approve Pay Application #1 as submitted by A&P in the amount of $243,283.73. That pay application was based upon a $40,566,419 project. At today’s County Board Meeting, a revised Pay Application #1 was reviewed, reflecting a request for payment of $190,592.53 based on a $30 million project. Eichelberg moved to approve Pay Application #1 as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. Norman inquired when the next bid opening will be held. Martin stated that Bid Package #2 (footings, foundations, structural steel & erection, and precast walls and wall panels) will be held on 7-12-07.
A Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 5-01-07. Heeter moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0:
DISCUSSION RE: CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT CONTRACT. The meeting was recessed to 5-08-07 at 10:30 a.m. (End of Building Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
The Board addressed a request from the Parks Administrator to adopt a resolution relating to the Wright County Snowmobile Association for the 2007-2008 Grant In Aid Program. The Snowmobile Association receives funding from the State and reimbursement funds are handled through the County. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #07-25, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
American Messaging. $679.18
Amer. Public Works Assn. 400.00
Ameripride Linen/Apparel 307.92
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 1,011.75
ANCOM Technical Center 998.00
APEC Indust. Sales & Serv. 2,052.80
APEX Software 430.00
Aqua Green Lawns 146.00
Aramark Corr. Services 5,403.57
Arrowwood Resort 658.94
Assoc. of MN Counties 7,581.00
Bankers Advertising Co. 530.25
BP Amoco 3,353.82
Darnell Brethorst 191.09
City Buffalo 36,702.20
Catco Parts Service 112.80
Central Lakes College 2,574.60
Central McGowan Inc. 275.68
Chamberlain Oil Co. 1,547.58
Climate Air 16,144.58
CPS Technology Solutions 262.00
Crow River Tools 568.57
Crown Plaza 295.62
Dental Care Assoc. Buffalo 753.00
Design Elec. Contractors 1,093.23
Elmer Eichelberg 409.91
Joyce Farrell 1,100.00
Maria Felger Ramos LLC 144.70
Greg Findley 191.92
Gateway Companies Inc. 1,594.85
Janet Gholson 370.05
Gilbarco Inc. 175.00
Going Under Dive Center 519.71
Graphic & Printing Services 280.00
H&R Const. Co. 2,270.00
Hance Utility Services Inc. 584.61
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 2,685.16
Integrated Fire & Security 2,271.64
Int’l Public Management 795.81
Interstate All Battery Ctr. 504.87
J & N Tactical LLC 532.49
Jerrys Towing & Repair 186.37
Kaplan Professional Schools 795.00
George Karvel PH D 4,287.50
Keeprs Inc. 284.25
Lab Safety Supply Inc. 186.61
LaPlant Demo Inc. 538.11
Little Falls Machine 2,171.78
Loffler Companies Inc. 140.58
Maple Lake Lumber Co. 701.90
Maple Lake Messenger 151.20
Richard Mattson 177.02
The Metro Group Inc. 611.84
MN Board of Assessors 660.00
MN Copy Systems 229.55
MN Counties Comp. Coop. 2,761.77
MN Safety Council 835.00
MN Sheriffs Assoc. 390.00
MN State Assn. of Narc. Inv. 300.00
Mobile Vision 256.14
Morries Buffalo Ford Merc 839.15
Kurtis Mortenson 125.00
Municipal Software 22,584.00
Jeffrey Namie 10,861.50
N. Suburban Towing Inc. 118.98
Office Depot 477.97
Wallace Peterson 135.44
Wayne Rains 21,915.00
Wayne Rains 17,885.00
Rogers Radiator Repair 132.06
Royal Tire Inc. 2,687.11
Jack Russek 185.75
Software House Int’l Inc. 121.41
St. Cloud State Univ. 750.00
State of MN-Off. Enterprise 1,422.50
State Supply Co. 244.98
T & S Trucking 22,680.00
Tech Depot 1,336.53
Thomas Mfg. Co. Inc. 403.98
Toms Towing Service 197.02
Tools Unlimited 252.58
Total Printing 1,453.67
Keith Triplett 179.45
United Rentals Hwy. Tech. 121.36
Varner Sheet Metal Inc. 103.75
Veolia ES Solid Waste Mdw. 128.53
Verizon Wireless 214.52
Walker’s Body & Glass Repair 402.01
Walmart Community BRC 345.99
City Waverly 162.00
Westside Equipment 246.58
Wright Co. Journal Press 141.44
Wright Henn. Coop Elec. 159.94
Xcel Energy 1,109.51
Xplore Technologies Corp. 2,615.50
Zack’s Inc. 2,067.58
Zarnoth Brush Works Inc. 1,086.30
Zee Service Company 170.75
Zep Manufacturing Co. 276.81
27 Payments less than $100 1,219.44
Final total $233,312.04
The meeting adjourned at 10:55 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 18, 2007.