Wright County Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 5, 2008
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
The minutes of 1-29-08 were discussed. Mattson referenced the discussion on page 3 relating to wild parsnip and educating the public about this invasive weed. Mattson said information on wild parsnip was included in newspapers last year and he was unsure whether the newspapers would want to repeat the stories. Russek moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Heeter. At the last County Board Meeting, Mattson questioned the costs associated with the Commissioning Agent for the Jail/LEC. Since that time, the Board received information from Richard Norman, County Coordinator, reflecting that the total contract for the Commissioning Agent is $115,260. The total expended thus far is $48,372. The motion to approve the minutes carried 5-0.
Mattson said that after hearing reports of the rise in unemployment and foreclosures, he felt a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting should be held to convey to Departments early on that he will not be receptive to large budget requests. Last year, the initial requests came in at a 22% increase. He did not feel the financial picture was very good for Wright County citizens. Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #4, “Schedule Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting” (Mattson). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Eichelberg said Item E1, Sheriff, “Sign 2008 Revision Of MN HSEM Region IV Mutual Aid Agreement” would be pulled for discussion. On a motion by Heeter, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: M. Erickson, Atty.; J. Wilson, W. Workman, Hwy.; T. Piram, P&Z; B. Kothman, K. Triplett, Sher./Corr.
2. Schedule Closed Meeting, 10:30 A.M., 2-12-08, To Discuss Pending Litigation.
3. Approve/Authorize Signatures, Law Enforcement Contract, City of Monticello.
1. 2008 Tobacco License Renewals: Red Vest, Woody’s On Main (Rockford City).
1. Appoint Duane Dahlman To A Three-Year Term On The Wright County Extension Committee (1-01-08 To 12-31-10).
2. Reappoint Jeff Burns, Wright County Extension Committee At-Large Member, (1-01-08 To 12-31-10).
1. Refer To Personnel Committee Network Analyst Class Assignment.
2. Authorize Signatures On Federal Boat & Water Supplemental Safety Grant Agreement.
Item E1, Sheriff, Sign 2008 Revision Of MN HSEM Region IV Mutual Aid Agreement” was discussed. Steve Berg, Emergency Management Director, discovered an error in the Agreement language last evening. He subsequently contacted the regional person in charge of the Agreement and it was verified that all counties that have signed the document will have to revise the Agreement as well. The change relates to language which should have been deleted from within the Workers Compensation and Damage to Equipment sections of the Agreement. Berg submitted revised copies for signature. The Agreement has been reviewed by Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney. Heeter moved to authorize signatures on the revised 2008 MN HSEM Region IV Mutual Aid Agreement, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.
Gloria Gooler, Confidential Secretary/Elections Supervisor, presented a request for approval of a claim for cleanout of the Lindala Property (R201-000-063101) in the amount of $35,326.30. Bill Stephens, Environmental Health Officer, said cleanup is about 95% complete. There will be some residual cleanup required by the fence line after the snow melts. He estimated an additional cost of $3,000-$4,000. The parcel is approximately 5 acres and has a property value (per tax records) of $225,000. Tax payments are up to date. In response to Sawatzke, Asleson explained that the costs for clean up will be assessed against the property. The property owner will be responsible for costs associated with cleanup. Russek moved to approve payment of the claim for the Lindala property, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. Norman previously discussed the expenditure with the Auditor/Treasurer. It was suggested that payment be funded from Budget 100, Site Improvements.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Russek. Norman said in review of the claims listing, he noted that some claims do not include purchase orders. He intends to send a memorandum to Department Heads informing them that proper purchasing procedures must be followed. If the current manner of purchasing continues, a committee comprised of two Board members, Auditor/Treasurer, and Norman may have to be formed to review claims prior to them being presented for Board approval. Sawatzke brought forth additional discussion on the claim for the Lindala property (PID #201-000-063101). He questioned whether staff will be presenting a schedule reflecting interest and payments. Stephens felt the Auditor/Treasurer may do this. Tom Zins, Assistant County Attorney, said the claim is assessed against the property similar to a special assessment and it is likely there will be a judgment. If the property is sold, the assessment will be required to be paid. Sawatzke said he assumed the County would receive interest. Zins replied that the interest would relate to what is applicable per law. Asleson’s understanding of Statutes is that a lump sum assessment would be placed on the property taxes. The same interest rate would apply as with delinquent taxes. It would be due and payable in that given tax year. Russek said the Board may be called upon to establish a interest rate. Sawatzke did not have sympathy for the property owner in this situation, as he felt they put themselves in this situation to the detriment of their neighbors. The motion to approve the claims carried 5-0.
Gooler announced the Independence, Republican, and Democratic Party Precinct Caucus will be held on 2-05-08 so Minnesota can become part of Super Tuesday. There will be a party preference ballot taken at the various caucus locations. Information is posted on the Wright County website as well as the Secretary of State’s website. Interested parties may also contact the Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office for more information. The party preference ballot will be cast between 6:30 and 8:00 P.M., with the regular business meeting to follow. Sawatzke questioned whether the Auditor/Treasurer will have any involvement with filing of the results. Gooler said there is a misconception that this is a primary election but it is not, it is a precinct caucus. A party preference ballot will be cast. The political parties involved are organizing and operating the caucus, and they will communicate directly with the MN Secretary of State’s Office. This was provided as an informational item.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested approval of a resolution to advance encumber State Aid Highway funds from the 2009 allocation to complete 2008 projects. The resolution reflects the advance needed in the amount of $3,520,300 (made up of a negative account balance as of 1-28-08 of $1,779,700, plus estimated disbursements for projects in the amount of $5,300,000). The two projects which will be affected are the Highway 17 project (from Delano south to the County line) and the Highway 19 project (in St. Michael from 241 north). Federal funding is expected for the Highway 17 project (approximately $1 million) and Highway 19 project ($2 million). The amount requested in the resolution is the amount in State Aid needed to complete the projects. Approval has been received in obtaining the advance. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #08-08, seconded by Mattson. Mattson referenced the R/W costs associated with the projects and said they are higher than construction costs. He felt that everyone is in support of new roads but money is being made off projects through R/W. Fingalson stated that the construction costs are not reflected for the Highway 19 project at a cost of $2 million in Federal funds. A four lane road is planned and the land involved is expensive. However, he agreed that things are moving the wrong way and that is why the TH 55 Corridor Coalition was formed. He cited the TH 55 project, with construction costs of $11 million and R/W costs of $9 million. The motion to adopt the Resolution carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Fingalson said the Resolution does not affect the two projects in the Buffalo area (TH 55/CR 134 & TH 55/CR 12). Because of the delay in passage of the Technical Corrections Bill, it appears these projects will not be completed this year or in the foreseeable future. He inquired whether the Board would favor a meeting with the City of Buffalo and Mn/DOT to discuss options for completing the projects. Fingalson felt the only way the projects could be completed is to have the City and County front the money with State reimbursement in 4-5 years. It was the consensus that a Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting should be scheduled in the near future to discuss this with the City and DNR.
Fingalson requested approval of a purchase agreement with McNamara Brothers for the CSAH 19 Project in St. Michael. This involves a parcel on CSAH 19 which will be needed for the project. The parcel has not gone through probate so there is not a clear title. Due to the project timeline, it is recommended that the purchase agreement be signed so $2 million in Federal funding is not lost. The purchase agreement allows the County to gain access to the property. An agreement has been worked out with St. Michael to include demolition of the home in their one-way pair project and they have agreed to pay for that portion. Sawatzke questioned what plans there are for the remainder of the property. Fingalson envisioned the property would be sold, similar as to what was planned for the Chouinard property. Sawatzke moved to approve the purchase agreement, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the Board met in Closed Session approximately two weeks ago to discuss the purchase of 87 acres on the east side of Pelican Lake. The acquisition was considered at the request of the DNR as State and Federal agencies may not have the ability to move quickly enough to place a bid on land when it is up for auction. Asleson requested approval of the Purchase Agreement for PID #’s 114-500-084400 & 114-500-171200. The Purchase Agreement reflects the signature of Greg Kramber, Assessor, who was designated to sign on behalf of the County. The proposal and winning bid was for 87 acres at a total cost of $1,131,000 ($13,000/acre). The DNR is in their application process. If they are unable to come up with the purchase price, the Pheasants Forever Group has indicated there is a consortium of conservation groups that will make up that difference. This is similar to the situation when the Holker property was purchased several years ago. The closing is scheduled in 180 days with the possibility of a two-month extension (requested either by the County or DNR) and could be extended to September or October. The County has paid the $100,000 earnest money. Asleson spoke with Fred Bengtson, DNR, and indicated that he would like to contact someone from the Attorney General’s Office that deals with their land acquisitions. If the paperwork is in order, the County could assign their rights to the State under the Purchase Agreement and the State could close in the County’s place. There is a possibility that closing could occur without involving County funding, other than the $100,000 earnest money which would be reversed. Sawatzke noted that in the Holker land acquisition, the County actually was paid what the land was worth by the DNR and the amount could theoretically be more. Asleson said that dependent on how the appraisal comes in, the County could be reimbursed for $100,000 plus interest. He said that Bengtson, on behalf of the DNR, expressed gratitude for the County’s assistance with the purchase. As it is consistent with what was agreed to in Closed Session, Sawatzke made a motion to approve the Purchase Agreement for PID #’s 114-500-084400 & 114-500-171200. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0.
It was announced that the Owners Committee will meet at 1:00 P.M. today.
Norman said that at last week’s meeting and as part of the Personnel Committee report, it was the Board’s recommendation to schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting to discuss the Sheriff’s request for an additional staff person for security at the main entrances of the Courthouse. Sawatzke said this is a request for additional staff from what was approved approximately one year ago. Russek moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 2-26-08 at 10:30 A.M., seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Heeter moved to schedule a Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 3-04-08 at 10:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Mattson said recent reports reflect that Wright County is leading in the State for foreclosures and the unemployment rate is the highest it has been for quite a few years. He suggested a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting to forewarn departments that they will not be able to submit 2009 budget requests similar to those for the 2008 budget. He did not feel the County’s population was growing as rapidly as 2-3 years ago and that taxpayers should be burdened. Sawatzke supported the request for a meeting and said there were 3-4 positions he wanted to remove from this year’s budget that made it through the process. Norman suggested that the Auditor/Treasurer be consulted on when 2007 year-end reports may be available. The data could be utilized to know the position of the County for 2008 and what the Board’s vision may be for 2009 and forward. Eichelberg supported this and thought Norman could bring back suggested dates when the information is available. Sawatzke agreed but felt that this should be discussed at the 2-26-08 Committee Of The Whole Meeting that was scheduled to address the request for an additional staff person for security at the main entrances of the Courthouse. Sawatzke said the Sheriff was in about one year ago with the request for staff for those secure entrances. Now there is a request pending for another staff person, which would equate to four FTE positions. He said there are no other counties in the State that have secure entrances. He restated that the discussion should be part of the 2-26-08 meeting so staffing, budget, and expenses could be discussed at the same time (rather than taking one request in advance). Sawatzke said the County has saved $250,000 by not implementing the secure entrances and hoped they would continue to experience the savings in the future. If the information from the Auditor/Treasurer is not ready for the meeting on 2-26-08, that discussion could be postponed. Norman said if the two issues are combined into one meeting, a different time should be scheduled to accommodate a longer meeting. After further discussion, Heeter suggested the 2-26-08 Committee Of The Whole Meeting be held to address staffing for building security. This was a decision the Board made previously on a 4 to 1 vote. Another meeting should be scheduled to address the 2009 budget. Sawatzke requested that the Administration Office survey other counties to determine whether metal detectors are used at the entrances. Russek felt there were metal detectors used elsewhere. Sawatzke agreed there may be detectors in courts and agreed they should be utilized in those areas. He did not feel there were metal detectors used at Government Center entrances. He referenced the 4 to 1 vote when this issue came forth. At that time, he felt a number of those that voted in favor of metal detectors at the entrances felt it was the direction security was heading. He was unsure whether that was good information. Norman will have staff survey neighboring counties. Norman is to contact Bob Hiivala to see when the 2007 Year End data will be ready. He will come back to the Board with a proposed meeting date; possibly 9:00 A.M., March 10th, or 10:30 A.M., March 11th.
Bills Approved
Allina Hospitals & Clinics Sp. $151.80
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 488.85
Annandale Rock Products 199.07
Anoka Co. Sheriff 5,075.41
Apec Industrial Sales & Serv 414.23
Aramark Correctional Services 5,613.93
B & B Products - Rigs and Squa 3,329.70
Bankers Advertising Co Inc. 321.80
Bob Barker Co. 417.58
Beaudry Propane Inc. 5,551.56
Benton County Recorder 100.00
Blaine Lock & Safe Inc. 225.00
Boyer Truck Parts 281.46
BP Amoco 3,517.35
Brock White Co. Inc. 10,022.24
Dwayne Bruns 921.60
Buffalo Floral & Landscaping 160.00
Burdas Towing 159.75
C & C Embroidery 400.00
Cardiac Science 1,686.43
Cargill Inc.-Salt Division 24,959.68
CDW Government Inc. 3,190.62
Cemstone Products Co. 200.00
Center Point Energy 7,344.87
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 2,333.35
CitiMortgage 300.00
Climate Air 1,382.60
Commissioner of Transportation 2,559.96
Country Chevrolet 37,425.00
CPS Technology Solutions 262.00
Crow River Tools 241.73
Embarq 163.59
Dale Engel 1,500.00
Envirotech Services Inc. 2,842.58
EPA Audio Visual Inc. 475.24
ESRI 950.00
Frontier Precision Inc. 6,405.44
Gateway Companies Inc. 3,306.84
Geocomm Inc. 12,600.00
David Gilbertson 4,628.00
Global Equipment Company 136.31
Gould Towing 133.13
Grainger 267.13
H & L Mesabi 856.26
Hardings Towing Inc. 133.13
Denny Hecker Auto Mall 28,600.88
Hewlett Packard 2,513.40
Robert Hiivala 189.88
Alan Hoekstra 910.80
Homecomings Financial Waterloo 350.00
Kelly Hulting 500.00
Intereum Iinc. 14,544.81
Interstate Battery Systems Of 312.90
Zejir Isic 325.00
Kessler Soils Engineering Prod 1,785.92
Kyle Family Limited Partnership 34,965.00
City Maple Lake 117,000.00
Marco 1,771.25
Marco Inc. 4,943.71
Donita Martin 129.98
Midstates Equp and Supply 11,293.64
Morries Parts & Service Group 5,117.72
Nextel Communications 2,978.76
Office Depot 3,778.54
Rhodes Lock & Glass 726.80
Royal Tire Inc. 2,897.88
Russells Security Resouce Inc. 1,200.09
Ryan Chevrolet 1,429.14
Neil Sall 325.00
Serversupply.com Inc. 1,420.00
Shell Fleet Plus 827.90
Software House International 4,887.29
Sprint 106.79
State of MN-0ffice Enterprise 1,005.00
Streichers 1,081.18
T & M Towing and Snow Plowing 308.87
Tech Depot 338.21
Total Printing 789.86
Larry Unger 372.29
University of Minnesota 135.00
US Bank 1,993.75
USPCA Region 12 200.00
Judy Vanderlinde 1,230.96
Victory Corps 216.60
Viking Safety Products 140.43
Walmart Community BRC 105.82
Washington Mutual 300.00
Gordon Weber 269.10
Wells Fargo Bank NA 350.00
West Payment Center 127.80
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 20,427.00
Wright Henn. Co-op Elec Assn. 770.05
Dalivanh Xayarath 7,000.00
Xcel Energy 2,110.35
Zack’s Inc. 214.96
35 Payments less than $100 1,676.47
Final total $440,632.00
The meeting adjourned at 9:52 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal March 3 2008.