Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 14, 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 10-07-08 were corrected as follows: Page 6, 2nd paragraph, 7th line, change the two references from “Northland Seed Association” to “Northland Oliver Association” (Russek); Page 6, 2nd paragraph, add a sentence as the second to the last sentence in the paragraph, “The motion was seconded by Heeter” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Highway Engineer Item #6 to include, “Approval of 10-13-08 Transportation Committee Minutes” (Norman). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda with the one addition, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Heeter, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Performance Appraisals: K. Ahlm, Aud./Treas.; J. Klein, Ext.; C. Schulz, P&Z; S. Doyle, K. Joerg, B. Miller, Sheriff.
2. 2008 Voluntary Leave Without Pay Program.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 7, Martin-Mcallisters Consulting ($800.00), for evaluations and questioned what the claim is for. Hiivala stated the claim is for evaluations of applicants. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
An Owner’s Committee Meeting was held on 10-07-08. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Sawatzke. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said the minutes reflect he was in attendance at the Committee meeting but was not. Sawatzke made a correction to the minutes on Page 2, 2nd paragraph, 7th line, sentence should read, “Torfin stated that $50/hour seems reasonable.” Mattson questioned the recommendation to contract with Walker Trucking to perform snow removal services at the Jail/LEC. He inquired whether this is a 2008-2009 bid and whether the bid process should be opened to others in the business. Russek responded that three quotes were obtained for this upcoming season. Sawatzke understood that if there are 2” or more of snow, the contractor plows. It was the consensus that at the Owner’s Committee Meeting today, it would be clarified with the Purchasing Agent whether a contract for snowplowing is needed. The motion carried unanimously to approve the Owner’s Committee Minutes with the two noted changes:
Hoffman requested adding two items under Item VI.: B. Shelving For Storage Locations, and C. Tables & Freezer.
A&P.
A. PROJECT UPDATE.
Streich provided a two week project update (see “Schedule Look-A-Head” dated 10-07-08). He noted that the kitchen equipment would be installed in approximately a week and a half. It will take eight days to complete the installation. Sawatzke asked if the building has been secured. Streich stated no, as the aluminum storefronts are being installed. Streich stated that he anticipates the storefronts will be completed by the end of tomorrow. Torfin requested that Streich alert him when the building has been secured and he will contact the security guard to cease their services.
Streich stated that the landscaping contractor worked on landscaping, planting, and seeding this past weekend. Miller commented that the landscaping looks really nice. Streich stated that the parking lot signage will be installed next week. Streich stated that he assumes most of the exterior work would be completed by the end of the month. Russek asked if Braddock Avenue has been paved. Streich stated Harddrives would begin its work once the north part of Braddock and the parking lot at the Jail/LEC is completed. Streich stated that they have been testing the geothermal system for water leaks. They are hoping to start up the system in a week and a half in Areas A, B, C, and F. The desire is to get into the Jail without having to use a lot of temporary heat.
KKE ARCHITECTS.
A. PROJECT UPDATE.
Buikema stated that there are not any contingency items this week to discuss. KKE signed off on a few PCOs and forwarded them to Torfin for his signature. The largest PCO is for exterior signage totaling approximately $34,800. The PCO is not ready for Committee approval today. Sawatzke asked if the signage PCO will be bid out. Buikema stated no. The current electrical and concrete contractors will price out the PCO. The PCO includes five concrete platforms, signs, lettering for the building, as well as address vinyl window clings. Buikema stated that they would supply a sketch of the signage with the PCO documentation. Sawatzke asked if the Committee would see a breakdown of the concrete, electrical, and materials as part of the PCO documentation. Buikema stated yes. Sawatzke stated that the total cost is higher than he anticipated. Buikema stated that he agreed.
Buikema forewarned the Committee that they are involved in some discussions with the building inspector regarding the fireproofing of the plumbing chases of the jail cells.
CRAIG HAYES.
A. SNOW PLOWING.
Hayes summarized his email dated 9-2-08 (see attached) by stating that the most feasible solution is to hire the snow removal contractor that the County currently uses at the HSC. Due to staffing, equipment, and storage constraints, it would be more cost effective to hire a third party. Hayes stated that he sought three quotes all of which fell between $50 - $55/hour. Walker Trucking is the current snow removal contractor at HSC and they charge $50/hour. Hayes stated that he would recommend going with Walker as they have been a quality contractor. Torfin stated that $50/hour seems reasonable. Hayes stated that Walker provided an estimate of 9 hours to clear the Jail/LEC parking lot. Walker’s services are needed approximately ten times a year. Russek stated that he is in favor of contracting out the snow removal for the Jail/LEC. Streich asked when Walker’s services would begin. Hayes stated Walker could plow the first snow, if needed. RECOMMENDATION: Contract with Walker Trucking to perform snow removal services at the Jail/LEC. Sawatzke asked if Walker would be liable for any damage they cause to County property while providing their service. Hayes stated that the County has never had a problem with Walker at HSC. Streich stated that stakes could be placed along the concrete curbs and dividers. Hatfield stated that he would mark the curbs in the fall, and remove the markers in the spring.
B. PURCHASE OF ANCILLARY FURNITURE (EXCLUDING SIT-ON-IT PRODUCTS).
Hayes stated that the Board approved partial purchase of the ancillary furniture needed at the Jail/LEC. The tables and chairs remain to be purchased. Versteel is the manufacturer of the tables that were selected. Sawatzke asked how the ancillary furniture list was created. Hoffman stated that he inventoried the office chairs of 19 offices and 33 cubicles currently in the Sheriffs Department. He stated that they attempted to be realistic on which chairs could be moved over to the new building. He said that some of the older chairs were not worth moving over to the new building. Hoffman stated that he estimated 60-70% of the chairs would move to the new building. They were conservative on the number of chairs needed at this stage. Sawatzke asked how many interview rooms there are in the facility. Hoffman stated that there are three interview rooms in the Jail, and total of five in the LEC. Sawatzke asked if there are any desks that will be brought over to the new building. Miller stated that he is the only employee bringing over a desk. All other offices and cubicles will be equipped with Intereum products. Hayes described the process for how the final price was arrived. He contacted three vendors to provide the best contract price. General Office Products Company gave the best price. Sawatzke asked what the total amount is that Hayes is seeking approval for. Hayes stated that he would have to obtain the information. The item was laid over until later in the meeting. Sawatzke asked Hayes when the product needed to be ordered. Hayes stated that the product needs to be ordered in time to be delivered prior to move-in date.
BRAD HATFIELD.
A. UPDATE ON HYDRANT FLUSHING.
Hatfield stated that the City of Buffalo has already performed the hydrant flushing for the fall season. The County will not need to flush the hydrants at the Jail/LEC until spring, 2009. Hatfield stated that based on his research, it may prove beneficial to have the City perform the service because they have the equipment to do the flushing as well as can prevent damage to the turf. He stated that there might be more to the process than the County realizes. Hatfield stated that there are seven hydrants located at the new facility; some are located near the paved area. The City of Buffalo would provide a couple hours notice alerting him when the flush would occur. Sawatzke asked that this item be laid over to allow Hatfield to do additional research to determine if this is a function that could be performed by County staff. Sawatzke stated that the City’s proposed hourly rate seemed reasonable.
BILL SWING, I.T. DIRECTOR.
A. PUBLIC WORKS TOWER-STRUCTURAL MODIFICATION DESIGN.
Swing stated that these two agenda items are timely issues. During inspection of the Public Works Tower, an analysis was performed by a third party who determined that the tower is overstressed at 120%. A tower can be overstressed to 105-110%. Swing stated that this came as a surprise. It was assumed that the tower would pass inspection. He stated that he is seeking authorization to proceed with the structural modification design to provide reinforcement of the tower. The design is proposed to cost $2,237. Sawatzke asked who inspected the tower. Swing stated that Tim’s Tower took the pictures, and a civil engineer calculated the algorithms to determine its strength. The engineer will design the structural modification drawings to upgrade the tower. Swing is looking for authorization of the engineer’s work. Swing stated that there would be an additional cost to upgrade the tower.
Sawatzke asked how much the structural modifications would cost. Mazzitello stated that he is not sure, but assumes that the materials and labor to complete the modification would cost less than $10,000. Swing stated that a brand new tower would cost over $150,000 and would push out the schedule by 3-4 months. Swing stated that because of the timeliness of this, he moved forward and issued a purchase order to proceed with the design and drawings. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Tim’s Tower to proceed supplying structural modification design and drawings for the 180’ self support tower at the Public Works Building for $2,237.00.
B. FIBER RING PROJECT – GOVERNMENT CENTER EAST END.
Swing stated that a problem arose during the installation of the fiber ring at the east side of the Government Center. To add a fiber run from the east end of the Government Center to HSC will cost $3,346.00. Swing stated that he also moved forward on this project because of the timeliness of this project. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Spectrum and PC Wholesale to proceed with the work to add a fiber run for $3,346.00.
III.B.PURCHASE OF ANCILLARY FURNITURE (EXCLUDING SIT-ON-IT PRODUCTS).
(This is a continuation of the agenda item as it was laid over earlier in the meeting)
Hayes solicited the authorization to proceed with the final purchase order of ancillary furniture for $65,737.91. Hayes stated that the architect originally estimated a furniture purchase amount of $123,000. The actual total amount came to $106,815. Sawatzke asked if the savings was due to lower contract prices, or whether it was due to ordering fewer items than what was proposed. Hoffman stated that upon review of the FF&E listing, side chairs and guest chairs were cut out of the proposal. Hoffman credited the savings to cutting products and finding great pricing. Sawatzke asked if the offices and cubicles, which will not be staffed immediately, would be equipped with furniture. Hoffman stated offices will remain empty, and the cubicles that will not have staff will not be set up. Sawatzke asked if there is any other furniture that will need to be purchased for the building. Hayes stated that he thinks so. Hoffman stated that he estimates 95% of the office furniture for the Sheriff Department has been ordered. Hayes stated that he thinks there may be some modular furniture pieces that may be needed on the Jail side. Sawatzke stated that he is trying to determine how much more of the FF&E budget will be consumed. Torfin stated that the inmate furnishings for two Jail pods would not be purchased because the pods are not scheduled for immediate occupancy. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize proceeding with final purchase of the ancillary furniture from General Office Products in the amount of $65,737.91.
TODD HOFFMAN.
A. A/V EQUIPMENT QUOTES.
Hoffman stated that KKE’s FF&E budget did not price out the majority of the costs for the A/V equipment needed in the conference/training rooms and offices. Hoffman stated that they had a basic idea of what A/V equipment they needed for the rooms and offices and approached three vendors: Alpha Video, EPA, and Tierney Bros. According to Statute, because each of their estimates came back over $50,000, this must go out for bid, or the County must seek contract pricing from the U of M or the State of Minnesota. He stated that he is not qualified to write the specifications for a bidding process. He asked the Committee for direction. Hayes asked if the three vendors are part of the U of M cooperative agreement. Hoffman stated that he spoke with EPA and Alpha Video. EPA assured him that 85-95% of their prices for the individual components were comparable to the U of M or State contract pricing. Alpha Video indicated that they could revise their quote to match the U of M contract pricing. Hayes stated that to satisfy the State’s bidding requirements, you have to go with the bidder off of the U of M contract. Hoffman stated that EPA and Alpha Video both indicated that they could sell off the U of M contract. Hayes asked Hoffman to ask EPA and Alpha Video to revise their pricing to match the U of M contract price. Sawatzke proposed that Hoffman ask the lowest priced contractor to resubmit their estimate. Torfin stated that it was his assumption that if the product is on State contract, the project did not have to go out for bid. Sawatzke stated that Torfin is correct. Swing stated that he knows that Alpha Video is a quality contractor. Sawatzke stated that Hoffman should ask Alpha Video to revise their pricing to the U of M or State contract pricing. Sawatzke asked that Hoffman provide an update at the 10-21-08 Owner’s Committee Meeting.
B. SHELVING FOR STORAGE LOCATIONS.
Hoffman presented a quote from Mid-America Business Systems (see attached) for shelving in three rooms: the large general storage area located off of the Community Room, the office supply storage, and equipment room. All will need new shelving. Currently, the Department uses garage stalls, immovable storage equipment, and hallways. The quote also includes a quote for an MCIU chemical HazMat fireproof storage cabinet for the chemicals used in evidence investigation. Hoffman stated that the County has a relationship with Mid-America who has quoted other storage components in the building. Their pricing is equivalent with what he has seen in catalogs.
They are able to re-use the storage components in general storage, arms room, and employee file and training records. He stated they would move some of the existing shelving and cabinets from the old building into the new building.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize purchase of shelving and 2 door wall mount cabinet from Mid-America for $9,235.68 (includes tax).
C. TABLES AND FREEZER.
Hoffman distributed a quote from Mid-America Business Systems for two commercial food-grade freezers, stainless tabletops, and a Rubbermaid cart. The freezers are for evidence and DNA storage. He stated that after speaking with the Evidence Techs, it was determined that only one commercial-grade freezer is needed. Long term storage would go into the commercial grade freezer, and temporary evidence could be stored in the current household freezer. The concern is that a household grade freezer can fluctuate in temperature which degrades DNA. The major crimes unit would utilize the two proposed stainless steel tabletops for evidence processing. The table tops are not to be porous in nature to protect cross contamination. Hoffman stated that they do not currently have stainless steel tables. They currently lay paper out over wood tables. Now due to changes in court processing and ruling, the Department has to change its method of operations. One table would be utilized in the garage for the homicide vehicles, and the other table would be located in the evidence room. Hoffman stated that the Rubbermaid carts are needed for transferring evidence. Hayes stated that the total amount of the quote (excluding one freezer) would be $6,387.87. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize purchase of one freezer, 2 stainless table tops, and one Rubbermaid cart from Mid-America for $6,387.87 (includes tax). Hoffman asked if the Committee desires the Sheriffs Department to vacate the current break room of its refrigerator and microwaves to be relocated to the new break room. The room is a 12’x12’ room with a 6’ table. Sawatzke asked Melvin if he was aware of an expressed need to use the Sheriff’s breakroom. Melvin stated that under the Board’s direction, no discussions were to take place regarding the use of the Sheriffs Department until January, 2009. Hoffman stated that KKE did include breakroom equipment in the FF&E schedule. Sawatzke stated that the Sheriff’s breakroom is not easily accessible to the rest of the Government Center. Hoffman stated that he is aware that there is a need for a lactation area in the Government Center. There is an office located across from the current breakroom that would have access to the refrigerator for storage. Sawatzke asked Melvin to discuss the possibility of the breakroom with Richard Norman, County Coordinator. Sawatzke stated that he would be inclined to say that the room should be vacated. Miller stated that they will plan to take the equipment unless told otherwise.
OTHER
A. SCHEDULE TOUR DATE OF JAIL/LEC FOR OWNER’S COMMITTEE & COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS.
The Committee unanimously agreed to start the Jail/LEC tour on site at 12:30 p.m. on 10-21-08, and follow with a short meeting at a room designated by Hatfield. Hatfield agreed to provide the necessary accommodation for minute taking.
(End of Owner’s Committee Minutes & discussion)
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested the Board approve the schedule of Right-of-Way Appraisals for the CSAH 6 Project (between TH 55 and TH 24) and authorize conveyance of the offers to landowners. Mark Johnson, Wright County Right-of-Way Agent, and Pat Lambert, Lambert Appraisal Service, were present for discussion. The schedule of appraisals was developed by Lambert Appraisal Services. Johnson explained that he met with all but 1 of the 64 parcel owners and in all but one case, residents felt it was a much needed project. Lambert performed a market evaluation and came up with a range of values dependent on property variations. As this is a Federal Aid project, a second independent appraiser is involved. Mattson questioned whether these property values apply to the County as a whole. Johnson stated that each township has a different range of values. Although the ranges don’t vary a lot, there can be quite a bit of change from one end of the County to another. This is recognized by the Assessor’s Office as well when determining property values. Sawatzke moved to approve the Right-of-Way Appraisal Schedule as presented and to authorize conveyance of the offers to landowners. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
A Transportation Committee Meeting was held on 10-13-08. At today’s County Board Meeting, the minutes were reviewed. With regard to Rumble StripEs, Russek said they were installed for safety purposes. He questioned the County’s liability if they are removed and someone leaves the road. Eichelberg said there are areas near driveways on CSAH 35 that do no have StripEs. Russek questioned the liability if the existing StripEs are taken out. Sawatzke offered the suggestion for an additional white line to be painted on the road one foot in from the StripE. The StripE could be painted black. Motorists would follow the newly painted line instead. He said the concept of painting the StripE is that it makes it more visible. The problem lies in that motorists hit the StripE causing the noise. Fingalson explained the STripEs are 1/2” to 3/8” deep and up to 1/2” to 3/4” can be filled in. This was completed at the intersection of CSAH 37 and CSAH 18 where there have been noise complaints. The Transportation Committee minutes reflect the cost to be about $1,000 to complete the filling; but further research since the Meeting has reduced the cost to about $500. The advantage of filling them partially would be that the paint would still be maintained between the valleys of the grooves. Fingalson said the 3M paint is expensive, durable, and will even be reflective with water on top of it. This is not the case with regular paint. Sawatzke suggested filling in the StripEs in only the three areas of concern. The white line could be jogged in to blend the line from the StripE to the newly painted line. Russek said the StripEs have only been used for seven months and he wanted to give them more time. For safety purposes, Eichelberg felt that the suggested method be used in areas where homes are close to the road. He referenced the large curve by St. Michael and said that motorists may cross the lanes to take advantage of the curve. Heeter said this is a prime reason why there are StripEs in this area. Heeter agreed with Russek’s position that the StripEs were installed to save lives. Her other concern was that if they are filled in or removed, residents in other parts of the County may ask to have the same thing done. Eichelberg said that the Committee minutes reflect that there is a jog in the road in the three identified areas. He felt motorists are used to driving a straight road. Since the road jogs in those places, it causes them to drive on the StripE. Heeter said that is another reason why the StripEs should remain, to keep motorists on the road. Sawatzke agreed with Russek and Heeter that the StripEs should not be removed. He advocated painting the StripEs black in the identified areas and moving the white edge line in 1’. The County could then review the situation in several months. Fingalson said another variation would be to paint a wider edge strip which other counties are using. The 4” edge strip increases to 6”-8”. The motorist may still travel on the white line but may not hit the StripE. Since the Committee Meeting yesterday, Fingalson has been in contact with Mn/DOT. They are very interested in viewing these areas and providing input on options. Fingalson suggested deferring discussion to the 10-21-08 County Board Meeting where these options can be discussed. Mn/DOT has indicated that the double white line is not appropriate. Fingalson said the goal will be to have consistency in StripEs throughout the County and State. Heeter moved to lay this issue over for one week, seconded by Sawatzke. Eichelberg requested that Mn/DOT be asked about the County’s liability. The motion carried 5-0. Sawatzke made a motion to approve the 10-13-08 Transportation Minutes, seconded by Russek. Fingalson requested the following correction to the minutes: Page 1, 1st paragraph, 5th line, add the following sentence, “The centerline stripes were not filled in by Carver County.” Sawatzke and Russek amended the motion to include this change. The motion carried 5-0:
Discuss Rumble StripEs. Discussion on this issue is prompted by resident complaints of the Rumble StripEs located on CSAH 35 east of Buffalo. A Citizen Call Log was provided reflecting concerns residents have with the Rumble StripE Project on CSAH 35. The Rumble StripEs were installed in June, 2008 on CSAH 35. Carver County has taken action to fill in 10 miles of the Rumble StripEs between Waconia and Chaska. The centerline stripes were not filled in by Carver County.Their StripEs involve the painting of both the center and outside edges of the roadway. Mn/DOT has filled in a couple of similar areas where the roadway jogs on Hwy. 95 between St. Cloud and Princeton. When this issue was addressed by the County Board a few months ago, the Board decided to wait until Spring to reassess the situation. This issue has resurfaced due to complaints received from Glorianne Kobbe, a resident on CSAH 35, who is located east of Buffalo High School on the south side of the road. Fingalson visited the Kobbe residence today and observed traffic from 8:00-8:30 A.M. Out of the approximate 70 vehicles, there were a total of 4 that hit the Rumble StripEs. Kobbe indicated that 3 vehicles have lost their hubcaps going over the StripEs, with 1 narrowly missing a family member. Fingalson noted that the resident across the road from Kobbe has not complained of the noise. Photos were provided reflecting a small kink or curve in the road near the Kobbe residence east of Bison Blvd on CSAH 35 (involves 4 sets of Rumble StripEs appx. 194’, east bound lane, south side of road). There is a small kink or curve as well near the Eull residence, approximately 1,700’ west of Iffert Ave. on CSAH 35 (involves 4 sets of rumble StripEs approximately 228’, west bound lane, north side of road). There is a similar area just east of this location on CSAH 35 but no complaints have been received thus far. Photos were also distributed of the 680’ curve near the Kasper residence near St. Michael, approximately 290’ northwest of 30th St. on CSAH 35 (involves 12 sets of Rumble StripEs approximately 680’, southwest bound lane, west side of road). Cordell has visited the Clarence Eull property twice due to complaints. Clarence Eull’s brother lives on the opposite side of the road and has stated the noise does not bother him. A similar situation involving Rumble StripEs exists on CSAH 36. One complaint has been received from a person who lives near an inside curve. Cordell distributed photos of a road in Benton County where there is a double white line on the outside edges of the roadway (one white line on the Rumble StripE and one white line as an edge strip or about 12” in). Travelers are drawn to the inside line and not to the Rumble StripEs. Estimated cost to double stripe nine miles (both sides) of CSAH 35 is $3,000 (contracted out). The estimated cost to fill in the Rumble StripEs at the three identified areas on CSAH 35 is $1,000 for material (staff completing the work). Discussion included double striping only the three identified areas. Staff felt this could be confusing for motorists to have double lines in some areas and single lines in others. Fingalson said another option would be cross hatching as was done on CSAH 8, although mixed reviews have been received. This comes at a higher cost per foot than edge lines. Cordell felt the Rumble StripEs work well for night time visibility. Eichelberg concurred that they are more visible during rain or fog. Eichelberg supported filling in the Rumble StripEs at this time at the three identified areas. The County could consider painting a second white line in the Spring. He felt it was especially justified at the large curve near St. Michael. Hawkins pointed out that painting a second white line does not guarantee people will not travel over the Rumble StripEs. Cordell said more than 1 out of 10 vehicles hit the StripE on that particular curve. From his observations, vehicles are attracted to the white line. If a second white line is painted, they may be attracted to that instead of the StripE. Eichelberg did not feel the double line will help. Norman understood the reason Rumble StripEs were installed in these areas is because of the curve or jog in the road. He felt more damage may occur if a car that sways does not meet the Rumble StripEs. Mattson said safety is the number one goal. He did not know that he could support removal of something that may save a life. Eichelberg stated that the hub caps could also claim a life. The Committee did not reach a consensus on this issue. Therefore, there is no recommendation to the County Board.
(End of Transportation Committee Minutes & discussion)
The Met Council’s new 2030 Transportation Policy Plan is out for public hearing. It recommends that TH 55 west of I-494 become a principal arterial, as the Highway 55 Corridor Coalition has been requesting. The upgrade in functional classification (from minor arterial) will help the County in future funding opportunities. Fingalson requested authorization of the Board Chair’s signature on a proposed letter of support to the MET Council on TH 55. A similar letter will be sent from the Highway 55 Corridor Coalition Chair. Russek moved to authorize the Board Chair’s signature on the letter, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Fingalson requested that the 2009 Overlay Program be revised. Since the 2009 County Budget was set, Mn/DOT has decided not to use CR 139 and CSAH 30 as detour routes in 2009 for the TH 12 project. Fingalson distributed a layout reflecting the proposed plan for 2009 Construction to include Bituminous Reclaim and Overlay. The roadways originally included in the plan were CSAH 32, CSAH 8, CR 139 (from CSAH 17 to CSAH 30), and CSAH 17. The Plan includes the addition of CSAH 30 (from CSAH 17 to CR 139) and CR 139 (from CSAH 30 to TH 12) since the detour routes will not be used by Mn/DOT. The cost estimate for these two added roadways is $700,000. The total cost for the project is $3,232,500 for the 15.25 mile program ($2,710,000 County cost; $217,500 Hennepin County cost; and $740,000 State Aid Funds). If approved, 2009 Budget figures will be revised as follows: $2,492,500 Local and $740,000 State Aid Construction). The Local portion of the budget is being reduced but the State Aid Construction portion is being increased. The State has indicated that the County can advance encumber these funds from the 2010 allotment. Fingalson said this is the right time for adding these roadways as work is being completed on other roads in the area. Fingalson also discussed CSAH 32 with Rockford and the timeline of the City’s project. Fingalson said it is in the best interest of the County to proceed with work on CSAH 32 at this time. Fingalson does not have anything in writing from Hennepin County stating they will fund their portion of the project. Wright County holds an agreement with Hennepin County reflecting that Hennepin County will fund 50% of routine maintenance. The agreement also includes a provision for special projects that allows for the two County Engineers to work out the details. Fingalson felt that Hennepin County will provide something in writing but the County Engineer has verbally agreed to 50%. Russek moved to approve the revision of the 2009 Overlay Program contingent upon receiving a letter from Hennepin County on funding, seconded by Heeter. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, informed Fingalson that the Road & Bridge budget will need to be revised and submitted to the Administration Office to prepare for the upcoming Truth In Local Taxation Public Hearing. The motion carried 5-0.
Fingalson requested the Board adopt a resolution approving Agreement #93266 with Mn/DOT for the TH 55/CSAH 12 project. The Agreement, received from the State, authorizes payment of the State portion to the County and outlines responsibility of the parties. This is a State designed project but it is administered by the County. The cost of this project is about $1 million. The Highway 55 Corridor Coalition will fund about $380,000 of the County’s portion and about $200,000 of State Aid funding will be used. Heeter moved to adopt Resolution #08-40, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to schedule the bid opening date for the TH 55/CSAH 12 Improvement Project for 12-02-08 at 9:30 A.M. By opening bids in December, the equipment can be ordered. The project can commence right away in the Spring. Fingalson anticipates working with the School District on the project timeline.
Fingalson asked the Board to authorize attendance at the Washington Fly In, being held March 31-April 4, 2009. He said the County has not participated for the past two years. He supported Wright County’s presence at this event. The Federal Transportation Bill (SAFETEA-LU) will expire on 9-30-09. Discussions regarding reauthorization of this bill have begun. The County has the opportunity to promote funding for many areas including Highway 55, Township Signing, and the CSAH 37/CSAH 19 interchange in Albertville. Fingalson felt it was important that representatives be present on behalf of the Highway 55 Corridor Coalition as many coalitions are trying to obtain funding. Although there has been a reduction in the number of earmarks, there still will be some. With regard to Township Signing, Wright County is next on the list to be funded (second phase of the Pilot Program). However, funding is not available. With regard to the CSAH 37/CSAH 19 interchange, Fingalson felt representatives should be present at the Fly In to try to make this happen. He did not feel this project will happen without Federal funding. Although there are opportunities to add projects to a bill once approved, it is easier to include projects in a bill. He requested that he and one Commissioner be authorized to attend the Fly In. Fingalson included this cost in his budget. Sawatzke moved to authorize attendance by one staff person, seconded by Heeter. Sawatzke said if Commissioners want to attend, they should bring this request forward on their own. He did not support attendance every year at the Fly In but felt it was appropriate occasionally. The motion carried 5-0.
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 10-08-08. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson explained that the Hasty-Silver Creek Sportsman Club has been working on the archery range issue for a number of years. It was only until lately that MCIT responded with concerns. Further research will be completed by County staff. Russek moved to approve the minutes and the recommendation to lay this issue over to the 11-26-08 Ways & Means Committee Meeting, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0:
ARCHERY RANGE AGREEMENT.
Thomas stated that this ten-year lease agreement (see attached) is a progression of a request made to Commissioner Heeter approximately four years ago in an effort by the Sportsman Club to receive property tax relief. Mattice stated that the Sportsman Club and Parks have been working together on the wording of the agreement for a year. Mattice stated that it is his opinion that a public archery range, via a cooperative agreement, is a good fit for both the County and the Sportsman Club. He stated that he has completed a cost analysis of the County maintaining an archery range on County-owned property versus building and operating an archery range for use by the public on a portion of leased property from the Sportsman Club. The costs were a little more expensive for the County to operate and maintain a range on County-owned property. Nolan stated that he has been working with MCIT for months to receive a formal response on the proposed lease agreement. A response was received on 10-07-08. Their formal response was not received until after the Parks Committee approved the agreement. Their response (see attached memo dated 10-07-08) poses a few of their concerns. Minnesota Statute 466 says that in the event of a claim covered by MCIT, the maximum limit MCIT would pay is the coverage limit of $400,000 per person /$1,200,000 per occurrence and the County would be responsible for any damages above this. MCIT has requested that the wording within the lease agreement be changed to include a Hold Harmless clause stating the Sportsman Club would agree to defend and indemnify the County for all claims that result from the negligent actions of the Sportsman’s Club. Nolan stated that MCIT’s concern is that according to the agreement, the Club is responsible for mowing the leased property. Should a claim arise out of the Club’s responsibility to mow the property, the Club should hold the County harmless. MCIT requests that the lease agreement clearly identify who has the maintenance responsibilities, and who would be held responsible for an unauthorized use of the archery rage. MCIT made several other recommendations on contract language, as noted in the memo. Nolan stated that MCIT has concerns regarding the County’s responsibilities and coverage since the County will not be providing supervision, mowing, and maintenance. The County would not have any control of the property and range, but would have liability if an incident occurred. Thomas stated that the Club’s original concern was not a donation of time from the County to provide such services. The Club owns approximately 12 acres and the Club no longer can afford the property tax. The Club was looking to the County to provide a monetary equivalent to the property taxes. The Club spends a majority of its efforts in raising funds to pay its property taxes and insurance. The Club is looking for an influx of funding. The Club approached previous County Auditor, Doug Gruber, to request a tax abatement. Mattice stated that Greg Kramber, County Assessor, has stated that the property is being taxed at the lowest possible tax rate. Nolan also proposed that the Board discuss alternative options to fund the payment of the property taxes. Melvin stated that the County has to be careful about setting precedence. Mattice commented that Parks did send a letter out to every sporting non-profit club requesting an RFP. No responses were received. Nolan clarified that if any of the County’s employees were working at the archery site, they would be covered by the County’s workers compensation. Melvin asked Mattice if there is an expressed demand for a public archery range. Mattice stated yes. Thomas stated that there are a lot of bow hunters that would like a place to practice, as there are not any archery ranges within the County. Mattice stated that a few cities host archery ranges: New Brighton, Apple Valley, and Cottage Grove. Russek stated that he feels that the County should adhere to MCIT’s recommendations. The County cannot risk its taxpayers’ dollars on this project. Russek stated that he is not in favor of signing the agreement as there is too much liability on the County. Mattson inquired on whether the Club’s insurance company would accept MCIT’s proposed language change. Thomas stated that the Club’s insurance policy has a million dollar cap. He stated that he would have to review the contractual exclusions portion of the policy. He stated that the Club’s attorney, Bill Everett of Everett Law, LLC, has worked with Brian Asleson on drafting the agreement. Discussion turned to the option of the County purchasing the property, allowing the Club to lease a portion of it for their Club activities. Thomas stated that the average age of the Club members is 60 years of age. They are not in favor of the County taking ownership of the property. Mattice stated that the agreement grants the County a first right of refusal to purchase the leased property for fair market value in the event that the Club determines to sell its property. Because the group is a non-profit organization, they cannot split the proceeds of the sale amongst its members. They must reinvest the dollars back toward its mission. Thomas stated that the Club’s constitution does state that in the event of a sale, the property would be first offered to the County for purchase. Thomas stated that the property contains a meeting hall that overlooks the lake with cooking facilities, a shotgun range, 12’x20’ building used for storage, picnic shelter, and a public boat access (for fee). Melvin asked Thomas if the property offers restroom facilities. Thomas stated that there are restrooms, but they are not open to the public. Mattice stated that in reference to the refuse and rental portal agreement, the rental cost of a porta-potty would be deducted from the lease agreement amount. Mattice added further comment that Parks would provide core maintenance: take down the hay bales, the targets, etc. Nolan stated that MCIT also has concerns on marketing. Melvin asked Mattice how the use of the archery range would be marketed. Mattice stated that the Parks Department would market it on the County website. Nolan stated that there is a liability in advertising the range which is not County property. Mattice stated that the County’s website could refer to the Club’s website which would post the park hours. Currently, the gun range on Tuesday nights are for public use: $4/25 rounds. Thomas stated that Club members are available on Tuesday nights. Mattice stated that the Club members live near the range to keep an eye on the operations. Russek asked if the Club is essentially looking for an annual donation to cover its property tax payment. Thomas stated yes. Asleson stated that he researched exemptions and found that tax abatements are purely for public charity causes: churches, schools, and seminaries of learning. An exemption can only be issued for the current year’s property tax and two years prior. Mattice stated that if the Club’s taxes are abated, the County could still provide a link to the Club’s website, and donate design, materials, and installation of the archery equipment. Mattice stated that staff would build the targets at its shop. Russek asked Mattice how he budgeted the donation. Mattice stated that he planned to budget the donation as part of the Park’s budget. He has not budgeted for the amount because an agreement has not been approved. Mattson proposed laying the item over for further research. Russek stated that it is too late to provide an archery range this year, as hunting already began. Nolan stated that he would speak with Hiivala to discuss an abatement, or way for the county to fund their tax bill. Asleson stated that he would further research the legalities of an exemption and donation issues. He forewarned the Committee that the County has not had success in its attempt to donate to private entities. The difference here is that the County would sponsor the activity of the archery range. Thomas stated that he would update Attorney Bill Everett. RECOMMENDATION: Discussion to be laid over for until 11-26-08 Ways & Means Committee Meeting.
(End of Ways & Means Committee Minutes & discussion)
There will be an Owner’s Committee Meeting today at 3:00 P.M.
Laid over from the last meeting, discussion continued on the resolution adopted by Isanti County regarding Green Acres. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, distributed a draft resolution for consideration by the Wright County Board. Asleson consulted Statutes to determine the Governor’s authority with regard to changes adopted by the MN Legislature relating to the Green Acres Law. Asleson concluded that the Governor has certain powers to deal with State Agencies, rearranging State Agencies, powers for emergency issues, and issuing executive orders. He did not feel he would have the authority to stop a law passed by the Legislature without the Legislature’s involvement. The draft resolution “respectfully requests that the Minnesota Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue, during the upcoming 2009 Legislative Session, collectively revisit the changes made to the Green Acres law and make changes where necessary, so that the original goals of the program can be continued and the unanticipated impacts of the 2008 changes on landowners can be lessened or eliminated.” The changes are contained within 2008 Session Laws, Chapter 366. Asleson said another option would be to list specific changes the County would like to see. He suggested that a cover letter be drafted to accompany the resolution outlining these suggestions. He will work with the County Assessor, Greg Kramber, on drafting the letter. He said Kramber has been in contact with the Department of Revenue and local Legislators on this issue. Heeter was in contact with Rob Eastland from Isanti County and understands it is their intent to repeal the resolution as they feel the law will be overturned. Russek said his largest concern is with senior citizens on a limited income. He said this law is very damaging to some residents. Kramber stated that the MN Association of Assessing Officers (MAAO) has formally taken a stand against this and have sent a resolution to the Governor and Department of Revenue. Wright County has requested an extension for implementation of the Green Acres Law. The Department of Revenue has responded back to the request indicating they need additional information to grant an extension. This information will be placed on the next County Board Agenda for discussion. Color coded maps were reviewed reflecting that Wright County is an agricultural based County and many residents are enrolled in the Green Acres Program. The Assessors Office recently sent out 3,506 letters to those involved in the Program, as required by the MN Department of Revenue. The letter has prompted many phone calls and visitors to the Assessor’s Office. The law will have little impact on those landowners whose land is mostly productive (90%-95%). Under the new Legislation, those landowners with very little land are now considered productive. Kramber has developed five examples of real life scenarios reflecting how property owners will be greatly affected. Those examples will be provided to Legislators and may be brought to St. Paul to share with other Legislators. The largest area the MAAO has addressed is the payback provision. This has the largest impact as far as the seven and three year paybacks and the tracking of the large sums of dollars that could become due. The other issue is determining the productive versus non-productive land and the CRP. There are a lot of issues with this legislation that they hope will be addressed. Russek felt the SWCD needs to be involved as programs they are working on will be eliminated if this law goes forward as it is. Members of the groups such as Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and others should also be involved, as they will have a great influence on the vote that will come forward. Kramber has presented all bulletins received from the Department of Revenue to the Board, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Scott Glup & Fred Bengtson-DNR, Joe Schroeder-FSA, and Kerry Saxton-SWCD. Mattson was in contact with the President of Ducks Unlimited, who plans to share this information with many people. He said preservation of land is what we are aimed at. Sawatzke questioned the status of the letter being drafted on behalf of the Quad County group. Norman explained that he will follow up with the Stearns County Administrator to determine this. Heeter moved to adopt Resolution #08-41. Discussion followed on whether a cover letter should be included with the Resolution. Russek said some of the information that Kramber drafted could be sent along reflecting the impact of the law on residents. It could be devastating to some residents with 50% of non-productive land. In addition, some of the land could never be built upon and may be low, but residents will have to pay back on it. Russek felt the payback was the devastating portion of the law and that people may not have money for immediate payback. Kramber said that any property owners that are currently enrolled in Green Acres can ask to be grandfathered in and continue with the Program. If something triggers a payback, then the non-productive land has a 7-year payback and a productive land has a 3-year payback. Situations that trigger a payback may include the transfer of the farm from father to son. In past situations, that did not trigger a payback but will with the new legislation. Russek said prior to this, payback did not occur as long as there was a sale of ag land and farming was continued. Now payback will occur anytime a title changes. Kramber said in the past, if there was a sale of property and the new owners qualified for Green Acres, there was no payback. Under the current legislation, there would be a payback for non-productive land. There is the potential that payback may be due when there is no money changing hands (land transferred to a family member or when someone dies). He hopes that the Department of Revenue will review some of these situations. Kramber said staff is working with the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to determine what land has transferred and what will be required for payback. They are trying to administer it to the best of their ability, trying to assist taxpayers with the forms, etc. Kramber felt more counties should take the stand that Wright County is and support the ag community. Kramber said the County has had some payoffs, where the non-productive has been paid off. If at a later time Legislation changes, that money will be available through an abatement process. They have not gotten to trusts yet. He is hoping for corrections prior to that time. The current Statute for abatements is payback of current year plus two. In the paybacks that have been billed, there actually has been a transfer done similar to what was done with the old legislation. Kramber said that one of the things that triggered this law was the situation with people buying land up north. Once owned for seven years, the land qualified for Green Acres. There were large hunting tracts receiving benefits through the Green Acres Program. Legislators from that area drafted legislation to address that specific situation and it had a major drawback for the 15-20 counties actively enrolled with the Green Acre Program. Sawatzke didn’t feel that there was anything wrong for providing a tax break to those leaving land in a natural state. Many people are getting paid by the government to do so, and he felt this behavior should be encouraged. The motion to adopt the Resolution and a possible cover letter was seconded by Sawatzke. Sawatzke felt the cover letter should include such things as the environmental repercussions and financial difficulties for families. The letter will be sent to the Governor and all Legislators. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to schedule a Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 10-28-08 at 10:30 A.M. The agenda will be to discuss the vacated Sheriff Area and the Employee Fitness Area.
A Seminar Notice was received on “Controlling Jail Costs & Crowding Through Innovation,” being held November 13th and 14th at the St. Cloud Holiday Inn. Norman felt Commissioners could attend and potentially Capt. Gary Torfin, Jail Administrator. Norman was unsure whether Torfin had received a Seminar Notice but could forward one to him. Sawatzke moved to authorize attendance by Board members if it meets their schedules, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
Bills Approved
Allina Hospitals & Clinic $492.77
American Messaging 681.58
Aramark Correctional Services 5,769.66
Kirk Asplin Travel Plaza 191.76
Authority Fence & Decks Inc. 798.75
Auto Glass Center Inc. 833.73
Joe Backes 500.76
Buffalo Collision Repair Inc. 890.20
Buffalo Township 888.60
City Buffalo 716.29
Business Ware Solutions 282.23
Center for Education & Employm 159.00
Center Point Energy 121.61
Chamberlain Oil Co. 4,016.03
Climate Air 479.00
Collins Brothers Towing 195.43
Cottens’ Inc. 1,456.05
Cub Pharmacy 2,068.26
Franklin Denn 491.37
Department of Public Safety 8,430.00
Karen Determan 172.58
Carter Diers 172.37
E-Z Flush 887.28
Tom Feddema 331.70
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excav 46,736.52
General Office Products Co 617.77
Geocomm Inc. 4,000.00
Janet Gholson 276.12
Granite Electronics 485.34
Herald Journal Publishing Inc. 1,037.32
Holiday 18,689.21
Irish Green Lawn Care 715.16
Cheryl Klingler 100.00
Kustom Signals Inc. 10,634.28
Lakedale Communications 542.78
Larson Allen LP 3,725.00
Martin-McAllisters Consulting 800.00
Mathiowetz Construction 555,773.10
Richard Mattson 114.07
Mies Outland Inc. 233.93
MN Counties Computer Coop 5,001.18
Jessica Moe 136.89
Moore Medical Corp. 201.80
Nextel Communications 843.80
Richard Norman 452.51
Novell 350.00
Office Depot 1,518.90
Omann Brothers Inc. 1,237.90
Sara Peterson 272.03
Photo 1 221.98
Qwest 811.24
Frank Ramacciotti 700.00
Redwood Biotech Inc. 188.75
Thomas Salkowski 178.56
Sherry Schliesing 343.98
Donald Schmidt 265.74
Society for Human Resource Mgt 160.00
Software House International In 1,844.58
Super Express 134.19
Tech Depot 14,088.89
Total Printing 103.15
Uniforms Unlimited 300.37
Unlimited Electric Inc. 7,968.11
The Vernon Company 460.44
Wastequip Rayfo 15,842.41
Watson Furniture Group 122,086.83
Janelle Webb 221.13
Gordon Weber 215.10
West Sherburne Tribune 109.20
Wright County Highway Dept. 52,768.07
Wright County Human Services 405.00
36 Payments less than $100 2,078.53
Final total $907,018.87
The meeting adjourned at 10:32 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 8, 2008.