Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 21, 2008
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Heeter, Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek and Eichelberg present.
Russek moved to approve the 10-14-08 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Heeter and carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #2, “Cancel Board Meeting Of 11-11-08, Veterans Day” (Norman). Heeter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Heeter, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: S. Peterson, Ct. Svcs.; B. Haynes, B. Leinonen, Hwy.; S. Berg, D. Munsterteiger, A. Pribyl, K. Walker, Sher.
2. Claim, Frank Madden & Associates, $1,562.13 (Sept. 2008 Service).
3. O/T Report, Period Ending 10-03-08.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested that the County consider accepting credit cards in the License Bureau. The request is based upon patron complaints. If Wright County allows credit card or debit card use, without changes to VISA policies, the County will be assessed a fee to accept the cards. Hiivala predicted this range to be 1.75%-2.25%. Fees collected at the License Bureau include not only the County’s share but a greater share for the State. An analysis of fees collected in the License Bureau for 2007 was reviewed. With total collections of $6,299,611.72 (both State and County shares) and assuming a rate of 2%, the credit card fee would be $125,992.23. This is assuming that all transactions are by credit card. He emphasized that the majority of fees collected by the License Bureau are for the State. However, if credit cards are approved as a method of payment, the County will be responsible to remit fees based upon the total collections. Russek said the Security Officers in the Government Center Lobby field public requests on whether an ATM Machine is available in the Courthouse. The County placed an ATM in the Courthouse several years ago, but the volume did not justify long term placement. Hiivala suggested possibly locating an ATM near the License Bureau, if the County were to obtain a proposal where there were no fees assessed to the County. Currently, the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office accepts credit cards for property tax payments. This was done based upon MN Statute 276.02, which allows for this as long as the person using the card pays the convenience fee. The MN Department of Deputy Registrars Association is trying to get a similar item passed for motor vehicle payments, as long as the user pays the convenience fee. Sawatzke agreed that the County should look into an ATM. Although the volume of use previously was not there, he felt the flow of money has changed during the past five years. Mattson did not feel patrons will use an ATM to do business at the Government Center. One reason is that it does not provide a tracking system. Heeter made a motion to move in the direction of placing an ATM machine near the License Bureau, as long as it is at no cost to the County. The motion was seconded by Russek. Mattson asked that the County track how many customers withdraw cash from an ATM to pay a bill. Hiivala said data will be provided on use of the machine. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.
The Board reviewed the September Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. Hiivala said in the past several months, there has been a shortage in the Recorders fees and the Mortgage Registration Tax. There are also some overages being realized such as in interest income. Overall, the Guidelines are in good shape. Russek moved to accept the Guidelines, seconded by Heeter, carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Russek referenced a claim on Page 24, Annandale Advocate, $833.20, for 3rd Quarter Recycling Fees. The claim will be corrected so payment is made to the City of Annandale. On a motion by Russek, seconded by Heeter, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Greg Kramber, Assessor, said a letter was received from the Commissioner of Revenue pertaining to the request to grant an extension of implementation of the Green Acres Legislation. The letter states the County must submit correspondence signed by the Assessor and County Board Chair detailing why the County cannot comply with the new requirements. Kramber presented a draft letter and requested the Board authorize signatures on it. The County’s website has been updated relating to the Legislation. A public meeting will be held at the Rockford Township Hall on 11-19-08 at 2:00 P.M. to review the law changes. Kramber said the commitment letter that has been sent to those involved with Green Acres is being treated by the Assessor’s Office as a non-binding commitment, as they are unable to provide all the information necessary to make an educated decision. Kramber has been in contact with Legislators expressing the concerns with payback and productive versus non-productive land. He hopes there will be many changes in this Legislation. As far as the productive versus non-productive land, Kramber was in contact with the MN Department of Revenue on this issue. Due to sheer volume, the Assessor’s Office will be prohibited from completing that process this year. Russek said Sherburne County is struggling as well. He felt that outdoor sportsmen need to be involved and educated. Many of the things they have accomplished in the past 25 years could be eliminated. Kramber said Senator Amy Koch is trying to line up a meeting with the authors of the Green Acres Bill. Kramber felt this would provide an opportunity to present Wright County’s perspectives and the major impacts which have resulted. Russek moved to authorize the Board Chair’s signature on the letter, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said there will be a meeting on 11-03-08 to discuss the letter being drafted on behalf of the Quad Counties.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, brought forth discussion on the possible purchase of Parcel #109-041-001010. On 8-27-08, Peter Fisher, owner of the parcel adjacent to the Fairgrounds, met with the Ways & Means Committee. The Board met in closed session on 9-09-08 and 10-07-08 to consider the purchase and to develop counteroffers. On 10-16-08, Fisher indicated he would accept the County’s counteroffer of $27,500. By Statute, the purchase must be approved at an open meeting of the County Board. Sawatzke moved to authorize the purchase of Parcel #109-041-001010, seconded by Russek. Mattson said he would vote against the motion. He thought the land was valued at $18,000 and did not feel it was the County’s problem if the owner invested more than what the land is worth. Sawatzke stated that Fisher paid $44,000 for four lots. The County will purchase about half of the space. He did agree with Mattson that a portion is low land. Russek felt the purchase benefited the County. The southwest access to the Fairgrounds is used by people to bring in livestock during the Fair and he did not want to see the possibility of that access closed. If someone else were to purchase the land, they could decide to close that access. Mattson said there are two entrances to the Fair. He said the Railroad could also decide to close the crossing at any point. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.
Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff Department, presented a request for the Board to authorize signatures on the 2007 Buffer Zone Protection Program (BZPP) Grant Contract. In 2006, the Sheriff Department and Emergency Management Director met with representatives of the Monticello Nuclear Plant, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI. The meeting was to go over the Buffer Zone Protection Plan, which is a nationwide agenda to secure some of the national interests. Monticello Nuclear Plant was selected as one site. A recommendation was made by the Federal Government that the Sheriff Office bolster their efforts to secure the Plant. One of the suggested methods is a mobile communication command post. Wright County has been awarded the 2007 BZPP Grant in the amount of $182,875.00, and there are no levy dollars required as it is not a matching grant. The mobile command post will only be used for major incidences such as a tornado or a railway accident. The command post can be used as a dispatch center or a meeting location in such incidences. Sawatzke questioned whether the Sheriff Office already had some type of mobile dispatch unit. Hoffman explained the County received a FEMA trailer after the floods in Fargo, ND. The trailer has a radio but is not capable of being a mobile dispatch center. Sheriff Gary Miller said the FEMA trailer was deemed inadequate for the needs of the buffer zone. The mobile command post will be utilized for interagency communications in response to a major event at the Nuclear Plant. The FEMA trailer has been used in search and rescues, flood control in Monticello, and has been used by police departments. Sheriff Miller said the suggestion to have the mobile command post came about as a result of an audit by the Department of Homeland Security. The audit lasted almost two years. The result is that this location is one of the State’s top priority sites to defend, moving the site up in the grant process. In response to Sawatzke, a decision will have to be made whether there is a need for both trailers. Sheriff Miller did not feel that the mobile command post will be used for the same types of incidents as the FEMA trailer. It is similar to a motor home (not a tow behind trailer) and has a command post similar to the EOC. Norman questioned whether the County will have to equip the unit. Hoffman stated that although cost figures for the equipment are not finalized, they hope to fund these items through possible additional grant funding and a small amount of seizure money. They will also utilize some equipment they currently have. Heeter said the State and Federal Government has suggested this is something that is needed and are willing to fund it. Heeter moved to approve the grant knowing there are no local levy dollars required. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Laid over from the last meeting, the Rumble StripEs on CSAH 35 were discussed. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said they met with Mn/DOT on 10-15-08 to review CSAH 35. The recommendation is to not fill in the Rumble StripEs but to instead add an 8” white edge line a couple of inches in from the current StripE. The current StripE has expensive paint that is thicker and has the advantage of being visible through water. The recommendation would include only painting the 8” line in the four areas identified at the last meeting. The cost is about $500 for about 2900’ and is included in the seasonal striping budget. Sawatzke questioned whether statistics will be available from prior to the painting to compare with data taken after the striping is completed. Fingalson said this data is available. He said Mn/DOT views this as a proactive step consistent with the MN Highway Safety Program. Mn/DOT is also looking at completing a noise study for Rumble StripEs and this may be a pilot location. Eichelberg felt this step would be worthwhile. Heeter received a call from a resident regarding Rumble StripE noise on CR 8. As stated at the last meeting, discussion included constituents asking for mitigation on other roads. Fingalson said cross hatching was previously completed on CR 8 and resulted in mixed reviews. Sawatzke said that is why he wants to have data available on CSAH 35 prior to the extra stripe being painted, as it will reflect actual counts prior to and after the work is completed. With approval, Fingalson said the work may be completed today. Sawatzke moved to approve the recommendation from the Highway Department to proceed with the additional 8” striping in the four areas on CSAH 35. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Heeter said Bill Lieb currently serves as her appointment to the Board of Adjustment. She has asked Lieb to resign from this position. Lieb submitted his resignation by letter dated 10-14-08. Heeter explained that about 12-14 months ago, she had a discussion with Lieb about Corinna Township’s desire to do their own planning & zoning. She said it had to do with her comfort level of her appointment being from a Township that doesn’t espouse to County Planning & Zoning functions. She explained to Lieb that she may request his resignation at any time she felt uncomfortable with the situation. She recently asked him to do so, also in lieu of the lawsuit Corinna Township has served the County. Heeter moved to accept Bill Lieb’s resignation from the Board of Adjustment, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. Russek and Heeter extended thanks to Lieb for his service on the Board of Adjustment. Heeter moved to appoint Dave Wagner to the Board of Adjustment to fill out the remainder of the term vacated by Lieb, which is until the end of 2008. Wagner is from the Annandale area (Cedar Lake). The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously.
On a motion by Heeter, second by Mattson, all voted to cancel the County Board Meeting of 11-11-08 because of Veteran’s Day. The Courthouse will not be open that day.
There will be an Owner’s Committee Meeting today at 12:30 at the Jail/LEC site. The group will tour the site with a meeting to follow.
The meeting adjourned at 9:56 A.M.
Bills Approved
Albertville Body Shop Inc.. $2,386.63
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 146.12
Ancom Communications Inc. 10,773.54
City Annandale 833.20
Aramark Correctional Services 5,763.80
Armor Holdings Forensics Inc. 148.90
Association of MN Counties 1,950.00
Ryan Babler 132.29
Barnes Distribution 504.66
Batteries Plus 191.67
Beaudry Propane Inc. 457.74
Black Moore Bumgardner Magnus 200.00
Braun Intertec Corporation 7,473.00
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 52,418.94
Clearwater River Watershed 276.20
Climate Air 4,575.27
Comfort Suites Duluth 204.56
Construction Services Diversifi 124.61
Culligan of Buffalo 900.00
Dash Medical Gloves 586.80
Department of Public Safety 120.00
Diamond Surface Inc. 770.00
Emergency Physicians PA 233.25
Dale Engel 287.50
Fastenal Company 154.77
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excav. 628,518.54
Forestry Suppliers Inc. 406.01
Franklin Township 1,019.20
Fyles Excavating & Honey Wagon 955.00
Darcy Gautsch 109.85
Raymond Glunz 120.00
Gopher State One Call 119.05
Government Training Services 1,150.00
Greenview Inc. 21.492.85
Hance Utility Services Inc. 387.13
Hayland Woods 184.78
Denny Heckers Monticello Dodge 159.33
Highway Technologies Inc. 284.78
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 4,072.32
Holiday 299.09
Holiday Inn - Rochester 516.42
Interstate Battery Systems of 293.78
Jerrys Towing & Repair 586.25
Brian Johnson 257.36
Kaplan Professional Schools 1,987.50
Greg Kramber 151.96
LaPlant Demo Inc. 556.31
Lawson Products Inc. 164.64
LexisNexis 110.00
Loberg Electric 3,681.76
Carol Lostetter 100.00
Eric Maurus 115.28
McDowall Company 1,120.00
Medtox Laboratories, Inc. 698.55
Merrick & Company 33,195.85
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc. 2,534.43
Middleville Township 814.00
Midwest Machinery Co. 133.87
Richard Miller 119.95
MN Fall Maintenance Expo 720.00
MN State Bar Association 195.00
NADA Appraisal Guides 170.00
National Business Systems,Inc. 14,000.00
Office Depot 2,820.36
Omann Brothers Inc. 702.39
Qwest 7,356.68
Ragan Communications 129.00
Frank Ramacciotti 200.00
Ed Rettman Jr. Excavating 6,073.00
Road Machinery & Supplies Co. 392.52
John Russek 187.78
Ryan Chevrolet 555.38
Schedule Soft 1,365.00
Schultz Soft Water Inc. 150.00
St. Cloud Fire Equipment Inc. 329.11
State of MN-Office Enterprise 1,335.00
State Supply Co. 342.90
Stratus Technologies Ireland 3,061.73
Sunsource 975.33
Tech Depot 554.86
Total Printing 217.90
Uline 201.60
Unimed Midwest Inc. 146.05
University of Minnesota 40,862.49
Unlimited Electric Inc. 357.96
Verizon Wireless 823.59
Shawna Vollbrecht 150.00
Waste Management-TC West 1,461.96
West Payment Center 823.27
Wright County Highway Dept. 725.08
Wright Hennepin Co-op Elec 4,410.46
Wright Hennepin Electric 1,477.99
Wright Soil & Water Cons. Dist. 237.79
Xiotech 173,095.79
36 Payments less than $100 1,466.35
Final total $1,066,103.61
The meeting adjourned at 9:56 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 8, 2008.