Wright County Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 3, 2009
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Eichelberg and Thelen present.
Russek moved to approve the minutes of 1-27-09, seconded by Thelen. Mattson said he was not in attendance at the meeting but felt the minutes looked okay. The motion carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #7, “Refer To Personnel Committee Of The Whole Elected Officials Participation In The Defined Contribution Plan And Social Security. Set Meeting Date For 2-10-09 @ 10:30 A.M.” Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: J. Stevens, Admin.; R. Burns, M. Gasper, A. Pulvermacher, Bldg. Care; R. Halverson, C. Thompson, Sher.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 1-09-09 & 1-23-09.
3. Claim, KKE Architects, $13,168.78 (Prof. Svcs., Dec. 2008).
1. Award Contract To Knife River Corp. For The Traffic Signal System & Surfacing Project @ CSAH 12/TH 55 (S.P. 86-612-19), In The Amount Of $786,486.52.
1. Authorize Signatures Of Board Chair, Auditor/Treasurer, & Sheriff On Annual County 2009 Boat & Water Safety Agreement.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, referenced a claim on Page 7, Uniforms Unlimited ($954.00). Norman said the claim is charged to Furniture & Equipment and questioned whether it should be charged to Uniform Allowance. Upon review of the claim with Capt. Gary Torfin, Hiivala explained the claim is for equipment for the Emergency Response Team (fatigues, etc.). Hiivala said the claim could be approved subject to verification that the budget reflects that the purchase was to be funded from Furniture & Equipment. Otherwise, the purchase will be coded to Uniform Allowance. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 7, Allina Hospitals & Clinics ($9,632.70) and asked whether these were delayed payments. Hiivala explained that the printouts do not reflect dates but it appears the invoices relate to the period of October, 2008-January 2009. Most appear to be October charges. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, noting that Hiivala will confirm the correct Line Item to fund the Uniforms Unlimited claim. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson referenced a claim to Country Chevrolet ($17,950.00) for a van purchase and inquired whether more than one van will be purchased as there is $60,000 budgeted. Capt. Torfin stated one used van and another vehicle are being purchased. The motion carried 5-0.
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 1-27-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek. Sawatzke requested that the motion include the following change to the minutes: Page 2, last paragraph, Recommendation should read, “Authorize a not to exceed figure of $20,000 for the reclamation project, noting that whatever funding is obtained through RC&D or other sources (not including the Reclaim Wright County Program) should be subtracted from the $20,000 figure.” The motion carried 5-0:
Parks Department Capital Projects.
Mattice distributed a handout (attached) reflecting capital projects which were discussed as part of the 2009 Budget Hearings totaling $251,300. During the Budget process, it was decided that some projects will be funded through the Capital Improvement Fund instead of levy funds. In addition, the following items were approved to be funded from Capital Improvements:
1) Allone Potter Lifetime Estate payment 4 of 6 due in 2009 for $32,000.
a. A 5th payment will be due in October, 2010 for $32,000.
b. A 6th payment will be due in October, 2011 for $32,000.
2) City of Delano to Luce Line Trail along CSAH 17 for $65,642.65.
a. Construction of this project began in 2008 and will be completed in 2009. Total project costs were estimated at $400,000, with $200,000 coming from matching grants and $200,000 coming from County Funds. In 2008 a total of $268,714.70 was expended leaving a project balance of $131,285.30 that will be split between County contributions and matching grants.
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 1-13-09 to discuss the State budget situation and impacts on Wright County. Departments were instructed to review budgets and provide information to the Committee on 2-24-09 on possible savings. Because of this, Mattice thought the capital projects approved during the Budget process should be revisited. He asked for direction on how to proceed as some of the projects should be worked on prior to the summer months.
1) Collinwood Park. Some of the projects completed last year included lakeshore restoration, beach regrading, reseeding, and wetland restoration. Mattice said the playground structure is estimated at 20 years old and should be replaced ($65,500). All campsites were removed due to grading projects. There is $5,500 in the budget for the relocation of the tent sites. Mattice said the playground structure should be completed prior to the tent site project. Because of the budget situation, he felt the Parks Department can rebuild tables and use old fire rings to relocate the tent sites. The shelter will not be torn down until it can be replaced ($45,000). The Aggregate Trail Resurfacing Project ($7,000) can be completed in a couple of years. They will contact the Horticulture Society for a donation toward Tree Plantings and Landscaping ($1,000).
After discussion, Mattice prioritized the most needed improvements at Collinwood Park:
a.) Replace Playground ($65,500)
b.) New Vault Toilet ($15,000)
c.) Add Half-Court Basketball ($8,000)
d.) Parking Improvements ($5,000)
Mattice explained that the Campground Surcharge Fund has available funds. Collinwood Park has a Surcharge Fund balance of about $28,000 and Schroeder Park has about $65,000. The Fund was developed so park-specific improvements can be made. Some items that have been funded include paved campground loops, day-use bathroom, and parking and toilet improvements. Mattice anticipated that the Collinwood Park Surcharge Fund will bring in from $10,500-$11,500 in 2009. The Committee asked whether the basketball court will bring in more people. Mattice said it may affect the weekday use. The Campground is full every weekend. The proposed basketball poles, backboards, and rims are estimated at $2,500 including the contractor labor for cement. Another option is to have the Highway Department assist with the cement work. If approval is gained to fund the Playground out of the Capital Projects Fund, Mattice will proceed with writing specifications and holding the public hearing. Recommendation: The consensus is to approve proceeding with the playground equipment replacement ($65,500) to be funded from the Capital Projects Fund. The Vault Toilet ($15,000) will be funded from the Campground Surcharge Fund. Mattice will write the specifications for the Vault Toilet and obtain bids. Mattice should bring cost estimates back to the Committee, along with a list of other items he would like completed and the associated cost.
2) Ney Park. The map reflects a layout of reclamation projects completed in prior years and what is planned for 2009. Some of the projects include native prairie plantings and hardwood seedings. Last year, $4,400 was received from RC&D toward projects. In 2009, the projected cost for reclamation is $24,700 but this may be reduced by $5,000 if additional funding is received from RC&D. RC&D has a $5,000 maximum donation toward projects. Russek said that RC&D may reconsider the threshold based on reclamation plans or something being done for the environment. The County holds an agreement with the former landowner whereby the County uses the person’s equipment to complete reclamation activities. In exchange, the person farms the land to the County’s specifications so the land can be reclaimed. Sawatzke questioned the donations which have been received for tree plantings through the Reclaim Wright County Program. Mattice explained that the effort was bringing in $500-$600/quarter but this has declined. If the County can obtain $5,000 from that group and $5,000 from RC&D, that would reduce the County’s contribution toward reclamation to $14,700. Recommendation: Authorize a not to exceed figure of $20,000 for the reclamation project, noting that whatever funding is obtained through RC&D or other sources (not including the Reclaim Wright County Program) should be subtracted from the $20,000 figure.
(End of 1-27-09 Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Capt. Gary Torfin, Jail Administrator, requested the Board authorize signatures on the 2009 Contract Renewal For Inmate Care with Allina Hospital, dba Buffalo Correctional Services. Contract language changes relate to the amount and the addition of Addendum B (adding a half-time LPN). The additional half-time LPN was requested by the Board last fall. The contract calls for $14,250.00 in monthly payments and reflects a 6.3% increase (not including the half-time LPN position). Torfin said this increase was anticipated and included in the budget.
Sawatzke questioned whether anyone could compete with the contract. Capt. Torfin did not feel this was possible as the Allina Hospital is a local resource that is a not-for-profit organization. The service is excellent and the County has access to the Emergency Room physicians. Torfin said they have been providing excellent service and felt the County would be hard pressed to find something close to their quality. The price does not include care off-site. Eichelberg moved to authorize signatures on the 2009 Contract Renewal For Inmate Care with Allina Hospital, dba Buffalo Correctional Services. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried unanimously.
Capt. Torfin brought forth discussion on the Sentence-To-Service (STS) Contract Renewal. The Contract has not been drafted. STS budget information was provided reflecting the costs to participate in the next biennium. The total cost for the next biennium, beginning 7-01-09, is $75,989 and will be spread into four payments of $18,997. The current Contract runs through 6-30-09. Sawatzke asked whether there has been any discussion at the State level that may change the funding formula due to the State deficit. Capt. Torfin has not received any indication of cuts at this time. Approval today would reflect the County’s commitment to participate in the STS Program and the Contract will be drafted thereafter. Russek referenced a Minneapolis newspaper article indicating that the State will review the Program. Capt. Torfin said the State has quit participating in other STS Programs but he did not feel this will be the case in Wright County. He understands participation is down in some areas. Other areas have developed their own program or partnered with others rather than to contract with the DOC. Russek said the County has realized a lot of value through the STS Program. Russek made a motion to approve the Contract consistent with the costs presented today. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson questioned whether STS time is split evenly between work completed in State Parks and County Townships. He felt that more work is being completed in State Parks. Capt. Torfin said the split is supposed to be 50/50. The DOC sets priorities on projects and a lot of work is completed in Lake Maria State Park. However, the STS Program has assisted with projects with the Highway Department, Jail/LEC, brush cleaning, and wood cutting in the County Parks. Capt. Torfin said requests are provided to the STS Crew Leader who prioritizes them based on the schedule of the requestor. For example, some activities need to be completed on a specific date versus others that are completed on an as-available basis. Projects can be completed outside of County boundaries. The County receives quarterly reports on STS activities. Norman requested clarification on the motion, whether it includes authorizing signatures on the Contract once received. Russek said the motion includes this as long as the costs are consistent with what was presented today. If there are changes, the Contract should be brought back for discussion. The motion carried 5-0.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, presented for approval two resolutions of support for the Wright County Snowmobile Association grant requests to the MN Department of Natural Resources. Mark Posthamas from the Wright County Snowmobile Association was present for discussion. The County needs to act as the legal sponsor for the grants, which will be drafted and submitted by the Wright County Snowmobile Association. The Association will also be responsible for all in-kind and cash matches. The grants will be used for bridge and trail maintenance projects as well as the purchase of new grooming equipment. The resolution states that the County gives authorization as the local sponsor. There will be no cost to the County, however funding will be run through the County (from the State through the County to the Association). Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #09-08, supporting the Application for the Federal Recreational Trail Program and Application for Trail Maintenance Equipment Purchase. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #09-09, supporting the Application for the Snowmobile Trails Assistance Program, Capital Improvement Grants for Bridges, and Trail Shelters. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Mattice requested the Board authorize the Wright County Snowmobile Association the permission and authority to use their incorporated legal name on all issued landowner permits for snowmobile trails maintained by the Association. The MN Department of Natural Resources requires that Wright County, the legal sponsor in this case, be listed on all land owner permits unless the legal sponsor grants permission to a legally incorporated club to exclude the name of the legal sponsor. Mattson moved to approve the request, seconded by Thelen, carried unanimously.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 1-20-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek made a change to the minutes, Page 8, 2nd to last paragraph, 2nd line, should read, “Zbinden verified that a 20 yd dumpster costs between $4-5,000.” Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected and the recommendations. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Norman requested the following change to the minutes: Page 6, 2nd to last paragraph, 3rd line should read, “He stated that as part of his job duties, he is to find a way to utilize the Compost & Recycling Facility property to the greatest potential while trying not to increase staff time during these economic conditions.” Russek and Thelen accepted this change to the motion. The motion carried 5-0. The Board then discussed setting a date to open bids for the truck spreader. Russek moved to schedule the bid opening for the truck spreader for 3-03-09 at 9:30 A.M., seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke inquired whether a minimum bid should be set. Russek did not feel this was needed as the County has the right to accept or reject bids. Mattson had concern that proper notification of the bid opening is made to the farming community. The Public Hearing notice will be placed in the Herald Journal (official newspaper) and Annandale Advocate. Notice will be provided to other areas through reporting of County Board activities. In addition, the notice may be placed in commercial magazines and on the County’s website. Asleson and Bill Stephens, Environmental Health Officer, will publish the Public Hearing notice and make sure it is properly advertised to local people. The motion carried 5-0. Sawatzke said Stephens will also need to include in the advertisement when the truck spreader will be available for viewing. The Committee Minutes follow:
Sawatzke stated that this Committee recessed on 7-29-08 with concerns regarding the size and scope of RW Farm’s proposed Source Separated Organics Composting project. The Committee informed RW that they would entertain the idea of a smaller scaled project that solely took care of yard waste. Stephens distributed the recent proposal (see attached PowerPoint presentation) drafted by RW Farms.
Russ Leistiko, President and Owner of RW Farms, LLC., introduced himself and his son, Brandon Leistiko, Operations Manager. R. Leistiko explained that last summer, he came in to propose a 200,000 cu. yd. capacity Source Separated Organics Composting operation. He listened to the Committee’s concerns and is here today to present a smaller operation that will strictly address yard waste. The new operation would accept yard waste, de-bag it, compost it, and sell it in bulk. RW would provide a gate attendant at the Compost & Recycling Facility, assist in the daily operations of the facility, and sell professionally composted and bagged yard waste from the facility. R. Leistiko explained that he currently operates the composting facility in Mayer and at the Landscape Arboretum. Nearly 40,000 cu. yds. of yard waste were collected at the Mayer site between August and October of 2008 and most of it was sold to the local farmers. Russek commented that the finished product looks like black dirt and is very professional looking.
B. Leistiko gave a PowerPoint presentation (see attached) describing RW’s history and operations. He described R. Leistiko’s working relationship with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and Carver County. He stated that the Arboretum is located within 100 yards of Highway 5. There have been no odor complaints from those that live near or drive by the site. RW has current contracts with Carver County, Hennepin County, and the Cities of Chaska, Mayer, Minnetonka, and Shakopee. RW has recently negotiated a five year contract with the City of Minneapolis.
B. Leistiko stated that RW’s proposal for Wright County is basic. It is a scaled down version of what was proposed in July, 2008. The new operation is to use the west half of the existing hanger building at the Compost & Recycling Facility. The purpose of the work is to operate a regional facility for the processing/de-bagging and composting of woody materials and yard waste. The site capacity will allow for 75,000 cu. yds. annually. The Arboretum has a 20,000 cu. yd. rolling capacity. He explained that the Wright County operation would be similar to the site at the City of Mayer. The materials would be stored on site, processed at once, and then removed at once. RW is proposing to have a full-time employee on site for nine months out of the year. The winter months would be RW’s down time. The gate attendant would receive and screen the delivered materials to ensure that the non-acceptable materials would be removed from the site immediately. No municipal solid waste will be accepted. Yard waste would be accepted from the west metro area (Hennepin, Carver, and Wright). B. Leistiko described the composting process. He stated that they record a lot of their composting data for the U of M’s pilot organics program. He stated that in order to achieve a quality product, a temperature of 131 degrees must be maintained for seven consecutive days. He stated that the active composting process is 10-14 days. The final curing process takes 60-90 days with periodic turning of piles. The finished compost is bagged with a portable bagger and sold in retail outlets, or placed in piles and sold in bulk to landscapers, contractors, and residents.
B. Leistiko stated that at startup, RW is proposing to employ two full-time employees (Gate Attendant and Site Operator) and three part-time manual laborers. During the nine months of full-time operation, RW’s hours of operation would be Monday – Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No deliveries would be received on Sundays. During the slower winter months, RW would adopt the County’s normal operational period of Tuesdays (9-3 p.m.), Thursdays (9-6 p.m.), and the second Saturday of each month (8-noon). He forewarned the Committee that during the busy spring and fall cleanup, RW might extend the hours to accommodate residents and businesses.
B. Leistiko stated that RW’s permitting process is done through the MPCA’s yard waste permit-by-rule process which was done at the Arboretum and City of Mayer. He stated that RW implements operational practices and procedures that minimize and control odors, rodents, insects, onsite litter, and noise.
B. Leistiko stated that RW offers two compensation packages to residents and the County. For residents: RW will continue to accept, at no charge, brush and yard waste from County residents. In turn it will provide a finished compost product to County residents at no charge up to 250 cu. yds. For the County: RW will provide the processing for County non-commercially generated yard waste and brush at no charge. The gate attendant will oversee the recyclables drop-off at no charge to the County as well as manage RW Farms incoming/outgoing materials. RW will pay the County a host community fee of $1.00/ton for all bagged yard waste (not including materials delivered by County residential households).
He gave the following value for the compensation packages:
$12,000 to process residential brush and yard waste.
$ 2,500 for free finished compost. Compost to be picked up on-site by County residents.
$33,000 Gate Attendant’s salary.
$18,000 for bagged yard waste received at the site.
$65,000 total estimated annual compensation.
Sawatzke asked who would pay for the utilities at the facility. R. Leistiko stated that this is something the County and RW could discuss. He added comment that RW would only need to use the portion of the building where the scale was located. All other operations are conducted outside.
Mattson asked how often the non-acceptable waste would be picked up or removed from the site. B. Leistiko responded that the debris would be removed immediately if noticed upon arrival, and the remaining would be removed on a daily basis. Russek asked B. Leistiko how much of the unacceptable material is typically found through this process. B. Leistiko stated that they find approximately 2% of unacceptable materials mixed in with the delivered material.
Mattson expressed his frustration with the landfill and their lack of quality verification of proper deliverable materials. Mattson stated that he has some fear that RW would not properly check the incoming materials. B. Leistiko stated that RW requires its customers to hand pick out the improper materials (i.e. popcans). Both the Gate Attendant and the Site Operator visually inspect the deliveries, and once the material is processed, any garbage is extracted out. The finished product is 99.95% clean.
Eichelberg asked for clarification on the capacity of their new proposal. B. Leistiko stated that the original proposal was for 200,000 cu. yds. and this proposal has been downsized to 75,000 cu. yds. Stephens clarified that the Arboretum processes an ongoing 20,000 cu. yds. throughout the year. The material stays on site for a relatively short time frame. The Arboretum has a continuous flow of materials coming in and out.
Thelen asked Leistiko how much traffic they could anticipate coming into the facility. B. Leistiko stated that during the busy spring and fall clean-up periods, they could anticipate 20 semi loads a day. However, from June to September, he stated that they anticipate three semis a day. There is an expected rush during the early fall and late spring periods.
Eichelberg stated that some cities have their own place where they accept yard waste. He asked if these cities could drop off their materials at no charge. B. Leistiko stated yes if the waste is coming from Wright County residents. Landscapers coming from the cities would have to pay a fee.
Sawatzke asked Stephens how much the County pays annually for its brush to be chipped. Stephens stated that the County has only had to chip brush twice over the past seven years. The first time cost $11,500, and recently it cost $12,000 (approximately $4,000/year). Stephens stated that accepting and composting yard waste is in Craig Mueller’s Compost/Recycle Facility Manager job description. Stephens stated that Mueller’s time could be used more efficiently. He stated that he personally feels that Mueller’s prominent job duty is to handle hazardous waste. He stated that the County does not have the time to turn the composting piles, resulting in a lower quality finished product. The incoming product is not screened as it would be by RW Farms.
Sawatzke questioned RW’s estimated value of their proposed services. He stated that it is his opinion that RW is inflating their value to the County. He stated that 90% of the estimated value for the full-time Gate Attendant would be that of RW Farms. B. Leistiko stated that the County’s current operating hours are only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the second Saturdays. The County pays approximately $15,000 for that service. When RW expands the days and hours to six days a week, the number of residents and the volume of incoming/outgoing product will increase. This increases the value for County residents. Sawatzke responded that he feels the $65,000 overall proposed value is inflated.
Norman asked Asleson if he has reviewed a copy of the proposed lease agreement. Asleson stated that he has not seen a drafted version yet.
Russek asked if RW Farms owns the City of Mayer composting property. R. Leistiko stated that the City owns the property and RW leases it in-kind. RW takes in their yard waste at no charge. He stated that this value will vary as the town grows. He stated that he provides the maintenance and improvements of the property. He put in roads, a sediment pond, and imported gravel. He stated that Wright County offers a nicer facility with good access. Russek stated that the site was originally designed for recycling and is easily accessible from both the highway and freeway.
Thelen stated that she has spoken with some of her residents who have concerns about the potential odor. She asked if RW Farms could assure the residents that their process and product would not smell, or give some assurance of what RW would do if their product does become bothersome. R. Leistiko stated that the product does emit a smell. He stated that when they open up, or stir, the composting piles, a cherry pipe or corn silage aroma will emit. However, RW would not move or stir the piles unless the proper weather conditions call for it.
Russek stated that the City of Mayer site is located next to a housing development. He asked if there were any complaints. R. Leistiko stated that they have not heard any complaints. Zbinden stated that he has worked with R. Leistiko in his operations at the Arboretum and the City of Mayer. He stated that they began their operations at the Arboretum in 2005, opened it up to organics in 2007, and have never received an odor complaint.
Mattson stated that he has concerns that with the Composting Facility sitting in a valley, the odor can hang in the air on a hot and humid day. He stated that turning on one’s air conditioning does not diffuse the odor.
Eichelberg asked if the County would be liable, or would have to carry the insurance for RW’s operations. Asleson stated that as part of the lease agreement, a clause would state that the County would be held harmless.
Sawatzke asked about R. Leistiko’s previous proposal to create wind rows within the hanger building. R. Leistiko stated that the hanger would only be used to separate the incoming loads for the bags. The product would be de-bagged and then placed outside to be ground and stored in stagnant piles. The piles would be turned and then brought back in to protect them from moisture. Sawatzke asked if RW Farms would utilize the bio-filter. R. Leistiko responded that they should not need it.
Mattson asked what authority the County would have over RW Farms if an odor problem does occur. He asked if the County could shut down RW’s operations. Sawatzke stated that with the storing of large piles, it would be impossible to shut down their operations immediately. He repeated Mattson’s concern about the County’s authority over RW Farms if a complaint of odor were to occur. Zbinden stated that the Site Operator records the daily weather conditions and facility activity. In a situation where there is an odor complaint, the complaint would be recorded. RW would then meet with the homeowner and the operator to determine the cause for the traveling odor. Zbinden stated that there are things that a Site Operator can do to remove odor. The City of Mayer is involved in this same type of process.
Russek stated that the County currently uses approximately 25% of the Compost & Recycling Facility. RW Farms is only proposing to use a small portion of the hanger building. He stated that he feels the County needs to make a decision whether to agree to give RW Farms a chance and move forward on working toward an agreement. He stated he is in support of this project.
Eichelberg stated that he is concerned about whether the County would have an out if RW Farms has a ten-year lease, and there becomes a continual odor complaint. He asked if the County would have any authority to break the lease. B. Leistiko stated that the lease agreement could include language allowing for the termination of the agreement. He stated that it would behoove RW Farms to run its operation properly. An odor would only occur during the turning process. He stated that RW Farms would prefer a ten year lease and feels that this demonstrates their desire to have a long-term relationship with the County and to keep a clean operation and facility.
Sawatzke stated that the previous company financially fell on their face and the County did not realize any true benefit from their services. He stated that the previous company had a 10,000 cu. yd. capacity. Stephens stated that the previous company had a lease of 18 months, with a three month extension for clean-up.
Sawatzke stated that he is confident that RW Farms can handle their operation better than the previous company did, however, he would feel more comfortable with a 2-year lease and a maximum capacity of 25,000 cu. yds. He stated that it is easier to start small, gain trust, and then adjust the terms of the agreement at a later date. He stated that it is his opinion that this would be less risky for the County. Stephens asked if Sawatzke is proposing 25,000 cu. yd. of rotating stock, or a 25,000 cu. yd. annual total. Stephens asked B. Leistiko how many cubic yards of material they would have on site, per day. B. Leistiko stated that they would not have any more than 30,000 cu. yds. on site at a time. R. Leistiko stated that he would negotiate decreasing the capacity amount, however, RW Farms could not financially succeed on a total annual capacity of 25,000 cubic yards.
David Peterson, Wright County resident, stated that he has a history with the old compost facility. He stated that his primary concern is the resulting odor of the proposed operation. During the previous operation, a gas leak odor was emitted. He stated that if the odor is truly a silage smell, he could live with that. He stated that the amount of traffic is another concern. He stated that he agrees with Sawatzke’s concern on whether the County would realize a true financial benefit from this agreement.
Russek stated that the previous company ran a 24 hour/7 days a week operation. He stated that RW Farms is suggesting that the only time an odor would emit as a result of its operations is when the piles are turned. Once the piles reach a certain temperature they seal themselves and an odor is not released. R. Leistiko stated that the piles would be turned every three months. He added further comment that RW Farms would produce a check to the County for a host community fee. He stated that RW Farms would pay “real money” to the County because of the agreement.
Sawatzke stated that he would condone setting a minimum host rate since the rate is based on the amount of bagged yard waste received at the site. B. Leistiko stated that the City of Minneapolis procured a five year contract at a guaranteed amount of $18,000. RW Farms would work out a deal with Wright County.
Grace Peterson, Wright County resident, asked why the County would want to increase the amount of traffic along County Road 37. She stated that she currently has concerns about her safety trying to cross the road to get her mail due to the current amount of traffic. She stated that she does not want to see 20 more semi trucks a day on her road. She stated that it is her opinion that the amount of financial benefit to be gained by a relationship with RW Farms is not worth the risk of her life and health. She also stated that she doesn’t like the smell of corn silage.
Russek stated that if the Committee is leaning toward this project, the Ways and Means Committee should meet to discuss insurance and a lease agreement. He stated that if the Committee is not interested in this project, then it should be clearly expressed to RW Farms as to not waste their time.
Sawatzke stated that today’s Committee could take time to think about this project prior to the review of the minutes at a future County Board Meeting. He stated that the Committee is seeing this proposal for the first time today. He stated that he would recommend the Committee members hold their thoughts, gather information, and discuss this further at a future County Board Meeting when the minutes are read.
Stephens stated that he understands that there are a lot of things to think about as related to this project as a result of the history of this site and the landfill. He stated that the resident’s concerns are not unfounded. He stated that as part of his job duties, he is to find a way to utilize the Compost & Recycling Facility property to the greatest potential while trying not to increase staff time during these economic conditions. He stated that he is in favor of a relationship with RW Farms because it would free up staff time to explore other suitable tasks. He stated that the County Board would have to determine if they want to utilize the Compost and Recycling Facility without over burdening the County’s resources. He stated that the original facility was designed to process municipal waste. When it was being run to process municipal waste, it did produce an odor. RW Farms has reliable records that indicate they can manage their product well. He stated that it is his opinion that this venture is worth pursuing. The property would be utilized more effectively. He stated that he thinks the County Board would be impressed with the product RW Farms creates. RW Farms would utilize the same protocols that Hennepin and Carver Counties are using.
Mattson stated that from his discussions with County residents, he’s gotten the impression that people don’t even know that the facility exists. He stated that once the County advertises the site, the residents would start using it. Stephens stated that Mattson is correct. He stated that during his employment at the Compost Facility, he tried to grow the program at a slow pace. His main concern is the safety of staff. Staff is dealing with chemicals that are toxic. He stated that he did not want staff to become inundated with a number of materials. He stated that prior to this proposal, the County was not ready for this size or scope of a project. He stated that he would like to see more staff and more programs at the Compost & Recycling Facility, yet without compromising the safety of its staff. The facility is utilized for off-season storage. Sawatzke stated that considering the facility cost $14 million to construct, it will always be under utilized. He stated that he agrees RW’s proposal would be a great service to the citizens, however, 80 % of the citizens would not use it. Stephens stated that he’d like to expand this.
Thelen stated that she supports the practice of composting. She stated that it is a valued service. She stated that she’d like to see something worked out that would demonstrate RW’s good corporate neighborliness. She stated that with RW, the site would be used for what it was built for. It is a desirable facility for composters.
Eichelberg stated that he is willing to move forward toward working out an agreement with RW Farms. He stated that he would be in favor of drafting the agreement to support a pilot project that would contain an out clause. He stated that he is also willing to do some more research until today’s Meeting minutes are reviewed at a future County Board Meeting. Russek stated that the County has the facility that would facilitate RW’s proposal. If the County Board does not allow them to operate out of its Compost Facility, RW Farms will look elsewhere to operate their service. He stated that it is his opinion that it would be worth giving RW Farms an opportunity to do as they propose. He stated that he is not concerned about the size or capacity of their work, but is most concerned with the control of nuisance odors. He stated that he is not opposed to a ten-year agreement with an out clause. He stated that the Committee has heard from staff who is in favor of the project. He stated that he would recommend the County Board pursue further action.
Sawatzke asked Russek and Eichelberg if they are in support of the project as presented today. Russek stated yes. He stated that the exact terms of the lease agreement and the insurance could be worked out at a Ways & Means Committee Meeting. Eichelberg stated that he too would support moving forward with an agreement.
Sawatzke asked Stephens about the current volume of yard waste the Compost & Recycling Facility accepts annually. Stephens stated that 95% of the volume is brush. He estimated that there was 5-6,000 cu. yds. of tree limbs and etc. He stated that he estimates they take in approximately 3-4,000 cu. yds. of grass and weeds in the fall and spring. During the summer months, he assumed they brought in an additional 2-3,000 cu. yds. of yard waste.
Sawatzke stated that he is not totally opposed to RW’s proposal. He stated that the County needs a balance. He stated that he would assume the majority of the waste was coming from residents of other counties. He stated that he is more cautious about accepting waste from other counties. Stephens stated that the focus of RW’s business would be the west metro area. He stated that with advertising, he does believe the volume would increase. He stated it could be the discretion of RW Farms if they wanted to negotiate with other cities.
Mattson stated that with the facility located within close proximity of the freeway, he is concerned with the amount of traffic. He stated that it is his desire to keep Wright County as a county one would want to live in. He is not in favor of creating a product that could cause people to move away.
Thelen stated that since this Facility is located within her district, she would like more time to conduct research and meet with residents.
Sawatzke stated that he cannot support a project of this size. He stated that he would be in favor of RW Farms scaling down the scope of the project with the idea that RW Farms and the County could change the terms once RW Farms has earned the trust of the County and its residents. Mattson stated that he could not support this project. Sawatzke thanked RW Farms for their time and their presentation.
Sawatzke proposed that today’s minutes be reviewed in two weeks at the 2-3-09 County Board Meeting. After reviewing the minutes at that meeting, action could be decided at that time. The Committee agreed to review the minutes and further discussion at 9:30 a.m. at the 2-03-09 County Board Meeting.
R. Leistiko invited the County Board Members to tour their operation at the Arboretum. That site accepts 20,000 cu. yds. at one time. The product is rotated periodically and he assumed it takes in a total of 100,000 cu. yds. during a twelve month period. Russek stated that he has toured the site at the City of Mayer. Sawatzke stated that he too toured the facility. It was a nice facility, a bit muddy due to the rain, but well managed.
R. Leistiko asked if the County would be interested in selling the truck mounted manure spreader located at the Compost & Recycling Facility. Norman stated that if the County is looking to sell any of its equipment, it might have to go out for bid. Asleson stated that the County would have to put the truck out for bid if it has an estimated value of over $15,000. Sawatzke asked what R. Leistiko thought the truck would be worth. R. Leistiko stated he thought $15-20,000. Stephens stated that the County never used the truck during his employment. Sawatzke proposed setting a minimum bid amount and putting the truck out for bid. Russek stated that he would prefer not setting a minimum and granting the County the right to reject any bids.
R. Leistiko asked if the County would be interested in selling any of its open or enclosed dumpsters. They generally cost $100/yd. Zbinden verified that a 20 yd dumpster costs between $4 – 5,000. Sawatzke requested that Stephens inventory the dumpsters to determine what is available for sale.
RECOMMENDATION: Review today’s Committee Minutes at 9:30 a.m. at the 2-03-09 County Board Meeting. Put the truck mounted manure spreader out for bid.
(End of 1-20-09 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
The Board considered the request to lease a portion of the Wright County Compost & Recycling Facility (WCCRF) by RW Farms. Stephens explained that RW Farms met with the Committee Of The Whole on two occasions to present their request to lease a portion of the WCCRF for a yard waste composting program. The current proposal is for a two-year yard waste operation demonstration lease with an option for extension of the lease if the Board approves of their overall performance. A proposal summary was presented today and at the 1-20-09 Committee Of The Whole Meeting. At the Committee Meeting, it was the consensus to take two weeks to review and accept comment on the proposal.
Brandon Leistiko, RW Farms, LLC, said they took the recommendations from the 1-20-09 Committee Meeting and revised the proposal. It is being reduced from a 10-year to a 2-year demonstration with review after 2 years. If all is going well, an additional 5-year lease agreement will be presented. The proposal is to follow the same terms that the City of Mayer and U of M Arboretum agreements carry, including any other terms as desired by the County. The site layout will remain the same. They will cover any new processing bills that arise (based on review of past utility usage). The quantity will be decreased from 75,000 yards to 30,000 yards on site at any one time. Sawatzke said his impression was that the 75,000 was an annual amount. Leistiko clarified that the amount on site was reduced from 75,000 yards to 30,000 yards, so there will not be more than 30,000 yards on site at one time. In response to Sawatzke, Leistiko indicated that the Arboretum site has about 45,000 yards on site at one time and the Mayer site has about a 100,000 yard capacity at one time.
Leistiko said they are still seeking half of the hanger building, the tarmac, and to operate and maintain the scale. The proposed operations are the same as what is reflected in their previous proposal. One additional thing added relates to gate attendance and the impact of the increased volume of household hazardous waste (HHW) material delivered. It is felt that with expanded hours and the knowledge of the Facility, an increase in HHW materials may be seen. Leistiko said an analysis was performed of truck traffic. It is estimated that an average of 3 trucks/day will travel to the site annually. However, they anticipate 20 trucks/day during the six week window for spring and fall cleanup. From April 1st to December 31st, the truck traffic is estimated at 5-6/day. From January through March, they estimate 1 truck/day. With the extended hours of operation, a breakdown was completed on employment opportunities. RW Farms will seek 8 additional full-time employees from April 1-December 31 to run their bagging operation. Part-time help may be needed from January through the end of March. RW Farms went to the Compost Facility last fall to grind the brush accumulated for the past two years. Since they left on October 12th, it is estimated that an additional 2500 cu. yds. have been brought to the site. At $2/yard processing, this equates to $5,000 in grinding costs for what is currently at the WCCRF. He noted that only $4,000 was estimated annually.
Russek extended appreciation to RW Farms for reducing the size of their proposal per the discussion held at the 1-20-09 Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Mattson was in contact with some people from Mayer who forwarded a 12-09-08 Star Tribune article entitled, “Edina will start recycling organics through winter.” The article reflects that “Edina is piggybacking on an innovative organic recycling program in Carver County expanding collection of compostable materials like food, yard waste and even pizza boxes year-round.” Mattson questioned whether this type of material will be brought to the WCCRF. Leistiko indicated that 1100 households in Edina participated in a pilot program for source separated materials. Those materials are brought to the Arboretum site as part of the pilot project. RW Farms is not permitted to bring source separated materials to the WCCRF. Sawatzke said if this occurred it would also be a violation of the agreement with Wright County.
Eichelberg and Thelen recently toured the Arboretum site. Eichelberg was satisfied with the operation and felt it was worthwhile to attempt the process at the WCCRF. There was no smell. Thelen agreed it was a valuable tour. She described it as a state-of-the-art facility. After the tour, she was in contact with one of the Maple Lake Township Supervisors, Gerald Geibenhain, on neighborhood concerns. Thelen understood that most people would be accepting to use the WCCRF in this manner. At the tour of the Arboretum site, the odor issue was discussed. She understands that material will be turned every three months and only emits an odor on those days. Thelen said that residents can inform RW Farms if they have a weekend activity planned so as to request potentially not turning the material during that time. Thelen said the Wright County Highway Engineer indicated there are about 4,750 vehicles/day and an additional 20 vehicles will not even be noticed. Thelen was impressed with the Arboretum facility which has been recognized in compost trade magazines. The MPCA is also happy with the program.
Thelen questioned the wages of the 8 positions RW Farms will make available. Leistiko said they pay prevailing wage. Sawatzke asked how prevailing wage is determined for someone shuffling through leaf bags. Leistiko said minimum wage is from $7-$8/hour and RW Farms has a base pay of $12/hour. Sawatzke referenced Thelen’s comment regarding neighbors calling if they do not want material turned. Sawatzke suggested that RW Farms avoid this process on weekends so as not to conflict with when most people are at home or outside. Although he does not feel the smell will be bad, he felt it would make more sense to do this on weekdays. Leistiko said with their current facilities, they take into consideration the 5-day weather forecast.
Sawatzke referenced the comment made by Leistiko that the lease would be similar to those held with the U of M Arboretum or the City of Mayer. Sawatzke felt the lease with Wright County will need to be more in depth as RW Farms will be leasing more than bare land. Sawatzke has also toured the Arboretum. His original concern with the proposal was the size of the project. Leistiko confirmed that the proposal is now reduced to 30,000 yards on site at any given time. Sawatzke asked how much material was on site when Hutchinson leased the WCCRF. Stephens estimated about 11,000 cu yards in the fall of 2003 and the material remained until the summer of 2004. Sawatzke asked whether the 30,000 yards will include brush. Leistiko explained it will and that brush will be ground as it is brought in. He said that 30,000 yards will fit in the hanger with room left to operate (on the west half of the hanger). Leistiko said that residents include in their deliveries grass clippings and tree trimmings. During the picking process, brush is pulled. Mattson referenced page 2 of the 1-20-09 Committee Of The Whole Minutes which reflect a total estimated annual compensation of $65,000. Mattson asked whether this amount is still correct. Leistiko confirmed that it is. Sawatzke asked whether wood chips will be provided to residents free of charges. Leistiko said this is not proposed but can be included in the lease. This is part of their revenue, which is mostly used as a bio fuel product (sold to Morris Environmental in Benson or District Energy) that is burned.
Sawatzke questioned how often HHW materials would be accepted if the WCCRF is open daily. Stephens said staff needs some down time to sort materials delivered. How the acceptance hours will be expanded is something that needs to be discussed with staff. He did not envision operating the HHW collections for the full hours the site is open. The recycling portion could be expanded as there is not as much direct oversight required. Sawatzke was concerned that HHW material may be dropped off during non-collection times. Sawatzke asked what hours the WCCRF is permitted to be open. This information was not available at the meeting.
Jeff Young lives 3/4 miles east of the WCCRF and has been a resident since before the WCCRF opened. His concern was with the increased amount of traffic, noise, and smell. He does not want to smell compost and yard waste while cutting hay in the summer. He suggested RW Farms submit a monetary bond to cover violations of noise and smell. Young requested that the WCCRF be left as a recycling center.
Sawatzke asked Asleson whether a bond is practical and whether a better solution would be a shorter lease with the County’s ability to discontinue. Asleson explained that bonds that are seen most frequently are payment performance bonds related to construction projects. He felt bonds can be more hassle than they are worth due to trying to obtain payment from the bonding company. This may especially be true in this case since it involves an operational issue. Asleson felt it would be better to build something into the contract language. Russek agreed. He said RW Farms wants a 2-year lease or trial period. If it doesn’t work, the County can inform them not to bring any more material to the site. To collect on a bond will take a while.
Eichelberg moved to proceed with this and to refer the contract to the Ways & Means Committee. The Committee can then review contract language. RW Farms should provide copies of the current leases held with the U of M Arboretum and the City of Mayer. The County can review and add or delete language as desired. The motion was seconded by Russek. Sawatzke said he can support the motion. He is a member of the Ways & Means Committee so he will be able to include what he feels necessary in the contract language. He said the County entered into something similar with the City of Hutchinson and received no complaints during that time. Sawatzke wanted RW Farms to know that if issues arise, the agreement will come to an end. Thelen said when she attended the tour at the Arboretum, their odor mitigation plan was made available. She felt it was a solid Plan in response to the neighborhoods and how issues will be mitigated. Russek said RW Farms has a history at the Arboretum. There are homes nearby and homes even closer to the Mayer facility. If there were odor issues or other problems, he thought there would be a record of that. He felt confident that the owners are into this for the long haul. Russek supported a 2-year trial period. Sawatzke also supported the 2-year trial agreement. He felt thereafter it should be an annual agreement. He said the agreement should also include an out clause for the County. Those are things that can be discussed at the Ways & Means Committee. Norman suggested that the Committee Meeting be held the last Wednesday of the month to allow time for staff to draft a lease agreement and to be provided examples of other agreements by RW Farms. Asleson and Stephens will work with RW Farms on this. Mattson said he would feel more comfortable if Sawatzke and Thelen had made the motion to proceed because of the Districts they represent. Mattson said it is not in his District. He had concern with what has happened in the past at the WCCRF. He felt the Ways & Means Committee will have a lot of questions. He said the agreement with the City of Hutchinson was supposed to have worked so well. Mattson did not want to ruin the County’s recycling program that is in place. He was also concerned with the truck traffic and its impacts on those who do use the program. He did not want RW Farms use of the WCCRF to compete with use by local residents. Sawatzke felt these were legitimate concerns that can be discussed by the Ways & Means Committee. Relating to the agreement with the City of Hutchinson, Sawatzke said the City did not succeed economically but there were no problems with odor during the nearly two years they were there. Mattson said he could support the motion as long as the agreement is forwarded to the Ways & Means Committee for review. The motion carried 5-0. The Ways & Means Committee will meet on 2-25-09 at 10:30 A.M. to discuss this issue.
A Technology Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 1-28-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Thelen moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Russek talked to the Delano and Howard Lake Fire Departments regarding the operational costs of the 800 MHz system. He said they were shocked on the costs of operation and had not heard anything on the two towers. He said they hoped the Commissioners did not think they were in support of these items as they were just as surprised as the County. The motion carried 5-0:
Swing distributed a handout entitled “Summary of 800 MHz Reoccurring Costs by Year”. Swing introduced today’s topic by stating that they are not looking to solicit any decisions today. Today is simply an opportunity to present the estimates of annual operational costs of the 800 MHz system. The goal is to discuss the reoccurring costs and explore ways to bring down those costs. He stated that the handout is comprised of a summary on the first page; the second and third pages are a detailed account of the reoccurring costs; the fourth page is a survey of how other counties are handling these reoccurring costs. These costs were acquired by Mike Mazzitello, the County’s radio consultant from GeoComm. Swing stated that the numbers presented on the first page of the handout (see attached) are not-to-exceed costs. He stated that as an example, the Motorola Service agreement costs are for a top level service agreement. He stated that the Board might want to evaluate the detail of the agreement in order to determine the service items that the County could live without. He proposed that after today’s review and discussion, the Committee meet again in a month to see the hard numbers. Sawatzke asked if there are reoccurring costs related to the current radio system that would be discontinued once the 800 MHz system is in place. Swing responded that the County currently pays $13,000 annually, and yes, they would discontinue once the 800 MHz system is in place. Mattson stated that it was his understanding that the only groups using the radios would be fire and law enforcement staff. He stated that he was recently informed that persons in Human Services would also have access to the radios. He stated that he has an overall concern on the growing costs involved with the scale of this project, as well as the security of the system if a lot of persons are using the 800 MHz. He asked Swing who was in charge of the 800 MHz system. He stated that the reoccurring costs presented today are over and above the initial package that was presented to the Technology Committee Of The Whole on 7-25-07. He also commented that he never had a maintenance contract on his radio system when he owned his bus company. Swing stated that the inventory of who will have radios is a comprehensive list of fire and law enforcement staff, Public Works staff, and members of the EOC. He stated that this is a fire and safety control system. He stated that they have a count from the cities and townships that wanted radios. He stated that this inventory was accounted for in regard to the bonding. He stated that he was not aware Human Services was looking to acquire radios. He confirmed that they have not earmarked any of the bonded equipment for Human Services. Sawatzke asked what the start up costs would be to operate the radios. Swing stated that the total bond issue from the Auditor/Treasurer is $4.1 million. Sawatzke asked Swing if he knew how long the 800 MHz system would function for the County. Swing stated that he feels confident that the system would accommodate the needs of the County for twenty years. Sawatzke stated that this equates to the system costing the County $205,000 a year ($4.1 million/20 years) to have the system. He stated that the County Board might be feeling shock and disbelief to hear that there will be reoccurring annual maintenance costs that are greater than the cost to have the system itself. Mazzitello referenced the summary costs as posted on the first page of the handout. He explained that the Motorola Service Plan is a top-of-the-line service package. The first two years of service is included as part of their warranty. Motorola offers full network monitoring, trends upcoming service issues, and provides a rigorous scheduling of maintenance. Motorola was unable to be at today’s meeting to explain their various levels of service. He explained that the reoccurring costs related to Microwave, ARMER, and the MnDOT SSA costs are not typically negotiable. The tower site charges for the leasing of towers in Annandale and Howard Lake are relatively common rates. Sawatzke asked if there is any other vendor who could provide maintenance of the system. Mazzitello stated that on a generic level, there are vendors who could fix the individual radios, but the market is limited as to who could service the network. Options could include selecting a lower level of service from Motorola, the County providing its own internal maintenance, or contacting MnDOT to see if they would be willing to offer their technicians to provide such a service. Anoka and Ramsey Counties provide their own maintenance. He stated that as part of the requirements of the ARMER Radio System, technicians must be trained on the system and are the only people allowed to service these types of sophisticated systems. Mattson stated that the County has agreements with Howard Lake to acquire free antenna usage on their water tower. He stated that he thought there were other agreements the County had which offered free usage of local antennas. Mazzitello stated that American Tower has two antennas in Annandale and Howard Lake that are at the height necessary for 95% coverage. He stated that American Tower is offering use of their antennas at a reasonable rate considering that it would cost approximately $250,000 to build a new antenna suitable for the 800 MHz system. Eichelberg asked how these reoccurring costs compare to those being charged in the metro areas. Mazzitello stated that the costs are lower. He stated that each city and county has a different way to deal with their reoccurring costs. Some cities/counties choose to charge back the costs to users on a per unit basis; others absorb the cost. Sawatzke asked if there was always an expectation to lease the Annandale and Howard Lake towers. He stated that it was his understanding that existing antennas in Buffalo, Dassel, and Kimball, were to be used for this project. Mazzitello stated that the antennas in Kimball and Dassel are too far out to achieve the 95% coverage level. Sawatzke stated that paying an annual lease for antenna usage is new information to him. He stated that he is feeling stressed upon discovery of this new information. Russek stated that he too is hearing this information for the first time. Howell stated the team was aware of the potential for a lease for the Annandale and Howard Lake antennas. He added that they have known they needed additional coverage in the western part of the County. Sawatzke also expressed concern regarding the 4% increase in reoccurring maintenance costs each year considering that inflation is in the negative. Sawatzke asked about the length of the warranty for the radio units. Mazzitello responded that a three-year warranty is typical on portable units. Sawatzke asked how much a service warranty would cost in 2012. Mazzitello stated that the cost has not been communicated, however, it is typically $40/unit to extend the warranty. There is a time and material service option for the radios. The newer radios are more complicated and contain microprocessors. There are not very many local vendors that can fix these types of radios and typically they have to be sent elsewhere for service or replacement. Mattson proposed that the Committee Members meet to create a list of concerns regarding today’s discussion. He stated that the Committee could present the list and have the team members reevaluate their concerns. Sawatzke stated that he agreed with Mattson. Mazzitello stated that the team would meet with Motorola in a week to discuss their service plan and contract. He stated that he would encourage the County Board to sit in on the meeting and voice their concerns. Mazzitello stated that perhaps the team could approach Granite and American Tower and ask them to propose better pricing. Sawatzke asked if the team had evaluated alternate sites to use for antenna sources for the 800 MHz project. He proposed that perhaps they look into using a higher quantity of the “free” antennas in lieu of the two expensive taller antennas to achieve the same coverage. Mazzitello stated that the team could bring a report back to the Committee at the next meeting regarding the team’s decision to use the two antennas from American Tower. He stated that the antennas in Dassel and Kimball were too far away. He stated that the height of the two antennas via American Tower would help achieve the proper coverage. He stated that if the Committee could produce ready-made information on the antennas they would propose using, the team could forward the data to Motorola and ask them to predict the level of coverage of the sites. With Motorola’s evaluation, the County would have to weigh the pros and cons of entering into a contract with American Tower. Mazzitello stated that typically these systems tend to over perform. He stated that he would also caution the Board that this should be addressed immediately as they would not want to impact the installation schedule. Mattson stated that he does not feel comfortable telling his constituents that during these economic times, the County will have to raise their taxes to support this new technology. Mazzitello stated that the team would take this request as a directive, target the “free antenna” sites, and come back to the Committee with a response from Motorola. Swing confirmed that the team would address the scope of a redesign. Sawatzke stated that he would suspect other cities would partner with the County in order to provide free use of their antennas in order to receive superior Dispatch service. Sawatzke asked how long the County would be required to enter into a contract with American Tower for the two antenna sites. Mazzitello stated that it would be a five-year contract with renewal terms of 3 additional periods of five years each. Sawatzke asked if the MnDOT Software Subscription Agreement (SSA) costs were non-negotiable. Mazzitello stated yes. This is a cost associated with the network that the State subdivides to its participants. The participants have to pay for the infrastructure to maintain the software on the network. The SSA cost is based on a formula. Norman proposed meeting again on 2-25-09 at 9:00 a.m. to get an update on the antennas, Motorola’s service plans and related costs, as well as negotiated costs from Granite. Russek stated that he heard the Fire Departments would receive a grant to purchase their radios. Swing stated that the radios that will be purchased by the Fire Department grant are not accounted for in the total upfront cost of the system. The only radios that were included as part of the up front costs are those that will be paid back by the cities of Cokato and Delano. Swing explained that each of the cities were notified of their option to purchase their radios through the County. Each of the cities acknowledged the offer, however, only Cokato and Delano chose to bond for their radios. The other cities will finance and purchase the radios directly from Motorola. Sawatzke asked about the status of the E911 fund. Howell stated that it has a substantial balance, however due to State Statute, it cannot be used to fund the maintenance or operation of the 800 MHz system. Swing reminded the Committee that the County would receive a State grant of $719,000 after the 800 MHz is put into place and operational. The payment is expected in 2010. Sawatzke asked if the County bonded for the entire cost of the project, or if it took into account the $719,000. Swing stated that the County bonded for the entire amount. The County can anticipate the grant money and payback from Delano and Cokato. Sawatzke noted that the County might not see the grant money due to the current economic status. Howell stated that this grant was approved in the 2005 Legislature. The payment will be made as a one-time payment after the system has been put into place. RECOMMENDATION: Layover further discussion until 9:00 a.m. on 2-25-09.
Swing stated that the Dispatch Center would be the most challenging office to move. Their technology is far more complicated than any other department. He stated that there is a lot of high-level training and testing involved in the use of the new equipment. He stated that the moving team would like to gain a high level of confidence prior to making the transfer. Swing stated that Gary Miller, County Sheriff, told him that he wants the move done right and feels comfortable with waiting until May, 2009, to accomplish the move. The operations of the Sheriffs Department are not adversely affected by the Dispatch’s location. Mazzitello confirmed that there is more emphasis on the training than what was originally planned.
Swing stated that at an 11-14-07 Ways & Means Committee Meeting, authorization was granted to dispose of public property on www.PropertyRoom.com. He stated that squad car modems would become obsolete at the completion of the upcoming Positron Power Mobile Phase VI. Due to the specialized nature of these items, it was recommended that these items be “auctioned off” using the website, www.PropertyRoom.com. Mattson stated that the website has a vast inventory of items. He stated that it is his opinion that this website would be appropriate for selling equipment that would not sell at a normal public auction. Sawatzke asked if any other City or County would be interested in purchasing these items. Swing stated that because of the uniqueness of this equipment, they were hoping to find a buyer, such as another city or county, via this website. Russek asked Hagerty if the Sheriffs Department has been successful in selling items on this website. Hagerty stated that he is not sure. He stated that the website has been used to sell unclaimed property evidence items. He stated that Sherburne County had success in selling narcotic vehicles on EBay. Howell stated that he too did not know how successful PropertyRoom.com was in selling unclaimed evidence. Sawatzke asked Howell if he knew the value of the modems. Howell stated that there are approximately 75 modems. They were originally purchased for approximately $4,000. He stated that he has no idea what their value would be in today’s market. Mazzitello stated that the market may be limited. Because a lot of cities and counties are moving toward the 800 MHz technology, interested purchasers may only be interested in these modems as a temporary replacement until they can make the move to newer technology. Mattson and Russek asked if there are local or national newspapers that could advertise the sale of the modems. Norman stated that it is his opinion that the web is a more efficient tool in selling these types of specialized equipment. RECOMMENDATION: Pursue on-line police auction via PropertyRoom.com for the sale of squad car modems.
(End of 1-28-09 Technology Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Eichelberg moved to reinstate the half-time position for the Information Technology (IT) Department, seconded by Mattson. Eichelberg said during budget sessions, it was decided that any positions connected to the Jail/LEC would be authorized. The IT Department is down 2.5 staff from what was originally budgeted due to reorganization of the Department. It may take another six months before the job description evaluation process is complete. With the 800 MHz project and the extra work involved with the Jail/LEC, he felt the staff person was needed to assist with the overall workload of the Department. The position is being increased from half-time to full-time for a current employee. Sawatzke referenced the position, stating it is secretarial and he felt that person would not go to the Jail/LEC at all. He referenced the 1-13-09 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting where discussion included the possibility of a hiring freeze or layoffs. Sawatzke referenced statements made in the Committee Minutes by the IT Director reflecting that he appreciated the opportunity for departments to be able to bring back ideas on their budgets to the 2-24-09 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Sawatzke supported letting the process play out. Mattson said he seconded the motion today because of the IT involvement in Dispatch relocation and associated problems. He did not understand that the position involved a half-time secretary. He felt he could have supported the request to move forward if it were for a technology related position. Norman stated the position is titled Office Assistant. Russek had concern that the IT Department was down 2.5 staff. He felt a lot stronger priority would be given to the increase to full-time for another position. He recalled this was discussed at budget sessions. Russek did not favor approving this at this time. Eichelberg stated that with the restructuring of the IT Department and their being 2.5 positions short because of reorganization, his feeling was that this person could cross train to assist with work at the Courthouse. The Office Assistant could work on items in an effort to allow IT staff to work on other things. Sawatzke stated that the IT Department was supposed to submit job descriptions for positions by 4-01-08 to the Administration Department. He understood they were just submitted recently. Those job descriptions need to go to HAY Group for evaluation but Sawatzke said they could have been submitted 9 months ago. The motion failed 2-3 with Sawatzke, Russek and Thelen casting the nay votes.
On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to cancel the 3-17-09 County Board Meeting due to the occurrence of five Tuesdays in March.
Norman brought forth discussion on making the Auditor/Treasurer an appointed position. This was discussed some time ago and as part of the budget sessions this year. A bill was drafted by Asleson for review. If the bill meets approval of the County Board, the Legislative Delegation could be asked to sponsor it both in the House and the Senate. Hiivala said when he campaigned for Auditor/Treasurer, constituents had concerns with the process of electing an Auditor/Treasurer as they felt the position should require qualifications. Hiivala endorsed making this an appointed position but said he respected the rights of the citizens to elect the position. He said his job will not change whether it is elected or appointed, as his responsibilities are set by State Statute. Sawatzke referenced Hiivala’s comment on the position qualifications. He supported minimum qualifications as the position is responsible for managing a $95 million budget. Russek said if the position is changed to an appointed one, the County can then establish criteria for the position and develop a job description. Asleson said that since 2001, ten counties had similar bills passed by the Legislature. The language in those bills is almost identical to the draft being reviewed today. Thelen made a motion to request the Legislative Delegation to introduce a bill which would make the Wright County Auditor/Treasurer an appointed position. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Russek moved to authorize attendance at the Joint Meeting with Legislators being held 2-20-09 at 9:00 A.M. at the Buffalo City Center. It was noted that more than two Commissioners may be in attendance. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0.
Russek moved to adopt Resolution #09-10 for Highway Right-of-Way Plat for CSAH 12 (SP 86-606-13). The Wright County 5-Year Highway Construction Program specifies the right-of-way be acquired in 2009 and that construction commence in 2010. Per Federal and State funding requirements, all right-of-way must be under the control of Wright County before construction bidding. Wright County and the City are considering splitting the project into two parts, with the County responsible for design and construction outside the Buffalo City limits. Wright County will be responsible for right-of-way acquisition for the entire project length. It is preferred that two highway plats be drafted reflecting this division. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Russek moved to schedule a Personnel Committee Of the Whole Meeting on 2-10-09 at 10:30 A.M. to discuss elected officials participation in the Defined Contribution Plan and Social Security. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.
The Owner’s Committee will meet today at 1:00 P.M.
Bills Approved
Brian Abrahamson. $232.24
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 9,632.70
Allina Hospitals & Clinics Sp 283.00
Allina Medical Laboratories 612.30
Alpha Video and Audio Inc. 64,968.20
American Institutional Supply 331.22
American Planning Association 770.00
American Public Works Assoc. 171.25
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 284.96
Anoka County Sheriff 7,290.30
Aramark Correctional Serv 10,954.00
Association of MN Counties 175.00
Astech 276.90
Auto Glass Center Inc. 608.20
Auto. Garage Door & Firepl 302.35
B & D Plumbing & Heating 616.00
Barnes Distribution 809.23
Beaudry Oil Co. 397.80
Chuck Beutler 150.00
Boyer Truck Parts 1,780.75
Buffalo Township 910.40
City Buffalo 6,405.40
Business Ware Solutions 684.83
Catco Parts Service 304.74
Cenex Fleetcard 256.02
Center Point Energy 7,708.12
Centra Sota Lake Reg. LLC 41,985.46
Central McGowan Inc. 143.48
Central MN Mental Health Cen 300.00
Chamberlain Oil Co. 265.31
Chase Communications 157.00
Clearwater Township 716.00
Commissioner of Transportation 150.00
Corinna Township 1,017.40
Country Chevrolet 17,950.00
CPS Technology Solutions 262.00
Craguns Lodging & Conference 409.02
Creative Forms & Concepts 133.18
Cub Pharmacy 286.78
City Delano 17,127.70
Dell Marketing LP 404.97
Dental Care Assoc. of Buffalo 215.00
Dustcoating Inc. 16,614.00
E Central Regional Juvenile 21,252.24
Ecolab 567.65
Embarq 190.95
Dale Engel 900.00
ESRI 19,566.90
Fastenal Company 285.79
First State Tire Recycling 1,429.37
Frontier Precision Inc. 40,907.81
Gap Holdings LLC 4,800.00
Janet Gholson 252.76
Gould Bros. Chev-Olds 149.10
Grainger 4,527.44
Katherine Hallet 140.00
Hawk Labeling Systems 144.05
Denny Hecker Auto Mall 20,304.00
Herc-U-Lift 8,669.10
Hillyard Floor Care Supply 4,879.43
Louis Huber 150.00
International Assn. of Assessin 175.00
Interstate Battery Systems 379.78
Intoximeters Inc. 102.16
Kennametal Inc. 15,454.22
Klatt True Value Electric 204.25
Kris Engineering Inc. 13,589.17
Lawson Products Inc. 623.79
Carol Lostetter 100.00
M-R Sign Company Inc. 231.08
City Maple Lake 1,145.20
Marco 211.83
Marco Inc. 5,012.13
Charles Marx 150.00
Marysville Township 814.40
Joseph May 8,120.00
Menards - Buffalo 414.84
Middleville Township 585.00
MN Assn. of County Officers 385.00
MN Attorney Generals Office 191.43
MN CLE Inc. 109.70
MN State Bar Association 119.28
Monticello Township 2,908.75
Morries Parts & Service Grp 1,206.99
Motorola Inc. 622,345.52
Mountain Stream Sports & Ap 102.98
MSPE 315.00
M80 LLC Attn Bob Muller 1,030.00
Nextel Communications 1,252.95
Mark Nolan 103.95
Office Depot 2,007.94
City Otsego 108.13
Gerald Paulsen 6,700.00
Pearson Education 254.19
Performance Kennels Inc. 171.19
Performance Office Papers 528.77
PX Products 162.52
Frank Ramacciotti 800.00
Regions Hospital 5,538.47
Roof Spec Inc. 2,122.00
Shell Fleet Plus 237.21
Software House International 189.57
Sprint 6,880.16
St. Cloud Stamp & Sign Inc. 116.12
City St. Michael 5,389.80
Walter Stephens Jr. Inc. 2,343.25
Stockholm Township 373.20
Taser International 350.00
Rose Thelen 114.14
Total Printing 555.08
TW Vending Inc. 107.57
Uniforms Unlimited 1,155.37
Walmart Store 01-1577 597.78
Wolf Protective Agency Inc. 485.64
Wright County Highway Dept. 572.61
Wright Hennepin Co-op Elec 4,633.72
Xcel Energy 2,760.62
20 Payments less than $100 882.83
Final total $1,067,692.08
The meeting adjourned at 11:02 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal March 9, 2009.

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