Wright County Board Minutes

March 3, 2009
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 a.m. with Sawatzke, Thelen, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the minutes of 2-24-09 as presented.
The following items were petitioned onto the Agenda: Items for Consid. #3, “Authorize Conference Attendance for Wayne Fingalson.” (Russek). On a motion by Eichelberg, seconded by Russek, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. On a motion by Thelen, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Davis, I.T.; L. Schallock, Rec.; E. Faust, K. LaFromboise, D. Weed, A. Weis, Sher.
2. Claim, Willen Inc., $1,275.00 (Service thru 2-22-09, Jail/LEC Commissioning).
3. Claim, KKE Architects, Inc., $5,140.91 (Jan. 2009 Service, Jail/LEC Project).
1. Set Letting Date For 2009 Overlay Contract (0901) For 4-07-09 @ 9:30 A.M.
1. Refer To Personnel Committee Report On 2-13-09 Olmstead County Site Visit
RE: Telecommuting.
2. Schedule Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting For 3-31-09 @ 2:30 P.M. RE: 800 MHz System.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, submitted the claims listing for approval. The claims’ listing was discussed. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried unanimously.
Eichelberg presented the 2-25-09 Personnel Committee minutes and recommendations. At Today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the recommendations made by the Personnel Committee, seconded by Thelen. The motion carried 5-0.
I. Performance Appraisal, Greg Kramber, Assessor.
RECOMMENDATION: Based on review of four Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends on overall rating of “Exceptional”.
II. Performance Appraisal, Bill Swing, IT Director.
RECOMMENDATION: Based on review of four Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends on overall rating of “Exceptional”.
III. Performance Appraisal, Richard Norman, County Coordinator.
RECOMMENDATION: Based on review of four Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends on overall rating of “Exceptional”.
(End of 2-25-09 Personnel Committee Minutes)
Richard Norman, County Coordinator, stated that he received a letter from Michael Kraus, Kandiyohi Development Partners that was dated 2-20-09. Krause is asking the County Board to postpone further action on their request. Currently, evaluations need to be completed to address questions and concerns that were presented during the County Board and Rockford Township meetings. Kraus is requesting a postponement until further notice. Sawatzke commented that Rockford Township denied the request for exemption on their personal property tax and attached machinery. Mattson stated that Kandiyohi Development Partners were going to be on the Buffalo School Board agenda. After meeting with the School Superintendent and the business manager, they decided not to give a presentation to the School Board.
Russek spoke with Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, and Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer, in regard to attending upcoming conferences. At a previous Board meeting discussion took place regarding Fingalson attending the NACE Conference and the Washington Fly-In Conference. Russek stated that the County’s policy permits an employee to attend one out of State conference per year. Fingalson will need to decide which conference he would like to attend. Russek moved to approve Fingalson’s attendance at one conference of his choice, seconded by Thelen. Mattson stated that attending conferences out of state is costly. Russek stated that if Fingalson chooses to attend the NACE Conference in Peoria, Illinois, that he would be carpooling with other engineers from the area. Eichelberg questioned if Fingalson was informed that he can attend only one out of State conference. Sawatzke questioned the dates of the conferences and wants to be sure that no monies are lost if reservations have been made for the Washington Fly-In Conference. Eichelberg stated that he hopes that if Fingalson does not attend the Washington Fly-in, that it will not jeopardize Wright County from receiving funds from the Stimulus Package. The motion carried 5-0.
Darrin Lahr, Routing Lead, and Tim Carlsgaard, Communications Manger, CAPX 2000 provided an update to the Board on the transmission line from St. Cloud to Monticello. Carlsgaard stated that CapX2020 is a joint initiative of 11 transmission-owning utilities in Minnesota and the surrounding region to expand the electric transmission grid to ensure continued reliable and affordable service. Planning studies show that customer demand for electricity will increase by 4,000 to 6,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020. The new transmission lines will be built in phases designed to meet this increasing demand as well as to support renewable energy expansion. The first group of CapX2020 projects (Group 1) is comprised of three proposed 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines, including the Fargo-St. Cloud-Monticello line, and a proposed 230-kV line. Carlsgaard stated that there were four projects that were proposed in August, 2007. It is about 700 miles and a 1.7 billion dollar investment in 2007 dollars. The projects address local reliability issues, including surrounding metro areas that have seen growth over the last several years. The project started in 2006 by contacting communities that would be involved. Public out reach has been very strong including contacts with commissioners and townships and last year 130 meetings took place.
Carlsgaard stated that there are two permits needed in Minnesota, a Certificate of Need (CN) and a Route Permit. The CN was submitted to the Public Utilities Commission and an Administrative Law Judge was appointed in August, 2007. The Administrative Law Judge, working with the Department of Commerce, hosted 19 public hearings in 2008. Additional hearings were held in St. Paul for anyone that was opposed to the projects. Recommendations were received from the Administrative Law Judge and were in support of the Fargo-Monticello Project. The next step is that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MN PUC) will take the report and schedule a public hearing. The final ruling for the need factor will be provided sometime in May, 2009. Lahr stated the need process usually comes with resistance. This year the Department of Commerce stated that in general projects are too small. Discussions took place around making this project larger by increasing voltage or double circuiting. Lahr stated that problems transpire as voltage is increased and the size of the structure and the right-of-way on ground also increases. CapX2020 is proposing 345-kV double circuits which are supported by the Administrative Law Judge. The double circuit tower structures will accommodate future growth if needed. The routing process involves mapping resources, identifying opportunities and constraints within the project study area, and evaluating each alternative. The CapX2020 Utilities Department plans to submit a Route Permit application for the St. Cloud-Monticello segment in March 2009; a Route Permit for the Fargo-St. Cloud segment will be submitted in the early summer of 2009.
Lahr stated that the State requires two alternative routes to be filed with an application. The primary route has been outlined and is adjacent to the interstate. This route would start at the Monticello nuclear power plant and follow the railroad track grade, jumping over the interstate and then parallel the interstate up to the new substation located in St. Cloud. The second route is partially on the interstate and partially off the interstate. Working with how far the line structures would have to be off the road, Mn/DOT suggested a third route to be specified completely off the interstate. If the State decides that the line structures should not be aligned with the interstate, they need to have a proposed route in place. Lahr stated that a 1,000 foot wide corridor has been applied for, however only 150’ will be used for the actual easement when the project is completed. Mn/DOT has concerns that the line structures are being installed to close to the interstate. Lahrs stated that normal construction is 5’ outside of the right-of-way. The line structure does have arms located near the top that will hang into the right-of-way. The application being submitted provides data for three scenarios for the alignment of the poles at 5’, 25’, and 75’ from the interstate right-of-way. It is noted that the closer the construction takes place to the interstate the less impact it will have on the population. Sawatzke stated he is in agreement with the construction taking place closer to the interstate. He questioned if Mn/DOT has the authority to deny construction along the interstate. If so, does the County have the ability to state the effects this project would have on County, Township, or City roads. Lahr stated the Federal Interstate Highway System (FHWA) states that the County would maintain the day to day operations of the right-of-way. The County would have to provide an Accommodation Policy which would be followed by Mn/DOT. Currently Mn/DOT has an Accommodation Policy which states that they do not want any longitude installations on an interstate unless there are no alternating factors. Mn/DOT’s authority comes from this FHWA policy. The rules appear different depending on the nomenclature of the road and that the Public Utility Commission has the final word. Carlsgaard stated that sometime in March, 2009, the application including the three-route option will be reviewed. Scoping meetings will be held to start putting together an Environmental Impact Statement. At that time, additional routes will be presented to the public for further discussion. Once the process is approved the information can not be changed. Citizen Advisory Task Forces will be conducting meetings and representatives will be needed from local governments and the community. These meetings will discuss concerns or ideas for route options. Thelen stated that Clearwater and Silver Creek Townships are supportive of the route closest to the interstate. It was suggested during a Transportation Committee of the Whole Meeting that Mn/DOT be contacted after obtaining the specifics on their request to build so far off the interstate. Discussions involving safety have taken place and it is felt that it is safer if the lines are away from public areas. Lahr stated that the proposed routes are established using State guidelines. Russek questioned if Mn/DOT will allow the lines to cross the interstate. Lahr stated that this is correct. Russek questioned if there is any danger with stray voltage for surrounding farm communities. Lahr stated that stray voltage is not associated with transmission lines. The State of Minnesota has standards that will be followed.
Lahr stated that the State of Minnesota has renewable energy standards. There will be certain renewable energy targets that need to be completed by certain dates. They are actively involved in conservation programs that are voluntary to customers. Carlsgaard summarized that in March, CapX2020 will file the Route Permit. Letters and maps will be mailed to property owners that are within the corridors. The same letter will be mailed to local government officials. In addition, all information is available on the CapX2020 website. Mattson questioned that if the project results in any property damage, that the damage will be corrected. Carlsgaard stated that CapX2020 will be working with the land owners regarding easement and damages to property.
At 9:45 A.M. Commissioner Sawatzke closed the regular meeting for a Public Hearing.
Mattice stated today’s Public Hearing is for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park application to the Regional Parks Grant program through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Local Grant Program Unit. The Public Hearing is part of the application process.
A brief history on the background of this project: Wright County and the City of Monticello have been working together since 2005 to explore the feasibility and process to purchase the Bertram Chain of Lakes area from the Young Men’s Christian Association of Minneapolis. Since that time we have been successful in being awarded $1.2 million in grant funds from the LCCMR and the Metro Green Ways Program. These funds were used, along with local funds, to acquire an initial 319 acres of land and water in 2008.
The remaining 881 acres of the property is under the ownership of the YMCA for the operation of its day camp facility. The entire area is located in Monticello Township and encompasses four undeveloped lakes (Bertram, Long, Mud and First). The remaining purchases are contingent upon State funding and other grants, as well as local funding match requirements from the County and the City.
At this time, Wright County and the City of Monticello have an agreement with the landowner to purchase the remaining parcels over the next few years as funding from grants become available. Together we have established the order these parcels will be purchased when we are successful with being awarded grant funds.
As stated earlier, the remaining parcels to be purchase include 881 acres. The agreed upon price was established through the appraisal process. The remaining balance for the complete acquisition is $16.9 million. The grant application request is for $7.8 million with the remaining portion of funds being divided equally between Wright County and the City of Monticello ($4,550,000 each). The County’s share of the local match including the 2008 purchase will have about a $7/year impact on a home valued at $200,000. The City has done a similar cost analysis for their share of the local costs associated with the purchase.
Again the grant request is for acquisition only. The acquisition schedule according to the Agreement should be completed by December 31, 2013, allowing time to solicit non-local funding for the project. The order of purchases depends heavily on the amount of funds awarded. The purchase order for the remaining parcels is as follows:
Parcels 7, 1, 2
Parcels 8, 9, 10, 12
Parcel 5
Parcel 4
Parcel 3
The schedule depends entirely upon funding levels, and may need to be adjusted if funding levels do not meet the cost of the individual parcel listed. Future costs associated with this project will include facility development, operations, maintenance, natural resource management, and restorations.
The County and the City have begun developing a process to gain public input and participation in the park planning process. There will be a series of public input meetings as well as an advisory council appointed to steer the planning process. The process should begin late spring or early summer. Depending on the type of recreational activities and facilities that are incorporated into the park it is anticipated that the annual operating and maintenance costs, including staffing, may be around $125,000 per year. In addition, there may be revenue to assist in offsetting these expenses.
The grant application is anticipated to be submitted on March 15, 2009, upon approval and support from the County Board and City of Monticello.
The last order of business is for the Board to adopt a resolution authorizing the submittal of the grant to the Department of Natural Resources for funding, and to give the Parks Administrator the authority to execute agreements.
The Public Hearing was then opened for public comment. Craig Grimly, Monticello, stated that he does not see the theory behind spending $10 million dollars on another park. The YMCA currently offers horseback riding, dirt bike riding, and community activities and purchasing the YMCA property will not offer any additional activities. He stated that Wright County probably has more parks per capita than any other County in the State. He feels this money could be used more efficiently. Currently, the City of Monticello has Montissippi County Park and Harry Larson County Park. Grimly feels that purchasing an additional 900 acres of park lands is not feasible. He commented that the public should have been given the opportunity to voice their opinions before the Agreement was finalized. Bob Grown, Monticello Township, stated that currently Monticello does not have a swimming beach. There is no place for kids to hang out during the summer time. Sawatzke stated that a swimming beach is part of the plan and that meetings will take place to get the public’s input on how land is developed. Grown is interested in having an area that offers a variety of activities, including picnic areas, volleyball courts, and a swimming beach. He understands that the County is the developer and he supports the project. Chris Hatfield, Monticello Township, feels that he speaks for many residents. He supports the project, however, he feels that public communication and announcements of public hearings should be more proactive and include the neighboring communities. Going forward, he hopes the public is involved more. Jeff Young, Monticello Township, questioned the purchase price of the property. He stated that the price of property in Monticello Township has decreased dramatically and questioned if the purchase price is negotiable. Sawatzke stated that the property was acquired for less than half the price per acre than what bare agricultural land was selling for a few years earlier. Young stated that residents are concerned about what the purchase of this property will do to surrounding properties. Grimly questioned why the County is spending $10 million on a swimming area. Sawatzke stated that if the County, City, and State did not purchase the property it would have been sold to a developer. The County did not step forward to purchase the property until the YMCA was approached by developers. Reference was made to the $200 increase in taxes that was reported in the local paper. Sawatzke stated that the entire project will increase the County share of taxes on a $200,000 home by about $7.00 a year if bonded. Mattice stated that the City of Monticello has completed a construction evaluation. Grimly questioned if there will be charges to the public to use the park. Mattice stated that the County only charges for overnight camping. Grimly stated that the public is being asked about what to do with the land, but feels the public should have been asked if the land should be purchased. He feels that there should have been a referendum allowing the public to vote on whether the land should be purchased.
Mattson commented that he does not support the project. He does feel that meetings have been held and dates and times were made available to the public. He stated that attendance was good at an informational meeting held at the Monticello City Hall. People were available to explain the project and answer questions. Thelen stated that there is a significant need to preserve park land. Areas are developing rapidly and this property would have been sold and developed. Russek agreed and stated that if the County did not purchase the property, it would be purchased by another entity for development.
Tom Salkowski, Planning and Zoning Administrator, congratulated the Board for having the courage to do the right thing by purchasing this piece of property. He stated that studies, from all over the country, have shown that property values increase with the number of parks available. He stated he would be proud to live in the County with the most parks per capita.
The Public Hearing closed at 10:11 A.M.
Mattice stated that the Monticello web page is updated regularly with meeting dates and informational items. Currently, meetings are being scheduled to invite the public to the site for review, to listen to public opinions, and to take a survey on park development. After the information has been reviewed, there will be another meeting to develop a steering committee. Sawatzke stated that information has been published in the paper and there have been numerous meetings available to the public. It has always been the goal to preserve the property. The County stepped in to purchase the property when it became a possibility that the land would be sold and developed for housing.
Mattson stated that a resolution was not on the Agenda and questioned if the Board can move forward with a vote. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, stated that the Board can proceed with a roll call vote on the resolution. Mattice stated that he needs the Boards approval to submit the grant application. Thelen moved to adopt Resolution #09-14 authorizing the County to act as the legal sponsor for the Bertram Chain of Lakes project. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson stated that the County is being asked to cut costs and he is concerned that the money being saved will be used towards this purchase. It is difficult to support an expensive project during the current state of the economy. Russek questioned when the County will need to provide funds for this project. Mattice stated that the County has until 12-31-13 to come up with the funds associated with the acquisition. If the Non-Regional Grant funds get approved, it allows the County to use the money over three years. The motion carried 4-1 on a roll call vote with Mattson casting the no vote.
The Board Meeting recessed at 10:20 A.M. The Board Meeting resumed at 10:30 A.M.
Asleson requested that the Board adopt changes to the Wright County Tobacco Ordinance Action Plan. At its 2-24-09 meeting, the Board discussed possible changes to the Action Plan, which was adopted by the Board back in 1998 to accompany the Wright County Tobacco Ordinance. Changes discussed involved responsibility for issuance of violation notices being shifted from the Auditor’s Office to Public Health. The matter was laid over for one week to allow the County Attorney’s Office to make the suggested changes. Asleson stated that the document was revised and the following changes were referenced: Page 1, Item I-B-3, reads “The applicant must pay a fee as determined by the County Board (currently $150.00).” He stated that the amount has increased from the previous $75.00 fee. Page 1, Item I-D, Asleson stated that originally licenses were issued for a period of one year from the date of issuance. Currently they are issued on a calendar year basis. Changes were made to reflect notices being sent out in November of each year. Page 2, Item II-B reads, “In the event that a violation occurs during a compliance check, Public Health and the Sheriff’s Department will gather information…charges.” Asleson stated that Public Health was added as Public Health maintains a database on all violations. Page 2, Item IV, A, 1, was changed to “Notice to the retailers and their employees will be issued by Public Health.” Previously, the Auditor’s Office issued notices. Page 3, Item IV, B, reads “The County Auditor will be responsible for collection of the administrative fine from retailers and their employees. If there are problems collecting the fines, the County Attorney’s Office may assist in the collection effort.” Previously, it stated that the office issuing the notice of violation will be responsible to collect fines. The Board felt it was appropriate that the Auditor’s Office collect the fines. Item V, A, was changed. The way the ordinance is written that if there is a violation the Board can hold a hearing or appoint a hearing officer and get a report from that hearing officer. The change reflects that the County Board may appoint a hearing officer. Asleson stated that item V, B, 3, was added and reads as follows, “If the hearing is conducted by a hearing officer, that the hearing officer shall issue a report to the County Board, which will make the determination as to whether a violation occurred.” Mattson questioned what the difference is between a first time offender and a notice of violation to a minor. Asleson stated that Court Services handles their violations through a diversion program and that many violations are handled without paying a fine. Mattson stated that Court Services would be the diversion tobacco educators. Mattson questioned if there is an appeal process for minors. Asleson stated that there is an appeal process they can follow if a fine is received. This is not an ordinance but will be used as a working document for the various departments that are involved with enforcement. Russek moved to approve the changes to the Tobacco Ordinance Action Plan, seconded by Eichelberg. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattson presented the 2-25-09 Ways and Means Committee minutes and recommendations. Sawatzke stated that others were present at the meeting, but they did not speak. This item will be discussed at the 3-24-09 County Board Meeting. At Today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson moved to approve the minute recommendations made by the Ways and Means Committee, seconded by Russek. The motion carried 5-0.
I. Discuss Contract Proposal To Lease A Portion Of The Compost & Recycling Facility For Yard Waste Composting.
Asleson provided an overview of the draft “Compost Site Lease Agreement Between Wright County & RW Farms, LLC” (attached). Asleson prepared the draft based upon examples of Agreements that RW Farms holds for facilities at the City of Mayer and the Arboretum. Language was incorporated from other general lease documents, as well as suggestions made by the County previously at Committee Of The Whole and County Board Meetings. The following is a summary of specific items pointed out in the Agreement by Asleson:
1. Leased Premises. Asleson included reference to acres of land. He felt it would be easier to reference a drawing rather than to draw up a legal description. The aerial photo will need to be revised to reflect a different perimeter line around the hanger building, use of the truck scale, and use of a portion of the office building.
2. Term. Asleson said the Committee Of The Whole talked in terms of a two-year Agreement.
4. Use of Leased Premises. The Agreement reflects a general description of the use of the leased premises by the tenant. The Agreement was patterned after the City of Mayer contract. It is assumed that the terms yard waste and woody material means trees, brush, etc. The tenant will also use the premises to conduct sales of the finished product in bulk and bagged quantities.
5. Hours of Operation. The Agreement states the proposed hours of operation and that extended hours of operation must be approved in writing by the County. Asleson said if the County wishes to include language on the hours a commercial truck can unload, this is the logical place for it to be incorporated.
7B. The language will be changed to reflect, “Tenant will provide a gate attendant who will manage the incoming and outgoing yard waste and compost material, as well as overseeing and assisting operations for the County recyclables drop-off area.”
8. Host Community Fee. This reflects what the tenant shall pay the County for bagged yard waste not including materials delivered by Wright County residents on an individual household basis. Asleson said the County will need to determine method of payment and how often.
10. Surrender of Premises. This section addresses the removal of all personal property and equipment, including yard waste and compost at the end of the lease, and that the lease premises must be in good condition. Asleson said there are some things that will involve wear due to use (i.e., the pad’s asphalt surface).
13. Utilities. Asleson was unsure as to the language in this section, as utilities have been previously discussed. He was unsure whether the Board wanted the Agreement to include utilities for the scale and administration building. Stephens said there is only one meter for the Facility which is located behind the processing building.
14. Environmental Requirements. The Agreement reflects that the Tenant is responsible for monitoring the Leased Premises and complying with all applicable environmental regulations. No hazardous waste shall be accepted and all non-compostable material such as plastic bags, landscape fabrics or unacceptable waste shall be removed and hauled to a licensed disposal site. Asleson said the remainder of the language in this section is comparable to that seen in other lease agreements relating to use. The last sentence reflects that the tenant warrants that the only Hazardous Material to be used on the Leased Premises is diesel fuel to run Tenant’s equipment.
16. Odor. Asleson said that since the County is not operating the composting operation, complaints will be forwarded by the Planning & Zoning Office to RW Farms. RW Farms will be responsible to meet with the person registering the complaint. Asleson said an odor mitigation strategy is included in the attached documents and should be incorporated into the lease.
19. Notices. The County will need to determine a contact person for notices and communications required or permitted under the Agreement.
Asleson said that the Agreement could include language that would more specifically define what type of assistance RW Farms will provide to the County’s recycling program. This may evolve through time.
Brandon Leistiko, RW Farms, added the following comments on the draft Agreement:
4. Use of Leased Premises. RW Farms could utilize the Fine Treatment Building and additional revenue could be generated if the trowel were repaired. Leistiko said they have their own screen but it would be beneficial to use the one on site.
8. Host Community Fee. Leistiko suggested a quarterly payment.
13. Utilities. Leistiko said RW Farms will be responsible for the entire utility bill for the Facility. He felt it would be too hard to determine the percentage used by various portions. Stephens estimated utility costs to run $600-$800/month.
Mattson asked Leistiko why they are looking to expand into Wright County. Leistiko explained they would like to expand their business and are reviewing numerous locations. He labeled Wright County’s Facility as a “composter’s dream” being that it is a hard surface and in close proximity to a major highway for material transfer. He felt use of the site will also allow haulers and cities a place to bring material. Mattson asked whether they are restricted to 20,000 cubic yards on site at the Arboretum. Leistiko said this is correct but they currently only have 8,000 cubic yards at the arboretum and 30,000 cubic yards at Mayer.
Sawatzke referenced the Fine Treatment Building. Stephens said this portion of the Facility was not used with the Hutchinson project. There are some items that may need refurbishing including electrical and the fire suppression system.
Norman said that 1-2 years ago, Safety Director Mark Nolan completed extensive work with MCIT on redesignating the Facility as a storage building, thereby reducing greatly the premiums (from $50,000 to $5,500). If the County is looking to add use of the Facility in a different manner, the County may realize a significant increase in insurance premiums. Asleson will work with Nolan to have the draft Agreement reviewed by MCIT. The question may relate to the increased activity on site versus the use of the building. He felt with the indemnification language and insurance provided by RW Farms, it may have a smaller effect on the insurance premium than anticipated.
Sawatzke asked for clarification on rent due to the County. Leistiko said RW Farms has been guaranteed 18,000 tons of bagged yard waste through the Minneapolis contract.
Mattson said a Planning & Zoning Commissioner in Carver County toured the Arboretum site. During the tour, black plastic was discovered at that site. Mattson said it was his understanding that all deliveries were checked for unacceptable materials but it appears this is not the case. Leistiko stated the black plastic is from the food waste side of the operation, not the yard waste operation. They are separate entities. Mattson asked whether the 2-28-09 informational meeting being hosted by RW Farms at the City of Mayer site is a result of the complaints received. Leistiko stated the City of Mayer facility demonstration project is for food waste, which is not being proposed for Wright County. The initial piles of the food waste operation were done incorrectly and some odor occurred. Since that time, they have met with those concerned and addressed these odor compliant issues. He invited Wright County to attend the open house.
Jeff Young, Monticello Township resident, said he made a site visit. He distributed a sheet reflecting problems that have been associated with the RW Farms operation in Mayer (attached). He also visited with neighbors on all sides of this site. He said people are very upset with the bags, waste and odor. They were told 10% food waste was involved. He was not sure if RW Farms has a permit for MSW at that facility.
Young was unsure whether RW Farms was being truthful. He encouraged Wright County officials to look into this deeper and to contact those listed to discuss problems at the Mayer facility.
Marcus Zbinden, Carver County Environmental Services, said he could address some of the concerns brought up on odor issues. Carver County administers two demonstration projects including the Arboretum and the Mayer sites. These are MPCA approved. The demonstration project was specifically geared toward organic materials including food waste and non-recyclable paper. The majority of the material going to the Arboretum site is residential organics picked up by yard waste vehicles. The material is mixed with yard waste when it gets to the site. The majority of the material going to the Mayer site has been commercial organics from institutions, schools, and restaurants. The sites were set up to help the MPCA draft new rules going forward for organics composting. These are new technologies so they are experiencing growing pains. Zbinden said they have implemented the complaint resolution form. They met with the City and they approved of the process used to address the complaints. The Mayer City Administrator has been working with the County and RW Farms to address the concerns of neighboring properties. There is a meeting set up on 2-28-09 to meet with those people listed on the form that Young provided. Zbinden said they were contacted by those people as well. The majority of the complaints occurred when the organic piles were turned. The plan is to draw back on the organic material from that site. They will meet with neighbors on Saturday to outline their step-by-step process to eliminate the issues. He knows the neighbors have concerns with odor. With what RW Farms plans to do and with the City’s approval, the odor issues should be resolved.
Mattson asked Stephens if he knew how much it cost to operate the site the past two years. Stephens said he has not broken down the numbers between the operations of HHW, recycling, and composting. The composting portion results in the least program cost. That is primarily because they do not actively promote the program. Residents have been allowed to drop off yard waste and cut brush. As time permits, they turn the pile. The pile can grow to several hundred cubic yards. By spring, it is broken down fairly well and the pile is depleted by early to mid July. They let the brush pile accumulate until they get about 4000-5000 cubic yards. A contractor then grinds the material into mulch. It costs the County money to run that part of the program. Mattson said if the RW Farms proposal goes through, he does not want the County taxpayers to incur any expense above current costs. Stephens said as it is being proposed, the staff time spent on composting, yard and brush waste will not occur. It would free up County staff to work with the recycling and HHW programs, possibly expanding the hours as they will no longer need to commit hours to the yard waste composting portion.
Mattson referenced the operational hours (7AM-5PM) proposed by RW Farms. His opinion was that the hours should not be prior to 9AM and not after 4PM. He referenced the traffic on CR 37 and CR 12. He was unsure as to the number of trucks that would be hauling each day. Mattson referenced the past problems with the Compost Facility. Stephens understood Mattson’s concerns and those of the neighbors. He said he did not feel too many people would disagree with Mattson that the Compost Facility historically did not meet expectations and that there have been more problems than it is worth. However, the County is trying to find a way to utilize the Facility more efficiently and possibly produce a better product than what is being done currently. With regard to traffic, he said the Wright County Highway Engineer has stated there are several thousand vehicles that use CR 37 each day. During peak season, RW Farms proposal states that 20-25 trucks per day will come in. He understood where people may have issues with the traffic. They are looking to utilize the Facility to the best benefit for Wright County residents. Mattson did not want Wright County to be a dumping station. It has been peaceful at the Facility for a couple of years. He said the cost may result in a break even scenario but there would be odor and other issues to contend with. Stephens said he would have to defer to others to answer what is best financially for the County. They are trying to find a balance and hoped these meetings will help to come to some sort of resolution.
Kevin Yonak lives 1/2 mile east of the Facility. He felt he will be greatly affected by the proposed use and had concerns with the Lease Agreement. He previously was granted a CUP and the area was defined by square footage. Yonak said this is not reflected in the proposed Agreement. He was concerned that it would be easy for RW Farms to exceed what is permitted by moving off from the pad. The other concern he had was with the lease of the premises. He wanted to know if the Facility would still accept brush as in the past. Sawatzke said that brush will still be accepted and chipped but RW Farms will oversee this. Yonak referenced the capacity of the operation in the Agreement. He asked what the average tons are per cubic yard. He felt tonnage was the best measure for volume. Leistiko said the weight is 1100 lbs. per yard (2 yards per ton) as an average. This is used for wood as well. Yonak asked what the size of the loads would be when wind rows are hauled out. The odor will depend on how much is taken from the wind row at a time. Yonak said they used to run the Landfill and the odor from the Compost Facility would overwhelm the Landfill. Yonak said he is opposed to the proposal. Steven DesMarais lives across from the Compost Facility. He said there have always been odor problems any time the Facility is operated. There is also plenty of traffic on CR 37 at this time. He felt that there will be smell associated with the proposed use.
Dave Bryant, Buffalo, referenced Item 16, Odor, in the Agreement. He felt the language in the Agreement was vague. There is no recourse if odor is not controlled. He suggested that language be added to indicate operations will cease if odor cannot be controlled and that RW Farms would then be asked to leave the Facility. He referenced the staff hours spent addressing the request and suggested that the County ask for reimbursement by RW Farms. His other concerns were addressed by those that spoke previously. Sawatzke asked Asleson whether this type of language could be included. He recognized the residents concerns with odor. With the past use of the Facility by Hutchinson, there were no complaints received. However, this proposal is larger scale. Asleson stated that he mistakenly left out general default language pertaining to odor or other issues that may arise. He proposed incorporating language at the end of the document. The language will reflect that if the tenant defaults on any terms, the County provides notice to RW Farms. RW Farms has 30 days to remedy the situation. If it is not corrected, the County can terminate for default of the lease.
Sawatzke directed a question to Leistiko on odor issues and whether they previously had the same perspective that there would not be odor near the Mayer Facility. Leistiko responded that food waste is an unknown entity. That is a demonstration project that they are working on with Carver County and the MPCA. They are learning different technologies as they get into the project. They knew there would be more odors with organics. Leistiko said RW Farms does not propose to use organic material at the Wright County Compost Facility. A permit would be required for this use. They are proposing yard waste only. Leistiko said that when Hutchinson used the Compost Facility, material was left for one year. RW Farms proposes to manage the material on a daily basis. He questioned who will decide if there is an odor. Sawatzke felt the County will make this determination.
Ginny Black, MPCA, referenced the measurements that are contained within the Agreement. She said when leaves are brought into the Facility, the cubic yard poundage is less than the weight of material going out. She cautioned that when the final Agreement is reviewed, that the appropriate measurements are correct (pre-material versus post-material and weights). In what she has reviewed in the Agreement and from the discussion, Black said she was a little concerned. She said it is hard for residents to understand the whole thing and misunderstandings can occur. Typically for a cubic yard of leaves, she has seen 600-800 lbs. coming in the door. Leistiko said this would equate to 1100 lbs. if the material is ground. Black said it is this type of difference that the County needs to be aware of so that everyone understands the same thing. The weight of material untouched would be different than something that has been managed. She said this is significant in the Agreement and the County needs to make sure that the Agreement contains the right point and right unit of measure.
Jeff Young spoke on behalf of Joan Reed, who lives east of the Facility. He questioned the maximum number of yards that would be brought in. Leistiko responded that Section 6, Capacity of Operation, in the Agreement reflects that a maximum of 75,000 cubic yards can be brought in. That is at the point of intake. He said the County will be paid including water weight and pre-composition weight. With a limit of 75,000 cubic yards in, that may only equate to 40,000 in finished product. Young said Reed had a question on Section 3.5, Odor Control, which states, “As discussed above, if possible, mixing activities should be scheduled when the wind is in a favorable dispersion direction (away from the nearest receptors).” Young asked for clarification on “away from the nearest receptors.” Leistiko said this is the general odor mitigation plan and is not site specific. Weather conditions are considered when piles are turned. The odor is associated with turning of piles. Turn times are limited. He said there is not much odor with the material when it is brought in. On behalf of Reed, Young asked whether the mixing of the compost would be done inside of the Facility. Leistiko stated that they will debag and mix the debag material with the other material (brush, yard waste, screened compost) inside of the building. All of that material will then be moved outside to a static pile. The only outside activities will involve screening and turning. The static piles will be similar to a wind row, but on a larger scale. A previous Power Point presentation reflects that piles can be as high as 25’ but nothing should be higher than 12’. They put 25’ in as a cap in case they exceed to 13’. The piles at the Arboretum and at Mayer are 12’-13’.
Young said the reason the neighbors were present was to let the County know their thoughts. He said they hoped that the proposal would be denied. He referenced the list of names of those living around the Mayer Facility and encouraged contact with them.
Norman referenced the previous discussion on insurance premiums and whether MCIT coverage and premium changes will occur. He felt this should be considered when the potential costs of the proposed use are considered. Norman was unsure how long it will take MCIT to review the document but projected it may take a couple of weeks. Asleson said he will need to make changes to the draft Agreement, which will then be forwarded to RW Farms and MCIT for review.
Sawatzke referenced various areas of the Agreement and potential changes to them.
1. Extension of Term. Sawatzke asked whether this happens automatically and whether public notice is involved. He felt the County Board should have to take action on any term extension. By placing the item on a County Board Agenda, the public would be notified. He thought that the Agreement should be for a two-year period and not automatically extended. Sawatzke favored a year-by-year Agreement after the two-year period. Asleson said a better way to structure the Agreement would be to mandate that 90 days prior to the end of the two-year period, the parties should get together. He did not favor putting in contract language that would require anything in the future. Asleson said he assumed RW Farms would provide periodic reports to the County Board and the Board would decide whether to extend the contract. He said it is correct that the Agreement could automatically renew. Asleson will work on the language of this portion of the Agreement.
6. Capacity of Operation. Sawatzke said it appeared that measurements should be calculated by tons. Asleson said that the comment made by Leistiko was that the 75,000 cubic yard figure is what is measured at the gate. Asleson said if the material relates to true yard waste (i.e., leaves, etc.), then maybe cubic yards is a better number. Asleson said the question is how much will be on site at one time, whether this will be no more than 30,000 cubic yards at one time. Leistiko said the reason they use cubic yards for yard waste is for ease of figuring of weights on a measurement basis. He said it would be pretty easy to figure the 30,000 cubic yard amount but estimating weight would be much harder. Sawatzke asked whether a load is measured by truck size or weight. Leistiko said they do both as they like to track weight per yard. The truck is weighed when it comes in, the pile is measured in yards, and then the truck is weighed empty. The weights will differ depending on what type of material is involved. Leistiko said the County will be paid per ton based on what comes in. In response to Mattson, Leistiko stated the report to the County and to the MPCA will be the same.
13. Utilities. Sawatzke stated RW Farms will take care of the utility costs.
16. Odor. Sawatzke made reference to the question by Leistiko on odor complaints. Sawatzke said the neighbors should contact the County who will determine if there is an odor. Sawatzke felt there should be something in the Agreement other than that there is an Odor Mitigation Plan.
With regard to the Fine Treatment building, Sawatzke felt that the Agreement should reflect language that would allow this with additional compensation. It was noted that the bid opening on the spreader truck has been moved to 3-24-09 at 9:30 A.M.
Recommendation: The Agreement will be revised by Asleson and forwarded to RW Farms and MCIT for review. The Committee will meet again on 3-11-09 at 1:00 P.M.
II. Land Rental Status, 2009.
Fingalson was not available for discussion. This item will be laid over to the 3-11-09 Ways & Means Committee Meeting.
(End of 2-25-09 Ways And Means Committee Minutes)
Bills Approved
Albion Township. $17,247.21
Allina Medical 810.59
Alpha Video and Audio Inc. 942.98
American Institutional Supply 760.44
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 162.81
AMI Imaging Systems, Inc. 875.00
Aramark Correctional Serv. 10,618.25
Astleford International 65,825.00
B & B Products - Rigs and Squ 4,698.65
Buff ‘N’ Glo Inc. 105.00
Buffalo Auto Alignment 265.00
Buffalo Hospital 42,934.99
Buffalo Township 17,834.06
Business Ware Solutions 516.08
Chatham Township 12,572.31
Clearwater Township 14,701.23
Climate Air 993.99
Cokato Township 18,126.39
Corinna Township 25,874.11
Corporate Payment Systems 852.90
CPS Technology Solutions 262.00
Creative Forms & Concepts 417.12
Cub Pharmacy 3,312.81
Deatons Mailing Systems, Inc. 214.07
Dental Care Assoc. of Buffalo 559.00
Elk River Ford 21,952.36
Embarq 158.63
Emergency Physicians Profess 390.75
Dale Engel 400.00
Franklin Township 28,987.37
Fred Pryor Seminars Inc. 477.00
French Lake Township 16,012.45
GBR Inc. 118.89
GCS Service Inc. 243.49
Janet Gholson 249.70
Granite Pest Control Services 140.58
Hillyard Floor Car Supply 2,338.93
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 334.94
Klatt True Value Electric 211.48
L-3 Communications Mobile Vis 390.73
LaPlant Demo Inc. 512.41
Maple Lake Township 22,524.52
Marco Inc. 1,812.84
Martin Marietta Aggregates 187.31
Marysville Township 19,774.36
Middleville Township 15,762.84
MN Chemical Company 501.96
MN Counties Ins. Trust 45,354.00
MN Department of Labor & Ind 250.00
MN Department of Public Safety 450.00
MN State Bar Association 235.00
MN Supreme Court 434.00
Monticello Township 30,463.46
Monticello-Big Lake Hospital 2,131.39
Nextel Communications 434.73
Norix Group Inc. 5,459.62
Office Depot 1,501.14
Qwest 2,991.83
Rhodes Lock & Glass 205.00
Rockford Township 29,681.51
RS Eden 1,100.55
Seton Identification Products 656.65
Shell Fleet Plus 212.45
Silver Creek Township 26,526.49
Southside Township 15,480.57
Sprint 7,548.36
State of MN-Office Enterprise 1,675.76
Stockholm Township 14,843.15
Target 100.00
Total Printing 1,870.20
TM Vending Inc. 105.65
Upper Midwest Community Pol 220.00
Verizon Wireless 357.85
Victor Township 16,529.72
Victory Corps 111.13
Walmart Store 01-1577 690.19
Woodland Township 15,030.25
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 25,106.26
Wright Hennepin Electric 933.00
15 Payments less than $100 769.65
Final total $624,425.09
The meeting adjourned at 10:48 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal April 6 2008.

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