Wright County Board Minutes

MARCH 10, 2009
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 a.m. with Sawatzke, Thelen, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present.
The minutes of 3-03-09 were corrected as follows: Page 4, 6th paragraph, 2nd sentence, change sentence to read, “The YMCA currently offers horseback riding, dirt bike riding, and community activities and purchasing the YMCA property will not offer any additional activities.” Page 4, 6th paragraph, line 17, change sentence to, “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.” Page 4, line 22, change sentence to, “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.” Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Thelen, and carried 5-0.
The following items were petitioned onto the Agenda: Items for Consid. #4, “Discuss Wayne Fingalson’s Attendance at the Washington Fly-In and the NACE Conference” (Russek). On a motion by Eichelberg, seconded by Russek, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Sawatzke questioned if item A3, “Refer To Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting Discussion RE: Use of The Internet To Solicit Citizen Input For Budget Saving Ideas,” should be submitted to the Technology Committee and not the Technology Committee Of the Whole Meeting. Norman clarified that Thelen requested that item A3 be removed from the Consent Agenda. On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
1. Performance Appraisals: B. Hatfield, Bldg. Care & Maint.; E. Ross, J. Wilson, W. Workman, Hwy.; J. Bean, D. Carlson, C. Graham, J. Hall, M. Silbernagel, Sher./Corr.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 2-20-09.
1. 2009 Tobacco License Renewals: CVS Pharmacy #5311 (Delano City); Cruiser’s (Monticello City).
1. Set Bid Opening For Seasonal Requirements On 4-08-09, Ways & Means Committee Meeting, At 9:00 A.M.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, submitted the claims listing for approval. The claims’ listing was discussed. Mattson referenced Page 10, Barker Co/Bob, $439.99. He stated that there is a company located in Hanover that does van conversion work and questioned if this work could be done locally. Hiivala stated that Barker Co/Bob is out of Atlanta, Georgia and that the claim is for a part. The part is to convert an NE9 to a Vancell. Sawatzke stated that it is specific to make the inside of the van a little jail. Sawatzke commented that during the Jail/LEC Open House the public is welcome to park off site and receive a free shuttle to the Jail/LEC in the inmate transportation van. Mattson questioned if the River Ryder would be utilized to accommodate handicap visitors. Sawatzke stated that the County Jail and Survey van will be used and handicap visitors will be accommodated accordingly. On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Hiivala presented a retirement plaque to Sue Rief, License Bureau Supervisor. Rief was hired in 10-89 and has worked in the License Bureau for 20 years. Over the years she has been involved in and seen many changes, not only in the volume of transactions but in the complexity of each transaction. She has seen the change from daily transactions at the bank versus the current wire transactions. She was an advocate for the installation of an ATM machine located outside the licensing area, which is clearly a benefit for our customers. Wright County has consistently received superior ratings from State of Minnesota Public Safety in regards to lower error ratio studies. This is due to the department as a whole, however, it took Rief’s leadership to get the County there. Hiivala continued that he is loosing a rock solid supervisor and he is privileged to award Rief a plaque for 20 years of service to Wright County. Rief thanked Wright County and the Commissioners for her years of employment. She thanked Hiivala for trusting her decision making in the License Bureau. She thanked her staff as they have made her job easy. She also thanked her many friends that she has met through the years. Russek thanked Rief as he has heard only good things from the public about the License Bureau. Eichelberg stated that through his personal experience with Rief she is not a 9:00 – 4:30 employee. She goes above and beyond what is expected and has come in after hours to accommodate the public. Mattson stated it has been a pleasure to work with Rief. Sawatzke stated that Rief has a record of outstanding public service. There is a reception today in the Community Room from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented the 2-20-09 Transportation Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes. Fingalson stated that a conference call took place with Mn/DOT and Commissioner Thelen regarding the high power electric line that will go from St. Cloud to Monticello. Thelen stated that she will be talking to the Townships that are affected by the project and provide language to use on a statement, in hopes that the Commissioner of Transportation will encourage Excel to share some of the right-of-way on the I94 corridor. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations of the Transportation Committee of the Whole, seconded by Russek. The motion carried 5-0.
1) TH 55 Official Mapping
The Commissioners had requested that they be able to review the official TH 55 mapping when it was available so that they could be aware of the possible impacts on individual homes and properties. Pooler directed them to the screen that displayed the existing and proposed right of way in relation to the properties shown on the aerial photos. Some impacts to homes and businesses were noticed between Annandale and Buffalo, and even more impact was noticed between Buffalo and Rockford. Dumont said that if and when the funding becomes available to improve TH 55, Mn/DOT will work with various business and residents to help create new accesses and parking where necessary. There are some areas where design treatments could be used to narrow up the corridor, but for official mapping purposes, they need to look at uniform mapping. Sawatzke asked what a family should do if they wanted to make improvements to their residence, and Dumont said that people should make the improvements that they want to regardless of the future project. She suggested that the County forgive a variance fee if one were imposed because of the closeness to the new right-of-way border. Sawatzke said that he would like to protect those folks from fees that they might have to pay through no fault of their own, and Salkowski said that it depends on the intent of the ordinance and whether you want to dissuade them from making improvements in the right of way. Sawatzke said that if a person owned land without any structures, it would seem more appropriate to discourage building. But if a person already has a home, it would be hard to tell them they can’t make improvements to it.
The City of Maple Lake will not have to take any action on adopting the corridor mapping, because with the exception of just a few feet, the current right-of-way borders are within the new mapping. Viewing the area east of Buffalo, it is obvious that there will be some impact to current businesses as well as to homes. Dumont said that the full impact won’t be known until the design is completed. Jobe offered to single out all homes/structures that would be affected by the new right-of-way borders so that the commissioners could better see what the impact might be. Perhaps Planning & Zoning could advise those affected when they apply for a variance that their plans might be impacted by the future TH 55 route. Salkowski said that the process will remain the same, but changes to the fee schedule could be adopted. People could apply for a variance, and if granted, Mn/DOT might take the opportunity to buy them out. Dumont said that Mn/DOT usually tells affected landowners to go ahead and do what they need to do with their homes. They don’t want to inconvenience property and home owners. They will have to deal with buyouts after the design is final and construction is ready to begin.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Tom Salkowski, Planning and Zoning Administrator, research how fees can be waived for certain landowners affected by the TH 55 Corridor mapping who wish to make improvements to their homes/buildings. Steve Jobe, County Surveyor, will put together a listing of properties, accompanied by aerial photographs of same, that will be affected by the TH 55 Corridor in the event that additional construction to current building/structures on those properties would require variances. He will give this to Tom Salkowski and the County Board.
2) Request from City of Delano
Fingalson explained that the City of Delano is seeking permission to waive an ordinance forbidding open cutting on CSAH 17. The City needs to put a culvert under the highway, and the cost to bore it through is about $75,000 more than opening cutting would cost. Russek said that he would be in favor of allowing the City to do this, especially in light of the economic times and the City’s effort to save money. The City would do this before CSAH 17 is milled and an overlay is put down, but the settling would not be over before this happened, and the surface of the road would probably suffer some cracking and/or depressions in the future. Vander Top said that the City is respectful of the County’s policy, but they would like to be granted a variance and would agree to the conditions that they have identified in a letter to the Wright County Highway Department. Generally, when an open cut is done before an overlay, the contractor has two weeks in which to work. One week is for the pipe work installation and one week is to get the road fully restored. The City of Delano would be responsible for all the work and any settlement in the roadway at that location. They could also have warranties with the contractor if that would help remedy the situation if settlement does become an issue. The proposed detour plan is also identified in the letter and is similar to the one that was used for CSAH 30 when a culvert was installed on that road. The City has talked about this project for several years, and now they have FEMA dollars with a cost split of 25% for the City and 75% for FEMA. Vander Top said that the culvert is a 60” tube, and it is much harder to jack a culvert of this size under the surface; and even if no open cutting were done, there would still be the chance of some settlement. Cordell said that with jacking there may be a chance of settlement, but with an open cut settlement is inevitable. The open cut on CSAH 30 has settled somewhat, and he is concerned about the integrity of the road after an open cut has been made. Russek commented that he would like to help Delano save $75,000, especially now when finances are short. It was explained that there is settlement in any new road, but it is generally uniform so that it isn’t noticed. In cases of open cuts, settlement can lead to a dip in the road. There would be a two-year guarantee, and if settlement happens after that, the City would have five days after notification to fix it according to the County ordinance. Vander Top said that the City would expect to be responsible. If Delano is allowed to do an open cut, Cordell asked what the County would do next time someone wants to do an open cut. He wondered if Wright County’s standards and installations procedures would be valid after that. Sawatzke asked how often someone asks to do an open cut and commented that the size of the pipe makes a difference too. Hawkins said that the Highway Department gets a similar request every two or three years. Sawatzke said that some conditions will have to be worked out with Wright County, and Fingalson said that he would review the policy and the letter, which City Engineer Vander Top had sent to City Administrator Kern on this issue. Vander Top said that Delano will follow the conditions required by Wright County. Hawkins said that Wright County has required jack boring, regardless of the size of the pipe, just to protect the integrity of the road. However, this does cost more than an open cut, and the larger the pipe, the higher the cost. Vander Top said that there is already an existing culvert that passes under CSAH 17. The new one will be the outfall to the lift station on the east side of the road by the waste water treatment plant. The lift station will have screw pumps that lift up the water to go through the pipe and run under the road. At this location on CSAH 17, the levee along the river merges with the road. That portion of CSAH 17 by the park is in a 100-year-flood plan, and if a 100-year flood occurs, CSAH 17 will be under water at that point. This lift station would provide pumping to keep water out of homes and off the road in the event of a 100-year flood. Russek reiterated that it would be senseless to spend an extra $75,000 to jack bore this pipe in, especially in these lean economic times. Mattson said that he would support the open cut if the City of Delano would agree to follow conditions set forth by the Highway Department. The City hasn’t given the official award yet, and they will probably award in March and begin construction soon after that, possibly in April. They agreed to work with the County Highway Department in order to determine the best timing for the cut on CSAH 17.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the City of Delano be allowed to open cut CSAH 17 if they agree to follow the recommendations and conditions required by the Wright County Highway Department.
3) CSAH 12 Project Status (from TH 25 south)
Fingalson said that he had already requested permission from the County Board to establish a right-of-way plat for this road, for that portion south of CSAH 12 from TH 25 to just south of CR 108 where the former construction ended. He will be putting together an agreement between the County and the City. Buffalo has agreed to do the design and right-of-way acquisition, at its own cost, for that portion that falls within the city limits. The City has been working with a number of property owners so that they can put in a pathway along the lake. Brad DeWolf, City Engineer, has said that the City is already starting a feasibility report, which is going well. A number of people might even be donating right of way to accommodate the road shift away from the lake. The project is scheduled for 2010, and the Engineering Division is beginning work on the design for the rural portion. They are working with the City because of utilities that lead to the new waste water facility. Fingalson said that there is a possibility that the County will consider a concrete surface. Where federal money is involved, alternate bids are not allowed, so a concrete surface will not be considered on the CSAH 6 as previously entertained. However, state aid money will be used for improvements on CSAH 12, and it might be a good candidate for concrete. Though the design for two surfaces will be more work, both possibilities will be considered. Hawkins said that a concrete surface on CSAH 12 would provide a more stable surface. The southern stretch of highway that has already been reconstructed and has experienced some movement since then will be reviewed in the spring. Sometimes there are underlying conditions that don’t show up in the borings that are done before construction begins. Perhaps these corrections could be done in conjunction with the new project in 2010. Salkowski said that he would like to know when the project will be scheduled because he already has haulers lined up for gravel sources. Hawkins said that 2010 looks good if the State allows Wright County to borrow ahead as they have done in the past. Fingalson said that the City has been very cooperative and they should be able to work well together on this project. There was a little discussion about the low levels of traffic on the pedestrian trail along CSAH 12. Perhaps the foot/bicycle traffic will increase in the future.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Highway Department prepare a cooperative agreement to be approved by both the County Board and the Buffalo City Council. The Highway Department should pursue an alternate bid for concrete surfacing using life-cycle costing.
4) CSAH 6 Project Status
Fingalson reported that good progress is being made on CSAH 6 right-of-way acquisition. There is only one parcel left and that will probably have to go to condemnation. Because federal funds will be used on this project, an alternate bid for concrete cannot be considered. Concrete is more expensive to build initially, but a longer period of time elapses before repairs are needed. Fingalson said that they would be considering a whitetopping for CSAH 6 south of TH 55 for the overlay project in 2010. However, the current surface must be milled off first, and the bituminous is too thick for milling in some areas. This is a “full depth roadway” where the bituminous is 12-13 inches thick and sits directly on clay sub-grade, so there is no gravel base. If this surface is overlaid with more bituminous without reclaiming, the cracks will come up right through the new surface. Concrete doesn’t bend like bituminous and will help prevent the cracks from coming through.
5) Other
Fingalson handed out the 2009 State Aid Apportionment schedule for review by the commissioners. He said that the significant thing about this schedule was that without the transportation bill that was passed last year, Wright County would have had a reduction of $657,000 instead of an addition of $476,350. That is a 7.4% increase over last year.
Hawkins said that the design of the CSAH 36 Flood Control project is in its final stages. They are planning to raise the grade about three feet in the lowest area and are looking at a geo-foam design. They will cut about three feet and put in light-weight fill, add gravel and then bituminous. The theory is not to add additional weight because of the poor soils in the area. Recent construction estimates are about $530,000 compared to the budget figure of $750,000. Fingalson said that bituminous prices are down from last year, so that should favorably impact the cost of this project and the entire budget.
There was a little discussion about the possible route for the high power electric line that will go from St. Cloud to Monticello. There are a number of factors that influence where the route has to be, and the Federal Highway Administration is one agency that will affect the final choice. Thelen asked if the County Board could adopt a resolution that would encourage the various agencies to follow the interstate corridor route that is preferred by many of the residents in the area. She said that she would get more information on the project and Fingalson said that he would arrange a conference call with Mn/DOT, Thelen, and himself to get some information about this.
(End of the 2-02-09 Transportation Committee of the Whole minutes)
Fingalson requested the Board to approve Amendment No. 5 to Mn/DOT Agreement No. 86572 for TH 55 Corridor Coalition. His recommendation is to approve the amendment and changes to the term of the agreement from five to eight years. Agreement No. 86572 was approved by the County Board on 5-25-04, allowing Mn/DOT to act as the County’s agent in accepting federal aid in connection with the TH 55 Corridor Project. An amendment is required as part of the federal process to keep our consultant, SRF Consulting Group, Inc., on board until 6-18-12 to help us manage the transportation development process. This action has been recommended by the TH 55 Corridor Coalition Joint Powers Board. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #09-15 authorizing Mn/DOT to act as the County’s agent in accepting federal aid in connection with the TH 55 Corridor Project. The motion was seconded by Thelen. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Fingalson requested that the Board approve Agreement No. PW 42-73-08 with Hennepin County and Resolution for same. This action will establish a new Cooperative Maintenance Agreement with Hennepin County for the three “county-line” bridges. Fingalson stated that the existing Agreement was dated back in the 70’s and new bridges have been built. This document is an Agreement that identifies each counties responsibility in maintaining the bridges. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #09-16 authorizing the maintenance agreement with Hennepin County for the three “county-line” bridges. The motion was seconded by Mattson. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Russek referenced an email that he forwarded to all Commissioners from Marvin Johnson, Chairman from the TH 55 Coalition. The email stated how important it is to have a representative from Wright County attend the Washington Fly-In. Russek stated that at the 3-03-09 County Board meeting it was decided that Fingalson had the option of attending one out-of-State conference. Sawatzke stated that Fingalson would have to decide which one he feels is more critical. Mattson stated that the email was sent to Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Michelle Bachmann, and Congressman Eric Paulson. He feels that since the Hwy 55 project is out 20 years, that it would be more cost effect to email our local representatives with our requests versus having attendance at the Washington Fly-In. Thelen supports Fingalson attending the Washington Fly-In and NACE Conference. She feels that in the past the Washington Fly-In conferences have proved to be beneficial to Wright County. Attending the Conference would provide insight on how to survive during these difficult economic times. Eichelberg feels that a lot of TH 55 is within Wright County and the monies received in the past have been beneficial. He agrees with Thelen in approving Fingalson’s attendance at both Conferences. Eichelberg stated that Fingalson has offered to cut costs by rooming with neighboring Highway Engineers. Russek stated that he is a member of the TH 55 Coalition and they have accomplished great things over the years. He commented that even though the project is years away, there are a lot of other associated projects that need to be completed beforehand.
Sawatzke clarified that it is County Policy that employees attend only one out of State conference a year. He referenced that if Fingalson is allowed to attend both Conferences it will be requested by other departments as well, becoming very expensive to the County. He stated that other departments have chosen not to attend out of state conferences to save money. Fingalson stated that the Washington Fly-In presents an opportunity for Wright County to obtain monies to be used towards many projects. He feels that it is important for Wright County to have a presence. A lot of projects that have been completed and will be completed this year would not be possible without additional funding. He provided the example of Hwy 115 and TH 55. Thelen stated that it is in the County’s best interest to have a representative’s voice at the Washington Fly-In and the NACE Conferences. Mattson moved to approve Fingalson to attend one out of State conference. The motion failed for lack of a second. Eichelberg motioned to allow someone to attend the Washington Fly-In and Fingalson can make the decision on who will attend. The motion was seconded by Thelen and passed 3-2 with Sawatzke and Mattson casting the nay vote.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 2-25-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke stated that during a Leadership Committee Meeting that it was discussed that the Weight Watchers program can only be offered before or after work. An employee can not be working while attending a weight loss program. Mattson moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice stated that Jessica Baker and Hylla approached the Leadership Team in hopes of offering interested employees the opportunity to attend an on sight Weight Watchers program. The Leadership Team requested that additional information be obtained regarding cost, space, and attendance. Hylla stated that the Wellness Committee is requesting the ability to reserve a room to conduct Weight Watchers Meetings. The Weight Watcher Program meets for one hour a week, for 12 weeks. Employees will need to get prior approval from their department heads in order to combine their two breaks with their half hour lunch on the day of the meetings. Hylla stated that a survey was emailed to all County employees to see how many were interested in participating in a weight loss program if one was offered on site. Employees were also given choices on which program they would most likely attend. From the employees that replied, there were 65 people that stated they were interested in attending meetings and preferred the Weight Watchers Program. Hylla referenced that eight counties offer Weight Watchers on site, and some have contributed to the program fee. At this time, the Wellness Committee is not requesting the County to contribute financially and that employees would be responsible for all fees associated with joining Weight Watchers. Hylla stated that many companies are offering their employees ways to get healthy or stay healthy. The Wellness Committee would like to offer Weight Watchers as an additional service to County employees to promote healthy living. Having the meetings on sight would be valuable to employees with busy life styles.
Norman stated that currently the County only allows non-profit organizations to utilize meeting rooms. He feels that if the County allows Weight Watchers to reserve a meeting room to run their program, other weight loss organizations will come forward with the same request. Norman stated that Administration currently has a hard time scheduling meeting rooms to meet operational needs. If meeting rooms are opened to for-profit organizations, it will cut down the availability to fulfill County requests. He continued that it might be difficult to allow employees to take one hour out of their day to attend a Weight Watchers meeting. Hylla commented that there are several functions that take place in conference rooms that include for-profits; for example, the health fair has many vendors that are from for-profit organizations.
Eichelberg questioned what time the meetings would be held and if there are insurance issues that would be involved. Hylla stated that discussion is still taking place in regard to meetings being held either before or after work or during the lunch hour. Hylla stated that she will contact other counties to see if the programs are offered before/after work or during the lunch hour. Norman stated that there are no insurance issues. Norman questioned if there are other local weight loss programs that could be utilized by County employees. Hylla stated that based on the information obtain from the survey, County employees first choice was on site participation and the Weight Watcher Program. Weight Watchers helps people make healthy food choices versus selling shakes, pills, and foods.
Norman asked if Weight Watchers will be offering County employees a discount. He feels that if meetings are held in conference rooms, Weight Watchers will not be paying a room charge which should decrease the initiation fees. Hylla stated she is unsure of any discounts that are being offered; however she will discuss fees with Weight Watchers.
Eichelberg questioned if employees were informed on the $165.00 fee associated with the 12 week program. Hylla stated that employees were notified of all costs. In addition, employees can utilize their Flex Spending accounts to cover the cost of the program. Mattice stated that the program would only be available to County employees.
Mattson suggested that the County develop a fee schedule for meeting room reservations for profitable organizations. The County would also have to monitor the scheduled meetings to ensure that organizations are not running a business out of the meeting room. Backes questioned who would be responsible for collecting monies for reservations on conference rooms and if the money will go towards the Wellness Committee or the County. Norman stated that the money received for room reservations would go to the County as the County maintains meeting rooms. Norman questioned where the meetings will be held and if they will be at multiple sites. Hylla stated that Weight Watchers could be located at several buildings and employees could attend any meeting depending on their lunch time. Mattson stated that over time is not allowed and that driving to other buildings could be an issue.
Eichelberg stated that he is not in favor of the County to be committed for one year. He suggested trying the program for 12 weeks and then review the outcome. If the County is not satisfied with the program then the program will not be offered again. Eichelberg suggested that the Wellness Committee take accurate notes and document the pros and cons of the program and employee participation during the trial period. Norman stated that if a weight loss program is approved, it needs to be clear that the County meeting rooms are for non-profit meetings only. Hylla stated the program runs for 12 weeks and employees pay for the costs up front. Norman stated that if the County Board approves the request, there would have to be guidelines in place. Meeting times and room reservations would have to be made in advance and employees would not be able to make up time after work to attend meetings during the day. If for-profits are going to be able to use County space they should be charged a fee. Norman checked with Sterns, Carver, and Sherburne Counties and they do not allow for-profits to use their space.
RECOMMENDATION: Offer an on sight weight loss program, supported by the Wellness Committee, to County employees. Refer the issue of employee’s use of time to the Personnel Committee.
(End of 2-25-09 Building Committee Meeting minutes)
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-24-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Thelen stated that discussion took place with Bill Swing, IT Director, regarding IT open positions. She questioned how the Board can authorize Swing to move an employee from half-time to full-time status. Sawatzke stated that it could be reviewed at the next Board Meeting. Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Thelen. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala provided an overview of the 2008 Revenue-Expenditure Summary (available in the Administration Office). He stated that he would be brief on his 2008 overview. If the Board chooses, he could call for a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting at the 3-03-09 County Board Meeting so the Board could go into more detail.
On page two of the report, Hiivala noted two pie charts that break down the source of County revenue and expenditures. Nearly half of the County funds (49%) are received via taxes, followed by State Aids (5%), State Grants (16%), Federal Grants (11%), Fees (12%), Interest/Contribution (2%), Miscellaneous (5%), and Licenses and Fines (>1%). Forty-eight percent of County expenditures are Personnel related, followed by Programs (10%), Debt Service (5%), Capital Outlay (3%), Supplies (3%), Highways (5%), Travel/Conf (12%), Rent Repairs/Maint (5%), Services (4%) and Miscellaneous (5%).
The third page of the summary provides a Fund Summary and the 2007 Levy Resolution. The General Fund took in $43,102,417.65 and spent $42,391,704.72 allowing for $767,712.93 to be turned back. Road and Bridge revenues fell short of its revenue budget by $2,123,911.27, yet its expenses were also under budget by $3,452,382.53, leaving a cash basis balance of $1,328,471.26. Human Services had a revenue budget of $21,107,100.00 and took in $21,084,892.78. They went over on their expenses by $1,038,436.74. The State cut $775,000 from County Program Aid. Sawatzke asked if the General Fund balance would have been more favorable if the County Program Aid had not been cut. Hiivala stated that it was split among the three funds and yes, the General Fund balance would be more favorable.
Hiivala provided a five-year trend of turnback dollars for the General Fund on the fourth page of the summary. He described how the Recorders’ Equipment Fund was backed out as it artificially inflated the revenue numbers. The County Board approved, based on the 2007 Summary Review, a $2 million transfer from the General Fund to the Capital Projects fund. This was not a budgeted line item. In 2008, the General Fund actually added $2,573,548.81 to its fund balance. He also referenced the cash trend analysis at the bottom of the page for the General Fund, Road and Bridge, and Human Services.
Page five of the summary provides a Schedule of Investments. He stated that it is a quick snapshot of how much money the County keeps in checking, securities, money markets, CDs, savings accounts, and mutual funds. He stated that as of 12-31-08, the County had $60,040,967.64 invested. He noted that the County has a lot of its money in Minnesota banks, many of which are located in Wright County. He stated that 70.49% of the invested money is liquid. He stated that the entire portfolio has a weighted average yield rate of 3.3384%.
Page six of the summary lists the turnbacks by Department. He stated that Court Administration did not have a budget for revenues but collected $656.08 in revenue. The expense exceeded the budget by $60,906.33.
Hiivala directed the Committee’s attention to the Road and Bridge Budget Summary.
Highway Administration was able to turn back $11,889.52 and Highway Engineering turned back $3,714,098.07. However, Highway Maintenance and Shop Maintenance collectively went over budget by $207,511.80. Human Services has three departments: Income Maintenance, Social Services, and Public Health. Collectively, the three departments were over budget by $1,060,643.96.
The tenth page of the report is a pie graph demonstrating how the General Fund receives its funding, and how it expends its funds. He noted that the General Fund is 60% funded by property taxes. Sixty-two percent of the General Fund is spent on wages and benefits. He referenced a new bar graph on page 11 that, as a result of adopting COFARS, the Board can see how each of the General Fund categories actual amounts compare to budget. Personnel, Services, Rents, Repairs, Maintenance, Travel, and Capital Outlay all came in under budget. Supplies came in over budget as a result of the increase in fuel costs and the amount spent by the Sheriffs Department on fuel and repairs. The Miscellaneous category also exceeded its budgeted amount because of the additional $2 million that was transferred in 2007. This amount was not part of the budget. Pages 12 and 13 provide support for the bar graph.
Hiivala directed the Committee to page 14 of the Summary which again provides pie graphs charting how Road & Bridge receives its revenue and its expenditures. Forty-eight percent of its income comes from State Aids & Grants and 35% comes from property taxes. Fifty-one percent of its budget is spent on construction, 24% on Highway Maintenance, and 16% on wages and benefits. Page 15 is a COFARS bar graph that demonstrates how Road and Bridge saved money. The graph indicates that they were right on with what they budgeted in everything except for Construction. Thirteen million dollars was set aside for projects, but less than $10 million was spent. The detailed support for the graph is on the following page. Page 17 is the pie graph for Human Services. It demonstrates that 34% of its revenue is from Federal Grants, 34% from taxes, and 20% from State Grants. Fifty-two percent of its expenditures are related to Personnel, 37% to Programs, and 4% to Rent/Repairs. The COFARS bar graph demonstrates that program expenses are hurting their budget. The other categories all came in within budget. The following page provides an analysis, by category, of revenues and expenditures. The analysis states that Social Services came in $1.3 million (cash basis) over budget on programming expenses. The summary also includes a “Human Services Analysis Of Expenses By Department/By Program” which depicts how Social Services was $1,376,876.17 over budget due to its programming. Examples include: Childrens Services was over budget by $442,776.48, Metal Health Services came in $219,622.34 over budget, and Adult Services came in $156,825.93 over budget.
Hiivala announced that the last pages of the Summary provide an “Analysis Of Revenues By Category/By Department” demonstrating how the County absorbs the loss of County programming. He stated that the revenues were pretty well on target, and even absorbed the shortfall of County Program Aid.
Hiivala stated that normally at the year-end review presentation, his recommendation to the County Board would be to turn back funds into the General Fund. He stated that this year, he would not make this recommendation. He would recommend retaining funds as-is. The County absorbed the loss of $775,000 in Program Aid in 2008. Hiivala noted that according to the Governor’s proposal, the County would be facing a similar budget cut in 2009.
Sawatzke asked if the Recorders Equipment Fund was recorded correctly. Hiivala stated that as noted on page 4, he backed out the Recorders Equipment Fund. It was deducted out of expenses. In the future , the Recorders Equipment Fund will be moved to a fund number so that it does not have to be backed out. Sawatzke asked if the fund was reimbursed in the General Fund. Hiivala stated yes.
Mattson asked if Hiivala was aware of how the stimulus package would impact the County. Hiivala stated that he is not yet aware of the affect of the stimulus package.
Norman distributed three ring binders entitled “Projected Budget Savings” to the Committee Members. He stated that he believes Hiivala gave a sound recommendation in terms of the $2.5 million surplus in the General Fund. He stated that he would recommend setting the surplus aside and waiting to see how the State budget process plays out. He stated that the only known factor is what was published in the Governor’s budget proposal. The State forecast will come out on 3-03-09. Early projections indicate that there would be a $6.5 - $7 billion budget shortfall; which is worse than originally projected. The forecast would provide a base for the Legislature in preparing its new biennium budget proposal. Norman stated that there is already speculation that the Legislature will likely continue into Special Session.
The County Board asked Departments to look at their current budgets to see where they could save dollars.
The three ring binders are collated in tab form which illustrates each Department’s response to the request. At the front of the binder is a Projected Budget Summary Savings sheet. Collectively, the Departments are projecting a total savings of $3,045,321. By Department detail is available for review in the Administration Office. Norman stated that in reading the Departments responses, he believes that some are truly one time savings. He stated that he does not think the Departments would be able to make these same projections in 2010 and 2011. Norman stated that it is his opinion that the State budget will be worse in 2010 and 2011.
Norman stated that he and a couple of Commissioners went to Buffalo City Hall on 2-20-09 with Senator Amy Koch. He stated that they learned the Legislature is looking very hard at the Health and Human Services budget. The State does not feel as if it can sustain the double-digit growth that has been occurring every biennium. He stated that he does not know what the impact will be on the Human Services budget. Don Mleziva, Human Services Director, has projected a $1.2 million savings in the Human Services Budget. He has projected this because he feels there are new ways of providing services.
Norman noted that Road and Bridge has proposed a $630,000 savings.
Thelen asked if each of the Departments were able to meet the 5% goal savings. Norman stated no. Departments such as Civil Defense and Veterans Services have small budgets, making it more difficult for them to achieve a 5% savings.
Sawatzke stated that he would agree with Norman’s statement that next year’s budget would be tougher than this year. He stated that he is in favor of earmarking more of the surplus to address future budgets. He stated that he is concerned whether the $3,045,321 proposed savings would be enough to bridge the gap.
Norman stated that Departments are looking at deferring some equipment purchases. However, that means that the purchase would be deferred one or two years. These purchases would come before the County Board again. He forewarned the Committee that the levy limits would be tight next year. 2010 home assessments will impact the tax capacity and thus the tax rate. Sawatzke stated that another issue of concern would be whether citizens would be able to pay their taxes. Norman noted that in times of poor economic times, some Departments get busier.
Sawatzke stated that he would be in favor of addressing and analyzing each of the Departments projected budget saving proposals today. He stated that it is imperative to act sooner rather than later. Norman proposed recessing the meeting to a specific date and time in order to give the Commissioners a chance to analyze the material in their binders.
Mattson stated that he thinks it is unfair for Departments to make additional cuts due to the high cost of the new Jail/LEC. Sawatzke stated that the County levied and set a budget to cover the expense of the new Jail/LEC. He stated that whether the new Jail/LEC had been built or not, the County would still be feeling the budget crunch. He stated that most of the other 86 Minnesota counties are feeling this same type of budget crunch. Mattson stated that the County Board already asked the Departments to make cuts to their original budgets and then asked them to find an additional 5% savings. He stated that to ask the Departments again to make cuts does not seem fair. Sawatzke asked if the Committee members feel the County Board should just accept the proposed cuts as presented today with no further review. Mattson stated that he does feel the Committee should review the binder of information. Thelen stated that she would appreciate an opportunity to go over the information to determine what the numbers mean. She stated that today would be as good a day as any. Sawatzke stated that he would like to begin the review process today. Russek stated that he would be in favor of listening to a few of the Departments explanations today. He stated that he did not think that the County Board could ask the Departments to make any further cuts to their budgets. Eichelberg stated that the Committee does not have time to review all of the Departments proposals today.
Norman clarified that the County Board is not cutting Department budgets. The 2009 budget is already approved. Today’s binder is to demonstrate each of the Departments goal to provide line item savings. Sawatzke stated that the Departments would be expected to meet their goals.
Tom Kelly, County Attorney, approached the podium and read his memo dated 2-12-09 which was included as part of the binder. He stated that potentially, the County Attorney’s Office could save the County $98,641.00, which is a 4.09% of their overall budget. He attributed the savings to not filling a vacant secretary position, an employee out on maternity leave, and taking advantage of the Voluntary Leave Without Pay Program.
Mattson asked if the Federal reimbursement dollars that are received for the rental space of Human Services is distributed throughout the other Departments. Larry DeMars, Fiscal Manager, stated that in order to receive the Federal reimbursement dollars, each Department has to be charged rent. Human Services receives a majority of its revenue via Federal funds for things like rent, supplies, postage, and programs. Norman stated that every Department is charged the same amount per square foot for rent. The County must do this in order to collect the Federal reimbursement. Human Services realizes this as revenue. If the County were to do away with rent, then Human Services would see a negative impact in their Federal revenue dollars. DeMars stated that if the County would like to see an increase in their Federal revenues, he would propose that the County raise their rent. Raising the rent would result in additional reimbursement funds. The County has not raised the rent in years.
Hiivala reminded the Committee that in December, 2008, $8 million in equipment notes was issued. The County has three years to spend these proceeds. He stated that the debt was issued to cover I.T. equipment, Sheriff vehicles, and Road & Bridge major equipment. He stated that he would not necessarily recommend foregoing equipment purchases.
Hiivala referenced his memo, dated 2-18-09, regarding his 2009 potential savings. He stated that his Department has the potential to achieve a savings of $114,543. This savings could be achieved by not filling a vacant position, and hiring a replacement position at first step as opposed to tenth step. He stated that he and Larry Unger, County Recorder, attended an Auditor/Treasurer & Recorder Conference, and found out what other counties are doing with their Recorders Technology Fund. This fund has an approximate $800,000 balance. Other counties do not like to have a lot of money in the account. So based on what others are doing, he will be funding some of the technology out of this fund. For example, his budget had a Furniture & Equipment line item of $24,000. He will show a transfer in from the Recorders Technology Fund to cover those expenses. Some of this would have been included in the capital equipment note that was sold in December, 2008. Sawatzke asked how much was in the capital equipment note. Hiivala stated that he thought approximately $16,000 was I.T. equipment. Sawatzke asked how paying for equipment from another source saves the County $16,000 if the County already had the money. Hiivala responded that in the first year, not all of the I.T. Equipment, Sheriff vehicles, and Highway equipment were to be paid out of the Equipment Note. This will allow for more equipment purchases to become available via the capital equipment bond.
Hiivala stated that his Elections budget could be cut since this is an off-election year. The total Elections budget, during an election year is $110,000 and since it is a non-election year, the budget is at $17,000. He proposed cutting $3,000 from his I.T. equipment budget. He originally budgeted $6,500 to provide modems to ten precincts and proposed phasing them out over the next few years.
Greg Kramber, County Assessor, referred to his memo dated 2-18-09. He stated that as Hiivala explained, he is able to propose taking $20,000 of the Recorder Compliance Fund to pay for furniture and equipment. He stated that he has also proposed savings on his telephone, publications, and travel line items. He announced that his Department has access to four Sheriff Deputy vehicles that have provided a onsiderable savings in mileage reimbursements. Appraisers are leaving early and staying late to accomplish as much as possible. Staff has voluntarily given back their County cell phones since most of them carry a personal cell phone. The cell phones were for security purposes. He stated that his Department is service oriented and will attempt to run a tight budget as always. Sawatzke asked Kramber if he anticipates any staff members taking a maternity leave or retiring. Kramber stated that they might have a late December maternity leave. He stated that they are concerned with the amount of overtime they consume, so they will try to use temporary help in an effort to save on that line item.
Sawatzke asked Kramber if his increased professional services line item was due to the green acres change. Kramber stated that it was an increase for computer changes. Sawatzke asked if it was also for legal council. Kramber stated that legal council is typically taken out of the General Fund.
Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, referred to his letter to the Commissioners, dated 2-19-09. He stated that Corrections is not expecting to see any revenue cuts from the State. He stated that in an effort to achieve savings, they have reduced external training, overnight stays, using a Sheriff Deputy car in lieu of providing mileage reimbursements, reduced temporary staff, and eliminating the summer work crew position. Sawatzke asked if MacMillan anticipates any employees taking retirement. MacMillan stated no. His Department experiences a low turn-over rate. Thelen asked if Parenting Through Divorce is a contracted position. MacMillan stated that the County Board elected to switch this part-time position to a contract position. MacMillan stated that his Department does very little contracting. They attempt to do most of their programs internally to generate revenue. Sawatzke asked MacMillan about his furniture and equipment line item. MacMillan stated that they are on a schedule for computer replacements. Most of his Department is scheduled for replacement this year. He stated that he anticipates this line item to be near zero next year.
Larry Unger, County Recorder, stated that he has a small Department that is heavy on the labor side. His recording fees are generally his total revenue. Recording fees are tied to the real estate market and affects his office dramatically. He stated that the largest savings he could provide the County is by not filling a vacant administrative position. He also proposed saving an additional $1,000 in equipment and $200 of overtime. Eichelberg asked if Unger anticipates any revenue being generated due to the foreclosure and stimulus package. Unger stated that there is a surge of refinancing mortgages which generates a lot of documents. This will perk up his revenue side. He stated that his Department is holding its own. Foreclosures require about five documents which generates revenue.
Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, stated that his story is similar to Unger’s. His Department is highly revenue dependent. He stated that his Department was seeing revenue increases up until about 2005. The first drop occurred in 2006; an increase was projected in 2007, and the bottom fell out in 2007 and 2008. He stated that in response, he did not replace a senior clerk position from last year which will be his main portion of savings. Sawatzke asked how many staff members are in Salkowski’s Department. Salkowski stated he has 14 staff, including himself. Sawatzke asked if there is any expectation of retirement. Salkowski stated no.
Thelen asked how Salkowski’s Department is responding to the lighter workload. Salkowski stated that permit numbers are always down in the winter. It is difficult to predict what will occur in the spring. Last year, the hail storm kept his Department busy. His revenues were up because of siding and roofing permits. During slower times, his staff is doing a lot of data entry and work that was put off during the busy times. Everybody is chipping in. Building inspectors and planners are reviewing old data and getting it entered into the new system. He confirmed that permits are down and revenues are down, yet he has not hired any new staff as a result. During his tenure, building has gone through cycles. Thelen asked if Planning & Zoning would realize a savings using internal staff on the NW quadrant planning process. Salkowski stated that the consulting fees are part of the County Board’s professional services budget. The savings would not be reflected within his budget.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, stated that in an effort to reach the 5% goal, his Department proposes to reduce some of its seasonal line items. They will look at reducing work hours for 4 of the 8 seasonal positions, eliminating overtime, updating the Parks brochure in lieu of completely redoing it, and reduce a variety of Parks projects. He stated that they would not purchase a new mower for Schroeder Park. Russek asked if the mower is included in the equipment bond. Mattice stated no, as Parks is not considered an entity of public safety. Sawatzke asked if Mattice anticipates any employees retiring. Mattice stated that the next possible retirement would not be for another three years.
Gary Miller, County Sheriff, referred to his letter to the Commissioners dated 2-17-09. He noted that his Department has cut back to the leanest budget ever presented. He stated that as always, his Department monitors specific line items, delays purchases, delays hiring, and calls for soft hiring freezes. Potentially through 2009, and given the present work load, they are looking to hold back hiring 5 FTE’s, barring civil unrest. He stated that currently, it is a slow time for his Department. His Department is operating without 7 FTE’s. This year’s budget is leaner than previous years.
Sawatzke stated that his memo addresses an increase in State revenues of $100,000. Miller stated that it is based on State revenue rules. Dave Miller, Captain, stated that it is a formula that is based on a tax on auto insurance premiums and is divided up by the number of licensed peace officers in each district. They called the State and $425,000 revenue is anticipated for 2009.
G. Miller proposed that if the County were to offer an incentive toward post retirement individual health care costs, those Deputies looking to retire might choose early retirement. This would provide an opportunity to hire an entry level Deputy. The downfall, the County would lose some highly qualified people but could provide some considerable savings.
G. Miller stated that because of the projected budget cuts, cities might consider minimizing or cutting service contracts with the County which would potentially result in personnel lay-offs. He stated that he would recommend to the Board that if cities are looking to cut their contracts to the point that the County is not providing a suitable level of coverage, he would recommend cancelling the contract.
Sarah Chur, Extension Director, stated that she represents a small department. She referred to her memo dated 2-17-09 which describes how they would attempt to achieve a 5.16% budget savings in 2009.
Genell Reese, VS/CD Director, stated that with her small budgets, she could only anticipate turning back approximately $500 per Department for Furniture & Equipment. Sawatzke acknowledged that her budgets for both departments have not really changed over the past 10 years. Reese confirmed that they try to keep their spending to a minimum. Russek stated that Vet Services could anticipate becoming busier within the near future.
Bill Swing, I.T. Director, stated that I.T. is in a quandary. The budget overrides their goal of improving services to the County. It is a challenge to improve services while decreasing costs. He stated that it is his opinion that I.T. should be more aggressive in leveraging technology to reduce costs. His memo, dated 2-17-09, addresses I.T. budget reductions, budget reduction measures affecting all Departments, and operational practices. He was able to demonstrate a 11.5% savings. He proposed that the County examine how Stearns County is soliciting budget cutting methods on their website. He noted that I.T. was able to turn back nearly 14% last year because of its inability to bring in two hires. He stated that he really needs a Network Analyst and a Lead Developer. He proposed April 1st and July 1st as start dates for the two hires. He stated I.T. would be able to fund 100% of Furniture & Equipment from the Recorder Technology fund.
Sawatzke asked if the equipment note could only be used for certain types of equipment. Swing stated that it was hardware specific. Sawatzke asked if there is a way to shift funds to the Land Records fund and shift funds from the levy under the bond. Norman stated yes. The equipment note is for three years. The first year, the County only anticipated using $700,000 of the equipment note for I.T. equipment and Sheriffs vehicles. If I.T. can use $85,000 out of the Recorder’s Technology Fund, this frees up $85,000 of the equipment note and saves levy dollars. This would be the highest and best use.
Swing stated that his memo does not reflect this, but there is a hold on the hiring of his Office Assistant from a part-time position to a full-time position. He stated that he would like to urge the County Board to move forward on this.
Swing alluded to his memo that states the County could afford to defer the MS Office07 software until 2010. He would encourage the County to consolidate its cell phone services to one vendor. Sawatzke stated that he would like to see an inventory of all County cell phones and a Committee to discuss the use and service of the phones. Norman stated that the Personnel Committee dealt with this topic in the past. Russek stated that he would be in favor of a Committee to discuss how the County can save money. Swing stated that he would encourage overall strategic planning in an effort to save County dollars.
Norman referred to his memo dated 2-19-09 regarding the Commissioner’s and Building Care & Maintenance budgets. He stated that they are self-explanatory. Eichelberg noted that the Commissioners were able to turn back $18,000 at the end of 2008. Norman noted that it is difficult to predict expenditures for the new Jail/LEC. They have set up separate line items in the Building Care budget so that their expenditures could be tracked in upcoming years.
Sawatzke stated that he’d like to see the new Jail/LEC operate with one less maintenance staff. Norman stated that the DOC sets the standards on the number of full-time custodians for Jail operations. Sawatzke stated that he does not believe a new facility needs as much maintenance and attention as an older building. Norman stated that this spring and summer would require exterior maintenance. Sawatzke stated that he would still be in favor of operating with one less maintenance staff until the County Board hears of a complaint. Russek stated that he would be in favor of holding off on hiring a maintenance staff. Thelen stated that she thinks this is a good idea. Russek stated that it is always easier to bring somebody on board at a later date than it is to lay-off an employee. Eichelberg stated that he would hesitate on determining the quantity of savings by delaying the hiring of a custodial staff member at the new Jail/LEC.
Thelen asked if any staff members had any feedback from the recent energy conference. Norman stated that he, Al Buskey, and Craig Hayes, would tell the County Board that an energy audit seems prudent at this time. The payback could be relatively short on updating some of the lighting within the Government Center. Norman stated that if Thelen is interested in seeing some of the handouts from the conference, that she should contact Brad Hatfield, Facilities Supervisor, at the new Jail/LEC. Sawatzke stated that if Hatfield has ideas on how to save energy and related costs, he should bring this forward to a Building Committee Meeting.
Sawatzke stated that it was his understanding that the stimulus package may include money to make public buildings more energy efficient. Norman proposed that the County start to put a plan into place. Sawatzke asked that Norman request information from AMC or NACO on what they know about the energy efficiencies in the upcoming stimulus bill.
Norman reviewed his memo dated 2-17-09 regarding his cost savings measures from the Administration Department.
Norman stated that there was not a tab within their binders for “Nondepartmental” budget for personnel services, site improvements, and professional services line items. He noted that 2009 would have 27 pay periods. This produces an extra payroll period which would cost the County over $1 million.
Sawatzke asked if the Committee should discuss the Historical Society, Soil & Water District, County Fair, and the Economic Development Partnership budgets. The Initiative Foundation received their full allotment. Per County Board direction, Norman stated that he sent a letter out to each of these groups alerting them that they are to anticipate a 5% reduction in their allotments. Russek stated that Soil & Water acknowledged receipt of the letter. Eichelberg stated that he is reluctant to determine an amount until further information is received from the State in June, 2009. Sawatzke stated that to wait until June, 2009, does not make sense to him. He would be in favor of making the reduction official. The County Board does not have the ability to tell the Great River Regional Library that their allotment will be less this year.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize a 5% cut to the County’s allocations to the Historical Society, Soil & Water Conservation District, County Fair Board, and the Economic Development Partnership.
Norman stated that Mark Nolan and Lee Kelly did an analysis of whether to increase the insurance deductible to $10,000. It was determined that it wasn’t worth making the change.
Sawatzke called for a recess of the Committee meeting until 3-03-09 at 10:30 a.m.
Sawatzke requested that Norman notify the Departments that weren’t heard today to attend the 3-03-09 meeting to address their proposed budget savings measures. He also requested that Norman bring a list to the meeting regarding County-wide cost savings measures, i.e. Personnel Committee to address vacant positions, Voluntary Leave Without Pay, Cell Phone Committee, public input.
Norman stated that he feels the Committee is taking a positive step. However, the County has not identified the magnitude of the problem yet. There is an early estimate that there will be a $760,000 State aid shortfall.
(End of 2-24-09 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting minutes)
The meeting recessed at 9:50 A.M. and reconvened at 10:00 A.M. for the Employee Recognition Ceremony. Each year the Board recognizes employees for individual and group achievement. The recipients were announced for the 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 Year Service Awards. Each recipient received a Certificate of Recognition and a coffee mug to honor their years of service. The Board extended thanks to Barb Petersen and the Personnel Department for coordinating the Ceremony, and also to the Awards Review Committee.
Al Buskey, Building Maintenance Supervisor, received the Individual Achievement Award. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, presented the award to Buskey. He stated that Buskey started in June, 1980 and was promoted to supervisor in June, 1985. Over the years Buskey has remained constant in his dedication to Wright County. In 1985 his hard work and dedication was honored by the Officers Association and the County Board. Norman stated that Buskey’s achievements are many and include responding to maintenance requests, maintaining the inventory for the County, and purchasing and maintaining County equipment. Buskey has saved the County thousands of dollars over the years. Buskey stated that it was a great honor to receive this award. He thanked Norman, the Commissioners, and his co-workers for making it possible.
The Group Achievement Award was presented to the Planning & Zoning Staff for their 2008 Earth Day – Free Television Collection. Bill Stephens, Environmental Health Officer presented the award. He stated that 650 cars dropped off televisions that weighted about 88,000 lbs. The televisions were unloaded, by hand, by the staff throughout the day. The savings to Wright County residents was $28,000 and the savings to the County was $35,400, as the materials were removed for free. He feels privileged to work with people who are dedicated and go above the call of duty. Stephens thanked everyone for their hard work and for their efforts towards the success of the project. Receiving the Award were Scott Deckert, Tracy Janikula, Gary Lebovsky, Stacy Marquardt, Craig Mueller, Terrie Piram, Barry Rhineberger, Sean Riley, Tom Salkowski, Craig Schulz, Rhonda Thompson, and Michael Woodford.
Individual Honorable Mention Achievement Award went to Deb Beutler (Human Services), Barb Holmquist (Highway Department), Denise McCalla (Auditor/Treasurer), and Carla Nelson (Auditor/Treasurer). Honorable Mention Group Achievement Award Nominations went to the Child Support Enforcement Unit, Humans Services, and includes the following employees: Lorrie Adams, Sharon Anderson, Debra Beutler, Chris Brazelton, Linda Denardo, Roseanne Duran, Rochelle Francis-Wolfgram, Georgina Kotzenmacher, Christy Leuer, Kimberly Wahl, and Dawn Zachman. Honorable Mention Group Achievement Award Nominations also went to the Development Disabilities Unit, Human Services, and included the following employees: Nicole Bender, Julie Davis, Julie Eittreim, Ed Hance, Robert Holverson, Chad Miller, Amy Ristinen, Sherri Scheie, Brandy Vollbrecht, Amanda Wilson, and Cherryl Williams. A reception will be held in the Community Room following the Board Meeting.
An Owners Committee Meeting was held on 3-03-09. At today’s County Board Meeting Sawatzke referenced the Jail/LEC Open House on Saturday 3-21-09 from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. He encouraged all Commissioners to attend. Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Thelen. Mattson questioned the purchase of two additional bike racks. Sawatzke clarified that one bike rack will be purchased for Work Release. The motion carried 5-0.
1. A&P.
Streich announced that the County received its permanent Certificate of Occupancy for the entire building on 2-26-09. A&P is working on the final punch list for the interior of the building. The list will be distributed to the appropriate contractors.
Torfin approved the following:
1. PCO #127 BP#3 Construct 1 Hour Partition At Grid Line N Upper Level, $1,766.00.
Torfin explained that a fire wall was required as part of final inspection in the stairwell mechanical chase.
2. PCO #178 BP#3 Additional Floor Prep For Adhesion Of Sports Flooring, $1,950.00.
Torfin stated that the flooring manufacturer stated that he could not guarantee the flooring with the way it was finished in the indoor recreation area. Additional prep was needed.
3. PCO #184 BP#3 Door S2000B - Request To Exit Button, $430.00.
Torfin explained that according to a code requirement, an additional exit switch at the door in the Sheriff’s office was needed.
4. PCO #185 BP#3 Inspection Result –Additional Work Required At Area E Chases, $586.00.
Torfin stated that as a result of the building inspection, sheetrock and fire safing was required at the top of CMU walls in Area E.
5. PCO #183/CO #172-024 – Back-charge To Phasor For Generator Retest By Willen, (1,250.00).
Torfin explained that this is a back charge to Phasor Electric resulting in a change order deduct. Willen back charged Phasor for an extra trip fee to start the generator. Blotske stated that the back charge will go back into the contingency and the County will have to issue a claim to Willen, Inc. for the back charge.
1. PCO #175 – BP#3 UL Label On S1410 Door & Frame – Required Per Building Inspector, $1,110.00.
Blotske stated that this is a requirement of the building inspector. She informed the Committee that she is still waiting for the formal pricing.
2. PCO #187 – BP#3 PR078 Additional Misc. Door Hardware, $3,200.00.
Blotske stated that additional miscellaneous door hardware and thresholds were needed. She stated that A&P is investigating whether it would be in the best interest of the County to purchase these directly.
3. PCO #188 – BP#3 Modifications To Floor Drains At Jail, $1,500.00.
4. PCO# 189 – BP#3 Additional Caulking Required At Security Cameras, $2,000.00.
Blotske explained that caulking is required at the security cameras in the booking and indirect housing areas. Again, A&P is waiting for the final pricing on this. Sawatzke asked if a harder caulk is needed so that inmates do not dig it out. Streich stated yes, it is a security caulk.
Blotske stated that the current contingency amount is $352,865.58.
E. PROJECT FF&E BUDGET $1,879,314.00.
Blotske stated that the current FF&E Budget is $1,096,028.61.
1. Work Release Locker Locks And Key Cabinet (Torfin)
Torfin stated that property needs to be properly secured; however, staff needs access to lockers for contraband searches. Russell Security has 45 used locker locks with master keys for the vestibule lockers. They are all master keyed alike. The locks are $10/each for a total of $450. Torfin stated that they are also looking for 68 padlocked locks that have combination locks at $9/each. They would also purchase a Grainger key cabinet which is priced at $79.15.
2. Purchase Of Corner Protectors For Loading Dock Door
Hatfield stated that garage #6 needs small bumpers. Trucks have to back into the building in order to operate the lift loading dock. The small bumpers would protect the building. The Grainger catalogue lists the bumpers at $77.05 plus tax. Hatfield stated that maintenance could install the bumpers.
3. Purchase Of Two Half Dome Security Mirrors (Torfin)
Torfin explained that they are in need of two half dome security mirrors from Grainger ($85.35/each) to be mounted on the wall adjacent to the ceiling to allow 180 degree viewing. One will be placed outside of the pharmacy window.
Torfin stated that he would like to propose adding two grandstand bike racks to the exterior of the building: (1) Work Release and (1) employees. The racks are black and cost $197/each. The racks would be placed at two separate entrances. Sawatzke asked if there is a bike rack at the front of the building. Torfin stated yes, however, it is more for décor than function.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize purchase of one bike rack for Work Release and items 1,2, and 3 above.
The Open House is scheduled for 3-21-09 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Blotske asked the Committee to review the Probable Project/Scope Cost worksheet that was included in their packets. She asked what the Committee would like presented to the public regarding the cost of the project. The Committee unanimously agreed that the public should be made aware of the total construction cost as well as the how much under budget the project came in at.
Buikema presented a draft brochure for the Open House. He asked that the Committee review the brochure and provide feedback. He announced that the construction “fun facts” are listed on the back of the brochure.
Torfin stated that Commissioner Mattson has taken photos of the construction process and would like to provide a continuously running PowerPoint presentation at the Open House.
Buikema asked if there is a local printer who could print the brochures. Hayes asked how the brochures would be funded. Blotske stated that there is money in A&P’s reproduction reimbursables. The Committee unanimously agreed to fund the printing out of A&P’s reproduction reimbursables. The Committee also agreed to print 2,000 brochures. Sawatzke asked that at least two local printing companies be contacted for a price quote. Blotske stated that she would contact both Precision Prints and Total Printing.
Miller stated that he would email the newest logo/emblem to Buikema for the brochure. Norman pointed out a few grammar inconsistencies. Miller stated that he’d like to see a few “fun facts” regarding the Sheriffs Department and its current operations. Buikema asked that the Committee get their final changes to him by the end of the week.
Streich stated that as of today, 218,111 manhours were dedicated to the building of the Jail/LEC in approximately a one year’s period.
Torfin asked how the Committee would like to fund the refreshments for the Open House. Aramark will bake the cookies and furnish the coffee and punch. He estimated that it would cost $1,000. Blotske again proposed paying for the refreshments out of project reimbursables. Blotske asked that Torfin provide her with the invoice.
A brief discussion occurred regarding the parking for the Open House. The Committee unanimously agreed to use the Transport Vehicle and the Highway Van to assist those in need of transportation from the parking lot to the front door of the Jail/LEC building. Miller stated that they would try to line up the Reserves to direct traffic.
Sawatzke asked if a public announcement has been sent out to the local newspapers. Torfin stated that one has not been sent out yet. He will make sure this is done.
Norman asked who would make the call on rescheduling the Open House to 3-28-09 if we have inclement weather. It was decided that Sawatzke, as Board Chair, would work in coordination with Sheriff Miller on making the determination.
No report.
The Owner’s Committee will meet again on 3-10-09 at 1:00 p.m.
(End of 2-25-09 Owner’s Committee Meeting minutes)
A Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-25-09. At today’s County Board Meeting Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke stated that the meeting scheduled for 3-25-09 has been moved to 3-31-09 at 2:30 p.m. Mattson referenced Page 1, 2nd Paragraph, 1st Line, and stated that the tower is located in Marysville Township, not Buffalo. Changes were made to read as follows: Mattson asked how the Marysville Township MnDOT tower fits into this project (Mattson). The motion carried 5-0.
Swing presented a revised Agenda for today’s meeting (see attached). The purpose of today’s meeting is to review adjusted reoccurring costs as directed by the Committee on 1-28-09, discuss contracts and solicit signatures, and discuss the formation of a monthly Public Safety Radio Committee.
Mattson asked how the Marysville Township MnDOT tower fits into this project. Swing stated that MnDOT’s tower is part of the phase III MnDOT build-out and does relate to today’s discussion of antenna tower usage and signal strength. Mattson stated that the County was supposed to gain free usage of tower space. Swing stated this is true and is a critical component of the system. Mazzitello stated that MnDOT is not placing any other towers in Wright County. The County still needs to find viable tower options to achieve the 95% coverage for its portables units.
Mazzitello stated that the Committee met on 1-28-09. The Committee requested that
they provide a realistic outlook of the reoccurring charges, as well as investigate the option of using water towers in Annandale, South Haven, Cokato, and Howard Lake. He distributed the “ARMER Participation Elements Review” handout (see attached) that described their field survey results. Motorola then reviewed the data and developed a set of radio signal graphics (see attached) depicting the radio signal coverage for all options (water towers versus American Tower sites). Bruha stated that the graphics provide worst-case modeling predictions for on-the-street coverage of portable units. He stated that it is obvious in looking at the graphics that the two American Tower sites provide much better coverage than the water towers. He reminded the Committee that the American Tower sites are 300’ tall. The water towers are approximately 100’ tall. He noted that the graphics demonstrate a minimum of 95% digital audio quality coverage. The white areas on the graphics do not necessarily mean that there would not be any coverage in those areas. The white areas simply mean that the coverage would not meet the 95% minimum coverage. He stated that the current radio system is at 75% coverage. Bruha stated that unfortunately the water towers are not tall enough to provide the level of coverage that the two American Towers would provide.
Swing announced that after further analysis and negotiation, the adjusted reoccurring operational costs are now at a not-to-exceed amount of $150,000. The initial projection was $235,000 which was presented at the Committee Meeting on 1-28-09. Mazzitello explained that discussions with American Tower have brought the annual antenna leasing costs from $26,100/tower down to $22,800/tower. If the County opted for a smaller microwave dish, the cost could be $21,715/per tower. Mazzitello stated that American Tower has indicated they are giving the County a ‘public safety” rental rate. Mazzitello stated that he put a feeler out to American Tower indicating the County may be interested in purchasing their towers. A response has not been received as of today’s date. Sawatzke asked if there is an “out” clause within the contract. Mazzitello stated that he believes there is. The contract is before the County Attorney for his review. The contract outlines a 4% annual increase. The ten-year contract offers one renewal.
Sawatzke asked how much it would cost to install adequate antennas on the water towers. Bruha stated that it would cost approximately $50-60,000 per antenna on a water tower. Mazzitello stated that this does not include the cost of the electronics and equipment that would be required in addition to the antenna. The equipment would be an additional $300,000/tower.
Mazzitello stated that if the County were to construct a tower, it would cost $593,800. This does not include the annual maintenance, inspection, and insurance costs. Bruha noted that a single LED beacon on a 300’ tower costs $7,000 to replace.
Sawatzke asked how much the State be giving the County in grant monies. Howell explained that the County would receive $718,000 for the project. The number is a set amount and is not based on a per antenna basis.
Mattson asked the representatives from the Fire Departments for their opinion regarding this project. Bobrowske stated that the need for 95% coverage for fire service is not as important as it is for police officers. He stated that his current 800 MHz system operates at 80-95% and is suitable for his needs. Marketon stated that his biggest concern is the paging system. He stated that he cannot receive pages in Buffalo, but can in Montrose. He would like the paging system to be repaired along with the 800 MHz.
Mazzitello stated that the standard antenna height that MnDOT is building is 300-320’. This height pushes the signal out further, providing a stronger signal.
Mattson thanked Mazzitello, Bruha, and Swing for their research and today’s update. He has a better understanding of what the County is about to undertake and feels more comfortable. Eichelberg stated that the revised annual reoccurring costs are still high, but better than what was presented a month ago.
Swing stated that the scope of maintenance under the Motorola Agreement and the American Tower lease pricing are what adversely affected the total cost of the reoccurring costs. The Motorola contract was originally quoted at $120,712 for the first year and is now down to $50,848. Swing announced that the State of Minnesota would require they retain the service contract for operational costs. The State of Minnesota contract is worth approximately $60,000/year.
Russek stated that the County Board is going to have to determine whether it would be more beneficial to build towers or lease two towers for twenty years. Sawatzke stated that he agrees with Russek’s comment. He also commented that a 4% escalator is a sharp increase for rental property, especially during a recession. He stated that he does not want the County in the tower business, but does not want to be taken advantage of by American Tower.
Sawatzke asked about the cost for the support of the logging recorder. Swing stated that it is an annual cost of $13,000 which will be funded by the E911 surcharge account. Howell commented that the E911 account is very healthy with an approximate balance of $300,000. The logging recorder tapes the incoming calls.
A. Training (Karns Services)
1. Dispatchers.
Swing stated that the County would utilize one training company, Karns Services, which will train everyone from the Dispatchers to the Fire Departments. This will allow for consistent training.
The Dispatchers training would cost $9,860. This allows for a $6,000 deduct in the Motorola contract for the LEC console portion.
2. Radio Users.
Swing stated that this $23,430 comprehensive training package on the subscriber radios would be funded by the $1.4 million bond.
Swing stated that the County does not have a contract with MnDOT. However, MnDOT does require operation procedures and requirements in contract format that will require signatures. This contract does not have a cost.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize signatures on the Karns Services and MnDOT contracts.
Swing stated that the group feels its time to hold monthly Public Safety Radio Committee Meetings. He proposed the fourth Monday of the month. He asked that a Commissioner attend, along with representatives from the Fire Departments, to discuss critical issues as they arise. A point of discussion would be a dialogue regarding charge backs to users. Sawatzke noted that some counties are electing to charge back a certain percentage to its users; other Counties have opted to pay for the entire project.
Swing stated that another inventory should be done on who would be using the radios. Sawatzke asked if Swing could present an inventory in a month. Swing stated that he thinks this is doable. Norman proposed meeting on 3-25-09 at 9:00 a.m.
Eichelberg asked if Swing could present a list of those who are expected to attend the users meeting. He stated that this could assist in getting the attendees notified and in attendance at the meetings.
Recommendation: Recess to 3-25-09 at 9:00 a.m. to hear another update regarding American Tower’s 4% annual increase; update on possible sale of towers; and monthly lease amount. The discussion is also to include an update on what other counties are doing regarding charge backs to users.
(End of 2-25-09 Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting minutes)
Norman requested that the Board review and approve a Parenting Through Divorce Contract. The Agreement is based on discussions that took place with Mary Ann Peterson at a Personnel Committee meeting. The County Board subsequently approved the recommendations. Norman stated that Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, has reviewed the contract and gave his approval. With the Boards approval today, he will forward it to Peterson for signature. Russek moved to approve the Parenting Through Divorce Contract, seconded by Eichelberg. The motion carried 5-0.
Norman stated that there is a Quad County Meeting on 3-31-09 at 10:30 A.M. at the Jail/LEC. He stated that he will be meeting with administrators from other counties to talk about agenda items. He stated that all requests should be submitted to him as soon as possible. Sawatzke requested that each County giving an overview on what they are doing to offset State Aid reductions. Norman stated that a tour will follow lunch.
Bills Approved
Accurate USA. $272.50
AECOM USA Inc 6,641.80
Alpha Video and Audio Inc. 438.73
American Messaging 117.45
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 367.07
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 1,125.00
Annandale Rock Products 500.86
Aramark Correctional Services 195.00
Arrow Terminal LLC 374.29
Atrix International Inc. 1,460.00
Bob Barker Co. 439.99
Barnes Distribution 452.92
Big B’s Towing and Recovery 182.13
Boyer Truck Parts 831.36
BP Amoco 1,229.89
Buff ‘N’ Glo Inc. 178.08
Buffalo Floral and Landscaping 160.00
City of Buffalo 39,038.90
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 100.00
Catco Parts Service 556.80
Cenex Fleetcard 655.87
Dorene Chapman 104.00
Comm. of Transportation 200.00
Conections Etc. 572.47
Cottens’ Inc. 2,621.31
Dakota Food Company 505.75
Delano Sports Center Inc. 139.72
Dell Marketing LP 10,717.37
Carter Diers 319.55
Dustcoating Inc. 15,745.64
Elmer Eichelberg 226.28
Embarq 137.13
ESRI 3,923.59
Fastenal Company 495.81
French Lake Township 436.00
Frontier Precision Inc. 193.19
GCS Service Inc. 176.83
Raymond Glunz 120.00
Grainger 2,098.36
Granite Electronics 78,386.68
Greenview Inc. 825.46
Hance Utility Services Inc. 531.17
Hennepin County Treasurer 938.58
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 7,791.47
Houston Engineering Inc. 2,437.25
Integrated Fire & Security 1,747.78
Interium Inc. 42,983.93
Interstate Battery Systems 1,023.95
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 227.92
Kaplan Professional Schools 5,100.00
Kennedy & Graven 8,056.50
Larson Allen LLP 1,050.00
Harold Larson Distributing 123.32
Michael Laurent 110.88
League of MN Cities 1,530.00
Loberg Electric 2,626.45
Locators & Supplies Inc. 110.03
Carol Lostetter 200.00
M-R Sign Company Inc. 1,055.58
Maple Lake Messenger 206.88
Marco Inc. 2,000.17
Martin-McAllisters Consulting 800.00
Richard Mattson 145.75
McDowall Company 898.00
Menards - Buffalo 963.48
Merrick & Company 19,999.31
Mid-America Business Sys. 6,387.87
Midstates Equip and Supply 44,903.64
MN Association of County Ofc 385.00
MN City-County Mngmnt Assn. 107.00
MN Copy Systems 168.53
Moodys Investors Service 8,700.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 1,712.15
Mountain Stream Sports & App 102.98
National Business Systems 15,990.00
Nextel Communications 874.83
Office Depot 2,082.86
OSI Environmental Inc. 830.00
Photo 1 198.45
PMI Computer Supplies 117.92
Prevost Trust Nov. 19, 1996 30,200.00
Frank Ramacciotti 600.00
Rigid Hitch Incorporated 149.46
Royal Tire Inc. 1,929.66
Ryan Chevrolet 427.79
SEH 830.15
Snowplows Plus 201.76
Software House International 2,236.94
Spectrum Solutions 135.00
Brian Stoll 270.60
Strategic Equip. and Supply 2,480.89
Stratus Technologies Ireland 3,061.73
Rose Thelen 521.40
Tires Plus 364.29
Trophies Plus LLC. 132.16
Uni-Hydro Ironworkers 298.10
US Bank 1,618.75
Walmart Community BRC 257.65
Waste Management TC West 1,575.78
Weighing Systems & Services 914.73
West Central Industries 128.87
Westside Equipment 232.46
Wright County Journal Press 512.40
Xcel Energy 1,990.34
Zip’s Diesel Injection Serv. 474.88
38 Payments less than $100 1,815.54
Final total $411,844.74
The meeting adjourned at 10:42 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal April 13, 2009.

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