WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
MARCH 24, 2009
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 a.m. with Sawatzke, Thelen, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present.
The County Board Minutes of 3-10-09 were corrected as follows: Page 2, second paragraph, first line, change to “2-20-09 Transportation Committee of the Whole Meeting” (Norman); Page 3, first line, change to “2-20-09 Transportation Committee Of the Whole Minutes (cont):” (Norman); and Page 16, 10th line, change to “End of 2-25-09 Owner’s Committee Meeting minutes)” (Russek). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Eichelberg, carried unanimously.
The following items were petitioned onto the Agenda: Auditor/Treasurer #5, “Approve Jail/LEC Pay Application #21, $488,332.48, Contingent on Owner’s Committee Approval,” (Hiivala). On a motion by Thelen, seconded by Russek, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Sawatzke requested that items B.1., C.1., and C.2. be removed for discussion. On a motion by Thelen, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended.
1. 1. Performance Appraisals: K. Chrissis, S. Simonds, D. Snyder, Atty.; L. Davis, Aud./Treas.; C. Barnaal, M. Condon, J. Moe, B. Peterson, Crt. Srvs.; R. Bonk, B. Hendricks, B. Severson, C. Webb, Hwy.; S. Arp, P&Z; J. Gutknecht, Rec.; D. Anderson, N. Borrett, A. Boverhuis, T. Coon, R. Erickson, L. Fox, M. Fox, A. Freiberg, M. Kaczmarek, J. Miller, R. Murray, C. Neuenschwander, G. Nordquist, J. Parker, J. Scheierl, G. Wakefield, Sheriff/Corr.
2. Claim, Frank Madden, $4,212.80 (Service for 02-09).
3. Overtime Report Ending 03-06-09.
4. Approve Memorandum Of Understanding With International Union Of Operating Engineers RE: Wright County Fair.
5. Set County Annual Auction For 05-30-09 at 10:00 A.M., Public Works Building.
1. Approval Of 2009 Maintenance Agreements Between Wright County And Six Cities.
E. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Refer The Following Agenda Items To Technology Committee:
- Input From The Public On Budget Cuts Via The Web Site.
- Review And Discuss Strategic Planning For Technology.
1. Authorize Signatures Of The Board Chair, County Coordinator, And Sheriff On The Boat & Water Supplemental Safety Grant Agreement.
Item B.1. Attorney, “Refer to Personnel Committee A Policy For Blackberries In The Attorney’s Office” was discussed. Sawatzke asked Norman if this discussion should refer to all County offices. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, stated yes, the Committee should discuss a County-wide Policy regarding Blackberries in all Department offices. Eichelberg moved to approve referring a discussion to the Personnel Committee regarding County Policy for Blackberries. Russek seconded the motion, carried unanimously.
Item C.1. Auditor/Treasurer, Reimburse Rollover Fund For Braddock Ave. $222,221.37 From Bond Proceeds, and C.2. Approve 2008 Braddock Ave. Expenses Reimbursement To Road And Bridge $105,664.79 From Bond Proceeds, was discussed. Sawatzke asked if these two items should be discussed at an Owner’s Committee first to verify that this is what they would like to do. Eichelberg moved to refer Items C.1. and C.2. to the Owner’s Committee. Russek seconded the motion. Mattson asked when these items would return to the County Board. Sawatzke informed Mattson that the Owner’s Committee would meet this afternoon and these items would come before the County Board at the 3-31-09 Meeting. The motion carried 5-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, solicited approval of the Maximus three-year contract extension. He stated that the County is currently under a three-year contract with Maximus to provide an indirect cost allocation plan. Maximus is offering a three-year contract extension at a reduced amount. Currently, the County is under contract for the plan years 2006-2008, at a rate of $6,500/year. The contract extension for plan years 2009-2011, would be for $6,175/year. Maximus is proposing that if the County were to renew the contract now, they would reduce the 2008 contract amount by $325.00. Hiivala noted that the County has been with Maximus for several years and the new management seems to be very diligent. He recommended that the County extend the contract for another three years. Mattson moved to approve a three-year contract extension of the Maximus contract, seconded by Russek. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala presented a resolution to the Board authorizing the Deputy Registrar’s Association an increase of $1.50 per transaction, to help offset the costs associated with providing title registration services. Sawatzke asked when the Deputy Registrar’s Association last requested an increase. Becky Aanerud, License Bureau Supervisor, stated that in 2001, the County filing fee was changed from $3.50 to $4.50. It would now be increased to $6.00 per transaction. On a motion by Russek, seconded by Thelen, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #09-17, Supporting Maintenance Of Local Title And Registration Services.
Hiivala presented AIA Document G702/Cma, Payment Application #21, to the County Board. He stated that he is seeking authorization to pay the pay application contingent upon today’s review and recommendation by the Owner’s Committee at their 1:00 meeting. The total payment application amount is $488,332.48. Normally, these pay applications are to be paid on the last day of each month. Russek moved to authorize payment of Pay Application #21, subject to the Owner’s Committee review at the 3-24-09 Meeting. Eichelberg seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala presented the February Budget Guidelines. Eichelberg moved to approve the February Budget Guidelines, seconded by Thelen. The motion carried unanimous.
Hiivala submitted the claims listing for approval. Norman directed the County Board’s attention to a $299.20 reimbursement to Wayne Fingalson, County Highway Engineer, on page 28. The reimbursement is for airfare. Hiivala noted that the reimbursement is for an upcoming TDA trip. Hiivala stated that traditionally, County Policy does not grant reimbursement for conferences until after they have been attended. Hiivala stated that he would recommend pulling this claim and reimbursing Fingalson after the conference has occurred. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, with the removal of the claim to Wayne Fingalson for airfare reimbursement. Thelen seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Noel Labine, Wright County Economic Development Partnership, presented the Wright County Enterprise Loan Fund Application from Cinch Systems, LLC, in the amount of $50,000. Labine stated that Cinch Systems is a high tech patented security start-up company, in its third year of operation. Labine explained that there is a three step process in approving funding for a Wright County Enterprise Loan. First, a Finance Committee consisting of bankers and public accountants, meet to scrutinize the strengths and weaknesses of the company. They make their recommendation to the Board of Directors of the Partnership. Upon their recommendation, the application is then forwarded to the County Board for final approval. Labine provided a brief list of the company’s strengths and weaknesses compiled by the Finance Committee. Cinch Systems has a strong relationship with the State of Minnesota, and its CEO/Founder served as the Director of Homeland Security for GE Security. Labine stated that although Cinch Systems has a major customer with the US State Department, they would not be under any exclusivity agreement with them. They have outfitted a US Naval facility and expect more work with that department as well as nuclear facilities. They also plan to pursue private industry as a user of their product. The company is heavily vested, and will offer 8-9 jobs in its first year. Only one of those jobs would have a salary of less than $30k. Their headquarters would be in the City of St. Michael. Labine explained that the County would be sharing this investment risk with three other participants: Great Northern Bank of St. Michael, City of St. Michael, and The Initiative Fund. Eichelberg asked if the County’s share would be $50,000. Labine stated yes, it would be from the County’s revolving loan fund. Sawatzke gave a brief history of the formation of the Wright County Economic Development Partnership, explaining that the financing of this company would be made with interest from a loan fund (to be used for economic purposes) provided by the State of Minnesota. Sawatzke asked how much was in the fund. Labine stated that there was approximately $194,000 in the fund. There is over $6,000 outstanding. Eichelberg commented that this appears to be a worthwhile project and stated that it would be good to have a company such as Cinch Systems in Wright County. Eichelberg moved to approve the Cinch Systems loan request for $50,000, seconded by Thelen. The motion carried unanimous.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, solicited authorization of signatures on a Quit Claim Deed to the City of Buffalo. The City of Buffalo requested that the County execute a Quit Claim Deed to the City to clear up questions regarding ownership of a parcel of land along Buffalo Lake near the Buffalo Public Library. The parcel was part of the ROW for CSAH 35, and was turned back to the County by the State of Minnesota. Asleson presented copies of correspondence, the proposed deed, and a diagram of the vicinity of the parcel. The area consists of picnic tables. The City was not happy with the legal description, which now matches what is shown as Parcel 4. Mattson moved to authorize signatures on a Quit Claim Deed to the City of Buffalo, seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke asked for clarification on whether the County did intend to give this parcel to the City of Buffalo. Asleson stated yes, the County deeded it to the City after Highway 55 was re-routed. The City was not satisfied with the legal description. The motion carried unanimous.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, presented a copy of the 3-03-09 Parks Commission Minutes stating that he is seeking action on three recommendations made by the Parks Commission. The first item is to seek approval of the Trefoil Cultural and Environmental Heritage for Phase I Archeological Study at Bertram Chain of Lakes. A Phase I study is mandatory as a prerequisite to receiving grant money for the Phase I acquisition at the Bertram Chain of Lakes. The Parks Department and the City of Monticello solicited bids for a Phase I Archeological Investigation. The study would be performed over an area consisting of 1,116 acres of land and wetlands. The lowest bidder was Trefoil at $7,800. Each party would contribute $3,900. The study would be funded from Budget 100 Professional Services at a cost of $3,900.
At 9:30 a.m., Sawatzke announced the deadline to accept bids for the Truck Spreader.
Eichelberg moved to authorize funding $3,900 to the Trefoil Cultural and Environmental Heritage for a Phase I Archeological Study at the Bertram Chain of Lakes, seconded by Thelen. Russek asked if the County has a working relationship with Trefoil. Mattice stated that Trefoil performed a study on 240 acres at Ney Park. He clarified that this motion is only for a Phase I study. He stated that this is not for Phase II documentation. If they find a burial mound, flint shavings, or a farmstead in the area the County plans to construct trails, an additional fee would be expected. The goal is not to impact those sites. The motion carried 4-0 (Mattson absent).
Mattice stated that the second item is regarding appointment of Janice Bergstrom, Wright County Parks Commission member, to the Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council, with John Wisecarver as an alternate. He stated that there is no compensation for this position and Bergstrom was the Chair of the Wright County Parks Commission last year. Thelen made a motion to appoint Janice Bergstrom to the Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council, with John Wisecarver as an alternate. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0 (Mattson absent).
Mattice stated that the Parks Commission would like the County Board to consider opening the North and South Units of Stanley Eddy Regional Park to non-motorized mountain bike use. Mountain bike users would be required to follow the same seasonal dates and closures as the equestrian trails. Sawatzke referred to the italicized print on page three of the 3-03-09 Parks Commission Minutes that states, “Ryan Lieske from Minneapolis, representing the Mountain Bike Association, said that the Association has been actively working with metro area parks for the establishment of sustainable mountain bike trails. He said the he was here tonight to introduce the group to the Parks Commission and is not seeking permission for mountain bike use in Stanley Eddy Park, as they do not feel it is an appropriate area. He would like to work in the future with Wright County Parks to establish suitable designs and sites in the park system.” Sawatzke asked why the County Board should approve the Parks Commission’s recommendation after reading the comment made by the Mountain Bike Association. Mattice explained that in the early 1990s, the park was closed to bikes because of trail erosion problems. Maintenance work was done to those trails to eliminate or minimize the impact of trail use on steep grades. The trails were then reopened to horses, but not bikes. Some Park Board members felt strongly that if horses were allowed to use the trails, bikes should be given equal opportunity. Russek stated that he recalls the discussions pertaining to the reinstatement of horses using the trail system. The concern with bikes was that they provided more damage to the trails then horses. It was thought that bikes caused gullies down the middle of the trail. He stated that he is still not in favor of allowing bikes on these trails. Sawatzke stated that it seemed more sensible to provide a separate trail system for mountain bikes to avoid conflict between bikers and horse riders. Sawatzke stated that he would have concern regarding how non-motorized bikes and horses intermingle on the same trail. Eichelberg stated that there was a lot of discussion and documentation claiming that the improvement of the modern day mountain bike causes less trail deterioration than that caused by horses. It is the intent of the Parks Committee to take a tour after one year to determine the amount of erosion caused by mountain bikes. Mattson moved to approve the request to allow mountain bikes in Stanley Eddy Park. Eichelberg seconded the motion, noting that the Parks Committee would monitor the trail erosion after one year. Sawatzke stated that he would vote against the motion because of the comment made by the representative of the Mountain Bike Association. Russek stated that he would vote against this motion because based on the last discussion regarding these trails, he feels that the problems remain. Thelen stated that she would vote in favor of the motion because she has spoken to several members of the Mountain Bike Association who claim they are active in maintaining the trails. Mattice stated that he would have to make an inquiry to determine how much the Association volunteers in maintaining bike trails. Thelen stated that there are enough safeguards built into this plan, especially if the Parks Commission agrees to monitor the condition of the trail in a year. Mattice stated that if Eichelberg wanted an erosion audit of the trail to be performed after one year, he would have to amend the motion. Eichelberg disagreed with Mattice, stating that it was the feeling of the Committee that a tour would occur after the first year of use. Thelen asked how etiquette applies to bikes and horses that use the same trail system. Mattie stated that etiquette calls for everybody to yield to horses. The Parks would have to post signage regarding proper etiquette. Sawatzke stated that it is his opinion that it would be easier to separate the horses from the bike users. He asked Mattice how many parks were located within Wright County. Mattice responded that there are 29 parks, not all having trail systems. The motion carried 3-2 with Sawatzke and Russek voting “No”.
The Bid Opening was held for the Truck Spreader. Norman announced that the County only received one bid. RW Farms, LLC. provided a security check in the amount of $625, and a purchase proposal of $12,500. Russek asked how much the County expected to receive for the truck spreader. Russ Leistiko, R.W. Farms, stated that he had placed an approximate value to the truck of $15,000 - $20,000. Eichelberg asked if the County would have any use for the truck. Mattson proposed sending the truck to auction. Sawatzke informed the County Board that they could accept the bid, deny the bid, or make a counteroffer. Sawatzke asked Bill Stephens, Environmental Health Supervisor, when the County had last used the vehicle. Stephens stated that it has been at least 10-15 years since it was used. Eichelberg stated that RW Farms provided a reasonable bid and it was his opinion that the County would not receive any more than that. Eichelberg moved to accept the bid of $12,500 from RW Farms for the Truck Spreader, seconded by Thelen, and carried 5-0.
Jeff Young, Wright County resident, introduced his agenda item by introducing Larry Hoeft, Mayer resident, to make public comment regarding the Wright County Compost Facility. Hoeft stated that he was made aware of today’s County Board topic via an article in the Herald Journal. The article stated that RW Farms had never received complaints regarding the odor resulting from their composting operation. He stated that he has been to the City offices at Mayer to complain about the odor resulting from the composting efforts in the City of Mayer. He provided several personal and third party accounts of odor complaints regarding RW Farms’ operations. Hoeft quoted an article from the Waconia Patriot newspaper regarding a Village of Mayer meeting. According to the article, the City Administrator updated the Council on action being taken regarding odor complaints stemming from the City’s compost site. The article stated that RW Farms was working on removing a majority of the waste and applying an odor eliminating substance to the remaining piles. He stated that he has requested a letter from the County to confirm that RW Farms will not haul in any more waste. He has not received the letter yet. Mattson asked Hoeft how the Carver County Commissioners have responded to the odor complaints. Hoeft stated that he gave his initial concern to Tim Lynch, Hollywood Township Commissioner. He then later contacted Jim Ische, Carver County Commissioner, who stated that he was not aware of any odor complaints. He stated that it upset him to read in the newspaper that there were no odor complaints from the City of Mayer residents regarding the operations of RW Farms. Thelen asked Hoeft if the City of Mayer has been able to ascertain the odor complaints as a result of food waste. She asked what form of troubleshooting has occurred. Hoeft stated that the compost facility was to take in mostly brush and yard waste, however, a newspaper article reported that food waste was found mixed into the piles of yard waste and brush.
Young distributed an undated Star Tribune article, “Wanted Waste”, authored by Maria Elena Baca, to the County Board Members and the public.
David Bryant, rural Buffalo resident, stated that he had concerns regarding the County’s insurance liability. He questioned how the County’s insurance premium would not be affected by RW Farms’ operations. Sawatzke stated that at the 3-11-09 Ways & Means Committee Meeting, it was reported that MCIT informed the County that the proposed use of the facility would not impact the County’s insurance premium. Bryant stated that he was a skeptic and questioned how the County’s insurance premium could not be affected if an accident were to occur on site. He asked why the County would risk its own insurance for the benefit of a private company. Bryant referred to the “Wanted Waste” newspaper article by stating that Hennepin County is subsidizing haulers to collect separated food waste. He stated that there is a potential for State Law to require a certain percentage of recycling, and require all leaf and yard waste facilities to take in food waste. He stated that it is his opinion that if the County were to enter into a contract with RW Farms, and this type of legislation were to become State Law, the County would be forced to accept food waste. He stated that he did not think it was right for the County to play host for a private enterprise. He stated that it was his opinion that $35,000 in annual revenue from RW Farms is not justifiable when its operations will negatively affect the immediate neighbors of the Compost Facility.
Young then introduced Jean Bryant, rural Buffalo resident, to discuss an article she received through the Freedom Of Information Act from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Young distributed a facsimile from the MPCA, dated 3-23-09, to the County Board Members and public. Bryant stated that Geoffrey Stack, MPCA, forwarded email correspondence he had with Stephens on 3-17-08 that stated, “I would like to state that Wright County currently has no interest in accepting the “classic” MSW for processing. The purpose of reapplying for the permit would be to accept source separated organics for composting with normal yard wastes.” Sawatzke asked Stephens to approach the podium to explain the content of the email. Stephens stated that as of 3-17-08, the County was in the early stages of discussion with RW Farms regarding a source separated organics operation at the Compost Facility. Stephens contacted the MPCA to inquire on proper permitting procedure. Since 3-17-08, the County Board has decided only to entertain a small-scale brush and yard waste composting program. The relevance of the email no longer applies. Sawatzke asked if the Commissioners had toured the composting program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Stephens stated that 3-4 Commissioners toured the site in March/April of 2008. The Arboretum project does have a food waste composting program. Bryant stated that she did not trust the County Commissioners, as the email indicates that the County had intent to enter into a food composting program. Sawatzke stated that in March, 2008, there was a potential of intent. Since that time, the County Board voted against considering a source separated organics composting project. Bryant stated that RW Farms could find a way to accept food waste in order to compost its brush and yard waste. Mattson stated that it is his opinion that good compost cannot be made without some food waste.
Bryant stated that Thelen had met with her and her neighbor, David Pederson. Bryant stated that Thelen assured her that she would not support opening the Compost Facility again. Thelen stated that she recalled speaking about the landfill and she agreed that the landfill should not be expanded. She stated that the landfill was discussed at length. She stated that in her mind, the Compost Facility and the landfill are two separate initiatives. Thelen stated that she could not make a decision based on the fear of what might happen or what happened in the past. She stated that she would base her decision on RW Farms proposed operation, their odor mitigation efforts, their complaint procedure, etc.
Young stated that there is a 22-year history and resulting mistrust due to the existence of the landfill and Compost Facility. He stated that it is his opinion that $35,000 of annual income from a private industry is not worth the County’s time or risk. He stated that he has attended four other meetings at the County to express his opinion.
Norman stated that in preparing for today’s agenda, Young had reassured him that he would not take any longer than 10-15 minutes. Norman stated that he was concerned that the Agenda was running late. Sawatzke announced that everyone will have an opportunity to speak today.
The meeting was recessed at 10:23 a.m. and reconvened at 10:36 a.m.
Young introduced Ken Scadden, Monticello Township resident, who expressed concern regarding fire protection. He asked if the County would be financially responsible to pay the cost of fire protection if a fire is caused by the actions and operations of RW Farms. Sawatzke stated that this topic could be addressed in the lease agreement with RW Farms. The cost would be charged to the responsible party.
Linda Yonak, 1179 County Road 37 NE in Buffalo, stated that it was her understanding that turning lanes would be placed at the entrance of the Compost Facility. She asked who would have to pay for this cost. Fingalson approached the podium. He stated that his Staff alerted him of this topic. He estimates the cost of constructing one turn lane, and a bypass lane, would be approximately $20,000. This cost would be just for the material supplied by the Highway Department. If the work were to be contracted out, the cost would be almost double. Sawatzke asked if there is a need for turning and bypass lanes. Fingalson stated that to stay consistent with County policies regarding additional truck traffic, his Department would recommend adding one eastbound turn lane, and a westbound bypass lane. Fingalson stated that it was his understanding that RW Farms would be interested in paying for some of these costs. Yonak asked what recourse the County would have if RW Farms completely violated the terms of their lease agreement. Sawatzke noted that if RW Farms brought in more yardage than allowed, the County Board has the ability to notify the tenant to cease bringing materials into the facility. Yonak asked if RW Farms would be allowed to continue its operations. Sawatzke stated that according to the agreement, they would have to clean up the site. She stated that she is familiar with the permitting process due to her background as half owner of DDS Roll-Offs. She stated that it is her understanding that RW Farms could go around the County to acquire a food waste permit. She stated that she and her neighbors do not want to see their property value decrease even further due to the smell of the Compost Facility.
Gary Stai, 1075 County Road 37 NE in Monticello, stated that he has lived at his residence for three years. He stated that every once in a while, he catches an obnoxious odor from the landfill. He stated that he has concerns regarding the Compost Facility attracting rodents if it were to bring in food waste. He stated that he is totally against allowing food waste to be composted with the proposed brush and yard waste program. Sawatzke clarified that food waste is not part of this request. Russek commented that food waste has not been accepted at the Compost Facility since 1993/94.
Linda Stai, 1075 County Road 37 in Monticello, stated that she loves her new home and is proud of it. She would like to live in their home for the rest of their lives. She stated that she does not want to apologize to her guests and family for bad odors that may result from the proposed operation at the Compost Facility.
Mattson asked if there was a representative from the MPCA in the audience. There was no response. Mattson stated that it bothered him that nobody was here representing the MPCA today, as there was a representative at previous meetings.
Rick Barrens, 1337 County Road 37 NE, stated that he enjoys his neighborhood. He thanked Young for keeping the neighbors informed regarding today’s topic. He stated that the residents have to act as their own advocates. He stated that he once worked as a garbage hauler and is familiar with the odor and types of pests that are attracted to grass clippings and garbage. He stated that he has concerns regarding the increased level of traffic along County Road 37 if this proposal is passed. He stated that he does not think it is fair to give a highway construction “deal” to a private industry to build turning and bypass lanes. He stated that he doubted the County would give such a deal to a real estate developer. He stated that he saw his assessed value decrease on his house while his taxable value increased. He stated that it is his opinion that his assessed value would decrease significantly with RW Farms’ operations. He stated that one of the biggest investments that a person makes is his/her homestead. He asked the Commissioners why they would want Wright County to be considered the armpit of the seven county area. He stated that he has a compost pile at home for his garden. His compost pile stinks. He stated that if the County Board chooses to pursue this agreement, he would urge the County to put up a multi-million dollar bond to insure the value of adjacent properties. He told the Commissioners that the residents should be protected. He stated that the Commissioners were elected to represent the residents, not RW Farms. He stated that he did not think an annual income of $35,000 is worth the risk of lost property value.
Shelly Held, 1120 50th St NE in Buffalo, stated that being a daughter of a lawyer, she does not trust any contract. She stated that it is her opinion that contracts are rarely enforced or cost to much to enforce. She stated that she would take value in having a representative of RW Farms look her directly in the eye and promise that no food waste would be accepted out at the Compost Facility. She stated that she places more trust in eye contact and a handshake than in a contractual agreement. She stated that it seems suspicious that the MPCA is not here, and has concerns that a Wright County employee is sitting next to a representative of RW Farms in the audience.
Shelly Weinzetl, 1135 County Road 37, stated that her concerns are due to being a mom of three boys, two of which are young drivers. She stated that currently, truck drivers do not adhere to the “No Jakebraking” signs. She stated that there is a daycare located across the road from the Compost Facility. There is always a chance of traffic safety issues. She stated that she has sold real estate for 12 years. She stated that she would estimate that the home values of at least 100 people would be affected as a result of RW Farms operations. She stated that it is her opinion that a brush and yard waste compost project would not benefit the County. Allowing RW Farms to operate at the Compost Facility would increase liability, decrease property values, and affect traffic safety.
Joan Reed, 1005 County Road 37 NE, stated that she lives directly east of the Compost Facility. She stated that she would like a list of names and phone numbers of who she could contact if she has an odor complaint. She asked if the contract could specifically deny acceptance of food waste. Sawatzke noted again that food waste is not allowed as part of this proposed agreement. The contract states that the “Tenant will accept and process ….grass, leaves, brush and other organic plant materials generated by the County and its residents free of charge”. Reed asked why the contract’s attached Odor Mitigation Plan discusses food waste. Sawatzke stated that the attached “Odor Mitigation Strategy” is a generic plan that is not specific to the type of operation that will occur at the site. Reed asked what the County’s recourse would be if RW Farms seeks a permit for food waste and accepts food waste. Sawatzke stated that the County’s recourse would be to terminate the contract. He stated that the MPCA does not have the ability to force the County to accept food waste.
Scadden asked what recourse the County would have to clean up the Compost Facility upon termination of the contract with RW Farms.
Asleson addressed the questions concerning the MPCA changing the law. He stated that the lease between the parties would take precedence over any laws that could change in the future. He stated that nobody can force the County to do something it does not want to do. The food waste discussion is superfluous. In terms of Scadden’s question, if a bag of illegal or unwanted material arrives on site, the materials would have to be hauled away. The County has legal remedies to recover the costs from RW Farms. The County would have the choice to either sue them for the cleanup costs or force them to clean up the site.
Mattson stated that he wished he could trust the State Senate. He asked if the County has any recourse no matter what laws or decisions the Senate adopts. Asleson restated that a signed County contract predates any law change or any action by the Met Council. If RW Farms were to accept food waste, the County would terminate the contract.
Eric Peterson, City of Waverly resident, stated that he would ask the County Board to develop a list of items that classify brush/yard waste versus food waste. The agreement allows for organic material. A clear definition should be made to identify garden carrots versus carrots from the dinner table. Sawatzke stated that this is not defined within the contract. He stated that he would define organic plant matter to be garden waste. Russek stated that a lot of today’s discussion has been in regard to food waste which is not part of the contract request. Asleson stated that there is a definition of yard waste which he could find and enter as part of the language of the contract. He stated that it is his opinion that this is a common sense application: if the food comes off the kitchen table or out of the house, it is not yard waste. Peterson stated that he would recommend classifying the difference between the two items. He also stated that the County should also consider how this would be regulated, and how much it would cost to regulate the incoming materials. Sawatzke stated that it does not cost anything to investigate an odor complaint.
Young stated that he is respectfully requesting that the County Board vote against the proposal. He stated that he is a lifelong taxpayer and would appreciate the County Board’s support.
Sawatzke invited members of the public who are in favor of the project to approach the podium to speak. Nobody approached the podium.
A Ways and Means Committee Meeting was held on 3-11-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke made the following correction to the minutes: The “OTHERS PRESENT:” should include Dave Bryant, and David Peterson should be changed to David Pederson. Sawatzke moved to accept the minutes as corrected and the recommendations, seconded by Thelen. Eichelberg asked if the minutes were otherwise correct. Sawatzke stated yes. Thelen asked if RW Farms would have an opportunity to speak. Sawatzke stated yes. The motion carried 5-0:
I. DISCUSS CONTRACT PROPOSAL TO LEASE A PORTION OF THE COMPOST & RECYCLING FACILITY FOR YARD WASTE COMPOSTING.
Norman stated that he spoke with Mark Nolan, Safety Director, who spoke with the County’s insurance carrier, MCIT. MCIT informed Nolan that the proposed use of the facility would not impact the County’s insurance premium. Asleson distributed his updated draft of the Compost Site Lease Agreement Between County Of Wright And RW Farms, LLC (see attached). He stated that to show the changes he made, he struck out language that was removed, and underlined the proposed new language. The following discussion occurred regarding the paragraphs in the Agreement:
Paragraph 1: Asleson attached a current aerial photo (Exhibit A) of the leased property to also show the west half of the Hanger and the Administration Building. Sawatzke asked if the Administration Building would be shared. Asleson stated that it was his understanding that it would be shared. The paragraph discusses the specific portions of the property that are to be leased by RW Farms, LLC.
Paragraph 3: Asleson stated that it was his understanding that after the two-year demonstration period, the contract would become a yearly negotiable process. He changed the Agreement language to reflect this. Sawatzke stated that he would be in favor of a 60-day termination clause. Asleson proposed changing the language to state, “…60 days prior to the expiration of the term by either party”. This language would apply to the two-year demonstration period as well as subsequent years.
Paragraph 4: Asleson stated that his recollection from previous discussions was that de-bagging and mixing would take place in the Hanger Building. This is an informational paragraph. He added a new second sentence that allows de-bagging and mixing to take place within the Fines Treatment Building if it is not feasible to use the Hanger Building.
Mattson asked if County residents would still be able to enter the premises if they are dumping their charcoal cookers, scrap metal, etc. He stated that it is currently a convenient service that grants residents the privilege to pass through the gate. Stephens stated that the operational details have not been worked out yet. It is the intention of the County that the two separate programs of household hazardous waste and recycling won’t be hampered by RW Farm’s operation. With RW Farms on the premises, it is indeterminable at this time whether residents would be expected to cross over the scales. He stated that it would be the desire of the County to minimize the impact on the existing use. Sawatzke noted that the Compost Facility is currently open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and one Saturday a month. He asked if residents would be allowed to dump miscellaneous items on the days that RW Farms is on the premises. Stephens stated that the union contract dictates the hours that the Compost/Recycle Facility Manager is able to work on the premises. RW Farms will supply a gate keeper who would help monitor this; yet, these details have not been worked out. He stated that there would be a level of education/advertising that may occur to get the word out that a County resident cannot drop off a truckload of paint during non-staff hours.
Paragraph 6: Asleson added language for clarification regarding how to measure the amount of yard waste and brush entering the site.
Paragraph 7: Mattson stated that he felt paragraph 7B addressed his question regarding overseeing and assisting County drop-offs. The paragraph indicates that RW Farms would allow residents to dump metal and paint. Asleson stated that it was his understanding that RW Farms would assist in directing where recyclables could be dumped when a County employee is unavailable. Stephens stated that again, these operational details have not been worked out.
Sawatzke stated that paragraph 7C should read, “minimum of 250 cubic yards…”. Asleson stated that it had been his understanding that 250 cu. yds. was the maximum amount that RW Farms would provide. Asleson stated that he would make the change.
Paragraph 8: Asleson stated that he added language to reference $18,000 as the minimum host community fee which would be paid on a quarterly basis. Quarterly payments would be due 20 days after the quarter.
Paragraph 9: Sawatzke asked if the scale works. Stephens confirmed that the scale is operational and must be certified every year. Sawatzke asked Asleson who would be required to pay for the scale if it broke. Asleson stated that he left this subject open-ended. The parties can negotiate these types of issues. The language in this paragraph indicates that RW Farms is renting the property as-is. Normally, the landlord would have the obligation to keep the premises in good working order for tenant use. Under normal obligation, repairs to the buildings and general site would be the responsibility of the County. This could be subject to negotiation between the parties. He stated that he could look into this further to identify language regarding how the County is not guaranteeing or warranting its equipment on site.
Paragraph 10: Mattson stated that this paragraph indicates that RW Farms is to return the facility to its original condition. Sawatzke stated that again, he has concerns regarding the scale and who would be responsible for paying for it’s repair. Leistiko stated that he too would like verbiage in the Agreement to address who would be responsible for the repairs of equipment if it is broken and used by multiple parties. He stated that the general maintenance and upkeep of the equipment and facility is part of their normal lease obligation. However, if the County uses the scale to screen red rock, and it breaks, he would like the language to identify who would be responsible for the repair.
Mattson asked who has keys to the facility. Stephens stated that he, Craig Mueller, Parks, DNR, Highway Department and RW Farms, LLC. would all have keys. Stephens confirmed that the DNR has never used the scale. The County Highway Department is the primary user of the scale.
Mattson asked if a County employee or an RW Farms employee would always be within view of the scale to monitor its use. Stephens stated that Craig Mueller, Compost/Recycle Facility Manager, would most often be on the back side of the facility. He would not be operating the scale or have a visual of the scale.
Asleson stated that he could clarify the responsibility that the general maintenance and upkeep as the tenant’s responsibility. The tenant would be responsible for the machinery they are using. The County would repair damages incurred due to County negligence/activity.
Paragraph 11: Mattson asked for clarification regarding the meaning of the final sentence in paragraph. Asleson stated that if the tenant decides to assign, they must obtain permission from the County prior to assigning responsibility to another party.
Paragraph 12 addresses Right of Entry. Asleson stated that most leases state that the tenant has the right to their own use of space. This working arrangement is different in that the County and tenant must cooperate with each other. He added language to accommodate this working relationship.
Paragraph 13: Asleson stated that this paragraph assigns the responsibility of the utilities and electricity, to the tenant during the term of the lease.
Paragraph 16: Asleson stated that he changed the language in this paragraph to address odor complaints. The County Board Meeting minutes reflected that the County should be notified. He stated that he assumed that once the County receives the complaint, RW Farms would be notified and will do what needs to be done to rectify the situation. A general statement is attached to the Agreement that addresses the way that the odors could be minimized and mitigated.
Paragraph 19: Asleson stated that this entire paragraph was added to discuss the consequences of an odor problem if it is not fixed. He noted that this is a general default language paragraph. He selected 60 days as a period to cure any default after receiving written notice from the County. After this time, the County would have grounds to terminate the lease with RW Farms. He stated that this could be changed. Mattson and Sawatzke stated that they’d like a thirty-day period to cure an odor problem.
Sawatzke asked what action the County would have if an odor problem was not fixed within the assigned default period. Asleson stated that the County would have grounds for termination of the lease Agreement. Sawatzke asked how this could be quantified as a deadline. Asleson stated that a time limit was not identified regarding surrender of the premises. Paragraph 10 states that there is a general expectation that the tenant must remove their personal property and equipment from the premises upon termination. Mattson asked how long it would take to remove 30,000 cu. yds. of composted yard waste from the Compost site. Sawatzke stated that this would depend on the time of the year, quantity, and stage of composting. Asleson stated that he could provide specific language regarding the termination procedure, if needed. He cautioned the Committee that every termination scenario would be different. Sawatzke stated that the language should include verbiage indicating that the County can place an immediate freeze on incoming compost material, and a timetable for when the existing material should be removed. Leistiko stated that it would be difficult to remove 30,000 cu. yds. of compost material in thirty days.
Sawatzke opened the meeting for public comment: Jean Bryant, County resident, referred back to paragraph 7A. She asked for clarification of the term “other organic plant materials”. Leistiko stated that this refers to tomato plants, perennials, herbs, lettuce, etc. She asked who would be responsible for removing animal feces or deceased animals from the incoming compost material. Leistiko stated that incoming compost material would be brought into the hanger building where it is monitored for seven days. The material must reach a certain temperature for an extended period to kill off pathogens before it is transferred outside. Bryant asked if RW Farms would accept food waste. Leistiko stated no. Sawatzke stated that this was addressed at the initial meetings with RW Farms. Mattson asked if Stephens had any problems with residents violating the yard waste disposal rules. Stephens stated that occasionally residents would hide electronics, concrete blocks, lumber, etc. within their brush disposal. If initially found, the resident was asked to sort and pull the offensive items. With an employee on hand, these types of incidents were minimal. Bryant stated that Exhibit B refers to turning compost piles and being conscious of wind direction. She asked how RW Farms would decide which of the neighbors to offend due to the related wind direction. Leistiko stated that the strategy of RW Farms is to turn its piles three times a year. It takes 2-3 days to turn 30,000 cu. yds. of material. The potential for odor is a 9-10 day window over a year period. He stated that RW Farms would alert neighboring residents via letter or email regarding the scheduled “turn” date. He stated that RW Farms looks for a potential of rain in the forecast in an effort to compress the odor. Sawatzke asked if they use a front end loader to turn the piles. Leistiko stated yes. Sawatzke stated that there is a piece of equipment on site that could assist in turning the piles while applying water to the piles. Stephens stated that the equipment has never functioned during his employment at the Compost Facility. Sawatzke stated that RW Farms would be welcome to use the equipment, however, RW Farms would have to finance the repairs. David Pederson, County resident, asked if the County is considering adding bypass or turn lanes at the entrance of the Compost Facility. Mark Johnson, Highway ROW Engineer, stated that it was determined that turn lanes weren’t needed along CSAH 6 by Lampi’s Auctions. He stated that he would assume that they would not be needed at the Compost Facility site. Sawatzke asked Leistiko to contact the Highway Department regarding the anticipated levels of traffic at the site. Leistiko stated that on average, over the course of a year, 3-4 trucks a day is anticipated. During the spring and fall rush periods, from April to May and October to November, they anticipate 15-20 trucks a day. Sawatzke noted the shoulders along CSAH 37 are 8’ wide. Sawatzke asked that Johnson bring the concerns back to the Highway Department for their input. He asked that the Highway Department present its findings at the 3-24-09 County Board Meeting. Ginny Black, MPCA, asked how one would decipher the cause of an odor issue considering the landfill is also located within close proximity of the Compost Site. Sawatzke stated that this is a good point. Sawatzke stated that the County would not consider entering into an Agreement with RW Farms if it had a sense that they would fail. RECOMMENDATION: Asleson will present the negotiated Agreement at the 3-24-09 County Board Meeting at 9:45 a.m.
II. LAND RENTAL STATUS, 2009.
Johnson read his memo (see attached) regarding the Rassat and Stemper Land Rental Contracts dated 2-04-09. The Committee discussed the condition of the properties and rental prices. Johnson stated that the Gapinskis are interested in taking back the six acres that were used to store construction materials and equipment during the construction of the Jail/LEC. The Committee unanimously decided to retain the use of the six acres. RECOMMENDATION: Offer 27.75 acres at the Rasset site at $55/acre and 12 acres at the Stemper site at $65/acre to the Gapinskis for a two-year lease period. (End of the 3-11-09 Ways & Means Committee Minutes.)
Brandon Leistiko, RW Farms, LLC, stated that he would like to address several concerns that were raised today. RW Farms was alerted of an odor complaint at the City of Mayer site. The food waste was removed from the City of Mayer Compost Facility as of 2-28-09. Since that time, there have not been any odor complaints. RW Farms has a $3 million insurance policy. OSHA responds to accident incidents. OSHA conducts tours of their sites and makes recommendations that are followed by RW Farms. The Star Tribune article is inaccurate in that RW Farms is taking the organic material that is not used to a location to feed hogs. He stated that RW Farms will not take food waste at the Wright County Compost Facility. If RW Farms were to take food waste, it would lose its permit from the PCA and would be evicted from Wright County. Organic pre-consumer foods are unacceptable. These are considered processed foods and organic food waste which are not accepted at the Wright County brush/yard waste compost site. Leistiko noted that residents today have complained about the odors stemming from the landfill. These odors are not currently coming from the Compost Facility. RW Farms will hire ten Wright County residents (8 laboring staff) who manually go through the incoming material and sift out the unacceptable product. This process produces a 99.9% perfect product. He stated that a typical homeowner’s compost pile does have an odor and attracts rodents. RW Farms has developed a process that does not produce an odor resulting from food waste, and does not attract rodents. He stated that RW Farms practices good composting technology. Mattson asked if RW Farms is closing their Arboretum site. Leistiko responded that the Arboretum is a source separated organics composting site which will be scaled back because they are expanding their operations elsewhere for a separate food waste site.
Thelen asked if Leistiko has an opinion regarding why a representative from the MPCA is not here today. Leistiko stated that RW Farms is receiving a Governor’s Award today at Carver County for their organics recycling program. He stated that he assumes that the representatives from the MPCA and Carver County are at the award ceremony.
Barrens asked Leistiko if he could guarantee that no odor would result from RW Farms operations at the Compost Facility. Leistiko stated no. Barrens asked Leistiko whether in his opinion if the property values of the surrounding residences would be affected by the operations of RW Farms at the Compost Facility. Leistiko stated that the Compost Facility is already there, therefore, the actions of RW Farms would not dictate neighboring property values.
Bryant asked how animal feces, brought in with the yard waste, would be mediated. Leistiko stated that this issue was addressed at the 3-11-09 Ways & Means Committee Meeting. Leistiko stated that MPCA literature states that less than 1/4% of yard waste consists of fecal matter. He clarified that all incoming compost material is brought into the Hanger building where it is monitored and must reach 131 degrees for seven consecutive days. This is how the bacteria is killed off.
Held thanked Leistiko for giving her eye contact when he stated that RW Farms would not accept food waste. She asked Leistiko how RW Farms uses independent truck haulers. Leistiko stated that there are two trucking companies in the Twin Cities that will consolidate their loads to minimize the impact on local traffic. Wright County Townships have contacted him about dropping off yard waste. He stated that they anticipated that only 5-7 trucks/day would enter the facility during off-peak periods.
Kevin Yonak , County resident, stated that he is in the waste removal business. He asked Leistiko how many semi trucks he anticipated per week/month that would pick up the finished product. Leistiko stated that during the initial year, there wouldn’t be a lot of finished material leaving the premises because the composting is a six-month process. A majority of the spring-ready product will be on site for sale, to be picked up by residents and independent contractors. He stated that they only outsource the finished compost if there is not a buyer within the County. Yonak stated that he has concerns that once the wind rows are opened during the summer months to make ready for product distribution, the neighboring residents would be subjected to a constant odor. Leistiko stated that the material is preground, and they turn the piles twice. Each turn takes 1-3 days to complete. RW Farms has proposed to send out an email or newsletter notifications to neighboring residents to notify them of the planned turn days. After the piles have been turned, and during the final composting stage, the compost gives a wet earthy soil odor.
Leistiko stated that the $35,000 annual income to the County is a minimum amount. He stated that he would estimate that amount to be much higher.
Thelen asked Leistiko for his opinion regarding the residents concerns about odor. Leistiko stated that compost, without the food waste component, has a silage smell. It is manageable and is a completely different technology than the type of composting that uses food waste. RW Farms learned this at the Mayer Compost Facility. They are no longer accepting food waste at the Mayer site and would not accept food waste in Wright County.
Sawatzke stated that he would be the first to express his opinion regarding the proposed lease agreement with RW Farms for the purpose of a yard waste composting project at the Wright County Compost Facility. He stated that this is located within his district. He expressed appreciation to Asleson for his work on this topic. He acknowledged that three more changes would need to be made to the proposed agreement if it were to move forward: funding of the turn lane and bypass lane by RW Farms, responsibility of fire protection, and definitions of food waste versus organic yard waste. He then acknowledged RW Farms for their work and stated that he believes they are a good company. He stated that he does not feel that it is worth the risk to enter into this agreement for a composting operation. The neighbors have legitimate concerns and the reward is not worth the risk. He stated that he would not vote in support of the contract.
Mattson stated that he has been against this from the start. He stated that he is a taxpayer, and as a Commissioner, he has to respect the citizens of Wright County. Mattson moved to deny any further action regarding the pursuit of an Agreement with RW Farms to lease a portion of the Compost & Recycling Facility for yard waste composting. Russek seconded the motion. He stated that it is his opinion that there is not enough profit in this type of project. Currently, the Highway and Parks Departments utilize the Facility for storage. He is satisfied with the current use of the Facility.
Thelen stated that she is voting against the motion. She stated that she has looked into this project extensively, met with the Maple Lake Township Board, and toured the Arboretum site. She stated that she acknowledges the concerns raised by the neighboring residents and is sympathetic to the traffic concerns and odor complaints from the landfill. She stated that she thinks RW Farms is a reputable and respectable company and creates a worthwhile product. She stated that as a Commissioner, she has heard from a lot of County residents who would like this facility to be utilized. Unfortunately, nobody organized a group of residents to speak in favor of the project. She stated that after this process, she does not think that any of the neighboring residents would be in favor of any activity at the Facility.
Sawatzke stated that the space is currently being used. The public goes there every week to utilize the space in some capacity.
Eichelberg stated that the County is attempting to utilize the space and assets located at the Compost Facility. He stated that it is his opinion that RW Farms is a respectable company. He has toured the Mayer Compost Facility and RW Farms has said several times that no municipal food waste would be accepted at the Wright County Compost Facility, which is the main source of bad odor. He stated that he trusts the word of RW Farms. He stated that he feels Wright County is missing out on an opportunity to produce a beneficial service to County residents. Asleson has built many safeguards into the contract language. He thanked RW Farms and Asleson for their work. He apologized to RW Farms for spending so much time in their planning process. He stated that part of Stephens’s job is to find a use for the Compost Facility. He stated that he has a feeling that whatever Stephens proposes, the neighboring residents will oppose.
Russek noted that three of the current Commissioners were on the County Board during the full-time operation of the Compost & Recycling Facility.
Thelen stated that it is her understanding that the neighboring residents do not want the County to sell the Compost Facility, and are against expanding the landfill. She stated that she would solicit that the lease Agreement includes a detailed complaint procedure for the benefit of the neighbors. She asked if this would influence any of the Commissioners. She stated that in order for this type of project to work, the contract language needs to be airtight, the operational procedures need to be airtight, and a complaint procedure that would require a response in a certain amount of time could potentially make a difference in the success of this project. Sawatzke stated that a complaint process was attached as Exhibit B to the Lease Agreement. Thelen stated that it is her opinion that Exhibit B did not provide an adequately detailed complaint process.
Motion carried 3-2, with Thelen and Eichelberg voting ”No”.
The meeting recessed at 11:54 a.m. and reconvened at 12:03 p.m.
Greg Kramber, County Assessor, stated that he is present today to simply answer the County Board’s questions about the Isanti County Resolution regarding Green Acres. He stated that he is an executive member of the Minnesota Association of Assessing Officers and is neutral in response to the proposed resolution. He informed the Board that there are currently a number of bills in the Legislature that will repeal, delay, or “fix” the flaws of the Green Acres legislative changes that occurred last year. Sawatzke stated that the County Board has already sent out a few resolutions regarding this topic. He asked if sending out another resolution would be an overload. He asked Kramber if he is in support of this outcome. Kramber stated that on behalf of the citizens of Wright County and the County Board, a full repeal is what would work best for the County. Sawatzke and Eichelberg stated they would both be in favor of a full repeal. Eichelberg stated that he would be in favor of adopting the resolution. Russek moved to adopt Resolution 09-18, Wright County Resolution On Green Acres. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Thelen presented the 3-03-09 Budget Committee of the Whole minutes and recommendations.
The meeting recessed at 12:12 p.m. and reconvened at 12:49 p.m. due to a fire alarm evacuation.
Thelen continued with the 3-03-09 Budget Committee of the Whole minutes and recommendations. Discussion and action at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected in italics:
I. RECONVENE MEETING TO DISCUSS STATE BUDGET SITUATION AND IMPACT ON WRIGHT COUNTY.
Sawatzke reconvened the 2-24-09 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Norman announced that the latest forecast was released today for biennium 2010 and 2011. The forecast projects a net deficit of $4.6 billion. Due to the Federal stimulus package, the budget shortfall is less than the November forecast by $278 million. Don Mleziva, Human Services Director, referred to his 2009 budget Reduction Plan Memo dated 2-17-09. He noted that his proposed reductions are hopefully a “one-time only” reduction because during recession, the HS agency has an increase in service demands. He stated that one of the HS supervisors has noted a 1/3 increase in walk-ins and requests for cash. He stated that he anticipates that this will get worse as the unemployment numbers rise. With his proposed reduction plan, a significant amount of pressure will be placed on his staff. He stated that the stimulus package should help the State’s General Revenue, and some of that money is to be earmarked for Human Services and health services. Mleziva stated that the Agency’s priority is primarily child protection and behavioral dysfunction cases that are coming through Court Services and Human Services. Norman asked if Mleziva expected the reduction in State aid to be program specific or across-the-board. Mleziva stated that it would be program specific and he anticipates that 2010 will be worse. Thelen asked which programs would be most affected. Mleziva stated that medical assistance, child care programming, and the entire waiver services would be most affected. Sawatzke asked what Mleziva had budgeted for overtime. Mleziva noted that $200,000 dollars was budgeted and a 50% reduction is proposed. He noted that in an effort to eliminate overtime, he would like to make a formal request to the Personnel Committee to allow for compensatory time at straight-time. This would address staff needs and allow him to meet the goal to save on overtime expenditures. Sawatzke asked how HS would make up for the reduction or elimination of the Volunteer Drivers Program. Mleziva stated that he has a proposal he would like to present to the County Board regarding how to offset this reduction. Sawatzke asked if the County is reimbursed for volunteer drivers. Mleziva stated that most of the volunteer drivers are being assigned to those clients that are not on medical assistance so this is being funded by County dollars. Mattson asked why the Board has not recently seen the WOW van reports. Mleziva stated that he would bring the reports to the HS Board Meeting. Russek commented that he’d like to see the report before considering a termination of the WOW Van staffing and vaccination contracts. Mleziva summarized his proposed Reductions from pages two and three of his memo with a total expected savings of $1.2 million. Hiivala noted that the State has proposed to cut out aid by approximately $760,000. Mleziva stated that the Federal stimulus package may provide some revenue relief. Thelen asked Mleziva which outside agency contracts Human Services is proposing to cut or terminate. Mleziva stated that they are looking to cut family based services through Village Ranch, Sheriff’s Youth Program, PATH, and Volunteers of America. Steve Jobe, County Surveyor, distributed a new handout to replace the 2009 Budget Worksheet attached to his memo dated 2-17-09. Hiivala asked him to update his 5910 Furniture & Equipment Line item to reflect a $60,000 transfer in from the Recorder Compliance Fund. He stated that his Department currently has three vacancies which he is looking to fill at the end of March. Sawatzke asked how many staff members he has. Jobe responded that he has eight employees, including himself. Sawatzke asked him to prioritize the three positions. Jobe stated that he would like to fill the Senior Survey Tech (non-union) position first. He stated that he needs a qualified, trained person in surveying. The second priority would be the Automated Mapping Specialist. He stated that he would propose placing additional money into the temporary line item to fill his third position as a Survey Tech. He stated that in the past, the Highway Department helped in providing survey work and he has been out in the field to assist the crew. Sawatzke stated that due to the lack of development pressure, he did not feel it was a burden for the Surveyor’s Department to be short staffed. He stated that in an effort to make cuts, he would be in favor of filling two of the positions. Jobe stated that he has been before the Personnel Committee several times seeking more GIS staff. His Department cannot initiate the projects that would have the end result of saving money for other departments. Sawatzke stated that if the County does not have the money, the initiatives could not be started anyway. Mattson commented that the County Board has already approved several Surveyor projects. By not authorizing the hiring of appropriate staff, the County Board ultimately is terminating progress of these projects. Jobe stated that since his employment, he has run his Department on a lean budget. He stated that his Department would be taking on more responsibility this year with Highway construction projects. The Surveyor Department needs to be searching and researching property corners. Eichelberg stated that it was his understanding there was a hold on advertising the positions until job descriptions were developed and/or updated. Jobe stated that they attempted to rewrite the job descriptions. However, he needs to fill the positions immediately with skilled personnel. He stated that he would like to bring these positions in on a step-by-step process, build the team, and then pursue writing the job descriptions. Norman asked if Jobe is giving up his reorganization plan which was presented in 2008. Jobe stated that Mike Pooler would like an entry level position. With the economy the way it is, he is confident that he can bring in a highly qualified candidate into the Senior Survey Tech position. Norman stated that the 3-12-08 Personnel Committee recommended Jobe to draft job descriptions to meet the needs of the Surveyor’s Department reorganization plan. The job descriptions were to be brought forward to determine how they’d fit on the pay scale. Thelen stated that she does not fully understand the function of the Surveyor Department. She referred to the I.T. Department’s effort in strategic planning and asked if the Surveyor Department’s GIS technology is to ultimately save the County money. She stated that perhaps the financial efforts now would realize a savings in the future. Jobe agreed with Thelen. He stated that three and a half years ago, his Department was busy with platting. A lot of staff put in overtime to get caught up. His Department has changed how it does business and in realizing he will need staffing, he would like to have it in place before the rush hits again. Sawatzke stated that the rush will not occur in 2009 or 2010. And in 2009, the County needs to save money. Sawatzke stated that he’d be in favor of filling two of the three positions. Jobe stated that he would like the County Board to consider supplementing one of the positions with temporary help. He currently has $5,000 budgeted for temporary staffing, but may want to expand this. Sawatzke stated that he’d be reluctant to add additional funding for temporary help. He stated that he is trying to save the County money with minimal negative impact on Jobe. He noted that Jobe survived the 2008 season without the positions. Jobe agreed with Sawatzke’s statement; however, the work is piling up. Russek asked why the three positions were not filled in 2008. Jobe stated that an employee left in February, another retired in May, and another employee did not pass probation and the position was left vacant in an effort to be efficient. Jobe stated that he would like some flexibility on determining which two positions he can fill. Two of the three positions are union at the same pay scale. He stated that one of the positions might be filled with temporary help. Thelen asked if the GIS projects were already in progress. Jobe stated no. The projects are in the planning process. Eichelberg commented that the problem is that there is no job description for the GIS level position. Sawatzke asked the Committee if they wanted to accept Jobe’s savings plan as-is. He noted that the Committee specifically recommended not filling a custodial position at the new Jail/LEC. Norman stated that at some point, the Committee needs to have a discussion regarding its savings goal. He stated that he does not recall the Committee clearly defining the quantifiable goal. Mattson stated that he is in favor of Jobe’s savings plan as it is presented today. Russek stated that he would be in favor of granting two of the three positions with no extra funding in the temporary line item. Eichelberg stated that it would be a minimum of another 6-8 weeks before the new hire would begin, allowing for additional savings. He stated that he would be in favor of hiring two of the three positions now, and review the situation again after the Legislature meets. Sawatzke stated that all indications are that 2010 will be worse than 2009. He feels more comfortable not hiring someone now, rather than laying off in the future. Thelen stated that she would be in favor of hiring less now and leaving it up to Jobe to determine which two of the three positions he would want to fill. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, referred to his memo dated 2-17-09 which lists actions already taken or “brainstorming” staff has done in order to identify a potential savings of $630,020. Sawatzke asked if he was comfortable with his goal. Fingalson stated he was comfortable with the goal and feels they can realize an additional $80,000 in savings. He stated that they would receive $375,000 more in construction revenue via State Aid maintenance allotments than what was anticipated. The only project that Fingalson thought could be a potential for delay is the County Road 8 culvert. Sawatzke asked if Fingalson had any maintenance positions open. Fingalson stated that they do not have any employment vacancies. Torfin, Jail Administrator, stated that the bulk of his budget is personnel related. He stated that with the new Jail/LEC, they could not address any staffing issues that would realize any savings. During the planning and building of the new facility, every measure was taken to address cost savings. Sawatzke asked how many inmates would be in the Jail during the first week of opening. Torfin stated that currently, the Jail has 120 inmates. Sawatzke asked if this number may decrease, and if as a result, a few posts could be left vacant. Torfin stated that there are two housing units that would not be opened. The work release, medium security, medical, and the indirect housing units would be open. Sawatzke stated that he is aware that most posts are for seven days a week. He asked if Torfin could see an area where a post could be eliminated. Torfin stated that realistically the County has already realized savings in delaying hiring. The hiring process is very involved. The three-month training period is going to be curtailed on many of the new employees due to the immediate occupancy of the new Jail. O’Malley stated that the Corrections Department is going to always look for ways to save money. He noted that during economic times such as these, corrections populations tend to increase. Sawatzke stated that this has not occurred yet. O’Malley stated that historically this is the pattern. Sawatzke stated that he recalled in the past the Personnel Committee used to review whether a position should be filled. Norman again asked the Committee if they have a quantifiable goal. Sawatzke stated that currently, the County Board is not aware of employment vacancies. He stated that it would be his goal during these economic times to include the Board in making the decision on whether to immediately fill a vacant position. He stated that he would be in favor of implementing a process involving the County Board in determining replacements. Thelen stated that she thought Sawatzke had a good idea. Russek stated that he thought this action had already been initiated. Sawatzke stated that it had not been formalized. He proposed that at the first Personnel Committee of the month, the Committee could be alerted of all vacant positions. The Personnel Committee could gather the facts, and the County Board would have final authority. Eichelberg stated that he was not sure if a process is needed for implementation. RECOMMENDATION: Review all vacant positions at the first Personnel Committee Meeting of each month. Thelen stated that she would like the County Board to look at what Stearns County is doing on their website. They have a “Suggestion Box” that allows the public to post their ideas on how the County can make cost saving measures. RECOMMENDATION: Discuss the Stearns County website “Suggestion Box” at a Technology Committee Meeting. Thelen asked if anybody had gathered any information regarding the Federal stimulus funding for government building energy efficiencies. Sawatzke asked that Norman contact AMC and/or NACO to gather information regarding this topic. (End of the 3-03-09 Budget Committee of the Whole Minutes and discussion.)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Thelen stated that Jobe was granted two of his three positions at the 3-03-09 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting. She stated that Bill Swing, I.T. Director, is down 2.5 positions and has solicited to increase his part-time secretarial position to a full-time position. She stated that she would be in favor of allowing Swing to pursue his hiring process as a result of the discussion at the 3-03-09 Meeting.
Sawatzke stated that I.T. was authorized 2.5 positions which were never filled. He stated that he would be willing to authorize some of the positions, but feels that one of the positions should remain vacant due to the budget crisis. Eichelberg stated that he would be in favor of having Swing do what Jobe did: prioritizing the necessity of filling each position. Sawatzke stated that he would like the Personnel Committee to authorize all future hires as a result of vacant positions. Russek stated that he too would be in favor of allowing Department Heads to prioritize the necessity of filling vacant positions and the Personnel Committee making their recommendation to the County Board. Sawatzke asked if the County Board should formally acknowledge the resulting actions that took place at the Budget Committee Of the Whole Meetings. Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations made by the Budget Committee of the Whole. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Thelen.
Sawatzke stated that there is now a process in place regarding the Personnel Committee reviewing all vacated positions and authorizing the hiring process as needed. He stated that he would like Swing to present his case at the next Personnel Committee Meeting. Norman asked how Personnel should address positions that are currently in the recruitment process. Sawatzke proposed that from this day forward, all vacated positions must be brought forward to the Personnel Committee for discussion whether to keep the position vacant or to recommend re-hire. Thelen asked if this process would take more work. Norman stated no. It merely delays the hiring process. Sawatzke stated that if the Personnel Committee were to recommend a delay in hiring, it would save the Personnel office advertising dollars and interviewing time. Norman stated that he attended a seminar last week that suggested that if the County were to pursue a process, the Board Members should establish decision criteria regarding which positions remain vacant, and which positions get re-hired. Sawatzke stated that the criterion is to determine whether the workload is down and the “essentialness” of the position. He stated that he is not sure if the County Board could make this an objective process. Sawatzke asked if the County Board should approve a motion today, or if verbalizing the topic would be just as effective. Thelen stated that she would be in favor of the Budget Committee Of the Whole meeting again to formulate a summary of what was discussed and agreed upon at the recent meetings. She stated that the Department’s savings plans may not prove to be the most efficient way to operate. She stated that the Committee should discuss the needs and priorities of the County Board. She stated that more budget forecasts will be coming. Russek stated that he felt action had already taken place and he did not think the County Board would know any more regarding the budget in the next week.
Sawatzke asked when the next Leadership Meeting is scheduled. Norman stated that it is scheduled for 4-07-09 at 10:30 a.m. Sawatzke stated that he’d be in favor of explaining the process to the Department Heads at the 4-07-09 Leadership Meeting and that the County Board has taken action as a result of the Budget Committee Of The Whole Meetings. Mattson proposed setting up a suggestion box at the 4-07-09 Leadership Meeting to address concerns, questions, and suggestions that the Department Heads may have.
Sawatzke asked if Norman could send out a memo regarding the decisions that the County Board has made as a result of the Budget Committee Of The Whole Meetings. The memo would inform the Department Heads that they will be expected to move forward with implementing their cost saving measures. The memo should also discuss how the Personnel Committee would address all future vacated positions. Sawatzke stated that scheduling a future meeting date could be discussed at the Leadership Meeting.
The meeting recessed at 1:07 p.m. and reconvened at 2:26 p.m.
Mattson presented the 3-11-09 Building Committee minutes and recommendations. Discussion and action at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected in italics:
I. NURSING MOTHER’S ROOM. Norman stated that the 6-11-08 Building Committee met and recommended a temporary nursing mother’s rooms in the EOC until the Sheriffs offices were vacated. By law, a nursing mother’s room must be provided. Today, the Committee took a tour of the vacated Sheriff and Detective offices. It was determined that an office on the south side of the Sheriffs Hallway, with immediate access to the hallway, would be the best location for a nursing mother’s room. Two Lazyboy chairs were found and could be used in the vacated space. The office would be cleaned by custodial staff, two chairs and a table moved into the space, telephone would be provided, sidelight windows would be covered, and an ”Occupied/Not Occupied” sign would be placed on the office door. It was discussed that maintenance staff would leave paper towels and cleaner in the room. It is recommended that the Administration Office will schedule usage of the room and issue temporary identification badges to gain entry via the Sheriffs hallway door. RECOMMENDATION: Designate an office on the south side of the vacated Sheriffs area as the nursing mother’s room. (End of 3-11-09 Building Minutes and discussion.)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson moved to approve the minutes and recommendations made by the Building Committee. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Eichelberg.
Sawatzke stated that the Owner’s Committee met at 1:15 p.m. today and recommended payment of Pay Application #21 for $488,332.48.
Russek presented the 3-10-09 Owner’s Committee minutes and recommendations. Discussion and action at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected in italics:
Swing stated that he would like to provide an update on technology savings.
I. A&P. A. PROJECT UPDATE. No update.
B. PROJECT CONTINGENCY $1,110,370.00 Sawatzke stated that he thought the remaining contingency amount was approximately $345,000.
C. PROJECT FF&E BUDGET $1,879,314.00. Russek stated that the remaining FF&E was approximately $1 million.
1. Heavy Duty Shelving Unit (Swing). Swing stated that they are storing terminals and computers in the I.T. equipment room located by the Dispatch Center. They are in need of a customized heavy duty shelving unit to store the equipment. He received a single quote from Mid-America for $725.60. Freight and sales tax is estimated to be $177.13. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize purchase of heavy duty shelving with reinforcements from Mid-America for $725.60; plus shipping and sales tax. Swing stated that the initial plan was to use the satellite dish on the Government Center to transmit a satellite TV signal to the Jail/LEC. I.T. initiated a survey asking if any of the Departments within the Government Center are using the satellite. The results of the survey indicated that none of the Departments within the Government Center were using the dish because most training/programming are delivered via their computers. The Satellite dish will not be moved to the Jail/LEC facility. It was determined that approximately $6,000 will be saved. Swing stated that they received the invoice from the City of Buffalo for the fiber optic project. The project was originally estimated to cost $76,000 and the actual vendor invoice was for $57,123. Sawatzke asked if this item was budgeted under FF&E. Swing stated no. The two projects; satellite dish and fiber optic, were part of the technology budget. Swing stated that he would present the final technology budget and expenses report at a future Technology Committee Meeting.
2. Racks For Bulky Items (Torfin). Torfin stated that he is soliciting the same type of shelving that the Maintenance staff has at the Jail/LEC. He is asking for three units in the receiving dock, and two units for the garage sally port. He received a quote for five rack sections and two additional shelf levels from Grainger that would cost $1,495.60. This quote does not include shipping and sales tax. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize purchase of shelving racks from Grainger for $1,495.60, plus shipping and sales tax.
D. OPEN HOUSE Sawatzke announced that all five Commissioners have stated that they would be available to assist at the Open House, as needed. Torfin stated that Brad Hatfield, Building Maintenance Supervisor, and Peter Czech, Assistant Building Maintenance Supervisor, would also attend the Open House. Sawatzke asked where Miller and Torfin would like the volunteers to park. Miller stated that volunteers could park near the generator, along the north entrance of the Jail/LEC. Sawatzke asked if the Highway van would serve as the backup to the Jail van in transporting visitors from the Public Works parking lot to the Jail/LEC. Torfin stated that the transport van from the Warrant Division could serve as the backup. Miller commented that the Sheriff Reserves would assist with parking. Torfin stated that he verified with Ivan Raconteur and Ed DuBois that they have the correct date of 3-21-09 for the Open House. The Delano Eagle mistakenly printed 3-25-09 as the date for the Open House. Buikema presented the Committee with the dedication plaque. He asked if the County is planning a formal dedication ceremony. The plaque could be presented at that time, or could be mounted prior to the Open House. A dedication ceremony would serve as another form of publicity. The Committee unanimously decided to forego a formal dedication ceremony and the plaque would be mounted prior to the Open House. Sawatzke thanked Buikema for KKE’s contribution. Buikema stated that A&P split the cost of the dedication plaque with KKE.
1. Update On Printing Costs For The Open House Handouts. Torfin stated that he received an email from Tara Martin, A&P, who acquired printing cost estimates for the Open House brochures. She received two quotes: Precision Prints, $488.00, and Total Printing, $509.00. The quotes are for two-sided color copies on glossy paper, bifold, for a quantity of 2,000. The Committee unanimously authorized the purchase of 2,000 color brochures from Precision Prints. Buikema presented the final draft of the Open House brochure. He asked how the Committee would like the final construction costs presented. The Committee unanimously decided to show the total cost of the project with an asterisk indicating how much the project came in under budget. The total construction cost should also include the technology, FF&E, and contingency expenses, for an approximate amount of $50 million. Buikema asked that Norman forward the exact dollar amount to him for the brochure.
2. KKE ARCHITECTS. A. PROJECT UPDATE. Buikema stated that he was at the Jail/LEC yesterday doing the final walk-through. His focus was on the exterior walls and roof, identifying areas that were missing caulk. KKE is still working on sound proofing of the offices. He stated that Streich did some sealing along the outside of the walls of the interview rooms. Alternate door hardware may be considered for the interview rooms. He stated that he recently signed off on a plumbing change order. He stated that the building has two plumbing systems: tempered water and hot water. Torfin stated that Willen, Inc. discovered a “scalding hazard” in four direct supervision units where the inmates have access to utility sinks located in the dayrooms. Water is supposed to be tempered at less than 130 degrees in areas that inmates have access. This change order would be approximately $4,900.00. Norman announced that the next Owner’s Committee would meet on 3-24-09 at 1:00 p.m. (End of 3-10-09 Owner’s Committee Minutes and discussion.)
At Today’s County Board Meeting, Russek commented that the Open House took place on Saturday, 3-21-09, and had a successful turnout. The Committee approved the plumbing change order at today’s meeting that was discussed at the 3-10-09 meeting by Buikema. On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, voted to approve the recommendations made by the Owner’s Committee. Motion carried 5-0.
Eichelberg presented the 3-11-09 Personnel Committee minutes and recommendations. Discussion and action at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected in italics:
I. REPORT ON 2-13-09 OLMSTED COUNTY SITE VISIT (TELECOMMUNTING). Swing stated that Mary Bonlender, Sue Elletson, DeMars, Mleziva, and himself visited Olmsted County on 2-13-09. Swing distributed a Telecommuting Guidelines Olmsted County Community Services handout (see attached). He stated that the Guidelines serve as a manual on policies and procedures. Olmsted County initiated a study in the 1990s regarding the concept of telecommuting and homes offices. Their objective was to address space needs. Their building was undersized and inadequate for the type of business Human Services was performing. Olmsted hired an outside agency to perform the study. Swing stated that Mary Distad, Support Services Supervisor, Olmsted County Community Services, headed up the project. Distad stated that the three benefits they discovered as a result of telecommuting are: 1) Productivity: Case Workers were able to increase their caseloads by 10-20 cases per worker, 2) Space and business costs: 3-4 Case Workers share one cubicle space as a “landing pod”, 3) Low employee turnover: The turnover rate was reduced significantly since the start of the project. Swing stated that during a time of economic crisis, it might be sensible for the County to examine how it can do business differently. He stated that technology wise, Wright County is capable of telecommuting. The County is already using remote access. Contract Appraisers, Deputies, and certain managers are able to use field remote access. Mleziva stated that he was intrigued that Olmsted County not only utilizes this system for its social service staff, but also for some of their financial worker staff. He stated that Wright County is married to the idea of having its employees work from an office. He stated that the space savings is obvious, however, he was surprised by the productivity increases. Sawatzke asked what the rationale would be for the increased productivity. DeMars stated that there is less “windshield time”. The employees are not commuting back to the office after each client visit. Reports, claim forms, feedback, timecards, mileage reimbursements are all computer based. I.T. has developed electronic signatures. GPS units are placed on computers to identify the location of employees. Brown stated that a savings on mileage reimbursement would be realized as the employees would not be making as many return visits to their offices. DeMars stated that Distad alerted them that telecommuting does not work for every employee. Employees are tested on technical skills and personality to determine eligibility. The County has the right to revoke telecommuting at anytime. Swing stated that today’s Committee Meeting is purely informational. The goal would be to acquire feedback from the County Board on whether to pursue further research and endorse a pilot project. Brown stated that she attended an HR meeting last week. Stearns County is in the process of initiating a pilot project for their Assessors in March, and their Environmental Services employees in June. They modeled their pilot program after Olmsted. Mleziva confirmed that other counties are telecommuting and have modeled their plan after Olmsted County, who has the most experience and the most sophisticated data. Sherburne County has 4-6 of its social workers telecommuting. Mleziva acknowledged that accountability is critical. Olmsted County stated that with the electronic documentation ability employees could be tracked on how they use their time. Supervisors know what the expectations are of a position, how many hours it takes to complete a task, and these would be monitored. Eichelberg asked if the County is supplying the computers, telephones, and miscellaneous equipment for the telecommuters. Swing stated that this issue is addressed in the Olmsted Guidelines. They have three different levels of telecommuters. The high level telecommuters have a home office and the County supplies them with a laptop. If the employee has a maintenance issue, they bring their laptop to the I.T. Department. For the low level users, they do not have a County provided laptop. They may check emails from their home computer. Sawatzke asked if unions would be supportive of this work concept. Norman responded that the County would have to involve Frank Madden in the process since it involves terms and conditions of employment. Norman suggested that Swing return to the 4-08-09 Personnel Committee Meeting with a proposal for a pilot program that would include quantifiable performance measures. Prior to the 4-08-09 meeting the Committee will have time to review the Guidelines from Olmsted County. Sawatzke asked that Swing present a list of other counties that are using telecommuting. He also noted that Wright County would not have a space issue for a few years. He stated that the County would have fewer employees working in this building in 2010 and 2011 due to the budget and the Sheriffs Department moving to the Jail/LEC. Sawatzke stated that he has concerns regarding employees taking advantage of the County if telecommuting is considered. Sawatzke asked how ergonomic requirements would be met. Swing stated that these are addressed in the Olmsted Guidelines. Sawatzke asked how taking home personal files and data is addressed. Brown responded that this is an integrity issue. Swing stated that this is a sensitive topic and is currently an area of concern within Wright County. Sawatzke stated that he is skeptical of the program, but is not opposed to giving it further review. Eichelberg stated that Olmsted has developed a procedure on how to select the proper employees for such a program. Norman asked how the County could be assured that if an employee can accomplish their work in seven hours, they will work the additional hour to complete a full eight-hour day. He stated that the County has to be assured that the employee is working the full eight-hour shift. DeMars commented that management has to be in agreement in order for this project to succeed. If some employees are allowed to telecommute, they will take it upon themselves to work extra hard so that they do not lose the telecommuting privilege. Brown stated that some employees know that they do not have the work ethic or the personality to succeed at telecommuting. Swing stated that this program is dependent on the individual. DeMars noted that the Olmsted Guidelines are more focused toward a home based office. He stated that Human Services would be more interested in the actual telecommuting part of this work option. Brown stated that her PHN hires are often leaving for the type of organizations that allow them the flexibility to work from home. Swing stated that Court Services and the Assessors offices may be prime candidates for this type of pilot program. RECOMMENDATION: Present research and a quantifiable pilot program at the 4-08-09 Personnel Committee Meeting. (End of 3-11-09 Personnel Committee Minutes and discussion.)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg asked if it would be advantageous for the Personnel Committee Of The Whole to meet and discuss a pilot program. He stated that it might alleviate some of the questions that the County Board may have. Sawatzke stated that he would be in favor of the Personnel Committee initially listening to the proposal and passing along the information to the County Board. Sawatzke proposed that the topic be discussed at the Quad Counties Meeting to see what other counties are doing. Norman stated that the Quad Counties meeting agenda is full. He said that if there is enough time, the topic could be discussed. Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations made by the Personnel Committee, seconded by Russek. Mattson referred to the fourth paragraph on the first page of the Minutes and questioned Mleziva’s statement of the County being married to the idea of employees working from an office. Russek stated that he is not opposed to trying anything that could save the County money and achieve better performance. Russek stated that he is not tied to the statement that “Wright County is married to the idea of having its employees work from an office.” Sawatzke stated that in discussing telecommuting, two issues should be addressed: work from home and the technological resources to access office and computer programs from the field. He stated that Olmsted originally looked into telecommuting because of space issues. Wright County does not have space issues, however, telecommuting may improve other aspects of the traditional work day (i.e. mileage reimbursements, lost productivity). Eichelberg stated that some employees may flourish under a telecommuting style of work, others may not. The motion carried 5-0.
Russek stated that his reign as District V Director is near its end. He asked the County Board to host the 10-22-09 AMC District V Meeting at the Jail/LEC. Russek moved to authorize hosting the AMC District V Meeting at the Jail/LEC on 10-22-09, seconded by Thelen. Russek commented that the meeting would take place during the morning, followed by a lunch, and an afternoon tour of the Jail/LEC. Sawatzke proposed using the County Museum as a future site for a District V Meeting. Russek stated that there would be opportunities to present ideas for meeting sites after his period in office. The Director often solicits ideas for sites for future meetings. The motion carried unanimous.
Russek stated that the County Board received a copy of the CROW Joint Powers Board’s request for 2010-2012 contributions. The request for future funding has not increased. The CROW Board is looking to see if the County wants to continue its tradition of contributing despite the recent activity at the Budget Committee Of The Whole meetings. He stated that he is a member of the CROW Board. He stated that he is in favor of providing financial support to the CROW as they have done a lot of work for the impaired lakes and rivers of Minnesota. Mattson asked Russek if the County Board could acquire a report of the percentage of work and dollars that are expended within Wright County. Russek stated that he would ask for a report. Thelen asked how this request meets the County Board’s goal of reducing funding by 5% to other agencies. Russek stated that the 2009 funding was already expended. They are soliciting 2010-2012 funding and did not ask for an increase. Sawatzke asked where this type of contribution appears in the budget. Norman stated that it is part of the Professional Services line item.
Norman presented the draft Quad County Meeting Agenda. The meeting will take place on 3-31-09, at 10:30 a.m., at the Jail/LEC. Sawatzke stated that it is his hope that the topic of telecommuting could be addressed. Russek stated that the agenda appears to be full.
Thelen stated that Corinna Township has solicited a request to appoint a Wright County Board Member to the Wastewater Treatment Work Group, Clearwater River Watershed District. Corinna Township would like to organize a work group to discuss future wastewater treatment needs. Their objective is not to duplicate or replace any other groups, but to address waste water needs and lake clarity. The Clearwater River Watershed District agreed to moderate the initial organizational meeting, however, the group would develop their own format for future meetings. Thelen stated that she would be willing to represent the Wright County Board. Russek stated that Thelen is the Commissioner for this area and therefore moved to appoint Thelen to the Wastewater Treatment Work Group. Russek stated that he is confused about Corinna’s interest regarding this topic. Eichelberg seconded the motion. The motion carried 5-0.
Brian Abrahamson. $256.30
Aladdin Temp Rite LLC 608.88
Allina Hospitals & Clinic 500.00
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 238.99
Allina Medical Laboratories 220.50
Allina OCC Med 640.00
American Society for Public Ad 100.00
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 408.92
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 1,320.00
Ancom Technical Center 390.45
Annandale Rock Products 2,064.96
Anoka County - Medical Exam 1,063.00
Anoka County Corrections 3,935.40
Anoka County Sheriff 11,376.67
APEC Industrial Sales & Serv 244.58
Apollo Glass Company 266.97
Aramark Correctional Serv 10,670.98
Automatic Garage Door & Fir 338.67
Barnes Distribution 587.94
Bear Graphics Inc. 873.62
Beaudry Propane Inc. 5,289.08
Darnell Brethorst 283.14
Judy Brown 112.39
Buffalo Hospital 14,412.04
C & C Embroidery 750.00
Tim Cameron 150.00
Cardiac Science 272.64
Careertrack Inc. 447.00
Carver County Treasurer 110.70
Cass Co. Health,Human & Vet 154.00
Center Point Energy 18,308.38
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 4,991.79
Central McGowan Inc. 199.53
Chamberlain Oil Co. 106.93
Chicago Mounts 664.35
Citrix Systems Inc. 3,416.99
Civic Research Institute Inc. 179.95
Climate Air 1,117.89
City Cokato 412.40
Comm. of Transportation 3,651.09
Consulting Radiologists Ltd. 469.28
Corporate Payment Systems 445.49
Cottens Buffalo 981.22
Country Way 105.09
CPS Technology Solutions 262.00
Karen Determan 125.40
Dingmann Marine & More LLC 268.85
Dynamic Imaging Systems Inc. 2,798.00
Emergency Physicians PA 681.75
Dale Engel 800.00
Ernst General Construction Inc. 1,100.00
Michael Even 207.75
First Empire Co. Management 140.50
Forestry Suppliers Inc. 260.25
GCS Service Inc. 310.44
Geocomm Inc. 4,000.00
Government Training Services 225.00
Grand View Lodge 463.50
Granite City Iron Works 2,047.61
Granite Electronics 512.64
Hardings Towing Inc. 133.13
HELPLINKSASL LLC 567.18
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 1,372.18
Jerrys Towing & Service 157.13
Kustom Signals Inc. 10,344.00
Lakedale Communications 489.53
Scott Lampi 25,000.00
Lilia Lantto 270.00
LaPlant Demo Inc. 512.41
Lawson Products Inc. 382.06
League of MN Cities 1,324.64
Little Falls Machine 251.00
L3 Communications Inc. 326.27
M-R Sign Company Inc. 1,409.31
Marco Inc. 2,148.13
Lee Martie 270.85
Menards - Buffalo 473.12
Midland Corporate Benefits SVC 997.75
Midwest Safety Counselors Inc. 824.25
Nathan Miller 166.10
Minncor Industries Central 145.30
MN Community Corrections 1,020.00
MN Counties Computer Co-op 673.30
MN Counties Ins. Trust 850.00
MN County IT Ladership Assoc. 250.00
MN Dept. of Labor & Indus. 350.00
MN Viewers Association 125.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 149.10
Moore & Moore Water Trtmnt 145.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 864.15
Motorola Inc. 1,049.71
MTI Distributing Inc. 651.18
Craig Mueller 131.79
Multi Health Systems Inc. 330.40
Neofunds by Neopost 177.64
Nextel Communications 891.08
North American Salt Co. 24,353.48
North Suburban Towing Inc. 133.12
Northern Safety Technology 1,571.77
Northland Business Systems 3,241.60
Office Depot 4,474.35
PMI Computer Supplies 1,416.90
Powerplan OIB 266.94
Reds Auto Electric 160.25
Retrofit Companies Inc. 4,123.00
Royal Tire Inc. 1,368.24
RS Eden 972.45
John Russek 187.55
Russell Security Resource 1,018.42
Ryan Chevrolet 1,548.41
Thomas Salkowski 695.00
Scharber & Sons Inc. 110.35
Sherburne County Sheriff 64,898.27
Shooting Star Casino Hotel 159.75
WE Slate Co. 553.80
Software House International 818.63
Spectrum Solutions 62,578.64
St. Cloud Times 236.14
City St. Michael 100.00
State of MN-Office Enterprise 1,335.00
State Supply Co. 140.04
Super Express 178.92
Amber Taylor 176.80
Rose Thelen 103.40
Thermal Technologies Inc. 2,438.50
Thomas Mfg. Co. Inc. 707.98
Toms Towing Service 361.45
Total Printing 151.23
Trans Union Corporation 109.60
TW Vending Inc. 105.06
Uniforms Unlimited 874.12
Verizon Wireless 799.72
C Walker Trucking 3,450.00
City Waverly 184.50
West Payment Center 1,121.37
Willen Inc. 1,250.00
Wright Co. Auditor Treasurer 200.00
Wright Co. Planning & Zoning 100.00
Wright Hennepin Co-op Elec. 2,404.83
Wright Hennepin Electric 4,718.62
Xcel Energy 933.98
53 Payments less than $100 2,459.46
Final total $372,426.63
The meeting adjourned at 2:48 P.M
Published in the Herald Journal April 20, 2009.