WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 15, 2009
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Eichelberg and Thelen present.
The minutes of 9-08-09 were corrected as follows: On pages 2, 3, and 4, change the heading on the page from “9-11-09 Wright County Board Minutes” to “9-08-09 Wright County Board Minutes” (Sawatzke). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Consent Agenda Item #2 to include the Law Enforcement Contract for the City of Waverly (Norman). Richard Norman, County Coordinator, requested that the 9:10 A.M. Agenda Item, “Larry Kruse, City of Albertville RE: Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds I-94 Interchange Project” be removed from the Agenda. Kruse was unavailable for today’s meeting and was instructed that if he wishes to be placed on next week’s Agenda, he must notify Norman by 3:00 P.M. on 9-17-09. Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:
1. Performance Appraisals: H. Bray, J. Coolen, C. Paulson, Hwy.; T. Janikula, P&Z; C. Engel, T. Finch, P. Fladung, R. Mossman, C. Poirier, Sher./Corr.
2. Approve & Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contracts: Delano, Hanover, Rockford, South Haven, St. Michael and Waverly.
3. O/T Report, Period Ending 9-04-09.
4. Set Special Board Meeting For 12-01-09 @ 6:00 P.M. (2010 Budget & Levy).
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the August Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. He distributed a handout reflecting the significant line item variances which relate to the mortgage & deed tax in the Auditor’s Office, fees in the land records departments, and fees associated with recording, Surveyor, and Planning & Zoning. On a prorated budget, Hiivala said they expect to come in about $200,000 under budget on those revenues. In the areas of delinquent taxes, penalties & interest, and earnings on investments, it is projected those figures will come in about $1.2 million over budget. These patterns have been taken into consideration during the 2010 budget preparations. Hiivala said they are watching the February exercise and he feels the County is on track to experience a savings in the expense line items. Eichelberg moved to approve the August Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 9-09-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0:
Discuss Process/Procedures For Implementing The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant.
Hayes stated that the Government Center building will continue to be utilized for decades to come and welcomed the Grant monies to enable some of the needed enhancements that will be beneficial going forward. Hayes referenced current energy costs of $35,000 and stated that many items are in need of replacement to make the building more energy efficient. Kelly stated that an account has been set up for the Grant monies that will be released from the Department of Energy. There were over 300 counties that were eligible for funding and 111 counties have received monies. Kelley commented that by the end of September, 80% of the Grant monies will have been distributed. Mattson questioned if there is a list of items needing to be replaced and if they were prioritized. Hayes provided an energy savings proposal which lists seven projects in order of priority (see handout). Kelly previously presented the list to the County Board and stated that Wright County will receive all of the $471,000 that will need to be spent within three years. Hayes stated that four years ago Climate Air was hired by the County to update components in the building making them computerized and more easily managed. Currently, each component informs Building Maintenance if there are problems within the building. The only area that is not on the computer systems is third floor of the Annex. This work is number four of the proposal. Hayes stated that going forward, work will need to be inline with our current system. In addition to this work the Building has several boilers that need to be replaced. Climate Air is consistent with their pricing for all items. Hayes stated that if approved, the enhancement work could get started by the end of September. Norman stated that the original building has been added on to several times making it hard to regulate temperatures. He continued that there may be requirements in using Federal Funds. For example, The Davis-Bacon Act regarding prevailing wage might impact Climate Airs wages. Hayes stated that Climate Air has done numerous jobs under prevailing wage and stated that it would be no problem meeting this requirement. RECOMMENDATION: Proceed with Climate Air on all aspects of the project, excluding the lighting work.
(End of Building Committee Minutes)
A Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 9-08-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek. Sawatzke referenced the minutes which reflect, “Sawatzke stated that he does not feel that the County Board can make a determination on what its future will be. He stated that he is not convinced that the County will need more space or will experience a surge in hiring new employees.” Sawatzke clarified today that in the long term, he knows more space will be needed but the timeline is not clear. He didn’t feel the County should move on this today if space is not needed for 10-12 years. He wanted it made clear that he understands more space may be needed but it may not be needed for some time. The motion carried 5-0:
I. DISCUSS FACILITIES STRATEGIC PLANNING & SPACE NEEDS.
Norman introduced the topic by stating that the Capital Improvement Planning (CIP) Committee met several times and the conclusion was to forward this topic to a Building Committee Of The Whole meeting. Russek, Thelen, Hiivala, T. Kelly, and Norman are on the CIP Committee. Russek stated that several Departments discussed how space (as it relates to storage, staffing, adding a new judge, etc.) was an ongoing issue. As a member of the CIP/Finance Committee, he would like to obtain some direction from the County Board. T. Kelly stated that he echoes Russek’s comments and would like the County Board to clarify the Board’s vision for the County for the next twenty years. Kelly stated that if the County Board decides to use a band aide approach, the band aide should be a long-term fix to avoid wasting money. He stated that he does not feel the CIP Committee can act without some direction from the County Board. Russek stated that it is his opinion that storage space should be addressed immediately. Russek stated that he feels the County Board has to decide whether it wants to continue spending money on individual temporary fixes, or look toward an overall plan. Sawatzke stated that he does not feel that the County Board can make a determination on what its future will be. He stated that he is not convinced that the County will need more space or will experience a surge in hiring new employees. He stated that he would prefer to create storage space in the old jail or pursue technology to manage data storage issues. Eichelberg acknowledged that the County is not pursuing to build a new Courts building in the next year. He stated that he would like the County Board to start gathering information, and potentially hire a consultant who could assist the County Board in creating an overall plan. Thelen stated that although she is a part of the CIP Committee, the issues regarding storage space precede her. She stated that she would like more information. She asked if the planning process would entail hiring a consultant, forming focus groups, developing an overall strategic plan, and addressing programming issues. She asked if the strategic planning process would examine planning and building. Russek stated yes. He stated that it was his opinion that it is better to address this now versus ten years from now. Thelen stated that she would be in favor of pursuing strategic planning if it included examining programming. Mattson stated that he does not believe that the nation has seen the bottom of its economic hardship. He stated that the County Board can look to the future, but it needs to get to the future. He stated that he does not believe his constituents would be in favor of spending money on remodeling or building a new building. T. Kelly stated that he agrees with Mattson’s view of the nation’s current situation, however, his Department has reached full capacity in the Government Center’s basement storage. He stated that his Department is now running file cabinets down its hallways. Sawatzke stated that he does not feel comfortable planning for the future as it relates to the use of the Government Center because the plan could become obsolete after five years as the times change. The County would then be stuck with an old plan. He stated that there are several space issues that could be addressed on an individual basis and done so inexpensively. Sawatzke stated that with the current economic downturn, spending and hiring has slowed down. He stated that he would be in favor of waiting to do anything. Eichelberg commented that the County not only built a Jail/LEC; the County Board and related parties spent weeks, months, and years laying out the footprint for the Jail/LEC to accommodate future growth. Russek agreed with Sawatzke by stating that the economy has slowed down, however, the County could take advantage of good pricing and bond rates if it were to pursue new construction or remodeling. He stated that there was a ten-year timeline from the start of the planning/discussion stages to the final move-in date at the Jail/LEC. He stated that it takes time to plan. He stated that he feels the County needs a plan for the overall use of the Government Center. Thelen asked Norman if he knew how much it would cost to produce a plan. Norman responded that the cost would be determined by the scope of the project. Thelen stated that someone would have to coordinate the planning process and asked if the Administration Department would do this. Norman stated that the Administration Department would take a lead role in the planning process, but the Department Heads would also be involved and a consultant should be hired. He noted that he has been a part of two jail projects and confirmed that it does take a lot of time from the planning process to the final construction stage. Norman stated that he agrees with Russek that the CIP Committee needs direction. The County does have a storage issue. The County cannot address the problem if it does not have a plan. He stated that he agrees with Thelen that as part of the planning process, the County Board does need to look at program activities, determine whether people are properly located to maximize their talents and take advantage of energy efficiencies. He stated that as a County Board, thinking strategically should be helpful. He reiterated that a consultant would need to be hired to produce a plan. Norman stated that the County does not have a document that illustrates a strategic plan. The Government Center is showing fatigue. Carpet, wallpaper, and tile will need to be replaced. If the County Board were to pursue remodeling a vacant space, it should have some permancy so that it does not cost more money in the future. A strategic plan, once approved by the County Board, could be updated periodically, yet would provide overall direction. He stated that he would not recommend using an architect to assist in the study as their goal is to build a building. There are consultants that can assist in conducting a study and producing a plan that would not necessarily mean building a new structure. MacMillan stated that he would like to see the County Board produce a plan for the future.
Eichelberg asked Norman whether he could provide the County Board with some direction after today’s meeting minutes are produced. Norman again asked the Committee to provide a scope for the project. He stated that a consultant would not be able to provide direction without knowing the scope of the project. Sawatzke requested that Norman provide five options to the County Board at their meeting on 9-15-09. RECOMMENDATION: Norman to provide options at the 9-15-09 County Board Meeting.
(End of 9-08-09 Building Committee Of The Whole Minutes & discussion)
The recommendation from the Building Committee Of The Whole was for Norman to develop options relating to facilities strategic planning and space needs. These options were to be reviewed by the County Board today. Norman presented a list that was developed by himself, Lee Kelly (Special Projects Administrator), and Craig Hayes (Purchasing Agent):
Building Use Plans
1. Status Quo
a. Fix on an as needed basis
b. Deal with requests as they come up
c. Create more room for record storage
d. Fund from Budget 100-Site Improvements
2. Plan AAll Items from Status Quo Plus:
a. Analyze how to use vacated space
b. Analyze space use by department
c. Assumes meeting a 1-3 year needs demand
d. Use existing committees to conduct analysis
i. Building Committee Of The Whole
ii. Capital Improvement and Finance Committee
3. Plan BAll Planning Short of Construction
a. Hire a consultant to conduct strategic planning
b. Address long term plan and use of Human Services Center and Public Works Building
c. Address how to utilize vacant space
d. Analyze use of space by department and functional area
e. Develop program plan for Courts, Attorney, and Court Services
4. Decide to Build Courts Building Now Long Term Solution
a. Include items under Plan B along with the following:
b. Bid and Build Project is turn-key in 5 years
c. Hire Architects and Courts Planning Consultant.
d. Develop comprehensive building plan
e. Conduct a space study and assess functional areas and programming
f. Re-allocate area in the Government Center
1. A new Courts Facility will be built sometime in the future
2. A new Courts Facility will be approximately twice the square footage of the current area being used by the Courts, Attorney, and Court Services
3. The Government Center and other current facilities will continue to be utilized long term
4. The period of planning for a new facility would be 3 years before becoming shovel ready
5. The old Jail must remain a secure facility until Courts building is built
6. The Pamida Building will need significant upgrades
7. The growth cycle will resume in 2-3 years
8. Current Space needs include:
a. Records management and storage
b. No room for expansion within some departments
c. Annex 3rd floor needs remodeling
Norman stated that all scenarios have pros and cons. He referenced Item 8a under Assumptions and said it has been his and the IT Director’s position that when space and storage are addressed, that discussions include an overall records management plan with space storage as an integral part. He referenced Item 8c under Assumptions and said the remodel of the Annex 3rd floor relates to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
Sawatzke said that consistent with what was said at the Committee Meeting, he would not vote for anything in Scenario 3 or 4. Those scenarios require the hire of consultants and architects and paying for studies when the County does not know its needs. He said Wright County has 16-18 less employees than it did a couple of years ago so less space is needed. He added that if the economy does not turn around, the County may have 10-15 less employees in the next couple of years. Sawatzke did not support spending for this type of service when the County does not have the funding, when residents can’t afford more taxes, and when the County does not have space problems. He felt he could support Scenario 1 with possibly a little of Scenario 2. Sawatzke said if a department has space needs, the County could address them. For example, the Assessor’s Office could expand into the hallway at a cost of $50,000 versus spending $4.2 million/year on bonding for a new Courts building. Russek serves on the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) Committee that reviews such requests. Russek felt a lot of these smaller requests for remodeling can add up to large dollars. These remodels may then be torn down in 1-3 years. He wanted Board direction on where the County is headed, short of constructing a building. Russek referenced the Human Services Center which will need repairs, including a new roof. He asked whether the County will continue with short-term fixes. Mattson referenced Assumption 6 and said it would be out of the question to move employees from the Human Services Center to the Government Center because of parking constraints. Mattson referenced the rolling storage that is located in the vacated Sheriff Department and hopes a department will be able to utilize the system. Mattson supported Scenario 1 with possibly some of Scenario 2. He said there are too many residents laid off in his District. Eichelberg did not feel he was in a position to render a decision today. He felt the information should be looked at individually, with department heads, and then referred to another Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting to discuss the information in depth and to obtain a conclusion of the majority of the Board. Sawatzke questioned whether Eichelberg felt this could be laid over to January. Eichelberg said that would mean the CIP Committee will not meet until after January. Sawatzke felt there were other things the CIP Committee could discuss. Russek replied that many of the decisions that need to be made by the Committee are tied to this issue. Sawatzke stated that Scenarios 3 & 4 will involve bonding as opposed to Capital Improvement Funds. Thelen felt she was leaning toward Scenario 3 but supported Eichelberg’s suggestion. The reason she selected Scenario 3 is due to information obtained through visits with department heads on space and needs. She supported having a plan and the plan should question changes in the work patterns in upcoming decades. It was Thelen’s understanding that AMC and other organizations have encouraged investing in efficiencies. She felt efficiencies may be gained by looking at use of space. This process would not obligate the County to any decision to proceed or expend dollars. Sawatzke said consulting will be a sizeable expense. He clarified that the County recognizes that a Courts building will be located on the same site as the new Jail/LEC. The County starting the construction of the Jail five years ago and the Jail is now built. Crime is down and there isn’t the pressure for inmate housing that was once thought. The layout for the property is such that the Courts facility will some day be located there. Sawatzke said there already has been a planning process and some of the schematics will show this. There is, however, no official plan on relocating Courts to that site. Mattson moved to refer this issue to a March, 2010 Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting. The motion failed for lack of a second. Eichelberg moved to refer this issue to a January, 2010 Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting, seconded by Thelen. Eichelberg stated he would favor an earlier meeting. The motion carried 4-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote. Russek stated the meeting date is set further out than desired.
Marc Weigle, Community Development Director for the City of St. Michael, said they are working on a project with the cities of Albertville and Hanover for a new Library/Senior Center/City Hall building. The building will be located in St. Michael. The current library is just over 3,000 s.f. and is located in a strip mall. The new facility will be about 12,800 s.f. Wright County received a $3,976,000 allocation from the Federal Government for the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bond Program. The request is for Wright County to designate $2,250,000 of this allocation to help finance the Library project. Letters of support from Albertville and Hanover were provided. It is anticipated that St. Michael will bond for the entire project. Albertville and Hanover are expected to assist in a portion of the Library funding based on an agreed upon formula. Both cities help fund the Senior Center staffing. St. Michael obtained a $400,000 State Library Grant. A draft resolution was provided. Weigle cited the third paragraph of the resolution which states, “Whereas, ‘1400U-2(c) of the Code defines the term ‘qualified economic development purpose’ to mean any expenditures for purposes of promoting development or other economic activity in a recovery zone, including (1) capital expenditures paid or incurred with respect to property located in the recovery zone; and (2) expenditures for public infrastructure and construction of public facilities”. Weigle said libraries are included. The resolution would require the County to designate a recovery zone. Some counties have declared their entire county as a recovery zone. Weigle said that Lee Kelly, Wright County Special Projects Administrator, recommended keeping a smaller focus for the recovery zone. The County could designate a distressed recovery zone for the cities of Hanover, St. Michael and Albertville. If other projects are brought forth, the County could then designate additional recovery zones. Weigle said the Library project bid opening is scheduled for 9-22-09. Although the request to the County is for $2.25 million, they are assuming bids may come in around $2 million (architect’s estimate at $3 million). They have an aggressive schedule with a bid opening next week, agreements with Hanover and Albertville following, and the project will commence yet this fall. They have been planning this project for a number of years. Weigle said they need to know how they will bond and finance the project so it can be kept on track. Mattson referenced a prior request by the City of Maple Lake. He recalled that the GRRL Board turned down Maple Lake’s request for a library as the GRRL felt there were enough libraries in the County. Now there is a request to build a library in the eastern portion of the County. Sawatzke responded that this request is different in that St. Michael currently has a library. The request is to build a new one. The City of Maple Lake’s original request to the GRRL was to have a branch library, and it was turned down. The City of Maple Lake then decided to pursue a stand alone library and approached the County for financing. These are two different issues. Sawatzke said his initial feeling is that the money has been designated to the County and someone should use it. He felt it would be odd to indicate the St. Michael, Albertville, Hanover area as a recovery zone as he felt this was the most economically viable portion of the County. Weigle stated that it is geographically the closest to the metro and most likely to recover the quickest. Sawatzke said the other issue the County needs to address is the request pulled from the Agenda today for use of the Recovery Zone Economic Development funds for the I-94 Interchange Project. That request is for almost the entire $3.7 million. He felt that project is more closely related to the County as a whole as it involves CR 19. He was unsure on how to prioritize the requests and was unsure whether more requests will surface. Russek said everyone had the same opportunity to apply. The money is there and might as well be used. Weigle confirmed that the library project fits the criteria for use of the funds. Eichelberg asked Norman whether there was any down side for the County. Norman did not see anything. Eichelberg said both requests are from his District. The City of Albertville’s request may be addressed at the next Board Meeting. He suggested potentially designating $2 million to the St. Michael project and the remainder to the City of Albertville. Norman said that based on the discussion, he did not feel the Board could take action today. He said the City of Albertville may be at the next meeting and the bids for the St. Michael project will be opened on 9-22-09. Norman suggested laying this item over to the 10-06-09 Board Meeting. Action could be taken on both requests that day. Weigle said their City Council hopes to award the bids on 9-30-09 and financing needs to be reflected in the contract documents. Bids are good for 30-60 days. The City would like to proceed with the project so footings can be in the ground by mid-October. They will wait until 10-06-09 if needed. Russek felt that a decision could be made as early as next week. Norman said the bid results for the St. Michael project will not be known at that time. The County will then not be able to determine what funding is available for the Albertville project if the St. Michael project is approved. Sawatzke asked Weigle if the County could designate a portion of the bonds to the project. Weigle confirmed this. Weigle felt that $2 million was a realistic number for their project. Sawatzke referenced a second draft resolution included in the material relating to a Joint Financing Agreement between Wright County, GRRL, and the City of St. Michael. The State Library Grant requires the Joint Financing Agreement which acknowledges the construction of a new branch library facility and confirms that the County and the GRRL are not responsible to pay any of the costs for construction. Sawatzke referenced Section 2.3 of the Agreement which reflects that “…the County and City agree to jointly finance the Facility.” He questioned why the County is included in that statement. Weigle said this is related to the Act, Section 134.41 of State Statutes. The Act is defined on the first page of the document and states the powers of a local government unit include the powers to agree with other local governmental units to subject taxable property within their boundaries to taxation, to enter into agreements, and to jointly issue obligations to finance the construction without an election. This is a standard Agreement put together by the GRRL for the Staples Library and the grant they received. The City of St. Michael revised it for their project. He was unsure whether this language could be pulled from the document. Weigle said later in Section 2.3 it states that the County and GRRL shall fund the costs of the operation of the Facility from non-bond-financed sources. He referenced Section 2.5 which states that “Neither the Great River, the County, nor any county signatory to the Joint Powers Agreement shall pay any costs of the project.” Sawatzke felt the language was contradictory. Eichelberg suggested that the County Attorney’s Office and the City’s Attorney review the language. It was the consensus that this issue will be laid over to the next County Board Meeting. Any other requests for funding from the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bond Program should be scheduled on next week’s Agenda.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, introduced Jim Berg, Hydrologist, from the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR’s request is to install ground water level monitoring wells on County property. Mattice said this issue was discussed at the 9-14-09 Parks Commission Meeting. Berg said this year, the LCCMR and Minnesota Legislature approved funding for a project manager for a project that has two purposes:
1) To install ground water monitoring wells along the edge of an important aquifer in Minnesota, Mt. Simon, which is the lower most bedrock, sandstone aquifer in southern Minnesota. He showed the location of the aquifer on a map, reflecting that it cuts across Wright County. The project would characterize the edge of the aquifer focusing on the recharge characteristics. As the aquifer moves to the southeast toward the Twin Cities, it is covered by several layers of impermeable bedrock which does not allow the water from the surface into the aquifer. The only place it does recharge is along its edge, which is the boundary that goes through Wright County. The proposal is to place wells, obtain water samples to analyze, and determine how long the aquifer has been there. The DNR will also place water level measuring devices in the wells to track water levels. This will provide information on the recharge characteristics.
2) To expand the ground water monitoring network across the State. They have approximately 700 wells in the observation system but not many are in deep aquifers.
Berg said they would prefer to place the wells on State property and have done so already. However, they are targeting certain zones for scientific purposes. In Wright County, they are asking permission to place monitoring wells on two County lands including Anderson Park and Montissippi Park. He has discussed the specific locations with Mattice and the placement of the wells will be so it does not intrude on park activities. Berg said there is a standard Access Agreement included in the materials for use of land that is not State property. Mattson questioned whether this request is tied with a report on monitoring wells at the Nuclear Plant where there is concern with one well. Berg stated he is unaware of that issue. Berg said the project does not have any specific, ongoing water use. It involves general monitoring. Sawatzke asked whether the DNR has considered requesting data from the Nuclear Plant on their monitoring wells. Berg said they can do that. They are approaching other parties to gather information from their wells. However, he felt there is a definite advantage to having their own wells. Eichelberg stated that at last night’s Park Commission Meeting, there was a lot of discussion on the need for the wells, the purpose, etc. The question was raised at that meeting why these County sites were selected when the State and DNR own a lot of property. The Parks Commission did vote against placement of the wells on County land. Eichelberg said Berg was not present at the meeting so there was not an opportunity to ask him questions. Sawatzke felt that Berg should meet with the Parks Commission to discuss the project. He said the County has many of the same goals and objectives of the DNR. He felt the Parks Commission either has concerns or possibly not enough information. Mattice said he did not invite Berg to the Parks Commission Meeting as he felt he had adequate information to address the questions, but he did not. He restated the Parks Commission voted to deny the request at this time. He felt this denial related more to the questions they had about why not DNR administered lands, whether is it being done to promote industry and aquifers that are capable of handling higher water use industries, and other similar questions. He said the consensus was not to go along with it at this time. Mattice did not feel the Parks Commission would object to obtaining more information and having Berg at one of their meetings. Eichelberg asked whether the only time the DNR would have apparatus on site would be during installation and whether there would be any hazard to anyone. Berg said the wells will be located in places where there will not be a hazard to traffic. The wells will have a 3’ steel pipe sticking out of the ground with metal protection posts around them. At each of the locations there will be two wells dug, one deep well to Mt. Simon and the other a shallower well. This will allow them to learn more about water levels and recharging. Russek referenced the wells that the DNR drilled in Sibley County and questioned the size. Berg said the wells have a 10” protective casing surrounding a 4” diameter steel casing. The installation will take about two weeks. The contract specifies that they are responsible to gather and remove from the site the cuttings and material from the hole. The site will be restored. The wells will remain as long as they are useable. This could be as long as 50+ years. Berg said it should be viewed as a permanent installation. The purpose is to obtain valuable information for a long-term record. Mattson made a motion to refer this issue back to the County Board after it has been addressed at the Parks Commission. The motion was seconded by Russek. Sawatzke questioned whether Berg felt there will be similar requests for other County Parks. Berg stated there could be more but there are no specific plans to do that. He said Wright County is in the beginning stages of having a geological atlas completed as part of the LCCMR funding. As part of that investigation, the MN Geological Survey will be drilling core samples around the County. This may include County property. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice said at the 9-01-09 meeting, the Board reviewed the 8-24-09 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes. One of the topics at that meeting was the CSAH 17 trail and associated design issues. At that Board Meeting, the Commissioners recommended that Mattice and the Highway Department work with the contractor to see that the bituminous pads are corrected/replaced and possibly have the length extended (at the contractor’s expense). At that meeting, Mattice stated the East Maple Lake Access project came in below budget so $6,000 in the Parks Department budget could be used for the additional work. The Highway Department received a quote for the additional work of $9,735.37. The trail project completed in June of 2009 cost $18,454.65 (County share). Today, Mattice said the request is to fund up to $4,000 from Fund 34-Capital Account, or Budget 100-Site Improvements to complete the bituminous extensions. After discussion, the County Board decided it was better to have the Parks Department Site Improvement line item exceed budget for this repair than to fund it out of the Capital Account or Budget 100, Site Improvements. Eichelberg made a motion to approve the repair out of the Parks Department Budget noting that this line item will be exceeded in 2009. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 9-09-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Thelen moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0:
TELECOMMUTING PILOT PROJECT (H.S. BOARD AGENDA ITEM).
A. Civilian Communications Officer.
Miller stated that one CCO resigned and the Department would like to hire Bethany Lund who was next on the list. Bethany Lund was being considered for temporary employment and would now be used as a straight replacement. Sawatzke asked whether staff has been working overtime. Hagerty replied that the Department is running skeleton shifts. The Department is trying to eliminate overtime. He stated that Dispatch is the one unit that needs to be fully staffed. RECOMMENDATION: Position approved. Move forward with the hiring process.
B. Deputy Sheriff.
Hagerty stated that following County Board budget discussions, the Sheriffs Department has agreed to leave five Deputy positions vacant. They are authorized for 144 Deputies, however, the Department agreed to cap staffing at 139. Currently, they have 137 paid Deputies and would like to fill the two open positions. RECOMMENDATION: Positions approved, move forward with the hiring process.
(End of Personnel Committee Minutes & discussion)
A Technology Committee Meeting was held on 9-09-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Thelen moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0:
I. UPDATE ON 800 MHz RADIO PROJECT.
Swing distributed a handout entitled “800 MHz Funding Report September 2009”. He stated that the County obtained a $4.1 million equipment note. The left column of the Report provides a breakdown of the Note. The right column provides a summary of the expended and encumbered items. The Report shows that $3.7 million has been expended/encumbered. He said that they do not anticipate any surprises. He stated that the project is under budget for three reasons. A 6% contingency amount was factored into the project. The contingency has barely been touched. Delano and Cokato expressed a need for funding to obtain their subscriber radios. However, they were able to access a grant award and no longer need the amount originally projected. The third factor is that the tower supports provided by American Tower proved to be structurally sound. Sawatzke asked Swing if this is the first time the Committee heard that the project is under budget. Swing stated that today’s meeting is a formal recognition that there will be a surplus of unexpended funds. Bruha stated that the project was bid accurately. He stated that surprisingly, he has only written one change order. He stated that the contractors bid 30-40% lower than the initial engineer estimates. He stated that he does not foresee any large change orders prior to the completion of the project. He stated that the project schedule is looking good, however, it may be delayed due to permitting issues. Norman asked Swing if he foresaw any other encumbrances. Swing stated that there are a few low cost items that are outstanding. Swing stated that there are a few 2009 reoccurring maintenance costs that they would recommend be funded by the bond issue as they are part of the start-up costs. Sawatzke asked whose budget would carry the ongoing maintenance costs. Swing stated that this would be divided out among Departments that have subscriber radios. Mazzitello explained that he is anticipating a $1,000 change order from Saber Communication to cover changes made to the construction of the shelters at the LEC and Public Works buildings. He also noted that they will change out an 8-point alarm panel to a 16-point alarm panel that will provide a lot of value for a low additional cost. Swing noted a frequency coordination fee from APCO for $1,500 (a one time fee to secure the licensing for the new simulcast system). The fee will be paid for out of the bond. Swing turned the Committee’s attention to the Project Timeline handout. Mazzitello stated that they still expect to perform the system cut over and final acceptance by 12-30-09. This deadline could slip due to a few punch list items; however, they anticipate that the Sheriffs Department will be using their radios by December. There are two factors in reaching the 12-30-09 Final Acceptance: 1) the arrival and installation of new shelter buildings and Motorola equipping those sites, and 2) the programming and the operating parameters installed in every phone. Mazzitello informed the Committee that the shelters have a ship date of 9-21-09 and Motorola would be programming the radios. Swing stated that the teams overall confidence level is that the 12-30-09 deadline will be met. Bruha stated that he thinks that the Code Plugs will be pushed from early October to mid-November. He noted that the coverage testing would take five days for two teams to complete. Norman asked who would be responsible for pursuing the $718,000 grant from the State. Swing stated that he and Howell would be doing that. Howell stated that they could safely assume that the County would see the money in 2010. The system has to be fully operational prior to pursuit of the grant monies. Sawatzke asked if the County could take the unspent bond dollars to pay toward the levy over the next two years. Norman stated that he would have to research State statute on whether unused monies from an equipment note can be applied toward debt service. Fingalson asked when the Highway Department is scheduled for their radio training. Mazzitello stated that the radios would be phased in during the spring as Fingalson requested. The Sheriffs Department would be trained on their radios in December. Norman asked what would be done with the old equipment in the vacated Dispatch room. Mazzitello stated that the County could advertise it on EBay for parts or on NINA or APCO for reclamation. Sawatzke noted that the equipment could be of value to someone now as opposed to two years from now. Mazzitello stated that Carver County was able to get rid of their old equipment at no charge. He stated that there are several low time-consuming avenues the County could pursue. Howell stated that the Department assumed that they would need County Board approval to give away old squad radios. Sawatzke asked if there is a market for the radios. Mazzitello stated that with the upcoming FCC regulations, the radios would probably be used merely for parts. Sawatzke stated that he would be in favor of first offering the equipment to other cities and counties before offering to the general public. Norman suggested that Howell verify with Asleson if there is a protocol in properly disposing public safety equipment. Howell stated that there was a suggestion at an earlier meeting to use www.propertyroom.com.
II. PUBLIC WORKS GENERATOR UPGRADE.
Swing distributed a draft RFQ for a Public Works Generator. An inspection of the towers on the Public Works Building indicated that the generator is 25 years old. A new generator is a high-priced item and the team felt that perhaps the County Board would like to put this type of item out for bid. The team has determined that it would ask vendors to quote two generators: 1) for the Radio room and 2) for the Public Works Building (IT room, garage doors, and gas pumps). The generator for the Radio room would be tax exempt. The generator for the Public Works Building would not be exempt. The current generator is meant to be used intermittently. The new generators could run for days, if needed. Bruha stated that digital equipment needs clean power and the new generator would provide that. Mazzitello stated that the current generator runs off of propane. The new generator would run off of natural gas. Ziegler, the County’s current generator contractor, provided a preliminary quote of $38,595. Sawatzke asked if the installation of a natural gas line was included in the quote for generators. Mazzitello replied that the installation cost is included as part of the second option. Sawatzke asked if the first option could be paid out of the equipment bond. Norman stated yes. The Committee discussed the generator manufacturers and local vendors that they would like to include in the RFQ process. Swing asked if he could inform the County Board of the winning contract via the Consent Agenda. Norman stated that he would recommend that the quote opening be date and time specific before the County Board. Mazzitello stated that the document is mostly prepared. It will include the name of the vendors, and its language would be changed to include surge protectors. Mazzitello stated that all interested vendors would be required to attend a site meeting. RECOMMENDATION: Set quote opening for the 10-13-09 County Board Meeting at 9:30 a.m.
III. RADIO “CODE PLUG” DEVELOPMENT.
Swing distributed a copy of the Motorola “Code Plug Development” change order and statement of work. Sawatzke stated upon review of the materials that it sounded as if this was a necessary item. Mazzitello stated yes.
(End of Technology Minutes and discussion)
Norman presented a draft resolution setting the 2010 draft Budget & draft Certified Taxable Levy. State rules require local jurisdictions to pass a draft Budget & Certified Levy by September 15th. From that point forward, the Levy can decrease but cannot increase. The draft reflects a 1.8% base levy increase and a 7.2% overall levy increase. Almost all of the Special Levy increase is related to the operational costs of the Jail/LEC and the debt service on the bonds for the Jail/LEC. The base levy takes into account the County Program Aid but not Special Levies (Corrections Budget and Debt Service). Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #09-35, seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke said he will vote for adoption of the Resolution for the draft Budget but feels the County can do better before the final Budget is adopted. Currently, the County has about 13 positions that are not filled representing a savings of approximately $700,000. He said some of these positions have never been filled and others have not been filled for some time. He felt the County can possibly get by without these positions next year. Sawatzke said the County may have to have a few more vacancies next year. He said those positions represent $700,000 that has not been reduced from the proposed draft levy. In addition, there is $350,000 available from coming in under budget on the 800 Mhz System. He felt the County could split this amount and take $175,000 each year for the next two years toward reducing the levy. It would need to be verified whether these funds could be used in this fashion. Sawatzke said the draft levy is larger than what is being heard from in neighboring counties. Wright County did open the Jail/LEC this year. He felt it will be important to get the Truth In Local Taxation statements out to residents to see how properties are impacted. Russek reiterated that the Jail/LEC was opened this year. The County could eliminate $700,000 from the budget, but he had concern with the potential of increased cuts from the State. The County knows that funding will be cut by $1.2 million, but he questioned what would happen if the cuts rise to $2 million. He did not want to reduce the levy and then not have anything to fall back on. That could lead to layoffs and he was not sure the County could afford to lose any more employees. Sawatzke said other counties have taken more drastic measures. He was unsure if he will support the final Budget & Levy in November/December. He felt it will be important to see the impact on property taxes. Thelen did not want to see staff positions eliminated because of the Jail. The bulk of the increase is due to opening the Jail. She also does not want to reduce personnel because of the need to provide service. She felt the largest issue is the State’s budget and its impact on counties. The citizens are paying for this through increased property taxes. She stated something needs to be done at the State level to reduce the problem. Mattson said keeping the 13 positions open is much better than letting employees go. Sawatzke said the County has not laid anyone off yet. The County has chosen not to fill the 13 positions. As discussed earlier in today’s meeting, law enforcement is down 7 employees but it was approved for them to hire 2 employees bringing that total to 5. Sawatzke said there are a few departments still working at the same staffing levels. Some departments have taken reductions, some have not. He said if things become more difficult, there may have to be more shared pain. The motion to adopt Resolution #09-35 carried 5-0 on a roll call vote:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes draft 2010 budgets as follows:
GENERAL REVENUE $50,240,968
ROAD & BRIDGE 19,775,265
HUMAN SERVICES 22,059,900
DEBT SERVICE 8,049,032
LAKE PULASKI L.I.D. 30,000
MINK-SOMERS L.I.D. 13,420
TOTAL BUDGET $100,168,585
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby establishes a draft 2010 Certified Taxable Levy of $48,917,651.
Allina Hospitals & Clinics $1,290.99
American Institutional Supply 276.66
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 203.03
Aramark Correctional Services 6,369.31
Auto Glass Center Inc. 579.45
B & B Products - Rigs and Squa 522.39
Boyer Truck Parts 688.65
City Buffalo 41,964.58
Catco Parts Service 318.83
Center Point Energy 156.73
Centra Sota Coop Cokato 173.90
Chamberlain Oil Co. 1,038.79
Climate Air 9,011.95
Cottens Inc. 1,759.07
Dell Marketing LP 9,007.08
Dental Care Assoc. of Buffalo 215.00
Dale Engel 700.00
Farm-Rite Equipment Inc. 208.77
Granite City Iron Works 272.95
Granite Electronics 3,835.32
Hardings Towing Inc. 133.47
Hildi Inc. 725.00
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 850.72
Interstate All Battery Center 170.47
L-3 Communications Mobile Vis 700.44
Lakedale Communications 196.10
Larson Allen LLP 40,000.00
Martin Marietta Aggregates 2,325.84
Martin-McAllisters Consulting 400.00
McKesson Medical-Surgical 140.11
Menards - Buffalo 372.52
The Metro Group, Inc. 3,084.67
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc. 2,333.16
Midwest Safety Counselors Inc. 305.06
Mini Biff LLC 522.72
MN Counties Computer Coop 371.25
Moore Medical Corp. 161.63
Morries Parts & Service Group 538.59
MTI Distributing Inc. 100.27
National Assn. of School Resour 495.00
North American Salt Co. 9,314.27
Office Depot 1,879.70
Olson & Sons Electric 2,184.74
Photo 1 177.25
Frank Ramacciotti 100.00
Thomas Richards 400.00
Royal Tire Inc. 1,674.33
Ryan Chevrolet 389.38
Sherwin Williams 121.79
Specialty Turf & Ag 162.98
Sportsmans Guide 164.52
Super Express 173.14
Tires Plus 179.98
Total Printing 439.90
TW VendingInc. 247.36
University of Minnesota 120.00
West Payment Center 864.10
Wright Co. Human Services 1,320.00
Wright Henn. Coop Elec. Assn. 3,548.29
Wright Hennepin Electric 299.47
Wright Service Center 137.57
27 Payments less than $100 1,339.51
Final total $159,426.59
The meeting adjourned at 10:38 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Oct. 12, 2009.