WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 22, 2009
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Eichelberg and Thelen present.
On a motion by Thelen, second by Russek, all voted to approve the 9-15-09 County Board minutes.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Consent Agenda Item A2 to include the Law Enforcement Contract for the City of Maple Lake (Norman). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:
1. Performance Appraisals: W. LaSonne’, Assr.; A. Duis, C. Hohl, Atty.; B. Aanerud, A. Gillham, Aud./Treas.; J. Moe, Ct. Svcs.
2. Approve & Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contracts: Cokato, Otsego, and Maple Lake.
3. Approve Charitable Gambling Application Form LG220, Pelican Lake-Wright County Chapter of MWN, Rockford Township Hall, 3039 Dague Ave SE, Buffalo MN 55313 (Rockford Twp.).
1. Approve Maintenance/Construction Agreement With McLeod County For County Road 56.
C. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Execute GRE Tower Space Lease Agreement.
1. September 2009 Parks Commission Minutes.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 9-15-09. Russek moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0:
AUDIT EXIT CONFERENCE.
Hiivala provided a black binder titled “Financial Statements And Supplementary Information, Year Ended December 31, 2008” and graphs reflecting the County’s financial condition. Hiivala stated that LarsonAllen completed its audit of the 2008 financial statements. The audit confirms that the financial statements are materially correct. Host stated that as part of the audit process, LarsonAllen is required to communicate significant audit policies. The purpose of the audit is to issue an unqualified opinion, provide suggestions, and look at financial statement highlights. As part of the required communications of LarsonAllen, Host stated that he is to explain the firm’s responsibilities and issue an unqualified and clean opinion. Host stated that the audit is done through a risk based audit approach. This methodology is the required method. Host stated that this is the third year that LarsonAllen has performed the audit and did not encounter any difficulties in performing the audit.
Summary of Findings and Questioned Costs
Host directed the Committee to page 66 of the report. Host explained that because the County receives Federal grants, LarsonAllen is required to test the County’s internal controls. As noted in item #7, six programs were tested based on the dollar amount and complexity of the programs. Five of the six programs were in Human Services. He explained that a lot of time was spent pulling client files to determine whether internal controls were applied. He noted that there was only one suggestion that the audit team would recommend (see item under “Major Program Control Deficiency”). Host stated that three of the issues from last year were resolved. LarsonAllen stated that they have found two new issues this year, and five ongoing issues.
Material Weaknesses (Financial Reporting):
• Segregation of Duties. This issue remains due to lack of staffing.
• Audit Adjustments. When unique recording or reclassifying transactions occur, LarsonAllen recommends that that the County develop internal control policies to ensure proper recording of these items.
• Financial Reporting Process. Again, this weakness is due to limited personnel.
• Journal Entry Approval. Host commented that in general, it is good to be proactive in attaching supporting documentation to the manual journal entry.
Other Items For Consideration MN Legal Compliance:
• Cash Deficits in Ditch System. Host explained that the County carries deficit cash balances in the County’s ditch system. It is an annual issue and the County is aware of this. Hiivala noted that in 2009, there were a lot of ditch assessments, so this should be resolved.
• Ditch Special Revenue Fund Deficits In Equity Balances.
Major Program Control Deficiency:
• Foster Care Title IV-E Grant (CFDA #93.658). Host stated that LarsonAllen recommends that the County implement internal controls ensuring that the supervisor (someone other than the preparer) examine report documents to prevent inaccurate information from being reported to the State and Federal authorities.
Previously Reported Items Resolved:
• Timely Deposits.
• Bank Reconciliation Review.
• Unauthorized Bank Signers. Host commented that there was a former employee that was still listed as an authorized bank signer. Hiivala stated that this was immediately resolved.
Statement of Revenues, Expenditures, And Changes In Fund Balances
Host then directed the Committee to page 22. He noted that the row “Net Change In Fund Balances” shows the change in fund balances for the General Fund, Road & Bridge, Human Services, Debt Service, Capital Projects, and Other Governmental Funds. The General Fund decreased by $1,265,535. Hiivala noted that due to $2 million in financing from the City of Monticello, the Road & Bridge fund has a $1,904,748 balance. If it weren’t for this allocation, this fund would have broke even. Host stated that all miscellaneous accounts are accumulated and noted as “Reserve Fund” and identified separately on pages 56 and 57. He stated that he would like to revisit the name of that fund in the future. These monies are earmarked for various items. Host explained that in the Human Services fund, accounting standards require that an expenditure be recorded when it is incurred. Revenues are not to be recorded if they are not received within 60 days from the State. Host stated that the Debt Service fund was tested to determine that the payments were all made according to schedule. It has a fund balance of $4,217,179. The Capital Projects fund shows a lot of activity due to the construction of the Jail/LEC. Bonds were issued, money was transferred, and a lot of unspent bond proceeds was held over from 2007. Capital Projects had a year-end balance of $15,673,261. Generally, this fund has a fluctuating balance. Host noted that the Total Governmental Funds balance was decreased by $26,445,554 due to construction.
• Months Expenditures in Fund Balance All Governmental Funds. This graph reflects the unreserved fund balances for the five large budget categories. Host stated that the General Fund has seen a slight decrease over the last 4 years. Road & Bridge is on an upswing, Human Services is trending downward, and Debt Service will fluctuate widely. He stated that the column on the far right shows that the County has 3.65 months of reserve prior to receipt of property taxes. The State office provides “suggested levels” of reserve. They suggest that a county should have no less than five months of savings. The State also suggests that the County should have a fund balance of 35-55% of the total operating expenses. The County is under the State’s standards at 34%. Host stated that it is difficult to determine the adequate amount needed in each fund balance. He stated that LarsonAllen has developed a data driven concept to assist the County in managing or determining a plan to achieve appropriate fund balances. The concept is data driven and assesses risk to determine an adequate fund-by-fund balance.
• Total Net Assets Government Wide Financial Statements. This graph reflects total assets less total liabilities resulting in a net worth of $199,741,242 for 2008. An upward trend has been realized over the past few years. Since 2005, the net worth has increased 37%, with a steady annual growth of 9%.
• Total Capital Assets, Net. This is one of the largest investments made (road, bridges, buildings, etc.) totaling $225,031,502. This reflects a 6% increase, and a 16% increase over the past four years.
• Long-Term Liabilities. Host stated that this graph shows the big picture. The County has one large liability: GO Bonds. All debt payments were made according to schedule. A new item in 2008 is OPEB (other post employment benefits). HILDI was contracted to calculate the liability of post employment benefits for employees electing COBRA coverage. This total is $189,682 and will go up next year. Hiivala noted that the County’s only liability is to disclose the implicit rate. The County’s liability in this category is relatively low compared to other counties. Compensated absences (COMP. ABS) is dictated by vacation and sick leave schedules.
• Total Revenues & Expenditures for Governmental Funds. For the past three years, expenditures have exceeded revenues which is associated to the construction of the Jail/LEC.
• Revenues-General, Special Revenue, Debt Service Funds, Capital Project Funds. Host stated that this graph shows the predominant revenue sources. The tax revenues for the last four years has steadily increased. In 2005, taxes accounted for 39% of the total revenue and grants consisted of 37%. In 2008, taxes account for 44% of the total revenue and grants consisted of 33%. He stated that the reduced grant revenue may tie into the reduced funding of various programs.
• Expenditures-Governmental Funds. Host stated that there has been a 21% increase in total expenditures.
Hiivala stated that he and Host have discussed that the County is poised to pursue its Certificate in Excellence of Reporting. He stated that the County might want to request this in the 2009 audit year. The potential outcome in achieving this prestigious award is an improved bond rating. Host stated that the improved bond rate is not a guarantee; however, the report would be required to be completed by June 30th of each year. This earlier deadline provides the County Commissioners more timely information. He stated that in order to apply for the Certificate, LarsonAllen would have to create a larger bound audit report that would include 17 statistical tables, an extra letter, a list of the County’s largest tax payers and businesses, and ten years of financial history. He stated that from an accounting standpoint, the initial year would be time consuming which would be reflected in the preparation costs to the County (approx $6,000). After the initial year, the report would be easier to maintain and would cost the County approximately $2,000 in addition to the annual audit fees. There is an application fee when applying for the Certificate. He stated that after receipt of the Certificate in Excellence of Reporting, the County could also pursue its Certificate in Excellence of Budgeting. Sawatzke stated that he would like Hiivala to verify whether the County could achieve a better bond rate with the Certificate prior to making a decision.
(End of Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Dr. Janis Amatuzio, Medical Examiner, announced she will be retiring 1-31-10. She introduced Dr. Quinn Strobl and Gary Alberts, Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office Administrator. Dr. Strobl will take over as Medical Examiner when Amatuzio retires. Dr. Amatuzio presented the 2008 Annual Report. There were 342 deaths investigated in 2008 reflecting a slight decrease from the 355 deaths investigated in 2007. The main categories of death include natural, accident, suicide, homicide, undetermined and other. Amatuzio said she would focus on accidental and suicidal fatalities today. The purpose is to point out any patterns of death, any public health risks, and anything that can be done to make the County safer. There are nine death investigators in Wright County, some who have been serving in this capacity since 1995. About 32% or 110 of the deaths required scene investigations, and 50 postmortem examinations were performed. There were 120 hospice deaths and no deaths could be attributed to SIDS. Since 1990, people have been instructed to place infants on their backs and remove fluffy items from cribs. Since then, the incidence of SIDS has dropped dramatically. Dr. Amatuzio said this indicates some deaths were from suffocation or unsafe sleeping conditions. There were a total of 24 accidental deaths with a total of 16 in motor vehicle crashes. She stated that 2/3 of these deaths had drivers with blood alcohol present. This means that alcohol contributed to the death. In addition, only two of the males and one of the females were wearing seat belts. Dr. Amatuzio said that is something that we can do something about to encourage people to wear seatbelts and not to drink and drive. Mattson said the most recent fatalities in Minnesota have involved drivers making left hand turns. While waiting to make the turn, they have their wheels turned in the direction they are going. If the vehicle is struck from behind, it is projected into oncoming traffic. Dr. Amatuzio said that is something that should be taught in Driver’s Education. In 2008, most accidental deaths occurred on dry roads (13). The problem appears to be speed. The majority of fatalities occurred between 4:00 P.M. and 8:00 P.M. when people are driving home from work (fatigue, sunlight, or in a hurry). Dr. Amatuzio said people need to be aware of sleep deprivation as many do not sleep as much as they should. The most dangerous day to travel was Friday. In 2008, the most fatalities from a crash occurred on Highway 12 (9) followed by Interstate 94 (6). She said the safest roads in the nation are freeways as vehicles are moving in the same direction. There were a total of 8 accidental deaths that were non-motor vehicle related. She stressed the importance of exercise and remaining active as the population ages. Walking is very important to maintain balance and muscle tone. Dr. Strobl stated that nationwide, the SIDS deaths are decreasing. They believe that previously, SIDS was attributed to unsafe sleeping conditions and sleeping with parents. Last year, information was sent to the medical community in an effort to educate the public on unsafe sleeping environments. Action was taken because it is felt SIDS can be prevented. Dr. Strobl hoped this information was passed onto families. The two infant deaths which occurred in Wright County were not classified as SIDS but rather accidental and possibly preventable. Dr. Amatuzio reported there were 11 suicide deaths in 2008 (8 male, 3 female). She felt the suicide rates system wide reflect the despair of the economy. This has been seen in the suicide notes which have referenced problems associated with foreclosure, loss of employment, and low self esteem. Dr. Amatuzio historically she has not always given a lot of credence to suicide notes. However, she said she can’t help but make observations as she has never seen before the mention of foreclosure as a reason for being distressed and distraught. She said it is nice to see the economy beginning to recover. Dr. Amatuzio was asked many years ago to track whether individuals are happier when they are married or single. She said men do better when they are married and women do better when they are single. There was only one homicide death in 2008 involving a murder/suicide. There was 1 undetermined death in 2008. These deaths are classified as “manner undetermined” when there is no evidence that identifies the deaths as natural, accidental, homicide, or suicide. The case involved a woman whose cause of death could not be determined due to the number of factors involved. With this classification, the manner of death can be changed if more information comes forth at a future date. Dr. Amatuzio said it has been an honor to serve as Medical Examiner since 1995. She cited the efforts of former Sheriff Don Hozempa, and Sheriff Gary Miller that have allowed her to fulfill this role. She also recognized the support received from the law enforcement community. She said the system has grown over the past 14 years and a great deal of credit should be given to law enforcement. Dr. Amatuzio said Chief Deputy Joe Hagerty attends every trial she testifies at and follows up with a letter to her. This has been both instructive and helpful. Dr. Amatuzio said there is not a finer person to follow in her footsteps than Dr. Strobl. Gary Alberts will also provide guidance. She felt the transition of her retirement will be flawless and unnoticeable.
Members of the Wright County Fair Board were present to discuss roadwork on the Fairgrounds property. Present were Ray Schmidt (Director), Jerry Quaal (Chair), Ron Denn (Director), and Milan Zumach (Director and Chair of Long Range Planning Committee). Schmidt distributed and read a letter to the County Board from the Fair Board. The letter reflects sustained attendance and plans for the 2010 Fair. The National Minneapolis-Moline (MM) Collectors Association will be conducting their National meeting, shows and gathering at the 2010 Fair. The projected attendance is 20,000 people with 160-200 MM tractors on display. This will require space for tents, vehicles, and primitive camping. Prior to the 2009 Fair, the County Board provided approval to construct a road on the western edge of the Fairgrounds. This resulted in a much improved parking lot system and was a great improvement to the Fair. Approval was also given to the Fair to utilize the 17 acres of property on the northwest side of the Fairgrounds. The increased attendance at the 2010 Fair will require use of this property and additional roads will be needed. Also, an improvement is suggested to the grandstand area. The current track has a large degree of incline to the north and west. The Fair Board requests an improvement to the grandstand by adding clay (appx. 200 yards) that will be moved in from the new road area. The Fair Board requests that the Commissioners authorize the Highway Department to transport the Class 5 gravel to the new road bed area (appx. 600 yards). The letter and map reflect the plan for the road. Schmidt said extra clay will be placed on the east end of the 17 acres to do upcoming events like motor cross. They would like to start the project this fall (earthwork) after the soy bean crops are removed. Planting will occur in the spring. Sawatzke noted that the letter reflects that the cost for the road and grandstand will be in excess of $10,000 and asked whether the County is being asked to contribute. Schmidt stated that the Fair Board will use their funds for the work. Sawatzke said the request is for 600 yards of gravel and asked how that compares to the work done earlier. Schmidt said that last year, the total amount of gravel was about 1,200 yards. Work was also completed on the existing road from the east. Sawatzke said the request will accommodate the Minneapolis-Moline tractor event but he didn’t envision this will be an annual event. He asked whether the work will create layout problems for future use of the Fairgrounds property. Schmidt confirmed the Minneapolis-Moline tractor event is for one year. There have been discussions with another tractor group for the following year but this has not been finalized. As the Fair Board, they will take on the responsibility for promoting and coming up with new events for that area. Russek is the liaison for the Fair Board and stated the Fair Board works very hard on the Fair. He informed the Fair Board that the Highway Department may be too busy to assist with the gravel yet this fall. Russek and Dennis Beise (Fair Board Secretary) met with the renter of the land so he is aware of the request. Schmidt said the work will not commence until after the soybeans have been removed. Mattson drove through the Fairgrounds last week and noticed a satellite and waste receptacle open near the horse arena. Denn explained that there was a horse show last week and they were setting up for that. There has been more interest in renting the horse arena. Almost every weekend there is someone in for a horse show. Mattson suggested that the satellite be locked during the week or when it is not being used, otherwise it will require pumping. Schmidt thanked the County for the foresight in purchasing land around the Fairgrounds. They are striving to have one of the best fairs in the State. Quaal extended thanks to the Board for approval to proceed with the new road put in last year. He felt it added a lot to the 2009 Fair. The Fair Board has a directive from the County Board that any expenditure over $10,000 requires County Board approval. Anything done with the land next to the Fairground requires County Board approval no matter the cost. Sawatzke asked for Fingalson’s perspective on the assistance they provided previously at the Fairgrounds. Fingalson stated that it worked well. The County Board authorized the Highway Department to place the gravel and the Fair Board paid for the gravel. If the current request is approved, the Highway Department will assist as needed but their schedule is busy this fall. Russek moved to approve the Fair Board’s request as outlined in Items #1, #2, and #3 below, seconded by Thelen. The Fair Board is to work with the Highway Department on gravel and hauling. The motion carried 5-0.
1. The Fair Board would like to have a road built to utilize the northwestern 17 acres. The road would continue north from the existing road for a distance of approximately 475 feet. The road then would travel east about 400 feet. The road then would travel at a slight diagonal south easterly direction to the present T-intersection near the red storage barn. The approximate length of this section would be 500 feet. The road would be similar construction to that of 2009. The road bed would be approximately 24 feet wide. Four inches of Grade 5 gravel would be placed, graded and packed. Grass seeding would be done to the ditch and side grade areas of the new road.
2. The Fair Board is asking the Wright County Board of Commissioners to relocate approximately 2,000 yards of clay from the field area to the grandstands track area. This clay would be placed and graded with approximately 1% grade to the north and the west. Clay would be added to the south wall of the grandstand to cover the exposed concrete footings. This clay would be blended in to protect the footing. Five hundred (500) yards of clay will be placed on the easterly edge of the property (17 acres), as a reserve stockpile for future events. The cost to complete items 1 and 2 would be in excess of $10,000.00.
3. The Fair Board is asking the Wright County Board of Commissioners to request approval to have the Wright County Public Works Department to transport the Class 5 gravel to the new road bed area. Approximately 600 yards of gravel would be needed.
Larry Kruse, Albertville City Administrator, distributed a project summary for the I-94/CSAH 19 & I-94/CSAH 37 Interchange Improvement Project, Phase I. The project has been discussed previously with the Commissioners at the Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Albertville is only four square miles but is the hub of two major I-94 Interchanges. The first phase of the proposed project constructs what is called a “collector distributor road” between CSAH 19 and CSAH 37 parallel to I-94 on the north side of the freeway. The City has been working on this project for almost ten years and aggressively for the past six. Kruse extended thanks to Eichelberg and Sawatzke for serving on the project task force, to Fingalson and Hawkins of the Wright County Highway Department for their assistance, and to the Cities of St. Michael and Otsego. The State and Federal process has been completed so they can proceed with the project. The City contracted with SRF this year to complete the final design, which is at 95% complete. This summer, a $5.44 million State Grant was received for interchanges. Assuming the City can put together the remaining funding, the project will be bid in the spring. The City will need to study how much can be assessed to benefited property owners. The project will require several million dollars to complete the financial package. Kruse requested use of the County’s Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds for the I-94 Project. He has discussed the project with the City of St. Michael. He is aware of St. Michael’s request presented at the last Board Meeting for the Recovery Zone Bond funds for their Library project. The Albertville City Council supports the Library project. Kruse suggested in the spirit of cooperation, to split the funds equally between the two projects. He further requested that Eichelberg, Sawatzke and the Highway Department continue to work with Albertville on the I-94 project to make it a reality. Eichelberg attended the AMC Policy Committee Meeting last week where Recovery Zone Bonds were discussed. AMC would like to take the lead on this. There are many counties who were awarded lesser amounts and may not have a project. AMC may develop guidelines to identify counties who will not utilize their funds with the potential of having these funds reallocated to other counties with larger projects. The guidelines are anticipated to be developed by January-February, 2010. Marc Weigle, St. Michael Community Development Director, supported the request for a 50/50 split of the Recovery Zone Bonds. The City of St. Michael will open bids for the Library Project at 2:00 P.M. today. Weigle expects the bids to come in lower than the Engineer’s estimate so they would be agreeable to the proposed split. Sawatzke stated that he is only one member of the Board, but felt the County has not agreed to any cost sharing of the I-94 project. The County has not historically funded interchanges or entrances/exits to freeways. Sawatzke felt CSAH 19 would be the only portion where the County would be involved. He did not want the County to start paying for State or Federal on/off ramps. He felt that if the County approves use of the Recovery Zone Bond Funds for the I-94 project, it would be one way for the County to assist with the project. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, stated that the upcoming road tour will include a stop in Albertville to see the model of the project. Options will be discussed at that time. Norman stated the County was awarded a total of $3,976,000 in Recovery Zone Bond Funds. The Board then discussed the possible funding split between the two projects and the potential turn back dollars from other counties. Russek moved to authorize use of the $3,976,000 in Recovery Zone Bond Funds awarded to the County by the City of Albertville for the I-94 Project and by the City of St. Michael for the Library Project. Each City will receive $1,988,000, recognizing if the bids for the Library Project come in lower than the estimate the difference in funding will be shifted to the City of Albertville. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke stated that the cities should be responsible for the time and effort associated in applying for these funds. The County will sign the required documents to recognize the pass through of funding. The motion carried 5-0.
Weigle presented a draft resolution authorizing the creation of a Recovery Zone within the Cities of St. Michael, Albertville, and Hanover for the purpose of issuing Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds. The resolution designates a portion of the local allocation of the Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds of Wright County to the City of St. Michael or Economic Development Authority of St. Michael for a new branch library. The draft resolution was changed as follows: Page 2, 2nd to last Whereas should read, “WHEREAS, this Board desires to allocate a maximum of $1,988,000 of Wright County’s recovery zone bond allocation to the City of St. Michael or EDA of St. Michael to help finance construction of the Project;” Page 2, Section 2, should read, “The Board hereby designates the City of St. Michael or EDA of St. Michael as its agent and authorizes it to issue a maximum of $1,988,000 of Recovery Zone Bonds in the St. Michael, Albertville, Hanover Recovery Zone for the Project. This allocation will terminate on January 31, 2010 unless the bonds are issued on or before January 31, 2010.” Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #09-36 to include the two changes as noted, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. The City of Albertville will have a similar resolution to present at a future date.
Weigle presented a Joint Financing Agreement between Wright County, the GRRL, and the City of St. Michael. The State Library Grant requires this Agreement, which has been approved by the GRRL Board. The Agreement acknowledges the construction of a new branch library facility and confirms the County and GRRL are not responsible to pay any of the costs for construction. The Agreement was discussed at the last County Board Meeting. At that time, it was requested that the County Attorney and City Attorney review the document as there was concern with Section 2.3 as it relates to financing of the project. The document states in part that “…the County and City agree to jointly finance the Facility.” Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, stated he did not have a problem with the language of the Agreement. It is clear that the County is not responsible for any of the debt service for the project. Mattson referenced Section 2.5 which states in part, “Neither the Great River, the County, nor any county signatory to the Joint Powers Agreement shall pay any costs of the Project.” Sawatzke said the document is contradictory with those statements. He asked that the record reflect the County is acting on the Agreement with the understanding that St. Michael recognizes that the County is not responsible for any costs of the project. Thelen moved to adopt Resolution #09-37 approving the Joint Financing Agreement, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
The meeting recessed at 10:09 A.M. and reconvened at 10:26 A.M.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested the Board authorize signatures on a Landowner Permit for the Wright County Snowmobile Association. The permit will allow the Association to maintain a trail over the SE corner of Parcel #6 at Bertram Chain of Lakes. This request was reviewed by the Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council and recommended for approval. The Agreement will remain in force until it is revoked but can be terminated with a six-month notice. The Advisory Council felt it may be a one-year approval. This will be determined as they move through the master planning phases for the Bertram Chain of Lakes. The Agreement allows use of a couple of hundred feet of land on the SE corner of the property. Thelen moved to approve the request, seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson asked whether larger signs can be installed to prevent snowmobilers from traveling off from trails. Mattice said any questions such as this can be directed to the Wright County Snowmobile Association, who will in turn contact the affected trail club. The DNR stipulates sign size. Russek did not feel it was necessarily the members of the snowmobile association who ride in areas that are not designated as trails. Sawatzke estimated that 90% of the trail usage is by non-members of the Association. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice requested the Board authorize signatures on the Habitat Development Agreement and Project Plan for the USFW for the wetland restoration project at Robert Ney Regional Park. The project has the support of the Parks Commission and was discussed at the 7-28-09 Board Meeting. The funds are being awarded from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act through the federal government. A local contractor is completing the earth work and the installation of a stop lock structure in a wetland basin that is being restored. The USFW has developed the plans for the restoration, a dike, and the stop lock structure. They will be providing the materials for the stop lock structure and delivering them to the site. The County will work with the local contractor on getting the earth work done. Once the project is complete, the County will request reimbursement from the USFW. The USFW will then submit paperwork to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The total cost on the County end is $7,890 which will be completely reimbursed. In the original Agreement, it reflected a $50 cash match by the County. A revised Agreement was presented today that removes the $50 fee as it is included in the bid from the local contractor as seeding costs. The County will provide $2,000 in-kind services (Mattice’s work on permitting with the DNR, SWCD and Army Corp of Engineers). All permits have been secured and approved. Upon approval, the project will move forward in late September or early October. Eichelberg moved to authorize signatures on the Agreement, seconded by Thelen. Russek asked about the current use of the land. Mattice explained the land is part of the recent purchases for Ney Park. Since it was purchased, the plan has been to restore the wetland. The land has been mowed a couple of times to remove the non-native plants. They have also worked with the landowner for hay and field work on reclamation of hardwood seeding. It will be used mostly for habitat. Russek inquired whether the stop lock structure will affect any landowners. Mattice said the stop lock structure will manipulate water levels. The engineering plans where the stop lock structure will be located will not affect any adjacent landowners. The engineer for the USFW has done all of the topography readings and feels it won’t affect anyone. If it does, the water can be lowered with the stop lock structure. There is a landowner to the east. If at some time there is a flowage easement, they could increase the size of the wetland. At this time, they don’t foresee any impacts to adjacent landowners. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice requested that the Board authorize him to prepare an application for the new Parks and Trails Legacy Grant. The application will be for acquisition funds for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Project and submitted in cooperation with the City of Monticello. Funding is provided through the State Parks and Trails Fund, which constitutes a portion of the dedicated sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008. The funding is divided into three areas. One is for the Metro/Regional Parks System, one is for the State’s Parks System, and one is for Regional Parks of State-wide significance in greater Minnesota as well as the Metro area. This project will compete for a pot of $1.9 million statewide in fiscal year 2010 for regional parks and trails. The application deadline is the first part of November. A cash match is required. Other State funds or grants cannot be used as a match for these grants. Project costs must be incurred and paid for before reimbursement can be made. Public hearings will be required as the project is put together. Mattice said they will find out in January if the application process was successful. This could correspond and help provide funds to the grant received for $266,000 to the local grants program unit, as well as any bonding or LCCMR requests that may get approved through the 2010 Legislative Session. Russek inquired where the required match will come from. Mattice said the match they have been using is the match they will use as well for the LCCMR, bonding funds, or any other grant funds they have been telling the State they are seeking. He is unsure as to where it comes from. For every dollar received from the State, the County/City puts in about 55 cents. Sawatzke said there would be enough in the Capital Improvement Fund to cover any grant amount this size. Thelen moved to authorize Mattice to prepare the application for the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant, seconded by Eichelberg. Eichelberg questioned whether this can be turned down at a future date. Mattice confirmed this. The motion carried 5-0.
Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, said discussion on the Public Works Generator Request For Quotes (RFQ) was discussed at the 9-09-09 Technology Committee Meeting. The recommendation of the Committee was to set the quote opening for 10-13-09 at 9:30 A.M. at the County Board Meeting. Today, Swing asked for permission to receive the quotes in the Information Technology Department and open and evaluate the quotes with the consultant. A summary of quotes and recommendation could then be prepared for review at the 10-13-09 Board Meeting. Swing was in contact with the County Attorney’s Office and learned the process requirements for a “Request for Quote” are substantially less onerous than the “Request for Proposal” process. In the RFQ process, quotes can be opened and evaluated outside the Board Meeting. The RFQ’s for the Public Works Generator are due in the Information Technology Department by 3:00 P.M. on 10-09-09. Eichelberg questioned whether Norman felt there was a problem legally with the requested process. Norman responded that he did not think so as long as there is a time and date specific when the RFQ’s are due and there is someone present to witness the opening of the quotes. Swing said a site visit has been scheduled on 9-23-09 with vendors at the Public Works site. The Board discussed the process, whether a Committee Meeting should be scheduled, and whether the quotes should be opened at the Board Meeting. Sawatzke suggested a public meeting where the process is open to eliminate any potential to suggest that the process was not followed correctly. Norman said the quotes should not be opened prior to this public meeting. Norman said an original quote is required for the County Board packet. Thelen moved to rescind the previous Board motion setting the RFQ opening for the Public Works Generator on 10-13-09 at 9:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0. On a motion by Thelen, second by Eichelberg, all voted to schedule a Technology Committee Meeting for 10-12-09 at 11:00 A.M. for the purpose of opening the quotes. Those quotes will be presented to the County Board for award on 10-13-09. Swing will bring the quotes to Norman on 10-09-09.
A Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 9-14-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Norman indicated that the minutes reflect that the recommended action may be premature given the timeline of Fingalson’s retirement. Norman said no action would be the recommendation at this time. Mattson moved to approve the minutes with the stipulation that the Board is moving forward with no recommendation at this time (not approving the Committee’s recommendation). The motion was seconded by Russek. Sawatzke said that the Board could decide to take action at a future date based on the setting of Fingalson’s retirement date. The motion carried 5-0:
Assistant Engineer Position. Fingalson read a proposed Succession Plan for the County Engineer and Assistant Engineer positions (attached). The proposed Plan is being brought forth due to the upcoming retirement of the Highway Engineer and because the Assistant Engineer is a final candidate for the Crow Wing County Engineer position. Norman explained that the Administration Department is charged with administering the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual. Whatever decision is made should have rationale because it may set precedence. Norman cited prior actions taken by the Board when department head positions have been vacated. When the Assessor position was last filled, it involved an open application process. The person that was appointed was an employee of that Department but was required to follow the competitive process. He was hired at Step 1 of the Assessor’s salary schedule. The process followed for filling the Sheriff position was that Miller was appointed to fill the remaining term per Statute. The process followed for the Recorder position was that Unger was appointed to fill the remaining term of the former Recorder and the position was made appointed thereafter. The Recorder position followed the open application process. Norman stated that if a Succession Plan is approved, criteria could be included in the Agreement that stipulates that the employee must maintain superior or above performance and that there are no disciplinary actions during the time frame. Norman said the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual states that when an employee is promoted to another position, they should move to the next highest step of that position’s salary schedule. The proposed Succession Plan requests a four-year appointment starting at Step 7 of the Highway Engineer salary schedule. Norman said that assuming there is a 2.5% COLA for non-union employees in 2010 (following that approved for Union employees), the Assistant Engineer would move to $87,338 in 2010. The next highest step in the Highway Engineer’s salary will be Step 2 at $88,051. However, the move should be significant enough to warrant moving. Therefore, Norman said he would recommend Step 3 of the Highway Engineer’s salary at $92,711. The salary does not reflect that the position is provided with a vehicle. This is the first time that Norman can recall that an assistant has been promoted into a department head position on a non-competitive basis. He felt this does provide added value to the request by Hawkins. Norman cautioned that the Board considers possible ramifications of whatever decision is made. This is in light of the fact that the requested Succession Plan requests Step 7 when the Assistant Engineer has no experience as a department head. Pawelk and Petersen supported an open process, possibly done as an internal posting for 7 days. Fingalson did not feel other employees meet the job qualifications. Sawatzke commented that the position could be posted and Hawkins could apply. The other issue discussed was the timeline of the retirement of the Highway Engineer. Norman said that initially, he understood the retirement would be in May, 2010. At today’s meeting, Fingalson explained it could be anywhere in the next two years. At a minimum, he will need to provide the 30-day notification required of department heads. Norman said given the new timeline, discussion at this point may be premature. Hawkins said that upon retirement of the Highway Engineer, his request is to be appointed to a four-year term as Highway Engineer at Step 7 of the salary schedule. This is about $10,000 less than the salary of the current Highway Engineer. He felt the person appointed as the Assistant Engineer would make $8,000-$10,000 less than he does. Although Hawkins recognizes he does not have the experience of the current Highway Engineer, he has almost 15 years of Assistant Highway Engineer experience. Sawatzke was concerned with making a decision on a two-year timeline and appointing at Step 7 of the salary schedule. He thought he may be better able to support the request if the retirement was occurring next spring. Norman said that if the Highway Engineer leaves two years from now, Hawkins could be appointed to fill out the term. Mattson supported Norman’s salary schedule recommendation. Recommendation: The Committee supports a Succession Plan that includes appointing Hawkins at the time of Fingalson’s retirement at Step 3 of the Highway Engineer’s salary schedule. Hawkins is to contact Norman by 3:00 P.M. on 9-17-09 as to whether he is willing to accept or decline the Succession Plan. The Succession Plan will not include filling the Assistant Engineer position prior to Fingalson’s retirement.
(End of Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes & Discussion)
A Quad County Meeting will be held at the Jail/LEC on 9-29-09 at 10:30 A.M. The proposed Agenda includes: 1) Sharing Of Information Regarding The 2010 Budget & Levy; 2) Human Services Redesign Project; 3) Dealing With H1N1 Influenza; and 4) Wright County Sheriff Office Presentation. The meeting will be followed with lunch and a tour of the Jail/LEC. Sawatzke suggested that the Manatron System be added to the Agenda as he understood some counties may be re-evaluating their positions. Norman will contact Benton, Sherburne and Stearns Counties to determine whether they are working with the Manatron System. If they are not, this will not be added to the Agenda. Thelen questioned whether more time on the Agenda should be given to the Human Services Redesign Project and less to the H1N1 Influenza. Norman said that the other counties have not indicated they will have anyone present for the Redesign Project discussion. He felt more information on that subject will be presented at the AMC District Meeting in October. With regard to the H1N1 item, discussion will include COOP Plans and what is being done internally to deal with the influenza. Norman said that dependent upon what he learns from the other counties with regard to participation in Manatron, the change recommended would be to remove the Human Services Redesign Project and replace it with Manatron discussion. Mattson suggested discussing inmate boarding at the Jail/LEC for other counties. It was the consensus of the Board that the Manatron System can be added to the Agenda if the other counties are involved with it. Other topics may be discussed at the meeting as time permits.
Norman said the City of Buffalo has requested a meeting to discuss the parking lot on the east side of the library. The meeting would be attended by Buffalo Mayor Fred Naaktgeboren, City Council Member Del Haag, County Coordinator Dick Norman, and two County Board members. Sawatzke said he did not feel it made sense for the County to sell land near the Government Center due to parking constraints. He assumed Library patrons use the County’s parking spaces when the Courthouse is not open. There are also two handicap spots in this area as well that are being used. Mattson has no interest in selling the land. Russek moved to appoint Eichelberg and Sawatzke to meet with the City officials as requested. Thelen interjected that she would like to attend as it is in her District. Russek amended the motion to appoint Thelen and Sawatzke to meet with the City officials. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke questioned what the County’s response was the last time this issue was brought forth. Norman said the County did not have an official response. Sawatzke said he will meet with the City officials but is not very interested in a sale. Thelen said the discussion may include a possible swap of parking spaces. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #09-38 designating 10-10-09 as “Put The Brakes On Fatalities Day.” The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote:
Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day
October 10, 2009
October 10, 2009 has been declared Put The Brakes On Fatalities Day by the Wright County Board of Commissioners.
WHEREAS, Traffic crashes cause more than 41,000 fatalities each year and are the leading cause of death for people ages 6 to 33;
WHEREAS, In 2005, 55 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were unrestrained.
WHEREAS, Alcohol-related crashes account for 38 percent of all traffic fatalities;
WHEREAS, Deaths and injuries on U.S. highways cost society over $150 billion annually;
WHEREAS, Safer driving behaviors such as the use of seat belts, not drinking and driving, and obeying traffic laws would dramatically reduce the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths;
WHEREAS, The use of cost-effective roadway safety improvements such as all-weather signing and markings, intersection street lighting, wider shoulders, and removal of roadside hazards could also greatly reduce the number of traffic crashes;
WHEREAS, The continued development of safer vehicles and protective traffic safety equipment such as helmets will enhance people’s ability to protect themselves and their families from preventable and tragic permanent injuries and deaths;
Now, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The Wright County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim October 10, 2009 as Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day, and call upon everyone to help save lives by spreading these important messages throughout our communities.
(End of Resolution 09-38)
The County Board will not meet on 9-29-09. A Quad County Meeting will be held at the Jail/LEC at 10:30 A.M.
Brian Abrahamson. $114.40
Allina Hospitals & Clinic 170.00
Allina Medical 793.50
American Tower & ATC Tower 5,980.00
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 354.30
Conrad Anderson 138.52
Annandale Rock Products 125.69
Anoka County Sheriff 7,538.16
Aramark Correctional Services 6,607.25
Bob Barker Co. 887.91
Beck Disaster Recovery Inc. 10,500.00
Gary Bonk Masonry Inc. 915.00
Buffalo Clinic 242.79
Tim Cameron 150.00
Center Point Energy 909.57
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 18,632.53
Central MN Mental Health 100.00
Climate Air 2,687.39
Collins Brothers Towing 141.08
CPS Technology Solutions 3,041.25
Cub Foods 166.34
E Central Regional Juvenile 14,910.00
Dale Engel 600.00
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excav. 225,217.78
First State Tire Recycling 182.26
General Office Products Co. 2,661.57
Global Equipment Company 333.00
Globalstar USA 228.62
Granite Electronics 1,043.67
Hennepin Co. Treasurer 2,597.32
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 429.28
Knife River 127,024.11
Knife River Corp.-Nort 501.778
Kustom Signals Inc. 126.48
Lake Region Coop Oil 369.36
Lakedale Communications 194.69
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,044.58
Carol Lostetter 300.00
McDowall Company 542.00
MN Assn. of Assessment Person 225.00
MN Counties Ins. Trust 1,527.00
MN Department of Revenue 972.13
MN State Bar Association 675.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 374.80
Morries Parts & Service Group 1,100.00
North American Salt Co. 51,274.99
Office Depot 689.81
Pakor Inc. 1,030.48
Lynn Peavey Company 368.45
Precision Prints of Wright Co. 525.83
Frank Ramacciotti 200.00
Reds Auto Electric 123.11
City Rockford 541.25
Royal Tire Inc. 3,469.68
Russell Security Resource Inc. 718.43
Schedule Soft 2,250.00
Spectrum Solutions 19,992.96
State of MN-Office Enterprise 1,335.00
SW Recycling Inc. 100.00
Uniforms Unlimited 256.22
Vance Brothers Inc. 4,603.70
Veolia Environmental Serv. 16,017.15
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 468.32
Wright Hennepin 820.30
Wright Hennepin Coop Elec Assn. 660.56
Wright Hennepin Electric 679.00
24 Payments less than $100 1,210.49
Final total $688,539.67
The meeting adjourned at 11:10 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Oct. 19, 2009.