Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 27, 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 Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the 10-20-09 County Board Minutes.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Highway Engineer Item #3, “Minnesota Transportation Alliance” (Sawatzke); Item For Consid. #5, “Cancel the Ways & Means Committee Meeting scheduled for 10-28-09 and reschedule it for 11-18-09” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Thelen, carried unanimously.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Russek referenced Consent Item A5, “Notification Of Compliance With The Local Government Pay Equity Act” and extended compliments to Richard Norman, County Coordinator, and the Administration staff who worked to assure Wright County was in compliance with the Pay Equity Act. Russek referenced Consent Item C1, “Addendum To The Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) For Providing Extension Programs Locally & Employing County Extension Staff.” He said the recommendation by the Extension Committee is to approve the MOA as Mary Anderson’s position is not being filled at this time. Mattson referenced Consent Item A7, “Approve 2010 Non-Union Employees Salary Increase Of 2.5%” and inquired whether the County normally approves the salary increase this early in the year. He recalled it was normally done in November or December. Norman stated that this is correct. However, he is receiving questions from employees, he would like to update the salary schedules in the system in a timely manner, and he would like to provide the information to payroll as early as possible since there are three payroll periods in December. Sawatzke asked whether this has been a problem with payroll in the past. Norman stated that approval would allow additional time for the information to be entered. Sawatzke asked when the Truth In Local Taxation Public Hearing will be held. Norman said it is no longer called the Truth In Local Taxation Public Hearing. Instead, the County Board will discuss the budget and levy and public input will be received at a regularly scheduled County Board Meeting, at 6:00 P.M. on 12-01-09. Sawatzke thought a decision on the salary increase for non-union employees could be laid over until after that Meeting. He felt a lot of other counties were looking at some interesting concepts. Norman said if the decision on this item is laid over until after the Budget Meeting, it wouldn’t be addressed until December 15th. Sawatzke asked whether Norman had received any feedback on the success of counties that may have tried to reopen contracts with unions. Norman stated that this depends on the definition of success and the impact on long-term labor relations. Some have reopened negotiations and have been successful in changing the terms and conditions of employment. Some haven’t. Norman felt each county is in a different financial situation and that each has its own unique set of circumstances and variables that come into play. Thelen moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of Items A7 and D1, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
1. Performance Appraisals: S. Sandberg, Atty.; B. Haynes, J. Martinson, G. Stonelake, Hwy.; A. Riebel, Parks; D. Munsterteiger, Sheriff.
2. Schedule Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Meeting For 11-10-09 @ 10:30 A.M.
3. Approve/Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contract With City Of Monticello.
4. Claim, Frank Madden, $6,593.05 (September Service).
5. Notification Of Compliance With The Local Government Pay Equity Act.
6. Increase Employer’s Contribution Toward Insurances By $50.00/Month, Eff. 3-01-10, For Non-Union Employees.
8. Cancel Board Meeting Of December 8, 2009 (AMC Conference).
9. Overtime Report, Period Ending 10-16-09.
1. Refer Hire Of Assessment Assistant To The Personnel Committee.
2. Approve Abatement, PID #112-038-008340, Mark Cherry (City Of Montrose).
1. Addendum To The Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) For Providing Extension Programs Locally & Employing County Extension Staff.
Discussion followed on Consent Item D1, Sheriff, “Refer To Building Committee Request For Discussion On Space Needs For Courthouse Security Personnel.” Norman explained that the request is to discuss the possibility of getting back the office area in the Court Administration Corridor that was previously vacated by Courthouse Security Personnel. The request is to also keep the recently acquired office area (formerly Jail Administration). Norman said the area in Court Administration was recently looked at. It was being used to store records by Court Administration. The intent should be the highest and best use of office space. Sawatzke did not want staff to grow into an area and then later have to vacate if it is decided that the space will be utilized for another purpose. In response to Sawatzke, Norman said Courthouse Security Personnel probably doubled their space when moving to the former Jail Administration Office area from the one office in the Courts Corridor. Russek moved to approve Item D1, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
Discussion resumed on Consent Item A7, Administration, “Approve 2010 Non-Union Employees Salary Increase Of 2.5%.” Mattson suggested laying this item over until December. Russek did not feel this would provide adequate time for payroll. Per approval of the Consent Agenda, the Board Meeting of 12-08-09 has been cancelled because of the AMC Conference. This would not allow action on the item until 12-15-09. Sawatzke asked whether the Board members favored a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting prior to the County Board Meeting to discuss the budget and levy (formerly the Truth In Local Taxation Hearing). He felt the Board could discuss what has happened in the past couple of months and they would also have a better feeling on what other counties are doing. Mattson said the forecast is that things are improving but he does not see this. Thelen supported a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting for an update on how things are going but not for the purpose of re-opening union contracts. Mattson moved to refer the issue to the 11-24-09 County Board Meeting, seconded by Thelen. Thelen wondered how this schedule would impact staff. Sawatzke’s opinion was that it would not affect them as approval of the salary increase was completed in December in past years. Mattson suggested scheduling a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting a week prior to discussing this issue at the County Board Meeting. The motion was amended to schedule a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 11-17-09 at 10:30 A.M. The motion carried 5-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. Eichelberg moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented a draft Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Agenda for review. The proposed items are: 1) Request from Albertville to establish a Funding Task Force; 2) CSAH 17 improvement funding for trail (Parks Department); 3) Review proposed 5-Year Plan prior to 11/10/09 public meeting; 4) Discuss options for former McNamara and Chouinard properties; 5) Right-of-way issues in City of Clearwater along CSAH 75; 6) Stimulus project funding status. Fingalson said Mn/DOT has indicated that the County may be eligible for stimulus funding for the CSAH 75 project. This would amount to $4 million in Federal funding (100%). Fingalson said this should be known by the time of the TCOTW meeting. If received, the County will have to move quickly as the money must be committed by February. Thelen moved to set a TCOTW Meeting for 11-02-09 at 1:30 P.M., Public Works Building. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Fingalson said each county awarded a safety grant must hold a Community Safety Meeting involving safety partners and other community leaders (i.e., law enforcement, emergency responders, Mn/DOT District Representatives, school representatives, and township officials). He proposed that this meeting be held in conjunction with the Five-Year CIP Public Meeting scheduled for 11-10-09. Fingalson recommended scheduling the Community Safety Meeting at 1:30 P.M. on 11-10-09 and rescheduling the Five-Year CIP Public Meeting to 2:30 P.M. on 11-10-09 (originally scheduled for 2:00 P.M.). Eichelberg moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Mattson presented information on the Minnesota Transportation Alliance Membership Meeting which will be held on 11-05-09 at 8:00 A.M. at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Cloud. Eichelberg moved to authorize Board attendance, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
Norman received correspondence from MCIT indicating that the 2009 Annual Meeting will be held on 12-07-09 at 1:00 P.M. in Minneapolis. An election will be held for one seat on the MCIT Board of Directors. MCIT Bylaws provide for the designation of official voting delegates and alternates. Wright County’s current Delegate is Richard Norman and the Alternate is Jack Russek. The County Board acknowledged that the voting Delegate and Alternate will remain the same so no action is required.
A draft Fees For Service Public Hearing Notice was distributed along with documentation from departments supporting the requested changes. The Public Hearing is scheduled for 11-17-09 at 9:30 A.M. Norman noted that the increase in Booking Fees for the Jail is recommended at a higher rate than discussed during Budget sessions. This is in an effort to make the fee consistent Statewide. Russek moved to approve publication of the Public Hearing Notice, seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke referenced the Out of County Boarding Fee which is proposed to increase from $70.00/day to $80.00/day. He questioned what the fee relates to. Norman understands this fee relates to an individual from another jurisdiction serving time in the Wright County Jail. The motion carried 5-0.
On a motion by Thelen, second by Eichelberg, all voted to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 12-01-09 at 10:30 A.M. The purpose of the Meeting is to discuss elected department head salaries for 2010.
Norman requested approval of the 2009 Christmas Eve Policy. It is the same as was passed last year. Rather than negotiate a schedule into contracts, the Negotiation Committee recommends passing a policy statement for all County offices. Russek moved to approve the 2009 Christmas Eve Policy, seconded by Eichelberg. It was noted that the Policy does not apply to specific positions such as deputies and dispatch. The motion carried 5-0:
1. County Offices will be closed to the public starting at Noon, Christmas Eve.
2. Employees wishing to take half a day off on Christmas Eve must use vacation, floating holiday, or no pay. Compensatory time or flexible scheduling is not an option that can be used for time off on Christmas Eve.
3. Employees who do not desire or are not able to take advantage of the time off will remain on their normal work schedule.
Norman recommended canceling the Ways & Means Committee Meeting scheduled for 10-28-09 and rescheduling it to 11-18-09. Mattson moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
At 9:31 A.M., Sawatzke closed the Board Meeting and opened the Public Hearing on the Regional Park Legacy Grant, Bertram Chain of Lakes. Mattice read the following:
Today’s public hearing is for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park application to the Regional Park Legacy Grant program thru the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource. This public hearing is part of the application process. The history of this project is that Wright County and the City of Monticello have been working together since 2005 to explore the feasibility and process to purchase the Bertram Chain of Lakes area from the Young Men’s Christian Association of Minneapolis. Since that time we have been successful in being awarded $1.2 million in grant funds from the LCCMR and the Metro Green Ways Program. These funds were used along with local funds to acquire an initial 319 acres of land and water in 2008. The remaining 881 acres of the property is under the ownership of the YMCA for the operation of its day camp facility. This entire area is located in Monticello Township and encompasses four undeveloped lakes (Bertram, Long, Mud and First), The remaining purchases are contingent upon state funding and other grants, as well as local funding match requirements from the County and the City. At this time Wright County and the City of Monticello have an agreement with the landowner to purchase the remaining parcels over the next few years as funding from grants become available. Together we have established the order these parcels will be purchased when we are successful with being awarded grant funds. As stated earlier the remaining parcels to be purchase include 881 acres the agreed upon price was established thru the appraisal process, the remaining balance for the complete acquisition is just over $16.3 million, this grant request is for just over $7.5 million with the remaining portion of funds being divided equally between Wright County and the City of Monticello ($4,401,788 each). The County’s share of the local match including the 2008 purchase will have about a $7/year impact on a home valued at $200,000. The City has done a similar cost relationship for their share of the local costs associated with the purchase. Again this grant request is for acquisition only. The acquisition schedule according to the agreement should be completed by December 31, 2013 allowing time to solicit non-local funding for the project. The order of purchases depends heavily on the amount of funds awarded. The purchase order for the remaining parcels as shown on the map displayed are:
Parcels 7, 1, 2
Parcels 8, 9, 10, 12
Parcel 5
Parcel 4
Parcel 3
This schedule depends entirely upon funding levels, and may need to be adjusted if funding levels do not meet the cost of the individual parcel listed. Future costs associated with this project will include facility development, operations and maintenance, natural resource management and restorations. The County and the City have begun developing a process to gain public input and participation in the park planning process. There will be a series of public input meetings as wells as an advisory council appointed to steer the planning process, this process should begin late spring or early summer. Depending on the types of recreational activities and facilities that are incorporated into the park it is anticipated that that annual operating and maintenance cost including staffing may be around $125,000 per year, in addition there may be revenue to assist in offsetting these expenses. The grant application will be submitted by November 13, 2009 upon approval and support. The last order of business is for the board to adopt a resolution authorizing the submittal of the grant to the Department of Natural Resources for funding, and to giver the parks Administrator the authority to execute agreements.
(End of statement Mattice read)
Eichelberg questioned the size of the Grant. Sawatzke stated the maximum grant available is $500,000. For every $1 in Grant funding received, the City/County contribution is $1.1125 (County share of $.55-$.56). Eichelberg asked whether the County can still decline the funding if awarded. Mattice stated that if grant funding is awarded, an authorization process must be followed to sign the Grant Agreement. Funds must be expended over the next couple of years. Russek referred to Board discussions on the tight budget situation. At today’s Meeting, the Board laid over for discussion a request for a 2.5% wage increase for non-union employees. The Regional Park Legacy Grant could make the County liable for $300,000 and he questioned where that would be funded from. He felt the budget should be just as tight for this request as it is for labor. Russek said the most important thing the County has is staff. Russek also referenced the other Parks in the area including Montissippi, Otsego, and Ney Parks. Although this is a great piece of land, the budget is tight and he felt the Board needed to watch expenditures. He did not feel there was any money at this time to put toward this. Mattson said he voiced his concerns previously on being conscious of what is done with funding. He feels it is a great piece of property but has not heard from any residents supporting the purchase. Thelen commended Mattice for his efforts on this project and said it is a worthwhile pursuit. She did not feel this is a decision between workers and a piece of property. Mattson asked for the timeline on expenditures of Grant funding. Mattice said the funding is awarded in January, 2010, and the County/City will have until the end of 2012 to come up with matching funds. The acquisition schedule should be completed by 12-31-13 according to the agreement. Russek said this is contingent upon Monticello continuing to move forward with the project. Sawatzke stated this is a partnership with the City and if the City of Monticello does not come up with their percentage match, Sawatzke said he would step back from the project. Per the information read by Mattice, the County’s share of the local match including the 2008 purchase will have about a $7/year impact on a home valued at $200,000. Sawatzke felt this number is lower than $7 due to the acquisition of some of the property already through funding the County already has and because bond and interest rates are lower. Sawatzke said with the size of the Grant funding, he would anticipate coming up with the County’s match from the Capital Improvement Account (not bonding). That would be up to the Board at that time. There were no questions from the public. The Public Hearing was closed at 9:42 A.M. and the regular Board Meeting was reconvened.
Mattice presented a resolution supporting the Regional Park Legacy Grant Application. This resolution must be adopted as part of the application process and states Wright County is the applicant (in the name of the City/County partnership). Thelen moved to adopt Resolution #09-41. Eichelberg stated he would second the motion as the County still has options relative to how tight money is. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
The meeting recessed at 9:43 A.M. Mattson indicated he would not be present for the remainder of the Board Meeting.
The meeting reconvened at 10:02 A.M. Judy Brown, Personnel Representative, introduced Jeff Berg and Paul Coglitore from B&C Consulting who received quotes on behalf of the County for Voluntary Dental Coverage, Voluntary Eye Coverage, and Group Senior Gold. Norman stated that today the quotes will be recognized. B&C Consulting will complete an analysis, and the information will be presented at the Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Meeting scheduled for 11-10-09 at 10:30 A.M. B&C Consulting with then present their recommendation to the County Board at the 11-17-09 Meeting.
Coglitore stated the County received quotes on the following types of coverage:
Voluntary Dental Coverage. The County’s insurance plan currently offers preventive dental. The Voluntary Dental Insurance would be paid by the employee and is a comprehensive plan that provides coverage on a voluntary basis for services outside of the preventive realm (crowns, fillings). The plan includes a $1000 annual maximum and an open access design (primary clinic is not chosen).
Voluntary Eye Coverage. The insurance would by paid by the employee and provide coverage on a voluntary basis for materials only (eyeglasses, contacts, lenses, tints).
Group Senior Gold. This is a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan and is a Medicare supplement plan. It would be offered to retirees and future retirees. The plan would provide a special prescription drug benefit that is not available on the commercial market. It does not have the donut-hole gap found in the prescription benefits that are in standard commercial plans that people can buy on the street. This is an enhanced plan from what can be purchased from a normal broker market.
Quotes were received from the following companies:
Voluntary Dental Coverage. Principal Financial, United Health Care, Delta Dental, Health Partners, Met Life, The Standard. Lincoln Financial declined to make an offer.
Voluntary Eye Coverage. Avesis, Eye Med, Principal, United Health Care.
Group Senior Gold. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of MN.
Russek asked whether those employees who are over 65 can elect the Group Senior Gold Plan and Medicare instead of the County insurance plan. Coglitore said he will need to verify whether the Group Senior Gold Plan can be utilized by those who are actively employed. If a person is retired and has Medicare Part A&B, they can enroll in this plan without evidence of good health. Russek asked that this be verified and presented to the Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee. Norman stated the quotes received are not part of a formal bid process. The quotes are subject to negotiations so they need not be read at this meeting. There is a Statute that allows this process for benefit coverage. Thelen moved to lay the quotes over for discussion at the 11-10-09 Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Meeting. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0 (Mattson absent).
Bills Approved
Allina Hospitals & Clinics. $14,285.19
Arrow Terminal LLC 127.77
Bob Barker Co. 797.97
Jim Borrett 143.55
CDW Government Inc. 8,540.40
Center Point Energy 1,219.85
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 5,255.03
Central McGowan Inc. 122.62
Central MN Mental Health Ctr 100.00
Climate Air 5,847.77
City Cokato 358.76
Consulting Radiologists Ltd. 195.00
Contech Construction Product 2,989.68
Cub Foods 152.66
Dell Marketing LP 10,549.44
Dental Care Assoc. of Buff. 527.00
Emergency Physicians Prof. 405.85
Fastenal Company 2,009.60
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excav. 90,784.41
Gard Specialists Co. Inc. 402.65
Granite Electronics 151.93
Hardings Towing Inc. 427.50
Hewlett Packard 6,048.05
Hillyard Inc. - Minineapolis 3,331.30
Institute of Police Technology 450.00
Interstate Battery Systems 502.05
Chris Jahnke 111.11
Mark Johnson 100.65
Knife River Corporation - Nort 257.84
Kustom Signals Inc. 158.10
L-3 Comm. Mobile Vis 23,181.19
LaPlant Demo Inc. 510.34
Marco Inc. 2,143.90
Martin Marietta Aggregates 465.03
Denise McCalla 292.05
Menards - Buffalo 145.88
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc. 1,539.00
MN Assn. of Co. Probation Of 120.00
MN Chemical Company 664.83
MN CLE Inc. 460.00
MN Copy Systems 132.14
MN Counties Comp. Coop. 2,262.23
MN Fall Maintenance Expo 645.00
MN GIS-LIS Conference 1,239.75
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 160.31
Moore & Moore Water Treatment 300.00
Moore Medical Corp. 800.95
MTI Distributing Inc. 232.97
Multi Health Systems, Inc. 242.00
Office Depot 2,443.83
Olson & Sons Electric 326.00
Performance Kennels Inc. 171.79
Precision Prints of Wright Co. 231.92
Qwest 6,401.43
The Rain Maker Lawn Irrigation 190.00
Frank Ramacciotti 400.00
RS Eden 8,759.70
Russell Security Resource Co. 122.36
Schedule Soft 2,800.00
Software House International 13,139.22
Sprint 10,930.60
William Swing 122.25
Tallen & Baertschi 145.00
Total Printing 285.46
Trueman Welters Inc. 780.55
Twin City Seed Company 661.89
Verizon Wireless 802.80
Voss Lighting 577.22
Walmart Store 01-1577 700.69
Watchguard Elect. Home Mon 631.75
West Payment Center 864.82
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 3,869.83
Wright Hennepin Coop Elec 2,545.17
Wright Hennepin Electric 506.87
Xcel Energy 669.06
Xiotech 45,621.15
27 Payments less than $100 1,370.48
Final total $297,963.14
The meeting adjourned at 10:11 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Nov. 23, 2009.

Return to Wright County Menu | Return to Government Table of Contents

Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Search | Home Page