Wright County Board Minutes

JANUARY 5, 2010
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present. Commissioner Thelen was absent.
Bob Hiivala, County Auditor/Treasurer, called the meeting to order and asked for an election of the Chairperson for the coming year. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to elect Mattson as Chairperson for 2010; and then Commissioner Mattson presided at the meeting. Mattson extended appreciation to Commissioner Sawatzke who served as Board Chair in 2009.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Sawatzke, all voted to elect Russek as Vice Chairperson for 2010.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to dispense with the reading of the minutes of 12-29-09 and approve them as written.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to transfer back any unused funds in the County Attorney’s Contingency Fund, the Sheriff’s Contingency Fund, and the Incidental Fund to the General Revenue Fund.
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to recall all unused clerk hire and unused budgets for 2009.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to set the County Board’s regular sessions for every Tuesday for 2010. The meetings shall be called to order at 9:00 A.M.
The Chairperson presented the 2009 list of committee memberships and asked the members of the County Board to convey their preferences and suggestions regarding committee designations for 2010.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted that the appointments of committees for 2010 be made by the Chairperson with the approval of the Board and that the first member named act as Chairperson of the Committee and the County Coordinator act as Secretary. Alternates are designated on the Committee by ( ).
The following is a list of 2009 committees and the 2010 appointments:
Area Transportation Planning (ATP); Mattson
Budget; Russek, Mattson, Aud./Treas., (Ex-Officio), Norman, (Sawatzke)
Budget Committee Of The Whole; All Commissioners
Building, Furniture & Equipment; Eichelberg, Mattson (Thelen)
Capital Improvement/Finance Committee; Thelen, Russek, Aud./Treas., Attorney, Norman (Eichelberg)
Central MN Jobs & Training Jt. Powers Board (JTPA) Workforce Center; Eichelberg
Civil Defense; Thelen, Sawatzke
Committee to Inspect Roads; All Commissioners
Committee to Inspect Ditches; Two Commissioners as appointed by Board, Aud./Treas.
Compost Finance; Russek, Sawatzke, B. Stephens
County Extension Svc.; Russek, Mattson
Court Security; Mattson, Norman
Deferred Compensation; Thelen, Sawatzke
Delegates to AMC; All Commissioners, Aud./Treas., Coordinator, Hwy. Engineer
Detention Facilities; Thelen, Mattson, Court Administrator, Sheriff, Court Services Director, Norman
Drug Task Force; Mattson
EMS Joint Powers Board (Regional); Thelen (Sawatzke)
Forfeited Tax Sales; Russek, Mattson
Great River Regional Library Board; Sawatzke
Highway 55 Coalition; Mattson, Russek (Fingalson)
Labor/Mgmt. Health; Russek, Eichelberg, Coordinator (Mattson)
Labor Management/, Loss Control; Mattson, Eichelberg, Coordinator, Spec. Proj. Admin., Safety Director, Emergency Management Coordinator, 1 Rep. from each unit, Teamsters Unit, WCDA, AFSCME Unit, and 49’ers
Law Library Board; Eichelberg
Legislative Matters; All Commissioners
Owners Committee; Sawatzke, Russek, Miller, Torfin, Asleson, Swing, Hayes & Norman
Personnel & Employee Relations; Eichelberg, Sawatzke (Thelen)
Planning & Zoning; Russek
Public Works Labor/Management; Russek, Norman (Mattson)
Purchasing Steering; Eichelberg, Mattson, Purchasing Agent (Thelen)
Solid Waste Task Force; Eichelberg, Sawatzke
Technology; Thelen, Eichelberg, IT Director, Aud./Treas., Highway Engineer, Human Services Rep., Sheriff Rep., Surveyor (Russek)
Transportation; Eichelberg, Mattson, Highway Engineer
7W Transportation; Mattson
Union Negotiations; Russek, Sawatzke (Eichelberg)
Water Management Task Force; Eichelberg
Ways & Means; Mattson, Sawatzke (Russek)
Wright County Community Action Council; Thelen, Eichelberg, City Representative
Clearwater Watershed District; Thelen
C.R.O.W.; Russek (Mattson)
East Central Joint Powers Board; Sawatzke, MacMillan
Economic Development Partnership Board; Sawatzke
Historical Society; Sawatzke
M.E.A.D.A. (Meth Education Drug Awareness); Thelen
Mid Minnesota Mississippi River RC&D; Russek
Monticello Joint Planning Board; Sawatzke
Parks; Eichelberg
Regional Radio Board; Eichelberg (Mattson)
Safe Communities of Wright County; Thelen
Soil Conservation; Russek
Wright County Ag Society; Russek
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to accept the Advisory Board (Ex-Officio Member) appointments as recommended.
Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0.
Russek moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0:
1. Performance Appraisals: L. Donabauer, L. Kelly, L. Pawelk, Admin.; R. DesMarais, E. Kloss, Assr.; D. Anderson, K. Mortenson, J. Niebolte, Hwy.; J. Putnam, Parks; T. Johnson, P&Z; J. Benn, C. Burton, R. Fischer, J. Oltmanns, Sheriff.
2. Claim, MCIT, $606,361 (Workers Comp Premium 2010).
3. Claim, MCIT, $585,625 (Property/Casualty Premium 2010).
1. 2010 Tobacco License Renewals: Delano Wine & Spirits, Holiday Stationstore #4073 (Delano City): Broadway Kwik Stop LLC, Cub Foods #31444, Kwik Trip #345 (Monticello City).
1. Refer To 1-13-10 Technology Committee: 800 MHz Radio Project Update.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. Mattson commented that Department Heads and the Purchasing Agent should keep close track of claims. He felt there are wants and needs and that purchases should be kept to what is needed. Russek referenced a claim on Page 6, Keith Wurm Construction ($735.00), for CSAH 17 repairs. Russek said the expense relates to repairs of ditch tile damaged by Xcel Energy during the CSAH 17 project. It took a year for Xcel to move the light pole and the repair to be completed. Xcel has committed to reimbursing the County for the expense associated with the repair. Hiivala said that when Xcel reimburses the County, he would place this on the Agenda to acknowledge receipt. Sawatzke asked whether the Highway Engineer will make sure the bill from Wurm Construction is forwarded to Xcel. Russek felt this would be done. He said Steve Meyer, Highway Maintenance Superintendent, had been in contact with Xcel and discussed the repair. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Joe Hagerty, Chief Deputy Sheriff, requested the Board authorize continuation of the Financial Crimes Task Force Grant between the State of Minnesota and Wright County Sheriff’s Office for the years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. The Sheriff’s Office has been involved with the Grant since approximately 2005 and a third detective has been assigned. The first grant of $96,000 was for 15 months. The proposed Grant would be for $50,000 per year. The detective is 4/5ths assigned to the State and is in-house two days per week. The person actively works cases in Wright County, generally larger fraud and identity theft cases. Hagerty said many computer crimes are multi-jurisdictional and this helps to combat that type of crime. He did not foresee a slow down in this type of crime in the future. Hagerty referenced page 3 of the Grant document and said the name of the Board Chair would need to be changed from “Russek” to “Mattson”. Sheriff Miller sits on the Oversight Board overseeing the Grant and has done so for a couple of years. The Grant offers a 30-day out clause by both the State and Wright County. Hagerty said the County would decide at the end of the fiscal year whether to continue with the Grant in 2010-2011. The Grant cycle runs from July 1st through June 30th. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution 10-01 authorizing signatures on the Financial Crimes Task Force Grant, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
A Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 12-22-09. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 4-0:
Manatron Project Update & Strategy. Swing provided a handout (see attached), dated 12-22-09, to assist in describing the progress of the Manatron program and the difficult decision that has been made. He stated that the decision made by the Manatron Team (“Team”) was not made lightly. He stated that the development of the Manatron project has been ongoing for over four years. The Team has met on a weekly basis and the services provided by Micheals Consulting has been successful, however, Swing stated that due to the poor functionality and lack of response by Manatron in addressing key issues, a collective recommendation has been made as follows:
“…The Manatron team recommends “deferring” the deployment of the Manatron system and renewing a three year (2009-2011) contract at a cost of $77,000 to be funded from the Recorder Compliance Fund.”
Swing clarified that the contract renewal would be with the ACS system: the tax software program that the County is currently using. The deferral would be for two years. Hennepin County has recently joined 28 other counties in electing Manatron, however, eight counties have now elected to opt out of their Manatron obligation. Manatron failed to provide a workable product. Manatron underestimated their skill level because of the complexity of Minnesota’s property tax system.
Kramber stated that he would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the Manatron project. He acknowledged that a lot of time and money has been expended. He stated that delaying the implementation of the Manatron system was a difficult decision; however, the Assessor’s Department is having a difficult time trying to perform its everyday operations. Kramber stated that the County had a totally integrated system, and now has two products that don’t function together. He stated that many of their normal functions now take two to five times longer to complete. He stated that his office needs speed and accuracy in order to function efficiently. Manatron is a good company. He stated that he hopes that with Hennepin County’s recent endeavor, a lot of the problems will be fixed.
McCalla stated that she received an emailed statement from Bob Hiivala, County Auditor/Treasurer, which states the following:
“I am in agreement that Wright County needs to pursue a deferral of implementing the Manatron tax program until the Company has had time to address the many open issues. I also agree, with keeping the best interest of the County in mind, that we recommend to the County Board the renewal of the ACS tax program. That renewal would be a three year contract for the years 2009-2011 at a cost of between $70,000 and $77,000. We believe that the ACS contract renewal would be sufficient in giving Manatron the time to address the open issues and to allow Wright County the opportunity to complete the implementation of the tax program.
“Wright County has committed a significant amount of money and many hours of staff time and dedicated attention to turn completely away from the program. I cannot support any action less than a deferral of the Manatron tax program.
“I support the ACS contract renewal on the basis that while most of the open issues have what I call “work arounds”, the work arounds involve significant time from staff. The ACS contract renewal should give Manatron more time to document procedures and eliminate the need for these work arounds. If we would continue with the current Manatron tax program I feel that we would be more reliant on professional services (like Ron Michaels Consulting) and the use of overtime on current staff. Other open issues are more of what I call “show stoppers”, and they reside more with assessment function of the tax program. Simply said, the Manatron program is not currently designed sufficiently enough to meet the needs of Wright County.
“The ACS contract renewal would allow us to use a program that we are already comfortable with and would assure us of meeting statutory deadlines in the administration of the tax system at Wright County.
“The renewal costs are not the only expense in the decision to defer implementing Manatron. My office will need to incur overtime to maintain information in the ACS tax system from August 17th ,when we converted to Manatron, to the end of the year. Most of this time will be taken as comp time.
“It is my hope that the Technology committee would concur and recommend to the County Board the approval of the renewal of the ACS Tax Program for 2009-2011. Robert Hiivala, Wright County Auditor/Treasurer.”
Russek stated that he wishes this decision could have been made earlier. He stated that the County Board was aware of problems.
Mattson stated that he would like to compliment the Assessor’s Department for putting their best foot forward.
Sawatzke stated that the County has expended a lot of money into this program and wondered if the conversion problems are considered a liability of the company. He asked whether the Team was aware of pending lawsuits against Manatron. He asked why Manatron is not being held responsible for compensating the counties for previous payments and whether the Team has spoken with Brian Asleson. Swing stated that he has overheard some discussion about a lawsuit, however, the lawsuit would be between the counties and MCCC. This agreement or contract is between Manatron and MCCC. Swing stated that they could have the County Attorney’s office look into the contract. Sawatzke asked if there is a credit due to the counties for the conversion. He asked if the County would have to pay another conversion fee after the deferral period. Swing stated that the County would have to pay the conversion fee again. He stated that the complexity of the conversion is significant. The County would have to start over again. The fee, the amount of staff time, and training will all have significant costs.
Eichelberg stated that he is in favor of the Team’s recommendation. He asked whether the renewal with ACS is an annual cost of $77,000. Swing stated that the $77,000 is for all three years. Eichelberg asked whether the County could gain some sort of refund for the conversion when it employs Manatron after the deferral period. Swing stated that the Team simply does not have any answers regarding the result of today’s recommendation. He stated that the Team will work toward the best means of recouping the value of what was put into the product.
Norman stated that each County is a signatory on the contract between MCCC and Manatron. He asked if there is a penalty clause or a termination clause. Swing stated that he looked into the contract and didn’t see a penalty clause. He stated that he spoke with McLeod County and they too didn’t see one. He stated that the Team has spoken with MCCC and they simply request an email or a letter stating the County’s position. The County is obligated to the costs incurred to date. Norman stated that he would recommend that the County Board draft a one page memorandum stating its expectation that it will be credited for the conversion fee paid to date or be applied to the conversion after the deferral period. Swing stated that Manatron’s resources are stretched and they have been unable to meet with the Team to discuss a deferral. Swing stated that unfortunately, there are a lot of unknowns regarding this project.
Sawatzke stated that the County should be credited for the conversion fees. Norman asked how much the conversion fees are. Swing stated that he is looking into that amount. Sawatzke stated that it is not a reasonable expectation for the County to back out of a failed project and then spend more money once the deferral period ceases.
Eichelberg asked Swing if the Team has contacted the other counties that have backed out of their obligation with Manatron. Swing stated that he has heard that there will be a meeting in January. He stated that none of the nine counties had a chance to talk about a strategy.
Norman asked if there were timelines or performance measures built into the contract with Manatron that could define a breach of contract. Swing stated yes, several timelines were missed. McCalla confirmed that the timelines were pushed back at least five times. MCCC did not have enough time to test the product and the test counties did not have time to test the product as well.
Norman stated that he thinks the Team has made a good recommendation but thinks there should be some communication between the County to MCCC and Manatron via the County Attorney’s office.
Mattson asked if Manatron is a nationwide company. McCalla stated that they headquarter out of Michigan. Mattson stated that he is concerned that since Manatron is a national company, their name could change across state lines which could allow them to pull out of their contract.
Swing stated that there has been a lot of due diligence on this project. He was on the Infrastructure Committee, McCalla was on the Advisory Committee, and Karen Hayes was on the Conversion Committee. He stated that a tremendous amount of effort was put into this project.
Russek stated that Manatron is well aware that their system is not working here like it should. He stated that a Manatron representative was staffing a booth at the AMC Conference. Russek acknowledged that Minnesota has the most complicated tax system nationwide, however, he feels that the County needs to pursue some type of commitment from Manatron to assist the County with the integration process once the system is perfected. He stated that the County has expended $350,000. His stated that it is his hope that the County can regain some of that expense. Swing clarified that the County is obligated to the 2010 payment, bringing the total expense to $375,000. Sawatzke questioned why the County would have to make the 2010 payment. He stated that Manatron did not provide a product; therefore, the County should not have to make future payments. Swing stated that he would verify with Hiivala whether the payment has already been made.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize deferring the deployment of the Manatron system and renewing a three-year contract with ACS at a cost of $77,000 to be funded from the Recorder Compliance Fund.
Eichelberg stated that he would like the Team to make sure that there is some sort of notification from the County Attorney identifying the County’s position and expectation. Sawatzke stated that the County Attorney’s Office needs to be involved to see what type of recourse the County has regarding a credit for future services or foregoing next year’s payment. Sawatzke asked that Swing contact Brian Asleson.
Norman stated that the Committee’s recommendation will be a part of the 12-29-09 County Board Agenda. Sawatzke stated that perhaps Asleson might be available to speak at the County Board Meeting regarding this topic.
(End of 12-22-09 Technology Committee Of The Whole Minutes & discussion)
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #10-02 setting the minimum salaries for elected Department Heads. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote:
BE IT RESOLVED, that the minimum salaries for elected Department Heads is hereby established as follows:
Auditor/Treasurer $83,441
Sheriff $83,441
Attorney $88,497
(End of Resolution #10-02)
Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said a draft Request For Proposal (RFP) for an Employee Classification Study was distributed to the Board last week for review. He requested authorization to distribute the RFP with a return date of 2-05-10 by 4:00 P.M. A Committee Of The Whole Meeting will then be scheduled to review the RFP’s. A decision by the County Board will follow on whether to proceed with the Study. Eichelberg moved to authorize distribution of the RFP, seconded by Russek, carried 4-0.
Bills Approved
ABR Trails. $240.00
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 142.35
Assn. of MN Building Officials 400.00
Association of MN Counties 25,568.00
B & B Products - Rigs and Squ 670.00
Climate Air 2,229.00
Dell Marketing LP 1,128.09
Diers Electric 324.32
Dale Engel 975.00
Amy Hertzog 264.55
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 1,158.75
MACPZA 300.00
Marco Inc. 2,324.23
Ron Michaels Consulting Inc. 2,910.75
MN Assn. of Assessing Officers 375.00
MN Assn. of County Officers 3,090.00
MN Sheriffs Association 5,452.00
City Monticello 255,300.00
National Association of Counti 1,676.00
Office Depot 133.79
Lynn Peavey Company 200.50
Scenic Signs 201.40
Sherry Schliesing 1,723.15
SHI International Corp. 491.63
Snowplows Plus 131.25
Toms Towing Service 224.44
Keith Wurm Construction 735.00
13 Payments less than $100 7,297.73
Final total $315,666.93
The meeting adjourned at 9:27 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 1, 2010.

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