Wright County Board Minutes

JANUARY 26, 2010
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the 1-19-10 County Board Minutes as presented.
Russek moved to approve the Agenda as presented. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Elness, B. LaRose, M. Pacelli, W. Holland, Sher./Corr.
1. 2010 Tobacco License Renewals: Olson’s Truck Stop (Silver Creek Twp.); St. Michael American Legion Post 567 (St. Michael City).
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. On a motion by Thelen, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
The meeting recessed at 9:05 A.M. and reconvened at 9:11 A.M.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the County Board adopted the Dangerous Dog Ordinance at their last meeting. There is a provision in Statutes that allows the collection of an annual registration fee from owners of dogs rendered to be dangerous. In order to establish the fee, the County must hold a public hearing. Russek moved to schedule a Public Hearing for 2-16-10 at 9:30 A.M. to consider implementing an annual registration fee for dangerous dogs. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke inquired as to who will collect the fee. Asleson stated this would be discussed during the Public Hearing. The idea behind the fee is to cover the cost of paperwork, signage, etc. The maximum fee that can be charged under State Law is $500. The motion carried 5-0. Asleson said the recommendation from the Ways & Means Committee was to make the Dangerous Dog Ordinance effective 3-01-10. He requested that the Board reaffirm the effective date of the Ordinance. Asleson will mail notice of the Ordinance to cities and townships this week giving them the option to follow the County’s Ordinance or to opt out and follow their own. Sawatzke moved to follow the recommendation of the Ways & Means Committee to set the effective date of the Dangerous Dog Ordinance for 3-01-10. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested the Board schedule a public hearing relating to the grant applications for the Bertram Chain of Lakes. On 12-22-09, the Board authorized Mattice to apply for the grants. Thelen moved to schedule a Public Hearing for 2-16-10 at 9:45 A.M. to consider the grant applications for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Project. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, asked whether the grant application is separate from what is being discussed by the Governor’s Office as part of the bonding bill. Mattice said it is different. The grant application is for the second round of the Parks and Trails Legacy Grants and the Non-Metro Regional Park Grants. Mattice said that in the fall, the Board authorized proceeding with a grant application for the first round of the Parks and Trails Legacy Grants. Last week, a letter was received indicating the County was successful in obtaining a $400,000 grant. Mattice will update the Board at the Public Hearing on the status of the funding and attempts for the next round of grant cycles. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice presented the 1-11-10 Parks Commission Meeting Minutes. During that meeting, the Parks Commission discussed land protection options for a 95-acre parcel located in Silver Creek Township. The property owner would like the land protected in its natural state and is not interested in development. The Parks Commission recommendation is “to table the discussion for up to 3 years, due to such factors as economic conditions, priority of the Bertram Chain of Lakes, and current funding sources and priorities. All members voted in favor. The members also mentioned they would like to finish up their priority and ranking exercise in order to analyze how different parcels would fit into the system and how they would affect future recreation needs and trends. Until that process is complete, they are not willing to enter into a new agreement except for Bertram Chain of Lakes and/or areas adjacent to existing Regional/County facilities, or certain identified priority areas in Franklin Township.” At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg stated that he serves as the liaison to the Parks Commission. He said there are people who are willing to donate land to the Parks System. However, the 95-acre parcel in Silver Creek Township does not fit into the Parks System as it is not located near other Parks. The Parks Commission is working to prioritize future land acquisitions and did not feel the County should do anything at this time. Mattice said the property owner is aware of the recommendation of the Parks Commission and that it would be presented to the County Board. This was provided as an informational item. Eichelberg gave an update on winter park activities and programs through the Wright County Parks Department. Mattice said the events have been well attended.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting (TCOTW) was held on 1-06-10. The minutes and a summary of discussion at today’s Board meeting follow (in italics):
Federal Funding Projects
• Buchholz explained that the Cities of Hanover and St. Michael had agreed to submit a joint application, Beebe Lake Regional Trail Project, as a candidate for Transportation Enhancement funding. This 3.8 mile trail would follow CSAH 34 from the intersection of CSAHs 34/19 in Hanover to Beebe Lake Regional Park. It would connect 1,000 homes within one mile of this trail and would be an important amenity to Wright County as well as to the broader regional trail system. Bot said that they had looked at areas where the trail would best fit, and for the most part, the county right of way is pretty wide along CSAH 34. They designed the trail on the south side of CSAH 34 all the way to Beebe Lake Park. Plans are currently in place to create a trail (2011 funding) along CSAH 19 from St. Michael to Hanover. This newest proposal would be a continued phase of that trail and would help connect residents west of there to St. Michael/Hanover. Bot said that Beebe Lake Park is one of the hidden jewels in Wright County, and Mattice agreed that this proposed trail would fit in nicely with Wright County’s trail system and with the greater regional system. Bot said that they have studied two different designs, both of which meet all state and federal guidelines. The trail would be eight feet wide and be in the highway right of way over most of the sections. In steep sections or in areas close to wetlands, some modifications could be considered. The surface would be pavement, and this would be a true transportation enhancement with regular trail amenities. They propose having a pedestrian signal near the Beebe Lake Park, similar to the one that is on CSAH 35 near the St. Michael elementary school. This park is currently well used in the summer (30,000 vehicles last year), and this trail, planned for the outer edge of the right of way, will bring even more people out to it. It already has nice parking and a nice swimming beach. Buchholz said that this is a great project that will enhance Beebe Lake Park for residents of both Hanover and St. Michael, and it could be the first step of an eventual trail connection to Buffalo. This proposed trail would be a nice connection to CSAH 19 from St. Michael into the Hanover trail network, which connects with the metro trail system. Sawatzke expressed his concern that trails often generate controversy from the residents whose property abuts the trails. He also asked if Wright County was being asked to contribute funds to this trail and who would be responsible in the coming years when repairs and resurfacing are needed. Buchholz said that most of the homes are set back pretty far from the road and he doesn’t expect any issues. They are not asking for any matching funds from the county to assist with this construction or with the maintenance of the trail. The City of Hanover passed a resolution to that effect last evening and the City of St. Michael plans to do the same next week. Bot said that there might be some resistance from a resident or two along a certain stretch of the trail, but keeping the trail on the current right of way will help. Water and sewer work has been done in a number of areas close to where this trail will be located, and the residents have come to realize that areas are cleaned up and restored to good conditions after the construction is done. He said that he expects there to be minimal issues. Mattson said that Cokato Township rescinded their intention to help maintain the trail along TH 12 between Cokato and Dassel, and he expressed concern that Hanover or St. Michael might do the same in the future as leadership in the cities changes. Bot said that this would not be the case for this trail. Both cities already maintain sidewalks and trails. They know what they are getting into and have proven that they can be relied upon to take their responsibilities seriously. Eichelberg said that cities are more used to taking care of such amenities and also have the budget and personnel to do so. Bot said that there would be no assessments to property owners and not many, if any, trees would have to be removed. The power lines that are on that same side of the road have already made for a clear path. Russek asked if money allotted to this project would take away from money available for highway funding, and Fingalson said that 10% of this funding is required to go to enhancement funding statewide. Wright County received none in 2009, and since this is the only enhancement funding request that Wright County will submit this year, there is a good chance that funding will be awarded for this project. However, it depends on the competition from other agencies. Mattson commented that often the highway snowplows dump the snow onto the pathways, and then the cities have to clear the paths after that. Fingalson said that Cordell, Hawkins, Mattice and he had talked about the clearing of the paths and the type of curbing that might be appropriate for these areas. Mattice said that he would like to see the trail entrance to the park moved away from the current vehicle entrance so that it could be a better controlled access away from cars. Signs could be posted to remind pedestrians to proceed with caution so that they don’t think cars will be stopping for them. Signage and a flashing signal might be appropriate at the intersection of CSAHs 34/19, but not at the crossing of CSAH 34, where there is a 55 mph speed zone. Mattice commented that he feels this is a great project and fits in well with the county’s system and with the overall regional system. This system will connect with Hennepin County Parks, Three Rivers Parks, the City of Rockford, the Crow River Park, Baker Park, the City of Delano, and the Luce Line. The trail between Hanover and St. Michael will be completed in 2011, and the trail to Beebe Lake Park would be constructed in 2014 if funds are awarded as a result of this request. There are not a lot of utilities along CSAH 34, just a few manholes and water valves. The design would work around them. Mattice said that some maintenance would have to be taken care of inside the park if the trail continues into the park. If it runs through the park, the Parks Department could plow it in the winter. It will be a bituminous trail. If this project is successful in being awarded enhancement funds, application might also be made for Legacy funding, which could help with the 20% match. The 7-W Technical Committee meets on February 3 and the policy board meets later in the month. Fingalson said that if the 7-W Technical Committee approves the request, it will have a good chance of passing through the policy board, based on past experience. Mattice said that he would be happy to attend either or both meetings as a sign of support. Fingalson said that this item should be placed on the agenda for the next County Board meeting and could be noted at that time that the cities would be responsible for all maintenance and construction, at no cost to the county, but that Wright County would be the sponsoring agency. Sawatzke commented that he would not want to be in a position to sponsor this project and then find out that there are a number of people along the proposed trail who oppose its construction. In this case, however, no right of way will have to be acquired, so property lines will not be affected. RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Wright County act as the sponsoring agency in Hanover’s and St. Michael’s joint application for 2014 enhancement funds for the construction of a trail along CSAH 34 from CSAH 19 to Beebe Lake Park, and that none of the construction and maintenance costs/responsibilities are to be borne by Wright County.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson said he attended a meeting in St. Cloud yesterday where enhancement projects were discussed. He learned that this project has moved to the top of the list. The project will be presented to the 7-W Technical Committee on 2-03-10.
• Hawkins presented three proposed applications for highway transportation projects for funding in 2014.
1) The CSAH 35 Bridge (approximately one mile east of CSAH 3), which is deficient, needs to be replaced. It also needs some approach work which would be covered by state aid funds. Replacement of the bridge would be covered by transportation funds, if awarded. Federal dollars would cover a maximum of 80% of the costs, but bridge bonding money would cover the remaining 20% of the costs. Total cost of the project is estimated at $800,000.
2) CSAH 6 has a high rating on the needs list, and proposed construction would be 3.7 miles from TH 55 south to 30th Street. This has been submitted in the past, but perhaps it will fare better this time. Total cost of this project is estimated at $3,000,000.
3) CSAH 33 will be submitted at a reclamation/bituminous overlay project, and total cost is estimated at $900,000.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that applications for CSAH 35 Bridge replacement, CSAH 6 reconstruction project, and CSAH 33 reclamation/bituminous overlay project be submitted, in that order of ranking with CSAH 35 being top priority, for federal funding through the ATP.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson noted that the County Board took action previously on this issue.
• There had been some possibility that federal funds from the stimulus package would be awarded for needed improvements to the 13-mile stretch of CSAH 75 between Monticello and Clearwater. Funds were not received the first time around, but there is a possibility that funds could still be awarded if a second stimulus program is approved. The Engineering Division is preparing plans and coring is being done so that the project will be “shovel ready” if funds are made available. If awarded, these federal funds would cover 100% of the $4 million cost.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson said there is a chance for 100% funding the project between Monticello and Clearwater, which would be about $4 million. The project is ready to proceed if funding is obtained.
Construction Project Update
The CSAH 6 project (from Howard Lake to the South County Line) is scheduled for construction this year, but there are still some decisions to be made about what material will be used for the surfacing. Concrete has been considered, but the cost will probably run too high to use that. They will be proceeding with the overlay project, but it is a full depth pavement with the bituminous right on the subgrade with no gravel base, so it does not lend itself to reclamation. Fingalson said that corings would be taken to see what there is to work with. Concrete would be very long lasting, but there is expense involved. The “white-topping” option would mean five-six inches of concrete to bridge the lower levels of bituminous. The top layer of bituminous removed could be used for regraded shoulders. The blacktop is 13 inches deep and sits directly on clay. The department is looking at milling off the top two to three inches, using crackfiller to fill in all the cracks, and then putting three inches back on, but this is not as good as reclamation. However, it might be the most cost effective way to improve the roadway. Plans include eight-foot paved shoulders, which currently have a gravel surface, and these will tie in with the park trail system, too. The Howard Lake/Waverly/Winsted High School is just south of Howard Lake, so paved shoulders will be a good addition there. Hopefully, this project will be ready for bidding by the end of February or the beginning of March.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson said cores were taken since the Committee Meeting. It was found that the bottom 5” of material has actually reverted to gravel because of the moisture that has gotten into the roadway due to cracks. The plan is to proceed with taking care of the cracks in the road and for another lift of bituminous. The road will have an 8’ shoulder. This is included in the overlay project. A letting date for the overlay project will be set for early March.
Update on Former McNamara and Former Chouinard Properties in St. Michael
Johnson explained that a party was interested in purchasing the former McNamara property until they found out that the city would not allow them to put up the type of housing they wanted. At the last TCOTW meeting, the recommendation was made to have Johnson contact an appraiser and allow him to accept an offer of no less than 90% of the appraised value, which is $22,500 (full value $25,000). Johnson suggested that the county continue to advertise the property for sale. RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that a sign advertising this property for sale remain posted on the property and that the minimum price of $22,500 and ‘SAC/WAC fees paid’ be printed on this sign.
• A recommendation was made at the last TCOTW meeting that Johnson and Brian Asleson advertise for the removal of the barn and storage shed on the former Chouinard property. They put a draft together and have received a couple of calls about it. Johnson said that ‘No Trespassing’ signs had to be posted after it was discovered that people were stripping the siding off the barn. Fingalson said that he had spoken with someone who told him that the barn siding was not the kind that could be used for crafts, so siding might not be a valuable part of the salvage materials. However, the beams in the barn might be worth salvaging. There was some discussion about how to go about advertising for the removal of the barn and what method might bring about the best results. Johnson will prepare a listing for a bid opening in May of 2010, and in the meantime, antique dealers in the area could be notified that this building will be available for complete salvage. RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Johnson make preparations for a bid opening in May 2010 for the complete removal of the barn and storage building from the former Chouinard property. Until then, other options will be explored for the building removals.
Adopt-a-Highway Program
A handout of the history of the Wright County Adopt-a-Highway Program was distributed along with minutes from a committee meeting held in March 2003 regarding this program. Attempts had been made in 2003 to find funding sources to cover the cost of installing signs that would recognize the clean-up efforts of people participating in this program. This attempt was not successful and no further meetings were held. Sawatzke said that he would like to reopen the discussion about this program and the possibility that Wright County might consider posting signs. Backes said that he receives calls from people who are interested in participating in the program but who want to receive recognition for their efforts in the form of signs. There was considerable discussion about the cost of posting signs, the cost of rubbish removal, the cost of safety vests and collection bags, and the criteria for determining what level of recognition is appropriate for various levels of participation. Fingalson said that he believes Wright County is in the minority of counties that do not post recognition signs for this service along the highways. RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Backes and Cordell research who has been participating in Adopt-a-Highway, how long they have been participating, and why some groups/individuals dropped out of the program. They will also research prices of split signs and high intensity prismatic materials. After this information is gathered, they will meet with the Transportation Committee to discuss options.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the TCOTW Minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. Eichelberg made a motion to set a Transportation Committee Meeting for 3-03-10 at 9:00 A.M., Public Works Building. The motion was seconded by Russek. Mattson said his son serves on the School Board. He understands that they are concerned with safety near the Northwinds Elementary School on CSAH 12. They would like to add some type of light to warn traffic that children are crossing the road (i.e., flashing light). Fingalson felt this request could be handled administratively through the County’s Crosswalk Policy. If the School Board would like anything beyond what can be done through the Policy, then the issue should be sent to the TCOTW. The motion carried 5-0.
(End of TCOTW Minutes and discussion)
The Board addressed a request to authorize attendance of Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, and Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer, at the NACE Annual Meeting and Management/Technical Conference being held April 25-29, 2010, in Fort Worth, Texas. Hawkins has been nominated for the Program Manager of the Year Award. The winner will be announced at this year’s banquet. Fingalson said the NACE Conference provides an opportunity to learn the latest national trends. He felt this was especially important with the potential of Federal stimulus funding. Fingalson said the 2011 NACE Conference will be held in Minnesota. Eichelberg said attendance by Fingalson and Hawkins was included in the 2010 budget with the notation that this is the one trip that they will take this year. Eichelberg moved to approve attendance of Fingalson and Hawkins at the NACE Annual Meeting and Management/Technical Conference. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke referenced Eichelberg’s comment that this is the one trip that will be requested this year. He felt if this is the case, the Board will not have to debate whether Fingalson will attend the Washington Fly-In. Sawatzke said he would vote against the motion to authorize attendance at NACE. He recalled this issue was discussed at length last year. At one point, it was stated that either the NACE or the Fly-In would be attended, but he thought that in the end both were approved.
Sawatzke conveyed to Fingalson that it is not a question of Fingalson’s work ethic at the conferences. It is in light of the budget circumstances. He did not feel that sending employees across the country at this time sends the best message. Sawatzke felt the cost to do so would be a few thousand dollars (hotel, air fare, incidental costs). This may not be a large expense in comparison to the size of the Road & Bridge budget, but Sawatzke felt that the County needs to look closer at this type of request at this time (compared to what has been done in the past). Sawatzke would vote against the motion because of the message it sends. Mattson questioned whether attendance at NACE was approved as part of the budget process. Sawatzke confirmed this. Fingalson said at the time of budget hearings, he requested approval for attendance at the NACE Conference. He indicated at that time that he would not be attending the Washington Fly-In. Fingalson said the request was approved at the budget hearings with minimal discussion. Russek said Hawkins has the opportunity to possibly receive the award and felt it would be a shame not to have him present. The County authorizes one out-of-state conference per year for department heads. Sawatzke questioned whether Hawkins would receive the award if he were not present at the Conference. Fingalson affirmed this but said it would be nice for him to be present, especially since Hawkins has worked so hard over the years. Thelen stated the Road & Bridge budget reduced about $2.5 million from last year to this year. She referenced the job description of the Highway Engineer, which she reviewed recently in preparation of his annual performance review. The Highway Engineer position is a highly qualified job with many responsibilities. In the description, it states that the Engineer will attend and participate in NACE. She supported his attendance because of the money that Fingalson brings to the County and because of his level of commitment. She would support the request even if Hawkins were not up for an award. Mattson said he and Sawatzke previously drove to Madison, Wisconsin to receive an award on behalf of the County. By driving and returning right away, they cut their costs to almost nothing. Mattson felt the request for the NACE Conference was extravagant. He would not support the request because of the state of the economy. The motion carried 3-2 with Mattson and Sawatzke casting the nay votes.
Bills Approved
Affiliated Emergency Vet. $513.50
Allina Hospitals & Clinic 182.80
Allina Hospitals & clinic 7,498.62
Allina Medical Laboratories 249.60
Allina Medical Transportation 500.00
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 136.19
Anoka County Corrections 9,030.00
Aramark Correctional Serv 12,823.99
Buffalo Township 779.60
City Buffalo 5,131.20
Businessware Solutions 194.64
CDW Government Inc. 5,390.11
Center Point Energy 5,002.32
Chatham Township 530.20
Climate Air 770.09
Cub Pharmacy 2,863.79
Department of Public Safety 120.00
Dale Engel 775.00
Firstlab 117.00
Franklin Township 1,009.80
Friendship Ventures 160.31
Green Touch Industries Inc. 217.90
Robert Hiivala 202.00
City Howard Lake 1,918.55
Integrated Fire & Security 398.28
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 106.88
Kimberlys Brokerage Inc. 1,131.48
L-3 Communications Mobile Vis 495.07
LaPlant Demo Inc. 554.24
City Maple Lake 574.80
Marco Inc. 462.76
Marysville Township 834.35
MCIT 1,962.50
Menards - Buffalo 545.31
Menards - Elk River 141.59
MN Association of County Offic 265.00
MN Counties Computer Coop 7,294.65
MN Department of Public Safety 225.00
Monticello Township 1,153.00
Multi Health Systems Inc. 242.20
N Suburban Towing Inc. 160.31
David Nystuen 127.44
Office Depot 893.93
Patrick OMalley 160.00
Positron Public Safety Systems 4,051.00
Qwest 130.52
City Rockford 1,322.00
RS Eden 1,170.00
Ryan Chevrolet 100.00
SHI International Group 491.63
City South Haven 285.60
Spectrum Solutions 310.00
St. Cloud Orthopedic Assoc. 152.82
Stockholm Township 373.80
Larry Unger 401.10
Walmart Store 01-1577 390.99
Woodland Township 556.50
Wright Co. Auditor Treasurer 200.0
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 40,491.01
Wright Hennepin Electric 292.24
17 Payments less than $100 765.07
Final total $125,330.28
The meeting adjourned at 9:48 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 22, 2010.

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