Wright County Board Minutes

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 a.m. with Sawatzke, Thelen, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present.
Commissioner Mattson welcomed those present for Boy/Girl County Day. He extended appreciation to the American Legions and chaperones involved with the event. The County Board introduced themselves and the areas they represented. Members of the media, elected officials, Department Heads, and County employees also introduced themselves.
The following items were petitioned onto the Agenda: Items for Consid. #2 “State Reimbursement Dollars for the 800 MHz Project” (Eichelberg). On a motion by Russek, seconded by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
On a motion by Thelen, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as presented.
1. Performance Appraisals: N. Helgeson, Hwy.; L. Lehmberg, IT; M. Woodford, P&Z; D. Scherber, Sheriff.
2. Change County Auction Date From 5-22-10 To 6-26-10.
3. Refer Uninterruptible Power Source Maintenance Plan To The Building Committee.
4. Claim, Frank Madden & Assoc., $1,910.60 (Service For March, 2010).
1. Approve Abatement, PID #107-500-1221, Independent School District #879 (City of Delano).
1. Set Bid Opening For 5-25-10 @ 9:30 A.M., Intersection Lighting Project.
2. Set Bid Opening For 5-25-10 @ 9:40 A.M. For CSAH 12 Reconstruction Project.
3. Authorize Final Payment Of $125,473.59 To City Of Clearwater For Project Costs On Former CSAH 63 & CSAH 7.
1. Request From Human Services To Refer To Building Committee The Request To Move A Sink.
1. Authorize Signatures On The Work Plan & Annual Report.
1. Add Direct In Dialing (DID) Phone Line To Jail Program Room J1112 To Facilitate In-Custody Treatment Program.
On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the minutes of 4-13-10 as presented.
The County Board fielded questions from the students and chaperones. As part of Boy/Girl County Day, students toured other parts of the Government Center and attended a lunch at the American Legion.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, submitted the claims listing for approval. Hiivala directed the Board’s attention to a claim from United Group, Inc. (Page 17, $1,370.99). He clarified that it is a chair for the Jail. Russek commented that Sheriff Gary Miller emailed the Board to explain that it is a chair required for ergonomic needs. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke asked for details regarding the claim for DLT Solutions, Inc. (page 21, $30,741.45). Hiivala stated that it is a 3D AutoCAD software subscription fee. The user will be the Surveyor’s Department, however, it enhances all land records information. He confirmed that it is paid out of the Recorders Technology Fund. Mattson questioned a claim on page 30 for Granite Electronics ($58,285.00). Hiivala stated that this claim is related to the 800 MHz project. Mattson asked whether the County Board will ever see an end to the seemingly ongoing costs of the 800 MHz project. Sawatzke stated that there will always be ongoing maintenance fees. Hiivala stated that Bill Swing, I.T. Director, and the Sheriff’s Department could best answer the questions regarding costs as related to the 800 MHz project. The motion carried 5-0.
Mark Nolan, Safety Director, stated that he attended a meeting with the Wright County Fair Board on 4-19-10 and has an update to pass along regarding a property claim for the Wright County Fairgrounds. Nolan stated that since the roof collapse of the goat barn, everybody is trying to move ahead as fast as possible to prepare for the 2010 County Fair. He stated that Craig Hayes, Metro West, the Wright County Fair Board, and the City Administrator from Howard Lake, have all been working together. The old building was legal and non-conforming. He stated that the intent is to build a new pole barn. There are three size options they are considering: 30’x105’ (existing barn size), 40’ x104’, and 42’x104’. The general feeling is that the Fair Board would like to build a larger building and build it to code. They had 8’ walls, and would like 12’ walls in the new building. However, the Zoning Ordinance for Howard Lake would not allow the County to change the size of the building. The County would have to seek a variance and overcome several obstacles to change the size of the building. Nolan stated that he contacted Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, who did some research regarding the topic. Asleson distributed a copy of State Statute #38.16, “Exemption From Zoning Ordinances” which states that an agricultural association is exempt from local zoning ordinances. Asleson stated that the Statute has been amended twice since 2000. He explained that the language is now very clear stating that the County would not have to pay building permit fees, does not have to follow zoning or building codes as long as the building is on the Fair Grounds, and is exempt from building inspections with the exception of an electrical inspection. Nolan announced that due to the Statute, it looks as if the Fair Board can proceed with replacing the building. Nolan stated that he spoke with Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, who would put together the bid specifications. He stated that he would like the County Board to determine a closing date for the bid process. Russek commented that the old building has yet to be demolished and removed from the site. Dennis Beise, Wright County Fair Board, stated that they would remove and save the pens for future use. He stated that they would like a larger building to accommodate sheep pens down the middle of the building. Today’s discussion included: whether to utilize STS to assist in the demolition of the building, whether to combine the site preparation as part of the demolition bid process, completing the building by the opening of the 2010 County Fair, having Hayes and Craig Schulz, Building Inspector, prepare the bid specifications, and soliciting sealed bids from several demolition contractors to be opened at a date/time specific. Sawatzke stated that it is his opinion that the County should advise the City of Howard Lake of its intent to build a new building. Mattson stated that he is not in favor of hiring a designer for the new building. He stated that he would like to utilize in-house expertise to design the new building. Schulz stated that he would be happy to assist in any fashion and would assist Hayes in writing the bid specifications to assure structural soundness, safety, and accessibility. Beise stated that he would be available to meet with potential demolition contractors to show the site. It was clarified that there are three projects involved in this process: demolition, site readiness, and the construction of the new goat barn.
Mattson asked Russek if he had shared the Extension Committee’s desire to have a show arena within the new building. Russek stated that nobody from the Extension Committee was present at the Fair Board Meeting; however, he did share the comment. Russek stated that there does not appear to be much interest from the Fair Board regarding the need for a show arena.
The County Board discussed how they’d want the site available for building by 6-1-10 to be ready for the 2010 Wright County Fair. It was determined that the bid opening for the demolition phase would take place on 5-04-10 at 9:45 a.m. The bid specifications should indicate that the demolition must be completed by 5-20-10. After the demolition is completed, the site will be evaluated to determine how much fill and sitework would be required prior to the building start date. Schulz stated that a specification would be required for the site work to determine the appropriate elevation, slope of the raised pad, cubic yardage of fill, and type of fill. Russek moved to authorize Hayes to create bid specifications and solicit quotes for the demolition of the goat barn with an opening at the 5-04-10 County Board Meeting at 9:45 a.m. Sawatzke seconded the motion. Sawatzke asked who the demolition contractors should contact to receive a copy of the bid specifications. Norman stated that Hayes will complete the bid specifications within a few days and he is the contact person. The motion carried 5-0. Russek repeated that it would be the desire of the County Board that the site needs to be clear by 5-20-10. Sawatzke noted that this would be included within the bid specifications.
Joe Hagerty, Chief Deputy Sheriff, stated that the State budget cuts included a cut in the amount of State participation in the Sentence To Serve (STS) Program. Hagerty stated that the County is mid-contract with the State for the STS Program where the County currently participates at 25% funding. Hagerty explained that the State has now changed its contribution to a 50/50 split. Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, has submitted a letter of support for the STS program (see attached Memo dated 4-16-10). Hagerty explained that the Sheriff’s Office, Mattice, Court Services Director, crew leader of STS, and Roman George, DOC, have met to discuss the importance of this program and to find ways to meet the extra funding needs to continue the program. The Sheriff’s Office is entertaining supplying the remainder of the funds necessary to keep the program running. The Jail budgeted $9,800 for the 2010 budget year. The current contract with the State would cease at the end of June, 2011. Then the County’s contribution amount for 2011 would increase another 25%. The understanding is that 75% of the work would be done for the County and 25% for the State. Some of the shortfall could be covered by the repeal of the law for pre-sentencing charges. Hagerty explained that the STS Program is a win-win situation for all. The STS Program assists with a multitude of maintenance and improvement projects within the County and the State, and it reduces the length of an inmate’s sentence, which is a savings toward the cost of room/board. Sawatzke debated that the STS Program could be considered a benefit and a detriment. The cost of room/board may decrease, however the inmate is released into society earlier which could be detrimental. Hagerty stated that the general public likes seeing inmates out working. He stated that only non-violent/low-risk offenders are allowed into the program. He stated that most of the offenders are not doing jail time. The Jail provides most of the labor, vehicle, and fuel costs to support the program. Sawatzke asked whether it is essential to have a County employee supervising the STS workers. He stated that perhaps it would be more cost effective to send inmates to work utilizing supervision from the outsourced provider. For an example, Sawatzke described using the Public Works Director as a supervisor for Public Works projects requiring the use of STS. Sawatzke also questioned whether there would be a cost savings reducing the number of days worked by STS from four 10 hour days to three 10 hour days (30 hour program vs. 40 hour program).
Russek stated that he fully supports the STS program as it does a lot of good for Wright County. He stated that his only problem is that the County keeps bailing out the State. Hagerty stated that the State is aligning itself to fully withdraw its participation from the program. He stated that Roman George, DOC, was pleased that the State would contribute 25% of the funding. Sawatzke stated that he agreed with Russek by stating that the State contributes less for their programs, yet charges more to run the program.
Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, stated that the meeting, as previously mentioned by Hagerty, was to discuss the funding reduction and the benefit of the program. He stated that the work STS has done for the Parks Department has been phenomenal. The group decided that the best option is to move forward regardless of the cut in funding because the overall cost benefit is a positive one. MacMillan stated that Sheriff Miller is in support of the program and stated that they could absorb the State’s shortfall. MacMillan stated that because of the change in Legislation, Jails are now allowed to charge back for pre-sentencing. The new Legislation will also allow the County to charge for STS projects and other financial measures to offset some of the costs affiliated with STS that couldn’t be done before. MacMillan stated that the County will now be able to charge the cities and townships where STS is being utilized as well as the offender for being on the STS crew. He assured the County Board that a sub group will meet prior to the next budget session to determine what to do for the following budget year.
Thelen stated that she too could agree with Russek’s concern that the County keeps taking hits to its program funding from the State. The only way to raise funds is through property taxes which causes a negative reflection on government. MacMillan stated that he could also agree with Russek, Sawatzke, and Thelen’s viewpoint, however, the group determined that they should continue with the STS Program. Thelen asked how the County can make a statement when it continues to support programs the State cuts in funding. MacMillan stated that AMC has formed an opinion and is lobbying on behalf of the counties. MacMillan stated that it was the opinion of the DOC that they were grateful to receive 25% funding from the State as this is better than nothing.
Gary Miller, County Sheriff, stated that they did weigh in on discontinuing the STS program. However, the State of Minnesota rescinded its language regarding the pre-sentence charges for jail time. The County will be able to start charging for this in August, 2010. Revenues would now come from pre-sentence charges, as opposed to levy dollars. Charging inmates will help support the $9,800 earmarked in the Jail budget for the STS program. He stated that STS is a win-win program for all involved. He stated that his Department heard from citizens in Waverly and Howard Lake that the STS saved their homes during the floods. He stated that the State indemnifies the project. He stated that the County Board could have the new incoming Sheriff look at alternate ways to supervise the STS Program. Sawatzke asked whether STS could be used for private projects, i.e. farmers needing rock pickers. Miller stated that the original intent of the program was not to compete with the private sector. The intent is not to undercut the private sector with cheap inmate labor. He stated that the County would have to research this if they are serious about having a County run program. He stated that STS is a management tool. An inmate must earn their way into the STS program. He said most inmates within the County Jail are there because of alcohol or relationship problems. Russek moved to support the operation and new funding obligation of the STS Program as proposed by the State, seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke stated that he would like to see the Program expanded to include other supervisory measures. Thelen asked whether the County Board could meet with local legislators to address the problem of funding reduction. Sawatzke stated that this has happened in the past prior to a legislative session. The motion passes 5-0.
Bill Stephens, Environmental Health Supervisor, distributed the final wording of the Wright County Ordinance, “716 Sewage And Wastewater Treatment And Disposal Standards”. He stated that today he would be soliciting the County Board’s formal adoption of an Amendment to the Zoning Ordinance. The MPCA rewrote their rules regarding septic systems and expanded the topic from one chapter into four chapters: 7080 Individual Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems, 7081 Mid-Sized Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems, 7082 Local ISTS Programs, and 7083 Ssts Credentialing and Product Registration. Because the State Statute changed, the County was also required to adapt its language. Sawatzke asked whether the changes from the MPCA provided for more flexibility or became more strict. Stephens stated that the primary change was with the soil sizing table. He stated that nothing really changed in regard to the basic design criteria. Stephens described the process that Planning & Zoning conducted. On 2-17-10, a public meeting was held with septic contractors, city and township representatives, and members of the public. Stephens estimated that 40-45 contractors were present for the meeting. Then the Planning Commission held a public hearing on 3-11-09. Nobody from the general public attended the meeting, however six townships and one city sent in written comments in support of the amended Ordinance to meet State rules. Sawatzke asked Stephens what the implementation date would be for the new standards. Stephens stated the amended Ordinance would be effective on the date of the County Board’s approval. He stated that spring road restrictions were just removed and construction has picked up. He stated that the intent of the new Standards is to match how contractors have been operating under the State Statute for the past year. He explained that 21 counties have formally adopted the new verbiage, 35 counties are similar to Wright County in that they have held their public hearings and are seeking formal adoption from their County Boards. He noted that there are a handful of northern counties that have showed some opposition to the proposed rules. Their opposition is against the licensing and training requirements and the related administrative costs. On a motion by Thelen, seconded by Russek, all voted to adopt Ordinance #10-03 amending the Zoning Ordinance Section 716: Sewage & Wastewater Treatment & Disposal Standards, Wright County Zoning Ordinance, as required by MN Rules 7080-7083 & MN Statutes Chapters 115A & 145A. The following is a summary of the ordinance amendment, and a copy of the entire set of amendments is available from the Wright County Office of Planning and Zoning.
The Wright County Zoning Ordinance, Section 716, “Sewage and Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Standards”, as is required by Minnesota Rules. Pursuant to these Minnesota Rules county programs must be updated to the standards of MN Rules Chapters 7080 to 7083 as promulgated by the Minnesota Pollution control Agency.
The new MN Rules address sewage treatment system design criteria (Chapter 7080), mid-sized sewage treatment system design criteria (Chapter 7081), local program requirements (Chapter 7082) and licensing and certification (Chapter 7083).
City and Township sewer regulations (if any) must be updated no more than 12 months after the adoption of the county ordinance. Must comply with the standards of MN Rules Chapter 7080 to 7083 and must be as strict as the county ordinance.
(End of ordinance amendment).
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, stated that bids were received and opened on 4-14-10 at the Ways & Means Committee Meeting for the following: Culverts, Sand and Rock, Pavement Markings, Sealcoating, Equipment, Micro-surfacing, and Plant Mixed Materials. Fingalson distributed a summary for each of the categories that listed the bidders, bid amounts, and recommendation of award. The bids are as follows:
Pavement Markings
Bid Bond; Yellow; White; Bid Amount
Traffic Marking Service: n/a; $9.83/gal (9,000) $9.81/gal (15,000); $235,620.00
AAA Striping: n/a; $10.00/gal (9,000); $9.60/gal (15,000); $234,000.00
Recommendation: Award Bid to AAA Striping
Corrugated Steel Pipe Culverts & Metal End Sections
Bid Bond; Bid Amount
Contech Construction Products: n/a; $60,542.70
Johnston-Fargo Culvert Co.: n/a; $59,547.75
Note: Quantities by unit prices on items 3, 4, 5, 6, 20, 21, 22, 23, 34, 35, 36 & 37
Recommendation: Award Bid to Johnston-Fargo Culvert Co.
Sand & Rock ($/Ton)
Bid Bond; FA-1; Class 5; Washed 3/4” Rock; Riprap Rock
Annandale Rock Products: Yes $250; $3.25; $4.70; $11.05; $39.00
Barton Sand & Gravel: No; No Bid; $5.65; $17.30; No Bid
Knife River: Yes; No Bid; $5.50; $16.35; $32.00
Johnson Materials, Inc.: Yes; $3.25; $4.50; $13.50; $25.00
Hardrives, Inc.: No; No Bid; $4.50; No Bid; No Bid
Dennis Fehn Gravel-Excavating: Yes; No Bid; $4.20; $12.00; $40.00
Note: All bidders acknowledged the Addendum
Recommendation: Award Bid for FA-1 to Annandale Rock Products (Shorter Trip Distance).
Award Bid for Class 5 to Johnson Materials, Inc., and Dennis Fehn Gravel-Excavating, Inc.
Award Bid for Washed 3/4” Rock to Annandale Rock Products.
Award Bid for Riprap to Johnson Materials, Inc.
Bid Bond; Bid Amount
Astech Corp.; Yes; $212,412.80
Recommendation: Award to Astech Corp.
Bid Bond; Breakdown
Astech Corp.: Yes;
89,140 Gal CRS-2P; $2.29/$204,130.60
318,356 SQ FA-2; $0.23/$73,221.88
31,836 Gal CSS-1H; $1.84/$58,578.24
26,191 LF Pave Marking; $0.21/$5,500.11
GRAND TOTAL: $341,430.83
Bid Bond; Breakdown
Caldwell Asphalt Co.: Yes
89,140 Gal CRS-2P; $2.28/$203,239.20
318,356 SQ FA-2; $0.36/$114,608.16
31,836 Gal CSS-1H; $1.58/$50,300.88
26,191 LF Pave Marking $0.43/$11,262.13
GRAND TOTAL: $379,410.37
Bid Bond; Breakdown
Allied Blacktop: Yes
89,140 Gal CRS-2P; $2.20/$196,108.00
318,356 SQ FA-2; $0.42/$133,709.52
31,836 Gal CSS-1H; $0.45/$46,162.20
26,191 LF Pave Marking; $0.22/$5,762.02
GRAND TOTAL: $381,741.74
Note: All bidders acknowledged the Addendum
Recommendation: Award bid to Astech Corp.
Plant-Mixed Bituminous Mixture Seasonal Bid ($/ton).
Note: 1st price is per ton unit price; 2nd price is 100+ ton/day unit price
Bid Bond; Item 1, SP 2.5 200; Item 2, SP 9.5 5000; Item 3 Fine Mix 200
Knife River: Yes;
$51.00; $52.00; $55.00
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix: Yes $250;
$44.20; $44.20; $79.80
$43.20; $43.20; $48.80
Commercial Asphalt: Yes;
$41.95 ER; $48.95 ER; NO BID
$43.80 MG; $50.45 MG; NO BID
Hardrives, Inc.: No;
$44.00; $45.00; $60.00
Recommendation: Award bid to both Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix and Hardrives, Inc.
Equipment Rental
The following bids were received:
18 CY Scraper/hr.
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $210.00 Case Quad Trac & 17 CY Reynolds Scraper
Terning Excavating $150.00 9520 JD (450 hp) 19 CY Pull Scraper
Deno’s Excavating $70.00 ’77 Fiat Allis
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $120.00 Cat D56 LGP
Terning Excavating $110.00 700 H JD
Rubber Tired Tractor Mounted Backhoe/hr.
Terning Excavating $90.00 555 Ford
Hydraulic Excavator or Large Backhoe/hr.
Keith Wurm Const. $115.00 2000 JD 110 Exc
Deno’s Excavating $100.00 ’77 690B JD
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $140.00 Cat 315LC
Jake’s Excavating Inc. $120.00 2008 Komatsu PC-160 HYD Thumb, HYD Quck Tack
Terning Equipment $110.00 312 CAT w/thumb
4 CY Front End Loader (4 WD pneu. tired)-/hr.
Keith Wurm Const. $80.00 JD Front End, 2-1/2 Bucket
Deno’s Excavating $70.00 ’80 644B JD – 3cy
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $150.00 Cat 938G
Motor Grader/hr.
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $155.00 Cat 143H
Terning Excavating $90.00 740A Champion
Crawler Type Loader (3 CY)/hr.
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $110.00 2CY Skid Loader Cat 247 BII
Jake’s Excavating Inc. $110.00 Cat 277C w/2-Speed & Rubber Tracks 3100# Lift
1/2 CY Skid Loader (#1650 life capacity)/hr.
Keith Wurm Const. $70.00 Case 1845 Skid Loader
Deno’s Excavating $70.00
10 CY Truck/hr
Keith Wurm Const. $65.00 1985 Ford Dump
Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc. $80.00 Mack Tri-axle
Jake’s Excavating Inc. $70.00 2 Tri-axle 12 CY capacity
10 CY Truck w/snowplow & wing
Jake’s Excavating Inc. $65.00 Tri-axle 12 CY capacity
Self-Propelled Pickup Sweeper/hr
T&S Trucking $70.00/hour ’06 Elgin Sweeper
Jake’s Excavating Inc. $120.00 CAT 953C 2.5 CY Trax
247B Rubber Track Loader 1950# Lift Capacity 9’ Dump
Jake’s Excavating Inc. $90.00
Recommendation: Accept all Equipment Rental Bids.
(End of Seasonal Requirement Contract Bids)
Further discussion occurred on the following bid categories:
Pavement Markings: Fingalson stated that this bid category was problematic. There was an addendum on the project asking for pre-mixed paint. Due to a series of circumstances, Highway Technologies, Inc. did not receive the addendum and wasn’t able to bid on the same product. Fingalson explained that Highway Technologies informed him that they weren’t interested in bidding with the pre-mix paint so they aren’t challenging the County’s process. He stated that the recommendation is to award the bid to AAA Striping for $234,000 which comes within budget.
Corrugated Steep Pipe Culverts and Metal End Sections: The contractors bid on unit prices of the common culvert sizes the Highway Department uses. A total was calculated based on the culverts that are commonly used, and this number was used to determine the recommended bidder: Johnston-Fargo Culvert Co.
Sand and Rock: Fingalson explained that two of the six bidders did not provide a bid bond. They were not the lowest bidders, so the lack of a bid bond did not pose a problem. Annandale Rock Products is recommended to be awarded the bid for FA-1; Johnson Materials, Inc. and Dennis Fehn Gravel-Excavating, Inc. are both recommended to be awarded the Class 5 bid, Annandale Rock Products is recommended to be awarded the bid for Washed 3/4” Rock, and Johnson Materials, Inc., is recommended for the Rip Rap bid.
Sealcoating and Micro-surfacing is recommended to be awarded to Astech Corp. Corrina Township will have some sealcoating done this season, so their contract amount was subtracted from the total bid amount to bring the amount within budget.
Plant-Mixed Bituminous Mixture: Fingalson stated that this is recommended to be awarded to both Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix and Hardrives, Inc. Mid-Minnesota submitted a check for $250 in lieu of a bid bond. Hardrives did not submit a check or bid bond. However, Hardrives is a known company and has a relationship with the County. Sawatzke questioned the purpose of a bid bond. Asleson explained that the bid bond is simply to guarantee, or hold, a contractor’s bid price until the bid is formally awarded. A check, in lieu of a bid bond, serves the same purpose and is returned once the contract has been awarded. Russek asked whether a performance bond is also required. Fingalson stated that a performance bond is not required for seasonal contracts.
Equipment Rental: Fingalson stated that all bids are recommended. Each vendor supplied pricing for various units of equipment. He referred to the Equipment Rental list on the back of the summary for equipment and pricing information.
On a motion by Eichelberg, seconded by Sawatzke, all voted to award the recommended Seasonal Requirement Contracts.
Thelen presented the 4-14-10 Deferred Compensation Committee minutes and recommendations. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following correction was made to page 3 of the minutes: Paragraph 1, 4th sentence should read, “Norman proposed using the following criteria to determine future eligibility of current providers: a provider must have acquired new clientele within the recent three year period, or maintain a minimum of 20 contributing members” (Sawatzke). Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations including the correction by Sawatzke. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. The motion carried 5-0.
Norman stated that this Committee last met on 2-16-10. The recommendation from that meeting called for the Committee to meet today to discuss a general overview of the County’s 457 Plan and offerings. The Committee briefly discussed the number of 457 providers offered by the County and the number of enrollees. Norman distributed an email (see attached) from Bob Hiivala dated 3-2-10 that summarizes providers’ Plans, number of employees who are contributing, total contribution amounts, and number of employees with balances.
Norman stated that based on the results posted in the email, there is an overall general feeling that ICMA and Delaware should no longer be allowed to enroll new members. Sawatzke asked when ICMA last enrolled an employee into its Plan. Hiivala stated that it has been a long time since anybody has joined ICMA. The number of employees contributing to ICMA has been stagnant.
Hiivala noted that six employees are contributing to more than one Plan; therefore, the emailed chart truly indicates that there are currently 173 employees that are contributing to a 457 Plan.
Sawatzke asked whether the column “Employees With Balances” represents current employees. Hiivala stated that this column represents retired, terminated, and active employees, and all are either currently contributing or ceased contributions. Asleson stated that a terminated employee has the option to move the money after their employment ceases with the County. Brown stated that there are strict rules with severe penalties in regard to moving 457 funds. Sawatzke clarified that there are tax benefits to having a 457 fund.
Hiivala stated that his office could contact the providers and obtain a list of employee names to determine the number of current vs. terminated employees with each plan. Sawatzke and Norman determined that the average plan value per employee is $25,600, and an average of $1,185/per person, per payroll period is being taken out. Brown stated that today’s discussion is to determine whether some of these providers should be allowed to enroll new employees. Hiivala asked the Committee whether they should also determine the number of providers that should be offered to employees.
Thelen asked whether there is an administrative issue in having multiple providers. She asked the Committee to identify what the main concern is. She questioned whether too many Plans create too much work. Brown stated that the individual employees go directly to the provider. The only time commitment is when the Personnel Representatives have to coordinate meeting rooms for the providers in each of the four buildings to meet with employees. However, the providers have found that these meetings have not been successful. She stated that obviously the goal of each provider is to make money. They are finding that it is too difficult to meet with prospective and current clients. Thelen asked where the disservice is. Brown stated that the providers are unhappy because they are not successful in getting employees to meet with them. Therefore, they lose interest and focus on other clients outside of the County. She noted that some of the providers have not attended the Benefits Fair for at least two years. Providers realize that they have a lot of competition.
Brown stated that in looking at other counties, most have less than three plan providers. Wright County has more than double the average. Thelen noted that there would probably be better customer service with fewer providers. Hiivala stated that each of the providers offer hundreds of account options. Thelen asked whether some of these providers offer the same fund options. Hiivala stated yes, some providers overlap in their Plan options. Sawatzke noted that there would only be four providers if the County Board phased out ICMA and Theis & Dougherty/Delaware. Brown stated that these providers would not be invited to the Benefits Fair anymore. Hiivala noted that cutting down the number of Plan providers would save work for his office. There would be fewer reports and fewer transfers each pay period.
Thelen asked whether the County Board would be asking the providers to phase themselves out, or asking employees to switch to another 457 provider. Asleson stated that the County Board has the right to inform the provider that they can no longer take on new County employee clientele. Brown clarified that all of these Plans have to stay in place until the last employee withdraws their funds.
Thelen asked if there is information available that would indicate the amount of return that the employees are getting on their Plans. Hiivala stated that this information is not available. Thelen asked whether the County Board could select the provider with the lowest administrative fees. Sawatzke responded that it should be up to the employee to do their research and determine the provider that best meets their needs regarding fees, options, and returns.
Asleson referred to Section 7.3 in the Wright County Deferred Compensation Plan, which states, “The Committee shall have the authority to select the insurance companies or other Custodians to whom contributions can be made under the Plan. The Committee shall have the discretion to add or remove Custodians from the list of approved companies, except that, no company may be removed without 60 days prior written notice to those Participants whose deferrals are directed to such Custodian.” He stated that the language is very generic.
Sawatzke proposed creating a policy that would eliminate providers who are not actively selling or seeking new clientele. Thelen stated that she would be in favor of this idea. Brown asked Hiivala if this could be tracked through his Department. Hiivala stated yes. Asleson stated that the Committee should set up criteria, which would be adopted by the County Board. Norman proposed using the following criteria to determine future eligibility of current providers: a provider must have acquired new clientele within the recent three year period, or maintain a minimum of 20 contributing members. Asleson stated that he liked the criteria. Norman replied that this at least provides a quantifiable standard. Hiivala stated that his office could produce a quarterly or annual update regarding the number of new enrollees. Brown stated that it would be nice if the Personnel Office could get this information during the third quarter each year, so that in preparation of the Benefits Fair, these providers would not be invited. Preparation for the Benefits Fair begins in November and December for the event which takes place in January.
Brown asked Hiivala if he had seen any new contributors because of the Benefits Fair. Hiivala commented that he was not impressed by the outcome of the Benefits Fair. He clarified that Toni Doerr and Carla Nelson receive the new 457 Plan contributor requests.
Brown stated that it is difficult for providers to come in here and drum up business based on the rules created by the County. Providers do not have access to employee phone numbers or addresses, and they are asked not to call employees at their offices. They are told that they must make special arrangements to make themselves available in a conference room for employee initiated meetings, or rely on the Benefits Fair and word of mouth. Brown clarified that the Deferred Compensation Plans are briefly discussed at the new employee orientations. She stated that she suspects a lot of employees do investments on the side, and have opted not to be in a 457 Plan, or do not have the extra funds right now to invest.
Hiivala stated that Chris Kruse, Edward Jones Investments, had proposed introducing investment workshops. He stated that perhaps workshops might be a way of drawing attention to the 457 Plans. Sawatzke stated that it would be the wish of the County Board that County employees are secure in their financial future. Brown proposed that perhaps the Personnel Office could conduct a special Benefits Fair for Deferred Compensation providers. She stated that perhaps this would provide further employee education and attract new clients.
Norman stated that the County Board would take action at the 4-20-10 County Board Meeting on today’s recommendation. Norman stated that the Wright County Deferred Compensation Plan was last updated on 5-06-03. He asked whether the document should be sent off for review. Asleson stated that the firm that last reviewed it, Ryder Bennet, is no longer in business. He stated that he would have to find a different firm. He estimated that it would cost approximately $1,500 - $2,000 to have the plan reviewed. Hiivala stated that Tom Jones from Nationwide had forwarded his recommendations for updating some portions of the document. Brown stated that out of fairness, perhaps the Plan should be sent to the County’s current providers for their review. Asleson stated that the US Code section lists general requirements that all 457 Plans should have. Sawatzke stated that perhaps the State of Minnesota may have some non-industry standards.
Hiivala updated the Committee by stating that Kruse was supposed to supply him with a list of his potential clients based on the discussion at the 2-16-10 Committee Meeting. He stated that Kruse never produced that list. Sawatzke noted that Kruse was told that if he were to acquire his 20 new enrollees, he could become a new County provider in March, 2011. Kruse was given the option to petition the Committee to allow him to start earlier if he were to acquire his 20 enrollees before that time.
Hiivala asked the Committee whether he should be using the three-year criteria of 2007, 2008, and 2009 in evaluating the current providers. Norman stated yes.
RECOMMENDATION: Send out the Wright County Deferred Compensation Plan for review and adopt the quantitative criteria as discussed in today’s Committee Meeting.
(End of 4-14-10 Deferred Compensation Committee Minutes and discussion.)
Eichelberg presented the 4-14-10 Personnel Committee minutes and recommendations. At today’s County Board Meeting, on a motion by Eichelberg, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the minutes (with correction to Don Mleziva’s name) and recommendations made by the Personnel Committee.
Marion Peterson, Financial Assistance Supervisor, presented documentation to fill a 1 FTE position in the Food Support/Health Care Unit (see attached). The employee who is retiring is currently at the top step; however, she is looking at hiring a replacement at Step 1. Sawatzke questioned the current number of Financial Workers that are employed with Wright County. Peterson stated that there are 13 in her Unit and 12 in Linda Kunkel’s Unit. Peterson stated that this position is Federally reimbursed at 50% and covers long term care, group residential housing, and residential housing. In addition, the County’s caseload has increased substantially over the past several years. Sawatzke questioned if there is a number allowed to receive assistance and what happens if the case loads exceed the allowed numbers. Peterson commented that there are no waiting lists and that every case is taken. Norman questioned if there are other staff members working on this case load. Peterson commented that staff will be working together in order to be sure special cases are covered until a replacement is hired for this position. Sawatzke asked for an estimate on the current case load. Peterson reported that 600 food supported cases have been added this year. Jami Schwartz, Financial Service Manager, reported that last year there were 1600 food support cases and currently there are 2200. Recommendation: Authorize request to hire replacement Financial Worker in the Food Support/Health Care Unit at Step 1, no earlier than 5-28-2010.
Sheri Lumley, Collections Services Supervisor, presented documentation to fill a Child Support Officer position in the Child Support Enforcement Unit (see attached). The current employee is at the top step and she is requesting that the new hire start at Step 1. Eichelberg questioned the qualifications for this position. Lumley commented that a 4 year degree is preferred. Lumley stated that the Child Support Officer position is federally reimbursed at 66% and if the position is filled at a Step 1, and with incentives, this position pays for itself. She continued that with every child support modification the County gets $100.00. Going forward it will be easier to focus on modifications with a full staff. Sawatzke questioned the current number of child support officers. Lumley replied that between both Units there are 14. Sawatzke questioned if the current economy has impacted the number of child support cases. Schwartz stated that the collections have remained stable and collection amounts are about the same as prior years. Recommendation: Authorize request to hire a Child Support Officer at Step 1.
Tom Kelly, County Attorney, presented a request to replace the Attorney III position that will be vacated on 7-02-2010 with an Assistant County Attorney II position. Kelly is requesting to hire for this position between Step 1 and Step 3. He continued that hiring at this Step will still result in a savings to Wright County of about $26,000. Kelly stated that land use attorneys, in comparison, make between $81,566 and $121,431. Kelly commented that with the experience level required for this position, it will be unlikely that a new graduate will be qualified to handle the job duties and responsibilities. It is his hope to fill this position with an applicant that has experience with current situations, zoning, and land use issues. Sawatzke questioned if there is anything that prohibits hiring an attorney at Step 3. Norman replied that hiring at Step 3 would only be allowed in certain instances. Recommendation: Authorize request to fill Assistant County Attorney position.
(End of 4-14-10 Personnel Committee Minutes and discussion.)
Sawatzke presented the 4-14-10 Ways & Means Committee (W&M) minutes and recommendations. Discussion and action at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected in italics:
Bids were closed at 9:00 a.m. Fingalson opened the bids for various seasonal categories. In the Pavement Marking category, Traffic Marking Service said they did not get an addendum. They were not the low bidder. Fingalson will check with Brian Asleson. Highway staff will tally and present a summary and recommendation to the County Board at their 4-20-10 County Board Meeting.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke stated that Fingalson presented his summary and recommendations earlier in today’s County Board Meeting. It was noted that the minutes should reflect a meeting date of “April 14, 2010”, not “April 13, 2010”, and the recommendation to the County Board would be made at the “4-20-10” Meeting, not “4-20-09”. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Ways & Means Committee Meeting Minutes with the above noted corrections.
(End of 4-14-10 Ways & Means Committee Minutes and discussion.)
Eichelberg stated that he received notice from Swing that the County received its anticipated $718,200 funds for the 800 MHz project. He stated that he would forward a copy of the information to Norman and Hiivala. Eichelberg commented that this was the exact amount that was anticipated from the State. Norman stated that these anticipated funds were used as an anticipated revenue in the 2010 budget process.
Bills Approved
Allina Hospitals & Clinics. $150.00
American Institutional Supply 114.55
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 281.55
AMI Imaging Systems, Inc. 1,295.00
Anderson/Conrad 100.00
Apex Software 430.00
Atrix International Inc. 1,460.00
Bakeberg/George 387.00
Batteries Plus 102.55
Bauman/Lawrence R. 276.00
Boyer Truck Parts 986.85
BP Amoco 1,848.14
Burdas Towing 1,156.92
Center Point Energy 8,462.82
Clearwater/City of 125,473.59
Commissioner of Transport 920.56
Concept Financial Group 389.36
Consolidated Container . 2,080.93
Consulting Radiologists LTD 207.00
Corinna Township 763.40
Corporate Payment Systems 685.25
Denn/Franklin E. 267.00
DLT Solutions Inc. 30,741.45
Douglas/Ralph D. 282.00
E. Central Regional Juvenile 9,975.70
Engel/Dale L 175.00
Frontier Precision Inc. 227.00
Granite Electronics 58,285.00
Greenview Inc. 695.99
Hardings Towing, Inc. 213.75
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 646.82
Impact Proven Solutions 9,164.71
Interstate Battery Systems 140.95
Jahnke/Chris 173.50
Junction Towing & Auto Rep 106.88
Klein Heating and Cooling 251.85
LaPlant Demo Inc. 945.05
M-R Sign Company Inc. 34,590.64
Maple Lake/City of 648.20
Mattila Electric/Roger 3,995.00
McLeod Co. Treasurer 510.69
McNamara Inc. 22,279.16
Menards - Buffalo 193.63
Metro Group Inc./The 3,194.84
Midwest Protection Agency 494.93
Midwest Safety Counselors 186.30
MN Alcohol Traffic Safety 410.00
MN Assn. of Assessing Office 1,430.00
MN Board of Assessors 814.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 299.26
Morries Parts & Service Group 626.92
Motorola Inc. 801.56
Neil’s Floor Covering 1,007.38
North Suburban Towing Inc. 133.60
Office Depot 2,021.64
OSI Environmental Inc. 1,735.00
Peavey Company/Lynn 311.50
Performance Office Papers 675.77
Positron Public Safety Sys 4,051.00
Qwest 7,482.90
Ramacciotti/Frank 100.00
Rockford/City of 1,399.20
Royal Tire Inc. 5,447.72
RS Eden 8,375.50
SHI International Group 6,700.00
Software House International 166.73
Solarz/Tammi 412.60
St. Cloud Stamp & Sign Inc. 160.49
State of MN-Office Enterprise 370.00
T & S Trucking 20,037.50
TDS Telecom 261.48
Thelen/Vicki M 1,439.00
U of M MN Extension Serv 119.70
United Group Inc. 1,370.99
Unlimited Electric Inc. 2,070.43
Vance Brothers Inc. 1,240.50
Waste Management-TC West 1,354.65
West Payment Center 1,164.60
Wornson, Goggins, Zard, Ne 613.25
Wright Hennepin Coop Electric 3,345.70
Wright Hennepin Electric 1,122.04
Wurm Construction/Keith 1,265.00
18 Payments less than $100 874.59
Final total $407,169.71
The meeting adjourned at 10:44 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal May 10, 2010.

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