Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
JUNE 1, 2010
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
Russek moved to approve the 5-25-10 County Board Minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #2, “Announcement” (Mattson). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Eichelberg, seconded by Russek, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Performance Appraisals: S. Guffey, A. Richardson, Recorder; S. Kunkel, P. O’Malley, J. Rivers, Sher./Corr.; A. Halverson, Surv.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 5-14-10.
3. Claim, Frank Madden & Assoc.; $7,866.60 (April, 2010 Service).
B. AUDITOR/TREASURER
1. Annual On Sale 3.2 Malt Liquor License Renewal For Whispering Pines Golf Course (Corinna Twp.).
C. HIGHWAY
1. Approval For Non-Union Personnel In Highway Department to Donate Vacation Time To An Employee.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. Hiivala referenced the claim discussed at the last County Board Meeting to Keeprs Inc. ($50.83) for uniform items for Captain Miller. Hiivala researched the claim and found that there were two separate invoices for materials purchased so the claim was paid. Hiivala referenced the claims listing from today and the expenditure from the Capital Projects Fund to Climate Air ($112,059). Hiivala said this expenditure is from proceeds relating to the Energy Efficiency Grant. On a motion by Russek, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 5-26-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0:
ELECTION STORAGE ISSUE.
Hiivala stated that according to State Statute all election materials must be maintained for 22 months after an election. It was noted that the Auditor/Treasurer’s storage area was not acceptable to the litigants during the 2008 election process. It was decided to keep all election material in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Conference Room. Gooler commented that the 2008 election materials are involved in litigation and can not be discarded until the State approves. She added that under normal circumstances election materials can be discarded in August. Hiivala stated that a lot of emphasis is being placed on chain of custody in protecting election material and going forward he would like to be able to differentiate the 2008 election material from the 2010 election material. Gooler added that the State determined all election material must be monitored while in storage. This has been fulfilled by having employees sign in and out of the current storage location and only two employees are allowed in the storage area at a time. Hiivala added that all election material must remain sealed and in a safe location that can be monitored. Torfin stated that the LEC has a cell block that would be available for storage. The locks have been removed so a paddle lock would need to be installed to keep the area locked. He continued that within this cell block there are individual cells which could be used as well as space available to stack election materials on pallets. Hiivala agreed that a paddle lock would be sufficient to keep materials safe and that the keys would be maintained by the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. RECOMMENDATION: Utilize available space in the old Jail to be used for election storage materials. (End of Building Committee Minutes)
A Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Meeting was held on 5-26-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0:
UNION & NON-UNION GROUP RESPONSES TO PROPOSED BCBS PLAN DESIGN CHANGES.
Berg stated that he spoke with Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) after the 4-28-10 Committee Meeting. He stated that the good news is that BCBS is not recommending that the County make any plan changes. Brown asked Berg if all carriers would bid the County’s current plans as-is. Berg stated yes. Pawelk asked if Berg knew why this was the case when the County had been told that they should consider making changes to its plans. Berg stated that the underwriter at BCBS stated that as things stand today, BCBS would be willing to bid out the County’s current plans as-is. However, come this fall, BCBS may change its mind. O’Malley stated that although the carriers will bid on the current plans, the County’s experience rating of 19% will affect the increase of premiums for 2011. Berg stated that O’Malley is correct, which is why he would recommend making a few plan changes in order to achieve a savings in premiums.
Local 49’ers
Korman stated that the members gave the overall opinion that they did not want to make any changes (as referenced in the survey) unless changes were made to Plan 1. He stated that it didn’t make sense to change Plans 2 and 3 unless changes were made to Plan 1.
Berg commented that there wouldn’t be a whole lot of changes to the overall cost of the plans unless changes were made to Plan 1. The majority of the County employees, and the bulk of the cost, is in Plan 1.
Teamster’s Sheriff Supervisor
O’Malley stated that his group is willing to go with whatever is proposed. His group is a small group consisting of only 2 or 3 employees with a family plan. His group is generally a healthy group. Those employees that are within the family plans are happy to consider changes within their plans as long as changes are also considered for Plan 1.
Non-Union Group
Pawelk stated that a survey was sent to 114 non-union employees. Only 28 responses were received. She stated that overall, the majority of the responders were willing to see changes in Plans 2 and 3, however, additional comments were made regarding a desire to also see changes to Plan 1.
AFSCME, Human Services
Adams stated that a survey was sent out to the AFSME Human Services group. The general response was that the group wants to see the plans bid out as they are so that a value can be placed on the anticipated amount of increase for 2011 premiums. She stated that there was also some interest in seeing some changes made to Plan 1. The majority of the group felt that it didn’t seem fair to only make changes to Plans 2 and 3.
Berg stated that B&C isn’t going to force the County to make changes. He noted that the carriers are responding and reacting to what the federal government is doing. Change is in the works, however, this year the County won’t need to make changes to its current plans. The bidding process doesn’t begin until the fall. To approach the underwriters now for preliminary quotes, only to rebid it again as the policy renewal draws near, would cause the County to lose its leverage.
Teamsters, Courthouse Unit
Riley stated that his group was receptive to making changes to Plans 2 and 3. However, the group really wants to see quantitative measures. They’d like to see an actual dollar figure attributed to the projected savings.
Berg stated that presenting numbers to the County at this time would strictly be an estimate. He stated that they are hesitant in presenting dollar estimates because employees tend to expect these numbers to be concrete.
Riley asked when the union groups would have to vote on the plans. Norman stated that the bargaining units would vote in the fall. He stated that there is a tight schedule to adhere to. Bidding occurs in the fall. The non- union group and seven bargaining units would then vote on the plans, the decision would be presented to the County Board, and then the information would be distributed with the open enrollment packets that are due out in early December. Berg explained that the County would not want to seek preliminary quotes because B&C loses its leverage. If the plans are bid out now, then nothing happens, and then B&C goes out and asks for bids again as the renewals draw near, the underwriters won’t be willing to work as hard to pull together good numbers. The underwriters would question whether the County would actually take action. Riley stated that the employees would get a better feel of the costs if they were displayed in actual dollar form, rather than percentages.
Berg stated that projecting costs and savings are difficult. He stated that B&C initially laid out the projected savings in a framework of percentages. He noted that the claims experience rating did drop a bit, however it is still high. On average, claims were $500/per employee each month. It has dropped by $90/per employee and is on the downward trend. He stated that B&C is hoping to see the County continue this trend for the next few months. If the trend continues, then B&C will have a negotiating standpoint when it seeks bids this fall.
Teamsters 320 Unit
Riley stated that they had random responses. Overall, they were not happy with what was presented. Those that are in the family plans pay the most in premiums and question why Plan 1 isn’t being changed. He stated that the group is still planning to meet.
Russek asked what the next step will be. Berg stated that B&C is setting the stage for the bidding process. B&C will seek bids for the current plans, with the alternatives that the employees have suggested, as well as a few other alternatives B&C will suggest. He stated that he would like to wait as long as possible before seeking quotes. He stated that his goal is to be able to show that the County has five months of lower claims. He stated that he could then use this as a negotiating tool demonstrating that the County has a trend of stable claims. He noted that in the fall, B&C will negotiate with BCBS and other carriers. B&C would then present the quotes and plan alternatives to the County. Norman stated that the non-union group and all seven bargaining units will have to agree on the same plan options. He explained that even if only one of those groups does not agree, then the County would have to stay with the current plan. He explained that the County won’t have “hard” numbers to analyze until B&C goes officially out for bid. Berg stated that B&C has to wait until the fall so that it has the most recent data to present for quotes. Berg stated that once they receive the quotes, B&C would present the information to the County, giving as much lead time as possible. Norman stated that the County would need the information back by early November. Berg stated that in the meantime, B&C will be talking with the various carriers, getting them “excited” about the bidding process. He said that they want to get the carriers excited about the County’s membership while placing a positive spin on claim issues. These next few months are all about developing a relationship with the carriers. Berg stated that he and Niederluecke are both experienced underwriters. They are familiar with the process. Niederluecke stated that the carriers are in the position of needing memberships. The County would provide a sustainable membership. However, these carriers are in need of seeing an improvement in the County’s claims. They want to see a decrease in the cost per member/month. Berg stated that B&C will negotiate hard. It is a tough negotiation process. Russek stated that it is his understanding that the County will have to wait until the fall to obtain hard numbers on the different plans. Berg stated that B&C will obtain quotes on what the County wants them to get quotes on. He stated that B&C will also throw in a few recommendations as well. He stated that he wants the County to also see how their premiums would be affected if changes were made to Plan 1. He stated that it is his opinion that this is where the County is going to gain the biggest bang for the buck. Brown stated that the Administration Department will be assembling Open Enrollment packets, which are to be distributed in December. The employees are supposed to have the information in their hands for a month prior to the Open Enrollment period. She asked whether this fits into B&C’s timeline. Pawelk reminded the Committee that the seven unions would have to vote on the options and plans. Korman stated that it would take a week to get the 49er’s Union together for voting purposes. Brown stated that by the end of November, Personnel would like to finalize the bidding process. This would allow enough time for the unions to vote, the County Board to approve the recommendations, and be assembled into Open Enrollment packets for County employees. Norman reminded the Committee that this is an “all or nothing proposition”. He stated that there isn’t a whole lot of room for negotiation. All of the bargaining units will have to agree on a plan. He stated that even if one of the groups does not agree with the majority, then the County’s current plan will stay in place as-is. RECOMMENDATION: B&C to obtain quotes on the County’s current plan, plus alternates in the fall.
(End of Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee Minutes)
Mayor Fred Naaktgeboren, City of Buffalo, presented a request for the County to support a Long-Distance Transit Study being conducted by the Met Council. Letters of support were received from the cities of Annandale, Buffalo, Clearwater, Delano, Hanover, Monticello and Rockford. The letters reflect that this would be an exploratory study to look at the potential for long-distance bus routes from Wright County into the Twin Cities metropolitan region. Potential transit routes and ridership will be identified in the study, along with cost and efficiency estimates. The letter further states that it is understood that the Study will be completed at no cost to the County, it does not require implementation of any recommendations found in the Study, and it does not obligate the County to participate in any further activities of the Met Council. The letter reflects that because of the traffic congestion on all of the main arterial highways in Wright County and the potential for shortages of fossil fuels and reliance on them, a study of the potential for commuter transit service is warranted. Naaktgeboren said the cost to Wright County will be some staff time. About 70% of workers who reside in the City of Buffalo commute to the metro area. In the past, there have been a couple of attempts at putting together a transit service. One failed for lack of funding and the other was not completed due to the lack of people being committed to it. Naaktgeboren said as governing bodies in charge of planning for the future, there will be a time when use of a car may be unsustainable. Either gas prices may become too high or people will be frustrated with the lack of traffic lanes. He referenced the fear that some governing bodies have of being taken over by the Met Council. He did not see this happening with this Study. Other counties involved with the Study have not had this happen. Naaktgeboren said with Met Council’s challenge with transit, they are tapped out as far as looking for other areas to control. It would require passage of legislation for them to take over areas, which he did not feel would happen because the Met Council does not have extra funding. Naaktgeboren stated the Study results will provide governing bodies with the information needed to help guide future decisions on both public and private investment in transit. It will not commit Wright County to high speed rail. He felt Big Lake was the closest that would get. Naaktgeboren requested that the County Board participate in the Study.
Discussion followed on Goodhue and St. Croix Counties involvement in the Study. Naaktgeboren was unaware that those Counties have implemented anything based on the results of the Study. Thelen said she has a copy of the initial results of the Study. It is referred to as a Transit Study but it is actually a Long-Distance Bus Route Study. She understood the Met Council is willing to include Wright County in that Study or complete a study for Wright County. She asked Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, if Wright County would be able to get in on the Goodhue/St. Croix County Study. Fingalson said this was the case. He spoke with Arlene McCarthy, Director, Metropolitan Transportation Services, Met Council, who recommended Wright County be included as part of this Study. The copy Thelen has is a draft which will be finalized later this year. Wright County could complete a study on its own but either way, the Study will be completed by the end of the year.
Sawatzke inquired whether all counties that touch the seven metro counties will be offered participation in the Study. Fingalson did not feel this was the case. He felt what prompted Wright County’s participation was staff involvement at various meetings held. Fingalson attended a meeting where Commissioner Peter Bell offered participation in the Study to Goodhue, Wright and St. Croix Counties. Thelen asked about funding for the Study. Fingalson said it is being funded by the Met Council and Mn/DOT. Mattson said Wright County received 7 responses from 17 Mayors. He recently attended the Mayor’s Association Meeting and he said the group did not support the Study. He questioned whether the Board should act against the recommendation of the Mayor’s Association. Eichelberg referenced the 7 letters received from various cities and indicated that the City of St. Michael just approved their letter of support which is not included in the information being reviewed today. Naaktgeboren stated that the Mayor of Maple Lake was against the Study. The Mayor of Albertville expressed doubts, but the Mayor’s Association did not take a position. Following the Mayor’s Association Meeting, he emailed the Mayors in the eastern portion of the County and requested they send letters of support if desired. He said there was not an official position for the Mayor’s Association which includes 16 cities. Two people spoke in opposition and the discussion ceased as far as group support.
Mattson said there is fear in Wright County as to whether to become involved with the Met Council. He thought that if a vote were put to residents in his District, the overwhelming majority would be not to do so. Mattson felt this was all that the Met Council would need to get a foot in the door, and then they would take control. Naaktgeboren disagreed stating if the County is not a member of the Met Council, then the Met Council would not have any control. This is not what the Study is about. Russek stated that the Met Council looks for every chance they can to include Wright and Sherburne Counties. He felt they could seek legislation for control and Wright County will not have a chance to vote. Russek said the Met Council will cite what they are doing for and with Wright County. He felt Wright County will be in this position whether it is desired or not. Russek said everyone he speaks with that is under the Met Council cautions to stay away. Russek did not feel another layer of government is needed in Wright County. Thelen has heard the arguments on being taken over by the Met Council. She said the Study does not obligate the County to become involved. The Met Council has other interests in the Study; they are looking to the future. She did not think the Met Council has plans to overtake the County. Thelen did not feel the County could afford not reviewing transportation needs for the next 10 years. Comments she has received have been in support of the Study (comments from Mayors and Boards she serves on).
Fingalson said Mn/DOT controls the Study. It is called the Met Council Study as they will complete the work due to their expertise in planning. There is no direct money being put into the Study by the Met Council but they are providing in-kind services. Fingalson explained there are congestion problems in the metro area and Wright County is contributing to those problems. Fingalson said the Goodhue County Engineer and Administrator view the Study as a great tool for the future and are not concerned with takeover by the Met Council. Fingalson strongly recommends participation in the Study. Russek referenced prior Highway 55 Corridor Meetings and attendance at those meetings by the Met Council. At one of those meetings, he made a comment that the only problem Wright County has in obtaining funding from Mn/DOT is that the Met Council controls the spending out here. Russek said the Met Council has not been present at the Highway 55 meetings since that comment was made (over two years). Fingalson said the Met Council has not been coming to the Highway 55 meetings for a number of years. However, the Met Council was helpful in getting Highway 55 reclassified. He felt that had it not been for the relationship with the Met Council, the reclassification may not have happened.
Sawatzke asked what was driving the Study. Fingalson said the Study is being completed due to congestion problems in the metro area. This involves other counties because they are contributing to the problem. The Study will identify transit options for the future. He referenced the Highway 55 project. Although they have been working on this project for 11 years and have made some headway and safety improvements, it is not anticipated that this will be a four-lane highway for maybe 20 years because of funding. Efforts continue on enticing businesses to this area, which would result in less commuter traffic. However, that will take time. Fingalson said Wright County does not have the time to put a study together and this Study could provide overall opportunities to improve congestion problems.
Sawatzke referenced Sherburne County and their financial support of the Northstar project. Sherburne County is looking at funding solutions. Sawatzke did not want Wright County to participate in something that may require subsidy in the future for some type of transit system. Fingalson said the Study will identify the needs and funding sources. The Sherburne County Board took action to support the Northstar project. Fingalson said the Transit Study is exploratory and the County will have the option to decide whether to participate.
Thelen questioned the cost associated with not completing the study. Fingalson said in this day of “going green,” many commuters are still one passenger/vehicle. He felt the Study was good planning and will provide tools for the future. Fingalson said LaBine tried to get something like this started previously but there was a lack of funding. The Transit Study will be provided at no cost to the County. Noel LaBine, Wright County Economic Development Partnership, commented on the support for the Study by the cities in Wright County. The majority of the City of Dayton is in Hennepin County and is part of the Met Council. Therefore, half of the cities in Wright County (8 of 16) are in support of the Study. Sawatzke asked whether all cities were contacted on the Study. LaBine said notice was sent by the Buffalo City Administrator to all cities with a request to weigh in on the subject. LaBine said the reason he originally tried to get funding for a transit study is that he felt that gas prices will increase. This will result negatively on the demand for housing and the economy in Wright County. At some point in the future, transit service will be reconsidered. He understood the concern the County Board has with the Northstar project and the funding impact on Sherburne County. He thought that Sherburne County was subsidizing the project at $1 million/year. Sawatzke was unsure of the amount but read that Sherburne County had to help provide funding toward a backup locomotive recently for a few hundred thousand dollars. Russek read in the newspaper that Sherburne County was thinking about implementing a sales tax to fund this, which would not be good for the businesses in that area. LaBine said the extra tax was agreed to by Sherburne County and not imposed by the Met Council. Russek agreed but said Sherburne County has to get their funding somewhere. LaBine said Chisago County also has a transit service but was unsure of their funding source. He did not feel the Met Council could take over a county’s tax base without it being agreed upon. LaBine said the Study is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of. He felt the fear of the Met Council takeover was unfounded.
Sawatzke said prior to taking action, he would like to review the draft Study completed on Goodhue and St. Croix Counties. Sawatzke made a motion to lay the issue over for two weeks to offer the opportunity to review the Studies of the two Counties and to see if additional letters are received from Wright County cities expressing interest in the project. The motion was seconded by Russek. Mattson said he is a member of the Highway 55 Coalition. Prior to that, he filled in at the meetings. Met Council had their time to place Highway 55 on their long-range plan but they chose not to as they had so many problems with other roads. Fingalson stated that now that the Met Council is engaged, they have come forth. Because of their efforts, Highway 55 was reclassified. Fingalson said the Study will address the need for transit, the types of transit, and where funding will come from. Eichelberg thought the fear of the Met Council was somewhat unfounded and did not view the Study as a detriment. He supported laying the issue over for two weeks. Thelen will provide a copy of the Study to the County Board for review. The motion carried 5-0.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested the Board authorize signatures on the Grant Agreement with the State of Minnesota DNR for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Project. On 4-06-10, the County Board approved accepting the Grant along with the match requirements. The purchase is scheduled for 6-17-10. On 6-08-10, the County Board will be asked to authorize signatures on the Purchase Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding Addendum. Sawatzke made a motion to authorize signatures as requested, seconded by Thelen.
Russek asked about the County’s cost. As outlined in the 4-06-10 minutes, the project funding for the June, 2010 acquisition will be:
$549,628 Grant funds
$274,814 County Match ($166,668 approved)
$274,814 City of Monticello Match
$1,099,256 Total for Phase 2
Russek said there will be other things the County will need to fund. Requests should be considered on the basis of necessity. Russek voted against the request the last time and said he will do so again. The County has the opportunity to hang onto the funds. He felt Parks are fine but it is not a necessary thing. The State keeps cutting funding and people cannot afford tax increases. Russek said the Board needs to make hard decisions on what is nice and what is necessary. Mattson felt the DNR should contribute considerably toward this project. He said there are many parks in Wright County and there is a lot of maintenance required in what is owned already. The motion carried 3-2 with Mattson and Russek casting the nay votes.
Kathleen Poate, President, I-94 West Chamber of Commerce and Tom Darkenwald, Otsego City Council Member, brought forth discussion on the I-94 Corridor Coalition accomplishments and a funding request. Information was distributed on Coalition activities since 2008. Poate said that last year, Senator Franken and Senator Klobuchar were approached to include in the Reauthorization Bill approximately $25 million to improve I-94 from the Fish Lake Interchange to Monticello. This is supported by both Mn/DOT District 3 and Mn/DOT Metro. Both Senators were able to include that in the Bill. However, the Coalition may have to resubmit as it has taken so long to pass the Bill. Both Representative Erik Paulson and Representative Michele Bachmann have included this in their list of priorities. Representative Paulson has included in his Authorization the area from Brockton Lane Crossing to Cabela’s near TH 101 in Rogers. Representative Bachmann has included the area from TH 101 in Rogers to Albertville, up to the test site. They chose to end at the test site based on how Mn/DOT wants to reconfigure in order to get a third lane through. They have also submitted through St. Michael a $2 million project to complete an auxiliary lane from TH 101 in Rogers to the Hwy. 241 off ramp in St. Michael to help alleviate traffic in that area. Both Mn/DOT District 3 and Mn/DOT Metro support this. Poate provided information on financial support the I-94 Corridor Coalition has received from cities along the I-94 Corridor and private business. She stated that any trips to Washington, D.C. for lobbying efforts have been funded personally by those attending, not from Coalition dollars. The group continues to seek financial support.
Darkenwald talked about the importance of meeting with Representatives in Washington, D.C. as a group (Coalition members, Hassan Township, and the Cities of Albertville, Dayton, Monticello, St. Michael, Rogers, and Otsego). That relationship has been viewed positively. Representatives and their staff have taken the time to listen to their submittals for appropriations and authorizations, as well as the overall project. The Coalition has a commercial on the Internet which has generated positive feedback. The commercial was also played for 22,000 residents along the corridor by local newscasts. The website is www.I94COALITION.com.
Discussion led to funding. The cities of Albertville, Dayton, Otsego, Rogers, St. Michael, and the Township of Hassan contribute $.50 per capita to the I-94 Corridor Coalition. Poate said they have a number of in-kind donations as well. Darkenwald viewed a County contribution to assist the group in obtaining Federal funding as an efficient means of spending. The Coalition is in the process of recreating a brochure which will provide statistics on how congestion impacts revenues for businesses. Sawatzke questioned the expenses related to the services provided by WSB. Poate said WSB provides the layout for brochures and other types of material. Expenditures by the Coalition to Lockridge Grindal Nauen relate to lobbying. Mattson questioned how I-94 can be moved up in Mn/DOT’s priority for projects. Poate stated that Mn/DOT told them that prior to the Coalition’s efforts, I-94 was on their plans for 2030. Now it is one of their top priorities. Sawatzke said I-94 does not meet traffic demands from Maple Grove to the Monticello/Clearwater area and an extra lane is needed. Poate said they are looking to add a 4th lane from Maple Grove to Rogers and a 3rd lane from Rogers to Clearwater (Mn/DOT’s goal is to Clearwater). Darkenwald said that when meetings are held with legislators and representatives, the goals of Mn/DOT are presented.
Sawatzke felt the I-94 Corridor Coalition request is similar to that of the TH 55 Coalition. If the Board felt it was appropriate to contribute to expand TH 55, this request would make sense as well. Fingalson said that Wright County authorized $10,000 to the TH 55 Corridor Coalition in 2001, with an annual $1,000 contribution since. The TH 55 Corridor Coalition has an annual budget of about $30,000 year and any lobbying efforts are done by the group. Poate and Darkenwald spoke of the lobbying efforts provided by Lockridge for the I-94 Corridor Coalition. Lockridge provides the ground work and makes the connections the group is unable to make. Sawatzke inquired as to what type of funding the group is requesting. Darkenwald said they were looking for $.25 per capita. Sawatzke said that would equate to $25,000. Sawatzke asked whether Hennepin County was being approached as a funding source. A fair amount of I-94 lies in Hennepin County and many Hennepin County residents use I-94 for weekend travel. Poate said they have not requested financial support from Hennepin County but that is an option to consider. Thelen asked the cost of creating an extra lane from Maple Grove to Clearwater. Darkenwald stated that the grant submitted was for an additional lane for around $90 million. Sawatzke asked whether the cities that have contributed will be expected to contribute annually. Poate said the cities know that the Coalition will request funding annually. They are in the process of renewing memberships for businesses. They have received positive feedback from the business community and most understand the need for the expansion. Mattson asked whether the approximate $76,000 listed as Coalition expenses is an annual figure. Darkenwald said the expenses date back to 2008. Some of the costs were upfront and the expenditures should reduce. An annual report will be submitted to reflect expenditures.
Thelen pointed out the connection between this effort and the Transit Study as they relate to congestion problems. She said this is a very expensive proposition to take care of the need for increased lanes on I-94. She hoped the effort would also address transit. Poate said a portion of the brochure addresses transit. However, improvements are behind on I-94 and the roadway can’t continue with just two lanes to St. Cloud. Sawatzke offered the concept of a sane lane, which may get more people interested in carpooling. This might be something the State should consider. Poate said that discussion on this concept has taken place, especially when Representative Kennedy was in office. She felt the Coalition believes this to part of the transit piece but not until after the current problems are addressed. Sawatzke made a motion to contribute $5,000 to the I-94 Corridor Coalition for 2010 with funding from Budget 100, Professional Services. Potential future contributions will be discussed during budget sessions. The motion was seconded by Rose and carried unanimously.
Dennis Beise, Wright County Fair Board, distributed a summary of costs associated with purchasing new gates for the Goat and Llama Barn, which is being reconstructed at the Fair Grounds. The gates that were in the previous building are in storage. They are horse panels which include steel posts that are not moveable. If new gates are purchased, it will allow the option of the pens being moveable. The Fair Board will also be able to rent out the entire building for winter storage, resulting in an additional estimated $3,000/year in storage revenues. New pens would also provide the flexibility to use the barn as a show arena. Mattson was concerned with the Fair Board’s request for new pens, when initially they indicated they would use the old pens. He wondered if this was because the bids came in lower than anticipated and asked what they will do with the old pens. Beise said the former pens will be re-used in other areas.
Below is a list of what is required and quotes that were received:
Gates needed for the new Goat & Llama Barn: 60 gates 8 ft. long and 4 ft. high with hardware; 80 gates 4 ft. long and 4 ft. high with hardware; 40 gates 10 ft. long and 5 ft. high with hardware
Quotes Received:
Country Store – Howard Lake - $16,920.00; Martie’s Farm Service - $15,656.00; Maple Lake Country Store – NA; Tractor Supply Company - $16,653.26; Wright Lumber - $597.52 for lumber & $200.00 labor
Sawatzke suggested that the County authorize $10,000 from insurance funds for the pens and the Fair Board could fund the remainder. This is based on the anticipation of additional funding for rent and because of the extra revenue which will be generated from the Moline Show this summer. Beise felt it would be better to look at the revenue from the Moline Show after it has occurred (in case of inclement weather). Russek moved to authorize the bid of Tractor Supply Company and Wright Lumber for a total of about $17,453.00. Beise said that the Tractor Supply Company quote does not offer the same quality as that offered through the Country Store quote. He estimated the quality to be about half. The quote from Martie’s Farm Service has larger panels. Russek withdrew his original motion to award the bid to Tractor Supply Company. Russek then made a motion to allow expenditures of up to $17,500 to purchase gates for the new Goat and Llama Barn at the Fairgrounds. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Rose questioned whether the quotes received were comparable. Beise explained that every gate is designed a little differently. Thelen asked whether the other companies that bid carry what the Country Store offers. Russek said if they do, the bid will be higher. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said the funding source is the remainder of the claim payment received from MCIT (Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust). To leave a proper audit trail, the County should be provided with the quotes received to attach to the documentation for payments (quotes for gates and lumber). Russek and Eichelberg accepted a friendly amendment to the motion to authorize $17,500 toward the purchase of the pens or the amount that is remaining from the insurance reimbursement, whichever is lower. This is because there may have been some type of deductible that the County was required to pay. The motion carried 5-0.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, recommended that the Board defer the award of the 2010 Street Lighting Improvement Project to a future Board Meeting. Bids were received and opened on 5-25-10 for the installation of street lighting at thirteen different intersections on Wright County highways. The project will be funded with 90% safety grant (HSIP) Federal Funds, and 10% Local Funds. Since Federal Funds are involved, the County needs to obtain DBE approval from Mn/DOT before the project is awarded. Eichelberg moved to defer the award until such time as documentation is received, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Fingalson distributed a summary of budget considerations relating to the award of the CSAH 12 Reconstruction Project. Bids for the project (just south of Buffalo) were received and opened on 5-25-10. The recommendation is to award the contract to Mathiowetz Construction Co. of Sleepy Eye, MN, in the amount of $3,025,922.25. State Aid funding will cover the cost of this project. Fingalson stated that the 2010 budget figure is low for this project. They based the budget for this project on the usual rule of $1 million/mile. At the time the budget was submitted, they had not designed the project. Soil correction will be required for over 50% of the job with surcharging and wick drains. There was also a change in distance from 1.2 miles to 1.9 miles. Fingalson said the bid from Mathiowetz Construction is the low bid and is 23.58% under estimate. Traffic control will be required for the County portion and the City portion. Fingalson said unfortunately, they are off from what was budgeted. With State Aid money involved, they will have to make up for that in other projects and may have to advance encumber. The Hwy. 3 project south of Cokato will be completed in 2012 instead of 2011 so that will provide an opportunity to catch up. Mattson asked about right-of-way costs. Fingalson estimated $325,000; however, it is hard to estimate this amount with six properties being involved in condemnation. All six properties are outside of City limits. In response to a question by Sawatzke on the project costs, Fingalson said there are two distinct projects for a total of $7.1 million ($3,350,922.25-County project and $3,801,165.33-City project). Russek moved to award the bid to Mathiowetz Construction Co., seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 5-26-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0:
JAIL MEDICAL SERVICES. The Board directed Sheriff/Corrections staff to explore possible alternatives to the existing Jail medical services contract through Buffalo Correctional Health Care (affiliated with Allina Hospital). The current contract expires 12-31-10. Proposals were received from Mend Correctional Care and Advanced Correctional Healthcare for Jail medical services. The proposals are based upon cost of inmate care for 2010. The proposals are calculated on inmate population and the level of service. The proposal from Mend Correctional Care is $183,410. Mend Correctional Care was started by Dr. Todd Leonard, a Minnesota physician. The company has four new Minnesota contracts. The proposal is based on an average of 45 hours of RN coverage, which is 24 hours less than the contract with Buffalo Correctional Health Care. It includes adding a Medical Assistant but that position cannot administer medications or see patients. The proposal would include one physician day per week as needed. This could include from no hours to as many hours as required. The physician is not part of the Allina Hospital so there may be associated costs. As there would not be a 24/7 nurse on staff, a phone call tree would be utilized. O’Malley voiced concern with the phone call tree and ramifications of how soon a call may be returned. With the Buffalo Correctional Health Care contract, there is 24/7 access to a doctor. When possible, assistance is given over the phone to avoid a hospital transport. O’Malley described the services provided by Buffalo Correctional Health Care as top notch. Sawatzke referenced Page 9 of the Mend proposal which reflects, “Altogether, we expect our plan will lead to approximately $40,000 in annual total health care costs for Wright County Jail (depending on some totals for 2009 fiscal year).” O’Malley said that this is projected savings and that about $20,000 of this savings is attributable to the reduction in nursing staff (replaced with a Medical Assistant). Another large part is the implication that the pharmacy bills will be cut. O’Malley said it is not clear what level of service will be provided. The Jail currently works with Buffalo Correctional Health Care to manage and reduce medications where possible. The nursing staff provides top notch service. The County currently receives a 3rd party provider discount at Allina. The physician currently providing services becomes the attending physician for the inmate and is able to obtain medical records. He can also order lab work at the hospital, and the County is not charged an admitting or hospital fee. If the County were to change to another provider, O’Malley was unsure about the level of service and cost through Allina Hospital. The proposal from Advanced Correctional Healthcare is $191,839.04 (Option 2). They have been in business since 2002 and are based out of Peoria, Illinois. They are servicing five new correctional institutions in Minnesota at a cost of $360,000, but the average inmate population for those facilities is higher and it is unclear what services are being provided. O’Malley explained the reason Advanced Correctional Healthcare is servicing five new institutions in Minnesota is because those institutions have moved from providing service through Public Health. Advanced Correctional Healthcare offers four Options for service. Staff is recommending Option 2 as being closest to the current services provided through Buffalo Correctional Health Care. The Advanced Correctional Healthcare proposal includes 64 hours of nursing coverage and no pharmacy. There is an option for basic pharmacy but about 70% of medications are not covered. The nursing hours are the same with a physician on site weekly (no set hours, depends on need). Advanced Correctional Healthcare would also use a physician call tree that is not local for after hour and weekend care. O’Malley said they are not sure on the response time or what level of service would be provided over the telephone. The cost difference between Option 2 and what the County currently pays Buffalo Correctional Health Care is about 5.7% or one year’s increase. Both firms indicate they can cut pharmacy costs and save through purchasing. O’Malley said the County currently reimburses Buffalo Correctional Health Care at cost for items purchased. O’Malley voiced concern with the phone trees and the doctors not being part of the staff of the hospital. Currently, Buffalo Correctional Health Care provides training to Corrections staff and the physician assists with policies and procedures for the Jail. The Corrections Officers are trained in basic medical care, limiting the amount of care they can provide. O’Malley felt more trips to the hospital may result from moving to a new provider. The current contract provides 24/7 doctor assistance. There is also an agreement for transport at $500/ambulance run. The four nurses bring experience with corrections which is much different than the hospital setting. Torfin added that the nurses and doctors may know the inmates as clientele of the hospital. They did not envision that the current nursing staff would contract with either of the firms due to their tenure with Allina. The current contract with Buffalo Correctional Health Care provides 64 hours of RN coverage and a physician for a minimum of 3 hours/week (no additional charge for increased hours). The physician’s schedule has been flexible to accommodate the needs of inmates. He envisioned that the two proposals would probably include a traveling physician that is servicing other contracts or jail facilities. The nurses may be hired locally. Torfin stated that the proposals do not offer comparable services to what is being provided. Both firms had the opportunity to review current services and a targeted cost figure. O’Malley is uncomfortable with not knowing what service levels may change through a new contract. Weekends at the Jail are busy (detox situations, etc.) and staff works closely with Buffalo Correctional Health Care to assist inmates in an effort to prevent not having to transport to the hospital. The County realized a substantial increase in the contract with Buffalo Correctional Health Care this year based on an increase through EPA (Emergency Physicians Association). O’Malley said the physicians had not taken a salary adjustment for a number of years. Torfin explained that Buffalo Correctional Health Care is part of the community and views the contract with the Jail as part of that participation within the community. It was felt that moving to a contract with either of the firms would result in a reduction in benefits at a cost either near or at the same level as what is currently being paid. O’Malley and Torfin recommend continuing the contract with Buffalo Correctional Health Care. Recommendation: Continue contracting with Buffalo Correctional Health Care. Retain the documentation from Mend Correctional Care and Advanced Correctional & Healthcare for future reference. (End of Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
Mattson announced that Joe Scott recently passed away. He was a member of the Sheriff Mounted Patrol and the Owner’s Representative for the County on the remodel of the Highway Department and the 4th Floor Annex. The wake will be held June 2nd and the funeral is June 3rd. He expressed his sympathies.
Sawatzke reminded everyone of the Family Fun Day scheduled at the Bertram Chain of Lakes on 6-12-10. Those interested in attending can find out more information by accessing the City of Monticello website and searching for Friends of Bertram Lakes. All activities are provided free of charge and activities include (in part) a hot dog lunch, canoeing, wagon rides, swimming and fishing.
Russek requested that the following item be added to the next County Board Agenda: “Request To Authorize Attendance At The Water Summit, 7-12-10.”
Bills Approved
AERCOR Wireless Inc.. $5,375.00
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 16,893.00
Allina Medical Laboratories 299.80
Allina Medical Transportation 1,000.00
American Solutions for Bus 2,182.35
Ameripride Linen and Apparel 320.62
Anoka County Sheriff 11,855.16
Barker Co./Bob 350.41
Boyer Truck Parts 203.22
BP Amoco 287.97
Buffalo Auto Value 101.96
Cenex Fleetcard 566.04
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 1,923.04
CIT Information Services Inc. 3,923.75
Climate Air 112,059.00
Cub Pharmacy 1,446.32
Dental Care Associates 1,031.00
Engel/Dale L. 600.00
Fehn Gravel & Excavating 65,314.94
Fngalson/Wayne 1,050.63
Firehouse Auto Repair & Tow 208.65
Firstlab 148.00
Grainger 103.11
Granite Pest Control Serv. 116.49
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 5,166.16
Jobe/Steven 838.62
LaPlant Demo Inc. 991.02
Marco Inc. 2,366.42
Marietta Aggregate/Martin 1,833.41
Marietta Materials/Martin 312.60
Menards - Buffalo 442.50
MN Assn.of Assessing Office 380.00
MN Chemical Company 425.05
Nagell Appraisal & Consult 3,300.00
Nolan/Mark 135.00
Office Depot 1,385.21
Psychology Services of So 1,250.00
Road Machinery & Supplies. 190.13
Russek/John 236.50
Sand Creek Group Ltd. 5,157.50
Shell Fleet Plus 335.62
SHI International Corp 491.63
Skoog/Andrew and Hanna 5,641.00
Skoog/Andrew P. 9,865.00
Software House International 3,565.36
Sprint 7,476.72
St. Cloud Fire Equipment Inc. 2,671.58
Swing/William J. 248.00
Traffic Marking Service Inc. 14,306.12
Triplett/Keith 348.00
Walmart Store 01-1577 765.52
Wright Hennepin Coop Elec 184.23
Xcel Energy 574.51
18 Payments less than $100 904.33
Final total $299,148.20
The meeting adjourned at 10:45 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal July 19, 2010.


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