WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
NOVEMBER 2, 2010
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
The minutes of 10-26-10 were corrected as follows: Page 10, 2nd to last paragraph, remove the last three sentences of the paragraph and replace with the following language: “Mattice said there is one year-round public access on the lake operated by the DNR. Mattice is aware of one private access on the lake, that is not open year round, and the property owner charges to park boats and trailers. Mattice said his department hears from the public that this area off from Kramer Avenue is the only area to access that portion of the lake during the winter.” (Norman). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Thelen. Thelen asked for the following correction to the minutes: Page 8, 2nd paragraph, 9th line, add “Rose Thelen” to the list of people that attended the Parks Commission Meeting. The motion was amended to include this change and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the Agenda as presented.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: T. Erickson, S. Sandberg, K. Wolff, Atty.; M.J. Faulhaber, Aud./Treas.; B. Jans, Hwy.; P. Burke, A. Chaney, Sher./Corr.
2. Allow Non-Union Employees To Donate Vacation Time To An Employee On Medical Leave.
3. Authorize Continuance Of The Voluntary Leave Without Pay Program For 2011.
4. Review/Approve Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes, 2011 Budget Process.
1. Approve The 2011-2013 Memorandum Of Agreement Between Wright County And University Of Minnesota Extension For Providing Extension Programs Locally And Employing County Extension Staff.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said the Tax Forfeit Committee met recently to determine property classifications. The Assessor requested additional time to look at property valuations. Hiivala requested that the Committee reconvene for an opportunity to look at setting minimum bid prices on the properties. Russek and Mattson serve on the Tax Forfeit Committee. Russek moved to establish a Tax Forfeit Committee Meeting, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0. The meeting will be held in the Auditor’s Conference Room.
The claims listing was presented for approval. Russek referenced Page 1, reflecting six claims relating to costs associated with Court Appointed Counsel. Russek felt that these costs have been more frequent as of late. He recalled the Board used to see 1-2 a month and now there are claims almost every week. Today’s claims listing includes costs of $700. He questioned whether these costs should be included in the contract for legal services with Cathleen Gabriel. Sawatzke said this was discussed at the last Ways & Means Committee Meeting. The explanation was that these types of claims relate to civil commitment cases and are not included in Gabriel’s contract. The contract relates to representing CHIPS family cases. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried unanimously.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the County received a request from a resident of the Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Service District (SSD) to hook up to the sewer system in the lakes area. The parcel is in Phase 2 of the District and was not required to hook up at the time of the original project. There have been no new hook ups since 2005, but the projected trunk charge for 2010, based upon the original amount paid by residents of the District and information provided by the City of St. Michael, would be $10,762.00. The resident has inquired about having the trunk charge assessed against the property, as took place with many parcels back in 2002. The resident is researching the cost of a new septic on site versus hooking up to the SSD. Asleson said there are three separate action items.
1. Authorize Sewer Hook-Up For PID #215-000-053302.
Eichelberg moved to authorize the sewer hook up for PID #215-000-053302. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Mattson inquired whether this property was one that had installed a new sewer at the time of the project and so was not required to hook up. Asleson said some properties in Phase II of the SSD Project installed their own sewer systems instead of hooking up to the SSD. If the property included sufficient land, this was allowed. He was unsure if this was the case with the property being addressed. Asleson said the question at hand is whether the Board allows the hook up. In materials obtained from MFRA, the Engineering firm associated with the project, the data reflects a probable capacity of 16-20 hookups on that particular line. The property in question is only requesting one hookup. Asleson stated that the main line for the SSD runs along Halsey Avenue. Costs assessed by the County relate to the ability to connect to the SSD. The property owner is responsible for any other costs (running lines, the grinder pump, etc.). Asleson said it is likely that the landowner’s costs will be around $20,000. The motion to authorize the sewer hook up carried 5-0.
2. Set 2010 Trunk Charge For Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Service District.
Asleson said that in 2002, the landowners who hooked up to the SSD or were stubbed in incurred an approximate $8,700 cost. It was felt that any properties that would hook up at a later time would share in the cost of the original infrastructure. As time went on, the trunk charge inflated to stay in line with what the City of St. Michael was charging residents (within the City) but who were on the same line. The suggested amount is $10,762 in 2010. Asleson referred to a letter sent from the City of St. Michael to the resident reflecting that the hook-up fees the landowner will pay to the City are $2,926.00. The amount paid to the County relates to the lines and streets in the Township. The County bonded for those costs in 2002, and the amount assessed is to reimburse the County for costs already incurred. Sawatzke asked what happens with the assessment amount collected by the County. Asleson explained that the SSD is supposed to be self sufficient and that taxpayers elsewhere in the County are not supposed to fund the project. The money collected is placed into a fund to pay toward the debt service of the revenue bonds. Sawatzke asked whether an assessment such as this is considered extra at the end of the project as it was not figured it when the project was completed. Asleson stated that he visited with the Auditor/Treasurer recently about the fund. There has not been as much development in the SSD as was originally anticipated. There may be a shortfall toward the end of the debt service. The County may have to address this as the County is not responsible for these costs, the residents of the SSD are responsible. Russek said this may be the same situation with cities and the SAC/WAC charges anticipated are not being collected. Asleson said that the $10,762 trunk charge figure is based on the City’s fees to their residents. The City had increases in their fees up until 2007 and the rate has remained constant since then. He felt they may follow a construction price index in determining fees. Eichelberg moved to set the trunk charge for the Charlotte/Martha SSD at $10,762 for 2010. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
3. Consider Possible Assessment Of Trunk Charge For PID #215-000-053302.
Asleson said that after the 2002 project, the Board determined that the trunk charge should be paid at the time of hookup (for any future hookups). The Board could reconsider that position. Original assessments were spread over 20 years at an interest rate of 6%-7%. When a development is involved, the developer pays in full and collects from property owners when lots are sold. Other landowners who have hooked up to the system since 2002 have paid the costs up front. Sawatzke asked whether the County could allow this property owner to be set up on a plan so that the assessment plus interest is paid over 12 years. This would allow for a consistent date where all assessments would be paid up at the same time, as the assessments for residents who originally connected will be due at that time. Asleson will follow up with the Auditor/Treasurer to determine whether this is possible. Some residents did not hook up at the time of the SSD Project as their sewers were functioning properly. They resided in an area of the District where hookup was not required if there was an adequate septic system. The project concentrated on lots right on the lake as there were a lot of failing systems. After discussion, it was suggested that Asleson contact the landowner to discuss repayment options. Asleson said that the landowner may decide to hook up next spring. In that case, the Board will have to decide whether the 2010 trunk charge will apply or whether they will assess a different rate for 2011. The interest rate will also need to be determined. Eichelberg moved to lay this item over until Asleson feels it is appropriate to bring it forth on a future Board Agenda. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Sawatzke said whether the landowner hooks up to the SSD this year or next, they could agree to the cost now and start the payment process right away. If the landowner wants to wait until 2011 to start payment, then the $10,762 figure may need to be re-evaluated. The motion carried 5-0.
Asleson requested that the Board authorize signatures on a Joint Powers Agreement with the State of Minnesota for the purposes of the e-Charging Project. The County Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Office, and the District Court, in conjunction with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), are moving ahead with implementation of eCharging, the electronic filing of criminal complaints. In order to have a direct system interface with the State’s computer system, the BCA is requiring a Joint Powers Agreement between the State and each law enforcement or prosecuting agency. Asleson explained that the current process for dealing with criminal complaints involves the Attorney’s Office drafting the complaint. It is then signed by law enforcement and presented to a judge for signature. Copies are then made. Time is spent carrying the documents from office to office. With eCharging, signatures are completed electronically. The State is requesting each law enforcement and prosecuting agency to enter into a Joint Powers Agreement to cover the electronic access to their data. The information will be interwoven with MINCIS (Courts System). Asleson requested signatures on the two Joint Powers Agreements (Attorney, Sheriff). The BCA has also sent Agreements to the 16 cities that contract for law enforcement. Cindy Hohl, Office Manager, Attorney’s Office, is the contact person for the Joint Powers Agreement for the Attorney’s Office. Lt. Greg Howell, Sheriff’s Office, is the contact person for the Joint Powers Agreement for the Sheriff’s Office. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, questioned the funding sources. Asleson said the fee is $480 annually for the County Attorney‘s Office as there is only one terminal to access BCA data. The fee is $33,240 annually for the Sheriff’s Office as there are more data terminals (63 mobile data terminals). Lt. Howell stated this amount is included in the Sheriff’s Department budget. These are fees they have included in the Sheriff’s budget for a long time. Lt. Howell stated warrants are not part of the current project but he could foresee them being included at some point. Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, said eCharging is the first step in the direction of a legal/law hub concept brought forth by Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director. Swing said warrants are a component in the future of the eCharging project. Eichelberg questioned whether the annual cost will increase. Lt. Howell said the amount has remained fairly consistent for the amount of terminals they have. Thelen moved to authorize signatures on the eCharging Joint Powers Agreements with the State of Minnesota for the Sheriff and Attorney Offices. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0. A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 10-27-10. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0:
I. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, GENELL REESE, VETERANS SERVICES/CIVIL DEFENSE DIRECTOR. Based on the review of four Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends our overall rating of “Exceptional”.
II. CONSIDER RE-APPOINTMENT OF GENELL REESE, VETERANS SERVICE OFFICE, TO A FOUR-YEAR TERM COMMENCING 2-01-11. Recommendation: Reappoint Genell Reese to a four-year term commencing February 1, 2011.
III. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, TOM SALKOWSKI, PLANNING & ZONING ADMINISTRATOR. Based on the review of five Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”.
(End of 10-27-10 Personnel Committee Minutes)
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 10-27-10. The minutes and discussion which occurred at today’s County Board Meeting follow:
Possible Extension Of Contract For Legal Services For Child Protection Matters.
At the last meeting, copies were distributed of the three proposals received for legal services for child protection matters (attached). The proposals were laid over to provide an opportunity for review.
At yesterday’s County Board Meeting, a question arose on payment of two claims ($100 each) to Cathleen Gabriel. Gabriel currently has the contract with the County for CHIPS/TPR Cases, at a cost of $72,800 per year. Today, Norman distributed a handout reflecting payments made in 2010 to Gabriel (attached). Gabriel explained that the two claims in question relate to civil commitment cases and are not included in the contract she holds with the County. The Courts appoint her to the cases. Gabriel stated that civil commitments are $100 unless the case is complex. In those cases, work is billed at $85/hour. She said there has only been one civil commitment case billed at that rate. Sawatzke asked Richards whether he works with civil commitments. Richards indicated he does and that most are billed at $100/hour. His hourly charges (billed at $85/hour) relate mostly to cases dealing with psychopaths.
Sawatzke said his observation of the three proposals is that two of them are more complete (Richards and Gabriel). The third proposal, from Amy Jo Chantry, was less complete and the most expensive. Richard’s proposal does not cover appeals and is a little less expensive. Gabriel’s proposal covers appeals and is a little more expensive. He felt that the two proposals are close to equal in price given this comparison. Although both are capable and have legitimate proposals, he was more inclined to remain with Gabriel given that the County has contracted with her and the relationship has been good. Both proposals request a three-year contract. The contract with Gabriel allows for a 30-day cancellation clause with written notice.
Gabriel stated there are many open cases that will be scheduled into next year. She felt it would be less disruptive to those involved if the County renewed her contract. She has built solid relationships with the clients and they trust her and the process. Richards responded that he would be willing to work with Gabriel on the transition. He said there is an $18,000 difference in contract price over the three-year period and if there is only one appeal per year, he estimated it would cost about half of that. He viewed appeals as rare. Gabriel said there have been three appeals over the last 2.5 years, and two of them have been this year. She estimated the final bill for the appeal to be around $5,000 (attorney fees only). Sawatzke said his position remains that the two contracts are relatively equal.
Discussion followed on tracking actual costs associated with this contract. Sawatzke said the County can only base their decision on the information provided by those involved. He understands things have been going well. Sawatzke told Richards that he has respect for his firm and felt if they had been at the table a year ago, it may have resulted in a more competitive discussion. Richards said he had tried to be involved in the process. He was in contact with the former Court Administrator, but he was not made aware of the quote process. Richards said his proposal was based on the information available, which was minimal. It included the number of filings. He was unsure how many hours have been put in thus far on the cases. His proposal would include a six-month review. He felt the number of hours reflected by Gabriel may be high. He voiced concern as a citizen on whether the number of hours is being documented. Richards said in the last year, not including review files, there have been about 40 new filings. The vast majority of those are straightforward. He estimated 20-25% will require more energy. He was unsure how many of the 40 filings were contested. Richards said the vast majority settles short of trial, and he would be surprised if 10% reach trial. He restated that if he received the contract, he would ask for a review of the data in six months.
Sawatzke asked whether Gabriel could provide a report at the end of each calendar year to reflect the number of cases, how many went to trial, and how many were appealed. Gabriel said this has been documented. In 2008, the Chief Public Defender provided this information. There have been three attorneys working on cases and the documentation reflects work on CHIPS cases at over 40 hours per week. Gabriel said she is scheduled in Court two days per week. Given that, it would be realistic that Gabriel spends a minimum of 20 hours per week. Norman said Section 8 of the Contract addresses keeping records and availability of those records. Sawatzke asked Gabriel to provide data for 2008, 2009, and 2010 in January, 2011. The data for 2010 can be provided after the first of the year.
Richards stated that when Gabriel cited 2008, filings were off the chart. The system has changed. Human Services has budget limitations, and there has been a large decline in cases in Sherburne County, with a significant drop in Wright County. Richards asked that the contract only be entered into for one year for review of the documentation and whether the contract amount is appropriate. He said he was not only asking this as a lawyer, but as a citizen. Sawatzke said the County would like to enter into a three-year contract to prevent going through this process annually. The contract allows for cancellation.
Richards amended his proposal to $58,000. Appeals would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. He amended his proposal in good faith to show that this service can be provided for less and with the same service. The Committee informed Gabriel and Richards that they are welcome to attend the Board Meeting when the Committee recommendation is addressed. Sawatzke said the proposals can be lowered but it is not the County’s common operating procedure to accept proposals and then allow someone to reduce their proposal.
Norman noted a correction in the contract with Gabriel. The contract reflects monthly payments commencing “January 1, 2010” and it should be corrected to “January 1, 2011.” The term of the contract is January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013. Asleson will correct the contract. Recommendation: Accept proposal from Cathleen Gabriel and enter into a three-year contract (January 1, 2011 December 31, 2013) at a cost not to exceed $72,800 per year.
(End of 10-27-10 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke said the Committee reviewed the two proposals which were most competitive and complete. Those proposals were from Cathleen Gabriel (CGW Law Office) and Thomas Richards (Johnson, Larson, Peterson & Halvorson, P.A.). Gabriel’s proposal is $72,800 for legal services for child protection matters including appeals. Richard’s proposal is $66,000 for legal services for child protection matters not including appeals. Sawatzke said the likelihood of appeals is 1-2 per year at an approximate cost of $3000-$5000 each. He felt the proposals are close in cost given this difference. Sawatzke said that he and Mattson feel the proposals are similar and both parties are capable of providing service. At the Committee Meeting, Richards amended his proposal to a reduced fee of $58,000. The Committee’s recommendation was to accept the proposal from Cathleen Gabriel, because the County currently holds a contract with her for these services and it is going well. The Committee requested that Gabriel provide a statistical analysis at the end of each year. The contract includes a 30-day out clause for either party.
Norman distributed a formal, amended proposal from Johnson, Larson, Peterson & Halvorson, P.A. in the amount of $58,000. The proposal reflects that the firm would agree to extend the contract for up to two additional years at this cost. Appeals are excluded. Amanda Koble, Associate Attorney, represented Johnson, Larson, Peterson & Halvorson at the Board meeting. Richards was unavailable because of court proceedings. Koble said the contract includes the work of four attorneys. At a cost of $58,000, that is significantly below the current contract rate with Gabriel. Appeals are not included in the amended proposal but their firm believes there will not be any more than 1-2 per year. They will ask the judge for a reduced hourly rate on those cases. Koble stated Richards has 25 years of experience in child protection and juvenile matters. She felt the reduced proposal was in the best interest of the County. Mattson said the Committee informed both firms that this would be discussed at today’s Board Meeting.
Russek questioned whether there was a specific date by which the proposals were to be submitted to the County. Norman said the Ways & Means Committee accepted proposals at their 10-13-10 meeting. Asleson said the County does have some flexibility with regard to receiving proposals. The County can elect to negotiate with one party. When the County Board decides to accept proposals, a time and date is established that they must be submitted by. The assumption is that the decision will be based upon the proposals received. If a situation arises where the proposals change, all parties who submitted proposals should be notified. In this case, there were three proposals. Two of the parties were aware that the process changed mid-stream. If the Board would elect to reconsider proposals, Asleson said the process should be re-advertised. Sawatzke felt Richards did have the ability to change their proposal. The concern Sawatzke has is that the amendment to Richard’s proposal occurred at the Committee Meeting after Sawatzke and Mattson showed their preference to remain with Gabriel for these services. He said if the proposal from Richards had been $58,000 originally, there may have been greater discussion on the potential savings through the contract. Sawatzke added that the Board respects the Johnson, Larson, Peterson & Halvorson Law Firm and views Richards as experienced within the field. Russek said the fact remains that the amended proposal came in after the fact. Although there may be an opportunity to provide an amended proposal, he did not support accepting a proposal after a firm finds out what the other firm has proposed.
Koble said it is her understanding that appeals are not normally included in contracts, the cost is always in addition to the contract. At the Ways & Means Committee Meeting, she thought Richard’s understanding was that Gabriel’s proposal would include appeals. She understood that is why Richards submitted another proposal at that meeting, as that was not something he had comprehended as being part of the contract.
Eichelberg said the Committee has met several times to go over this contract. He supported following the Committee’s recommendation based on the Board’s request to receive proposals for these services. Sawatzke made a motion to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
Sawatzke moved to approve the contract for legal services for child protection services with Cathleen Gabriel at a cost not to exceed $72,800 per year for the period of 1-01-11 to 12-31-13. The motion was seconded by Russek. Thelen asked that Gabriel speak to the differences in price from her contract to the one submitted by Johnson, Larson, Peterson and Halvorson, P.A. Gabriel explained that this is a professional service and she felt different types of work will be received as it relates to price. She said it is important to look at these services and also what has happened since 2008. It is important as well to hear from the Judges as they pick who is in the courtroom. From the information submitted by the judges, it appears they are satisfied with the work performed. In 2008, the public defenders stopped working on CHIPS cases. At that time, Gabriel and the Chief Public Defender spoke to the group on the importance of having someone with experience. Gabriel said she has similar work experience in Benton County. In 2008, she submitted a proposal. The normal price per hour charged is $85-$100. At that time, she compared the number of hours worked by the public defenders, and spoke with the County Attorney’s office. Her proposal was based on 20 hours per week at a cost of $70/hour. She was unsure how Mr. Richards arrived at his proposal figure. She said the information on which to base the proposal is available by contacting the offices of Court Administration and County Attorney. Gabriel said the group is very cohesive and it is important they work together in Court. The focus is on the children and what is important to them and their parents. She thought the County Board did the right thing and accepted the responsibility for CHIPS cases. She felt all members were grateful. The motion carried 5-0 to accept the contract with Gabriel.
Thelen said she was contacted by Steve Berg, Emergency Management Director, on being appointed to the Wright County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee. Former County Commissioner Karla Heeter served on this Committee. In review of the list, the Board noted that Pam Henry-Neaton is no longer on the Waverly City Council and so that position will need to be reappointed as well. Russek made a motion to appoint Thelen to the Wright County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee, replacing former County Commissioner Karla Heeter. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution 10-37, Resolution of final acceptance for the TH 55 and Wright CSAH 12 Construction Project, Contract #0809, with Knife River Corporation of Sauk Rapids, MN, and authorize final payment of $3,958.16. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Norman said the next Quad County Meeting will be held on 11-30-10. Benton County is hosting. Although the meeting time and agenda have not been established, it appears the meeting will start at 10:30 A.M. Norman asked that any agenda items for this meeting be submitted by 11-03-10.
Russek announced that the new Chairman of the Fair Board is Ward Westphal.
A-1 Concrete Leveling. $1,200.00
AAA Striping Service Inc. 11,116.40
Albertville Body Shop Inc. 1,146.45
Allina Hospitals & Clinic 16,959.16
Allina Medical Laboratories 566.30
American Solutions for Bus 1,005.03
Ameripride Services 220.32
Anoka County Sheriff 8,744.73
Aramark Services Inc. 20,037.60
Bachman Printing 368.00
BP Amoco 1,666.95
Buffalo Auto Value 306.36
Buffalo Floral & Landscaping 160.00
Cenex Fleetcard 599.87
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 763.02
Central MN Concrete Cut 300.00
Clearwater Township 625.20
Climate Air 6,071.50
Cokato Township 491.55
Creative Forms & Concepts 462.52
Dell Marketing LP 2,528.92
Deluxe for Business 360.32
Design Electrical Contract 2,886.73
Distinctive Design Irrigation 589.78
Elk River Municipal Utilities 123.85
EmergencyPhysicians Prof 858.00
Erickson Engineering Co 7,277.50
Fastenal Company 157.85
General Office Products Co. 940.50
Granite Electronics 301.00
Hennepin County Sheriff 140.00
Hillyard Inc. - Miinneapolis 2,296.67
Indentix Incorporated 1,309.24
Impact Proven Solutions 15,708.00
Inn on Lake Superior/The 952.32
Integrated Fire & Security 9,000.00
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 142.14
Kimberlys Brokerage Inc. 1,207.08
Knife River 3,958.16
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,544.14
Lawson Products Inc. 551.73
Marco Inc. 6,856.75
Marietta Aggregates/Martin 303.16
Marysville Township 866.20
Mathiowetz Construction 309,796.26
McCarthy Well Company 175.00
Metro Group Inc/The 4,102.26
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc. 4,809.80
Minnesota Department of H 319.51
MN Chemical Company 936.23
MN Fall Maintenance Expo 695.00
Moore & Moore Water Treat 300.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 1,212.47
National Highway Institute 1,500.00
Office Depot 1,802.09
Retrofit Companies Inc. 718.00
Richards/Thomas W. 200.00
RS Eden 7,383.75
Southside Township 577.40
Specialty Turf & Ag 595.83
State Supply Co 330.35
Synergy Graphics 498.98
Total Printing 108.48
Voss Lighting 512.15
Walmart Store 01-1577 520.87
Wright County Highway Dept 299.50
Wright Hennepin Coop Elec 188.91
Wright Soil & Water Cons. Di 203.98
Xcel Energy 611.50
Zack’s Inc. 540.19
26 Payments less than $100 1,091.03
Final total $479,286.93
The meeting adjourned at 9:57 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 27, 2010.