Wright County Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 22, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
On a motion by Thelen, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the 2-15-11 County Board Minutes as presented.
Petitions to the Agenda were discussed. Bob Hiivala, Aud./Treas., referenced the 9:10 A.M., Aud./Treas. Item 1, “Approve Resolution Certifying Certain Parcels Of Land To Be Sold For Tax Forfeiture As Non-Conservation Land.” Hiivala stated he would not be asking the Board to adopt a resolution today. He will instead request that the Board schedule a date for a public hearing to review the classifications. Thelen moved to approve the Agenda with that change, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: J. Hall, J. Miller, D. Pobuda, D. Weed, Sheriff.
1. Authorize Temporary Use Of Former Narcotic’s “Situation Room,” 2-28-11 to 7-31-11, Staging Area For The Human Services Document Imaging Project.
1. Parks Department 2010 Annual Report.
Pat O’Malley, Jail Administrator, presented a retirement plaque to Mike Erickson for his dedicated service as a Corrections Officer from 11-29-93 to 2-25-11. Erickson was congratulated on his retirement.
Hiivala said that in July, 2010, the Legislature changed the process for dealing with property classifications. Municipalities must now be given an opportunity to provide input on the classifications. After a 60-day review period by the municipalities, the Auditor will present to the County Board a resolution outlining the parcels of land that will be sold for tax forfeiture as non-conservation land. The resolution will then be forwarded to the State. At the request of Hiivala, Mattson moved to set the date for Board review for 5-03-11. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.
Hiivala presented the January Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines for review. Hiivala noted that some of the appropriations have gone out for the first quarter or half of the year. On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Guidelines as presented.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Mattson, all voted to approve a plat, “REGISTERED LAND SURVEY NO. 41,” as submitted by Michael D. and Darla R. Paripovich, fee owners of property described in part as: Part of Gov’t Lot 2, Sec 07-Twp 120-Rg 25; and Part of SW1/4 of NE1/4, Sec 07-Twp 120-Rg 25; and Part of Gov’t Lot 3, Sec 07-Twp 120-Rg 25, and W1/2 of SE1/4 of Sec 07-Twp 120-Rg 25 have caused the same to be surveyed and platted as Registered Land Survey No. 41; with all outstanding taxes, including green acre liability, if any having been paid and ready for recording.
Hiivala requested the Board schedule a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting for the purpose of reviewing the 2010 Revenue/Expenditure Budget Summary. Sawatzke moved to schedule a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 3-01-11 at 10:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried unanimously.
The claims listing was reviewed. Sawatzke questioned a claim on Page 14, Civic Research Institute Inc. ($179.95). Upon review of the claim, Hiivala stated it is for a subscription to the Correctional Law Reporter for Sheriff/Corrections. On a motion by Mattson, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Barb Chaffee, Executive Director of the Central MN Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS), provided an update on CMJTS activities. The recession has caused many people to be unemployed across the eleven counties. Many unemployed workers are facing long-term unemployment not seen since the Great Depression. There are seven job seekers for every job opening nationwide. The activity logs reflect 156,000 visits to Workforce Area 5 compared to 63,000 before the recession began. This signifies the masses of people that are still out of work. Many have been out of work for over two years. CMJTS has served 5,505 adult workers and placed 982 in training. They have served 72 employers across the Region with OJT (on-the-job training) contracts, paying 50% of a new employee’s wages. The CMJTS won the MWCA Employer Partnership Award for streamlining the OJT process. They served 830 youth supported by 39 school districts and youth partnerships with ARRA (American Recover and Reinvestment Act) funding. They served 603 teens with disabilities. A total of 1,611 youth were assisted in various youth programs. Outreach services were provided to 2,452 youth. In 2010, CMJTS staff member Mary Redfield received the State Employment Services of the Year Award and the CMJTS received the DEEDS Outstanding State and Local Partnership Award. Chaffee outlined the funding stream for the Workforce Development System (from US Department of Labor, to the MN Governor and the Legislature, to MN DEED, to Local Elected Officials). Chaffee said the Local Elected Officials (LEO) is the Joint Powers Board. This provides them the fiduciary responsibility for the Federal dollars that are available. The funding stream continues from the LEO to the Administrative Entity (CMJTS) and local Workforce Investment Boards. Chaffee provided an overview of the CMJTS Audit Results (years ending June 30, 2010 and 2009). No significant deficiencies were identified and no instances of noncompliance were required to be reported. There were no audit findings relative to the major federal grant programs. The CMJTS is qualified as a low-risk auditee. There were no findings or questioned costs related to the Financial Statement Audit, the Major Federal Award Program Audit, or the Major Federal Award Findings. Mattson referenced the results which reflected adult, youth and dislocated workers served through the Workforce Investment Act. Chaffee clarified that the numbers do not reflect the amount of each group served but rather the Federal number attributed to the grant. Chaffee stated that the CMJTS Annual Report is sent to the Governor, 55 Commissioners in the Workforce area, Legislators, and Congressman. It is a document that is required by Law. The CMJTS must disclose the governance of their Board. Under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, there must be a Workforce Investment Board. The report reflects what types of dollars were received and who was served. Normally the funding has a 50/50 State and Federal split. There was a Federal contribution of 78% the prior year due to ARA Funding.
Dina Wuornos is the Regional Supervisor of CMJTS staff that facilitates programs in Wright and Sherburne Counties. Wuornos highlighted areas in the Annual Report (calendar format). Wright County’s success stories were featured in November. Tony Thomann, Central Region Manager for Wright & Sherburne Counties, said Wright County was still the third fastest growing County in the State between 2000 and 2009, expanding 34.1 percent. In comparison, the State grew 7.8% so far this decade. Wright County is the 10th largest County in Minnesota and the largest non-metro County in the State. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, Wright County had a much younger population than the State as a whole, with 37% under the age of 25 compared to 34% Statewide. At $179,900, Wright County had the tenth highest median home sales price in the State in 2009; though that was a $14,000 decline since 2008. The number of home sales reported also declined between 2008 and 2009, dropping over 30% year-over-year. At the same time, the number of foreclosures in Wright County fell 15% from 2008 to 2009. The 861 foreclosures reported in 2009 were the 6th highest in the State. Close proximity to job markets in the Twin Cities has led to high levels of commuting, where 57% of Wright County’s working aged residents leave Wright County to work. Thomann referenced the Industry Employment Characteristics which reflect that there has been a decline of 1% in the number of jobs available in Wright County. Although manufacturing took a hit during the recession, there was an increase of 62 jobs or a 1.6% increase. He referenced Dura Supreme’s layoff of 87 people a couple of years ago. He felt it was very important to see the growth in this area. There was also an increase of 65 jobs in Professional & Technical Services and an increase of 15 jobs in Health Care & Social Assistance. Some weakness continues to be seen in Construction but that seems to be bottoming out. Thomann referenced the Industry and Labor Force Statistics for Central Minnesota. The unemployment rate for Wright County in December, 2010 was 7.8% compared to 7.6% for the Ste. That figure is down 3% from one year ago. The job vacancy rate for Central Minnesota is 1 job for every 7.5 people. It is hard to get a handle on that figure due to the amount of commuters. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, referenced the matrix on page 2 dealing with industry employment statistics. Norman questioned whether the increase in Public Administration jobs relates to the completion of the census. Thomann stated this was correct. Chaffee commented that the construction trade is about 51% unemployed in this area. She extended thanks to Wright County for supporting the CMJTS Partnership which is in its 27th year.
At 9:32 A.M., Thelen made a motion to close the regular meeting to enter into a Public Hearing to discuss submission of Regional Park and Legacy Grants for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park Phase Four Acquisitions and the Robert Ney Regional Park Acquisition of an adjoining 20 acres. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0. The Public Hearing is part of the application process.
Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Wright County and the City of Monticello have been working together since 2005 to explore the feasibility and process to purchase the Bertram Chain of Lakes area from the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Minneapolis. Since that time, the project has been successful in being awarded over $2.8 million in grant funding from the LCCMR, Metro Green Ways Program, Non Metro Regional Park Program, and the Park Legacy Program. These funds were used, along with local funds, to acquire 370 acres to date.
The remaining 830 acres of the property is under the ownership of the YMCA for the operation of its day camp facility. This entire area is located in Monticello Township and encompasses four undeveloped Lakes (Bertram, Long, Mud and First). The remaining purchases are contingent upon State funding and other grants, as well as local funding match requirements from the County and the City. The current process involves negotiating a Phase 3 purchase that would include approximately 169 acres along the shores of both Bertram and Long Lakes, and grant funding for this phase has been secured.
Wright County and the City of Monticello have an agreement with the landowner to purchase the remaining parcels over the next few years as funding from grants becomes available. The order these parcels will be purchased has been established upon successful award of grant funds.
This grant request is for $798,390. If successful, this grant would need to be matched with equal contributions of $266,131 by Wright County and the City of Monticello (each). The County’s share of the local match for the entire project, including the 2008 purchase, will have about a $7/year impact on a home valued at $200,000. The City has done a similar cost relationship for their share of the local costs associated with the purchase.
This grant request is for acquisition only. The acquisition schedule, according to the agreement, should be completed by December 31, 2013 allowing time to solicit non-local funding for the project. The order of purchases depends heavily on the amount of funds awarded. The purchase order for the remaining parcels as shown on the map displayed are: Parcels 7, 1, 2, 9, 10, 12, 8, 5, 4, 3. The City of Monticello is in the process of making a separate application to the Outdoor Recreation Grant Program to attempt to secure funds for parcels 1 and 2. This schedule depends entirely upon funding levels, and may need to be adjusted if funding levels do not meet the cost of the individual parcel listed. Future costs associated with this project will include facility development, operations and maintenance, natural resource management and restorations.
The County and the City have begun developing a process to gain public input and participation in the Park planning process. There will be a series of public input meetings, as well as an advisory council appointed to steer the planning process. This process should begin late spring or early summer. Depending on the types of recreational activities and facilities that are incorporated into the Park, it is anticipated that that annual operating and maintenance cost including staffing may be around $135,000 per year. In addition, there may be revenue to assist in offsetting these expenses. The grant application is anticipated to be submitted on March 15, 2011 upon approval and support.
Mattson stated he had concerns with adding more costs to maintenance of parks plus the cost of the land. He said there are costs associated with purchasing and maintaining this amount of land. Russek said with all of the unknowns in the economy, he did not feel it was the appropriate time to be buying park land. He has voted against this action in the past and continues to get outvoted. Thelen made a motion to close the Public Hearing at 9:48 A.M., seconded by Eichelberg. Mattice informed the Board that the Public Hearing should remain open for discussion on Robert Ney Regional Park. Thelen and Eichelberg withdrew their motion to close the Public Hearing.
Robert Ney Regional Park. Robert Ney Memorial Regional Park Reserve is 846 acres in size and is the second largest Park in Wright County, behind Lake Maria State Park. Ney Park also adjoins a 245-acre State Wildlife Management Area on its south border, thus creating a 1091-acre open space area.
The proposed land acquisition includes 20 acres of land that would provide for an essential corridor between the original Park and the recent expansion. Not only will this land acquisition expand Robert Ney Memorial Regional Park, it will also enhance the outdoor recreational opportunities by providing adequate connectors for all season use. This project will also assist with the preservation of a scenic area of central Wright County.
Robert Ney Memorial Park is centrally located in Wright County. This purchase will provide a greater range of outdoor recreational opportunity during all seasons for the public and will provide a suitable wildlife corridor. Achieving these goals will help to enhance the public’s experience within the Park and help to preserve its rare and precious qualities for years to come.
This grant request is for $60,000. If successful, this grant would need to be matched with a County contribution of $40,000. Currently the Ney Park Account has a balance of $40,010. If the project is successful in being awarded grants funding, these funds will be requested to be used. This will have no impact on County funding levels, bonding, or General Fund allocations.
It is hopeful that the acquisition could be completed in 2011, depending on the availability of grant funds. The addition of these 20 acres should not have an adverse impact on maintenance expenses, except for a few man hours each year to maintain a connector trail and to combat any spread of invasive or noxious species.
In response to a question by Sawatzke on the land in Ney Park, Mattice explained the County currently holds an easement. The land is owned by Doug and Theresa Andrus. With the purchase, it will be a fee title ownership rather than an easement. If the grant is obtained, Mattice will request approval to expend funds from the Ney Park Fund. Sawatzke asked whether the County must obtain approval from the City of Maple Lake. Mattice said this is not required.
At 9:43 A.M., Thelen moved to close the Public Hearing and reconvene the County Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried unanimously.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #11-10, Local Government Sponsor Resolution for the Regional Park Grant Application, Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park Phase Four Acquisition. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Russek said he would vote against the Resolution as he does not feel the County has money at this time for park land. Mattson said based on what is happening with the economy, he would like to see things more stable before moving ahead on purchases such as this. Thelen questioned whether the approval includes only submitting the grant application and whether any money was being spent at this point. Russek said funds are not being spent at this time but once a grant is approved, the County’s history is that the funding is not turned down. The motion carried 3-2 with Mattson and Russek casting the nay votes.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #11-11, Local Government Sponsor Resolution for the Park Legacy Grant Application, Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park Phase Four Acquisition. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 3-2 with Mattson and Russek casting the nay votes.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #11-12, Local Government Sponsor Resolution for the Regional Park Grant Application, Robert Ney Regional Park Acquisition to adjoin 20 acres. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Russek commented that at least the County has the money for this purchase in the Ney Park Fund. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #11-13, Local Government Sponsor Resolution for the Park Legacy Grant Application, Robert Ney Regional Park Acquisition to adjoin 20 acres. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Sawatzke introduced Luke Baumen as the new Director for the Wright County Economic Development Partnership. Baumen said he was born and raised in Wright County and most recently returned after being gone for about 8 years. Baumen is acclimating himself with the Partnership and the Director’s role. He said working closely with the Board, including transparency and accountability, are one of his top priorities. Baumen will take over the Director role in March from Noel LaBine.
Bills Approved
Advanced Graphix Inc.. $5,410.00
Albertville/City of 2,231.60
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 36,297.35
Allina Medical 840.42
Allina Medical Transportat 500.00
Alpha Video and Audio Inc. 285.00
Aramark Services Inc. 12,792.40
Beaudry Propane Inc. 3,934.65
Center Point Energy 15,550.00
Civic Research Institute Inc. 179.95
Climate Air 2,070.06
Commissioner of Transport 130.00
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc. 559.92
Dell Marketing LP 3,135.00
Dingmann Marine & More LLC 614.53
Giebink/Bruce 267.00
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 4,641.58
Howard/Jolanta 200.00
Lostetter/Carol H. 300.00
Maple Lake/City of 7,500.00
Marco Inc. 510.87
McLeod County Auditor-Treas 104.70
Menards - Buffalo 214.05
Mid MN Family Medicine Cent 754.60
Midwest Protection Agency 4,782.57
Midwest Safety Counselors 289.51
MN Chemical Company 693.08
MN County Attorneys Assoc 250.00
MN Monitoring Inc. 398.50
MN Native Landscapes 800.00
MN Office of Justice Program 200.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 154.96
Morrell Towing Inc. 237.71
Office Depot 1,577.47
Pts of America LLC 1,139.40
Qwest 4,204.79
Regional Diagnostic Radiol 229.40
Reitsma/Stoffel 600.00
Remington Arms Co. Inc. 450.00
Setina Mfg. Co. Inc. 623.24
Shell Fleet Plus 138.29
SHI International Corp 1,173.49
Strategic Equipment and Su 115.23
Transcend United Technol 172.50
Village Ranch Inc. 10,755.88
West Payment Center 1,629.33
Windstream 304.10
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 3,460.99
Wright Hennepin Electric 2,235.83
14 Payments less than $100 676.42
Final total $136,316.37
The meeting adjourned at 9:53 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal March 14, 2011.

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