Wright County Board Minutes

MARCH 1, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
The minutes of 2-22-11 were corrected as follows: Page 4, 7th paragraph, 2nd sentence should read, “The land is owned by Doug and Theresa Andrus” (Sawatzke). Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item C1, “Refer To 3-09-11 Technology Committee Meeting: 1) 800 MHz Radio” (Swing); Item For Consid. #2, “May Meetings” (Thelen). Thelen moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda with the one addition:
1. Performance Appraisals: S. Simonds, D. Snyder, Atty.; N. Borrett, R. Erkens, C. Fisher, L. Fox, M. Fox, C. Nalezny, C. Neuenschwander, J. Olson, Sher/Corr.
2. Approve/Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement With Teamsters Local 320, Courthouse Unit, To Allow Donation Of Vacation Time To Employee.
3. Claim, Madden Galanter Hansen, LLP, $2,011.78 (Jan. 2011 Service).
1. Approve Abatement, PID #115-500-162102, Thomas & Donna Anderson (City of South Haven).
1. Refer To 3-09-11 Technology Committee Meeting:
A. 800 MHz Radio.
1. Report From Fire & EMS.
2. Review Of 2010-2011 Maintenance Expenses.
3. Channel Add.
4. Joint Powers Agreement-Emergency Services Board.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the 1-27-11 Ditch 34 Committee Meeting Minutes. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0:
The City of Delano requested the meeting to discuss issues relating to creation of an industrial park. Kern reported that the City now has no more lots available for industrial development, and they wish to move forward with the creation of a new industrial park. Preliminary discussions relating to the possibility of creating a new industrial park in the area of County Ditch 34 began back in 2006. The City had worked with Saxton on the proposed design of the park. The proposed land area for the park consists of four parcels, constituting 24.44% of the total benefited land in the ditch system. The committee and City representatives have walked the site in the past. A couple of overhead maps were reviewed at this meeting, and Saxton pointed out a few known problem areas along the ditch course on an overhead map, which he had available. Estimates and scope of repair work on the ditch system were discussed. It was decided to request that a Ditch Committee of the Whole meeting be scheduled in the near future, with the intent of arriving at a group consensus of what the access/outlet fee should be set at for the City to move forward with their plans for the industrial park. A tentative range of $8,000 to $10,000 was mentioned as a workable possibility, with the City to retain its 24% share to pay for any needed repairs to the ditch system.
(End of 1-27-11 Ditch 34 Committee Minutes)
Hiivala presented the 2-22-11 Ditch 34 Committee Of The Whole Minutes. At today’s County Board Meeting, Hiivala said that since the Committee Meeting, he was in contact with Ron Ringquist, Chair of the Ditch Viewers Association. Ringquist has worked with several municipalities on determining reasonable outlet fees. Ringquist feels he has input to share with Wright County relative to determining the outlet fee for the City of Delano for Ditch 34. The City has not filed a petition to outlet at this point but this action is expected by mid March. The County will then need to hold a Public Hearing. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, stated the County Board is the drainage authority so the meeting will have to be held at the Government Center. Informational meetings have previously been held at the Delano City Hall. Based on his contact with the City, Asleson suggested setting the Public Hearing sometime during the week of 4-18-11. The County must publish notice for three weeks. Mailed notice of the meeting will be provided as well. Sawatzke moved to approve the 2-22-11 Ditch 34 Committee Of The Whole Minutes. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0:
The City of Delano is proposing to create an industrial park which would involve two parcels which are located inside the County Ditch 34 drainage system. Franklin Township also may develop their own industrial park, but plans are indefinite at this time. Hiivala outlined that the purpose of today’s meeting is for discussion to arrive at a consensus of what the preliminary ditch access fee should be to get the City process started for development of their new industrial park. No official action would be taken today. A copy of the minutes from today’s meeting would be presented at the official County Board meeting next week. Asleson said that no petition has been filed so far, but the process would be to work toward that end. The next step would be to set a public hearing date, publish the notice in the local newspaper, and mail a letter to benefited land owners notifying them of the date and time of the hearing. In preliminary discussions with the City, the County and with Kerry Saxton, County Soil & Water Director, the City voiced a willingness to contribute an amount in the range of $8,000 to $10,000 as seed money for an access/outlet fee to get the process started for the industrial park and would also be willing to continue to bear 24% of any additional costs needed to maintain or to make repairs to the ditch system. The group viewed maps of the area. Russek said the proposed industrial park would be located in the middle of the course of the ditch system. The proposed industrial park involves approximately 220 total acres, but half will be wetland or water storage. It is estimated that the City could easily spend $200,000. An overhead map provided by Saxton was viewed, which highlighted some areas in need of repair. Sawatzke asked about the makeup of the ditch system. Russek responded that it consists of old tile which ends at Highway 12. The land in the immediate area is mostly wetland with no housing development in the area. Sawatzke commented that any type of future, modern-day development could impact the system, so the system would need to be in good repair, and he inquired if Saxton had provided any input. Russek said that Saxton had voiced an opinion that the ditch could be repaired in such a way to prevent blow-outs or other problems. Russek added that the City had the system reviewed by their Engineer, who is of the opinion that runoff could possibly be reduced to pre-settlement rates. During further discussion, it was brought out that talks relating to the possibility of developing the industrial park began back in 2006. An informational meeting was held in 2009 with all benefited landowners being invited to attend. The City now wishes to move forward with its plans for an industrial park and is willing to take over approximately 1/2 mile of the ditch and contribute $8,000-$10,000 as seed money to the Ditch 34 fund. The City also plans to acquire enough land to be used for storm water runoff and storage. Franklin Township has earmarked approximately 76 acres in the area as a possible site for future industrial development. As a side note, it was brought out that because of the lack of an adequate site, Target is looking at areas outside the City. The City noted that it respects the County’s desire to make sure that the ditch is in good repair prior to moving forward with any new development. Thelen weighed in that since the City is willing to deposit funds in escrow and is willing to continue to assume the responsibility to cover 24% of any needed repair, it would seem to be a reasonable, workable plan. Sawatzke would like to hear more from Saxton and the other 76% of the property owners. Eichelberg inquired if there was a minimum and maximum range of funding that had been considered. Asleson responded that nothing had been set in stone but a range of $8,000 to $10,000 had been discussed, with these funds being dedicated to the Ditch 34 fund. Mattson wondered if the City obtaining flood insurance had ever been a consideration.
Russek stated that there is little doubt industrial development generally is an aspect that would benefit the County as a whole and asked for a consensus from the Ditch Committee of the Whole. After some additional discussion amongst the Board members, it was the majority consensus to set the proposed access fee range for the City at a minimum of $10,000 up to a maximum of $20,000, with said funds to be deposited and dedicated to the Ditch 34 fund, and with the further understanding that the City is also agreeing to continue to assume the responsibility to shoulder 24% of any future ditch repairs. The minutes of this Ditch Committee of the Whole meeting will be presented for approval at the next official County Board meeting on March 1st, with the hope that a public hearing date can be selected for sometime in April. A meeting notice will then be drafted and published in the newspaper and letters will be sent to all benefited property owners informing them of the date and time of the hearing.
(End of 2-22-11 Ditch 34 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Discussion continued on the Public Hearing and having Ringquist come to a future Board Meeting. Hiivala stated Ringquist’s fee is $75/hour and will include travel time. Ringquist is available the end of March or in April. The Board felt it would be beneficial to meet with Ringquist prior to the Public Hearing. It was suggested that the cost to retain Ringquist be paid by the City of Delano since they are the applicant. Asleson stated there has been a precedent set with the City of Monticello when Kurt Deter, Rinke Noonan, was hired for input on the City of Monticello’s request to outlet storm water into a ditch. Russek felt it would be helpful to hear from Ringquist as it will provide the County with information so that a pattern can be developed when these requests are presented. Hiivala said that Ringquist thought the fees being considered by the County were reasonable and that he could provide justification to this opinion. Hiivala felt it would be to the City’s benefit to have Ringquist validate the proposed outlet fees. Eichelberg moved to schedule a Public Hearing for 4-19-11 at 7:00 P.M. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0. Sawatzke saw a benefit in meeting with Ringquist for his opinion. It appears this can be done in one day’s work or less. Sawatzke moved to retain the services of Ringquist. The fees will be passed on to the City of Delano at such time an outlet fee and agreement is created. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0. Hiivala will contact Ringquist and the City of Delano.
The claims listing was discussed. Russek referenced a claim on Page 7 to Sprint ($205.47). The claim notation reflects it is for postage at the Jail/LEC. Hiivala will correct the claim to reflect it is for telephone charges. Mattson referenced the amount of claims processed for services from Allina for inmates. He said the contract with Allina does not break down the services provided. Mattson requested a breakdown of what services are provided by Allina under the contract. This should be brought forth at a future Board Meeting. Eichelberg moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, including the correction and the information requested. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0.
A Deferred Compensation Committee Meeting was held on 2-23-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, Thelen moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried unanimously:
Request To Withdraw Funds Due To Hardship. The Committee reviewed an employee’s request to withdraw funds. It was determined that the circumstances meet the definition of an unforeseeable emergency. Recommendation: Allow employee to withdraw funds from the Deferred Compensation Program.
(End of 2-23-11 Deferred Compensation Committee Minutes)
A Labor Management Loss Control Committee Meeting was held on 2-23-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0:
Nolan stated that conducting a Labor Management Loss Control Meeting is a requirement of the Federal OSHA and MN OSHA. Organizations with over 25 employees must have a joint labor relations committee that includes representatives from management and employees. There are no rules regarding how often the committee should meet or for how long. He stated that the reason each of the attendees today have been volunteered or elected to participate in this Committee is to represent concerns from their department and/or bargaining unit.
Nolan stated that the purpose of today’s meeting is to determine how often the Committee should meet, discuss loss control risk management, and suggest ways to make the work environment and facilities safer for employees and visitors. Discussion will include how the County can decrease the number claims or accidents that occur each year. He stated that the County can save money in insurance if it has fewer accidents and less severity. He stated that the County is included in an insurance trust with 81 other counties. Wright County’s insurance premium for workers compensation and property casualty coverage is approximately one million dollars.
Nolan asked Casey what other counties and their Labor Management Loss Control Committees discuss at their meetings. Casey stated that the Committees typically look at injuries for the past month, host a “Wellness Day”, examine security around the building, and make safety suggestions (i.e. better lighting). He stated that the Labor Management Loss Control Committee doest not make changes, however, their goal is to save money for the County.
Nolan distributed a handout (see attached) outlining his responsibilities as the County Safety Director. He stated that he works with every Department. Nolan stated that 60-70% of his time is spent handling claims, working with employees, documenting vehicles involved in incidents, and maintaining OSHA records. He clarified that OSHA record keeping and workers compensation record keeping is very different. He stated that Wright County has one of the largest law enforcement fleets. The Sheriffs Department updates its vehicle and equipment list on a weekly basis. He stated that he facilitates ergonomic assessments, annual hearing tests, safety training, blood born pathogens training, and quarterly or biannual inspections of all County owned facilities, parks, and five outlying public works shops.
Nolan distributed handouts regarding claims that were filed in 2010 (see attached). These reports show what is happening and possibly why these types of incidences are occurring. The reports and today’s discussion is a way to identify how these types of incidences can stop from happening. Nolan explained the County’s obligation toward deductible amounts on property casualty and workers compensation claims.
Nolan stated that he filed 36 property casualty claims with MCIT in 2010. He stated that not every claim becomes a financial claim. Filing a claim keeps MCIT informed of potential losses. MCIT maintains financial records of how much a loss costs, the potential legal costs, and a reserve amount. MCIT sets aside money until a case is closed. Nolan explained that legal cases are not assigned to a Wright County Attorney. MCIT pays an external attorney to defend Wright County in claims that go to court.
Nolan informed the Committee that the most expensive property casualty claim last year was a roof collapse at the Wright County Fair Grounds. The building was totaled and the replacement resulted in a $55,000 claim. He also discussed how a fire at an adjacent property to Ney Park resulted in another high cost claim. A controlled and permitted burn got out of control and burned nearly eight acres and 1,200 trees. The property owner has been accommodating and has negotiated with the County to have the Parks Department clear the land and plant 1,600 seedlings. The claim was approximately $10,000 - $15,000. Nolan stated that most property casualty claims from 2010 were involving automobiles: persons under custody damaging deputy squad cars, deer strikes, and a hail storm that occurred on April 17th. There were also 3 pothole claims, a tree limb that fell on a parked vehicle, and vandalism at the impound lot.
Nolan stated that of the 36 claims, 17 are still open. MCIT paid over $126,000, not including deductibles, in property casualty claims in 2010. Baltich asked whether this was more or less than previous years. Nolan said that this is similar to years past in regard to vehicle claims. Nolan clarified that deputy vehicles are on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They are in high pursuit, and travel down gravel roads in all types of weather. He stated that these types of claims go along with the job.
Nolan stated that if it is in the budget, the Board of Directors from MCIT can give a dividend to its members. He stated that this is a benefit of being in a trust. Last year, Wright County received a dividend of $540,000.
Casey reviewed each of the handouts (see attached) to outline the frequency of workers compensation claims and the types. Of the 43 workers compensation claims that were filed, 40% of the claims originated out of the Sheriff’s Department and 14% in the Human Services Department. Nolan briefly discussed how the majority of the incidences are treated by first aid. The majority of workers compensation claims involve medical costs only and no lost time. Casey stated that Nolan tries to keep the average claim down by returning employees to work as soon as possible. Getting employees healthy again keeps the average cost of claims down.
Casey stated that the handout “Claims by Incident Type” indicate the frequency of claims. Incidents involving “Struck Against”, “Slip/Fall”, and “Internal Contact (Diseases)” were the most frequent types of incidences in 2010. Baltich asked whether one injury could be categorized under several “Incident Types” on the report. Nolan stated no. Each injury is categorized into one category. Casey stated that the slips and falls are typically one of the most frequent and the most expensive.
Berg gave a demonstration on hands only CPR. He stated that Take Heart Minnesota, EMS Advisory Council, and Allina Hospital have taken the initiative to train 10% of Wright County’s population in 2011. He stated that he estimates that they were able to train 120-150 citizens at the 2010 Wright County Fair. He stated that several fire stations and schools have either provided training or have discussed providing training. Berg stated that he is attempting to coordinate efforts with Nolan to provide hands only CPR to County employees.
Baltich stated that she would be interested in the Committee discussing scent policy, security at the HSC, and the parking lot at the HSC as it relates to slips, falls, and car accidents. Nolan stated that he would like to meet with her regarding these issues to gain some perspective.
Nolan thanked all for attending the meeting and stated that the Committee would not meet again until next quarter at the earliest. He encouraged the committee members to contact him if they had any concerns or questions.
(End of 2-23-11 Labor Management Loss Control Committee Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 2-23-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following changes were made: List Others Present as “Kelly, Kramber and Swing.” On a motion by Sawatzke, seconded by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the minutes and recommendations:
A. Salary For Hiring Assistant County Attorney I.
Kelly stated that he is requesting that the County Board grant him the authority to hire an Assistant County Attorney I at Step 2. He stated that he needs an attorney experienced in CHIPS/TPR (children in need of parental services/termination of parental rights). His job posting was specific in the duties that
2-23-11 Personnel Committee Minutes (cont.): would be required for this position and requires a specialized skill set. He stated that of the 65 applications he received for the position, he interviewed 10 candidates and only one person had experience with CHIPS/TPR cases, CJI (Children’s Justice Initiative), truancy, and child protection teams. The applicant successfully underwent training at CornerHouse, an Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center located in Minneapolis. The applicant has had jury trial experience and has many letters of recommendation.
Kelly stated that the applicant is currently earning $54,475. At Wright County, an offer of Step 1 would be $50,851. The applicant has already done her research and knows that with her student loans and increased cost of living, she could not accept $3,624 less than what she is currently making. Kelly stated that his request to start the applicant at Step 2, $53,673, would be $802 less than what she is making in her current position. Kelly informed the Committee that he has not paid a salary for this position for 4 months and would not have to pay for the training at the CornerHouse.
Sawatzke stated that considering Kelly only had one applicant that met the criteria, he could support his request to start the new hire at Step 2. He stated that it appears it is in the organization’s best interest to follow through with the offer of Step 2 to the experienced attorney.
Kelly stated that he’ll let Personnel know whether the applicant accepts the offer.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize offering Step 2, $53,673, to the applicant for the Assistant County Attorney I position.
II. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, GREG KRAMBER, ASSESSOR. Based on the review of five Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”. III.
PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, BILL SWING, IT DIRECTOR. Based on the review of five Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional”.
IV. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL, RICHARD NORMAN, COUNTY COORDINATOR. Based on the review of five Performance Appraisals submitted the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Superior”.
(End of 2-23-11 Personnel Committee Minutes)
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 2-23-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattson noted that the land is gravel on both of the sites discussed, it is not quality farmland. Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0. At the request of Asleson, Mattson moved to authorize signatures on the rental property agreements that Asleson generates which will include language on insurance issues. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.
I. Renewal Of Rental Property Contract. Laid over from the last meeting, the land rental of the Stemper and Rassat County-owned properties was discussed. Johnson contacted Randy DesMarais in the Assessor’s Office and it was determined the land does not qualify for tax breaks or Green Acres credits. The land may qualify to be classified as ag homestead versus ag non-homestead. He will contact the Assessor for further clarification.
Johnson was in contact with Dale and Linda Gapinski who currently rent the Rassat and Stemper properties to inform them that the properties will now be taxed and to negotiate a land rental price. Johnson informed the Gapinski’s that the County would like to increase the rental rate by $15-$20/acre. The current rate for the Stemper Site cropland rental is $65.00/acre, and the current rate for the Rassat site is $55/acre. The tax rate for the Stemper Site will be $52/acre in 2012, and the tax rate for the Rassat Site is $39/acre in 2011. The Gapinski’s are not interested in an agreement which increases the land rental rate by any more than $5/acre. The Committee discussed maintenance costs associated with the land if it is not rented.
Recommendation: The Committee recommends increasing the cropland rental to $70.00/acre for the Stemper Site and $60.00/acre for the Rassat Site.
Norman said that at a recent Board Meeting, the Auditor/Treasurer presented a rental agreement with Scott Kohls for farmland on CR 12 in Montrose. The agreement was approved but the language in the document does not address insurance issues. Norman requested that the Committee consider a standardized rental agreement for ag land. Norman spoke with the Auditor/Treasurer who did not feel that Kohls would have a problem with signing a more standardized agreement. Kohls had drafted the agreement. Asleson said he could develop language to be inserted into the agreements that would hold the County harmless from injuries, damages to equipment or land, etc. Johnson felt the language could be incorporated into the cropland rental agreements with the Highway Department.
Recommendation: Asleson will develop standardized language for the cropland rental agreements.
(End of 2-23-11 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
Thelen said the month of May has five Tuesdays. When there are five Tuesdays in a month, the County Board generally cancels one meeting. She requested the Board cancel the 5-03-11 Board Meeting due to a personal commitment. Norman said that the 5-03-11 Board Meeting has an agenda item relating to the review of property classifications (parcels that will be sold for tax forfeiture as non-conservation land). Asleson said notice has not yet been sent to cities and township of that meeting so the date could possibly be changed. It was the consensus that cancellation of a meeting in May be laid over to the next meeting for discussion. This will allow Board members to review their calendars for May.
Bills Approved
Advance Auto Parts. $117.46
Allina Medical 112.47
Allina Medical Laboratories 591.20
Allina Medical Transporta 500.00
Ameripride Services 159.82
Ancom Technical Center 412.85
Bachman Printing 235.45
Berg Bag Company 1,717.77
BP Amoco 2,084.23
Bryan Rock Products 847.32
Center Point Energy 3,727.77
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 8,678.15
Chamberlain Oil Co. 1,440.43
Climate Air 3,396.97
Cokato Motor Sales Inc. 15,175.00
Cokato/City of 500.00
Collins Brothers Towing 138.94
Commissioner of Transport 463.76
Cub Pharmacy 1,891.46
Dell Marketing LP 1,597.54
Dustcoating Inc. 5,381.60
Engel/Dale L. 675.00
Gopher State One Call 133.35
Granite Pest Control Serv 235.35
Green Touch Systems LLC 1,186.31
Hance Utility Services Inc. 649.27
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 768.35
LaPlant Demo Inc. 657.87
League of MN Cities 2,720.00
Marco Inc. 6,931.56
Marysville Township 127.50
McMaster-Carr Supply Co. 147.87
Menards - Buffalo 420.55
MN Copy Systems 108.19
MN Sheriffs Association 850.00
MN Supreme Court 1,316.00
Mobile Satellite Technologies 1,079.88
Morries Parts & Service Group 1,091.28
MTI Distributing Inc. 570.97
North American Salt Co. 14,519.73
Office Depot 1,553.49
Prairie Country RC&D 8,353.00
Qwest 314.99
Ramacciotti/Frank 200.00
Royal Tire Inc. 2,000.99
RS Eden 991.05
Ryan Chevrolet 295.62
Safelite Fulfillment Inc. 314.88
Shaded Image 120.00
Sprint 13,766.40
St. Cloud Stamp & Sign Inc. 451.55
Star West 12,995.00
Streichers 1,248.04
TDS Telecom 264.86
Trophies Plus LLC 106.74
University of Minnesota 150.00
Verizon Wireless 791.57
Voss Lighting 459.99
Walmart Store 01-1577 695.04
Waverly/City of 261.17
West Metro Opthalmology 188.48
Westside Wholesale Tire 265.70
Wright County Highway Dept. 41,670.47
Wright Hennepin Coop Elec 5,379.96
Xcel Energy 2,291.55
21 Payments less than $100 1,053.67
Final total $179,543.73
The meeting adjourned at 9:44 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal March 21, 2011.

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