WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
MAY 10, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Thelen, and Eichelberg present. Board Chair Russek was absent so Vice Chair Thelen presided at the meeting.
Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes of 4-26-11 as presented, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #3, “County Ditch 10 Update” (Hiivala); Aud./Treas. Item #4, “Approve Signatures On Buffalo To Montrose Supplemental Agreement” (Hiivala). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried unanimously.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson removed for discussion Item F2, “Refer To Personnel Committee Request To Extend Administrative Hours 90 Minutes At The Law Enforcement Center On Thursdays To Accommodate The Public’s Request For Administrative Services.” Sawatzke moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of Item F2, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0:
1. Performance Appraisals: D. Anderson, Assr.; M. Muehring-Paulson, Atty.; B. Leinonen, B. Severson, G. Stonelake, W. Workman, Hwy.; L. Cavalliere, M. Janckila, IT; M. Woodford, P&Z; A. Barkley, S. Guffey, Recorder; S. Bonnick, L. Cleaveland, A. Freiberg, M. Olson, G. Poepping, K. Walker, B. Williamson, K. Yauk, Sher./Corr.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 4-15-11.
3. Authorize Letter Of Support For Albertville Guardian Angels Application To The Federal Office Of Housing & Urban Development For Lower Income Senior Housing.
4. Approve Flooring Replacement At Human Services Center.
1. Approve Abatement, PID #206-000-204100, Gregory & Timothy Ransom.
1. Approve Tobacco License For “Hitching Post At Lake Center” (formerly Lake Center Bar & Grill) Corinna Township.
2. Approve Renewal Of On Sale Liquor License For “Norm’s Wayside” (Rockford Township).
3. Approve Seasonal On Sale 3.2 Malt Liquor License For “Clearwater Lion’s Club” (Clearwater Township).
1. Authorize Personal Leave Of Absence For Jan Klein From 5-01-11 To 10-31-11.
1. Set Bid Opening For CSAH 75 Realignment Project, SAP 086-675-013, Contract 1103, For 6-07-11 @ 9:30 A.M.
1. Authorize Signatures Of Board Chair, County Coordinator, & Sheriff On The Boat & Water Supplemental Safety Grant Agreement, $8,875.00, Eff. 5-13-11 Through 9-05-11.
Item F2, “Refer To Personnel Committee Request To Extend Administrative Hours 90 Minutes At The Law Enforcement Center On Thursdays To Accommodate The Public’s Request For Administrative Services” was discussed. Mattson inquired whether the request is for employees to work overtime or start their shifts later. He did not feel that the License Bureau uses overtime hours to cover Thursday evenings when their office is open later. Sheriff Joe Hagerty said the intent is to mirror what is done at the Courthouse on Thursday evenings. This will be discussed more in depth at the Personnel Committee Meeting when this request is addressed. He said a representative of the License Bureau will attend that meeting to explain their method. Hagerty explained that if the request is approved, they will have one window open at the Law Enforcement Center to address public requests for reports and permits. Gun permits require applications in person. Hagerty said that per union contract, clerical workers do not earn overtime or comp time until they have worked 40 hours in a week. The estimated cost per year to remain open on Thursday evenings is $1,500, but he said they may be able to cover this at a lower cost. Sawatzke supported the request as it will be a great service to the public. He agreed that it would be better to offer this service with no overtime hours or comp time as those hours are paid or accrued at time and a half. Eichelberg moved to approve Item F2, “Refer To Personnel Committee Request To Extend Administrative Hours 90 Minutes At The Law Enforcement Center On Thursdays To Accommodate The Public’s Request For Administrative Services”. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously. Sawatzke made a motion to refer to the Personnel Committee Meeting a report from the Sheriff on the bailiffs that are currently working on Thursday evenings at the Courthouse. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 4-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said the Marysville Township Hall fire assessment of $125 is currently being billed to the Highway Department. The Hall is not being used by the Parks or Highway Departments. The Highway Engineer has requested that an alternate funding source be identified. Sawatzke moved to pay the fire assessment from Budget 100, Professional Services. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 4-0.
Hiivala provided a County Ditch 10 update. He was contacted by Roy Marschall who was following up on a 2010 request for cleanout. He was also contacted by Wayne McRoberts on County Ditch 10. Hiivala will meet with the parties on 5-11-11 and may bring back to the Board a ditch cleanout request. This was provided as an informational item.
Hiivala requested the Board authorize signatures on a Supplemental Agreement for the Buffalo to Montrose trail project. The supplemental agreement extends the date of the Agreement from 6-30-11 to 6-30-12. Mattson said he voted against the trail originally and expressed concern on the cost as it relates to the County Rd. 12 project because of the poor soils and trail extension. Mattson said he would not vote for the time extension for the trail. Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said this is the last extension for this project as it cannot extend beyond June, 2012. Wayne Fingalson said the portion of the trail from Buffalo south is still being worked on. He confirmed there is extra cost associated with the wider width required to accommodate the trail. Thelen said the request today relates to the extension of the Agreement. Eichelberg moved to approve the Supplemental Agreement for the Buffalo to Montrose trail project. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Sawatzke said he voted against the trail initially. However, the trail cannot be left with a portion incomplete. Mattson said the extra cost may not have occurred if the trail would have been placed on the road. He restated that the soil conditions are not conducive for a trail. The motion carried 3-1 with Mattson casting the nay vote.
The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson referenced Page 11, Dell Marketing LP ($870.17) for a personal computer and two monitors for Planning & Zoning. He had concern with the amount of money being expended. He said Wright County is in good shape financially and expenditures need to be watched in order to remain that way. Mattson referenced Page 18, Ancom Technical Center ($2,202.49) for radio coverage testing. He questioned what radios were being tested. Hiivala said the invoice reflects additional coaxial cable was installed and it was time extensive to access the ceiling. Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, said the Jail Facility has security grade ceiling tiles resulting in the extra time required to perform maintenance. Mattson referenced Page 21, Dell Marketing ($1,037.89) for a computer at Ney Park. He said it would make sense to purchase a laptop computer for Ney Park. Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, confirmed that this was a laptop purchase. On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Bruce Westby, Monticello City Engineer, presented a cost sharing request for CSAH 75 Pedestrian Underpass improvements. Westby distributed a letter of support for the project received from the Wright County Highway and Parks Departments. The letter expresses support but acknowledges the inability to provide any funding assistance. Westby said the City understands that budgets are tight but hopes the County Board understands why the City feels the underpass improvements are necessary and the timing is right. Westby provided information on the proposed improvements. The City of Monticello recently completed plans and specifications to construct a 10’h x 14’w concrete box culvert to be used as a pedestrian underpass across CSAH 75 between West River Street and the Nuclear Plant on the west end of the City. The plans are being bid as an alternate to Wright County’s CSAH 75 realignment project. The proposed underpass will include paving, interior lighting, and roadside safety hardware (guardrail). The plans also include the construction of a pedestrian pathway connecting the underpass to the City’s existing CSAH 75 pedestrian pathway that terminates at West River Street; grading for a future pathway connection to the ball fields at the west end of West River Street; and grading for a future pathway connection to Montissippi Regional Park. Westby said there is currently no at-grade crossing or separated crossing and there is a 45 mph speed limit. The Wright County Highway Department does not permit marked, at-grade pedestrian crossings on highways with posted speeds of 45 mph or greater. This is based on studies suggesting that marked pedestrian crossings on high-speed roads tend to be less safe than unmarked crossings. Westby said that a grade-separated crossing is the only type of crossing allowed across CSAH 75 in this area. The existing CSAH 75 bridge over the BNSF railroad is being removed as part of the CSAH 75 realignment project. The bridge currently provides a grade-separated pedestrian crossing for Xcel Energy employees. If the underpass is not constructed with the realignment of CSAH 75, it will either have to be jacked under CSAH 75, or CSAH 75 will have to be open cut to install it at a later date. Westby said either option could cost about two to three times more. Several storm water ponds are proposed to prevent flooding of the underpass during heavy rain events and when the snow melts. The ponds will serve as regional trunk storm sewer facilities so the City will fund the grading work. The City is not requesting a contribution from Wright County for drainage improvements or the future pathway segment connections. Westby said the underpass will be needed to connect the County’s proposed regional pathway between Clearwater and Monticello to the City’s existing pathway. This is because the City’s pathway exists on the south side of CSAH 75 while the County’s pathway is proposed to be constructed on the north side of CSAH 75. The underpass will be constructed in close proximity to Montissippi Park providing easy access to the Park for users of the underpass and pathway system. Westby said that since the pedestrian underpass benefits both the City and County by connecting the two pathway systems and provides access to local and regional facilities, the City requests a cost-sharing contribution from Wright County in the amount of $75,000 (50% of the estimated pedestrian underpass cost of $150,000). The City has spent in excess of $20,000 in preparing the plans and specifications and in bidding the underpass improvements as an alternate to the County’s CSAH 75 project. Westby said if bids come in lower than projected, the request would be for the County to fund half of that cost.
At 9:30 A.M., Thelen closed the bid process for the 2011 Overlays, Contract 11-02.
Discussion resumed on the City of Monticello’s request for funding for the underpass project. Westby was in contact with Xcel Energy on funding participation as it is felt the underpass provides a pedestrian crossing for them. Xcel Energy owns significant areas of land on both sides of CSAH 75. They have agreed to reimburse the City up to $3,500 for the preparation of plans and specifications and to provide easements over about 4.5 acres of their land to accommodate the proposed storm water ponds and future pathway segments. Discussions are ongoing between the City and Xcel Energy to determine if additional contributions to the project may be warranted. To date, Xcel Energy has not agreed to provide additional funding. If funds are secured with Xcel Energy, Westby said the funding from the County and City will be reduced proportionally. Westby then presented maps outlining the area.
Mattson asked for clarification of where the transmission lines run along I-94 (from the west). Westby said the lines end at the Nuclear Plant. Mattson asked Fingalson for the cost of the pedestrian crossing at the Albion Ridge Golf Course and whether the golf course funded the improvement. Fingalson stated the cost was $80,000 to $90,000. There have been four such pedestrian crossings (underpasses), with three involving golf courses and one in the City of St. Michael. The City of St. Michael’s crossing cost $90,000 and was funded by the City. Westby explained that the proposed underpass on CSAH 75 would be a typical State Aid design and would allow passage for snowmobiles, golf carts, and pedestrians. Mattson said the cost is about double of the other crossings. Fingalson said that is correct but construction costs have risen even with competitive bidding. The crossing in St. Michael was constructed over 10 years ago. Thelen referenced Fingalson’s letter of support but stated the letter does not provide any input on who should fund the improvement. Fingalson said it is the logical time to complete the crossing and it adds to the safety for pedestrians if a crosswalk is placed in this area. He said it is clearly a good thing to separate traffic from the pedestrians. Fingalson said he does not have any funding available for this improvement in the Highway budget and historically, the City and golf courses have funded their own crossings. Eichelberg asked whether the crossing is within the City of Monticello. Westby replied that it is within City limits. Eichelberg said four such crossings were referenced by the Highway Engineer. He asked Westby what the biggest rationale would be for the County to fund this improvement when other such requests were funded by the City or the golf courses. Westby said he had no personal knowledge of the funding on the other improvements mentioned. He said the location of the proposed underpass along CSAH 75 ties in with a future pathway connection coming from Clearwater. The City would benefit and the County could connect with the City’s facilities (County Park on one side of CSAH 75 and ballparks on the other side). Mattice said the County has an existing Trail and Bikeway Plan which was adopted in 2002. The County recently received grant funding and a consultant has been hired to draft a County Wide Trail and Bikeway Plan. Public input has been received on the proposed Plan. One of the routes identified is a connection between Monticello and Clearwater. The logical place for the trail would be north of CSAH 75. This is because of the large right-of-way on the north side of CSAH 75 and because those who own land associated with the abandoned railroad may want to donate it for public use. Mattice said this underpass does provide a City connection to a regional facility. It also would provide a connection for a regional trail to go through the City. However, in the draft Trail and Bikeway Plan, there will be proposals to the County Board on policies, standards, and possible cost shares that the Board can either agree to, modify, or remove. He referenced the Joint Meeting of the County Board and the Parks Commission on 5-24-11. The purpose of this meeting is to meet with the consultant on the draft Trail and Bikeway Plan. Those policies will be discussed at that time. He thought final adoption of that Plan would occur in June. Mattice suggested the request from the City of Monticello be laid over to the May 31st County Board Meeting. This would allow the County Board to meet with the Parks Commission on the Trail and Bikeway Plan, and they would have more of an idea of the direction of the Plan. Mattice said to approve the request today would be a change in current precedence or past practice.
Mattson said the abandoned railroad has been cleaned out for the transmission line project and questioned whether that will remove the ability to access this area. Mattice said easements were acquired from private landowners. If needed, they could obtain a recreational easement as well with the landowner’s approval. Sawatzke questioned the size of the culvert for the proposed underpass along CSAH 75 and whether the height could be reduced. Westby said the 10’ height is a State-aid standard for box culverts. If State-aid funding is used toward the project, those standards must be met. The underpass would also be connected to a trail funded by Federal ISTEA funds. Sawatzke said the State has a variance process and suggested applying, especially since there is an elevation problem due to groundwater. Westby said ponding will be required for land that drains north of the freeway and other areas. In the City’s Storm Water Plan, it is identified that ponds will be needed in this area. This project will allow the City to put in the ponds they need. He said there is a sliver of land between the railroad tracks and CSAH 75 that is not conducive to development. Xcel Energy has granted an easement. The ponds may be constructed ahead of time but they will be needed at some point. Westby said this might limit the County’s ability in the future to obtain State-aid eligible funding relating to a path from Clearwater to Monticello. He assumed that the County would seek Federal funding.
Eichelberg felt this was a good project because of safety. However, he said he would have a hard time justifying County funding toward it. This would set precedence for other future projects in cities where planned park trails are located. He referenced the City of St. Michael and said their underpass also leads to a proposed future regional trail. St. Michael did not receive any funding assistance from the County. Sawatzke suggested tabling this issue until the County reviews the draft Trail and Bikeway Plan on 5-24-11. He shared the concern on setting precedence. He offered the suggestion of considering a crossing at grade. The trail connections need to be safe. Mattson referenced a trail on the north side of the road toward the Nuclear Plant. Westby said the crossing involves the driveway across the entrance to the Nuclear Plant. With the 90-degree turn at that location, vehicles need to slow down so he considered it to be fairly safe. Sawatzke said at shift changes for the Nuclear Plant, there can be hundreds of cars in that area. Westby said the speeds are no more than 10-15 mph. Sawatzke said there needs to be a reasonable crossing there as well. Mattson moved to table the request from the City of Monticello on cost sharing for the proposed CSAH 75 underpass until after the 5-24-11 Joint Meeting with the Parks Commission. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, asked that a date specific be set to table the City of Monticello’s request. The motion and second were amended to refer the issue to the 5-31-11 County Board Meeting. The motion carried 4-0.
The bid opening occurred for the 2011 Overlay Projects, Contract #11-02, including CSAH 12 (SAP 086-612-022); CSAH 35 (SAP 086-635-037); CSAH 34 (CP 086-034-112); CR 117 (CP 086-117-112); and Cold Storage Sheds Paving (CP 086-363-011). Three alternates are included: #1-Material Hot Mix, #2-Material Warm Mix, and #3-Paving by Cold Storage Buildings. The base bid includes Alternate #3. Either Alternate #1 or #2 will be chosen and added to the Base Bid (minus Alternate #3) for the real cost of the overlay. Alternate #3 can be accepted or rejected, regardless of whether Alternate #1 or #2 is chosen. Fingalson explained that warm mix is a proven product that will hopefully save money and will allow them to go green. The Engineer’s Estimate is: Base-$4,384,407.35; Alt. #1-$901,920.00; Alt. #2-$880,000.00; Alt. #3-$29,785.50. The bids were as follows:
Bidder; Bid Bond; Addendum; Base Bid (incl. Alt #3) & Alternate #3; Alternate #1 & Alternate #2
Hardrives, Inc.; Yes; Yes; Base: $4,031,105.19; Alt 1: $941,609.80; Alt 2: $881,567.40
Knife River Corp.; Yes; Yes; Base: $4,062,953.38; Alt 1: Not shown; Alt 2: Not shown
Central Specialties Inc.; -; -; Base: $4,664,447.45; Alt 1: $983,116.30; Alt 2: $899,500.80
Duininck, Inc.; Yes; Yes; Base: Not listed, numbers need to be added; Alt 1: $796,573.50; Alt 2: $686,746.20
Fingalson said the bids should be laid over for recommendation at the next County Board Meeting. Since the Duininck, Inc. bid did not break out their numbers to reflect a base bid, Highway staff will do this and send a bid tally sheet to the bidders. Mattson moved to lay the bids over until the next County Board Meeting, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0.
Fingalson said there is an error on his Board Action Request Form relating to Consent Agenda Item E1, “Set Bid Opening For CSAH 75 Realignment Project, SAP 086-675-013, Contract 1103, For 6-07-11 @ 9:30 A.M.” The information reflected on the Agenda is correct. The Board Action request form reflects a bid award of 7-14-11 and it actually should be 6-14-11.
Fingalson requested the Board award the Safe Routes To School (SRTS) Contract to Rum River Contracting at a bid price of $173,950.00. Fingalson said the City of Otsego took action to approve of the local funding involved. Sawatzke moved to approve awarding the SRTS Contract to Rum River Contracting, $173,950.00. Eichelberg seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #11-27, final acceptance for CSAH 6 Improvements, Contract No. 0904, constructed by Dennis Fehn Gravel & Excavating, Inc., Albertville, MN, and to authorize final payment of $124,405.18. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Genell Reese, Veterans Services Director, requested approval of resolution authorizing signatures of the County Board Chair and Veterans Services Director on the County Veterans Services Office Enhancement Grant in the amount of $1,000. The funds will be used to hold a Veterans Benefit Fair. Veterans Administration personnel will attend the Fair and explain benefits to veterans and military personnel. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #11-28, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty and Environmental Health Officer Bill Stephens presented information on a County-Wide Prescription Take Back Initiative. The Initiative would be a collaborative effort and address a public safety and public health issue. More than seven million Americans currently abuse prescription drugs. Each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time (according to the Partnership for a Drug Free America). Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. The DEA, in conjunction with state and local law enforcement agencies, conducted the first ever National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on 9-25-10. The purpose was to provide a venue for those who wanted to dispose of unwanted and unused prescription drugs. The American public turned in more than 121 tons of pills on the first National Take Back Day. The DEA scheduled another Take Back Day on 4-30-11. Sheriff Hagerty said Wright County would like to partner with the Cities of Buffalo, Annandale and Howard Lake to start the Initiative in Wright County. Residents could discard unwanted prescription medications rather than placing them in the toilet or garbage. This is not an environmentally accepted means of disposal. Sheriff Hagerty stated the City of Buffalo has already started a program. Discussion at Safe Schools Meetings reflects that there is a lot of abuse of prescription drugs. Sheriff Hagerty said if approved, they would partner with Environmental Health. Prescription medications brought to drop off locations would be collected by law enforcement. Per State Statute, law enforcement can handle illegal drugs. The drugs would be transported by a solid waste service and escorted by law enforcement to an incinerator in Pope County. The cost of disposal has dropped from $1/lb. to $.50/lb. The intent would also be to clean out the Evidence Room at the LEC of illegal drugs and have them incinerated as well. Stephens said Wright County will pattern the Chisago County pilot program. Drop locations will be throughout the County. From an environmental standpoint, Stephens said this will keep the drugs from entering the surface waters. The wastewater treatment facility is not designed to treat these types of materials. The materials end up in the surface water and affect the fish and recreational waters. The materials end up in the drinking water for the metro area. From a public safety standpoint, Stephens felt the program will be worthwhile if it keeps one child from getting involved. The DEA may assist with funding. SCORE Funds will be used to cover costs not covered by the DEA. Chisago County spent $11,000 over the past three years on this effort. Wright County spends that on one shipment of household hazardous waste. Stephens said the Wright County Compost Facility cannot take in controlled substances as part of the household hazardous waste collection. That is why law enforcement involvement is critical. The Initiative was also not designed to collect from commercial entities as they have their own outlets for getting rid of pharmaceuticals. This Initiative is for residential collection. Jill Hylla, Public Health, said their office receives calls from clients and schools on what to do with medications. This program will provide an outlet. Mattson requested that Hylla provide a report in one year on the progress of this Initiative. Hagerty said a meeting is scheduled on May 25th with the MPCA and envisioned the program to commence in June. The process will involve Veolia sending two technicians who will collect the material. They will be escorted by a deputy who watches to make sure the material is dumped into the incinerator. Wright County may partner with metro counties on this escort. Sawatzke moved to authorize the implementation of the County-Wide Prescription Take Back Program in Wright County. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried unanimously.
At 10:30 A.M., the Public Hearing was held on County Ditch 34. A letter was received from Ron Ringquist, Ron’s Appraisal Service, providing information on the City of Delano’s petition to outlet storm water from a proposed industrial park into Ditch 34 and an appropriate outlet fee. The letter reflects that the benefits assessed to the property are approximately $5,560.00 or30% of the total benefits (may be slightly less). It is his understanding that the design of the industrial park includes retention basins that will control the discharge to a maximum rate that matches current runoff conditions. There will be an increase in total volume of runoff from the industrial park’s change in land use. The increased volume will cause the existing drain tile to have a discharge flow for a longer period of time after each storm event. Ringquist considered various approaches to determine a recommendation for an outlet fee. The main alternatives considered include use of the drainage system as constructed or accommodating the increased volume of discharge through a petition for an improvement of the existing drainage system main tile. If the City were to petition for an improvement to the existing system to accommodate the impact of the increased volume, the improvement could be completed by either increasing the tile size or increasing the amount and length of ponding time on the City’s property. Improvement of the existing system capacity would require an increase in tile size from 10” to 12” for the additional volume. The size of the larger tile would also need to be increased by a similar capacity. In addressing the increased volume under this type of approach, the existing system could be replaced at the same time. The cost of this replacement could be done as separable maintenance and would be assessed to all properties benefited by the drainage system. Ringquist’s letter reflects an estimate of $325,000.00 to repair the existing main tile system. If the tile were improved through an increase in tile sizes to accommodate the additional water volume, Ringquist’s letter reflects a cost of $350,000. The letter states the primary benefited party from this additional improvement would be the City so the additional cost of $25,000 would be assessed to the City. The City would also be responsible for their 30% share of the $325,000 repair cost. Engineering design and cost estimates would be necessary to determine the exact costs. The letter states that the proceeding is to consider the petition from the City to use the existing system as an outlet, the applied consideration is to evaluate impact of the additional volume of water and the impact on the current benefit to the benefited properties in the system. As the acres currently benefited are the lowlands generally used for hay and pasture, the impact is made with consideration of the additional time of saturation or ponding in these benefited areas. With the tile increasing in size as it leaves the industrial park area, the increased volume will cause an increase in the saturated time by about 12 hours during the 1-year storm. This should have a minimal impact on the quality of the hay or pasture. The letter states that even considering the larger frequency storms, a 2% to 5% impact on benefits should offset the impact. It is Ringquist’s opinion that in addition to an outlet fee, the City will have an increased benefit from the drainage system. This increase in benefit, if adopted, will increase the City’s share of all future maintenance on the drainage system. It was Ringquist’s recommendation that the City be benefited by an additional $675.00, or an additional 3.5% of the total benefit. Having estimated the increased benefit to the City, the calculation of the outlet fee is completed by estimating the share of the systems original cost that would be attributed to that amount of benefit. Ringquist estimated an adjusted project cost to replace the complete drainage system of $550,000.00, including the main and tile branches. As the drainage system is currently in need of repair and is nearly 100 years old, Ringquist estimated the system depreciation at 80% of its life. This leaves the current value of the system at $110,000.00. Applying the average 3.5% benefit to the remaining system value indicates an outlet fee cost to the City of Delano of $3,850.00. More detailed or specific engineering data may change the recommended values. Ringquist’s letter reflects that a redetermination of benefits could be completed to determine the current overall benefits of the drainage system.
Hiivala said the County received one letter from Frances Czanstkowski in opposition to the City being allowed to outlet water into Ditch 34. The purpose of today’s Public Hearing was to receive public comment on the City’s request to outlet storm water from a proposed industrial park development in the County Ditch 34 drainage system.
Harvey Zabel sold his land located on Ditch 34 to Ben, Mark and Ted Moonen in 2001. He said he was not involved anymore as he sold the land where the Ditch goes through. He was unsure who owns the land now as the Moonen’s sold part of it. He still received notice of the meeting. The land was sold by contract and he felt everything was taken care of in 2004. It was confirmed by the City of Delano that the Moonen’s were notified of the Public Hearing as well.
James Braegelmann owns property at the end of County Ditch 34. He has attended a number of the meetings held on this petition by the City to drain storm water into Ditch 34. Braegelmann said that although the City claims there will not be any more water, there will be if there are paved parking lots and buildings. He used to clean the Ditch out himself (from Hwy. 12 to the marsh) but was stopped by the SWCD. He has not performed cleanout in years and the Ditch is now a mess. He said he can’t mow the meadow grass and the Ditch is plugged. At the last meeting held in Delano, he was told it would not be a problem to obtain a permit for cleanout at no cost to the benefited landowners or the County. The SWCD was supposed to contact him when they came out to the Ditch but he hasn’t heard from them since the meeting with the City.. Braegelmann has a problem with Delano pumping water into the Ditch until it is fixed.
Galen Hayes said he was representing his mother, Martha Hayes, who owns property on Ditch 34. Hayes said this is an agricultural tile ditch. He referenced the letter from Ringquist which reflects that the Ditch is 100 years old. Hayes said that all this time, the Ditch has worked fine and now the City wants to develop land into an Industrial Park. Hayes is against an open ditch. He envisioned that the Ditch would then have to be redone in about 10 years. By then, the entire regime of the City Council and County Board will have changed so it will be hard to get it accomplished. Hayes is not against development for Delano but thought they should put a storm system in. It may be cheaper to direct water to the Ditch but it is not designed for that. Hayes said it will cost $20 million to build the Industrial Park. He thought if the City has $20 million, they should be able to put a storm system in.
Brian Asleson, Attorney, provided a map and showed the only area of open ditch on Ditch 34 which is north of Hwy. 12. The remainder is tile. Any changes to the Ditch involving a change from tile to open ditch would have to go through another process with the Board for said improvements. Asleson said the City is talking about keeping the same system as is there. There are areas proposed for holding ponds. He felt if there were questions about that, the City could address them. This request is still in the preliminary stages. Asleson clarified that most of the Ditch system is tile rather than an open ditch. Thelen said some of the property owners are expressing skepticism and questioned whether there will be problems. Asleson said this proposal came to the Board in the past. At one time, there was discussion of changing a good portion of the Ditch from tile to open ditch. He said that might be what people are referring to. He did not feel this was part of the current discussion. Mattson questioned the depth of the tile. Asleson said this has been brought forth before and felt Kerry Saxton, SWCD, would be better able to address this.
Kerry Saxton, SWCD, said there is an area just before the Rose property where the tile is broken and in disrepair. The top of the tile is exposed on Rose’s property over the wetland, so it was suggested that could be turned into an open ditch. At that time, Rose did not want to do this. Saxton said the tiles on Rose’s property are in pretty good shape. However, the tiles are exposed. Problems can be expected in the future because of this but probably no more so than an open ditch. The tile on the property just before Rose’s is smashed and it is open. It is like that in numerous other locations. Old surveys showed the tile should not be exposed; they should be 3’-4’ deep. Saxton said it looks as though there has been subsidence of the soil. When soil dries out, it decomposes. Over the 100-year period, it disappears. This creates a whole new set of problems of how it is dealt with when completing an improvement. The ditch has to remain at the original elevation. In some areas, tile would be put back that is not very deep.
John Czanstkowski said he was representing his mother who owns land on the Ditch. Her concern is that she is on a fixed income. The Ditch is an ag ditch and is adequate for its current use, although it does need repair. Czanstkowski said he could not see making improvements to the Ditch and placing the cost on those who can’t afford it, especially with the current state of the economy. Sawatzke asked whether the letter received from Frances Czanstkowski, mentioned at the onset of this public hearing, was from Czanstkowski’s mother. Czanstkowski confirmed it was.
Saxton stated that an improvement to the Ditch is not being discussed at this time. The outlet fee is what is being addressed. Sawatzke said that is correct. However, the letter from Ringquist spends more time outlining needs, improvements and costs to repair the Ditch. Sawatzke felt the repair and outlet fee go hand-in-hand. Because the use of the Ditch has been agricultural, those on the Ditch have been living with its disrepair as the cost to repair it was too great for gaining back the couple of acres of swampland. The expectation of those in the Industrial Park will be that the Ditch will work and work well. Sawatzke said it is one thing if farmland is under water. It is another when developed industrial properties are threatened by flooding. He had concern with developing land to drain into a 100-year old drainage tile. He referenced Ditch 33 in Monticello Township. The County entered into an Agreement with the City of Monticello reflecting that no more development is allowed on Ditch 33 until there is a new City storm sewer to take the water to the River. Since the time of the Agreement, there has not been any new development in that area. This is primarily due to the slow down in development. However, he said they did not want any more drainage from new residences or developments into Ditch 33. Sawatzke felt the age of Ditches 33 and 34 would be very close, as ditches were built in order (by number). The letter from Ringquist suggests an outlet fee to the City of Delano in the amount of $3,850, which Sawatzke felt was minimal. The second paragraph reflects that the Ditch will eventually need total replacement or abandonment. Sawatzke asked whether this was what the County wanted industrial development relying on. Thelen said it is a little confusing, as somewhere else in the letter the opinion is that there would not be any increased stress on the Ditch. Because of the ponding mechanisms, there would be no more water drainage than what is currently occurring.
Asleson and Hiivala attended the meetings with Ron Ringquist. Asleson said the main focus of Ringquist’s reference to possible repair costs for the entire system were to bring to light that the area proposed for the industrial park is about 30% of the benefited acreage of Ditch 34. Although the actual outlet fee seems low based on the current value of the Ditch and how it is working, the City would be sharing in 30% of any repair costs. Toward the end of the letter, Ringquist recommends that the benefit to the industrial park be bumped up slightly. If this were done, it would lower the percentage of benefits slightly for each of the other benefited landowners on the Ditch. Whatever repair costs are incurred (minor repairs or repair of the entire Ditch system), the City would share in that cost. Asleson said what they have proposed to the City is rather than dividing up the lots in the development (assigning benefits to each parcel), it would be more appropriate to assign all of that acreage a certain benefit on the Ditch. The bill would be sent to the City and they can cover the cost how they choose (through storm water fees to landowners, etc.). Sawatzke asked how many benefited property owners are on Ditch 34 besides the City. Hiivala said 17-20. An audience member said he has heard the figure of 21. Sawatzke used the $350,000 projected cost to repair the Ditch (from Ringquist’s letter). If 70% of that were divided out to the remaining benefited landowners (30%-City; 70%-residents), that would equate to about $11,000 per landowner. He said the average person may have a couple of acres of land that gets flooded for a month or two. He questioned whether they would be willing to pay $11,000 for that benefit. Sawatzke also had concern if the request came forth to rebuild the Ditch in the future. There may be a situation where the City supports the repair but the 20 property owners do not. It may make economic sense for the City but it may not for the property owners.
Diane Barlau owns land on the lower end of the tile, in the area where the tile is broken. The water still flows and it maintains their agricultural land. They put up with flooding and they are satisfied as the Ditch is still working. She referenced Delano’s willingness to pay their share. She said the amount assessed for repairs is dependent on land owned on the Ditch. Barlau felt that if something drastic is done to the Ditch, everyone should pay equally because all portions (no matter the size) are needed for it to work correctly. Barlau referenced the study costs. She said landowners had no say in whether the study was done. She felt Delano should pay the full cost of the research. Another point Barlau made is that the City is the main benefactor of fixing the Ditch. The City annexed land which they want to improve into an industrial park. She felt the City may have a problem with paying for a correct drainage system so they instead want to push the cost onto the farmers on Ditch 34. This will cause a financial hardship. Barlau stated that most people’s land has not been annexed, they are part of Franklin Township. Farmers use the Ditch for farm land runoff. Once the City’s land is changed to industrial, she feels a proper ditch should be put in by the City. Barlau felt water could become contaminated. She referenced a program on Channel 2 on flooding. She said the program reflected holding ponds are built to run over at some point. Pollutants may run into the water. She said there is a County east of St. Paul where residents cannot drink the water because of pollutants from an industrial company. Barlau repeated that the residents can’t afford to bear the brunt of redoing this Ditch. She said they would have to retire. They are happy with the Ditch the way it is and hopes they don’t go ahead with it. Residents will fix what needs to be fixed. Thelen said it does not appear a comparison has been done on when improvements to the Ditch will be needed if the industrial park is allowed to outlet versus if it is not.
Asleson addressed Barlau’s comments on the costs associated with hiring Ringquist to study the Ditch. In the case of Ditch 33 in Monticello, the City was required to cover the costs of the study since they were the petitioner. If the County Board approves of the City of Delano’s petition, the order the Board signs could indicate the City is to cover these costs. Sawatzke asked what will happen if the Board doesn’t approve of the petition. Asleson said the County could still order the City of Delano to pay these costs.
Saxton addressed Thelen’s question on when the Ditch will need repair with or without the industrial park’s outlet into the Ditch. Saxton said his best guess is that it would have negligible difference in the time. He said the system is breaking down because of time. If the City does what it says it will, the water will be controlled on site. The City has proposed that less water will flow than what is coming from there now. The volume will be more. Saxton addressed Sawatzke’s concern with flooding of industrial properties. He said this can be avoided by how high the properties are built. By LIDAR, it has been confirmed the water has a physical run out through the Rose property (close to their home and shed). This has not been confirmed by survey yet. The industrial properties will be protected to some point by the physical run out of the water. Thelen asked Saxton to address Barlau’s concern on ponds overrunning and the pollution. Saxton said that storm water ponds are designed for certain storms to occur, generally up to a 100-year storm. The storm water will pass through an emergency or overflow spillway. This will usually be a lower or rocked area. It is not practical to design for a 500-year storm. Climatic changes have occurred and these storms are being seen more often. The design standards have not changed much. Saxton said the water quality issue is not a great concern of his.
Diane Barlau said in 1972, it rained 11 inches in two days. The entire area was flooded. There have been more recent floods as well. She felt these storms were occurring more often. She referenced the permit that Braegelmann applied for and did not get. She felt his repairs would help. The water in the Ditch is slowing down. She felt permits should be issued to those who want to make repairs. They can perform the work cheaper than the County as they are willing to do it themselves.
Ken Barlau said his wife covered most of the concerns. Their farm is northeast of John Rose’s farm. It is low land. When the River level is high due to spring rains or flooding, the water in the tile runs slow. Apparently, there is very little slope. Fish have come up the tile and out of the broken areas. In some places, the tile is only 1’ below the surface of the ground. He thought the main tile that comes out of Kenny Murphy’s farm is a 2’ tile (back of Barlau’s farm). He referenced another area at the northeast corner of his farm. The water runs under the railroad tracks and drains into other farms on the south side of the track. That involves smaller tile and does not drain until the water has drained out of the main tile. The area that the City wants to develop is at quite a bit higher elevation than Barlau’s place. If the City constructs holding ponds, Barlau thought the tile would not work or flow as well until the main tile has taken all of the water from the higher land. Saxton confirmed this. He said water from higher elevations pushes through first. In a smaller storm, the ponds can be set up so the outlets do not free flow. A portion of the capacity of the tile will be used but not the whole tile. Barlau said that at the back part of his farm, the water is completely gone and the tile runs through there. Water is still standing in an area that comes from the railroad track. This area has smaller tile. There is also water standing across the railroad track on Czanstkowski’s land and other lands. That is why Barlau maintains that most of this farm will not drain until the water is out of the sediment ponds. Saxton said the entire system is slow as it is in poor shape. He said someone indicated the River backs in there but he was unsure if that was correct. In most cases, he said this is not the case. Saxton addressed the permit for Braegelmann. It should have been issued and he will follow up on this. It is not affecting the upper tile but it is affecting Braegelmann’s as there is water all over on the property. Barlau said he read Delano newspaper articles from February and March on the Ditch. One article reflected that the City would be willing to complete 24% of it and spend up to $200,000. Barlau questioned how that affects the other 20 benefited landowners. Certain landowners are assessed more as they have more land. Barlau said in that instance, it would cost more than his farm is worth. He suggested that the City build a storm sewer under Hwy. 12 to the River. Then it would be done correctly and the farmers could still use the Ditch. He thought either the City does not have the money or they don’t want to spend it. He did not feel it was right to put the cost onto the benefited landowners.
John Rose owns land on Ditch 34. He said since he has lived in the area, more and more industrial projects have come forth from the City. Once development starts, it will continue to grow. The tile will not be able to handle it. He suggested that the City build a waterway instead of using the ag ditch. He said as the industrial area grows, they will outgrow that tile. Rose said even if the tile is patched now, it won’t be long and the same problems will occur. Rose agreed with the input provided today from his neighbors. He said development cannot be stopped but felt this should be done correctly. He did not want to come back in six months and hear the same thing. He felt the percentage is not as important; it is whether the tile is capable of this expansion. Rose felt that the City was trying to get by with the lowest cost rather than addressing the problem.
Mattson said this situation reminds him of County Ditches 19 and 21 in the St. Michael area. The County denied work on the Ditch as some people did not sign off. The City decided to take over Ditches 19 and 21. What the County was worried about happened, the area flooded and water was up to the window sills. Mattson said he does not want to see anyone flooded. The St. Michael case is a prime example of what can happen. Water can be very damaging. He felt it will be up to the City to determine what they are looking at, but they could possibly spend a lot of money buying some of the properties out.
Sawatzke referred to the previous discussion on the cost of $325,000 to repair the Ditch. In looking through the letter from Ringquist further, it reflects repairs range from $325,000-$500,000. Saxton said the $325,000 is the cost to replace the main tile, not the lateral. The figure of $550,000 includes everything.
Mattson moved to close the Public Hearing and reconvene the Board Meeting at 11:13 A.M. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0.
Eichelberg asked for clarification on whether the Board needed to make a decision today. Asleson responded that the requirement is to hold a Public Hearing. If the Board has concerns that need to be investigated further, they should direct staff to research the concerns. One option would be for the County Attorney’s Office to draft findings whether to approve or deny the petition from the City. Another option would be to lay discussion over to a future Board Meeting so Commissioner Russek could be present for discussion. The Board is not required to take action but staff is looking for direction. Mattson moved to lay discussion over to the 5-17-11 County Board Meeting so Russek can be present for discussion. If desired, the County Board can direct the Attorney’s Office thereafter. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke said he was agreeable to the motion. He referenced the letter from Ringquist which suggests a $3,850 outlet fee to be paid by the City based on the fact that the Ditch is not worth a lot in its current state. Sawatzke noted that the letter spends far more time on the need to repair the Ditch than the cost associated with the outlet fee. If the industrial park is allowed to outlet into the Ditch, there may be a situation where one property owner will expect more than another. If serious repairs to the Ditch are needed, there may be 20 benefited property owners who vote against it and 1 that supports it. Sawatzke said he has concern with taking a 100-year old drainage system and turning it into a modern drainage system. Thelen said it seems to be one of those instances where industry profits and people pay. She hoped that at the next Board Meeting, they could discuss alternatives to the proposal. Sawatzke said one way to alleviate that concern would be for the City to decide to pay more than the 30% benefit if there is a substantial repair to the Ditch. He said they could come to the table with some numbers that buy down that cost. For them to pay just their 30% share sets the stage for disaster in the future. The motion carried 4-0.
The meeting recessed at 11:18 A.M. and reconvened at 11:29 A.M. Commissioner Sawatzke was not present for the remainder of the Board Meeting.
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 4-26-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 3-0:
I. DISCUSS HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR POSITION.
Russek stated that the Leadership Team made a recommendation to the County Board to discuss adding a Human Resources Director position in the Administration Department. He requested today’s Committee meeting. MacMillan stated that he was the previous Chair of the Leadership Team. Since the Leadership Retreat in May, 2010, which was facilitated by Kim Boyce, University of Minnesota Extension, subcommittees were developed to discuss functionality within the County. There has been an ongoing discussion regarding the workload in departments and how to better interrelate between departments. MacMillan stated that he recently sent a letter to Russek regarding the Leadership Team recommendation to the County Board to explore the need for a Human Resources Director. Russek asked whether the letter was sent to all department heads. MacMillan stated yes. There was agreement among the Leadership Team that Norman is overwhelmed by wearing too many hats.
Russek asked Kelly if he was able to research what other counties are doing in regard to their Administration Departments. Kelly distributed a handout (see attached) regarding eight other counties and their staffing levels within their Administration or Human Resources Departments. Kelly stated that he contacted comparable counties and received responses from Stearns, Scott, Sherburne, Dakota, Benton, Carver, Washington, and Anoka. Within the packets, there are county organizational charts listing the positions within the Administration, Human Resources, or Employee Relations Departments. Sawatzke asked whether the Human Resource Director position is located within the Administrator/Coordinator’s Office in other counties. Kelly stated that in a majority of the counties, the Human Resources or Labor Relations staff reported to the County Administrator or Coordinator.
Russek stated that he has been a part of the arbitration process and can see where Dick would need assistance in labor relations. He stated that if there was somebody to assist with labor relations issues, it would give him more time to work on budgets. Thelen asked whether the Leadership Team performed an assessment on the workload of the Coordinator. She asked whether there are alternatives to addressing this matter such as organizational restructuring, evaluating methods of doing work, or providing more delegation. Thelen asked if there are other ways in realizing efficiencies as the workload decreases. She questioned whether adding an additional person would improve the satisfaction level regarding whether the Administration Department is getting things done quickly enough.
MacMillan stated that the recommendation from the Leadership Team was partly anecdotal. However, the Department Heads have a clear understanding of what other counties are doing. He stated that the letter was very easy to write because Norman was a part of the discussion. He stated that Kelly’s research correlates with the information Department Heads already had about comparable counties. The Leadership Team simply discussed whether there is a need for a Human Resources Director to assist with the responsibilities that Norman currently undertakes. MacMillan stated that Norman, the County Board, and the Personnel Committee should continue this discussion.
Mattson stated that with the current economy, the private sector is cutting employees and doing things differently. He stated that perhaps the County should evaluate whether instead of having a Special Projects Administrator, a Human Resources Director under the direction of Norman, would be more appropriate. He stated that Wright County has been very conservative. Other counties have seen major layoffs. His fear is that Wright County would become top heavy causing some Departments to suffer from layoffs. Russek stated that if one of the Human Resource Representatives would step into the position as a Human Resources Director, then the County would not expand its staffing numbers. He questioned how the job posting would be advertised.
Norman stated that if the County Board is interested in proceeding, a job description for the position would have to be developed and evaluated. He stated that today’s discussion is conceptual. There is a process prior to creating a new position. After drafting the job description, the discussion would have to be brought before the County Board. Norman stated that Wright County is the only county within the top 30 Minnesota counties by population that does not have a Human Resources Director. He stated that Sawatzke and Eichelberg have heard him discuss the need for a Human Resources Director during his previous four performance reviews. The initiative came out of the Leadership Team Retreat and has taken place at subsequent Leadership Team meetings. He clarified that he was not in attendance at the Retreat. He stated that developing a job description would be his recommendation to the County Board.
Eichelberg stated that he does not think the County Board is ready to add an extra person in the Administration Department. He stated that he would agree that someday there will be a need for the position. In order to facilitate that process, it will be necessary to create a job description. Thelen stated that this seems to be an exercise that may not go anywhere. She stated that she wouldn’t be comfortable with doing anything beyond the creation of a job description until there has been an assessment of the Administration Department workload and whether the work is being done effectively. She stated that she does not have a sense of immediacy regarding this issue. She stated that there has been an indication there could be more delegation. The structure of the organizational chart is questionable. She stated that she has questions about the current structure of having one supervisor for one person.
Russek stated that he thinks there are ways that this could be handled. He too is not in favor of expanding staffing numbers. He stated that a recommendation has been made by the Leadership Team and the County Board has to determine how to handle the recommendation. The County Board, as part of the process, would also have to determine whether the position would be within the County Coordinator’s Office or another department. Russek asked who would develop the job description. Norman stated that he would. Sawatzke stated that he would not advocate for adding another staff person at this time. He stated that he is willing to look at restructuring at a minimal extent. He stated that the Human Resources
Department currently has three Personnel Representatives and Norman is acting as the Human Resources Director. He stated that he is sure that a little bit of Norman’s time is related to Human Resource Director duties. He stated this topic is not about adding more staff members to increase efficiencies. He stated that the County may not need to add a fourth Human Resources person for a long time relative to the current work load. Five years ago, the County was driven by population growth, and it put pressure on other departments.
Russek stated that this discussion is basically about restructuring and managing the appropriate number of employees. He stated that he is not in favor of adding another person to facilitate the position. Sawatzke stated that he would be in favor of Norman doing some homework and putting together a job description for the position. The discussion could be brought to the Personnel Committee Of The Whole in three or four months. He clarified that there should be an understanding that there would not be any promise regarding the approval of the position. Sawatzke stated that he was a member of the Subcommittee that brought forward the recommendation. He stated that he would have been in the minority regarding the support of this position.
Thelen stated that as part of the homework Norman will be conducting, she would like to get a sense of how much work everybody does. There has been a question regarding the Administration Department being overworked.
Kramber stated that he served on the Committee and is aware that other Departments are feeling pressure because of the economy. He stated that nobody knows the Administration Department better than Norman. He stated that he would support Norman bringing this back to the table after the job description is created to determine whether an additional body is needed. He stated that he would hope that the County Board would be open to the idea that this position could be justified. Cutting employees in one department may support an additional body in another department. Kramber stated that he is aware that it is very difficult in any government entity to hire anybody because of the economy. Sawatzke responded that the County Board is not anti-hiring; they are pro-cutting. Kramber stated that there is a process being followed on replacement of personnel. He stated that there are situations where a new position could be justified.
Russek asked for Norman’s input. Norman stated that if the County Board wants to proceed, he would develop a job description and bring it back to discuss at budget time. Sawatzke stated again that he would be in support of Norman doing his homework and bringing the topic back during budget time. He clarified that he will not be in support of the position if it means that more people would be brought into the Administration Department.
Eichelberg stated that this may be a case of restructuring and developing a new job description. He stated that he would propose identifying the job duties that everybody has within the Administration Department. Part of the process would be to determine whether there is an overload of work and whether there is a need for an additional body. Norman stated that if the County Board were to look at the staffing levels in comparison counties, they would see that the Wright County Administration Department operates very well with less staff. Thelen stated that other counties may have 30% more staff that do 30% more functions than the Wright County Administration Department does. Norman responded that there may be functions that his Department may not be able to do because of the lack of staffing. Thelen stated that the County Board has heard consistently how overworked the Administration Department is. The County Board has heard Norman state that he needs an additional staff person and that wearing many hats is problematic.
Sawatzke referred to Kelly’s handouts and stated that the County Board has to carefully interpret the data. Some positions grouped under the Administration Department in other counties are found under other Departments in Wright County. As an example, he cited the front desk switchboard operator and Public Works Director positions within Scott County. He stated that in Wright County, the front desk switchboard operator is categorized under the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office and the Public Works Director is a separate department. Russek cited another example regarding payroll techs which are considered part of the Employee Relations and Administration Departments at Dakota County; yet are part of the Auditor/Treasurer Department in Wright County. Sawatzke stated that the County Board will have to analyze the information from other counties when looking at employee count overall.
Sawatzke questioned whether the population numbers were correct on the handouts. Kelly explained that he received his population numbers from the 2011 AMC book. He stated that he thought this would be an acceptable resource. Kelly stated that there are 87 counties in Minnesota. The Administration Departments within each county are laid out differently. Some counties have payroll within their Administration Departments. He stated that he tried to lay out the information in a consistent and fair manner. He stated that the County Board will have to look at the numbers. He stated that if the County Board were to have any questions, he would be more than happy to answer their questions or forward his resources that were used for today’s presentation.
Thelen asked Kelly if he thinks everybody is overworked within the Administration Department. Kelly stated that he has a capital improvement plan project that is more behind schedule than he would like. He stated that he is the lead on the classification study. He and the Personnel staff are looking at job descriptions and trying to get them ready prior to union negotiations. He commented that they are trying to do the best they can do. He stated that traditionally the County Board has done a good job of being conservative in its hiring. He stated that the County has good employees that get a lot done. He stated that in answer to Thelen’s question, he does feel that he is behind in his work.
Fingalson stated that he was a member of the task force working on this recommendation. He stated that it has been a good ongoing discussion. He stated that he is in support of Norman preparing the job description. He stated that he would encourage that the job description and discussion be brought to the County Board before budget time so that it could be incorporated into next year’s budget process. He is concerned that the process could be pushed out another year.
Mattson stated that the County Commissioners are elected by the people of Wright County. He stated that the taxpayers are complaining about their rising taxes. He stated that if the Department Heads sat in the Commissioners’ chairs, they would have to make the same decisions. He reminded the Committee that he worked in the private sector and was in charge of 55 bus routes. He stated that he worked in all job functions within his bus company. He stated that there are a lot of people struggling and the County Commissioners represent the citizens.
Thelen asked Mattson whether this would be all the more reason to run an effective and efficient government. She stated that the people of Wright County expect a well run government. This is why the County Board would look into the recommendation made by the Leadership Team. Mattson stated that he attends AMC meetings and listens to what other counties are doing. He feels that Wright County has a well run system now. He stated that he thinks Wright County ranks higher than other counties in its effectiveness and conservativeness. Thelen stated that Wright County can continue along this path by continuing to look at better ways of doing things. Mattson stated that restructuring could make a real mess in the long term.
Thelen stated that Eichelberg suggested some homework be done regarding the level of work that is and isn’t getting done within the Administration Department. Russek stated that Kelly gave the County Board an idea of what he’s working on and how busy he is. Sawatzke stated that he does not believe that the workload of the Personnel Representatives is what it was years ago when the County was hiring 17-18 new staff positions each year. Pawelk responded that the recruitment process is only one facet of the Personnel role. She stated that FMLA, COBRA, and employee investigations have increased.
Thelen stated that she would like to examine the concept of delegation within the Administration Department. She stated that she does not know what goes on in the Administration Department and how the work is being done. She stated that she would like to know more. Sawatzke stated that the organizational chart lists the positions within the Department. Perhaps each position could list a summary statement of the duties each role encompasses.
Eichelberg stated that he senses there is a consensus in support of Norman writing a job description utilizing information from other counties. He stated that the Administration Department staff could list what jobs are being done, allowing them to tell the County Board how busy they are. He stated that he would like to see this by July or August in time for budget time. Norman stated that if the County Board is hearing that his staff is not busy, he has not heard the same. He could definitely give his staff more to do if this were the case. Thelen stated that the County Board has not heard this from staff necessarily. She stated there has been some stuff that has happened which she has questions about. She stated that she would like some transparency to see where things are problematic. She stated that she has ideas on how people could have more time. She would like to know how delegation occurs within the Administration Department. She stated that she realizes that negotiations fill up Norman’s time. Norman stated that he spent last week preparing for a grievance arbitration hearing. He stated that he has 15 grievances on his desk. Norman stated that once a grievance has been filed, there is a grievance process outlined in the collective bargaining agreement that must be followed. Each grievance process takes a lot of time and has an impact on the entire organization and how the County is going to deal with other bargaining units.
Thelen stated that if a redesign is being considered, she thinks that it is worth looking further into how things are done, supervisory roles, whether staff takes too many minutes, and the utilization of time structure. Norman stated that the current level of detail in the meeting minutes is helpful and has been used in preparation for arbitration hearings. Thelen stated that she is suggesting that along with the recommendation, some other forms of developing efficiencies should be examined.
Russek stated that Eichelberg made a suggestion. He asked whether the Committee is in support or against his suggestion. Sawatzke stated that he is in support of having Norman do some more homework as long as everybody understands that nothing is being approved today. He stated that the Committee is simply saying that it will keep an open mind. Russek stated that he feels the County Board knows what the employees do up in the Administration Department.
RECOMMENDATION: Norman to draft a job description, have it evaluated, create an organizational chart summarizing the duties of staff within the Administration Department, and present it to the Budget Committee Of The Whole during the budget process.
(End of 4-26-11 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
The Board previously directed staff to come up with a recommendation on defining what a “new enrollee” is in the Deferred Compensation Plan. Today, Norman said he met with Asleson and Hiivala as directed. The task was to look at defining “new enrollee” as it relates to vendors meeting the minimum requirement of 20 new enrollees in a deferred compensation plan. The recommendation from staff is that there must be a break in contribution to an existing plan for a minimum of three months before an employee can enroll in a new plan. The employee must notify the Auditor/Treasurer in writing that they will no longer be contributing to the plan. That will start the three-month process to enroll in a new plan. Vendors who have proposed plans in the past may want to do so again with this change in definition. It was suggested that the vendors be informed of the rule change. Asleson said that records in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office will reflect when an employee ceases contribution to a plan as no withholdings have occurred. A written notice may not be required. Eichelberg moved to approve the revised definition of “new enrollee” in the Deferred Compensation Plan. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson questioned whether anyone will lose their money in transferring to a new vendor. Norman said he did not believe so but he is not up on all of the transfer rules that may apply from one plan to another. Asleson said his understanding is that if an employee contributes to a plan and that provider is no longer approved by the County, their funds can remain with them but they cannot continue to contribute to that plan. The employee may end up with funds in more than one place, but he did not feel there would be a risk of losing funds. Norman clarified that if an employee stops contributing to an existing plan, those funds need to remain in that plan. They can transfer to a new plan and start new contributions from that point. The motion carried 3-0.
At the 4-19-11 Meeting, the County Board approved the 4-13-11 Ways & Means Committee Minutes. Since that time, it was discovered that the Equipment Rental quotes attached to those minutes are the quotes from the 2010 bid opening. Norman requested Board approval to add the correct attachment dated 4-13-11 to the Ways & Mean Committee Minutes for filing purposes. Administration felt it was important to inform the Board that the Equipment Rental tally sheet reviewed on 4-19-11 was not the correct one. The correct Equipment Rental tally sheet was presented at the 4-26-11 County Board Meeting. Eichelberg moved to approve the correction, seconded by Mattson, carried 3-0.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #11-29, authorizing signatures on the grant applications to the DNR for development and maintenance funds for the Wright County Snowmobile Association for the 2011-2012 season, and authorization to sign the agreements with the State of Minnesota and Wright County Snowmobile Association. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 3-0 on a roll call vote.
Eichelberg moved to authorize attendance at the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization and Region 7W 2011 Local Human Service Transit Coordination Plan on 5-18-11, St. Cloud. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 3-0.
Accurate USA 142.50
Air Science USA LLC 759.00
Albertville/City of 2,303.20
Allina Health System 17,550.07
Allina OCC Med 230.00
Ameripride Services 607.33
Ancom Technical Center 2,202.49
Annandale Advocate Inc. 315.00
Anoka County Corrections 182.70
Aramark Services Inc. 6,344.76
Atrix International Inc. 1,480.00
Automatic Garage Doors & Fi 1,106.68
Bankers Advertising Co Inc. 543.70
Bear Graphics Inc. 364.01
Boyer Truck Parts 1,074.01
BP Amoco 1,945.60
BSN Sports 237.16
Buffalo Auto Value 114.64
Buffalo/City of 31,031.65
Center Point Energy 2,591.00
Centra Sota Cooperataive - E 30,751.53
Centra Sota Lake Region LLC 8,196.61
Central MN Mental Health 200.00
Chatham Township 796.00
Cleaerwater/City of 650.00
Climate Air 35,486.75
Cokato Township 279.90
Cottens Inc. 3,510.73
Creative Forms & Concepts 1,110.38
Crop Production Services II 484.80
Croteau Plumbing 404.00
CSI Forensic Supply 144.90
Cub Pharmacy 2,135.11
Delano/City of 7,517.15
Dell Marketing LP 4,112.71
Diamond Mowers Inc. 1,482.98
Eichelberg, Elmer 182.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 111.09
Emergency Physicians Prof 613.50
Fastenal Company 298.48
Fehn Gravel & Excavating/De 124,405.18
Force America Inc. 1,265.89
Gale-Tec Engineering Inc. 420.00
General Office Products 533.01
Gopher State One Call 179.80
Hardings Towing Inc. 346.34
Hasty Silver Creek Sportme 3,614.00
Hennepin County Sheriff 140.00
Herald Journal Publishing 277.65
Hewlett Packard 3,521.74
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 2,741.23
Howard Lake/City of 1,528.60
Integrated Fire & Security 607.71
Intereum Inc. 6,823.65
Interstate Battery Systems 968.77
Jerrys Towing & Repair 324.94
Junction Towing & Auto Rep 249.02
Kaplan Professional Sch 850.00
Klein Heating and Cooling 163.43
Kris Engineering Inc. 2,372.84
LaPlant Demo Inc. 1,745.37
Larson Companies LTD/W D 486.28
Loberg Electric 770.90
Lostetter/Carol H 400.00
Luther Brookdale Chevrolet 16,099.35
M-R Sign Company Inc. 159.39
Maple Lake Lumber Company 398.90
Maple Lake Township 895.80
Marco Inc. 2,484.37
Marietta Aggregates/Martin 607.08
Martin-McAllisters Cons 800.00
Matt Legal Services 100.00
Mattila Electric/Roger 3,995.00
McNamara Inc./B 22,187.25
Menards - Buffalo 433.81
Middleville Township 586.20
Midway Iron & Metal Co Inc 585.18
Millner/Scott R 180.00
MN Assn. of County Probation 540.00
MN Attorney Generals Office 330.29
MN Board of Assessors 915.00
MN Chemical Company 582.23
MN Copy Systems 158.12
MN Monitoring Inc. 2,046.00
MN Sheriffs Association 706.00
Moore & Moore Water Treat 300.00
Morries Parts & Service Gr 419.13
Mpls. Community Technical C 350.00
Northern Safety Technolog 1,870.18
Ocean Technology Systems 240.36
Office Depot 2,007.16
Pavement Resources Inc. 4,809.38
Peavey Company/Lynn 828.65
Pleasant Hills Saddle Shop 140.00
Public Safety Printing Serv 105.44
Retriever LLC 1,205.00
Retrofit Companies Inc 684.50
Richards/Thomas W. 200.00
Rockford City TIF 801 1,987.02
Rons Appraisal Service 1,000.00
Royal Tire Inc. 6,336.74
RS Eden 3,825.38
Ryan Chevrolet 568.54
Safelite Fulfillment Inc. 228.11
Silver Creek Township 967.20
Solar Winds Inc. 495.00
Southside Township 736.60
Specialty Turf & Ag 123.98
St. Cloud Fire Equipment Inc 577.50
Stockholm Township 399.10
T & S Trucking 5,530.00
Tires Plus 149.08
University of Minnesota 195.00
USA Safety Supply Corp 577.87
Vance Brothers Inc. 5,404.89
Voss Lighting 131.71
Walmart Community GEMB 302.12
Waste Management TC West 316.75
Watchguard Electronic Ho 107.25
Waverly/City of 436.20
Woodland Township 556.00
Wright Co. Human Serv. 145.55
Wright Soil & Water Conser 106.88
Xcel Energy 1,544.84
Zack’s Inc. 1,344.01
Zarnoth Brush Works Inc. 619.88
57 Payments less than $100 2,939.22
Final total $444,227.17
The meeting adjourned at 11:39 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 6, 2011.