Wright County Board Minutes

MAY 17, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, and Eichelberg present. Commissioner Thelen was absent.
Eichelberg moved to approve the 5-10-11 County Board Minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried 3-0. Russek abstained from the vote as he was not present at the last meeting.
Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: L. Lehmberg, IT; J. Adams, P. Bailey, T. Endreson, J. Fox, M. Meemken, Sher./Corr.
2. Claim, Madden Galanter Hansen, LLP, $13,411.93 (Service For April, 2011).
3. Charitable Gambling Application Form LG220, St. John’s Church at St. John’s Education Center, 17260 Hwy 12, Cokato, MN (Cokato Twp.).
4. Tri-County Regional Forensic Laboratory Report, April, 2011.
1. Approve Funding Participation And Construction Agreement With Otsego For The Safe Routes To School Project.
1. Authorize Signature On The 2011 Federal Boating Safety Supplement Grant, $1,698.
Deb Steiskal is the District Director for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s Office. On 3-31-11, Congresswoman Bachmann submitted for Congressional Record the following statement:
Mister Speaker, I rise today to honor and thank Sheriff Gary Miller of Annandale for more than 30 years of service in law enforcement to Wright County, Minnesota. From his beginnings as a part time deputy in 1975, to his ten years as Sheriff of one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Minnesota, Sheriff Miller was a dedicated public servant whose contributions to his department and to Wright County cannot be measured.
While Wright County was growing rapidly, the Sheriff’s department grew along with it, and Gary spent time in nearly every role as he rose through the ranks. The deputies under his leadership respected both him and his servant attitude. Sheriff Miller made a point to be a positive presence for the citizens he served and he was a familiar face in every city of Wright County.
During his term as Sheriff, Gary addressed a devastating growth in methamphetamine use helping to bring the number of methamphetamine labs in the county down to near zero. Sheriff Miller also was known for his good fiscal management of the department, especially in recent years when the economy required lean management. One step towards this involved combining efforts with two other counties to create a state-of-the-art forensics lab that allows for quick and efficient processing of forensic evidence. In 2009, Sheriff Miller opened up a new law enforcement center and jail, a process that started only a year before he was first elected to Sheriff. That sense of completion is what led him to think about retirement, and his time as the county’s highest law officer came to an end on January 3rd, 2011.
Like many counties across our Nation, the Sheriff’s office in Wright County stands for justice and peace and we are grateful for all that they do to protect our families and neighborhoods. I ask this body, along with the Speaker of the House, to join with me in thanking Sheriff Gary Miller for his dedication to the Sheriff’s department and to Wright County, Minnesota.
On behalf of Congressman Bachman’s Office, Steiskal presented the Certificate of Appreciation to Gary Miller and expressed thanks to Miller for his service. Gary Miller said it was an unexpected, but not unappreciated, honor to have Congresswoman Bachmann take time from her Congressional schedule to read this into the record. Miller said he interacted with Steiskal many times while he was Sheriff of Wright County. He spoke of the assistance Steiskal provided to Congressman Kennedy and currently provides to Congresswoman Bachmann. He stated Steiskal is present at meetings, soliciting input and providing information and services as needed. He extended appreciation to Steiskal for her assistance while he was Sheriff. The Board congratulated Gary Miller.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty said that May 15-21, 2011 is National Police Week. As part of this, the Sheriff’s Office decided to hold their Awards Presentation as part of the Board Meeting. He introduced Sgt. Brian Johnson who read a resolution proclaiming May 15-21, 2011 as Law Enforcement Officers Week in Wright County. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #11-30, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
WHEREAS the law enforcement officers of Wright County have worked devotedly and selflessly in behalf of the people of this county and the State of Minnesota, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves; and
WHEREAS these officers have safeguarded the lives and property of their fellow citizens; and
WHEREAS by the enforcement of our laws, these same officers have given our county internal freedom from fear of the violence and civil disorder; and
WHEREAS seven Wright County Law Enforcement Officers including Constable Charles Albert Washburn, Sheriff John C. Nugent Jr., Marshall Rudolph Maurer, Sheriff Paul Kritzeck, Sheriff James Krietlow, Chief George Rytii, and Sheriff Roger Wrobbel have given the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty; and
WHEREAS these men and women of law enforcement by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of our community:
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners formally declares May 15th – 21st, 2011, as Law Enforcement Officers Week in Wright County, and publicly salutes the service of law enforcement officers in our community and in communities across the nation.
Joint resolution of the US Congress in October, 1962
(End of Resolution #11-30)
Sheriff Joe Hagerty and Sgt. Brian Johnson presented awards for the Sheriff’s Office. The first was a Letter of Recognition for David Schmit for his assistance with a motor vehicle accident on TH 12 with serious injuries (March 2, 2011). Schmit assisted with administering first aid and monitoring vital signs. Letters of Recognition were presented to Deputy Ryan Ferguson and Deputy Ben Miller for their courage, compassion, and preservation of life during a suicidal incident (1-24-11). Letters of Recognition were given to Correction Officers Gayle Poepping, Terry Baxter, and Jacob Scheierl. The Correction Officers found an unresponsive inmate and put forth a team effort to save the inmate’s life.
Sheriff Hagerty presented the Jack Bodin Guiding Principles Award to Gary Miller. Hagerty said Jack Bodin was a member of the Sheriff’s Department from 1970-1983 and again from 2002-2005. Bodin passed away from cancer in May, 2005. The Award is presented annually to a person who exhibits and displays the guiding principles and standards that employees in the organization can attempt to live up to. Sheriff Gary Miller thought enough of Bodin to name the Award after him. The Award is to be given to those individuals who display these very characteristics he saw in Jack Bodin. Hagerty said the guiding principles of the Sheriff’s Office are professionalism, integrity, fairness, and caring. Sheriff Hagerty presented the Award to Gary Miller as a person who not only held others accountable to these guidelines but led by example. Jack Bodin’s wife, Eileen, was present for the Award. Gary Miller said the Award means a great deal to him. He viewed Bodin as a mentor. Russek extended appreciation to all police officers who work to keep the public safe. Miller was congratulated on the award.
Nick Neaton, 4-H Program Coordinator, provided a 4-H Update. 4-H activities are held year long to provide programming and opportunities to 4-H families, including parents and children. Wright County has approximately 550 members (ages 5-19) and continues to grow. Nearly all Wright County 4-H’ers belong to 1 of the 24 clubs. The State-wide average is 25% for annual turnaround of 4-H members. Neaton said this is due to youth graduating and lost members. In Wright County, the annual turnaround is 10%. He said the struggle is to keep youth interested in 4-H when there are so many other opportunities. 4-H offers both animal and non-animal activities. A highlight of winter activities included project bowls. One group went to State competition and is now headed to National competitions. Neaton said 4-H focuses on community building. There are more than 150 screened adult leaders with a 3:1 adult to child ratio. The 4-H experience provides youth with a sense of larger community outside of family and school. Many clubs take part in Christmas caroling for the elderly and assist with community projects. Neaton provided some highlights of the 4-H Program. With budget pressures and the push for online services, they were successful in reducing mailing costs through a conversion to the online enrollment process. Numerous clubs participated in the project days. Other events include: Horse, rabbit and dog teams; community service; pumpkin contest; public speaking through communications contest; dog training classes; residence and day camps; project education; 4-H food stands; and County Fair. Neaton said his personal goals include growth in membership and a focus on strengthening clubs. He hopes to increase community awareness of 4-H activities via media and participation in public events. His mission is to keep these activities in the limelight and keep the image going. He reminded everyone that participants do not have to live on a farm to participate in 4-H activities. He extended appreciation to the County Board for their support of the wide variety of programs offered through the 4-H Program.
Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer, said Overlay bids (Contract 1102) were opened at the last Board Meeting. He referenced handout materials showing a summary of bids compared to budget. The last page of the handout reflects that the low bid is over budget (local levy) by $572,202.99. With State Aid funding, the low bid is $421,141.56 under budget. Hawkins said the Engineer’s estimate presented at the 2010 Budget Sessions for the Overlays were not good figures. The normal process involves making an educated guess which is normally close. Hawkins distributed a handout reflecting an Addendum to the Project:
Item 3, (1903) Compensation for Increased or Decreased Quantities. In addition to the MnDOT standard specifications and the specifications in the proposal/plans, the following shall apply to this project:
S-25.2 The County reserves the right to delete portions of the CR 117 and/or the CSAH 34 projects, due to local levy budget constraints. There will be no additional compensation or adjustment to unit prices due the Contractor if this should occur (regardless of the quantity that may be deleted).
Hawkins met with Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, to discuss the situation. They propose to delete the easterly three miles of CSAH 34 from the Project. That portion could be rebid as a State Aid Project. Sawatzke asked if there was a reason why the County can’t accept the low bid and fund a portion using State Aid funding. Hawkins stated that in order to use State Aid funding, the project has to be bid using a State Aid approved plan ahead of time. Hawkins referenced a map outlining the proposed work. The recommendation is to award the Overlay bid to Knife River so they can start work as soon as possible. Another option would be to delay discussion to a Transportation Committee Of The Whole Meeting. If the bid were awarded to Knife River, the suggestion would be to delete three miles of CSAH 34 from CR 120 to CSAH 19. CR 117 and the remainder of CSAH 34 would be completed using local levy funds. CSAH 35 and CSAH 12 would need to be done at a later date due to the detour route (for CR 12 south). Sawatzke moved to accept the recommendation of the Highway Department to accept the low bid from Knife River with the exception of approximately 3 miles on the eastern portion of CSAH 34 which would be rebid later as a CSAH project. The motion includes completing the remainder of the overlays on CSAH 34, CSAH 12, CR 117, and CSAH 35. Eichelberg said the eastern portion of CSAH 34 needs to be completed at some point as that is the where the condition of the road is the worst. The motion carried 4-0. The total amount of the bid award is $4,879,747.18. Total payment to Knife River will reflect Addendum No. 1, Item 3.
Hawkins requested that a Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting be scheduled to discuss a road problem in the Grand Castle Estates Development. Sawatzke asked for more specifics on the request. Hawkins said he does not have the details but understands Highway staff has been working with the Attorney’s Office. Eichelberg clarified that the estate is located in Buffalo Township. He understands that Planning & Zoning may have missed a deadline for a contractor to complete work on the road. Sawatzke moved to schedule a TCOTW Meeting for 5-31-11 at 1:00 P.M. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried unanimously.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, provided an update on County Ditch 10. On 5-11-11, Hiivala, Mattson and staff met with Gary Diers, David Hoover, Craig Brose, Roy Marshall, Dennis Klammer, and Wayne McRoberts to discuss cleanout of the Ditch. Mattson said the discussion involved many things including Lake Ann and Lake Emma. Ditch 10 does need cleanout and all agreed that the outlet needs to be improved. It was suggested that Kerry Saxton and Curt Deter review the Ditch 10 watershed. Any improvements would involve both lake associations. The SWCD is looking at the water quality as well. The request involves more than cleaning the Ditch. Russek said Lake Ann floods already and he questioned improving a Ditch to direct more water flow to it. Hiivala said discussions have included clean out from CSAH 6 west, from CSAH 6 east, and also cleanout from Lake Emma to Lake Ann. He said that is why it is felt that bids should be obtained. They would meet with the bidders on site to make sure there is no misinterpretation on what needs to be cleaned out. Mattson felt an opinion should be obtained from Kerry Saxton on what should be cleaned out. Hiivala said the purpose of discussion today would be to inform the Board there is a repair request on County Ditch 10. Hiivala will meet with Saxton. If it is felt that Kurt Deter should be involved, Hiivala will come back to the Board with that request. This was provided as an informational item.
At the County Ditch 34 Public Hearing last week, Jim Braegelmann indicated that he would like to clean out a portion of the Ditch on the north end. Since that time, the SWCD sent a letter to Braegelmann outlining the requirements for clean out, including that the clean out is allowed only to the original size, depth and grade. Braegelmann is looking to complete the clean out at his own expense. Since this is an official County Ditch, Hiivala said the County Board must approve of this. Sawatzke moved to approve the clean out request by Braegelmann provided he works within the parameters outlined by the SWCD. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson questioned the location of Braegelman’s property. Russek stated his property is located on the Ditch outlet. The motion carried 4-0.
Laid over from the last County Board Meeting, discussion resumed on the City of Delano’s request to outlet from a proposed industrial park into County Ditch 34. The County Ditch 34 Public Hearing was held at the 5-10-11 County Board Meeting and public input was obtained. Russek asked the City to restate their position and request. Phil Kern, City Administrator, said he would provide a response on behalf of the City on their request and also to the County Board’s request to the City for additional consideration.
Kern said the City is working with a couple of landowners in Franklin Township to develop an industrial park. As part of that, they are requesting the ability to change the land use and continue to discharge water into County Ditch 34. Kern referenced the Public Hearing held on Ditch 34 last week. The City has also held public meetings with property owners. This has been a process in the works for almost five years. He said the City does not intend to minimize the concerns of the property owners. He stated that at the Public Hearing last week, property owners had concerns with massive amounts of water being diverted to the Ditch because of the City’s industrial development. He said a few months ago, the County Board wisely chose to obtain some facts and set some legal parameters. The County Board directed staff to hire Ron Ringquist, who is an expert in terms of ditch application and has dealt with this type of situation across central and southern Minnesota. Last week, the County Board received a copy of Ringquist’s report. Kern pointed out several items in the letter. The letter looks at the City’s proposal and identifies that there would be no rate increase in water. Kern said there are two things to deal with in terms of storm water, rate and volume. The City is proposing to decrease the runoff rates. The City’s industrial park plan includes 100 acres of storm water ponds and wetland with the intent to hold back water. Ringquist’s report reflects that there will be increased volume. The water may trickle out slower which Kern felt will provide a benefit to adjacent property owners and those along the Ditch. One of the comments the City has heard in the past and that was conveyed at the Public Hearing is that there is going to be this large wave of water coming down the Ditch and that the area will be saturated for months. Ringquist’s report identifies an increase in volume of 2%-5% of the Ditch’s volume. Even if the higher rate of 5% is used, that equates to one 5-gallon bucket for every 100 gallons of water. Kern felt the County appropriately hired an expert to review the Ditch. He said the City requests the Board to look at Ringquist’s report on a factual basis.
Kern said the City wants to raise concern on the fairness and equity issue. The request of the City is to consider Ringquist’s report and to consider an offer in terms of what the City is willing to do to obtain the discharge permit. Kern said the City is asking for a permit to discharge into Ditch 34 when the industrial park develops in order to come up with about 110 acres of industrial park land. The City is trying to retain current businesses and the jobs they provide, to allow businesses a place to expand, and to increase the tax base which benefits all property owners. Kern said the County’s Comprehensive Plan reflects that the area proposed for the industrial park has been annexed into the City, which includes 110 acres of developable land. In terms of overall impact, Kern said it is not just the City talking about placing storm water from an industrial site on Ditch 34. The map in the Comprehensive Plan also shows an area where the County and Franklin Township have requested and planned for township industrial development. The Township area includes 280 acres of land. Kern said that development hasn’t entered into this discussion at all. He said the City is a small part of the overall proposed area, and the City is looking for potential change over time. They are trying to plan for industrial. They have not had any changes in land use. The land in the City is still zoned residential/agriculture. Kern provided a copy of a County Zoning map. It reflects that 71.8 acres has already been changed to industrial along the Ditch. He said that is not something the City requested but that it set precedence. Kern said the City is asking to be treated fairly and equitably with the same opportunity. Kern was unsure of the details of the other proposal relating to rate and volume control. He restated that the City is asking for fairness and equity in terms of treatment.
Kern said the Delano City Council has not met on this request so there is no response in terms of a City proposal. The City’s next meeting is this evening. The City has heard from property owners. In 2009, they heard the concerns of Barlau on damaged tiles. They spent a great deal of time in December, 2009 on not open cutting near Rose’s property. He said the City was proposing to be a part of the solution toward making some fixes on the Ditch. He said they could never get anyone to tell them what needed to be done. The process became stagnant. They came to the County, as Ditch authority, in December, 2010, to obtain something to go forward with and to be a part of the process. At that time, discussions involved an $8,000-$10,000 outlet fee, which is 2-3 times what Ringquist’s report suggests. Kern was unsure if the City’s position has changed. Kern said the City is looking for direction and the ability to proceed. Russek referenced Franklin Township and said the land has been rezoned but there has been no request for development. When a request is brought forth, that is when the process starts on reviewing what will be done with the storm water.
Mayor Dale Graunke said he was born and raised in Delano. His parents and grandparents farmed. He stated that those in the Township are still involved with the City. Township residents come to the City for services, shopping, and schools. Everyone pays County taxes, not City taxes. With State and Federal budgets being cut, the City must look for ways to become more self-providing and self-sufficient. By having an industrial park property, more taxes would be generated to help with infrastructure costs. This would benefit everyone. He viewed this as a community effort and did not understand why the City should be penalized, as was stated by some.
Russek said the Public Hearing was closed last week. No further public comment would be taken unless there was a motion to reopen the Hearing.
Russek said the City is looking for what is fair. He said that is what the County is struggling with. State law reflects that they can obtain a permit if they have been part of the Ditch. The question is what is fair in terms of an outlet fee. The County cannot say they cannot hook up to the Ditch because of the fact that the land has always been part of the Ditch. Eichelberg questioned whether it has been determined if there is a cost range and whether the City is obligated to pay that to outlet into the Ditch and for the repair. He recalled discussions of the range of $8,000-$10,000 with a maximum of $15,000. Russek said he was unsure how much it will cost to make sure the ditch will flow. He said it is flowing now but there are places that need repair.
Kerry Saxton, SWCD, said the only open ditch area on Ditch 34 is at the end where the permit has been approved for cleanout. That area does not really affect the rest of the Ditch unless the River rises to a level that closes off the outlet. Saxton went to the Ditch yesterday. The Ditch tile has many broken areas. There is a 40’ section that is broken and tipped in. Water is still flowing but it has gone down considerably. The system is still working. Options include patching, repair in certain areas, or replacement. The cost estimate to replace the main line is estimated at $325,000 (per Ringquist’s letter). Discussion has included whether there is that value for the other benefited landowners on the Ditch. The Ditch can probably be repaired but they will not know this until they continue to work on the Ditch. He said an open cut has been suggested on Rose’s property. This is just beyond part of the area that is broken open. The tile on Rose’s property is still pretty intact but is exposed at the surface. When this occurs, the tile tends to shift and break over time. The original survey shows the tile is buried. Saxton said it is unclear whether this is a result of subsidence of the soil but felt that is probably what has happened. The tile on Rose’s property is still in very good alignment and has not shifted, which would be expected with frost heaving. The tile has shifted on the property to the east. Saxton felt this is from the ground being saturated so long. Water flows through and removes some of the soil. Saxton said it will be hard to estimate cost until they can get into the process to determine if sections are still good and whether they can be hooked up to when repairs are made. He said some of the Ditch probably should be open cut because the tile is in disrepair and buried at such a shallow depth that putting new tile in will not do very much. They could look at shifting the tile to get more cover on it. Saxton said this is a tough decision for the Board, and it is tough for the landowners as well. The tile is in disrepair. At some point, it will probably all have to be replaced. Saxton felt this was inevitable. He could not say how many years down the line that was. Russek said the fact remains that tiles cannot be buried deeper than the original depth. Saxton said doing so would involve wetland law. They would need to do delineations. The tile can’t be buried deeper or permits would need to be granted. That would be a long process. It is a very shallow, flat area, and there is not a lot of fall to use. He was not sure it was physically possible to lower the tile, without doing something with the outlet. This would be an improvement of the whole Ditch and would involve a long process. Russek stated the outlet is under TH 12, and he did not feel it would be allowed to have the outlet any deeper. Saxton said there is quite a bit of fall on the Braegelmann property but it would require them to re-bore under TH 12, which would involve a long and expensive process.
Sawatzke asked Asleson for advice about the County’s options. The City’s property is a benefited property owner on the Ditch and has some rights established because of that. He asked for the County’s requirements in this regard and for an opinion on the outlet fee. Sawatzke said to allow a modern-day industrial park with 110 developable acres, valued in the 10’s of millions of dollars, to drain into a 100-year old ditch seems like a recipe for disaster. He said by everyone’s statements, this will be problematic. The Ditch is draining but needs repair, maybe entirely. There are broken tiles and not much of an elevation drop. It does not sound like a ditch that would be built today. Ditch 34 was probably dug by hand. Tiles can only be replaced to their original depth. To place them lower causes different issues. Sawatzke did not see outletting into this Ditch as a solution for a modern-day industrial park. At some point, the industrial park will be built and repair or replacement will be needed, as is reflected in the letter from Ringquist. The letter reflects that at some time the Ditch will need “total replacement or abandonment.” Sawatzke said there will not be abandonment because of the water draining from the industrial development. That water has to go somewhere. This means it would have to be replaced. Sawatzke said the next question is cost. Cost estimates by Ringquist are $350,000-$500,000. He asked how the current benefits equate to fairness. Based on the current formula, it might mean that someone will pay more to have their property drained than it is worth. Sawatzke had concern with allowing the water from the industrial park to outlet into the Ditch, but if it is allowed, he felt the $3,850 permit fee needs to be substantially more to help set the stage for repair in the future. He asked Asleson for the County’s options.
Asleson referenced Russek’s initial statement that it is State law that this request must be approved, although State law is not all that clear in this regard. He recalled that requests made to this drainage authority for lands that are already part of benefited acreage of a ditch have been approved with conditions attached. There may be a situation where the County might deny such a petition to outlet to the Ditch. However, he did not feel this was the one to go to court over. The reason for his opinion is that it involves a situation where there is a change in use for the drainage that goes over the land to Ditch 34. In the future, there may be a system of storm water pipes to take the water from the industrial park to Ditch 34. He understands there will be 100 acres of wetland to hold water. Asleson said the County Board, as drainage authority, needs to be concerned with the condition of the Ditch. He said the County has not kept the Ditch in repair, although he said that is probably not the problem of the County Board. If they informed benefited landowners the County was going to repair the main line of the Ditch, the landowners may not want to because of the cost. The benefited land owners pay for the repairs, not the County Board or the other residents of the County. Asleson said it is a situation where the Board has to look at the facts. The Ditch is in disrepair. The County requested an expert report that reflects, “Even considering the larger frequency storms, a 2% to 5% impact on benefits should offset the impact.” Asleson said no one is saying this will cause a disaster. If the County is going to deny the City’s request because of a disaster that is going to happen, he would need more than anecdotal evidence to defend the County’s position. He would need an expert witness that says this is a disaster waiting to happen. The lands being drained are lowlands and pasture. He said the request does not involve flooding of a residential subdivision during a 500-year storm event. Asleson said he is trying to look at the facts. He said the facts aren’t such that the County would want to deny the petition. There are conditions which can be attached to the approval to protect the landowners and the County Board.
Asleson stated an outlet fee can be established, which is determined by the County Board as drainage authority. A recommendation on this has been provided. In the past, the City offered a larger amount to develop a repair fund for Ditch 34. He was unsure how much the City would be willing to contribute at this time. Secondly, there could be a condition that the rate of runoff will be kept to pre-settlement rates. That is a benefit to the Ditch. Asleson said the recommendation from Ringquist is to add a 3.5% increase to the City’s benefits on the Ditch. That means the percentage of the City’s benefited acreage on the Ditch can be increased and they will be paying a greater share of repairs. There are other conditions the Board can attach but those are the main ones. Whatever the Board decides to do as drainage authority, written findings and a drainage authority order should be completed. The Attorney’s Office can be directed to draft these findings and order. Asleson said it will be much more difficult to defend a decision without a written order. Sawatzke referenced Ditch 33 in Monticello and recalled there was an order of the Board that no development would occur on the Ditch 33 watershed unless the City installs a City trunk sewer line to the River. Sawatzke said the Board did not want any development on the Ditch 33 watershed until such time as there was a modern-day improvement. Russek said in the Ditch 33 situation, there was the threat of residences being flooded. In Albertville, there was a situation involving another Ditch. The City was told by the County that it would not work. The City proceeded anyway and it failed. The City owns that land. With the current request by the City of Delano, the City can’t take over Ditch 34 as they don’t own the land on the entire ditch.
Russek said the City of Delano is looking for a decision from the County. Russek is looking at what is fair. He represents both the City and the Township. Asleson suggested conditions which could be implemented with approval. Russek said the Planning Commission approves requests with written conditions. Russek said that Kurt Deter indicates that if the petitioner is part of the Ditch, they should not be denied. The City has always been part of Ditch 34. Russek said a meeting was held at the Township Hall prior to the City coming in with their request. The motion at that time was not to do anything because the Ditch was in bad shape. Russek said the City’s request is not the first problem that has occurred on this Ditch.
Asleson referenced conditions that could be made part of the order. In the past, a condition has been imposed in the case where a city has taken over part of the ditch. Asleson said that is one of the options. In this case, the City plans to remain as one of the landowners on the Ditch and contribute to future repair costs. The condition suggested would place an onus on the City (including the development), and the drainage authority that would say to all other landowners on the Ditch “That all existing rights to a drainage outlet are preserved for property assessed on County Ditch 34, both upstream and downstream from this industrial development, with those rights to be maintained at least equal to the hydraulic capacity that currently exists.” What that means is if people have basic drainage rights in 2011, action should not be taken to impede those drainage rights. Ringquist’s letter suggests that in a 100-year storm, it will take an additional 12 hours for water to drain. Asleson said the question is what the County will allow and how much that will affect the drainage rights of others on the Ditch. The evidence provided to date has not shown that impact to be great. Asleson said that is a condition that would be good to include, not only because the County is approving the City of Delano’s request but because it puts the onus on the County Board as drainage authority that the Ditch is in repair in the future.
Mattson asked whether the City has insurance coverage in case something backfires. Asleson said he was not sure if the City’s insurance would cover Township areas. Coverage may not even be provided within cities when there are problems with sewer line backups. He has serious doubts whether landowners outside of City limits would be successful in claims of that nature.
Sawatzke said when ditches were developed, it was determined where drainage would occur and a percentage of the assessment was determined. On Ditch 34, the land for the proposed industrial park is set at 30% of benefited acreage. This is based on what values were worth when the Ditch was built. A number of counties have completed a redetermination of benefits for ditches. Wright County talked about this with Ditch 33 but the cost was so substantial it was decided to use the money for repairs instead of a study. Sawatzke said Ditch 34 only has 21 benefited property owners and the Ditch is smaller, so it may make sense to complete a redetermination. The process would provide a more balanced approach to the inequities for repair and rebuilding of the Ditch. Sawatzke felt that if the Ditch were proposed to be rebuilt in the future, the imbalance of benefits may cause a friction point for the County Board as it is inevitable that the majority of landowners will oppose the improvements as they will not see the value. The industrial park may see the value in the improvement relative to what they are paying. Sawatzke asked whether this is a good time for redetermination based on usage and the substantial difference in values that are going to be out there. He felt a redetermination of benefits could make it fairer in the future so the Board does not get stuck in a predicament.
Asleson responded that he reviewed State statute pertaining to redetermination of benefits. The County Board, as drainage authority, can order a redetermination of the benefits of a ditch if they feel the original benefits or values when determined do not reflect reasonable present day values or benefits, or if the benefited or damaged areas on the ditch have changed. Asleson did not feel the benefited or damaged areas have changed much. He could see a point in the future where a redetermination could be completed based on the fact that the Board doesn’t feel the value reflects present day values. Maps provided by the City showed a potential Township industrial park and there may be additional City annexation going west. Asleson could see at some point in the future that the Board might decide the benefits do not reflect present-day land values. With regard to percentages, Ringquist’s letter reflects that about 25% of acreage in this watershed is benefited acres. Another thing a redetermination could do is determine whether the County wants to add acreage or change the benefited acreage on the Ditch. Asleson said both that and the land value question may make sense in the future. It is certainly an option for the Board. Russek said there may be tile running into the Ditch that the County is not aware of at this time. The redetermination would spread repair costs of the Ditch to a larger area. Russek thought there may be tile on the Ditch that was hooked up after the benefited acreage was determined.
Russek said the City would like an answer. At one point, he said Eichelberg suggested an outlet fee of a minimum of $10,000 and a maximum of $20,000. He was unsure whether the City was willing to accept this but it could be included in the conditions. They could also decide whether to include that the City’s portion of the Ditch is 30% for now until a redetermination takes place. Eichelberg said he understands the concerns of both sides. He would be willing to support the request with the conditions outlined, including the $10,000-$20,000 for an outlet fee and 30% for repairs. Eichelberg made a motion to that effect. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson said if the County does not approve the City’s petition, the township development is out. Russek said if one request is denied, they all must be denied. Mattson said he would support this and hoped there will be conditions attached to work out the disagreements for the best interests of the County, City and Township. Asleson said the motion should include directing the Attorney’s Office to draft the findings and order granting the City’s petition. He said some of the statutory requirements are basic. They reflect that the Board has to make a finding that using the drainage system as an outlet for storm water would be of public benefit and utility (e.g., general findings of that nature). That follows the fact that this is land that already drains to the Ditch. The requirements also address approval from the MPCA (that the connection is approved as long as they are following MPCA and other storm water requirements out there when the development occurs). Asleson said they will incorporate this into the findings and order that the Board will approve. Asleson said the main points to be a part of the request would be to request the Attorney’s Office to draft the order approving the petition, to set an outlet fee, and to reflect a slight increase in benefits. Asleson referenced Ringquist’s recommendation for a 3.5% increase in benefits on the Ditch, fractionally reducing the other landowners cost for future repairs. Eichelberg and Mattson approved of this being part of the motion. The motion carried 3-1 with Sawatzke casting the nay vote.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
The meeting recessed at 10:35 A.M. and reconvened at 10:45 A.M.
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 5-11-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0:
A. Corrections Officer.
O’Malley stated that he did not request this item to be part of today’s agenda. Pawelk explained that every time there is a vacancy, Personnel automatically places the vacant position on the Personnel Committee Agenda. Pawelk explained that the Sheriff’s Office, in coordination with Personnel, is currently creating an eligibility list and interviewing candidates for the Civilian Corrections Officer position. O’Malley stated that it is the intent of the Sheriff’s Office to fill the most recent vacancy. His Department currently has four vacancies; however, two new employees will begin training within two weeks. There was a brief discussion regarding the current jail population. O’Malley stated that there is a downward trend in jail population. Sawatzke asked if overtime is down. O’Malley stated yes. He stated that the Department is staying well within the budgeted overtime amount for 2011. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Sheriff’s Office to fill one Corrections Officer position.
B. Social Worker III/Mental Health Professional.
Schmidt stated that this is a vital position. She distributed a handout (see attached) regarding the position, its role within the Agency, and its reimbursement and revenue contribution to the County. She stated that if this position is not filled, the clinical supervision role would have to be contracted out. It would be most efficient to bring clinical supervision duties into the Agency. Sawatzke asked Schmidt if she is implying that the County would lose money if the position was not filled. Schmidt stated yes. She provided a brief explanation of the federal reimbursement and grant money the position receives for providing services to Wright County clients who are mentally ill. She stated that it would cost the County an additional $10,000 to contract out the clinical services. There is a huge incentive to hire a clinical professional in-house. Eichelberg asked whether this would be an externally advertised position. Schmidt stated yes. Pawelk stated that this position requires a high level of minimum requirements. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Human Services to advertise and fill the vacant Social Worker III/Mental Health Professional position.
C. Office Support Specialist, Human Services (1/2 time).
Elletson distributed a handout (see attached) regarding this part-time position. She stated that she would like to make the position a full-time position. Norman and Sawatzke asked Elletson if there is someone within the Agency that is currently a half-time Office Support Specialist (OSS) that would be willing to become full-time to assist multiple units within the Agency. Petersen and Elletson verified that there are no other half-time OSS positions within the Agency. Elletson stated that the Committee has heard other statistics regarding the increased caseload within Human Services. She explained that this carries over and affects her unit as well in increased workload. There is a need for a receptionist at the HSC. Elletson explained that she oversees six staff within her unit and indirectly oversees 13 other positions. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Human Services to advertise and fill the vacated OSS position (1/2 time).
D. Financial Assistance Supervisor.
Schwartz stated that the Financial Assistance Supervisor (FAS) unexpectedly resigned, effective immediately. She explained that this is a position that needs to be filled. It is a high-profile position that requires a lot of communication with the public. It has the highest case load of any supervisor within the County. The position supervises 13 Financial Workers and one OSS. Unfortunately, the Financial Services Unit sees the highest turnover. Nine of the 13 staff members have been here less than 3 1/2 years. She referred to her handout (see attached) which outlines the caseload, reimbursement, and responsibility of the role. She stated that the previous employee was at the top of the pay scale. Bringing in the replacement would be done at step one on the salary scale. Eichelberg asked whether the position could be filled from within. Schwartz explained that she would like to do an internal posting for the backfill. There is a very flat pay structure on the third floor. She would like to give the opportunity to promote somebody into a higher salary structure. She stated that there are not a lot of opportunities to promote from within. Sawatzke stated that filling this vacancy sounds pretty critical. Schwartz agreed with Sawatzke’s statement. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Human Services to advertise and fill the Financial Assistance Supervisor position.
E. Office Assistant, Auditor/Treasurer.
Hiivala stated that as a result of filling the recently vacated Account Clerk/Tax Forfeiture Specialist position, there is a vacant Office Assistant position. The Auditor/Treasurer Department is in need of an Office Assistant to provide support for mail processing, switchboard, and issuing passports. Not filling this position would place a lot of burden on staff. Sawatzke asked Hiivala if his Department is already down one position. Hiivala stated that he is down the Assistant Finance Director position. Sawatzke asked Hiivala how many positions he has within his Department. Hiivala responded that including himself and the Motor Vehicle staff, there are 28 staff members. Sawatzke and Eichelberg stated that they support the authorization to fill this position. Norman asked whether the staff within the Motor Vehicle License Department work overtime during the late Thursday hours. Hiivala stated that the schedule has been developed with the intent to avoid comp time or overtime. Employees that work late on Thursdays start at a later time that morning. He stated that sometimes there are situations where overtime or comp time cannot be avoided. However, the goal is not to create overtime or comp time. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Auditor/Treasurer to advertise and fill the vacant Office Assistant position.
F. Request For Temporary Help In Extension Office.
Chur stated that one of the staff members within her Department has taken a six-month personal leave for medical leave. The leave of absence is without pay. The person within that position was at the top of the payscale. The position required receptionist duties, desk work, creating flyers in Microsoft Publisher, providing support at events, working at the County Fair, and financials. She stated that she is requesting a temporary backfill of the position until 10-31-11. At that time, she would request that a reevaluation of the position be considered. She stated that the Extension Office is coming into the busiest time of the year due to County Fair, 4-H events, and nutrition and horticulture assistance. She stated that hiring seasonal temporary backfill would produce an approximate savings of $17,000 over the six-month period. Sawatzke asked what the hourly amount would be for an employee at Step 1. Petersen explained that Class D no longer exists, which was the payscale the employee was categorized in. The Secretary position, if evaluated at class A, would have a starting salary of $14.13. There was a brief discussion about reevaluating the job description, workload, and staffing model of the Department in October, 2011. The previously approved 2011 summer interns were authorized at $10/hour. Norman stated that the backfill for this position at $10/hour would be feasible. This would be a seasonal temporary position. It was clarified that the employee would be a County employee, not a University of Minnesota employee. RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the request for a seasonal temporary backfill at $10/hour through 10-31-11.
End of 5-11-11 Personnel Committee Minutes)
MCIT forwarded information on a training session, “Land Use: Discussion on New Variance Standard”, being held 6-01-11 at the MCIT Building in St. Paul. Sawatzke made a motion to authorize County Board participation, seconded by Mattson, carried 4-0.
Laid over from previous meetings, the Board discussed the claim from Gries and Lenhardt ($2,000) for legal services provided to Sheriff Joe Hagerty. Russek said the County Board needs to address the claim as they have been dealing with it for some time. Eichelberg said research has been completed and he is not completely happy with payment of the claim. Eichelberg moved to approve the claim. The motion failed for lack of a second. Sawatzke said that the County Board received an opinion from the County Attorney, which included contact with the State Auditor’s Office to obtain their position on whether the claim should be paid. He asked whether an opinion had been obtained from Frank Madden, Labor Law Attorney. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, stated that Madden’s opinion is the same as that of the County Attorney’s Office. It is entirely up to the Board to decide whether to pay the claim. Madden didn’t feel the County has an obligation to pay the bill. Eichelberg made a motion to lay the claim over until all five County Board members are present. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke said in his years as a Commissioner, he did not recall laying an item over unless there was a tie vote. If four Commissioners were present and the motion failed 2-2, the item could be brought back at the next meeting. If the motion passed 3-1 or 4-0, it would not matter if the 5th Commissioner were present. The only time the 5th Commissioner would be needed is if the motion failed on a 2-2 vote. He did not favor creating a practice of laying things over for a 5th Commissioner’s vote. He said that could be done with any item the Board deals with and he did not feel they should proceed in that fashion. The motion failed on a 2-2 vote with Russek and Sawatzke casting the nay votes. Sawatzke made a motion not to pay the claim. The motion failed for lack of a second. Russek said the payment of the claim to Gries and Lenhardt would be laid over to the next County Board Meeting.
Bills Approved
American Institutional Supp $276.50
Ameripride Services 157.83
Anoka County Corrections 4,992.00
Aramark Services Inc. 6,024.86
Atrix International Inc. 379.84
B & B Sheetmetal & Roofing 1,790.00
Beauchane/Louis 1,587.97
Black Moore Bumgardner M 100.00
Buffalo/City of 40,107.81
C & C Embroidery 2,571.00
Centracare Clinic 153.36
Chamberlain Oil Co. 1,918.22
Climate Air 9,376.03
Corporate Payment Systems 1,238.87
Craguns Lodging and Confe 316.36
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc. 970.00
Dell Marketing LP 137.27
Elk River School ISD #728 2,314.24
EP Audio Visual Inc. 115.55
Ernst General Construction 9,200.00
Fastenal Company 114.41
Federated Propane 129.86
Frontier Precision Inc. 186.98
Granite Electronics 204.59
Greenview Inc. 646.98
Hancock Concrete Product 3,056.63
Hardings Towing Inc. 160.31
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 705.54
Hoisington Koegler Group 1 6,366.25
Holiday 20,237.48
Howard/Jolanta 150.00
Intereum Inc. 4,278.63
Jahnke/Chris 133.50
Jonas/Pete 210.00
Junction Towing & Auto Rep 215.87
LaPlant Demo Inc. 527.72
Larson Associates Inc. 520.00
Lawson Products Inc. 468.10
M & M Express Sales & Serv 285.31
Magneto Power LLC 240.53
MCIT 160.00
Menards - Buffalo 156.56
MN Assn. of County Probatio 175.00
MN Community Corrections 600.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc. 149.63
Morries Parts & Service Gro 390.29
Motorla Inc. 12,593.31
Norman/Richard W. 839.22
Office Depot 3,089.99
Peavey Company/Lynn 159.00
Purick/Ryan 100.00
Qwest 2,937.24
Royal Tire Inc. 473.13
RS Eden 3,624.25
Russell Security Resource 696.80
Schneider Corporation 4,215.00
SHI International Corp 400.14
Specialty Turf & Ag 359.10
St. Michael Veterinary Clinic 364.44
State of MN-Office Enterpri 965.00
Towmaster 1,189.13
Trans Languages LLC 303.30
Trusight 2,240.00
Village Ranch 687.12
Voss Lighting 346.28
West Metro Opthamology 429.40
West Payment Center 924.74
Westside Equipment 231.29
29 Payments less than $100 1,243.13
Final total $162,698.89
The meeting adjourned at 10:57 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 20, 2011.

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