WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
JULY 12, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
On a motion by Thelen, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the 7-05-11 County Board Minutes.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #3, “Request To Close License Bureau At 11:30 A.M., 7-15-11” (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #2, “Legislative Update” (Sawatzke). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Thelen, carried unanimously.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson requested to remove for discussion Item C1, “HIGHWAY, 1. Refer To Personnel Committee: Hire Highway Maintenance Person To Fill The Position Vacated By Bruce Bersie.” On a motion by Mattson, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: A. Harvey, T. West, Aud./Treas.; J. Russell, T. Waldron, Hwy.; H. Gillham, M. Hoberg, Sher./Corr.; E. Stennes, Surv.
2. O.T. Reports, Period Ending 6-24-11.
1. Approve Abatement, PID# 113-700-002500, Mark Brandt (City of Rockford).
Consent Agenda Item C1, “HIGHWAY, 1. Refer To Personnel Committee: Hire Highway Maintenance Person To Fill The Position Vacated By Bruce Bersie” was discussed. Mattson said he doesn’t have a problem with filling the position but would like to see budgets set prior to filling or hiring. Mattson said times are not good and it is unknown what will happen at the Capital. The private sector is struggling and is not hiring. He felt the County should do the same. Mattson recommended laying the request over to see what happens at the State level. Russek questioned whether the Highway Department is down employees. Sawatzke stated this is the only employee they are down and asked for confirmation from Richard Norman, County Coordinator, that this is correct. Norman said replacement of the position was discussed by the Personnel Committee a month or two ago. The recommendation was to bring discussion on replacement back later in the year. Sawatzke moved to lay this request over to the first County Board Meeting in October. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried unanimously.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested authorization to close the License Bureau on Friday, 7-15-11, at 11:30 A.M., so employees can attend the funeral for the daughter of a staff member. The License Bureau will be closed for the remainder of the day. Hiivala will post notice in the Courthouse and on the County Website. The License Bureau was closed in 2007 and in 2009 for similar circumstances. Thelen moved to approve the request, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.
Correspondence was received from the City of Delano relating to the Findings and Order adopted by the Wright County Board relating to the City’s permit for access to County Ditch 34 . The letter reflects that the City has identified two areas of inconsistency with expert testimony and previous discussion on the matter. The letter contains two requests by the City. The first would be for the County Board to adopt pre-settlement and application procedures for future requests for discharge into Ditch 34. The City requests an agreement with the County that the same standards will be imposed on other applicants requesting to discharge into Ditch 34. The second request relates to the $20,000 access fee imposed on the City to outlet into Ditch 34 and asks for the factual basis for its establishment. Russek said he reviewed the City’s letter. He felt precedence had been set with approval of the City’s request and that any requests that would follow would need to meet the same standards in order to connect to the Ditch. Regarding the $20,000 access fee, Russek said the City had agreed at one time to make repairs to the Ditch as identified by the SWCD. He thought those repairs could cost anywhere from $8,000-$50,000. Sawatzke asked what the $1,050 check from the City was for (included with the letter). Hiivala stated the check was for reimbursement of the cost to hire Ron Ringquist and publication fees. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said with regard to the first request by the City, it may be better handled through a motion to set policy. The County would then have a policy in Ditch 34 records which could be followed when other applications are presented to outlet into the Ditch. Asleson did not recommend a revised Order with the City of Delano. Asleson said with regard to the outlet fee, the Board did not establish findings on how they arrived at the $20,000 access fee. The draft presented by staff to the Board for review did not include monetary figures. Asleson said the Board could consider laying the issue over to determine repairs needed to the Ditch and cost. He said at one point, the City offered $10,000 as a compromise. Another option would be to change the order from $20,000 to $10,000. Asleson said the Board did not fully accept Ringquist’s report and recommendations. The Board did accept his recommendation in terms of additional benefits to the property, at 3.5%, but they did not in terms of the outlet fee. Russek said that he spoke with Kerry Saxton, SWCD, on this matter. One of the options, if the City is not satisfied with the $20,000 access fee, would be to make the repairs previously identified by Saxton in order to make the Ditch flow. Russek said the repair figure could vary anywhere from $10,000-$50,000. The costs of repair are unknown at this time. Sawatzke said that Russek raised an interesting point. The City may be at a greater risk of paying more than $20,000 if bids are accepted for the work required. Sawatzke reminded the Board that the City is using the Ditch as an alternate to building their own storm water system, which would cost considerably more. When asked, Russek estimated this figure to be $2.5-$3 million. Eichelberg said the City owns property along the Ditch and he did not feel the County can deny them access. Russek said the County established what they felt was a reasonable option. Eichelberg questioned whether the Board should seek an estimate from someone who does this type of work, assisted by Saxton to determine the work that would need to be completed. Asleson said the way the current order is written is the City is not contemplating repairs at this time. The City does not want to pay the access fee until the land is developed. The City has asked for a timely review but he did not feel laying this over for more information would cause the City harm as the development is not ready. Sawatzke added that with the current economy, it may be 5-7 years before the property develops and the cost could be greatly increased. Sawatzke felt the $20,000 access fee was low in the grand scheme of things. He did appreciate the City’s willingness to pay the $1,050 right away. Asleson suggested that the issue be laid over for one week to allow contact with Saxton to obtain his perspective on repairs and cost. He agreed that if repairs are not completed for a number of years that costs are likely to increase. He suggested the possibility of coming back with a revised Order with extra findings. That would place the County in a better position should the City decide to challenge the cost. Russek said with regard to the City’s first request relating to setting policy on pre-settlement runoff, he did not feel the County needed to amend their action. This would just be policy for Ditch 34. Sawatzke felt this has been the County policy for this and all ditches. He also thought that if a ditch flows to the Mississippi River or Crow River, federal standards may be required. Sawatzke said the SWCD was going to include storm water requirements as part of the County’s Water Management Plan. He asked that the Water Management Plan language be reviewed to see if it includes anything on pre-settlement rates. Mattson moved to lay the issue over for one week. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Hiivala said a good part of this dilapidated ditch system lies within the industrial park, so the scope of what they are looking to repair could be beyond the industrial park. Russek said it would be from the City’s outlet on because the City is going to redo the entire area inside the industrial park. Hiivala said the City indicated they would like to hold off until the industrial park is developed. He said the Board may want to consider having the repair work completed now as it is unknown what those costs will be in the future. Sawatzke said another consideration would be to impose a small interest fee of possibly 2%. Sawatzke asked if the City decides to alter the Ditch at some point in the future whether there will be a petition for review by the Board as well. Asleson said his understanding is that holding ponds are planned. He felt the old portion of the Ditch that is located on their property will probably be under water. It would not necessarily be an alteration of the Ditch but rather overflowing or flooding of the area. They have only reviewed site plan maps so this could be a potential. The main reason for the petition would be if they were changing the route significantly. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Hiivala referenced a claim on Page 10, Forestry Supplies Inc. ($139.90). Upon review of the claim, it was determined that this is a double payment and it will be pulled from the claims listing. Eichelberg moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, including removal of the claim to Forestry Supplies Inc. The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried unanimously.
Tom Kelly, County Attorney, introduced a new Adult Diversion Plan. Minor Consumption/Possession is designated a misdemeanor offense, carrying a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. Yet, the legislature and Judicial Council allow Minor Consumption/Possession to be on the Statewide Payable Offense Policy at a cost of $185. The offender pays the $185 fee and is not required to go to court, incur a possible assessment, or receive any education. The law allows the County Attorney’s Office to file a criminal complaint for minor consumption, requiring a court appearance. This has been done when there is concern but it has proven to be a hit and miss proposition. Kelly said today’s culture is to get as drunk as you can. Many cases involve a very high alcohol content causing potential health and safety issues. Kelly said Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, was involved in the discussions and is willing to take on the Program. The Court Services Office runs a successful Juvenile Diversion Program. Margaret Munson, Court Services Program Unit Supervisor, runs that Program and has put together the Adult Diversion Program. It will start in July, 2011 and programming will commence about August 1, 2011. The Diversion Fee is $50 and the Class Fee is $50. The individual may be subjected to an interview assessment, chemical assessment/recommendations, a chemical education class, an awareness panel, a choices program, 90 days informal probation with possible random urinalysis to ensure compliance, and possible community service. If successful, the individual will not have a conviction for Minor Consumption. If the individual fails, they will be brought to court with a misdemeanor complaint for Minor Consumption. Those who reoffend will be brought into court. Kelly stated that writing a check does not change a behavior; rather, evidence-based practices show that consequences, with education and addressing the possible chemical use, are more likely to change behavior. It acknowledges the potential harm youthful drinking can have on safety and health. The goal is to hold offenders accountable for their criminal behavior without adding to the administrative and financial burden of the criminal justice system. Only crimes with a $250 value or less will be eligible for the Diversion Program. Research of other counties diversion programs was completed reflecting the following thresholds: Ramsey $5,000, Hennepin $5,000, Stearns $1,000, Dakota $3,500, Carver $2,500; and Anoka $5,000. Kelly said Buffalo, Annandale and Howard Lake law enforcement and prosecutors are supportive of the new Adult Diversion Program. All of Wright County will be covered by the Program. They will attempt to make it mandatory. MacMillan said the class will be run by the Court Services Department and will be part of their current programming. The revenue/expenses will be run through the Court Services Department and no additional County resources will be required to operate the Program. MacMillan said a report will be provided annually on the Program. This was provided as an informational item.
A Parks Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-28-11. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg made a motion to approve the minutes. The motion includes approving the first recommendation to purchase a tractor for the Parks Department, and to lay over until after the State shut down the second recommendation for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Project. The motion was seconded by Thelen. Thelen asked whether there is any time limit that must be followed, especially if the State shutdown is prolonged (for example, until January). Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said there is not a process in place for grant reimbursement while the State is shut down. He said it would not affect this purchase to table the Phase 3 acquisition local match appropriation until the State shutdown is over. The County could proceed with items that are not reimbursed (updating the memo of understanding, survey work, completing the behind-the-scenes paperwork). Once the State shutdown concludes, the County can review the LGA and State budget. Approval for the local match could be presented at that time. Thelen thought this was a good idea given they don’t know the status of County Program Aid and the budget. Sawatzke made the following correction to the minutes: Page 3, 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence, change from “seventh phase” to “seventh parcel.” Eichelberg and Thelen accepted the correction to the minutes as a friendly amendment to the motion. Russek received a call this morning from a person saying the County doesn’t have the money at this time for this type of purchase. The person indicated they were also going to call Commissioner Eichelberg. Russek said he will go along with the motion because of the purchase of a tractor for the Parks Department. Mattson did not attend the Parks Committee Of The Whole Meeting because of a funeral but today said he agreed with Russek’s comments. The motion carried 5-0. Mattice will place the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park Project on the Agenda after the State shutdown ends.
I. PARK DEPARTMENT 2011 EQUIPMENT EXPENDITURES & BUDGET.
Mattice stated that his equipment budget was approved for $96,500 for 2011. As part of his initial budget request, Mattice presented a priority list of forecasted equipment purchases. However, since that time, the Department’s 1986 John Deere tractor has required a few expensive repairs. The Department was trying to hold off on replacing the 46 horsepower John Deere tractor. A recent discovery that the front wheel assist would require repairs caused him to reevaluate the list. He noted that quotes have been received on a John Deere and New Holland tractor. The New Holland tractor would be $8,000-10,000 less expensive than the John Deere tractor of similar size and quality. Purchasing the new tractor would not put the Department over its annual line item budget. A manufacturer contract would have to be signed immediately; however, the tractor would not be received until the end of the year. Mattice stated that he wanted to seek the County Board’s approval to pursue the purchase of the new tractor.
Norman advised the Committee that it is up to the Department Head to decide how to expense their line items as long as they are not going over their budgeted line item. Norman asked whether the Parks Department would be able to obtain the invoice before the year end. Borell said that it should not be a problem.
RECOMMENDATION: Approve purchase of New Holland tractor to replace 1986 John Deere Tractor.
II. UPDATE, BERTRAM CHAIN OF LAKES REGIONAL PARK PROJECT.
Mattice distributed a spreadsheet regarding the Bertram chain of Lakes Regional Park Acquisition Project Funding History and Needs (see attached). The spreadsheet outlines the acreage, phases, funding sources, grants, and local matches related to the acquisition of the park.
Mattice discussed the specifics of the next phase of acquisition. The County obligation would be to purchase a 126.7 acre parcel at a match amount of approximately $603,000. The County match portion is $599,263 which does not include closing costs, tax, and title. Mattice distributed a color map of the area (see attached “Bertram Chain of Lakes Parcel 7 Purchase Option”). The purchase would put the County just short of half of the total purchase of 1,250.37 acres. Mattice noted that grant allocation will be affected if the State shuts down.
Mattice stated that the Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council proposes developing a user agreement with the YMCA in order to open the beach on summer weekends. The public use of the beach would have to be updated within the purchase agreement. He stated that two discussions would have to occur: 1) the acquisition and match amount, and 2) developing a user agreement for the beach and associated costs of operating the beach.
Eichelberg asked if the beach would require lifeguards. Mattice stated that they are proposing operating the Park like other County parks with the use of a caretaker. In another handout, “Bertram Chain of Lakes Operational Expenses; Weekends (June 9th Labor Day, 2012, 40 Days”, Mattice outlined anticipated expenses such as garbage service, cleaning supplies, signage, repairs and maintenance, porta-toilet, and caretaker services. The cost is estimated at $20,400 which would be shared with the City of Monticello. The handout defined that services would be provided on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. Mattice stated that the caretaker could take care of the general appearance of the grounds on Friday mornings, allowing the beach to open at 4:00 p.m. for the remainder of the weekend.
Thelen asked for further clarification of the Green View Contract. Mattice stated that Green View provides caretaker services. Green View hires and pays retired workers to mow, remove trash, and keep up the general appearance of a park. The County provides supervision but does not have to pay PERA, insurance, workers compensation, and other employee benefits. Sawatzke asked why the YMCA would not be responsible for the mowing of the park land. He stated that he does not think this should be a County function since it is a YMCA Park and daycamp facility. Sawatzke stated that this should be further explored.
Eichelberg asked if these expenses were shown to the City of Monticello. Mattice stated that he did not think it was brought to their attention yet.
Russek stated that this new information confirms his earlier comments about buying another County park. There will always be an ongoing expense in the upkeep of a park. Mattice stated that he is bringing this to the County Board’s attention because budget proposals are due to the Administration Department by 7-8-11.
Thelen stated that perhaps volunteers, such as the Friends of Bertram Chain of Lakes, would be able to facilitate in the upkeep of the Park. Sawatzke proposed charging an entry fee to each car utilizing the beach and park grounds. He proposed that this may generate enough revenue to pay for the care of the beach. He stated that there may be a larger demand for the beach than what is feasible due to the size of the beach. He asked whether there is a mechanism in place for turning people away if the beach is already full.
Sawatzke stated that the County Board has to entertain caring for property that it does not own. Thelen stated that she thinks it is a great idea to open the seventh parcel of the park to generate public interest. She agreed with Sawatzke that the County should not have to take care of grass mowing.
Russek asked where the County’s portion of the match funding would originate. He stated that budgets are tight and the Department Heads are asked to hold the line, not hire new employees, etc. Sawatzke stated that he would recommend the Capital Improvements Account as a funding source. The other option would be out of reserves. The reserve is the County’s Levy Stabilization Fund. Russek stated that the County was able to turn back money and yet finds a way to keep spending money. Sawatzke stated that obviously the County has to pay for the park acquisition with real dollars. The County will not borrow money to do so. The Capital Improvements Account has paid off some of its debts. There are fewer items earmarked against the fund. Russek stated that this is not an excuse to spend the remaining dollars. He asked whether the park is something that the County needs. Sawatzke stated that he recalled from the initial meeting that the acquisition plan was approved on a 5-0 vote.
Thelen stated that the County has to look toward the future. People want to move to places where there are these types of park amenities.
Eichelberg stated that the County has committed to the project. It is a large dollar amount. He stated that he has hopes that the County can negotiate with the YMCA, or extend the timing of the remaining acquisition portions.
Russek stated that the Committee has a 3-1 (Russek) consensus. Mattice and Sawatzke requested that today’s Minutes be presented at the 7-12-11 County Board Meeting.
RECOMMENDATION: Use approximately $603,000 from the Capital Improvement Account as the funding source for acquisition of phase 3 of the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
(End of 6-28-11 Parks Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Sawatzke announced a Legislative Update-State & Local Meeting being held on 7-14-11 at 11:30 A.M. at Huikko’s in Buffalo. The meeting is being held by the Wright County Development Partnership , co-sponsored by the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce. The presenters will be Sen. Amy Koch (Dist. 19), Rep. Bruce Anderson (Dist 19A), Rep. Joe McDonald (Dist. 19B), and Phil Kern (City of Delano). Sawatzke moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Thelen, carried 5-0.
Accurate USA 142.50
Adams/Robert W. 2,147.30
Ameripride Services 229.65
APEC Industrial Sales & Ser 615.97
Bound Tree Medical LLC 323.03
Boyer Trucks Rogers 77,749.00
Breezy Point Resort Inc. 564.02
Buffalo/City of 59,238.57
Cassidy Realty & Appraisal I 1,870.40
Centra Sota Cooperative - E 27,317.78
Central Fire Protection 329.14
Central MN Mental Health 200.00
Complete Self Defense Hutch 917.56
Cottens Inc. 3,482.16
Crop Production Services II 273.29
Dell Marketing LP 2,092.39
Department of Public Safety 8,430.00
Desmarais/Randal L. and B 12,690.00
Diamond Mowers Inc. 616.23
First State Tire Recycling 288.00
Globalstar USA 116.18
Greenview Inc. 15,423.15
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 295.02
Impact Proven Solutions 520.74
Intoximeters Inc. 614.53
LaPlant Demo Inc. 609.71
Lawson Products Inc. 536.73
Loberg Electric 658.46
M & M Espress Sales and Ser 102.62
Menards - Buffalo 196.13
Midland Corporate Benefits 997.75
MN Counties Computer Coop 14,410.91
MN Counties Intergovernme 291.00
MN State Chief Engineers 100.00
Morries Parts & Service Gro 1,146.97
Mumford Sanitation 129.87
O’Toole Enterprises/Michael 2,371.70
O’Ryans Conoco 115.00
PowerPlan OIB 546.84
Precision Prints of Wright Co. 253.29
Quetel Corporation 2,000.00
Rockford Township 948.75
RS Eden 5,184.25
Russell Security Resource 134.69
Tools Unlimited 271.45
Total Printing 480.51
Veolia ES Solid Waste Midwe 261.94
Verizon Wireless 174.97
Vivian Schmidt 2,300.00
Waste Management - TC west 2,925.75
Word Systems, Inc. 2,550.00
23 Payments less than $100 $1,010.82
Final total $293,577.41
The meeting adjourned at 10.01 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Aug. 1, 2011.