WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 6, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, and Thelen present. Commissioner Eichelberg was absent.
Thelen moved to approve the 8-30-11 Wright County Board minutes, seconded by Mattson, carried unanimously.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #2, “Payment, Septic Loan Program” (Hiivala). On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.
On a motion by Thelen, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: C. Hohl, M. Sandquist, Atty.; W. Cordell, D. Jore, C. Paulson, C. Marx, Hwy.; N. Aarvig, J. Ashley, K. Kangas, T. Strege, Sher./Corr.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, provided an update on the Crow River Septic Loan Program. There have been two applicants who have successfully completed the entire process. The system has been installed, the funds have been received from the MPCA, and the payment will be made to the vendor. More applicants are forthcoming. This was provided as an informational item.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, requested approval of the 8-24-11 Kramer Avenue/Corinna Township Task Force Meeting Minutes. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke said it appears the Township does not recognize that the County owns the property. Kryzer said that through discussion at the Task Force Meeting, the Township does realize the Park property is the County’s and will remain that way. The major thing that was brought out during discussion was Park ownership and the grant used to purchase the land. Because the land was purchased with Federal funds, ownership must remain with the County. Any discussion on transfer of ownership would negatively impact the Federal funds. The County would either have to mitigate or pay back the Federal funds. Kryzer felt the Township has moved away from the ownership issue and is now more focused on road authority. Sawatzke questioned Kryzer on whether authority should rest with those who have ownership. Kryzer responded in agreement. Russek feels the whole objective of the Township is to somehow raise the road and to make the lot at the end of the road buildable. Russek did not see how the lot can be buildable. He felt the water level of Clearwater Lake this year must have caused problems on the property. Thelen said the road was closed due to water. Kryzer said the home at the end of the peninsula was under water. He thought the water got into the foundation but probably not to the main level of the home. Russek stated that there has been an application to build on the very end lot of the peninsula. He questioned how a home could be built on a lot that is under water. Sawatzke thought the home would be required to be built 4’ above the ordinary high water level. An enormous amount of fill would have to be brought in to accomplish that. Russek said the applicants were going to build retaining walls. Sawatzke felt the home could potentially be on an island when the water is high. Sawatzke said that is the purpose of having rules. Sawatzke feels the Committee is doing a good job representing the County’s position. It is a difficult situation. Sawatzke made a motion to approve the minutes, seconded by Thelen. Russek said there is no recommendation to act upon. Discussion will be continued at a future meeting. Thelen said it has been a stated position of the Township that they would like to get emergency vehicles to those residences on those roads. Thelen said Corinna Township has done this in other areas. Mattson questioned if the DNR has been involved. Kryzer did not feel the DNR has been involved. Sawatzke said the County has adopted the DNR rules per State requirements. That may be what is preventing the applicant from building. Kryzer said the County is applying the DNR shoreland rules, so the DNR is involved in that aspect. They are not involved in the day-to-day activities. The motion carried 4-0. Kryzer asked Richard Norman, County Coordinator, whether the next Task Force Meeting should be scheduled through Board action. Norman responded that the Board should schedule the Meeting and it should be posted, as it is a formal committee of the Board. Kryzer said they will have an informal meeting on 9-13-11. Thelen moved to set a Kramer Avenue/Corinna Township Task Force Meeting on 9-15-11 at 10:00 A.M. The meeting will be held at the Public Works Building. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 4-0. The 8-24-11 Kramer Avenue/Corinna Township Task Force Meeting Minutes follow:
The meeting began with a review of photos distributed by Young that showed washouts on Kramer Avenue. Naaktgeboren said that a suggestion had been made that a culvert be placed tying an upper and lower culvert together to reduce potential washout problems, but he prefers that riprap along the road edge be placed there to prevent runoff from washing out this section of the road. Kryzer brought up the issue of the draft maintenance agreement between Corinna Township and Wright County regarding the ownership of and maintenance responsibilities for Kramer Avenue. Young said that he sees the terms of this agreement as a sort of power struggle between the County and the Township. He feels that it is in the best interest of the county taxpayers to have Corinna do the maintenance of this road. He and Kryzer have gone back and forth on different legal theories, and they would like to come to an agreement rather than take this issue to court. There was some discussion about language in a statute that says a road in a park has to be maintained to a certain standard, unless it is a minimum maintenance road, and Young does not feel that this road qualifies for that designation. A minimum maintenance road is used only intermittently by passenger travel, and he said that people live on this road and use it every day. Naaktgeboren said that this road was very well maintained beginning in 1985, and they had to widen the road and take some trees out because the grader couldn’t get in. Gravel was brought in a couple times a year to keep the surface in good driving condition, and the cost of the gravel was paid for by the landowners along the route. They continued the maintenance to 2001 or 2002 when they decided that having this as a dedicated road for the Township no longer made sense and began maintaining it as a regular township road. Eichelberg said that the difficulty of maintenance responsibility and road ownership becomes compounded when landowners in the area want to do more than what the ordinance says you’re allowed to do. Young said that he thinks that some of the difficulty flows out of the contention of who has the zoning authority and whether others will be as careful and thoughtful and restrictive as the County is in zoning issues. Thelen asked if it matters if the road is owned or if it is just an easement, and Young said that ownership is the wrong principle to focus on. The ultimate issue is who has control of the decision making of what to do within the right of way of that road. It doesn’t matter to the road authority whether they have fee title, an easement, or statutory dedication. It matters who gets to make the decisions regarding maintenance. Thelen asked if it would be possible to talk about an easement and see if an agreement could be made about the conditions of the easements. Mattice said that if title to the property changes, there could be trouble with the federal government because of the federal funds that were used to purchase the original property. Kryzer said that the County would be in favor of delegating authority to Corinna Township to maintain the road as long as the criteria for maintenance are agreed upon. The main issue that the County objects to in the proposed agreement is the ownership clause. This is a county park that was originally bought by Hennepin Park Reserve District (Three Rivers Park District) with federal funds, and there are certain restrictions that must be followed. There is no dissent regarding the allowance of Corinna Township to do maintenance work, but there are restrictions on what qualifies as acceptable. Mattice said that deed restrictions are placed on properties purchased with federal funds, and if things are changed, the grant money has to be paid back, or mitigation must be completed. This is for the purpose of ensuring that the original intent of the purchase is respected and preserved. Those receiving funds agree to those restrictions when the grant is accepted. He said that he doesn’t see the maintenance issue as being a problem. This has always been an access route and the use is not changing and ownership doesn’t need to change. He would love to have Corinna Township maintain it, but Eichelberg said that criteria need to be determined as to what routine maintenance includes. Mattice said that he is comfortable with how routine maintenance is defined in the first draft on Page 1, Item 1, “…snow plowing, grading, incidental graveling, emergency repairs, (to include specifically but not exclusively removal of fallen trees that block the Road and correction of wash outs), but excluding material alteration of grades and elevations, ditching, tree cutting, brushing and other material alterations of the contours of the Road. Non-maintenance activities shall require the written consent of County.”
Young said that he tried to put a clause in there so that the Township could reserve its claims and the County could reserve its claims. He said that the County wants to establish once and for all whether Corinna Township is going to give up that claim of ownership in exchange for a limited amount of control. If the Township gives up the claim, they might not want those many limits on what they can do. If the County designated the Township as the road authority, this would not be a grant of easement or fee title, and if it put some kind of limit on activities, the County could always revoke that designation on a year’s notice or within some other determined time frame. The Township would want to do whatever they think is reasonable. Mattice said that if the road were raised, it would have to be widened. There was some discussion about whether the County would be interested in purchasing any of the private in-holdings, but there are no funds to do so. Thelen asked if it would be acceptable to raise the road and widen it if it still stayed within the right of way and if it were acceptable to Soil & Water. Mattice said that there is a plat of this land that calls out the width of that travel route, and that would probably be the extent of the width that would be permitted. He said that he would have to make sure than any changes are properly done so as not to negatively impact the resources. Mattice retrieved the platted map [Boundary Survey for Hennepin County Park Reserve District by Meyer-Rohlin August 1974] and displayed it for review. Young said that the information on this map would force him to rethink a recommendation for an agreement. Upon review of the map, it was recognized that most of the length of the road measures 30 feet wide, except for a short stretch that is 40 feet wide.
Naaktgeboren said that he would like to see riprap put in along the side of the road in the area of the springs. Mattice agreed that something should be put in to protect the roadbed from erosion. The runoff will continue to silt the wetlands if nothing is done to stabilize this situation. Young suggested that the County appoint Corinna Township as the road authority for this road based on actual conditions today rather than what was laid out earlier, and that the County could revoke that authority by giving a year’s notice. The issue is still ‘what can be done within the right of way and whether the Township would want fewer restrictions on what they are allowed to do if they give up their claims of ownership.’ Mattice asked what other activities they would want to do in addition to those that are listed. Young wanted to know if the road could be raised, and Thelen asked if the road were raised and was not outside the 30 feet width and the adjacent landowners and Soil & Water agreed, would the County object? Mattice commented that raising the road would effectively contribute to filling in the wetland. Young said that if the Township were to give up its claim of ownership, it would probably want more control over the road that they would be maintaining. If they were restricted to working within the 30-foot width and they agreed to that, they would then not want to go through the County for every decision that would have to be made regarding maintenance. Kryzer asked if consent of the Parks Administrator could be part of the agreement, and Naaktgeboren said that this was the way it used to work. At one point a landowner, not the Township, even received permission to raise the road, but Mattice said that he can’t grant that permission at this time. He would be happy to work with them on decisions about tree removal, tree cutting, brushing, drainage and road maintenance, but any major alterations would have to have the consent of the County Board. A definition of ‘major’ and ‘minor’ would be helpful, and Mattice said that most maintenance activities would be considered minor, but changing the elevations and widening the road would be considered major changes. Young asked if four inches or six inches of gravel would be considered raising the elevation, and Mattice said not if the addition of gravel was to fill in wash outs and potholes. That activity would probably be considered restoration and not a change. If elevation were to be changed, by four to six inches on a length of the road, it would be considered a change in elevation and it would first have to meet the specifications for the road width and then would have to come before the County Board.
Young said that he would prepare another draft that would take into consideration the restrictions that must be followed because of the grant money that was used to purchase the property. He will meet with the Corinna Township Board on September 6 and forward information to Kryzer after that meeting no later than Tuesday, September 13, at which time another meeting will be scheduled.
(End of 8-24-11 Kramer Avenue/Corinna Township Task Force Meeting Minutes)
The Board discussed a request from Sheriff Hagerty to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting as part of the “Sheriff vs. Wright County” settlement. Norman said the County Board has already scheduled a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 9-20-11 at 10:30 A.M. This item could be added to that Agenda. Thelen moved to add this item to the 9-20-11 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting Agenda. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 4-0. Sawatzke said this item will be addressed at 11:15 A.M.
Aladdin Temp Rite, LLC. $358.50
All Media Supplies Inc. 294.49
Allina Medical Laboratories 187.10
Amerigas-Cokato, MN 561.37
Ameripride Services 161.27
APA Minnesota 520.00
Aramark Services Inc. 13,445.16
BP Amoco 272.35
Country Chevrolet 14,647.00
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc 577.13
Elness Design Studio 300.00
Emergency Physicians Prof 187.50
Ernst General Construction 1,494.00
Intereum, Inc. 1,160.17
Interstate All Battery Cent 339.63
Keaveny LTC Pharmacy 1,578.57
Kloss/Edie B 234.82
Kustom Signals Inc. 212.17
LaPlant Demo Inc. 965.41
Lostetter/Carol H 600.00
M & M Express Sales and Serv 198.95
Marco Inc. 2,034.17
Marietta Aggregates/Martin 100.77
Mattila Electric/Roger 850.00
Menards - Buffalo 134.73
Minnesota Department of H 1,170.76
MN CLE Inc 355.00
MN Monitoring Inc. 4,197.50
Monticello/City of 22,822.97
Moore Medical Corp 235.33
Neil’s Floor Covering 8,050.46
Northern States Power Com 2,503.18
Office Depot 990.70
Precision Prints of Wright Co. 464.91
Reds Cafe 1,250.63
RS Eden 4,479.00
Soundgate Inc. 141.95
SW Recycling Inc. 100.00
Voss Lighting 137.36
Waste Management TC West 2,662.35
West Payment Center 177.88
18 Payments less than $100 939.95
Final total $118,125.93
The meeting adjourned at 9:22 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Sept. 26, 2011.