WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
JANUARY 10, 2012
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 Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the 1-03-12 County Board Minutes as presented.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, asked to petition onto the Agenda a request for the Board to authorize attendance at the NACE Conference in April, 2012, for Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer and himself. Sawatzke asked if there is a cost associated with the Conference. Fingalson confirmed this. Sawatzke said he will vote against this being added to the Agenda. Eichelberg made a motion to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 4-1 with Sawatzke casting the nay vote.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: R. DesMarais, E. Kloss, Assr.; C. Barnaal, Ct. Svcs.; J. Kaufman, Sher.
2. Approve Participation In 2012 MN Cities Participation Program (First Time Homebuyer).
3. Increase Employer’s Contribution Toward Insurances By $50/Month Only For Those Non-Union Employees With Family Health Insurance, Eff. 3-01-12.
4. Approve Post Retirement Health Care Savings Plan For The Wright County Deputy’s Association.
5. O/T Report, Period Ending 12-23-11.
6. Approve Post Retirement Health Care Savings Plan For Teamsters Local No. 320, Courthouse Unit.
7. Voluntary Leave Without Pay Annual Report, 2011.
1. Approve 2012 Tobacco License Renewals for: 610 Express (formerly Albertville Pit Stop), Coborn’s Liquor #6038, Coborn’s #2029, Little Duke’s, Payless Tobacco (2011 and 2012), Westside Liquor (Albertville City); Little Duke’s, Coborn’s #2008, Coborn’s Liquor #6034 (Clearwater City); Kirk’s Travel Plaza (Cokato City); Coborn’s #2028, Holiday StationStore #4073, CVS Pharmacy #5311 (Delano City); Cub Foods #1632 (Monticello City); St. Michael Corner Bar, CVS Pharmacy #5920, CashWise Liquor #7043 (St. Michael City).
Denise McCalla, Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer, presented a request to approve a fee increase for delinquent tax parcels. There is an administrative cost implemented through the tax system that is applied to all delinquent taxes. The administrative cost relates to publication, mailing, and postage. The current fee charged by the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office is $10, and the fee has been at this rate for over 20 years. The request is to increase the fee to $20, based on costs and information obtained from neighboring counties on fees charged for the same service (range from $20-$35). Richard Norman, County Coordinator, asked for an opinion from the County Attorney’s Office on whether a public hearing is required. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said two statutes apply in this instance and it is not clear how they work together on the public hearing requirement. The statute relating to tax forfeit properties reflects the fee can be charged, with the fee to be determined by the County Board. The County is able to recover costs incurred related to a delinquent tax parcel. The other statute reflects that if a service is being provided for citizens, the Board should hold a public hearing to establish the fee. Asleson’s opinion is that the fee is charged to recoup costs, not to provide a service. Norman referred to the County’s Fees For Service Policy Statement, approved by the Board 7-28-09. The Policy Statement states that a fee increase request should include justification for the increase and the amount of revenue the fee increase will generate. Other procedures are outlined in the Policy as well. Sawatzke moved to approve the fee request increasing the Delinquent Tax Parcel Fee to $20, seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke said the $20 fee charged to cover costs associated with publishing, postage, supplies, time and postage is probably low. He thought the $20 fee is justified. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson referenced claims on Page 15 to the Commissioner of Finance. He asked whether the claims relate to Courts. Russek did not recall paying this type of claim previously. Russek moved to remove payment of the claim to the Commissioner of Finance and to approve the remainder of the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. He said the Commissioner of Finance claim can be discussed at the meeting in two weeks. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke said the Commissioner of Finance claims can be brought back for discussion later in the meeting if someone from the Auditor’s Office can address the claims and they feel it is timely to pay them. Russek said otherwise the claims should be brought back for discussion in two weeks. The motion carried 5-0.
Capt. Pat O’Malley, Jail Administrator, requested the Board authorize signatures on the 2012 Jail Medical Services Agreement with Buffalo Hospital. The Agreement allows Buffalo Correctional Services to provide certain health and medical services to detainees and inmates of the Jail. The term of the Agreement is from 1-01-12 to 12-31-12. There are two changes to the 2012 Agreement. The first is a 5% increase in cost totaling $10,491 annually. The increase is due to inflation, the cost to provide services, and staff costs. The second is that Allina no longer subcontracts with EPA (Emergency Physicians Association) to provide services. Allina has hired Dr. Simon as their employee and he will continue to manage the Agreement. Dr. Simon was managing the Agreement through EPA previously. Mattson asked whether the reduction in inmates has an impact on utilization. O’Malley stated that bookings have not decreased. In 2008, the County was still boarding inmates in other counties. The bookings have remained consistent since that time. It is the number of days the inmates are housed that is different. More inmates are meeting bail. In 2011, there were over 4000 visits to the medical unit inside the Jail (i.e., sick call, diabetic, dental, detox, and mental health). They are not seeing a decrease in the number of medical issues or problems. They are realizing a decrease in the number of days people spend in Jail. Mattson questioned whether Dr. Simon approves care of an inmate outside of the Jail prior to them being seen. O’Malley confirmed this is the case. There was a change in statute at the end of the year and the County will now realize more of a discounted rate for most services outside of the Jail. This rate will be lower than the rate previously charged (lowest third party provider). Mattson referenced the variation in the number of meals served at the Jail and asked whether this is a result of inmate population varying. O’Malley explained the Jail is charged on a sliding scale based on the number of meals prepared. They try to order above a certain range to obtain the best pricing. Mattson said there is a new hospital in Monticello and asked whether the two hospitals can bid against each other to provide the inmate medical services. O’Malley stated that to provide these services involves quite a process and liability. Other hospitals can set up programs if desired. With the current setup, medical care is run under the doctor’s license and everything must be run correctly (procedures, policy, etc.). Sawatzke said this is something to keep in mind for the future if the contract gets larger. O’Malley said two years ago, the Board asked that other providers be looked at for these services. There was a 3% spread in cost between the two providers looked at. Allina Hospital started working with the Jail in about 1996, and the services provided through the Agreement were developed since that time. There are intangibles realized that are not included in the Agreement. The County receives equipment from Allina at no cost for use in the Jail. The Jail also is able to purchase supplies through Allina at cost. Regardless of what provider is contracted with, the County inmates will still use the services of Allina. Russek moved to authorize signatures on the 2012 Jail Medical Contract with Buffalo Hospital. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, requested the Board authorize signatures on a Grant Contract with the State of Minnesota, BCA, MN Financial Crimes Task Force, for the period of 12-02-11 to 3-01-12. The Grant covers deputy wages associated with work related to a major mortgage fraud ring. A trial will be held in Federal Court. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the MN Financial Crimes Task Force have been asked to assist in preparation for the trial. The Grant will provide $12,500 in reimbursement of wages. Sawatzke asked whether the employee works full-time and whether they make more than $50,000 a year. Lt. Hoffman said this is the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking for assistance and the Grant will provide reimbursement of wages during preparation for the trial. Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #12-01 authorizing signatures on the Grant Contract with the State of MN, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested the Board appoint Martyn Dibben to a three-year term on the Parks Commission (Jan. 2012-Dec. 2014) as the District 1 representative, replacing John Wisecarver. Eichelberg moved to appoint Martyn Dibben to the Parks Commission, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Mattice presented another Parks Commission appointment opening for the District 2 Representative on the Parks Commission, also for a three-year term (Jan. 2012-Dec. 2014). Sawatzke stated that Bernie Beneke has expressed that he does not want to serve another term. Sawatzke hopes to have a candidate approved prior to the next Parks Commission Meeting, which is scheduled for 3-05-12. No action is required at this time.
Mattice requested the Board authorize signatures on the 2012 Park Caretaker Agreement with Green View Inc. The Agreement is effective from 1-01-12 to 12-31-12 at a cost not to exceed $90,171.90. Mattice said the Agreement went through the Budget process. Wages remain the same but there was a slight increase in administrative costs. Stearns County reimburses Wright County for half of the caretaker costs for 2012 related to services provided at Fairhaven Mill. Eichelberg moved to approve the Agreement with Green View Inc. as presented. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Mattice was notified the end of December, 2011 of the $90,000 grant received from the Parks & Trails Legacy Grant Program for Robert Ney Regional Park. On 7-27-11, Mattice came before the Board with a request to submit a grant application for acquisition of a 20-acre parcel ($100,000 project). This will provide a better lineal connection between the east and west units of the Park. The landowner is willing to sell the parcel. Mattice requested the County Board acknowledge the grant funding and authorize proceeding with the negotiation and approval process with the landowner. A 10% County match is required ($10,000) which will be funded from the Ney Park account. Eichelberg moved to accept the $90,000 Grant. He stated it is a great addition to Ney Park and will provide a connection for the Park. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Russek asked whether the local match will come from the Township. Mattice said there are not funds in the Maple Lake Township account. There is $40,000 available in the Ney Park account so $10,000 would be used from this source. Mattson said the request is to proceed with negotiations and the approval process. He asked Mattice about the value of the property. Mattice said the Grant application process included an appraisal. The appraisal may have to be redone because of the time frame that is acceptable for the grant. The landowner is in agreement with the appraisal. The boundary delineation needs to be agreed upon. Mattson asked whether Mattice will bring this back to the Board if the appraisal is not exactly what was stated. Mattice confirmed this would be done. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice asked the County Board to acknowledge a $500,000 Grant from the Parks & Trails Legacy Grant Program and a $333,333 award through the Regional Parks Grant Program for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Discussion occurred at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Committee meeting last week, and the group recommends accepting the Grants and proceeding with negotiations with the landowners. The appraisal process would follow. There will be a minimum $204,000 local match by the County, which does not include the appraisal and closing costs. Mattson asked whether Mattice worked with Representative Urdahl on the Grants. Mattice said he did not. As the Greater MN Parks and Trails Coalition, they worked with Representative Urdahl to establish funding parameters for Greater Minnesota. During the first Legislative Session for Legacy funds, there was only $3 million for Greater Minnesota including the Metro area. The split was 42% Metro and 42% DNR. They worked with Representative Urdahl to provide Legislation so that 20% of all Parks and Legacy funds would be dedicated just to Greater Minnesota excluding the Metro area. This increased the annual grant funding for that program in Greater Minnesota to $7.1 million. There were 99 applications to the Legacy Fund for projects in Greater Minnesota totaling $33 million. Mattice said Wright County was fortunate to receive the grant funding. Along with that, the City of Hanover and the City of St. Michael received a $500,000 grant for the Beebe Lake Regional Trail Project. Wright County received over $1 million in Legacy Funds out of $7.1 million in the State. Sawatzke added that the $333,000 is not included in the Legacy funding; that award comes from the Federal Government. The $333,000 grant is the only one given in the State and Wright County received the entire thing. In addition, the $500,000 grant from the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund is the largest amount that can be distributed from that fund. Wright County received the most amount of money that can be given in the State for this cycle. Sawatzke felt this was due to a couple of things. First, he acknowledged the application completed by Mattice and his efforts toward the project. Second, he said it was because of the groups (such as the DNR and others looking at projects for funding) that ranked the Bertram Chain of Lakes Project as the best in the State. Mattson said the reason he brought up Representative Urdahl was because of the pedestrian trail between Dassel and Cokato. Mattson did not understand why Representative Urdahl did not push that trail project forward. It is a highly used trail and the maintenance is way beyond repair, so it may have to be rebuilt. Mattice said through the Legislative process last year, Representative Urdahl was diligent in getting that listed as a regional trail so the City would qualify to apply for the grant funding. Representative Urdahl is not part of the ranking committee for the grants. Mattice said Urdahl’s work as Chair of the Legacy Advisory Committee (House of Representatives) did recognize the Dassel to Cokato trail as regional. Without Representative Urdahl’s efforts, that would not have happened. The ranking process is handled by the DNR Advisory Board and there are no legislators who serve on the ranking Board for the grants. Thelen asked whether parks and trails are competing against the Bertram Chain of Lakes project for funding in the Parks and Trails Legacy fund. Mattice said that is correct. Sawatzke asked whether the request for funding for the trail between Dassel and Cokato is for the existing trail. Mattice said it is; the request is for the rehabilitation of the trail from Dassel to Cokato. Sawatzke asked whether the State has ever funded the repair or maintenance of a trail system. Mattice believed there was one rehabilitation project this year. There is a stipulation which allows funding but it is not a priority. When parks and trails projects are completed, maintenance is assumed for 20 years. The Commissioners felt the trail between Dassel and Cokato has probably been in place for 17-18 years. Mattice plans to contact the Cokato City Administrator. The State would like the City to contact them to find out how to be more competitive in the next process. Sawatzke moved to acknowledge the $500,000 Grant throught the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program and the $333,333 award through the Regional Parks Grant Program for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park and to authorize proceeding with negotiations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Russek questioned where the $204,000 local match will be funded from. Sawatzke said the Capital Improvement Account. Russek was unsure of the funding available in that Account. Sawatzke felt it is over $1 million. Russek said the County has been careful with committing funds in that Account. The motion carried 3-2 with Russek and Mattson casting the nay votes.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested the Board adopt a resolution revoking a portion of CSAH 6 and authorize the Board Chair and County Coordinator to sign the quit claim deed. CSAH 6 was reconstructed between TH 55 and TH 24. This created a safer alignment with TH 55. The final right-of-way process of revoking an unneeded fragment can begin. There are two parcels (34,044 sq. ft.) that are in this category. Monetary consideration for this parcel was addressed during the acquisition process and included in the final award. Corinna Township has adopted a resolution approving the revocation. There are no utilities in the unneeded fragment. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #12-02 revoking a portion of CSAH 6 (between TH 55 and TH 24) and authorizing the Board Chair and County Coordinator to sign the quit claim deed. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting was held on 1-04-12. The TCOTW Minutes are listed below with discussion/action taken at today’s County Board Meeting reflected in italics:
In Chairperson Thelen’s temporary absence, Vice-Chair Eichelberg called the meeting to order and introductions were made.
1. Approve/Prioritize Enhancement Projects for Federal Funding (2016).
Fingalson explained that two cities were here today, Annandale and Cokato, to present their candidate projects to the County Board. Both the City of Annandale and the City of Cokato are presenting candidate project applications for funding, and the TCOTW will make a recommendation to the County Board how the projects should be prioritized to the Region 7W Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and Policy Board. Wright County may be asked which project is higher priority if enhancement funds are available and only one Wright County project is funded. There was some discussion about the suggestion made by Commissioner Thelen at 2011’s TCOTW meeting (for enhancement funding) that a different procedure be used/developed to evaluate projects, and this could be patterned after the regional form in terms of ranking the two projects. She and Mattice drew up a suggested format, and both Hawkins and Mattice have reviewed it and used it to rank the two projects. Mattson asked if this suggested ranking format was shared in advance with each of the two cities. Fingalson said that it had not been given to them, but he explained that this format is very similar to the format that is used at the regional level, and cities are familiar with its use. Using this regional format last year when both these projects were presented, a ranking was determined, with Cokato receiving 92 points and Annandale receiving 72 points from the regional board. However, even with the higher ranking, no funds were allocated to the City of Cokato last year. Fingalson explained that the primary reason for Cokato’s higher ranking was due to the fact that its proposed trail system ties in more with the existing regional trail system, and Annandale’s proposed trail system was more local in nature. Sawatzke asked if the ranking format used the exact same formula as the region uses, and Mattice said that there were a few slight variations. Sawatzke said that he would like more than one commissioner involved with the establishment of a ranking process, if indeed the TCOTW decides to use one. He is not opposed to having a score sheet, but in this instance, four of five commissioners were not involved in the process, and he would prefer not to use a process until the County Board has formally adopted one. Fingalson said that the development of this ranking procedure was pretty recent, and Mattice said that he came away from last year’s meeting with the thought that he was supposed to help develop something. He put out a draft, and Thelen was supposed to work with him, but he wasn’t sure how this information was to get back to the Board. He put it together and it was reviewed by Fingalson and Thelen, and then last week the final draft was created. There are some modifications that need to be made, but it is a good sample to work with. Hawkins said that there is good benefit in knowing how both projects were ranked in the region, and maybe this score sheet could be considered a dry run. Mattice said that he could make some modifications in the format and bring it back to the Board for adoption. There are some things that should change. Sawatzke reiterated that he is not critical of the process, but in the end it needs to get Board approval before it gets used, and Fingalson agreed, but said that maybe the Board doesn’t even want to follow this process. Eichelberg commented that both projects being presented today are basically the same as were presented last year, but he asked if either one has made significant changes. Levens said that Cokato’s project has not changed at all, except for the increase in some costs because of wetland impact along TH 12. The city council was very supportive, even with the cost increase, in completing the regional component of that trail to Howard Lake. Voge explained that Annandale’s project remains relatively similar to last year’s, but the region did modify their scoring sheet a bit, so he is anticipating that the score might be a bit different from last year. Because of the recently adopted Wright County Trail Plan, they now tie in a bit better to regional significance. The route has not changed, and they are eligible for the enhancement funding. Mattice added that the City of Monticello, on its own, would be submitting an application for an enhancement project to the TAC, and this would also be in competition for the same funds.
• City of Annandale: Voge distributed handouts *Attachment 1+ and reviewed Annandale’s proposed trail project. As shown, the trail starts at the Triplett Farm and goes east to Pioneer Park, with some segments already completed. It links the eastern city limits to the western city limits. With all segments completed, the trail will cost approximately $1.2. In the long range plan, future trails are planned along TH 55. Another key component of the project is the safety aspect of providing a trail for that part of the population that lives south of TH 55, a highway which is a dangerous corridor through town with high speed and heavy traffic. The proposed project will link neighborhoods and parks in southern Annandale with an 8-foot bituminous trail. The trail will connect to a significant trail system already in place within the city, and will also tie in with Wright County’s planning, and eventually with the regional planning. Voge said that the Heart of the Lakes Trail Committee is very active in the community and has held numerous fund raisers to help with matching funds. They hold events a couple times a year, regardless whether or not there is a current project. This project also has the support of the city parks department, the city council, and the community in general. The city council will pass a support resolution at the first council meeting of 2012, and Wright County Parks Director Mattice has also provided a letter of support. For this proposed segment, the total cost is $360,000, with a request of $240,000 in enhancement funding and $120,000 as a local match.
• City of Cokato: Levens said that this project is the same as presented last year, with no real modifications other than dealing with costs. Lembke referred to a poster showing the existing trail system in Cokato and the proposed segments that would complete it. The focus in on the eastern third of the community which would be served by this trail system. It also provides a loop for local and regional users as well. The TH 12 corridor is very busy, and safety along this road is an issue for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. People want more mobility and want to get out and walk more. A regional trail along TH 12 and 53rd Street to Oliver Street, are identified in the county’s trail plans to Howard Lake. In order to provide continuity to residents in this area of the community, many of whom are retired citizens who like to get out and walk, this trail is being proposed to provide these facilities to the residents. The city council overwhelmingly supports developing and completing a facility that is safe for residents to use. It also ties in with the route to the Dassel/Cokato High School. Wright County has already identified a CSAH 3 trail on the road facility, and this is a heavily used trail. Mattson commented that the completion of a trail on the south side of TH 12 would also help alleviate some concerns by citizens about youth that are hanging out in certain wooded areas through which this trail would run.
Mattson indicated that he would support this project if the points are similar to last year’s ranking, and Russek said that he would like to support this project in the same fashion as they did last year, with nothing against Annandale. Hawkins said that sidewalks, such as are included in Cokato’s project, are now eligible for funding from the TAC. Fingalson said that both projects need to be accepted and approved by the County Board as candidates, and it is helpful to have a recommendation which of the two receives a higher priority, because that is what the TAC will ask.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the project presented by the City of Cokato for Trail and Sidewalk Extension be given the No. 1 ranking and that the project presented by the City of Annandale for a Trail Extension be given the No. 2 ranking when presented to the Region 7W TAC. This group will then determine how to distribute the federal funds that will be available in 2016.
At the 1-10-12 County Board Meeting, Mattson referenced Page 3 of the TCOTW Minutes which reflect that Mattice provided a letter of support for the Annandale project. Mattson had concern with Mattice choosing to support one city over another. Mattice said he was asked by the City of Annandale to provide the letter of support, but he would have done the same for the City of Cokato if they had requested one. As a Parks Department, they need to support local trail connections and active living. Letters of support for projects were supplied to the Cities of Monticello and St. Michael. Mattson felt that Mattice should be asking the County Board for approval of these letters of support. He did not think Mattice should choose one town over another. Mattice said that if the Board desires this, he would follow that process for support letters for any community doing park and trail projects. He would bring forward the request for the letter of support prior to writing it. Thelen asked whether the letter of support stated one project was favored over the other. Mattice said it did not. Mattson said he interpreted the letter that way. Fingalson said the two resolutions (one each for Annandale and Cokato) must be included with the application to the State by 1-13-12. No County funding is involved. The County acts as a sponsor for the Cities.
Russek moved to adopt Resolution #12-03, Resolution of Support from the Sponsoring Agency for the City of Annandale, Southside Trail Extension. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #12-04, Resolution of Support from the Sponsoring Agency for the City of City of Cokato, East Side Trail & Sidewalk Extension. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
2) Approve County Projects for 2016 Federal Funding. Wagner distributed handouts *Attachment 2+ and explained the City of Otsego’s plan to establish an east-west route that would connect CSAH 19 to CSAH 37 and to eventually be an extension of CSAH 37. Last year, the classification of this 3.0 segment was changed from a local collector to a minor arterial, and it is now eligible for federal funding. They hope to get bids out this year for a quarter mile urban section, and everything is pretty much the same as when it was presented last year to the TCOTW. About 20 property owners will be affected, from whom they may or may not need right of way. The route has been jockeyed around to minimize the impact to fewer property owners. This route would provide a more continuous east-west route that connects to an interchange at TH 101 and a proposed interchange/overpass at I-94. There are 1,250 homes and 950 lots, not counting the City of Albertville, just north of this proposed extension, and all of these homes are served by the elementary school on the east side. Also, commuters to Elk River and Anoka use an east-west route to get to work. The 40 mph curves on existing CSAH 37 have recently been posted with a flashing warning system, which seems to help but is still tricky when it’s dark and the roads are icy. This proposed route has been on the county plan since 1994, and a number of shorter segments shown on the map have already been completed. Once built, 70th Street (future CSAH 37) will have ADT of 25,000 by 2040, and it is expected that that old CSAH 37 would drop back to 8,000 ADT. The old portion of CSAH 37 would probably be turned back to three cities (Albertville, Otsego, and St. Michael), but there needs to be some dialogue between the cities and the county on how to do that. A typical section shows 80 feet of right of way in last year’s presentation, but the city council now wants to add a trail, so 100 feet of right of way would be needed. This would become a main arterial through the county. Otsego plans to redirect CSAH 37 at Oakwood Avenue where it would continue west on 70th Street all the way to CSAH 19. This would eventually be a straight shot from TH 101 to CSAH 19, and the two 90 degree curves would be eliminated (on Oakwood Avenue) and traffic would not be directed through downtown Albertville. Eventually, there would also be an interchange at Kadler Avenue on the west side of Albertville. [Commissioner Thelen arrived.]
The cost for this project would be $2.6 million, and they are looking for $1 million from the 7W. Otsego would contribute $1.6 in state aid. They would like to move this along, even before 2016 money is available by using advance state aid money, and then they would get the money when it becomes available in 2016. The design is now being worked on and right-of-way acquisition talks will begin in June. They are looking for project approval in March 2013, with construction beginning in 2013 and ending in 2014. Mattson asked about the expansion of I-94 and access to it, and Wagner said that there is talk by the I-94 Coalition of adding another lane from Albertville to the cities. Fingalson said that this is the plan if the money is produced. Otsego has already done the survey, the soil boring, the wetland delineation, and is now in the process of designing their project. They are looking for $1 million in construction money. Fingalson asked what they would do if funding were not made available by TAC, and Wagner said that they would probably delay the project. Wagner added that this project was the highest ranked project that did not receive funding from the TAC last year. A turnback of the existing CSAH 37 would have to happen in order for the county to designate a new CSAH 37 on the 70th Street alignment, and the terms of the agreement would be that all three cities would accept the turnback. The Otsego council would like to see some improvements made to the current portion of CSAH 37, as the last overlay was done in 1999. Hawkins stated that the current design of this new portion doesn’t meet the county standard that would be required in order for the county to take it over, and in order for that to happen, the shoulders would have to be eight feet wide, and Wagner said that this could be done. Eichelberg said that he would like to see the shoulders changed from six feet to eight feet, and then he could consider approval from the county. Improvements to help aid in the transition to make it a county route would probably cost about $100,000 more by making the shoulders wider. Fingalson said that he thinks that this is a good, needed project, and last year it lost out to other projects, including the one in Buffalo to make a connection at CSAH 34 and CR 147. It is important to know what needs to be done before it can be completed and considered for county takeover. Hawkins explained that this would be submitted as an Otsego project, but Wright County could adopt a resolution in favor of this, and this would be competing with any of Wright County projects that would be submitted. However, Wright County doesn’t have a project that would come close to the point value of this one. Last year, the CSAH 35 Bridge replacement project was submitted, but it did not receive funding. However, it has since received bridge bonding money for 75% of this bridge project, and it is possible that more funds might become available. The CSAH 37 pavement preservation project (from TH 25 to CSAH 8) will be submitted again, and it may score high enough to get some money, but it probably won’t score higher than the Otsego project.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Wright County support the City of Otsego’s application for federal funding for the construction of a new portion of CSAH 37 between Oakwood Avenue NE and McAllister Avenue NE and submit the CSAH 37 pavement preservation project for funding.
Wagner said that the council wanted him to discuss other priorities in Otsego for the county road system. One area of concern is CSAH 37 as it heads west from the interchange at TH 101. It goes from four to two lanes just a short distance from TH 101 and has 7,000 or 8,000 ADT. There was a fatality a few years ago just about one-quarter mile west of TH 101 at Parson Avenue, due in part to some limited visibility by both westbound traffic and southbound traffic (coming off Parson Avenue) when a vehicle makes a right hand turn onto Parson Avenue. There is also a portion of CSAH 42 that was going to be improved with turn lanes and by-pass lanes near the elementary school when development occurred, but the expected development did not occur and these improvements are still needed. There is a curve on the portion that is used regularly by buses near the elementary school, and a by-pass lane would help increase the safety at that point. There is currently a dedicated turn lane, but it appears that traffic is using the shoulder as a by-pass lane, which is helping to deteriorate the pavement, so it would be a nice safety improvement to have a dedicated by-pass lane added. Meyer commented that the pavement on CSAH 42 is in far worse condition than that portion of CSAH 37 west of TH 101. Fingalson said that the two projects mentioned may be candidates for the HSIP Routes of Regional Significance, which will be discussed in Agenda Item 4.
At the 1-10-12 County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #12-05, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote:
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) has established Area Transportation Partnerships (ATPs) throughout the State of Minnesota to develop prioritized lists of transportation projects seeking federal transportation funding for inclusion in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP); and
WHEREAS, it is recommended by the County Engineer that Wright County submit an application to Mn/DOT for Fiscal Year 2016 federal funding for the following projects:
Project; Description; Total Cost; SAFETEA-LU Request
CSAH 37 (TH 25 to CSAH 8); Preservation Bituminous; $2,000,000; $1,600,000
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Wright County Board of Commissioners approves the above-mentioned candidate projects for submittal to Mn/DOT to apply for federal funding (SAFETEA-LU) for Fiscal Year 2016.
(End of Resolution 12-05)
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #12-06, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote:
WHEREAS, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) has established Area Transportation Partnerships (ATPs) throughout the State of Minnesota to develop prioritized lists of transportation projects seeking federal transportation funding for inclusion in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP); and
AND WHEREAS, the City of Otsego is submitting an application to Mn/DOT for Fiscal Year 2016 federal funding for the following project:
70th Street (future CSAH 37); Construct New Alignment from MacIver Avenue to CSAH 37
AND WHEREAS, funding and completion of this project will provide a more continuous, regional east-west route that connects to an interchange at TH 101 and a proposed interchange/overpass at I-94.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Wright County Board of Commissioners supports the above-mentioned candidate project for submittal to Mn/DOT to apply for federal funding (SAFETEA-LU) for Fiscal Year 2016.
(End of Resolution #12-06)
3. 2012 Turnbacks of CRs 123 and 143.
Fingalson handed out draft agreements, one between Wright County and Corinna Township and one between Wright County and Silver Creek Township. He said that segments of both CR 123 and CR 143 have been identified in jurisdictional studies as not belonging on a county road system. They are both in the overlay plans for 2012, and Fingalson is proposing that he be allowed to pursue turnbacks with each of the townships. A slight benefit to the townships would be that the additional road length acquired by each of the townships would qualify them for more road mileage money from the state. Wright County would be looking at a spending a lot of money in Silver Creek Township ($615,000) to bring CRs 123 and 143 up to county standards, and this would most likely have to be done before a turnback would be accepted. Fingalson said that he had already talked to the Chair of Silver Creek Township, and he seemed receptive to the idea of accepting turnbacks, but Fingalson has not talked with Corinna Township yet. He will be attending the Township Officers meeting tomorrow evening (01/05) and could bring this topic up at that time. This process has been followed before with other cities and townships, and this seems like a logical time to do this because of the scheduled overlays for 2012. Sawatzke asked about the difference between township and county standards, and Hawkins explained that the county has specific standards and townships can vary, but in this case the shoulders wouldn’t have to be built. The portion of road that is in Corinna Township is a 2.15 mile stretch, and added together with the cost of work in Silver Creek Township, the total would be close to $1 million in improvements, so now would be a good time to turn them back. Fingalson explained that when a county gives a road back to a township, there is a two-year period that the county continues to maintain the road. The township would also have the option of beginning maintenance immediately and having the county reimburse it for that maintenance. If the proposed agreement is signed between the township and the county, the public hearing requirement would be waived. Fingalson said that there is one problematic area on the west end of CR 143 in Corinna Township, which creates a curve sight distance problem, but the only crash history is one incident and that was on icy roads. Sawatzke suggested that Fingalson move forward with this process and discuss it with the townships to see how they feel about it.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Wright County Engineer Fingalson talk with both Silver Creek Township and Corinna Township about their willingness to accept a turnback of portions of CR 123 and CR 143, which will be newly resurfaced, that are within each township.
At the 1-10-12 County Board Meeting, Fingalson said he spoke with Silver Creek Township at the Township Meeting but did not speak with Corinna Township. He said the County Board will have a tough decision in the next month on this issue. Even if the townships do not favor taking the roads back, the County can still move forward with this action.
4) Solicitation for HSIP Funding (Route of Regional Significance).
Fingalson explained that the 2011 Legislature has dedicated $10 million in funds for the improvement to routes of regional significance, and the deadline for submitting application for funding is February 3, 2012. Projects have to be ready for construction by June 2013, be of regional significance, correct a transportation deficiency, and address safety issues. The funding cap for individual projects is $500,000. He said that Wright County had been hoping to do something to help correct the flooding problem on CSAH 35 in the Wolff Swamp area, but this probably doesn’t meet the safety criteria that are identified by the HSIP. Fingalson said that it was opportune that Otsego presented their concerns about CSAHs 37 and 42 today, as these projects might be good candidates for HSIP funding. Hawkins added that it is possible that turn lanes, and maybe even left turn lanes, by the school on CSAH 42 would fit the safety criteria. These improvements had previously been planned by Wright County, but at the urging of Otsego, they were delayed with the idea that future development occurring along this route would take care of them. Sawatzke suggested that Fingalson designate these projects as candidates and submit them to the County Board with a resolution of support. Fingalson said that Franklin Township had mentioned a project of interest, but he doesn’t think that it is of sufficient regional significance to qualify for HSIP funds. He will submit resolutions of support to the Board when the Highway Department determines which projects meet the required criteria. He does not think that the Wolff Swamp project will meet the criteria, and the estimated cost of the improvement is $750,000, which is an additional $250,000 over the maximum funding awarded per project.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Fingalson submit resolutions of support to the County Board prior to the February 3, 2012 deadline for those projects that meet the criteria of HSIP funding.
5) Update of Former Chouinard Property in St. Michael.
Mark Johnson explained that the St. Michael Fire Department was paid $1,500 to do a training exercise to burn the house and barn down at the former Chouinard property. He has now received a Letter of Intent to Purchase [Attachment 3] from the owners of Omann Brothers Properties II, LLC indicating his interest in purchasing this property. Omann Brothers have offered $50,000 and included several other requirements. Sawatzke commented that even in today’s economy he did not think that $50,000 is enough for 2.3 acres on the Crow River in a growing city. There is gravel beneath the surface, and Johnson estimated that the gravel alone could be worth $40,000. He suggested that a realtor be contacted, at no cost, to find out what the market value would be and to see if it is saleable. One estimate received for clean up of the remaining debris and metal is $7,000 - $9,000, and it is best done by a crew that has the proper equipment. The equipment of the Wright County Highway Department is not suited for this type of clean up and the replacement of one tire alone could cost as much as $3,500. Fingalson said that it wouldn’t cost anything to list it, but Sawatzke said that now wouldn’t be a good time to sell it with prices at an all time low. He added that if this property were privately owned, the owner wouldn’t consider selling it now. Fingalson said that we might not find anyone who would pay enough, but we wouldn’t know unless we tried. Russek said that it doesn’t cost anything to wait, and the gravel might be useful in a future road project in the area. With both the house and the barn gone, the liability is pretty limited. The property is zoned commercial/industrial, and this would be a nice lot after the gravel is removed. Quotes could be requested for the removal of the debris, and then a plan for the use or sale of the property could be discussed at a later date.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that a request for sealed quotes be made available to those firms that might be interested in cleaning up the debris at the former Chouinard property, and that these sealed quotes be collected by and opened at the same time by staff of the Highway Department.
At the 1-10-12 County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the TCOTW Minutes and the recommendations of Items 3, 4, and 5. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
(End of 1-04-12 TCOTW Minutes and discussion at the 1-10-12 County Board Meeting)
Fingalson presented a request for attendance of Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer, and himself at the NACE (National Association of County Engineers) Conference being held April 1-5, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky. Fingalson apologized for petitioning this onto the Agenda but said the early bird registration is 1-23-12. Fingalson and Hawkins have attended this Conference annually and it is included in the Highway Department budget. Last year, the Conference was held in Minneapolis. County Board approval is required for any out-of-state conference attendance. Sawatzke made a motion to authorize attendance by either Fingalson or Hawkins at the NACE Conference, at Fingalson’s discretion. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Fingalson requested the Board consider allowing them both to attend as they have in the past. This is consistent with NACE Conference attendance by other counties. The Conference hosts the largest exhibit hall where they are able to obtain a lot of information, and it is a good networking opportunity for upcoming projects. Fingalson said that Hawkins received the Project Manager of the Year award a couple of years ago at the Conference in Texas. Thelen asked whether the Highway budget includes attendance by both Fingalson and Hawkins. Fingalson said this is correct. Thelen supports sending both to the Conference and views it as a good networking opportunity. The Highway Department has garnered a lot of national attention for the work they do, and she felt it was invaluable for them to have those contacts. Sawatzke said the motion does not take away from the work that is done by the Highway Department, and he recognized the achievements of the Department on a daily basis. The motion carried 3-2 with Eichelberg and Thelen casting the nay votes. Russek stated that it is always controversial to add something to the Agenda. He was unsure whether it would have made a difference in the outcome. Fingalson apologized and said that he petitioned it on as a savings through the early bird registration deadline.
Russek serves as the County representative on the Fair Board. The Fair Board would like to apply for a couple of Legacy grants. The first is a County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grant in the amount of $7,368.42. The project includes providing visitors of the Fair the ability to see early agricultural implements and tools up until the present time. This will be done through actual implements and video presentations. The Fair Board feels they will likely receive this Grant and there are no matching dollars required. Russek moved to allow the Fair Board to move forward with this Grant Application, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
The second Grant Application relates to a County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grant in the amount of $50,000. The Fair Board would like to construct another building at the Fair Grounds. The Fair Board is aware that if the Grant is received, they will need to come back to the County for approval for construction of a building. They may also need to borrow additional funding, whether through the County or another source. There are no matching dollars required. Mattson said that Dassel Cokato has a Performing Arts Center (PAC) and he could not support spending money on this. The County gives the Fair Board $70,000. The Fair is a five-day event. He felt the PAC could be used at the Dassel-Cokato School. Russek moved to authorize the Fair Board to apply for the County Fair Arts Access and Cultural Heritage Grant. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Eichelberg said grant funding does not have to be accepted if it is awarded. Mattson said the same type of statement has been made for County trails (that the County does not have to accept grant funding) but the trails are being built. The motion carried 3-2 with Sawatzke and Mattson casting the nay votes.
Albertville Body Shop Inc.. $2,153.91
Bachman Printing 255.43
Buff N Glo Inc. 148.00
Buffalo/City of 55,191.31
Climate Air 1,841.18
Commissioner of Revenue 5,635.00
Fastenal Company 159.50
Greenview Inc. 326.90
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 7,190.53
International Assn. of Asses 674.93
Larson Allen LLP 20,000.00
Loberg Electric 506.48
Lostetter/Carol H 600.00
Marco Inc. 455.83
Martin-McAllisters Consult 400.00
Midland Corporate Benefits 997.75
MN Department of Health 3,788.40
MN Recreation & Park Assn 249.00
MN Sheriffs Association 5,506.00
MN State Treasurer 294.00
National Association of Co 1,676.00
Office Depot 646.88
ORyans Conoco 145.00
the Sign Man of MN Inc. 154.86
Trueman Welters Inc. 3,822.92
United Parcel Service 155.38
Waste Management TC West 1,923.89
Wright Co. Highway Dept. 779.81
17 Payments less than $100 888.67
Final total $133,928.60
The meeting adjourned at 10.24 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 6, 2012.