Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
FEBRUARY 28, 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 2-21-12 County Board Minutes as presented.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda under Items For Consideration as follows: #2, “Stockholm Township Community Center” (Mattson); #3, “Signature On Equitable Sharing Agreement, Federal Seizures” (Hoffman). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Performance Appraisals: D. Schreiner, Admin.; S. Simonds, D. Snyder, Atty.; C. Davis, IT; T. Fedor, Parks; J. Gutknecht, Recorder; D. Carlson, R. Erickson, J. Bean, N. Borrett, A. Boverhuis, C. Neuenschwander, Sher./Corr.
2. Claim, Madden, Galanter & Hansen, LLP, $7,790.41 (Service For Jan., 2012).
3. Overtime Report, Period Ending 2-18-12.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting to review the 2011 Budget report. Mattson moved to schedule the Meeting for 3-27-12 at 10:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Hiivala requested a Tax Forfeit Committee Meeting to review the list of eligible tax forfeit parcels. The Agenda will include review of Packet 1 (reviewed at last year’s Tax Forfeit Committee Meeting), and review of Packet 2 for classification determination and to set a minimum sale price per parcel. Mattson moved to schedule a Tax Forfeit Committee Meeting on 3-12-12 at 9:00 A.M., in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Conference Room. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Hiivala provided an update on redistricting. He distributed maps including the 2002 and 2012 Wright County Legislative Districts. In 2002, Wright County had four Legislative Districts. Based on the information received from the Secretary of State, Wright County will now have six Legislative Districts. The two new Districts include the City of Clearwater becoming part of Legislative District 15B (used to be part of 19A), and the City of Otsego will now be part of Legislative District 30A (used to be part of 30B). Otsego will have two separate Legislative Districts, the City of Buffalo will have five, and Maple Lake Township will have two. Hiivala said they are working with Maple Lake Township to indicate to the State that two Districts are not needed. Hiivala said they will work with the Cities of Buffalo and Otsego in any way they can. Sawatzke referenced one of the maps reflecting a circled portion of Buffalo. He asked whether the land has been developed. Hiivala said the portion of the map near Buffalo with the circle has been developed. It is located near Varner Way. There is an undeveloped, non-contiguous tract to the east. He will work with the City of Buffalo to try to make this a contiguous parcel. Hiivala asked to schedule a meeting to discuss strategies going forward. Sawatzke moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting for 3-02-12 at 10:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek. The Attorney and Surveyor will be invited to the Meeting. Hiivala said the meeting will not include discussion of maps. Maps could change based on what municipalities do. Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said the purpose of the meeting is for planning. Official hearings cannot be held until after 4-03-12, and the County will be required to publish notice. The COTW Meeting will be to establish those dates and will not include discussion on redistricting. The precincts have not even been established yet. The motion carried 4-0 (Mattson absent).
Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 4-0 (Mattson absent).
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said last summer the CSAH 75 project was completed near the Monticello Nuclear Plant. The project removed the former overpass over the railroad. There is now an at-grade crossing and the road is straightened. In the process, the County needed to acquire land from Northern States Power (NSP) for the new roadway, and the old right of way (R/W) is being vacated and turned back to NSP. Within the last 10 days, there has been a deed recorded giving the County the necessary easements and land needed for the new R/W. Asleson said there is a Memo of Understanding with NSP, and they are finalizing the details at this point. Asleson said the first action would be for the Board to adopt a resolution vacating the old R/W of CSAH 75 that is not needed for highway purposes any longer. Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #12-20, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 4-0 on a roll call vote (Mattson absent).
Asleson requested the Board authorize signatures on the Quit Claim Deed relating to the transfer of R/W to NSP for the CSAH 75 project. A legal description of the land being conveyed is attached to the Quit Claim Deed. Asleson said it was a cooperative process involving the exchange with NSP for the project. The value of the land exchanges is relatively close. The County acquired land at no cost. Eichelberg moved to authorize signatures on the Quit Claim Deed. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 4-0 (Mattson absent).
Barb Chaffee, CEO, Central MN Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS), said Commissioner Eichelberg received the 2011 Outstanding Citizen of Wright County Award from the Wright County Economic Development Partnership. She described Eichelberg as an outstanding leader and a great asset to the CMJTS Joint Powers Board and Workforce Investment Board. Chaffee said Eichelberg has been a mentor and will be missed when he retires. She extended her personal appreciation for his exemplary service to the CMJTS.
Chaffee introduced staff present from CMJTS including Tony Thomann, Central Region Manager, and Tricia Bigaouette, Finance Manager. Chaffee provided the CMJTS annual update. She said Minnesota’s economy is rebounding from the Great Recession at a faster pace than the rest of the country. Although Minnesota’s current UI rate is 5.7%, (down from 2011’s 6.5%), Central Minnesota experienced large layoffs throughout the region in Year 2011: Hutchinson Technology, Inc. in McLeod County, Lowe’s in Isanti, Crystal Cabinets in Princeton, Dura Supreme in Howard Lake, and Reynolds Manufacturing in Rogers. As the infusion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding came to a close in June 2011, funding to federal and state workforce programs experienced deep cuts in revenue: WIA Adult (-27%), WIA DW(-34%) and State DW (-11%). In addition, County MFIP/DWP programs also took a hit in 2011 and 2012, receiving (-7.5%) to (-18.7%) revenue reductions in the counties served by CMJTS. In addition, 2011 was plagued with political uncertainty. On June 30, 2011, the Minnesota Legislature failed to pass a State budget solution causing the July 1, 2011 Minnesota Government Shutdown. The State shutdown resulted in thousands of State employee and WSA staff layoffs and furloughs. Workforce Centers (WFC) and associate sites were closed in our region. For 21 days, services were denied to the masses of unemployed seeking employment and training services. For the first time, those serving the unemployed also found themselves in the unemployment line. Many were not recalled. On the lighter side, many great achievements occurred in Central Minnesota in 2011. Data reports confirm over 98,363 visits to our 6 WFCs and 6 associate sites during the year. Most visits were from Universal Customers who came to the centers to use the resource room computers, receive help with resumes, and request information on finding a job. Those who “qualified” for assistance were served in the following programs:
• Adult and Dislocated Worker Program served 2,175 individuals; with 1,148 who found jobs
• The Senior Community Service Employment Program served 221 seniors (ages 50 and older); 44 found jobs; 177 received work experience
• Youth programs served 1,711 youth; 577 received work experience/jobs
• Public Assistance served 2,358 clients; 617 found permanent employment
• On-the-Job Training (OJT) contracts supported 81 local businesses and their new hired employee; with an average wage of $16.77 per hour at placement.
• In addition, CMJTS touts 4,518 individuals were served in training programs.
Chaffee said that on behalf of the National Association of Workforce Boards, she was delighted to report that Heartthrob Exhaust, Inc. in Litchfield, MN, was selected as the 2012 W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award Grand Prize Winner. John Forbes, the owner of Heartthrob Exhaust, is also the Central MN WIB Chair and will receive the award on March 11, 2012 in Washington DC. While attending a NAWB Forum in 2010, Forbes was inspired to develop a business plan offering a unique opportunity to at-risk youth in Central Minnesota. The resulting Youth Workforce Protégé Project is an innovative work experience model that leverages WIA Youth funds and demands a new level of employer commitment to youth workforce development. Business owners provide mentoring and support services to youth employees helping them understand the value of work and the importance of a post secondary education. CMJTS becomes the employer of record, paying for workman’s comp and 50% of youth wages and the business pays for 50% (to 100%) of the wage. Chaffee encourages other local businesses to become a part of the Youth Workforce Protégé Project. Youth unemployment is nearly 25% across the nation. Young people need work experience in order to grow their skills and become leaders in the community. By 2018, 70% of all jobs in Minnesota (2.1 million) will require some training beyond high school. Between 2008 and 2018, new jobs in Minnesota requiring postsecondary education and training will grow by 152,000, while jobs for high school graduates and dropouts will grow by just 28,000. In summary, Minnesota is facing a jobs challenge and a skills gap. Manufacturing, transportation, construction and energy jobs are facing unique challenges due to baby boomers retiring and workers who lack the skills to take these positions.
Chaffee said the County Board has the fiduciary responsibility over the CMJTS and the money they receive. She referenced the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between the CMJTS and the eleven Workforce Service Area 5 counties (Meeker, McLeod, Renville, Kandiyohi, Wright, Sherburne, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Isanti, Chisago, and Pine). She provided a draft of a revised JPA which includes language as requested by Sherburne County. Chaffee met with the CMJTS Attorney and the Sherburne County Attorney to develop additional assurances concerning insurance and related provisions, operating procedures, termination procedures due to funding cuts, and disposal of assets to satisfy obligations of the Joint Powers Board. Document changes are designed to protect the Joint Powers Board and outline conditions for guarding against an unforeseen state of affairs. Chaffee outlined the changes:
• Page 4, add the following language under Item C, Operating Procedures:
8. Employees, consultants, or independent contractors performing duties for the Joint Powers Board are not employees, consultants, or independent contractors of the constituent Counties, and no contract with the Joint Powers Board shall be deemed to authorize services on behalf of the constituent Counties.
• Page 5, add the following language:
Item II, Insurance and Related Provisions
A. Governance Policy.
The Joint Powers Board shall adopt and maintain a governance policy establishing the insurance coverages and fidelity bonds that will be maintained in force and will provide copies of that governance policy to the constituent counties. Proposals to change the governance policy will be shared with constituent counties at least 30 days before adoption.
B. Insurance Coverage Required.
The Joint Powers Board shall obtain and maintain the required coverages from a qualified insurance carrier in accordance with the governance policy. In the event that procured liability coverage does not cover a particular act or omission, each individual member governmental unit shall not be individually liable unless required by law, in which case any such liability shall be apportioned equally amongst the member governmental units.
• Page 5, add the following language under Item IV, Termination:
B. If funding for this project terminates prematurely, the Joint Powers Board shall in an orderly and expeditious manner wind up and terminate its operations, taking care to terminate all operations in a way that avoids obligating the Joint Powers Board beyond its available resources.
1. As part of the winding up process for termination, the Joint Powers Board shall assure that arrangements are made for an appropriate audit.
2. The Board shall also make suitable arrangements to save and secure the records of the Joint Powers Board in compliance with Minnesota law.
• Page 6, add the following language under Item V, Disposal of Surplus Funds or Property Upon Termination:
B. It is anticipated that under applicable law, assets of the Joint Powers Board will be utilized to satisfy any obligations of the Joint Powers Board and to return any assets and funds to the appropriate state or federal agency. However, in the event that there are assets remaining which are not required for these purposes, those assets will be distributed equally amongst the member governmental units.
• Page 7, add the following sentence to Item VII, Effective Time:
“This agreement continues until terminated as provided in Article IV.”
Chaffee referred to the change to Page 6, Disposal of Surplus Funds or Property Upon Termination. The State and Federal governments would be the first to select assets. The State indicated that if the CMJTS dissolves, the State would probably select the IT Servers and backup. They would not be interested in the computers, monitors and furniture. The CMJTS Joint Powers Board decided that they would evenly distribute those assets amongst member counties. Chaffee cited the change made to Page 7 in termination language. If no changes are made to the JPA, the Agreement will not need to be presented annually to each member county for approval. Chaffee referred to the Schedule of Insurance attached to the draft JPA. The Schedule reflects that there is $2 million of insurance coverage for Directors and Officers ($2,500 deductible) and $2 million for Employment Practices Liability Coverage ($10,000 deductible). Eichelberg stated that Asleson has reviewed the document on behalf of Wright County and doesn’t see any problems. Eichelberg made a motion to authorize signatures on the JPA. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Chaffee referred to the Workforce Service Area 5, CMJTS and Joint Powers Board Partnership Agreement. The Agreement reflects the responsibilities of the Joint Powers Board (JPB) and the Workforce Center Board. Page 4 of the document reflects the JPB’s rights and responsibilities. Item 9 of this Section reflects one of these duties to include, “Seat three JPB officers on the Council participating with one vote shared between the three. These individuals shall be the chair, vice chair, and secretary of the JPB.” Chaffee said that Eichelberg serves as the Vice Chair of the JPB. Mattson asked whether there is a violation of the open meeting law having those three people meet. Chaffee stated that those three people have a lot of power. The County Board is her boss, and Eichelberg is as Vice Chair of the JPB. His responsibility is to make sure she is doing her job. Those three positions can stop anything at any point. The document reflects the responsibilities that come with that JPB position.
Chaffee referred to the Financial Statements and Supplemental Information for years ended 6-30-11 and 6-30-10. Page 8 reflects the Summary of Audit Results. The auditor’s report expresses an unqualified opinion on the financial statements of the CMJTS. A significant deficiency was identified as a material weakness. Chaffee stated that this was a result of the State shutdown. Normally, the CMJTS can only draw funding for a three-day period. The State allowed the CMJTS to draw for two weeks to cover costs. When the audit was performed, it was identified that something was posted incorrectly. Bigaouette explained that vacation and sick balance accruals were paid to employees to cover for up to five weeks of government shutdown. The checks were issued prior to June 30th. To limit the liability to the CMJTS, the checks were held until they were payable. The audit reflected that this should have been an accrued expense, not an actual expense. That was reclassified by the auditors.
Thomann referred to the CMJTS Annual Report (July 2010-June 2011) which is in calendar format. For the months of November and December, success stories are highlighted on two residents from Wright County. Thomann provided an overview of the Wright County Demographic & Economic Profile. With 124,700 people in 2010, Wright County is now the 10th largest County in the State (38.6% population increase and the 2nd fastest growing county in 10 years). Data from the 2010 Census Bureau reflects that Wright County had a much younger population than the State as a whole. Thirty percent are under 18 years of age, as compared to 24.2% in the State. Without a post secondary institution, Wright County had a smaller percentage of 15 to 24 year old residents (11.3%) than the State (13.6%). With a median age of 34.6 years in 2010, Wright County had a much higher percentage of people in the 25 to 34 year old (14.0%), 35 to 44 year old (15.4%), and 45 to 54 year old (14.8%) age groups than the State (13.5%, 12.8%, and 15.2%, respectively). Due to the County’s rapid population growth, the size of the labor force has been expanding rapidly in the last decade, up 25.1% since 2001. This was nearly seven times as fast as the State. The number of unemployed workers also went up rapidly over the last 10 years. Wright County’s rate peaked at 9.3% in 2009 before falling back to 7.2% in 2011.
Thomann stated that the economic and employee outlook is picking up for Wright County. He is hearing from employment specialists that they are seeing an increase in the number of people exiting to employment. Thomann said Wright County is getting back to where it was prior to the recession. There are a lot of young people in the workforce. The only gap area in comparison to the State is the age group of 15-24, as there are no post secondary schools in Wright County. There are high levels of commuters in Wright County, where just 42% of Wright County residents worked within the County. In contrast, 57.6% worked in other counties. This mobility led to longer travel times, including nearly 26.3% of Wright County residents who commute more than 45 minutes one way. This was more than twice as high as the number of workers in the State who commuted that long. Over half of residents drive to the seven-county Metro area for work. More Wright County residents drove to work in Hennepin County than worked in Wright County.
Thomann said the second page of the demographic information shows manufacturing and construction has seen rebounds in 2011. Both areas are growing and gaining jobs which is extremely beneficial to the County. Also included in the information is a Central MN WSA 5 2011 Regional Demographic and Economic Profile. Thomann said the profile shows that the issue is changing from an unemployment issue to a skills gap issue. There will not be the workers needed to continue the economic expansion. Educational attainment lags behind slightly in this region and that will have a large impact on the workforce. Information was also provided on the 2011 Industry and Labor Force Statistics and Unemployment Rates. Checking yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the State of MN unemployment rate is at 5.7%. Thomann said this is excellent compared to the U.S. rate. Wright County reflects 6.8% which is without seasonal adjustments. The final quarter of 2011 reflects Wright County at 5.9% which is right in line with the State. Representatives of the CMJTS were thanked for their report.
Brenda Postels, University of Minnesota (U of M) Extension Service, is an Agriculture and Horticulture Educator, as well as the Master Gardener Coordinator. Postels gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Master Gardener Program. The Master Gardeners are U of M trained volunteers who educate the public about a variety of horticulture topics. Their mission is to educate the public with research-based information on the best practices in consumer horticulture and environmental stewardship. The Program has been in Minnesota for 35 years. There are more than 2,200 Master Gardeners state wide that provided more than 131,000 volunteer hours (valued at $2.8 million in time). Wright County has 50 active Master Gardeners who, in 2011, donated 3,011 hours of service and logged 773 hours of advanced training. This is an average of 60 hours per active volunteer, over double the annual requirement of 25 hours/volunteer. Postels said some volunteers have gone well beyond 300 hours/year. An application/interview process is required to be a Master Gardener. The process involves a criminal background check. The applicant is required to take a Core Course (offered once/year) and put in 50 volunteer hours the first year. Thereafter, the Master Gardener is required to continue their education and volunteer 25 hours/year. Postels outlined the community benefits of the Master Gardner Program. These include environmental, community, health, and research. Master Gardeners bring research-based horticulture information to the Wright County community through various educational activities. These include teaching adults at community education classes, garden clubs, community gardens, and other organizations; teaching youth in classrooms, community organizations, schools, and other community locations; Garden Hotline; answering questions at local garden centers, business expos, Wright County Fair, community locations; and assisting residents with environmental issues such as installing rain gardens, low impact lawns, and proper tree planting methods. The Master Gardeners have worked with the Fishing Clinic including demonstrations on water quality and planting native plants for buffers to water.
Postels said the Wright County Fair Board has allowed the Master Gardeners to use the crops building for the last three years. They view this as a wonderful demonstration site. There is also a Junior Master Gardener Program. This is a two-year Program for youth in Grades 3-5. Participants manage their own garden space at the Fair Grounds during the summer. In the fall, the crops are harvested and donated to the Food Shelves. Participants learn about many of the same topics as through the Master Gardener Program, just at a lower level. Many parents extend compliments on the Program, stating they never imagined their kids would walk away from a gardening class with so much information. The Master Gardeners have worked with St. Henry’s Spiritual Garden and the Monticello Cancer Center. At the Cancer Center, they are developing a spare lot into a healing garden for patients, staff, and family members. Postels announced the 10th Annual Spring Days Gardening Workshop & Expo, which will be held on 3-10-12 at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West. Information about the Workshop is available online at www.springdays.org. Postels was thanked for her report. Russek said the Master Gardener Program is a good Program. Postels has good leadership skills and the volunteers do an amazing job in Wright County.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented the 2-15-12 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes. At today’s County Board Meeting, Fingalson made the following correction to the minutes: Page 4, 2nd to last sentence on the page, should read, “Hawkins said that this work is budgeted now, and pavement preservation would bring the strength of the road up to seven (CR 143) and nine tons.” Further discussion and action taken at today’s County Board Meeting is reflected below in italics:
1. I-94/CSAH 19/CSAH 37 Project in Albertville
Nafstad explained that he was here representing Albertville as City Administrator Larry Kruse was unable to attend the meeting. He was here to give an update on the status of this project and to present a draft agreement between the County and the City for the I-94/CSAH 19/CSAH 37 Project. The project is currently being advertised, and the City is scheduled to receive bids on March 13 with the option of awarding the project on March 19 and begin work on April 2 if bids are favorable. Progress with this project was a challenge because of the State shutdown, which impacted the project a great deal. It took a considerable amount of time to pick up on the plans again after the State reopened for business. The City is optimistic for favorable bids for construction in the 2012 construction season, which will hopefully begin in spring or early summer. Ideally, there will be substantial completion before Black Friday.
Nafstad distributed to the TCOTW a draft agreement [Attachment 1] that he had drawn up for a funding partnership between the City and the County. The first page identifies the County’s percentage of costs, with a cap, which is further defined in Part 2, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3. He tried to capture the essence of what was in the minutes of the TCOTW meeting when this was approved, but he is open to corrections/changes if additional clarification is needed. Paragraphs 4-6 in Article 2 address the authorization from the Public Facilities Authority as part of the transportation revolving loan fund through MnDOT to secure a loan with a guaranteed rate of 1.277% and a 20-year term. This is a much lower interest rate than the City thought they would get, and they believe that this is the best funding option. Fingalson said that the interest and principal payments would be made separately, and according to the County Auditor, there is no choice in this matter. The twenty-year term helps in spreading the amount over a longer period of time, and even though that means that interest will be paid over more years, the rate is very favorable. There are other agreements (requiring payments by the County) in place at this time with Albertville ($50,000/year), St. Michael ($200,000/year) and Monticello ($200,000+/year), and at least one is nearing completion. Wright County’s payment to Albertville would be approximately $82,000/year for principal plus about $20,000/year for interest, and the first payment would be made in 2013. This new agreement is patterned after the agreement that was set up with Monticello, with the difference being a 20-year instead of a 10-year payment period. Sawatzke said that it is likely that two or three years from now Wright County will be getting a better return on their invested money than the rate being offered for the Albertville funding. It would be foolish to pay out of pocket when we can get more interest on our money and are able to benefit from the low 1.28% interest rate for the borrowed money over 20 years. Nafstad said that Albertville was not successful in securing additional funds after the TCOTW meeting when the County agreed to participate in the funding. They are receiving $5.44 million from a MnDOT grant and $800,000 in federal money. He explained that the engineer’s estimate has increased by about half a million, but Wright County’s share will still be determined according to the motion passed by the Wright County Board on September 7, 2010, that Wright County would “fund an amount not to exceed 44% or $1,640,000, whichever is less, towards the I-94/CSAH 19/CSAH 37 Interchange Project.” Wright County’s payment will be about $105,000/year, and Sawatzke commented that the interest portion would decrease as time goes on. Nafstad said that he would talk with Auditor Hiivala and put together an amortization schedule to present at the County Board meeting. Fingalson stated that he has one concern that the payments for these projects do impact his Road & Bridge budget, and if there is no increase in the budget, these payments will affect what else can be accomplished by the Highway Department. He would like to work with the commissioners and the County Auditor to discuss how to deal with this.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Wright County enter into a funding agreement with the City of Albertville for the I-94/CSAH 19/CSAH 37 Interchange Project, based on the motion passed by the Wright County Board on September 7, 2010, that Wright County would fund an amount not to exceed 44% or $1,640,000, whichever is less. Nafstad, Albertville City Engineer, will present final and exact figures to the Wright County Board after the bid has been accepted and the final cost has been determined.
At the 2-28-12 County Board Meeting, Fingalson said they will put together an amortization schedule which will be made available with the agreement. He suggested this topic as a future TCOTW Meeting agenda item. Russek moved to approve the TCOTW Committee recommendation on Item 1, I-94/CSAH 19/CSAH 37 Project in Albertville. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke questioned whether the motion is affirming what was decided 1.5 years ago. Fingalson said the action involves developing a formal agreement. The motion carried unanimously.
2) Turnback Issues Involving Corinna and Silver Creek Townships
Fingalson explained that CR 123 and CR 143, located in Silver Creek and Corinna Townships, don’t meet a county function anymore and have been identified as jurisdictional turnbacks. Typically, once these roads are identified as turnback candidates, the Highway Department tries to fit the turnback into the schedule of road improvement projects so that the township or city can take over the road right immediately after improvements have been made to it. A number of roads have been turned back to townships and cities in the past, and now is the time to talk about CR 123 and CR 143. There are several options for the County Board to consider, and Fingalson distributed a list of these options, as well as a proposal from Corinna Township. [Attachment 2] The first option would allow the County to pay the Township that amount that would have been spent in 2012 to resurface (mill and overlay) the road. Minnesota Statute 163.11 requires that the County complete “repairs or improvements on the highway that are necessary to meet the County standards for a comparable road in the county in which the town is located….” The Township would then assume ownership of the road(s) and use the money to re-grade roads or whatever they want to use it for. The second option, which Fingalson said is the more traditional option, would allow the County to resurface (mill and overlay) the roadway and revoke to the Townships after completion. Minnesota statutes require a revocation hearing and two years of County maintenance, a requirement Townships could waive. The third option is one that was proposed by Corinna Township and would require that the County pay the Townships that amount that would have been spent in 2012 to resurface (mill and overlay) the road, and includes additional funds in future years to help pay the Township for their grading costs and future paving costs. Fingalson said that these road (CR 123 and CR 143) segments would be good candidates for grading if there were money available to do that, but they are not high priority on the county system because of their location and traffic counts, and they do not serve a county function. A bid opening for the 2012 Overlays has been scheduled for March 6, and overlay work on the CR 123 and CR 143 segments has been set up as an alternate, so exact numbers will be known for this work in the event that the County decides to pay the Townships instead of having the work done. Fingalson explained that the County’s standard for the last few years has been to do reclaiming when possible, but reclaiming requires that the structure has enough gravel beneath the asphalt layer. When there is not enough gravel in the bed of the road, reclaiming is not possible, as was the case on CR 117 this past year. If there is not an adequate thickness of gravel, there isn’t a strong enough working platform to construct the roadway with the large reclaimer machine. Thelen commented that either Option 1 or Option 2 would be reasonable and would cost the County the same amount of money. This would also offer the Townships the ability to decide what other improvements they might want to make. Fingalson said that he felt Option #1 would be appropriate, and that probably both Townships would not be in favor of Option #2, as they would like to fix up these roadways to meet their own standards. Thelen said that the money would go further if the money goes to the Township, because they might be able to be more cost effective working with local contractors.
Jones said that Silver Creek’s maintenance person, Brian Opatz, went out with a contractor to look at the three sections in Silver Creek Township and considered some reconstruction, putting some depth into the ditches, some reclaiming work, and culvert replacement. Minnerath gave Silver Creek an estimate of $366,000 for those improvements, which doesn’t include new blacktop. Jones said that this project would have to be done in phases, as the money isn’t available to do all of it in one year. They would like to have an additional $50,000-$100,000 from the County for blacktop, if possible. The Township maintenance person thinks that the inslope is starting to slip down, and stabilization is needed to stop the dirt from going into Lake Maria on a portion of CR 123. Fingalson said that the portion of CR 123 between CSAHs 7 and 8 does fit on the county system, so this portion of roadway would not be given back to Silver Creek as had originally been indicated. With only two segments, rather than three segments, the cost estimate could drop down to closer to $250,000. Silver Creek feels that mill and overlay is only a temporary fix and will not last long term. Fingalson said that this depends on what is meant by a temporary fix. CR 123 was last overlaid over 20 years ago, so it has lasted for quite a length of time and shouldn’t be considered just a bandaid. Wright County is looking at milling it out and resurfacing it, which will increase the allowed tonnage, and which is basically the same as what has been done for other roads in the area. The statute reads that the County is required to meet County standards in the area. CSAH 7 is scheduled for resurfacing in 2014, and there are snow traps and steep back slopes, but there isn’t the money available to completely re-grade the road. Fingalson said that if these roads (CR 123 and CR 143) stay on the county system, the work that gets done will be determined by the money that is available. It is not desirable that these roads be returned to a gravel status, as has happened in other counties when there wasn’t sufficient money to upgrade them, but keeping the roads paved does have a price tag. What is proposed by the County is to be consistent with what is needed to improve that road. It would be nice to re-grade it and build wider shoulders and take care of some drainage issues because of ditches and back slopes, but this isn’t possible for those roads that are subject to funding with county money. We don’t have the luxury of being able to rebuild every road. Mattson commented that CSAH 5 is a prime example of improvements that can be made without doing a complete grading job. That highway was reclaimed and now has a very good surface.
Naaktgeboren said that he appreciates the visits from the Wright County Highway Department in discussing Corinna’s concerns. He stated that spending money for a two-inch milling when there is a six-inch hard surface now is an expensive bandaid. The surface will be short lived with only three-and-a-half inches of overlay. There are voids all the way down in the surface of CR 123. With just the surface being replaced, they will be back fixing something before long. Corinna’s proposal is that the road be rebuilt and that snow traps be eliminated. They would mill down to the base and rebuild the whole road. There are narrow driveways that can’t handle farm equipment, culverts that don’t work, and ditches that don’t drain. If money is going to be spent on improving this roadway, Naaktgeboren said that it should be done wisely. He said that overlaying it would make it a nice road for a year or two, but there would still be a bad sub-layer of bituminous and very poor shoulders, with nothing in place to hold the shoulders up. That is why Corinna Township came up with their proposal. The estimated expenses of $800,000 for road construction and bituminous surface are only some of the costs. There will be other expenses including engineering costs, legal costs, and unintended consequences that always come about. Corinna is willing to try and work something out with the County, and they would have to start in 2013 because of the size of the project and the money needed. Fingalson said that he thinks that it is a positive thing that both Townships recognize that these roadways belong on the township system rather than the county system. Sawatzke asked if there is a road in either township that could be traded back to the county, but Fingalson said there is nothing that would satisfy a county function. Thelen asked if there were any creative funding options available, but Fingalson said that all costs would have to be covered from the budget of local levy money. He added that CSAH 7 will be on the overlay schedule for 2014, so consideration could be given to delaying work on CR 123 and CR 143 until that time so see if something could be worked out between the Townships and the County, but that would probably mean that the County would end up paying more than the current overlays would cost this year. Fingalson asked the Board members how they felt about Option 1 and added that he thinks it makes sense, as strictly levy dollars are used for these improvements. Hawkins said that this work is budgeted now, and pavement preservation would bring the strength of the road up to seven (CR 143) and nine tons. Sawatzke commented that the statute says that the road can be given back to the Township and that the County has to maintain it for two years, even if it is against the will of the Township. If they didn’t like that, the County could give them the money instead. Fingalson said that payment of this type has not been done in Wright County in the past. Sawatzke said that this is a bit of a dilemma, and if Wright County gives the Township(s) more money to fix the roads above county standards just to get rid of the road, it might be better to just keep it. Thelen said that one option is to keep the road until a satisfactory compromise is reached. She has driven this road and said that it is in bad shape. Fingalson agreed that it is in bad shape, but there are other bad roads, and he maintained that what is being proposed for improvements is consistent with what Wright County has to do according to statute. This has been done many times on many roads, and though an overlay is not as great as a grading job, it is not feasible to grade the roads. Fingalson said that the bid opening is scheduled for March 6, and work on both CR 123 and CR 143 has been identified as an alternate to the bid. After bids are opened, exact numbers will be available as to what it will cost for pavement preservation of these road segments. Hawkins added that the County has 30 days in which to award the bid, and Russek said that a decision would have to be made before that time. The County can make whatever decision it wants, but he would not like to make one without agreement by the Townships. The difference between Option 1 and Option 2 would be that with Option 1 the Township(s) would be paid with the numbers received at the bid opening on March 6, 2012 and the Township(s) would then decide how to use that money. With Option 2, the County would go ahead and improve the roads as proposed here, and then if the Townships are not willing to accept the road, the Board would have to make the decision to set up a hearing, if the Township does not agree to waive the hearing. Thelen said that one option would be for the County to keep these segments and asked if there is a need to act so immediately. Fingalson said that not revoking these segments is another option, but we have to consider whether or not it is the right thing to do. If this road stays on the county system, the surface will have to be preserved, and there is no money to do any more than that. Thelen said that in a couple years’ time the conditions might be more favorable, and if the Board moves ahead with either Option 1 or Option 2, it doesn’t look like the Township(s) would be happy with what they would be getting back. Fingalson said that since work on CR 123 and CR 143 is an alternate, Wright County would be able to reject just the alternate if the Board wants more time to talk to the Township(s) for discussion. It could be removed from this year’s program entirely and could be postponed until 2014 when the overlay program would be in that area again, and at that time improvements could be incorporated into that program. Russek asked if the roads would stay together until then, and Naaktgeboren said that if only two inches are milled off before a surface is applied, there will be problems. With the inslopes as steep as they are, there will be problems, and he would like to see the project done right. If the County would give Corinna Township more money, they’ll spread it out and get the job done right. They won’t have time to do it this year, and Dearing added that it won’t get any worse in the next year or two. Fingalson said that the road would have to be pot hole patched in order to keep it together until 2014, and parts of CSAH 7 are worse than CR 123. Eichelberg commented that what they decide now will affect other turnbacks in the future, and Sawatzke said that they would be setting a precedent if the County rebuilds the road before the turnback. If this is done, they’d better be prepared to do that for every Township. He doesn’t blame the Township for not wanting to take these roads, but they might have other township roads that don’t meet their standards. Thelen said that this is a fast turn around and she doesn’t want to do this in a way that the Board will regret. There might be an opportunity to split the difference, and the Townships are not going to be able to do a full construction project this year anyway. Eichelberg said that there will be more information once the bids come in. Hawkins said that the County would want to award the bid plus the alternates all at one time, but they could wait a week or two before awarding. Work for CR 123 and CR 143 was added as an alternate specifically because they are candidates for turnback. Right now, there is not enough money to do additional work beyond mill and overlay. Waiting for 2014 would just delay this same conversation until then. Mattson asked if the decision could be delayed until March 14, once the bids are in, and then the Board could readdress this at that time. This could be done at a County Board meeting or at another TCOTW meeting. Fingalson said that this would be up to the board members. Sawatzke said that maybe it just doesn’t make sense to fix the roads since that would be too expensive, so the County might just have to keep it. For the amount of traffic it gets, it is fine. Perhaps another area could be found where there is greater need. It doesn’t mean that the Townships are not warranted in their concerns, and he understands how they would want them done up right if they are to take them over. Hawkins said that it could stay on the county system and be overlaid, but there is no money to rebuild it, so work would be similar to the work done on CR 117. Maybe the Townships would like it fixed up to meet their own standards. CR 117 belongs on the county system, and all the County was able to do with it was mill and overlay it. Sawatzke said that if this standard is good enough for CR 117 that gets four to five times more traffic, then these standards should be good enough for CR 123 and CR 143. It depends on how strongly the Townships feel about improvements. Mattson said that he would like to see what the bids are, and Fingalson asked if that would make a difference to the Townships. What if they come in higher? Thelen said that the most important thing is that there isn’t enough money to do more than mill and overlay. The Townships will have to take a look at the options, and the County will have to decide if these roads should stay on the county system, award the bids, or wait until 2014 and decide what to do then. Russek said that what the County does will set a precedent. This can be discussed at the board meeting on March 6 and board members can decide that day what to do, or they can set another meeting date. Fingalson suggested that this could be discussed again when the TCOTW minutes are brought before the County Board on February 28. Both townships have regular meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Fingalson said that exact numbers might be helpful when they are available. The bids could be awarded on March 27, so there will be time to make a decision. Discussion could be held at a County Board meeting or it could take place at another TCOTW meeting. Thelen suggested that a decision could be made about this on the day (March 6) bids are opened, or they could decide then when to hold another meeting.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that there will be a decision made at the February 28th County Board meeting, when minutes of this meeting will be discussed, as to when and where further discussion of this issue will take place.
At the 2-28-12 County Board Meeting, Fingalson said CR 123 was worked on 24 years ago. The road was not milled but an overlay (2.5” mix) was completed. The road has lasted that long and is now to the point where something needs to be done. A portion of CR 133 (in Corinna Twp.) was done 17 years ago and that included a 2” overlay, but no milling or reclaiming. Fingalson said the bid opening is scheduled for 3-06-12. Thelen said Corinna Township meets that evening, and Silver Creek Township will meet the third Tuesday of the month. Fingalson said that after the bid opening, the amount of money needed to improve roadways will be identified and presented to both townships. The information will be given to the Townships to discuss at an upcoming meeting. Representatives from the County can then meet with the Townships, possibly at a future TCOTW Meeting. If a TCOTW Meeting is scheduled, the amortization schedule for the Albertville project would be another Agenda item. He envisioned taking action on these issues at the 3-27-12 County Board Meeting. Russek moved to schedule a TCOTW Meeting for 3-26-12 at 9:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0. The meeting will be held at the Public Works Building. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said that if the TCOTW Minutes are not completed by the time of the Board Meeting, Fingalson could place the action items on the Agenda. Russek asked that Fingalson provide the cost estimate of two years of maintenance for each of the roads. That information can be brought to the TCOTW Meeting.
Thelen said she attended both the Silver Creek and Corinna Township Meetings. There was quite a dispute about how long the proposed road improvements will last. She has also discussed this with people outside of the Township Meetings, and there is concern that the roads will look the same in three years. In these discussions, reference was made to a culvert separating on a bridge in Silver Creek Township. Fingalson said that was discussed. He has a video log from 5 years ago and present, and it will show that there hasn’t been any movement. There is a difference of opinion on this. Fingalson felt the records speak for themselves. The road was worked on almost 20 years ago, and it is time for something to be done. He said the improvements clearly lasted more than 2-3 years. Improvements have included crack filling and crack sealing. On CR 123 between Hwy. 7 and 39, crack sealing was done 5 years after the overlay. It was seal coated the year after that. Otherwise, nothing has been done for 17 years. He said there are cracks in the road, but that happens with roads over time. He said it is not a brand new roadway but it has been worked on. He said it is the right thing to do given the traffic there. Sawatzke said if these roads are going to look the same in three years as they do today, regardless of who ends up with them, then the County should abandon overlaying them altogether. He said it will be a lot of money wasted. Fingalson agreed, saying it doesn’t make sense. Sawatzke asked whether the Townships feel the roads should be overlayed. Thelen said their point of view is that they were never built properly. She said she called highway maintenance people from townships for their impressions. Discussion on this will continue at a future date.
3) Responses from Residents Regarding Intersection Lighting
Cordell said that he was directed to do a survey as part of the Street Lighting Project scheduled for fiscal year 2013. A letter and survey form [Attachment 3] was sent to 20 landowners within 500 feet of the proposed lighting installation, and 14 of these surveys were returned, which is a 70% response. Of the 14 responses, 13 were returned with a favorable response for the installation, and one was returned requesting more information about statistics that warranted the installation at his particular intersection. Thelen commented that residents in the vicinities of the proposed installation sites seem to be in favor of the lights. Cordell said that the decision has been made to proceed with this project, and even though the lights don’t have to be installed until 2013, is likely that they will get done this year. Cordell said that he will be attending a seminar in Hennepin County where LED lighting will be discussed. So far, LED for street lighting is neither efficient nor cost effective, but there may be some new developments. For this project, Wright County will be using what is called “full cutoff” fixtures, which emit 100% of the light below 90 degrees, which means that all light is directed down towards the road and none up into the night sky. [Russek left the meeting.]
4) County Map
Pooler brought out a draft copy of the new county map. Fingalson said that Pooler and the Surveyor’s staff had been very helping in putting this together. Pooler explained that the biggest changes were a result of the development in the cities, with an expansion of borders in Waverly, Montrose, Clearwater, and Hanover, as well as development within the cities. There was some discussion about how many maps should be ordered, as the price drops as the quantity increases. Prices quoted are: $1.95 each for 1,000; $1.17 each for 2,000; $0.91 each for 3,000; $0.75 for 4,000; and $0.71 for 5,000. The last map was printed in 2003, and it is likely that there won’t be as much of a demand for maps at this time, due in part to the slowing down of development and also to the availability of electronic devices that provide directions. Fingalson said that he thought 3,000 – 4,000 would be sufficient, and Pooler added that Stearns County sold fewer than 2,000 maps in three years (2008-2010). Kryzer added that Administration says that a public hearing would have to be held if the sale price of the map is changed, and this public hearing could be held at a public board meeting with a publication of dates and times 10 days out. Sawatzke suggested that the price be kept at $3.00, but Fingalson said he thought that was too much. Eichelberg, Mattson, and Thelen all said that they felt $2.00 was a fair price. [Mattson left the meeting.] Pooler said that the cost of printing plus the estimated cost of the time spent by the Surveyor’s Department working on the design would put the cost of each map at $2.33. Add to that the cost of the staff time to sell it and keep records, and the cost is closer to $3.00. If a new map is printed in two years, much less effort will be required to update the records, and the cost of that map will be less. After discussing the actual cost of putting the map together and the cost of printing and selling it, it was suggested that an appropriate selling price would be $3.00/map.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that 4,000 copies of the new county map be ordered and that the selling price of each map be set at $3.00.
At the 2-28-12 County Board Meeting, Fingalson said the County map has not been redone since 2003. Currently, the County charges $3/map. He feels $2/map would be the appropriate fee, which is inconsistent with the recommendation of the TCOTW. He did not feel that the fees charged for maps should recoup staff time involved. Sawatzke disagreed. As with other departments, there is a cost to deliver services. Planning & Zoning is a good example. The fees are set not to make a profit but also not to lose money. With inspections, the permit fee should be set to cover the cost. Sawatzke did not feel taxpayers should subsidize this cost. Likewise, the fee for the maps should include all costs. The County should not make money on the map sales but should not lose on them either. Anything lost will have to be placed onto taxes.
Eichelberg made a motion to approve the TCOTW Minutes including the recommendations of all items except Item 1. The motion includes the noted correction to the minutes made by Fingalson. The motion was seconded by Russek. Discussion followed on the quantity of County maps that should be ordered. Fingalson said the process to make changes to the map will be easier than in the past. It is now being handled by the Surveyor’s Department versus sending it out for revisions. For that reason, Sawatzke said the County may not have to order as many maps at a time. Eichelberg and Russek amended the motion to change the quantity of maps ordered to 3,000 and for the selling price to remain at $3.00. Mattson questioned whether the changes will require people to buy new maps. Sawatzke said that for some, the old map will be fine. If the traveling public looks at the map to figure out how to drive in the southwest part of Wright County, the map will be adequate. However, if they are trying to drive in developments in the northeast part of Wright County, the old map will not suffice. Fingalson said the County maps will not be printed until the decision has been reached on CR 123 and CR 143. The motion carried 5-0.
(End of TCOTW Minutes and discussion at the 2-28-12 County Board Meeting)
Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Department, presented an Equitable Sharing Agreement and Certification for approval. It is an annual Agreement with the Federal Equitable Sharing Program. The Agreement is required when the Sheriff’s Office completes a federal case where there are finances shared between different organizations. It reflects that the Sheriff’s Office is not party to any type if civil rights or discrimination suit. Mattson moved to authorize signatures on the document, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 2-22-12. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0:
I. Repair of Board Room Microphones.
The microphone system in the County Board Room is experiencing static. EPA Audio Visual was contacted to determine the source of this problem. It was found that one of the microphones at the dais is shorting out, creating static. The conduit shows signs of moisture. Norman said that there is rust on the cable box. At one time, there were moisture problems on the floor in the Attorney’s Office. Davis stated that network cable is not regulated for water. It is only regulated for data transmission.
A quote was received from EPA outlining four options:
Option A. Abandon the failing microphone channel and replace it with a single channel microphone system, $1,075.00.
Option B. Replace two dais and two wireless microphones with a four channel system, $5,870.00.
Option C. Replace all twelve microphones with a new wireless system, $13,960.00.
Option D. Replace cabling for all wired microphones, $3,730.00.
Norman stated the recommendation is to proceed with Option B. This will allow replacement of the microphone at the dais, two wireless microphones, and one additional upgrade. The remaining microphones in the Board Room will remain on the wired system. If problems occur with those microphones in the future, an additional channel receiver can be purchased.
Recommendation: Proceed with Option B at a cost of $5,870.00 with funding from Budget 100, Site Improvements Line Item.
(End of 2-22-12 Building Committee Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 2-22-12. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0:
I. Position Openings:
A. Office Assistant, Motor Vehicle License Bureau, Auditor/Treasurer Office.
Aanerud said this position opened after a recent resignation. The employee’s last day of employment is 2-23-12. Sawatzke asked Aanerud how many employees work in the License Bureau. Aanerud said there are eight. Sawatzke asked how long the Bureau has operated with eight employees. Aanerud said she replaced the former supervisor in 2008. Her former position was subsequently filled. Aanerud said there have always been eight employees in the Division. Sawatzke asked the time frame to which she was referring. Aanerud said at least ten to twelve years.
Sawatzke asked whether the number of people the Bureau serves is increasing on an annual basis. Aanerud replied yes, daily transactions increased by 2100 from 2010 to 2011. Sawatzke said that amounts to a three percent increase. Aanerud said there were more applications for lengthier transactions, such as title forms. She said motor vehicle applications increased substantially.
Sawatzke asked about revenue numbers. Aanerud said County revenue decreased from $401,724 in 2010 to $399,539 in 2011, partly due to the State government shutdown in July. Aanerud said the largest decrease was in transfers.
Sawatzke asked how long customer lines get during busy hours. Aanerud said about twenty minutes. Eichelberg added that they also get busy during the first of the month and when motor vehicle license tabs are due. Aanerud said they try to get people through as quickly as possible. She will ask people who are working at desks to assist staff at the counter during those times.
Sawatzke said he had no further questions. Eichelberg said his were answered as well. Eichelberg said they will recommend replacing the position.
Recommendation: Approve replacing Office Assistant position in Motor Vehicle License Bureau.
II. Performance Appraisal, Greg Kramber, Assessor. Based on the review of four Performance Appraisals submitted, the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional.”
III. Performance Appraisal, Bill Swing, IT Director.
Based on the review of four Performance Appraisals submitted, the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional.”
IV. Performance Appraisal, Richard Norman, Coordinator.
Based on the review of three Performance Appraisals submitted, the Committee recommends an overall rating of “Exceptional.”
(End of 2-22-12 Personnel Committee Minutes) A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-21-12. At today’s County Board Meeting, Russek moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke asked Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, whether the County needs to prepare formal findings if the County has not made a decision yet to allow Corinna Township to take over shoreland authority at this time. Kryzer stated formal findings are not needed as no formal action is being taken. The recommendation is to extend the Joint Powers Agreement. When a decision is made whether to grant shoreland authority, findings will be incorporated. There is not a definitive answer at this time. Kryzer said the recommendation is to extend the Agreement until 3-01-13, although he prefers to change the Agreement date to be effective through12-31-12. The motion and second were amended to change the Agreement effective date to 12-31-12 as requested. Norman said that by virtue of Board action today, it is not necessary to bring the Agreement back on a future Board Agenda. By motion, the Board is changing the effective date to 12-31-12. Sawatzke stated that is the process provided all language in the Agreement remains the same, with the exception of the effective date. Otherwise, if language changes occur, the Agreement will need to come back to the Board. Thelen suggested a friendly amendment to the motion authorizing her signature on the Agreement. The friendly amendment was acceptable to Russek and Mattson. The motion carried 5-0. The COTW Minutes follow:
I. Discuss Corinna Township Shoreland Authority.
Thelen said the County Board (Board) tabled the decision to convey Shoreland Authority to Corinna Township (Township) on November 29, 2011 until the Township changed its ordinance to correspond with the County ordinance. Thelen said the Township has done so and now wants the Board to make a final decision to give the Township Shoreland Authority.
Oleson distributed a handout to the Board (see attached). He said the Township met with the County Board in 12-20-11 on this same issue. The issue was tabled to give the Township time to change their ordinance to make it consistent with the County process, and the deadline was extended to 5-01-12.
The revised Township ordinance states that their Board of Adjustment will make final decisions on variances and other matters. Oleson said the Township held a public hearing and made the necessary change. He referenced the handout that explains that the decision to grant Shoreland Authority is not solely up to counties or local governments. He said the State has provided guidelines in State Statute 6120.3900, Subp. 4a. Oleson said the Statute is vague, but he studied the criteria and supporting documentation the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has inserted into the rule over the years. Oleson read from the handout.
The Statute states that the controls of a Township must not be inconsistent with or less restrictive than County controls. Oleson said there are three aspects that are specifically outlined in the Statute. The first states that Township rules have to cover the same full range of shoreland management issues the County controls. Oleson said years ago the Township Board would pick and choose the ordinances they did or did not want to adopt. He said this created administrative problems for the DNR and confusion for landowners. The DNR said townships may not assume partial responsibility for zoning, but must administer either all or none of it. The Township adopted the County Shoreland rules by reference. Oleson said they made no significant language changes to either the shoreland zoning or the flood plain zoning requirements. He added the language the Township is planning to adopt reads the same as County rules and are as restrictive.
Oleson referenced the second aspect that states the Township must contain dimensional standards at least as restrictive as the County. He said this paragraph pertains primarily to lot sizes and widths, as well as height restrictions on buildings. Oleson said the Township has adopted those by reference. Property owners must obtain necessary permits and approvals from the Township Shoreland Authority.
The third aspect states the Township must not allow land uses in particular areas that are not allowed under official County controls. Olseon said this clause prohibits the Township from rezoning a property without getting County approval. For example, the Township would not allow industrial or commercial uses in residential districts. He said since the Township adopted County ordinance language in 2008, all allowed, conditional and prohibited uses in each Township zoning district correspond with the County.
Oleson said the Township ordinance and administration must be at least as restrictive as the County. He referenced the Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) drafted by the State, and said the Township is in compliance with this criteria. Oleson referenced SONAR requirements which require the Township to demonstrate they have equal or greater capability, staffing expertise and financial capability to administer the shoreland program.
Regarding Township staffing expertise, Oleson said the Township contracts with his firm, Community Growth Institute (CGI), for Zoning Administration. He and his partner are Certified Planners with 20+ years of experience in planning and zoning. Oleson said he personally has more than ten years of experience working as a County Zoning Administrator. He cited other experience as well.
Oleson said the Township has adequate financial capacity to administer shoreland zoning. The handout provides specific data related to the tax capacity of the Township. Oleson said the Township has double the per capita tax capacity as the County. He said the data shows the Township clearly has the financial resources available to effectively administer the program.
Regarding the requirement that the Township has equal or greater capability than the County, Oleson said the Township maintains electronic and paper copies of all records in fire-safe filing cabinets. The filing cabinets at the Town Hall are accessible to Township officials. He said the Township is able to access County historical records, although the Township would prefer to have permanent copies at the Town Hall. Currently, staff is available by phone and email every day of the week, 8 hours per day. He said they respond to issues as necessary, and have scheduled office hours at the Town Hall throughout the month.
Oleson said the Township adopted a Comprehensive Plan in 2007 after a public process. The Planning Commission (PC) and Board of Adjustment (BOA) are very involved. His company provides them with ongoing training. Oleson said the Township has adequate resources for enforcement and legal issues, and tracks all zoning violations and complaints. Oleson said if the Township request is approved, the Township would gain the resources of the Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT), as well as their insurance coverage. The Township is not able to take advantage of the MAT insurance while they are bound by the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA).
Oleson said the Township has maintained good communication with County staff in terms of how they interpret rules and to acquire historical data. The Township also gives more than the minimum required notice for public hearings and other meetings via the CGI website, email, two local newspapers and letters. For example, Oleson said the County notifies people within 500 feet of a property regarding a variance, whereas the Township extends notice to 1/4 mile. The public may submit comments via email and receive emailed updates on various topics. Oleson said the Township also provides the County, the State, DNR, Soil and Water Conservation District and any party involved with ample notice for time to comment on issues.
Oleson said he deals directly with Riley and Barry Rhineberger at the County whenever there are concerns. He is not aware of any major issues that have not been addressed. He stressed that the State Statute has rules regarding what a Township must do to obtain Shoreland Authority. He said the Township has been working with the County on nonshoreland issues for the last three to four years and shoreland issues during the past year. He said the Township has provided enough history to allow them to move forward with Shoreland Authority. He distributed a sample staff report to the Board for their review.
Mattson asked whether the Township has protection in case a conflict of interest arises. Oleson responded that conflicts of interest come up, but there are procedures in place to address them. He said the first test is to determine whether the Township official will gain financially from the issue at hand. If so, they should not vote on it. Oleson said if there is even a perception of conflict of interest, CGI recommends the official not vote on the issue.
Thelen complimented Oleson and the Township on their work during the past year. She said the Joint Powers Agreement has worked very well, and it has been a productive year. Thelen said although at one point she was prepared to grant the Township Shoreland Authority, she has since heard from many constituents about shoreland issues. She would like more time to see if the Township process works. She suggested extending the JPA for an additional year. Thelen said this would also give them time to resolve the Cedar Acres issue. She added the Township has Shoreland Authority under the JPA, and she thought it would be advisable to extend the Agreement another year.
Oleson said the Township is concerned that the process of conveying Shoreland Authority to them has taken a long time. The Township is seeking clarity regarding specific items the Board feels need improvement prior to conveying Shoreland Authority. Oleson said an additional constraint under the JPA is they do not have access to the MAT or the DNR. The Township may also address flood plain issues directly under the JPA. The primary question, Oleson asked, is what information would the County gain in another six months or year under the JPA that the Township has not already provided?
Thelen said Oleson thinks everything that could be demonstrated regarding the Township’s ability to administer Shoreland Authority has been exhibited to date. Oleson said with additional time under the JPA, the Township would obviously have more data. However, he said the DNR does not require a certain amount of time a township must perform to receive Shoreland Authority. Oleson said a township must simply show their ordinances are at least as restrictive as the County’s ordinances, as well as have the financial, staffing and enforcement abilities to administer the authority. He asked the Board to point out any specific issues of concern.
Thelen said she is concerned about the divergence of opinion regarding the capacity of the Township to administer Shoreland Authority. There are citizens on both sides of the issue. She said perhaps within a year the two sides will resolve their issues and the Township will be able to demonstrate the process was fairly applied. Thelen said she has also talked with other counties and county attorneys. She stressed she would really like to work this out, but there has to be more consensus among constituents. Russek said he has heard no comments from his District. He said if Thelen wished to extend the JPA for another year, he will support it.
Carlson commended Oleson on the work he has done for Corinna Township and presenting their request for Shoreland Authority. He said the Township has run into problems because they do not have coverage under the MAT due to the JPA. Carlson said the Township has taken steps to make their process work. He asked the Board to relay any specific concerns about Township policies or procedures. He did not want to address the Cedar Acres issue, saying that comprised only a small part of Township matters in 2011. He asked what has taken place in the last year that has caused the Board concern. Eichelberg said the only issue he has heard about is Cedar Acres. He asked whether the Township had meetings with all parties to work out an agreement or understanding. He also asked the Township representatives whether another six to twelve months will allow them to come to a resolution.
Thelen said the outcome of the lawsuit is uncertain, although the issue is one the parties can resolve in District Court. She asked whether the lawsuit poses any risk to the County for actions taken. Kryzer said there is always a risk when dealing with litigation. In this case, he said, it is fairly minimal. Kryzer said it is possible the case has exceeded the liability period of more than 90 days. Thelen asked Kryzer what the level of risk is for the County in case the Township policy was ruled not as restrictive as the County, especially if the County gave the Township prior approval. Kryzer said it is always possible to be named in a lawsuit. The chances of such a claim succeeding are minimal. Kryzer said the possibility should not be pivotal in the Board’s decision making process.
Oleson commented that even if the Township were to take over Shoreland Authority, the Township will still seek information from the County Planning & Zoning staff. They will not be severed from the process. In addition, Oleson said they have a three-year agreement with County staff to do building code and sewer inspections. The Township will still be working with the County in a number of areas.
Quiggle said she has read a lot of land use cases, and generally there are no damages assessed. She said if the Court rules against the local governmental unit, it may require the local government to rethink their process. Quiggle said generally procedures are reconsidered with guidance from the Court. She did not perceive any financial exposure to the County. Quiggle added that the County is also covered by insurance. Regarding the Cedar Acres issue, Quiggle said the people who disagreed with the Township’s decision have their recourse in Court. She maintained that issue is separate from today’s discussion of whether the Township has met the DNR’s burden to demonstrate rules and standards comparable to or more restrictive than those of the County.
Sawatzke said he agreed with most of Quiggle’s points. However, he said sometimes land use cases can extend beyond a judge’s order to correct a decision and lead to substantial financial judgments. Sawatzke said both the Township and the County are at risk of liability. He agreed with Quiggle that a financial penalty is less common. He said he asked for more time under the JPA a year ago. He said in many ways the Township has met the criteria. Sawatzke said Oleson’s resume is very impressive. Sawatzke sees one difference – he believes the County has an equally viable zoning administrator in Riley. Sawatzke said Riley is in his office five days per week, while Oleson is at the Town Hall a couple of days per month. He conceded that technology enables communication when someone is not in the office. However, Sawatzke said the County offers a different level of administration due to the time Riley is in the office versus Oleson. Sawatzke also compared legal staff between the Township and the County. He said Tim Young, the attorney for the Township, is an outstanding attorney, but he doesn’t specialize in land use cases. Sawatzke said Kryzer works on land use planning 40 hours per week. Sawatzke said he is happy the relationship between the Township and the County has improved and is moving in the right direction.
Carlson thanked the Board for the services of County staff and inspectors. Speaking as a contractor by profession, Carlson said working with County inspectors is consistently a smooth process, and he is very pleased with them. Carlson asked to set a date when the Township could meet with the Board again and vote on conveying Shoreland Authority to the Township. He said a lot was accomplished at today’s meeting.
Thelen said she has constituents who pay taxes in Corinna Township. She asked whether the opposing sides in the Cedar Acres issue could come together and talk about what could have been done differently.
Carlson said he felt the discussion of Cedar Acres was outside the purpose of this meeting. Thelen said she has been talking with people who live on Township shorelands. They want the process to be consistently, fairly, and dispassionately applied across the Township regardless of whether the person is a voting constituent or not. Thelen said she is not saying the Township is acting unfairly, but additional time can help allay those concerns. Other than that, Thelen said she had no other points on which to comment.
Carlson said he meant no offense to Thelen or the County, but the Township representatives see what is going on more extensively than County employees. He said he wants to hear about issues from residents immediately and continue to be proactive.
Quiggle clarified that the Township Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment have been dealing with applications, doing staff reports and other administrative issues for five calendar years. She said people in the community are familiar with the way they apply the rules. She said citizens either leave the BOA happy or mad. Those who are mad will complain, but complaints don’t necessarily mean the process is inappropriate. Quiggle said adding an additional year to the JPA will not double their experience (from one to two years), but instead add only another 20 percent.
Wagner, who recently served three years on the County Board of Adjustment, said he owns two properties on Cedar Lake. He said he had new information for the Board. He said the County does a superior job. They are impartial, respectful, and consistent. Wagner said the Township is trying hard. However, Wagner said he wants the County to represent him and his shoreland, even though he respects the request by the Township.
Wagner said he is also a plaintiff in the Cedar Acres lawsuit. He said there are three plaintiffs named, and a lot more who have not been named. Wagner said a significant amount of money has been raised to fight the Township’s decision. Wagner gave three examples of incidents he stated would provide another viewpoint to the Board. He says the Township is not at least as effective as the County.
Wagner said on July 4, 2011 he registered a complaint along with other residents when more than one camper was parked at Cedar Acres. Wagner said he sent an email to three Township Supervisors, Oleson and Quiggle. At 6 A.M. the morning of July 4th, Wagner said he was awakened by a call from the President of the Cedar Lake Association who had obtained a copy of Wagner’s email to Township officials. The caller demanded an explanation. Wagner said the release of his email to a third party was an invasion of privacy. He said if he had complained to the County, this would never have happened. Wagner said release of his email to the subject of the complaint was unacceptable behavior.
The next example occurred in August, 2011. The Cedar Lake Association had a picnic at Camp Courage with a band for entertainment. A Township Supervisor sent an email to the Association President asking what plans had been made for sanitation. Wagner said the Association had already gone to the Township Board and were told sanitation at the lake was the responsibility of the DNR, not the Township. Wagner said the Association wrote a response explaining how sanitation would take place. During the picnic, two sheriff deputies arrived. They said they were there because the Township asked them to keep an eye on the event. Wagner said the Cedar Lake Association had nothing to do with Cedar Acres or related complaints.
In September, Wagner said he raked his shoreline. He said he knows DNR rules regarding vegetation. Two DNR officers came down the shore where he was working and said they had received a complaint regarding illegal lake vegetation removal. One of the officers walked onto the dock and said, “Have a good day, but know there are people watching you.” Wagner said he asked who complained. The officer said the Township complained. Wagner said although the Township said they have nothing to do with the water, they felt they should intervene regarding his lake weed removal. He said he knows the rules, and invited Township officials to stop by his property whenever they wish.
On November 29, 2011, one of Wagner’s neighbors was confronted by a Township Supervisor regarding impervious coverage on their lot. Wagner said Township meeting minutes reflect a request by the Supervisors asking Oleson to investigate impervious coverage on Cedar Acres properties. Wagner said he talked with Riley. Wagner said the County does not target a specific group of residents who have complained on an issue. He said the Township is unique in that 25 to 30 percent of property owners have primary residences elsewhere. Wagner said he has voting rights as a full time resident. Part time residents have no vote in Township matters. He said more time is needed under the current arrangement. Wagner said as a Township resident, he wants to see different behavior on the part of the Township Board. He says it feels personal, when a zoning issue should be decided based on facts. Wagner said citizens should work with the Township and County on these matters. He said the County and Township both have incredible resources. He asked the Board to give the Township more time to exhibit different behavior.
Hanke agreed with Wagner’s request for more time under the JPA. They just changed the Ordinance and need time to see how the process works. He said Quiggle said the Township has been working in zoning administration for the past five years. Hanke said Quiggle has not been with the Township five years. Hanke said the Township needs to provide a longer track record, and he didn’t believe an additional year is excessive. Hanke said he would also like the Township to go over their Cedar Acres ruling. He said the Association agrees with the initial ruling by the Township limiting capacity to two campers. The Association members want to see a track record of sound decisions by the Township regarding Cedar Lake. Hanke said they represent 80 percent of landowners around Cedar Lake.
Carlson apologized to Mr. Wagner for any actions that prompted hard feelings. He said the Township started looking at impervious coverage in 2005 and redid the road. Carlson said the Township submitted documentation regarding overages to the County. One resident was required to remove a three season porch that was done without a permit and was too close to the Lake. Carlson said Quiggle has been on the Township Board for five years and involved in other Township Commissions for two previous years.
Thelen said there are constituents with reasonable concerns based on their experiences. She said there are ways to bring people together to resolve issues. Thelen said her recommendation is to give the JPA another year with the hope that in time things will become less adversarial. She added that does not mean things are not going well, in fact, things have progressed excellently. However, Thelen said there is no reason not to extend the JPA another year until 3-01-13. Carlson asked why the date couldn’t be January 1, 2013. He said originally they planned on a date of December 31, 2012.
Thelen said she thought the JPA had been extended until April, 2012. Riley said the first one-year agreement had a decision date from October 15 to December 15, 2010. That was for the year 2011, because the Agreement was entered into before the calendar year started. Riley said the current Agreement was continued to 5-01-12 to allow time for a decision to be made. If the Agreement was extended again, the County Board would decide the final date.
Carlson said he was inquiring about the date because it would save the Township money on insurance. Thelen said the insurance cost could be prorated. She reaffirmed her recommendation to extend the JPA until 3-01-13 and not convey shoreland authority to the Township at this time.
Recommendation: Extend the Joint Powers Agreement with Corinna Township until 3-01-13 and not accede Shoreland Authority at this time.
(End of 2-21-12 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Mattson recently visited the Stockholm Community Center located on CR 30 SW in Cokato. He was very impressed with the facility. It is carpeted, air conditioned, and the acoustics are very good. There is also a nice kitchen. The facility is all on one level. This was provided as an informational item.
Bills Approved
3 D Specialties Inc 183.28
Allina Medical Laboratories 541.70
Ameripride Services 634.76
Anderson/Dale E 10,259.00
Anderson/Joel M 6,986.00
Antil/Kevin D 16,000.00
Aramark Services Inc 6,587.22
Babb/James 4,809.00
Bachman Printing 370.94
Barnes Distribution 571.02
Berg/Stephen L 249.98
Bound Tree Medical LLC 557.08
Bp Amoco 2,630.18
Brock White Co Llc 31,413.77
Bryan Rock Products 816.68
Bryant/Michael A 715.00
Buffalo Auto Alignment 703.00
Buffalo ISD 877 ECFE 128.00
Center Point Energy 2,643.14
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 26,389.40
Central Hydraulics Inc 162.53
Central MN Mental Health Ctr. 237.62
CenturyLink 1,995.01
Chamberlain Oil Co 609.68
Climate Air 1,031.39
Cokato/City Of 500.00
Dahlen/Betty L 5,315.00
Davis/C Loring 8,151.00
Davis/Paul 1,839.00
Envirotech Services Inc 484.00
Excel Systems 370.00
Farber/Chad L 10,650.00
Federal Signal Corporation 237.82
Fitterer/David C 7,323.00
General Office Prod. Co. 694.05
Grainger 420.19
Granite City Iron Works 189.97
Granite Pest Control Services 237.35
Haapala/Randall S 14,979.00
Haapala/Robert 9,623.00
Halderson/Scott L 6,868.00
Hennepin Technical College 390.00
Herc-U-Lift 221.83
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 2,111.24
Hoyhtya/Josephine 8,198.00
Hunter/Mary-Annette 29,975.00
Imberg/Walter D 6,983.00
J R Nelson & Company 2,128.52
Jahnke/Chris 135.00
Janckila/Anthony P 9,040.00
Jenkins/Thomas Wayne 8,332.00
Johnson/Kenneth D 9,212.00
Johnson/Kraig S 2,699.00
Juncewski/Kenneth F 6,020.00
Kaczmarek/Raymond J 6,221.00
Keskey/David R 6,400.00
Koivisto/John K 1,788.00
Kottke/Sharon 2,936.00
L & N Estates c/o E Norling 10,678.00
Lindstrom/Adeline L 1,912.75
Lindstrom/James A 1,912.75
Lundeen/Douglas E 181.00
Lundeen/Jonathan C 13,391.00
M-R Sign Company Inc 2,232.11
Marco Inc 3,714.76
Marietta Aggregates/Martin 260.80
Martinson/James C 6,819.00
Martinson/Pauline 12,178.00
Menards - Buffalo 217.61
Meyer/Robert E 11,967.00
Mn Monitoring Inc 7,857.50
Mn Supreme Court 329.00
Moberg/Robert K 6,792.00
Nelson/Thomas A 12,787.00
Nordlund/Gary M 6,649.00
North American Salt Co 44,820.04
Office Depot 197.96
Olson/Dean 157.00
Olson/Janet M 1,912.75
Peterson/Muriel R 7,768.00
Pokornowski/Alan 7,812.00
Pokornowski/Francis J 23,138.00
Pokornowski/Larry F 13,368.00
Precision Prints Of Wright Co 184.89
Pryor Seminars/Fred 128.00
Revard/Shannon G 905.00
RS Eden 4,785.40
Ryan Chevrolet 130.03
Ryan/James O 27,150.00
Ryan/Jonathan J 9,487.00
Sirchie Finger Print Lab 396.05
Sports Supply Group Inc 270.63
Sprint 10,173.25
Suburban Emerg. Assoc. PA 215.17
TASC 1,069.00
Tegland/Theodore F 1,502.00
Terning/Dennis L 2,536.00
Total Printing 158.71
Verhay/Andrea R 5,719.00
Verizon Wireless 854.41
Voss Lighting 178.78
Wadena Co. Mtd. Sheriff 1,200.00
Walker Trucking/C 4,400.00
Walmart Store 01-1577 717.46
Waverly/City Of 384.26
Webb/Brian C 13,942.00
Wenlund/Betty J 1,912.75
Wessman/Maureen J 1,736.00
West Payment Center 2,413.81
Wright County Hwy Dept 45,039.48
Xcel Energy 1,566.38
31 Payments less than $100 1,590.53
Final Total: $627,696.37
The meeting adjourned at 10:56 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal March 19, 2012.


Return to Wright County Menu | Return to Government Table of Contents

Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Dassel-Cokato Home | Delano Home | HJ Home