WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
MARCH 27, 2012
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
Russek moved to approve the 3-20-12 Wright County Board Minutes. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson referenced Page 11 and discussion relating to Item I of the Building Committee Minutes, “Request For Card Readers, Court Administration.” The County Board’s recommendation at the last meeting was to lay this item over to obtain an exact cost as opposed to an approximate figure for the card readers. Today, Mattson requested that this item be forwarded to the next Building Committee meeting for discussion. It was suggested that Mattson add discussion on this to today’s County Board Agenda. The motion carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #1, “Refer To Building Committee Discussion RE: Request For Card Readers, Court Administration” (Mattson). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Eichelberg moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Russek. Mattson referenced Item A5 setting the County Auction. Mattson asked whether notices are sent to cities and townships. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said they are. The motion carried 5-0 to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: K. Triplett, Assr.; A. Busse, Atty.; J. Hermansen, Sher.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 3-17-12.
3. Authorize Changes To Committee, Advisory Committee, & Advisory Board Listing.
4. Claim, Madden, Galanter & Hansen, LLP, $2,272.58 (Service For Feb., 2012).
5. Set Annual County Auction For 6-09-12 @ 10:00 A.M., Public Works Building.
1. Approve Abatement, PID #101-022-002130, Dale Rossing.
2. Approve Abatement, PID #107-035-000150, MN DOT.
3. Approve Abatement, PID #101-096-006090, William & Kimberly Garrison.
1. Claim, Coleman, Hull & van Vliet, PLLP, $1,633.33, Budget 100, Professional Services.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty presented three retirement plaques to employees of the Sheriff’s Office. Cumulatively, the Sheriff’s Office will be losing almost 90 years of service to the citizens of Wright County. He said the three dedicated employees and their knowledge of the organization will be truly missed.
A retirement plaque was presented to Diane Munsterteiger for her service from 1985 to 2012. Sheriff Hagerty spoke of Munsterteiger’s tremendous attitude and friendly demeanor. Munsterteiger said she has enjoyed working for four Sheriffs over the past 26 years and with her co-workers.
Joel Mackereth was presented with a retirement plaque for his service from 1984 to 2012. He held many positions during that time including corrections and communication, patrol deputy, patrol sergeant, and many years in the Recreation Enforcement Division with additional duties as the Sheriff’s Reserves’ and Lake Association Liaison Coordinator. With Mackereth’s expertise coordinating dangerous water and ice rescue recoveries, Hagerty said past and current Sheriffs had less to worry about during these operations. Mackereth was instrumental in applying for and receiving many grants during his tenure in the Recreation Division and was named Boat and Water Safety Officer Of The Year by the State’s DNR in 2011. He most recently worked closely with the DNR, lake associations, and County departments during the high water of 2011. Sheriff Hagerty said Mackereth will mostly be remembered for his efforts in water, snowmobile, and ATV safety education. He feels Wright County is a safer place due to Mackereth’s efforts. Mackereth extended appreciation for the memorable times over his years of service. He spoke of the positive contact with coworkers and other County and State agencies over the years. He said networking was essential in his position especially with lake associations and their volunteers, the DNR, and other State agencies. Mackereth said the Boat & Water Division has both positive and negative aspects. He said a very hard part of the job is diving for body recovery, and the grieving and sadness associated with this element of the job. He cited the positives as the people he worked with and the opportunity to purchase and utilize unique pieces of equipment. With County and State assistance, he was able to assist with purchasing a great collection of equipment for rescue and recovery. He extended thanks to the Board.
Sheriff Hagerty presented a retirement plaque to Mike Even for his service from 1979 to 2012. He said Even has never enjoyed the spotlight and has always worked quietly behind the scenes. He began his career in the Sheriff’s Office in 1979, serving in several capacities including night road Sergeant and most recently as a Patrol Lieutenant. He said Even truly understands what it means to be a “public servant”, and that this profession is for the people served. Several years ago, under Sheriff Miller’s leadership, a mission statement was established with the four guiding principals of integrity, caring, professionalism and fairness. Sheriff Hagerty said Even epitomizes these principals and has gently counseled others in abiding by them. Even thanked the Board members and the Sheriff for the recognition, and thanked the great people he has worked with and the citizens of Wright County for the experience. He said looking back, he realizes he is a very fortunate person.
The Board members extended appreciation to the three retirees and best wishes in their retirements.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the 2-22-12 Joint Ditch Committee Minutes for approval. Hiivala said the action item from that meeting was to raise the dollar threshold in the Joint Ditch Policies between all of the Counties represented on the Committee. A revised Policy was brought to the County Board at their 2-28-12 meeting. Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0:
The committee met on February 22th at 9:00 am at the McLeod County Solid Waste building, with the following individuals from Wright County present: Dick Mattson and Bob Hiivala. Commissioners and staff from Sibley, Renville, Meeker, Carver and Mcleod were also present.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and handout cross-county ditch expenses from the previous year, and to discuss active and planned ditch projects that will be brought at future meetings between affected Counties.
Another topic discussed was the need to amend the dollar threshold referenced in the signed Joint Ditch policies between all of the counties represented in this committee for a meeting requirement for repair purposes. After discussing the need to raise the threshold a motion to amended Joint Ditch Policy with the change of combined expenditure with no meeting required, going from $20,000 to $40,000 was made and passed. Each county would be required to ratify the change by signing new policy agreements.
(End of 2-22-12 Joint Ditch Committee Minutes)
Hiivala requested approval of a 2012 property tax statement for $62.50 for the old Marysville Township Hall, PID #211-000-214105, for a fire assessment. As long as there is a structure present, the County will be assessed. With approval of this payment, Hiivala asked for authorization to pay these assessments in the future as long as there is a structure on this property. Mattson moved to approve the request, seconded by Russek. Sawatzke asked whether the Hall is being utilized. Mattson said Sentence To Service repaired the building. The building was built in 1892 and they are trying to have it deemed as a historical site. There is no running water. There is electrical to the building although it is not turned on. The motion carried unanimously.
Hiivala presented the February Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. He referenced Page 13, Revenues, Equipment Note Transfer, -$1,094,500. To balance the budget, they used this amount as transfer from fund balance. The March Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines will show a zero balance for this line item (01-100-5996). Russek moved to accept the February Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
The claims listing was presented. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 24, Carver County Treasurer ($158.75), Joint Ditch 4 Expense Allocation. He questioned what the expense relates to. Hiivala stated the County is charged on an annual basis for expenses. He does not have the detail supporting what the charge is for. Russek felt it may be for ditch maintenance. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Pat O’Malley, Jail Administrator, presented estimates for remodel of the former Jail Lobby (Government Center location) into a work/office space. This concept was presented to the Building Committee on 2-08-12. The Building Committee authorized obtaining estimates. The estimates are as follows:
Excel Systems LLC
- communication jack requirements; $930.00
- work surfaces/furniture; $2,262.62
Ernst General Construction
- remodel reception to accommodate Court holding office; $14,982.00
- carpet for Rooms 113 and 114; $1,400.00
TOTAL PROJECT ESTIMATE;
O’Malley said the estimates overlap as it is unclear which vendors may complete certain things. With the Ernst General Construction quote, there is an additional cost of $1,400.00 for carpeting. O’Malley said the carpeting should probably be replaced. Mattson questioned if the remodel will affect any other programs or activities which utilize the former Jail area. O’Malley said it will not. The idea is to improve the security of the location. The Bailiff’s Office (across the hallway from the former Jail Lobby) handles a lot of private data through bookings, adoptions, etc. The foot traffic has been much greater than anticipated and the handling of private data is key in this request. Norman stated that funding will be from Budget 100, Site Improvements. Mattson moved to approve moving forward with the remodel of the Jail Lobby area into office spaces as presented. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke questioned whether the Building Committee evaluated the need for carpet replacement in Rooms 113 and 114. O’Malley did not think so. The carpeting was an addition to the Ernst quote. The rooms previously were utilized as conference rooms (10’ x 10’ spaces). One will be converted into an office for interviews. The other will house the equipment (fingerprint machine, camera, etc.). Sawatzke asked whether Norman is familiar with the condition of the carpeting in that area. Norman said he is not. O’Malley said the carpeting is worn and faded but is not torn. Sawatzke said the carpeting may be from when the remodel occurred in that area 20 years ago. Mattson supported carpet replacement at this time prior to moving furniture and equipment into the rooms. Mattson and Eichelberg confirmed that the motion includes re-carpeting the space. The motion carried 5-0.
Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, requested the Board authorize the formation of a Broadband Task Force. A Broadband Symposium was held on 3-13-12 to educate interested parties on broadband. Swing said there are variances in opinion regarding this topic and there a bill in Legislation. He recommended the formation of a Task Force with the following suggested representatives: City of Monticello, City of Buffalo, City of St. Michael, City of Clearwater, Chatham Township, Wright County Economic Development Partnership, Wright County Special Projects Coordinator (Lee Kelly), and Wright County IT Director (Bill Swing). In addition, Swing suggested Joan and Tom McGregor as the public representatives. Swing requested a Task Force Meeting on 4-11-12 at 1:30 P.M. in Room C118, Government Center. The purpose would be to assess the idea of moving forward with a feasibility study. The Task Force would discuss all of the various ramifications of what the County is getting into. Swing said that he and Kelly would present the recommendations out of the Task Force to the Technology Committee and decisions would be made accordingly.
Sawatzke asked for the goals and objectives of the Task Force. He said the Symposium provided information on broadband, and there were no recommendations from that meeting. Swing said the Symposium was meant to be an educational forum. The goal of the Task Force would be to consider a feasibility study. He plans to bring the Task Force up to date on what has transpired thus far. He put forward an RFI (Request For Information) and that information will be shared with them. For process, he said there may be an RFP (Request For Proposal). He said the fundamental question is do they proceed with a feasibility study. That decision can be made only if the costs are known and there is discussion of cost allocation, etc. The Task Force would address those issues.
Sawatzke asked for further explanation on what Swing meant by feasibility. Swing said the feasibility to proceed with a full RFP for broadband in Wright County. Sawatzke said there already is broadband in Wright County. Sawatzke said he has three providers that will provide service to his home. He recognizes this may not be the same throughout the County. Swing said that would be analyzed by the Task Force. With that opinion, they probably wouldn’t recommend proceeding with a feasibility study. Others have a different opinion. Thelen said parts of the County are well served, but other parts are in need of service. She felt there was a good mix of industry and the public sector at the Symposium. She feels a feasibility study is required to determine whether broadband is needed, the cost, who would fund it, and what a private/public partnership would look like. Swing said from what he has heard, he is unsure whether it warrants proceeding with a feasibility study.
Sawatzke is concerned that ultimately the scenario could occur that someone expects the taxpayers of Wright County to subsidize a broadband project throughout the entire County. Swing said that is a legitimate concern. Russek said they will need to consider what happens in the Legislature. There is currently a bill that says no government can own this as it infringes on private enterprise rights. Thelen said that bill has been defeated. Russek said it can always be brought back as an amendment. Swing said there are many opinions on the issue. The purpose of the Task Force would be to gather those opinions and come up with recommendations. Thelen said there has been interest expressed at the city and township level on looking into the issue. She said they would be against a huge expenditure as well.
Swing said his role will be to coordinate the study effort. They will try to gather individuals that share a difference in opinion on this subject. Sawatzke made a motion to direct Swing to coordinate a Broadband Task Force with the players he suggested. The motion includes sending a message that Wright County will not subsidize a County-wide broadband program. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson said he resides in the country and uses high speed internet. He questioned what broadband will do for him. He has never heard anything that will answer that question. Mattson stated townships have expressed concern over costs. Sawatzke referenced the suggested members of the Task Force. He offered the name of Larry Hance as a possible Task Force member. Hance has a background in and is knowledgeable of the cable industry. He said Swing mentioned earlier that Tom & Joan McGregor could be the public representatives. Sawatzke suggested that possibly one of the McGregor’s and Hance could serve on the Task Force. Swing concurred with that recommendation. The motion and second were amended to direct Swing to bring back to the County Board the recommended names for the Task Force. The Task Force membership will then be formalized. A Board member could also be appointed at that time. The motion carried 5-0.
John Jones, Silver Creek Township Chairman, brought forth discussion on the Chance To Grow Outdoor Education Joint Project. He was present with a number of individuals to bring the County Board up to date on a proposed partnership for an environmental education and natural resources project. This came about five years ago when a resident came to the Silver Creek Township Board Meeting indicating interest in purchasing a pristine 100-acre property, asking whether the Township would be willing to work with him. The Township indicated they were and they received a brief overview of the project. Shortly thereafter, Jones had a discussion about the project with Bob Bruininks, former President of the University of Minnesota (U of M). Jones said that Bruininks thought it over and then worked with some of the U of M departments, including David Johnson. Over the past five years, they have met to explore the potential for governmental units to cooperate in a joint educational and preservation effort. The DNR was brought into the discussions as well. Wright County has included land preservation in the new Land Use Plan. He said he would let others speak and provide an update on where the project is, informing the County Board on how this will work into the proposed Wright County philosophy.
Keith Parker, MN DNR Central Region Director, said the current administration of the DNR works a platform that represents a strategic plan. Within that strategic plan, they focus on re-engaging young people into the outdoors, and maintaining the current recreationists. They look at how youth interact in the outdoors and what forms of recreation they participate in. They completed a study with the Wilder Foundation a few years ago that showed a significant decline in outdoor activity. Youth of today are not as engaged in the outdoors, partially because of the technological options available. Parker spoke of camping and outdoor activities he enjoyed when he was young. One of the focuses in their strategic plan is how to re-engage youth into the outdoors, particularly in urban settings. They have different tactics they use to accomplish this. One of those is to establish partnerships with parks and recreation, cities, and individual partnerships with organizations. He cited the State parks that are available as a gateway to the outdoors, although those parks may not be used by those in urban settings. They try to bring activities to where the youth are. They work with the Mayors in the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to be involved in their outreach programs.
Parker said another pathway is a partnership like A Chance To Grow. Those involved with A Chance To Grow are developing future conservationists through programs and schools. The DNR would manage the land and bring in staff and naturalists to teach and provide exposure. They view this as an innovative way, outside of their normal activities, to continue to connect future conservationists. Youth will be in classrooms with the curriculum that has been developed, learning how to engage in conservation and intimately learning in the outdoors. That would be their day-to-day environment. Parker said the DNR views this as a valuable way to connect with future generations. The DNR recognizes they are not going to bridge those gaps by themselves; they need strategic partnerships to engage youth.
Russek asked what age groups will be targeted by the Chance To Grow Project. Parker responded they are looking at kindergarten all the way through high school. He said even beyond that age group, up to ages 22-23, that have not been introduced to the outdoors in the ways previous generations were. Russek asked whether this will operate like a charter school. Parker said DeBoer can address this more completely. The partnership is for the DNR to be on the peripheral, managing the land that the school is being proposed on. They will bring in experts when the curriculum dictates to offer guidance and instruction.
Thelen said her understanding is that they are not looking for the County to be a partner in this, but rather they are looking for the County’s support or lack of opposition to their partnership. She understands the partnership is between the DNR, Silver Creek Township, the University of Minnesota, and a Chance To Grow. The letter submitted for County Board review lists the County, but thought there was no partnership agreement being drawn up. She views this as a pass-through process and questioned whether Parker agreed. Parker responded this is correct. It is an informal way of keeping connected with stakeholders, furthering the mission of conservation and doing it in a holistic way that is very broad. They are looking for the County’s blessing, support, and understanding of what they are trying to achieve long term.
Bruininks said he strongly supports the Jane Goodall Earl Sciences Academy, which is being named after the world-renowned earth science and wildlife scientist. This is more than an outdoor education opportunity for students in this region. It will be a model for science education that will be important to those in this region, the State, and beyond. He thinks resources and jobs will be brought to the area. It will open up science education opportunities for young people. Bruininks referenced international comparisons that show youth in the United States are not competing in the areas of mathematics and science. Psychologists and researchers who study children’s learning indicate the fastest way to get youth hooked on math and science is to connect learning to the environment. Bruininks said this project brings together resources from the DNR, local communities, and the U of M. He was approached on this project when he was the U of M President, and he jumped on the opportunity. He has a passionate interest in the education and development of youth. Bruininks asked Senior Associate David Johnson to lead a planning process within the U of M to identify academic units that would have a real interest in being connected to this initiative. Bruininks said he attended today’s meeting to express his support for the project and his commitment to work with DeBoer and his colleagues to ensure there are resources from the U of M and the U of M Extension Office, so they are connected very closely with this project. Bruininks views this not only as a charter school but as a regional resource for schools and teachers. It will be a place where teachers can become educated on the latest ways to teach in the advancing of science, particularly the natural sciences and sciences related to the environment.
David Johnson, Senior Associate Dean for Research & Policy in the College of Education and Human Development at the U of M, resides in Buffalo and previously served nine years on the Rockford School Board. He said the idea of this project stimulated interest on campus. The U of M has four major colleges that have taken a specific interest in this project including the College of Education and Human Development; the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Sciences; the College of Design (Architecture and Green Designs of schools); and the MN Extension Services. This partnership will not only to do something good for kids but will also serve as a teaching ground for U of M students and as an area of research for students and faculty. He said this is an incredible laboratory to look at things such as earth sciences, horticulture, and forestry and a way to teach kids about outdoors in a natural setting. Johnson said the College of Education and Human Development will play a leadership role in helping to support this program in the development of a curriculum and a program that will meet the needs of the area.
Bob DeBoer, co-founder of A Chance To Grow, said this project was started five years ago. He said they took the feedback of the County Board at that time and tried to incorporate the changes expressed at that meeting. Due to partnerships with various agencies, they bring a stronger proposal for the County’s benefit both from the ways discussed and the ability to preserve the land. Since the presentation made to the County Board five years ago, the Northwest Quadrant Land Use Policy created the concept of protecting resource lands. Silver Creek Township is within that resource area. DeBoer said many things have come together to make a stronger proposal. He referenced a letter Keith Parker sent to him which reflects, “All parties support children having access to an active, experiential education exposing them to outdoor recreation, natural resources careers and service projects benefiting the entire community. The parties respectfully request the support of the Wright County Board of Commissioners for this proposed project and its goals for Wright County and the State of Minnesota.” Thelen said copies of a map of the land were made available today. DeBoer said the project involves approximately 95 acres and includes an abandoned gravel pit. Sawatzke asked where the building is proposed. DeBoer said the land involving the gravel pits is close to the water level, so the area can become wet. The building may need to be located on the 80-acre section.
Mattson asked what the motion is given the request from the Township to move forward. Thelen said it would be to support it. Mattson said they had a long discussion and he moved to support this. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Eichelberg asked Sean Riley, Planning & Zoning Administrator, if he wanted to comment on the partnership.
Riley said he became aware of this Agenda item and request yesterday, so he has not formulated any opinion nor has he had much discussion with the County Attorney’s Office in this regard. He said there are a couple of things for the Board to keep in mind. He referenced the extensive minutes that were taken at the time this issue was brought forth at a Board Meeting in 2007 relating to amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow the use through a CUP. At that time, the Board heard from neighbors and concerned parties on land use. He asked if there is someone who is willing to take those phone calls dealing with the school districts and affected neighbors. Riley said he will not have much to offer them.
Riley said the Planning & Zoning Office works with site development. He offered to be in partnership to address such things as stormwater control, the septic system, building code, parking, wetland preservation, etc. He did not know who will be dealing with building and sewer code, but Planning & Zoning has not been contacted on the project or forming a partnership on those elements. The Planning & Zoning Office would like to be involved if no one is addressing those issues. Riley has not seen the site plan so he can’t speak to setbacks, coverage, etc. He said if the DNR ownership circumvents land use, he does not know if it circumvents such things as the Zoning Ordinance, public safety, building code, etc. Riley said those are concerns for practicalities in the field. Eichelberg said he is sure those involved with the project are probably aware of all of those things that have to be taken care of. Eichelberg said there is a main road that goes through the area. He said Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, may need to know what will happen with additional traffic. He wants to make sure they are aware of other things they need to be concerned about. Riley said Planning & Zoning is not just about the land use but the specifics on how the site is developed. Riley offered Planning & Zoning’s assistance in that partnership. Riley feels he will be the one people will call when they see activity taking place. If he has no where to refer concerns, that will leave those neighbors and interested parties from 2007 in a quandary on what happened at that time and where they take their concerns today.
Sawatzke said in 2007, he thought most of the concern was raised from the other school districts in the County. He did not recall specifically that neighbors spoke in opposition. He said Riley raises a good point. Five years ago, the County Board may have denied the request but left the door open. At that time, the Planning Commission denied it on a 5:2 vote and they had about a half dozen or so issues that they brought up. He said he was unable to vote for this at that time because he felt there were a lot of issues. It is not that he was opposed to it or felt that those issues could not be resolved. Sawatzke recalled that at that time, DeBoer indicated he would be willing to meet the County on those issues. They were looking at a new Ordinance and the manner in which they would take care of the issues was not in the Ordinance. They were looking at a 1.5 page document at that time. He said there was discussion on, for example, what would happen if in seven years this building was no longer a school and someone wants to put a factory in. He said they would indicate there can’t be one in there. The Ordinance did not say it could be in there. Now he said they understand that Silver Creek Township would be willing to accept the building and they will not put a factory in there. They were concerned with the mission long term. These are some of the examples that the Ordinance, at the time, did not address. Riley said the Ordinance still does not. Sawatzke said it doesn’t but the package they have put together does answer those questions. Sawatzke stated the County does not have an Ordinance that applies but his understanding is that if it is on State land, they do not need County approval. He asked whether this is correct. Riley said if the County is not involved, then the County is not involved. He said Sawatzke referenced a 1.5 page document from the request five years ago and the comment that there have been changes to the proposal. Riley said he has not seen a proposal or changes. He stated again that if the County is not involved, then we are not. Thelen said we are not. Riley said it sounds like they are requesting support, not review of all of the details and specifics of the project. He said those are not being presented.
Sawatzke said maybe what the County could provide today is conceptual support with more detail, in reference to what Riley is saying. He said it is an outstanding project that is being suggested. It wasn’t that the County Board members who voted in opposition five years ago didn’t necessarily agree with the project. There were many unanswered questions that were brought to their attention and were not resolved at that time. Sawatzke said they feel they are resolved now.
Russek said he served on the Planning Commission when this request was brought forth five years ago. The Planning Commission voted 5:2 to deny the request. Russek said he was one of the Planning Commission members that voted against the request. He viewed it as a completely different proposal the last time. Schools that offer FFA classes were strongly opposed. He said this is totally different this time.
DeBoer stated that in talking with the DNR Commissioner and Parker, he learned that Wright County is one of the best counties in the State in regard to working with the DNR. This land would be owned by the DNR. He said just as with other projects in the County, the DNR will work with the appropriate people. He said this is different as it will be State owned land.
Thelen said to Riley that when people call, it is a different scenario. Riley said he does see the difference with the DNR ownership but will make the assumption that his Office will get phone calls based on reading the minutes from the 2007 Board Meeting.
Sawatzke questioned the process. He understands the State does not have to apply for permits and gain approval from the County. Today, they are coming to the County Board as a courtesy. He asked what happens when they start building or when they address road issues. One example would be turn lanes that might be needed on CR 39. He asked how the County makes sure that happens and questioned whether there is a permitting process. Parker stated that the DNR Commissioner has asked him to assure that as the project moves forward, they interact with the County and adhere to Ordinances, even though they know that State-owned property has some different jurisdictions. Their goal is not to alienate or cause any friction but to be very collaborative in the process. As they establish their logistical team to move forward with this project, they will want to interact with the County very directly to make sure they are working in concert and partnership adhering to and addressing some of those concerns. Parkers said he does not have a specific outline or plan at this stage but their goal is to be very collaborative and continue the good working relationship they have with Wright County, and that includes working with the County’s Ordinances, etc.
The motion carried 5-0 to support the Chance To Grow outdoor education joint project.
The meeting recessed at 10:15 A.M. and reconvened at 10:23 A.M.
Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested that the Board set a bid opening date for Seasonal Requirements on 4-25-12 at 9:00 A.M. at a Ways & Means Committee Meeting. The bids are for the period of 5-01-12 to 4-30-13 and include the following items: Sealcoating, Equipment Rental, Application of Reflectorized Pavement Markings, Micro-Surfacing, and Plant-Mixed Bituminous Mixture. Bid award will be made at the 5-01-12 County Board Meeting. Russek moved to set the bid opening date for 4-25-12 at 9:00 A.M. at the Ways & Means Committee, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.
Fingalson presented a draft resolution for a Highway Right-of-Way Plat for CSAH 35, involving bridge replacement and approach work (SAP 86-635-038). The County’s 5-Year Highway Construction Program specifies that right-of-way is acquired in 2012 and that construction commence in 2013. State funding requirements indicate that all right-of-way must be under the control of Wright County before construction bidding will be allowed. Mattson moved to adopt Resolution #12-23, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Fingalson presented a draft resolution for a Highway Right-Of-Way Plat for CSAH 12 between TH 55 and CSAH 37 (SAP 86-612-21). The County’s 5-Year Highway Construction Program specifies that right-of-way be acquired in 2012 and that construction commence in 2013 for this project. State funding requirements indicate that all right-of-way must be under the control of Wright County before construction bidding will be allowed. Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #12-24, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting was held on 3-26-12 to discuss turn back issues involving Corinna and Silver Creek Townships. The minutes from that Meeting will be presented at a future date for approval. At today’s Board Meeting, Fingalson distributed a document reflecting the recommendation of the TCOTW, “It was the recommendation of the four members (Russek, Eichelberg, Mattson and Fingalson) of the TCOTW that Wright County accept the low bid, including both Alternate #1 and Alternate #2, for the 2012 Overlays, as submitted by Knife River Corporation on March 6, 2012, and that work begin as soon as Knife River is ready to commence the project. Any decision regarding the turn back of CR 123 and CR 143 to either or both Corinna Township and Silver Creek Township will be addressed at a later time. (Fingalson suggests that this be discussed at the April 10, 2012 County Board Meeting).” Fingalson said the Board should act on this specific recommendation because of the need to award the contract for the 2012 Overlays. Fingalson provided the following reflecting the impact on the Road/Bridge Budget if the contract is awarded to the low bidder, Knife River Corporation:
Base Bid (CSAH 2 & CR 128); Alternate #1 (CR’s 123 & 143); Total Bid (without Parks Alt. #2)
Budget: $1,650,000.00; $995,000.00 ;$2,645,000.00
Low Bid Submitted: $1,518,078.11; $872,174.94; $2,390,253.05
Variance from Budget: (-) $131,921.89; (-) $ 122,825.06; (-) $ 254,746.95
Fingalson said the figures do not include Alternate #2 for Parks. He said the Parks Administrator has indicated the bid for the parking improvements is about $1,400 under budget.
Thelen asked for clarification on Committee recommendations. She thought that normally, the Board looks for a recommendation from the majority of the Board members. In this case, Fingalson is included in the members voting on the recommendation. Russek said the vote still included the majority of the Board. Norman said that staff members serve as members on a number of committees. Fingalson serves as a member of the Transportation Committee Of The Whole. The majority of committee members make a recommendation to the County Board for the final decision. Mattson asked for clarification on milling and overlaying procedures. Fingalson said all roads are milled and overlaid if they are not reclaimed. This contract includes reclamation as well as milling and overlaying. They do not just complete overlays anymore.
Thelen suggested proceeding with the public hearing requirement on the turn backs as a 30-day notice is required. Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said Subd. 5A of the Statutes reflect there must be a public hearing. Statute language provides exemptions if other road authorities agree to it. The language includes a sentence reflecting that the exclusive method for giving roads to a township is through the public hearing process. Kryzer and Asleson reviewed the language and recommend holding the public hearings in the Townships. They can still proceed with a memorandum of understanding. Kryzer said the hearings should not be scheduled prior to 5-01-12 to allow for mailing of the notice.
Thelen said she would be voting against the letting of the bid. She stated that discussion at the TCOTW yesterday was contentious. She had concern that the Townships were looking for a process or some negotiation on payment and more work being done on that particular stretch of roadway. Eichelberg said the bids appear to be good. If the County does not accept them now and calls for new bids, the price will be higher because of oil prices. Thelen said they discussed yesterday that the decision would not have to be made until next week and there could possibly have been some accommodations made by Knife River as to when they complete the work. She said that will not happen with the letting of the bid. Approval not only includes the bid but proceeding as soon as possible. Russek understands from discussion at the TCOTW Meeting that because the County was early with the bidding process that is why the bid came in as it did. He said holding the bid off for an additional week then puts off the public hearing.
Russek made a motion to approve the recommendation of the 3-26-12 TCOTW to award the contract to Knife River, seconded by Mattson. Thelen said she wanted to clarify that these points are relevant to the discussion and that there are other options available that are not open with the letting of this bid. Fingalson suggested the motion identify the amount of the bid of $2,410,863.05. The information provided at the meeting only addressed the impact on the Road & Bridge budget, not including the Parks project.
Fingalson said in regard to Thelen’s question, he feels the County is right in proceeding in this manner. He supported setting dates for the hearings today to get that process started. The proposed language in the documents will eliminate issues in the future. They learned from the CSAH 12 project. Fingalson said the County has the right with this contract to delete any project as part of it. If the County proceeds with hearings the first week of May, there is time to remove things from the contract if the Board desires. The timing would allow for that. It would not make any difference whether the contract is awarded today or next week at the County Board Meeting. Fingalson said award of the contract today will cover the mill and overlay of all roadways they are looking to revoke to the two Townships. If something comes up at the public revocation hearings that would alter the Board’s decision, there is an opportunity to remove it. For instance, if Corinna Township wanted to take the money instead of the County completing the work, that would be an option. He said the Township made a statement at the TCOTW Meeting that they don’t like what the County is proposing, and they feel it should be done differently. Fingalson said the Township would like a re-grading job, which the County does not have the money for. Fingalson summarized that the contract provides flexibility.
Sawatzke said he did not understand this when he was at the TCOTW Meeting. He asked whether the County can hold off on completing the Corinna portion, with no penalty or additional cost and without any further agreements, contracts or clarifications with the contractor (i.e., the County could complete the Silver Creek portion and not get charged more). Fingalson said that is correct. Sawatzke said he had been unsure previously on how to proceed (prior to knowing this), as he did not want to close the door completely. At one point, Corinna said something about negotiating this out in two years. Sawatzke said he now understands the County has the ability to back out. With approval today, they are approving something where dialogue can still exist. He said the Board could vote for this now and let the discussions take place over the next couple of months. Fingalson said they were thinking they possibly needed something in writing from the Township and from the contractor. Fingalson spoke with Kryzer about the proposal and the County is covered.
Mattson asked what would happen if Silver Creek Township would say they want something similar to Corinna’s agreement. He questioned whether the County would just step back and not award anything. Fingalson said he hopes not. In the past when a township is willing to waive the hearing requirement, they have incorporated that into the agreement. The County Attorney’s Office recently determined that there was an amendment in 1994 and a hearing is required. Fingalson said the County will need to hold a hearing for Silver Creek Township, even though they are in agreement.
John Jones, Chairman of Silver Creek Township, stated that in looking at the two projects, he would agree that the one in Corinna involves a far more severe piece of road. Jones said Silver Creek Township would like work completed on various parts of CR 123. They realize there are financial constraints. He understands from the Highway Department that the overlay should be good for 20 years. Their largest concern is the culvert between Mariah and Silver Lake where there was cracking. He said some of the Township Board members had concern but they decided the County could take care of the road for two years and then the Township would take it over completely. There are differences between the roads.
Sawatzke asked when Knife River will start construction. Fingalson said it will be the first project after road restrictions are removed. There are two other projects in the contract that will be completed first. Fingalson envisioned the time line to be mid-May. Russek and Mattson amended the motion to include a bid prices of $2,410,863 including both alternates. The motion carried 4-1 with Thelen casting the nay vote.
Kryzer said Statutes indicate the public hearings should be held in the townships the roads are being reverted to. Two different public hearings are required, including one in Silver Creek Township and one in Corinna Township. The County Board holds these public hearings. Sawatzke thought the Statutes reflect that it is not legal for the County Board to act in their legal capacity outside of the County seat. Kryzer said the Statute reflects that a public hearing must be held in the township in this situation. Mattson asked whether written comments will be accepted. Kryzer said they will. He plans to post the notice and publish it in the County newspaper. Russek moved to set a Public Hearing in Silver Creek Township on 5-02-12 at 6:00 P.M. and a Public Hearing in Corinna Township on 5-02-12 at 7:00 P.M.
At the request of Mattson, Sawatzke made a motion to refer the request for card readers in Court Administration to the Building Committee. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 154.94
Ameripride Services 281.50
Anoka County Corrections 7,542.00
Anoka County Sheriff 10,720.01
Apec Ind. Sales & Services 2,363.96
B & B Products - Rigs And S 727.63
Barnes Distribution 218.98
BP Amoco 2,658.64
Brock White Co LLC 248.27
Cadd Engineering Supply 107.70
Carver County Treasurer 158.75
Center Point Energy 10,762.55
Central Mn Mental Health 218.80
Chamberlain Oil Co 3,878.80
Climate Air 1,248.69
Croteau Plumbing 185.50
Dynamic Imaging Sys. Inc 5,408.01
EPA Audio Visual Inc 518.34
Fastenal Company 162.90
Forestry Suppliers Inc 151.22
Gard Specialists Co Inc 505.45
Globalstar USA 117.20
Granite Electronics 8,466.60
Harris Computer Systems 16,357.99
Hewlett Packard 6,102.56
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 6,260.75
Identix Incorporated 467.65
Impact Proven Solutions 6,319.26
Integrated Fire & Security 1,256.13
International Code Council 225.00
John Deere Financial 185.45
L3 Communications Inc 109.96
LaPlant Demo Inc 1,290.26
Larson Companies LTD/W D 304.19
Lundeen/Charles D. 6,231.00
Lynn Peavey Company 500.00
Marco Inc 2,265.88
Menards - Buffalo 364.97
Mid-America Business Sys. 1,730.52
Midwest Protection Agency 1,288.68
MINCEP Epilepsy Care 2,160.72
MN Alcohol Traffic Safety 780.00
Mn Counties Intergovern Trust 130.00
MN Pollution Control Agency 484.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 783.65
Nartec Inc 301.10
Office Depot 819.64
Richards/Thomas W 200.00
Royal Tire Inc 3,190.22
RS Eden 2,101.99
Sherburne County Sheriff 101.00
Suburban Emerg. Assoc. PA 220.78
The Sign Man of MN Inc 363.16
Upper Midw. Comm. Policing 750.00
US Internet 325.00
Verizon Wireless 1,025.89
Voss Lighting 249.82
Waverly/City of 218.10
West Payment Center 278.68
Wright County Ag Society 240.00
Wright Co. Auditor Treasurer 3,488.86
Wright County Hwy. Dept 46,578.44
Wright Hennepin Electric 722.77
Xcel Energy 1,464.10
Zacks Inc 1,034.66
Ziegler Inc 11,405.00
23 Payments less than 100 1,094.52
Final Total: $208,025.30
The meeting adjourned at 10:54 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal April 18, 2012.