Wright County Board Minutes

MAY 15, 2012
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
The minutes of 5-08-12 were corrected as follows: Page 13, 3rd paragraph, 5th line, sentence should read, “The opinion of a learned engineer at the hearing was that the improvements would not be good enough” (Thelen); Page 16, 2nd paragraph, remove last two sentences which read, “She added that no one has died there yet, so that is one of the things they look at. She wanted to make that point.” (Thelen); Page 16, 3rd paragraph, 10th line, sentence should read, “Sawatzke said the small section of roadway (CR 143) in Silver Creek Township should go back to them.” (Sawatzke). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda under Items For Consideration as follows: Item 7, “Contract With Xerox” (Hiivala); and Item 8, “Approve Tobacco License, O’Brothers Inc., Montrose, MN” (Hiivala). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded with Russek, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Mattson referenced Item A2, “Authorize AMC Delegates To Attend AMC District 5 Meeting, 6-11-12, Chisago County Government Center.” He said that is the date of an upcoming Human Services Board Meeting. After discussion, the County Board concurred that the 6-11-12 Human Services Board Meeting should be scheduled at 2:30 P.M. instead of 1:30 P.M. and that the Agenda should be kept short. There is a Board of Equalization Meeting scheduled after the Human Services Board Meeting. The change in time of that meeting will be discussed at the 5-29-12 Human Services Board Meeting. On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: K. Johnson, Hwy.; M. Janckila, IT; S. Bonnick, R. Erkens, C. Nalezny, C. Thompson, Sher./Corr.
2. Authorize AMC Delegates To Attend AMC District 5 Meeting, 6-11-12, Chisago County Government Center.
3. Tri-County Regional Forensic Laboratory Report, April 2012.
1. Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting To Discuss Possible Social Host Ordinance, 10:30 A.M., 6-19-12.
1. Schedule Technology Committee Meeting 6-13-12 To Discuss Portable Device Environment, Issues And Recommended Strategies and Update On Print Management Program.
Commissioner Thelen read a resolution proclaiming the week of May 13-19, 2012 as Wright County Law Enforcement Officers Week. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #12-30, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote:
WHEREAS the law enforcement officers of Wright County have worked devotedly and selflessly in behalf of the people of this county and the State of Minnesota, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves; and
WHEREAS these officers have safeguarded the lives and property of their fellow citizens; and
WHEREAS by the enforcement of our laws, these same officers have given our county internal freedom from fear of the violence and civil disorder; and
WHEREAS seven Wright County Law Enforcement Officers including Constable Charles Albert Washburn, Sheriff John C. Nugent Jr., Marshall Rudolph Maurer, Sheriff Paul Kritzeck, Sheriff James Krietlow, Chief George Rytii, and Sheriff Roger Wrobbel have given the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty; and
WHEREAS these men and women of law enforcement by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of our community:
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners formally declares May 13-19, 2012, as Law Enforcement Officers Week in Wright County, and publicly salutes the service of law enforcement officers in our community and in communities across the nation.
(End of Resolution #12-30)
Sgt. Brian Johnson, Sheriff’s Office, presented awards for the Sheriff’s Office. The first was a Citizen Letter of Recognition for Matthew Menard. Menard is a fire fighter in Montrose and provided his assistance with identifying suspects in an arson case. This led to the charge of an individual in connection with the arson. Those receiving Commendation Letters included Sgt. Todd Korbel, Steve Houston, Rob Ryan, and Craig Hagberg for helping to save a person’s life using an AED at Discovery Elementary School in Buffalo. Deputy Erik Knoop and Deputy Paul Fladung received Letters of Recognition because of their efforts in saving a person’s life during a suicidal attempt in Monticello.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty presented the Jack Bodin Guiding Principles Award to David Holmes. Hagerty said the Award is named after Jack Bodin, a long-time member of the Wright County Law Enforcement community who exemplified the guiding principles of integrity, professionalism, fairness, and caring. Sheriff Hagerty said Holmes has been affiliated with the Sheriff’s Office for a few years. His expertise is in computer forensics, having worked for the CIA for over 30 years. He is a Sheriff’s Reserve member assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division and serves as the computer and cell phone forensics expert. He is currently training other members of the Office. Hagerty said Holmes has been a tremendous asset to the citizens of Wright County and the Sheriff’s Office, and has been instrumental in several felony cases involving digital crimes.
City of Buffalo Police Chief Mitch Weinztel recognized the City’s relationship with the Sheriff’s Office. He also recognized Rob Mossman and the canine, Buck. Buck recently died. Chief Weinztel spoke of Mossman’s participation last year in a half marathon for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The Buffalo Police Department and the Buffalo Police Employees Association wanted to present Mossman with a plaque commemorating this event. Mossman participated in the marathon with his daughter and the canine, Buck.
The County Board extended congratulations to all recipients on their achievements. It was viewed as a great opportunity to recognize those receiving awards.
Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, said two quotes were received to enlarge the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) in the Government Center. Three proposals were sent and two were received back, including Hunerberg Construction (Maple Grove), $24,881.00; and Ernst General Construction (Buffalo), $22,992.00. At the recommendation of Hayes, Mattson moved to accept the low bid from Ernst General Construction, $22,992.00. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 5-09-12. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0:
Jorgensen-Royce distributed a document outlining the justification for replacing the vacant Public Health Nurse (PHN) position (see attached).
Sawatzke asked what the position costs with benefits, as well as the amount of revenue generated. Jorgensen-Royce said the position is fully funded. Most of the reimbursement is for services, but other Public Health grants pay for the balance. Pawelk said this position is paid $26.72 per hour at Step One. She said a high estimate of benefits would add approximately an additional 30 percent to the cost. Sawatzke calculated that at about $70,000 per year. He inquired about the revenue sources. Jorgensen-Royce said the majority of the revenue comes from direct services. Sawatzke requested specific numbers. Jorgensen-Royce did not have them with her. She said funding allocations within the Department will change, depending on the qualifications of the new PHN. A good portion of the reimbursements are from health plans and waivers. Sawatzke asked her to clarify. Jorgensen-Royce said the Department has contracts with Medica and Blue Cross to provide some of the waiver and community well programs. She said any Minnesota resident over 65 who is on Medical Assistance must belong to a health plan. The Department provides health care coordination with the goal of keeping clients healthy. Sawatzke asked if the direct fees the Department receives for this position equate to approximately 50 to 60 percent. Jorgensen-Royce said those figures were close to the actual.
Eichelberg asked the qualifications for the PHN position. Jorgensen-Royce said candidates must be a Registered Nurse and a Certified Public Health Nurse. The Department is looking for someone interested in working with seniors who also has experience with waiver and community well programs. Eichelberg asked if candidates with this experience are hard to find. Pawelk said it can be difficult. The Personnel Department typically receives a small number of applications for PHN positions that frequently do not possess the minimum qualifications. She commented that starting at Step One is also a deterrent.
Eichelberg asked whether the Department will have a full complement of nurses once this position is filled. Jorgensen-Royce said yes. Sawatzke said the position seems to be fully funded without the use of levy dollars. He had no objections to refilling this position. Eichelberg concurred.
Recommendation: Approve Replacement of the Public Health Nurse Position in the Health Care Management Unit.
Miller requested refilling this position as the former employee was promoted to Mental Health Supervisor. She distributed a document describing the case load, reimbursement, and duties of this position (see attached). Miller said the position generates $66,000 in annual revenue. There is also a Mental Health grant in the amount of $18,000 per year to provide case management services to people who are persistently mentally ill. Miller said these revenue streams should more than adequately fund the position. Pawelk said Step One for this position is $19.83 per hour.
Miller said the Department formerly contracted all clinical supervision services through Central Minnesota Mental Health Center. The State requires a certain number of hours of individual therapy and clinical supervision per year for staff. This position will fulfill that requirement. Other aspects of clinical supervision include meeting with staff individually and in groups to discuss client services and review other documentation. Sawatzke asked for an explanation of the difference between functions performed by staff supervisors and the Clinical Supervisor. Miller said Erkens is the Mental Health Unit Supervisor. She said having an on-site Clinical Supervisor is an effective way to initiate staff regarding programs and to answer questions about hard cases. Miller added that clinical supervision also provides better service for clients.
Recommendation: Approve Replacement of the Social Worker III/Mental Health Professional Position.
Schwartz distributed two handouts regarding two Financial Worker position replacement requests in the areas of Food Support/Health Care and Long Term Care (see attachments). Schwartz explained that the only significant difference between the two positions is described in the first paragraph of each document. Each document specifies the caseload volume and the impact on County residents. These positions will start at Step One. Schwartz said the positions are busy and have growing caseloads. There is significant burnout among staff due to the high volume of cases. Maloney said Long Term Care cases have increased from 250 to 475 cases per worker in the last four years.
Schwartz will be presenting the impact of growth and system automation at the next Human Services Board meeting on 5-14-12. She said last month there were only 40-50 cases, but overall the case numbers have never gone down. The growth pattern remains steady.
Norman asked whether either of these positions were on a flexible schedule. Schwartz replied they were not.
Eichelberg said these are not new positions. Sawatzke commented that while reimbursement is only at 50 percent, the overwhelming workload demands the positions be replaced. Schwartz said the reimbursement amount is a moving target depending on allocations. The resources are between 60 to 75% reimbursement, including State allocations.
Recommendation: Approve Replacement of Two Financial Worker Positions.
(End of 5-09-12 Personnel Committee Minutes)
Norman referenced page 2 of today’s County Board Agenda which includes the Parks Administrator’s Agenda items. The Agenda request reflects “Approve 5-07-12 Park Commission Minutes.” He stated the County Board does not approve the Parks Commission Minutes. Sawatzke said the Agenda should be changed to reflect, “Approve Recommendations From The 5-07-12 Parks Commission Meeting.”
At 9:30 A.M., Thelen closed the bid process for the CSAH 3 Reconstruction Project, SAP 086-603-017, Contract 1202. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, said this is the largest contract let by the Wright County Road & Bridge Division (by about double). He estimated the largest project previously to be about $4.5 million. This project involves the reconstruction of CSAH 3 from Klarsyn Street in Cokato to the South County Line. The plan involves grading this year and concrete surfacing next year. Alternate 1 is for a two-mile segment in McLeod County to white top the existing bituminous. Alternate 2 is an add-on for a concrete safety edge. The Engineer’s estimate is as follows: Wright County, 9,000,000; McLeod County, Alternate 1, $750,000; and Alternate 2, $15,000. Fingalson publicly thanked Assistant Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins and the Engineering Division staff for their efforts in putting this together. He commended the efforts of Mark Johnson with right-of-way activities. There were 47 plan holders for this bid. An addendum was sent last week clarifying a number of items in the bid. Fingalson requested award of the bid later in today’s County Board Meeting. He will have staff review the bids and come back with a recommendation. Sawatzke asked why the 2012 Budget includes $4 million budgeted for this project. Fingalson stated grading will be completed in 2012, which is half of the project. Concrete surfacing will occur in 2013. The project will be funded mostly with State Aid funds and some local funds. No Federal funding is involved. The following bids were received:
Bidder; Bid Bond; Acknowledge Addendum; Total Base Bid; Alternate #1; Alternate #2
Central Specialties, Inc. (Alexandria, MN); Yes; Yes; $8,735,132.52; $635,265.76; $3,942.40
Duininck, Inc. (Prinsburg, MN); Yes; Yes; $8,663,129.43; $684,603.37; $3,942.40
Hoffman Construction Co. (Black River Falls, WI); Yes; Yes; $8,976,442.36; $659,484.02; $3,942.40
Mathiowetz Construction Co. (Sleepy Eye, MN); Yes; Yes; $7,542,906.54; $637,837.98; $3,942.40
Shafer Contracting (Shafer, MN); Yes; Yes; $8,037,198.81; $637,983.99; $3,942.40
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, introduced discussion on approval to impose a civil penalty for a failed alcohol compliance check. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said that Public Health advised that the Whispering Pines Golf Course in Corinna Township failed an alcohol compliance check as an employee sold to an 18-year old without requiring identification. In 2004, the County adopted a resolution establishing an administrative fine schedule of $200 for the first violation. Asleson requested Board approval to send the notice to Whispering Pines Golf Course on the $200 fine. Whispering Pines has the chance to request a hearing before the County Board if they want to appeal the violation or the penalty, involving a 30-day window. Russek moved to approve the civil penalty for Whispering Pines Golf Course in Corinna Township. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.
Hiivala requested approval for renewal of an ATM contract with ROI Central Minnesota, LLC. The current contract is with ROI Moving Supply Company. Due to a name change, a new contract must be signed. The contract terms will be renewed and will remain the same. The machines are located by the License Bureau and in the Law Enforcement Center. The County receives $.25/transaction to help offset the electrical costs of the ATM’s. Russek moved to approve the ATM Contract with ROI Central Minnesota, LLC. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. The motion carried unanimously.
Hiivala has been contacted several times by Bruce Kimmel, VP Ehlers & Assoc., on the opportunity for the County to refinance one of its debt structures. Kimmel stated this relates to an advance refunding of the County’s outstanding G.O. Sewer Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2003A. The December 1, 2014 through 2023 maturities of the Series 2001A Bonds to be refunded total $1,480,000 and have interest rates of 3.55% to 4.2%. Based on estimated refunding interest rates of 0.75% to 2.15%, the total projected saving resulting from the refunding, after all fees and expenses, is approximately $120,900, or about $11,000-$12,000/year. Estimated total savings expressed in present value terms is roughly $108,400 or 6.65% of the refunded debt service. The County would pay debt service with the same revenues used for the existing bonds and the repayment term will not be extended beyond the existing December 1, 2023 final maturity date. The County’s general obligation debt is currently rates AA+ by Standard & Poor’s. A credit rating will be secured for this refunding. As the County is issuing less than $10,000,000 in the calendar year, it will be able to designate the bonds as “bank qualified” obligations, which broadens the market and can result in lower interest rates. The 2012A bonds are being issued for roughly 11.5 years with the first principal payable on 12-01-14 and final principal payable on 12-01-23. Given the relatively short period, it is recommended the 2012A bonds maturing on 12-01-21 and thereafter be callable on 12-01-20 and any date thereafter.
Kimmel stated that if the County Board finds the refunding acceptable, he would ask that they consider the set sale resolution authorizing them to work with County staff and the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office to move the sale forward. There would be steps in the first part of June in terms of distributing the official statement, having the rating presentation with Standard and Poors, and presenting the winning bid for consideration on 6-19-12. That presentation would include the actual net savings.
Sawatzke asked whether the potential savings to the County is after any costs involved with the refunding (including fees from Ehlers, legal costs, and costs associated with rating). Kimmel stated this is correct. He referenced an exhibit which reflects a debt service comparison. The exhibit reflects the new debt service and interest rates compared to the old debt service and interest rates. After the call date, there is an estimated $4,900 savings up front. Over the next 10 years, there would be an additional $11,000-$12,000 savings annually for a total of $121,000. Kimmel said these are projected rates. Current interest rates are actually lower than shown in the exhibit. If the bonds were sold today, the interest rates would be better than what is being shown in the exhibit. The results are net of all costs relating to financing.
Sawatzke said a few years ago, the County was encouraged to refinance but there was a penalty involved with refinancing early. The County ultimately waited and did not pay the penalty. He asked whether there will be any penalties associated with this refunding. Kimmel explained there will be no premium or penalty for refinancing. The bonds are refundable in 2012 and 2013. With this type of refinancing, the bonds will be issued in the summer of 2012 and the money would be invested for about 17 months. The investment rate at which they will be investing the bonds is going to be somewhat less than the bond rate. That impact is also factored into the results. They are projecting a conservative investment rate for the bond proceeds up to the call date. Sawatzke asked whether there is some type of premium involved with calling the bonds prior to 12-01-13. Kimmel said no. There is no premium involved. With advance refunding, it would be the County’s opinion that the savings realized would be worth locking in at current interest rates and holding onto the funds until 12-01-13. This would be as opposed to waiting to refinance on 12-01-13 with potentially higher interest rates. Sawatzke said the County refinanced a few years ago and saved more by waiting to refinance. He asked if it is a similar situation. Kimmel said it is not. He said the difference in the savings by waiting was not large. Kimmel said with the proposed refinancing, they are showing an estimated savings of about 7%. The threshold is about 3% so that is just over double. In March, interest rates were up 50 and 60 basis points and those rates declined in April. The opportunity has returned.
Sawatzke said this refunding is actually for those in the sewer district and does not involve the County’s money. He asked whether residents in the sewer district will receive a rebate or lowered assessment. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said when the sewer district project commenced in 2002, extra capacity was included for future hookups. The infrastructure costs were greater than what was recouped through the assessments. The savings from refinancing will basically make it easier for the sewer district to cover those initial costs. It was initially projected that there would be additional sewer hookups. There have been a handful but not to the extent that was anticipated due to a decrease in development. Sawatzke asked whether St. Michael’s district is included in this fund or if they have a separate fund. Asleson responded that St. Michael has a fund for the north end of Lake Charlotte, and there is a separate, dedicated fund managed by the County. The County cannot use any County dollars toward this project. If the district gets to the point where they are unable to cover costs (i.e., repairs), those residents in the sewer district would be assessed. Sawatzke said he wanted to point out that the sewer district is saving the money, not the County.
Eichelberg moved to adopt Resolution #12-31, providing for the sale of $1,565,000 in G.O. Sewer Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2012A. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Hiivala said whenever the County issues debt, they have an obligation to do a continuing disclosure at a cost of just over $2,000/year. With this issuance, the County will not have to pay for this continuing disclosure for 2012. Kimmel said this is an ongoing requirement for Wright County, regardless of whether debt is issued in a year or not. If the County would issue debt and there is an official statement drawn up, then that fee is waived since they already have the information. Last year, Wright County paid the fee as there was no debt issued. The County will be saving that money as a result of this bond issuance.
On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to accept the April Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines.
A County Ditch 31 update was provided. Hiivala said that work was completed on Ditch 31 by the Diers and a report was received reflecting that the work was done well. Subsequently, he was notified by Kerry Saxton, SWCD, that the improvements may be too deep and wide. Hiivala said SWCD then investigated the work and submitted a written report on County Ditch 31. In summary, the SWCD did not find a detriment to the Ditch system but made recommendations going forward, “Spoil piles have not been spread and no seeding has been done on the ditch banks to date. These two facts leave the ditch in an unstable condition which will cause soil material to erode and slide into the ditch.” Hiivala said the SWCD feels this should be addressed. The report provided by the SWCD is a written finding of their investigation. Thelen asked if any action is needed. Hiivala again referenced Saxton’s report which reflects, “We suggest that procedures are put into place to better control these types of county ditch actions where individuals ask to clean portions of county ditches.” Hiivala feels this is a good point. If people are going to clean out ditch systems themselves, they need permission to do so and there should be a formal process. The area would be scoped prior to the work and after the work is completed. Thelen asked whether Hiivala was seeking approval to proceed with development of these guidelines. Hiivala said this is informational only, but it is a common sense procedure as they go forward. Mattson said he was contacted by the Diers and he referred them to Saxton. The repair was at no cost to the County or other benefited owners on the Ditch. He felt there possibly was a misunderstanding between Saxton and the Diers but feels that has been resolved. Hiivala said no action is required.
Hiivala said that the County previously signed a contract with RT Vision for the electronic timesheet project. At some point, beta testing is involved. As part of that process, an Agreement with Xerox is required for reprogramming. He asked the Board to authorize him to sign the Agreement in the amount of $1,000. Mattson moved to authorize Hiivala’s signature on the Agreement, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
The County received a Tobacco License Application from O’Brothers Inc., dba O’Brothers Wine & Spirits, which is a new establishment in Montrose. Mattson moved to approve the Application, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said the Parks Commission met on 5-07-12 and made recommendations to the County Board. The first involves an expenditure of $1,600 for wildlife murals at Ney Nature Center, funded from the Ney Park account, line item 02-525-6859. The cost includes all supplies. Eichelberg moved to authorize this expenditure, seconded by Mattson. Sawatzke asked for the fund balance in the Ney Park fund. Mattice estimated this at about $40,000. The motion carried unanimously.
The second recommendation from the Parks Commission was to work with the Wright County Pheasants Forever Chapter to host a one-day special waterfowl hunt for Veterans with Disabilities at Robert Ney Regional Park. All State and Federal rules will be followed. If needed, Wright County Veteran Services will assist with the event and volunteers and sponsors will be recruited by the sponsoring organizations (Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and others). Mattice was in contact with Scott County, as they have been sponsoring a similar event. They have not had any problems and they have received public support. There are some logistics to work out. Mattice said MCIT does not see any problem with the event. The largest concern is with other Park visitors on the day of the event. If approved, the plan is to have controlled accesses that day to inform visitors of the event. The event is anticipated the first part of October. The waterfowl dates have not been established yet. Eichelberg said it appears the insurance portion has been addressed, which was his main concern. Melissa Sandquist, Co-Banquet Chair and Webmaster for the Wright County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, said she has volunteered with the Scott County military hunt. The difference with this request is they would open it up for disabled veterans as well. She felt it shows gratitude and appreciation to those that have put their lives on the line for others. It is an event that lets them participate in something that they are interested in doing. She envisioned there to be more than enough volunteers for this event. The current President of Capable Partners has indicated they are willing to assist with the handicapped, disabled hunt. They have the proper equipment to do this. Mattson moved to approve the one-day special waterfowl hunt for Veterans with Disabilities at Robert Ney Regional Park. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Eichelberg would like the County Board to receive a report on the event after it occurs. Mattice stated that one concern of staff is the management after the hunt. This will be the first time hunters will be allowed in the Parks system. The Parks Department will work with law enforcement to make sure unapproved activities don’t happen on days that follow the event. The motion carried 5-0.
The meeting recessed at 10:18 A.M. and reconvened at 10:31 A.M.
George Gmach, Trusight, presented the Wright County Employee Classification Report. The purpose of the project is to develop current job descriptions for all jobs in all departments. That process has finished. Job descriptions with significant similarities were combined into new descriptions. As a result, the number of job classes was reduced from 154 to 128, not including the elected positions. Most of the consolidation occurred in support staff. All jobs were evaluated using a point factor system looking at qualifications (education and experience), decisions (nature and impact), problem solving (nature and impact), relationships (nature and impact), effort (physical and mental), hazards, and environment. The evaluation results showed that when job evaluation points are combined with pay rates they form a pay line which, in turn, is used to set pay grades. As points go up, so does pay in a general pattern. The objective is to be as linear as possible. A pay line can use market or internal pay practices. Internal practices were used. This process did not include a market study; it is based solely on internal equity (one job against another). Gmach said pay equity measures the relative treatment of male dominated jobs versus female dominated jobs. Jobs that have a relatively equal number of males and females are excluded from the calculation. The new points do not lead to a need to do a current remedial adjustment to any jobs. He said obviously, creating a linear pay line is a long-range goal the County should strive for. Gmach referenced a graph reflecting a general pattern that shows the new points versus the current maximums. Trusight recommends a phased-in adjustment of additional pay, as much as the budget will allow, for those jobs that tend to be furthest from their peers (those that are in the bottom of the oval on the graph). Phasing in the adjustments over a three-year period would control the costs and manage expectations. The County could adjust by a flat amount up front and spread the remainder over three years. Any subsequent adjustments may be smaller but applied to more jobs as the pay line becomes more linear.
Gmach said upon publication of preliminary points, an appeal process is recommended. Appeals are to the job content contained in descriptions and the consultant’s job information rather than to the application of the evaluation tool (points). Appeals may result in minor changes, but ratings could go up or down. Gmach recommends a 30-day window for review of the job descriptions by employees. An appeal can be made if an employee feels their job description misses a very significant portion of their job. Trusight has provided a recommended memo to Wright County which can be sent to staff. It should accompany the distribution of job descriptions. Appeals may result in minor changes and the ratings could go up or down.
Gmach provided an example of a job description for the Office Technician, which is a position that was combined with other jobs. Since it is a combined job, addendums were created that capture the nuances of the job in various departments. Any department with this position may contain additions or subtractions from the core job, but essentially the work is at the same level.
Gmach referenced a Wright County Classification handout. The handout includes current job classification, recommended classification, department, union, FLSA status, and assigned points. Two variations of this handout are available, including one by points assigned and another by job classification. The second is sorted by department, which will provide department heads with an easier view of the job ratings within their work area.
Norman said Gmach spoke to the appeals process. He concurred with the 30-day appeal period, starting 5-15-12. The intent is to send the job descriptions electronically to department heads for distribution. The appeals process will provide adequate time for review of the job descriptions and for any questions that may be asked. Mattson asked who would serve as the appeals committee. Gmach’s recommendation is that an appeal first be brought by the employee to their supervisor. From there, the supervisor would bring the appeal to Human Resources. The appeal would then be provided to Gmach for review. If necessary, Gmach will meet with the incumbent and the supervisor to discuss the rating and job content. It is a Board controlled process, but Gmach stated that most organizations defer to the consultant in this arena. Norman added that it is important to keep neutrality in the process and to keep the consultant as the principle contact.
Hiivala said he met with Gmach previously to review the job descriptions in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. The Office Technician job description which Gmach referenced today relates to a job description in his Department that has addendums. Hiivala said he met with Gmach but has no idea of what was put in the Classification Study, and now it is being presented to the Board. There might be an appeals process available, but Hiivala said he was assured he would be able to read what Gmach put in the descriptions prior to them being presented to the County Board. He is not sure about point totals and whether his staff may be benefited. He did not feel the process was completed for him. Now the descriptions are being presented to the Board as a completed project. Thelen asked if Hiivala’s comments are representative of the other department heads that were present. She asked if Gmach had missed the step of going back to the department heads with revised job descriptions. Hiivala said Gmach met with him but there was no follow up. Gmach is presenting this today as a completed project. Hiivala restated that he did not know whether his staff will be benefited. Now he will have to go through the appeals process if he disagrees. Hiivala said he had verbal communications with Gmach. He disagrees with the addendums that are attached to the Office Tech 1 job description. Thelen said it was her understanding that Gmach was going to meet with department heads, make the changes, and get the descriptions back to them. Gmach said pretty much all of the suggestions made by department heads were adopted verbatim. He felt that once the descriptions were distributed, there would be no concern expressed. With regard to the Office Technician position in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office referenced by Hiivala, that position was a level 2 position. Hiivala said he then retracts his statement. Thelen restated that she felt Gmach was going to meet with the department heads and get something back to them. Gmach said meetings were held with departments in the Administration Department. Thelen said again that she felt that Gmach was going to meet with departments and get them a final document before it came to the County Board.
Sawatzke said he wanted to make a point and it was not directed at Hiivala. The appeals process needs to be in place for inaccuracies, not because someone is not benefiting. Some people will fall above or below the line. It is important that the criteria in the process are accurate. If employees are allowed to appeal based on benefit, he feels there will be a lot of people unhappy with the outcome and that process would be a waste of time. Employees should only appeal if there is an inaccuracy, not if they did not benefit. Thelen agreed. Sawatzke said there are 126 position descriptions, with half of those falling above the line and half below the line. If an employee looks at where their position is relating to the line, and based on that whether they benefited, he felt that would be a misunderstanding of the process.
Norman said when Gmach met with the Board a few months ago, the Board directed him to meet with any department head that wanted to discuss job descriptions. It was not the intent that he would re-draft the job descriptions and send them back to department heads for review. It was to have them sit down, review, and Gmach would take those comments under consideration when putting together the final product. Thelen said perhaps she assumed that he would get back to department heads with those results. Gmach said they will all receive the job descriptions now. There will be a 30-day appeal period. It is not just the employees who have the right to appeal a job description or rating. Department heads can appeal any of the jobs in their department.
Pat O’Malley, Jail Administrator, said when the Sheriff’s Office reviewed job descriptions, it was not about whether there is benefit to the employee but whether the job descriptions are accurate. He said it went both ways when they looked at them. Some things were missed and others were over stated. When the Sheriff’s Office met with Gmach, he said it was their understanding that they would get to see those revisions. Their intent was to reduce the number of appeals. O’Malley said if a job description is appealed, it should be on accuracy and not on benefit. He feels the County will receive appeals because people feel they are not benefiting, but those appeals should be easily reviewed and the opinion given that the description is accurate. He restated that the Sheriff’s Office was hoping to see those descriptions back so they knew what was going out to employees.
Thelen asked whether there would be a possibility for department heads to review the job descriptions followed by the appeal process. They could be given the descriptions for a week to review and the appeals would follow. Gmach said the dilemma that the County would place themselves in is that until the appeals process has finished, it will be difficult for the County to actively participate in negotiations on any jobs that might be benefited. He said it is important to keep this process on a timeline. The process of sending the descriptions electronically will allow review of the job descriptions by department heads. If a department head sees something they don’t agree with, they can raise the issue at any point in time in an appeal process. Gmach said that the appeals process, if originated at the department head level, ought to be pretty straight forward.
Sawatzke asked for the appeals process. Norman said appeals will go through the department head to Administration to Gmach for review. At that point, the department head, Human Resources, and Gmach will review the job description for accuracy. The points assigned to a job cannot be appealed. Accuracy and content of the job description can be appealed. Norman said since Gmach met with almost all of the department heads that had questions on specific job descriptions, he feels comfortable that 99% of those questions have been addressed in the rewrites. Norman was unaware that anyone promised they would be redrafted, sent back, and discussed again. He felt the process had been clear. Sawatzke asked who has the ability to appeal. Norman said the employer owns the job description. The employer dictates what an employee’s job is. If someone is appealing their job description, they should be appealing to their supervisor and to their department head. They will have to discuss with that employee what the major task functions are of the job.
Gmach referenced the issue of departments wanting another round of review as they didn’t get to see the edits. He assured the Board that any input received from department heads was pretty much taken verbatim. They didn’t see anything they disagreed with in terms of people pumping up their descriptions. It mostly centered on issues of accuracy relating to the things that are being done. Some things may have related to something that should have been deleted or added through the process. He felt the descriptions were in good shape. The appeals process is to the entirety of the organization. If a department head, who is an agent of management, sees something that is missing, they have the right to say it should be changed. Thelen asked if everything Gmach heard from department heads was incorporated into the final description. Gmach said it was. Thelen said for the sake of buy-in, she felt that an email should have been sent to that effect.
Norman felt the appropriate motion for the Board would be to accept the Classification Study and to set the 30-day appeals date to end at 4:30 P.M. on 6-15-12. Russek made that motion, seconded by Eichelberg. Mattson asked if an employee should appeal to their department head. Norman said initially, yes. With 120 classifications, Norman said if they asked people if they received enough points, he estimated 120 people would say no. Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, asked whether the job descriptions have to be agreed upon in collective bargaining. Norman responded that the job descriptions are not negotiable. Pay and benefits (i.e., terms and conditions of employment) are negotiable. Lt. Hoffman asked whether they can tell their personnel that the job description is what it is but through collective bargaining they can negotiate pay. Norman said the job description is what it is pending an appeal and what the outcome of the appeals process is. Sawatzke said with all the new points applied, the County fully meets comparable worth with what everyone is being paid now. Norman and Gmach stated this is correct. Sawatzke said there are no issues with regard to comparable worth with the new points and where people lie on that chart. Gmach said that is correct. Lt. Hoffman asked whether that means the pay stays the same until collective bargaining. Sawatzke said relative to comparable worth, there are no issues with the pay schedules of the employees. Any changes in pay, if there are going to be any, whether through COLA, steps, or otherwise, would be part of a collective bargaining discussion. Norman said it is the intent to send a letter this week to business agents with a copy of the results so they are aware of it prior to the next round of bargaining. The motion carried 5-0. Lee Kelly, Special Projects Administrator, project lead on the Classification Study, was recognized by Norman for his work on the Study.
Earlier in today’s meeting, bids were opened for the CSAH 3 Reconstruction Project. Fingalson returned to the meeting and said staff reviewed the bids and found no corrections. It was his recommendation to accept the low bid from Mathiowetz Construction Co. for $7,542,906.54. Fingalson said they contacted McLeod County on the two alternates and they indicated they would like the County to award the alternates as well. Therefore, the total cost of the project, including the base bid and two alternates, comes to $8,184,686.92. Mattson moved to award the bid to Mathiowetz Construction at a cost of $8,184,686.92, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.
A Wright County Board Meeting was held on 5-02-12 at Silver Creek Township hall for a Public Revocation Hearing. The meeting was attended by Commissioners Thelen, Sawatzke, and Eichelberg. Russek and Mattson did not attend. At the 5-15-12 County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the Board Minutes of the 5-02-12 meeting, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0:
Chairperson Thelen called the meeting to order and introductions were made.
The Public Hearing portion of this meeting was officially begun.
1. Revocation Statutes – Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney
Kryzer explained that the process of revoking a County Highway to a Township is addressed in Minnesota State Statute 163.11, Subd. 5A. The purpose of this meeting is to receive public comment regarding the proposed revocation of those portions of County Road 123 and County Road 143 which are located in Silver Creek Township (herein after referred to as ‘Silver Creek’), back to Silver Creek. According to this statute, the County is required to hold a public hearing and to notify the Township Board via certified mail, 30 days in advance of this hearing. Notices went out in March, and notice was published in the official Wright County Newspaper and also published on the Wright County Board calendar. Today is an opportunity to give comments to the County Board members, which they will take under advisement and lay over for action at a future County Board meeting. In order to revoke the road, the County is required to repair the road to a standard comparable to other similar roads on the county system and to record a document, at which time the transfer will be completed. Then, for two years after the date of record, the County will be responsible for maintaining the road, which could possibly be addressed by a memo of understanding to lessen that time for the purpose of making a transfer of funds (from the statewide Township Road Account) available to Silver Creek.
2. History of Road/Purpose of Road – Wayne Fingalson, County Engineer
Fingalson said that the jurisdictional studies that were done on Wright County roadways are specifically what brought about the suggested revocations. Roads are defined by the way they serve the network. Two large jurisdictional studies were done in Wright County, with the first one a state mandated study back in 1987. This was a statewide jurisdictional study that included all the cities, townships, and counties. Out of that study came recommendations for changes that should be made to the county system. Wright County participated in another transportation study which also focused on whether the roads were governed by the appropriate jurisdictions. Both CR 123 and CR 143 were determined to be more appropriate on the township system than the county system. Fingalson explained that these jurisdictional turnback candidates are considered when they are on the schedule for improvements. Typically, the County talks with the jurisdictional city or township, makes the improvements as planned, and then goes through the process of revoking the road. It has been awhile since any township received a revoked road. In a revocation hearing, the proposal is discussed with the Township Board, in most cases for the first time, at a public hearing. However, this particular revocation proposal has been talked about over some time, which includes three Transportation Committee of the Whole Board (TCOTW) meetings, in which all five commissioners participate. The TCOTW meeting is usually a little less formal than a regular board meeting, and there is generally opportunity for lots of discussion. Recommendations are made by the commissioners and are handled by those same commissioners at a formal Wright County Board meeting. Revocation of CRs 123 and 143 was talked about at the TCOTW meetings on January, 4, February 15, and March 26 and at each of the subsequent County Board meetings. Representatives from the Silver Creek Township Board were in attendance at two of those TCOTW meetings, and six typed pages were part of the County Board meetings. Commissioner Thelen and Highway Department staff also attended a Town Board meeting to discuss this subject. One thing talked about was the desire by the Township to improve the roads to have wider shoulders and flatter inslopes. The County would not be doing those kinds of improvements for roads that don’t belong on the county system. When a road meets a county function, the proposed improvements can be different, although lack of funding many times prevents those improvements on those routes, also. The overlay bid was set up with improvements to CRs 123 and 143 identified as an alternate. One option presented was to give the Township money for the proposed improvements, and by waiting until bids were presented and awarded, the actual cost could be determined rather than using an estimate. Another option was for the County to get the improvements done, give the road back, and then maintain it for two years, at which time the turnback would become official. If the Township wanted to make more improvements than what the County is proposing (mill and overlay), it could take the money as identified in the bid and use that in conjunction with its own money to make further improvements. After considerable discussion, the Township Board decided to have the County proceed with road improvements rather than take the money. The award has been made to Knife River, and no bituminous removal work will be done until a week from tomorrow. Hawkins said that the milling and paving will start next Wednesday. Fingalson explained that the main purpose of the hearing tonight is to take testimony from board members and citizens who have concerns about the County’s proposal to give these portions of roadway to the Township. Once improvements are made, the road may be given back to the Township, but the County will maintain it for a two-year period. The reason to give it back immediately would be to allow the Township to collect state town road money. The County is ineligible to collect money on its county road, but the Township could. The County only gets to collect gas tax money for the County State Aid Highways (CSAH) that are more heavily traveled. The three digit numbers are county roads and funded strictly by local property tax. The advantage of giving the road back right away is that Silver Creek would get the benefit of collecting the town road funds, probably $1,500 to $1,600/year. Bill Langenbacher, Silver Creek Township Supervisor, has pointed out that the Silver Creek Board would like to have the County mill and overlay the roads and then maintain them for two years. When the Township officially takes over the road, the Township would then be able to obtain town road money. The Board will hear further comments tonight and then taken action at a future Wright County Board meeting.
3. Proposed Improvements – Virgil Hawkins, Assistant County Engineer
Hawkins showed before and after pictures of a similar road improvement that was made to CR 117 in 2011. The volume on CR 117 is 1,645 ADT (Average Daily Traffic) while traffic on CR 123 is 355 ADT. Improvement proposed to CRs 123 and 143 is pavement preservation. Two inches of existing bituminous will be milled off, get recycled, and put into a new mix. Two inches will then be put back with an additional inch and a half of wear course, for a total of three and a half inches of new surface. This will increase the tonnage on this road from 7 tons to 9 tons. A safety edge will also be put down to prevent tire scrubbing when vehicles go off edge of the roadway. With a sharper edge, drivers will often overcorrect and end up in the oncoming lane. The safety edge prevents the overcorrecting from happening. Cost per mile for mill and overlay was $151,000 last year and is $162,000 this year. New, safer mailbox supports for residents are also a part of this project.
4. Township Board/Public Comments
Kenneth Pribyl commented that some of his questions had been answered, but he had another one. He asked if the County gets any state funding for the road, and Fingalson said that it does not. K. Pribyl said that taking the road back would be a hardship on the Township. The County gets a lot more revenue that the Township does, and at this point, the County even has a surplus. He doesn’t understand why the Township should accept the road. The sum of $1,500/year doesn’t go very far when the Township will have to clear and sand the road and in five or 10 years will have to seal crack it. Because of the base of the road materials, it probably won’t hold up very well. The bar in Silver Creek serves a lot of food, and the sportsman club, through an agreement with the County Parks, is generating more traffic on that road.
Alfred Shenton commented that CR 123 has always been a snow problem that fills up in the corners. K. Pribyl said that he doesn’t believe that Silver Creek will be able to take care of that. He said that this road now has one of the best county crews around to take care of it, and he would like to see that continue.
John Jones said that he went back over the minutes of the Silver Creek Township meeting and the wording was such that Silver Creek agreed to take the road over in two years and that the County would maintain it for another two years after that, for a total of four years. That decision was made at the meeting and approved by the Township Board. Silver Creek is not against accepting the road, because they feel they really have no choice. They understand this from the County’s point of view, and Jones also understands what K. Pribyl is saying. Chances are that the service may be slower than it is with the County doing the maintenance. The Township will get the road opened up, but the snow and ice control may not be as great as it is now. K. Pribyl said that Silver Creek doesn’t have the people or the funds, and the County has a lot more revenue. Jones said that the Township has tried to keep the levy from going up, and they have been successful at this. He doubts that this will increase the levy. It will be a matter of getting a schedule together. He added that he would like the County to maintain it for four years as opposed to two years.
Tim Pribyl asked what Wright County would be spending on this project, and he was told that the amounts would be $335,000 on CR 123 and $43,000 for CR 143 for the mill and overlay. Silver Creek will be taking over those two portions of roadway in Silver Creek Township. T. Pribyl said that it will cost a lot of money when this has to be done again in 10 years. He understands that there are a lot fewer people per mile on these roads, but he still doesn’t agree with the County giving the road back. However, there seems to be no choice. He asked what Wright County would do if the Township Board refused to take it back. Sawatzke said that he has been on the County Board for some time and said that the Board has never made a City or Township take a road that they refused to take. A number of roads have been given back through agreements. Fingalson said that there have been some agreements with Townships, and Sawatzke said that he didn’t know if any have been made to take them back. Jones said that it is the opinion of the Township Board members that Silver Creek would fight this, except that it would cost more money to do so, and after talking to the Township Association attorney and the attorney at the state, it appears that the Township will get the road back anyway. It’s just a matter of how long the process will be prolonged. T. Pribyl asked if the County would force the takeback, and Sawatzke said that as long as he’s been on the Board, he can’t remember that they have ever done that. Fingalson said that this was done by the Board in 1989 involving Albion Township. T. Pribyl asked again if the Township Board says ‘no,’ is the County Board going to force it? Sawatzke said that this decision will be voted on by the entire County Board, and Thelen said that this is why the public hearings are being held. She said she knows that taking care of the road is more expensive for the Township to absorb than it is for the County, and she’s not sure the County feels this way, but she doesn’t like stiffing the Township. Sawatzke said that these roads don’t serve a county function, but rather a community function, and improvements will only serve local traffic. From that standpoint, if this road were to be rebuilt, it would make more sense for the Township to do that. On the other hand, right now it is a county road. If it were being built for the first time now, it would be a township road. Shenton said that it used to be a township road and then became a county road, although he’s not certain of when that occurred. Sawatzke added that at one time Silver Creek was a booming town, and maybe it made sense for it to be a regional road. Shenton said that the bypass of CSAH 8 going around Silver Creek and CSAH 39 going straight to CSAH 8 instead of coming into town could be one reason the County is thinking of turning it back. T. Pribyl said that he wanted to go on record opposing this turnback. The County has the equipment and the guys, and they should keep the road.
Doug Schneider said that he, as a board member, was under the impression that the Township would have to take the road back. That’s why they made the decision to accept it with the best option they felt was available. Fingalson said that this was discussed at the TCOTW meeting, and one of the options identified was that the County could keep it. Schneider said that he is strongly opposed to taking the road back and feels that it is being pushed onto the Township. Thelen said that the County has no money for improving this road further. The need for further improvements is not being denied, and it should be identified as a need. Sawatzke said that as he was reading a letter written to the Board by Corinna Township it struck him that he doesn’t think that the County is turning the road back because of lack of money, but rather because the road doesn’t meet the need. Even though Wright County also has limited resources, it is not turning the roads back because it is poor. It is more about the fact that this road doesn’t meet the local county distinction. The County doesn’t have a money tree. Fingalson said that there are more county resources than township resources, but the County has a whole bunch of other roads to maintain too…530 miles of roads. Wright County is $5 million behind in its construction program for state aid money. It has a lot more needs than it has money, and it behooves us as a County to look at roadways that should have been given back when the bypass was built, even before the jurisdiction studies were completed. Fingalson said that the question to be asked is, “Is it the right thing to do?” Both Corinna and Silver Creek Townships have identified these roads as belonging on the township system, it is just a matter of what it’s going to take to get a turnback. Fingalson also addressed the comment made that this work would need to be redone in 10 years. He said that he didn’t agree with that. It was overlaid 17-18 years ago, and that was just an overlay and not a mill and overlay. The process used today is a much better process and results in a longer lasting roadway. The heaves are because of different soils, and the only way to eliminate them is to completely regrade the road, but this is not realistic because it would be too expensive to do that. Fingalson said that he is recommending that the road be given back, because it is the right thing to do. He has talked with the Township Board, and there seems to be an understanding, except for the length of maintenance by the County after the turnback. He said that it would be very unusual for the County to maintain it for more than two years. Schneider said that it was Silver Creek’s position that the Township would accept the road in two years, and then the County would continue to maintain it for two years after that. That’s how they arrived at a four year maintenance request, and his motion at the Township Board meeting was seconded based upon that understanding. Fingalson said that this would be unusual, and the County has never done a revocation that wasn’t consistent with the statute. The only confusion was that if the Township doesn’t get it back for two years, they would not get the benefit of the town road money. No one would get the $3,000. All other revocations have been done with a two-year or less maintenance period. Wright County would make the improvements as they propose and then maintain it for two years. This would allow the township jurisdiction to get budget concerns addressed for additional maintenance and proceed accordingly. Thelen commented that someone may have suggested this longer period in order to see how the process will work. It would give the Township some time to see how they can handle the maintenance. Otherwise, the citizens are stuck with high cracking and the costs associated with that. Fingalson said that based on the 1995 Transportation Study that the County Board adopted, as the roads come due to be improved, they are to be turned back to the appropriate jurisdiction. So far, 16 miles of highway have been turned back since 1995, and there are 24 miles left that are identified as turnback candidates. He is going by the plan that the Board adopted. Most turnbacks have been done through agreements and were not handled like the current turnbacks of CR 123 and 143 are being handled. When asked how many township roads have been turned back, Hawkins said that 16 miles of road have been revoked, but that Cokato Township is the only township to have received a turnback, and that was in 1992. All the other road miles have been to cities. A comment was made from the crowd that the truth is coming out…cities can afford to take them back because they have more money. Fingalson said that there have been other township turnbacks prior to that listing, and townships included have been French Lake, Cokato, and Albion. In fact, Albion Township did not want to take a road back, but the County turned it back to them and maintained it for two years in 1989.
Tim Young, Attorney for Silver Creek Township (as well as for Corinna Township), said that he had some questions. There are two criteria that must be met before the reversion is complete. First, the road must be brought up to standards, and second, the County has to record whatever interest it has in the real estate in the road. Are there any easements or does this road exist by use? How do you memorialize that as part of the turnback? Kryzer said that as far as the second criteria is concerned, he has talked to the County Surveyor and plans to record this as a plat, which is easier to do than to record a legal description, which would result in a lot of pages on record. A good portion of the road is established through use, which began in the 1930s. Jones asked about right of way, and Fingalson said that there would be 66 feet of right of way, with 33 feet on each side of the road. This is the standard with existing roadways, and the County would have no interest outside 33 feet.
Maurice Carlin said that he lives on CR 123 and has considerable frontage on the road. When he asked about special assessments, he was told that there would be none. He does share the same sentiments about the larger tax base of the county compared to the township. As far as he is concerned, he feels that the County has done an excellent job of maintaining the road and really doesn’t think the Township should take it over. They do a good job too. He doesn’t know when the Township gave the road to the County, as he thought it was previously a township road. His view from the Sportsmen’s Club is that they have a good relationship with the County, and the change of ownership really doesn’t affect the Club, or possibly affects just the entrance. The Sportsmen’s Club takes care of the maintenance of their own road. His concern is that CR 143 is used for an arterial road with a rating of nine tons that a lot of trucks will be using it, coming through Silver Creek around the bar. He feels that they are already using it because they are able to avoid enforcement for heavier loads. Hawkins explained that all paved roads in Minnesota are 10-ton roads unless posted otherwise. Most postings come down after the spring restrictions. He suggested that this road be posted lower than nine ton if they wanted to keep heavier traffic off it. Carlin said that the trucks have been using this route for years. Meyer said that he had posted some roads to keep trucks off in times of high water. The Township would have the authority to post a lower tonnage allowance if they wished to do so. Sawatzke said that if this were a county highway with regional traffic, it would be reasonable to expect lots of traffic, but maybe not on a local road. County highways are for commerce as much as anything.
Thelen then asked for any further comments. Receiving none, the Public Hearing was declared officially over at 6:45 p.m. The Board meeting resumed at 6:45 p.m. On a motion made by Sawatzke and seconded by Eichelberg, all present voted to table this discussion and until the County Board meeting on May 15, 2012. The meeting was adjourned at 6:47 p.m.
(End of 5-02-12 Wright County Board Minutes for the Public Revocation Hearing, Silver Creek Township Hall)
Russek stated that at the last County Board Meeting, he made a motion to start the process of revocation for CR 123 to Corinna Township. Since that time, he has received numerous calls from townships explaining why they are financially unable to take roads over. These contacts were not with Corinna or Silver Creek Townships but other townships. Woodland Township will face a similar situation next year. Woodland Township indicated they do not have the equipment to maintain a blacktop road. They would have to buy a salt spreader for their truck and be responsible for overlays and crack sealing. Russek said the crack sealing is done by the County but the County hires for sealcoating. Russek has mixed emotions on turning the road back to Corinna Township. In talking with Woodland Township, the question came up as to why these ever became County roads in the first place. He said the County has been maintaining the roads for many years. Right now, Russek is not in favor of turning the roadways back. Most townships do not have the equipment to maintain blacktop roads and it will be a large expense for them. The County plows on both ends of CR 123, so he questioned why it will be a problem to continue. That is the case with other roads as well. Russek does not see a large savings with turning roads back to the townships, and he did not foresee anyone in the County being laid off from not maintaining these roads. Mattson referenced a road in McLeod County that was turned back to the Township, and he understands that road is not in good condition. Mattson did not attend the Silver Creek Township Meeting and has thought about this issue since. He concurred with Russek that the townships do not have the equipment to maintain the roads. He asked whether the County would help the townships if they ran into trouble. Thelen said she has been opposed to the revocation of CR 123 to Corinna Township all along and was glad Mattson and Russek were seeing this from another position.
Sawatzke said he has shared Thelen’s concern on the revocation. About six years ago, there was an issue with the revocation of a small segment of roadway in Monticello Township. At that time, Monticello Township did not want the road back and they did not take it back. He felt not revoking CR 123 to Corinna Township would be a consistent approach. Sawatzke thought the opportunity to come to some type of agreement with Corinna Township was lost when the road work on CR 123 was started before those discussions could take place. If the County does not give the road back to Corinna Township, he certainly did not feel they should give the road back to Silver Creek Township. Sawatzke said the only road that possibly has some merit for revocation, due to its location and size, is CR 143 in Silver Creek Township. That road would be more consistent with the small roadways in cities that were given back. Sawatzke said he will not vote to revoke CR 123 to Silver Creek Township or to Corinna Township because of the Township Boards not wanting the roads back and the long-term burden. He did not see anything to negotiate with them on. The County does not have much to offer them except a road they don’t want. He did not feel it neighborly to take a road the County doesn’t want and give it back to a township if they don’t want it. Sawatzke approved of the milling and overlay repair work on CR 123 but does not support giving the roads back to the townships.
Eichelberg asked how many total miles of roadway can be revoked now and in the future. Sawatzke said 14 miles have been given back to townships and 26 miles remain. Thelen said not all of the roadways are in the shape of CR 123 in Corinna Township. She understands the road in Woodland Township is not in good shape. Thelen said it is a disappointing process in that Corinna Township would have liked to take back CR 123 and improve it to a safer, better road. She felt the County missed that opportunity by failing to negotiate with the Township and meeting them half way on the improvements. Thelen would like to review the revocation/road repair process during budget sessions. The County has no money at this point for roads but she feels it is a need that should not be ignored. There are roads that should be upgraded and given back, but they should be repaired so that they are satisfactorily accepted by the townships. Fingalson said that it would be great if the Board authorized repair of the roadways to the standards requested by the townships. Fingalson said he respectfully took issue on the reference made that the opportunity was missed to negotiate with the Township. He said they have discussed this issue at length. Corinna Township did offer to provide an interest free, 10-year loan to the County if the County would fund $300,000 additionally toward road improvements for CR 123. He was unsure whether he viewed that as meeting them half way or not but there was certainly discussion. Thelen said not quite. She said they offered the County something and the County said no. She wasn’t sure whether that would be considered a negotiation.
Fingalson felt it was important for the Board to look at the big picture. Russek pointed out the road in Woodland Township that may come up for revocation next year. The action taken today will probably carry into what is done next year with Woodland Township. Woodland Township’s traffic volume on the road is less than 115 vehicles/day. Both of the routes are dead end routes (CR 112 and CR 123). Fingalson said Townships have the option of making roads that are revoked gravel roads. Russek said that these roads come off from a County road, so the County is plowing to the end and coming back. The road is on the County’s system already and it is a road that needs to be maintained. The question is what the most economical way to do it is. The townships are saying they do not have the equipment to maintain the roads. Fingalson said that the Townships wouldn’t have to purchase the equipment. Many townships hire to maintain roads. Thelen responded that township roads have fewer people on them. If they went by that standard, they maybe wouldn’t have electricity if it was not economical to bring in electricity as there are not that many people using it. He said that was obviously an extreme.
Fingalson said it is a Board decision. The Highway Department is following through on what was started many years ago. The only exception to following that plan is CR 131 in Monticello Township which Commissioner Sawatzke referenced. He said that roadway does not belong on the County’s system. Sawatzke said there is another exception, which is Farmington Avenue in Franklin Township. It is supposed to go back to the County but the County Board does not want it back due to cost. Fingalson said he is trying to follow through on County policy and do what he feels is best for the County. He viewed the best thing as using the resources where they are more appropriate, not on roadways with traffic counts of under110 vehicles/day. Thelen asked for Fingalson’s definition of County. Fingalson said he is talking about Wright County and the County Highway Department and the resources they use (County taxpayer money) to maintain roads. Fingalson said the Board knows his position and obviously, there has been a change of heart. It would be his strong recommendation not to keep these roads on the County’s system. He questioned why the County would go through all the jurisdictional studies and process of meeting with the townships and cities if the Board is not going to follow through with the recommendations. Thelen said there could be negotiations to look at ways of doing things fairly that would not impact a small group of people. Fingalson said that is what has occurred; there have been six meetings on this revocation.
Thelen questioned whether a motion was required. Norman said with the motion made last week, one of the Board members that voted on the prevailing side should make a motion to either change a portion of the motion made last week or all of it. He read the motion from last week, “Russek made a motion to move forward and to proceed with the overlay. This is the same thing the County does for other townships. He does not propose the County start doing anything out of the ordinary. He said his motion is to proceed with the mill and overlay and to begin with the revocation process to turn CR 123 back to Corinna Township.” Russek said he was the Commissioner that made that motion but he did not feel the need to rescind the motion. Russek made a motion to not follow through with the revocation and to let these highways remain on the County Highway system. Norman asked whether that includes mill and overlay. Russek said the first part of the motion last week deals with proceeding with mill and overlay; the County was going to do that regardless. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to set a bid opening date for the Chevron Signing Safety Project, SP 86-070-06 for 6-26-12 at 9:30 A.M.
Bills Approved
Abrahamson/Brian $318.50
Albion Township 1,248.00
Ameripride Services 276.81
Annandale Advocate Inc 363.00
Anoka County Corrections 6,140.28
Aramark Services Inc 6,588.57
Asleson/Brian J 101.10
Bachman Printing 495.90
Black Moore Magnussen Ltd 100.00
Bottiger/Shawna 150.00
Boyer Truck Parts 957.89
Breezy Point Resort Inc 1,250.09
Buff N Glo Inc 254.68
Buffalo/City of 394.13
Careertrack Inc 158.00
Cartegraph Systems Inc 2,482.30
Center Point Energy 3,287.30
CenturyLink 2,758.72
Civic Research Institute Inc 179.95
Clearwater Township 674.60
Climate Air 6,423.26
Complete Self Defense Hutch 500.00
Concrete Designs 2,400.00
Corporate Payment Systems 1,726.04
Cottens Inc 734.52
Culligan of Buffalo 400.00
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc 999.00
Expert Towing Inc 135.73
Fibernet Monticello 359.80
FS3 Inc 218.54
Gabriel/Cathleen 100.00
Gopher State One Call 198.65
Grainger 286.94
Greenview Inc 275.00
Hackenmueller/Tom 125.00
Helena Chemical Company 658.66
Herald Journal Publishing Inc 738.68
Hiivala/Robert 310.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 2,514.58
Holiday 200.40
Howard/Jolanta 100.00
Interstate Battery Systems 476.11
Kustom Blinds & Draperies Inc 971.49
Larson Companies LTD/W D 2,033.01
Laurent/Michael 251.67
Lawson Products Inc 784.09
Lee/Tina 1,801.50
Loberg Electric 469.48
Lous Gloves Inc 255.00
Marietta Aggregates/Martin 1,307.18
Martin-McAllisters Consulting 1,200.00
Matt Legal Services 100.00
Menards - Buffalo 235.87
MN Board Of AELSLAGID 132.00
MN Counties Computer Coop. 540.00
MN Office of Enterprise Tech. 1,215.00
Monticello Auto Body Inc 2,202.39
Morrell Towing Inc 133.62
Morries Parts & Service Group 797.20
Noran Neurological Clinic 255.01
Norman/Richard W. 612.22
OMann Brothers Inc 217.65
ORyans Conoco 175.00
Precision Dynamics Corp. 1,839.49
Purick/Ryan 300.00
Quality Challenge Coins Inc 1,491.00
Ramacciotti/Frank 100.00
Rhodes Lock & Glass 118.50
Royal Tire Inc 702.38
Russell Security Resource Inc 102.44
Ryan/Jonathan J 19,128.00
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 185.10
SHI International Corp 61,740.61
Southside Township 820.00
Specialty Turf & Ag 201.67
Suburban Emerg. Assoc. PA 133.79
TASC 1,069.00
The Hampton Inn and Suites 412.71
Total Printing 403.19
Towmaster 333.82
Uniforms Unlimited 1,349.93
Univ. of Minn. Law School 225.00
Wright Co. Court Admin. 2,759.00
Wright Hennepin Electric 261.12
40 Payments less than $100 1,921.07
Final total $159,347.93
The meeting adjourned at 11:21 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 18, 2012.

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