WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
JUNE 19, 2012
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the 6-12-12 County Board Minutes.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #7, “Action Taken On Joint Ditch 15 By The Ditch Authority To Extend Culverts” (Hiivala). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: T. Laage, S. Meyer, Hwy.; T. Coon, R. Cowley, R. DeBlois, H. Gillham, R. Smith, Sher.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 6-9-12.
3. Approve Labor Contract Agreement With The Assistant Wright County Attorneys Association.
4. Approve Labor Contract Agreement With The International Union Of Operating Engineers, Local No. 49.
5. Approve Revised Non-Union Salary Schedule, Eff. 7-01-12.
1. Approve Renewal Of On Sale Liquor License For “Norm’s Wayside” (Rockford Township).
2. Approve Renewal Of Combination On/Off Sale Liquor License For “Up The Creek Grill & Bar” (Silver Creek Township).
C. VETERANS SERVICES AND CIVIL DEFENSE
1. Authorize Signatures On Radiological Emergency Preparedness Grant For FY 2012 & 2013.
Authorize Signatures On New Form “Certification Regarding Lobbying.”
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, introduced discussion on a sales tax audit of the County from several years ago. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said a letter was received from the Department of Revenue (DOR) relating to a sales tax audit they performed on Wright County in 2009. Wright County was assessed $63,767 in sales tax relating to the period of 2007-2008, including $5,000 in interest charges. Wright County filed an appeal in January, 2010 and paid $29,811.85. That amount was paid as it appeared to be the portion of the sales tax that Wright County was responsible for. The main items in dispute were the aerial photography contract in 2008, the purchase of furniture for Dispatch, and a number of computer software and maintenance items for the public safety radio system. Asleson said things relating to the 800 MHz system were supposed to be exempt from sales tax. The letter received last week from the DOR indicated that the aerial photography expenditures should be exempt from sales tax as it was completely professional services, including the LiDAR that was completed (2’ contours of the County). There was a lot that went into planning and performing that contract. The DOR ruled that the furniture purchased for Dispatch was not part of the 800 MHz System so it would not be exempt from sales tax. There were a number of computer software and maintenance items that the County prevailed on and were determined as being exempt. The end result was a refund check in the amount of $172.43 for the amount which was overpaid at the time the appeal was filed. The savings totaled about $33,000. Local government is required to pay sales tax but there are some things which are exempt. What the County had to do in this situation was convince the DOR that specific items should have been tax exempt. Asleson said he was assisted in the appeal by Hiivala, Bill Swing, IT Director, and Steve Jobe, Surveyor. This was provided as an informational item.
Hiivala said the May Revenue Expenditure Guideline Report reflects that budgets appear to be in adequate shape for five months of the year. The Report does not include tax revenues or general purpose aids, but does include appropriations paid to specific entities. Hiivala called attention to Page 25, Line item 201-6633, Vehicles Purchased, in the Sheriff’s Department. Normally at this time of the year, all of the vehicles have been purchased. Due to a vehicle model change, there was a delay in ordering. Therefore, the line item reflects $445,000 budgeted but no expenditures. Hiivala anticipates the expenditures to be reflected in the June Report. Russek questioned the type of vehicle that will be purchased. Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, said the model that will be purchased will be the Ford Taurus Interceptor. The Crown Victoria vehicles are no longer available. Equipment will be transferred to the new vehicles where possible. The equipment cannot be sold to other counties as they are experiencing the same requirement to purchase new models. Mattson moved to approve the May Revenue Expenditure Guidelines. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Hiivala brought forth discussion on County Ditch 38, which is a Ditch that runs under a trailer park in Montrose. Present for discussion was Kerry Saxton, SWCD, and Keith Duske, benefitted property owner on the Ditch. Saxton said not much has been done on Ditch 38 in 2012. They hoped for a dry spring and fall but with the recent rainfalls, that has not been the case. There are about 112 acres in the wetland on both sides of CR 12. With 4” of rain on just that area, it would take about 20 days to drain with the existing tile. In addition, there is more water moving to the Ditch from a home on Carrigan Lake, a swamp, and other homes in the area. That water no longer flows to Carrigan Lake. He was unsure where the water from the development flowed in the past.
Last year, problems were investigated on the Ditch and a water intake was repaired. The outlet seems to be flowing fairly hard and what they would expect for a tile of that size not in pressure flow. Saxton said it is going into pressure flow so there may be some obstruction. With the age of the tile, there is danger of collapse. A steel tile was put in by the railroad some years ago. After completing a survey, it was found that the railroad tile cannot be used as it is not deep enough. Options are limited. One option would be to open the tile to look at the water flow a couple hundred feet toward the trailer park. The difficulty is that the water is so high and there would be a large hole that will fill with water. This could pose a potentially dangerous situation for children in the area. Saxton said the best option right now is to wait until the water drains in the area.
Russek said more phone calls will be received with additional rainfall. He said the homeowner (Karels) in that area may call. With an inch of rain, there may be two inches of additional flow into the Ditch. Saxton said if it gets to where Karels is flooded again, they may want to open the ditch and fence the area off. Russek said that Duske feels the tile line was damaged where the line was run by Xcel. Saxton said when the area was dug last year, it was done when the ground was frozen. There were a number of rumors that were not found to be correct when they did this investigation. One of the rumors was that a plastic tile had been laid around the old sewage pond. Saxton said they did not find that. They found the old concrete tile with a plastic inlet into the marsh. At the other end it was concrete. The water is flowing, but it was found in a number of places that it was not flowing as well as it should be. They could open a tile to see how the water is flowing.
Saxton said if the water is in pressure flow, the hole that is dug will fill to the elevation of the water on the other side and it will stay there for some period of time. If they can’t get it closed back up this could pose danger to the children in the trailer park. Saxton said if the rain continues it will cause a problem, much like they are seeing all over the County. Russek said water levels have been high both this year and last year. Saxton said there was a lot of rain last year and it took a long time for the swamp to drain. The recent rainfalls have made conditions worse.
Saxton said if the County desires, they can open the tile. It will let them know if there is obstruction in the first 150’, which is the area where Xcel Energy completed work. When they investigated the area last year, they tracked the tile up to the power line. They could not dig where the power lines are located, so they dug in from the sides and found the tile. It appeared to be intact. There was water flow but it was hard to tell how much.
Russek asked how large the hole would need to be. Saxton said it would be 6’-8’ across and it would need to be fenced. Even with a fence, supervision is a concern. Mattson asked whether Carrigan Lake residents are benefited property owners. Hiivala did not have that information available at today’s meeting. Mattson said if extensive work is required, everyone that is feeding into this Ditch System should be responsible. Russek suggested that if a major clean out is planned, a redetermination of benefits should be completed. Thelen asked what the next step is. Saxton said it is a tough call. He did not recommend digging at this point. The weather period approaching tends to be drier on average. However if another 4” of rain occurs, there may be serious problems. The water would affect the landowner on the other side of the road. He felt the water would for sure be on his driveway, as the water was there last year. Keith Duske said they received 1.5 inches of rain last night and 1.5 inches the night before. There is water in the area that Saxton referenced.
Saxton said he has not been to the Ditch in the last few days. He will review it again and let the Board know if he feels it should be opened up. Thelen asked if this would identify a potential source of the problem. Saxton said if they see the water is not moving well, they could dig a ditch up to the tile. However, they will then have both a hole and a ditch in the area.
Duske said he owns land where the water is standing. Although digging will create a water hole, there is water there now and he felt the depth would be the same as the water in the area now. A fence could be put up for safety but he said children have access to the water in the area right now. Saxton said currently there is a pond, and the water gradually deepens. If a hole is dug, the water depth would be 3’-4’. If the children get near the inlet, that could also be dangerous. That is about 150’ away. Russek said he does not want to create a hazard but has concerns with the water continuing to rise. The weather forecast is for rain tonight and tomorrow.
Hiivala said that when the County discussed Ditch 38 previously, it was recommended that staff try to locate a camera to scope the tile system but they could not find a camera to utilize. As part of the Ditch Modernization Grant, one of the expenditures could be the acquisition of a camera. The camera could be used to identify where these issues are. Hiivala said Ron Ringquist will be out next week to address other ditch matters. The County could obtain his opinion on whether it is a good concept to look at redetermination and repair.
Discussion then moved on to County Ditch 24. Saxton provided the following written report on the Ditch:
We went up to Ditch 24 (Outlet for Locke Lake) in Silver Creek Township Section 21 to review the situation with flooding. We found the two box culverts that run under the freeway running quite good with no sign of blockage at the culvert. There was a small bog that was sitting near the culverts but seemed to be anchored fairly well to the shore. Downstream of the culverts on the north side of the freeway the snowmobile bridge is currently impeding flow slightly and would easily catch small bogs which could cause a problem if bogs are allowed to pile up there. This bridge crossing is going to be removed and replaced by the snowmobile association in the future. There is a small fence that runs across the ditch just downstream of the bridge but it was clean and not currently causing a problem. We also looked at the ditch crossing at 150th and Curtis Avenue SW. Water was flowing well and no obvious blockage was observed. This ditch looks much like a natural stream as it’s about 25 feet wide.
I talked to John Pippert and he said that some of the people on the lake had pushed a fairly large bog to a shoreline and the problem seemed to be taken care of. The DNR would like them to take the bogs back where they came from and anchor them but John said that’s really not possible because they come from the wetland south of the lake. He stated they have faced flooding two years in a row and was asking what could be done. I told him that we are in a wet cycle and areas that are prone to flooding have had problems in these last two years. For now the situation seems to be under control provided we don’t get a lot more rain. I would suggest we contact DNR and set up a contingency plan to remove bogs if need be in the future. I told John we would never be able to react as fast as the people on the Lake to pull bogs away from the outlet to restore flow. He also questioned if the downstream culverts are large enough. I told him we would survey and look at the sizes and elevations sometime this summer but it didn’t appear they were impeding flow at this time and he seemed satisfied with that.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Saxton said he spoke yesterday with one of the individuals who was involved with moving the bogs. There were two large bogs; one was the size of a bus and the other was twice that size. The bogs were moved and anchored in the Lake. One bog was placed near the freeway and the other near land that is for sale. Saxton said the bogs may move again so they need to set up a plan to remove them. He will need to investigate doing so with the DNR and contractors. He did not feel the DNR will have an issue with not returning the bogs to their original location, but he has not yet discussed this with them. Russek said when he recently traveled to St. Cloud, he noticed residue of a bog against the CSAH 75 bridge. It did not appear to be holding up any water flow. Saxton said there is a small bog near the outlet. He feels that the small bogs will move through the outlet. With enough bogs, it could push the bridge over or start to dam the Lake again. He said it is best to have the Lake Associations deal with moving these bogs right away. What to do with the bogs can be addressed at a later time. Thelen asked whether the bridge will be redone in 2013. Saxton said that the plan was first to have the snowmobile bridge removed. Snowmobilers would travel across the railroad bed, which would be well above the Ditch. They are now looking toward putting the bridge in its current location, only at a higher elevation that would not affect the Ditch. Sawatzke asked whether Lake residents are benefitted property owners on Ditch 24. He questioned who should be financially responsible for a bog that is removed from the Lake. Hiivala said he did not have the list of benefitted property owners with him. Pippert owns property on the Lake and is a benefitted property owner on Ditch 24. However, Hiivala did not know whether Pippert owns more than one property in that area that may not be on the Lake, or if others on the Lake are benefitted property owners. Sawatzke said the expenditures for bog removal and the funding source should be looked at (i.e., people 2 miles away from the Lake paying for removal of bogs on the Lake). He questioned the legality of whether it is a Lake issue or a Ditch issue. Sawatzke felt this may be a question for Kurt Deter. Hiivala stated that Deter and Ron Ringquist will be attending the Joint Ditch 14 Meeting on 6-25-12 and that would be a question that could be asked. Thelen asked if there is additional action required on Ditch 24. Hiivala asked Saxton if he will research whether there is potential cleanout required. Saxton said they will need to look into getting the bogs removed. Hiivala said Saxton will consult with the DNR about the appropriateness of moving the bogs.
Russek said a conclusion was not reached today on Ditch 38 and asked Duske for his recommendation. Duske said that he would like the tile opened so they can view the water movement. He feels the water depth may exceed last year. Russek said it is up to the Board. He said Saxton’s recommendation is to continue to evaluate the situation and Duske recommends opening it up. Saxton stated that if the tile is opened there may still be a problem, especially if it continues to rain. Even if they could double the capacity, there will still be a problem. He does not feel they will get anywhere near that from what he sees at the outflow. Thelen asked whether digging this area up is a first step in evaluating the problem. Saxton said if they are going to do this, he would like to be able to dig it up in that location, as well as on the other side of the culvert in the trailer park where there may be issues with tree roots. Saxton said there are a number of problems involved. He said this area has a 10” tile and it should be at least 24”. Flooding can be expected. He did not complete a photo review of the area, so he is unsure what has happened in the past. It is unknown whether the tile is not working properly or whether there is more water being shunted that way. Duske felt it could be both. Russek agreed and said the water just doesn’t drain like it should.
Hiivala restated that the County could look into the cost of a camera and consult with those who have some expertise. Sawatzke had concern that the camera may get stuck during scoping and it would be difficult to remove it because of all of the water. Saxton said this is a concern. If the camera gets stuck, they would need to dig it out. They could research camera cost and whether this is an appropriate use. Russek said when cameras are used in sewer lines, the lines are practically empty. He was unsure whether a camera would show anything with the amount of water involved. Saxton said the tile is not just flowing full, the tile is under pressure. As Sawatzke suggested, a camera may not be an option. Russek said if there is not a blockage, it shouldn’t be under pressure. It should go out as fast as it comes in. Saxton said the pressure is created as the pond is high and putting a lot of pressure on the tile. There is a 6” intake. When there is 2-3 feet of water over that, it will go into pressure flow. Russek asked if the swamp has a 6” intake. Saxton said that is correct, along with other tiles that go underneath it. He did not feel that was a problem right now as he feels the tile is taking what it can. The problem may be that it is obstructed somewhere else.
Duske said that when Saxton met Jake Carlson at the site and digging occurred, the tile was found to be dry on the low side. Where Xcel Energy went through on the high side there was water. Duske feels the tile must be broken. He suggested going on the low side to dig it up so they can get the full flow of the tile. He said it will not solve all of the problems but it will help. Saxton said his concern would be there would be water near the trailer park. Digging would have to occur right near the trailer park as it would be difficult to dig in the water. Saxton said that his plan would have been to dig and roll the tile to observe the flow. This would be done with the anticipation that the flow would drop and they could put the tile back in. If that process is completed now, the hole could be open all summer if it can’t be patched. Safety would be an issue so they would have to fence the area. They would also need to gain permission from the trailer park as the work would be so close to them.
Russek asked for the size of the tile in that area. Saxton said it was 10”. Duske said he and Pat Salonek went to the Auditor’s Office and looked at past Ditch records. In 1974, Dennis Schauers requested that he reroute the tile around his sewer pump. Duske said that Schauers started doing this before he and another person started helping him. That is why there is new tile in that area. The tile then moves into the pasture and plastic was used as far as possible. With the cattle in that area at that time, it was pushed out of the way. Duske said the remainder of the tile is 14” because they bought a 15” culvert to put on the outlet. He said it fit perfectly with the tile. He did not know what size tile Schauer used. Saxton clarified that it is a 14” tile in this area, not 10” as previously stated. A 10” was used where it connected to the 14” and went into the swamp. With regard to what Schauers used around the swamp, Saxton said they were unable to find anything other than the original concrete tile. Saxton said it may be there as they were only able to dig in selected spots. It is possible there may be another line feeding it.
Thelen asked whether this could be addressed at the 6-25-12 Joint Ditch Meeting to obtain an opinion from Ron Ringquist. Hiivala said it can be but he was unsure what additional expertise Ringquist can provide. The County can consult the Attorney’s Office on liabilities. He said they can bring it up but he did not know what the benefit would be. Russek said this issue should be tabled for a week to see if a conclusion can be drawn. The water will keep coming up and Karels will be calling because the water will be up to his building. He said Duske is losing crop land and they also lost their pasture. Something needs to be done with the Ditch. Russek said he is leaning in favor of opening it up. Thelen said they should look into camera use and liability issues. Russek does not feel they will be able to use a camera. Hiivala said they can contact engineering companies to see if they have any suggestions. They will bring alternatives to the next County Board Meeting for action. Russek moved to lay this issue over for one week. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried unanimously.
Eichelberg moved to approve the 2012 County Board of Equalization Minutes. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Hiivala said that a Joint Ditch 15 Meeting was held recently in Cokato. The Joint Ditch 15 authority did approve Wright County Highway’s request to extend the culverts that cross Joint Ditch 15 south of Cokato on Highway 3 and the additional culvert. This does not have any impact on the 100-year hydrology of the system. Hiivala requested the Board authorize Mattson’s signature on the Joint Ditch 15 Minutes where this action was taken and on the Statement of Findings and Facts. Meeker and McLeod Counties both attended the Joint Ditch 15 Meeting. He received notice from McLeod County that they took similar action. As recommended by Hiivala, Russek moved to authorize Mattson to sign the Statement of Fact and Findings for the Joint Ditch Authority on Joint Ditch 15. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.
The claims listing was discussed. Mattson referenced a claim on Page 4 which reflects a Court Services Department claim payable to the County Highway Department for a subscription. Hiivala checked the claim and found it should be payable to the Wright County Journal Press. The claims listing will be corrected. Russek moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, noting the one correction. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Russek, all voted to set a Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 7-12-12 at 8:30 A.M. The purpose of the meeting will be to conduct interviews for the County Highway Engineer position.
At the last County Board Meeting, Commissioner Russek informed the Board that he no longer wishes to be the appointee on the Tri-County Forensic Laboratory Advisory Committee. Today, he stated that he would like someone else to represent Wright County on that Committee. He has argued Wright County’s position on funding for the Tri-County Lab and feels another County Board member can carry that position forth at future meetings. Mattson referenced the Committee Of The Whole Meeting that will be scheduled with Anoka and Sherburne Counties to discuss the funding for the Tri-County Lab. He suggested that meeting be held prior to taking action to replace Russek on the Tri-County Advisory Committee. Mattson felt it may be easier for Russek to serve in that capacity if the funding issue is addressed. Mattson moved to table the decision on appointing a Commissioner to replace Russek on the Tri-County Forensic Laboratory Advisory Committee until after the Committee Of The Whole Meeting has been held. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said that they are trying to schedule the Committee Of The Whole meeting sometime in July. He suggested the issue be laid over until the 7-31-12 County Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Albertville Body Shop Inc $1,769.04
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 1,821.02
Anoka County Corrections 6,600.00
Anoka County Sheriff 10,241.08
Aramark Services Inc 5,986.53
Astleford International 195,367.44
B & B Prod. - Rigs And Sq 790.99
Buffalo Hosp.-Otpt Comm.l 2,000.00
Cardiac Science 1,589.85
Center Point Energy 841.50
Contech Constr. Product 11,388.57
Corporate Payment Sys. 2,726.24
Donahue Sports Center Corp 523.20
EPA Audio Visual Inc 106.88
Ernst Gen. Construction Inc 250.00
Expert Auto. & Marine Inc 153.90
Farm-Rite Equipment Inc 343.88
Gale-Tec Engineering Inc 4,125.40
Gopher State One Call 233.45
Gould Towing 226.58
Granite Pest Control Services 259.43
Hardings Towing Inc 160.31
Hickmans Service Inc 150.96
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 1,531.69
Identix Incorporated 467.64
Integrated Fire & Security 3,000.00
Jeddeloh & Snyder Pa 1,800.00
Kustom Signals Inc 534.65
Larson Associates Inc 455.00
Lawson Products Inc 738.25
Lous Gloves Inc 899.00
Milana P Tolins LLC 100.00
MN Assn Of Assessing Officers 380.00
MN Counties Computer Coop 1,301.29
MN Dept. Of Labor & Industry 809.40
MN Elevator Inc 10,190.80
MN Monitoring Inc 935.50
MN Supreme Court 329.00
Monticello Township 1,619.00
Mountain Stream Sports 620.65
Office Depot 825.33
ORyans Conoco 130.00
Performance Kennels Inc 101.00
Persian Business Equipment 241.00
Pts Of America LLC 400.00
Schneider Corporation 4,197.00
Schwan’s Home Service 111.60
Silver Creek Township 679.50
St Cloud Stamp & Sign Inc 124.24
St Croix Solutions 7,343.16
Stanley Consultants Inc 25,125.77
State of MN-Of. Enterpr.Tech. 1,215.00
Total Printing 451.55
VERIPIC Inc 4,200.00
Voss Lighting 335.48
Wright County Highway Dept 8,448.66
Wright Hennepin Electric 189.46
Zee Medical Service 188.83
18 Payments less than $100 670.12
Final total $344,694.17
The meeting adjourned at 9:54 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal July 16, 2012