WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
OCTOBER 16, 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 10-09-12 Board Minutes.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Amend Aud./Treas. Item #7, “Approve Engineer Services For County Ditch 10 (Victor Township) & Approve Fact & Findings For County Ditch 10” (Hiivala). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Thelen asked that Item A3, “Review/Approve Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes, 2013 Budget Process” be removed from the Consent Agenda and addressed as Item #3 under Items For Consideration. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: A. Duerr, K. Labo, Aud./Treas.; B. Hatfield, Bldg, Care; D. Estenson, Sher.
2. Claim, Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix, $149,406.16 (Pay Request No. 1, HSC Parking Lot Project).
4. Authorize AMC Delegates To Attend District 5 Meeting, 11-01-12, Brainerd.
B. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
1. Refer To Building Committee Request To Expand The Data/Voice Room, Human Services Center.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said the County received a copy of a Resolution adopted by the City of Monticello decertifying a previous special assessment relating to the Elm Street Project for Parcel #155-500-101411. Eichelberg moved to reset the minimum bid amount for Parcel #155-500-101411. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, recommended setting the minimum bid at $1. The parcel will be purchased by the adjoining landowner as the home sits half on their parcel and half on this parcel. The City will reassess the special assessments on this parcel. Eichelberg and Mattson amended the motion to include the provision of setting the minimum bid amount at $1. The motion carried unanimously.
Hiivala submitted correspondence from the State of Minnesota, Office of the State Auditor, which reflects that the State Auditor has released the audit requirement through 2014 allowing Wright County to contract for audit services with a CPA firm for audit years 2012, 2013, and 2014. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to acknowledge the State Auditor’s Release of the audit requirement through 2014.
Hiivala presented a contract With CliftonLarsonAllen LLP for audit services for the years ended December 31, 2012, 2013, and 2014. The contract reflects fees of $58,000 ($54,000 for the audit and $4,000 for the preparation of the financial statements and notes) for the December 31, 2012 audit. Fees for the December 31, 2013 will be $58,600 and for the December 31, 2014 audit, $59,000. Hiivala stated the cost for the 2012 audit does not reflect an increase over the 2011 audit. Moderate increases are realized for the 2013 and 2014 audits. Eichelberg moved to approve the Audit Services Contract with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP as presented. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Hiivala presented an invoice from J.L. Schmitz and Sons Excavating for bog removal on Locke Lake in the amount of $4,295.00. This will be billed to the County Ditch 24 system and will be funded by benefited property owners on Ditch 24. Hiivala said a fair amount of Locke Lake property owners are benefited property owners on the Ditch. Other benefited property owners on the Ditch will help to fund this cost. If water levels increase, additional bogs may detach and break loose again. Russek moved to authorize payment to J.L. Schmitz and Sons for $4,295.00. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Mattson asked whether Hiivala has a list of benefited property owners responsible for this cost. Hiivala said that listing is available in his Office and can be referred to if needed. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala brought forth discussion on Joint Ditch 14 (Stockholm Township) that was discussed at the last Board Meeting. Kerry Saxton, SWCD, said a redetermination will occur on Joint Ditch 14. With regard to County Road 21, Saxton said the Highway Department has checked the culvert and there is movement through the tile system at that point. He referenced a map of the area and pointed out some potential areas for flooding. He has identified an area with a hole in the ground, and he felt there is probably a tile break at that location. If nothing is done, it is likely there will be a flooding problem again in the spring and crop land lost. That will depend on runoff conditions. At this point, Saxton did not think there would be water in the tile line at this time, so it would be difficult to locate problems. A jetter could be brought in at a cost of $5,000-$6,000. He wanted the Board to be aware that there may be problems in the spring if the Board decides to wait until next year to do anything in Joint Ditch 14 when the redetermination occurs. Mattson said he is aware of three blowout areas. He inquired whether Meeker or McLeod Counties are involved. Saxton said the flooding is occurring on the Wright County side, which is CRP land. Saxton said the other side floods as well, but he is unsure whether it involves Meeker or McLeod County. Saxton wanted the Board to know that if nothing is done, problems will likely occur although the damage may not be extreme. In the past, water has been over the road for some time which caused some erosion to the road. Mattson feels this will happen again. Saxton asked for a Board decision on whether to investigate the problems and assess this cost to the benefited property owners or to wait with repairs until a redetermination is completed. Mattson made a motion to wait on proceeding with repairs until a redetermination is completed. The motion was seconded by Russek. Hiivala said Kurt Deter has been contacted by some of the benefited property owners who will be pursuing some improvements. Hiivala wanted the Board to be aware that those property owners will be seeking an improvement to the Ditch System, and that the benefited property owners understand that there could be some flooding in the intermittent time. The motion carried 5-0.
An update was provided on County Ditch 38 (Marysville Township). Hiivala stated Ditch 38 is near the trailer park where a jetter will be used. Saxton had arranged to meet with a contractor on site to dig up the tile. The contractor overlooked the date so an alternative date has been set for 10-18-12. Mattson previously contacted the railroad on the problems on Ditch 38. Initially, they indicated they would be able to complete work right away at no cost to the County. Now they have indicated that they are so busy in North Dakota they will not be able to assist. Saxton was also in contact with the railroad. He said the process is complex to obtain authorization to dig in the railroad’s right-of-way. Therefore, digging will occur in the field up to the railroad’s right-of-way. This was provided as an informational item.
Hiivala brought forth discussion on County Ditch 10 (Victor Township). Hiivala presented the Findings of Fact and Order regarding the repair of Ditch 10 as prepared by Rinke Noonan. The Findings summarize the action that the Board will take, including acceptance of the Preliminary Engineering Report from Wenck and that the Board has ordered moving forward with the repair on County Ditch 10. If approved, the Findings will be signed by the Board Chair and placed into the permanent Ditch records. Joe Toso, Wenck Associates Inc. was present for discussion. Hiivala requested the Board approve an engineer on the project, with the engineer’s responsibility being to scope out the repair and to determine whether there are lands benefiting from the system that are not currently included in the list of benefited property owners. In addition, the recommendation is to have the engineer work with Saxton on any water quality improvement pieces that could be included (funded by Legacy Funds). Hiivala feels it is in the County’s best interest to have an engineer on site to make sure the work is scoped properly. The engineer can also meet with the petitioners to walk the ditch and make sure the scope is done correctly. Hiivala said the County could select Wenck or ask for quotes for engineer work.
Mattson questioned how the repairs would impact the water quality of Lake Ann. He understood the water quality would remain about the same. A Lake Ann resident has requested a copy of the results. Hiivala said a copy of the report compiled by Wenck will be forwarded to the resident. He was unsure whether water quality had been discussed; he understood that the water quantity was discussed. Toso said the focus of the report is lake levels. Wenck identified things which can be done to improve water quality in Lake Ann. There are things that can be done upstream to maintain water quality and that can be included as part of this process.
Sawatzke said Wenck originally provided an estimate. He asked Hiivala to confirm whether the costs came below the estimate. Hiivala said the next item being presented to the Board will be approval of the payment to Wenck for the hydrologic work on County Ditch 10. When the estimate was presented, it included a base and an alternate. Wenck came in under estimate but also completed most of the alternate. The total amount of the payment request is $16,132.50. Sawatzke asked whether the County authorized both the Study and part of the alternate. Hiivala said he would have to review that action. He said the Board approved the project, but he was unsure whether the Board delineated whether Wenck should move forward with the alternate.
Hiivala said part of the presentation demonstrated the need to look at the area downstream from Lake Emma. Sawatzke asked if there is an estimate for the additional work that will be completed, including the services that they are going to provide, as the costs are going back to a limited pool of property owners on the Ditch. The work that occurred is under estimate so he has no qualms of what was done. Sawatzke wanted an estimate for the next project. Hiivala said the estimate from Wenck was provided verbally. If the County decides to proceed with Wenck, he was sure they would provide their estimate. If the County were to decide to go for quotes, he did not feel that estimate amount would be disclosed at this time. Hiivala knew of the estimate and felt it was reasonable.
Mattson moved to hire an engineer for the repair work. Sawatzke said it is a catch 22, as Wenck does not want to publicize their estimate if the County decides to bid. If the County does not know the estimate, it can’t be determined whether it is high enough to require a bid process. Sawatzke was uneasy about the process being discussed. Hiivala did say that the estimate provided is under the threshold for obtaining additional quotes. Toso said it is not a point of revealing the bid. What he needs to understand is what Wenck will be doing as the next step so an accurate bid can be provided. It needs to be determined whether the Ditch repair will fit under the $100,000 threshold for ditch repair. This will not be known until they talk with the petitioners and decide what needs to be done. He viewed this as the next step, to determine how much ditch will be repaired. Russek said the County has a tough time approving something that is opened ended. He felt the Board will need to lay this part over until the scope and cost is known from Wenck. Toso estimated that it will take about two days of time with a crew to understand what needs to be done. At this point, he estimated that cost at about $4,500.
Mattson stated he would revise his motion to wait until they walk the area and determine what the extra costs will be. Asleson said the County hired Wenck for Professional Services so there is no particular threshold. The County has the right to choose Wenck as the engineer if so desired. Asleson said his sense is that it will be hard to determine how much work can be completed in a one-year period without some engineering input. Since Wenck has been involved to this point, he felt it was appropriate to approve that portion (working with the drainage authority to scope things out). Wenck could provide information on how much work they feel they can do in 2013 and detail what it involves. At that point, the Board could decide to go with another engineering firm.
Thelen questioned whether the request is for the Board to approve a couple of days work to move the process along in order to determine what needs to be done. Hiivala felt it was imperative that the engineer meet with the petitioners to help scope out the project. There are other moving parts, including improving water quality with a two-stage ditch channel system. That would require some design work. Hiivala clarified the motion would be to approve the hire of Wenck to provide engineering services to determine the scope of the project, including a not-to-exceed amount. Hiivala said the petitioners on Ditch 10 want some action moving forward. Mattson stated that one of the petitions is two years old so he supports moving forward for the petitioners as soon as possible.
Thelen stated that the motion could be to approve Wenck to move forward with scoping out the project with a not-to-exceed figure. Sawatzke understood there was already a motion on the floor. Thelen said one had been made and revised. It was for Wenck to move forward and scope out the project. She asked Mattson if he would like to attach a not-to-exceed amount. Mattson said he would like to know how many hours are estimated and whether the cost would be $200/hour. Toso stated the work will involve sending a crew out into the field. Their time would not be charged at $200/hour. Toso said he would also like to be involved and his fee would be close to $200/hour.
Mattson amended his motion to include a not-to-exceed figure of $3,900. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Sawatzke asked Toso whether that amount will accomplish the job. If the motion is going to be made, the last thing he would want is to have them come back and say they needed more money. Hiivala said the action item is to scope out the repair work. If there are improvements to the water quality where Legacy Funding would come into play or anything that would facilitate holding water back and cleaning it up, that would require engineering services. That would be something different that they would come back to request approval for. Legacy funding would cover that type of activity and it would not be paid for by the Ditch. Thelen said she understands that this motion does not cover that. Hiivala said that is correct and that he wanted to get that qualified. Hiivala said after meeting with Toso, his recommendation is to have Toso meet with the petitioners on the Ditch.
Sawatzke asked Saxton for his opinion on whether this is a reasonable approach and whether there is value for the petitioners. Saxton said he was not sure how to answer that. From his short review of the Wenck study, he understood there is not much sediment in the Ditch. It looks more at the removal of trees and that type of thing. When they get into the potential of water holding structures for water quality, it makes it much more complicated. Saxton said at this point, he does not have much of an opinion. Hiivala stated that one of the petitioners spoke with him after the last time this was discussed at the Board Meeting. Part of the repair will be to remove the trees and re-slope the Ditch to the original slope. Hiivala said Toso indicated that would be consistent as part of the repair work. Sawatzke asked whether that work would be part of this proposal. Toso said yes. Toso stated if there are high spots in the areas that have been petitioned to be repaired, they would take those out and maintain conveyance for the Ditch.
Sawatzke asked if at the end of the proposed process by Wenck there will be a document to provide to contractors so there is a level playing field and they know what they are bidding on. Sawatzke said he is confused on what the petitioners are getting, and they will be the ones that will be paying for this. Toso said it is his understanding there is a certain pot of money they can use for repairs. The question is how large is the repair and will it be under $100,000. The purpose is to obtain an estimate of what will be done. Toso said there will not be plans to bid at this point. This is just to meet and determine how big the problem is. Thelen asked whether it is for an estimate of cost. Toso said that is correct.
Mattson asked whether the work will include a berm. He stated that if they are going to pull trees out, there should be a berm because the silt will just come right into the Ditch. Toso said if there are trees removed, they should also look at the conveyance of the Ditch and removing of material that is impeding the flow as well. Sawatzke asked Russek and Mattson, as members of the Ditch Committee, whether they feel this is something that should be done. Russek said he questions whether this is something that is needed, or should they get together with landowners and contractors to discuss what is needed and ask for bids. If water quality is being addressed, that is another issue. Then they would need to look at areas to store water. Russek asked whether this is something that is needed versus something they think they should do. Thelen asked whether this is something that is needed in order to assess what needs to be done. Russek said that the County can assess for the work, but he does not want anyone on the Ditch to pay more than absolutely necessary to get the job done. It is an expensive project to start out with.
Thelen said it sounds like this is a recommended step but maybe there is an alternative to find out how large the scope of the project is. She asked Saxton if that is what he is alluding to. Saxton said as Toso brought up, the question is whether to spend up to the $100,000. Saxton is unsure whether the petitioners want to spend that much. There are a lot of unknown questions on what the petitioners want. Saxton said he has received requests to clean the Ditch all the way up to the end (Spring Lake). He said they know that is flooded and that is part of Ditch 10. If the Ditch is cleaned all the way through, that will be a fairly expensive project. If the Ditch just needs to be touched up in spots and trees removed, that is a lot easier. Saxton said that would involve putting the Ditch back to what it was. Thelen asked whether there will be an itemization of the work that needs to be done including an estimate of cost. Saxton said that would have to be answered by Toso as their firm is proposing the work. Saxton said the first step could be to get the petitioners together to discuss the areas that they are talking about. Saxton knows of a petition on the lower end of the Ditch. He has talked with people on the upper end but he is unsure whether there is an actual petition. Saxton was unsure whether it is totally understood what is being requested by the petitioners. Saxton said $16,000 has been spent and they haven’t moved a spoon full of dirt yet. He felt the petitioners will be concerned with that. Rose asked Toso if part of this proposal is to meet with the petitioners. Toso said it is.
Russek said he had concern with not obtaining a bid document as part of this process. To pay $3,900 to obtain information on specific areas (i.e., remove brush her, clean a little on the bottom of the ditch, etc.), he said that is not a bid document. He felt those on the Ditch could tell the County that much. Russek does not want to keep spending money on the Ditch when they haven’t turned a shovel yet. He had mixed feelings, as the work needs to get done. The main focus of the first project was to determine how the Lake will be impacted if the Ditch is cleaned. He questioned whether another $4,000 needs to be spent to determine where cleaning is needed, and he is unsure whether he can vote in favor of that. He said they are spending other people’s money. Sawatzke suggested bringing the petitioners in, explaining the Findings of the study to them, and finding out what their expectations are moving forward. Russek suggested meeting with those people whose names are on the petition, like they did with Joint Ditch 15. In that situation, they met with three contractors. The petitioners indicated what work they wanted done and the contractors got it done.
Russek said this is nothing against Wenck. He just does not want to spend another $4,000 without completing any work. Sawatzke said maybe the people should be talked to as they may find what the petitioners want is different than what is being asked now. Sawatzke asked Mattson whether it would be okay to rescind the motion and have a meeting with benefited property owners on site. Mattson said this is the first time the request to clean a ditch has been so close to a lake. Ditches have been cleaned 3-4 miles away from lakes and there has been no effect on water quality. Mattson said that is the main concern of Lake Ann.
Sawatzke said there is also the question of charging people on the Ditch $16,000, because they had to spend that amount to show the Ditch is not going to pollute the Lake. He asked what benefit that is to the people on the Ditch. Sawatzke asked Asleson whether that is a legitimate cost to the benefited property owners or whether that should be picked up by another source. Asleson said that his understanding of the Study was not to address water quality but water quantity. He said that was a major concern of Lake Ann. Those that live on the Ditch have the right to use it as a drainage ditch. Asleson did not have a problem with them being assessed for the cost of the Study. The Drainage Authority and the taxpayers on Lake Ann had a legitimate concern on whether they would be flooded out. Now there is an answer to that. Sawatzke said he is not saying it wasn’t an important Study. What his question relates to is where the bill should end up. He agrees that people were concerned about it on the Lake. If something is done with the Ditch and if there is a wet year, the Lake residents will say the water levels are high because of the Ditch when it may not have anything to do with it. Asleson said the Drainage Authority authorized the Study, it was completed, and now the invoice has been received from Wenck.
Thelen said the Board could change the motion to reflect meeting with the benefited property owners on site. She asked Mattson whether he wanted to rescind the motion and do the alternative as was suggested. Sawatzke said they could proceed as Russek suggested; they can always come back to do this later.
Saxton said that before the Board makes a decision, he wants to make the point that this is a highly impaired Lake and there is a TMDL on it. That may affect what can be done on the Ditch. He felt there will be a lot of people watching what is done as the Ditch is cleaned. This Study did not look at water quality at all; it looked at water quantity. Sawatzke asked Saxton if it is known what is impacting the water quality of the Lake. Saxton responded that a large study was completed on the Lake. That particular watershed, approximately 20,000 acres, is almost all agricultural. It points the finger at agriculture. There are some septic systems within that area but no municipal waste.
Eichelberg said Hiivala mentioned Legacy Funds that may be available. He questioned the amount and whether funding is likely. Saxton stated there is nothing assured when it comes to Legacy Funds. For example, this year five grants were applied for. The decisions on those will be made in December. It is unknown whether they will be funded or not. For Ditch 10, there will be no application until next year so funding is unknown. If the application reflects good practices for water quality, it is likely that it will be funded but there is no guarantee.
Thelen asked for Saxton’s opinion on the current motion to meet on site as opposed to proceeding with Wenck. Sawatzke said that is not the current motion. Thelen said Mattson rescinded his motion and the motion is to meet with property owners on site. Mattson said he rescinded one motion. Russek said Mattson rescinded the first motion and the second motion is still on the floor. Thelen clarified that the motion on the floor is to proceed with Wenck at a not-to-exceed cost of $3,900.
Thelen said Saxton expressed some hesitation. Saxton said he believes property owners should be met with. His understanding is that Wenck’s bid or report would do that. If not, someone needs to meet with property owners to determine the scope.
Russek asked Hiivala how many names are on the petition for cleanout. Hiivala stated that two people actually petitioned. A meeting has been held with eight people. When the meeting was held with the petitioners in attendance, he said those present respect moving forward with the preliminary engineering and understand this is a necessary part of designing what that repair would be. Hiivala said that he is also sensitive about spending people’s money. He said what impressed him was that not only are they determining what work has to be done but how it is going to be done (including such ideas as two-stage ditching). Through scoping, they will have better bid estimates. If segments of the Ditch are broken down, they will be able to quantify the number of feet and the scope of the repair. The information will also reflect whether they are going to widen or reestablish the slopes. Hiivala said that through the services of Wenck, additional information will be provided to improve bidding.
Thelen said they may be ready to proceed with the motion if Mattson is not going to rescind it. Russek asked that the question be called. Sawatzke said Mattson has not indicated whether he would prefer to meet with petitioners first. Mattson said David Hoover wanted to wait on the meeting until field work is complete. Mattson thinks they are getting close to being done. Hoover would be a contact person. Mattson said they will proceed with the motion and the contact person would be David Hoover to set a meeting date. Thelen said the motion on the floor was made by Mattson and seconded by Sawatzke. Russek said they need to keep moving as the people are getting frustrated. The motion carried 5-0.
On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the Ditch 10 Findings of Fact and Order Regarding Repair as prepared by Wenck Associates, Inc.
Russek moved to approve the claim to Wenck Associates, Inc. for $16,132.50 for Preliminary Engineering Services on County Ditch 10. The motion was seconded by Mattson and carried 5-0.
Hiivala provided a copy of all fees charged by the Auditor/Treasurer/License Bureau Departments. The handout reflects double asterisks to the left of several of the fees. Hiivala said that this indicates it is a statutory fee. He said the fee increases under the proposed change column are statutory driven. They will not result in any additional funds for the County. He said there are fees on the schedule that were approved by the Board since the last hearing, including Precious Metal Dealer Permit and Large Group Assembly Permit. He said they just wanted to get them onto the Fee Schedule. The Office has received funds for both of the fees mentioned. He said the copy provided is a complete list of all fees charged by the Auditor/Treasurer and License Bureau. He said those listed in the Change column are the ones that are Statutory driven and to the left are ones that they have been charging that weren’t on the Fee Schedule. Russek asked whether the fees need to go to the Public Hearing. Hiivala said that is the mechanism to get them onto the Fee Schedule.
Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said if fees are driven by State Statute, that Statute should be cited. If State Statute says the County has the right to set a fee, that has been open to some interpretation on whether it requires a Public Hearing or not. That is why he has asked the Board to refer the Fees For Service Policy to Committee for discussion. If a citizen requests how a fee is set, the records should be clear (whether set by Statute or by County Board motion). If Statute allows the County to set a fee, then the County can determine the fee and the proposed fee should be brought to a Public Hearing. Any other suggested changes to fees should be presented at a Public Hearing. A Public Hearing for proposed changes to the Fees-For-Service Schedule has been set for 11-13-12 at 9:30 A.M. Norman said if Hiivala has included on this schedule items that do not currently have a fee or if the fee is changing, it should be referred to that Public Hearing.
Sawatzke referenced discrepancies in fees that are being charged for research: The first page under Auditor/Treasurer, there is a “Research Fee @ $30.00/hr”; the second page under License Bureau, “Genealogy Search Fee @ $20.00/hour”; and the second page under Auditor/Treasurer, “Staff Research Time @ $20.00/hour”. Sawatzke asked why the fees aren’t the same as they all require a staff person to complete research. He did not feel any employee in the organization had a salary and benefit package valued at $20/hour or less. He asked if there is rationale to the difference in fee or whether it is an oversight. Hiivala said the License Bureau Supervisor said those were the fees for the License Bureau. He did not follow up to see how the fees were set. He said Genealogy is a specific type of research, and research in the Auditor’s Office is different. Sawatzke asked whether the employees in the two areas are in the same salary range. Hiivala said that generally they are. Sawatzke said it seems the fees should be the same, but he was unsure what was involved with Genealogy research. Sawatzke viewed it as a discrepancy that fees were being charged differently for people getting comparable pay. Sawatzke said if the service is being provided for people is individual in nature not adding to the benefit of taxpayers in general, the person requesting the service should be meeting the costs of providing them with the information. Hiivala said they probably will resubmit the fees at $30/hour.
Mattson moved to refer the fee changes or new fees to the Public Hearing on 11-13-12 at 9:30 A.M. Norman said the Public Hearing Notice will be published (current and proposed fees) approximately ten days prior to the Public Hearing. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg. Norman asked that Hiivala provide him with information on whether the fees are new, whether they are being revised, and what the fees are proposed at. Norman will need this information to put together the Public Hearing notice. Hiivala said he will reference the Statute on all Statute driven fees. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson said he has concern with cost associated with hospital care for inmates. He is unsure whether the hospital is asking for insurance information when inmates are brought in. He personally had a situation where the Allina Hospital did not check his insurance properly and later the billing reflected he had no insurance, which is not correct. Hiivala will follow up with the Jail Administrator on this. Mattson moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, including 185 vendors for a total of $131,631.11. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.
Steve Berg, Emergency Management Coordinator, requested the Board authorize signatures on an Emergency Management Performance (EMPG) Grant Agreement in the amount of $49,800. The grant covers the period of 1-01-12 to 12-31-12. Berg said this is an annual Grant for Federal dollars managed by the State and provided to counties. There is a three-tier formula on how funding is distributed to the 87 Minnesota counties including the base rate, the population formula, and the property values. Berg received the application for the Grant this past July and the Contract came in about one week ago. That is how far the State is behind. Berg said the 2012 Grant is similar to the EMPG Grant they have received the past number of years. Some of the amounts have gone down and some have remained the same. The required mandates have dramatically increased to counties (from about one to four pages of mandates that they are required to complete). Federal funds are getting cut so they are dumping that back onto the County Emergency Managers to get it done. The funding remains about the same and there is a 50% match. The Grant amount in 2012 is $49,800 and the expenses are close to that same amount. Mattson moved to authorize signatures on the EMPG Grant Agreement. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.
Sean Riley, Planning & Zoning Administrator, presented for consideration a draft resolution which would declare Corinna Township to act as Shoreland Authority. This issue was continued from February, 2012, when it was decided not to grant Shoreland Authority at that time but to resign the Joint Powers Agreement with the Township to expire 12-31-12. The Agreement allows the Township to request a decision on the Shoreland Authority between 10-14-12 and 12-15-12 of the expiring year. Corinna Township has now submitted documentation requesting that action. Riley is looking for guidance from the Commissioners. Eichelberg referenced the Agreement and expiration dates. He said they really have not received any information for review from Planning & Zoning on events that have happened up to this time. He therefore made a motion to table this resolution until 11-27-12 at 9:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Russek. Thelen stated there is information in the Board packet from the Township’s Planning Commission. The Contract with the Township runs out the end of December so she is wondering if the Board will be looking for a bridge. Eichelberg said he is looking to review this a little closer and possibly obtain more information from Planning & Zoning.
Sawatzke noted that members of the Township Board were present for discussion today. The last time this was discussed, some Corinna Township residents were present. He referenced the memo from Ben Oleson, Corinna Township Zoning Administrator, which reflects that an agreement had been reached on an issue that many of those residents had. Sawatzke asked if this is going to be addressed on 11-27-12 and if there is a way that notice can be more broadly advertised to allow for comment from others. He said maybe no one will show up and that may be a testament of what is being done out there. He was unsure whether those members of the public that attended the last meeting knew of the meeting today. He would like to hear other public input on 11-27-12, if there is any, rather than delaying action at that time for input. Sawatzke asked whether a public hearing is required for this process. Asleson said there is not.
Thelen spoke to some of the property owners relative to this issue. One of the things discussed was most Corinna Township residents reside in shoreland. Thelen said Ben Oleson had discussed the possibility of an ordinance with her that gives preference to shoreland people on the Planning Commission. She said that property owners have been fairly happy with the other changes that have been made. Thelen felt residents should be provided an opportunity to speak to the issue as well as the Township Supervisors.
Norman provided a reminder to the Board that there is a motion on the floor to table the issue and therefore it is not debatable. He said there should be a vote taken on the motion. The motion carried 4-1 with Thelen casting the nay vote.
Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said following up procedurally for referring this item to the 11-27-12 Board Meeting, a public hearing can be scheduled even if one is not mandated by Statute. If that is the desire of the Board, Kryzer said staff can accommodate that request. That would allow for providing notice on a broader base. Sawatzke said if a public hearing is not required, he would not ask for one. He is asking that some notice is provided so people know that they can speak to the issue. One thing that is not included in the documentation provided today is a report from Riley on his observation of how things play out now compared to how they would have played out at the County. Sawatzke asked if Riley had provided something like this the last time this was discussed. The information provided did include material from Community Growth on various hearings held by Corinna Township’s Planning Commission.
Riley stated that if this item is continued to 11-27-12, they will place notice on the County’s website and provide notice through mailings. The Township may have a process to inform the citizens as well. Riley said they are in the beginning of the window of when this can be decided (the first day is 10-15-12 that it can be addressed). He apologized, stating he works with Oleson and the Township daily on items. He said he makes the assumption that as time passes, not a lot has changed. Oleson put together a packet of information on the hearings and how the Township has addressed items. If the County Board would like him to put together something similar to what was done on 11-02-11 with an update of what has taken place in the past year, he would be more than willing to do that. Sawatzke said he would like to see that document. He recalled having it last time and that there were several issues, like having “no smoking guns”. Riley felt an update on neutral or good news would also be helpful.
Riley asked for comment by Oleson on the Cedar Acres development. Oleson said he tried to reflect what has changed since last year. The Agreement started in 2011 and was subsequently extended into 2012. He recalled their being two main reasons. One was a desire for more time working through variances and that type of thing. Oleson said he has given an update on the variance side of things and has not heard of any significant issues or complaints from Planning & Zoning. He said they work with Planning & Zoning on a daily basis and that has been going fine. The issue with Cedar Acres has been resolved through extensive mediation. The Township was technically involved in that mediation but for the most part, it was the two other parties that were dealing with negotiations.
Oleson said the reason the request is being presented now is for practical reasons. There is some time requirements as they move forward. One large item in terms of cost is insurance for the Township. There is also the practical side of working with the DNR and making it official if it is going to happen. The DNR process of review will take at least a month. Oleson had concern with the 11-27-12 time frame. The process of working with Riley and the Planning & Zoning staff has gone well. He said Corinna Township is coming to the Board as stipulated in the original Agreement. They were going to come at the end of last year. With the extension, the Township is coming forth at the end of this year. They would like to get things moving so they have resolution and clarity on how to move forward in 2013. Oleson has not heard of any major issues from staff. If the Board has any questions or concerns with what has been sent, they should let him know. Otherwise he feels at this point in time, there are not any issues and that is why the Township is coming forward.
Riley said they do have a signed service contract that does not expired until 2014 for building inspections, plan reviews, and septic systems. No matter what the time line is, there will not be an interruption in that. With regard to the end of November and the DNR, there may be a 2, 4, or 6 week window required. Riley assumes they will have the latitude to continue working hand-in-hand with the Joint Powers Agreement after 12-31-12, as long as both sides were agreeable to that arrangement. Sawatzke said if there is going to be a proposed extension of that Agreement into 2013 from Corinna Township, then those documents could be updated and be made part of that discussion taking place on 11-27-12. Riley concurred. He said his idea was more of a bureaucratic time frame that may delay things with the DNR review and approval. Sawatzke said he is talking about building permits, sewer inspections, and those sorts of things. He assumed the Township is going to utilize the County for those sorts of things. Riley said there is a working contract through 2014.
The meeting recessed at 10:21 A.M. and reconvened at 10:31 A.M.
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 10-10-12. At today’s County Board Meeting, Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Mattson. Mattson asked whether the positions will affect the draft budget set for 2013. Sawatzke said the items in these Minutes are within the current and proposed budgets. The motion carried 5-0:
I. POSITION OPENINGS
A. Financial Worker, Human Services.
Maloney distributed a document related to the request to replace a Financial Worker in the Adult Financial Services Unit (see attached). She explained that each Financial Worker manages about 400 cases. Sawatzke said this request falls within the staffing levels determined during the recent 2013 budget process.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Financial Worker position in Adult Financial Services.
B. Office Technician II, Human Services.
Nelson handed out a document describing the functions of the Office Technician II position for the Child Protection Team (see attached). She clarified that the title on the document, Sr. Office Support Specialist, is from the former job description for this position. Nelson said this position supports the Child Protection Team, including working with the Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) as they prepare to establish a paperless work environment. This position is responsible for sending child protection report letters within ten days as mandated by law. Nelson said this is a key position on the team that ensures no details are missed.
Eichelberg asked whether this position was the only vacant one in the Unit. Nelson verified that it is.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Office Technician II position in the Child Protection Unit.
C. Social Worker, Human Services.
Charbonneau distributed a document that explains the need for the Child Protection Family Assessment Social Worker (see attached). The current employee is waiting to hear from the new employer regarding their start date. Charbonneau said the Agency would not advertise until the current employee has notified them of the start date for their new position. Another Social Worker will be going on leave soon as well, creating two open positions in the Unit.
Charbonneau said each County Social Worker carried 74 Child Protection caseloads last year. That number will increase to an estimated 80 per Social Worker this year. In addition, each Social Worker serves 10 to 12 case management clients. Charbonneau said Wright County Social Workers manage higher than recommended caseloads according to a 2009 Child Welfare Workload Study and Analysis. She commended her staff for their hard work and efficiency, but said the Unit cannot afford to work at reduced staff levels. She said they need a replacement as soon as possible.
Charbonneau reiterated that once they receive an official termination date from the current employee, they will post the position immediately and begin recruiting. She emphasized that the Agency will not extend an offer until the current employee has left. They would like to minimize the time between the current employee’s departure and the start date of the new employee.
Eichelberg asked whether the Agency has a list of candidates. Charbonneau said the process takes two to three months if everything goes well. The position will first be posted internally and then externally. Charbonneau said four weeks from posting is the minimum time frame to complete the hiring process.
Eichelberg asked the basic requirements for this position. Charbonneau said applicants will need a Bachelors Degree in Social Work or a related area. She added that the new employee also receives training from staff. Sawatzke asked whether they had received an official resignation from the current employee. Charbonneau said they received a resignation letter but no date of termination. Sawatzke supported the request since the Unit will be short two positions. His only condition is that the Agency does not hire anyone until the current employee is officially gone. Charbonneau asked if they may start the process as soon as they learn of the current employee’s new termination date. Sawatzke responded that they may not begin the process too soon in the event the current employee stays longer than anticipated. He said the Agency may initiate the posting and recruitment process, but the new employee may not start until the current employee has terminated employment with the County. Sawatzke inquired regarding why the current employee does not know the start date of the new position. Charbonneau said the new employer’s process is very slow. Sawatzke said theoretically there is a small chance that the current employee may not leave. He said there may be no replacement unless the Agency receives an official resignation letter with a termination date. However, since another position will be opening due to a pending leave, the Agency may begin the process now.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Child Protection Family Assessment Social Worker position effective upon receipt of a termination date from the current employee.
D. Senior Survey Technician.
The former Senior Survey Technician terminated 9-28-12. Jobe explained that this is a supervisory position. They will hire according to the new job description per the recent Job Classification Study. Jobe said staff is behind on some projects. He reassigned staff duties in an attempt to accomplish them before the end of 2012. Jobe said they need this position filled as soon as possible.
Sawatzke asked how many employees work in the Survey Department. He knew of one open position. Jobe said there are eight positions budgeted in the Survey Department. One has been vacant since 2009. The Senior Survey Technician is the second vacant position in the Department. He reminded the Committee that one employee has been on Workers Compensation since January. Due to that situation, Jobe said the Department is down 1.5 positions.
Eichelberg suggested Jobe research whether there are any candidates in the market who have the necessary experience and would be willing to work on a temporary basis. Sawatzke said if a 67-day temporary employee worked less than 40 hours per week, the Department could utilize them over a longer period of time. Jobe said that was a good option and will check on the availability of candidates on a temporary basis. Sawatzke reminded Jobe that he will need to bring the request for a temporary employee back to the Personnel Committee.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Senior Survey Technician position.
E. Civilian Corrections Officer.
Sawatzke distributed an email from Captain O’Malley regarding the Civilian Corrections Officer and Office Technician II positions (see attached).
This position was vacated due to a resignation. O’Malley wrote that their counts are increasing and they will be reopening the unit that was closed a few months ago. In addition to this position, the Office is currently interviewing for two open Corrections Officers positions.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Civilian Corrections Officer position.
F. Office Technician II (.5 FTE), Sheriff Office.
O’Malley stated in his email that this position was vacated due to a resignation. This position performs a number of duties.
Sawatzke recalled a recent Personnel Committee discussion regarding the Office Technician II positions in the Sheriff’s Office. He would recommend filling this position as it is in line with the previous discussions.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the .5 FTE Office Technician II position.
(End of 10-10-12 Personnel Committee Minutes)
Norman said information was received from Steve Bot, City of St. Michael, requesting approval of an I-94 support letter to MnDOT in preparation for the upcoming 20-year plan MnSHIP (State Highway Investment Plan) meetings. Sawatzke attended the I-94 Corridor Coalition Meeting last week. The State is holding public hearings to look at their 20-year plan. There is nothing in MnDOT’s plan for Wright County relating to improving I-94 to a greater capacity. Resurfacing is in the plan. Sawatzke said that anyone driving I-94 on a regular basis understands that conditions will worsen without capacity improvements in the next 20 years. The letter will inform MnDOT that there is a need for more capacity. Sawatzke moved to approve the letter. The motion was seconded by Mattson.
Sawatzke and Mattson amended the motion to include the letter to be signed by all Board members because of its importance. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattson attended an ATP Meeting last Friday where a film was viewed on teen texting and accidents. Although it is graphic, he felt it may be appropriate for schools to obtain a DVD through MnDOT.
Kryzer said the County Board will hold a Closed Session directly following the Board Meeting to discuss Main vs. Wright County.
At the request of Thelen, the Budget Committee Of The Whole (BCOTW) Minutes for the 2013 Budget process were moved from the Consent Agenda to Items For Consideration for discussion. Thelen asked Norman whether the minutes were transcribed later as there was no minute taker at the meeting. Norman said he always drafts the BCOTW Minutes. Norman said that with reference to the BCOTW Minutes for the Human Services and Administration portions, he spent hours going through the videotapes and writing down the discussion. He feels he got about 95% of what was said. If there are questions on whether he misinterpreted something, he is open to discussion on those issues. Thelen said it seems as though there are thing left out that aren’t included in the minutes.
Thelen asked when the BCOTW Minutes were written as it has been a long time since the meetings occurred. Norman said over a number of weeks (on Saturdays), he would come into the office, listen to the tapes, and complete a set of minutes. Thelen asked Norman whether he wrote the minutes. He responded that he did. Thelen asked Norman if there is a reason that all seven sets of minutes were received at this Board Meeting. She said there were seven Board Meetings since the BCOTW Meetings were held, and time has elapsed so recall is more difficult. Norman stated it takes him a long time to complete the Minutes. He has to do them outside of normal work hours in order to piece them together. They are always presented as a packet. If the Board desires to do something different in the future, that can be done. Norman said he does not bring a staff member to take minutes at those meetings. He said the turnaround time is not the next Tuesday’s Board Meeting, as they normally try to do with other minutes. The turnaround time is as time permits him to work on them.
Thelen said she has some questions on some of the Minutes and asked Norman whether he still has the tapes. Norman said he does. Thelen said she would like to put the Minutes aside and listen to some of the tapes. Norman said if there are specific meetings and portions of meetings that there are questions on, that the Board hold a BCOTW Meeting so everyone can listen to the tape(s) and come to a consensus on whether the Minutes need revision or stand as written.
Thelen stated she appreciates that this is a lot of work. She said the BCOTW Minutes relating to the Human Services portion is one that she has questions on, including some of the things that she recalls occurring there and it is not reflected in the Minutes. That would be one set. Another would be the 9-10-12 BCOTW Minutes as she recalls the numbers being different than what is reflected in the Minutes. Thelen said the numbers she recalls were the same as those in the first Budget sheet relative to unfilled vacancies and the total cost for the unfilled vacancies. Thelen said she took notes that day which reflected (on the budget sheet) that the Board was going to minus $395,600 in unfilled vacancies and that the total cost of the vacancies was $625,000. She was unsure how the numbers reflected in the BCOTW were derived and at what point the decision was made to change those. Norman said the direction he was given was to put in the figure that brought the Levy to $0 increase. Thelen said that was not really the Minutes then. Those numbers came out after he went back and adjusted the Levy to $0 increase. She asked Norman if that was accurate. She asked him whether he had these numbers at the meeting. Russek said they did and that they had a balanced Budget when they got done with the 9-10-12 BCOTW Meeting. He said they came to a $0 Levy increase. Norman asked Thelen if what she was saying was if the adjustment was made, the actual number was not divulged at the meeting. Thelen said this was correct. Sawatzke said it was discussed. There was a number and then two points were mentioned. They went back to the Budget 100 category and looked at two items. One was relative to insurance and there was a second that involved a few hundred dollars. Those were added and subtracted from the figure to get to the $466,000. Thelen said they were not talking about that number at the meeting.
Norman said he could go back and listen to the tape. Thelen said she would like him to. Norman felt the number they had at the meeting was on the adjusted worksheets that he handed out at the meeting. Thelen said they received the adjusted worksheets after the meeting. At the meeting, they had the sheet reflecting $395,600 with the notation, “minus unfilled vacancies.” Norman asked what date that was handed out. Thelen stated 9-09-12. She said that worksheet is not the one they were working from the day after. Sawatzke said that may be, but there were numbers discussed on 9-10-12 that made that number $466,600. He said the BCOTW discussed those things that were going to change that number.
Norman asked Thelen what number she had. Thelen said the number she had on her Budget sheet at the 9-10-12 BCOTW Meeting was $395,600. The total cost of the vacancies quoted to her was $625,000. The BCOTW Minutes include different numbers. Russek said he knows that the BCOTW talked about using $466,600 out of unfilled positions to bring the Levy down to $0. Russek said the $466,600 is correct. He said he begged to differ on that one. Russek reviewed the BCOTW Minutes and he feels they are very accurate.
Russek made a motion to approve the BCOTW Minutes for the 2013 Budget Process as received. The motion was seconded by Mattson. Thelen asked Asleson if he could provide her with advice relative to this concern and her obligation as the Board Chair. Asleson said Thelen talked with him before today’s Board Meeting and said she had some concerns about some of the BCOTW Minutes. He said Roberts Rules of Order is really the only place that talks about minutes. There isn’t a lot of detail other than the minutes should correctly reflect actions taken by the Board. Obviously, the minutes do not need to reflect every piece of discussion. They are summary. Asleson is not part of the Budget process so he does not know the numbers discussed or what action was taken. Asleson said if there are actions that are not correctly reflected, then they should take a look at the Minutes and make sure they do reflect whatever action was taken.
Russek said he remembers clearly the $466,600 figure; that was the number that it was going to take to bring the Levy down to $0. Asleson said it is up to a consensus of the Board to decide if the Minutes correctly reflect what was done. Thelen said that obviously, she can still listen to the tapes and see what they suggest. She had different numbers noted on the Budget sheets. Sawatzke said Norman spent a lot of time drafting the BCOTW Minutes and he suspects they are accurate. On 9-10-12, the BCOTW discussed a number. They discussed a couple of things that would be changed in other budgets and with that, they added and subtracted from that number. The tape may reflect that they started out with another number and through adding and subtracting it brought them to this number. Sawatzke asked Asleson if there is an issue where something is not accurate whether there is anything that prohibits them from amending the Minutes in the future. Asleson said there is nothing that he is aware of. Sawatzke said he would support the motion then.
Norman said that in the future if any Commissioner has questions about the minutes, whether they are County Board, BCOTW, or Committee, he would appreciate if the questions and comments are directed to him so that they can have that discussion and dialogue, listen to the tapes if need be, and look for accuracy. He did not understand why the County Attorney’s Office was approached on this rather than him but so be it. The other thing that Norman stated was that the tapes of the BCOTW meetings are only kept until the Minutes are approved. He plans to keep these tapes for a while if the Board wants to listen to them. Norman said he will keep them for 2-4 weeks and then they will be discarded.
Thelen said the other issue she had with the minutes, and she can listen to the tapes, relates to discussion on the Human Services positions. She said there was discussion that the Vulnerable Children’s and Adults money was directly related to serving the increased demand. Thelen said Jay Kieft did not review the BCOTW Minutes and she would like him to have an opportunity to do so. She understands the Minutes can be amended if there are inaccuracies. Norman said at the BCOTW Meeting, he asked Kieft if the Vulnerable Adult Grant increase to the County had any direct ties to positions he was asking for and Kieft indicated no. Thelen said that is accurate and she remembers that as well. Thelen said part of Kieft’s pitch was the good news that this additional funding was received to meet the increased demands. That is not reflected in the Minutes.
Thelen said there are just tone things that sometimes occur within minutes. Norman said they do not provide verbatim minutes of meetings. They are summary minutes so not all comments are included. Thelen said that sometimes tone is affected based on what is put in and what isn’t. Norman said he thought he put something in the Minutes reflecting Kieft saying that they did have the increased revenue. Sawatzke referenced the 8-15-12 BCOTW Minutes which reflect, in part, “He stated there is good news in that the State reformulated the Vulnerable Children and Adults Act Allocation. As a result, Wright County will realize an additional $544,142 in revenue.” Thelen said her point was that there was a considerable tone to the meeting about how the money that was reformulated to the County was to meet our increased demands. Sawatzke further read from the 8-15-12 BCOTW Minutes, “Kieft stated the additional revenue comes with no strings attached. It is in no way tied to any of the new positions being requested.”
The motion to approve the BCOTW Minutes, 2013 Budget Process, carried 4-1 with Thelen casting the nay vote.
Aladdin Temp Rite LLC $492.95
Ameripride Services 112.22
AMI Imaging Systems Inc 508.75
Annandale/City of 1,301.20
Apec Ind. Sales & Services 2,434.94
Aramark Services Inc 12,833.50
Black Box Resale Services 119.00
Boyer Truck Parts 237.90
Buff N Glo Inc 200.00
Buffalo/City of 5,008.00
Bureau of Crim. Apprehen. 8,555.00
CDW Government Inc 138.18
Center Point Energy 747.61
CliftonLarsonAllen LLP 9,000.00
Climate Air 2,591.83
Cokato/City of 960.80
Cooks Correctional 673.92
Corporate Payment Systems 852.54
CST Distribution LLC 1,203.88
Dell Marketing LP 6,111.94
Dental Care Assoc. of Buff PA 231.00
DS Solutions Inc 1,899.70
Fibernet Monticello 359.80
Granite Electronics 722.19
Herald Journal Publishing Inc 273.51
Interstate Battery Systems 113.23
Intoximeters Inc 224.44
Jakes Excavating 1,680.00
Lake Region Coop Oil-ML 602.81
LaPlant Demo Inc 567.38
Larson/RL Excavating, Inc. 1,205.39
M-R Sign Company Inc 307.27
Mathiowetz Construction 10,608.90
Midwest Protection Agency Inc 298.82
Midwest Safety Counselors Inc 307.32
Milana P Tolins LLC 300.00
Mini Biff LLC 538.32
MN Chemical Company 852.20
MN Counties Comp. Coop. 14,353.28
MN Monitoring Inc 434.00
MN Office Of Enterprise Tech. 1,150.00
MN Secretary Of State 240.00
Morrigan Law Office 100.00
Multi Health Systems Inc 351.00
Office Depot 1,243.98
Otto Associates 1,914.50
Ragan Communications Inc 129.00
Royal Tire Inc 1,066.57
Russell Security Resource Inc 494.69
Seal King 12,912.50
SHI International Corp 491.63
Society For Human Res. Mgt 180.00
Syntax Inc 1,683.28
The Gallery Collection 147.99
Total Printing 406.13
Verizon Wireless 920.34
Village Ranch Inc 1,268.48
Waste Management-TC West 284.35
West Payment Center 967.20
24 Payments less than $100 1,300.08
Final total $131,631.11
The meeting adjourned at 10.55 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Nov. 19, 2012.