WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
FEBRUARY 5, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
On a motion by Potter, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the 1-29-13 County Board Minutes as presented.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #4, “Introduction of New Employee” (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #5, “District 1 Planning Commission Appointment” (Husom); Item For Consid. #6, “Wright County Community Action Letter of Support” (Daleiden). Hiivala requested that Aud./Treas. Item #2 be changed from “Set Date & Time For Public Hearing On County Ditch 38…” to “Set Date & Time For Public Hearing On County Ditch 10…”. Husom moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Borrell, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Borrell, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: R. Burns, B. Gasper, Bldg. Maint.; K. Eich, T. Fedor, R. Miller, J. Putnam, Parks; T. Baxter, H. Gerads, D. Handeland, M. Silbernagel, J. Vollbrecht, Sher./Corr.
2. Claim, Madden Galanter & Hansen, LLP, $657.75 (Dec., 2012 Service).
3. Approve Labor Contract Agreement With Teamsters Local 320, Essential Supervisors Unit.
1. Appointments To The Extension Committee:
a. Appoint Peggy Boyle As Daleiden’s District 3 Representative, Three-Year Term, 1-01-13 To 12-31-15.
b. Reappoint Scott Peterson As Sawatzke’s District 2 Representative, Three-Year Term, 1-01-13 To 12-31-15.
1. Refer Key Card Access/Security Issues To The Building Committee.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the 1-29-13 Tax Forfeit Committee Minutes:
The purpose of the meeting was to make recommendations to be brought to the full Board on the following items:
1. 114-500-114-106 & 114-500-144103 (City of St. Michael)
2. 104-010-026050 (City of Clearwater)
3. Update on Sherwood Forest Parcels (Maple Lake Township)
4. 101-500-013104 (City of Albertville)
5. 108-034-000040 (City of Hanover)
Asleson provided background information on the parcels and summarized that the Committee needs to formulate a recommendation on each item to bring back to the full Board. Note: In each instance members viewed an overhead shot of the property being reviewed.
1. 114-500-144106 & 114-500-144103: These small pieces were missed when it was originally platted. Asleson suggested setting the minimum bid amount at $1 for each parcel. Notices of a private sale opportunity will be sent to all adjacent property owners. If none of the owners are interested in purchasing the property, the City has indicated that they would assume ownership. Borrell commented that he assumes the purpose is to get the property back on the tax rolls. Potter wanted to know the amount of back taxes owed. Auditor/Treasurer staff responded that their recollection is that it is a minimal amount possibly $50. Borrell recommended getting it back on the tax rolls by offering it to an adjacent owner at the minimum bid price of $1, with additional recording fees, and further stipulating that the parcel must be combined with the adjacent parcel(s). There was some further discussion. Potter offered to personally communicate with the interested adjacent property owner prior to bringing it back to the full Board for action. Hiivala reminded the Committee that if any adjacent owners turn down the offer, the property would return to the list of tax forfeited properties. The Committee was in concurrence with the original plan outlined by Borrell.
2. 104-010-026050: Gillham shared background. This parcel was previously intended for public use (as part of a ballfield) but is currently not being utilized as such. The Committee needs to make a recommendation as to whether it should be designated for public use or offered to adjacent owners for private sale. Borrell commented that the ideal scenario would be if the interested adjacent owner could iron out an agreement to swap outlying pieces with the other adjacent owner. Asleson opined that the County must send notice to all adjacent owners, not just one or two. Also additional fees and survey work may come into play. Following some additional discussion it was the consensus to recommend to the full Board that a notice be sent to all adjacent property owners offering the property for private sale at the minimum bid amount of $1 with the further stipulation that the parcel must be joined to the adjacent parcel and any additional recording fees must be paid at the time of sale.
3. Sherwood Forest Update: Asleson provided background. There are a couple of lakefront lots in the plat that have been tax forfeited. Maple Lake Township was previously approached about any interest they may have to acquire the property for public use, and there was some back and forth communication with them and the Lake Owners Association. However, no official decision was arrived upon. Since approaching the Township a private lake association owner has voiced some interest in acquisition. Asleson said that as part of his further research, he found language in a couple of landowners’ deeds which described lake access (lots) as part of their land acquisition. The lots which have now gone tax forfeit do not appear to have been a part of any of these types of deeded acquisitions. After some further discussion it was decided that Asleson will again contact Maple Lake Township requesting a date-specific response from them as to their desire/willingness to assume responsibility for the property for public use. If the Township is not interested, then Asleson would approach the Lake Owners Association and set conditions which could include a minimum bid amount plus interest, and with the intent to allow lake access to Sherwood Forest Lake Association members only and not the general public.
4. 101-500-013104: Gillham provided background. This relates to a bank foreclosed property. At the time of the foreclosure only the piece with the house was taken and the remaining strip of land (driveway) which was a split off parcel and was not included with the main parcel at the time of the foreclosure, and later it went tax forfeit. The City has agreed to forgive the special assessments. The next step is to set a minimum bid amount and to send a notice to adjacent property owners. Potter shared that he was well aware of the situation with this particular parcel. The Committee was in agreement to set the minimum bid amount at $1 which would help to facilitate the new owner to purchase the property and join it to the main parcel. Notices will be sent to all adjacent property owners, as this is the prescribed procedure.
5. 108-034-000040: Asleson provided background. Originally there was a developer’s agreement to offer this to the City of Hanover free of charge for public use. However, upon submission to the State under these circumstance, they have denied the request as they feel it does not comply with statutes and want the City to purchase it. The purchase fee would be $250, which should not be a problem for the City. Asleson will draft a new Resolution, and it will be brought back to the full Board for approval and resubmission to the State.
(End of 1-29-13 Tax Forfeit Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, the Tax Forfeit Committee Minutes were discussed. Sawatzke referenced Sherwood Forest and requested that Asleson contact Maple Lake Township to determine whether they are interested in the parcels. If not, the Township should be informed as to the terms of sale when it is offered to the Homeowner’s Association. Sawatzke wants to avoid further delay in resolving this issue. If the properties are owned by the Township, it would open them up for public use which is not the intent. Asleson plans to communicate with the Township, requesting they formally approve/disapprove of taking the parcels. If the Township disapproves, then the parcels will be offered through private sale to the Homeowner’s Association. Sawatzke asked what the cost will be to the Homeowner’s Association. Asleson said the intent is to have the sale cover back taxes, penalties, and interest that were not paid on the parcels in the past. He thought that figure, with interest through November, 2012, had been provided to the Homeowner’s Association. He estimated this at just over $5,000. Asleson will provide that same information to the Township. The County would also allow purchase over a 10-year period, similar to when tax forfeit property is repurchased by a previous owner. Sawatzke said he would like this information as he may attend a meeting where this is discussed. Asleson will copy Sawatzke on his correspondence with the Township. Potter made a motion to approve the 1-29-13 Tax Forfeit Committee Minutes and recommendations, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0.
Hiivala brought forth discussion on setting a public hearing for County Ditch 10. He was in contact with Ron Ringquist and Kurt Deter, and the suggested date is 2-13-13. Hiivala said once a meeting date has been set, notice will be sent to benefited landowners that will provide an estimate of their portion of the cost. Sawatzke questioned whether setting the date for 2-13-13 will provide enough public notice. Asleson stated that if there is a public hearing, the notice may need to be published. He will consult with Deter on this requirement. Borrell moved to set a meeting regarding Ditch 10 on 2-13-13 at 3:00 P.M., subject to meeting all requirements for public notification. The meeting will be held in the Community Room (Room 120A) in the Government Center. The motion was seconded by Husom. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said that if the Board meets as a Committee Of The Whole for the purpose of conducting a Public Hearing, an agenda must be posted. Sawatzke questioned whether all five Commissioners need to attend the meeting. Hiivala said some of the discussion at the meeting may lead to a redetermination of Ditch 10 so support of all five Board members is important. He does not believe it will go to a redetermination but that was a topic that was brought up. Borrell felt Deter indicated (at last week’s meeting) that if the County is going to do something with extending the Ditch from Lake Emma to Little Waverly, it would probably be better not to do a redetermination at this time. Borrell said he would advise against the redetermination. Hiivala said the purpose of the meeting will be to talk about repair to County Ditch 10. Along with that, they can address the issue of an improvement or the creation of another ditch out of Lake Emma. Sawatzke referenced last week’s Board minutes which reflect, “Husom made a motion to move forward in the process with establishing a public hearing.” Sawatzke does not feel that the County will meet the statutory requirements for public notice if a public hearing is required. Staff can consult with Deter to determine whether this should be a public hearing. If the timeline does not work because of meeting public notice requirements, then this item can be brought back to next week’s Agenda. Borrell said as far as the Ditch 10 project and the work that was going to be completed now, he said they indicated a meeting was not required. They could go ahead with the work and then bill it out. Borrell thought the purpose of the meeting was to discuss an extension or a new ditch from Lake Emma to Little Waverly. Husom asked for the statutory requirement for public notice. Hiivala said the notice must be published once providing a 10-day notice. He will consult with Deter on whether a public hearing is required. Borrell said another option would be to hold an informational meeting to see what options are available. Sawatzke said if the meeting is just informational, then possibly the entire Board does not need to be in attendance. A public hearing is required if there is some formal action that will be taken relative to a redetermination. Borrell thought they could have a couple of Board members present at the meeting that could bring back a recommended action. Hiivala said if the Board wants to appoint two Commissioners to attend, then they will proceed with this as being an informational meeting. They need to obtain information from Deter and others as to what can be done. Hiivala said another purpose of the meeting is to provide benefited landowners with estimated costs. Borrell and Husom accepted a friendly amendment to the motion to have Borrell and Daleiden attend the meeting as opposed to all Board members. The motion carried 5-0. Norman said as two Commissioners are attending the meeting, there is still an obligation to post an agenda within the time frame of the open meeting law. Hiivala will route an Agenda to Administration to be posted. The County Board asked whether it is an option to post this Agenda to the Internet. Administration will see that this is completed. Joe Jacobs, SWCD, will inform Lake Ann of the meeting. Hiivala said the Lake Ann Association participated in the hydrological study that was completed. Going forward, he felt the Lake Ann Association would still want to be informed of what is taking place.
Hiivala introduced Janice Edmonson who has been hired in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Edmonson will work with County ditches. Edmonson was welcomed.
The claims listing was discussed. Potter made a motion to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for $268,315.16 and 170 vendors. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. Husom referenced a claim on Page 17, EPA Audio Visual Inc. ($16,327.17), for Audio Visual Equipment for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Sawatzke said this is being paid from Fund 2, Nuclear Power Plant Funding. It does not involve County tax dollars. Xcel Energy provides funding to the County to cover costs relative to having the EOC at the Government Center. All counties in the U.S. that have a nuclear facility or are within 10 miles of a nuclear facility must have an EOC. He was unsure of the funding in other areas, but in Wright County Xcel Energy predominately covers all costs associated with the EOC. The motion to approve the claims carried unanimously.
Joe Jacobs, Water Resource Specialist, SWCD, requested the Board schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting (COTW) with the following Agenda items:
1) Review of Water Management in Wright County
-The connections and relationship with other government and private entities
-Key points of the Comprehensive Water Management Plan
2) State of the Water Address.
-Water Monitoring efforts
-Discussion of our impaired waters
Jacobs said the Water Management Task Force (WMTF) recommended last year that Jacobs meet with the County Board on the Water Plan. The purpose would be to review the plan and the main goals and vision of the entity. The goals and vision are based on the direction taken from the County Board on how to manage the County water resources. Potter moved to schedule a COTW Meeting for 2-19-13 at 10:30 A.M. or immediately following the Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Cathleen Gabriel, CGW Law Office, provided a report on legal services, CHIPS (Child In Need Of Protection Or Services), and TPR (Termination Of Parental Rights) cases from 2012. Gabriel incurred 1001.5 hours on the 35 CHIPS and TPR cases assigned in 2012. There were no appeals and two court trials in District Court. No cases were declined by Gabriel due to conflicts. She appeared at all 23 Emergency Protective Care Hearings (EPC) and was assigned to all but 5 of those cases. Gabriel still appeared on 3 of the 5 and the cases were able to move forward. Gabriel said this has been the slowest year for cases and she is putting in an estimated 20 hours per week. This does not include EPC Hearings. Gabriel’s contract with the County started in 2008. The current contract runs to 2014. Her work with the County Attorney’s Office has been positive and cohesive. Tom Kelly, County Attorney, said the MN Supreme Court previously ruled that it is the County’s obligation to provide these services which were previously completed by the Public Defender’s Office. Some counties hired attorneys on an hourly basis. In 2008, Wright County decided to contract with Gabriel for services at a cost of $72,000. That figure has not increased since 2008. Kelly said the vast majority of Minnesota counties are mirroring Wright County and going to contracting for services. He supports the contract with Gabriel and said it is working well. This was provided as an informational item.
Bill Stephens, Environmental Health Supervisor, requested signatures on the Household Hazardous Waste Program Operation Agreement with Tri-County Solid Waste Management Commission (Tri-Co. SWMC). The Agreement continues more than a 20-year partnership to provide technical and financial support for the Wright County Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program. Stephens said there are no changes to the Agreement, and it is updated every five years. Sawatzke asked whether the Agreement provides any revenue to Wright County. Stephens said this is dependent on the number of users, but it can be approximately $15,000. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the Agreement, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
Bill Weldele, Pelican Lake, was present to discuss his concern with snowmobilers in Wright County. He stated that snowmobilers do not respect landowners and that trails are too wide. He said some trail areas are 100’ wide in places, which is well beyond what they are supposed to be. Sawatzke asked if snowmobilers are traveling outside of the official snowmobile trails. Weldele stated that is correct. The trails run between the light poles and the road. Snowmobilers travel into the field on his neighbor’s land. Sawatzke asked whether the snowmobile association has been contacted, as the neighbor could elect not to resign with them if there is a problem. Weldele said they had. Weldele suggests placing signs along the snowmobile trail that indicate if the users do not stay on the trail, the trail could be closed. Borrell said he does not care if snowmobilers ride on his land unless they would be destructive. Weldele said the law states snowmobilers must stay on trails. Sawatzke agreed and said snowmobilers should not trespass on private property. If that is occurring on Weldele’s property, he should have a concern. Weldele said snowmobilers come down along the road near Pelican Lake. The trail does not run through his property but it is close to it. Weldele said he has been in contact with the Sheriff’s Office and the State on this problem.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty said he has talked with Weldele about this situation over the past few years. Extra patrols have been sent to the Pelican Lake area. He said Sgt. Brian Johnson of the Sheriff’s Office runs the Recreational Patrol Division. They are sensitive to property owner’s rights. Hagerty said Pelican Lake is a very popular fishing area. Many people access the Lake by snowmobile trails near Weldele’s property. There has been a reduction in snowmobile activity this year and last year due to low accumulations of snow. Many times the complaints relate to youth riders. Quite a few cities have passed ordinances on snowmobiles. The Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor this area. Hagerty was in contact with the Foxtailer’s Snowmobile Club. That group is dedicated to monitoring trails. Weldele said someone from that Club had contacted him as well. Weldele suggested a $500 fine and the confiscation of the snowmobile for violators. He also thought a sign should be erected at the violation sight to educate others.
Sgt. Johnson said he has been working with Weldele on this issue for years and knows there are issues in that area. In the past, they have assisted with posting signs supplied by the Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office is supplemented with DNR Grants, and the funding received is used for snowmobile enforcement and education. In good weather conditions, there are four deputies working snowmobile enforcement on weekends and throughout the week based on snow conditions. Every complaint is taken seriously and they provide extra enforcement. With the amount of trails and lakes in the County, the Sheriff’s Office may not be present at the time a violation occurs.
Johnson said the Sheriff’s Office works with snowmobile groups and neighborhood watches are formed. Those people can be the eyes and ears to report violations. The problem lies in obtaining identification numbers from snowmobiles. When a violator is encountered, the Sheriff’s Office issues citations and/or educates as much as possible. There have not been any citations issued on Weldele’s property this year, but citations have been issued in other areas of the County. There are two types of citations, including criminal or civil. The citation may be based on the perspective of the property owner, but many property owners want the Sheriff’s Office to educate the violators. However, the violator can be charged criminally with trespassing. A civil citation is $50 and a criminal citation is much higher. Sawatzke said Weldele suggested other types and amounts of penalties but they may not be practical. He asked whether it would be an option for the County to establish fines or fees for trespassing. Hagerty stated that some cities have administrative fines for petty misdemeanor violations. He was unsure if Buffalo Township has anything like that. Hagerty said the Sheriff’s Office has been to Weldele’s property quite frequently. If someone trespasses onto Weldele’s property, a citation will be issued. Sawatzke asked whether the Sheriff’s Office rides trails looking for violators. Sgt. Johnson said they do. They set themselves up in high traffic areas and will stop snowmobilers if violations occur. Husom asked how many complaints are received annually. Johnson said some complaints come through patrol and others through phone calls, so it is hard to track. When it snows, there may be 10-15 complaints per day. The largest complaint received is that snowmobilers do not follow trails and travel onto private properties. Sgt. Johnson said they also represent the snowmobilers. There are also property owners that do not understand the right-of-way in ditches and where snowmobilers are allowed to ride. Snowmobilers have full access to road ditch right of ways.
Daleiden suggested use of cameras in problems areas. Sgt. Johnson said they haven’t used cameras on snowmobile trails. The problem lies in the digital camera’s sensitivity to movement. Photos taken by residents have been utilized in citations or prosecution. The use of cameras or other technologies could be researched. Borrell referenced signs suggested by Weldele. He felt 90% of farmers may not even care that snowmobilers use their fields. Sgt. Johnson said signs are not a cure all but they do assist with enforcement and prosecution efforts. It may keep people off their land. Some people do not know the trail systems and may travel from another area to Wright County to snowmobile. Johnson said they will continue to provide enforcement near Weldele’s property. They will use the resources they can to assist him and hopefully remedy this situation.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 1-29-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell said there were two issues presented at the Committee Of The Whole Meeting. The first was appointments to the Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission. The second related to terms (two-year versus three-year). Borrell said it doesn’t matter if the second item is worked on now or in six months. Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, stated there is not recommendation from the COTW Meeting on an amendment to the Ordinance for terms. Staff is willing to assist with moving forward on any amendments to the Ordinance. Doing so would require notice to cities and townships, as well as public hearings. The public hearings on amendments are generally held by the Planning Commission. If the County Board wants to hold a public hearing on this issue, public notice is required. If the public is only noticed for a public hearing at the Planning Commission and that body closes the public hearing, then the County Board cannot accept public comment. Sawatzke made the following correction to the minutes: Page 8, remove Item 1 under Recommendations which read, “Appoint Dan Mol to serve on the Board of Adjustment as Dual Member for a three-year term expiring 12-31-15.” Sawatzke said this action was taken at the 1-22-13 County Board Meeting, prior to the COTW Meeting. Sawatzke made another correction to the minutes on Page 1, last Paragraph, 2nd sentence. He corrected the sentence to read, “He stated that if the Committee reappointed Bob Schermann, that would give Borrell two appointees for one year.” Borrell extended appreciation to Kryzer for his effort on these issues. Daleiden moved to approve the 1-29-13 COTW Minutes, as revised, and the recommendations. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0. The COTW Minutes follow:
I. Discuss Terms Of Citizens Appointed To Committees Including Planning Commission, Board Of Adjustment, and Parks Commission.
Kryzer stated two primary issues need to be discussed:
1) Determine appointees for five seats on the Board Of Adjustment (BOA) and seven seats on the Planning Commission (PC); and
2) Amend the Wright County Zoning Ordinance to limit Appointee terms to two years. All terms of office will expire on the first Monday in January in each odd numbered year.
Sawatzke asked for a list of proposed candidates. Kryzer distributed a memo dated 12-13-12 from Riley to the County Commissioners regarding potential PC and BOA appointees. He also handed out a portion of the County Zoning Ordinance identifying proposed changes (see attachments).
Kryzer explained that the BOA has one vacant seat, and the PC has two. One of the PC members is required by State Statute and Ordinance to serve on both the BOA and the PC. This person is referred to as a “Dual Member.” Kryzer said some BOA participants have schedule limitations that prevent them from serving on both the BOA and the PC. He said the earliest changes could be adopted would be the end of March 2013.
Sawatzke commented that he preferred three-year terms versus two. He expressed concern about the potential of having six new appointees on the PC. Borrell responded that he did not think that would happen. Sawatzke said probably not, however, he prefers three-year appointments.
Borrell stated that a newly-elected Commissioner could potentially inherit an appointee who adheres to an opposing philosophy. He did not feel the Commissioner should have to work with someone for several years in that situation. Borrell did not think the present situation with four newly elected Commissioners will happen frequently. Sawatzke said it happened twenty years ago, and could occur at most every ten years due to redistricting.
Borrell said two-year appointments to the BOA and PC alleviate the problem, especially during redistricting. He pointed out that Daleiden and Potter will have no representatives for their Districts on either the BOA or PC for a year or more. Borrell said two-year appointments would clear up that problem.
Sawatzke read the attached list of proposed appointees for the Board Of Adjustment. He stated that if the Committee reappointed Bob Schermann, that would give Borrell two appointees for one year. Borrell said he would prefer to keep Schermann on, as he has served as Chair and has a lot of experience. He proposed that Daleiden or Potter appoint Schermann. Sawatzke said Borrell would not reappoint Bauman when his term on the BOA expires 12-31-13. He asked whether Daleiden (District 3) or Potter (District 4) agreed to allow Borrell to have an appointee in that seat until then. When Bauman’s term expires on 12-31-13, the seat could be appointed by Daleiden. Sawatzke added that when Don Schmidt’s term ends on 12-31-14, Potter could appoint someone for District 4.
Potter said he has not heard from his potential candidate. Sawatzke said the Committee could agree to designate the seat vacated by Bauman in the future to go to District 3, and Schmidt’s position could be filled by District 4.
Borrell said Bauman indicated he was not interested in serving another term. Riley interjected, saying the Committee usually talks to BOA and PC members when they change District assignments. If someone is currently assigned to District 5 and they are changed to District 3, they may not come back for another term. Riley said if you ask an appointee to represent a District other than the one in which they live, they will probably not seek reappointment. According to the existing Ordinance, appointees currently serve At-large.
Sawatzke responded that the Committee is not assigning appointees to Districts. He said it is one way to evaluate the situation when terms expire for appointees representing various Districts. Husom agreed that appointees will not be inclined to represent Districts other than the ones in which they reside. Riley said the Committee could decide where to appoint someone. Borrell asked where Bauman lives. Kryzer said he lives in District 5. Riley said if the Committee assigns Bauman to District 3, in one year District 3 will appoint someone else. Alternatively, Riley said the Committee could establish that appointee terms are not related to a District.
Borrell said since nothing is specifically stated in State Statute in this regard, Commissioners have recommended candidates from their Districts. He did not want that practice to change. Sawatzke reminded him that the Board can deny a recommendation. It has been discussed by past Boards, but never done.
Riley explained that the intent is to focus on practical issues regarding the open seats. If they are filled, and the Committee agrees to sync appointment terms with Commissioner terms, the situation could be resolved. State law says one BOA member must also serve on the PC. Sawatzke said any of the BOA members could do so.
Borrell said Franklin Denn represented District 2 on the PC until 12-31-12. Dan Mol could be assigned Denn’s spot. Potter said Sawatzke already has David Pederson in District 2. Husom pointed out that no one is designated for District 1. Sawatzke replied that Borrell is on the PC, and there are three appointees from his District already. Sawatzke said Bauman was assigned to District 5. Ralph Douglas could continue to be assigned to District 5, but not as the At-large appointee. Sawatzke said Douglas, along with George Bakeberg, would give District 5 two appointees until Bakeberg’s term expires 12-31-13. At that time, Sawatzke said Bauman’s position could be designated At-large, and Dan Mol would be appointed to that seat.
Potter asked who Husom would like to represent District 1 on the PC. Sawatzke said Denn’s seat would still be open. Mol could be assigned Denn’s seat and be designated At-large. Borrell concurred that the appointees can be from any District.
Sawatzke explained that the At-large position has historically been considered a township officer position. Denn held that appointment for some time. He has served on the PC for about 40 years. Initially, Denn was the At-large appointee. He also served as a township officer and the district director for local township officers. He represented townships. Sawatzke said when the number of townships in his District dropped to one, Denn was moved to District 2. The At-large seat has always been held by a township officer.
Kryzer said appointees who represent townships function effectively as a bridge to township associations. Sawatzke said there should be more than one township representative on the PC. He added that Mol would be willing to serve as the Dual Member on the BOA and PC. He would have to serve as the At-large member on the PC. Borrell disagreed, saying the Committee would work out the situation in two years.
Husom received a request from Phyllis LaTour in Southside Township, who recommended Jan Thompson for the PC. Thompson has served on the Robbinsdale Planning Committee. LaTour is interested in the BOA. Husom said LaTour is a hard working person, and she would be comfortable recommending her. Husom added that she does not know LaTour, but has seen her at township meetings. Sawatzke reminded Husom that she would not have an opening on the BOA for two years. He cautioned Husom to be careful not to appoint two people from the same township when considering future appointments.
Riley spoke regarding Dual Members. He said if Mol were appointed as the Dual Member, he would recommend that Mol be the At-large appointee. Riley reasoned that Denn is a long-term member, and Pederson will stay in Sawatzke’s District. Riley thought it made sense to allow Denn’s appointment to end when his term expires. Sawatzke indicated that two of the townships in his District do their own planning and zoning.
Borrell disagreed that Mol should be appointed to the At-large seat on the PC. Riley replied that Douglas is At-large but from District 5. Borrell is losing Bauman, who is from District 5 and currently serves as the Dual Member. He asked Borrell why he objected to Douglas as the At-large appointee. Borrell said he has someone in mind for the At-large position when it expires 12/31/14. Sawatzke asked if the person is from Rockford Township. Borrell said yes. Sawatzke said that District has only one township, so it would not be fair for Borrell to have two appointees on the PC, plus himself. Borrell responded that there is no reason to appoint Mol as the At-large.
Husom questioned whether Daleiden should have an appointee on the PC. Sawatzke said Daleiden has a right to appoint someone in the future, although initially, one Commissioner will not have an appointee on the PC. Sawatzke felt Daleiden was the logical choice, since his District has no townships. Daleiden interjected that his discussions with Riley and the Planning & Zoning staff revealed that they also work with cities. Riley said the PC, in particular, interacts with cities. Husom has two representatives on the BOA, but none on the PC. Is that a fair balance? Husom was not sure.
Daleiden asked whether the cities and townships that do their own zoning file their plans with the County Planning & Zoning Department for their review. Riley said cities do not file with the County at that level of detail. However, the County does work with cities on land use plans, park planning, and so on. The townships and cities work together on major planning items. The PC decides land issues that may tie into city issues. The BOA considers more issues that deal with shoreland. Riley said the PC is the forum to make solid arguments for incorporated areas to be represented.
Borrell said Daleiden will have an opportunity to designate an appointee to the PC in a year or so. Sawatzke said that would be in a year or two. Daleiden reminded the Committee that Husom and he were serving two-year terms.
Sawatzke asked Borrell regarding his plans for Bakeberg. Borrell said Bakeberg has one year left on the PC. He was not sure whom he would choose for the next term. Sawatzke said Borrell would have the chance in one year. Borrell said if he left Douglas as the At-large appointee, he could reappoint Bakeberg. However, if others on the Committee felt there was a better candidate, this appointment could be discussed. Sawatzke felt there should not be two representatives on the PC from the same township, and never three. He added that Borrell has six townships that use Planning & Zoning, while Husom has five and he has four. Sawatzke did not feel it was fair for Borrell to have 50 percent more representation. He reiterated that Borrell should not have three people on the PC from District 5. Daleiden said that was realistic. Borrell said this issue could be discussed later. He proposed appointing Mol to the seat formerly held by Denn as a solution.
Riley did not see how Mol serving as At-large would restrict possibilities. Borrell replied that if Douglas is not designated as At-large, the Committee may appoint Mol as At-large now, and in a year or two reassign him. Mol could then serve as a non At-large appointee for a District other than District 2. Sawatzke countered that there is nothing wrong with his District having two appointees. There are four townships in his District. Borrell responded that designating Mol as At-large alleviates the problem. Douglas is At-large until 12-31-14. Sawatzke would not stipulate whom he would appoint to the PC two years from now. He said there are only three townships that can have more than one appointment. He suggested Husom be given an opportunity to appoint someone to the PC prior to Daleiden due to the number of townships in her District.
Borrell stated that his District comprises more than a third of the County. Sawatzke stated that six townships utilize County Planning & Zoning. Borrell said Husom does not have much farmland in her District. District 2 may have the most farmland after District 5. He added that if city limits were shown on a District 2 map, there wouldn’t be much township land left.
Daleiden broached another issue, asking how much County Planning & Zoning revenue is derived from township fees and services. Riley said about 40 percent. Sawatzke commented that city and township residents support Planning & Zoning nearly equally. Daleiden said city residents in his District have contributed a lot of money to County Planning & Zoning over the years, and in the current situation, will have no representation on the PC.
Sawatzke said a year and a half ago there was a recommendation not to allow residents in incorporated areas to be on the PC. He, along with a majority of the Board, voted against that recommendation.
Borrell told Daleiden the revenue is not the most important consideration with Planning & Zoning. The problem is the regulations being proposed for rural County areas. Townships utilize the BOA and PC to decide issues. Borrell contends that there are many people in his District who are angry, and feel the Planning & Zoning Department has “railroaded” regulations through the BOA. He relayed an issue with a shoreland resident to illustrate his point. Sawatzke said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules are not as strict as other counties in the State. Borrell said the BOA is the bridge between the law and reality, and are allowed to make small variances. He said appointees should reflect the ideology of their Commissioners.
Kryzer explained that whenever the BOA gets an “after-the-fact” variance request, they evaluate them stringently to avoid people from building and asking the BOA for a retroactive permit afterwards.
Riley said this proves the difficulty of micro-analyzing a specific case. Borrell said neither the Committee nor BOA or PC appointees know the regulations. They rely on Kryzer and Riley for advice and clarification. Borrell says at the same time, the County expects residents to know the law. He re-emphasized his belief that appointees should share the ideologies of the Commissioners.
Riley said it appears Borrell agrees with the concept of balancing the PC with representatives from every District. Sawatzke said the Committee also accepted appointees serving out their terms. He said Schermann could continue to serve on the BOA for District 5. Regarding Schmidt and Bauman, Sawatzke said the Committee will accept recommendations from Districts 3 and 4.
Sawatzke said the PC appointment held by Denn should go to Husom. He suggested assigning Bauman’s appointment as Dual Member representing District 5 to Mol, who would also serve as the At-large appointment.
Borrell asked where Bakeberg would be assigned. Sawatzke replied that Mol would take Bauman’s appointment and be designated At-large, and Douglas would remain a District 5 representative until his term expires 12/31/14. If reappointed, Douglas would represent District 3 due to redistricting. Borrell agreed to that idea, as long as the At-large appointment could be shifted to another appointee.
Norman asked for clarification on Mol’s appointment to the BOA, and said his understanding is Mol will serve on the PC as the At-large and Dual Member. Daleiden asked whether Mol will replace Denn. Borrell said no, Sawatzke has 2 people representing his District, and should only have one. Sawatzke stated that Mol is replacing Bauman as Dual Member and will also serve At-Large. Douglas is moving from At-large to the District 5 appointment. Sawatzke said there will be two District 5 appointees for a time.
Norman asked whether that left an opening in District 5 representation. He said it is an opening Husom will need for District 1. Daleiden will have someone when one of the five appointments becomes available.
Sawatzke referred to one open seat on the PC. He said that could be left open for awhile to think about it. The matter does not need to be decided now. Kryzer reminded the Committee that the PC meets again 2-07-13. Sawatzke said Husom could appoint someone next week. Kryzer said they have had meetings with four people. Daleiden clarified, saying Pederson serves on the PC for District 2. Gordon Weber is in District 4. Bakeberg represents District 5, and Mol in District 2. Sawatzke said Mol would also be the At-large position. Daleiden asked, and Sawatzke confirmed, that Mol would also be the Dual Member. Daleiden said Mol’s term on the BOA expires 12-31-15. Kryzer said it would be a three-year term.
Regarding term lengths, Borrell expressed the opinion that it is unconscionable that Husom cannot appoint someone to the BOA or PC at this time. He said implementing the proposed two-year term limit schedule as outlined in the attached document eliminates this situation. Borrell stated that appointees should serve at the pleasure of Commissioners. He addressed Riley’s concern about arbitrary dismissal of appointees, admitting that it could happen. However, Borrell said, he does not believe the Committee will see a huge turnover of BOA and PC members. Terms will expire. When new Commissioners are elected, the appointees would remain for two more years.
Riley said the idea has potential. If the Committee wishes to align the terms of appointees, the number of term years has to be even. Sawatzke said they could even be as short as one year. He said there has never been a problem in the past. The redistricting process ten years ago did not create any issues. The present situation is not the norm. Districts changed significantly last year. Sawatzke added that the past Board could have appointed new BOA and PC members in December 2012, prior to the new Board taking office. They did not do so, Sawatzke said, out of respect for the incoming Commissioners. He suggested that Kryzer correct the Ordinance to eliminate that possibility if it currently exists. Kryzer said currently terms end December 31st. The proposed amendments to the Ordinance would change that to the first Monday in January, which is when the terms of previous Commissioners expire.
Sawatzke said in the past, a late appointment was made only if a Commissioner was staying in office. He prefers three-year terms and prohibiting a retiring or outgoing Commissioner from appointing someone to the BOA or PC in December. He believes there will be less turnover with three year terms. Daleiden said a large turnover of appointees would only occur with redistricting or if new Commissioners were elected. Potter said other situations may arise as well. Sawatzke said he did not feel strongly about three year terms, but simply prefers them. He asked other Committee members to express their opinions on the matter.
Kryzer said there were additional factors to discuss. Husom asked if Borrell came to the Board to discuss issues regarding certain appointees, shouldn’t the Board be able to come to an agreement? Sawatzke said his understanding is that a BOA or PC appointee cannot be dismissed because of the way they vote, but by violating laws or rules. He asked Kryzer to specify. Kryzer said the verbiage was in the proposed Ordinance Amendment under “Nonperformance of Duty or Misconduct In Office.” Riley said they cannot benefit financially from any decisions made while serving on the BOA or PC. The appointee cannot be removed due to the way they voted. Borrell said it is hard to remove an appointee unless they are taking money or doing something bad. Kryzer said if the reason for dismissal does not fall within the realm of nonperformance of duty or misconduct in office, the individual could take the County to court.
Husom supports a two-year term. Potter preferred a three-year term to avoid turnover. Daleiden asked whether each person will represent a specific District. Sawatzke said that was not in the Ordinance. Kryzer said that technically, every appointee currently serves at large. Riley said there is a way to codify the causes for dismissal to make it an official part of the Ordinance. Kryzer said every appointee serves at large, with an informal understanding that there will be one representative from each District.
Sawatzke thought if all Committee members agreed to the informal understanding, there was no need to specify it in the Ordinance. Riley said if the term lengths were changed, there would be long term Commissioners and long term appointees. Instead of recommending appointees every two years, they would do it every three years. Borrell said the Ordinance could be changed back to specify two-year terms in the future if the longer terms became a problem.
Kryzer explained the process. The proposed Ordinance Amendment is sent to all townships and cities in the County. Then it is reviewed by the BOA and recommendations are made to the PC. The PC holds a public hearing and receives comments before referring their final recommendation to the Board regarding whether to change appointments to two years, three years, or make no changes. In short, Kryzer said the Committee cannot make a decision about the matter today.
Daleiden said regardless of the Committee’s recommendation today, there will still be an opportunity to revisit the decision once it is referred back to the Board. Asleson said if the appointment terms are left at three years, the Committee should still recommend the Ordinance be amended so outgoing Commissioners cannot make appointment decisions in December.
Kryzer said the biggest change would be term expiration dates. Two BOA terms expired 12-31-12. There was a meeting on 1-03-13. The new Commissioners did not start until 1-08-13. The biggest change to the Ordinance would be changing terms from expiring 12-31 to the first Monday in January. He reiterated that all townships and cities must be notified of any changes to the Ordinance.
Sawatzke suggested the Committee make no recommendation and vote on the two- or three-year term limits at the 2-05-13 or 2-12-13 Board meeting. He said there was no need to decide today, as it will have no impact on the speed of the process. The Board will present the minutes to the public and vote at that time.
Daleiden said he would prefer to proceed that way. He asked the cost involved in notifying townships and cities, referring the Amendment to the BOA and PC, and holding public hearings. Kryzer said the notice is published for ten days prior to the public hearing at a cost of one cent per column inch. Sawatzke said staff time is involved as well.
Daleiden said that either way, notifications will have to be sent regarding proposed changes in the Ordinance. Kryzer said that will occur when the Committee directs him to move forward with the Ordinance Amendment. Daleiden clarified that a final decision will not be made until the process is complete and the matter returns to the Board.
Riley said the catalyst was the proposal to sync appointee terms with Commissioner terms in the Zoning Ordinance. The Planning & Zoning staff has made the investment in time already. If they do not move forward, there will be no final decision to make.
Borrell said a two-year term makes them more accountable to the public. Daleiden said there is no guarantee on any of this. All that exists is a gentlemen’s agreement that there will only be so many representatives from each District. At this point, Daleiden said it makes no sense, as there is not equal representation. Borrell contended there would be. Daleiden disagreed. Borrell said he would support an Ordinance Amendment to the effect that there is equal representation on the BOA and PC across all Districts. He agreed that Daleiden should have an appointee from his District. Sawatzke agreed.
Daleiden said he had no recommendation regarding appointment term limits.
1) Reappoint Bob Schermann to serve on the Board Of Adjustment representing District 5 for a three-year term expiring 12-31-15;
2) Appoint Dan Mol to serve on the Planning Commission as At-large and Dual Member, to a three-year term expiring 12-31-15.
3) Commissioner Husom will recommend an appointment to the Planning Commission for a three-year term expiring 12-31-15 at the 2-05-13 County Board Meeting.
(End of 1-29-13 COTW Minutes)
Husom recommended the appointment of Janet Thompson (Southside Township) as the District 1 representative on the Planning Commission. Thompson is originally from Willmar and has a business background. She worked with Planning & Zoning for the City of Robbinsdale. She has resided in Southside Township for 16 years. Husom moved to appoint Janet Thompson to the Planning Commission for a three-year term. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Norman said at the County Board’s Organizational Meeting in January, the Board decided not to make an appointment to the Mid-Minnesota Mississippi River Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council. The Board felt the Council would be inactive. Since that time, Norman received notice that there will be a RC&D Council Meeting on 2-28-13 at 9:30 A.M., at the Sherburne History Center in Becker. The group is looking for a representative from Wright County to attend. Borrell asked for the mission of the group. Sawatzke said the key words would be “resource conservation” and “Mid-Minnesota Mississippi River.” This is indicative of the region that is served. He estimated that this RC&D has been in existence for 6-8 years. The focus is conservation and obtaining federal grants for the projects. Borrell asked whether the group looks at river quality. Sawatzke did not feel that the efforts only focus on the Mississippi River. He thought there could be other sorts of conservation resource efforts as well. Borrell and Daleiden both expressed interest in serving. Daleiden said he would like to be appointed because the River runs through his District. Borrell moved to appoint Daleiden to the Mid-Minnesota Mississippi River Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried unanimously.
Norman requested the Board authorize changes to Personnel Policy 514(A), Photo ID Badge/Door Key Card Policy and authorize a new Policy 514(B), Hard Key Policy. The draft Hard Key Policy mimics the language of the ID Badge/Door Key Card Policy. Employees will be required to sign for the hard keys they possess and reimburse the County for replacement of lost keys. Norman said the process will involve the return of hard keys to Administration by the employee when they leave employment. Keys will be reissued by Administration, if needed, to the person who is hired as a replacement. The current practice is for supervisors to provide the keys to the replacement employee. That practice will no longer be followed. The new process is to maintain proper inventory of hard keys and to address security. Norman said that if a key to a more secure area is lost, the County may have to change the locking mechanism to maintain security. Daleiden moved to authorize the changes to Personnel Policy 514(A), Photo ID Badge/Door Key Card Policy and to authorize the new Policy 514(B), Hard Key Policy. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
The Board discussed setting a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting for preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against an individual subject to the Board’s authority. Asleson stated that Commissioner Sawatzke made him aware of this item last week. There are two recommended actions by the Board. The law allows this to be held as a closed session for preliminary consideration of the allegations. He suggested a closed session of the Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Asleson said the County Attorney’s Office would have a conflict in being involved, and they are not experts in employment law. Asleson recommended the hire of outside counsel. Several alternate dates could be selected to be provided to the outside counsel as possible meeting times. The Agenda will need to be posted three days in advance of the meeting. Sawatzke said that this will be set as a closed session, but the individual involved may request an open meeting and would need to let the County Board know that. Daleiden moved to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting, Closed Session, with the following potential meeting times: 2-11-13 @ 3:00 P.M., 2-12-13 @ 10:30 A.M.; and 2-13-13 @ 1:00 P.M. The motion was seconded by Husom. Norman asked who will attend the Closed Session. Asleson said his understanding is that it will involve the five Commissioners and legal counsel. The individual that the complaint has been filed against has the right to request an open meeting. If that request is made, that individual can also attend. He does not believe the complainant would attend the initial meeting. Asleson will post notice of the meeting after conferring with outside counsel on their availability and will also notify the County Board. Sawatzke said the original document was quite short, including only a few sentences with no background information. He has since shared another document with Asleson that he received via email with more specifics. He said that wasn’t specifically from the complainant. He said a decision needs to be made on what information should be passed along to other Board members. Asleson thought in this instance, the other Commissioners are allowed to see all that Sawatzke has seen. However, he would suggest an opinion on this from outside counsel. The motion carried 5-0.
Asleson said the second item relative to this issue is the hire of outside counsel. Through consultation with other County Attorney Offices, he obtained three possible sources for outside counsel. Asleson recommends the hire of Dyan Ebert from Quinlivan & Hughes in St. Cloud. Ebert specializes in employment law and has represented the County previously in matters through MCIT. She has indicated a willingness to be involved. Potter made a motion to hire Dyan Ebert to serve as legal counsel in this issue, due to the conflict of interest concern voiced by the County Attorney’s Office. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. Sawatzke asked whether Asleson plans to attend the COTW Meeting. Asleson does not plan to attend but said he will communicate with Ebert. Sawatzke asked whether the County Board will need to contact Ebert on any future questions on process. Asleson said that is correct. The motion carried 5-0.
Daleiden requested the Board write a letter of support to the Head Start National Program supporting the continuation of the Wright County Community Action Agency administering the Head Start Program in Wright County. The letter will reflect the Board’s position that children are best served by local organizations. Otherwise, there is the potential that another County could take care of this Program in the future. On a motion by Borrell, second by Daleiden, all voted to send a letter of support as requested.
3 D Specialties Inc $477.87
Ameripride Services 310.89
Anoka County Sheriff 61,175.67
Assn of MN Emerg. Managers 135.00
Beaudry Propane Inc 2,221.29
Bestfriends Veterinary Clinic 220.00
Black Box Resale Services 224.00
Boyer Truck Parts 163.74
Brock White Co LLVC 655.68
Cenex Fleetcard 490.47
Ctr. for Ed. & Employ. Law 159.00
Center Point Energy 3,207.94
Climate Air 11,471.32
CMI Inc 271.20
Cokato Township 283.37
Computer Integration Tech. 5,000.00
CRA Payment Center 282.81
Croteau Plumbing 473.52
CST Distribution LLC 1,203.88
Delano/City of 4,644.60
Dell Marketing LP 1,069.46
Deslauriers Inc 129.46
Don Rettman Constr. LLC 3,075.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 105.66
Emergency Auto. Tech Inc 1,148.58
Envirotech Services Inc 11,458.36
EPA Audio Visual Inc 16,327.17
Fastenal Company 342.50
Federal Signal Corporation 269.57
Fire Safety USA Inc 1,776.83
Frontier Precision Inc 350.00
Globalstar USA 370.16
GTS Educational Events 300.00
Helena Chemical Company 14,442.13
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 4,466.63
Integrated Fire & Security 662.50
Interstate Battery Systems 598.23
Keaveny LTC Pharmacy 2,820.36
Loberg Electric 334.48
Lous Gloves Inc 382.00
M & M Express Sales 484.88
Maple Lake Township 991.80
Marco Inc 5,621.20
Menards - Buffalo 393.98
Midwest Protection Agency Inc 344.75
Milana P Tolins LLC 100.00
MN Monitoring Inc 10,125.25
Morrigan Law Office 100.00
Mountain Stream Sports & App. 100.89
National Assn Of Cty Eng. 1,100.00
North American Salt Co 55,366.10
Northern States Power Co. 114.18
Office Depot 1,493.23
Overhead Door Company 145.35
Potter/Michael J 262.98
Royal Tire Inc 1,209.39
SHI International Corp 10,792.00
Sign Man of Mn Inc/The 213.75
St Cloud Stamp & Sign Inc 182.33
St Cloud Times #1076 240.02
Sterling Solutions Inc 700.00
Total Printing 472.92
TransLanguages LLC 353.45
Verizon Wireless 170.32
Walmart Community GEMB 105.53
Walmart Store 01-1577 323.82
Waste Management-TC West 2,301.83
Waverly/City of 248.47
Wenck Associates Inc 1,957.78
Wildlife Science Center 206.00
Wright Co. Auditor Treasurer 694.00
Wright Co. Highway Dept 601.29
Wright Co. Surveyor 231.92
Wright Soil & Water Cons. 8,875.00
Xcel Energy 1,777.04
23 Payments less than $100 1,063.70
Final total $268,315.16
The meeting adjourned at 10:33 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 25, 2013.