WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
FEBRUARY 26, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
The following corrections were made at the request of Kerry Saxton, SWCD, to the 2-19-13 Board minutes: Page 2, 4th Paragraph, 2nd line, change to read, “Kurt Deter (Rinke Noonan) ran the meeting.”; Page 4, 3rd paragraph, 1st line, sentence should read, “Daleiden supports having an engineer look at the Ditch to define the watershed and the hydrology, the cost, and the different options.”; Page 6, 4th paragraph, 2nd line, sentence should read, “Borrell said even if 1-2 people come forward with a cleanout request, it must be done.”; Page 6, 6th paragraph, 1st line, sentence should read, “Hiivala said there was repair identified by Toso at $90,000 and there could be an additional repair.” Daleiden moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #2, “Annual Equitable Sharing Agreement” (Hoffman). Potter moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: T. Morrow, Assr.; S. Simonds, D. Snyder, Atty.; C. Barthel, J. Dinius, R. Hagel, A. Pulvermacher, W. Vogel, Bldg. Maint.; C. Fisher, D. Cotton, C. Neuenschwander, L. Stine, K. Triplett, Sher./Corr.
2. Approve Charitable Gambling Application Form LG 220, Church of St. Mary of Czestohowa, 1867 95th St. SE, Delano MN 55328 (Franklin Twp.).
3. Claim, Madden Galanter & Hansen, LLP, $4,010.91, Professional Services, January, 2013.
1. Approve Tobacco License For Dollar General Store (City of Cokato).
2. Approve Renewal Of Precious Metal Dealer License For MN Gold Buyer (City Of Buffalo).
C. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezoning:
A. Scott A. Miller (Clearwater Twp.). On a vote of 5/1, the Planning Commission recommends approval of the request to rezone 57.74 acres from AG to A/R.
Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, presented a retirement plaque to Nancy Tallman, Office Manager, for her years of service from 1993-2013. When MacMillan became Court Services Director in 1993, his vision was to bring the Department to a higher standard with the assistance of great people and their talents. When he developed the management team, Tallman was included as his Administrative Confidential Secretary. He said Tallman is still on that team today as Office Manager. MacMillan described some of her accomplishments, as well as her professionalism, her push for others to do their best, her passion, her unmatched pride for the work product, and making sure things are done for a purpose. Tallman was thanked for her service.
Greg Kramber, Assessor, requested the Board schedule the 2013 County Board of Appeal and Equalization (CBAE) Meetings. The CBAE may meet on any meeting day in June after the second Friday and for up to ten meeting days. Statutes specify that the Board must hold at least one meeting that does not recess or adjourn prior to 7:00 P.M. If the Board does not offer a meeting until 7:00 P.M., the Board must meet on a Saturday. For county boards that require appointments, appointments must be allowed as late as 7:00 p.m. or on a Saturday and the requirement for appointments must be clearly stated on the valuation notice. Potter moved to schedule the CBAE Meetings for 6-17-13 from 4:00-7:00 P.M. and on 6-18-13 at 11:00 A.M. The 6-18-13 Meeting is scheduled in case appointments are needed on a second day. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, requested approval of the 2013 Maintenance Agreements between Wright County and the Cities of Delano, Elk River, Maple Lake, Monticello, Montrose, and Waverly. The Agreements allow the County to reimburse those Cities for work completed on the County Highway System. Sawatzke questioned the Agreement with Elk River (as Elk River is not in Wright County). Steve Meyer, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, stated that this Agreement involves the Elk River Bridge where maintenance is shared. Wright County reimburses Elk River for any maintenance completed on the Bridge and vice versa. Potter moved to authorize signatures on the Agreements, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0.
Hawkins requested approval of the annual Spring Load Restrictions. The map will be placed on the County’s website and sent to townships and cities for display purposes. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #13-05 approving the Spring Load Restrictions. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, brought forth discussion of ratification of the Xerox Tax and CAMA Contracts. The contract has been in negotiations for some time. The Xerox Tax Program can be acquired for $225,000, and the Xerox CAMA program can be acquired for $250,000. Funds earmarked for this purchase were greater so this is a favorable figure. Daleiden asked whether the County has looked at other options. Hiivala said the County is too large for smaller consortiums. Manatron was tried but the County will not use them again. The other option is through Tyler but the cost would be significantly higher. Xerox has an advantage when converting from one system to another. Daleiden referenced the current Tax Contract with Xerox paid through 2016 and asked whether that purchase has been figured into the new Contract through 2020. Hiivala said that maintenance was addressed through the annual budget process. This relates to acquisition and is not budgeted; however, there is a funding source. Hiivala said the recommendation is to move forward with the Xerox Tax Contract. The Assessor is not ready to move forward with the CAMA Contract at this time.
Greg Kramber, Assessor, supports ratification of the Xerox Tax Program. There are major incentives and advantages to staying with Xerox for the CAMA System, but the System has not been developed yet. Kramber would like the County to keep its options open in this regard. It is hard to commit $250,000 to a product that does not exist. This may result in the loss of discounts but Kramber would rather make that decision down the road. Hiivala said the County may ultimately proceed with the Xerox CAMA Program. The largest hurdle is the interface.
Hiivala stated the Board Action Request originally included ratification of both the Tax and CAMA Contracts through Xerox. He is not asking for ratification of the CAMA Contract today. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, asked for the funding source for the Tax Contract. Hiivala said that will be the Recorder’s Technology Fund. Husom moved to approve the ratification of the Xerox Tax Contract. The motion was seconded by Borrell. Hiivala said the motion would be to ratify moving forward with the LRMS Property Tax and Maintenance and Support Agreement and to sign the Software and License Agreement for the Tax Program, and then to sign the LRMS Maintenance and Support Agreement. Husom and Borrell accepted this to their motion and second. Sawatzke asked if all Departments agree with moving forward with Xerox for the Tax Contract, including the Assessor and the IT Director. Hiivala said that is correct. The motion carried 5-0.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $145,711.22 with 127 vendors and 199 transactions.
Barb Chaffee, CEO, Central MN Jobs & Training Services (CMJTS), and staff present from CMJTS provided the CMJTS annual update. She said the focus of the update will be the legal duties of the CMJTS Joint Powers Board as one-third of the 55 Commissioners have changed seats in the 11-County Region (Wright, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Mille Lacs, Pine, Renville, and Sherburne). Commissioner Husom was recently appointed to the CMJTS Joint Powers Board.
Chaffee said she has the responsibility to report to the County Board annually, and the County Board has the responsibility to make sure that is done. Chaffee provided the legal duties of the CMJTS Joint Powers Board including the Roles of Elected Officials, Workforce Service Areas, Workforce Centers, Joint Powers Board Duties and Responsibilities, Board Membership Representation, Governance Organization Chart, Joint Powers Board Fiduciary Responsibility, Funding Streams for the Workforce Development System, CMJTS Directors & Officers Insurance, and Employment and Training Services.
Tricia Bigaouette, CMJTS Finance Manager, referenced the annual fiscal audit. CMJTS completes their financial statements internally. CliftonLarsonAllen completed an audit for the year ended 6-30-12 and presented an unqualified position on the financial statements. No material weaknesses were identified during the financial statement audit and there were no instances of noncompliance material to the financial statements disclosed during the audit. There were no audit findings relative to the major federal award programs.
Tony Thomann, CMJTS Central Region Manager, provided an overview of the Wright County Demographic & Economic Profile. With 124,700 people in 2010, Wright County is now the 10th largest County in the State (38.6% population increase and the 2nd fastest growing county in 10 years). Data from the 2010 Census Bureau reflects that Wright County had a much younger population than the State as a whole. Thirty percent are under 18 years of age, as compared to 24.2% in the State. Without a post secondary institution, Wright County had a smaller percentage of 15 to 24 year old residents (11.3%) than the State (13.6%). With a median age of 34.6 years in 2010, Wright County had a much higher percentage of people in the 25 to 34 year old (14.0%), 35 to 44 year old (15.4%), and 45 to 54 year old (14.8%) age groups than the State (13.5%, 12.8%, and 15.2%, respectively). Due to the County’s rapid population growth, the size of the labor force has been expanding rapidly in the last decade. Wright County realized a 22.6% increase in workers during the period of 2002-2012. This was about seven times as fast as the State. The number of unemployed workers also went up rapidly over the last 10 years. Wright County’s unemployment rate peaked at 9.3% in 2009. Prior to the recession, Wright County’s unemployment rate was consistently within 0.5% of the State rate. During the recession, Wright County’s rate climbed over 1.0% above the State rate, before dropping back to within 0.5% of the State rate in 2012.
Thomann said there are high levels of commuters in Wright County, where just 41.5% of Wright County residents work within the County. In contrast, 57.6% worked in other counties and 0.9% worked in another state. This mobility led to longer travel times, including 26.5% of residents who commute more than 45 minutes one way. This was more than twice as high as the number of workers in the State who commuted that long. Over half of residents drive to the seven-county Metro area for work. More Wright County residents drove to work in Hennepin County than worked in Wright County. Wright County also draws workers from surrounding counties.
Tim Zipoy, CMJTS Central Region Workforce Development Advisor, provided information on Industry Employment Characteristics. Through the second quarter of 2012, Wright County had 3,037 business establishments with 37,896 covered jobs, paying out average weekly wages of $673. The population growth had helped Wright County add jobs in several industries in the last decade until the recession and foreclosure crisis took a toll. However, Wright County saw a rapid recovery in the last two years, gaining 1,260 net new jobs from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012. In addition to covered employment, Wright County also had 9,304 nonemployer establishments in 2010 as well as 1,531 farms in 2007. Due in part to the population growth over the last two decades, the largest industry was retail trade. There were 401 retail establishments providing 6,237 jobs (16.5% of total County employment), after gaining 267 net new jobs in the last year. The related accommodation and food services industry gained 97 jobs in the last year, up to 3,996 jobs at 199 businesses. Manufacturing continued a strong recovery, gaining 656 jobs from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012 (15.3% rise). Manufacturing had 4,943 jobs and provided 15.3% of total County-wide employment. The next largest industry is health care and social assistance, with 4,606 jobs at 206 providers. Educational services followed with 4,379 jobs at 51 institutions and were one of the highest paying sectors. After struggling with the housing crisis during the recession, construction lost 22 jobs year-over-year but still had almost 20% of the businesses and 8.3% of total employment, and was the second highest paying industry in the County. The highest paying industry was utilities, with 1,099 jobs at 10 firms. Other important industries included wholesale trade, public administration, other services, and administrative support and waste management services. Zipoy announced the 9th Annual Job Fair that will be held in Monticello on 3-26-13. Business and industry will be represented. He extended appreciation to Wright County Economic Development for their support and commended the County Board for their support and investments.
Chaffee stated she is proud of the audit performed by CliftonLarsonAllen as it reflects the excellent job they are doing. Trish Taylor, Vice Chair, extended appreciation for the Board’s support. She said CMJTS is recognized nationally from a group of over 600 Workforce Boards, and thought they were probably in the top ten in the nation. CMJTS is also nationally recognized by the Department of Labor.
Borrell asked where the majority of the $11 million in grant revenues received by the CMJTS is spent. Chaffee responded that their title is employment and training. About 50% of people want to go to school, but she said some people just need to go to work. That is why on-the-job training partnerships work so well. The CMJTS does the highest on-the-job trainings in the State. The Federal government determines how much goes to training. Borrell asked what percentage of all grant dollars are spent on administrative functions. Chaffee said CMJTS can only use 10% for administrative costs, but they normally range around 7%. Borrell asked where the money is used that comes from the State. Chaffee said 5% is toward administrative and used for managers at the DEED level that oversee workforce development. Another 10% is used for a large list of discretionary items (computers for the resource room, monitoring by the State for all Federal and State Programs, Information Technology). The Federal incentive award money is from that area if standards are met or exceeded. Chaffee said 25% goes toward the job skills partnership. Employers are required to pay a 0.1% development fee (used to be titled the workforce development fee) and is used for large layoffs. Borrell said this seems like a bureaucracy. Chaffee said it is a difficult but needed system, as not everyone is ready for work. In 2004-2005, it was fairly easy to obtain a job. As a result of the recession, many manufacturers have automated so higher skills are needed to be employed.
Daleiden asked about training efforts to improve the quality of the employee. Thomann said a large number access training through the MNSCU system. Another is on-the-job training. At the request of Daleiden, Thomann outlined steps that would be taken to assist someone just out of high school that does not have much money. It includes performing an assessment of the person’s skills to determine whether they need training and whether they qualify for funding. Chaffee said they do assist people who have dropped out of high school. They want them to obtain their diploma or GED. There can be situations where a person has worked in manufacturing and laid off after many years. That person may not know anything about computer. She stated the universal customer of the CMJTS doesn’t receive funding because they don’t qualify. Those people may receive resume’ or job placement assistance. Veterans receive preference in the system. Chaffee said the CMJTS is not an unemployment agency. At the end of the presentation, the Commissioners were invited to tour the facility in Monticello to learn more about the CMJTS program. This was provided as an informational item.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 2-19-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, Husom moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0: I. REVIEW OF WATER MANAGEMENT IN WRIGHT COUNTY.
A. Connections And Relationships With Other Government And Private Entities.
Jacobs stated that his primary purpose was to provide a report to new County Board members regarding the status quo and future plans for water management and water quality in Wright County (County). He introduced Brad Wozney, Board Conservationist, from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). BWSR is a State entity that works with the County on water management. Jacobs explained that Wozney serves as a Water Resource Specialist for the County. Jacobs also introduced Dan Nadeau, Water Resource Specialist from the Crow River Organization of Water (CROW). Jacobs explained his own position as Water Planner/Water Resource Specialist at the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Jacobs briefly described the history of water management in the County. He said State Statute 103B was enacted in the late 1980s to coordinate State funding and other water quality resources to enable each county to develop a water management plan (see attached presentation entitled, 2013 Water Management State of the Water Address). The Minnesota Board of Soil and Water works with individual counties to develop comprehensive ten-year water management plans. They are updated every five years. Originally water management was housed with the County Planning & Zoning Department. In 2000 it was decided water management could be more effectively administered by the SWCD due to its past relationships with land owners, County Planning & Zoning staff, and the numerous activities organized by the organization.
Jacobs said the Water Management Task Force (Task Force) is a nine-member advisory panel (versus an elected board) comprised of people from around the County, including members representing sports groups, water organizations, Planning & Zoning, agricultural producers, city officials, and other entities that advise the Board on County water management efforts. Borrell asked if the Task Force is a different board from the SWCD. Jacobs replied that it is a three-year appointed board. Daleiden serves on the Water Management Task Force. The Task Force makes recommendations, gives direction, and provides feedback to the Board. Jacobs’ goal is to inform the Board regarding the primary issues addressed by the Water Management Task Force.
State Statute mandates that every county address water quality in their district. County water quality management is administered by the SWCD. Jacobs said funds are available through Natural Resources Block Grants. Periodically he asks the Board for approval and signatures on grants. These grants require a local match. He said private land owners and nonprofit organizations in the County benefit from active management of water quality issues. For example, land owners may have a problem with erosion; residents may experience flooding, or others may experience lake issues. This, Jacobs said, is where the SWCD shines. He said the SWCD has built relationships with farmers, residents, non-profit organizations such as CROW, and various lake associations.
Jacobs discussed Federal and State grants, such as the Clean Water Fund and the Natural Resources Block Grants. The sales tax passed in 2008 generates revenue that is allocated to water quality issues. The purpose of the Clean Water Fund is to address water quality issues. Jacobs said most of these grants require a 25 percent local match. Projects initiated by and for individuals may total as little as $10,000 or less, requiring a local match that would be no more than $2,500. However, watershed-wide projects may exceed $100,000 to $300,000. In the latter case, Jacobs said the population in the entire watershed benefits. He cited County Ditch 10 with Ann Lake as an example of a flood prevention project where local funds were needed to meet the match requirements.
Jacobs said there may be confusion regarding the role of multiple agencies involved with County water management. He gave the analogy that the Federal government does not plow township and County roads. Local residents are taxed to offset the costs incurred by municipal and County governments to provide services. Funding flows in a similar way for water management.
Jacobs said there is currently a debate about the best way to establish geographic boundaries for water management. One opinion advocates water management on a County-wide scale. Others say water management plans should be on a watershed scale, for example, the Crow River Watershed District. Jacobs asked whether that area is too large to get big projects on the ground. The CROW organizes all water management activities in nine or more counties. Clearwater has a taxing authority for their watershed. The current approach is that each county develops a comprehensive water plan, vetted through the Task Force, holds public hearings, and obtains feedback from private, civic and government entities. Jacobs said the SWCD has initiated conservation projects for the past 65 years.
B. Key Points Of The Comprehensive Water Management Plan.
Jacobs explained that the County Water Management Plan was updated in 2010, and is slated for another update in 2016. He listed the key issues addressed in the Plan:
1) Ground Water Quality and Quantity. Jacobs said this is important because the entire water supply for the County comes from ground water.
2) Surface Water Quality. Clean lakes and streams increases recreation and property values.
3) Development Pressure. Jacobs said the County is in transition. Most areas are rapidly growing, causing pressure from building and new development.
4) Agricultural Land Use. Jacobs said 70 percent of County land is still utilized for agricultural purposes. This is the primary factor driving water quality issues in the County. Jacobs told the Board he will provide them with a copy of the County Watershed Management Plan.
Jacobs singled out several of the ten ground water quality issues listed in the presentation (see Ground Water Quality slide under Summary of Concerns and Goals). A significant Plan goal is to maintain wellhead protection areas to safeguard public water supplies. One determining factor for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is how long it takes surface water to get from the aquifer to the public water supply. The MDH offers strategies to accomplish that purpose efficiently. Every city located in a high risk area, specifically the northern third of the County, as well as Buffalo, has been evaluated. Some smaller communities on the Highway 12 Corridor are slated to be done by 2014. Borrell said a portion of the water flowing into Monticello goes into the wellhead, but there are underground aquifers that might come from Clearwater or Sherburne County. He asked whether underground rivers exist. Jacobs said the term “underground rivers” is a misnomer. The County geologic structure is unique in that there are areas with pockets of sand and others with deep stratified layers of confining clay. He referred to the County Geologic Atlas that is reviewing all static wells drilled in the last several years to determine the location of aquifers.
Jacobs continued, saying water has a source and an outlet, and aquifers do, too. They usually follow the gradient of the land. The land over which the water flows may have some pervious substance such as sandstone in the layers. However, confining layers exist within the pervious layers. When a deep well is drilled, a specific aquifer is reached. There could be polluted water in a layer above and clean water in a layer below the aquifer. However, the water does not mix. The water sources are identified in the wellhead protection areas. Based on the measurements, it is possible to calculate how long it will take a well to achieve 10 years residence time. The assumption is that as long as water is ten years old, it is safe. Jacobs added that the SWCD wants to become aware of different locations in case a city needs a buffer for their wellhead protection area.
Another method for improving water quality pertains to continual Point of Sale septic inspections. Jacobs referred to Bill Stephens, County Environmental Health Supervisor for his expertise on this topic. Jacobs said there is grant money available for septic issues, as well as low interest funds to bring residential septic systems back into compliance. He said Planning & Zoning staff has done an excellent job, but septic issues still exist throughout the County.
Referring to the Surface Water Quality slide, Jacobs said it is critical that the County establish a stable local mechanism to generate matching local funds. There are watershed districts that have a taxation authority. If they have a proposed watershed project with an estimated cost of $100,000, these watersheds have the luxury to use locally generated funds for the 25% match (or $25,000, in this example). The watershed could also access State or Federal funding for the remaining $75,000 for that specific project. This puts Wright County at a disadvantage when competing against these large watershed districts for grant dollars. Water management Statutes give the Board the authority to create a special taxation district. This option was mentioned to previous Board members, who thought it would be worth investigating. Jacobs said he hopes the present Board will consider this option for issues such as Ditch 10. The caveat is citizens must request it and agree to amortize the additional taxes over five years. This would help get larger projects started. Jacobs will bring this issue before the Board in the future. Jacobs said the recommendations he presented at this meeting were generated by the Task Force.
In recent years, Jacobs said development pressure was very high and Planning & Zoning was inundated (see Development Pressure slide). Water protections have historically been issued inconsistently throughout the County. That was not a sound way of doing business as far as stabilizing sites, setbacks, and water quality. Jacobs said the goal is to standardize requirements through ordinance development so all cities have the same rulebook. They have begun drafting consistent language for ordinances, but nothing has been enacted. He will bring this matter to the Board in the future.
Jacobs said storm water is a huge issue for Wright County, especially for the cities. Implementation of a storm water facility maintenance program is extremely important. A water facility maintenance program assists cities in managing, monitoring and maintaining their storm water facilities. This has been implemented in the past, but there has not been consistent follow up to ensure all storm water systems are meeting specifications. Of particular concern are storm water facilities in Planned Unit Developments (PUDs). All County Townships have storm water facilities. Who should be held responsible for monitoring these facilities? This issue requires more discussion.
Jacobs said storm water retrofit programs continue, as well as grants for treating storm water differently in cities and urban areas. They are working on a storm water retrofit for Buffalo, and recently completed a project in Howard Lake for handling water in a more sustainable way.
Turning to the slide entitled Agricultural Land Use, Jacobs said despite the fact that the SWCD has been in operation for 65 years, they have yet to get full-scale participation in water management programs on the part of farmers. He categorized current participation as “random acts of conservation.” Jacobs said County water management needs to offer incentives to farmers and landowners to generate projects. The focus cannot be only at the local level, but must be done on a State and Federal basis. Currently water management efforts have been effective with traditional “cooperators.” However, to achieve wholesale change in water quality, runoff and nutrients, major changes must be effected in both upland and shore-land areas.
II. STATE OF THE WATER ADDRESS.
A. Water Monitoring Efforts.
County water management should include complete monitoring of County ditches. Currently, ditches have not been maintained as consistently as in other counties. Jacobs suggested identifying areas that no longer need to be drained for agricultural purposes. He wondered whether there are areas that could be taken offline. Perhaps some ditches could have stage drainage or holding pond systems installed. Flood prevention properties should be addressed as a water quality issue. As the County modernizes water management programs, an opportunity exists to implement systems that hold some of that water back. Originally the County was forested, but with settlement of the land, the landscape has changed to primarily agricultural use. Jacobs said water moves very differently over forested lands versus agricultural land.
Jacobs referenced the slide entitled Key Contributors in Water Quality. Agriculture, urban/suburban development, rural residential and lake lots, and internal loading are the key drivers in water quality issues. He said water management efforts must focus on determining the percentage each of these factors contribute to the level of impairment and how to mitigate them. Jacobs said as phosphorus, chlorophyll and algae levels go up, water clarity goes down. This has an adverse impact on adjacent property values.
Borrell asked about controlling nitrates. Jacobs said in most cases in fresh water the limiting (or deficient) nutrient is phosphorus. Usually nitrogen levels in fresh water are sufficient. The goal of water management is to identify phosphorus levels.
Referring to the Water Monitoring Stations slide, Jacobs explained that there are monitoring sites across the County. The Discovery Farms Program paid for all the monitoring equipment and sampling by the Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota. Farmers want to protect themselves, and are interested in verifying studies done by the SWCD and BWSR. The County water management nutrient standards model recommends a phosphorus level of one pound per acre delivered into the watershed system. Last year was an exceptional year, with 60 percent of normal annual precipitation occurring in two months. Extraordinary flooding occurred in May 2012. Jacobs said last year a site in Victor Township next to Ann Lake indicated a phosphorus level of three pounds per acre. Some farmers said the SWCD models were high, but Jacobs said their model was actually three times lower than the actual numbers.
Fifteen of these studies are planned throughout the state of Minnesota. This type of monitoring has been done extensively in Wisconsin. Borrell clarified that the study samples surface water. Jacobs replied both surface water and tile discharge were sampled. Borrell said his understanding was that it is good when phosphorus is bound to the soil. He asked whether draintile and flow is monitored. Jacobs said yes, that has been the traditional rule.
Moving to the slide entitled Lake Phosphorus Levels, Jacobs said the lakes colored in blue are clean. Green lakes have phosphorus issues. Borderline lakes exhibit levels of 40-80 mcg per liter, and are closely monitored. Those are considered tipping point lakes that will get bad if they accumulate more phosphorus, and will improve if phosphorus levels are reduced. Lakes marked light green will take a lot of work to improve. Jacobs said Planning and Zoning regulations and setbacks should be drafted to protect blue (clean) lakes. Jacobs did a study of impervious and intact shoreline areas on Lake Sylvia. The Lake still shows a large amount of area intact.
Continuing on to the Nutrient Impaired Lakes 2012 303D Listing slide, Jacobs said waters shown in red and coral are impaired and not meeting State standards for nutrients.
The Major Watershed slide illustrates that the Mississippi River Watershed encompasses the northern third of the County, the North Fork Crow River Watershed comprises the middle two-thirds, and the South Fork Crow River skirts the southern portion of the County.
The TMDLs Underway slide indicates Total Maximum Daily Loads, which are calculations of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still safely meet water quality standards. Jacobs said Ann and Emma Lakes TMDLs are completed and approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
Jacobs referred to the Wright County Watershed Monitoring slide. He said this map shows sub-basins where they are doing long-term sampling and monitoring of the flow of water.
B. Discussion RE: Impaired Waters.
Borrell asked where Silver Creek drains. Jacobs replied that it drains into the Mississippi River Watershed. He explained that these areas are roughly 60,000 to 80,000 acres. They are a conglomeration of water systems. They are not on the scale of the Crow River. Jacobs said it is difficult to influence the Crow River because the County is situated at the bottom of the bowl. Instead, County water management efforts focus on the creeks or subwatersheds. Jacobs pointed to the pink area illustrating County Ditch 10. He said observing how small systems go together will help the County put together a bigger, more logical Water Management Plan.
Borrell asked whether Little Waverly receives storm drainage from Howard Lake. Jacobs affirmed that Little Waverly receives all of it. Borrell stated that the flow is filtered. Jacobs said some is, but the phosphorus does not break down like nitrogen. It goes through a series of changes, but does not evaporate, and neither does the water. Long term monitoring is done in these areas. He added that this will not necessarily benefit individual projects, but will effect wholesale watershed changes. Water management efforts are geared toward working on an entire watershed scale for maximum benefit.
Husom said she learned at a recent Clearwater River Watershed meeting that farmers can get phosphorus testing at a minimal cost. The test determines whether there is too much or too little phosphorus in their soil. Husom said phosphorus levels could be reduced substantially if more farmers utilized the test.
Jacobs said the Clearwater River Watershed got a $700,000 grant for the entire Watershed to do soil testing for farmers. They evaluate the soil on a two-acre basis to check nutrient levels. The chemical fertilizer is applied based on the results. Ann Lake did not receive this type of grant. The Clean Water Fund is competitive based. Jacobs asked Wozney if the County would have local matching funds locked in at the time of grant application, would that give their project a competitive edge. Wozney replied that every local jurisdiction must have matching funds identified to improve project readiness. Jacobs said such grants are a great opportunity because farmers realize a benefit with lower input costs and better yields. He said this is a prime example of an area where the County needs to do things differently.
Borrell asked whether the sampling of phosphorus coming out of tile was with or without a standpipe. Jacobs replied it was without a standpipe. Borrell said farmers are told by fertilizer companies to put phosphorus and potash on, saying it is “money in the bank.” Borrell added that the phosphorus also leaches through to the water.
Saxton said tile lines without intakes generally run much cleaner. Jacobs concurred, saying that is especially true with new plastic tiles and poly pipes. They don’t have the spacing, so there is no opportunity for sediment to flow in. Saxton said they have considered pulling intakes and installing pattern tiling, but it is extremely expensive, although it may be worth considering. Jacobs explained that when water has saturated for more than three days, and there is no more oxygen in the soil, the phosphorus changes. Instead of being bound to the particles, it becomes water-soluble and will pass through the water column. They have observed this on Grass Lake. Jacobs said the water flowing out of the wetland is mostly crystal clear with no sediment, but registers extremely high in phosphorus. Thirty percent of the external load of the entire Ann Lake Watershed Budget comes from Grass Lake. Jacobs said the tributaries coming into Grass Lake look like chocolate milk. Huge amounts of sediment load entering the wetland. The wetland is being inundated with phosphorus, and the sediments are dropping out and being re-released as the water goes anaerobic. The sediment stops so it appears to be clean water, but the phosphorus amounts are still very high.
Borrell asked if that location discharges a lot of phosphorus into the ground water. Jacobs said it does not, in this case, due to extremely deep clay layers. The phosphorus would be more likely to soak into the ground in parts of northern Wright County because of soil differences. He added he was not aware of adverse health affects due to high levels of phosphorus in drinking water.
Borrell said if standing water could not be alleviated by pattern tiling, it might be beneficial to have a stand pipe to get rid of it so the phosphorus does not change properties. Jacobs said that option would also send the sediment down. The solution is to keep the water upland and allow water to infiltrate the soil instead of having high runoff or channel erosion. Borrell said that process avoids erosion and retains productive land.
Nadeau encouraged the Board to support Stephens and Tracy Janikula, Feedlot Program Administrator in Planning & Zoning. Stephens is getting loans for people seeking repair and replacement of septic systems. Janikula is working hard as well. Nadeau said the cooperation of the Board would help the Watershed get more done. There are many feedlots in the County that still need work and have been remedied by now per County regulations. He said there are many gray areas with feedlots. He said the County is fortunate to have staff and the help of the SWCD to accomplish water management issues.
Jacobs thanked the Board for their time. He said there are good projects coming up, and several vacancies that need appointments. Sawatzke asked if the Mayors Association will appoint someone. Jacobs said the Board approves appointees. Jacobs sent out a request a month ago soliciting an appointee, but has received no response. Sawatzke asked the other Board members to let Jacobs know if they know any mayors in the Watershed District who might be interested.
Borrell said the storm runoff in some of the cities are polluting more than farms. Jacobs said that was true in some areas, but in Ann Lake, for example, there are no cities. Sawatzke said people with lawns cause greater problems than farmers. It is easy to apply too many chemicals on a quarter of an acre, but the cost to home owners is not prohibitive. Farmers cannot afford to put on too many chemicals. When the majority of people in a subdivision apply too many chemicals, water quality problems result.
Borrell said technology is pending that will remove phosphorus from water. He asked whether there will be a way to filter it out in the future. Jacobs said water from Martha Lake flows into Charlotte Lake. Last fall they did a project with good results in this area. It was a tile system going through a partially drained wetland. Historically this area has had very high levels of phosphorus at 300 to 400 mcg per liter. By comparison, the phosphorus level on Lake Charlotte is 12-18 mcg per liter. One of the storm water technologies Jacobs has worked on with the University of Minnesota uses an iron/sand filter incorporated into the tile system. They have taken two samples so far, and although the concentrations have been low, they achieved 78 to 80 percent reductions of phosphorus. Jacobs said the project cost $17,000. The township paid the local match.
Borrell asked if the phosphorus can be recovered and re-used. Jacobs said yes, but realistically the amount of phosphorus captured is small. For example, the Ann Lake phosphorus level budget is about eight pounds per year. To try to mine or extract phosphorus for resale is more expensive than to dispose of it cheaply or field spread it. Daleiden asked whether fertilizer with phosphorus can be purchased at a retail store. Jacobs said it is available for new lawns or seeded areas. Daleiden said it is used less than it used to be. Jacobs said there is a provision in State law that fertilizer with phosphorus may be sold for seedings because it helps new plant growth.
Nadeau commented that there are more bacteria issues in cities now than previously. These are also more water quantity issues than ingredient-related. Saxton said as flows increase, the streams become overwhelmed and try to expand. Erosion occurs in the stream. Funding exists for projects to slow water flow. The water body does not need to be polluted to qualify, although Saxton said it is a tough sell with farmers right now to motivate them to restore an area.
Nadeau said after the 2002 flood year, one resident’s frontage eroded from 500 feet to 2 feet from the river. He is seeing an increase in such occurrences. They had to get local funding through the city. The local jurisdiction is responsible for the 25 percent portion of the match. There is a local benefit, but if a city or township cannot raise the money for the 25 percent match, the project doesn’t happen. St. Michael started a project in 1998 and just finished last year. Nadeau said it is not likely other projects will be funded without the local match in funding. Daleiden asked whether the County Board could lend funds to a group at zero interest. Jacobs said the water management Statute states if there is a water quality project specifically stated in the Water Management Plan, the Board can designate a special taxation district. In that instance, Jacobs said the entire Watershed could be levied 25 percent of the project cost over five years. Instead of doing a redetermination and setting up a County Ditch, the County could use that provision to keep the project in private hands to do a cleanup. A maintenance agreement is executed with anyone involved in the cleanup.
Sawatzke said those kinds of projects need to be driven locally. People from a lake area, for example, need to tell the Board what project they want implemented and that they agree to pay their portion of the cost. The County needs to put a mechanism in place for such requests. Borrell said that process would make a project more affordable. Jacobs said the project must be locally supported in a watershed. He said the Board must determine the percentage of public support necessary to move forward with a project. Sawatzke said that is similar to sewer issues with Lake Charlotte and Lake Martha areas. Those residents came to the Board and said “this project needs to be done, but you need to pay for it and charge us.” Sawatzke said the County has done this with several projects in the past. Jacobs concurred, saying Lake Pulaski was one such project. It is an effective tool. It could also be done on a larger scale, as with the entire Watershed. Nadeau said plans are in place to work on lake chains in the future; however, more local funding is needed.
RECOMMENDATION: None informational only.
(End of 2-19-13 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Department, presented an Equitable Sharing Agreement and Certification for approval. This is an annual Agreement with the Federal Equitable Sharing Program. The Agreement is required when the Sheriff’s Office completes a federal case where finances are shared between different organizations. The Equitable Sharing Fund currently has about $16,000 in seized currency. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the document, seconded by Husom, carried unanimously.
Albertville Body Shop Inc $396.40
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 3,460.84
Allina OCC Med 570.00
American Alum. Access. Inc 2,318.00
Ameripride Services 190.10
Aramark Services Inc 6,727.08
Beaudry Propane Inc 1,943.63
Boyer Truck Parts 1,594.42
BP Amoco 3,026.44
Buff N Glo Inc 183.00
Buffalo Hospital 259.96
CDW Government Inc 1,774.10
Center Point Energy 4,890.94
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 10,222.36
Cokato/City of 458.94
Comm. of Transportation 255.00
Craguns Lodging/Conf. Center 224.43
Donahue Sports Center Corp 132.52
Emergency Auto. Tech Inc 5,195.54
Envirotech Services Inc 11,456.16
Frontier Precision Inc 1,725.00
Glunz Constr. Septic Serv. LLC 260.00
Granite Pest Control Services 221.62
Hardings Towing Inc 213.75
Holt Motors Inc 372.99
Kustom Signals Inc 326.77
Lacount Sales LLC 429.96
Laplant Demo Inc 490.74
League of MN Cities 850.00
Marco Inc 861.43
Midwest Protection Agency Inc 324.47
Midwest Safety Counselors Inc 639.17
MN Counties Ins Trust 517.00
Moore Medical Corp 153.50
Morries Parts & Serv. Grp 221.73
Multi Health Sys. Inc 361.80
National Rec. & Park Assn 150.00
New River Medical Center 657.81
North American Salt Co 32,721.47
Northland Business Sys. Inc 133.59
Office Depot 1,281.12
Pro Power Sports & Marine 571.72
PTS Of America LLC 400.00
Richards/Thomas W 800.00
RS Eden 1,484.86
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 166.90
St Cloud/City of 5,464.26
Tomar Electronics 6,208.23
Total Printing 171.00
Uniforms Unlimited 1,453.66
Victor Township 898.00
Viking Industrial Center 174.78
Waverly/City of 384.71
W. Central & 5th Dist Jail Admn 450.00
West Payment Center 4,424.60
Wright Henn. Coop Elec Assn 6,086.33
Wright Hennepin Electric 1,227.44
Xcel Energy 1,654.74
Yellowstone Track Systems Inc 410.00
26 Payments less than $100 1,083.33
Final Total $145,711.22
The meeting adjourned at 10:25 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal March 18, 2013.