WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
MAY 14, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Potter moved to approve the 5-07-13 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #6, “Parking Of Crashed Vehicle Trailer At The Government Center, May 18-27” (Husom); Item For Consid. #7, “Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting” (Daleiden). Potter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Borrell, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Husom, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: T. Frazier, B. Asleson, Atty; M. Janckila, IT; G. Eldred, J. Thinesen, Sher/Corr.
2. Tri County Regional Forensic Laboratory Report, April, 2013.
3. O/T Report, Period Ending 4/27/13.
Fred Bengtson, DNR Area Wildlife Manager, requested adoption of a resolution which would allow acquisition by the DNR of 34.18 acres in St. Michael as an addition to the St. Michael Meadows State Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Because State funds are being used to purchase this tract with this purpose, County Board approval is required. In addition to wildlife habitat conservation goals, WMA’s are open for public use including hunting, trapping, and hiking. As with all WMA’s, the State will make PILT payment to Wright County for this parcel.
Bengtson said this is part of the Pelican Lake project and the 180-acre water basin they are trying to restore. The DNR is working with the City of St. Michael. It compliments the City’s interests in water quality management and the DNR’s interests in treating water that comes through former Ditch 21, which will be the water course for the outletting of Pelican Lake. The DNR has acquired about 70% of the basin or the City owns parts of the basin. Funding for this project is through the RIM Critical Habitat Match.
Husom presented questions that constituents raised relating to the WMA purchase. Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee approved $2 million for this project. It will need to go to the full Committee for a vote. She said there is a Geo-biologist that is concerned how much of this property is going to be drained and feels the Lake level is fine. The great drought brought lake levels down but now they are coming back up to their natural levels.
Bengtson said the DNR’s vision for Pelican Lake is to manage it primarily for wildlife purposes. It is one of fifty designated wildlife lakes in the State. Pelican Lake received this designation in 1977, and the Lake is of national importance for waterfowl migration. Bengtson said that the Lake is in more of a degraded state. Through the years drainage into the Lake has increased, whether by ditching or tiling from the surrounding watershed. The Lake is about 4,000 acres and the watershed is about 13,000 acres. Pelican Lake does have an outlet, which is a man-made 8” tile that drains into Ditch 21 and Regal Creek at an elevation slightly higher than the current Lake elevation. The Lake level has gone down about 1.0-1.5 feet in the past year. He said Pelican Lake is 3’ above the designated ordinary high water mark the DNR set many years ago. He said that there are fluctuations on landlocked lakes and these fluctuations have been higher over the past 30 years. In 2006, two County roads were flooded for a couple of months.
Bengtson said there are other issues besides wildlife habitat and fishing on Pelican Lake. He viewed water quality as the main issue but flooding is also of concern. He feels that most landowners around Pelican Lake support the project because of flooding. Bengtson said the DNR does not look to drain lakes. They manage lakes, especially wildlife lakes, by temporarily lowering the lake level (management draw out) and allowing the lake to recover. The DNR is looking at managing Pelican Lake a few feet lower than it is now over the long term.
Bengtson said there will always be a fishing presence on the Lake. The DNR is looking to return it to more natural cycles (winter kill, rebound). That is what fuels some of the better fishing on Pelican Lake. Pelican Lake has not seen a winter kill since 2001. The lake is stabilizing and it could be argued that some of the quality is declining. It is the boom or bust cycle on shallow lakes that produce lakes for wildlife habitat and fishing. There will not necessarily be every thing, every year. Pelican Lake had adapted to these cycles. The DNR is trying to return the Lake to these types of cycles, especially in the areas of waterfowl and wildlife.
Husom asked how much property will be removed off the tax roles through these acquisitions. The DNR is paying for the properties and giving some of the money back, but that still involves taxpayer dollars. Bengtson said the goal is to buffer the Lake and provide control for the outlet route to the Crow River, with the realization that they will buffer the outlet route area as well. They want to restore the basin to mitigate the water going into the Crow River. The goal is to minimally acquire the land and easements. There is a public mandate for this type of work. The DNR is following their vision and mission as closely as they can for wildlife habitat and improvement. There will not be agreement on everything. Daleiden said the area proposed as an addition to the WMA is swamp land. He viewed this as a good buffer area for water quality improvement. The land is very low, so a lot of fill would need to be brought in to develop it. He did not see having development value because of this. Bengtson said the land is extremely valuable in terms of conservation.
Borrell said the property is not classified as a wetland and questioned whether it would be restored as a wetland. Bengtson said the land is classified as a wetland (type 1). Borrell asked if it is a protected wetland. Bengtson explained it is not a DNR protected wetland but it is protected under the Wetland Conservation Act. Borrell referenced Bengtson coming to the Board Meeting recently for a similar purchase. At that time, Borrell asked Bengtson about the land that was proposed to be restored into a wetland and whether wetland credits would be sold. Borrell said that Bengtson’s response at that time was that they normally don’t do that.
Borrell asked today about a State program where the State completes the work to create the wetland and then the person owning the land can sell the wetland credits. It is used specifically for road rights-of-way that interfere with a wetland. Borrell asked why the DNR does not encourage this as the landowner would receive more compensation for the property and the DNR could possibly buy additional land at a reduced cost. Bengtson said that is a good argument and they have brought this discussion forward. Many areas are State owned and the question is whether private individuals should work on public land. Part of the wetland mitigation bank is paying a private landowner that has a drain basin to restore. This includes land control forever. Those types of issues have been debated but that debate is not at Bengtson’s level. He agreed there are cases where it may be appropriate; there are also cases where it is not appropriate public policy to allow someone who is looking for mitigation to bank on public land in order to do so.
Borrell provided an example of owning land that was previously drained. Instead of selling it, the landowner could go to the State and the State could restore it to a wetland. There would be a contract between the landowner and the State. The State would get what they wanted and the landowner would get extra dollars through the program. It would make more wetland credits available resulting in a lowered cost. Borrell said the next time the Highway Department needs to interfere with a wetland for a road project, it would not cost as much. Bengtson said the DNR is charged with trying to preserve threatened habitat and what makes sense with the overall scheme. Wetland mitigation banking automatically puts a permanent easement on private property. Bengtson thought that would be squandering sportsman and taxpayer dollars by coming around and buying back the same property. They would essentially be buying the land twice. Wetland mitigation banking typically goes into perpetual easement where the land cannot be manipulated in the future. Generally, there are uplands associated with the wetland. Borrell asked whether the thought process is if land is restored to a wetland, the DNR would not want to be limited on restoring it to some other use in the future. Bengtson said that is correct, plus the DNR would be liable for PILT payments if it is owned.
Potter said he is familiar with the property and associated flooding problems. He was in contact with Mark Weigle, City of St. Michael, and the City supports the project. Potter said he had concern with drainage issues, but it appears the City and DNR are working together on this. His other concern is with future curb and gutter improvements to CR 119 in the northeast part of the property. Potter wants to make sure the County will have the ability to upgrade the road in the future if needed. Bengtson said this situation arises occasionally when a road authority is involved because of road right-of-way. There is rarely an issue to say no, but there may be paperwork or compensation to the State involved. He stated the DNR is not about trying to restrict transportation or reasonable improvements to roads. Potter stated that the road on this property is not even a car width. He suggested this is the time to address any future improvements that may be needed. Bengtson said he generally will place a letter in the WMA file for future managers to see. Daleiden said it would be easier to have the records reflect that when the road is expanded or improved, that there is a right to do so. He felt it would be more cost effective.
Mark Weigle, City of St Michael, said the City supports the DNR’s acquisition of the property and it is consistent with the City’s plans for stormwater control. The City’s Stormwater Management Plan has designated this as a regional retention area as the area continues to grow. The DNR’s acquisition and the mitigation will allow a bounce to take place during major storm events and will allow it to be publicly controlled, as opposed to having it flood private property. He agreed that it would be nice to address the future improvements at this time. He was unsure of the County Highway Department’s requirements (setback from centerline) and the State’s requirements on road right of way. Daleiden asked whether it is critical to have this approved today. Bengtson said that it is not critical; however, they are working with the landowner and the expectation is that the process will move as rapidly as possible. Bengtson restated the DNR could place a letter in the WMA file to be referenced in the future when the road is developed. It was the consensus that discussion on this issue would be laid over until later in today’s Board Meeting when the Highway Engineer will be present.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty presented a draft resolution proclaiming May 12-18, 2013 as Law Enforcement Officer’s Week in Wright County. Potter moved to adopt Resolution #13-11, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
PROCLAIMING MAY 12TH 18TH, 2013 AS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WEEK IN WRIGHT COUNTY
WHEREAS the law enforcement officers of Wright County have worked devotedly and selflessly in behalf of the people of this county and the State of Minnesota, regardless of the peril or hazard to themselves; and
WHEREAS these officers have safeguarded the lives and property of their fellow citizens; and
WHEREAS by the enforcement of our laws, these same officers have given our county internal freedom from fear of the violence and civil disorder; and
WHEREAS seven Wright County Law Enforcement Officers including Constable Charles Albert Washburn, Sheriff John C. Nugent Jr., Marshall Rudolph Maurer, Sheriff Paul Kritzeck, Sheriff James Krietlow, Chief George Rytii, and Sheriff Roger Wrobbel have given the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty; and WHEREAS these men and women of law enforcement by their patriotic service and their dedicated efforts have earned the gratitude of our community:
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners formally declares May 12th 18th, 2013, as Law Enforcement Officers Week in Wright County, and publicly salutes the service of law enforcement officers in our community and in communities across the nation.
Joint resolution of the US Congress in October, 1962
(End of Resolution #13-11)
Sheriff Joe Hagerty and Sgt. Brian Johnson presented awards as part of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office Awards Ceremony.
• Citizen Awards were presented to Alfred Nelson, Todd Johnson, Kerry Blomberg, Lori Blomberg, and Daryl Gilles. On 5-18-13, Deputy Josh Hinton responded to a one vehicle, roll over accident. Upon arrival, Deputy Hinton located Alfred Nelson, Todd Johnson, Kerry Blomberg, Lori Blomberg, and Daryl Gilles standing in waist deep water attending to the victim. The victim was stuck in her seatbelt, and once freed, had to be removed through the trunk of her vehicle. Due to the quick thinking and actions of these fine citizens, the victim was able to avoid a potentially life threatening outcome.
• A Sheriff’s Office Award was presented to Deputy Bernie Williamson. On 10-10-12, Deputy Williamson responded to a residential fire in the City of Otsego. Upon arrival, Deputy Williamson found a homeowner on his roof trying to put out a chimney fire with a garden hose. Due to safety issues, Deputy Williamson and the Elk River Fire Chief were able to convince the homeowner to come down from the roof. The homeowner attempted to get off of the roof by stepping onto a 10 ft. ladder but fell backwards. Deputy Williamson was able to catch him so that only his heals impacted the ground. The homeowner was saved from serious injury.
• MPROA Awards were presented.
Lt. Keith Schuft received the MPROA Lifetime of Service Award on 4-13-13. He has been an active member of the Sheriff’s Office for over 33 years. Lt. Schuft held the ranks for Reserve Deputy, Sergeant, and Lieutenant. During his tenure, he consistently dedicated hundreds of hours each year supporting the communities of Wright County. He is well respected by his fellow reserves, deputies, and administrative staff of the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in and near Wright County.
Sgt. Steve Kraemer received the MPROA Reserve Police Officer of the Year Award on 4-13-13. Sgt. Kraemer has been a very active member of the Wright County Sheriff’s Reserve supporting the Sheriff’s Office since 2007. His commitment to the unit and willingness to forge new territories propelled him into the Sergeants roll within 3 years of joining the unit. Sgt. Kramer’s 500+ hours per year helped the unit grow and mature. Sgt. Kraemer is professional and maintains a positive and engaging attitude. Many Reserves seek him out for advice and mentorship.
Capt. Daryl Tindle received the MPROA Reserve Police Leadership Award on 4-13-13. Capt. Tindle has been a member of the Wright County Sheriff’s Reserve since 1996. During this time, he served in all positions within the reserve unit including several tours as Captain. Under Capt. Tindle’s leadership, the Reserves provide over 10,000 hours of service to Wright County communities. The unit’s peak membership is 35 reserves including Captain, Lieutenant, Sergeants, and reserve Deputies. The unit provides support to community events, support patrols on weekends and holiday, emergency call out support for critical events, and assistance at community activities.
At 9:30 A.M., Requests For Proposals (RFP) were opened for the 911 Dispatch Intrado Viper Upgrade and Maintenance. Tom Pavek, Consultant for Public Safety Systems, Elert & Associates, opened the bids:
Bidder; Base Bid; Upgrade with 5-Year Warranty
IES; $185,231.77; $292,019.78
Century Link; $153,664.94; $304,062.79
Sawatzke asked whether Elert & Associates had prepared an estimate for the project. Pavek said they had not but the bids came in about where they expected. He recommended that the bids be laid over for one week for review. Potter moved to approve the recommendation. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, requested approval of Advance Construction Agreement No. 03604 for the Beebe Lake Trail Project (SP 086-090-004). The Agreement indicates that $164,035 of the $657,500 in Federal funding will not be available for reimbursement until after 10-01-13. In accordance with Agreement No. 13-51, approved by the County Board on 4-09-13, the Cities of St. Michael and Hanover will fund the local share of this City trail project. The Cities will up front the costs. The Agreement will move the project forward and allow MnDOT to preserve funds for this project. Daleiden referenced Page 2 of the Agreement, Item 1B, which reflects, “It is estimated that the total cost of the Project is $1,063,045 and that the anticipated federal funding will be $493,465 in 2013 and $164,035 in 2014. The remaining share will be paid by the County.” Hawkins said the City of Hanover applied for the funding. However, this is technically a Wright County project as the City has a population under 5,000. The City will pay the local share of the project and Wright County will not fund anything. The County is assisting cities in obtaining federal dollars. The County holds a Contract with the City (approved about one month ago). Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #13-12 approving Advance Construction Agreement No. 03604 for the Beebe Lake Trail Project (SP 086-090-004). Potter seconded the motion and it carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Discussion resumed on the request from Fred Bengtson, DNR, relating to the purchase of 34.18 acres in the City of St. Michael as an addition to the St. Michael Meadows State Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Sawatzke explained to Hawkins that a question arose earlier in the meeting on road right of way that may be required if CR 119 in St. Michael is upgraded in the future. Hawkins said he discussed the situation with Fred Bengtson, DNR, and Mark Weigle, City of St. Michael. Hawkins said the Board could take action to approve the request by the DNR with the condition that the DNR provide an easement of 55’ from the centerline for future road construction. This may occur in the next 10-15 years. Bengtson said the DNR will acquire the land, and he will move forward with securing an easement for the County. Sawatzke asked whether the land would be under State ownership but the County would hold an easement. Bengtson said that is correct. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #13-13 approving the purchase of 34.18 acres in Section 11, T120N, R24W, City of St. Michael, with the purpose of establishing this area as an addition to the St. Michael Meadows State Wildlife Management Area (WMA), with the stipulation that the County has right of way 55’ from centerline. The motion was seconded by Potter. Sawatzke asked Bengtson if the motion is acceptable. Bengtson said it is and that he will come back to the Board if anything needs to be changed. Borrell asked for clarification as to whether the DNR will sell the County an easement or grant an easement. Bengtson said it will follow the State policy on this type of situation. He will work on this when the acquisition is complete. Borrell said if the State policy is that the County has to pay for the easement, that may be different from what the Board is hearing today. Sawatzke said Bengtson may not have the ability to grant the easement free of charge. If the property were privately owned, the County would pay in that situation. Bengtson said some cases require payment and others don’t. There is a threshold to be met. Borrell said his intent is if the law allows the easement without a fee, that is what should be done. Sawatzke said if there is a fee title involved, the County will have to pay for it. The motion carried 4-1 with Husom casting the nay vote.
Capt. Dan Anselment, Sheriff’s Office, introduced Tom Kummrow, Office of Traffic Safety, TZD Law Enforcement Liaison. Wright County participates in the Towards Zero Death Traffic Safety Grant. Kummrow presented the Sheriff’s Office with a new radar unit for participation in the Towards Zero Death Traffic Safety Program. Kummrow said the State contacts him to find out who is doing a good job with law enforcement efforts. He cited an impaired driving wave that Wright County completed. In addition, the State said Wright County is doing a good job on the grant. Husom moved to acknowledge receipt of the donation of radar equipment from the State of Minnesota with an estimated value of $2,500-$3,000. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
The meeting recessed at 10:03 A.M. and reconvened at 10:12 A.M.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, received a request from Woodland Township to replace a tile where the Township Road crosses County Ditch 31. It involves a culvert that is failing. The Highway Department’s recommendation is to upsize the culvert. Hiivala said the Township contacted the SWCD. Two options were provided. The first is to replace the culvert with a larger one and the second is to run two culverts alongside one another. Borrell moved to grant Woodland Township the right to replace a culvert as requested with approval by the SWCD Office reviewing the plans and the work after it has been completed. The motion was seconded by Husom. Borrell said they need to make sure the culvert is deep enough, as sometimes they are installed too high. This will be at the direction of Kerry Saxton, SWCD. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala and Bryce Cruey, Wenck Associates, presented the draft bids and specs document for the repair work on County Ditch 10. Hiivala said this involves the Ditch 10 project which the County Board has been discussing for several years. Meetings have been held on site with the petitioners and with concerned citizens from the Lake Association. The County Board previously authorized Wenck Associates to complete preliminary engineering and drafting of bids and specs documents. Hiivala said Cruey was available to answer questions and obtain input.
Cruey said this is a draft that is open for comment. The 11 x 17 plans are on site construction plans. Section 0 is the first area that needs input, mostly on timing. A placeholder date of 5-21-13 has been incorporated into Section 10 of the document for the bid opening. This is open for discussion. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, asked whether there are publication requirements for the bid opening. Cruey was unsure. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, stated he would have to check these requirements. It may involve one publication but may also require the publication be a certain number of days prior to the bid opening.
Borrell asked if there would be logic in starting at the outlet with repairs and working back. The County, as Ditch Authority, is allowed to bill $100,000/year to benefited property owners. One of the reasons to proceed in this fashion is that it would provide an avenue for removal of the trees and brush that are cut down. There may be farmers who either do not want the material placed on their properties or who may not want to allow access through their properties. If work is started at the outlet, it would provide a one-rod strip that could be used to gain access to areas.
Cruey said one of the discussion points he had planned was what to do with the trees and brush. Cruey said he has been involved in the project since the beginning and has attended the meetings. The questions posed related to what sections of the Ditch were causing the most problems. There were three separate meetings held with buy in from the benefited landowners. There were ten sections of the Ditch identified from those meetings. Cruey did not want to discredit the idea of starting from the outlet and working up. That is not what the draft bids and specs document or the engineer’s estimate is based on. They are based on information received at the meetings and what they understand is the basis for the project. Borrell referenced C-105 identified on the map and asked how access would be gained to that area. Cruey agreed that it would be tough to access that area. Borrell said that a farmer may want the Ditch cleaned but may not allow access through the field because of crops. Cruey said a fall cleanout may be an option. His understanding from those benefited landowners at the meetings was that they were willing to work with the contractors.
Cruey said the engineer’s estimate came in at around $115,000 which is higher than the $100,000 threshold. He said many times the contractor bids come in lower than the engineer’s estimate. At this point, Cruey did not suggest taking out parts of the project unless someone has opposition to an area. He said the first page of the bids and specs lays out the different areas identified by the landowners. The sheets that follow are the individual projects.
Sawatzke asked if it is Cruey’s expectation that bids will outline costs for individual areas or whether the bids will be one lump sum. If they are listed individually in the bids, a specific area could be removed if needed and the County would know the cost reduction. Cruey said it is possible but not typical. Borrell suggested that the bid specs almost have to be that way so the County has a solid number on what would be reduced from the overall bid. Otherwise, the County would be negotiating with the person they accepted the bid from. Cruey said he understands the question and he will need to respond back on this.
Daleiden said past discussion involved the use of the Sentencing To Service (STS) crew. Sawatzke said that was discussed to the extent for hand labor jobs. Borrell said they will need to gain access to the areas. Sawatzke thought it may be easier for them as they can walk back with chain saws and wheel barrows.
Borrell stated that even if all of the smaller projects on the Ditch are completed, the Ditch is not done. He said many of the County ditches are in disrepair. There should not be trees growing along ditches. If a redetermination is completed at this time, filter strips would be required (one rod wide). That cost would be figured into the project. However, the project cannot wait for that. Hiivala said the proposed repair work to Ditch 10 will make the Ditch system flow. It does not affect the one rod clean out. Acquiring the one rod filter strip would be very expensive. He said clean out and removal of the trees is what is needed now. If that is completed, the Ditch will function in the way the landowners have requested.
Hiivala was in contact with Kurt Deter on the $100,000 threshold and the engineer’s estimate of $115,000. With fees from Wenck Associates, the cost is approaching $150,000. The County is limited to assessing landowners $100,000 per year. He said Deter’s opinion is that the County should approve the project knowing that the cost will be over the $100,000. The assessment in the fall could be $100,000 with the remainder being charged next year.
Borrell questioned whether the County will receive additional requests for clean out at the end of this project. Hiivala said the County held three informational meetings with landowners. It is Hiivala’s perception that others will see work being completed and bring additional requests forward.
Loren Borg, Ditch 10 resident, asked how many miles there are in total on Ditch 10 and what portion the $100,000 will maintain. Sawatzke said there is 22,327 feet (approximately four miles) of clearing and grubbing planned. There are laterals in addition. Cruey said there is a little over 16 miles of Ditch from Lake Ann upwards. Borrell asked Borg for input on how the Ditch work is completed (specific sections or from the outlet back). Borg said he does not know the topography of the area. His concern is that his land is drained. Borg said if it costs $100,000 to complete about four miles, it would take about five years to complete the entire Ditch. Cruey said he is unsure if that is a true statement. Cruey restated landowners were met with three times. Entire sections of the Ditch were walked and estimates were based upon that. Other areas of the Ditch and field were walked, where they verified those were relatively clean and free flowing. Cruey stated they have a pretty good start on the problem areas but said not all problem areas may have been identified. Cruey said the ditch records evaluated were not the most complete set. The approved grade of the Ditch is not included in the information they reviewed. They used a probe to determine this in the field. The plans include 2:1 slopes in the Ditch which the contractor will need to maintain through the clean out regions.
Discussion led to large trees outside of the Ditch area. Borrell asked whether landowners would see it as a benefit to remove those trees on the sides of ditches to avoid future problems or if it would be something they would not want to pay for. Husom stated that, as with any property, landowners are responsible to take care of something that may be interfering. Borrell said he knows of areas along the Ditch that are meticulously maintained. Borrell said the County could go along with the proposed cleanout. If later it is found that more work needs to be done, it could be done more systematically. He reiterated that the bid specs should include costs associated with specific areas in case the County decides to remove any of them. Otherwise, the County will be negotiating with the contractor. The bids specs may have to be changed. Daleiden said areas C101, C102, C106, C107, and C108 should be bid as one. The rest of the areas could be bid separately. Cruey said he will look into combining areas. Richard Smith referenced the map and said it does not show the inlet. It only shows the outlet. Daleiden said the outlet is at C101 on the map. Borrell asked if there are any laterals toward Highway 12. Cruey referenced C106.
Daleiden moved to table this issue until 5-21-13 to allow for more discussion. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote. Sawatzke asked Asleson whether the County has 16.5’ right of way on either side of the Ditch. Asleson said he is unaware of any recorded easements or easements by use. There could be an argument that the County does not have an easement but the County could argue otherwise. Borrell said the effort will depend on the cooperation of landowners. The County wants a functioning ditch and the landowners do as well.
The claims listing was reviewed. Daleiden referenced claims to Climate Air (page 8). He questioned what the Climate Air Contract provides as the County is also paying repair charges. Norman stated that he did not have the contract in front of him. However, several weeks ago the County Board referred the Climate Air Contract to a future Building Committee Meeting (when the occasion arose to hold a Building Committee Meeting because of other agenda items). A Building Committee Meeting will be held on 5-22-13 so the Climate Air Contract will be included on that Agenda. Daleiden said his questions can wait until that time. Daleiden moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $248,996.75, 155 vendors, and 206 transactions. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Husom.
The Board reviewed a draft resolution which would authorize signatures of the Parks Administrator and County Coordinator on grant applications and agreements for Wright County Snowmobile Association’s participation in the Grant In Aid Snowmobile Trails Assistance Program for the 2013-2014 season. Wright County is the sponsoring agency and handles the accounting function and reimbursement requests. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #13-14, seconded by Borrell. Sawatzke asked that the Parks Director send a letter to the Snowmobile Association requesting assistance with signing and reflecting concerns with snowmobile use in the area of St. Michael and western St. Michael. These concerns were brought forth at a Board Meeting earlier this year. Those who brought forth the concerns suggested that maybe there should not be trails if the riders can’t stay on them. Sawatzke felt it was fair to say the Snowmobile Association people are not the ones who are trespassing. The trails lead the people to the areas that provide for them to trespass. Sawatzke estimated that the majority of those who use trails may not be members of the Association. Sawatzke conversed with a member of the St. Michael Club and suggested that Daleiden and Potter could do the same. Daleiden said additional signs were put up after the concern was voiced this past winter. Daleiden and Borrell amended the motion to include directing Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, to draft a letter to the Snowmobile Association, signed by the Board Chair, reflecting the concerns. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
The 2013 Annual NACo (National Association of Counties) Conference will be held July 19-22, 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas. Daleiden expressed interest in attending in an effort to collaborate with other counties on technologies and other things they are doing. Sawatzke said in the past, the Board has been more inclined to send people when the Conference is closer so it is less expensive. A few years ago, the Annual Conference was held in Chicago. AMC provided a bus. The Board took action at that time to authorize reimbursement at that cost. If attendees decided to travel using a different method, they were reimbursed the amount of the bus fare. Norman stated that Wright County has three votes as part of the Minnesota Delegation. If Wright County does not send anyone to the Conference, Wright County’s votes are given to AMC to use as they see fit. Norman noted that the majority of the Conference is over a weekend. Husom asked if there are funds in the Budget to cover this. Sawatzke said the Budget may include enough to cover one attendee. Husom made a motion to authorize up to one person to attend the 2013 NACo Conference in Fort Worth Texas. The motion was seconded by Potter. Borrell asked if reimbursement is for airfare or mileage. Sawatzke said transportation is reimbursed based on the lowest possible method. In this case, he thought it would be airfare. The motion carried 5-0.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 5-07-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the Minutes, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0:
Staff requested this meeting to inform the Commissioners of the Continuity Of Operations (COOP) Plan, its background and the County Board functions within the COOP Plan. Berg defined a COOP Plan as an internal effort within an organization to assure that the capability exists to continue essential business functions across a wide range of potential emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies. Accordingly, an effective Emergency Management Program (EMP) not only addresses the four phases of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, but includes COOP planning activities to ensure that critical patient care, ancillary, and support functions would continue, with little or no interruption. As an example, Berg stated that the Sheriff’s Department would need to continue to operate around the clock even in the case of an emergency. The COOP Plan would help designate which duties were most important to have completed.
Austin-Roehler stated that COOP planning began in 2007/2008. Members of the COOP Committee were appointed by the Board, as well as volunteers from other departments. She stated that emergencies can happen at a State or County level and a proper COOP Plan would help keep the County running during those emergencies. In Public Health, the COOP Plan had been used when there was an H1N1 outbreak and the majority of the staff were working at clinics and hospitals. It helped determine which duties were most important to be kept running. Austin-Roehler stated that each department wrote their own section of the COOP Plan and it was approved in June 2010 by the County Board. The following February, the Committee held table top exercises to simulate a pandemic happening over time to see how Department Heads would react to losing 15%-30% of their staff. The Committee had asked that Department Heads revise their COOP Plans after the table top exercises and make any necessary changes. However, the Department Heads were unable to find time to review these plans. The Committee then decided in 2011, that they would meet with each Department Head individually and hold smaller table top exercises as a way to review the Plans. Since then, the Committee has met with six Department Heads and made minor changes to each COOP Plan.
The Committee also setup a Communication Contact Procedure for when emergencies happen after hours at the County. This procedure holds private information of designated key people for each government building at the dispatch center. If an emergency would occur, dispatch would then place an emergency call to the proper person. The procedure stems from an after hours incident involving a truck running into the Human Services Building. This information is also updated regularly.
Austin-Roehler questioned if the Board was familiar with the City Watch Reverse 9-1-1 System. This system has been in place since 2002 and allows dispatch to call out to pre-determined groups within the County to notify them of a situation. Sawatzke questioned how often this System is used. Hagerty stated it is used about three to four times a month. It costs the County roughly $12,000/year and serves as the County’s version of an Amber Alert. Berg stated it was used just this weekend when County residents in the Howard Lake area with Mediacom telephone service were unable to get through to the 9-1-1 System. The Reverse 9-1-1 System called the residents and let them know that if they had an emergency, there was an alternative number that would get them through to dispatch until the problem was fixed. Hagerty stated the one issue with the Reverse 9-1-1 System is that it only calls phone numbers that are attached to an address and most callers now use cell phones instead of landlines. Austin-Roehler stated the County now has a program where residents can register their cell phone number with an address so they can receive notifications. The County has not done a news release on this program yet. Austin-Roehler has a draft for the news release that she will run past the Commissioners in a couple weeks.
Austin-Roehler referred back to setting up the Communication Contact Procedure. She stated that the dispatch center does not have the Commissioners home contact information and in order for them to be contacted in an emergency situation, they would need that personal information. Austin-Roehler passed around a form to collect this information from each Commissioner.
Berg presented to the Commissioners a sample of a resolution for declaring a State Of Emergency as found in the County’s Emergency Operators Plan. Declaring a State of Emergency would activate the COOP Plan. Berg stated the Emergency Operations Plan is currently being reviewed. It is updated every three years with a complete upgrade on the fourth year. Borrell questioned if the COOP Plan dealt only with County employees. Austin-Roehler stated it was designed for the County as a business. Borrell questioned if it dealt with resident’s civil rights. Austin-Roehler stated it did not. Berg stated a lot of businesses have continuity plans so that they are aware of how to operate when a majority of the staff is gone or, in the County’s case, when the Department Head is not available. Borrell stated his main concern would be how it affects residents rather than employee’s. He does not agree with anything that would limit the resident’s civil rights. Borrell questioned how this would affect residents if the Commissioners declared a State of Emergency. Berg stated that different situations would affect the County differently. Austin-Roehler stated that is why table top exercises are completed. These exercises help find incomplete areas in the COOP Plan. During one of these exercises, the Committee realized that the County Board did not have a section in the COOP Plan. Kelly was asked to review the Board’s duties and help form a COOP Plan for the Board.
Kelly stated he had reviewed the Board’s duties as outlined in State Statute and came up with a draft he would like the Board to review. Kelly explained the priority rating for the duties/essential functions. The ratings are as follows: (1) One is the highest level. It means that these functions need to be kept going at all times; (2) Level Two means that the functions need to be completed within a couple of days; (3) Level Three means that the functions need to be completed within a couple of weeks; and (4) Level Four means the function must be completed within six to eight weeks. Kelly stated he believes it would be best if the Committee recessed for a month to give the Commissioners a chance to review the information.
Berg stated that the Board needs to remember the process of planning is more important than the process itself. From this Committee Meeting, the Board is getting an overview of what the COOP Plans are and how they will work, but unless the Plans are practiced in a table top exercise, there is no way of knowing how it would really work. Austin-Roehler stated that the County holds Incident Command Training both in person and online.
Swing presented the goals of the IT Department regarding a COOP Plan. Swing stated that a main goal is to have a fiber ring built. This fiber ring would serve as a backup to the main server. For example, if a tornado destroys one government building, the fiber ring would allow the IT Department to keep the network up from another government building. Another goal of the IT Department is to have an Electronic Disaster Plan (EDP). This Disaster Plan would keep order within the IT Department in the event of an emergency. Swing discussed the generators within each building. He stated that in the event of a blackout, every building except Human Services would be able to be kept running. Swing stated he would like to get a generator at the Human Services Center so that they could stay operational as well. Sawatzke questioned if it was possible to use a portable generator. Swing stated that the server that is there is not able to hook up to a portable generator. Borrell questioned the importance of a generator if the County will only be without power for a few days. Berg stated it is important to plan for the worst events. Plans can always be lessened in different level emergencies but it is hard to increase them. Berg stated that is why the Committee believes it is important to practice the table top exercises and update the information on a regular basis.
Kelly requested a specific time and date to reconvene this meeting in order to provide the Commissioners with time to review their COOP Plan. It was decided that the Committee would recess until 06-25-13 at 10:30 AM following the County Board Meeting.
Recommendation: Recess until 06-25-13 at 10:30 AM following the County Board Meeting.
(End of 5-07-13 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 5-08-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the Minutes. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0:
I. POSITION OPENINGS
A. Corrections Officer (Laid Over From 4-10-13).
Bigelow distributed an email from O’Malley requesting replacement of the Corrections Officer Position (see attached). Bigelow said the Sheriff Office is short four or five staff at the present time. Because they have a current eligibility list, Bigelow said this request is a formality in compliance with County procedure. Sawatzke said the Board requests participation in the process as there is inherent value in the resulting dialogue.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Corrections Officer position.
B. Senior Office Support Specialist.
Jorgensen-Royce explained that there are two Office Support Specialists (OSS) assisting three Units in the Public Health Division. She distributed a document with background information on the position (see attached). The two OSS positions divide the work, but also have specialized duties. Jorgensen-Royce said it is imperative that this position be replaced. They hope to find someone with technology skills. Jorgensen-Royce said this position shoulders ongoing responsibilities for case file organization, filing, and data entry, as well as accreditation and pending changes in the near future.
Sawatzke asked whether the official position name is Senior Office Support Specialist, Office Technician II, or a combination of the two. Jorgensen-Royce said the position title has not officially changed from Senior Office Support Specialist to Office Technician II because the union contract has not yet been signed. She will use both titles until a change becomes official.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Senior Office Support Specialist / Office Technician II position in the Public Health Department.
C. Financial Worker.
Antl distributed a document requesting replacement of the Financial Worker position in the Family Financial Unit (see attached). She said the position manages 235 Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIB), Diversionary Work Program (DWP), Work Benefit (WB), Food Support, Health Care, County Crisis and MFIP/DWP Child Care Cases. The Unit is short one person due to this vacancy, another person is on leave, and a third employee is training a new staff member. Antl said the workload is stretching staff to the limits. The Federal Financial Participation (FFP) reimbursement is increasing due to pending health care reform. Prior to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, FFP was 50 percent. Once the Affordable Care Act is in effect, Antl said the FFP will increase to 75 percent.
Sawatzke asked whether only new cases will receive 75 percent FFP. Antl responded that all cases will receive 75 percent FFP. Sawatzke said his interpretation was that new cases under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would receive 75 percent FFP. Schwartz said all cases will be affected, unless something dramatically changes. The 75 percent FFP will cover salaries, benefits, as well as direct and indirect costs to provide Medical Assistance. It depends on the State meeting seven critical success factors identified by the Federal workgroup. Based on information provided by the State workgroup, intake, case management, and the services provided by Financial Workers are covered under the enhanced FFP.
Schwartz confirmed that the information she received from the State indicates that FFP is covered across all cases. Sawatzke asked what the increase amounts to in revenue. Schwartz said the enhanced reimbursement for Financial Worker salaries alone will be about $292,000 based on the payroll budget and not expenses. Schwartz added that her initial concern about the enhanced FFP was whether there was an end date, but it is clear the FFP will not expire.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Financial Worker position.
D. Social Worker, Family Assessment Unit.
Charbonneau distributed a document describing the Child Protection Family Assessment Worker position (see attached). She said 4.5 Child Protection Family Assessment Workers consistently assessed 70 to 73 percent of all the Child Protection cases screened in the Human Services Department (Agency) in the past five years, with an average of 74 cases each in 2012.
Charbonneau said Child Protection Family Assessments and Child Protection case management are mandated by law under Statute 626.556. The Statute requires that the Agency visit children, parents and perpetrators within five days, and assess cases within 45 days of the intake. If this position is not replaced, Charbonneau said the County will not be able to meet Statutory timelines, and children in abusive situations would potentially be at risk of further harm.
In addition to the Family Assessment cases, Charbonneau said this position carries an average of 12 to 13 Child Protection Case Management cases per year. These cases utilize additional resources with the goal of helping the family amend the situation and stay together.
Recommendation: Authorize replacement of the Social Worker position in the Family Assessment Unit.
E. Temporary Financial Worker, Family Financial Services Unit.
Schwartz said there is a former County employee who now works as a Financial Worker at Carver County. Schwartz said she discussed the situation with Bigelow, who indicated there is no conflict of interest. The Carver County employee works four ten-hour days, and could work at the County one day per week. Schwartz said this would relieve some of the workload for staff. She requested approval for 10 to 20 hours per week, although she anticipates this person would only work one day per week.
Sawatzke asked if there is an open position in the Family Financial Services Unit. Schwartz replied that one position is on leave until the end of July. Another has been open since January. Antl interjected that she requested a temporary position at that time, but it was denied. Schwartz said those cases were absorbed, but the addition of another vacancy renders the situation more urgent. The duties performed by the temporary position would address cases in the Income Maintenance Unit. Antl said the Financial Worker from Carver County would be able to perform most of the position duties from the start. Schwartz said this is an unprecedented opportunity. Sawatzke clarified that the Agency has one person on leave, in addition to the position replaced in the Family Financial Unit. One opening remains. Antl said the temporary position would not start until the second or third week in June, and will require time to build up to a full case load.
Sawatzke expressed concern about Antl’s statement that the Human Services Board previously denied this request. Neither Schwartz nor Sawatzke recalled that occurrence. Antl said Michelle Miller, Social Services Manager, was present at that meeting. Sawatzke asked whether the Human Services Board referred this request to the Personnel Committee. Schwartz replied that she and Jay Kieft, Human Services Director, determined that this request falls within the Agency’s “Emergency Temporary” parameters. They thought the requirements were to submit the request to either the Human Services Board or the Personnel Committee. Schwartz added that the Agency always brings replacement requests to the Personnel Committee. Sawatzke said those positions are referred by the Human Services Board to the Personnel Committee. He thinks the concept of this temporary request is sound, but he expressed concern that established procedure was not followed. This matter should have been referred to the Personnel Committee by the Human Services Board. Schwartz did not disagree. Her question was whether this request falls under the “Emergency Temporary” category, and whether it should go to the Human Services Board or the Personnel Committee.
Sawatzke suggested Schwartz take the request to the Human Services Board for a decision since it was not initially referred to the Personnel Committee. He assumed the Human Services Board would act on it. Schwartz said she will put it on the 5-13-13 Human Services Board Agenda. She said it would be good to get clarification on the procedure. Sawatzke said the current request for temporary help was reasonable. He explained that his response today is due to not knowing whether the request was referred to the Personnel Committee by the Human Services Board. Schwartz said the Human Services Board discussed the issue, but at that time, the Agency had no potential candidate who could step in and do the job without much training.
Sawatzke said the Human Services Board can act on it. Husom asked whether it was possible the temporary position might be needed longer than the end of July. Bigelow asked whether Schwartz intended the position to work more than 67 days. Schwartz responded that the temporary position would not work beyond the time the Unit is fully staffed. She added that if they hire a temporary employee and the one employee currently on leave returns, the temporary position would be terminated. Sawatzke was confident the Human Services Board would act and provide direction regarding an end date. Schwartz said the question remains regarding the procedure for requesting “Emergency Temporary” staff. Sawatzke said the key word is “Emergency.” Schwartz said the current request is urgent because they are short another position.
Recommendation: No recommendation was made as the request was not referred to the Personnel Committee. Request referred to the Human Services Board.
(End of 5-08-13 Personnel Committee Minutes)
The Board discussed cancellation of a Board Meeting in July due to the occurrence of five Tuesdays. The request from Administration was to cancel the 7-09-13 Board Meeting because of staff availability on that day. Husom stated in anticipation of a fifth Tuesday in July, she made vacation plans for the last week of the month. She has an emergency drill on 7-23-13 and may miss that Board Meeting. She does not want to miss another Board Meeting in July. Sawatzke informed the Board members that when a Board Meeting is cancelled because of five Tuesdays in a month, it is not necessarily the fifth one. Board members stated that the 7-09-13 Board Meeting Agenda should include minimal items because of Administration staff availability on that date. Husom moved to cancel the 7-30-13 County Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
Daleiden moved to schedule one Committee Meeting date per month for the months of June, July, and August. The dates will be 6-19-13, 7-17-13, and 8-21-13. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Husom attended a Safe Communities of Wright County Meeting on 5-10-13. The group is looking for a place to park a crashed vehicle trailer for the period of May 18-27, 2013. Husom proposed that the Board take action to allow the trailer to be parked at the Government Center for that period of time. She said the crashed vehicles are changed occasionally. This one relates to seat belt usage where a person survived. It is in conjunction with the Click It or Ticket Campaign which was going on at the same time. She felt that the Courthouse would be a good place to park the trailer so people can read the story about how seat belts can save lives. On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to authorize parking of the trailer at the Government Center in the front lot from May 18-27, 2013.
Daleiden requested the Board schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting to discuss the County Coordinator position because of Richard Norman’s decision to retire. He would like to have discussion on how the County should proceed. Potter moved to schedule the Meeting for 5-28-13 at 10:30 A.M. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Daleiden.
Advanced Disposal Services 658.35
Advanced Graphix Inc 368.72
Aladdin Temp Rite LLC 591.00
Allina Hospitals & Clinic 20,038.92
Ameripride Services 252.26
Annandale Advocate Inc 339.00
Aramark Services Inc 6,669.51
Best Western Plus Kelly Inn 311.95
Boyer Truck Parts 1,023.89
Brock White Co LLC 6,137.16
Buff N Glo Inc 125.00
Buffalo/City of 57,555.78
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 300.00
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 285.00
C Walker Trucking 2,875.00
Center Point Energy 500.42
Centra Sota Coop. - Buffalo 26,821.05
Central Fire Protection 274.00
Clearwater Township 727.60
Climate Air 21,237.69
Corporate Payment Systems 1,000.79
Croteau Plumbing 268.50
Ernst General Constr. Inc 2,402.00
Fastenal Company 167.71
General Office Products Co 555.61
Green Interiors 482.07
Greenview Inc 283.20
Hardrives Inc 801.56
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 613.48
Kustom Signals Inc 293.98
Lake Region Coop Oil-ML 361.22
Laplant Demo Inc 551.52
Loberg Electric 160.00
Martin-McAallisters Cons. 900.00
Menards - Buffalo 456.88
MN Equip Solutions 121.38
MN Monitoring Inc 472.00
Mn Office of Enterprise Tech. 1,150.00
MN State Auditor 576.00
Monticello Township 1,296.00
Norman/Richard W. 834.32
ORyans Conoco Marathon 115.00
Office Depot 771.43
OSI Environmental Inc 860.00
Pakor Inc 263.77
Precision Prints of Wright Co 141.08
Royal Tire Inc 964.47
Russell Security Resource Inc 1,249.12
Uniforms Unlimited 559.35
Waste Management-TC West 1,986.94
Wenck Associates Inc 3,398.40
Wright Co. Highway Dept 63,510.43
Wright Hennepin Electric 261.12
Zarnoth Brush Works Inc 632.70
27 Payments less than $100 1,374.00
Final total $248.996.75
The meeting adjourned at 11:17 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 3, 2013.