Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
JUNE 18, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Daleiden moved to approve the 6-11-13 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Borrell, second by Potter, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Performance Appraisals: A. Svihel, Atty.; D. Maurer, P. Thompson, Aud./Treas.; J. Reed, Ext.; B. Leinonen, Hwy.; R. Christenson, J. Eaton, P. Fladung, M. Lindquist, A. Lutgens, R. Mossman, A. Minea, D. Olson, J. Rivers, Sher./Corr.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 5-25-13.
3. O/T Report, Period Ending 6-08-13.
4. Approve Memorandum Of Understanding With I.U.O.E. Local No. 49 RE: Wright County Fair.
5. Authorize Three-Month Personal Leave Of Absence For Rick Jenson, Building Maintenance, Eff. Appx. 6-24-13.
6. Approve Charitable Gambling Application Form LG220, Clearcause Foundation, Woodland Hill Winery, 731 County Road 30 SE, Delano MN 55328 (Franklin Twp.).
B. AUDITOR/TREASURER
1. Approve Renewal Of Combination On/Off Sale Liquor License For “Up The Creek Grill & Bar” (Silver Creek Twp.).
2. Approve Tobacco License For Monticello Smoke Shop (Monticello City) As Submitted By New Owner.
3. Approve Renewal Of Seasonal Malt Liquor License For “Osowski’s Flea Market,” (Monticello Twp.).
C. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezonings:
A. Jeff Vanderlinde (Franklin Twp.). A unanimous recommendation was made to rezone 42.48 acres from AG to A/R.
B. Wayne E. Gangl (Chatham Twp.). A unanimous recommendation was made to rezone appx. 20 acres from AG to A/R.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said the Greater MN Parks & Trails Commission was authorized as part of Legislative Sessions. This will be a 13-member advisory board that will work with planning and making recommendations to Legislature. Mattice asked for authorization to make application as the Region 4 Representative and for participation if appointed. Daleiden made a motion authorizing this action, seconded by Potter. Mattice said the Olmstead County Attorney provided an opinion that there is no conflict of interest with Mattice serving in this capacity. The motion carried 5-0.
Mattice provided an update on the Wright County Snowmobile Trail/Locke Lake Bridge replacement project. The bid will be for a contract to include all aspects of design, construction, and installation of a bridge to span County Ditch 24, including necessary approaches and meeting a load rating as specified. Wright County will serve as the fiscal agent on behalf of the Snowmobile Association. The project is estimated to be under $100,000. Mattice said the bids will be submitted to the Parks Administrator. He anticipates releasing the advertisement for bids in the next 1-1.5 weeks upon review by the DNR. The goal is to have the bridge replaced by snowmobile season.
Funding is through a Federal Recreational Grant, a Snowmobile Recreational Grant, and the Snowmobile Association. The only cost to Wright County is the Parks Administrator’s time. This was provided as an informational item.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, requested the Board award Contract #1306, Grooved Edge Lines (SP 086-070-009) to Traffic Marking Service., Inc. at the low bid of $197,475.49. Bids were opened at the Highway Department on 6-07-13 at 10:00 A.M. This is a safety project that will be funded with 90% Federal HSIP Safety Funds ($177,727.94) and 10% Local Levy ($19,747.55). The bids came in about 20% under the Local Levy budgeted amount of $24,274.00. Hawkins said the grooves are placed within the white reflective edge lines so the paint is below the snowplow area. Motorists will not feel the groove when they drive over it. The glass beads are larger and supposed to be more reflective when it rains. Potter moved to award the bid to Traffic Marking Service, Inc. at the low bid of $197,475.49. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Hawkins requested approval of Agreement No. 13-52, Funding Participation and Construction Agreement between Wright County and the City of Otsego. The Agreement is for construction of improvements for 70th Street and CSAH 37 (SP 217-112-002 and SP 086-637-033) and has been approved by the City. The Agreement allows the work to be completed with the City project next year instead of in 2017 by the County. Daleiden moved to approve the Agreement, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-10-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the Minutes and recommendations, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0:
I. Board Room Cameras
Swing requested changing the order of Agenda items:
I. Board Room Cameras
II. Streaming Of Board Minutes
III. County Board Minutes.
Swing said the purpose of today’s meeting is to review the current methods used for County Board meeting agendas and minutes, as well as the design and cost to upgrade the Board Room camera. He said streaming to the Internet affords the best quality versus a delayed broadcast via Charter. The method he proposes is relatively inexpensive. He distributed three documents, “Committee of the Whole Handout 6-10-13,” “Technology Committee of the Whole Handout 3-05-13,” and “County Board Function – Comparison of Technology Solutions”.
Swing said the solution proposed by the work group team is a conservative first step to enable the County to stream a quality video over the Internet so constituents may view County Board meetings. He said the current camera situation is inadequate. The Livestream – Basic option for streaming meetings achieves a minimally acceptable quality.
Daleiden asked Davis to show the test streaming video of a recent County Board meeting and a Parks Commission meeting. Davis demonstrated how a viewer could access the Livestream web site and click on the link to open the desired meeting video.
Borrell asked how long meetings will be archived. Swing said permanently. When the County web site is redesigned later this year, he hopes to archive and have the ability to retrieve County Board audio and video indefinitely.
Daleiden said he did not find it difficult to operate the camera control panel during a recent meeting. Kelly said the control panel by the Coordinator’s desk is movable. Davis said the one at the podium is not. Livestream allows the viewer to fast forward the video to the section of the meeting in which they are interested.
Daleiden said maps, spreadsheets, documents or PowerPoint presentations will be more easily viewed with the upgraded system. Currently, images of PowerPoint presentations or documents on the overhead projector are transmitted from a camera shot of the projection screen. Swing said the viewer will receive a much better image via the computer. Viewers will be able to pause the video on Livestream to take more time to read a document, spreadsheet or map.
Swing said the new camera could be installed behind the dais to enable shots of the Coordinator and the front of the podium. Daleiden commented that streamed meetings will look more professional.
Swing said the two solutions proposed include: 1) A new camera, and 2) Utilizing Livestream – Basic. At the 3-05-13 Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting, the Board considered more expensive solutions. Livestream costs $49 per month to implement basic live streaming of meetings. Swing said it is a very inexpensive way to accomplish streaming.
Regarding the camera upgrade, Swing said the work group considered proposals from Alpha Video and EPA Audio Visual (EPA). The cost through EPA is $9,267. Initially they considered a higher grade camera. This camera is comparable to the existing one. A more expensive camera would cost another $3,000.
Swing said the next issue is determining who will operate the control panel during meetings. Currently the Coordinator runs the panel to start and stop the recording and select camera angles. Sawatzke said the control panel could be operated by the Coordinator, someone at the dais or a staff person in the audience. Sawatzke and Daleiden said it is not necessary to hire someone to run the control panel. Kelly said a monitor by the Coordinator’s table displays the camera angle being recorded.
Swing said the current system was installed ten or twelve years ago. Daleiden said the work group considered replacing the current camera, but did not as it continues to function. The goal was to provide viewers with a better view, including shots of the Coordinator and a front view of the podium. Sawatzke said the camera angles of the dais should include a seven person shot to accommodate Planning Commission members. He asked if six angles were the maximum allowed with the system. Swing said more angles increase the complexity of the system.
Camera angles would be programmed to fit the control panel. The angles would include:
1) The Coordinator; 2) Computer (to stream PowerPoint and other documents being presented; 3) Dais shot of five members; 4) Dais shot of seven members; 5) Audience; and 6) Front of the podium.
Swing said the new camera would be operative around mid July at the earliest. Sawatzke said the camera monitor should remain at the Coordinator’s table so camera angles will be easily viewed and changed.
Recommendation: Approve purchase of additional camera for the County Board Room from EPA Audio Visual, $9,267, with funding from Building Care and Maintenance budget, Furniture & Equipment line item.
II. Streaming Of Board Meetings.
Swing reiterated that streaming could begin in mid July at the earliest. He said the proposed vendor, Livestream, would charge $49 per month. The Board viewed the product demonstration earlier in this meeting.
There was discussion regarding whether to discontinue using Charter for cable broadcast of County Board meetings once streaming begins. Swing explained that Charter will be sent a DVD of the meeting. Daleiden said the meeting will be broadcast about a week later. His concern is that senior citizens with no computers will still want to watch the meetings via cable. Sawatzke asked if the streaming would be live. He said someone expressed concern about County employees watching the meeting during work hours.
Swing said streaming live is of benefit to Department Heads who may be listening to determine when their Agenda item is coming up for discussion. Borrell favors both live streaming and the ability to watch archived meetings on demand.
Backes said currently Administration staff drops off a VHS tape at Charter in Buffalo on Wednesday. The meeting is broadcast Thursday evening and Friday morning of the same week. Due to changes in Charter’s process, a DVD of the meeting will be mailed to Charter in St. Cloud and broadcast about eight days after they receive it. Making the DVD adds another step to the process. Sawatzke asked if the meeting video could be emailed to Charter. Swing said Charter is not open to that option. Daleiden would like to continue to broadcast County Board meetings via cable television for the time being. Charter also posts a message board with the dates and times County Board meetings are televised. Daleiden suggested adding a statement to the message board directing viewers to the County web site to view meetings on demand.
Swing said originally they did not think the cost of on demand and live streaming would be so low. Archived recordings of meetings will become part of the permanent record management system. Planning Commission meetings, public meetings, Human Services Board, and Board Of Adjustment meetings could also be streamed.
Sawatzke asked whether the Information Technology Department can determine how many people are watching the meeting within County government. He said too many hits will overload the system. Swing said they are able to determine who is accessing the meeting. Sawatzke asked Swing to report on that a few months after streaming begins. There was additional discussion regarding how or whether to limit access to streamed meetings within County government.
Swing said when the Board recesses during a meeting, the person operating the control panel must remember to turn off the audio and video and start again when the meeting reconvenes. Borrell said he believes viewers at home will see a slide that says the Board is currently in recess. Swing is concerned that the County would not have control over the audio in that situation. The video would show a slide announcing the recess, but the audio may still be live. Daleiden said that issue will have to be addressed.
Recommendation: Approve contracting with Livestream for streaming County Board meetings at a cost of $49/month with funding from the County Board Operating Supplies budget.
III. County Board Minutes.
Daleiden questioned whether there is still a need for detailed written Board minutes once meetings are recorded and retained permanently. He referenced a Statement of Position from the Office of the State Auditor regarding Meeting Minutes (see attached). Husom clarified that the County would have the recorded version and a short summary of discussions and decisions. Daleiden said this is true for County Board meetings, but committee meetings are not recorded.
Borrell asked about County Board meeting minutes that are published in the official County newspaper. Daleiden said the Board Minutes could be very condensed, similar to the Board of Adjustment or the Planning Commission. Sawatzke said most people find it simpler to read a written record. He thought committee minutes are too detailed, although he found the volume of discussion provided in Board minutes beneficial. Borrell said people may prefer a written record now, but in a year or so they may find it preferable to watch the meeting on the computer. Sawatzke suggested the Committee re-evaluate the way Board minutes are written at a later date.
Backes said quite a lot of verbiage is removed from Board minutes already. She said staff might take 20 pages of notes, yet the finished product may be only six pages long. Sawatzke said it is more important to abbreviate committee minutes than Board minutes. Backes expressed concern about researching past meetings on video. She was not sure a video search can be done by entering a key word as is possible with a PDF or Word document. Sawatzke said that is his concern as well. Backes said she would like to avoid typing transcriptions from Board meeting videos because of the time involved and Administration does not have transcription equipment.
Husom said transcribing did not make sense, and she did not want to add to the work load. Sawatzke said staff would save time now (with shorter Board minutes) and end up spending more time later. Backes said the person making the request would have to indicate the date, time and topic of the search for optimum efficiency. Daleiden said he was concerned about anyone making more work for staff if a dispute arose about Board minutes. He said the intense typing required to take minutes renders the County liable for carpal tunnel injuries and other issues.
Daleiden said the next step would be to utilize the IQM2 solution that Stearns County has implemented. That system ties the Agenda, minutes and streaming into the video recording of the Board meeting. The solution being proposed at this meeting does not offer these options. Daleiden said he is not advocating for the IQM2 system now, but wants to raise awareness of other options and State requirements for minutes. In the future, if the Board wants to reduce the length of minutes, the County could upgrade to a better streaming system.
Swing said the Stearns system definitely offers more options. Ideally, there would be two angled screens in the Board Room. Daleiden said the Stearns County system allows indexing of videotaped Board meetings by topic. Indexing allows the viewer to click on an Agenda item for immediate access to the desired section of the meeting.
Husom suggested using bullet points for meeting discussion. She said they are more reader friendly and less cumbersome than narrative. Borrell said the Stearns County streaming solution allows for key word searches. Sawatzke suggested retaining the current format for Board minutes, but to begin making them more concise. Borrell suggested that employees who take Board minutes begin incorporating less detail once the County starts streaming meetings in July. The Board can re-evaluate them in the future.
Backes asked whether staff should stop including details of presentations once County Board meetings are streamed. Borrell suggested bullet points. Backes explained that staff will still type all the discussion during the meeting because additional points outside of the presentation may be made. Sawatzke said if staff does not have to type as much, he does not see the need to break after an hour of meeting. Backes responded that it depends what the Board decides regarding how much detail should be keyed during presentations that are also streamed and recorded. Sawatzke said the finished minutes will be shorter but the minute taking process will remain the same.
Daleiden asked Backes how long it takes to finish a set of Board minutes. Backes said if the subject evokes intense discussion, it takes a lot of time. Completed minutes are due at 3 P.M. on Thursdays (two days after the Board meeting). If the meeting is long and complicated, it can be difficult to meet that deadline, as Administration staff has other tasks as well.
Daleiden said the process is too long. Backes replied that if the meeting is easy, it takes less time. Sawatzke said the minutes should be abbreviated. Backes said Administration staff should get feedback from the Board. In-depth discussions are difficult to abbreviate. Whose comments should be cut? Daleiden suggested Backes use the State Auditor’s document as a guideline, and then get input from the Board. Sawatzke thought the Auditor’s outline did not provide enough information. He instructed Backes to write slightly shorter minutes. Backes asked if she should begin abbreviating minutes immediately. Sawatzke responded to wait until streaming begins.
Backes asked whether committee minutes should be shortened as well, with fewer details. Sawatzke said they should, although details should be included whenever specificity is needed. Backes said detailed minutes are helpful when researching past Board actions.
Recommendation: No recommendation. Request that Administration staff abbreviate committee minutes beginning immediately and County Board minutes once streaming of Board meetings commences in July.
(End of 6-10-13 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Daleiden requested that Policy 512, Personal Appearance of Employees, be forwarded to the Leadership Team for discussion. Potter made a motion to refer this Policy to the Leadership Team, seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Husom requested a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting to discuss County hiring practices. She would like the meeting given the recent hire of the Human Resources Director and because of a number of County employees discussing the process of replacing positions with her. Sawatzke said the request to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting relating to the Coordinator position is also on the Agenda. He felt that both issues could be addressed at the same meeting. Lee Kelly, Interim County Coordinator, suggested 6-27-13 because of the availability of the County Board and others that are being invited to attend the meeting. Potter moved to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 6-27-13 at 9:00 A.M. The Agenda will include Hiring Practices (9:00 A.M.) and the County Coordinator position (10:00 A.M.). The motion was seconded by Husom and carried unanimously.
Sawatzke provided information on the 2013 State Board of Appeal and Equalization. A notice was received from the State that this is eleventh consecutive year with no changes for Wright County at the State Board of Appeal and Equalization. Sawatzke commended the Assessor’s Office on this accomplishment. Greg Kramber, Assessor, said it is an honor and privilege to have another year without changes. He extended appreciation to staff and said it is reflective of the good work staff and local assessors complete. This was provided as an informational item.
Carol Schefers, Public Health Director, said Public Health was awarded a Family Planning Grant for $471,573 over a two-year period. Part of the grant requirements include sending in a fee scale so that clients in the Program are charged a certain fee for the Program and family planning methods. Schefers said that the proposed schedule is not a sliding one. The fee will be set no matter what category clients are in. This was done after consulting with several agencies at the State level. It is easier and more efficient for the public to have a set fee. The Program reflects that people cannot be excluded. If people cannot pay the set fee, they pay what they can. Schefers asked that a Public Hearing be set to establish a fee scale for the Family Planning Program in Public Health. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said one week of publication is required for the Public Hearing Notice. Potter moved to schedule the Public Hearing for 7-09-13 at 9:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said at the last County Board Meeting a plat for Prairie Mountain 2nd Addition was pulled. He was informed by the Surveyor yesterday that the plat should be pulled from today’s meeting as the language corrections have not been completed. Hiivala asked to pull the item and said he will not place it on a future Board Agenda until it is ready for approval.
Hiivala stated that Commissioner Borrell contacted him regarding placing County Ditch 38 on the Agenda. Hiivala was in contact with the Ditch Viewers and they have completed viewing of Joint Ditch 14. Field work for Ditch 38 will begin soon. Hiivala said work is on target for an August Public Hearing for redeterminations of these two Ditches. He was contacted by a property owner who lives near Ditch 38 but he is unsure whether they are a benefited landowner. Ditch 38 was toured from one end to another by Daleiden, Borrell, Saxton and Keith Duske about 1.5 months ago. Borrell said it appears the tile is in disrepair and there may be blockage between the trailer court and the outlet. He suggested that work be completed to determine whether there is blockage in a specific section of the Ditch. That section is suspect as a farmer tapped into the concrete tile 18-20 years ago without permission from the Ditch Authority. He said Duske feels this is a good spot to check out. Hiivala said that by County Ditch Policy, Borrell has the authority to order ditch repairs up to a certain dollar amount and a Ditch Committee Meeting would not need to be called. Borrell intends to proceed with this. Hiivala said the Attorney’s Office forwarded an email from a landowner near the Ditch complaining that the water is on his land because the County is not taking care of the Ditch. Borrell said he spoke with the person and explained that the County is working on the Ditch. It just may not be as fast as they want. Hiivala said that the Viewers will establish where Ditch 38 is.
Daleiden moved to approve the May Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
The claims listing was presented. Daleiden moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for $1,682,539.10, 208 vendors, and 389 transactions. The motion was seconded by Potter. Husom referenced Page 3, Breezy Point Resort ($542.44) for conferences and meetings for Court Services and Page 6, Denise McCalla ($696.69) and Tammi Vaith ($627.37) for conferences and meetings, travel, and meals. She inquired if the costs are for the same employees. Hiivala said The Breezy Point claim is for Court Services employees and those claims on Page 6 are for Auditor’s Office employees. Husom also referenced per diem costs for the Board of Adjustment and asked if those are submitted quarterly. Sawatzke felt that was probably the case. Hiivala said there is not a policy relating to when per diems and mileage must be submitted. The motion carried 5-0.
At 9:35 A.M., Commissioner Sawatzke closed the bid process for the County Ditch 10 repair work. Hiivala stated nine sets of bid documents were sent out and two bids were received. Borrell said the estimate of cost is around $100,000. Hiivala opened the bids:
Bidder; Bid Bond; Bid Amount
MN Native Landscapes, Otsego; Yes; $144,304.69
Sunram Construction, Corcoran; Yes; $277,973.90
Sawatzke asked whether local contractors were contacted. Hiivala stated that some of the local contractors contacted Wenck Associates, and some indicated they would not be bidding on the job. Hiivala recommended the Board acknowledge the receipt of the two bids. They will be given to Wenck Associates who will make a recommendation. Sawatzke asked whether Hiivala will be able to take the total bid and calculate what individual benefited property owners will pay. If the assessments are large for specific properties, he thought Borrell may want to contact those landowners to let them know. It would then need to be determined whether the project needs to be re-evaluated. Sawatzke asked Hiivala to bring back to the next Board Meeting information on benefited property owner costs.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the County received a request from Lake Ridge Care Center in Buffalo and their parent corporation, Elim Care, for issuance of tax exempt revenue bonds. There is a provision in Chapter 469 that allows counties and cities to issue bonds for a number of non-profit corporations. Much of it relates to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. Wright County issued bonds in 2004 for Lake Ridge Care Center. Part of this request is to allow them to refinance those bonds. They are also looking at a new project. The main question from the County’s standpoint is whether or not the County is planning on financing anything yet this year and if so, how much. Asleson and Hiivala spoke with Bruce Kimmel, Ehlers & Associates, on the $10 million limit on bank qualified financing (local banks can bid on purchasing those bonds). Lake Ridge Care Center is asking for $2.5 million in tax exempt revenue bonds. Asleson said the main thing the Board should be aware of is that this action does not obligate the County’s taxing ability to pay toward bonds. There is extensive documentation in the Agreement between the County and Lake Ridge Care Center/Elim Care that reflects the revenue from their facility is used to pay bonds. There is no expense to the County, and they cover all costs associated with issuance, etc. The County would not be responsible if the business went bankrupt. Asleson said the County provides conduit financing.
Kathy Youngquist, Chief Financial Officer for Elim Care and Lake Ridge Care Center, said a better interest rate is realized for this type of financing because the bank gets some of that exempted from their income. The project will involve refinancing of $1.3 million from the 2004 issue and the construction of a 5-bed wing that will specialize in end-of-life care. The original idea included a stand alone hospice house but Youngquist said that is not financially feasible. They monitored other projects, specifically one in Hutchinson. That project is now out of business.
Daleiden asked whether the $10 million limit on bank qualified financing is an annual amount. Hiivala stated that is correct. Asleson said Bruce Kimmel also stated that some municipalities charge a flat or percentage fee to cover administrative costs. The County has not done this in the past. Asleson said the Board could look at this for this and future requests. With this project, he estimated a fee of $1,000 would cover administrative fees. Lake Ridge Care Center will also be responsible for any costs associated with publication of the public notice. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #13-16, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Discussion moved to charging an administrative fee. Borrell stated that doing so would set precedence if this type of situation occurs in the future. The $1,000 figure may have to be adjusted dependent on the situation. Borrell moved to assess a fee of $1,000 for administrative fee to Lake Ridge Care Center/Elim Care for the administrative fees associated with the issuance of tax exempt revenue bonds. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously.
State Representative Marion O’Neill, District 29B, provided a Legislative update. She said the largest issue is the $2.1 million in tax increases. In 2010, the Legislature was looking at a $6.5 billion deficit. The February forecast reflects that is down to about a $5 billion deficit. During that two-year time period, nearly $3 billion in additional funds have become available due to policies that were put into place. The biennium reflects around a $600 million deficit which is the justification for the $2.1 billion tax increase. Representative O’Neill stated that once that new budget is enacted, she has concern that Minnesota will become an outlier. She said Wright County is fiscally and socially conservative. Budgets are set and followed, and people are not over taxed. Representative O’Neil said the tax on the top 2% will affect many business owners. A consequence may be that their bottom line profits will decrease and they may leave the State. The warehousing tax directly affects mid-size business. If a large business owns their warehouses, the tax is not paid. There is almost a $400 million tax on small business. She said all segments of society are being taxed, not just the rich.
Representative O’Neill served on the Judiciary Committee and was an advocate for adding more public defenders. She is unsure how many more public defenders Wright County will receive. She said it is important to keep the courts process moving along. Representative O’Neill said the DNR’s Pelican Lake project has been controversial. The amount of $2 million was placed into the Legacy Bill and will be utilized to fund the draining of Pelican Lake. She asked for feedback from the County Board on that issue. Some experts she has talked to indicate there could be devastating effects to the Lake. She said once the DNR drains the Lake, there is no going back so they need to do it right the first time. Representative O’Neill said the Metro Area Water Supply Advisory Committee looks at such items as water quality, lake levels, and clean drinking water. The group advises the MET Council. Wright County has an appointee on the Committee and asked whether anyone was appointed since the beginning of the year. Former Commissioner Eichelberg served on this Committee. Sawatzke stated that Eichelberg was appointed to the Committee dealing with urban service expansion and said that may be the same Committee. Representative O’Neill said that Wright County is part of the Statute governing that group. She said it is important that Wright County be represented on this Committee. Sawatzke asked Asleson to research Statute. He thought Commissioner Daleiden would be the appointee to that Committee. Representative O’Neill said there may be a small amount of County Aid coming to Wright County. A total of $40 million was added over the 87 counties. Another change is that Wright County will be exempt from paying sales tax.
Representative O’Neill said the Transportation Bill was the largest in State history and will be funded through a rollover of Federal funding, new Federal funding, and projected increases in State revenues. Counties will receive $1.2 billion more in County Aid for highways and roads. She viewed this as a core function of government. There was quite a push to find a new revenue stream. All Minnesota Counties now have the ability to assess the annual Wheelage Tax, which went from $5 to $10. There is also a $20 Motor Vehicle Excise Tax for any transportation projects, transit capital projects, or transit operation costs. There is also a Voter Referendum Repeal where counties can now impose a Transit Sales Tax in the amount of .5%.
Borrell said when things are done State wide, such as raising the warehouse and cigarette taxes, people may not see the immediate effect. Long term, business will be lost. He said it may take 10-15 years, but it will happen. He hopes some of these things can be reversed. Representative O’Neill said discussions at the Legislature included the healthy economy due to the nineteen Fortune 500 companies. She stated that when those companies expand, they will not expand in Minnesota. She has heard 3M will not build in Minnesota because it is too expensive, cumbersome, and difficult. Cargill is moving employees to other states. U-Line, a large facility in Eagan, expanded in Wisconsin (not Minnesota) and constructed their largest building. Representative O’Neill said there is case after case of this happening. She said it is not what the economy looks like now. Policies, procedures, and taxes need to be looked at for the future.
Representative O’Neill has great concern that Minnesota will become an outlier, as the surrounding states are not following what is being done here. The minimum wage increase did not rise to the proposed $9.50 (currently at $6.15). That is a 45% increase and a tremendous burden for small business. She feels this cuts opportunities for new people to enter the market. Another impact to small business relates to Obama Care, Health Care, and Health Care Exchange. This will affect businesses with 50+ fte’s and those businesses will drop employees. Raising of the minimum wage also affects the entire floor of wages. Representative O’Neill envisioned this will affect contract negotiations at the County level as everyone will desire a wage increase. She said that will cause inflation in Minnesota.
Potter said there is a line in the State general tax for commercial real estate. It is his understanding that 0% of that goes toward transportation. He asked how some of that could be channeled to transportation. Representative O’Neill said they could work together to draft legislation. There is a lot of push to increase funding toward transportation. Representative O’Neill and Potter have discussed expanding the I-94 project. The Corridors of Commerce was recently funded with $300 million. She said the best way to get that project done is to apply to the Corridors of Commerce for grant funding.
Husom said in Wright County, the Wheelage Tax would generate about $1.5 million and the Transit Sales Tax about $4.5 million. These are revenue generators that the County can utilize if so desired but they will have to be accountable to voters. O’Neill encouraged Board Members to contact her with any questions or issues.
The meeting recessed at 10:14 A.M. and reconvened at 10:22 A.M.
A ceremony was held to recognize the contributions of former Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment members for their many years of dedicated service to Wright County. Sean Riley, Planning & Zoning Administrator, extended appreciation for their service, commitment, and dedication. He said each one brings their own perspective and diversity to the group to make it stronger. He recognized the following members:
Dave Wagner, Board of Adjustment Member, Served October 2008 – December 2011. Riley said that Wagner stepped in when a position on the Board of Adjustment opened up and needed to be filled. He is active and interested in lake issues. Wagner brought a balanced perspective to development issues and lakeshore sensitivity.
Nancy Kopff, Board of Adjustment Member, Served July 2008 – December 2012. Riley said that Kopff also stepped into an open position on the Board of Adjustment. Her previous experience as Assistant Planner in the Planning & Zoning Office provided her the knowledge of code enforcement and balancing that with property owner requests. He said Kopff brought valuable experience to the role.
Gordon Weber, Planning Commission Member, Served January 2004 – April 2013. Riley said Weber is active in the local business community. Weber balanced land use decisions based on individual uses and the overall good of the community. He stated Weber was always willing to express both sides of this dynamic and was open to a healthy debate.
Lawrence Baumen, Planning Commission Member, Served January 1995 – December 2012. Riley said the Planning & Zoning Office is required to have a dual member, one that serves on both the Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustment. Riley said Baumen has done a great job of balancing those two duties, and appreciated his commitment.
Jack Russek, Planning Commission Member, Vice-Chair & County Board Representative, Served January 1994 - December 2012. Riley said it is required that a County Board member serve on the Planning Commission. This comes up on an annual basis, and he said Russek stepped up to the plate to fill this difficult role. Riley said he is grateful for the experience and guidance Russek has brought to the Planning Commission and to him as an employee of the County.
Franklin Denn, Planning Commission Member & Chair of the Planning Commission, Served September, 1974 – December 2012 & Board of Adjustment, Served April, 1978 – December, 1979. Riley said Denn has been the anchor of the Planning Commission for many years, spanning the County’s transition from primarily agricultural to one that is now influenced by the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Denn kept this perspective and reminded people that agricultural issues should always be considered. Riley said Denn is always pleasant and interested in what others have to say. Riley said Denn was an excellent role model in community service.
The ceremony was opened up for comments. Several individuals spoke, offering a historical vantage point and congratulatory remarks. Those that spoke included Shannon Bye (Monticello Township Supervisor), Tom Salkowski (former Planning & Zoning Administrator), Tom Kelly (Wright County Attorney), and Dave Fricke (former Planning & Zoning Administrator).
Comments were then made by those being honored.
Jack Russek, former County Commissioner, served 19 years on the Planning Commission. He thanked staff and the constituents of former District 3 for electing him six times to the County Board and the former County Board for appointing him to the Planning Commission. Russek said Wright County is built on agriculture, and the policy of the Planning Commission is to uphold and preserve agriculture in Wright County. He hopes they will continue with that goal and live by the County’s Ordinances. He said that is what he strived to do.
Sawatzke appreciated Denn’s ability to build an outstanding relationship between Monticello Township and the County. Sawatzke said Denn’s decisions helped to make Wright County a better place to live. Sawatzke recognized Kopff for her remarkable service on the Board of Adjustment. Sawatzke said Russek providing outstanding service for 19 years on the Planning Commission and County Board. Sawatzke extended thanks to Bauman, Weber, and Wagner for their service for balancing the issues at hand and making fair decisions.
Borrell, Daleiden, Husom and Potter extended appreciation and thanks to those being recognized for their service today. Daleiden added that he is a former member of the Frankfort Township Board where they completed their own Planning & Zoning. He said the work completed by the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment made their efforts in planning and zoning much easier.
Weber stated it was a privilege to serve with all members, and said it was an honor to have served with Denn, a WWII Veteran.
Kopff said serving on the Board of Adjustment provided an opportunity to make life long friends that she respects. She extended appreciation for being honored with the other members today.
Denn thanked those present for coming to the ceremony. He said people respect others when they are treated properly. Denn said he is exposed to a lot of other counties in Minnesota and described Wright County as outstanding. He said this is because of the people working to make the County a better place. Denn said the County Board has done a good job of selecting people for the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment. He again thanked those present for coming to the ceremony.
Bills Approved
3 D Specialties Inc $359.77
Advanced Disposal Services 775.17
Allina Health System 215.98
Ameripride Services 238.46
Apec Industrial Sales & Services 520.63
Aramark Services Inc 6,644.26
Arctic Glacier USA Inc 326.65
Assn of MN Emerg. Managers 192.35
Barnes Distribution 338.46
Bauman/Lawrence R 289.50
Breezy Point Resort Inc 542.44
Brock White Co LLC 336.69
Buff N Glo Inc 135.00
Buffalo Auto Value 1,604.24
Buffalo Hospital-OTPT Comm. 7,670.43
Buffalo/City of 59,635.25
CDW Government Inc 512.99
Center Point Energy 3,480.31
CenturyLink 4,853.10
CenturyLink 1,495.78
CenturyLink 100.00
Climate Air 379.98
Corporate Payment Systems 1,580.98
Cst Distribution LLC 2,407.77
Delano Rental Inc 213.75
Design Elect. Inc-Cold Spring 65,909.10
DLT Solutions Inc 4,726.25
Edocument Resources 2,668.75
Emergency Auto. Tech Inc 25,165.10
Engel/Dale L 150.00
Farm-Rite Equipment Inc 1,339.07
Fibernet Monticello 359.80
Grainger 808.08
Granite Electronics 10,263.96
Green Interiors 482.07
Hancock Concrete Prod. LLC 2,630.02
Harris Computer Systems 1,795.50
Helena Chemical Company 4,000.53
Hiivala/Robert 214.00
Houston Engineering Inc 3,412.14
Lake Region Coop Oil-ML 204.28
LaPlant Demo Inc 1,046.44
Loberg Electric 481.12
Marco 2,834.57
Maria Felger Ramos LLC 100.00
Mathiowetz Construction 1,390,891.25
Mccalla/Denise 696.69
Menards - Buffalo 8,002.11
Messaging Architects Inc 2,300.00
Midwest Machinery Co 1,251.40
MN Dept. of Labor & Industry 1,475.83
MN Elevator Inc 13,731.31
MN Office Of Enterprise Tech 1,150.00
MN Public Emp. Labor Relations 235.00
Mn Safety Council 1,545.00
Mol/Daniel 314.00
Nagell Appraisal & Consulting 1,200.00
Neopost USA Inc 570.34
North Star Awards & Trophies 352.37
Northern Bank Note Company 1,140.00
O’Ryans Conoco Marathon 125.00
Office Depot 1,843.43
Olsen Fire Protection Inc 586.00
Pavement Resources Inc 4,809.38
Performance Kennels Inc 101.00
Quiggle/Charlotte 300.00
Reliable Auto Care LLC 1,007.59
Rinke-Noonan 200.00
SafariLand Training Group 450.65
Sandquist/Michelle 238.80
Schermann/Robert D 342.50
Schmidt/Donald M 263.00
Sherwin Williams 194.04
Source One Supply Inc 468.93
Specialty Turf & Ag 545.92
St Croix Solutions 3,890.66
TASC 1,095.00
Terminal Supply Co 125.23
Trueman Welters Inc. 1,649.52
US Mail Supply, Inc 811.00
Vaith/Tammi 627.37
Vance Brothers Inc 2,298.08
Verizon Wireless 6,403.09
Vernon Sales & Promotions 312.00
Village Ranch 317.12
Webb/Conrad 125.00
Wenck Associates Inc 2,598.60
Westside Wholesale Tire 760.60
Windstream 361.73
Wright Hennepin Electric 196.85
25 Payments less than $100 1.194.99
Final total $1,682,539.10
The meeting adjourned at 11:13 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal July 8, 2013.


Return to Wright County Menu | Return to Government Table of Contents

Herald Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries | Classifieds
Guides | Sitemap | Dassel-Cokato Home | Delano Home | HJ Home