Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
JANUARY 14, 2014
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Daleiden made the following correction to the 1-07-14 County Board Minutes: Page 3, Mid Minnesota Mississippi River Resource Conservation and Development District (RC&D), change appointment from “Open (will appoint if needed)” to “Daleiden”. Daleiden said he was appointed to this group during 2013. Last week, he learned that the group was dissolved so it will be removed from the Committee/Advisory Board Appointment listing. However, he wanted the minutes to accurately reflect the appointment prior to that action. Daleiden moved to approve the County Board Minutes as corrected, seconded by Potter, carried unanimously.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #4, “County Ditch 10 Update” (Hiivala); Item For Consid. #5, “SWCD Annual Planning Meeting” (Sawatzke). Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was reviewed. Daleiden removed for discussion Administration Item 1, “Claim, MCIT, $609,746.00, 2014 Workers Compensation Premiums” and Administration Item 2, “Claim, MCIT, $548,837.00, 2014 Property/Casualty Premiums”. On a motion by Borrell, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
B. ATTORNEY
1. Refer To Ways & Means Committee Discussion RE: Wright County Law Library.
C. AUDITOR/TREASURER
1. Approve Renewal of 2014 Tobacco License for: Lake Region Coop Oil Assn. (City of Cokato); Lake Region Coop Oil Assn (City of Maple Lake); Marohn’s St. Michael Marketplace DBA The Marketplace (City of St. Michael).
D. HUMAN SERVICES
1. Position Replacement:
A. Social Worker.
E. PARKS
1. Appoint Mario DeMatties To The Wright County Parks Commission, District 3, For A Three-Year Term, Effective January, 2014-December, 2016.
F. PLANNING & ZONING
1. Accept The Findings & Recommendations Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezoning:
A. Francis W. Wren (Victor Twp.). Planning Commission unanimously recommend approval of the request to rezone from AG to I-1.
G. SHERIFF
1. Position Replacement:
A. Office Tech 2.
2. Refer To 2-12-14 Building Committee Meeting:
A. Replace Sliding Shed Door On The Sheriff’s Office Recreational Services Building.
B. Install Card Key Access On The Sheriff’s Office Arms Room Door.
Administration Item 1, “Claim, MCIT, $609,746.00, 2014 Workers Compensation Premiums” and Administration Item 2, “Claim, MCIT, $548,837.00, 2014 Property/Casualty Premiums” were discussed. Daleiden referenced the material provided on the claims and questioned why the Sheriff’s Office is placed within the General Revenue information since they are in a separate building. Kelly explained that the County has separated the premiums into the three main funds of General Revenue, Road & Bridge, and Human Services. The Sheriff’s Office is part of General Revenue. Daleiden said he misinterpreted the information, thinking it was split by building and not byfund. Daleiden moved to approve Items A1 and A2 of the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested the Board approve an increase in the Surveyor’s Office change fund from $50 to $200 to facilitate making change for larger bills being presented by customers. Borrell moved to approve the increase, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Potter, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the 12-03-13 Tax Forfeiture Committee Minutes:
1) Terning Trails (69 parcels in the City of Howard Lake)
Brian Asleson started the meeting by giving background information; Nick Haggenmiller from the City of Howard Lake approached the County about options with the development called Terning Trails. These parcels are up for forfeiture between 2013 and 2014. Brian Asleson suggested they get a deed in lieu of forfeiture from the developer, Lakeland Construction. Lakeland Construction has since disbanded and turned over all business to Excelsior Group LLC then sold to a management company OP2. The City of Howard Lake would like to purchase them less than market value under the blighted or affordable housing statute. Right now there are black top streets through part of the development. Bob Hiivala asked where the bulk of the unpaid tax was. Alicia commented it was tax and penalty. Charles Borrell asked “When would they actually go tax forfeiture?” Alicia said 2013-2014, so they will go with the next sale starting in 2014. Then Charles Borrell was curious what would happen if the builder changed his mind by the time of forfeiture.” Brian Asleson explained that if Excelsior Group LLC, or OP2 gives a deed in Lieu of Forfeiture that is a legal document transferring title, after that point there is no changing of their minds the legal documents to be singed and recorded as a title transfer.”
Nick Haggenmiller started off by saying thank you to the county for all the help with the proper steps of what needed to take place for them to acquire the properties. The property was originally platted under a state of Minnesota housing program by the name of “Building Better Neighborhoods (BBN)” The purpose and goal of a BBN is to encourage first time home ownership and new construction thru smaller homes, smaller lots and simple home designs to buy down the overall cost of construction. This model has been incredibly successful in some communities such as Willmar, Marshall, St. Peter and various locations around the MSP Metro Area.
However this model did not work in Howard Lake. The biggest reason is timing. From the onset of the planning stages to when the development was complete the market took a dramatic turn downward. The median price of a home dropped in some cases as much as 40% thereby making it less attractive to build at all in frankly, larger existing homes were valued less than what would be constructed in Terning Trails.
As a result Lakeland Construction defaulted on their development agreement. The city completed the infrastructure including water, sewer and roads. At the same time, the city completed items at Dutch Lake Trails via bonding. Contractors were given deed in lieu of payment and the city agreed to deferrer assessments. The property was then sold in a liquidation of assets to OP2 Real Port LLC a property holding company. The tax rolls still reflects Lakeland and there is roughly $170,000 in delinquent taxes on the collective development.
The city has between $3,000-$7,000 per parcel in assessments against the properties. As part of the 2013 Work plan, council discussed the need to protect the assessments, the financial strain that the city has due to making annual debt service payments and the overall need to develop this property in a reasonable matter to recoup costs into the development. This left Howard Lake into a difficult situation putting them in a debt of $665,000. $60,000 each year went into their levy which adds 10% to the levy, wetland reporting is upwards of $2,000 a year to preserve the wetland which Lakeland was supposed to do but since they are disbanded. Lakelands assets were taken over by OP2 they have all Lakelands assets purchased on pennies on the dollar, they have listed Howard Lake’s property as not sellable. So that is where Howard Lake is sitting right now. Nick thinks that if the county sells it in pieces that the City of Howard Lake will lose money, but if the city can do it they can do it cheaper and faster.
So what Nick would like to see happen is; We accept the deed in lieu of forfeiture, and then agree to sell each parcel for $1.00 plus fees to the City of Howard Lake under Defining and Correcting Blighed Conditions Minnesota Statutes 282.01 Subd 1a (d) Non-conservation tax-forfeited land may be sold to the county board to an organized or incorporation governmental subdivision of the state or state agency for less than their market value if:
a. The county board determines that a sales at a reduced price is in the pubic interest because a reduced price is necessary to provide an incentive to correct the blighted conditions that make the land undesirable in the open market, or the reduced price will lead to the development of affordable housing; and
b. The governmental subdivision or state agency has documented its specific plans for correcting the blighted conditions or developing affordable housing, and the specific law or laws that empower it to acquire real property in furtherance of the plans
Nick also went on to say the property has becoming a garbage dumping ground they are out there cleaning up garbage tires etc. They also are concerned about the protection of the utilities they have put in, and also the opportunity to get tax payers back onto the properties. They have looked for grants for down payment programs for homeowners.
Charles Borrell comments that the board isn’t gong to have any problem with this.
Brian Asleson also pointed out that the City is going to take a big risk because of the amount of lots associated with this development. Brian is going to do the title work on Lakeland Construction to make sure they don’t have anything sitting out there. Then Brian will take it to the board after that time. Brian will also check to make sure that Lakeland Construction has not filed bankruptcy and if so that it does not involve this development.
Charles Borrell again stressed “Howard Lake is taking the risk so go ahead.” Mike Potter also said “yes let’s get them back on the tax rolls.”
Charles Borrell also inquired if the City is going to have some control over what types of houses are built in the development. He expressed his fear of a limited market if they put too many conveyances on it.
Motion to accept the deed in Lieu; approved by both Commissioner Potter and Borrell.
Motion to sell the Terning Trails Developments available for forfeiture to the City of Howard Lake; approved by both Commissioner Potter and Borrell.
Bob Hiivala would also like to stress that the amount for sale is $1.00 plus fees of the transfer, that all fees will be transferred onto the city and not paid for by the county. Nick from the City of Howard Lake said yes that he does understand that.
Alicia asked if we could add one more item to the meeting due to a phone called received yesterday concerning the “Ruff Property” in the City of Monticello. 155-500-101402 was up for sale at the last Tax-Forfeiture auction that was held. The asking price for this property was $134,000 due to the special assessments owed on this parcel, and the cost of clean up on the property. A gentlemen called inquiring if we would be interested in splitting the 6 acres so they could acquire 1-3 acres to put a religious establishment on the property. He also said that if we would not split the property that he would see if the City would allow them to do it, and sell the remaining acres they would not use. The committee asked Greg Kramber if he could look into what the price was per acre on the lot, and we would table it until the next committee meeting.
(End of 12-03-13 Tax Forfeiture Committee Minutes)
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Borrell, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $307,156.08, with 194 vendors and 284 transactions.
Hiivala provided an update on Ditch 10. He was contacted by Bryce Cruey, Wenck Associates, who said the repair work on Ditch 10 is going well. Landowners have responded positively. Wenck Associates inspected the work and they feel it is progressing well. Hiivala said Cruey has questions on herbicide application and a possible change order for 100’ of repair work. Hiivala said Kerry Saxton, SWCD, will contact Cruey to review these questions. Sawatzke suggested that depending on the nature of the repair work, it could possibly be completed by the Sentence-To-Service (STS) Crew. Hiivala said that 16.5’ on either side of the ditch will be grubbed and cleared. He is unsure of the location of the repair work. It was the consensus that the Board will be updated after Saxton has determined what needs to be completed.
Christine Austin-Roehler, COOP (Continuity of Operations Plan) Committee Chair, and Steve Berg, Emergency Management Director, were present to request approval of the updated COOP Plan. Berg explained that most COOP Plans are updated annually. The first COOP Plan was approved in 2010. The COOP Committee has been working on updates since that time, which is what is being presented for approval today. The Plan deals with loss of service and staff in an event, which is different that the County Emergency Operations Plan. All 17 departments have been met with. Table top exercises have been held with a number of departments. Table top exercises have been scheduled in February (Law sector including Sheriff, Attorney, Court Administration, and Court Services) and April (remaining departments that have not had a table top exercise). Sawatzke moved to approve the COOP Plan as presented. The motion was seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0.
Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, requested signatures on the updated Tri-County Regional Forensic Laboratory Joint Powers Agreement (JPA). Lt. Hoffman said it came to the attention of Anoka County that Section 7.03, Voting, needed clarification. The JPA signed in 2012 only reflects the Sheriff of each member county as voting members. Past practice is that the Sheriff and a Commissioner from each member county has a vote. The revised JPA has been reviewed by Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney.
Sawatzke said discussion on the JPA came up approximately 18 months ago. At that time, he provided information on the inequities associated between funding and services received. At that time, Wright County used 10% or a little less of service but was funding 25% of the cost of services provided by the Forensic Laboratory. Sawatzke said this has been occurring for 4-5 years. When Sawatzke attended one of the first meetings of the Joint Powers Board, it was conveyed that the Sheriffs of the three counties involved (Sherburne, Anoka and Wright) had agreed funding would be based on population. Sawatzke said that was not the sentiment of the County Boards at that time. When Sawatzke questioned this, he was informed that more time was needed to see how things worked out. He was not invited to attend another meeting. When the JPA came forward for renewal, he found that Wright County was still paying about 25% of the costs of the Forensic Laboratory and only receiving about 10% of the services. Several of the members of the County Board at that time agreed that this was not right but a change was never made. Anoka and Sherburne Counties were approached but they did not want to change their position on the funding.
Sawatzke did not research whether the funding percentages are still the same. If they are, he questioned how long Wright County should subsidize Anoka County’s share of costs in the Forensic Laboratory because of an inequitable funding formula. He said Sherburne County’s inequity is not as bad as Wright County’s. Lt. Hoffman clarified that the agreement on funding was made between the three former sheriffs of the member counties and with former commissioners who were involved in the concept and startup of the Tri-County Laboratory. He added that even though the Sheriff is one of the voting members, the vote came to the County Board on whether or not to proceed. Sawatzke said that is correct, and the motion passed 3-2 at that time. The issue is now coming up again so he is again pointing out the funding inequities.
Lt. Hoffman said Sawatzke’s opinion may be shared. It was hoped to wait until the final part of the accreditation process which is estimated for the end of March, 2014. Once that occurs and the final report is completed, the Labcan proceed fully with the DNA process. Lt. Hoffman estimated this could start by the second quarter of 2014. Sawatzke clarified that he was not discrediting the work of the Forensic Lab. He said it is a matter of equity.
Husom said usage could change when the DNA accreditation occurs. Other counties may want to use the services of the Forensic Laboratory and not have everything completed at the BCA. She said there is no question the Lab is completing fabulous work; to have a regional laboratory become accredited is an accomplishment. Borrell asked about other options the County has. Husom said the County can process evidence through the BCA but they have historically been backlogged. Solving crimes in a timely manner is more cost efficient. Sawatzke said up until the Tri-County Laboratory, the County used the BCA for services. The disadvantage is that the service was not as fast. Lt. Hoffman said the BCA has become better at response time because of the Tri-County Laboratory taking away some of the case load. If the County Board wants to discuss this further, the issue could be referred to Committee. He added that the County has invested in the Lab and it may be premature to pull out just prior to the DNA accreditation. Sawatzke said he is not suggesting this but rather that the County should demand equity.
Lt. Hoffman thought that percentages for DNA testing could run similarly to the usage Wright County has experienced thus far (10%). He clarified that there is currently a JPA that is being operating under. If the Board would decide today not to sign the revised JPA, the one Commissioner vote would be non-existent. Sawatzke said it is apparent that Wright County is being judicious in what is being sent to the Lab. The County should not be penalized but recognized from a funding standpoint. That being said, Sawatzke complimented the work of the Sheriff’s Office. He said residents have contacted him directly about the great work completed by the Sheriff’s Office.
Daleiden referenced Section 9.04, DNA testing requirements; Accelerated termination. He asked whether the Laboratory has been meeting the timeline outlined in the subsections. Lt. Hoffman said that he does not have the exact dates of when things occurred. DNA testing was started with some requirements in the fall of 2013. DNA testing must be done in order to become accredited. A third latent print examiner was hired in 2013. Sherburne County had previously voiced concern with timelines and making sure things were going forward. Lt. Hoffman thought the all subsections had been met. Daleiden referenced subsection b which states, “The lab is fully compliant/fully trained for functional drugs and LP labs by October 1, 2013.” He asked whether the Lab was not fully compliant previously. Lt. Hoffman said the Lab was not fully staffed. He suggested having someone from Anoka County come to explain more about this at the next Board Meeting.
Sawatzke referenced Article IX, Withdrawal and Termination, Section 9.01, Withdrawal, which reflects that a member county can withdraw from the JPA with a 180-day written notice. He stated that he would favor a funding formula that was more equitable, possibly based on population and usage. Other entities the County is a part of are based on usage (i.e., East Central Juvenile Detention Center, Central MN Mental Health Center, and a component of the GRRL Agreement).
Borrell made a motion to approve the updated JPA for the Tri-County Regional Forensic Laboratory. Included in the motion is to direct the Coordinator to draft a letter to the organization informing them if the funding formula is not made more equitable, Wright County is considering withdrawal. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Sawatzke asked if anything else in the JPA was changed other than the one voting clause. Lt. Hoffman said there was not. Sawatzke referenced Section 8.04, Payment, relating to each member county paying its percentage share of the Facility’s total annual budget, in direct proportion to that member county’s population percentage of the total population of all member counties based on the 2010 census. It further states that the funding formula for this provision will be reevaluated by the Committee and respective member Counties’ Boards on 4-01-15. Sawatzke said the original agreement did not reflect this type of funding formula.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty said Sawatzke has been consistent over the years on his position on the funding formula. They have been waiting for the DNA accreditation. This is an essential tool but comes at a cost. The Medical Examiner also comes at a cost but the services are invaluable. Prior to having a contract with the Medical Examiner, the County used the services of the emergency room at $13,000/year. Sheriff Hagerty appreciates Sawatzke’s comment that it is not the service but the cost of the service, and suggested a committee meeting with representatives from the Tri-County Laboratory and Sheriff James Stuart from Anoka County. Sawatzke said it is not the cost of the service but it is the equity of the funding of the cost of the service. The motion carried 4-1 with Daleiden casting the nay vote.
Sean Riley, Planning & Zoning Administrator, brought forth discussion on appointments to the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment.
Planning Commission
Jan Thompson; District 1; 1-01-13 to 12-31-15
David Pederson; District 2; 1-01-12 to 12-31-14
Ken Felger; District 4; 1-01-14 to 12-31-16
Dan Mol; At Large; 1-01-13 to 12-31-15
Ralph Douglas-Formerly At Large now District 5, Term 1-01-12 to 12-31-14, will not be completing his term. A new appointment is needed until 12-31-14.
George Bakeberg-District 5, Term 1-01-11 to 12-31-13, Term has expired and is not returning. A new appointment is needed for the term of 1-01-14 to 12-31-16.
Board of Adjustment
Don Schmidt; District 1; 1-01-12 to 12-31-14
Charlotte Quiggle; District 1; 1-01-12 to 12-31-14
Dan Mol; District 2; 1-01-13 to 12-31-15
Bob Schermann; District 5; 1-01-13 to 12-31-15
Lawrence Baumann-District 5, Term 1-01-12 to 12-31-14, Term has expired and not returning. A new appointment is needed for term of 1-01-14 to 12-31-16.
Riley said that at the 1-07-14 Board Meeting, Commissioner Daleiden requested appointment of Dave Thompson of Otsego to the Planning Commission. That appointment was carried over to today’s meeting. Borrell has presented the name of Jerry Pettit of Annandale to serve on the Planning Commission. Riley said the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment will not meet until February. He suggested that Thompson and Pettit could be appointed to the Planning Commission at this time and the Board of Adjustment appointments made at a later date. Sawatzke said the two available openings on the Planning Commission are for Districts 3 and 5. The one opening on the Board of Adjustment will either go to District 3 or 4. Daleiden made a motion to appoint David Thompson of Otsego to the Planning Commission (District 3) to finish the term of Ralph Douglas, through 12-31-14. The motion includes appointing Jerry Pettit to the Planning Commission (District 5) from 1-01-14 to 12-31-16, replacing George Bakeberg. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously. It was the consensus that Potter should seek an appointee to the Board of Adjustment. That appointment will be brought forward at a future meeting.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, presented recommendations from the 1-06-14 Parks Commission Meeting.
A. Authorize Parks Administrator & Pheasants Forever To Obtain A Property Appraisal Of The 160-Acre Parcel Adjacent To Robert Ney Regional Park & To Develop A Project Scope That Would Detail Uses, Educational Opportunities, Restorations, Habitat Improvements, & Special Hunts.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Mattice said this piece of property is adjacent to Ney Park and is within with the Parks Plan. The Parks Commission has reviewed a variety of partnership opportunities with the DNR, US Fish & Wildlife Services, and other non profit organizations, as well as a variety of funding sources. The Parks Commission is not comfortable with working with many funding sources due to their stipulations. Pheasants Forever have indicated an interest in partnering with the County on this property, depending on the price and possible uses. Depending on the project scope and appraisal for the property, it may be recommended to put in an LCCMR (Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources) proposal. The proposal would be presented to the Board for approval. The action requested would be to obtain a market value of the property and develop how the partnership would work. Daleiden said there was no interest when this came before the Parks Board one other time. The Parks Board is not interested in purchasing the property. If another party wants to purchase the property, donate it, and work in partnership with the County, they are willing to explore that. He said because of the funding sources, there are some restrictions on open hunts. Daleiden said the Parks Board would like to move into the discussion phase but that can’t be done until an appraisal is completed. Pheasants Forever have indicated they are willing to help fund the appraisal. The idea is to discuss whether this is feasible, whether they can restrict hunting, and to discuss other options for use of the property.
Borrell questioned at what point will it be decided that there is enough park land. Even if land is donated, there are costs associated with administration and maintenance. This question arose several times during the Bertram Chain of Lakes project. He said there is park land in his District that could be better utilized. In response to Borrell, Daleiden said Ney Park has 846 acres. Borrell said this would add another 160 acres. He said it would be fine if Pheasants Forever wants to take on the property and manage it. The question he has is whether more park land is needed. Daleiden said the Parks Commission originally did not support the idea because there was not money available to purchase the property. For discussion to continue, the appraisal will have to be done. Daleiden said it is up to the County Board on whether the County should continue exploring this.
Borrell said he is not opposed to parks but wants more discussion on whether there is enough park land. Sawatzke said with the exception of Bertram Lake, the County may not be looking for another park. Some park land is not really a park but rather a wayside. If there were 160 acres available somewhere else, Sawatzke said he would probably say there is not a need to create another park. He favored more discussion because this land is adjacent to Ney Park. He feels the County has enough parks but is unsure whether there is enough acreage. He said there is a concept of making parks better and more regional. Mattice agreed. The County may not need any more parks but the parks that are owned could be improved. At each of the parks, they have to evaluate the land base, the future, recreational opportunities, etc. There are some strategic parcels that should be considered when they are up for sale. As far as adding additional parks, he thought the southeast corner of the County (Franklin Township) is the only place where a natural resource park amenity is lacking. Meetings have been held on possibly citing a facility in that area. Those strategic parcels are what would be brought forward by Mattice to the County Board, and the Parks Commission has done a good job of evaluating those.
Borrell asked how the 160 acres would enhance Ney Park. Mattice responded that a project scope would be developed after the appraisal is complete. It would show how the Park could be enhanced with educational and recreational opportunities. Some of the concepts being discussed are a Pheasants Forever youth hunt, women’s hunt, and disabled hunt. It also expands the wetland base that was restored from 38 acres to 68 acres. The restoration has helped Lake Mary’s water fluctuation problems. This would also expand the horse trails and provide dog sledding opportunities. Those are the things that would be placed in the project scope and presented for Board review.
Borrell asked whether this is something Pheasants Forever would pay for. Mattice said the concept is that the group would work with the County to develop a LCCMR proposal. Pheasants Forever feel they will be able to cover the local match. The costs of the appraisal would be shared. Acquisition costs would be covered by Pheasants Forever. Mattice said Pheasants Forever, as a non-profit group, cannot hold title to property but they can donate it to the County. Sawatzke asked whether Pheasants Forever is bringing a couple hundred thousand dollars to the table for this project. Mattice thought was correct. The DNR has also offered their resources for restoration and management plans. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has offered their resources for additional wetland enhancements.
Potter made a motion to authorize the Parks Administrator to proceed with getting an appraisal of the property, seconded by Daleiden. Borrell said he is not comfortable with proceeding at this time. He favored laying it over. Daleiden said nothing can be done with the project scope until the appraisal has been completed. He thought laying it over will stop the process.
Tom McGregor, member of the public, said the 160 acres equates to probably over $1 million in cost. Borrell estimated the cost to be $5,000/acre in that area. McGregor said Wright County currently has 4,360 acres of County land, 1,756 of State park acreage, and 5,237 acres of wildlife management area. That totals over 11,000 acres of recreational space. He questioned why Pheasants Forever is coming to the County when there is already over 5,200 acres of wildlife management area. He suggested a more realistic approach would be to partner with the DNR to develop existing wildlife management areas. McGregor referenced land east of Ney Park and asked about the acreage where the trail runs and said that land is virtually idle 99% of the time in the winter. He spends time at Ney Park in the winter but not as much in the summer. He said the Pheasants Forever activities could be held on that land and impact no one. McGregor echoed Borrell’s question on when is there enough park land. McGregor said that in reading past Board Minutes (from 2006), he ran across discussion about a plan to connect Ney Park with Maria State Park. He asked for assurance that this proposal is not a step in that direction. Mattice said there is not a plan to connect Ney Park with Maria State Park through land acquisition. The plan and concept was by trail connection. Sawatzke noted that the trail connection could potentially be partially by road. The motion carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote.
B. Approve A ‘Not To Exceed’ Amount Of $500 To Partner With The Cedar Lake Conservation Association For Watercraft Inspections At Schroeder Park During The 2014 Season.
Mattice said the County and Cedar Lake Conservation Association partnered in 2013 for watercraft inspections with each funding $500. The Parks Commission reviewed the data collected at inspections and also at DNR inspections. The Parks Commission views this as a preventative process. Last year, one person was hired to complete the checks. The goal will be to use a seasonal person for this function. Time not expended toward this effort will be used toward beach and restroom maintenance. The Association will give the $500 to the County to be used toward training (including mileage). Daleiden said the data collections from 2013 and 2014 will be used to try to improve on this effort. Mattice said although no invasive species were found, six aquatic native species and drain plug violations were identified. Daleiden moved to approve a not to exceed amount of $500 to partner with the Cedar Lake Conservation Association for watercraft inspections at Schroeder Park during the 2014 season. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
C. Refer To Building Committee Discussion RE: 100-Acre (Approximate) Parcel For Sale.
Mattice has been contacted about a parcel that is for sale (gravel pit) and suggests referring this to the Building Committee. Daleiden moved to refer the parcel to the Building Committee, seconded by Borrell. Lee Kelly, Coordinator offered the suggestion of referring this to the Ways & Means Committee. After discussion, Daleiden and Borrell withdrew the motion to send this to the Building Committee. Sawatzke offered a new motion to refer this to the Ways & Means Committee. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously. Mattice and Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, will be invited to the Meeting.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 1-08-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden said the jail showers will be repaired at no cost to the County, other than the $33,000 that was expended on the first shower repaired. Sawatzke moved to approve the Building Committee Minutes as presented, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0:
I. Jail/LEC Showers.
Hatfield said a representative from Adolph & Peterson Construction (A&P) will be on site on 1-10-14 to examine the showers needing repair. He said Joe Harrison, President of Diversified Coatings, Inc., stopped by on 1-7-14 to take pictures. Technicians will do the repair work the week of 1-20-14. Daleiden asked whether they will fix the problem at no expense. Hatfield said yes, they will fix the two remaining shower walls in the two unused pods that are peeling. Hatfield said his staff will paint the ceilings that need to be redone with a more effective antimicrobial product, as the contractor used a process that failed. He added that the repair work set for the week of 1-20-14 will take three calendar days for preparation, priming and finishing.
Recommendation: Informational item only.
II. 3rd Floor Remodel A (HS Board).
(End of 1-08-14 Building Committee Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 1-08-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0:
I. Backfill Corrections Officer Position.
Kelly said this request was referred from the 12-17-13 County Board Meeting. O’Malley said the person in this position is on military deployment for at least one year on unpaid status. O’Malley said the Sheriff’s Office is not trying to increase staffing. With changes to the Police and Fire Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) occurring this June, O’Malley said it is estimated that about 60 percent of law enforcement officers will turn over statewide. He said a number of licensed eligible Jail employees will seek law enforcement positions this summer due to the PERA change. Hence, the Sheriff’s Office will experience a sizable number of vacancies this summer.
O’Malley said the Sheriff’s Office won’t have a large contingent of retirees. However, the change may create issues for the Jail, because some Corrections Officers don’t live in the County and may seek jobs closer to home. The Jail averaged six vacancies in 2013, although they are now fully staffed. With the expected vacancies this summer, O’Malley said it is not likely that Jail staffing will go over quota by the end of 2014. Backfilling the requested position will decrease vacancies by one this summer. It would be very helpful to have this person trained in prior to additional position openings this summer.
O’Malley said they have two or three people on the eligibility list. A new list is posted on Neogov that closes 1-10-14. One of the background checks will be completed by next week. It takes two to three months to train someone. The new PERA changes take effect 7-1-14. Other agencies are already advertising.
Recommendation: Authorize backfill of Corrections Officer position.
II. Request To Hire A Temporary Survey Technician.
III. Surveyor Department Staffing.
Jobe said the temporary position request for a Survey Technician is a stop gap measure. In addition, Jobe said another employee left yesterday on medical leave for at least six to eight weeks. He said the Department continues to operate short staffed. The temporary person they hired for the first vacant position left to take a permanent full time job elsewhere. Jobe said the Department has limped along with help from a student one day per week since last September. It’s hard to fill temporary positions. As soon as a permanent job opens, temporary employees leave. His Department has been a revolving door. Jobe’s first request is to immediately hire a temporary Survey Technician.
Husom said it is difficult and costly to hire and train temporary employees. Perhaps the Committee should consider staffing levels. Sawatzke said the problem is that the person on medical leave is coming back, so it’s not possible to hire someone in their place. Jobe responded that the Surveyor Department has not been fully staffed since 2009. The additional position was in the County budget, but unfilled.
Sawatzke said there is less work in the Surveyor Department, since they now process a handful of plats and a few hundred lots per year versus one hundred plats per year and tens of thousands of lots. Jobe said they have work as far back as 2010 that needs completion. He stated for the record that the Surveyor Department does not have adequate staffing, even if the full time position is filled.
Husom said the Board should consider the Surveyor Department work load if it is backlogged. Sawatzke asked which position Jobe referred to. He stated that Jobe’s Department was short two people. Sawatzke said the problem is not that the Department’s staffing level is down, but that they are missing two positions. He said that differs from being understaffed. He asked Jobe how many authorized positions are allocated for his Department, including himself. Jobe replied that seven are authorized. Sawatzke said he is down to five staff because they are missing two people on medical leave. If Jobe had seven staff working, he would not have a problem. Sawatzke said the debate is not that the Surveyor Department needs more employees, but that they are missing two. Sawatzke said it cannot be said that eight employees are needed. Seven employees are authorized in the 2014 Surveyor Department budget.
Kelly said during the 2014 budget process, every open position for each Department was analyzed. Kelly understood that even though the funding for each open position was deducted from a Department’s budget, the open position could still be refilled if the need arose. The money to fund the position was allocated in the Personal Services budget line item.
Sawatzke said there has always been money set aside for position needs that arise. At the time the budget was drafted, Kelly said he did not envision that all the positions would be filled, but that some might.
Bigelow interjected that the temporary option is not a good one. She suggested approving a regular full time position, knowing the person on medical leave may or may not come back. There is a risk that if the person returns to work, the Surveyor Department may have one extra position. Perhaps this could be solved through attrition.
Kelly said Jobe’s point is that the eighth position was taken out of his budget. Sawatzke asked whether the Surveyor Department ever had eight staff members. Jobe said yes.
Bigelow recommended only authorizing a temporary person for the time being. Sawatzke said if that employee leaves, the position is not eligible to be refilled. His goal is to get staffing in the Surveyor Department to seven and not eight employees. Bigelow asked about a scenario where the original person on leave returns, but someone else in the Department leaves.
Sawatzke said he understood her point, but the open position becomes the eighth position that has been left vacant. The Board did not authorize the position to be filled. He recommended that Jobe speak to the Board again in August when next year’s budget is determined.
Sawatzke asked the title of the eighth position that has not been filled. Jobe said it is a Survey Technician position. Husom said the Department is authorized for three positions and is down to one. Jobe reiterated that he does not have the staff to do the work, and it has been that way for a long time.
Bigelow said it would be good to determine how the additional position affects the Department workload. Husom suggested hiring a permanent position.
Recommendation: Authorize hiring one full time permanent Survey Technician.
(Discussed Items 2 and 3 as one Item).
(End of 1-14-14 Personnel Committee Minutes)
Daleiden moved to schedule a County Board Meeting for 1-21-14 at 9:00 A.M. and to refer the 2014 Schedule for County Board Meetings to that date. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
Husom requested that the County Board Agenda include a section to allow for brief summaries by Board members of Advisory Committee and Advisory Board meetings attended and items being addressed by those bodies. Daleiden moved to proceed with this practice for six months, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to authorize attendance at the River Rider Meeting, being held on 1-15-14 at 10:00 A.M. at the St. Michael City Hall.
Sawatzke made a motion to authorize attendance at the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District’s Annual Planning Meeting on 1-16-14 at 9:00 A.M. The meeting will be held at the Law Enforcement Center. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Daleiden.
The meeting adjourned at 10:36 A.M.
Bills Approved
Allina Health System $109.21
American Tower Corporation 11,980.13
Ameripride Services 339.86
Aramark Services Inc 13,474.09
Bachman Printing 312.74
Barnes Distribution 469.68
Benton County Treasurer 1,705.00
Bidne/Virgil D & Karen A 9,859.00
Bobs Towing 358.03
Brothers Fire Protection Co 733.41
Buff N Glo Inc 158.14
Buffalo Auto Value 350.79
Buffalo/City of 452.91
Burdas Towing 195.24
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 240.00
Cenex Fleetcard 1,480.36
Center Point Energy 1,200.07
Centra Sota Coop-Buffalo 20,547.03
Central McGowan Inc 192.49
Climate Air 814.10
Constellation Justice Sys. 6,350.00
Corporate Payment Sys. 1,028.00
Dell Marketing LP 116.27
Department of Public Safety 8,310.00
Design Elect. Inc-Cold Spring 298.80
Douglas/Mitch 153.50
Edocument Resources 1,995.00
Emergency Auto. Tech Inc 2,786.27
Engel/Dale L 500.00
Envirotech Services Inc 9,805.67
Ernst Gen. Construction Inc 452.35
First State Tire Recycling 514.56
Goodpointe Technology 2,250.00
Grainger 719.04
Green Interiors 482.07
Helgeson/Nate 125.00
Hennepin County Sheriff 210.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 2,268.80
Holiday 17,797.21
Holt Motors Inc 534.38
Horrocks Inc 131.65
Indianhead Specialty Co Inc 106.78
Internat. Assn of Assess. Off. 525.00
Janzen/Melissa 750.00
LaPlant Demo Inc 1,273.71
Lawson Products Inc 901.69
Lous Gloves Inc 3,878.00
Lunning/Todd A 2,000.00
Marco 4,563.23
Marco Inc 2,802.85
Martin-McAllisters Consulting 450.00
Menards - Buffalo 188.84
Mend Correctional Care LLC 18,133.33
Meritide Inc 958.24
Midwest Protect. Agency Inc 3,006.31
MN Counties Comp. Coop. 11,081.96
MN County Engineers Assoc. 460.00
MN Department Of Health 1,038.40
MN Department Of Health 200.00
MN DepT. Of Labor & Industry 228.75
MN Deputy Registrar Assoc. 414.00
MN Recreation & Park Assn. Inc 293.00
MN Sheriffs Association 5,711.00
MN State Patrol CMV Section 120.00
NADA Appraisal Guides 178.00
National Assoc. of Counties 1,927.00
Nieman/Nina 339.84
North American Salt Co 83,701.65
NPELRA 200.00
O’Ryans Conoco Marathon 100.00
Office Depot 1,797.99
Royal Tire Inc 1,226.89
RTVision Inc 2,491.86
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 178.84
Schmaltz/John 233.95
Shred Right 260.92
SRF Consulting Group Inc 11,355.19
St Cloud Hospital 4,152.09
State Supply Co 148.92
Suburban Emerg. Assoc. PA 327.11
Subway-Annandale 250.00
T & M Towing and Snow Plow 181.68
Tech Depot 239.53
Trimin Systems Inc 1,170.00
U S Postal Service 300.00
USPCA Region 12 100.00
Village Ranch Inc 317.12
Waste Management-TC West 2,089.02
Wigen Companies Inc 352.69
Winter Equipment Co Inc 133.52
Wright County Highway Dept 498.38
Wright County Journal Press 279.28
Wright/Jim 125.00
Ziegler Inc 10,225.00
29 Payments less than $100 1,388.67
Final total $307,156.08
The meeting adjourned at 10:35 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 3, 2014.