Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 7, 2014
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
The 9-30-14 County Board Minutes were corrected as follows: Page 3, 1st paragraph, last sentence should read, “Borrell also pointed out and thanked the landowners, Yagers, Diers, Bakebergs and Nikkos for completing a partial clean out on the ditch from County Road 8 to Fillmore about four years ago” (Borrell). Daleiden moved to approve the County Board Minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
The Agenda was discussed. Borrell petitioned Items For Consideration #D, “Rhoades Avenue-Stockholm Township.” Hiivala requested that his timed item #1 relating to the Ditch 38 be moved to later in the meeting as Ron Ringquist will not be available at 9:05 A.M. Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Borrell, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Position Replacements:
a. Office Technician I.
b. Accounting Clerk.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, stated that the County Ditch 38 Viewers’ Report on the redetermination will be delayed until later in the meeting. Ringquist will present the Viewers’ Report and the action of the Board will be to accept the Report. Within 30 days, the County Board will need to schedule a Public Hearing. Daleiden moved to table this item until later in today’s Meeting when Ron Ringquist is available. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Hiivala presented the August/Revenue Expenditure Budget Report. He drew attention to Budget 100, Investment Income and said the reduction in investment income is due to the time when the revenue is recognized. Potter moved to approve the August Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously.
At the request of Hiivala, Sawatzke moved to approve a $50 change fund for the Law Library. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Potter. Sawatzke asked Hiivala to provide a listing of departments that have petty cash funds. Hiivala said there is one petty cash fund in Road & Bridge ($50). The Auditor’s Office has been working with Departments to either establish change funds or petty cash funds that are approved by the County Board. In the past, those funds may not have been approved by County Board action.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, was asked by Mark Johnson, Right-Of-Way Agent, to present a request to authorize a highway easement over a tax forfeited parcel. A Highway project slated for next year involves CR 12 from TH 55 to CSAH 37 (located west of Buffalo). A map was referenced reflecting the area. The request involves a tax forfeit parcel that has been tax forfeit for quite some time (SE Quarter of the SE Quarter of Section 13, Township 120, Range 26 shown as Parcel No. 9 on Wright County Highway Right of Way Plat No. 68). It involves Varner Lake, which is a non-meandering Lake. The plan is to widen the right-of-way along CR 12. Statute on tax forfeit property reflects that the Auditor can grant easements over tax forfeited property once given approval by the County Board to do so. Sawatzke moved to authorize the temporary easement over the tax forfeited property, seconded by Potter. In response to Daleiden, Asleson said the tax forfeited property is frontage land along the Highway and taken up by the ditch and sloped land. The land is not useable. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Daleiden referenced a claim on Page 21, LaPlant Demo Inc. ($332.50) for scrap metal recycling. Daleiden said this relates to a 30-yard dumpster which is hauled by LaPlant Demo at the Compost Facility. The County realizes recycling revenues which pays for this expense plus an excess balance. Daleiden said in the spring and fall, the dumpster fills in about two weeks; in the winter, it may take months to fill. Discussion followed on the County’s roll off containers. Sawatzke thinks the County owns roll off containers but no longer owns the truck for hauling them. The truck was utilized infrequently in the past and was sold. Daleiden moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $111,260.04 with 142 vendors and 191 transactions. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said the County Board traditionally has been holding one Committee Meeting in the months of November and December. He recommended the dates of 11-19-14 and 12-17-14. Sawatzke moved to set the dates of 11-19-14 and 12-17-14 for Committee Meetings. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Kelly requested the Board set a Committee Of The Whole Meeting to meet with elected department heads on their salaries for 2015. This would include the Sheriff, the Auditor/Treasurer, and the County Attorney. Potter moved to set a Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 10-21-14 at 11:00 A.M. The motion carried unanimously on a second by Daleiden.
Borrell said that in 2013, the County Board adopted a resolution of support for Stockholm Township’s grant application to the State Park Road Account Program for resurfacing of Rhoades Avenue. Rhoades Avenue leads to Collinwood Park. Borrell requested the County Board take the same action today. Borrell made a motion to adopt Resolution #14-62 in support of the grant application of Stockholm Township for Rhoades Avenue. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates:
•Township Officers Association Meeting. Borrell and Daleiden attended. Discussion at the Township Officers Meeting included ways to combat invasive species and was facilitated by Joe Jacobs, SWCD, and the Initiative Foundation. Ideas included billboards, more inspections, and education including targeting younger people. Stricter ordinances may be necessary. Potter asked about chemical treatments for eradicating zebra mussels. Daleiden understands there has been limited success. One idea that was discussed would be to involve high school students to volunteer for inspections as part of a community service program. A committee is being formed to review ideas and will include representation from the County Board, SWCD, Lake Associations, and the Initiative Foundation. The Initiative Foundation has grant funding available for invasive species. The idea is to have a plan developed by the end of December on how to spend the available funding.
(Additional Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates listed later in the Board Minutes)
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, requested approval to renew Memorandums of Understanding for Salt Storage/Purchase Agreements for the Cities of Albertville, Cokato, Waverly, and Cokato Township for the 2014/2015 snow/ice control season. Potter inquired as to why the costs vary by site. Hawkins explained cost is determined based on travel and hauling so it does vary by site. Sawatzke recalled more city and township agreements in years past. Hawkins said the agreements used to be for sand and salt. The Highway Department no longer includes sand as salt is more effective and clean up of the sand is not required in the spring. Potter moved to approve the Memorandums of Understanding for Salt Storage/Purchase Agreements for the Cities of Albertville, Cokato, Waverly, and Cokato Township. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Adam Tagarro, Information Technology Director, provided an update on two major infrastructure projects the Information Technology Department is proceeding with. The first is a PBX phone upgrade which will update equipment and software in County buildings. The primary reason is that some of the equipment has reached end of life. Another is that the upgrade is a pre-requisite for the call center function that Human Services is requesting. This would upgrade all Human Services phone to voice over IP. This will also allow for the continual of the on-demand call recording at the Law Enforcement Center. Tagarro said if nothing else is done beyond this upgrade, it will provide an estimated seven years with the phone system. According to the vendor and manufacturer of this system, there is no planned end of life of the system. He said this is what is termed a “future proofed” system in that they are able to take advantage of more unified communication technologies. This is one of the projects that is slated from CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) Technology Funds with split funding between 2014 and 2015. Total cost is estimated at $141,000. Daleiden said this item was not sent to the Technology Committee because it was approved as part of the CIP last year. He asked Tagarro to present an update to the Board.
Tagarro said the second project relates to a fiber ring upgrade. There have been six complete network outages in 2014 with the most recent occurring last week. Information Technology is working with Cisco to redesign the fiber ring for a more robust system. Quotes were solicited from four vendors. At this time, the Information Technology Department is examining the quotes and the proposed systems. Estimated cost is $130,000 with funding from the 2015 Technology Fund. Because of the emergency nature of this upgrade, Tagarro requested approval to proceed in 2014. There is a possibility the County will not be billed until 2015. He asked whether an update should be given to the County Board after a vendor is chosen or if they should just proceed. Sawatzke suggested Tagarro communicate with the two Board appointees (Borrell and Daleiden) to the Technology Committee. They will decide whether further updates are required to the County Board.
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates (continued from earlier in the minutes):
•Bertram Advisory Board. Sawatzke said the group met on 10-03-14. Progress is being made on the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA). A draft may be presented at the next meeting. Work is being completed by County staff on the beaches and parking lot that supports the beach. It is hoped that next year there will be an operational beach.
•I-94 Board Meeting. Potter will attend a meeting this week. He anticipates an update from MnDOT on the next leg to be solicited for expansion from Hwy. 241 to Monticello. Nothing will be announced until November.
•MEADA and Wright County Mental Health are hosting a Mental Health DVD Contest for current Wright County High School Students. The deadline is 11-21-14. The campaign, “Talk About It” will help the public to understand that mental health issues need not remain hidden, how chemicals can play a role, and that through discussion and dialogue, healing and prevention can occur. Prizes awarded with be $500 (first place), $300 (second place), and $100 (third place). It was the consensus of the Board that campaign information should be placed on the County Internet.
(End of Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates)
The meeting recessed at 9:45 A.M. and reconvened at 10:10 A.M.
Hiivala introduced Ron Ringquist who presented the Viewers Report for County Ditch 38. Ditch 38 was built in 1918 and is a tile ditch system that is located between Montrose and Waverly. The intent and purpose was to drain a meandering lake lot as it was affecting the roads, including Hwy. 12. Ringquist said it appears the Ditch did a fairly good job of draining the Lake bottom. Subsequently, the area has developed for agricultural purposes and for residential development. This has changed the runoff characteristics to where, even when repaired, it does not work like an agricultural ditch.
As part of a redetermination process for County Ditch 38, the Viewers looked at what the Ditch originally provided. Ringquist said it provided drainage, mostly to the Lake bed. He referenced a map and said that was the location that received the direct benefit from the drainage system. At one point, the Ditch was extended downstream to where it was extended to the outlet and the development areas.
Ringquist said benefits were based on two thoughts. The first was the direct benefit or the drainage of the Lake bed. The other is under another part of Statute that deals with the accelerated runoff causing an increased ditch system capacity and maintenance. Because of the development of all of the acreage, there is much more water that gets to the Lake which takes benefit away from the original drainage system. He said they applied values in a manner which looked at it as if it were all native grasses in all of the upland areas and questioned how well the Ditch worked. Because of the accelerated runoff, a lot of the original benefit has been taken away. The difference between those two lines of thought was applied to the value or the indirect benefit to all of the upland acres. Ringquist said they typically run into that type of an analysis with large watersheds where there are lands that run through a lake or those that may be 100’ higher and runs downward through a natural creek, affecting the lower lake. In this case, they felt that was the best approach to addressing all of the potential or developed land uses. They looked at those as being highest and best use, and those that are still in agricultural use in the upland areas or considered for agricultural runoff.
The developed lands were looked at with four different criteria. Ringquist said normally when an agricultural ditch is involved, it is split into categories of A, B, C, and D which is the definition of the conditions that would exist without artificial drainage manipulation. They look at what the natural conditions were in 1918:
A standing water, cattails without manipulation
B lands are useable for hay or pasture but seasonally flooded
C lands that were normally farmable but benefit from improved surface or subsurface drainage
D upland acres that don’t need artificial drainage to be farmed but they contribute and benefit because the entire field is farmed now (not just the hills)
Ringquist said in this case, they looked at:
•The A- category which is hay and pasture lands within the lake bottom.
•Because they looked at runoff, the B lands were the upland areas or what would have been the D’s that are under agricultural use. A B- category is drained hydric soils which are the upland agricultural use soils that benefit from the surface and subsurface drainage.
•There are C lands that are commercial or industrial use. C- is developed residential of low density.
•D lands. Ringquist said because of the different types of density of rural development, there are three different classes. It falls back into the NRCS runoff curve criteria which is the smaller the lot, the more intensive the development typically. This is because there is not green space and, therefore, a greater increase in runoff because of that development. Ringquist said the D acres are the 1/2 to 1 acre lots, and the D- acres are those that are 1/4 acre or less.
The platted areas and the development intent were reviewed. Ringquist said there are a couple of different subdivisions of planned unit developments, and neither is overly developed at this time. They are platted and allowed under that as being the best and highest use for what the zoning has allowed.
Ringquist said in valuing that acreage, they attempted to determine the value of the hay and pasture. They estimated approximately $1,500/acre or more. Because of the runoff characteristics in the upland acres, they now valued that at $750/acre. More than 50% of the potential benefit is lost because of the development of the upland acres and the run off into the bottom areas that cause that loss. Therefore, they prorate back who caused that loss in value.
For agricultural contributions upstream, they have assigned values of $265 for the upland agricultural acres and $420 for those drained upland acres that are in agricultural use. Because of the increased surface and subsurface drainage, there is a greater change in runoff characteristics than taking the upland acres and converting them from grass and hay lands to tillable acres.
Sawatzke asked if zero benefits will apply to upland property that has never been included in the benefited acreage and it is as natural as it was 100 years ago. Ringquist replied that the land is under a permanent easement or in those acres that they have determined will remain within that land use, they will not be assessing a benefit value to the land. There are acres within this watershed that have no benefits charged to them. Sawatzke asked if only the upland acreages that have changed the land use contributing to the water to low lands will be added to the assessment records (not those that have not added any water). Ringquist responded not totally but that is the right thought. He recalled some of the wood lot acres were assessed one acre out of two, because highest and best use in development says it will not remain undeveloped 40-acre woods forever. The value of the woods is in meeting the development trends within this watershed. For example in a 40-acre lot, there may be 20 acres of 1-acre lots or non-benefited acres. Ringquist said with permanent easements or those with native grasses in perpetuity, they assessed no value to because the runoff characteristics are the same as they would have been naturally. They looked at the highest and best use of a property and what development most likely will be. He said they don’t want to come back in 10 years and wish they would have assessed property differently. There is no way to change this without a redetermination. They anticipate continued development and they look at highest and best use trends and development trends within that watershed.
Ringquist said once the review of agricultural use was finished, they did not use acreage as a unit of measure. They used one runoff unit for all of the residential development. They were labeled a run off unit because of the variance in size of those developments. A one-acre lot is typically 50% green area or more. A half-acre lot is less than that as far as a percentage. The very small planned unit lots include hardly any green areas. Green areas are a common space that isn’t platted. Ringquist stated that each run off unit was assessed a value, not each one on the list being an acre. For example, a D- acre lot (1700-2500 sq. ft. sized lot) is assessed more than other larger lots but there is green space around it.
Ringquist said the report used the assessment of $100,000 as the levy. An estimated cost for each of the parcels is outlined in the report, and each parcel is listed by tax number. If more than one 40 acre parcel is involved, it is listed by 40-acre tract. The general description indicates where each of those parcels is located. The other benefiting properties were looked at the same way. MnDOT was assessed as the sole largest benefiter of the whole Ditch system because without the Ditch, Hwy. 12 would eventually go under water. The other roads within this watershed are assessed based on their runoff contribution into the Ditch system. They did not assume the Ditch did anything to help the development or the protection of the balance of those roads. This was the same for the railroad.
Ringquist said they identified $158,944.45 as the benefit to all of the privately owned lands within this watershed and $46,069.35 as the benefit to the road authorities within this watershed. The total benefit is $205,013.80. The original benefit was $2,831.00.
Ringquist outlined the process moving forward. Viewers will put together the property owner’s reports for individual landowners. The County can elect to mail the entire report or individual pages can be mailed to landowners. Each property owner will receive by mail benefits and damage statements including a cover letter that reflects what they did, a brief history, what was done with the Ditch system, and how the properties were valued. The landowners will receive, at minimum, the page from the actual report where their names were listed and the property owners report along with a hearing notice. Ringquist said they like to allow time to meet with the landowners prior to the hearing. If given an opportunity, they can answer a lot of questions prior to the hearing. Many times they can go through this process with a single hearing. The notice reflects that they can schedule a meeting with the Viewers.
Daleiden asked whether the one rod purchase is included in the $205,013.80 figure. Ringquist said the $205,013.80 figure is the value added because the system exists. Part of the acquisition costs will be acquisition of that easement. There is very little value in that easement as it generally goes through wetland and woods. He said that East of Clementa Avenue is all wetland. Landowners will be told that land can be farmed with the exception of the first rod. He said landowners can cut hay even though it is under an easement restriction. Condemnation looks at the value before and after the easement is in place. The difference is what the property owner is compensated for through condemnation.
Daleiden said that relates to open ditch and then asked about tile. Ringquist said there is no consideration of temporary easements or construction easements within the report. That is something the Board could allow as part of a repair project. If it is a planned repair and it is known that it is going to be ordered, many times those temporary easements are included. Ringquist understands they are not certain of the alignment, whether it will remain on its current alignment or whether it will be realigned to avoid some of the cost of going under the trailer park. If there are additional damages as part of a repair, those can be made at that time.
Daleiden asked who owns the trailer park and where that is listed in the report. Ringquist said the trailer park was looked at as a single owner of multiple small tracts that includes 140 D- sized lots. Each trailer was given the same value as the planned units south of the highway. This is listed under Montrose Investments on the report. Daleiden asked whether the area would be more of a wetland if the trailer park did not exist. Ringquist said of the Montrose Investments parcel, only three acres are in the lake bottom. The remainder is upland acres that contribute to the impact of the capacity of the Ditch. Borrell felt it would impact it a lot because of the amount of blacktop. Ringquist said that landowner has 24 acres and 140 runoff units. He said it is a high density development runoff consideration. The only one higher is commercial because most surfaces are blacktop and roof. There is very little green space considered in a commercial property. Areas with ponds or something similar in nature may not be assessed.
Borrell complimented Ringquist on the report and said it may be possible to complete repair work after the redetermination. Ringquist said the challenge with residential areas is that they don’t seem to feel it makes a difference because they don’t farm. He hopes they can get through that without a lot of individual residential concerns. Borrell said the cost of repairs to each landowner is not high with the $100,000 repair. Ringquist said it is based on what type of runoff unit was applied. In addition, a $5 administrative fee is normally assessed to cover such costs as mailings. Daleiden noted that there is a lot of tax forfeiture property involved. Ringquist said that just happened between spring and fall. A small planned unit development on the south side of the highway went tax forfeit and involves a lot of small parcels. Borrell asked whether the back assessment will be paid by someone who purchases the tax forfeited properties. Ringquist said that is his understanding of the tax forfeiture laws.
Ringquist stated action today is to receive the report. Any other action will be at the public hearing or after. Daleiden made a motion to set two Ditch Public Hearings on 11-20-14. The Joint Ditch 14 Public Hearing will be held at 3:00 P.M. and the County Ditch 38 Public Hearing will be held at 6:00 P.M. Both Hearings will be held in the Wright County Board Room. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Bills Approved
Ag Neovo Technology Corp $195.00
Allina Health 100.00
American Databank LLC 254.60
Ap Technology LLC 3,514.00
APEC Industrial Sales & Serv 422.00
Aramark Services Inc 7,353.28
Assn of Metro. Cty Officers 395.00
Bigelow/Tamara 463.16
Boyer Truck Parts 443.87
Buffalo/City of 529.58
Burdas Towing 129.00
Cenex Fleetcard 1,894.51
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 1,668.00
CenturyLink 164.84
Chamberlain Oil Co 3,889.82
Climate Air 846.70
Community Lawn Care 247.00
Compass Minerals America 3,644.33
Cummins NPower LLC 807.22
Dahl/Tim 214.00
Dental Care Assoc. of Buff. PA 816.00
DKORE Welding 180.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 153.20
Emergency Automotive Tech 978.80
Engel/Dale L 500.00
Exceptional Outdoor Services 105.90
Fastenal Company 225.56
Feddema/Tom 344.00
FirstLab 125.90
Fleetpride 245.62
Gagnon/Joelette 250.66
General Office Products Co. 388.14
Glunz Construction Septic Serv.130.00
Grainger 417.54
Green Lights Recycling Inc 494.10
Greene Espel PLLP 1,391.04
Hiivala/Robert 116.00
Hoffman/Todd 198.92
Holiday 18,163.53
Huston/Tarah 154.71
Indianhead Specialty Co Inc 255.55
Jahnke/Chris 125.50
Knife River Corp - N. Central 704.00
Kustom Signals Inc 104.16
LaPlant Demo Inc 992.35
Loberg Electric 338.61
Lundenia Landscaping 5,310.00
M & M Express Sales 234.23
Marco Inc 2,774.05
McCarthy Well Company 220.00
Menards - Buffalo 1,311.84
Mikes Construction 15,767.55
Mini Biff LLC 135.96
MN Monitoring Inc 10,157.25
Morries Parts & Serv. Group 358.83
Mumford Sanitation 129.87
Office Depot 346.89
Olsen Fire Protection Inc 400.00
Omann Brothers Inc 1,454.56
Pederson/David 390.00
Precision Prints of Wright Co 241.46
Progressive Handling 198.00
RCM Specialties Inc 1,671.21
Royal Tire Inc 1,197.68
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 227.97
Sicheneder/Patrick 195.00
Sprint 4,025.17
Sprint 2,003.13
Stoll/Brian 217.00
Suburban Tire Wholesale Inc 260.50
Uline 131.94
Ultramax 1,820.00
Vernon Company/The 222.99
Walmart Store 01-1577 546.06
Webb/Janelle 129.50
West Payment Center 108.11
Westside Wholesale Tire 174.60
World Med. Gvrnmnt Sol. 227.52
Xcel Energy 2,268.30
29 Payments less than $100 1,327.17
Final total $111,260.04
The meeting adjourned at 10:45 a.m.
Published in the Herald Journal Oct. 27, 2014.