Wright County Board Minutes

DECEMBER 30, 2014
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 12-23-14 County Board Minutes as presented. Potter seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
The following items were petitioned onto the Agenda:
• Timed Agenda Item 3, 9:05 A.M., “Joint Ditch 14 Update” (Hiivala).
• Items For Consideration J, “Refer To The Building Committee The Possible Relocation Of The Law Library” (Potter).
Potter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Potter moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Borrell. The motion carried unanimously.
1. Approve Labor Contract Agreement With International Union Of Operating Engineers, Local No. 49.
1. Position Replacement: A. Public Health Nurse.
1. Approve Position Replacement for IT Programmer.
1. Parks Commission Appointment For Commissioner District #2.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, asked to reconvene the Tax Forfeiture Committee to discuss selling a property in South Haven. Potter moved to set the Tax Forfeiture Committee meeting for 1-06-15 at 8:30 A.M. in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Conference Room. Daleiden seconded, and the motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala directed attention to the second item regarding an update on County Ditch 38 Outlet related to the Graham and Ellen Sones property at 5324 Clementa Ave. SW in Waverly. Hiivala said after the public hearing, two outstanding issues remain:
1) Determine which way the water is outletting on the Sones property; and
2) Determine what happens if the tax-forfeited Montrose properties change use, and how that could impact the Viewer’s report.
Hiivala said Ron Ringquist, the Viewer on the redetermination, sent an email to the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Ringquist viewed the property that was outletting water into a storm culvert. His email clarified that the water from the property enters into the Ditch system, so Ringquist won’t amend the Viewer’s Report. He said the property in Montrose will still be used as commercial property. Ringquist’s email said the total benefits are not going to change, so the Board does not have to postpone accepting the Viewer’s Report. Hiivala said no action is needed now. He is informing the Board that he received written communication from the Viewer.
Hiivala said Kurt Deter, an attorney with Rinke Noonan, has requested that Ringquist attend the next public hearing. There is an additional expense to have Ringquist attend.
Daleiden asked Hiivala to confirm that storm water is not draining into the lake. Hiivala said the plan shows the storm water pond outletting to the west into a wetland. The wetland in question has a culvert connecting the wetland into the storm sewer and outletting to the east and into the Ditch System. Daleiden said the claim states the water goes into the lake, but that is not accurate. Hiivala said the Viewers are maintaining it does not go into the lake.
Sawatzke said he is not aware of the city coming to the Board to inform them that a new development may impact a County Ditch. He said in the past, other cities notified the County in advance.
Hiivala said the advantage of hiring a Viewer is that they confirm or re-establish where the Ditch actually is and to what degree the lands benefit from it. The County is in the process of establishing County Ditch 38. The Viewer will establish exactly where and to what degree the Ditch is on the Sones property. Ultimately, the County will have a profile of the Ditch indicating its width and depth, as well as its start and end points.
There was discussion regarding the exact location of the Ditch and its tiles, as well as the Sones’ contentions regarding the Ditch location. Hiivala said the Viewer will determine where the Ditch is, where the tiles are, their size, what properties are benefitting, to what degree.
Hiivala said they are communicating with Ringquist to determine whether he will be able to attend the public hearing. The attorney, Kurt Deter, has indicated he will be at the hearing.
Borrell said the County determined about a year ago that the Ditch goes through the Sones property and into the waterway. Hiivala said the Viewer will provide information so the County, as the Drainage Authority, can establish the Ditch.
Hiivala said the public hearing was set for 1-06-15. He asked the Board to take action regarding whether they want the Viewer to attend the public hearing. Daleiden moved to require the Viewer to attend the 1-06-15 Public Hearing Continuation For County Ditch 38, seconded by Sawatzke.
Pat Salonek, a neighbor of the Sones, asked whether the Viewer’s determination is final. Borrell said it is ultimately the Board’s decision. The Viewer advises the Board.
Sawatzke asked Hiivala if the properties in the city are listed individually on the assessment sheet or as a block to the city. Hiivala said he understands that they only have one property in question. Sawatzke asked whether the County will now be assessing small lots in the city. He asked if these property owners will be taxed for storm sewer and water by the city and the County. In the past, Sawatzke said the lots were not assessed individually, but entire developments were assessed and the bills passed to their respective cities.
Daleiden said he did not want properties taxed twice. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy County Attorney, deferred to Deter, but agrees the County does not want people to be taxed twice. Often it is more convenient for the County to send a bill to the city for platted lots when work is done on a Ditch. Sawatzke asked staff to research past precedent on this matter and provide it to the Board prior to the 1-06-15 Public Hearing.
Hiivala said there is past precedent where municipalities have taken over the benefitted amount. How they allocate it is their business. County Ditch properties have two benefits: 1) Surface water that includes all storm water, and 2) Drainage. It is possible that properties could be assessed twice for these benefits. The Viewers were aware of this issue.
Sawatzke confirmed that the Viewer will not recommend whether the County should assess the City or the individual property owners, but only tell the County what the assessments would be on individual properties. The County decides how those are assessed. Hiivala said he prefers one assessment to the appropriate city.
Potter asked if the cities of Waverly or Montrose bill for storm water. Hiivala said he spoke with one resident who said he pays a storm water assessment.
Sawatzke asked whether the County Board has the authority to say how assessments will be allocated, or whether that authority resides with the local city. Hiivala said he needs to determine whether the County assesses the fees or the city in question.
Hiivala said his office has copies of the County Ditch 38 Public Hearing Minutes with statements from the Sones.
Sawatzke asked whether Ringquist will go to the Sones property to make his determination and meet with the Sones. He said that should happen in order to flesh out all details in the matter. Hiivala said he will follow up with Ringquist to do so if he hasn’t already.
Husom said a motion is on the floor asking the Viewer, Ron Ringquist, to attend the 1-06-15 Public Hearing Continuation For County Ditch 38. Daleiden amended the motion to ask Ringquist to visit the property as well. Sawatzke seconded, and the motion carried 5-0. Hiivala asked that a County Commissioner be present when Ringquist visits the Sones property. Borrell volunteered. Daleiden said he would be willing to go as well if a second Commissioner was needed.
Hiivala moved to the Joint Ditch 14 Update. He said this is a Ditch System shared between Meeker, McLeod and Wright Counties. Hiivala asked the Board to take action to accept only two petitions: 1) To break off one of the branches, and 2) To exclude a certain property that has proof it does not drain into the Ditch System. He said there will be public hearings where this matter will be discussed further. Deter has asked the Board to accept the two petitions. Borrell moved to accept the two petitions on Joint Ditch 14, seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala said last week he removed the Bolton and Menk, Inc. claim from the claims listing. They are the engineers who worked with the petitioners on the Joint Ditch 14 improvement. Hiivala asked Meeker and McLeod Counties to accept the allocation received from Bolton and Menk clarifying the cost for repair versus improvements. Hiivala has not yet heard back from the other counties. Until he hears from them, Hiivala will not add the Bolton and Menk, Inc. bill to the claims listing. Deter has also asked to be paid for representing the petitioners.
Hiivala directed attention to the November Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. There are positive revenue numbers. The Motor Vehicle Division counts 1000 transactions ahead of last year. He attributes that to good customer service. Hiivala said Planning and Zoning and the Jail also presented increased revenues. Daleiden moved to approve the November Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was presented for approval. Hiivala said the Lindberg Excavating, Inc. claim was for tile repair on County Ditch 8 and 16. Daleiden moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $293,572.26, with 153 vendors and 258 transactions. Potter seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested authorization from the Board to apply for grant funds through the Transportation Alternatives Program to pave the Montrose-To-Buffalo Trail. In relation to this request, Mattice asked the Board to adopt two separate Resolutions: 1) A Sponsoring Agency Resolution, and 2) A Resolution Agreeing To Maintain The Facility.
Mattice said the first step in the grant application was to write a letter inquiring whether the project qualifies. He received a response stating that it did. He needs County Board approval at this point to proceed.
Mattice said the grant would be funded in 2019. He said funds requested for this project will allow the County to pave an existing recreational trail along CSAH 12 between the cities of Buffalo and Montrose. The current trail surface is an aggregate base that will accommodate bicyclers and walkers. Paving this trail will increase use and enhance its appeal. Mattice said the estimated project cost is $300,000. The grant request would be submitted for $240,000, leaving a local contribution in the year 2019 of $60,000, depending on bids. The grant application is due 1-09-15. Borrell moved to authorize Mattice to apply for the grant through the Transportation Alternatives Program to pave the Montrose-To-Buffalo Trail, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0. The Board congratulated Mattice on taking the initiative to apply for this grant.
Mattice asked the Board to adopt two Resolutions mentioned previously, naming Wright County as the sponsor of the project, and agreeing to maintain the facility. Daleiden moved, seconded by Borrell, to adopt Resolution #14-87, The Sponsoring Agency Resolution. The Resolution carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-88, The Resolution Agreeing To Maintain The Facility. Potter seconded, and the Resolution carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Personnel Committee Of The Whole was held 12-02-14, and reconvened on 12-23-14. Sawatzke read from the minutes. Sawatzke said County Attorney Tom Kelly, Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala, and Sheriff Joe Hagerty in turn spoke to the Board regarding their duties, responsibilities, and achievements over the past year, as well as their requests for salary increases. Hiivala wished to be kept consistent with his peer group. Tom Kelly requested a four percent increase, and Sheriff Hagerty asked for an increase of $2,077 plus 1.5 percent. The recommendation from the Committee was to set a 2015 salary for the Sheriff of $119,270.
Sawatzke said the Auditor/Treasurer received the same dollar increase as the Sheriff received. The County Attorney received the same percent increase of 3.28 percent that was given to the Sheriff. Their salaries for 2015 are $119,270 for Sheriff Hagerty, $117,770 for Auditor/Treasurer Hiivala, and $132,205 for County Attorney Kelly.
Sawatzke moved to approve the Minutes and recommendations, seconded by Daleiden. County Coordinator Lee Kelly clarified that the motion includes both the 12-02-14 and 12-23-14 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes, as the second meeting was a continuation of the first. The motion carried unanimously. The 12-02-14 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes are below:
L. Kelly provided Statute information on setting salaries for the Auditor/Treasurer, the County Attorney, and the Sheriff (attached). Salaries for the three elected officials cannot be reduced while in Office.
L. Kelly stated the Board should take into consideration duties, experience, qualifications, and performance when setting salaries and should not make decisions relative to salary or budget that are arbitrary or capricious. The elected officials have the right to appeal their budgets through the Court system.
L. Kelly said the County Board will need to set the salaries of the three elected officials prior to 2015 by resolution. The County is in the midst of Union Negotiations with the Bargaining Units. Therefore, the
Committee may decide not to make a decision today on setting a salary but should receive input from the three elected officials.
The current salaries are as follows:
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer $113,990
Tom Kelly, County Attorney $128,007
Joe Hagerty, Sheriff $115,490
A. Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer.
Hiivala is in charge of finance, elections, reporting, and motor vehicle. His request is to receive the 2015 general adjustment approved for other County employees. Hiivala said his position has received a salary comparable to those in Schedule A (Human Services Director, Highway Engineer, Coordinator, and Sheriff) and feels his duties are commensurate to that group. Hiivala asked that his salary be adjusted likewise to these positions plus the general adjustment. Hiivala provided salary information for Carver, Scott, Sherburne, Stearns and Blue Earth Counties Auditor/Treasurer Offices. Discussion followed on Drainage DB and upcoming issues including problems with the CAMA and tax system.
Hiivala restated his request is to be provided compensation comparable to those in Schedule A and receive any adjustments they receive along with the general adjustment.
B. Tom Kelly, County Attorney.
T. Kelly conveyed his request through a Powerpoint presentation (attached). Based on the information provided on qualifications, achievements, experience, and salary information from comparable counties, T. Kelly is requesting a 4% increase in salary to $133,128 in 2015.
C. Joe Hagerty, Sheriff.
Hagerty distributed information outlining his qualifications, experience, responsibilities, and accomplishments (attached). He also provided 2013 salary comparables from other counties for the Sheriff and Chief Deputy Sheriff positions (attached). Other issues discussed included the Chief Deputy position/salary, the city and school contracts, and permit to carry fees.
Hagerty said that former Sheriff Gary Miller negotiated a stipend of $3,577 while in Office for handling the city and school contracts. During the 2010 salary negotiations for 2011, Sheriff Hagerty was not successful in receiving the same stipend. During the 2013 salary negotiations for 2014, he received $1,500 out of the $3,577 stipend. Hagerty’s request is to receive the $3,577 stipend and consideration for placing his salary in line with his peer group for 2015.
Recommendation: Recess the Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting to 12-23-14 at 11:00 A.M.
(End of 12-02-14 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
The 12-23-14 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes follow:
(Recessed from 12-2-14 Personnel Committee of the Whole)
A. Joe Hagerty, Sheriff
Hagerty reviewed his request from the previous meeting. He reviewed how the Sheriff’s Office is unique and different from others in the State.
Hagerty stated that he is seeking the general wage adjustment provided to other employees, (1.5%) plus a $3577 stipend for city contracts. This would be an increase of $2077 to the $1500 stipend he received in 2014 for the city contracts.
Recommendation: Authorize Sheriff Salary total compensation of $119,270.
B. Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer
Hiivala requested his wages to be treated similarly to other non-union employees at the top of the salary schedule. After discussion, the Committee suggested Hiivala receive a similar increase as the Sheriff.
Recommendation: Authorize Auditor/Treasurer Salary total compensation of $117,770.
C. Tom Kelly, County Attorney
T. Kelly reviewed his education and cited his 30 years experience with the County. At the last meeting he requested total compensation of $133,128, including his base salary and additional compensation for contracts. After discussion, the Committee suggested T. Kelly receive total compensation of $132,205.
Recommendation: Authorize County Attorney Salary total compensation of $132,205.
(End of 12-23-14 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #14-89 setting the County Board’s annual salary for 2015 at $37,445, exclusive of per diem payments. Said salary shall continue in effect until such time as the Resolution is amended or modified. The motion was seconded by Potter, and carried on a 4-1 roll call vote, with Daleiden casting the nay vote.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #14-90 setting County Attorney Tom Kelly’s annual salary for 2015 at $132,205. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-91 setting Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala’s annual salary for 2015 at $117,770. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-92 setting Sheriff Joe Hagerty’s annual salary for 2015 at $119,270. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Tamara Bigelow, Human Resources Director, requested approval of the 2015 Non Union Wages and Health Insurance Benefits. She summarized the request. Bigelow said the Salary Range reflects a general adjustment of 1.5 percent effective 1-01-15. Employees whose current wage will be over the new approved maximum will receive a 1.5 percent Off Base lump sum payment. Employees will receive a range movement of 3.25 percent effective on the employee’s anniversary date in their job classification. In no event will the employee’s wage exceed the maximum of the salary range.
Bigelow also requested approval of the 2015 proposed Health Insurance Plans for Non Union employees. These include a $300 Deductible Plan which is currently offered to County employees, a $1,000 Deductible Plan, and a $3,000 Deductible Plan with a VEBA (Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association). In March of 2015, the County would upfront VEBA contributions for an equivalent of four months for the $3,000 Deductible Plan only. The County will also deposit into employees’ VEBA accounts an equivalent of $200 per month for employees with single coverage, and $400 for employees who elect family health insurance coverage in March of 2015 ($3,000 Deductible Plan only). The monthly VEBA contributions would begin in July 2015.
Daleiden asked Bigelow to explain VEBA accounts. Bigelow said VEBA accounts are funded with dollars from the employer into a trust account in the employee’s name, for employees to be reimbursed for eligible medical expenses as defined by the IRS.
Daleiden asked her to explain how this differs from a cafeteria plan. Bigelow said a cafeteria plan provides dollars to an employee from the employer in an established monthly amount, where the employee may choose from a menu of benefits. A cafeteria plan is not designed for eligible medical expenses like the VEBA. Sawatzke clarified that the VEBA is strictly for eligible medical expenses, and not insurance premiums or a 457b account. Borrell said the cafeteria plan can also include a pre-tax account that allows the employee to pay for expenses not covered by insurance, such as copays. Bigelow said the VEBA is funded strictly by employer dollars.
Daleiden moved to approve the 2015 Non Union Wages and Health Insurance Benefits, seconded by Borrell. The motion carried 5-0.
Bigelow requested revisions to the Wright County Personnel Policy, Section 104 – Compensation Plan Effective January 1, 2015. She would like to include language for when an employee is promoted:
An employee who is promoted to a new position at a higher grade level, shall receive a pay adjustment that is a salary increase of 4% over the employee’s base pay or the minimum of the new range, whichever is greater. In no event can a promotional increase exceed the maximum of the new salary range.
Potter moved, seconded by Daleiden, to approve the revision to the Wright County Personnel Policy, Section 104. The motion carried unanimously.
Potter moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole for the Review of the Updated COOP Plan and the Response Procedures/Decision Tree for 1-20-15 at 11:00 A.M. Daleiden seconded for discussion. Potter amended the motion, seconded by Daleiden to set 2-03-15 at 11:00 A.M., with the understanding that this date is tentative and contingent upon other participants being able to attend as well. The motion carried 5-0.
Kelly said in 2014, Court Administration commissioned a security study. Kelly said due to the nature of this topic, he would like to schedule a Committee Of The Whole Closed Session for the purpose of discussing the study. This is permitted under Minnesota Statute 13D.05. Daleiden moved to schedule the meeting on 1-27-15 at 11:00 A.M. Potter seconded the motion, which carried 5-0.
Potter moved to refer discussion on the possible relocation of the Law Library to the Building Committee. This is related to the second phase of the Information Technology (IT) expansion. Daleiden seconded. Sawatzke asked whether the Law Library needs more space. Potter said they request three private offices to accommodate volunteer attorneys who come in to meet with clients. Law Library staff have considered the former Assessor Department space, or possibly the former Deputy’s area. Sawatzke would like to know how much space neighboring county law libraries utilize. He does not want to provide unneeded space. He thought their need for additional conference room space could be met by existing conference rooms. Potter said he will address Sawatzke’s questions at the Building Committee meeting, and obtain information on other county law library spaces.
Sawatzke would also like to know whether the Law Library Board paid for the remodeling of the current Law Library. He said if they request more space, they can pay for the remodeling. Potter said this request is driven by the IT expansion. Sawatzke suggested IT consider utilizing the former Assessor Department offices, as they are directly above the current IT office and would work well as an additional space for them. Potter said the Committee would keep the Board apprised of the discussion on this subject. The motion carried 5-0.
Bills Approved
AAA Striping Service Inc $145.60
Abrahamson/Brian 121.50
All State Communications Inc 441.00
Association of MN Counties 150.00
Benson/Sharon 200.00
Black Box Resale Services 225.00
Black Moore Magnussen LTD 100.00
Borrell/Charlie 1,270.00
BP Amoco 822.94
Bravinder/Dan 415.00
Buffalo Auto Value 236.99
Busch/Ryan 169.50
CDW Government Inc 15,555.33
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 22,561.58
Climate Air 285.00
Comm. of Transportation 382.59
Compass Minerals America 18,789.42
Cottens Inc 8,686.73
Crow River Tools 139.96
Customized Fire Rescue Train 487.50
Databank IMX LLC 6,800.00
Dell Marketing LP 14,118.82
Design Electr.-Cold Spring 6,328.22
Ehlinger/Michelle 100.00
Emerg. Automotive Tech Inc 21,605.75
Engel/Dale L 800.00
Envirotech Services Inc 9,228.45
Expert Automotive & Towing 456.00
Feddema/Tom 394.50
Fishnet Security Inc 425.61
Frontier Precision Inc 10,516.30
Gabriel/Cathleen 200.00
Grainger 423.45
Harrison Marker Co 1,723.75
Hertzog/Amy 231.50
Highway 55 Trailer Sales 1,064.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 1,480.80
Holen Aluminum Products 3,990.00
Howard/Jolanta 700.00
Laurent/Michael 196.68
Lindberg Excavating Inc 1,383.00
Loberg Electric 119.88
M & M Express Sales 127.90
Marco 11,966.03
Marco Inc 643.00
Milana P Tolins LLC 467.50
MN Bookstore 584.00
MN Monitoring Inc 12,054.00
Neil’s Floor Covering 3,110.67
Northland Chemical Corp. 205.76
Office Depot 1,327.42
Performance Kennels Inc 103.20
Purick/Ryan 200.00
Ramacciotti/Frank 400.00
Royal Tire Inc 2,009.00
Ryan Chevrolet 157.47
Sawyer Training 2,000.00
SHI International Corp 53,360.40
Sprint 4,760.70
Sprint 2,964.75
St Cloud Hospital 277.20
Star West Motorsports 2,358.85
Stoll/Brian 234.00
Suburban Tire Wholesale Inc 237.40
Thompson/David 405.00
Thompson/Janet A 401.00
Trueman Welters Inc. 1,910.00
Voss Lighting 1,018.20
Waytashek/Patsy 136.03
Webb/Janelle 159.00
West Payment Center 649.79
Windstream 180.18
Wright County Highway 32,406.98
Wright Hennepin Electric 468.82
Xcel Energy 1,689.35
23 Payments less than $100 1,126.31
Final total $293,572.26
The meeting adjourned at 10:05 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Jan. 19, 2015.