WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 29, 2015
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Potter, Daleiden and Borrell present.
Daleiden moved to approve the 9-22-15 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
The following items were petitioned to the Agenda under the Auditor/Treasurer: #3, “Resolution Authorizing Seizure/Sale For The Disposal Of Personal Property On Tax Forfeited Properties” (Asleson); #4, “Update On Bond Rating” (Hiivala); #5, “State Audit For Next Year” (Daleiden). Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
Daleiden requested that two items be pulled, Item B, “Attorney, Refer Ordinance Recodification To Ways & Means Committee” and Item E, “Information Technology, Authorize New External Phone Line (DID) For The IT Help Desk.” Sawatzke made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of Items B and E. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0. Daleiden said that Item E was approved at the 9-22-15 County Board Meeting. It was on the Agenda this week in duplication.
1. Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement For County Contributions For The 2016 Health Insurance Plans, Wright County Attorneys Association
2. Claim - Madden, Galanter & Hansen, LLP, $8,292.11
3. Authorize Signatures On Law Enforcement Contract With The City Of Monticello, Eff. 1-01-16 To 12-31-17
1. Approve Claims As Listed In The Abstract, Subject To Audit, For A Total Of $265,628.22, With 202 Vendors & 389 Transactions.
D. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
1. Position Replacements:
A. Social Worker
B. Financial Worker
Discussion followed on Consent Item B, “Attorney, Refer Ordinance Recodification To Ways & Means Committee.” Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said the County’s Ordinances have been re-categorized and recodified. He suggested discussion be referred to the Ways & Means Committee. Kryzer said there were not many changes made to the Ordinances. He requested that the Highway Department update the Highway Department Sign Maintenance Schedule. Other changes include references to State Statutes which have been repealed and recodified by the State. The largest challenge is that the Ordinance numbers have changed and things are categorized differently. Daleiden said that once complete, the Ordinances will be available on the website. Daleiden moved to refer Ordinance Recodification to the Ways & Means Committee. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
TIMED AGENDA ITEMS:
BOB HIIVALA, AUDITOR/TREASURER
Update on Bond Rating
Hiivala stated that Wright County’s Bond Rating is AA+. The bond rater indicated that reaching the highest rating of AAA is outside of Wright County’s control as it is based on things such as the median income of residents.
Adopt Resolution Setting Date & Time For Public Sale Of Tax Forfeited Properties
As part of adopting the resolution, Hiivala stated they would like to qualify bidders and conditions with the sale of tax forfeited property. They do not want residents with a history of delinquent taxes to purchase tax forfeited parcels. Discussion followed on whether special assessments are included in minimum bid prices for tax forfeited properties. It was indicated that it is up to a city as to whether special assessments are waived on properties. The special assessments are canceled at the time of forfeiture, but by law a city has the opportunity to reassess once the property is repurchased. A percentage of the special assessments may be collected depending on the situation. In response to Daleiden, Hiivala confirmed the tax forfeit listing includes all tax forfeit properties in the County except those in private sale or those that are being worked on with a homeowners association. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #15-54 setting the public sale for the tax forfeited properties on 10-28-15 at 1:00 P.M. at the Wright County Government Center. The motion was seconded by Husom. Daleiden and Husom confirmed this includes setting the conditions of the sale and the conditions of the bidder. Bidders will be pre-qualified at the time of the sale. Bidders are not considered delinquent if last year’s taxes are paid. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. (refer to discussion later in the Minutes where a parcel was added to the Tax Forfeit Property sale listing)
Approve August Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report
Daleiden moved to approve the August Revenue/Expenditure Report, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
Resolution Authorizing Seizure/Sale of Disposal of Personal Property on Tax Forfeited Property
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, stated the County has several tax forfeit properties with abandoned personal property on the premises:
114-151-001010 5410 Quam Circle NE, St. Michael MN
118-034-002180 13836 80th St. NE, Otsego MN
206-017-001060 8111 Griffith Ave NW, Maple Lake MN
218-000-151401 14224 8th St. SW, Cokato MN
(includes personal property seized, inventoried and stored at 1st Choice Movers, 14209 21st Avenue North, Plymouth, MN 55447)
The property owners were first sent notice in July, providing them a month to remove items, with no response. With Board action, prior owners of these properties will be notified that this is their last opportunity to pick up the items. At the time of the tax forfeit sale, the items will be listed on the bill of sale. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #15-55 approving the seizure and sale of abandoned personal property on tax forfeited real property scheduled for sale, and authorizes the sale or disposal of said property, as deemed appropriate by the Auditor/Treasurer. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Staff will confirm that the above listed properties are included on the tax forfeited listing of parcels that will be up for public auction on 10-28-15 at 1:00 P.M.
State Audit for 2016
Daleiden voiced disappointment in the lack of response by the State Auditor’s Office to a letter sent by Wright County in 2014 requesting to be released from the State Audit so as to proceed with a private audit firm. With no response, the County proceeded into a contract with CliftonLarsonAllen. The State recently notified the County that permission was not given to do so. Hiivala stated that the County was released from the State Auditor for the past six years. In June, 2014, a request was submitted asking for continuation of that release. No response was received from the State. Hiivala said his interpretation of the letter recently received is that the suggestion is to proceed year-by-year, not enter into a contract for three years. Sawatzke made a motion to direct L. Kelly, Hiivala, and Asleson to draft a letter to the State Auditor’s Office informing them that based on recent law changes, the County intends to proceed with the audit through CliftonLarsonAllen. Kelly said there may be quite a few of these types of discussions occurring around the State. There may be others that want to send a similar letter. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
MARC MATTICE, PARKS ADMINISTRATOR
1. Review & Act On Park Commission Recommendations From 9-14-15 Wright County Parks Commission Meeting
Mattice said that as part of Budget hearings, the County Board requested the camping fee structure be reconsidered by the Parks Commission. A study was complete on surrounding counties. The Parks Commission feels strongly about imposing a resident/non-resident fee structure. The Parks Commission concurred that increasing the camping fee for electric and non-electric sites, not to exceed $30 for electrical sites and $20 for non-electrical sites, would be appropriate. The Parks Commission recommends the following amendment to the Fee Schedule:
Camping (electrical): $25/Night; $30.00/Night Non-Resident, $27.50/Night Resident
Camping (non-electrical): $16/Night; $20.00/Night Non Resident, $18.50/Night Resident
Firewood (per bundle): $4; At Market Value
Seasonal Dump Station Fee For Non Campers: $0; $60/season
Daleiden made a motion to refer the fees to a fee schedule public hearing, seconded by Husom. Kelly intends to contact departments to determine whether there are any additional requested changes to the Fee Schedule. He will then request a date for a public hearing at an upcoming meeting. The motion carried 5-0.
2. Authorize Parks Department To Apply For Grants For The Next Six Months:
A. Bertram Chain Of Lakes Phase 10 Acquisition
After the 2016 purchase is complete, there will be 203 acres remaining to be purchased that relate directly to the passive-use park, which does not include the athletic complex portion. The grant period opens 10-01-15 and has no grant limits. Mattice would apply for $2.8 million, which includes a 10% cost match for each organization (City of Monticello and Wright County).
Daleiden made a motion to authorize the Parks Department to apply for the grants for the next six months, to include Items A, B, C, and D. The motion was seconded by Borrell.
B. Bertram Chain Of Lakes Phase 1 Development
During the budget process, the County Board set aside $200,000 for Phase 1 development and requested that an application for a matching grant be submitted. Funding for Park and Trail Legacy Funds will start in October, and if the application is approved it would include funding for completion of the park access road, parking facilities, beach access road, restroom and changing facilities at the public beach, sanitary sewer, water, picnic shelter, grading plans and grading for the campground facilities, and native plant community establishment in the campground area.
C. Joint Application Wright & Stearns County Connecting People To The Outdoors
The concept would be to develop a partnership between Wright and Stearns Counties and submit a proposal for Connecting People to the Outdoors, which is one of the four pillars in the Parks and Legacy Plan. A joint application would be made to the Greater MN Regional Parks and Trails Commission for a grant, which would allow for hiring under contract (not a County employee) an outdoor recreation programmer/environmental educator. With the proposal, there would not be a request for any cash match funding but in-kind funding would be considered (office space, work station, office supplies). Time and programming would be split between the two agencies.
Sawatzke asked whether this partnership will continue after the two-year period. Mattice said the goal is to apply for the grant twice so they have data over a four-year period. Daleiden added that participation will help the program fund itself.
D. CSAH 12 And/Or CSAH 17 Trail Paving
The Local Trails Connection Program will announce application in January. This would be a 50/50 cash match project. Estimated costs to the County would be $200,000 for each trail. Mattice said this would be a 2017 project. Potter said Parks staff are spending time repairing the CSAH 12 trail after rainfalls. He thought the trail would be used a lot more if it were paved. Mattice recommended applying for a grant for CSAH 12. If that grant is received, they could apply for CSAH 17 in the future. CSAH 17 may be part of the Crow River Trail in upcoming years.
At the end of the overview, the motion carried 5-0 to authorize the Parks Department to apply for the grants, Items A, B, C, and D.
3. Authorize Board Chair Signature On Letter Of Support For MORC’s Application To People For Bikes Grant Application
During budget sessions, the Board authorized $8,000 in the Site Improvement Line Item for a match to a MORC (Minnesota Off Road Cyclists) grant for mountain bike trails. Daleiden made a motion to approve a letter of support to MORC reflecting that Wright County has committed $8,000 in matching funds for continuing construction of a single track Mountain Bike Trail at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried unanimously.
4. Authorize Signatures On Joint Powers Agreement & Operating Agreement Between Wright County & City Of Monticello For Bertram Chain Of Lakes Regional Park. The Agreement Creates A Joint Powers Agreement Between The Two Organizations To Jointly “Acquire, Own, Plan, Design, Improve, Manage, Operate & Maintain The Bertram Chain Of Lakes Regional Park”
Operation and maintenance were discussed. Mattice said that each entity is responsible for their areas. The other entity can provide comment, but the decision rests with that authority. Husom moved to approve the Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Monticello for the Bertram Chain of Lakes Park. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
Adopt Resolution Setting Date & Time For Public Sale Of Tax Forfeited Properties
This item was continued from discussion earlier in the meeting. It was discovered that a parcel was omitted from the copy of the tax forfeit property sale list that the Commissioners received with their Board packets but was included in the master listing in the Auditor’s Office. Parcel 218-000-151401 (Stockholm Township) will be included in the tax forfeited property sale listing. No action was required.
ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION
BUILDING COMMITTEE MINUTES (9-23-15)
Daleiden moved to approve the 9-23-15 Building Committee Minutes, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
The 9-23-15 Building Committee Minutes follow:
I. Request To Add An Exterior Door to Health & Human Services Room 127
Dahl requested two items be added to the discussion today:
Request to replace metal service door next to the loading dock and add a dormer
Request to replace metal service door at the rear emergency exit and add a dormer
Schwartz said that the State implemented procedures 1.5 years ago requiring any visitors behind secure doors to be tracked because of access to computer software. She understands the requirement may change to include escorting visitors to their destination. For that reason and for evacuation purposes, the request is to install an exterior door in the large conference room at the rear of the building. That will allow meeting room participants to gain access to the conference room via the exterior door. The conference room is also utilized as a tornado shelter.
Dahl distributed photos of the existing doors that need replacement and a quote from Ernst General Construction for replacement of a steel door and awning at the loading dock. Discussion followed on dormers, door locks, and using a small window in the conference room door. Dahl was directed to check with the person that installed the emergency exit door to find out if warranty will cover the replacement.
Recommendation: Dahl will seek quotes on replacement of the two metal doors (door by loading dock and emergency exit door at the exterior of the building) and a water diverter above the emergency exit door. The replacement quotes will be with no dormers. He will contact the vendor to seek warranty on the emergency exit door replacement. Dahl will obtain quotes on a new exterior door for Health & Human Services Conference Room 127. It is recommended that the exterior door have a small window and potentially only a door lock from the interior. Quotes will be brought back to the Building Committee.
II. Discussion RE: Finishing Sheriff’s Office Support Services Building Entrance and Drive Area
The Committee discussed the front entrance to the Building, the driveway, and the grading around the perimeter of the building. The Highway Department has no plans to complete the driveway entrance. Hoffman stated that the road blacktop is peeling as there is no transition. There is currently no curb and gutter. The elevation of the building is much higher than the road. Water and sand rush into the road. He said they have done a good job of keeping the water away from the neighboring property but there are washouts occurring on the County’s property.
Hoffman met with Highway Department staff. The proposal is to finish off the drive entrance up to the gate. There is not enough traffic to justify blacktopping the entire area. Most traffic will be in the area of the impound lot gate and into the building. There is also an issue with the slope on the east side of the building. The Engineer’s estimate for the additional work on the Impound Lot is $48,500. That includes 160’ of concrete curb and gutter. The Committee recommends including an apron and/or rip rap for areas that are prone to washouts. Crushed granite could be used in high traffic areas and conbit for the remainder. It was agreed that it may be 1-2 years before blacktopping occurs to allow for a good base to be established.
Recommendation: Information will be obtained from the Highway Department on what areas are included in the 160’ of concrete curb and gutter. Obtain additional cost estimates for work discussed.
(End of 9-23-15 Building Committee Minutes)
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MINUTES (9-15-15)
Husom moved to approve the 9-15-15 Committee Of The Whole Minutes, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0. The minutes of the Committee Meeting follow:
I. Audit Exit Meeting With CliftonLarsonAllen
The meeting started at 11:15 A.M. due to Utsch being delayed.
Utsch referred to the presentation packet entitled, “Wright County, Buffalo, Minnesota Audit Presentation Exit Conference: Communication With Those Charged With Governance, Year Ending December 31, 2014” (Presentation). Utsch also distributed a lengthy document entitled, “Wright County, Minnesota Financial Statements and Supplementary Information, Year Ended December 31, 2014” (Document).
Referring to Page 3 of the Presentation, Utsch said the Commissioners should have received a governance letter listing the responsibilities of the Auditors and the County. Daleiden and Sawatzke said they did not receive it. Hiivala asked a staff member to distribute copies of the governance letter to the Commissioners. Utsch said there were no changes from 2013, i.e., there were no disagreements with management. She said no difficulties were encountered on the audit, resulting in a very clean opinion.
Utsch said Page 5 under Internal Control Communications lists four Material Weaknesses. Material Weaknesses are defined as deficiencies in internal control such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement would not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis. The four material weaknesses listed from the 2014 Audit are:
1) Segregation of Duties
2) Financial Reporting Process
3) Material Audit Adjustments
4) Capital Assets Records
Utsch said the first three have recurred the last few years at the County. She explained that Segregation of Duties refers to multiple Departments collecting cash. Utsch said any time an organization has decentralized cash collection points, there is greater risk of error and fraud. This is a required communication from the Auditors to the County. Utsch said the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has some checks and balances in place to monitor cash collection points, but that is not enough to completely eliminate the risks. Hiivala said he could hire more people, but that would not be cost effective. Utsch said it is good to be aware of this finding, but most of the time, exerting adequate oversite and keeping Departments accountable are good ways to monitor cash collection.
Utsch said the Financial Reporting Process and Material Audit Adjustments findings are required communications that refer to the Document CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) compiled as part of the audit. She said it is considered a Material Weakness to have an outside agency compile the data versus County Management, as it provides additional risk for errors during preparation. However, Utsch said Counties often do not find it a cost beneficial process to do the work in-house.
Utsch referred to the fourth Material Weakness on Page 5: Capital Assets Records. She said this is a new finding. The Capital Assets Records were not up to date for 2014. The software the County uses was not functioning at the time of reporting. Utsch said CLA recommends that the County implement a software to track assets in a timely fashion and have Departments review their asset lists to ensure accuracy.
Utsch directed attention to Page 6, Minnesota Legal Compliance Findings. The State requires CLA to complete a 25-page checklist regarding specific statutes that they must complete in the process of testing for compliance. One statute says that each ditch system may not have a deficit fund balance at year-end. Utsch said she realizes that repairs are done first, and then the County bills benefitted land owners. This places the ditch fund into a temporary deficit until the County collects those revenues. Utsch said the first bullet point that states, “32 of 44 individual ditch systems had deficit fund balances at year-end” is a common finding for counties.
Utsch said the second finding is related to the timely payment of invoices. The finding, “1 of 40 invoices tested were not paid within the standard timeline of 35 days from the receipt of the invoice,” was related to an invoice dated the end of September 2014 and due upon delivery of the Zuercher Management System, which was installed in November. The invoice was not paid within 35 days of November. Hiivala said there was uncertainty regarding which Department was responsible for the invoice, as the Zuercher Management System is an Information Technology item, but located in the Sheriff’s Office. Hiivala believes the invoice was routed around prior to being signed, which explains the delay.
Utsch turned to Page 7 of the Presentation, Federal Single Audit Findings. She said each year CLA audits Federal grant dollars. In 2014 they audited Medical Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child support for Health & Human Services (HHS). There were two findings:
1) “2 case files of 40 tested for Medical Assistance (MA) did not have citizenship or qualified alien documentation;” and
2) “1 case file of 40 tested for State Administrative Matching Grants for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program did not have the annual application on file.”
Utsch explained that these findings don’t mean that the clients were ineligible to receive these services, but that required documentation was not in their files when CLA requested them.
Partlow said the challenge in following up with these cases is that there are a lot of new staff, high turnover, and the inability to automate the system. She said HHS staff are informed about the importance of this documentation. Utsch said the first finding is common among counties, but Federal requirements state that auditors must report it.
Utsch moved to Page 9 of the Presentation, Financial Results Months of Expenditures in Fund Balance Governmental Funds. She clarified that these results are for 2014. This page lists months of expenditures in the Fund balance for all County funds, including debt service, capital projects, project funds, and all funds together. As of 12-31-14, the County had 6.43 months of expenditures in the Fund balance. She explained that “Fund balance” refers to unrestricted fund classifications. If the State has restricted a fund balance for a grant, for instance, that amount is not included in this graph.
Utsch turned to Page 10 of the Presentation, Governmental Funds, Revenues and Expenditures. Utsch said this graph shows that County revenues exceeded expenditures by $5,614,702. That was primarily due to increases in the General and Human Services Funds.
Utsch said Page 11 of the Presentation shows details of County revenues from 2010 through 2014. Taxes comprised about 48 percent of County revenues in 2014. Utsch said the percentage of revenue from taxes has been very consistent during the last five years. The second highest revenue is Intergovernmental, such as County Program Aid, Federal and State grants, and State Aid dollars.
Page 12, Expenditures All Governmental Funds, outlines expenditure classifications from 2010 through 2014. Utsch said total expenditures decreased by approximately $4 million. The largest County expenditure is for Public Safety at about 24 percent. General Government, Health & Human Services, and Highway rank second through fourth in percentage of County expenditures.
Utsch directed attention to Page 13, General Fund Revenues and Expenditures. She said General Fund Revenues exceeded expenditures for the last seven years. That means the County Fund Balance is growing. At the end of 2014, the County had 8.6 months of expenditures in unrestricted Fund balance in the General Fund. That’s up from 7.3 months for 2013. She said the obvious increase in the black bar indicating 2014 revenue is partly due to a financial statement presentation revenue. Utsch explained that when CLA looks at the fair market value of County investments at the end of the year, they are required to determine what the investments would be worth as of 12-31 of that year. At the end of 2014, County investments had increased in value. Utsch said she had to enter County revenues to reflect this. In 2013, revenues went down. The difference appears as a large increase for 2014. Hiivala said the County is buying investment instruments at 110 percent of their value to bring down their premiums.
Utsch turned to Page 14, Road and Bridge Fund Revenues and Expenditures. She indicated that this Fund balance is down $11,500. Utsch said that is a minimal decrease for a $20 million revenue line. The Road and Bridge Fund had a balance of 5.6 months of expenditures at the end of 2014, which is up from four months in the previous year. Hiivala said he takes the audited Fund balance and compares it to the next year’s budget to see if the County is meeting the Reserve Fund requirement.
Utsch directed attention to Page 15, Human Services Revenues and Expenditures. She said the Human Services Fund had 3.7 months of expenditures in the Fund balance as of 12-31-14. Utsch said this is an increase from 2.9 months in 2013. The increase in revenue is because the State was slow to reimburse the County for State and Federal dollars in the fourth quarter of 2013. When those dollars are received more than 60 days after year-end, the revenue must be recognized the following year for audit purposes. Utsch said CLA recognized an additional $1.1 million in revenue that related to 2013 expenditures in 2014.
Moving to Page 16, County Indebtedness, Utsch said this details payable loans and bonds that are outstanding. She said the Compensated Absences category at the bottom of the page reflects sick and vacation leave.
Daleiden asked what the General Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds) include. Utsch said $45 million is for the 2007 Jail Bond. Utsch referred to page 38 of the Financial Statements for a list of bonds. There was brief discussion on various bonds and their payoff dates.
Daleiden asked about the 2012A CIP Refunding Bonds. Hiivala said those are the Courthouse Remodeling Bonds that were refunded. He said the County has never extended the dates on refunded bonds. Hiivala said he disclosed to CLA that the County will be issuing bonds for the new Public Works Building.
Hiivala directed attention to Page 17 of the Presentation regarding Other Postemployment Benefits (OPEB) liabilities to the County. He said mathematically this is not a large liability. The County allows employees to participate in Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) by State law. He said there is an implicit rate subsidy that, theoretically, the County pays more in premiums because there are former employees on the roster who pay COBRA. The County hires an actuarial firm every other year to calculate this implicit rate for the auditor’s financial statement. He added that the only OPEB liability is the open rate subsidy.
Sawatzke asked why the OPEB liability is so much higher than in the past. Utsch said as employees age and cost of health care increases, the implicit liability of the County goes up. As the County has more older people on the health care plan, premiums are higher, and by allowing them to stay on COBRA, the premiums for the County as a whole go up. Hiivala said it is not an amount the County pays. Sawatzke said people on COBRA pay their own premiums. Sawatzke asked for information explaining OPEB benefits and how it works. Hiivala said he will ask the actuarial firm that calculates the implicit rate subsidy to provide an executive summary.
Utsch said there is a new, nationwide Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) pronouncement numbered 68. She said this creates a new liability that will impact the County in the middle of 2015 in the amount of $34,238,571. The County is part of a multi-employer pension fund, the Public Employees Retirement Association of Minnesota (PERA). The plan is underfunded, meaning they have promised more funds than are available. GASB 68 requires each participant in the retirement plan to recognize their proportionate share of the liability. Utsch said based on past contributions and the number of people on the plan, the County’s proportionate share of the liability is $34,000,000. She said some counties are at a deficit due to this. Rates are increasing in 2015.
Hiivala commended CLA for doing a good job and bringing in competent associates.
Recommendation: Informational only.
(End of 9-15-15 COTW Minutes)
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MINUTES (9-22-15)
Borrell moved to approve the 9-22-15 Committee Of The Whole Minutes, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. The minutes of that meeting follow:
I. National Center for State Courts Presentation
Yeh distributed a handout entitled Wright County District Court Space Needs Assessment. He stated the goal of the study was assess the current status of the Courts facilities in Wright County and to identify the needs in the next 25 years.
Yeh provided an overview of the methodology of the study. He said the study is based on nationally accepted space standards for modern court facilities in the US. Wright County’s population and case filing trends were discussed. Yeh reviewed the Court Case filings projections found on pg 7 of the handout. Yeh noted that the current number of judicial officers (judges) is adequate to serve the current population and caseload of the County. In response to Potter, Judge Tenney noted there were 2 new judges placed in Wright County in 2006.
Yeh explained the study projects the number of judges will increase to 8 by 2040, along with additional corresponding court reporters, law clerks and an increase in Magistrate hours. In addition there will be impacts to the staffing levels in the Court Services, County Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office. The study is anticipating that total courts and court related staffing will increase by 34 positions by 2040. (pages 9 and 10.)
Based on current data Yeh explained the estimated space needs for a courts facility is 79,903 square feet, with that increasing to 89,341 square feet by the year 2040. Sawatzke asked for clarification of what was included in these estimates. Yeh outlined that these figures would be only for courtrooms, chambers and space for court related functions. That figure did not include mechanical and maintenance areas for the facilities.
Yeh provided a summary of the existing Courts facility. He discussed the several concerns and deficiencies identified in the study relating to the size and layouts of the Courtrooms. Courtrooms 1, 2 and 5 are the only existing facilities used for jury trials. The largest of the six Courtrooms is Courtroom 2 at 1,416 square feet. Yeh noted that this Courtroom is close in size to the standard used 20 years ago. The current space standard for a jury trial courtroom is 1,700 square feet.
Yeh said the existing facility layout has additional shortcomings. He stated that another major issue is the circulation of jurors, prisoners, and judges in a common hallway. This creates security concerns. Yeh recommended the jury assembly room be in the public space. Other items he raised were the lack of vestibules for acoustic control, the lack of private attorney client space for in-custody defendants, and the small space allotted to the security screening station. Office spaces are inadequate for the needs of the court related departments.
Yeh provided examples of design schemes for modern court facilities based on current standards. Yeh discussed the modern design for holding areas which includes individual elevators for each holding area. Considerations are given to maximize building security through segregated circulation and access control.
The objective in modern designs is to create separation between the Public and staff areas of a courthouse. The two groups interface in the Courtrooms. Technology is playing a greater role in the Courts and spaces must be designed to facilitate the use of technologies in the courtroom.
Yeh concluded by presenting a Year 2040 Space estimate. The estimate outlined a 89,834 square foot facility including:
• Three 1,700 square foot large jury trial courtrooms
• Five 1,400 square foot small jury trial courtrooms
• One 1,000 square foot Magistrate courtroom
• Judicial Officer Chambers
• Enhanced Public entrance screening and lobby
• Support spaces including:
o Attorney Client meeting rooms
o Victim Witness Waiting
o Jury Assembly rooms
o 3 Jury Deliberation Suites
o Staff Conference Room
• Increased use of file storage
• Co-location with Court Services, County Attorney’s Office and Law Library
(End of 9-22-15 COTW Minutes)
PERSONNEL COMMITTEE MINUTES (9-23-15)
Sawatzke moved to approve the Personnel Committee Minutes and recommendations, seconded by Husom. The motion carried 5-0. The minutes of that meeting follow:
I. Impact on Staffing Due to Return of Deputy from Military Leave while Another Deputy is on Extended Medical Leave
Hoffman said in 2014 the authorized number of licensed deputies within the Sheriff’s Office was 137, not including Sheriff Hagerty. On 6-17-14, the County Board approved hiring a deputy to backfill for one deputy position on military leave for one year. Hoffman said that increased the total authorized number of licensed deputies to 138 temporarily. On 5-13-15, a contract additional deputy for the City of Albertville brought the total authorized strength to 139 (including the backfill position for the deputy on military leave). Hoffman said this was done with the understanding that the number would drop back to 138 when the person on leave returned. The deputy returned from military leave last week.
Hoffman stated that there are currently two deputies out on medical leave. He requested approval to retain the authorized strength of 139 until the two employees are no longer on medical leave.
Recommendation: Approve authorized strength of 139 licensed officers temporarily until the two employees are no longer on medical leave.
II. Proposed Revisions to Wright County Personnel Policy 303 Sick Leave Benefits
Hesse said the change related to Statute 181.9413 passed in 2013 expanding sick leave benefits to include additional family members. She said a memo was sent to employees 7-29-13, but the Policy itself was never updated. She distributed a redlined copy of the Wright County Personnel Policy Section 303, Sick Leave Benefits, Adopted 11-16-04 (see attachment). She read the changes highlighted in red and blue. Hesse said the second page of the attachment under Item E details how employees should track their sick time.
Husom referenced Page 1, Paragraph 3, Line 3: “The limit to the amount of sick leave used for an adult child, sibling, parent, grandparent, or stepparent is 160 hours in a 12-month period unless the Personnel Policies or collective bargaining agreement already established these relationships eligible for sick leave.” Husom asked for clarification regarding whether the employee may use up to 160 hours per sick family member, or whether the 160 hours is the total amount of sick time available. Hesse said it refers to the total number of sick time available.
Husom said the word “or” between the words “grandparent” and “stepparent” should be changed to “and.” Hesse said she will research the intent of Statute 181.9413. Hesse said a clarifying sentence could also be added to the policy statement. Sawatzke suggested asking Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, to review the Statute and policy statement.
Recommendation: Hesse will define the parameters of acceptable sick leave in the Procedure Manual after legal counsel has rendered an opinion.
III. Request to Split Personnel Policies and Procedures into Two (2) Documents: Wright County Policy Manual, and Wright County Employee Handbook
Hesse distributed the following:
1) A copy of the Wright County Personnel Policy 303 Sick Leave Benefits document with sections on procedures crossed off;
2) A sample of an entry into the proposed Wright County Employee Handbook 3-3 Sick Leave Benefits Procedure; and
3) A sample of the Draft Wright County Employee Handbook (Handbook) with the Table Of Contents and the Sick Leave section (see attachments).
Hesse said the first document removes old procedures from the Policy statement. The second document is shows how the same procedures would appear in the proposed Handbook. The third document is a draft of the Handbook using Section 300. There are headers for each Policy Name and links to the Policy document.
Recommendation: Approve request to split the Personnel Policies and Procedures into two documents: Wright County Policy Manual, and the Wright County Employee Handbook.
IV. Proposed Revisions to Wright County Personnel Policy 205 Probationary Period
Hesse distributed a copy of the Wright County Personnel Policy 205 Probationary Period (see attached). She said the current Policy states that if someone is hired part time, their probationary period will be based on full time equivalency. If an employee only works 20 hours per week, this results in a two-year probationary period. The current policy imposes a twelve-month probationary period for all other situations. Hesse recommended the twelve-month probationary period be applied to part time employees as well, rather than using the full time equivalency.
Recommendation: Approve revision to Wright County Personnel Policy 205 Probationary Period establishing a twelve-month probationary period for part time employees.
V. Performance Review Launette Figliuzzi, Director of Veteran Services
Recommendation: Based on four reviews received, the Committee recommends a rating of “Exceeds Expectations.”
(End of 9-23-15 Personnel Committee Minutes)
Kelly suggested the following change to the minutes: page 3, 2nd to last paragraph, 4th line, change to read, “Tagarro said he would split the payment over 2015 and 2016 to accommodate the budget.” Sawatzke referenced the Telework item and said he hopes the County focuses more on the mobile employee than an in-home employee. In the Committee Minutes, there is a list of rules to be followed when working from home. He thought a fourth item should be added that reflects that doing so would benefit the County. He said there are a number of very technologically oriented companies that have scaled back from teleworking and brought employees back in-house. If teleworking does not work in those situations, he stated the County needs to be cautious. He said the County also needs to be cautious on choosing one employee over another for this situation. Borrell said the Committee agreed that teleworking will have to be for the right person. Daleiden recommended endorsing the policy concept. He said more research needs to be done prior to implementation. Daleiden moved to approve the 9-23-15 Technology Committee Minutes as amended, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0. The 9-23-15 Technology Committee Minutes follow:
I. Health & Human Services Call Center Expansion
Tagarro said this project was added to the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for 2016. The County Board requested more information at a recent Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting. Tagarro said he wished to discuss two issues: 1) Whether they should proceed with this project in 2016; and 2) The cost of $222,000 to fully implement this project.
Schwartz said it is her understanding that the County Board wants this project to grow enterprise-wide. Her Department implemented it on the third floor of the Annex Building and at the Health & Human Services Center building (HHSC). All calls are directed to a central point. Schwartz said this process alleviates customer service issues.
Tagarro said there are no price breaks on licensing or any discounts. The County has already invested in license fees and phones for the third floor. He said the vendor gave a general cost figure of $50,000 for professional services for the Health & Human Services Department (HHS). He said there are a few outstanding issues with the system that need to be resolved.
Schwartz said HHS is seeing the benefits of the system in the heavy call volume received at the third floor Annex location. She said they receive a total of 25,000 to 30,000 client calls to Financial Services programs. Call volume is high at the HHSC as well. Schwartz said the goal is that every caller to HHS receives the same consistent service regardless of the program or staff member they are calling.
Cooper explained the call center process. She said it rings to a “Skill Set” versus a particular extension. This significantly reduces the number of calls that terminate in voicemail. Cooper said it enables a live person to deal with the call as soon as possible. Schwartz said the system also provides information such as the percentage of phone calls an employee answers. Tagarro said the ongoing annual costs are approximately twenty percent for licenses and professional services.
Daleiden suggested slowing the pace of implementation to allow time to verify costs and resolve issues.
Schwartz said they could implement half of the project in 2016 and half in 2017. She believes the call center system will enable them to provide better service and analyze Department performance.
There was discussion about the type of reports and the ease with which they are generated.
Tagarro said he is comfortable with an incremental process. They will provide updated figures for the CIP once obtained.
Recommendation: Proceed incrementally. The Committee will provide updates as available.
Tagarro said Schwartz’s team has developed a draft Telework Policy. He wants to ensure that the County has the capability to monitor employee productivity and accountability. Schwartz said there are three rules regarding working from home:
1) The position has to be suitable for the type of work being done at home;
2) The supervisor must agree; and
3) The staff person has to meet certain requirements.
Schwartz said the option to Telework is a privilege, and not a right. Borrell said it should be evaluated periodically. She said HHS would like to determine the next steps, such as the type of software needed, and the best way to implement the Telework option.
There was discussion about office workstations that could be made available as a result of employees working at home, as well as potential costs the County could incur to support teleworking employees.
Kelly said Risk Manager Tim Dahl indicated he would need to visit at-home work sites to ensure workstations are ergonomically correct. Kelly said another point of clarification is how much, if any, equipment the County should provide. Cooper said the employee must have a designated work space in the home with the ability to secure confidential documents.
Borrell said the benefits to the County would be the ability for some employees to continue work despite inclement weather that prevents others from getting to the office. Schwartz said this could be integrated into the Continuity Of Operations Plan (COOP) as a way to keep services going in weather or other types of emergencies.
Tagarro mentioned a possible option to use a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure so employees could see their work desktop computer from their home personal computer. Schwartz asked for approval to continue implementing the Telework Policy.
Recommendation: Endorse the Telework Policy concept while allowing the Health & Human Services, Administration, and Information Technology Departments to investigate further and resolve issues.
III. BYOD Review
Tagarro said today’s purpose is to evaluate the costs the County is paying for County-issued phones versus employee personal phones that fall under the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. He said the cost for a smart phone with Sprint (not including minutes) is $49.12 per month. The County pays $764 per month for a pool of 24,400 minutes. Nelson said the minutes on Sprint are separate from the minutes on the phone itself. Tagarro said the cost is approximately 3.1 cents per minute. He said Verizon includes 400 minutes at $63.03 per phone. Tagarro said that doesn’t include phones or accessories such as chargers or cases.
Nelson said the number of minutes employees use varies widely. The County contracts with both Sprint and Verizon. Sprint is more cost effective, but doesn’t have the strong data coverage that Verizon offers.
Tagarro said the County is not responsible for lost or broken phones with the BYOD program. The average monthly cost for a BYOD phone is $50 for voice and data. He said the County saves money with the BYOD program. Nelson agreed, saying the BYOD program requires much less account management.
Recommendation: Informational only.
IV. ARMER System Upgrade
Tagarro distributed a letter from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Network (see attached). Tagarro said the State is upgrading their software for the towers for the entire radio system. They would like to upgrade to Version 7.19 by the year 2020. The State has evaluated the County’s system and proposed a plan to upgrade firmware and software over the next five years.
Tagarro said the State is seeking commitment from the County regarding participation in the upgrade. Tagarro referred to the second page of the attachment which shows the cost to upgrade the system if no change was made over the next five years, versus the proposed SUA2+ plan the State is offering to make the upgrades more affordable. If the County proceeds on the current upgrade path, the cost over five years will be $339,083. If the County commits to the Proposed SUA2+ Upgrade plan, the cost over five years will be $271,775.
Tagarro said the upgrades would be done incrementally, and provide enhancements and features to keep the system current. There was discussion regarding whether the upgrade will require new handsets, portable radios, squad radios, and Dispatch Center equipment. Daleiden said consideration also has to be given to the impact on local fire and ambulance responders. Tagarro said he hasn’t heard any discussion regarding replacing end point devices.
Kelly said the County has time to gather more information on the total cost of the upgrade prior to the 11-15-15 response deadline requested by the State.
Recommendation: Gather information regarding whether end point devices will need to be replaced or updated prior to 11-15-15 deadline.
Kelly asked whether the Committee wished to look at other options for streaming County Board meetings prior to renewing the Livestream contract for 2016. Daleiden said even if a different supplier was selected, some equipment may need to be replaced. Tagarro said the cameras are standard (versus high) definition, and neither the audio nor the system itself is good. He said Anoka County uses YouTube and high definition cameras.
Recommendation: Information Technology will investigate other options for streaming County Board meetings.
VI. Wireless Upgrades (added to the Agenda)
Tagarro said the current wireless system at County facilities is old and unpredictable. The Information Technology Department (IT) has funds set aside for 2015 and 2016 for improving the system. Cisco, the provider, submitted a proposal which falls within the budget, but is more cost effective if installed at one time. Tagarro said Cisco will finance the County for two years at zero percent interest. Tagarro said he would split the payment over 2015 and 2016 to accommodate the budget. The improved wireless system will provide stronger access to the Board Room and other Departments.
Nelson said the scope of the immediate improvements is to replace the existing system, which will enhance coverage areas, but does not constitute a full campus deployment. Tagarro said they are hoping to replace the system and then do an analysis or site survey scan to determine where coverage gaps remain. Nelson said the cost of this improvement falls well within the established budget.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational only.
(End of 9-23-15 Technology Committee Minutes)
AMENDMENT TO GREAT RIVER REGIONAL LIBRARY AGREEMENT
Sawatzke made a motion to approve the Amendment to the Great River Regional Library Agreement, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0. The Amendment relates to removing any reference to a 3% inflationary adjustment in the Agreement.
SCHEDULE OWNERS COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Borrell, all voted to schedule an Owners Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 10-08-15 at 10:30 A.M.
SCHEDULE PERSONNEL COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING RE: ELECTED DEPARTMENT HEAD SALARIES
On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Husom, all voted to schedule a Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 11-03-15 at 10:30 A.M. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss elected Department Head salaries.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE / ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES
1. Central MN Emergency Services Board. Borrell attended a meeting on 9-23-15. Discussion included Next Gen 9-1-1 which will allow texting to 9-1-1, potentially being implemented in May-June of 2016. There will be a Central MN Emergency Services Board Summit on 10-12-15 at 9:00 A.M. in Alexandria. Daleiden made a motion to authorize attendance by Board members, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0.
2. MnDOT Cost Participation Workshop. Potter attended the Workshop where they discussed state highways and county road intersections.
3. 7W Transportation Meetings. Potter attended two meetings on 9-05-15 where funding position and policy for 2016 were discussed. Central MN Jobs & Training is being considered as the fiscal host as they work with grant writing already and it will avoid duplication of effort.
4. Excel Energy. Husom attended a meeting on 9-23-15. Discussion involved the number of employees and the amount of taxes paid by the Monticello Nuclear Plant and Sherco Power Plant. The Monticello Nuclear Plant is the largest taxpayer in the State.
5. Central MN Mental Health. Husom attended a meeting on 9-28-15 where strategic planning was discussed.
6. Employee Pork Chop Dinner. The dinner was hosted for Wright County employees and was funded through vending proceeds. Appreciation was extended to the Wright County Pork Producers.
A-1 Marine $121.68
ABC Wire Sales Co 484.00
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 150.00
American Tower Corporation 216.99
Ameripride Services 126.19
APEC Industrial Sales & Services 496.00
Aramark Services Inc 7,978.43
Aurora Pictures Inc 792.50
Beaudry Propane Inc 756.82
Boyer Truck Parts 689.47
BP Amoco 229.43
BP Amoco 335.35
Braun Intertec Corporation 715.75
Buffalo Auto Value 229.41
Burg Electronic Recovery 616.20
Center Point Energy 428.30
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 18,204.23
Climate Air 9,598.63
Compass Minerals America Inc 33,208.11
Contech Construction Product 8,697.42
Core Proffesional 400.00
CRS Inc 129.00
Delano Rental Inc 175.75
Deltaware Data Solutions 1,520.00
Fastenal Company 119.99
Fogelberg/Jay C 4,043.00
Gopher State One Call 307.60
Granite Pest Control Services 454.00
Hancock Concrete Products LLC 2,973.42
Hart Bros Tire Company 1,295.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 1,160.15
Integrated Fire & Security 7,909.42
Itasca County 2,310.00
Karels Towing 233.00
Kjolhaug Environmental Services 250.00
Laplant Demo Inc 332.50
M-R Sign Company Inc 513.72
Marco Inc 2,186.80
Mckesson Medical-Surgical 673.82
Menards - Buffalo 691.32
Metro Group Inc/The 12,651.60
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc 13,233.23
Midway Iron & Metal Co Inc 320.95
Minnesota Monitoring 14,445.75
MN Assn of Co. Probation Ofcrs 100.00
MN Transportation Alliance 110.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 914.73
Net Transcripts Inc 1,376.18
Office Depot 174.87
Performance Kennels Inc 103.20
Playpower LT Farmington Inc 407.00
Power Distributors LLC 133.21
Premier Biotech Inc 342.12
Reds Auto Electric 109.11
Royal Tire Inc 4,433.98
RS Eden 203.35
Sara Thompson 200.00
Stericycle Inc 316.29
Suburban Tire Wholesale Inc 5,148.74
T & M Towing and Snow Plowing 285.00
Terning Excavating Inc 22,628.00
Thrifty White Pharmacy 1,876.81
Timekeeping Systems Inc 2,209.60
Traffic Control Corporation 1,600.00
Traffic Marking Service Inc 23,292.40
Village Ranch Inc 2,024.00
Walmart Community RFCS LLC 279.51
Wright Hennepin Electric 2,100.21
Xcel Energy 920.40
22 Payments less than $100 1,145.70
Final total $235,027.62
The meeting adjourned at 11:26 a.m.
Published in the Herald Journal Oct. 19, 2015.