Wright County Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 9, 2016
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Borrell moved to approve the 2-02-16 County Board Minutes as presented, seconded by Husom. The motion carried 5-0.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, requested the Agenda be amended to include Item 8, “Closed Session to Discuss Pending Litigation by the Office of the State Auditor.” Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said Wright, Becker and Ramsey Counties have been named in a lawsuit filed by Rebecca Otto, State Auditor. There was legislation passed in 2015 relating to county audits which allows a county to opt out of the State Auditor’s Office audit and use a private firm for the audit. Wright County was released from the State Audit for a number of years and contract with a private firm. The understanding of the lawsuit is that the State Auditor disagrees with the new law and says it infringes on her constitutional duties. There are legal questions as to whether she has the authority to take away these rights. Asleson understands there are about 50 counties that are in the same position. He is unsure as to the rationale why three counties were singled out. Potter moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested removal of Consent Item B, “ Informational Item: Temporary Liquor License for Maple Lake - Lake Property Owner’s Association Moved from 2-06-16 to 2-20-16.” Hiivala said the event has been cancelled due to the thin ice. On a motion by Daleiden, second by Husom, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
1. Approve Charitable Gambling License Form LG220, Church of St. Mary of Czestochowa, 1867 95th St. SE, Delano MN (Franklin Twp.)
1. Approve Claims as Listed in the Abstract, Subject to Audit, for a Total of $1,567,795.11 with 182 Vendors and 269 Transactions
1. Position Replacement
A. Child Support Officer
B. Financial Worker
1. Refer To Personnel Committee The Request To Hire A Full-Time Diesel Mechanic
1. Position Replacement:
A. Deputy Sheriff
Rasmuson introduced Tricia Gruber who was recently hired as an Office Technician in the Assessor’s Office.
Also present for discussion was Deb Cox-Johnson, Howard Lake Library Services Coordinator. Pundsack provided an overview of the 2016-2020 GRRL Strategic Plan which includes patron-centered core values focusing on service and organizational priorities. The Plan is a result of feedback received through a survey and 12 community sessions held in 2015. Local action plans are one of the largest initiatives, along with launching a revitalized catalog and redesigning the website. Pundsack said while the popular conception is that books are going away, it is something that Central MN uses on a regular basis. There were 1,412,164 visits in 2015 and 82,400 wireless connections in the GRRL System. Cox-Johnson provided information on a grant which funds the “We Play Here” kits that focuses on learning through play. Another popular program is “1000 Books before Kindergarten,” which fosters the idea that reading early is important. In Wright County, there were 349,336 library visits in 2015 and 148,730 checkout sessions (data based on one-day monitoring). Pundsack said broadband is inconsistent around the State. Patrons take advantage of the Library’s internet and wireless services. Riebe stated there were 825 programs held in the Wright County public libraries attended by 22,752 individuals. There are many Legacy programs. Pundsack said kiosks or lockers are one of the strategic initiatives. An assessment is being performed on cities to provide information on options for alternative services that cities could subscribe to. Pundsack said people are looking for personalized service and there is still a demand for expanding in communities without libraries. This option may work well in those areas. This was provided as an informational item.
Steve Jobe, Surveyor, said a new edition of the Wright County Plat Book is available at the Surveyor’s Office (Public Works Building) or the Auditor’s Office (Government Center) at a cost of $30 (additional $6 shipping/handling if mailed). The data is up to date from the beginning of November, 2015. The last Plat Book was dated 2013. A raffle will be held for a Wright County Wall Map or SmartMap. Register for the drawing at the Surveyor’s Office prior to 3-11-16.
Ratify MnCCC (Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative) Contract for IFSpi
Hiivala requested the Board ratify the MnCCC Contract for IFSpi, the capital asset accounting software used by Wright County and 77 other Minnesota counties. The system is supported by Trimin. Daleiden moved to approve ratifying the Contract, seconded by Borrell. The motion carried 5-0.
Approve Purchase for Real Asset Management
As indicated in the audit finding from 2014, Wright County is in need of changing the capital asset system. Hiivala recommended the purchase of Real Asset Management. The Contract is for three years at a cost is $2,500 for acquisition; $2,500 for conversion, setup and training; and $400 for annual maintenance. Daleiden moved to approve the purchase, seconded by Potter. The $5,000 acquisition and conversion costs will be funded through Capital Assets. The annual maintenance will be funded through the Auditor/Treasurer’s Budget. The motion carried 5-0.
Update on Status of Tax Forfeiture Properties for 2015
Hiivala said 290 parcels were transferred out of tax forfeiture in 2015, either to municipalities or placed on the tax rolls. He cited the work completed by the Tax Forfeiture Committee. Discussion followed on working with real estate agents and also placing for sale signs on properties. One topic that may be discussed at the Tax Forfeiture Committee is whether minimal maintenance can be performed to make lots more appealing. This was provided as an informational item.
Discussion Regarding The Needed Repairs And Maintenance On County Ditch 31
Young provided historical information on maintenance of the Ditch. More recent clean out efforts have included tree removal, excavation, and bringing the Ditch to its intended grade, depth and width. Elevation data show the system is running in the wrong direction due to the incorrect culvert elevation at Fillmore Ave. SW. With the recent clean out efforts, Young is requesting to place the culvert at the correct elevation and continue with cleaning of the remainder of the Ditch. He said there has been significant pushback from some of the agencies involved. In the past year, the DNR completed an ordinary high water mark on this basin. Young said it is about 5’ above the culvert and he viewed that as high. It could potentially flood County Road 30 at that elevation.
Daleiden suggested sending Ditch 31 to the Ditch Committee for further discussion with the SWCD and the DNR. Borrell stated the SWCD would not be involved any longer because they deal with wetlands above the high water mark. Sawatzke said it may be beneficial for them to be present for a historical perspective. Potter made a motion to refer Ditch 31 to the Ditch Committee, seconded by Husom.
Sawatzke asked whether there was any additional input from those present. Allen Gutknecht, resides NE of Buffalo on the end of Ditch. 13. He brought up flooding problems on his property to the SWCD a couple of years ago and was informed they could not help him. Gutknecht has buildings sitting in water, and he said the tile line does not drain any longer. Young contacted the SWCD and was told Gutknecht’s land is protected so clean out could not be performed.
The motion to refer Ditch 31 to the Ditch Committee carried 5-0
Husom made a motion to refer Ditch 13 to the Ditch Committee for further review, seconded by Daleiden. Young will contact the DNR to invite them to the Ditch Committee Meeting. The motion carried 5-0.
2015 Annual Report
An update was provided on the progress of the COOP Plan. The County began development of the Plan in 2009 to evaluate priorities of departments in the case of an emergency and to ensure essential services are delivered safely and timely. A tabletop exercise is being developed for the COOP response team and targeted for spring, 2016. The Committee is also working on a public/employee notification system, and a Memorandum of Understanding with other counties relating to backup for technologies and space. This was provided as an informational item.
Figliuzzi requested the Board authorize signatures on the 2016-2017 Radiological Emergency Preparedness Grant Agreement (A-REP-WRIGHTCO-0005) from the MN Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security & Emergency Management. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the Grant agreement, seconded by Husom, and carried 5-0.
Figliuzzi requested the Board adopt a resolution to enter into a Grant Contract with the MN Department of Veteran Affairs providing $15,000 in funding for specific projects. Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #16-10, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
The meeting recessed at 10:33 AM and reconvened at 10:42 AM.
Daleiden said a letter was sent last fall to Anoka and Sherburne Counties indicating that Wright County would no longer participate as a member County of the Lab effective 4-06-16, because of the funding formula. He wants to rescind the letter. Daleiden said Wright County knows the Lab does an excellent job. The concern is that it is not a true partnership because of the funding formula. He provided the data for last year’s analysis and samples:
Anoka County; 2,375 samples submitted; $410.34/sample
Sherburne County; 422 samples submitted; $617.89/sample
Wright County; 403 samples submitted; $911.48/sample
He added that Anoka County funds two employees of the Lab. Figuring in another $200,000 that would bring Anoka County’s cost to $494.55/sample.
Daleiden said Anoka County has realized success through the testing performed at the Lab (touch DNA, etc.) and the Wright County Attorney and Sheriff insist this is a tool they need. The Attorney and Sheriff conveyed to Daleiden that they will be up for election in 2018. If the public disagrees with continuing as a partner in the Lab, it can be made known at that time. Daleiden said he will place on the next County Board Agenda the request to have the letter sent to Anoka and Sherburne Counties rescinded.
Sawatzke said the data provided by Daleiden indicates Wright County is funding more of the Lab that it should be. Sherburne County is doing that as well, although not to the extent that Wright County is. With regard to the comment made about the County Attorney and Sheriff, he stated the County Board is responsible for contracts. That does not fall within the County Attorney’s or Sheriff’s statutory authority. The County Board is who the constituents should respond to.
Borrell would like the Board to look to the future, researching the possibility of funding a DNA specialist at the BCA. He estimated the cost at $80,000-$100,000. The person he contacted at the BCA is open to discussion with the County Board. Wright County could have the testing done at either Lab in the future without being a part of the organization. He suggested that if Wright County can get the same level of service or similar for a lot less money, he thought it should be given review.
Sawatzke said St. Cloud has budgeted $98,000 to be members of the Lab. He cautioned the other Commissioners on the potential of subsidizing that usage. Husom understands the City of St. Cloud would like to have a Lab at their location.
The Tri County Regional Forensic Lab will be placed on the 2-16-16 County Board Agenda.
Daleiden moved to approve the Minutes, seconded by Potter, and carried 5-0. The Committee Of The Whole Minutes follow:
Steve Berg introduced Joe Kelly, Director of Minnesota Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HSEM).
J. Kelly referred to his PowerPoint presentation entitled, “Emergency Management Basics” (see attached). He said he will review the basics of emergency management, including Minnesota State Statute Chapter 12 requirements and authorities, disaster assistance programs, Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG), and Federal and State financial aid.
J. Kelly said the mission of HSEM is to help Minnesota prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and human caused disasters. J. Kelly said he is charged with helping communities get back to normal as quickly as possible after an emergency or disaster.
J. Kelly referenced the fifth slide, entitled, “Operations Branch.” He said the State has six regions. Wright County is in Region 4. Sommers is available to answer questions, suggest resources and assistance, and serve as his eyes and ears in a region. Sommers works closely with Wright County Emergency Coordinator Steve Berg.
Slide 5, “Why We Do It,” illustrates the number of federally declared disasters in Minnesota since 1965. J. Kelly said Minnesota is one of the most disaster-prone states in the country. Wright County has had 15 major disaster declarations since 1965, averaging one every four years.
J. Kelly said the time to devise an emergency management plan is not during, but before, a disaster. He said the State takes an “all hazards” approach to emergency management planning. The Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant adds an additional layer of disaster planning.
J. Kelly asked those present whether they had any concerns about potential disasters. Sheriff Hagerty mentioned the number of railroad cars that cross the County every day. Potter discussed the need to expand I-94 to Monticello to facilitate better evacuation strategies. Hagerty said Berg organized a rapid flood response group in Delano.
Borrell said he was concerned about towns located near the railroad that runs adjacent to Highway 12 across the County, as well as reinforcing a viaduct under a section of railroad track. J. Kelly said mitigating factors related to infrastructure such as railroad crossings, gates, and overpasses all need to be addressed in an emergency management plan.
Berg said late last year he sent out maps of railroads to every city in the County within 1⁄2 mile of the nearest tracks. He will meet with city leaders in the next few months to go over evacuation plans for affected areas.
Figliuzzi mentioned the proposed Entertainment Mall that may be developed in Albertville. She said this development falls within the ten-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ), and will add a critical component in future planning.
J. Kelly directed attention to the “Minnesota Disaster Tenets” slide. He said all responses and recoveries are local activities, with local authorities are in charge. Exceptions, such as a nuclear plant emergency, involve multiple jurisdictions and require State oversight. J. Kelly said the State will come alongside to assist in an emergency wherever needed, but will not direct local activities.
Many emergency management rules originated with Minnesota Statute Chapter 12 in 1951. J. Kelly explained that Chapter 12A was added in 2008 to allow the State to fund unaddressed recovery needs in local communities not covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Chapter 12B was added in 2014 to cover disaster aid for emergencies that do not report large enough damages to qualify for FEMA assistance.
J. Kelly discussed the creation of the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and its responsibilities to provide emergency management training, a State Emergency Operations Plan, and nuclear power plant emergency response planning. The DEM gives the Governor direct operational control during a variety of emergencies.
The County is required to have an Emergency Management Director and one or more Deputy Directors appointed by the County Board. J. Kelly referenced Slides 11-13 for more details on emergency authorities granted.
An emergency declaration will invoke the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) and open the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). J. Kelly said an emergency declaration will also give a local entity the ability to bypass time-consuming procedures and formalities as listed on Slide 14, “Effects of Declaring Local Emergencies.” The declaration allows the local governing board to “fast provide emergency aid,” such as entering into contracts and bypassing usual processes such as competitive bidding in order to provide services in a timely manner.
J. Kelly defined an incident as an event that requires a response, i.e., a car accident on the highway. An emergency is when the response requires extraordinary powers, resources, and authorities above and beyond day to day events in the local community. An example of an emergency would be when a truck carrying hazardous materials overturns and spills on a local highway. A disaster is defined as an incident that requires a greater response than the resources of the local community can provide, and triggers requests for assistance from the State and Federal Governments. A disaster involves recovery efforts to put the community back together. In order to get a disaster declaration from the Governor, the County or local entity must issue an emergency declaration.
There are Federal and State programs for public infrastructure that reimburse the County and local entities for eligible expenses. Slide 15, “Federal & State Programs for Public Infrastructure,” lists the types of damages eligible for reimbursement, such as debris removal, roads and bridges, water control facilities, and emergency protective measures. J. Kelly said 95 percent of State and Federal aid goes toward providing financial assistance to counties and cities. Only about five percent of programs are geared to provide disaster assistance for individuals and households.
J. Kelly said the Federal Stafford Act requires the State of Minnesota to incur $7,478,534.25 in damages to be eligible for FEMA assistance (per Slide 16). That equates to $1.41 per capita. Wright County must incur a minimum of $445,179 in uninsured damage to public infrastructure (or $3.57 per capita) to qualify for a share in those funds. J. Kelly said it is extremely important that individual cities and townships in the County report their damages to help the County attain that threshold.
J. Kelly said local entities are required to demonstrate a damage assessment process in order to qualify for State grants. When a federal emergency has been declared, the Federal government will reimburse 75 percent of uninsured damage to public infrastructure. The State will reimburse local governments 25 percent of eligible costs. There are usually many other costs to local entities and individuals that are not covered by Federal or State assistance.
If the State did not meet the $7,478,534.25 damage threshold, no FEMA assistance would be available. J. Kelly said the Chapter 12B Program, otherwise known as the “State Stafford Act,” fills in the gap in that situation. The County threshold is cut in half to $1.785 per capita, or $222,589.50. If the County incurs that amount in documented damage to public infrastructure, and the Governor declares a disaster, the State will reimburse 75 percent, and the County (and involved cities or townships) will absorb the remaining 25 percent. J. Kelly said there are also programs for individuals, such as disaster unemployment, housing, small business loans, and other types of assistance.
J. Kelly referred to Slide 16, “Federal & State Process Flow,” and Slide 17, “Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG).” Depending on the level of emergency, J. Kelly said the State would ask the President to declare an emergency, or the County would ask the Governor to do so.
FEMA is trying to create incentives for States and local jurisdictions to mitigate recurring disasters. An EMPG exists to help local governments improve preparedness in areas that have a history of recurring disasters. Wright County receives $53,061.21 per year from this grant. J. Kelly said it requires a 1:1 match of local funding. The County must meet certain requirements, and may be used for emergency management staff positions, planning, exercises, training classes, public awareness campaigns, warning systems, and EOCs.
Recommendation: Informational only.
(End of 2-09-16 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
1. Buffalo Safe Schools. A meeting was held last week. There will be a RAVE (Respect and Value Everyone) Week Community Event on Homelessness and Gratitude. On 2-26-16 at 7:00 PM at the BHM Schools Performing Arts Center, a speaker will provide information on at-risk youth. There will also be a short presentation on the Bounce Back Project.
2. GRRL Board Finance Committee. Potter attended a meeting on 2-08-16. The group discussed simplifying the budget process.
3. Owners Committee Meeting. Sawatzke invited Board members to a tour of the new Highway Building on 3-03-16 at 10:30 A.M., just prior to the next Owners Committee Meeting.
4. Bertram Chain Of Lakes. Sawatzke and Daleiden attended a meeting on 2-05-16. The group is receiving proposals from SGA, WSB, and Loucks. The firm selected will be used to create ideas/drawings for projects at Bertram this summer (funded by grant dollars).
5. MAGIC Fund Board. Sawatzke attended a meeting yesterday. The financial forecast provided is that the federal interest rate increase will be small and slow. Waiting to refinance bonds appears to be a good decision on the part of the County.
6. Joint Ditch Meeting. Borrell said there will be a Joint Ditch Meeting on 2-25-16. They were going to hold a Joint Ditch 14 repair meeting following but Meeker and McLeod Commissioners could not attend. That meeting will be rescheduled.
The meeting recessed at 11:09 AM to a Closed Session to discuss the Rebecca Otto vs. Wright County Citizens lawsuit.
The meeting reconvened at 11:52 AM and adjourned at 11:53 A.M.
Bills Approved
Affiliated Emerg. Veterinary Serv. $214.48
Albion Township 675.40
Allina Health System 118.74
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 150.00
American Planning Association 495.00
Ameripride Services 138.90
Anoka County Sheriff 46,584.06
Aramark Services Inc 7,401.36
Beaudry Propane Inc 2,660.39
Buffalo Auto Value 577.66
Buffalo/City of 62,541.30
Burdas Towing 287.00
Carten/Dr. Roger 750.00
Casserly/Kevin 3,628.38
Centra Sota Coop. - Buffalo 17,039.09
Central Roofing Company 484,682.87
Childrens Hospital & Clinics 779.05
Climate Air 11,314.46
Cokato/City of 1,374.12
Culligan of Buffalo 323.60
Diers/Carter 513.00
E2 Electrical Services Inc 91,200.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 128.24
Emergency Automotive Tech Inc 468.94
Empirehouse Inc 25,683.25
Envirotech Services Inc 14,058.36
Fabcon Precast LLC 80,655.00
Farm-rite Equipment Inc 311.04
Forestry Suppliers Inc 254.10
French Lake Township 489.40
Gard Specialists Co Inc 1,086.36
Glunz Construction Septic Serv 260.00
Gopher State One Call 100.00
Grainger 879.26
Green Interiors 450.00
Hagen, Christensen & McIlwain 6,292.51
Hennepin County Sheriff 160.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 1,702.14
Hohl/Cynthia J 100.49
Holiday Companies 409.50
Howard Lake/City of 1,519.99
Ickler 367.00
Jans/Brian 100.00
Kirscht/Joseph 125.00
Kraus Anderson Construction 114,075.46
Kris Engineering Inc 2,884.24
L3 Communications Inc 2,209.00
Lacount Sales LLC 520.94
Loberg Electric 776.62
M & M Express Sales and Service 339.05
Madden Galanter Hansen LLP 1,581.53
Maple Lake Township 890.00
Marco 2,019.95
Marysville Township 919.10
Maxx Steel Erectors Inc 38,355.30
McKesson Medical-Surgical 1,999.84
Menards - Buffalo 417.98
Mend Correctional Care LLC 27,529.33
Mid-America Business Systems 132.29
Mid-States Organized Crime Info 300.00
Middleville Township 609.20
Midstates Equip and Supply 47,268.00
MN Bureau Of Crim. Apprehension 240.00
MN Composting Council 175.00
MN Continuing Legal Education 725.00
MN Counties Computer Coop 5,000.00
MN DNR OMB 470.00
MN Elevator Inc 1,680.00
MN Sheriffs Association 200.00
Montrose/City of 1,263.80
Moorhead Machinery & Boiler 2,200.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 2,770.28
Motorola Inc 550.00
MSC Industrial Supply Co 185.02
Mulcahy Nickolaus LLC 55,434.40
Multiple Concepts Interiors 15,334.47
Northland Chemical Corporation 256.00
Novak Investigations Inc 3,899.76
O’Reilly Auto Parts 185.98
Office Depot 867.62
Pagels Engineering Inc 5,625.16
Performance Kennels Inc 103.20
Pikstik LLC 187.54
Prima Conference Registration 570.00
Rockford Township 2,151.10
Royal Tire Inc 1,474.86
Silver Creek Township 927.80
Sprint 4,506.16
St Cloud Times #1076 240.02
Tekton Construction Company 51,422.45
Tomar Electronics 134.77
Total Printing 655.00
Towmaster 549.59
Viking Industrial Center 276.41
Vollbrecht/Shawna 150.00
Waste Management of WI-MN 2,326.18
Weidner Plumbing and Heating 80,306.35
Westside Wholesale Tire 1,134.78
Woodland Township 675.20
Wright Hennepin Electric 180.71
Wright Soil & Water Cons Dist 200,861.00
WSB & Associates Inc 7,945.70
45 Payments less than $100 $2,076.53
Final total $1,567,795.11
The meeting adjourned at 11:53 a.m.
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 29, 2016.