Wright County Board Minutes

JANUARY 6, 1998

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Russek, Rose, Mattson, Jude, and Sawatzke present.

Darla Groshens, County Auditor/Treasurer, called the meeting to order and asked for an election of the Chairperson for the coming year. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted to elect Rose as Chairperson for 1998; and then Commissioner Rose presided at the meeting.

On a motion by Russek, seconded by Sawatzke, all voted to elect Jude as Vice Chairperson for 1998.

The minutes of 12-30-97 were amended by Rose: Page 1, 4th paragraph, 4th to last sentence, corrected to read "In this instance, she said there was no citizen input (on the Committee)." On a motion by Russek, second by Sawatzke, all voted to dispense with the reading of the minutes of 12-30-97 and approve them as revised.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to transfer back any unused funds in the County Attorney's Contingency Fund, the Sheriff's Contingency Fund, and the Incidental Fund to the Revenue Fund.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Jude, all voted to recall all unused clerk hire and unused budgets for 1997.

On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to set the County Board's special sessions for every Tuesday for 1998. The meetings shall be called to order at 9:00 A.M.

The Chairperson presented the 1997 list of committee memberships and asked the members of the County Board to convey their preferences and suggestions regarding committee designations for 1998. The 1998 appointments to the Transportation Committee were changed to Mattson, Rose and Fingalson. The Ways & Means (Economic Development) Committee was changed to be the Ways & Means Committee. On a motion by Jude, second by Sawatzke, all voted that the appointments of committees for 1998 be made by the Chairperson with the approval of the Board and that the first member named act as Chairperson of the committee and the County Coordinator act as Secretary. Alternates are designated on the committee by ( ).

The Advisory Board Member listing was discussed. After discussion, Mattson made a motion to move the Economic Development Partnership Board from the list of Advisory Boards to the Committee listing. The motion also includes approval of the Advisory Board Members. Motion seconded by Russek. Russek offered a friendly amendment to eliminate all alternates listed. It was felt alternates would not have sufficient background to serve in the absence of the appointed member. The amendment was accepted. If bylaws allow the Economic Development Committee to have alternates, lt will be brought back before the Board for discussion. Motion carried 5-0.

The following reflects Committee and Advisory Board appointments for 1998:


Budget - Russek, Mattson, Aud./Treas., (Ex-Officio), Norman, (Sawatzke)

Budget Committee Of The Whole - All Commissioners

Personnel & Employee Relations - Rose, Sawatzke (Jude)

Union Negotiations - Rose, Jude (Sawatzke)

Planning & Zoning - Russek (Jude)

BUILDING, Furniture & Equipment - Jude, Mattson (Russek)

Capital Improvement/Finance Comm.- Russek, Mattson, Aud./Treas., Attorney, Norman (Rose)

Civil Defense - Jude, Sawatzke

Ways & Means - Sawatzke, Rose (Jude)

Legislative Matters - All Commissioners

County Extension Svc. - Russek, Mattson

Committee to Inspect Roads - All Commissioners

Committee to Inspect Ditches - All Commissioners

Delegates to AMC - All Commissioners, Aud./Treas., County Coord., Hwy. Engineer

Wright County Community Action - Rose, Jude, City Representative

Labor Management/Loss Control - Mattson, Sawatzke, County Coord., Civil Def. Dir., Spec. Proj. Admin., 1 Rep. from Teamsters/LELS, AFSCME, 49'ers and Teamsters

Library Board - Sawatzke

Orderly Annexation Boards - Sawatzke (Rose)

Forfeited Tax Sales - All Commissioners

Data Processing - Mattson, Rose (Russek)

Communications & 911 - Rose, Mattson, Sheriff, Hwy. Engineer, County Coord., Aud./Treas. (Russek)

SDA/PIC - Jude

Water Management - Russek

Solid Waste Task Force - Sawatzke, Jude

Purchasing Steering Committee - Mattson, Rose, Purchasing Agent, (Jude)

Compost Finance - Sawatzke, Jude, C. Davis

Labor/Mgmt. Health Insurance - Rose, Mattson, Norman (Sawatzke)

Public Works Labor/Management - Russek, Norman (Mattson)

Transportation - Mattson, Rose,. Fingalson

Econ. Development Partnership Board - Rose

(Ex-Officio Members)

Parks - Russek

County Fair - Mattson

Soil Conservation - Russek

Historical Society - Sawatzke

Joint Powers Watershed District - Jude

Anoka Joint Powers Board - Sawatzke, MacMillan

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #6, "1998 Annual Drainage and Wetland Conference" (Russek); Item For Consid. #7, "Maple Lake Township Discussion" (Jude). On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.

Sawatzke removed Item C1, "Acknowledge Donation of $250.00 to the D.A.R.E. Program from Northern States Power" for discussion. On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:


-Performance Appraisals: R. DesMarais, Assessor; A. Schelinder, Aud./Treas.; H. Engstrom, Highway; R. Broadhead, N. Kopff, Planning & Zoning; J. Bean, M. Pacelli, T. Pompeii, B. Petersen, Sher./Corr.

-Claim, GRRL, $238,928.00, 1st Qtr. Payment.

-Claim, National Assoc. Of Counties, $1,178.00, 1998 Membership Dues.

-Claim, AMC, $17,970.00, 1998 Membership Dues.

-Claim, Buetow & Associates, $22,152.12.

-Approve 1998 Property/Casualty Premium Payment to MCIT, $250,591.

-Approve 1998 Workers Compensation Premium Payment to MClT, $283,318.

-MCPP Final Usage Report, 1997.

-Reschedule Bid Opening from 1-13-98 to 1-20-98 for the AS400 Upgrade. Bids received by 9:00 A.M., Bid Opening at 9:30 A.M.


-Approve Hire, Alicia Mutterer, Clerk II, Step 1, Aud./Treas., Effective 1-12-98.

-Approve Hire, Wendy Lahti, Clerk II, Step 1, Aud./Treas., Effective 1-12-98.

Item Cl, Acknowledge Donation of $250.00 to the D.A.R.E. Program from Northern States Power" was pulled to acknowledge and thank them for the donation. Sawatzke moved to approve the donation, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

Groshens presented a claim to Fyle's Excavating for $15,640, for repairs made to Joint Ditch No. 15. Mattson moved to approve the claim, seconded by Sawatzke, carried unanimously.

Groshens presented a claim to J.L. Schmitz & Sons, $3,320, for removal of dams on County Ditch No. 30, County Ditch No. 31 and Joint County Ditch No. 15. Special authorization was also given to remove a field road crossing on County Ditch No. 31. The only thing not accomplished was the removal of the culvert, but enough of the crossing has been removed to provide a steady flow. Mattson moved to approve the claim, seconded by Sawatzke, carried unanimously.

As requested by the Goodhue County Auditor, the Board reviewed a claim for Wright County's share of the MN Utility Counties Contract through 6-30-98 in the amount of $6,063. Last year the County Board agreed to participate in lobbyist costs regarding the personal property tax utility issue with costs of $1600. Sawatzke said this was due to the County entering into the contract late in the year. Based on the work completed thus far, Sawatzke suggested that the County continue participation. Jude recalled that the Board authorized expenditures of up to $10,000 last year. On a motion by Jude, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve Payment of the claim for $6,063 as presented today and to nullify the previous motion of funds toward this effort. The new contract will be effective 1-6-98 through 6-30-98. Sawatzke said that a meeting of City and County officials will be held on 1-22-98 at 10:00 A.M. to discuss the issue. Sawatzke recently was appointed to the AMC Utilities Committee to address this issue.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Jude, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

The Maple Lake Land Use Plan was discussed. Approval of the Plan was presented as part of the Consent Agenda at the last County Board meeting, and the Board approved laying this item over for the opportunity to speak with Maple Lake Township. Jude was absent from the last meeting, and petitioned this item onto today's Agenda. Township representatives were also present. Russek said that the Board did not approve or turn down the Plan, but rather want to meet with the Township to discuss the Plan further. He felt the Township did a good job of presenting it to the Planning Commission. Sawatzke said that the Plan presented at the last Board meeting was the Board's first opportunity to review it. The Board did have questions and that is why they voted to schedule a meeting with the Township.

Ken Rachel, Maple Lake Township, questioned whether it was normal procedure to meet with the County Board when a Land Use Plan is done. He said he did not see the Board at the Planning Commission meetings which were held to discuss the Plan. Response was that not more than two Commissioners can attend a meeting due to the Open Meeting Law, unless a Committee Of The Whole is scheduled. Rachel questioned whether it was normal procedure for the County Board to meet with the Township on a Land Use Plan. Russek responded that they have never reviewed a Plan to-rezone 1900 acres, usually the request is for 500-600 acres. He said some Board members felt this was an excessive number of acres, and they felt they should meet with the Township rather than just turn the request down.

Jude responded to the comments on the Open Meeting Law, stating that all Commissioners were aware of the Maple Lake Land Use Plan and work being done on it. He said a time could have been set up to meet and discuss issues. Jude defended the efforts of the Township. He said it was the statutory right of the Township to handle Planning & Zoning and they have the legal right to do so. He referenced the years of experience the Township members held and their credibility. He felt the Township should have been consulted. Out of the estimated 2045 people in Maple Lake Township, Jude said that roughly six residents had contacted the Commissioners with complaints. Sawatzke said the Board made the decision to discuss the Plan with the Township based on questions they had. He said they were acting responsibly to land use planning. Mattson referenced USDA Reports that reflected the loss of four million farms from 1910-1995. He felt that this was the last stepping stone for saving agriculture for future generations. Russek moved to schedule a meeting on 1-13-98 at 1:30 P.M. for the County Board to meet with Maple Lake Township. Motion carried 5-0 on a second by Jude.

Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, requested approval of the 1998 Contract with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud to perform court ordered custody studies. Last year Catholic Charities performed 18 custody studies, with 16 being performed the prior year. The contract would provide an increase from $50.22 to $52.00 per hour for services. Court Services has looked into the option of performing custody studies internally, and MacMillan suggested that this issue be reviewed again. For 1998, he recommends the contract be renewed. Russek moved to approve the contract, seconded by Jude. The signature page will be changed to reflect the change in Board Chair. Motion carried unanimously.

The next item discussed was approval of and signatures on the 1998 Natural Resources Base Grant resolution. Jude questioned the due date of the grant application due to feedlot monies being involved. In review of the application, it was found that no monies were being requested for the County Feedlot Program Base Grant. The application deadline is 1-15-98. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #98-01 authorizing signatures on the 1998 Natural Resources Base Grant Resolution, seconded by Mattson. Jude offered a friendly amendment to direct Bill Stephens, Planning & Zoning Office, to correct inaccuracies of the names of the City Representatives contained within the application. The amendment was accepted by Russek and Mattson. Motion carried 5-0 on roll call vote.

Appointments to the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment were discussed. Sawatzke moved to appoint Bernard Kirscht to the Board of Adjustment, 2nd District, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0. Kirscht will replace Don Roisum who is not seeking another term. Roisum was thanked for the outstanding job while serving on the Board of Adjustment. Mattson moved to appoint Bob Schermann, 5th District, to the Board of Adjustment. Motion carried 5-0 on a second by Jude. Judy Weldele, current Chair of the Board of Adjustment (4th District), has indicated that she will resign although the term is not expiring this year. Rose will bring forth an appointment at a future date. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to reappoint Franklin Denn (2nd District) to the Planning Commission. Russek moved to reappoint Lawrence Bauman (3rd District) to the Planning Commission, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0. Bauman currently serves on the Board of Adjustment also.

As the County Attorney position is the only elected department head position not found on the Non-Union Salary Schedule, the Board discussed establishing a salary range. This year the Board is required to establish a minimum salary for this position as the office is up for election. Wyman Nelson, County Attorney, said elected positions differ from that of appointed positions. He said that neither he nor the Sheriff is responsible to the County Board but to the entire electorate of Wright County. He said that by statute, the procedure which should be followed is for a budget to be proposed and negotiated by elected officials. He said it would not be advised and would be illegal to establish a salary at this point. He said if the Board elects to do so, it will not be binding to whoever holds the office. To an extent, he said that the other elected officials have fallen into the trap of getting along too well with the County Board. He said they should not be on a schedule and have no relationship to other Department Heads.

Jude responded that the County Board has the responsibility to taxpayers to set up some type of budget for this office. He said they are respectful of the positions and did not feel that salaries were held down. Nelson responded that it was not about holding salaries down, but about encroachment on the nature of elected offices. He said when he took the oath of office, he was taking the responsibility to do his best and execute all responsibilities of the Constitution. He said this responsibility was to the people, not the County Board. Sawatzke concurred with Jude, and sited the success of comparable worth. He said the reason he did not like the proposal was that he felt it would create a new set of steps which others would like to be placed on someday. He was opposed but for different reasons. Norman commented that it was not the intent to remove any statutory authority the office holds, and there is the right of appeal by statute which includes salaries. Sawatzke moved not to take any action on establishing a salary range for the Office of County Attorney, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, roll call vote was unanimous to adopt Resolution #98-02 establishing minimum salaries for elected Department Heads. The resolution must be passed at the January meeting prior to the first date on which applicants may file for any of these offices.

BE lT RESOLVED, that the minimum salaries for elected Department Heads is hereby established as follows:

Auditor/Treasurer - $54,352

Sheriff - $54,352

Recorder - $45,045

Attorney - $58,787

At the 12-10-97 Ways & Means Committee meeting, discussion involved the Economic Development Abatement Authority given to counties under Minnesota Statutes Section 469.1812. The statute allows political subdivisions to grant tax abatements to properties under certain circumstances after holding a public hearing. At the recommendation of the Committee and the County Board, the County Attorney's Office prepared a draft resolution adopting a policy against granting such abatements. Jude moved to adopt Resolution #98-03 as presented, seconded by Sawatzke. Norman will draft a letter to be sent with the resolution to our legislative delegation. Sawatzke requested that the minutes and the cover letter reflect his concern of one person's property tax abatement impacting other properties. The Resolution passed 5-0 on a roll call vote.

Resolution reads as follows:

WHEREAS, the 1997 Minnesota Legislature passed new laws allowing political subdivisions to grant tax abatements under certain circumstances for the purpose of economic development; and

WHEREAS, these new laws, codified at Minnesota Statutes, Section 469.1812 - 469.2815, are discretionary, rather than mandatory, in nature; and

WHEREAS, the current policy of Wright County allows real property tax abatements only to correct mistakes in classification or valuation; and

WHEREAS, the Ways and Means Committee of this Board, on December 10, 1997, recommended that Wright County not grant tax abatements of this type;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE lT RESOLVED that the Wright County Board of Commissioners hereby adopts a policy stating that Wright County will not grant economic development tax abatements under the provisions of Minnesota Statutes, Section 469.1812 - 469.1815.

Russek moved to authorize attendance by the Board at the 1998 Annual Drainage and Wetland Conference which will be held on 2-5-98 from 8:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M. at the St. Cloud Civic Center. Motion carried 5-0 on a second by Mattson.

Mattson announced the Township Association's Meeting on 1-8-98. Jude stated that by making the announcement today of the four quarterly meetings held by the Township Officers, that all Board members could attend.

Bills Approved

Amer. Congress on Surv & Map 166.00

Betmar Languages Inc 328.10

Clinic Cab, Inc 120.00

Fyles Excav. & Honey Wagon 15640.00

Goodhue Cty Aud.-Treasurer 6063.00

Hillyard Floor Care Supply 346.38

Intoximeters Inc 623.03

Macpza 135.00

MN Sheriffs Association 1105.92

Office Depot 354.43

J Schmitz & Sons 3320.00

St Cloud Times 169.00

Total Printing 645.13

Voss Lighting 194.26

Annandale Marine 5218.50

Cellular 2000 of St Cloud 399.52

Computer Training International 960.76

GE Capital Info Tech Solutions 2220.53

Gould Bros Chev-Olds 107.92

Holt Motors Inc 311.80

Jerry's Towing 240.74

MN Counties Computer Co-op 6986.85

MN Society of Prof Surveyors 130.00

Paging Network of MN Inc 657.72

Smith Micro Technologies Inc 6427.50

Stratus Computer Inc 1770.00

USWest Direct 198.85

13 payments less than $100 748.11

Final Total $55,589.05

The County Board adjourned at 10:17 A.M.

Judie Rose, Chairperson


Richard W. Norman , County Coordinator

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