Wright County Board Minutes

JANUARY 13, 1998

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

Corrections were made to the 1-6-98 minutes: Page 4, 5th paragraph, 6th sentence should read, "He said to establish a salary at this point would be 111 advised and illegal"; Page 4, 6th paragraph, 6th sentence, should read "Sawatzke concurred with Jude, and sited the requirement of comparable worth" (Sawatzke). Motion to approve the minutes with corrections was made by Mattson, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item for Consid. #2, "Refer Discussion of Lead Clerk, Sheriff Dept., to Personnel Committee" (Norman); Item For Consid. #3, "Letterhead Stationery" (Rose). On a motion by Jude, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the Agenda as amended.

The following items were pulled for discussion from the Consent Agenda: Item C1, "Acknowledge donation of $250.00 to the D.A.R.E. Program from Marksman Metals Co., Inc. Of St. Michael" (Rose) and ltem A4, "Refer Policy On Legislative Protocols to Ways & Means Committee" (Sawatzke). On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda as follows:


-Performance Appraisals: A. Pulvermacher, Bldg. Care & Maint.; J. Niebolte, Hwy.; M. Froslie, J. Rex, Sher./Corr.

-O/T Report, Period Ending 12-26-97. -Set Labor/Mgmt. Health lnsurance Committee Meeting for 1-28-98 @ 10:30 A.M.

-Meeting Notice RE: Environmental Assessment, TH 12 Project, 2-18-98 @ 7:00 P.M., Howard Lake High School Auditorium.

-Set Bid Letting Date for 2-17-98 at 10:00 A.M., Construction for Pamida & Public Works Bldgs.


-Authorize Signatures on 1998 Greenview Contract.

ltem A4, "Refer Policy On Legislative Protocols to Ways & Means Committee" was discussed. Sawatzke questioned what Wright County's policy was. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, explained that Wright County currently does not have a policy. Occasionally, County employees or department heads appear before the legislature giving testimony, and a policy would set up a protocol for these occasions. Jude moved to refer the Establishment of a Policy on Legislative Protocols to the Ways & Means Committee, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. ltem C1, "Acknowledge donation of $250.00 to the D.A.R.E. Program from Marksman Metals Co., Inc. Of St. Michael" was discussed. Rose thanked Marksman Metals Co., Inc. for their contribution and moved to approve this item, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

At 9:05 a.m. Darla Groshens, Auditor/Treasurer, introduced Michelle Solvie who is a new employee in the Auditor's Office.

Groshens referenced a claim to J.L. Schmitz Co. in the amount of $1,696.29 for work completed on County Ditch No. 33. The claim will be submitted to NSP for payment. Tile damage occurred while NSP crews were repairing damage from the July 1997 storms. Russek moved to authorize sending the claim to NSP for payment, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

Groshens requested that the Board set a Ways & Means Committee meeting to discuss Tobacco Access. Notices have been sent to all municipalities by Groshens. Discussion followed on who will attend the meeting. Prior meetings have been attended by Jon Young (Human Services), Brian Asleson (Attorney), Groshens, Gary MilIer (Sheriff) and Commissioners Rose and Sawatzke. Mattson said that retailers should be involved in the process, as they are the ones who have been responsible for enforcement. Asleson said he will have samples of other County ordinances to present at the next meeting. Russek moved to establish a Ways & Means Committee meeting for 1-28-98 at 1:30 P.M. Sawatzke seconded the motion, giving direction to Norman to have meeting notices sent to each Chamber President/Director in the County. Motion carried 5-0.

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

Jude moved to establish a Personnel Committee Of The Whole on 1-28-98 at 9:00 a.m., seconded by Mattson. Agenda items will include a Performance Evaluation for the Highway Engineer and discussion regarding the Lead Clerk Position in the Sheriff's Department. Motion carried 5-0.

Brian Asleson (Assistant County Attorney) and Doug Gruber (Assessor) updated the Board on a Class Action Litigation suit served upon Wright County in regard to the Commercial Tax Rate. The suit is alleging that some commercial property owners have overpaid taxes during the past 10 years. Similar litigation has been underway in Hennepin County, as well as several other metro and outstate counties. The class action suit involves 29 property owners, some of which had more than one parcel listed. Asleson indicated that after research of the properties, it appears that possibly 2-3 owner.s could have been overtaxed. Asleson said there were two different rates for commercial properties. A preferred tax rate applies when more than one property is owned (i.e., ownership of 5 properties would allow for a preferred tax rate on 1 of the properties). Asleson said the important thing for the Board to consider is that from the initial investigation, it appears that the tax was correctly applied. He said that in the case where parcels may have been missed, in most cases this was not the fault of the County. If it were, an abatement process may be used to settle the matter. Although filed as a class action suit, it was unclear whether the qualifications have been met to do so. He said Wright County has been very lenient, giving the benefit of the doubt to owners of commercial property. Gruber explained the tax rates and how they would be changing for the future. Starting with the taxes payable in 1998, every parcel will receive the preferred tax rate unless they are contiguous. Parcels listed in different family members names will be treated as different entities. He said the law is fairly lenient. Gruber indicated that abatements must be filed by the property owners themselves and the County policy applies to the current year plus one year. Asleson commented that the County first learned of the potential litigation in February of 1997. Through contact with the Plaintiff's Attorneys, it did not appear that there would be a suit filed in Wright County. Due to the statute of limitations, the suit was filed before the end of 1997. He said they were not provided with a list of the properties before litigation was started. This was provided as an informational item.

A Transportation Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 12-19-97. Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, highlighted the issues and recommendations of the Committee:

Discuss 80th St. Options-Southside Township. The County Transportation Plan identifies 80th St. as a jurisdictional turn-up candidate. Southside Township is proposing some 1998 improvement work on the two-mile segment extending from CSAH 2 to CSAH 3. At the Committee meeting, the Township Engineer introduced four scenarios for review , and Fingalson provided two additional scenarios. A 1.5 mile segment of CR 135 may be exchanged with the Township for 80th St. Consensus was:

1. The Township will acquire any additional right of way needed for 80th St. regardless of the alternate chosen.

2. Eliminate Alternate 1 as it is not in the best interest of the Township or County with the growing transportation needs in this area to construct to less than County road standards.

3. The Township will reconstruct 80th St. to County road standards (except the East 3700 feet) in 1998 and maintain the entire 2 mile roadway for 3-4 years. At this time the County may contribute funds towards construction and/or R/W costs. More planning and discussion of the 5-Year Plan is needed before a financial commitment can be made towards the project. in the year 2001, the County is planning on overlaying CSAH 3 south of TH55 and Co. Rd. 135 can be included in the overlay contract at that time. The easterly 3700 feet of 80th St. can also be upgraded at that time with financial commitments to be determined. The County and Township would then exchange roadways upon completion of the work in 2001.

4. Wayne Fingalson and/or Virgil Hawkins are available to attend the Township's Public Hearing on 1-7-98.

At today's meeting, the following correction was made to the Transportation Committee minutes at the request of Jude: Page 11, 1st paragraph of the 80th St. discussion, add the following sentence, "A suggestion was made that the figure of $100,000 be used for the County contribution for this project. No consensus was reached on this issue." Fingalson indicated that the next Transportation Committee meeting will be held in February. The Committee also agreed that CR 135 should be exchanged for 80th St. The idea of a gravel tax was discussed by the Committee and will be referred to a future Transportation Committee meeting. Fingalson attended the Township meeting and said the Township Board decided to proceed with the project and will meet County road standards. They would appreciate any funds contributed from the County. Jude responded that he understood the Township would build the road to Township standards unless the County participates in funding.

Review 5-Year Plan to Determine Candidate Projects to Submit for Federal Funding; Consider Holding Another 5-Year Public lnformation Meeting. Currently, ISTEA funding for 2001 is available through an application process, with the most worthy candidates selected by the ATP. The Committee reviewed a map which identified projects from 1998 through 2002. The current 5-Year Plan identifies a deficit of $4.3 million at the end of the year 2000. The projects the Committee discussed were more realistic in monetary terms and could be proposed to the public at the next 5-Year public informational meeting, possibly in April 1998. The Committee concurred that the current 5-Year Plan as presented is sufficient until a future 5-Year public informational meeting is held in the spring after the Federal funded projects for 2001 have been determined in March. The Wright County projects that will be submitted at this time for Federal funding in 2001 are:

-CSAH 14 Bridge over the North Fork of the Crow River

-CSAH 14 Bridge over Buffalo Creek

-CSAH 14 Grading, Base and Bituminous from TH12 to TH55

-CSAH 2 Bridge over the North Fork of the Crow River

-CSAH 6 Bridge over the North Fork of the Crow River

-CSAH 3 Bituminous Overlay & Safety lmprovements from CR 137 in Cokato to the South Jct. With CR 129, 11 miles.

At today's meeting, Jude said he was not sure if he could support the CSAH 6 project due to discussions of use of ag land.

Review Options for CSAH 35 in Buffalo (due to the proposed TH55 improvements). Fingalson stated that he and Rose are part of the TH55 Project Management Team. The current intersection of CSAH 35 and TH55 was set up as a temporary connection until TH55 was improved. Due to traffic levels, this intersection will not remain as currently designed. He felt it would be set up as a "right in, right out" intersection. The first proposal of the realignment of CSAH 35 included a bridge at 3rd Avenue. The new proposal includes a crossing at 5th St. in Buffalo, which is a more popular alignment and will tie in better with the future Hwy. 35 (meeting TH 55 in the area of Culvers and Buffalo Liquors). The realization of a shorter CSAH 35 route through Buffalo will gain 0.46 miles of State Aid credit from the turn back of CSAH 35 between TH25 and TH55 to use toward the CR 118 project. The consensus of the Committee was to work with the City of Buffalo in:

-preserving a future corridor for CSAH 35 with the understanding that the City take the lead pursuing such actions as annexing the portion of corridor that is located in the Township.

-Turning back that portion of CSAH 35 (5th St., 3rd Ave. and 7th St.) to the City from TH25 to TH55.

At today's meeting, Jude questioned how much farmland would be taken with the new corridor. Fingalson responded that he did not have those figures. Rose responded that this area will be annexed into the City for development.

Review Proposed Development (Cedar Creek) along CR118; Discuss Timetable. This was presented as an informational item. Don Jensen explained his firm is in the development stages of the Cedar Creek development, a housing and golf course development, located 3/4 miles west of CSAH 19 on the north side of CR118. Jensen expressed concern over the timetable of the CR118 improvements. The construction on CR118 between CSAH 37 to CSAH 19 will not occur before the year 2000, which fits in with the Cedar Creek schedule.

Discuss Petition From St. Michael Parish Council Regarding Crosswalk Concern. At an earlier date, the City of St. Michael sent a letter with concerns regarding a crosswalk on CSAH 19 in front of the church. Fingalson responded by letter offering several alternatives. The County Board received a petition from the parish (signed by 500 members) requesting that a flashing light be installed at the crosswalk location. The consensus of the Committee was to have Rose head a task force to reach some understanding on this request and discuss alternatives.

At today's meeting, Jude asked if there was a reconsideration on CSAH 6, when would that vote have to be taken. Fingalson responded soon. Fingalson said they have authorized a consultant to design the bridge and those funds are already committed. Fingalson said he is scheduled to meet with Middleville Township tonight on the timing and jurisdictional changes. He said if the Board did not want to proceed with the project, it may not be possible to fit in another grading project. Mattson questioned how many times the Board has committed to a project and then backed out. Sawatzke said that although he was not an advocate of the CSAH 6 project, he was tired of Jude's antics and tactics. He felt his comments were a waste of time and inappropriate. He felt the tactics demonstrated had nothing to do with the projects at hand, and that discussion should remain with that issue. Mattson moved to approve the Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes as presented with recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 4-1 with Jude casting the nay vote.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Russek, all voted to authorize the hire of Mark Kaufman to fill the Mechanic Position, effective 1-20-97, Step 3.

Fingalson said the next item, "Board authorization to submit application for federal lSTEA funds for Fiscal Year 2000 for two (2) roadways projects and four (4) bridge replacement" was acted upon through approval of the Transportation Committee Minutes. He said it would be a Board decision whether official action was taken on the request. Russek moved to approve the request, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

The Board discussed purchasing individual Commissioner's letterhead stationery in addition to the County Board stationery. The quote received was for $135 for lots of 500 for each Board member. Rose said this letterhead would be used in the case where a letter written was on behalf of an individual Commissioner and not necessarily the entire Board. Russek felt that the County Board stationery was adequate and that each Commissioner was responsible for the content of letters they had sent. Jude responded that County Board stationery should be used when a County Board decision is involved, otherwise individual Commissioner stationery should be used. Jude moved to approve purchasing letterhead for individual County Board members. Motion failed for lack of a second.

Bills Approved

Ag Repair 1383.53

Alliant Foodservice 218.86

Automatic Garage Door Co. 125.00

Batteries Plus` 376.00

Buffalo Bituminous 23000.00

Buffalo Emergency Physicians 316.50

City Buffalo 18535.18

RD Craig Assessments Inc 209.00

Dive Rescue International 530.00

John Dziuk 826.20

Enterprise & Dispatch 213.78

Tom Feddema 124.45

Glock, Inc 2347.26

Hamline University 750.00

Humane Society of Wright Cty 157.50

Institute for Forensic Psych 325.00

Intoximeters Inc 252.09

Lakedale Telephone Co 561.37

Larson Publications Inc 374.90

Mark Lefebvre 741.26

Maco 1100.00

Midland Corporate Benefits Svc 308.75

MN Assn for Court Adminstr'rs 300.00

MN Dept of Health 263.75

Motorola Inc 3251.02

Margaret Munson 277.45

The Oakley National Agency 250.00

Olson & Sons Electric 106.00

Photo I 698.61

Sentry Fire Protection 1217.19

St Cloud Fire Equipment Inc 355.00

Stratus Computer Inc 1755.00

Transcor America Inc 1351.17

Wright Lumber & Millwork Inc 555.89

Xerox Corporation 596.69

Robert Zrust 1362.54

C Alexander Systems Inc 2224.53

Annandale Rock Products 227.64

Bob Barker Co 223.50

Beaudry Propane 1700.78

Buffalo Clinic 495.00

Buffalo Hospital 111.00

Contech Construction Product 319.89

Deatons Mailing Systems 1252.00

DJ's Heating & Air Conditioning 743.71

Emergitek Corporation 886.09

EPA Audio Visual Inc 275.84

Janet Gholson 363.32

Greenview Inc 537.60

Dr Henk 279.00

ICMA 282.40

Int'l Assn of Chiefs of Police 100.00

Chris Jahnke 108.19

LaPlant Demo Inc 545.24

Lee's Farm & Garden Store 774.24

Loberg Plumbing & Heating Co 2599.75

Marco Business Products 2263.13

Minnegasco 6958.90

Mn County Attorneys Ass'n 217.84

Mn Deputy Registrar Assoc 110.00

MPELRA 150.00

Richard Norman 144.76

Office Depot 1595.58

Parr Emergency Product Sales I 749.84

Ranger Joes 195.87

Society for Human Resource Mgt 160.00

Star Tribune 522.05

Sysco Food Services of MN 763.93

Wright County Highway Dept 703.06

Wright Technical Center 124.96

Ximage Corporation 1176.25

29 payments less than $100 1,222.19

Final Total $96,225.25

The meeting adjourned at 10:04 A.M.

Judie Rose, Chairperson

ATTEST: Richard W. Norman, County Coordinator

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