Wright County Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 3, 1998

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

Motion to approve the minutes of 1-27-98 was made by Mattson, second by Russek, carried unanimously.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #4, "Parks Commission Appointment" (Jude); ltem For Consid. #5, "County Ditch #9" (Asleson); Item For Consid. #6, "Schedule Labor/Mgmt. Health Insurance Committee Meeting" (Norman); Item For Consid. #7, "Closed Session" (Rose). Russek moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

The Consent Agenda was reviewed. The Board thanked the American Legion Post 131 of Maple Lake and the Albertville Lions Club for their donations toward the purchase of defibrilators. On a motion by Jude, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as follows:


- Performance Appraisals: K. Mottl, D. Snyder, Attorney; P. Laubach, Aud./Treas.; B. Leionen, Hwy.; A. Gilmer, MlS; T. Micheau, Sheriff; R. Bonk, VS/CD.

- Change Pamida/Public Works Bid Opening To 2-24-98 @ 2:00 P.M.

- Authorize AMC Delegation To Attend Leg. Conf., March 11-12, St. Paul.

- Sentencing To Service Quarterly Report, 10-1-97 through 12-31-97.

- O/T Report, Period Ending 1-23-98.

- Schedule a Labor/Mgmt. Loss Control Committee Meeting for 2-11-98 at 1:30 P.M., Commissioners Conference Room.


- Approve Hire of Jim Weinberger, Juvenile Agent, Eff. 2-17-98, Step 1.

- Approve Hire, Todd Gau, Adult Case Aide, Eff. 2-17-98, Step 4.

- Approve Hire, Tim Wille, Juvenile Case Aide, Eff. 2-9-98, Step 3.


- Authorize Fingalson and Hawkins to attend NACE Annual Meeting in Rapid City, SD, on April 26-30, 1998.


- Accept Resignation, Jodi Smith, Half-Time Cook, Eff. 2-9-98 & Auth. Replacement.

- Accept Resignation, Todd Gau, Corrections Officer, Eff. 2-14-98, & Auth. Replacement.

- Acknowledge Retirement of Berlyn Birkholz, Sergeant Deputy Sheriff, Eff. 5-1-98, & Auth. Replacement.

- Acknowledge Donation of $1,300.00 for the purchase of defibrilators from the American Legion Post 131 of Maple Lake.

- Acknowledge Donation of $500.00 for the purchase of defibrilators from the Albertville Lions Club.

Bob Hiivala, Chief Deputy Auditor, presented a bill from J.L. Schmitz & Sons for $126.49 for repair to County Ditch No. 33. Sawatzke explained that the property owner, Barry Hanson, notified him one month ago that repair had been made to an inlet. J.L. Schmitz & Sons were in the area doing work, and so Hanson requested that they fix the inlet since the equipment was near the site of repair. Sawatzke moved to approve the payment of $126.49 to J.L. Schmitz & Sons, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Russek, second by Jude, all voted to authorize the transfer of $579,450 from the General Fund to Capital Fund #34, as requested by Hiivala.

Jude moved to establish a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 2-17-98 at 10:00 a.m. or immediately following the Board Meeting, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the 1997 Year End Financial Report.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson questioned a claim on page 9 to the Buffalo Clinic ($47.50). He inquired whether an itemized billing would be distributed for the services provided through the Jail Medical Contract. Rose responded that claims may still be coming through for 1997 which were covered under the nurses contract. Mattson requested that claims covered under the nurses contract be labeled as such so the claims are not questioned. Hiivala was directed to check to make sure the claim was for services in 1997. On a motion by Russek, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract subject to audit.

A Labor/Management Health Insurance Committee meeting was held on 1-28-98:

- Representatives from Ochs Agency provided information from Fortis Benefits for Long Term Disability (LTD) insurance. The $100 core benefit which the County provides would remain the same. The voluntary portions would include the availability of up to 60% coverage of employees salaries if elected. The benefit period from accident/illness could extend to age 65. The minimum amount of election is the difference between the employer-paid benefit and $500. Employees who currently do not have LTD coverage may be eligible. Proof of good health is not required if the application is made through the open enrollment period. The Committee recommended that the County move forward toward implementation of the enhanced Fortis LTD Benefit Plan with open enrollment tentatively set for the month of June.

- Medica Account Executives presented renewal information for the health insurance plan year beginning 3-1-98. Since Wright County's utilization was 115% for the experience period, the final renewal rate will include a 21% increase for single and family coverage. Dental providers were also discussed. Medica representatives agreed to provide additional information on an optional plan with a $15 copayment and the costs built into the plan for preventive dental. The meeting was continued to 1-30-98 at 10:30 A.M.

At today's meeting, Rose said that physician visits were reflected at 120%, which is the major area of usage. Family coverage will see a monthly increase of approximately $90, and prescription copayments will increase to $11. At the meeting of 1-30-98 the Committee learned that increasing the copayment to $15 only reduced premiums by 2%. The Personnel Department was directed to investigate options. Sawatzke moved to accept the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

A Personnel Committee meeting was held on 1-28-98:

Performance Appraisal, Genell Reese, VS/CS Director. Based on three performance appraisals submitted, the Committee recommends an overall, rating of "Superior."

At today's meeting, Mattson moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

A Personnel Committee Of The Whole meeting was held on 1-28-98:

Performance Appraisal, Wayne Fingalson-Highway Engineer. Based on the review of performance appraisals submitted by all Commissioners, it is recommended that Fingalson receive an overall rating of "Superior."

Direction RE: Job Description, Sheriff Department. The Committee reviewed the Sheriff's request and the current Personnel Policy, Requests For Reclassification. It was decided to lay this issue over until 10:30 A.M., February 3, 1998.

At today's meeting, Russek moved to accept the minutes, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0. lt was noted that Fingalson's term for reappointment is a 4-year term.

Dave Lindberg, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, requested approval of a certification for waterfowl protection easement in Section 29 of French Lake Township (Northwest Administration Corporation). Two wetland basins were restored for the property owner, and they will not be placed under a perpetual easement for protection. Jude moved to approve signatures on the easement, seconded by Mattson, carried unanimously.

A Ways & Means Committee meeting was held on 1-29-98:

Tobacco Access Law. Asleson provided an outline of the basics of the State law and some of the options the County should consider in an ordinance. A local ordinance can be more restrictive than State law but not less restrictive. Penalties for minors purchasing or attempting to purchase tobacco was discussed. It was the consensus that the ordinance should include an administrative penalty of $50 with a lesser amount if the individual attends an approved program. It was decided not to have varying license fees. Single self-service sales should be prohibited. Multi-pack self service sales will be allowed until such time as FDA rules take effect. Vending machine sales will be kept only as strict as the State law. Sellers will not be required to be of age. Finally, it was decided not to limit the number or locations of tobacco retail licenses. Asleson will draft an ordinance for review by the Committee on February 11th. It will be distributed to interested parties. The County Board is required to provide a thirty-day notice for a Public Hearing.

Legislative Protocols For Wright County Employees. It was the consensus to ask Commissioners and department heads to react to the proposed protocols by February 11th.

Dress Code Policy. This issue will be discussed at the February 11th Committee meeting.

At today's meeting, Mattson expressed his frustration with youth not being ticketed when they smoke in public, and felt retailers should not be blamed or targeted for selling to minors. Sawatzke explained that the ordinance being drafted will include penalties for possession and the potential for local law enforcement to issue tickets. Rose indicated that the Court Services Office has seen a large increase in juveniles picked up for smoking. Offender's options will include a fine or attendance at approved smoking cessation classes. Norman, County Coordinator, said the Committee discussed with the retail representatives the issue of the Ordinance not being set up to entrap retailers through misrepresentation. Sawatzke moved to accept the minutes, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, presented a Corinna Township Land Use Plan Update for 1998. The narrative was sent to the Township Board and will be reviewed at their meeting tonight. He said the usual process would be to bring this plan to the Planning Commission and to schedule a Public Hearing. He requested direction from the Board on the establishment of policies and procedures for amendments to the County Land Use Plan for individual townships. Jude felt the Plan should be dealt with through the Planning Commission as that is the usual process. He said he respected the Township and input could be directed to Salkowski. At the request of Mattson, Salkowski reviewed the map and proposed changes. Salkowski said he was requesting direction on two topics. The first would be to hold a meeting to set up guidelines and procedures for the Township and himself to follow through the process. The second would be whether to proceed with Corinna Township's Land Use Plan through the current process. Russek moved to proceed with referring Corinna Township's Land Use Plan to the Planning Commission, and to set a Committee Of The Whole meeting in the future to discuss the policy, seconded by Jude. Sawatzke said the County Board is ultimately responsible for the Plan. He said that the Planning Commission does not write the Plan but applies the concepts of the Ordinance to the request. Any changes to the Ordinance would come to the County Board first. Jude pointed out that Corinna Township has the statutory authority to do their own planning & zoning. Salkowski responded that once the County adopts rules, those would apply to the Township unless the Township takes action to perform their own planning & zoning. He spoke of his efforts to represent the County Board and the Planning Commission at meetings, and that he tried to make sure the townships understood County policy when they worked together on a plan. Russek felt Corinna Township's Plan should be presented to the Planning Commission as Corinna Township was never given any other procedures to follow. Mattson said his district is very strict about use of ag land. Sawatzke said he felt a meeting should be held and that, at most, it would set the process back a few weeks. Motion to send the Corinna Township Land Use Plan Update to the Planning Commission process carried 3-2 with Sawatzke and Mattson casting the nay votes.

Salkowski said a formal policy has not been established for the process of reviewing land use plans. Based on experience, he has established a method which he felt should be discussed with the Board. Salkowski was directed to forward these procedures to the Board for review and a meeting would be scheduled at a future date.

Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, requested approval of a condemnation resolution for various parcels located along CSAH 19 (south County line in Hanover to TH 241 in St. Michael). The project involves 110 parcels, and successful negotiations have been completed on all but 6 of them. Those parcels remaining involve issues relating to design considerations and drainage issues. Fingalson requested that the resolution be adopted in order to meet the timetable for this year's construction season. Russek moved to adopt Resolution #98-05, seconded by Mattson, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

A Committee Of The Whole meeting occurred on 1-21-98 to discuss the Draft Feedlot Ordinance. Corrections were made to the minutes: Pages 6 & 7, change the name "Felbrook" to "Philbrook" (Sawatzke); Page 6, 2nd paragraph, delete 2nd to the last sentence and replace the third to the last sentence with "Philbrook noted Blue Earth will not permit new or expanded feedlots on lagoons." (Rose). Jude moved to acknowledge the minutes, seconded by Russek. lt was noted that the meeting was continued but a specific date has not been set. Rose said the Draft Ordinance needs to be rewritten with the changes agreed upon. Motion carried 5-0.

The annual Employee Recognition Ceremony was held to honor employees for Years of Service and to honor those employees nominated or selected to receive Group Achievement or lndividual awards. Employees honored for Years of Service included those in five-year increments with service from 5 to 25 years.

The lndividual Achievement Award was presented to Brian Jans, who has worked as a Mechanic for the Wright County Highway Department for approximately 15 years. Wayne Fingalson explained that Jans is a good example of a person who exceeds normal requirements. He spoke of Jans' willingness to assist in any way and has been available when he has been called upon. Fingalson referenced early 1997 when they were short two mechanics and Jans stepped in to work the extra hours to maintain the equipment for the Highway Department. Steve Meyer, Highway Maintenance Supervisor, said Jans was a great asset and a team person.

The Group Achievement Award was presented by Tom Salkowski to the Environmental Health Group for work with the 1997 storm cleanup. Members receiving the award include Charles Davis, Brian Kopff, Willie Gibbs, Sean Riley, Bill Stephens, and Gary Lebovsky. Salkowski said that since the time nominated, Gibbs had left employment with the County. He said Gibbs was an excellent employee for nine years and worked very hard. Salkowski spoke of the group's efforts to provide service to Wright County following the severe storms of 1997. Many hours were put in above and beyond regular time to efficiently run the Compost Facility for acceptance of brush and debris.

Honorable mention was given to those nominated for lndividual Achievement (Larry Anderson and Doug Schmiginsky, Highway) and Group Achievement (Highway Maintenance Division & Home Health Aides).

Letters of Commendation were given to Al Buskey, Ellen Dressel, Charles Davis, Steve Meyer, Bill Swing, Bruce Thielen, and Genell Reese for their efforts associated with the cleanup after the July 1997 storms.

Wayne Fingalson was selected by his peers as the 1997 Outstanding County Engineer of the Year. The award was given by the Minnesota Association of County Engineers.

Sawatzke said Monticello was severely affected by last summer's storms. He said he was never more proud to be on the County Board and to see the efforts put forth by employees during the cleanup. He said there were a number of people who did not receive awards that also provided service. He said he really appreciated the effort by everyone involved.

On a motion by Mattson, second by Sawatzke, all voted to schedule an MlS Steering Committee meeting for 2-10-98 at 1:30 P.M. Agenda items will include: Activity Update, County Web Site and lnternet Policy.

Jude moved to appoint Jim LaTour to the Parks Commission. Motion carried 5-0 on a second by Russek.

Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, introduced discussion on County Ditch #9. At the 1-20-98 meeting, the County Board moved to table the issue until the City of Albertville met with the developer to address concerns. The Board referred discussion to a time when a signed maintenance agreement was received from the City and agreements with the landowners had been obtained by the developer. To date, three of the five landowners have signed agreements. Signature has not been obtained from one of the properties as the owner is in Florida. Signatures also have not been obtained for the last property on the ditch closest to CR 119.

Asleson said the Albertville City Council considered and approved the Joint Powers Agreement. He said the landowners upstream are concerned with flooding and taking care of the spoils so they can farm. He requested the Board consider this matter and possibly authorize clean out where approval from landowners has been obtained. Rose indicated that another landowner on the other side of CR 119 is interested in clean out, but she is not sure if Pilot would agree to this. The agreement for clean out by Pilot specifies a 50' easement on either side of the ditch. Asleson said the most recent records of the County Auditor reflect that 61%-62% of land area assessed for County Ditch #9 is in the City of Albertville, with benefits or costs assessed to that portion reflected at 91%.

Sawatzke questioned the last sentence of ltem #3 of the Joint Powers Agreement covering downstream repairs, "For any such repairs with an estimated cost of more than $5,000, the County shall give notice to the City and gain approval of the City Council prior to commencing said repair." Asleson responded that in case of emergency repair, it would happen anyway. This would give the City fair notice of repair. Asleson also thought that if landowners were supportive of repair, this would influence whether it was completed. Sawatzke responded that there could be a situation where landowners are not in favor of the repair. He did not feel the Board should give away their statutory authority of the ditch. Rose thought the section on indemnification would allow the County to dissolve the Agreement if necessary. Jude said he also was concerned with the City being able to veto repair when that authority lies with the County Board. Mattson said he did not want the clean out to affect others downstream. Asleson stated that the Joint Powers Agreement is for the purpose of sharing powers. The County is delegating for repair within the City. Asleson said the Joint Powers Agreement does not supersede the law. Russek said the Board is the ultimate ditch authority and should not lose control of that. He said he respected the City for their willingness to take on the challenge of that portion of the ditch. Asleson said the Albertville City Council will not meet for two weeks, and he said landowners are anxious for clean out. It was suggested that the word "recommendation" replace the word "approval" in the last sentence of ltem #3. Sawatzke moved to approve the Joint Powers Agreement with the noted change in the last sentence of Item #3, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Asleson said the other action which could be taken is approval of the clean out. Discussion followed on the effects of cleaning out the ditch and whether it could be accomplished without the 50' easement on those properties where signatures have not been obtained. Asleson said the County has the right and the obligation to repair the ditch. Rose indicated that there is not a drainage problem on the last property before CR 119, as is the case with the property owner on the other side of CR 119.

Due to the Employee Recognition Ceremony reception, the Board decided to recess at 10:58 A.M. They reconvened at 11:05 A.M.

Scott Dahlke, Meyer-Rohlin, said that Joseph Berning (last property before CR119) indicated that he feels the culvert under CR119 is undersized. lt has been confirmed that the culvert is smaller under CR119 than under CR118, but Dahlke understands that it would still function and would not create a bottleneck. Rose added that this has been the situation for longer than what can be tracked through Highway Department records. Dahlke added that the discharge rate is half of what it used to be. Russek moved to lay this issue over until next week and that all signatures should be obtained before the Board proceeds, seconded by Jude. Sawatzke questioned whether this should be laid over until all signatures are obtained. Russek said that if all signatures are obtained, County Ditch 119 could be placed onto the next Agenda if the request is submitted by Thursday. Asleson clarified that he petitioned this onto the Agenda today due to the action by the City and due to the requests by landowners.

Dahlke said they have not been able to reach one of the property owners as he is in Florida. Although a developer has an approved preliminary plat on file with the City for the property, the fee title is not in the developer's name. Dahlke said he did not feel the project should be delayed due to the last property owner not signing. He did not feel it would change the design of the upstream development. Dahlke said the ditch will not function as it should without clean out and did not feel the size of the culvert was an issue due to the discharge rate being reduced to half. Motion carried 4-1 with Rose casting the nay vote.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Mattson, all voted to schedule a Labor/Management Health lnsurance Committee Meeting for 2-6-98 at 9:00 A.M.

At the request of the County Attorney, the Board will go into closed session following the Personnel Committee Of The Whole meeting today.

Bills Approved

Albion Township 548.35

American Business Forms 435.72

American Health Care Supply 268.44

APEC Corporation 348.00

Asleson, Brian J. 135.75

AT&T 966.91

Barker, Bob, Co. 240.91

Beaudry Propane Inc. 1818.11

Becklund Home Health Care 609.00

Bowman Distribution 304.25

Carver Scott Educational Coop 350.00

Central Lock & Safe 386.59

Chatham Township 650.50

Clearwater Township 359.95

Cokato Township 371.80

Computer Systems Products 176.44

Corinna Township 1688.30

CT Farm & Country 110.38

Department of Public Safety 120.00

Dominos Pizza 108.90

Dziuk, John R. 738.90

ECM Publishers Inc. 165.60

Fire Alarm Service Co 2646.00

Franklin Township 3123.75

French Lake Township 410.95

GE Capital Info. Tech. Solutions 261.99

Heartland Acoustics 1855.35

Howard Lake, City of 1692.65

Maple Lake Township 637.50

Middleville Township 759.25

Monticello Township 998.20

Montrose, City of 911.25

Office Depot 914.98

Otsego, City of 1131.10

Performance Computer Forms 865.90

R&O Elevator Service 364.60

Reentry Services Inc 299.25

Rinke-Noonan 140.00

Rockford Township 1903.00

Rockford, City of 964.45

Schmitz, J.L., & Sons 126.49

Sharp Electronics 746.92

Simplex Time Recorder Co. 800.88

South Haven, City of 303.55

Southside Township 396.55

Star Tribune 291.50

Stephens, Walter F., Jr., Co. 326.69

Strategic Technologies Inc. 1500.00

Total Printing 223.65

United Parcel Service 133.29

Victor Township 711.00

Waverly, City of 352.45

West Publishing Company 733.37

Wright County Highway Dept. 711.46

Wright County Journal Press 169.35

Wright-Hennepin Electric 269.14

Zack's Inc. 419.08

41 claims under $100 $1,855.45

Total $40,853.79

The County Board meeting adjourned at 11:17 A.M.

Judie Rose, Chairperson

ATTEST: Richard W. Norman , County Coordinator

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