Wright County Board Minutes

July 18, 2000

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

Eichelberg moved to approve the minutes of 7-11-00 as presented, seconded by Jude, carried unanimously.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Consent Agenda Item B4, "Tobacco License, Mallard's Cock'N Bull" (Gruber); Consent Agenda Item C2, "Accept Resignation, Hans Engstrom, Hwy. Technician II, Eff. 7-25-00 & Authorize Replacement" (Norman); Amend Item For Consideration #1 to include "Ways & Means Committee Minutes" (Norman); Item For Consideration #3, "Notice, AMC Leadership Retreat & Policy Committee Meetings" (Norman). Jude moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried unanimously.

On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:


1. Performance Appraisals: B. Aanerud, M. Palmquist, J. Zander, Aud./Treas.; T. Decker, Hwy.; M. Heaton, R. Helgeson, P. Mackie, T. Merwin, M. Tuttle, B. Williamson, Sheriff.

2. Refer Court Room No. 1 Repairs To Building Committee.

3. Acknowledge Resignation, Linda Schmatz, Office Assistant, Eff. 6-30-00 & Authorize Replacement.


1. Claim, Buetow & Assoc., $1,646.94 (Fund 34, Capital Projects) 5/3-6/30 Expenses.

2. Claim, Rochon Corporation, $26,340.09 (Fund 34, Capital Projects) Application #1.

3. Claim, Durdahl Construction, $73,800.00 (Fund 34, Capital Projects) Fairgrounds.

4. Tobacco License, Mallard's Cock'N Bull.



2. Accept Resignation, Hans Engstrom, Hwy. Technician II, Eff. 7-25-00 & Authorize Replacement.


1. Establish a Rural Planned Unit Development, Randall C. Johnson, The Forest of RCJ, Inc. (Rockford Twp.).


1. Acknowledge Hire, Charlene Flemming, Corrections Officer, Eff. 7-24-00 (Grade 5).

2. Acknowledge Appointment, Chad Torkelson, Deputy Sheriff, Eff. 7-24-00 (Grade 5).

Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director, presented a plaque to Dan Totushek and Jerry Quadl of Dan & Jerry's Greenhouse for their generous donation of flowers for the gardens at the Government Center. Dan & Jerry's Greenhouse has donated flowers for the past six years. The juvenile work crew plants the flowers and is supervised by Court Services staff.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, referenced State Demographer Census Information dated 7-5-00 reflecting total population of 87,779 in 1999 and 30,150 households in Wright County. This estimate is not part of the Official 2000 Census. Russek moved to accept the State Census information, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

An update was provided on County Ditch #38. Last Fall, the State Highway Department appeared before the County Board and requested and received permission to replace a tile under the ditch. Water on the South side of Hwy. 12 was two feet higher than the depth of the other side.

It was hoped that the water could drain through the winter months. The tube for drainage was installed but never opened. Gruber stated that as this area is designated as DNR waters, the tube legally should not have been installed without their approval.

The issue is at a standstill. Owners of the property on the north side (Duske) of the road are concerned with flooding of their pasture if the water is allowed to drain this summer. Bob Nibbe, District Hydraulics Engineer, said the bid letting for the Hwy. 12 project was scheduled for 4-28-00 but was delayed until 7-28-00.

When a backhoe was used in the area, Nibbe explained they could not find a competent piece of pipe so they did not complete the draining over the winter. The ditch flows across the pasture owned by Duske and ends in a pond by the trailer park, which is not reconnected to the tile line.

The contractor is scheduled to work with the water present but the State is seeking options to drain the water. They are looking for a direction to pump the water and will work with the County Auditor to certify a flood location. If permission is given to pump the water to a tile line, they would make sure that the water flows to the County ditch and not private property.

Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, said it is the County's responsibility to keep the ditch system in repair. The County Board could replace the tile line if it is broken. However, allowing water to drain on the south side of the road could upset wetland law or DNR rules. The Board could consider this as an improvement to an open ditch as opposed to a tile line.

Asleson said the Board should look toward a totally functioning system. Nibbe indicated that there are more than 100 acres of drainage on the south side that runs toward the highway with no way of getting rid of the water. This was provided as an informational item.

Gruber presented for approval a six-month contract for legislative services as part of the 2000 Utility Coalition Allotment. Wright County's portion is $1,786.80. Jude questioned whether this payment should be discussed as part of the budget process.

Sawatzke responded that the payment is funded from Professional Services and was budgeted in 2000. Sawatzke moved to approve the contract and expenditure of $1,786.80. Discussion of this expenditure in the future should be included as part of future budget meetings. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried 5-0.

The claims listing was reviewed. Jude questioned a claim on page 9 to Conestoga-Rovers & Associates ($3,549.57) for landfill review. Sawatzke responded that the County will be reimbursed by Superior Landfill for this expenditure as part of the permitting process for the partial horizontal expansion.

Mattson questioned a claim on page 13 to Best, Inc. ($148.40) for training. It was unclear as to what this claim was for. Sawatzke moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, with the exception of the claim to Best, Inc. on page 13 ($148.40). The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.

Janis Amatuzio, Wright County Coroner, presented the 1999 Report of the Coroner. Amatuzio summarized 1999 statistics in comparison to the previous three years.

In 1999, there were 238 total deaths (Natural 213; Accident 16; Suicide 7; Homicide 2; and Undetermined 0). The percentage of deaths is actually decreasing. The number of motor vehicle deaths is significantly decreasing. There was also a slight decrease in suicides and no deaths from SIDS. The number of hospice cases are increasing gradually due to the increase in the number of cancer cases.

The location of accidents did not indicate anything significant, but Amatuzio indicated they do expect to see more accidents in the Buffalo/Monticello area due to population. At the Board's request, Amatuzio has been observing the number of cremation requests as they were increasing.

A mini-investigation is required in all such cases. The number of requests declined from 109 in 1998 to 68 in 1999. A total of 35 autopsies were performed. Amatuzio stated she appreciated the working relationship she has with the offices of Attorney and Sheriff.

Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, distributed a summary of what has transpired and options for the Board to consider for the Lake Charlotte/Lake Martha Sewer Project.

A meeting is scheduled for tonight at 7:00 P.M., St. Michael City Hall, to potentially award the bids for the Lake Charlotte/St. Michael project. A negative declaration was given on the need for an EIS on the Hanover sewer line.

Asleson spoke with Bob Derus, City of St. Michael, who stated the City has to determine whether they will install an oversized pipe to accommodate future expansion. Derus indicated to Asleson that the $200,000 figure previously discussed would include pipe costs only. The actual figure including engineering, etc., is approximately $700,000. Residents in this area could explore annexation.

MPCA has the authority to order annexation but this procedure is rarely used. Russek said he has always understood that there would not be any problem with the pipe size to accommodate this area. Also, he understood that buildable lots would be assessed a trunk line charge. Fees for the pump and hook up would be assessed at the time of hook up.

Asleson reviewed statutes relating to the proposed Subordinate Service District (SSD). The SSD would provide a means by which the County could provide service to a particular area and is financed by revenues secured from the area where the service is provided.

Asleson outlined the steps which would need to be taken in the formation of an SSD, noting that the threshold is more stringent for townships than counties. Creation of an SSD can be by County Board resolution, by petition of 10% of qualified voters in an area proposed for the district, or by Township statute which allows creation only after a petition of 50% of property owners in the proposed district.

A petition by 5% of qualified voters is required for a referendum on the establishment of a district. Township statutes require 25% of property owners. If a majority of voters favor creation of the district, it is established. A petition of 10% of qualified voters can petition for election on the removal of the district or the County Board can withdraw an SSD with a 3-6 month notice. Township statutes would require a petition of 75% of property owners to remove a district.

Kevin Potter, Lake Martha Lake Association President, said his understanding was that the County Board approved a feasibility report to be completed by the St. Michael City Engineer. This action was subsequently placed on hold.

Potter felt this needed to be completed in order to determine costs and boundaries for the project. Jude responded that he also recalled that the pipe size was not supposed to be an issue and that more facts need to be presented due to the increased costs. Asleson stated that it appears the City would like to size the pipe to include both lakes.

In order to manage their risks, they have not bid their project in an effort to ascertain how many will appeal the Chapter 429 process. Tess Hanson, Lake Charlotte, said that there was some concern by the City's Attorney of contracting with the LID Board.

However, she understood that if there were a contract with the LID, it would be between the County and the City. She said the ultimate goal is to sewer both lakes and the immediate watershed. If any pipe space is available beyond that, she felt it should be reserved for the undeveloped shoreline.

Potter said the bid award for the project will be held at the end of the hearing tonight in St. Michael. He was unsure as to whether the bids included the enlarged pipe specifications. He felt that the City was looking for a commitment from the County before making their decision on pipe size.

Bob Halagen, Lake Martha, requested the Board take action to move toward having a meeting to determine boundaries. As a result of a meeting held one month ago, it was found there is a desire by many citizens to pursue annexation by St. Michael.

However, Rockford Township and the St. Michael City Council are not in favor of annexation. After that meeting, the Lake Associations and the LID met and agreed that the course of action would be to request that the County move to the point of holding a hearing on the SSD.

He thought that County staff and Lake Association representatives could work together to define the district, utilizing the information already completed by Rockford Township. He said the County needed to take action on holding a hearing, not necessarily on approving an SSD. He felt the County Board should hear from the citizens. Halagen felt action was imperative in light of the City potentially taken action this evening.

Tess Hanson requested that the Board, in making their decision, compare the Chapter 429 process to the SSD process. Jude responded that if a project were done through Chapter 429, this would expose the remainder of the County to costs associated with the project.

Under an SSD, all costs associated with improvements would be kept within that district. Jude stated that the County is moving forward with pursuit of a solution. He felt people wanted to put the County in the lead for the project but he felt it should be handled by the Township. He envisioned the County assisting the Township but not taking the lead.

After further discussion, Eichelberg moved to direct the Attorney's Office to schedule a meeting with the two Lake Associations, the City of St. Michael and their Engineer (if feasible after the St. Michael meeting tonight). The purpose will be to move forward with drawing boundaries for the District. The motion was seconded by Russek and carried unanimously.

Wayne Fingalson, Highway Engineer, presented for approval the 1999 Annual Report for the Highway Department. Mattson questioned the approximately $675,000 balance in accounts receivable on page 4.

Fingalson stated this represents receivables for projects which are not finalized and the funding may be received either in 2000 or 2001. Mattson questioned the approximate $660,000 in materials and supplies inventory. He thought this was excessive.

Fingalson responded this is due to the 75 squad cars and 230 pieces of equipment which must be maintained, but this inventory has been significantly reduced over the years. This issue will be discussed as part of the budget hearings in August. Jude moved to accept the 1999 Annual Report, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Fingalson said all permits have not been obtained for the CSAH 18 project (SAP 86-618-05). He requested the Board schedule a letting date for the project with the understanding that some of the work can be completed before all permits have been obtained.

A Technical Panel meeting with the SWCD, Army Corp of Engineers and the DNR is scheduled this afternoon to review some concerns they have with the design of the project. One issue is the shoulder width. Fingalson said to be consistent with what the County has established as a standard and for safe use of the road, he felt that 8' shoulders are needed. Due to wetlands in this area and the reduction in State shoulder width standards, the DNR has requested that the design be changed to 6' shoulders.

Fingalson referred to a letter from Dan Lais, DNR Area Hydrologist, which states further efforts to minimize the impacts (narrower shoulders and broken in slopes) may be necessary before a permit is issued. Fingalson said he did not see much value in the requested reduction of 4:1 slopes to 2:1 slopes near wetlands as this would only have a several foot impact on the wetlands.

He said State standards have a statement which identifies that issues such as safety, speed, farm equipment, environmental impacts, pedestrian traffic, etc., can be used to make a determination. Eichelberg moved to support the current policy of 8' shoulders due to the area being heavily used for walking, farming, biking, and trucking. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Jude. If the issue is not resolved at this afternoon's meeting, the LGU (County) would dictate a design and approval would be required from the State.

The Highway Department is 4 parcels away from completing the acquisition of ROW parcels. Fingalson anticipates 2-3 condemnation resolutions to be brought before the Board. He said if the Board proceeds with the recommendation to set a letting date, the language would be structured to identify those areas with wetland concerns.

Fingalson is confident that all permits can be obtained by Fall. He thought work on the relocation of the NSP transmission structure would be completed this fall, as well as clearing and grubbing (?) Sawatzke moved to schedule the bid letting date for 8-29-00 at 9:30 A.M., seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Jude, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the Relocation Agreement with NSP for the relocation of a large transmission line/structure (CSAH 18 project).

Doug Gruber brought forth an explanation of the claim questioned earlier in today's meeting in review of the claims listing. The claim to Best, Inc. ($148.40) was for brunch for the Community Policing Training held by the Sheriff's Department on 6-26-00 and 6-27-00. Russek moved to approve the claim, seconded by Jude, carried 5-0.

A Communications Committee meeting was held on 7-12-00. The following change was made to the minutes at today's meeting: Page 2, Item VI, MaSys Mobile Message Sending, last sentence will read, "It was suggested that this be purchased out of nuclear funds if possible." On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Jude, all voted to approve the minutes as corrected:

Building Contractor Request for Telephone On Fourth Floor. This issue was dropped from the agenda.

Digital Card Update. Swing requested that a digital card be added to the telephone system. Each card costs $1,300 and allows an additional sixteen telephones to be added before reaching capacity. The cost is distributed to departments based on usage. Recommendation: Approve purchase of the digital card for $1,300.

Telephone Billing Percentages. Swing explained that telephone usage was monitored during the first quarter of the year. This has not been done for several years and variances are evident. After discussion it was decided to run these quarterly reports for one year and make any necessary billing adjustments in the 2002 budget.

Request For ATM Installation. Kritzeck explained that this request is coming from the Employee Enhancement Committee. The machine would be located near the front entry, in the lobby area. A telephone line and electrical outlet are needed. The outlet is already available so the only thing needed is the dedicated telephone line.

The initial County costs would be covered by the Employee Enhancement Committee. The Committee reviewed the Site Location Agreement provided by QuickDraw ATM and questioned some of the language. It was decided to forward the Agreement to the County Attorney's Office. Recommendation: Approve allowing installation of the ATM once the Agreement has been reviewed by the County Attorney and approved by the County Board.

Cellular Telephone Issues Update. Swing explained the goals are to get an aggregate rate to help reduce costs, have County-wide coverage, and receive quick response to calls for service. CentCom is now providing service to the Public Works Building.

Fingalson stated they have three problems thus far. First, the coverage is not as good as they were told it would be. In many areas they have to use an external antenna. Second, they had problems with two of their fourteen telephones. These have been replaced. Third, billings do not give a breakdown by telephone. They only receive a total amount.

It was stated that Stearns County used a request-for-proposal process. Swing said he has a copy of the RFP. Recommendation: Develop an RFP for review by the Committee.

MaSys Mobile Message Sending. Thinesen presented quotes for sending a message to both logged in and logged out mobile units and for sending to specific units. Total cost if $2,575. Modifications to the MDT system will cost $6,700.

These changes can be funded out of the E911 account. He would also like to purchase a mobile dispatch unit at a cost of $5,872.63. It was suggested that this be purchased out of nuclear funds if possible. Recommendation: Approve requests.

A Deferred Compensation Committee meeting was held on 7-12-00. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Jude, all voted to approve the minutes as presented:

Request To Revise Plan. An employee has asked that the County make a stipulation in our 457 Plan Document that would allow employees to take money out of the Plan to help in purchasing a home.

Article 9.5, Unforeseeable Emergency, specifically excludes withdrawing money from the fund for this purpose. Norman stated that the last time the Plan was revised we hired the law firm of Rider, Bennett, Egan & Arundel. The Committee discussed several questions that need to be answered; including our future obligations or liabilities, and what current law and rules actually allow under 457 Plans.

It was the consensus that Gruber will contact Lee Bentz, VALIC, to see if he can answer some of our questions. The Committee will meet again on July 26th.

A Detention Facility Committee meeting was held on 7-12-00. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the minutes as presented:

Discuss Jail Options. Omtvedt explained that even though the County has a 93-bed facility the operating capacity is only 65 beds due to segregation requirements. Sentenced inmates on average comprise 24% of our daily population while non-sentenced inmates average 76%. Of the sentenced inmates, 75% are on work release.

Also, we have been averaging nine extra inmates every weekend due to weekend sentencing. It was stated that by double bunking eight beds could be added to the existing jail immediately. Thompson and Torfin didn't know if this would impact current staffing levels or not. If projections are accurate we need a 300-bed facility to meet the needs in 2025.

The Committee reviewed and discussed the five options outlined by Omtvedt. It was agreed that the Detention Facility Committee will meet again at 9:00 A.M., July 26, 2000. Recommendation: Install eight beds for double bunking as soon as possible.

A MIS Steering Committee meeting was held on 7-12-00. Jude moved to approve the minutes as presented, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0. A summary of the minutes follows:

An update was provided on the department activities. The following objectives were endorsed for budget year 2001: 1) Remote Access-Easy Access to County Systems from the Field; 2) Web Server Development; 3) Development of Geographic Information System Applications; 4) Teleconferencing; 5) Records Management; 6) Improved Network Management Capability.

Year 2001 Automation Goals included an emphasis on the need for application specialists and general computer expertise in County departments. The lead time for installs of computers and equipment is two months which could be managed with the use of part-time personnel funding.

It is proposed that $10,000 be budgeted for temporary personnel for this purpose. Cost estimates for wiring of the entire Government Center have been presented to the Building Committee. The first phase includes the Annex 4th floor, the Coordinator's department and build out of the fiber backbone.

The second phase includes the area vacated by Attorney and Court Services, and the offices of Court Administration and Sheriff. The remaining wiring of the Annex will be coordinated with renovation projects. The GIS Committee minutes of 7-12-00 were also reviewed.

A Ways & Means Committee meeting was held on 7-12-00. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the minutes as presented:

Personnel Board Of Appeals Vacancy. The Committee reviewed the seven resumes submitted by individuals in response to our advertisement. Based on the analysis of resumes submitted the Committee recommends that Connie Lounsbury be appointed to a three-year term, July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2003.

Richard Norman, County Coordinator, presented a proposed Budget Committee Of The Whole schedule. A change was made to the proposed schedule, electing to schedule a meeting on August 16th instead of August 21st. On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Eichelberg, all voted to schedule Budget Committee Of The Whole meetings on the following dates: 8-1-00, 8-8-00, 8-14-00, 8-15-00, 8-16-00, 8-22-00, 8-28-00, 8-29-00. It is anticipated that the draft budget and draft certified levy will be set at the 9-12-00 County Board meeting.

Norman referenced correspondence received on the AMC Leadership Retreat and Policy Committee Meetings being held August 9-11, 2000 in Detroit Lakes. The registration deadline is 7-28-00.

Bills Approved

Brian Abrahamson 223.20

Albertville Body & Fender 330.95

Allina Hospitals & Clinic 225.00

American Institutional Supply 618.25

Ancom Technical Center 687.81

Annandale Advocate 254.50

AT & T 5183.92

Bob Barker Co 277.84

Barthel Auto Body 208.57

Benton County Treasurer 3277.50

Best Inc 148.40

Betmar Languages Inc 848.99

Bowman Distribution 308.93

Buetow and Associates Inc 1646.94

Buffalo Bituminous 138173.81

Buffalo Collision Repair Inc 705.03

Buffalo Drug 772.89

City Buffalo 31243.04

Bureau of Criminal Apprehensn 180.00

Tim Cameron 125.00

Casper Systems 102.03

Central Glass 838.23

Kevin Christenson 300.00

Cintas-428 220.36

Climate Air 318.52

Conestoga-Rovers Associates 3549.57

CPS Technology Solutions 260.50

Franklin Denn 438.44

Department of Public Safety 120.00

Derson Manufacturing Inc 244.95

Doyle Equipment Inc 333.53

Durdahl Construction 73800.00

John Dziuk 333.40

Enterprise & Dispatch 244.00

G & K Services 1321.28

Gall's Inc 317.98

GE Capital Info Tech Solutions 204.20

GISRDC 3450.00

Going Under Dive Center 118.21

W Grainger Inc 447.46

Great River Energy 7316.93

Grinnell Fire Protection Systems 150.00

H & H Sport Shop 643.98

Thomas Hanson DDS 205.00

Holiday 1652.26

Holt Motors Inc 428.01

Interstate Batteries 144.73

J Craft Inc 302.20

Chris Jahnke 237.15

Johnston Fargo Culvert Inc 7540.12

Keepers Inc. Inc 707.92

Kenneth Kremer 300.00

Lake Region Coop Oil 37746.22

Laplant Demo Inc 793.00

Lawson Products, Inc 435.83

Lee's Farm & Garden Store 100.30

Loberg Electric 1697.44

Loberg Plumbing & Heating 279.13

Loffler Business Systems Inc 337.22

Marco Business Products 1627.43

Mark's Hitech 144.00

Marks Standard Parts 2056.71

McLeod County Treasurer 856.27

The Metro Groups Inc 5409.24

Midway Iron & Metal Co Inc 915.59

Minnesota State Bar Ass'n 163.00

Minnesota Supply Company 260.35

MN Resort Association 520.00

Mobile Vision 10020.00

Morries Buffalo Ford Mercury 101.37

MTI Distributing Inc 106.91

Norstan 140.13

Troy O'Brien 6407.00

Office Depot 2716.20

On Site Monitoring 1161.00

Pagenet 1036.09

Pats 66 217.00

Dave Peterson Monticello Ford 479.64

Anthony Rasmuson 104.16

Ray Allen MFG Co Inc 329.95

Redstone Constructn Co Inc 345832.72

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 404.19

Rochon Corporation 26340.09

Rons Ice 314.77

Royal Tire-St. Cloud 2834.56

Marvin Scherber 11595.50

Schraders Law Enforcemt Sup 2249.01

City St. Michael 752.50

Stoffel Seals Corporation 274.80

Superior FCR Landfill 179.63

Superior Service - Central MN 726.50

Total Printing 337.50

Uniforms Unlimited 164.62

University of Minnesota 360.00

Unlimited Electric Inc 136.09

US West Communications 425.09

Carol Vander Kooi 4861.13

Verizon Wireless 102.40

Viking Coca Cola Bottling Co 289.75

Walmart Store 01-1577 162.47

Wayne's Small Engine 1000.00

Wessman Oil Co 117.20

Wheeler Lumber Operations 212.53

Wright County Highway Dept 2207.79

Wright County Human Services 830.06

Wright Hennepin Electric 2056.40

Zack's Inc 2536.61

52 payments less than $100 2,343.03

FINAL TOTAL $777,839.65

The meeting adjourned at 11:24 A.M.

Dick Mattson, Chairperson

ATTEST: Richard Norman, County Coordinator

Return to Wright County Menu | Return to Government Table of Contents

Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
Stories | Columns | Classifieds | Obituaries
Community Guides | Special Topics | Cool Stuff | Search | Home Page