Wright County Board Minutes

Sept. 26, 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 9-19-00 as presented, seconded by Russek, carried unanimously.

Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #5, "Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting With Doug Malchow On 10-3-00" (Norman); Item For Consid. #6, "Schedule Detention Facility Committee Meeting" (Norman). Jude moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Petitions were accepted to the Consent Agenda as follows: Item E1, "Auditor/Treasurer, Approve Rehire, Delores Westphal, Office Assistant, Eff. 10-2-00 (Step 4)." On a motion by Russek, second by Jude, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda as amended:


1. Performance Appraisals: C. Hayes, Admin.; A. Rasmussen, Appraiser; J. Klein, P&Z.

2. Claim, Frank Madden, $914.05.

3. Approve Contract/Authorize Signatures, E.M. Branstrom Assoc. Arch., Collinwood Comfort Station.

4. Designate Harassment Prevention Training As Mandatory For All Employees, October 24 & 25, 2000.

5. Refer To Ways & Means Committee Discussion RE: Ordinance Procedures & Codification.


1. Authorize Hire, Sara Kuhn, Case Intake Deputy, Eff. 9-27-00 (Class C, Step 3).


1. Refer Severance Package For Recorder To Personnel Committee.


1. Acknowledge Hire, Paul Jude, Corrections Officer, Eff. 10-2-00 (Grade 5).


1. Approve Rehire, Delores Westphal, Office Assistant, Eff. 10-2-00 (Step 4).

Retirement plaques were presented to Marcia Lantto, County Recorder, and Robert Merrill, Deputy. Lantto was honored for her dedicated service for the period of 1966 to 2000. Lantto was elected as County Recorder in 1974. Lantto said many of the County offices revolve around documents filed in their office and being the Recorder is an honor and responsibility which she took seriously. Sheriff Gary Miller spoke highly of Robert Merrill for his 20 years of service (1980-2000) as a Deputy. Miller stated that Deputies are the backbone of the division and that Merrill was highly respected by his peers. Both were thanked for their years of service.

Doug Gruber, Auditor/Treasurer, said this is the second year that Legislation has required counties to pass a resolution relating to the levy certification tax rate. The resolution must be adopted if more tax dollars are being levied compared to the previous year. Russek moved to set a public hearing for 9:05 A.M. on 10-3-00 to pass the resolution regarding property taxes, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Gruber requested approval of a request from the City of Annandale to waive the 30-day comment period for TIF District #10 in Annandale. Jude moved to approve the request, seconded by Eichelberg. Sawatzke noted that the Board did not have any documentation to support the request and asked for clarification. Mary Degiovanni, Annandale City Administrator, explained that TIF District #10 is approximately 2 acres and is located in the new Annandale Business Park (east end). The business will be a food manufacturing facility (approximately 10,000 feet). Groundbreaking is planned for the Fall of 2000. A public hearing will be held in Annandale next Monday. The motion carried 5-0.

The claims listing was reviewed. Mattson questioned claims on page 2 to Buffalo Hospital for two inmates ($730.25). He suggested that the County consider implementing a fee to inmates for meals served. Sawatzke moved to direct the Coordinator to work with the Jail Administrator on providing an outline of fees charged as opposed to those charged by other counties and also what is provided by statute. The motion was seconded by Jude and carried 5-0. On a motion by Russek, second by Eichelberg, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.

Genell Reese, Veterans Service, requested the Board proceed with discussions on the potential of a Veterans Van. She distributed material listing the other counties in Minnesota which have vans. Reese stated that in the past, many of the WWII Veterans did volunteer driving to the VA Hospital. These individuals are now requesting rides and having problems with finding volunteer drivers.

The increase in Wright County requests is due to the growth of the County. In researching other counties, most of the vans have been purchased by the American Legion posts in their area. Jude moved to establish a committee for the purpose of meeting with the Wright County American Legion posts to discuss the potential of purchasing a Veterans Van. Reese will establish a time and date in November and notify the American Legion Posts. Eichelberg and Jude were appointed to this committee. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.

Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said that a bid opening for the Collinwood Park Comfort Station was originally scheduled for today. Due to specification changes in the bidding documents, the Architect requested that the bid opening be rescheduled until 10-3-00 at 9:30 A.M. The legal notice with the corrected bid opening date was run in the 9-25-00 Howard Lake Herald newspaper.

Also, all potential bidders had been notified of the change. Upon checking State Statutes, Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, found that there is a three-week public notice requirement for construction projects and that the procedure followed was adequate. Jude moved to reestablish the Collinwood Park Comfort Station bid opening date for 10-3-00 at 9:30 A.M., seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.

Mattice reviewed the 9-19-00 Parks Commission minutes and recommendations. A summary follows. A special Parks Commission meeting was held to view the trails within the Stanley Eddy Park. The Lake Maria State Park Manager was invited to assist with questions and provide information.

At their regular meeting, the Parks Commission voted to approve accepting only walk-in camping reservations from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on the first day of reservations; and that after 10:00 a.m. on the first day of reservations, both phone and walk-in reservations will be accepted; and that this policy will be reviewed after one year. Mattice discussed with the MN DNR improving access points to the North Fork of the Crow River. Prior to construction, a biological survey should be reviewed for impact. The Parks Commission voted to proceed with the location option and agreements with the MN DNR. A Park Activity Report was also given. At today's County Board meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes and recommendations, seconded by Russek, carried 5-0.

Tom Salkowski, Planning & Zoning Administrator, brought forth for approval a "License to Operate a Sanitary Landfill-Demolition Landfill" for Superior FCR Landfill, Inc. Copies of the following were provided for Board review: The proposed license, 5-1-98 correspondence with Superior Landfill relating to license requirements, Conestoga-Rovers Review of Superior's Permit Application dated 6-22-00, Barr Engineering's response to County questions raised in 6-23-00 correspondence, MPCA correspondence to Superior Landfill on 9-6-00, and 9-12-00 correspondence from Barr Engineering in response to the 9-6-00 Comment Letter.

Salkowski said the Board is not reviewing rezoning for the landfill as it is not a new district. The proposed license is for an approximate 200' expansion out to the edge of the existing Waste Handling District. Extensive plans had been submitted by Superior Landfill and reviewed by CRA (the County's consultant). Salkowski said the application is complete and recommended that the County Board grant the license for Superior Landfill.

Eichelberg stated that according to the Planning & Zoning Administrator, everything was in place to grant the license. He understood there were a few exceptions which still needed to be dealt with. On that premise, he moved to approve the request, seconded by Jude. Sawatzke said that he felt it would be more appropriate to take action after receiving public comment.

John Pederson, resident on CR 37, asked the Board to deny the license based upon the fact that he felt Superior was an unfit operator of the facility and referenced violations which had occurred. In the Spring and Summer of 1998, the MPCA documented violations at the landfill which resulted in a stipulation agreement and a $7600 fine.

In April 1998, the MPCA followed up with a letter relating to grading and intermittent cover. On May 1, 1999, there was a Stipulation Agreement drafted for the violations in the Summer of 1998. On September 30, 1999, four additional violations were cited by MPCA resulting in $29,500 in fines. On November 23, 1999, Superior signed a two-year Stipulation Agreement. The citizens recorded two more violations in December, 1999 relating to improper signing at the landfill and illegal dumping which occurred on 12-15-00. This resulted in a letter of warning from the MPCA.

Pederson stated that at a meeting which occurred on 9-25-00, the MPCA indicated that Superior Landfill would be receiving another letter of warning relating to MSW which was allowed to be dumped during the Summer of 2000. He said that Superior Landfill has approximately $40,000 in fines during the last 18 months. Pederson contacted the MPCA public information office for a summary of solid waste violations in the State of MN for 1999. This summary indicated that Superior Landfill was the second most fined landfill in the State.

Pederson stated that at the meeting on 9-25-00, the MPCA made reference to the steps taken by the landfill relative to extensive wind requirements, litter control requirements and quarterly community meetings at the landfill. Pederson felt that these requirements were a result of Superior's inability to respond to the community and were requirements made by the MPCA.

The MPCA has asked that Wright County citizens contact three places with complaints: Superior Landfill's hotline, Wright County and the MPCA. Up until the Citizens Board meeting last September, Wright County confirmed 42% of the violations. Pederson complimented the County for their efforts as many of these instances occurred after working hours.

He stated that at the 9-25-00 meeting, the MPCA cited 38 complaints dealing with odor, noise and litter. Pederson referenced the 17 letters of support received by the MPCA last November relating to the vertical expansion. He said one was from Anoka County as they did not want the refuse coming to their county; one was from a person who would not return phone calls to Pederson; thirteen came from Superior employees and their spouses or the families of the former landfill owner; and two came from people who did not exist.

At the 9-25-00 meeting, Pederson said Superior Landfill stated they hoped to settle the current litigation with Wright County out of court. For the first time, Superior indicated their company had a lot to lose. Pederson said the MPCA indicated they would not approve the license until the lawsuit was settled. Pederson's recommendation was not to approve the horizontal expansion and believed the MPCA would back up the County if the license were denied today.

Stan Held, a resident of 50th Street NE, said that since the change of venue of control by the MPCA to St. Paul, actions have been more direct and more in the interest of the operators and the County. Held felt the MPCA has been more responsive in enforcement due to the efforts of the County Board and citizen groups.

He did not feel there was a reason to rush approval of the permitting process and that it should be reviewed during the pending litigation, as the operators are under a Stipulation Agreement until November, 2001. Held said the MPCA assured they will back up the actions of the County and would not be likely to approve the permit unless the County was in concurrence. Held said that capacity is not an issue at this time and the project has the potential to infringe on the rights of County citizens. He requested the Board consider denial of the permit at this time and to possibly consider it at a later time due to the lack of urgency.

Rod McGillivray, Superior Landfill, said that the application for the license has met all the County zoning requirements. Referencing the 9-25-00 meeting, he said the MPCA was ready to issue the permit as all State requirements had been met and that the MPCA said nothing in relation to the pending litigation being settled. He also said the MPCA indicated they will not issue the license until the County does, but that the MPCA is required to issue the license within a set amount of days after they receive the application.

McGillivray said the MPCA mentioned the improvements the landfill has made, the landfill's efforts to address the concerns of the neighbors and the 38 complaints, and the operator being in compliance. In relation to the complaints, the MPCA said that many of them related to odors and that multiple calls could relate to the same complaint. McGillivray thought it was unlikely that some of the odor complaints were from the landfill due to the wind direction.

Regarding Pederson's accusation that two of the letters of support of the expansion were from people who did not exist, he stated that he resented that comment as he knew this was untrue. He asked the Board to issue the license as Superior Landfill has met all of the requirements and addressed the County's comments on the license application.

Sawatzke referenced the violations, fines and complaints discussed along with McGillivray's statement that Superior has met all of the requirements set by the County. Sawatzke questioned Mike Drysdale, Attorney for Superior Landfill, on whether this decision was a legislative question where the County had the ability to use its discretion or whether it was a licensing decision whereby Superior has met the requirements of the County.

Drysdale responded that the application was for a permitted use as per certain conditions specified in the zoning ordinance. CRA, the outside contractor hired by the County, reviewed the permit application and found compliance. He said Superior Landfill takes seriously their operational conditions and is the most extensively inspected landfill in the State, adding that the compliance record by the Landfill relating to the Stipulation Agreement has been excellent.

The Stipulation Agreement will continue as specified. If the County or MPCA feels Superior is not performing as they should after the permit is issued, they would have ample recourse. As a permitted use, he said the Board's discretion is limited to the terms of the ordinance and that Superior has complied with those terms.

Tom Zins, Assistant County Attorney, said County staff has reviewed the application and concurs with Drysdale that it is a permitted use. If Superior meets the criteria of the ordinance, which they have claimed to do, the Board is limited to that discretion at this point. It is the recommendation of staff and the Attorney's Office that the license is granted on that basis. He was unsure whether the numerous violations would hold this request hostage to denial of the permit as they are two separate types of issues. If the application meets the criteria of the ordinance permitted within the waste handling zone Superior has the right to expansion up to the line, given the recent court opinion.

In response to concerns voiced by Mattson relating to inspection of materials delivered to the landfill, Zins said this is difficult to monitor what is going into a landfill and would be hard to certify this is being done in all instances. Mattson referenced the MPCA's requirement of relocating probes (letter from Mike Lynn dated 9-6-00).

Salkowski said that in a separate portion of the report, Barr Engineering did supply the new locations of the probes to the MPCA. In regard to waste delivered to the landfill, he felt Superior could provide information supporting monitoring of waste. There is a procedure set forth on paper and in operations for Superior's own benefit. Jude stated that it is hard to monitor what the general public delivers at all times, even when hand sorting is used. Sawatzke said there were four examples of significant amounts of waste being accepted which should not have been, and thought there could be other instances where this happened which they were unaware of.

Mike Stevens, resident on CSAH 35, supported the approval of the expansion request. Stevens is an environmental contractor. He felt that it was ridiculous to put a company out of business due to the $40,000 in fines, especially when Superior is a business which the public must use. He referenced the Compost Facility and their acceptance of batteries which ruined a compost product.

He said Superior landfill is the cleanest landfill he has ever seen. As an environmental contractor, Stevens is a person who must respond to clean up situations. He questioned where the material would be delivered if these types of facilities are eliminated. Mattson referenced the area West of CSAH 12 and whether the water would test perfectly if houses were built there. Stevens responded affirmatively. He said they have tested water in the area and have drilled a number of wells. He said most of the issues the Board is worried about do not relate to environmental concerns and that concerns related more to whether houses could be built.

Michael Goodale, resident of 44th St., uses the landfill several times a day while hauling demo and construction materials. He said it is not in the best interest of the haulers to try to deliver unacceptable material to the landfill due to the rejection of the load and subsequent reports to the State. He felt that the public is more concerned and aware not to deliver unacceptable materials than in the past. Goodale did not feel Superior Landfill would allow this type of activity as they would not want to lose their license. He felt Superior was doing a good job of operating and inspecting.

Jude received correspondence in February, 2000 from John Elks, MPCA hydrologist, in response to questions Jude raised on ground water conditions. The letter states that there is no indication of any leakage of leachate from the lined portion of the facility; however the liners are not required to be 100% efficient.

The letter further states that the monitoring system at the Superior FCR Landfill currently meets all MN rule requirements and that current graphs indicate that ground water contamination is decreasing. Jude said that he also asked about the old cell, which does not have a liner, and was informed that it is not contaminating.

However, adjacent landowners have not allowed monitoring on their properties. Jude said that the wells are being monitored and that people are reacting on fear. He said people know of surrounding land uses when they build homes and that these uses are not always popular but must exist. If the landfill is meeting the criteria and operating legally, even though fines are incurred, he said the permit should be granted.

He said that everyone must be treated the same if they are meeting the criteria of the law. Russek supported the recommendation of staff. Sawatzke said he would support the motion because Superior is meeting the requirements set by the County, despite the fact that they continue to violate rules by the MPCA, the problems associated with odor and litter, and environmental concerns.

He has concerns with the landfill, both short and long term. Sawatzke felt it was unfortunate that since Superior meets the requirements, the Board had little choice but to approve the request. Mattson said he had the same concerns as Sawatzke. In regard to comments made about putting Superior Landfill out of business, Mattson did not feel this would happen as the landfill owned in Wright County was a minute portion of Superior's overall business. The motion carried 5-0.

Brian Asleson, Assistant County Attorney, referenced the MN Federated Humane Societies billing laid over from the last meeting. The bill relates to costs associated with care and feeding of a buffalo herd due to a recent court case involving animal neglect charges. Asleson said the bill reviewed at the last meeting was not the final bill.

Per court proceedings on 9-25-00, the owner has regained control of the buffalo dependent upon a list of criteria he must follow. Wright County will be monitoring the situation over the next year and the civil and criminal cases will continue for that time period. At the recommendation of Asleson, Russek moved to lay this issue over to obtain the final billing. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. Russek felt the owner of the buffalo herd should be responsible for the bill, not the County taxpayers. The motion carried 5-0.

On a motion by Jude, second by Sawatzke, all voted to schedule a Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting on 10-10-00 at 10:30 A.M. to continue discussion on the Fees For Service Schedule.

Russek moved to adopt Resolution #00-42 approving the State of MN Veterans Service Office Grant for $6000.00. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.

On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Jude, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #00-43 for the CSAH 14 Bridge Project. The resolution is required to obtain a grant from the MN State Transportation Fund.

Richard Norman, County Coordinator, requested that a meeting be scheduled with Doug Malchow, University of MN Extension Service. The purpose will be to discuss the Community Vision Meeting in Delano and to discuss current and future activities. Russek moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole meeting on 10-3-00 at 10:30 A.M., seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.

On a motion by Sawatzke, second by Russek, all voted that the Detention Facility discuss at their next regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the intercom and facility controls in the Jail.

Bills Approved

Acme Window Cleaning Co 1437.75

Agro Distribution 3986.58

Albertville Body Shop Inc 1336.22

Allina Health Systems 154.00

AMI Imaging Systems Inc 12390.85

Ancom Technical Center 665.36

Assn of Minnesota Counties 180.00

AT & T 4478.67

Bob Barker Co 245.93

Best Inc 10629.47

Boyer Trucks 121696.00

Buffalo Hospital 6312.50

Buffalo Hospital ­ Otpt Commeci 730.25

Catholic Charities 15728.28

CDW Government Inc 624.45

Central Lock & Safe 241.50

Central MN Mental Health Cntr 220.00

Computer Training Internationl 422.50

Conestoga-Rovers & Assoc. 6266.19

Decorative Designs Inc 175.53

John Dziuk 122.40

Election Systems & Software 10474.90

Engineering Repro Systems 295.43

Bridget Falbo 380.00

Finance and Commerce 175.00

Glock, Inc 924.42

Greenview Inc 14620.06

Virgil Hawkins 104.00

Hickory Tech Enterprise Soluti 1400.57

Hickorytech 642.31

Interstate Bearing 109.87

Chris Jahnke 440.38

Klatt True Value Electric 278.51

James Koch PH D 1080.00

Lathrop Paint 147.71

Loberg Plumbing & Heating Co 111.64

Magnetic North Education & Tra 1220.85

Maple Lake Messenger 221.84

Marco Business Products 2009.33

Mariposa Publishing 101.18

The Metro Group Inc 4484.29

Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc 17641.59

Minneapolis Medical Research F 450.00

Minnesota Corrections Assn 105.00

MN Assn of Assessing Officers 260.00

MN Counties Computer Co-Op 2953.60

Monticello Times 112.77

Mumford Sanitation 140.03

Northern States Power Company 918.71

Office Depot 1779.88

Omann Brothers Inc 5459.95

On Site Monitoring 495.00

Performance Office Papers 162.71

Plasticard 7653.00

Professional Portable Xray Inc 600.00

Reliant Energy Minnegasco 514.39

Rinke-Noonan 1028.83

Roche Diagnostic Systems 500.00

Rons Ice 448.00

Jack Russek 169.88

Snap-On Industrial 271.93

St. Cloud Times 587.20

St. Michael Veterinary Clinic 162.67

Star Tribune 420.00

State of MN Intertech Group 431.35

Superior Service - Central MN 726.50

Total Printing 258.90

Traffic Marking Service Inc 51475.66

Trimin Systems Inc 8861.55

Uniforms Unlimited 424.36

US West Communications 825.07

Carol Vander Kooi 3679.00

A Weege Construction Inc 2348.00

West Group Payment Center 105.28

Willow Creek Concrete Prod 442.18

Wright Hennepin Electric 711.29

33 payments less than $100 1,293.69

FINAL TOTAL $341,684.69

The meeting adjourned at 10:41 A.M.

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