WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
NOVEMBER 15, 2011
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Sawatzke, Mattson, Russek, Thelen, and Eichelberg present.
The minutes of 11-08-11 were corrected as follows: Page 4, 1st paragraph, line 9, sentence should read, “She asked what made the Personnel Director tell Fingalson to stop” (Thelen). Russek moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda under the Aud./Treas. as follows: #3, “County Ditch 10” (Russek) and #4, “Claims Cutoff Deadline For 11-29-11 County Board Meeting” (Hiivala). Eichelberg moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Thelen, carried unanimously.
On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Mattson, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: L. Paumen, Aud./Treas.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented the October Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. He referenced Page 14, Dept 100, General Government, Line Item 5207, Market Value Credits. He said the State was going to pay $2,640,282 in Market Value Credits. By October, the County should have received the first half payment of $1,320,141; however, the County received $460,884.99. Hiivala said the County realizes this is a shortfall in the budget. The budgeted amount is $0. Hiivala said he will recognize how much the County is supposed to receive in market value credits and take that away from taxes. The State is taking away $1.8 million in 2011, and all of the Market Value Credit has been taken away in 2012. Information explaining the change in Market Value Credit is being sent out with property tax statements. The Wright County website will include additional information on the topic. Sawatzke referenced the editorial section of the West Sherburne Newspaper (Big Lake). The editorial was submitted by a legislator on the topic of property tax increases not having anything to do with the State, even though the State took away funding the Market Value Credit by 8%-9%. The article further reflects that counties or cities could lower taxes by 8%-9% and make the impact zero. Sawatzke said that could be a reasonable argument, but questioned why the State increased their budget by 12%. Sawatzke said if the State would have kept their increase at 5%-8%, there wouldn’t be a problem. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, stated the County’s budget increased by .66% for 2012. Sawatzke said the State’s budget increased by double digits for 2012, plus the State removed almost double digits in funding to counties. Between LGA and Homestead Credit Aid cuts, he thought those two things alone brought the reduction to double digits. Sawatzke said the County would have to realize about a 10% decrease in the County’s budget to obtain a zero increase in taxes, yet those types of statements are being made. Russek said the Minneapolis newspaper includes articles of what the Republicans have done wrong. Sawatzke said his intent is not to point fingers at the legislators but felt the articles should be reflective of what actually is happening. Eichelberg added that many services are mandated by the State as well. Mattson learned the Federal Government is looking at cutting back mandated funding. Many of the Human Services Department’s programs use Federal funding. Thelen has learned of a proposed bill for property tax relief. Sawatzke asked how much Wright County’s taxes would have been reduced if the County had received the same State funding as in the past. Hiivala said that in 2012, the levy is up because of debt service. The budget remained about the same but the operating levy decreased. Sawatzke said the overall levy would be down if the County received the same funding in 2012 as last year. When Thelen was first elected, she said the County Board met with local Legislators. She suggested a meeting with the same audience prior to the next budget session to address the County’s needs. Sawatzke suggested the Truth In Local Taxation Hearing which will be held at 6:00 PM on 11-29-11. The Legislators could be sent a special invitation. Mattson referenced the Guidelines, Dept. 107, Planning & Zoning, and inquired whether there should be a reduction realized in that budget because of the retirement of the Planning & Zoning Administrator in March, 2011. He stated that the overtime line item is up in Planning & Zoning and the workload has reduced. Hiivala said the Personnel line item has realized a reduction because of the difference in pay between Salkowski and Sean Riley, the current Planning & Zoning Administrator. Riley was promoted from within and the position vacated was never backfilled. Mattson had concern with overtime and the bottom line percentages of the department. Sawatzke said Richard Norman, County Coordinator, should send Riley a request to provide information on the source of overtime costs. Sawatzke said new construction, for the most part, is non-existent. He felt some of the overtime costs may be due to staffing at the Compost Facility on Saturdays. Russek said a recycling event recently occurred at the Compost Facility where staff worked extra hours. Sawatzke said the Board gave direction that any staff that worked at that event would receive an hour-for-hour credit of comp time and that there was to be no overtime incurred. Mattson moved to accept the October Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines. The motion was seconded by Eichelberg and carried 5-0.
An update was provided on County Ditch 10. Hiivala was contacted by Roy Marschel, one of the petitioners for work on Ditch 10, on scheduling a meeting with the petitioners. Marschel indicated that it will need to be determined what will be done with the outlet of Lake Emma. Lake Emma is not part of Ditch 10. Hiivala felt this is an area where the County will require expertise, possibly from both a ditch viewer and a ditch engineer. Hiivala said Ron Ringquist is not available until January. Russek was in contact with Kerry Saxton, SWCD. Saxton indicated that if the Ditch is extended through Twelve-Mile Creek, it will need to be engineered as it is considered an improvement request to the Ditch. The County would also have to prove the effects downstream all the way to the Crow River. Russek said a possible engineering firm would be Wenck Associates. Wenck works with the C.R.O.W. organization.
Hiivala plans to place on an upcoming Agenda discussion on retaining Kurt Deter for his legal opinion on ditch matters in general. Hiivala consulted with Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, who concurs that doing so may be a positive step for the County’s ditch systems. Deter would charge a $200/month retainer. Russek asked whether this cost is assessed back to the County ditches. Hiivala explained that it is. Sawatzke questioned whether it would be better to hire Deter when his services are needed instead of retaining him on a monthly basis. He asked what services are included in the $200/month figure. Hiivala said an example would be the constant contact the County would have with Deter. One issue before the County is the need to record ditch benefits against all property owners. Deter could assist in guiding the County. Hiivala said the ditch issues before the County Board this year have included the City of Delano, County Ditch 10, and Joint Ditch 14. He felt these would be examples of areas where an opinion could be obtained from Deter. Deter could be hired as needed but Hiivala felt it would be more expensive. Hiivala has asked Deter to draft a contract outlining services that would be provided.
Discussion resumed on how to proceed with County Ditch 10. Russek asked Mattson for his preference on scheduling a Ditch 10 meeting. Mattson said answers are needed on Lake Emma and the effects on those landowners downstream. Hiivala will contact the petitioners to let them know Ditch 10 was discussed today and that the recommendation is for the Board to seek an engineer’s advice prior to moving forward, delaying any repair. Russek questioned whether Hiivala will place the recommendation to hire an engineer on the 11-29-11 County Board Agenda. He asked whether Hiivala plans to invite Saxton to the meeting to provide information on what he feels is needed on the Ditch, including whether the outlet is going to be extended and what will be involved to do that. Russek stated the County will have to seek bids on redetermination of the Ditch because of the size of the project. Hiivala recommended contacting Wenck to obtain an estimate of preliminary engineering costs. He said the County is not asking them to come in and design the improvement to the Ditch. The scope needs to be determined, as well as the engineering cost. The viewers would be brought in for the redetermination. Hiivala recommended contacting Wenck to obtain an estimate of an engineer’s report (not necessarily an engineer’s service). Mattson moved to authorize Hiivala to contact Wenck and to place this on the 11-29-11 Agenda (or whenever he has the information available). The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0.
Sawatzke said that Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, sent an email to the Board on a private ditch repair by Collinwood Park (previously discussed by the Ways & Means Committee). The email reflects that Mattice was able to coordinate repair with financial participation by the property owners of $1,000. Mel Terning, the petitioner for repair, donated labor. Sawatzke asked that a report of what transpired be placed on an upcoming agenda so the repair is documented in the Board minutes. Part of the problem on this repair request was that documentation on the history of this Ditch was not available when this request came forward. That made it hard to determine responsibility, as it is a private ditch. Hiivala stated that a claim to Morris Excavating is included in the claims listing approved today and relates to that repair. A report will be included on an upcoming County Board agenda.
The County Board will not meet on 11-22-11 because of five Tuesdays in the month of November. Hiivala stated that he would like the claims cutoff for the 11-29-11 County Board Meeting to be set for 11-22-11 at 12:00 P.M. because of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Sawatzke moved to approve this recommendation, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Hiivala referenced a claim on Page 10, RT Vision, $23,475.09, for the first half payment on the timecard project. On a motion by Eichelberg, second by Thelen, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Virgil Hawkins, Assistant Highway Engineer, presented a resolution to advance encumber $1,066,000 in State Aid Highway Funds for the 2012 construction season. MnDOT requires the resolution in order to advance the funds. Thelen moved to adopt Resolution #11-50, seconded by Eichelberg, carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Hawkins presented a resolution approving Agency Agreement/DCP Agreement with MnDOT. The Agreement allows MnDOT to act as the County’s agent in accepting federal aid and is intended to cover all federally-funded projects that the County is awarded funds for while the Agreement is in effect. This Agreement supersedes the Agreement entered into in 2003. Mattson stated that the 5-Year Plan reflects the CSAH 75 project in 2012, not 2013. Hawkins took note that the Plan needs to reflect 2013. Thelen moved to adopt Resolution #11-51, seconded by Mattson. Mattson said he told the Mayor that the project would be completed in 2012. He found out later that this would be delayed to 2013 because of Federal funding. Hawkins said they had hoped to move that project up to 2012 if there were extra Federal dollars available. They were informed by MnDOT District 3 additional funding was not available so the project will be completed in 2013. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Mattson moved to authorize attendance at the MnDOT Collaborative Corridor Workshop on 12-12-11 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Park. The meeting is entitled “A New Approach to Corridor Collaboration Minnesota Highway Investment Plan Update 2012-13.” The motion was seconded by Thelen and carried 5-0.
Mattson mentioned how well many of the area schools have done in sports this past year. Sawatzke said last week he announced the Monticello Girls Cross Country won the MN State High School League Championship. He said that same team competed last weekend in a Midwest championship and won. They will now compete in a National cross country event. The team was ranked 6th in the Country for high schools.
Russek extended thanks for all programs that were held in honor of Veterans Day on November 11th. He mentioned the program in Delano and the speaker, Wally Grotz. Grotz was a POW in Germany for 17 months.
A M Leonard Inc. 408.92
Albertville Body Shop Inc. 814.24
Allina Hospitals & Clinics 150.00
Allina Medical Laboratories 278.50
Ameripride Services 307.95
AMI Imaging Systems Inc. 950.00
Aramark Services Inc. 6,576.59
Asplin Travel Plaza/Kirk 111.86
Association of MN Counties 2,100.00
Black Box Resale Services 129.00
Boyer Truck Parts 9,866.82
Buffalo/City of 372,500.00
Center Point Energy 2,503.81
Centra Sota Cooperative - E 26,464.45
Chamberlain Oil Co. 3,842.58
Clearwater River Watershed 1,193.40
Clearwater Township 621.60
Climate Air 12,705.09
Cokato/City of 613.20
Community Lawn Care 260.87
Corporate Payment Systems 1,369.00
Cottens Inc. 1,116.58
Croteau Plumbing 302.78
Crow River Tools 100.44
Culligan of Buffalo 128.49
Deatons Mailing Systems Inc. 1,221.00
Design Electrical Contract 1,077.10
Elk River Municipal Utilities 103.18
Farm-Rite Equipment Inc. 30,727.63
Federal Licensing Inc. 110.00
Fibernet Monticello 359.80
Gopher State One Call 185.80
Gould Towing 106.88
Greenview Inc. 3,127.43
H&R Const. Co. 397.50
Help Systems IL LLC 851.54
Herald Journal Publishing 442.52
Hillyard Inc. - Minneapolis 179.55
Integrated Fire & Security 7,994.25
Interstate Battery Systems 277.77
Kustom Signals Inc. 185.56
Lawson Products Inc. 504.75
Lostetter/Carol H. 100.00
M-R Sign Company Inc. 10,274.17
Matt Legal Services 100.00
Minnesota CLE 245.00
Minnesota Monitoring 648.00
MN Sheriffs Association 553.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 199.04
Morris Excavating Inc. 4,229.41
North American Salt Co. 13,962.90
Office Depot 1,690.94
Ohio Calibration Laborator 105.00
Omann Brothers Inc. 339.33
ORyans Conoco 125.00
Public Safety Equipment LLC 2,235.00
Rolyan Buoys 913.78
Royal Tire Inc. 4,384.49
RTVision Inc. 23,475.09
Safelite Fulfillment Inc. 363.67
SHI International Corp 669.04
Silver Creek Township 1,055.80
St. Cloud Hospital 1,127.54
St. Croix Solutions 4,447.59
Times Media 395.00
Total Printing 537.58
Traffic Marking Service Inc. 1,235.33
Trimin Systems Inc. 3,915.60
Vance Brothers Inc. 2,097.15
Voss Lighting 177.05
Watchguard Electronic Ho 133.25
Woodland Hills 396.82
35 Payments less than $100 1,768.87
Final total $595,329.69
The meeting adjourned at 9:35 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Jan. 2, 2012.