WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
FEBRUARY 12, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
The minutes of 2-05-13 were corrected as follows: Pages 2 and 3, change references from “the Lake Association” to “the Homeowner’s Association” (Sawatzke). Daleiden moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Item For Consid. #3, “Board of Appeal & Equalization Training Catch Up Course in Stearns County, 2-20-13” (Potter); Item For Consid. #4, “Wright County Economic Development Partnership Appointment” (Potter). Potter moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
The Consent Agenda was discussed. Daleiden requested the removal of Item E1, “Approve Motorola Services Agreement For 800 MHz Radio Infrastructure, Contract #S00001017889, 2-01-13 To 2-28-14.” On a motion by Husom, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the remainder of the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: S. Harmsen, Sher./Corr.
2. O/T Report, Period Ending 2-02-13.
3. Authorize AMC Delegates To Attend Local Government Legislative Conference, March 20-21, 2013.
4. Schedule Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting, 8:30 A.M., 2-19-13 RE: Human Resources Director Position.
1. Reschedule Closed Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting For 2-20-13 @ 3:00 P.M.
2. Authorize Board Chair Signature On Retainer Agreement with Dyan Ebert, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A.
1. Approve Renewal Of 2013 Tobacco License For Little Duke’s (City of Clearwater).
1. Appointments To The Extension Committee:
a. Appoint Julie Peil As Potter’s District 4 Representative, Three-Year Term, 1-01-13 To 12-31-15.
b. Appoint August Otto As The Youth Member, Supported By Potter, Two-Year Term, 9-01-12 To 8-31-14.
1. Parks Department 2012 Annual Report.
Item E.1, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, “Approve Motorola Services Agreement For 800 MHz Radio Infrastructure, Contract #S00001017889, 2-01-13 To 2-28-14” was discussed. Daleiden asked whether this relates to equipment used by the Sheriff’s Office. He said the bill is for 41 stations and 7 remotes. Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, stated this Agreement is handled through Bill Swing, Information Technology, and relates to the 800 MHz infrastructure split between the offices of Sheriff and Public Works. Sawatzke said outside entities are involved including fire and police departments. Local cities and townships pay the County a $75 fee per radio. He said this arrangement has been in existence for about four years. Sawatzke said the 800 MHz System is very expensive. This is a quarterly billing for the radio maintenance. There are also separate costs involved with towers and other expenses. Hiivala said the 800 MHz System expenses and revenues have been moved to a specific line item in the Dept. 100 Budget for tracking purposes. Sawatzke feels there may also be software upgrades that are necessary. Lt. Hoffman agreed and stated Dispatch is going through upgrades at this time. Daleiden moved to approve the Motorola Services Agreement for the 800 MHz Radio Infrastructure, 2-01-13 to 2-28-14. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
Hiivala requested the Board schedule a Ditch Committee Of The Whole Meeting to discuss Ditch Modernization. Wright County was awarded a $52,747 grant in 2011 for modernizing ditch records. Wright County recently was approved for an extension of time to spend the grant funds. The recommendation from Hiivala, Kerry Saxton (SWCD), and Steve Jobe, Surveyor, is to proceed with a product by Houston Engineering. Hiivala said it is the intent to provide at the COTW Meeting an introduction on modernizing the ditch records. Houston Engineering will make a presentation at that Meeting. Borrell asked whether there are other vendor proposals for comparison to the Houston Engineering product. Hiivala said there are not many vendors who can provide this service. An alternative is to develop this in-house. If that is done, a firm named Beacon has indicated they would be interested in assisting with that. Hiivala said when the State released grant dollars, Houston Engineering was chosen by many counties. Borrell said many companies have monthly or maintenance fees. He thought there may be an economic advantage to purchasing a product and the County maintaining it. Husom moved to schedule a Ditch COTW Meeting for 2-26-13 at 10:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Hiivala requested Board approval of a Contract with Hildi Inc. for GASB 45 calculations. Wright County is required to calculate the GASB 45 liability for post-employment benefits. The County only offers COBRA to retired employees to the age of 65 and terminated employees up to 18 months. This creates an “implicit rate subsidy” that needs to be calculated each year. Hildi Inc. has been calculating this for the County since 2008. The request is for renewal of the Contract for the audit years of 2012-2013 for a contract total of $5,500 ($2,750/year). The last Contract was for $5,200. This is a calculation that the County cannot complete itself. Borrell moved to approve the Contract with Hildi Inc., seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
The claims listing was discussed:
1. Daleiden referenced a claim on Page 18, Climate Air ($3,781.50) for Building Maintenance for the Public Works Building. Daleiden said Climate Air also provides service at the Jail. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said Climate Air provides services to the buildings mentioned, as well as the Government Center and Human Services Center. Daleiden said Climate Air is based out of Sauk Rapids and questioned whether this service was bid locally. Norman said bids were taken several years ago, and Climate Air has provided service since that time. Sawatzke said there is nothing to prohibit the County from bidding again but questioned whether Daleiden felt the costs were high for the service. Daleiden said it would be his preference that the County hire for service from Wright County taxpayers when possible. Sawatzke said the County has hired Loberg in the past which is a local business. Norman stated the service provided by Loberg is not as complex as what Climate Air performs. He suggested that Daleiden contact Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, for additional information on Climate Air. Sawatzke said the Administration Office is in charge of Building Care & Maintenance. It would be appropriate for that information to be a discussion item at an upcoming Building Committee Meeting. He did not want to call a meeting just for this purpose, so this discussion could be added when a Building Committee Meeting is scheduled. Daleiden moved to refer the Climate Air Contract to the Building Committee. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
2. Husom referenced a claim on Page 7, City of Buffalo ($58,340.33) for utility services. She asked whether the bills include sewer and water. Hiivala stated that is correct. The bills also include electricity.
Daleiden moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for $249,903.75 and 148 vendors. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Tracy Janikula, Feedlot Program Administrator, provided information on her job functions as the County’s Feedlot Program Administrator. The County chose in 2000 to become delegated in the Feedlot Program. Janikula was hired that year as the Feedlot Administrator. The position is mainly funded by the Natural Resources Block Grant and covers shoreland, septic on private residences, and water resources that the SWCD uses. The Feedlot portion of the Grant is $25,379. The County is required to match that in-kind, with Janikula’s time, for $17,765. As the number of feedlots in the State dwindled, so did the block grant funding. With fewer feedlots, a larger amount is designated per feedlot. It is based on the number of feedlots required to be registered (based on size) in the State.
Wright County has over 500 feedlots, and more than half do not have to be registered because of size. There are currently 110 dairy farms. As the required by the State rules, re-registration is required if feedlot numbers have not been updated in the past four years. Janikula plans a re-registration this fall (paper update). Being a delegated County provides benefits to the County and to the producers, including better coordination with the soil upgrades that the SWCD completes and a streamlined permitting process. Janikula works with producers on permitting, making sure they meet setbacks in an effort to avoid environmental problems. She assists with manure management plans so there are no effects on wetlands and lakes. She also assists small farms that do not require permits.
Janikula said that one of her duties includes the 2012 Annual County Feedlot Officer & Performance Credit Report. The Report reflects who has registered, inspections, what was found, and the training of the Feedlot Administrator. In response to Husom, Janikula explained that AU means “animal unit” and that is based roughly on 1000 lbs. A steer and a horse are considered one unit. The manure output of a dairy cow is more than their weight so the AU is 1.4. Husom asked for the definition of NPDES. Janikula stated that is the National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System. There are two NPDES permitted sites with over 1,000 animal units in Wright County, including Forsman Poultry near Cokato and Woodland Dairy in Woodland Township. Daleiden asked whether any sites were found to be non-compliant. Janikula said that 9 were found not to be in compliance with water quality discharge standards. Of the 9 found not in compliance, she estimated 5 of those became either partially or completely compliant. A two-year permit may be required when determining the best way to correct a feedlot situation (economical and feasible) from a management standpoint. There can be some lag time depending on the time of year. Daleiden asked about letters of warning. Janikula stated that letters of warning are generally issued when someone should have known better. She inspects and provides producers with reports. The letter is issued if they did something where they had been told or should have known. The producer may not have fixed something that was cited previously. It is a step up in the notification process. Husom asked for an example of pollution events where an emergency response is predicted. Janikula said an example would be the spill of manure into a ditch by a manure truck during a snow melt, requiring clean up in a quick manner so the manure does not move down the road ditch. Potter asked what animals are included in a feedlot. Janikula said the only animals exempt are cats, dogs, and rabbits. Daleiden moved to authorize signature of the County Board Chair on the 2012 Annual County Feedlot Officer and Performance Credit Report. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, presented several agenda items relating to the right-of-way acquisition for the CSAH 3 improvement project. Due to changes in alignment, additional land was acquired by the County and will be conveyed to different owners so as to facilitate field access, driveways, etc. Six parcels were acquired, and the owners were paid market value for the property. Land is being conveyed to those landowners on the new side of the road. The purchase price for each parcel has been accounted for by offsetting payments made for newly acquired right-of-way. Daleiden moved to authorize the Board Chair and Norman to sign the six deeds for excess property along the CSAH 3 Project. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Asleson requested the Board authorize signatures on a Stockholm Township road easement. The two easements involve a .25 acre tax forfeit parcel in Stockholm Township. Due to realignment of CSAH 3, a change was made to the intersection of 85th St. SW and CSAH 3. 85th St. SW now goes directly through PID #218-000-154100. In order to provide a safe field access to the landowner to the north, a private field access is required. State law provides the Auditor/Treasurer the authority to sign off on any easements once they have been approved by the County Board. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the Stockholm Township road easement. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Asleson requested Board signature on a private field access easement. The landowner formerly had field access off CSAH 3 but no longer does with the improvement project. In order to allow access from the new Township road, an easement was granted through State and private property. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the private field access easement, seconded by Husom, carried unanimously.
Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, requested the Board schedule a Technology Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 3-05-13 at 10:30 A.M. The following are the Agenda items: 1) Technology Overview and 2013 Technology Plan; and 2) Web Streaming of County Board Meetings. Potter moved to schedule the meeting as requested, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0.
Swing presented for approval the revised Personnel Policy Section 711, Acceptable Use Of Technology. Swing has been working with Administration on revision of the Policy. They have obtained input from Human Services and the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Swing said the Policy addresses three primary areas including network security, data protection, and employee productivity. In June, 2012, the County Board adopted the Portable Device Policy, which is a subset of the Policy being reviewed today. Since that time, the Portable Device Policy has been incorporated into Section 711, Acceptable Use Of Technology. If approved, the proposed Acceptable Use Of Technology Policy will replace the existing Section 711 and Section 712, Use Of Telephones. Swing said technology is continually changing, and the County’s policies need to as well. A section was added to the Policy on Social Media. Swing plans to work closely with Public Health and Parks on Social Media. He said those Departments have a real business case for use of Social Media for functions within their Departments. This Policy will provide a backdrop on how that Social Media piece will be handled.
Swing said more needs to be done as an organization toward network and data protection. He plans to work with Administration to provide sessions that will inform employees on what is considered private and confidential data, how to protect it, and what tools can be used to accomplish that. The Policy states that ultimately, each department is responsible for the protection of data. The IT Department provides the tools. Swing said this is a key part of the Policy statement. The protection of data is critical, especially with portable devices containing data that are brought into the field. He said that is one of his main concerns. The Policy Statement was kept generic so that it does not have to be constantly revised. The technology area is the most dynamic. Swing envisions updates to the Portable Device area of the Policy every couple of years.
Daleiden asked whether 2004 was the last time the Policy was updated. Swing confirmed this. Norman said a draft of the Policy was forwarded to Frank Madden’s Office for review. Suggested changes were incorporated into the document that is before the Board today. Daleiden made a motion to approve revised Personnel Policy Section 711, Acceptable Use Of Technology. Swing restated that IT and Administration have been working on this; Administration as it relates to employee productivity and IT as it relates to data protection and network security. It has been a cooperative effort and they have obtained input from a couple of departments. He said the Policy strikes a good balance. They are not done with the effort, and more changes will be forthcoming. The motion was seconded by Husom. Borrell asked whether all departments should review the draft prior to approval. Swing said discussion occurred with certain individuals but it was not presented to all departments for review. Daleiden said the Policy has not been updated since 2004 and it will continue to change. He did not foresee that a department head would have a problem with the way the Policy has been written. Borrell thought obtaining input from departments may provide more information resulting in the best product possible. The motion carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, presented the 2-04-13 Transportation Committee Of The Whole Minutes. On a motion by Potter, second by Borrell, all voted to approve the minutes as presented. On Item 2, CR 119 Improvement Project, Daleiden asked whether there will be an alternate bid. Hawkins stated there will be. The minutes follow:
1. Discuss Streamlining of Bid Opening/Award Process (for highway construction projects) to Improve Efficiency. Hawkins explained that his request to streamline the bid opening/award process was prompted by the desire to make the entire process more time efficient for both the County Board and members of the Highway Department. Streamlining this process will also enable the Highway Department to publish ads for bid earlier in the season to help compensate for the short construction season in Minnesota. With the current process of setting a bid date with the County Board to the final award date, there can be as many as eight to 11 weeks from start to finish, with jobs receiving federal funding taking the longest. Hawkins said that if the County Board approves his request, they would receive a list at the beginning of each year showing all projects that will be prepared for bids and a request for authorization to set letting dates and bid openings without additional appearances at the formal County Board meetings. After bids are received and the abstract is prepared, Hawkins could then put the recommendation for award on the County Board agenda and appear before them at that time. This new process would allow flexibility in setting the letting dates and times, accelerate the award process as bids could be opened on a Friday and awarded on the following Tuesday, provide immediate bid results to the Board members, reduce Board agenda items from the Highway Department, and transition well into secure online bid submittal and opening procedures that are already being used by Hennepin County and MnDOT. Hawkins submitted a list for 2013 to the TCOTW and said that any changes or additions to that list would come before the Board for approval before a bid date is set or any advertising is done. He said that many counties already handle project bidding in this manner, and Wright County is the only county among other District 3 counties that has not streamlined this process. Some of the projects on the list given to the County Board at the beginning of the year might not be advertised or bid for several months, but this new process would save three to four weeks in the construction season, which is already short in Minnesota. All of the projects on the list would have already been on the Highway Department’s program and would have been approved of by the County Board, most likely during budget proceedings the previous year. Husom agreed that this seemed agreeable, and Potter commented that it would save time at County Board meetings by taking these items off the regular agenda. The list of planned projects would be presented every year, so if there were some type of snag or impediment to an open and fair result, the County Board could revert back to the former bid process. Asleson said that there is no requirement by state statute that bids be opened at a public meeting, so this new bid process proposal appears to be acceptable and legal. The bid letting date could be put on the consent agenda, but bids could be received and opened at the Highway Department office building. Hawkins said that the Auditor/Treasurer and/or the County Coordinator would be invited to the opening, and that it would still be a formal opening. Daleiden commented that this would be a good step to take to keep it formal. Sawatzke clarified that bids would be received up to a designated time, all would be opened at the same time, and that an official witness such as the Auditor/Treasurer would be present for the opening. He said that it would be important to keep this as an ‘open’ process so that there is no opportunity for suspicion of doubt or wrongdoing in the bid process, and Daleiden nodded his agreement.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the Transportation Committee of the Whole that the bid letting process for Highway Department projects be streamlined as outlined by County Engineer Hawkins. This process will include an annual presentation to the County Board of a list of planned projects for bid for that year, notification of the bid date and listing of such on the consent agenda of the County Board, opening of bids at a set time with proper oversight by an authorized official of Wright County, and a formal request on the County Board’s agenda for permission to award the bid as recommended by the County Highway Engineer after bids have been reviewed and an abstract of bids is available.
2) Discuss CR 119 Improvement Project (St. Michael); Preservation vs. Reconstruction
Hawkins presented a video log of CR 119 from CSAH 35 to CSAH 37. This video log was created by MnDOT when they did an evaluation (every four years) to determine the condition of all roads on the county. This video is a by-product of that pavement management data evaluation. Beginning at CSAH 35 and going north and west, Hawkins pointed out the various intersections and shoulder conditions. This road is scheduled for pavement preservation this year, where the existing pavement will be milled out, placed on the road bed, and covered with an additional bituminous surface. There will be a city trail in the right of way, making it safer for pedestrians, especially in the areas where the shoulders are narrow (from Jansen to Jamison). Accesses are fairly limited along CR 119 near CSAH 35, and adequate turnlanes have already been put in by the developers when homes were built. The City of St. Michael was able to get a DNR Legacy Grant to construct a tril from Jansen Avenue to Jamison Avenue. A trail currently exists from CSAH 35 to Kady Avenue. There is also a trail along Jamison to the new high school. Hawkins said the Highway Department would prefer a crossing for the new trail in the 40 mph zone at Jansen, but due to right-of-way limitations and wetlands, this is not possible, and pedestrian traffic will cross at Jamison (in a 55 mph zone, which is not desireable). Traffic counts indicate that most of the traffic headed north/west on CR 119 is going no farther than Jamison. The counts show 3,950 vehicles/day up to Jamison and 300 vehicles/day west of Jamison. A lot of traffic goes to and comes from the high school, which opened in 2009. Potter commented that the family who owns property on the opposite side of the roadway from the proposed trail is giving some resistance to selling right of way because of the uncertainty in the future land market. Hawkins pointed out an area near the high school that is likely to be developed in the near future, or as soon as development picks up, and said that additional traffic will be generated from that area when this happens. Weigle said that the city would like to see CR 119 widened up to Jamison. Traffic counts drop sharply for the four miles beyond that. Most of the traffic is going into or out of the developments. Counts are higher during school sessions and lower in the summer. The 3,950 and 300 traffic counts were taken in 2008 and are an average count over the year. Hawkins said that there are three options to consider for improving this road: 1) pavement preservation; 2) rural reconstruction; and 3) urban reconstruction. Costs and benefits of these three options will be discussed after a presentation on crash data by Wright County’s Senior Traffic Technician, Bill Cordell.
Cordell said that three years of data are studied in order to determine crash rates for a particular roadway. This study determines the crash rate on that section of roadway between CSAH 35 and Jamison, which calculates to a 1.04 rating. The statewide crash rate for CSAHs and county roads is 2.2, which is more than double that on CR 119, which would indicate that CR 119 at this point is safer than average. The highest number of crashes at a singular location has occurred at Birch Avenue, with two rear-end crashes and a third crash with a driver failing to yield the right of way when making a left turn. In all three cases, driver inattention was the major contributor. Two crashes occurred at Maple Knoll, with both being rear-end collisions, also resulting from driver inattention. A crash at Jamison occurred in the winter in the right turn lane when the vehicle slid through the intersection and hit a stopped car at a stop sign. A crash at Jansen occurred when a driver was following another vehicle too closely and pulled abruptly into the bypass lane when the lead vehicle slowed to turn left. The vehicle that pulled into the bypass lane was unable to avoid hitting a car that was stalled in that bypass lane. The other significant crash was a single vehicle whose driver was chemically impaired and ran off the road. Cordell said that had also done a spot speed study with a radar gun one morning to collect more data. He wanted to see if the perceived safety issue on this road was related to speed. When doing speed zone studies, there are a number of factors that must be considered, including accesses, geographical layout of the road, width of the shoulders, and most importantly, the 85th percentile of speed. The 85th percentile of speed is the speed at which 85% of the drivers are traveling (at or below). This is the standard throughout the nation on how to determine appropriate speed zone limits/postings. It’s difficult to get accurate spot speed zoning studies in curves, so Cordell did the study between Kady and Jansen, which is a straightaway posted at 40 mph. He also explained that when doing speed zoning studies and noting the 85th percentile, you also note the number of drivers traveling 10 mph less than and up to the 85th percentile, and this is designated as the 10 mph pace. Keeping people in this 10 mph pace reduces crashes because the flow is smooth. Cordell found that the 85th percentile between Kady and Jansen was 48 mph, and 77% of the drivers were in the 10 mph pace, which in this instance would be speeds from 38 mph to 48 mph. Any number over 70% in this 10 mph pace is considered good for safety. Cordell said he also followed several eastbound vehicles in the curves, with two vehicles going 40 mph and a third going 45 mph. He found that one westbound vehicle was going 40 mph in the curve and then increasing speed to 50 in the straightaway, and another going 40 mph in the curve and then increasing speed to 55-60 mph in the straightaway. Speed studies are generally conducted midday to avoid the platooning of vehicles (vehicles bunching up and forced to follow the speed of the vehicle in front of them) that often occurs during peak traffic hours. If there is too much platooning of vehicles, it is not possible to get an accurate idea of how fast a vehicle will travel when alone. Cordell said that he did not find anything out of the norm on this road, and if MnDOT were asked to do a study, they might even increase the speed limit from 40 mph to 45 mph. He said that there has been a change in the new Minnesota Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MMUTCD) where new calculations for speeds on curves might result in a higher advance warning speed, such as from 35 mph to 40 mph. The former calculations were first brought into play in 1935, and the quality and maneuverability of vehicles have improved since that time, which is probably why the standards have been raised for advance speed signs on curves.
Hawkins referred to a handout briefly explaining the current pavement preservation plan for CR 119, which is being finalized in preparation for bids. Pavement preservation as currently proposed is estimated at a cost of $125,000 from Birch to Kady and a cost of $250,000 from Birch to Jamison. (Preservation will begin at Birch because pavement was improved from CSAH 35 to Birch when the one-way pair was completed in St. Michael.) The cost of doing a rural reconstruction (eight-foot shoulders) is estimated at a cost of $675,000 from Birch to Kady and a cost of $1.2 million from Birch to Jamison. The cost of doing an urban reconstruction (eight-foot shoulders and curb and gutter/storm sewer) is estimated at a cost of $1 million from Birch to Kady and a cost of $1.85 million from Birch to Jamison. Hawkins said that the curb and gutter design that comes with an urban reconstruction makes drivers feel more confined and they tend to slow down. As far as the curves are concerned, there is not a lot that can be done because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would take to buy out homes in order to straighten out the road.
Potter said that he has talked to a number of people from the surrounding neighborhoods, and almost 100% of the people are concerned about pedestrian safety, traffic, shoulders, and trails. He said that the crash data doesn’t back up what the residents are saying. The shoulders are the main concern, and he is concerned that if bigger improvements are not made at this time, it will be 15 years before more money is spent to further improve the condition of this road. He would like to see a better design for this road now. The school is located on Jamison, and there are many young drivers going to and coming from school, and he would like it to be a much safer road that it currently is. Sawatzke said that now is the time to talk about proposed changes to the plans, and Potter was wise to bring it forward now; but based on the information presented here, CR 119 is safe compared to other comparable roads, and traffic is flowing at speeds equal to what you would expect on similar roads. The data indicates that it works fine and functions as we would expect it to. It is hard to think of improving the road to urban standards and paying seven to eight times more than pavement preservation would cost, especially when the data indicates that there really aren’t any issues. It seems like the road works fine now, and maybe in 15 years something more will be needed. Keeping in mind, for all work on a county road, money for improvements comes directly out of the county levy because these highways are not eligible for federal or state funds. Hausmann said that if this road were designated as a County State Aid Highway (CSAH), reconstruction would probably be recommended. Hawkins said that rebuilding the road to Jamison would cost $1.85 million, which is about half of the total that the Highway Department gets for local levy money in a typical year. When asked by Weigle how heavily traveled this portion of CR 119 is, Hawkins said that it is in the top three of the most heavily traveled county roads in Wright County. That portion east of Jamison is the most heavily traveled, which is mainly due to residential development in the city. Daleiden asked about the level of traffic at the intersection of TH 55/CSAH 37, and Hawkins said that it is in the 4,000 to 5,000 range, which is close to the traffic count from CSAH 35 to Jamison. Cordell said that it should be noted in the spot speed study that a lot of traffic came by and turned onto Jansen, and hardly any traffic went past Jamison to the west. The county doesn’t count its own roads, but rather MnDOT does a count every four years. Numbers from MnDOT were out in 2012, but Cordell didn’t have the immediate information as to where exactly the counts were taken on CR 119, but he said that he could find that out. Daleiden said that he would like to know because it would be important to see who uses Jamison and to find out if this is a development issue or school traffic. He asked what the repercussions would be if improvement were delayed until more data is available. Hawkins said that if improvements were delayed on the portion from CSAH 35 to Jamison, $250,000 would not be spent. However, Sawatzke said that the advantage of lower mobilization costs would be lost if this road were to be done in two phases. Sawatzke asked if Hawkins had a recommendation, and Hawkins said that for the best safety he would recommend an urban design, but that is the most expensive. Sawatzke asked if, based on the fact of competing interests for a limited pot of money, it would be fair to say that this doesn’t rise to the level of other needs. Hawkins said that it is a matter of how you look at it when you consider the volume of traffic, which is roughly equivalent to CSAH 37, which is a County State Aid Highway. Working with the city under a funding policy for doing an urban section might be a possibility. Hausmann said that given Wright County’s current amount of funding, it would be hard to spend half of the yearly levy when the rest of system throughout the county also needs attention. Daleiden asked what the disadvantage would be if a decision were delayed in order to get more information. There was some discussion about criteria that is necessary in order for a county road to become a CSAH, and Hawkins said that a CSAH must end in a logical termini, which is to say that it has to connect to another CSAH or state highway. This road probably does not meet the criteria of qualifying for a MSAS (Municipal State Aid System), unless the City wants to take it over as a city street, to which Weigle replied that they might consider it if the road were first reconstructed. Weigle said that he would look at the data, and there might be a lot of perception with the high volumes and no shoulders that the road feels less safe that it actually is. From a city perspective, this is the time to consider what type of improvements should be made, as this road is likely not to be revisited for a long time. He said that St. Michael doesn’t have a great budget situation either, and when talking cost sharing, he feels that it should be paid for predominantly with county funds as is done in more rural areas. The city would look at picking up smaller pieces of the project, such as trail construction. Hausmann said that perhaps enforcement is something that could be improved upon, but the presence of enforcement is also needed across the entire county and additional forces might not be available. Sawatzke said that after looking at the statistic of 77% of drivers driving within the 10 mph pace, he does not feel that this is an enforcement problem. Other roads have more crashes and greater discrepancies in speeds. Hausmann said that with thousands traveling to Jamison and only 300 traveling on CR 119 beyond that, it would appear that the bulk of the people are residents and students, and very few people are using this as a through county road. In some ways it seems like there should be a partnership with the city, and the residents using it the most should be the ones to pay for it. Hawkins said that this would be subject to Wright County’s funding policy, and if we were looking at this as a reconstruction, we would also be looking at a partnership with the city. Hawkins said that the portion beyond Jamison is in equally tough shape, and if it were built today, that part wouldn’t even qualify as a county road. Hawkins said that the last half mile on the western end of CR 119 is in Monticello Township, and the other five miles are in St. Michael. To designate this as a CSAH, another 5.5 miles of a current CSAH would have to be converted to a county road designation, and the entire length of CR 119 would have to be designated as a CSAH because it can’t end in the middle of a road. To the west of Jamison, it doesn’t even make sense to have a “CSAH” designation. In addition to this, any state money that a CSAH receives for improvements has to stay in the system for 25 years, or a pro-rated portion of the money received would have to be paid back. If there is enough gravel under the road, the pavement could be ground up, laid back down, and covered with new pavement. This would provide a good base and help prevent cracking. Currently, CR 119 is designated as a 5-ton, and it would get raised to a 9-ton after the mill and overlay. When asked if this road could be classified as a 5-ton road to preserve its condition, Meyer said that he would like to see the classification progress, after the overlay, because of the requests for hauling. Hausmann said that the environment also takes a toll, so eventually it will break up even at a lower rated tonnage. Weigle asked if some of the gravel shoulders would be paved, and Hawkins said that they will be paved a foot or so and will have a safety edge, which helps prevent tire scrubbing, which can lead to loss of control of a vehicle. There will also be a grooved six-inch edge line, which will be paid for by a safety grant. Weigle asked about lengthened turnlanes, and Hawkins said that they all meet the current standard now. Sawatzke said that after hearing the discussion points, it appears that this project should be bid out in a few months, and now would be the time to recommend something different if that is what is wanted. Personally, he thinks that after looking at the data it doesn’t rise to the level that would justify spending substantially more money, in addition to the substantial right of way that would be needed, which Hausmann said Mark Johnson (Wright County Right-of-Way Agent) estimates at an additional $300,000-$400,000. Weigle said that the city has looked at the design, and they had expected that any curve flattening would be done within the existing right of way. Forare said that to gain five mph speed on the curve near Kady Avenue would require that the centerline of CR 119 shift 14 feet from where it is now.
Potter said that he didn’t think it was wise to spend less money now and then wait 15 years to fix it. The portion from Kady to Birch is the big problem. He would like to get traffic counts in some areas to see where the major portion of the traffic is traveling, and Hawkins said that he could find that out. Daleiden would also like to see that information and get counts at the beginning of CR 119 (at CSAH 35) and at Jamison. Husom asked if the County could hold off on the project until this is done, and Sawatzke said that it could. Borrell asked how much money St. Michael would be willing to put into this project, because if not for the development, this road might not be seeing any more than 300 cars/day. Would a contribution by St. Michael help sway a vote for reconstruction? He added that he knows all budgets are stressed. Sawatzke said that if reconstruction for $1 million is chosen over pavement preservation for $125,000, there is nothing to support that change given the safety factors compared to other roads. Nothing jumps out to say that we need to spend 10 times more money on this road. If this is done, the County Board had better be prepared to come up with a lot more money because there are other roads out there too. Borrell asked if St. Michael could contribute $600,000, and Weigle said that this wouldn’t happen; and he couldn’t even hazard a guess at what the City Council might be willing to contribute, if anything. Marx said that the traffic count is not driven by just the development, but by the high school as well. This road has picked up quite a bit of traffic in its new location. Over 300 students are graduating, and currently there are over 600 kids in kindergarten and in the lower grades. It is not just development causing this, there are students driving to school and parents driving students to school. He is concerned that increased development and increased grade sizes will require more improvements and upgrades on this road before 15 years are up.
Hawkins said that if the project is split up, the costs will increase. After looking at the Five-Year Plan map, he said that this area will be revisited in 2016 with other pavement preservation projects, but this would probably be too long to delay the project. Marx said that he would not like to see the preservation project done this summer and then have the development open up soon along with the expected increase in class sizes. Cordell said that if the project were delayed, the grant funding for the safety edge striping would not be available. Sawatzke said that he didn’t think it was critical to do more than pavement preservation since the road has been determined to be safe and it can handle the traffic. Potter said that the point is that the county would have to wait 15 more years before it could revisit this road with improvements, and this might not be acceptable given the growing class sizes and the likelihood of continued development. The crash data is good, but it doesn’t accurately reflect everything that goes on there. Sawatzke said that the trail is off road, and he agrees that 15 years is a long time, but that doesn’t mean that in 12 years the County Board wouldn’t consider rebuilding it. Perhaps in 12 years the design for this road might be different from what would be designed today. Hawkins said that if the same preservation plan is kept in place for the portion of CR 119 west of Jamison, perhaps a thinner layer could be added to the eastern portion of CR 119 at a lesser cost so that it would be ready for additional improvements in five to seven (5 to 7) years. In some ways, this would be just a ‘band-aid’ fix, but it would help make the road temporarily good for travel until which time it could be further improved. The same contractor could do both portions of CR 119 (both east and west of Jamison). Sawatzke suggested that the project be bid both ways, first as originally presented and with an alternate affected by the proposed change (one lift overlay) on that portion of CR 119 from Birch to Jamison.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the Transportation Committee of the Whole that the 2013 preservation project proposed for CR 119 be bid out as originally proposed and that an alternate bid be added. The proposal would call for pavement preservation (mill and overlay) on the entire length of CR 119 from Birch to CSAH 37, and the alternate would call for a scaled-back project from Birch to Jamison (1.5” of bituminous overlay) and for pavement preservation (mill and overlay) on CR 119 from Jamison to CSAH 37.
3) Discuss Ownership/Maintenance of Rhoades Avenue in Stockholm Township
Mattice passed out handout of the history of county involvement in the maintenance of Rhoades Avenue, which receives high volumes of traffic due to the fact that access to Wright County’s Collinwood Park is via Rhoades Avenue, photographs of problem areas on Rhoades Avenue, and an outline explaining the purpose of the State Park Road Account (SPRA) program with instructions how to apply for funding. Mattice said that this road is in tough shape, and late this last fall the Wright County Highway Department was authorized to do some minimal patching work on several portions of this road. They ripped up a section and did a patch that will last over winter, which will be further taken care of with the paver in the spring. This work will only be a temporary fix, and at some point consideration will have to be given to the long-term repairs of this road. In the 1980s, there was discussion between the township and the county about what repairs should be done to this road and whose responsibility these repairs should be. Hawkins said that this road meets the criteria for an application for State Park Road Account funds, and Mattice said that Stockholm Township had applied once for this funding and had been high on the list but missed the funding cutoff. The application is due in November, and it was recommended that the township continue applying each year until it receives funding.
Mattice said that the fact that a landing fee is charged at Collinwood Park (which means that it is not a public access) could lower the ranking of the application. He said that the reason that the Park charges a fee is not for the revenue, but rather because of the limited parking at Collinwood. Borrell asked if dropping the fee would affect the parking much, and Mattice said that there are two additional accesses on Collinwood Lake, so he wasn’t sure how much it would be affected. Gesinger said that the swimming beach at Collinwood might present enough of an inconvenience to boaters that they would still prefer to use a different access to the lake. He asked if chipcoating the road would help its condition, but Meyer said that the condition is too far gone for that to be effective. Gesinger said that it is too deteriorated to sealcoat it, and when township officials talked to the crew that was grinding the pavement on the nearby CSAH 3 project, they were told that it would cost about $15,000 to have that done to one mile of Rhoades Avenue, and then the township would have to grade it out and be ready for paving in the future. When the possibility of grinding out the pavement was mentioned at a township meeting, it was not well received. This road has never been sealcoated, and when Gesinger first became a member of the township board, he was told that originally the county had agreed to pave the road and that the township had agreed to maintain it. Stockholm Township doesn’t have the equipment to maintain the road, and this is the only paved road on the Stockholm Township system. There are 11 private driveways on this one-mile section of road, and about 48 people in the township use it. However, there is much more traffic on the road which is generated by Collinwood Park.
Borrell asked when the grant application was due, and he was told that it is due on an annual basis in November; and funds, if awarded, would be available in 2014. Sawatzke asked if the SPRA would give more consideration to the application if the township were willing to put in some matching funds, and Hausmann said that it might be a possibility. Borrell asked if the township would be more likely to receive funds if the pavement were ground out and graded off, but there is no way to know that. Gesinger said that the budget for this could be talked about at the township’s annual meeting in March, but they will need to know how much to plan for. Whether or not the board members or residents would be willing to raise the levy to cover these costs, or whether the affected homeowners would be willing to be assessed is also unknown. If the grant is awarded, it would pay 100% of the cost of fixing this road. Hawkins said that in the past the township has handled the application and the county has given a letter of support and tried to help with the grant application. The Parks Administrator has been part of this process in the past. He said that whether or not Stockholm Township would be awarded funds has much to do with how many other applications are submitted that same year and what other needs are shown. Gesinger said that he was new to the township board and did not know that this application had to be renewed each year. He thought that once application is made, it is automatically qualified until the project has been completed. If grant funds are not awarded, the township can’t afford to fix it on their own, and by next year, the road will really be shot. Borrell said that the road is already shot and nothing will be lost by waiting. This road was probably built as a five-ton road, but the pavement was put down primarily to help control the dust that was generated by park traffic. Sawatzke asked about the after effects of grinding it up for a brief period of time, and whether dust control would be needed, which costs about $2,700/mile. Potter said that if it is ground up, dust control would have to be put on it, and he asked if the township board is saying that residents would rather drive on the current conditions than on ground up conditions. Gesinger said that the residents are used to living on a paved road, and he tried to explain to them that this is the only mile of 52 miles of road owned by Stockholm Township that is paved. They can’t afford to spend money on this at the expense of their other roads. Borrell said that the township will probably hear from others who use this road in addition to the residents. Sandgren asked if it might be possible to work together with Cokato Township to improve the entire two miles of Rhoades, as the northernmost mile is located in Cokato Township. It would give campers a better route all the way down from TH 12. Sawatzke said that this might add just another complication as further negotiations would be necessary 12 years down the road when improvements are needed. Gesinger said that there is a lot of wear and tear on the surface of the road because of the large equipment that is used by haulers and farmers. Sawatzke asked if it would help if the township sweetened the pot with local money if they apply for the grant, say pledge $50,000 and ask for $100,000, but Hawkins said that it really depends on what projects are submitted and competing for funds. The township should apply, and they should apply every year, because rankings can change. Seven projects were funded last year, and this project was ranked eighth. He added that it might be good to mention their previous application and how they were ranked. Sawatzke again mentioned that it might be beneficial for the township to agree to pledge 10%, and Gesinger asked if the county would pledge that amount. Sawatzke said that maybe something could be worked out. Gesinger said that they had considered spending $15,000 to grind up the road, so maybe they could pledge that amount to the project over and above the grant money. Hawkins said that engineering fees are not covered by SPRA funds, so the county could offer both engineering and inspection services and help with preparation of the application for grant funds. Asleson said that if the township were to consider assessing costs back to residents, a feasibility study would be needed and a public hearing would have to be held, which would make the project much more expensive. Gesinger said that a letter could be sent out to the residents to find out what they might be willing to contribute, and Potter cautioned that the township would want to make sure that they aren’t getting something that other residents aren’t getting. Borrell asked if the road were brought up to county specs, would the county be willing to take it over? Sawatzke said that it didn’t think that was likely, but he was agreeable to helping with the engineering, the inspections, and crack sealing it in years to come. Hausmann said that cores would be taken so that the preliminary design would be based on accurate information. Borrell said that if the grant doesn’t work next year, something else will have to be considered. Daleiden said that providing background information, pictures, and engineering information might help raise the rank of the application. Meyer said that about $3,000 has already been spent on temporary repairs to this road, and they will do some more work in the spring with the paver. Sawatzke said that if Stockholm applies for the grant with the assistance of the county, from both the Highway and Parks Departments, he would like the township to provide a match of 10%, and Wright County will provide crackfilling maintenance over time. Hausmann said that if the township sealcoated the road every six to eight years at a cost of $15,000-$20,000, this would extend the life of the road. Engh said that perhaps the county could help with maintenance costs, and if the grant is awarded, they can address those issues at that time.
Meyer said that his crew will be out in the spring with a paver to smooth over an area that had to be dug out because of a large frost boil. The township has already contributed to the project and won’t have to pay more for this than they already have. The county will do some core samples to see what is beneath the surface, as it wouldn’t pay to resurface if there is not enough gravel. That will be done before application is made for the grant. These samples will be taken in the spring to give the township time to get their application in well ahead of the deadline in November. Potter commented that this road would not have been paved in the first place if it had not been for the county park, as seems obvious because no other roads in the township are paved, and he thinks that the county should help with the costs. Daleiden agreed and added that it is in the best interest of Wright County for people to continue using the parks.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that Stockholm Township apply for State Park Road Account funding for repairs/improvements to Rhoades Avenue (from CSAH 31 south to the Collinwood Park entrance), that Stockholm Township pledge to provide a small match amount, and that Wright County provide the design services for the repair/improvement of Rhoades Avenue and help with the grant application process. Wright County will also do boring in advance of design work and will agree to do cracksealing on this portion of Rhoades Avenue if the grant is approved and roadwork is completed. Wright County will agree to talk further with Stockholm Township about other maintenance issues in the future as they pertain to this portion of Rhoades Avenue.
(End of 2-04-13 TCOTW Minutes)
A Parks Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting was held on 2-05-13. Sawatzke spoke with Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, this morning and Mattice has not reviewed the draft minutes. It was the consensus that the minutes be laid over to the next Board Meeting to allow Mattice an opportunity to do so. Sawatzke also made a change to Page 1 of the Parks COTW Minutes, 3rd paragraph, change from “Clearwater River Watershed District” to “Mississippi River.”
The Board reviewed the Annual Joint Ditch Meeting Notice that will be held on 2-21-13 at 9:00 A.M. in McLeod County. This meeting is an opportunity for counties to share information on joint ditches. Hiivala plans to discuss Ditch Modernization at this meeting. He said Borrell is the only Commissioner with a joint ditch. Husom moved to authorize attendance by Hiivala and Borrell at the Meeting, seconded by Daleiden. Sawatzke asked whether authorizing one Commissioner to attend was adequate and whether the group takes action. Hiivala said they do not take action. Minutes are taken of the Meeting but that is done by someone else. Once those minutes are available, he can present them to the Board. Hiivala said this is an educational meeting, as information is provided by other counties as to what they are experiencing with ditches. A topic of late has been redetermination. Husom and Daleiden accepted a friendly amendment to the motion to authorize Daleiden and Borrell to attend. The motion carried unanimously.
Potter presented information on the 2013 Board of Appeal and Equalization “Catch-Up” Course being held in Stearns County on 3-20-13 from 6:30-9:00 P.M. Sawatzke said the statutory requirement is that at least one Board of Appeal and Equalization member have this training. Sawatzke has attended the training in the past. He felt training of a second Board member would be a good idea in case he is unable to attend the Board of Equalization meeting. If that situation arose and there was not a second member with the training, the Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting would not be held. The training is held quarterly at various locations. Potter moved to authorize Board members to attend one of these trainings. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Potter is the appointee to the Wright County Economic Development Partnership (EDP). He asked whether another Board member could be appointed to the EDP, as the EDP Meeting schedule conflicts with the Region 7W Transportation Meeting dates. After discussion, Potter moved to appoint Borrell to the EDP. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Potter said the Wright County EDP is holding a “Trails as an Economic Development Strategy” seminar on 2-14-13 from 11:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the Eagle Trace Golf Course in Clearwater. Wright County completed a Trail and Bikeway Plan in 2011. Discussion will include how trails and bikeways can fit into a community’s overall economic development strategy. Sawatzke said the EDP holds monthly informational sessions which are separate from the EDP’s Board Meetings. Potter moved to authorize attendance of Board members, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
All Wheels Recovery $244.44
Aramark Services Inc 12,925.51
Barnes Distribution 277.77
Black Moore Magnussen LTD 952.60
Bob Barker Company Inc 672.85
Bound Tree Medical LLC 180.79
Boyer Truck Parts 213.09
Buffalo Hosp.-OTPT Comm. 1,233.01
Buffalo/City of 59,145.92
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 150.00
Center Point Energy 762.14
Centra Sota Coop.- Buffalo 33,137.80
Central MN Emerg. Phy. 178.59
Clearwater Township 726.20
Climate Air 4,229.50
Cottens Inc 2,043.26
Craguns Lodging and Conf. Ctr. 894.00
Dell Marketing LP 2,008.39
Duraco Inc 446.29
Emergency Auto. Tech Inc 148.00
Excel Systems 422.50
Frontier Precision Inc 26,795.38
Granite Electronics 709.29
Green Interiors 482.07
Hanover/City of 906.84
Howard Lake/City of 2,483.45
Internat. Public Mngment Assn 379.00
Jerry’s Frame Inc 3,959.05
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 708.58
Kris Engineering Inc 120.78
LaPlant Demo Inc 564.77
Loberg Electric 100.50
M & M Express Sales 228.42
Martin-McAllisters Cons. 2,250.00
Menards - Buffalo 533.31
Midwest Protection Agen. Inc 1,539.28
Miller/Michelle M 168.25
Millers Sewage Treatment Sol. 375.00
MN County Engineers Assoc. 460.00
MN Viewers Association 125.00
Monticello Township 1,403.50
Mountain Stream Sports 190.48
North American Salt Co 15,620.28
Northland Business Sys. Inc 2,769.37
O’Ryans Conoco Marathon 140.00
Office Depot 572.54
Performance Kennels Inc 201.99
Reds Auto Electric 124.21
Russell Security Resource Inc 133.75
Ryan Chevrolet 325.72
Sherburne County Sheriff 142.25
SHI International Corp 10,009.60
St Cloud Hospital 727.90
St Cloud State University 395.00
State Supply Co 199.51
Suburban Emerg. Assoc. PA 123.99
Synergy Graphics 1,532.92
Trimin Systems Inc 1,140.46
University of Minnesota 715.00
Waverly/City of 455.80
Wenck Associates Inc 1,533.30
Westside Wholesale Tire 777.39
Wright County Journal Press 751.07
Ziegler Cat 3,699.52
24 Payments less than $100 1,011.44
Final total $249,903.75
The meeting adjourned at 10:13 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal March 5, 2013.