Wright County Board Minutes

MAY 7, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
The following corrections were made to the 4-23-13 County Board Minutes: Page 1, 6th paragraph, line 12, change to read “Cedar Lake Conservation” (Sawatzke); Page 1, 6th paragraph, line 13, change to “Lake Sylvia” (Husom); Page 1, 6th paragraph, line 17, change to “New Brighton, Minnesota” (Husom); Page 2, 2nd paragraph, line 1, change to “Lake Sylvia” (Husom). Potter moved to approve the Minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
The following item was petitioned onto the Agenda: Item For Consid. #3, “Schedule Building Committee Meeting” (Daleiden). Husom moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried unanimously.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: D. Anderson, D. Lee, T. Rasmuson, Assr.; M. Woodford, P&Z; S. Guffey, Rec.; G. Poepping, M. Williamson, Sher/Corr.; A. Halverson, Sur.
2. Claim, Madden, Galanter, & Hansen, LLP, $18,814.11 (Service for March, 2013).
1. Approve Abatement, PID# 101-097-003050, Gerald & Mary Holland (City of Albertville).
1. Approve Seasonal On Sale 3.2 Malt Liquor License For Clearwater Lions (Clearwater Township).
2. Approve New Tobacco For Midwest Tobacco (Albertville City).
Capt. Pat O’Malley, Jail Administrator, requested signatures on a Contract with the MN DOC (Department of Corrections) allowing the County to continue holding work release inmates. This is an annual Contract that began last year, and the terms are the same with the exception of the effective dates. The effective dates of the new Contract are 7-01-13 to 6-30-14. O’Malley said they have three DOC inmates at this time and had six thus far in 2013. The three inmates will be released in the next year into the community, which will be some place within Wright County. He said the Program is working well. In all but one case, those in the Program have been able to transition from the Program into the community. Husom asked whether inmates in the Program are responsible for pay-for-stay fees. O’Malley said they are not. Wright County receives $55/day from the DOC for boarding. Daleiden asked about health insurance. O’Malley said medical costs are billed to the State. The Wright County Jail will also occasionally board inmates from Stearns County. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the Contract with the MN DOC, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
Sean Riley, Planning & Zoning Administrator, said Planning Commission member Gordon Weber has resigned. The request is to appoint Ken Felger (District 4, Rockford Township) to fill out the remainder of the term (through the end of 2013). It was clarified that Weber was appointed from District 4 prior to Commissioner redistricting. Felger will be the appointment from the new District 4. Daleiden moved to appoint Ken Felger as the District 4 Representative on the Planning Commission to serve the remainder of 2013. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
A Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 4-23-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following corrections were made to the Minutes: Page 2, 2nd paragraph, 5th line, remove the following sentence, “Husom thought the cost and work required to convert the cells would also be prohibitive” (Husom). Borrell stated that at the Committee Of The Whole Meeting, the Building Inspector indicated the County should contact the structural engineer if the former Jail area is utilized for storage. Borrell moved to approve the Committee Of The Whole Minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0:
The Committee conducted a tour of the old Jail facility accompanied by Corrections Sgt. Rivers. The Committee looked at various areas of the facility to assess potential uses of the space. The Committee solicited input from Building Official Schulz regarding the building code considerations related to reusing this space.
Daleiden suggested the holding cells closest to the entry of the old jail could be used for records storage as they could be locked. Schulz recommended that it would be wise to have a structural engineer assess the loading capacity of this area. Rooms in this area may not be able to support the weight of boxes of files. Rooms are usually rated at 40 pounds per square foot, whereas the hallways are generally rated for 100 pounds per square foot. Schulz stated the air handling systems may need to be updated based on code changes or the proposed use of the space.
Daleiden thought the jail reception area could be moved to the desk area farther into the jail. This would allow the existing lobby area to be used for a motor vehicles counter. He thought this would improve security after hours as this area could be closed off from the rest of the building. This area has a separate entrance that would allow easy access for those coming to renew licenses.
Schulz stated he has been processing a lot of tower permits recently. He thought if the County was no longer using the tower at the back side of the Jail the County may be able to sell or lease space on the tower.
Potter thought some walls could be built or opened up to better configure spaces for storage. Schulz stated that we must maintain sprinkler coverage and proper exit distances if walls were to be moved. Building codes dictate this based on the occupancy of the space. He again recommended having an engineer examine this space to assess loading capacity. Potter was in favor of getting the space assessed. Knowing the weight capacities would be helpful in determining uses.
Potter thought the indoor exercise area may be able to be used as a lunchroom. This area is currently being used for wellness activities. Schulz said the gym should be rated for 100 pounds per square foot and would be suitable for assemblies of people.
The Committee toured some of the housing units. Husom wondered if some of the cells could be converted into offices. Schulz pointed out that the cells were designed to be smoke separate in case of a fire. To use this area as offices Schulz would recommend redesigning the HVAC system. The current arrangement would not be cost effective to operate as the County would be paying for capacity they wouldn’t need.
Sawatzke referenced the findings of the last report on reusing jail space. It was determined that it was not cost effective to remodel the jail cells as offices. He felt the cells would not be convenient to use as storage because of the stairs and the layout of the cell blocks. Schulz thought the structure could be reassessed to determine what upgrades would be needed. Sprinklers would need to be re-designed for the new usage. This may only require a different type of sprinkler head. Bars may need to be removed from windows, and the toilets and bunks should be removed from cells.
Schulz stated the lowest level of the jail would have no weight limitations and could be used for storage. Buskey noted there are areas in the basement with water leaks. This should be considered if it is to be used for storage.
Rivers stated the hallway running from the sallyport to the elevator must remain secure as long as courts are at the Government Center. Daleiden inquired if one of the kitchen doors could be locked or closed off to the kitchen. This would secure the hallway, but still allow use of the kitchen. Schulz thought this may be a possibility depending on the number of occupants expected in the kitchen area. Husom thought the County could consider selling some of the coolers and other kitchen equipment. Potter inquired about options for converting the open air exercise area into usable space. Silbernagel thought if a roof could be added this area could be used to expand the courts area. An additional court room and attorney/client meeting rooms could be built in this area. Schulz thought this may be possible depending on the findings of an engineer.
(End of 4-23-13 Building Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Daleiden suggested scheduling a Building Committee Meeting relative to the feasibility of utilizing the former Jail space. The meeting would be held to review options and see what the next steps should be. Sawatzke asked that Norman research whether the County has retained the architectural records relating to the feasibility of remodeling the Jail. Potter felt Lee Kelly had looked for the records and provided him with what he could find. Daleiden moved to schedule a Building Committee Meeting on 5-22-13 at 9:00 A.M. for the purpose of discussing uses of the former Jail. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried unanimously.
Lt. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, requested the Board authorize signatures on the 2013 Federal Boating Enforcement Grant. This is an annual Grant that is used to assist with extra patrol on lakes and waterways throughout the summer months. The funding can also be used for search and rescue. Expected Grant funding is $8,900. No matching funds are required. Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the 2013 Federal Boating Enforcement Grant. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Ted LaFrance, Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP) Director, extended appreciation to Commissioner Sawatzke for his 14 years of service on the WCEDP Board. Sawatzke will receive a plaque from the WCEDP in honor of his service. Sawatzke said the organization has outstanding membership.
LaFrance highlighted some projects and successes of the WCEDP:
• Wright County Return on Investment in the Partnership. To date, the return on investment for Wright County specifically is over 64. With the County’s $51,000 investment in 2013, the WCEDP has been able to leverage $3,336,000 thus far, not including two pending projects bringing that total up to $6,136,000 or an ROI of 119. The average ROI on stock is 9.8% over the last 10 years for comparison.
• PTI Update (Total Investment). $1,732,000 investment in Hanover, MN by PTI, Plug Technologies Inc. The WCEDP facilitated the creation of the business plans, financials, and loan package which involved WCEDP, WCEDP as an SBDC, City of Hanover, MIF (State), Initiative Foundation, CMDC, and Crow River Bank. This manufacturer will create eight well paying jobs.
• Pending Project Highlights (Investments, Job Creation). Two pending projects that equate to more than $2,800,000 of investment in Hanover and Cokato are in process and have already involved the WCEDP. Local lenders are assisting in the loan packaging process and may require gap assistance from the Initiative Foundation and WCEDP. These projects will bring 26+ well paying jobs (manufacturing positions) to two communities in Wright County.
• Objectives Update (Marketing Efforts). The WCEDP Marketing Committee has finalized the first Wright County specific marketing plan that will work to familiarize Wright County with the services of the WCEDP (technical and financial assistance) to boost growth and ensure resources are available to businesses. The plan will focus on marketing the strongest sector which is manufacturing. The Marketing Committee is working with various consultants to facilitate the creation of specific marketing products (video, direct marketing, etc.). The Initiative Foundation has provided an annual contribution to assist in this important endeavor including working on workforce skills gap initiative. This project will require additional investments by WCEDP supporters. The WCEDP requests continued support of the Commissioners of this specific project.
• Conclusion/Summary. The WCEDP thanks Wright County for its involvement and investment in creating economic opportunity in Wright County. The ROI is great and the impact can be strengthened with additional support of the Partnership through an annual contribution increase and/or support of the marketing efforts to compete and make the audience (competing counties/regions/etc.) aware we are posed for growth and assistance is available.
Borrell was recently appointed by the County Board to serve on the WCEDP. He encouraged those starting up in business or those who have business ideas to contact LaFrance to tap the resources available (record keeping, cash flow projections, loan guidance). LaFrance said they are able to provide this service as they are a satellite office for the Small Business Development Center in St. Cloud. Their goal is to make sure businesses are healthy and strong. Sawatzke said the WCEDP is not a government agency. It is a private/public partnership. Several of the members of the WCEDP were introduced including: Tom Screeden, Chair: Connie Holmes, Vice Chair; Wayne Elam, Past Chair; Mark Weigle, City of St. Michael; and Tim Zipoy, Central MN Jobs & Training. Screeden and Zipoy extended appreciation to Sawatzke for his years of service on the WCEDP. Screeden said the WCEDP is a vibrant and viable organization with a lot of momentum. Zipoy thanked Sawatzke for his leadership and involvement with the WCEDP.
Dan McDonald, Sentencing To Service (STS) Crew Leader, provided an overview of the STS Program. McDonald is a State employee who works on projects in Wright County. The STS Crew includes people who have been given STS time instead of jail time and also selected inmates of the Jail. The Crew completes work within the County, including cities, County agencies, townships, school districts, and non-profit organizations. It is a labor intensive group that assists with such things as projects, clean up days, painting, work at the Fairgrounds prior to the Fair, and work with the Parks Department (keeping trails clear, cutting trees). The STS efforts are funded through the Sheriff’s Office budget. The Crew is authorized for 10 people. During larger events, the Crew number may increase. McDonald said there is only one Crew because of supervision. Borrell asked about use of the STS Crew to assist with tree removal in Ditch 10. The County has a bid for cleanout of the small trees (6” and smaller). He inquired whether the Crew could cut down the larger trees. McDonald stated they could. He completes 40 hours of certified training annually and teaches crew members how to correctly use a chain saw. The Crew recently assisted the City of Howard Lake by cutting down trees in a Park near the Lake. Daleiden asked whether the Crew generally has enough projects. McDonald said they do. Some examples include reoccurring projects, clean up days in the townships, Compost Facility recycling event, and weed whipping by guardrails on County roads for the Highway Department. This was provided as an informational item.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, said bids for the annual Seasonal Sweeping Bid were opened on 4-12-13 at the Public Works Building for annual equipment rental. When the Seasonal Bids were presented to the County Board for approval on 4-16-13, the Seasonal Sweeping Bids were left off and not awarded. Upon confirmation of the quoted price, the recommendation is to award the bid to T&S Trucking at $72.00/hour. Daleiden moved to award the Seasonal Sweeping Bid as recommended, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
Hawkins said a Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting has been scheduled for 5-14-13 at 1:00 P.M. He requested rescheduling the Meeting as two staff members will be attending the Spring Safety Conference that day. Potter moved to cancel the 5-14-13 TCOTW Meeting and reschedule it for 5-21-13 at 10:30 A.M., Public Works Building. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0. The Agenda Items include: 1) Update on Jurisdictional Meeting with MnDOT; 2) Request for Wright County Representative to Serve as Board Member for I-94 Coalition; 3) Discuss Updating Highway Department Policies (Funding, Mailbox Policy, Sign Maintenance Policy); 4) Discuss County Website Serving as “Official Newspaper” for Purposes of Legal Notices (Posting Advertisement for Bids, etc.); 5) Discuss/Set Date for Spring Road Tour; 6) Region 7-W UZA Update; and 8) Discussion of Sweeping in Cities.
Hawkins said quotes will be received and opened at the Public Works Building on 5-24-13 at 9:00 A.M. for HSIP Rumble Strips (SP 086-070-007) for segments of Highways 2, 4, 6, 35, 12 and 17. Summaries and a recommendation will be brought forth at the following County Board Meeting. Sawatzke asked whether this type of rumble strip is different than those installed in the past. He said there were complaints when the stripes were painted in the middle of the rumble because people were drawn to them and then drove over them. Hawkins explained that the type Sawatzke is describing, and that complaints were received on, are the rumble stripes where the edge line is part of the rumble. He said the rumble strips (not stripes) will have the edge line will be 12’ from centerline and the rumble strip will be a couple feet beyond the edge line. Sawatzke asked whether the road segments referenced have a history of cars veering off the roadway. Hawkins explained that the Road Safety Plan was completed a couple of years ago and identifies road improvements (i.e., placement of chevrons, street lighting, rumble strips). It also prioritizes those items. The road segments mentioned were identified as needing edge line rumble strips. Sawatzke asked if it is a goal to put rumble strips on every road in the County. Hawkins said it is not.
Minnesota is a leader in the Towards Zero Deaths Initiative. Other states are starting to get behind that initiative as well. As part of that, Minnesota did the Safety Plan for all Minnesota counties. Borrell asked whether the funding used for rumble strips is being taken away from other projects. Hawkins said the Road Safety Plan identifies projects that are submitted. The HSIP Program (Highway Safety Improvement Program) offers 90% Federal dollars for safety projects. Hawkins said the County will receive 90% Federal funding for this project. That was the case with the chevron and street lighting projects. Sawatzke stated the funding will be made available for a project somewhere. It will not take away from rebuilding or overlaying a road as the funding cannot be used for those types of projects. Daleiden asked what criteria the State uses when deciding what roads are best suited for rumble strips. Hawkins said consultants were used to develop the Safety Plan and they evaluated all roads, curves, intersections, and crash records. He said pretty exhaustive criteria are used to come up with priorities. Hawkins said the County has completed most all of the street lighting improvements, as all of the priority intersections have been addressed.
Hawkins said safety is a large part of the new MAP-21 Federal Legislation. Safety is a priority on the national level. When application is made to the HSIP Program, the Road Safety Plan is used to show priorities. Borrell asked who paid for the study. Hawkins said the study was completed by the State for all Minnesota counties. He is unsure if Federal dollars were involved. Daleiden asked whether Hawkins agrees with all the things reflected in the Plan. Hawkins said that when the Plan came out, Highway staff met with the consultant to review the questions they had. The Plan identifies projects and many of them have been accomplished. Sawatzke asked whether a statistical analysis has been completed on the success of the rumble strips (data prior to and after the rumble strips). Hawkins said that analysis has not been done but it can be. Sawatzke felt that the reported incidences should be checked out. This was provided as an informational item.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said he has received two additional requests for work on Joint Ditch 15. He felt this came about as people have seen other work being completed on the Ditch. Hiivala requested a Joint Ditch 15 Meeting be scheduled with Meeker and McLeod Counties. Husom, Daleiden and Borrell would attend. After discussion, Hiivala was authorized to offer to the other Counties the dates of 5-29-13 at 9:00 A.M. or 5-30-13 at 9:00 A.M. Sawatzke said Hiivala should come back to the Board with the particular date and time.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit.
Steve Jobe, Surveyor, requested approval to hire a temporary Survey Technician to fill in for a Survey Technician on medical leave. The time line is three months (potentially longer). Jobe said this was discussed by the Personnel Committee last fall and one of the options was to hire a 67-day temp. Jobe said that he is asking for the temporary position based on that discussion. At today’s Board Meeting, discussion included whether it is worth hiring someone to train for such a short period of time and whether it would be more advantageous to leave the position vacant. Jobe said it would be difficult to leave the position vacant. Richard Norman, County Coordinator, said as long as this position is in the budget and the need is present, the Board could allow advertisement of the position to see if anyone applies with the skill set needed. Norman stated that temporary employees should be utilized for full days when they do work as partial days count as a full day toward the 67-day total. Daleiden moved to authorize advertising for a temporary Survey Technician. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried unanimously.
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 3-28-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following corrections were made to the Minutes: Page 1, 2nd paragraph, 3rd line, change to “County Financial and Accounting Reporting Standards (COFARS).” Daleiden moved to approve the Minutes and corrected, seconded by Husom, carried 5-0:
Hiivala distributed a Year End Budget Review for 2012. He summarized the contents of the report (see attached) which included charts, graphs, and spreadsheets to illustrate revenue sources and expenditures for County Departments.
Hiivala said this is the same format he has presented for several years. Every month he distributes a detailed Revenue/Expenditure Guidelines report that details the actual, budgeted and variance figures by line item for each Department. Hiivala groups expenses in compliance with the County Financial and Accounting Reporting Standards (COFARS) requirements. For example, all wages and benefits are grouped together, and supplies, furnishings, repairs and maintenance are each categorized together. Hiivala said this presentation is a supervisory review of 2012. He thanked all the Accounting staff, Payroll, Department Heads and Supervisors for helping present a good and accurate report to the County Board.
Referring to Page 4, “Budget Summary – Department Net Summary,” Hiivala said this page encapsulates the 2012 County budget. The spreadsheet indicates what the budget was for the General Fund, what revenues and expenditures were, and lists the actual figures. The spreadsheet shows that the County brought in $894,515.56 more in cash than was anticipated in the budget. The General Fund came in $3,102,557.77 under budget. Overall, the County had a $3,997,073.33 net turn back. On an actual basis, the County took in more cash than expended by $1,106,573.33.
Turning to Page 5 (continuing from Page 4), Hiivala said revenues exceeded the budget and expenditures came in under budget. As a result, the County turned back $1,346,611.84.
Human Services came in short of revenue in the amount of $431,636.06 as noted on Page 6 (continuing from Pages 4 and 5). However, Agency expenses came in under budget. Hiivala drew a correlation between the two. Human Services turned back $739,482.35. He referred to Resolution #11-53 on Page 1. Every year, the County adopts a Resolution for the budget. Hiivala utilized the “Budget Summary – Fund Summary” on Page 1 to illustrate the outcome. The total County budget for 2012 was $100,217,120.
The pie charts on Page 2 demonstrate All Funds. This page represents an overview of County revenue sources and areas where the funds were spent. The pie chart on the top half of the page is titled, “Where It Came From.” When all County funds are combined, 52% of revenue was generated by property taxes. The bottom pie chart, entitled “Where It Went,” shows that 52% of County revenue was spent on Personnel costs. Hiivala said in years past, the State promised a certain amount of County Program Aid, and then unallocated a portion of it (or did not give it) in order to balance the State budget. Hiivala said the green wedge on the “Where It Came From” pie chart shows 4% of County revenue was from State General Purpose Aids. The wedge is removed slightly from the pie to illustrate County reliance on State Program Aid in the past. In addition, Hiivala said the County receives State and Federal grants to help fund operations.
Pages 3 and 4, “Budget Summary – Department Net Summary,” provide a snapshot of all Department revenues and expenditures that were budgeted in the General Fund, as well as actual figures with net differences. This reveals which Departments met or came under budget and which exceeded budget. The County identified those trends while setting the 2013 budget.
The “Budget Summary – Department Net Summary” on Page 5 details five Divisions for Road And Bridge: Highway Administration, Engineering, Maintenance, Shop Maintenance and Unallocated (a general category for insurances, personnel cost adjustments, and major equipment purchases). This page illustrates how each Division fared with the budget in 2012. Overall, expenses came in under budget by $415,475.05, with an overall net turn back of $1,346,611.84.
Hiivala said Human Services has three Divisions as noted on the “Budget Summary – Department Net Summary” on Page 6: Income Maintenance, Social Services and Public Health. Each Division has many programs. The budgeted revenue and expenses were listed in the same format; budgeted revenues and expenditures to actual revenues and expenditures.
Hiivala said this presentation is a cash basis report. He referred to Page 7, showing two pie charts that illustrate the General Fund. The County financial statements are a full accrual and a modified accrual presentation. In the General Fund, 58% of County revenue comes from property taxes, and 67 percent of County revenue is spent on Personnel.
Hiivala turned to Page 8, “General Fund - Budget To Actuals By Category,” illustrating Revenues and Expenses with two bar graphs. State General Purpose Aid is the category that includes County Program Aid. In 2012, the State took away Homestead Market Value Credits. They did not take away Agriculture Market Value Credits. The County received 100 percent of County Program Aid. The small increase the County received was due to Agriculture Market Value Credits. However, Agriculture Market Value Credits actually reflect the State paying part of the tax bill for County residents. Hiivala said that is why property tax revenue was down compared to the budget. Across the board, the County budget looks good. Miscellaneous revenue was higher than the budgeted amount due to a Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) dividend. Fees were up a bit, especially in the Survey and Planning and Zoning Departments. Hiivala said the biggest savings in the General Fund were due to vacant positions and turnovers. The Personnel category comprises a large part of the budget, but the small savings in this category equated to significant turn back dollars. Hiivala said the rest of the categories appear to be at or under budget.
Hiivala referred to the spreadsheet on Pages 9 and 10, entitled “Budget Summary – Analysis Of Revenues By Category / By Department.” The spreadsheet indicates budget versus actual figures and net differences.
Categories include Taxes, State General Purpose Aids, State Shared Revenue, State and Federal Grants, Fees, Fines, Interest/Contributions, Misc/Licenses and Fines, and Transfers. Page 10 continues the analysis and provides total General Fund amounts.
Pages 11-13, “Budget Summary General Fund – Analysis Of Expenses By Category/By Department,” group expenses by Department. For example, the Auditor/Treasurer Office had a budget of $1,859,950.00 for Personnel expenditures. The Office spent an actual $1,695,057.95 for Personnel expenses, due to a vacant position that was not filled. Other categories listed are Services, Rent, Repairs & Maintenance, Travel, Meals & Conferences, Supplies, Capital Outlay, Miscellaneous, and Appropriations. Hiivala explained that appropriations are monies the County passes through to other agencies.
Hiivala said Road And Bridge is heavily reliant on State Aid allotments. Page 14, “Road And Bridge,” displays two pie charts showing revenues and expenditures. Hiivala said the top pie chart, “Where It Came From,” reveals that 49 percent of funding for County construction is from State Allotments, while 37 percent of Road And Bridge revenue is derived from Taxes. The bottom pie chart, “Where It Went,” illustrates that Road And Bridge spent 20 percent of their budget on Personnel costs, 45 percent on actual Highway Construction, and 24 percent on Highway Maintenance.
The bar graph on Page 15, “Road And Bridge – Budget To Actual By Category,” depicts revenues and expenses. Taxes collected were slightly above budget. Hiivala said some projects received additional State Aid funds. Construction expenses exceeded budget, but revenue did as well. There were some pass-through expenses. Hiivala said the County saved money on Highway Maintenance.
The Budget Summary spreadsheet on Page 16 presents an “Analysis Of Revenues By Category / Department” for Road And Bridge. Hiivala said revenues only appear in the Unallocated Division. The revenues were grouped in a similar fashion to the other spreadsheets.
Page 17 is a Budget Summary with an “Analysis Of Expenses By Category/By Department” for Road And Bridge. Expenses are grouped in the same major categories: Personnel, Services, Repairs/Maintenance/Travel/ Conferences, Supplies, Easements/Maintenance Projects, Capital Outlay, Debt Service, and Miscellaneous. Hiivala added one column for Construction that is not listed on spreadsheets for the other Funds.
Human Services relies on taxes for 38 percent of their revenue, as indicated on the pie chart “Where It Came From” on Page 18. Hiivala said 35 percent of revenue comes from Federal grants, and 15 percent from State grants. A total of 53 percent of Human Services revenue is generated by Federal and State grants. Regarding expenditures, Hiivala said 29 percent of revenue is a spent on Programs, while 61 percent goes to Personnel costs.
The top bar graph on Page 19, “Human Services - Budget To Actual By Category” shows actual revenue from Federal grants to Human Services was a little lower than budget. Again, because of turnover and vacant positions, Human Services came in lower in expenditures in the Personnel category, as displayed on the bottom bar graph, “Expenses.” This category constitutes a major part of the Human Services Budget, and is where significant savings occurred.
The “Budget Summary - Analysis of Revenues by Category / Department” on Page 20 quantifies Human Services revenue using categories similar to prior spreadsheets. Page 21 provides Human Services expenditures in a similar format.
Hiivala referred to Page 22, “Budget Summary, Human Services - Analysis Of Expenses By Department / By Program.” This document includes budget, actual and net figures for all Human Services programs under the three main Divisions.
Every year Hiivala presents a “Five Year Financial Data” overview, as outlined on Page 23. His purpose is to show County revenue and expenditures during that time period. This reveals what is often called “turn back.” This spreadsheet covers the years 2008-2012. The County has had several good years of actual turn back dollars. Hiivala said cash for the General Fund went up by $1 million. He turned back to Page 1, where actual revenues for the General Fund came in $1,106,573.33 more than actual expenditures. That explains the increase in County Cash funds. This document illustrates how each of the funds has fared in relation to cash during the last five years.
The County adopted an Investment Policy several years ago that required Hiivala to disclose County investments. Hiivala said that disclosure is usually discussed at the Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting. Page 24, “Annual Board Presentation – By Maturity Range, Summary,” provides a synopsis of County investments and includes a list of data and a pie chart. Hiivala said the County has $55 million in investments. He said 30 percent of County money is liquid, or cash. Hiivala has invested money in the 3 to 6 month, 6 to 9 month, and 9 to12 month markets. With the decrease in yields from U.S. Agencies, he has pursued the municipal market, but tries to stay short term. County funds have seen a small increase in the return on five to ten year investments.
Hiivala directed attention to Page 25, “Annual Board Presentation – By Security Type, Summary” which shows how County funds are invested. He explained that cash and money market investments are liquid funds. The difference between this year (2012) and the year before (2011) is that the County invested more money in U.S. Agencies in 2011 than in 2012 and less money in Municipal in 2011 than in 2012. Hiivala said these were minor shifts in the way County money is invested.
Hiivala referred to Pages 26 and 27, “Projected Cash Flow Report: Expected Maturity.” Based on the investments the County has on the books currently, Hiivala said the maturity can depend on whether the Agencies call them. He explained that whenever it benefits the Federal government, Agencies may call investments and replace them with lower yields. Hiivala has always presented a cash flow spreadsheet such as this. He does not include securities, as he said they get too complicated. The total amount is the money the County earns each month based on securities in the portfolio. Based on the portfolio, the County will take in $1,209,107.17, if the investments are not called.
Hiivala concluded the overview of the 2012 County budget. Hiivala said cash is a good indication of the status of the County Fund Balance. In 2011, the Board adopted a Fund Balance Policy (Policy), and amended it in 2012. In the Policy, the County Board agreed that to be fiscally responsible, the County would maintain between 35 to 50 percent of operating expenses in an Unassigned or Unreserved Fund Balance. The 2012 County budget has not been audited yet.
Hiivala explained the bar graph on Page 28, “General Fund Year End Fund Balances and Office of State Auditor (OSA) Balance Guidelines through 2011.” Hiivala said the yellow bar is the minimum General Fund balance. The green bar illustrates the upper limit of the General Fund balance, and the red bar reflects the actual or current status of the General Fund balance. In the General Fund for 2011, the red bar shows that the County is exceeding the Fund Balance recommendation. However, Hiivala said Road And Bridge and Human Services Funds are combined with the General Fund to cover the Fund Balance. Why does the County have a Fund Balance? The County relies on property taxes, and those are not collected until May. The State Auditor recommends the County have a Fund Balance for cash flow purposes and unforeseen contingencies.
Hiivala said a few years ago the County modified the way Road And Bridge is budgeted as noted on Page 29, “Road And Bridge Year End Fund Balances and OSA Balance Guideline.” The modification resulted in an increase in the Road And Bridge Fund balance.
Hiivala turned to the bar graph on Page 30, “Human Services Year End Fund Balances and OSA Balance Guideline.” He reiterated that the County is trying to increase this Fund Balance, which is below the minimum required level.
Hiivala directed attention to Page 31, “Combined Funds – General Fund, Road & Bridge and Human Services / Year End Fund Balances and OSA Balance Guildeline.” When the County combined the General Fund, Road And Bridge and Human Services Funds together in 2011, the numbers showed the County was right on target. If cash is an indication in 2012, Hiivala said the purple bars on this bar graph will go up. The budgets were pretty similar to 2011. He did not believe the County would exceed the maximum recommended Fund Balance, but he thought the County would do a little better than in the past.
Borrell said about three or four years ago the State unallotted funds to the County. He asked whether that could happen again. Hiivala replied that from 2009 to 2011, the State took unallotments from the County. The State certified funding amounts that the County was to include in the budget. In other words, the State intended to give the funds to the County, but then took away part of the County Program Aid and eventually all of the Market Value Credits. This amounted to more than $5.7 million over the 3 years. Hiivala said the State is not likely to give those funds back to the County. Borrell said the State recommends the County maintain a Fund Balance. Sawatzke clarified that the State did not take away money from the County Fund Balance. The State gave the County less than originally promised.
Sawatzke said the amount of the County Fund Balance had nothing to do with the amount of State Aid the County received. Counties across the State received less. Sawatzke said whether one county had a high Fund Balance and another county a low Fund Balance did not impact the amount of State Program Aid each county lost. Borrell said it is a good policy to have reserves set aside.
Hiivala said the County is responding to OSA recommendations. The OSA distributed a bulletin that said counties should maintain the Fund Balance to be fiscally responsible. The County subsequently adopted Government Accounting Standards Board Summary Statement 54 (GASB 54) which further defined County Fund Balances. The opinion of the State Auditor is that the County’s Unassigned Fund Balance meets the requirement.
Borrell referred back to Page 25. He directed Hiivala to the pie chart in the lower half of the page. Borrell asked whether the 27.78 in Money Market and Municipal funds at 37.97 were percentages. Hiivala said the numbers on the pie chart indicated percentages of the County portfolio. The County has 2.47 percent of the funds in cash and 27.78 percent in Money Market funds.
Rob Kramer of Franklin Township asked why the year end General Fund balance is more than recommended. He asked whether that was because the County spent less last year and accumulated extra money. He asked if the County levy will be lower next year. Sawatzke clarified that Kramer was asking specifically about the General Fund category. He asked Hiivala to explain to Kramer why some Fund levels are high and some are low. Kramer said the levels he referred to are the recommended levels. He asked why this was not noted in the Presentation. Hiivala referred to the graph on Page 28. He explained that the General Fund exceeded the State Auditor recommendation for the Fund Balance. The County Board could opt to transfer money to Human Services to shore up that balance. However, the County is not doing that at this time, but is reporting all County Funds together. Kramer asked Hiivala to clarify that overall County Funds are down, except for the General Fund balance. Hiivala referred to Page 31. He indicated on the graph where he anticipates County Funds will be at the end of 2012 when all three Funds are added together.
Sawatzke directed Kramer to Page 1. The figures noted in the Expenses Budgeted and Revenues Budgeted columns indicate that Expenses Budgeted were substantially more than Revenues Budgeted. Sawatzke said the County used some reserves in 2012, which is why there was a discrepancy. Sawatzke said 2011 was a good year, and the Board allocated some Reserve dollars for the 2012 budget. Sawatzke said that is why there was not a balanced budget going into 2012. However, at the end of 2012, expenses were slightly below revenues projected. Sawatzke said revenues were $1,106,573.33 more than expected. The County had an unbalanced budget using 2011 turn back dollars in the 2012 budget. He asked Hiivala whether his explanation was correct. Hiivala confirmed that the County reduced the budget for unfilled vacancies, and also transferred money from reserves. Consequently, the County came in $2 million under budget.
Kramer referred to the bottom pie chart on Page 14 and noted that Highway Maintenance and Highway Construction together spent 69 percent of the Road And Bridge budget, and only 20 percent for Personnel costs. He remarked that Road And Bridge did well in that area. However, turning to Page 18, Human Services spent 61 percent of their budget on Personnel expenses and only 29 percent for Programs. Kramer asked why there was such a large discrepancy. He commented that the money is not going to the programs designed to help the people who need them.
Sawatzke said many Human Services programs receive pass-through dollars from the Federal and State governments. He gave the example of County Child Support Workers to whom the County pays salaries.
The program funds processed by the County appear on County books. Expenses for Child Support Workers are included in the 61 percent of Personnel costs. Yet of the millions of dollars that Child Support Workers process, none is allocated to the County. Instead, Sawatzke said the funds go directly to clients, even though County Child Support Workers ensure custodial parents get their payments.
Sawatzke continued with another example using Financial Workers. These employees help clients get Medical Assistance, Food Stamps, and other benefits. Financial Worker salaries are also included in the 61 percent for Personnel costs in Human Services. The Federal dollars for the Medical Assistance Program go to health care providers and do not show up as revenue in the County budget. There is a large expense associated with facilitating this Program, but nothing appears in the budget as Program revenue. The County pays for Financial Workers, but the Program money goes directly from the State or Federal government to providers or clients. It is not a part of the County budget.
Kramer asked Sawatzke to confirm that money from the Federal government is to be used solely for programs and not for wages. Sawatzke clarified that the County may receive some funds for wages. With the Food Stamp Program, for example, Sawatzke said the money goes directly from the Federal government to the client, and is not in the County budget. Salaries, however, are included as part of the 61 percent. Sawatzke said the percentages listed on the bottom pie chart on Page 18 are expenses. The top pie chart on Page 18 indicates percentages of revenue. He added that most of the Federal grants help pay for the Personnel costs shown in the bottom pie chart. Marsha Kutz, Fiscal Officer, Human Services, said she agreed with Sawatzke’s explanation regarding why the Human Services Personnel costs are so large and Program revenue so small by comparison.
Hiivala said the County administers programs, qualifies clients and provides services. The Program Aid is money passed through the County to clients. Hiivala said it costs the County to administer these programs. Kramer asked if the money went directly to the recipients. Borrell said some of the money goes directly to them. Sawatzke said the funds may go to the recipient, but do not necessarily appear in the County budget. For example, if a client gets Minnesota Family Investment Program money, the Federal government issues a check directly to the client. The money does not come to the County as revenue and flow out as an expense. It bypasses the County entirely. The County hires workers to administer the Program to ensure qualified clients get their checks. The County incurs an expense associated with each worker.
Sawatzke referred to the bottom pie chart on Page 18. He said the County incurs 29 percent in program expenses. However, most big ticket program funds do not show up on these pie charts. They flow directly from the State or Federal government to clients or vendors. Potter interjected that if the pass-through programs were accounted as part of the budget, there would not be such a high disparity between personnel costs and program numbers. The numbers would appear closer to balancing than it currently looks on paper. Sawatzke said the programs would far exceed the personnel costs.
Kramer asked whether the pass-through programs would involve fewer workers. Potter responded that Financial Workers still have to complete paperwork and provide guidance to clients. He said the process is complex. Clients need case workers who are trained to navigate the different programs to determine the ones for which a client qualifies. Kutz added that Human Services is mandated to provide services and help the client find the programs that will best meet their needs.
Daleiden said there were nine to sixteen programs such as Medical Assistance that Financial Workers must be familiar with to assist the client. There is more involved with the process than simply applying. Daleiden said workers are well trained. Kutz said clients must also meet eligibility requirements.
Sawatzke asked Kutz what the percentage for personnel costs would be if all the dollars that Human Services manages with Medical Assistance, Child Support, and the Minnesota Family Investment Plan were in the County budget. He guessed it might not be more than 10 percent. Kutz thought ten percent sounded correct. Sawatzke said the amount of program money clients receive that does not appear in the County budget is significant.
Borrell referred to the bar labeled Personnel in the “Expenses” graph on the bottom of Page 19. He compared Personnel Expenses to the total Personnel costs on Page 21 in the amount of $13,741,489.99. Borrell then drew attention to the total revenue from Federal and State grants on Page 20 at approximately $11.5 million. Borrell said the Expense pie chart on the bottom of Page 18 does not provide the best visual representation of the situation.
Sawatzke said various employee positions receive different reimbursement. Child Support Workers formerly generated two thirds of their salary in reimbursement. Sawatzke referred to the Human Services Expenses pie chart on the bottom of Page 18. Personnel costs were 61 percent. The County received 66 percent reimbursement for Child Support Workers from Federal grants. Some Financial Worker positions receive 50 percent reimbursement. Other workers generate varying reimbursements. Sawatzke said when the State experiences a budget shortfall, the County may receive less reimbursement than usual. The public may hear that the County lost $1.5 million in State Program Aid. Sawatzke said that does not come close to the dollars that would be eliminated for Human Services workers, if, for example, the State were to trim 4 percent off Financial Worker reimbursement. Sawatzke said occasionally Child Support Workers may generate additional reimbursement if they are able to collect more money from noncustodial parents for custodial parents. Sawatzke said when custodial parents receive the child support payments due them, the demand for other Federal Programs decreases.
Leonard Wozniak of Cokato referred to the bottom pie chart on Page 2 regarding All Funds expenses. Wozniak said the County spent 8 percent for Debt Service. He asked for information about the purpose for the debt and the interest rate paid by the County. Hiivala referenced Page 32, “Debt Service Levy Calculations – 2013 Budget.” He said there are three bonds outstanding. The 2003A Courthouse Refunding Bond was refinanced in 2012. The effective interest rate is 1.68 percent. The 2007A Jail/LEC Bonds are at 4 percent. Hiivala said those are refundable in 2018. The 2009A Capital Improvement Bond is currently at 2.553 percent interest rate. This documents payments due for 2013. Borrell remarked that these bonds are not like a home mortgage that can be prepaid. Hiivala explained that when municipalities issue debt, the buyers of the bonds are guaranteed they will receive payments. He said the County has a disclaimer on the 2007A bonds that states the County will pay the debt service as agreed, but the County may refinance the bond in 2018. The County cannot pay these bonds off earlier than any designated call date.
Wozniak asked Hiivala to clarify that the County may not refinance the bonds prior to 2018. Hiivala said the County could do an Advance Refunding Bond. He said the rates are so good now that the County could issue the debt and sell it to an investor, who holds it until the payoff date. The people who bought the bonds will not be paid off any faster than 2018. The County could do advance refunding, but there’s too much risk that the rates could be different from 2013 to 2018. Hiivala said the County will not look at advance funding this soon before the payoff date. Perhaps the County would consider advance refunding two years prior to the payoff date. Statute requires that the County demonstrate an economic gain to a municipality in order to refund bonds.
Wozniak said Stockholm Township has a similar situation. They are paying 6 percent on a note, and were getting .02 percent interest on it from the bank. He assumed the Township was locked into that rate. He asked whether any capital expenditures to/from capital reserves would be beneficial instead of bonding to avoid paying 3.5 percent interest and earning .02 percent.
Sawatzke said often the County will consider transferring funds into the Capital Improvement Fund when there is a budget surplus. Then, if the County needs to make an improvement, there is no need to borrow since the funds are available. At some point, Sawatzke said the County may make a decision to transfer money into an account like the Capital Improvement Fund. Borrell said it is better to save money and pay for an improvement versus borrowing if possible. Sawatzke said the County has completed a number of remodeling projects with that Fund. Instead of borrowing $2 million, the County has paid for improvements with available funds. Borrell said the other aspect the Board has to consider is whether the County could lower the levy. He said there are County residents who are struggling financially. Borrell said the Board strives to be fiscally responsible.
Hiivala said the County has transferred money from the General Fund to the Capital Projects Fund in the past. Since the Board adopted the County General Fund Balance Policy, no such transfers have been made. This strategy enabled the County to achieve the State Auditor’s recommended Fund Balance. Hiivala said that doesn’t eliminate opportunities to transfer money based on 2012, but not doing so is the direction that the Board took in the past few years to achieve the recommended General Fund balance.
Sawatzke said the Board could take part of the surplus and transfer it to the Capital Improvement Fund. Some of it could be reserved for the General Fund balance. The Board has done this often in the past, with some variations. Potter said the County Board has a long history of fiscal conservatism. Sawatzke said 2011 was the last time the State Auditor did a report. Wright County ranks as one of the lowest counties in per capita levy expenditures. Hiivala said the County was within the bottom five in per capita levy expenditures. Sawatzke added that eight or nine months ago, the County was third lowest in overall expenditures. Potter said Wright County is the tenth largest county in the State, and 85th out of 87 in expenditures. The Board is very fiscally responsible.
Borrell drew attention to Page 3. He said Court Administration is a State function. He asked how the County budget is related to Court Administration. Hiivala replied that the County is required to provide Court Administration ongoing maintenance. For example, the County has given Court Administration a small amount of furniture and equipment in the past. The bulk of that budget is for court-appointed counsel for cases involving children. The State shifted that expense to the County. These expenses are paid out of the Court Administration Department budget. Sawatzke said this is due to a Statutory requirement. He said there are two categories: Court Appointed Counsel and Professional Services. Norman said when a judge issues an order, the County is obligated to pay. Borrell commented that no revenue is reported under Court Administration. He asked whether the County receives State funding for these expenses. Norman said the County receives no revenue for Court Administration expenses. Borrell said this cost the County $623,374.71 in 2012. Sawatzke said there are State expenses for which the counties are required to pay. Hiivala explained that the County charges rent to Court Administration and all County Departments. Sawatzke said the County charges rent to all County Departments, but also pays it. This is because in order for Human Services to be eligible for Federal reimbursement for building expenses, the County must charge all Departments rent. Sawatzke said it is an accounting procedure.
Tom McGregor, resident of Albion Township, asked whether the General Fund Balance was mandated by the State or was funded at the discretion of the County Board. He also inquired whether it was funded, for example, from turn back dollars or MCIT dollars. In addition, McGregor asked what Statutory mandates stipulate how those funds may be used. Hiivala said the State Auditor’s recommendation was not a mandate, but rather meant to encourage counties to be fiscally responsible. The OSA set a standard for counties to maintain an adequate Fund Balance for cash flow purposes and to cover unforeseen emergencies. The recommended amount was to maintain the equivalent of three to six months of operating revenue. Hiivala said using operating expenditures is a more fiscally conservative policy. Hiivala said that is why the County has established the green and yellow benchmarks shown on the bar graphs on Pages 28 to31.
Hiivala said the Fund Balance has accumulated over many years of generating more revenue than expenditures. He explained that a balance sheet shows assets minus liabilities, which equals the Fund Balance. The balance sheet shows cash plus expected income and amounts due to others (obligations or liabilities) to equal the Fund Balance. Hiivala said it appears that in 2012 the County will be adding to the Fund Balance. According to GASB 54, the County must clearly define to the public how money will be spent. Committed Funds must have a specific resolution describing the nature of expenses. The County has not committed any funds. The majority of the money is in Unassigned funds. The Board is primarily focused on cash flow. County operations rely heavily on taxes and State Aid. The goal is to maintain the Fund Balance for cash flow purposes.
Roger Anderson of Buffalo said the banking system requires borrowers to have reserves to cover potential losses. He asked whether the County Fund Balance is similar. Hiivala said yes. The County relies on taxpayers. If they do not pay, the County has to utilize Reserve Funds.
Joan McGregor of Albion Township asked whether the County sets Reserve Funds aside or invests them. She also asked what happens to the other 50 percent of surplus funds that go to the Unassigned account. She also wanted to know when the public is notified that the funds have been spent.
Hiivala directed attention to Pages 24 and 25 to answer the question regarding where Reserve Funds are invested. These documents outline the County Investment Portfolio. He said the County should not need to tap into these funds. They have been invested. The Policy stipulates that if the County accumulates more than 50 percent of operating expenditures in reserves, Hiivala must notify the Board as soon as possible. The Board could then direct Hiivala to use the surplus to lower the levy or pay for a construction project. The County will state explicitly where the money is spent. For example, if Hiivala reported more than 50 percent of operating expenditures in reserves, the Board may decide to transfer funds to the Capital Projects Fund. McGregor said the reason the public has not heard anything about surplus funds is the County has not exceeded that 50 percent mark. Sawatzke said over the last few years, as in 2012, the Board took surplus funds and listed them as reserve. He confirmed that the County has not reached the $50 million benchmark that requires Hiivala to notify the Board. Sawatzke said as the Reserve Fund gradually increased, the County took action not to save all the excess in the bank. The County either transferred the surplus to the Capital Improvement Fund for known upcoming expenditures or applied it directly against the levy, as in 2012. Borrell said this strategy kept the tax levy down. Sawatzke referred to Page 1, the first line labeled “General Fund – Budget.” Sawatzke said there was $50,782,771 in expenses compared to$47,892,271 in revenues. The expense overage in the amount of $2,890,500 was partly due to a transfer of reserves and unfilled vacancies. He asked Hiivala about the difference of $1,171,118.41 under Human Services expenses. Sawatzke questioned whether it was a direct disbursement of some advanced payment of a capital note. Norman replied that the $1,171,118.41 came strictly from reserves. In 2011 the County used excess bond proceeds to lower the levy. Hiivala confirmed that the surplus for 2012 was strictly from reserves. He acknowledged that the General Fund had a sizable reserve.
Sawatzke referenced the 2012 Resolution on Page 1. He said in the past, the Board has discussed transferring a million dollars, for example, to Reserve and X dollars to another fund. There are three places a surplus may be allocated. Sawatzke said for the 2014 budget, a surplus may go to the Capital Improvement Fund or the Reserve Fund.
McGregor asked if the Fund Balance is built solely by tax revenue. Hiivala replied it is not. He said fees and services generate a good portion of the budget. The Fund Balance is truly an aggregate of all County revenues minus all County expenditures. Hiivala said there is no direct relation to property taxes.
Sawatzke referred to Page 2. He asked whether the pie chart captioned “Where It Came From” is the most accurate depiction of County fund sources. He noted that 52 percent of County revenue was generated via property taxes, versus 4 percent from State General Purpose Aids, and lesser amounts as indicated. Sawatzke concluded that this chart clearly illustrates County fund sources.
Sawatzke said some of the other categories generate higher than expected revenue and contribute to the Fund Balance. Hiivala said a great example is investment income that exceeded budget estimates in years past. In 2010 and 2011, agencies dropped their interest rates. Consequently, the County had a difficult time achieving budget, which necessitated utilizing the Fund Balance. Hiivala said there are many aspects to the County Fund Balance.
Borrell appreciated that Department Heads did not spend all their budgets. To their credit, Borrell said most Department Heads turned money back whenever possible. He valued their fiscal restraint. Hiivala echoed Borrell’s sentiments. Department Heads are diligent about their budgets. He said every line item is well justified.
Lorie Adams, a former Buffalo resident and current County Human Services employee, asked who receives copies of the monthly budget Hiivala mentioned previously. She did not see it on the County web site. Adams said Hiivala’s budget presentation was also not available online. She asked how the public could access these documents for review. Additionally, Adams asked Hiivala to clarify cash accounting (as he presented with this report) versus monthly accrual accounting. Hiivala responded that the County only does full and modified accruals on an annual basis. The Auditor/Treasurer Office distributes budget reports to every Department. For example, he gives the Assessor a budget report that shows line items pertinent to that Department. The Coordinator and Commissioners get a full packet including all Department budgets. Hiivala said he has never received a request to post the monthly budgets on the County web site. He confirmed that it is public information. Hiivala said the budgets are provided to the media. He said posting the monthly budgets on the County web site is a good idea and would not be difficult to do.
Borrell remarked that Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, is expanding the County web site to make it more user-friendly. Husom commented that it would enhance transparency. Swing said the plan is to redesign the County website during the second half of this year. One goal is to improve transparency. He assured members of the public that advancements are forthcoming. Hiivala agreed with Adams’ suggestion regarding posting his presentation online. He said he would add a narrative to any presentation posted.
Adams asked Hiivala to address the large amount of Unallocated funds noted on Page 16 for Road And Bridge. She said all the revenue is categorized as Unallocated. She would prefer a more itemized description of Unallocated funds. Norman asked whether the question pertained to the Road And Bridge budget. Adams replied she is interested anywhere Unallocated revenues appear in the budget, but especially in areas such as Road And Bridge, where the entire revenue is completely Unallocated. She commented that nothing under Road And Bridge was designated under a specific category. Norman explained that the revenue categorized as Unallocated under Road And Bridge is all of the revenues the County takes in for the Highway Department.
Adams asked whether those details are stated anywhere in the budget. Hiivala said the key components under Unallocated are the County’s share of insurance, including liability insurance. Significant investments in equipment are also categorized under Unallocated. Hiivala said in 2012, $609,736 was budgeted as noted under the Transfers In column on Page 16. Only $1,260 in actual revenue was realized, rendering a net of -$608,476.There was also a pass-through town road allotment of $397,000 as noted on Page 17 under the Unallocated Department in the Miscellaneous column. Hiivala said the public would be able to view those details in the monthly budget reports if they are posted online.
Anderson referred to the Revenue pie chart on Page 2 for All Funds. He asked why there was no revenue from licenses or fines. Sawatzke said most of that revenue goes to the State. Hiivala added that the revenue is there, but it is represented by a very thin wedge on the pie chart. He compared the $10,000 revenue from the State General Purpose Aids to the 52 percent wedge representing property taxes.
Sawatzke asked what percentage of speeding ticket fines goes to the County. He added that the County does not realize much revenue from fines and fees. Borrell said the County Attorney indicated that a significant portion of fines go to the Courts, and much less to the County Attorney and Sheriff. Hiivala said it depends on where the citation is given and which Statute applies.
Joan McGregor drew attention once again to the State General Purpose Aids wedge in the Revenue pie chart on Page 2. She asked whether this Aid was unallotted because the County assumed it would be disbursed, but the State decided to withhold it. McGregor wondered whether the State is on a different budget cycle. Hiivala said he began retracting the wedge in past reports to illustrate the uncertainty of State funding. It had significant impact on this presentation. Hiivala said the State promises this money in advance of the budget year. In August and September they direct the County to insert a certain amount into the budget. The State expects the County to submit the budget to them to prove the State General Purpose Program Aids are budgeted. The State then calculates whether their budget is sufficiently funded. Hiivala surmised it could have to do with the State operating on a biennial basis. The decision to unallocate the County was made after the fact. Over a period of three years, the State rescinded $5.7 million in funds they initially told the County to add to the budget. Later, the State did not provide the funds to the County. McGregor suggested the County respond to such situations by not adding State money into the budget. Hiivala said that might be a good idea, but if the County transferred the State Aid into a different account to set it aside and not utilize it, the State might say the County does not need the funds. The County provides services mandated by the State. Hiivala said the State should help pay for those services.
Kramer asked for clarification regarding the data listed on Page 12, the Sheriff and Corrections line items. He asked for examples of supplies and whether vehicles fall into that category. Potter said some of the supplies include breathalyzer mouth inserts and gloves. It’s a broad category. Kramer said the Supplies category is about $1 million. Sawatzke said vehicles are under the Capital Outlay column on that page. Kramer said Corrections has $732,000 in the Supplies category. Sawatzke said that includes meals for inmates, among other expenses. Hiivala said the Sheriff has office supplies like paper, but also has vehicle maintenance expenses such as fuel and lubrication charges. He said those comprise the biggest components.
Kramer asked whether the County performs vehicle maintenance and charges the Sheriff Office. Hiivala said the Highway Department does the majority of maintenance on vehicles, and then charges the appropriate Department. Kramer remarked that on Page 12, the Sheriff category lists $440,000 as a Miscellaneous expense, which seems a lot for Miscellaneous. Hiivala identified the following expenses that fall within the Miscellaneous category: $280,000 for a pass-through grant; $110,000 for uniform allowance; $30,000 for staff training; another $40,000 for a pass-through Emergency Management grant; and others.
Kramer referred to the Rent on the same page. Hiivala said the majority of the expense in this category is $786,000 for rent the County charges the Sheriff Office based on the square footage they occupy.
Adams said Hiivala mentioned that the OSA presented ideas regarding the amount the County should have in Reserve Funds. The County adopted a new Policy. Adams said the OSA also recommended 15 criteria for the County to follow when providing financial reports. She said the County is not utilizing those criteria yet and asked whether they will be implemented in the future. Adams said the OSA web site has one page of information about Wright County. Other counties have more detailed information listed on that site. She asked why the County does not utilize the State Auditor’s suggestions.
Hiivala said the State announced a Performance Measurement Program. Some counties participated. Wright County chose not to participate. Adams asked whether that was a decision by the Board or by Hiivala. Hiivala said it was not his decision. Wright County demographics are different from other counties. His concern is how this information would be interpreted. Comparing Wright County with Scott or Sherburne would be difficult. The County wanted more information about the criteria. Other counties have not participated because they sought clear and defined criteria to ensure comparisons were fair. The County is striving to improve the information being relayed to the public. He would have to look at the OSA web site to determine which of the 15 criteria the County is not utilizing. Hiivala said the County fully adheres to State Auditor requirements and complies with all OSA requests.
Hiivala said he has not presented Performance Measures to the Board. The County initially participated when the State Auditor announced incentives. The County submitted whatever was requested. Hiivala said the Performance Measures were very general and not the same Performance Measures utilized now. Hiivala said he is not avoiding the initiative, but needs more information about how the information will be used. He said the County discloses a significant amount of information already.
Adams said the last Auditor’s report in 2011 and the OSA recommendations released in September 2012 recommended areas of improvement in financial reporting. She said the County’s written response was very minimal. The statement read that the County will keep working toward improvement, but did not include specific details regarding how that would be accomplished.
Hiivala explained that the OSA prepares the County’s financial statements. They have a special software program. The Auditor/Treasurer’s Office gives the OSA all the data. On one hand, Hiivala said the OSA would prefer that the County create the financial reports. However, Hiivala said it is more cost effective for the OSA to prepare them. In the future, Hiivala’s goal is for the County to prepare the financial statements and achieve a certification of excellence in financial reporting. Currently, the County audit is not done until June or July, and the results are not released until August or September.
Wozniak asked under which category the Highway Department road machinery and Sheriff Office squad cars are grouped. Hiivala explained that those items are categorized under Capital Outlay. Wozniak asked whether those costs are rising fast or at the pace of inflation. Sawatzke said Highway costs vary. He asked Meyer whether costs have risen or stabilized in the last three years. Meyer said it has stayed the same during the last three or four years. Brian Jans, Highway Shop Maintenance Supervisor, said in 2012 the budgeted cost for Capital Outlay in Road And Bridge was $609,736.
Daleiden asked the cost of one dump or plow truck. Jans said about $212,000 before trade in. Daleiden asked if the County was on a ten-year cycle. Jans replied the County is on a 12-year cycle. Sawatzke asked if the County buys two plow trucks per year. Jans said the Department purchased only one this year.
Kramer thanked the Board for having the Budget Committee Of The Whole meeting in the evening so the public could get their questions answered. He also thanked County employees. Kramer said the Board should have night meetings more often.
Wozniak remarked that he remembered seeing this meeting mentioned in the Board minutes, but could not find information on the County web site until he read the minutes again. Daleiden said getting information out to the County web site is a top priority. Sawatzke asked Norman to call IT to put such information on the County website. Borrell said it should have been on the Meeting Calendar. Daleiden assured the audience that such information will be posted on the County web site in the future. Sawatzke thanked the members of the public and County staff for participating in this meeting.
Sawatzke said the County has a surplus fund. He asked Hiivala to come to the Board with options, exact numbers, and a history of actions the Board has taken in the past regarding surplus funds. Alternatively, the Board could wait to act until budget time and allocate the funds for the 2014 budget.
Borrell thanked everyone for attending. He said this Board is willing to meet in the evening two to four times per year to make it possible for people to attend. Speaking for the entire Board, Borrell said they all value open communication and public participation.
(End of 3-28-13 Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Bills Approved
Albertville/City of $2,782.40
Amerigas Propane 800.23
Ameripride Services 430.04
Ancom Communications Inc 513.00
Anderson/Conrad 160.00
Annandale/City of 506.39
Anoka County Corrections 878.00
Anoka County Sheriff 19,737.12
Aramark Services Inc 13,332.81
Bankers Advertising Co Inc 242.00
Big Time Towing 294.25
Bluetarp Financial Inc 814.05
Borell/Ralph 342.54
BP Amoco 2,420.47
Buffalo Auto Value 148.18
Buffalo Hosp.-OTPT Comm 1,028.45
Buffalo Township 623.80
Buffalo/City of 719.46
Cenex Fleetcard 655.70
Center Point Energy 2,431.47
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 16,676.54
Centracare Health Monticello 840.00
CenturyLink 198.96
CES Imaging 362.39
Clearwater/City of 1,586.50
Clements Associates Inc 884.89
Climate Air 3,005.94
Cokato Township 558.12
Cottens Inc 2,936.41
Craft Crete 805.31
Croteau Plumbing 708.00
Crysteel Truck & Equipment 721.41
Dell Marketing LP 152.23
Determan/Karen 206.00
Envirotech Services Inc 14,864.28
Franklin Township 1,280.80
French Lake Township 461.60
Gabriel/Cathleen 200.00
Glunz Constr. Septic Serv. LLC 130.00
Grainger 707.70
Hawkins/Virgil 760.75
Hildi Inc 4,700.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 7,269.92
Holiday 20,500.42
Howard Lake/City of 702.56
HR Specialist Employment Law 191.00
Husom/Christine 263.50
Industrial Door Co. Inc. 271.46
Information Systems Corp. 258.90
Interstate Battery Systems 102.28
Intoximeters Inc 302.22
Jerrys Towing & Repair 187.03
John E Reid & Associates Inc 770.00
Karels Towing 213.76
Keaveny LTC Pharmacy 1,732.58
Keeprs Inc 485.08
Klein Heating and Cooling 217.00
Kramber/Greg 160.00
LaPlant Demo Inc 1,827.33
Lawson Products Inc 250.88
Loberg Electric 985.00
M & M Express Sales 148.70
M & M Express Sales/Serv 1,225.07
M-R Sign Company Inc 238.95
Magneto Power LLC 130.04
Maple Lake Township 800.06
Maple Lake/City of 1,063.60
Marco Inc 6,589.59
Menards - Buffalo 719.20
Metro Group Inc/The 3,019.92
Minn. Conway Fire & Safety 418.58
MN Board of Assessors 960.00
MN Co. Recorders Association 150.00
MN Monitoring Inc 9,439.25
MN Sheriffs Association 200.00
Monticello/City of 4,311.00
Montrose/City of 953.60
Moore & Moore Advantage 300.00
Morphotrust USA Inc 6,042.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 917.70
MRA The Management Assoc. 1,295.00
NEOGOV 16,473.00
Neopost Great Plains 187.57
Northern States Power Co 157.75
Odyssey Group/The 350.00
Office Depot 2,549.80
Palmer Johnson Power Sys. 801.70
Peterson/Wallace 210.00
Pipeline Monticello 1,420.12
Potter/Michael J 288.00
PTS of America LLC 1,268.10
Purick/Ryan 100.00
Radisson Hotel Fargo 176.18
Rockford Township 2,291.50
Royal Tire Inc 698.51
Russell Security Resource Inc 562.70
Ryan Chevrolet 916.01
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 367.30
Scuba Center 849.89
Sentry Security Fasteners Inc 1,433.32
Setter/Randi 100.00
Sign Man of MN Inc/The 167.79
South Haven/City of 287.00
Southside Township 717.40
St Cloud Fire Equipment Inc 1,636.76
St Cloud Stamp & Sign Inc 204.56
St Michael/City of 6,865.00
Thingvold/Lori 160.00
Total Printing 855.00
Towmaster 747.48
Transcend United Technologies 225.00
Transcor America Inc 127.28
Triplett/Keith 245.50
Ultramax 810.00
Vance Brothers Inc 974.48
Voss Lighting 269.11
Walmart Store 01-1577 1,710.00
Waste Management-TC West 791.96
Waverly/City of 763.52
Wenck Associates Inc 1,794.50
West Metro Ophthalmology 151.03
West Sherburne Tribune 120.00
Wigen Companies Inc 6,850.97
Woodland Township 538.50
Wright Co. Highway Dept 41,789.86
Wright Lumber & Millwork Inc 221.01
Xcel Energy 1,289.68
42 Payments less than $100 2,278.84
Final total $281,015.05
The meeting adjourned at 10:10 A.M. The County Board went into Closed Session to discuss a grievance received from members of Teamsters Local 320. Published in the Herald Journal May 27, 2013.

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