Wright County Board Minutes

JULY 2, 2013
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Daleiden moved to approve the 6-25-13 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Potter moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Borrell, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Performance Appraisals: K. Willis, Atty.; S. Kile, Ct. Serv.; K. Crandall, D. Martin, I.T.; R. Vaa, Parks; K. Clemence, J. Hartmann, T. Korbel, E. Leander, A. Lund, D. Miller, P. O’Malley, T. Sandin, D. Scherber, T. Strege, M. Treichler, R. Wirkkula, Sher./Corr.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, requested a Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting with the following Agenda items: 1) Discuss 70th Street/CSAH 37 Collaborative Project with Otsego and Potential Jurisdictional Change Timeline; and 2) Discuss Space Needs, Highway Department. Potter moved to schedule the TCOTW Meeting for 7-09-13 at 1:30 P.M. The Meeting will be held at the Public Works Building. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried unanimously.
Hawkins requested that all bids received on 6-14-13 for the Beebe Lake Trail Project (SP 086-090-004), Cities of Hanover and St. Michael, be rejected and re-bid on 7-12-13 at 11:00 A.M. Bids will be opened at the Public Works Building. Two bids were received from Fehn Companies, Inc. ($895,491.72) and Sunram Construction ($923,365.00). The engineer’s estimate was $1,062,844.50. In a memorandum from Mike Nielson, WSB & Associates, Inc., Nielson outlines that the bid item that seemed inconsistent with the engineer’s estimate was the bituminous paving for the trail project. The project was bid by the square yard and the plan called for this bid item to include bituminous material and class 5 aggregate base. The other bituminous bid item was intended for driveway and other miscellaneous paving and did not include the Class 5 Aggregate Base. The Memorandum reflects that both bidders missed the requirement of the Class 5 Aggregate base in the bituminous trail price by the square yard and could not complete the project for the amount bid. The error was reviewed with MnDOT and FHWA staff and both recommend re-bidding of the project. Borrell moved to reject all bids received on 6-14-13 for the Beebe Lake Trail Project (SP 086-090-004), Cities of Hanover and St. Michael, and re-bid on 7-12-13 at 11:00 A.M. Daleiden asked whether WSB & Associates, Inc. will be charging the County for re-bidding. Nielson responded that all bills will be paid by Hanover and St. Michael for re-bidding. There will be no cost to the County. The motion carried 5-0.
A Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-20-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, the following corrections were made to the Minutes: Page 2, 6th Paragraph, change to “Recommendation: Move metal detectors back up to the Courts area only. Gather more information regarding employee’s concerns and opinions on the topic and research exact placement for the detectors” (Sawatzke); Page 3, 1st Paragraph, second to last line should read, “Daleiden stated he would like to see the State DMV Testing brought back to the Government Center so they are in one area again” (Sawatzke); Page 3, 1st Paragraph, last sentence should be deleted which reads, “Sawatzke stated he disagreed” (Sawatzke). Borrell moved to accept the Minutes and recommendation as amended and to send the first item to the Personnel Committee and possibly the Building Committee thereafter. The motion was seconded by Husom. Sawatzke asked that Board Minutes be researched prior to the Personnel Committee Meeting for previous discussion on this item relating to staffing. He thought there had been discussion on having a bailiff roam the building for security purposes. He would like to know positions added at the point in time when security was added. Daleiden asked whether the moving of the lunchroom would be sent to committee. Sawatzke said that would fall under the recommendations in the set of minutes being reviewed that the Building Committee bring back some sort of recommendations in those areas. Sawatzke said the recommendation on Page 3 should be changed to read, “The Committee will take a tour of the old Sheriff’s Office to assess the suitability of this area for a lunchroom, training, and State DMV testing area” (Sawatzke). The motion carried 5-0. The revised 6-20-13 Building Committee Minutes follow:
I. Government Center Security
A. Borrell stated he would like to discuss the location of the metal detectors within the Courthouse. As far as he is aware, Wright County is the only County Building in the State that requires people go through a metal detector before entering and he believes that it is infringing on citizen’s freedom. Sawatzke stated he agreed with Borrell and said the metal detectors were brought in after 09-11-01. He stated he realized there are statutes that exist for the security of Court Administration. He would like to see Wright County’s protocol compared to other counties. Hagerty stated that the detectors were placed because there was a lot of concern for the building after 09-11-01. He has already met with Gentles about tightening up security within Court Administration. He said that while he believes the cameras are a great addition to security, Court Administration used to have a gate at the top of the stairs that would be locked at 4:30pm. He believed this helped with security issues especially if judges are working late. Hagerty would still like a presence of officers in the building during business hours. He also wanted the Committee to know that he has not received many complaints about the detectors. Husom stated she agrees with Hagerty and believes officers should still have a presence in the Courthouse.
Hagerty stated one issue with placing the detectors over by Court Administration would be the elevator. People would need to get off the elevator at the second level, go through security, and then get back on the elevator to continue to Court Administration. Borrell questioned if the Sheriff could assign special access to the elevator. Hagerty stated it would need to be discussed with Administration. Hagerty stated that there is also concern for Court Services. Sawatzke stated that three positions were added when the detectors were placed and believes that if the detectors were moved, not as many positions would be needed. Hoffman stated that the only position that would be eliminated would be the position at the back door. He also said that the gate at the top of the stairs for Court Administration can no longer be used due to fire code.
MacMillan reminded the Committee that this Courthouse is laid out differently than other counties. While most Courthouses have all of their court departments in one area, Wright County has them in different areas. MacMillan stated that in the last week there were four arrests on the fourth floor. He reminded the Committee that these are not the clients who fail a drug tests but rather the ones that could bring weapons into the Courthouse and cause harm to his staff. It eases MacMillan’s mind and his staff’s mind to know that the people who do come up to the fourth floor have already been checked for weapons. T. Kelly stated he agreed with MacMillan. He shared that a few years ago, he received a letter threatening his life. It makes him feel better to know that the people he is riding in the elevator with have been checked for weapons. T. Kelly stated that because of the environment, he believes everyone should be protected and not just Court Administration.
Potter stated that in the future, the County would like to move all court departments out to the Law Enforcement Center (LEC). He believes that the metal detectors should stay where they are for now and once everyone is moved they can discuss relocating them. Sawatzke stated that move would not take place for some time because the number of inmates is not what was expected. He believes that because the number of inmates is low, the courts are not as busy as expected. Daleiden stated he disagreed with that because there are other sentences than jail time, such as probation and home monitoring bracelets.
Aanerud stated that she agrees with leaving the detectors where they are. She said that people who come from the Attorney’s Office, often also go to her department and are generally upset. It makes her and her coworkers feel safer knowing they have been checked for weapons. Aanerud also stated that the Motor Vehicle Department carried a large amount of cash on hand. Sawatzke questioned if Aanerud had ever heard of someone robbing a government center. Aanerud stated she had not, but reminded Sawatzke that their department is located directly next to the employee only side door, which would make for an easy exit.
Borrell questioned what the next move would be. Sawatzke stated that the Committee would need to make a recommendation to be presented to the Board. He suggested having Hayes review what it would take to move the detectors and the fire codes. Daleiden stated the detectors should stay where they are because all employees are important and he does not value one life above another. Borrell questioned what could be done to make the garage a more secure place. Hagerty suggested holding a Personnel Committee Meeting since there were two different issues, citizen’s freedom and staffing for the detectors. Husom stated she is not concerned about the staffing but is concerned for the safety of all Courthouse employees. She questioned if a bailiff could be placed on the fourth floor to pat people down if they looked dangerous. Sawatzke stated they could not choose people at random to pat down. Husom then suggested that everyone get patted down. MacMillan stated that the bailiff would need to use a metal detecting wand instead of a pat-down.
Husom questioned how many clients go behind the security door per day on fourth floor. MacMillan stated it was at least 75 people per day. He would also like to speak with his staff and get their opinion on the subject. Husom stated that she would like to see the subject move forward so that opinions can be gathered from the employees.
Recommendation: Move metal detectors back up to the Courts area only. Gather more information regarding employee’s concerns and opinions on the topic and research exact placement for the detectors.
II. Costs for Structural Engineering & Architect
A. Daleiden stated there are several departments that are short on space. In particular is the IT Department and Financial Services. Daleiden said that IT is very cramped and it would be too expensive to completely move them. He would like to propose the idea of making use of the old jail possibly for a lunch room and the old Sheriff’s Office for the DMV. Daleiden stated it would make it more convenient and open. Borrell stated that if the lunch room was moved to the old jail, it would free up a room on the first floor lunchroom by the IT Department. Daleiden stated that lunchroom is not used much right now since there are no windows. Sawatzke questioned the cost of turning the old jail into a lunch room. Daleiden stated it would be the basics. He also stated that the IT Department would like to have a computerized training area for the employees. Sawatzke stated he believed it would be easier to put the training area in the old Sheriff’s Offices. Sawatzke stated the door to the new lunch area would need to be a keycard locked door. Daleiden stated there would be some remodeling that would need to be done. Sawatzke stated he would like to see as little funds put into it as possible because the long term idea is that the section of the building will be demolished. Daleiden stated he would like to see the State DMV Testing brought back to the Government Center so they are in one area again.
Daleiden mentioned that Court Administration is also was in need of more storage space. L. Kelly stated that if the Committee was going to discuss storage needs, it should be discussed with all Department Heads.
Daleiden stated there are two companies that could give estimates on the remodel for the old jail. The first company would identify what would need to be done and then the Committee would need to bid out the work. The second company would identity what needs to be done and provide a bid for the work. Hayes stated that he did not believe the old jail would make an appealing lunch room for the employees. Potter stated he would like to see the DMV moved into the old Sheriff’s Office as well.
Recommendation: The Committee will take a tour of the old Sheriff’s Office to assess the suitability of this area for a lunchroom, training, and State DMV testing area.
(End of 6-20-13 Building Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve a plat, “Prairie Mountain 2nd Addition,” as submitted by Donald R. Blowers, fee owner of property described in part as: Outlots C and D, Prairie Mountain have caused the same to be surveyed and platted as Prairie Mountain 2nd Addition; with all outstanding taxes, including green acre liability, if any having been paid; the open space dedication fee has been paid (Receipt#158145); and Greg T. Kryzer, Assistant Wright County Attorney, has reviewed the mylars, title opinion and accompanying legal documents prepared by Mr. D.A. Schroeppel and finds the plat to be ready for recording.
Hiivala introduced Bryce Cruey, Wenck Associates, who provided options for moving forward on County Ditch 10. Cruey said Wenck Associates completed the design for the ditch improvements. The project was put out for bid on 6-03-13 and on 6-10-13. Several companies picked up bid packages and bids were received from Sunram Construction Inc. and Minnesota Native Landscapes Inc. Cruey presented four options:
1. Accept low bid of $144,304.69 from Minnesota Native Landscapes Inc.
2. Hold off approving the contract until a change order can be negotiated.
3. Table discussion.
4. Re-bid in the fall.
Cruey said his recommendation is to move forward with Option 1. Sawatzke asked for more information on the change order referenced in Option 2. Cruey said one possibility for a change order would be to remove smaller segments from the project. That is being done to try to get the project cost reduced. If the project is re-bid this fall, the work can still be done in the fall. Borrell voiced concern on whether the project was advertised well enough. He thought some contractors may not have bid as they did not know their fall schedule (whether projects they were working on would be done by that time). Sawatzke was unsure whether two bids is viewed as adequate. He had concern that the bid came in 44% over the engineer’s estimate of $100,000. Husom asked if there were any indicators of this difference. Cruey said that the unit prices of the low bidder varied only slightly from that of the engineer’s estimate. The largest difference relates to tree removal. Contractors had questions on what tree removal consisted of and what was to be done with them. The plans included placing them on the side of the ditch.
Borrell moved to reject the bids received for County Ditch 10 and to rebid them later this year. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. Sawatzke asked whether Asleson had any concerns and he did not. Daleiden asked whether additional costs will be associated with re-bidding. Cruey said additional costs will be associated with time. He estimated this to be about $1,500. Borrell thinks that re-bidding will bring in a larger pool of contractors once they know their schedules. He said Hiivala can let them know this is coming up. Daleiden asked where the bids were advertised. Hiivala said the ad was placed in the Howard Lake Herald. Husom said that with the re-bid, she would want advertising guidelines. Daleiden said that can be discussed when Ditch 10 comes back for discussion on re-bid. The motion carried 5-0.
Hiivala stated that in 2011, Wright County applied for septic loan funds in the amount of $300,000. Wright County now has the opportunity to apply for an additional $210,000. Potter moved to authorize Hiivala to sign Amendment No. 1 to Loan Agreement No. SRF0246, which is an application for an additional $210,000 in septic loan funds. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously.
At the last County Board Meeting, Brad Fyle, Fyle’s Excavating, requested payment on Joint Ditch 15 repairs that he made. Payment to Fyle’s requires approval by Kerry Saxton, SWCD. The Board took action at the last Board Meeting to either have the payment to Fyle’s Excavating included in the claims listing this week or to have an update provided at the Board Meeting.
Today, Kerry Saxton, SWCD, provided a Ditch Report on Joint Ditch 15 repairs:
Joint Ditch 15 Repair
The contractor believes he has fulfilled his obligation under the agreement to clean out a portion of Judicial Ditch 15. Since there was no formal agreement other than what showed up in the minutes and I was not privy to that meeting where the work was agreed to it is difficult to ascertain if the work has been completed as agreed. From what I understand it would likely be very difficult for the County to take any action to enforce further work due to this situation. The good news is that I believe we got a lot of work done for the contract amount as evidenced by the bids that came in on County 10. However, we also have a number of issues remaining if the county wishes to upgrade the management of ditches and in this case Judicial 15.
The contractor was under the impression that he had to clean trees and brush from sixteen feet from the centerline of the ditch. After we started getting complaints about the work late last fall I reviewed the ditch and talked with him about a number of issues including the implied easement area of 16 feet from the top of the bank, he then did finish the ditch pulling trees from a wider area. He did not go back and clean to this extent on most of the ditch which he had already done. This ditch is very deep so 16 feet from the center line gets us to about the top of the ditch on much of it. I believe that a number of trees still exist on the easement area and adjacent to it, which landowners would like to see removed. To improve maintenance in the future such as spraying for tree and brush control more trees will have to be removed. Fortunately there isn’t a lot of trees in most of this area and I believe sentence to serve could be used to remove the rest and treat the stumps. A complicating issue is, two landowners asked him to leave the trees alone on their property and he did comply with that request. I have talked to both landowners and their complaints range from the fact that they like the trees to a dispute over tax levies and a misunderstanding with the contractor. The board will have to decide how these areas will be handled as there are quite a few trees here. After talking with the landowners and explaining the issues they seemed more willing to allow the cleaning but that would have to be followed up on. Since the contractor has moved his equipment he may not be willing to go back for the remaining money. The Board should decide if this warrants a deduction in the final payment. The issue of who will burn the trees was discussed and I believe the contactor offered to do that. This should be confirmed with him and again the Board should decide whether there will be any funds held until that is accomplished. A number of stumps were left above the ground which would make cutting the ditch very difficult so spraying is about the only option for control see photo RIMG0754.
Other issues with the ditch include: when the spoil was leveled it may have still had ice in it or it contracted to the point where it is developing some fairly good holes in it see photo RIMG0882. It would be advisable to get an implement on the spoil and level it off to some degree in areas where there are not currently farm fields to facilitate maintenance in the future. Because much of this area was either in heavy trees or adjacent to them there is a large seed source and a number of the trees are sprouting from both stumps and seed which will require another and continued spraying or we can expect tree problems in the not too distant future see photo RIMG0881. The ditch was not seeded but is establishing vegetation, much of which is broadleaf weeds. Seeding at this point without working up the spoil banks is not a viable option. If the spoil banks are worked then a provision to seed should be looked at. It should be recognized that seeding failure this time of year is possible. Spraying for broadleaf weeds and trees will favor grass establishment.
Other issues on this ditch include, that some areas especially when he cleaned from only one side of the ditch and where it’s deep the slopes are quite vertical and sloughing of the slide slopes into the ditch may occur, as vegetation establishes these areas will be held better see photoRIMG0753. There are a number of sites on the ditch that should have side inlet pipes as gullies are forming where large watersheds enter the ditch see photo RIMG0742. Our office would help design and install these structures if desired but details and costs would have to be worked out. These areas are depositing sediment in the ditch and it makes cleaning more expensive and required more often. Filter strips would help a number of issues and should be encouraged or required.
After the recent heavy rains JD 14 and areas of JD 15 flooded which will likely be raised if JD 14 petitions for an improvement and will move more water to JD 15 see photos RIMG0888, RIM0894 and RIM0895. As the Board is aware we have had two additional requests for cleaning out portions of JD 15 and I believe a meeting has been set for July 25th to discuss JD 15 in its entirety and the potential for redetermination and repair. A last thought, the County Board and all landowners should consider with heavy rains flooding will occur it is not possible that everyone can shoot their water off without affecting downstream flooding and water quality. These rains that we experience almost every year were not captured by the soil that has been heavily drained and following last year’s severe drought were in very dry condition. As we drain more and more land in the higher areas of our watersheds especially those that rarely drained we force that water faster on the people lower in the watersheds who must deal with the consequences.
Kerry Saxton, Office Manager-Wright SWCD
(End of Joint Ditch 15 Report)
Saxton distributed additional photos of Joint Ditch 15 that were not included in the Board packets. Saxton said one of the difficulties is that there was no contract for the work that was completed. It was a verbal agreement between a former County Commissioner and Fyle’s Excavating. The minutes are the record of what was discussed. The minutes reflect 16’ of cleanout on both sides of the Ditch. However, there is no clarification as to what that is. There is a lot of difference between 16’ from the center of the Ditch and 16’ from the top of the Ditch, especially on Joint Ditch 15 which is very deep in areas. Saxton said the County’s easement, which is not recorded by use, is 16’ from the top of the bank. That area will be needed in the future to maintain the Ditch. Saxton said there was some confusion on the work that was requested. He said Fyle’s Excavating did a lot of work for the cost. Saxton’s recommendation is that Fyle’s Excavating be paid the majority of the fee except where the two landowners asked not to have the trees removed.
Saxton suggested using the Sentencing To Service crew to remove the remainder of the trees at the top of the Ditch. The trees could be piled and the stumps treated, as some of the stumps that Fyle’s treated have re-growth. He was unsure whether Fyle’s has re-treated them. Saxton said the Board will need to decide how to maintain the Ditch. There was no provision to seed the Ditch so there will continue to be broadleaf weeds and trees. If nothing is done, the Ditch will return to its prior condition in about 10-15 years.
Daleiden asked about the deep and sharp banks of Ditch 10. Saxton said the minutes do not reflect what was agreed upon, but normally a minimum of a 1:1 slope is required. There will be some sloughing of the vertical slopes but that should stabilize in time. There is canary grass and broadleaf weeds growing in the Ditch. The spoil banks have been spread down. The spoils are contracting and developing holes and uneven areas. It will make it difficult to bring a sprayer in. The grass also cannot be mowed due to the remaining stumps. Saxton said the only way to control growth is by spraying, and the spoils may need to be leveled in order to bring equipment in. Saxton said the areas that are not being farmed are the worst, which may be an area of about 3,000-4,000 feet. Saxton said the aerial photo reflects that about 12,000 feet of the Ditch was cleaned. That is similar to what is being bid on Ditch 10, and the cost difference is phenomenal. There are some erosion problems where large watersheds dump into the Ditch. There is no provision for pipes in areas, so the flow cuts a gully in and deposits sediment. Saxton said that is a problem for future maintenance of the Ditch. That should be looked at and side inlet pipes should be put in. He said there are some side inlet pipes that the County put in a number of years ago. The County needs to remove the remaining small trees in those areas.
Sawatzke asked the overall cost of the project and what percentage relates to the two properties bypassed at the request of the property owners. Saxton estimated the total cost at $20,695 and estimated the portion of the two properties to be around 5%. One of the properties has quite a few trees that are used as a windbreak. Saxton said Fyle cleaned most of that area, but there are some trees on the bank. He estimated that to clean up that area would take the STS crew about three days. It would also need to be determined where the material would be burned. He said there was no provision to seed and now is not the time to do this because of going into the typical dry period.
Saxton supports paying Fyle’s Excavating for the work completed. There were a couple of landowners who did not let Fyle finish the work. Saxton said one issue relates to a misunderstanding with a contractor but the real problem appears to be related to a tax parcel issue with Stockholm Township. He thought one of the landowners would now let Fyle finish the work. Sawatzke said the landowner needs to know that they will be receiving an assessment for Ditch 15 repairs so they may as well get their area cleaned. Saxton informed the landowners that the County Board may require them to sign a statement indicating they will keep the Ditch clear. If they don’t follow that, the County can elect to hire someone and the landowner will be responsible for the cost. Saxton said if they are willing to sign that type of agreement, then the trees could possibly stay. It would be important that any trees that fall be removed immediately from the Ditch.
Brad Fyle said he received the Ditch 15 Report at today’s meeting so he has not had a chance to review it. Fyle thinks all of the trees that are in the initial contract have been removed. There are a few on the upper side banks. He was unaware of the County’s easement when he bid the project. As part of the repairs, they went beyond the easement. They tried to keep the wind breaks for residences. Fyle said he completed a lot of work for the cost. He said there are 4-5 piles of brush that will need to be burned. He offered to complete the work or the County could elect to take $400 off the bid amount if the landowners want to burn the brush. Fyle said if he burns the brush, he would wait until there is snow on the ground for safety reasons. Sawatzke asked Fyle about a small deduction for those areas where tree removal did not occur because of the request by landowners. Fyle viewed this as beyond the scope of what he had planned for tree removal and so objects to any deduct. Fyle said his impression was there was about a 30’ easement and he was to take out anything within that easement. The trees in question are in excess of 20’ from the waters edge, and they will not impede flow in his opinion. They could blow over and slow the flow.
Borrell said down the road, the County needs to come up with a better structure for maintenance of ditches. Fyle said tree stumps cannot be removed, and it is extremely tough to control the growth. Power companies routinely spray near poles using very strong chemicals. Sawatzke said power poles may not be located near a body of water, where spraying near a ditch provides a direct gateway to lakes and streams. Sawatzke said it appears that clearer specifications should have been drawn up in this situation. Fyle said there were three bidders and former Commissioner Russek was part of the site visit for the Ditch. There was nothing in writing as to what work should be performed. Hiivala said the balance of the contract with Fyle’s Excavating is $8,278. That would include Fyle burning the brush at the end of the year. Hiivala said it would be paid through an Auditor’s warrant. Potter moved to approve payment of the claim to Brad Fyle for $7,878, with $400 to be paid once the brush has been burned. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Saxton asked the Board to consider what they are going to do with Joint Ditch 15. Sawatzke suggested that Borrell review the area and contact the STS Crew Leader. Borrell said the County has gone from one extreme to another with regard to ditch repairs. On Joint Ditch 15, Fyle’s Excavating cleared the Ditch with no specifications. On Ditch 10, the County is working with Wenck Associates with $30,000 in engineering fees. Borrell thought the County should find mid ground between the two when dealing with ditch repairs. Specifications should be written. Ditch 10 is a different situation because of the implication on Lake Ann property owners. An engineering firm may not have been needed with all ditch repairs. Saxton agreed and said the scope of the project would need to be looked at. He suggested something in written format as to what is agreed to. Daleiden said there is the issue of cleaning the ditches but there is also maintenance of the ditch. Sawatzke stated that there is nothing in law that allows the County to charge more to a resident who does not maintain the ditch than to a resident who does. Borrell suggested that in the future, the County indicate to landowners that they will be spraying a certain section of a ditch. The County would establish a set price per foot. If a landowner decides to care for the section themselves, they could submit the bill to the County. The person would still get assessed for maintenance of the ditch but would be paid based on the established price. Borrell asked Saxton whether it would be a good idea to level out the ground on Ditch 15 so a sprayer can be brought in. Saxton said the spoils would need work because of how they are settling. He said it would be nice if there were an area farmer who would level the spoils with their equipment. The other problem is once vegetation grows, driving over areas can cause problems because of sticks and stumps. Borrell and Saxton plan to make a site visit to Joint Ditch 15.
Discussion moved to Ditch 22 and Ditch 31. Saxton provided the following Ditch Report:
County Ditch 22 and 31
On June 20th, 2013 Wright County Ditch 22, and 31 draining parts of Woodland Township, was viewed by staff of the Wright SWCD. This viewing was brought about by the request of a landowner, Engelmann, seeking to have the ditches cleaned out to improve the removal of water from his property. Our intention was to determine whether or not drainage has been impeded and a clean out needed. We documented pictures of problem areas supporting our findings. (Pictures included below.) Ditch 31 was recently worked on by the township changing out a culver that had washed out. This culvert had been replaced not that long ago and failure may have been due to improper compaction around the culvert. Soil and gravel were moved off the road and into the ditch and is impeding flow as shown below. As we went up the ditch it became very shallow which should not have happened in such a short distance which indicates the ditch has sediment in it.
Ditch 22 was last cleaned in 1986 by Severson Construction. There is evidence of this in the ditch file including contracts, receipts, and legal cases.
After viewing the ditch from several different points it is clear that the ditch’s function is being impaired due to sediment accumulation, tree growth, and other flow impediments. The county should consider redeterminations on both these ditches to bring benefits up to date and re-establish roles. Piece meal repairs seem to lead to complaints and requests from other landowners both up and downstream. If the County intends to better manage the ditches a more comprehensive approach is needed rather than reacting to individual landowner requests. A complete repair on all areas that have not been recently cleaned to date would be expensive and the county should consider calling a ditch meeting to discuss the options with all affected landowners. It’s clear that Ditch 22 is in need of a major clean out if it is to function as designed.
Kerry Saxton, Office Manager-Wright SWCD and Christian Forster, Conservation Corp Apprentice
(End of County Ditch 22 and 31 Written Report)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Saxton said Ditch 22 and Ditch 31 were viewed at the request of a landowner. A Ditch 31 cleanout occurred by private landowners last year. Saxton suggested the County look at the entire system, and that a meeting be held with landowners to obtain feedback, educate them on costs involved and who is responsible for the cost, etc. Two areas identified are the southern leg of Ditch 22 and the northern arm into the Engelmann property. Borrell asked if the benefited property owners are representative of what the Ditch serves. Hiivala said his office has been receiving calls from benefited landowners on Ditch 31. It is his opinion that the current list does not represent those who are benefiting from the Ditch. Borrell wondered if a redetermination is appropriate. Hiivala said they looked at the ditch system. There are additional lands that have the physical ditch dug through them that are not currently assessed on the Ditch 31 system. If a redetermination is pursued, there is an approximate two-year waiting period for ditch viewers. Borrell requested laying this item over so he can make a site visit. Saxton said accessing Ditch 22 should be fairly easy through a landowner’s field road. Ditch 31 will be harder to access. Josh Engelmann, Woodland Dairy and property owner, said he and his parents own land along the Ditch. If anyone from the County is interested in looking at the Ditch, they should contact him. He is the person who initiated the repair requests, and it has been a confusing process to ask about ditch maintenance. He was sent to three different departments including the SWCD, NRCS, and the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Sawatzke said those entities have different authorities so it may involve contact with each of them. Engelmann suggested a standard form which reflects the process for obtaining permission for ditch maintenance. It was the consensus that Ditches 22 and 31 will be laid over until Borrell has an opportunity to make a site visit.
The claims listing was reviewed. Daleiden made a motion to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, in the amount of $2,056,032.97, 186 vendors, and 259 transactions. The motion was seconded by Potter. Sawatzke referenced a claim on Page 14, Scuba Center ($304.05) for a uniform allowance for an employee. Sheriff Joe Hagerty stated the equipment is most likely for underwater recovery. It was the consensus that the claim will be paid unless the Sheriff indicates to the Auditor/Treasurer that it should be pulled. The motion carried 5-0.
Potter requested a Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting for the purpose of meeting with Bruce Kimmel, Ehlers, Inc., on bonding and related issues. It was the consensus that this could be presented at a future Board Meeting along with a report outstanding bonds. Hiivala will contact Kimmel and bring this forth at a future Board Meeting.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 6-25-13. At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0:
I. Discuss Continuity Of Operations Planning (COOP)
Kelly distributed copies of the Wright County COOP – County Board Functions Worksheet (see attached). Today’s meeting was reconvened from the 5-07-13 Committee Of The Whole Meeting to receive input from the Commissioners on this section of the COOP.
Austin-Roehler said the COOP only addresses how County government deals with employees in an emergency, such as loss of space or personnel. During previous table top exercises, Austin-Roehler said COOP team members realized there was no Department Functions Worksheet for County Commissioners. It is appropriate to detail their responsibilities in the event of an emergency. She said Kelly researched the executive functions of the Board. Austin-Roehler referenced Page 1, Column 1, Department Functions. She asked the Commissioners whether they felt the seven items listed in this column appropriately summed up their major responsibilities as County Commissioners.
Austin-Roehler said the document does not cover every area of responsibility, but designates emergency authority to the Commissioners. She directed their attention to Page 1, Column 3, Priority of Function (1-4). She explained that Priority 1 items must happen without delay on a 24/7 basis. Priority 2 items should occur within a day or two and not be postponed. Priorities 3 and 4 are items that would not have as much urgency, but must be taken care of within a few weeks, or as specified by law.
Austin-Roehler said the following pages offer supporting items to help Commissioners identify backup personnel and priorities based on importance.
Austin-Roehler explained that this document is a draft. Kelly entered data reflecting his opinion regarding Commissioners’ priorities. This meeting was intended to offer Commissioners a chance to comment. Austin-Roehler said the Commissioners may change, add or remove any of the information. Borrell said they may think of something Kelly forgot. Daleiden said they could also change priority levels. He clarified that this document only relates to an emergency situation.
Berg said originally, when the COOP started, it filled a void where the previous Emergency Management Plan left off. It assumed County infrastructure was in place but staff was lost.
Borrell asked about an emergency situation in which the Public Works Building was destroyed and many County employees were killed. He said the County would ask other counties for help accomplishing County functions. Berg explained that Public Works has an unwritten mutual aide agreement with other counties. He said Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, preferred a written Memorandum Of Agreement versus a written mutual aide agreement.
Borrell asked how the County would handle a pandemic. Austin-Roehler said that type of emergency usually has some advance warning for planning. She directed attention to the document at hand, saying it is the Commissioners’ responsibility to decide the extent of their emergency authority regarding policy decisions or changes related to staff (overtime, calling employees in after hours, etc.) Sawatzke said Department Heads may also exercise emergency authority regarding staffing hours and duties.
Berg said emergencies can be addressed without a COOP, but he advocated having a written plan as a starting point.
Borrell discussed a pandemic emergency. The Public Health Department has the authority to order citizens to stay home and not travel. Austin-Roehler said in that situation, the County has to operate with the employees who are able to work. Departments prioritize their functions and determine what essential duties will be done by a limited number of people. Priority 1 items are dealt with first. Less important priorities temporarily cease. Certain decisions have a higher priority during an emergency.
Berg said top priorities include law enforcement. Dispatch must continue to operate. Borrell said Public Health may have to function 24/7. He asked who citizens could call in a pandemic. Austin-Roehler said Public Health has the capacity to set up phone banks in the office. There would also be information on the Public Health web site.
Berg commented that a pandemic emergency lasts for weeks versus a tornado. Also, there is usually more warning before a pandemic strikes, which provides opportunity for preparation.
Austin-Roehler asked whether Commissioners would approve immediate hiring of temporary staff to assist with immunizations during a pandemic. Commissioners may be called on to make other emergency decisions such as authorizing the purchase of medical supplies not included in the normal budget, or approving unlimited overtime because of staffing shortages.
Borrell said authorizing overtime is an easy decision in case of emergency. He suggested cross-training employees. Austin-Roehler said Public Health employees are cross-trained. She said the value of the COOP is the mental exercise involved with thinking through a potential emergency and writing down how to best mitigate it.
Borrell said if supervisors and Department Heads are sick, procedures need to be in place. Austin-Roehler said every Department has a copy of the COOP manual. Daleiden said there is no guarantee that everyone will be able to work. Someone has to be able to step in and do the job.
Berg said the COOP addresses central functions and also succession of authority.
Austin –Roehler directed attention to page 2-A of the document that lists types of authority conferred to Commissioners during certain kinds of emergencies. Subsequent pages detail the line of succession if Commissioners are not available. For example, if half of the Commissioners are sick, who fills in for them? If one dies, who takes their place? Austin-Roehler reiterated that emergency authority is strictly related to declared emergencies and not normal day-to-day operations.
Nolan asked the Commissioners if they agreed with the data Kelly provided regarding potential issues that might arise during an emergency. Austin-Roehler asked the Commissioners if the document included all possible decisions they might have to make during an emergency.
Berg said the process of planning is more important the plan itself. Table top exercises enable participants to visualize and learn from a potential emergency situation without having to experience it. The COOP is reviewed every year.
Austin-Roehler said by September 2013 all Departmental updates to the COOP will be completed. Once those are done and the County’s Labor Attorney reviews the Personnel section, the COOP will be brought to the County Board for approval. She said they will plan another tabletop exercise in which Commissioners may participate.
Borrell asked what the line of succession would be if no Commissioners were available during an emergency. Austin-Roehler said that information is in the document. Kelly said first the Coordinator, then the Special Projects Administrator, and then most likely the Human Resources Director (not yet in the COOP).
Borrell asked where the Sheriff falls in the line of succession. Sawatzke said he has specific authority by virtue of his position. Nolan said it depends on the scenario. Kelly said the COOP lists three successors in every Department. Borrell expressed preference that the lines of succession in the COOP go deeper.
Sandquist suggested the Commissioners write their preference for deeper succession lines in the COOP if that is a concern. Berg said perhaps next year succession could be changed from three per Department to five. Even if the COOP is not perfect, it is important to have a plan in place.
Several Commissioners speculated what would happen if only one Commissioner were available during an emergency. Austin-Roehler said that person would have the authority to make whatever decision they deemed best. Nolan stressed that this is only in the case of a declared emergency. Austin-Roehler said after the emergency was over, the full County Board would convene and grant approval of the decisions made.
Berg said the COOP is confirmation that all Commissioners understand and know the plan. If people who are normally in charge are incapacitated, others know what to do. It’s a guideline.
Sandquist said Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, asks that Commissioners check to make sure they have the software programs they need to perform their essential functions prior to an emergency.
There was discussion regarding utilizing conference calls and webinars in the event of an emergency.
Sawatzke said on Page 2D, Order of Succession, the word “Commissioner” should be changed to “Commissioners” since there may be more than one other Commissioner available. The COOP does not designate one Commissioner ahead of another.
Recommendation: Adopt Continuity Of Operations Planning (COOP) – County Board Department Functions.
(End of 6-25-13 Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Commissioner Potter received a letter from Northland Securities relating to the City of Albertville and their consideration of a Tax Increment Financing District for development of senior housing. The City will hold a public hearing on 8-05-13 at 7:00 P.M. The letter was sent to Potter on behalf of the City to solicit comments and requests Potter to sign an acknowledgement that he received the information. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said sometimes entities are asked to sign off or waive a specific time period for submitting comments. In the past, the County Board has not typically submitted comments. It is required that the County be notified. Asleson did not have any specific concerns. Sawatzke said with this TIF District, it does not appear there is a request to waive the hearing. Borrell moved to authorize Potter to sign the document acknowledging receipt of the notice. The motion was seconded by the Daleiden and carried 5-0. Sawatzke said MN Statute requires notification of this type be sent to the Commissioner in the affected District. Sometimes the notice will be sent to the County Board if there is a request to waive the hearing timeline.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty returned to the Board Meeting with information on the claim to Scuba Center discussed earlier into today’s meeting. Sheriff Hagerty stated that Lt. Todd Hoffman is on the dive team and is a member of the Teamsters Union, Sheriff Supervisory Unit. Reimbursement for uniforms is through vouchers. Most employees on the dive team are in the Deputy’s Union and receive an annual uniform allowance.
Bills Approved
Abbott Northwestern Hospital $317.19
Albertville Body Shop Inc 2,048.00
Allina OCC Med 190.00
Ameripride Services 296.39
Anoka County Corrections 10,053.00
Anoka County Sheriff 21,392.32
Aramark Services Inc 6,538.12
Arrowwood Resort 623.56
Asleson/Brian J 124.90
Boyer Truck Parts 1,118.77
BP Amoco 3,193.41
Brownsworth 961.88
Buffalo Clinic 370.42
Buffalo Hosp.-OTPT Comm. 988.35
Cenex Fleetcard 787.10
Centra Sota Coop. - Buffalo 27,398.72
Central McGowan Inc 113.31
Comm. of Transportation 1,173.10
CRA Payment Center 136.18
Crop Production Services Inc 571.49
Crow River Tools 104.93
Dental Care Assoc. of Buffalo 436.00
Edocument Resources 2,950.04
FirstLab 199.75
Fishnet Security Inc 470.38
Gabriel/Cathleen 300.00
Gilson Company Inc 331.05
Grainger 329.62
Granite Pest Control Services 286.15
Helena Chemical Company 1,642.59
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 1,307.24
Holt Motors Inc 133.59
J N Johnson Fire & Safety 880.00
Junction Towing & Auto Repair 138.40
Keaveny LTC Pharmacy 2,398.07
King Com Cable Networking 8,223.00
Knife River 1,814,054.65
LaPlant Demo Inc 493.83
Loberg Electric 338.58
Lube Tech ESI 2,507.25
Madden Galanter Hansen LLP 2,970.72
Marco Inc 5,513.76
Maria Felger Ramos LLC 100.00
Martin Marietta Materials 115.26
MDIAI 160.00
Menards - Buffalo 736.54
Miller/Richard 125.00
MN Assn of Assessment Pers. 350.00
MN Chemical Company 112.88
MN County Attorneys Assoc. 182.12
MN Monitoring Inc 623.00
MN Native Landscapes 380.00
MN Onsite Wastewater Assn 125.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 678.22
National Business Furniture 261.74
Northern States Power Co. 1,570.63
Northland Business Sys. Inc 1,013.40
Office Depot 685.18
Performance Kennels Inc 101.00
Regents/University of MN 39,302.34
Regional Diagnostic Radiology 218.14
Rengel Printing Co 643.89
Royal Tire Inc 4,487.11
Ruttgers Bay Lake Lodge Inc 1,058.10
Ryan Automotive 551.15
Ryan Chevrolet 222.77
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 374.44
Scuba Center 304.05
Sprint 7,403.17
Sprint 3,177.28
St Cloud Hospital 208.87
St Cloud Pathologists 241.63
St Croix Solutions 16,670.00
State Supply Co 855.66
Traffic Control Corporation 1,159.59
Transcend United Tech. 1,763.44
Unique Truck Equipment Inc 127.70
Vance Brothers Inc 2,511.56
Walmart Store 01-1577 649.39
Waverly/City of 146.88
Wright Co. Highway Dept 40,358.18
37 Payments less than $100 1,871.85
Final total $2,056,032.97
The meeting adjourned at 10:19 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal July 29, 2013.

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