Wright County Board Minutes

FEBRUARY 4, 2014
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 1-28-14 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda under Items For Consideration as follows: #3, “Report on Snowmobiles” (Sawatzke); #4, “Authorize Attendance At The AMC Local Legislative Conference, 2-26-14 & 2-27-14” (Potter); #5, “Authorize Attendance, NACo Conference, 3-01-14 To 3-05-14” (Potter); #6, “Request From Community Behavioral Health Center For Alternate Site” (Kelly). Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Sawatzke, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Set County Auction For 6-07-14 @ 10:00 A.M., Public Works Building.
1. Position Replacement:
a. Deputy County Assessor.
b. Refer To Personnel Committee Job Descriptions For Senior Appraiser And Deputy County Assessor.
1. Position Replacement:
a. Case Aide.
1. Refer Backfill Of Corrections Officer Position To Personnel Committee.
Dennis Loewen, Administrator of the Clearwater River Watershed District (CRWD), requested a letter of support from the County Board to assist the CRWD in obtaining grant funding from the MN Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR). The CRWD is one of 12 finalists for a pool of $12 million to be awarded to 3 or 4 finalists for the Targeted Watershed Demonstration Program sponsored by BWSR. The CRWD is a small Watershed District located in Wright, Stearns and Meeker Counties. The letter reflects that if selected, the CRWD expects from $2.2 million to $3.1 million. Those funds will be used to work on projects identified in the Water Management Plan and toward the TMDL Implementation Plan. He highlighted the Targeted Fertilizer Application Project that is currently focused in the upper reach of the Clearwater River in Meeker and Stearns Counties. The CRWD partnered with local farm cooperatives to work with agriculture producers to reduce nutrient loads to the watershed from fertilizer over-application. About 8,000 acres were enrolled in the first year. The goal is to enroll another 8,000 acres this year for a goal of 16,000 acres. After further discussion, Borrell moved to authorize a letter of support for the CRWD. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke. The motion carried 5-0.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said a list of parcels was sent to the DNR that were classified as Conservation by the Tax Forfeiture Committee. The DNR has indicated the parcels do not meet the requirements for Conservation credit. Borrell made a motion for the Board to acknowledge the classification of the following parcels as Non-Conservation so the parcels may be put up for sale, seconded by Potter:
Sawatzke referenced Page 1 of the letter from the DNR pertaining to parcels with over 150’ of waterfront that will be withdrawn from the sale. Parcel 209-000-352400 reflects that it can only be sold through special legislation. He was confused as the action being taken by the County today is to pass a motion to sell the parcel and yet the letter reflects that the parcel can’t be sold. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the County will have to obtain special legislation on parcels with over 150’ of waterfront declared as non-conservation. Sawatzke questioned whether some of the parcels are allowed to be sold because of this requirement. Asleson said not immediately. Those under 150’ are allowed to be sold and may be done through a private sale with notice to adjacent landowners. Before that is done, a minimum bid will need to be set by the Tax Forfeiture Committee. The first step is to offer the parcels to the local government entities. Sawatzke reiterated that there is conflicting language in the document being reviewed today. Language prepared by the Auditor’s Office on Page 2 of the handout materials states, “The DNR has reviewed these parcels and has given us permission to sell as long as we re-class these parcels as Non-Conservation.” Parcel 209-000-352400 is listed. On the letter from the DNR, it says the Parcel can only be sold if there is special legislation. Sawatzke interpreted this as two different things. Asleson said the letter is unclear. His opinion is that if the parcel involves over 150’ of waterfront, special legislation must be pursued to sell it. Sawatzke asked that staff verify the accuracy of the action. The motion carried 5-0.
The claims listing was reviewed. Borrell made a motion to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, in the amount of $461,976.32 with 117 vendors and 230 transactions. Daleiden referenced claims on Pages 13 and 14 for road salt. He questioned why the County purchases from two different companies. Other Board members offered the suggestion that it may be due to the type of salt that is being purchased. Hiivala said it may have to do with the location of the salt delivery. Daleiden will follow up with the Highway Engineer. The motion to approve the claims carried unanimously.
Steve Jobe, County Surveyor, said as part of the Tri County (Sherburne, Stearns and Wright) 2014 Orthophoto Project, nine proposals for aerial photography services were received. A selection team identified Aerial Services, Inc. from Cedar Falls, Iowa, as the preferred vendor with the lowest price and quickest delivery time. Wright County’s cost will be $65,364. Wright County’s estimated cost was $75,000. Jobe requested approval to prepare a contract for final Board approval and signatures. Discussion followed on the scale of clarity that is required. The Board discussed the value of the aerial photography product realized by Departments such as Planning & Zoning, Assessor’s Office, etc. The product may allow staff the ability to complete work without making a site visit. Also, the product is used by the Highway Department and Surveyor’s Office. Borrell moved to authorize proceeding with the preparation of a contract for aerial photography, seconded by Sawatzke. In response to Sawatzke, Jobe explained that the three Counties all propose to have the same imagery. Sawatzke said from a Planning & Zoning perspective, clearer images are needed in the township areas. He asked Jobe whether cities utilize this product. Jobe confirmed this and said the product is used to serve the public, although they do sell .tif files per the County’s fee schedule. The motion carried 5-0.
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 1-22-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell indicated that many of the items from the suggestion box are being handled by Craig Hayes, Purchasing Agent, and will be done at basically no cost. Potter moved to accept the minutes, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0:
I. New Staff Workspace, Human Services Center (HS Board).
II. Suggestion Box.
Kelly said Commissioner Mike Potter requested that a suggestion box be placed in the new employee lunchroom to solicit ideas to make the space more functional and inviting. Kelly said if a suggestion surfaces on other topics, the Building Committee may discuss it. Seven suggestions were received to date. They include:
1) A request for a magazine rack. Currently magazines lay on the tables. Hayes said there is a bookcase on the third floor of the Annex that has County books for sale. The shelf could be moved to the new lunchroom. Kelly said that was a workable solution.
2) A request by the vending machine company that the County provide condiment packets (ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise), salt and pepper shakers, and napkin holders. Husom asked what the vending company provides. Hayes said they installed a condiment station. He will ask the vendor if they can provide condiments. Kelly asked Hayes to approach the vending company.
3) A suggestion to add a radio. Kelly said he has one in his office that may be used.
4) A request to add pictures. Kelly said some have been hung already. It’s possible this suggestion came in prior to the addition of the wall hangings.
5) A request to turn up the heat in the lunchroom. Hayes commented that the temperature in the rooms varies depending on where someone is sitting. Kelly said Building Maintenance staff was told to keep the temperature between 68 – 72 degrees per Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Hayes said he will ask Al Buskey, Building Maintenance Supervisor, to monitor the temperature.
6) A suggestion for a cubicle wall to block noise to the alcove where a large table is located.
Kelly asked Hayes to monitor it. If another comment comes in, the Building Committee may re-evaluate it. Hayes said it is not a good idea to create secluded spaces. Borrell suggested they not act on this request.
7) A request to provide bean bag chairs or couches in one of the alcoves. Hayes said he has a couch he would like to donate. Kelly said the County has tried to furnish the area using furniture already on site. Kelly expressed concerns about bean bag chairs. Borrell said many people are getting rid of good couches. He preferred the County accept donated couches.
Recommendation: Act on the following suggestions:
1) Magazine rack: Use the bookcase on the 3rd floor.
2) Add condiments in the new lunchroom: Hayes will ask the vending machine company to provide condiments; the County will provide salt and pepper shakers and napkins.
3) Add a radio: Kelly will donate one from his office.
5) Turn up the heat: Hayes and Building Maintenance will monitor it.
7) Couch: The County will accept donations.
No action was taken regarding suggestion 4) Hang more pictures, or 6) Partition off one of the alcoves.
(End of 1-22-14 Building Committee Minutes)
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 1-22-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke made the following corrections: Page 1, 5th paragraph, remove the following language, “Sawatzke commented that eventually the Township would like the County to improve it. At that point, he said the County should rewrite the agreement and eliminate the requirement to redo Reardon Avenue.”; Page 2, 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence should read, “Sawatzke said the County agreed to limit mining outside of aggregate resource areas in Southside Township.” Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes as corrected, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0:
I. Discussion On 100-Acre Parcel For Sale.
Mattice distributed an aerial map and a Land Use Plan map for Southside Township (Township). He said Douglas Kersten, the owner of the parcel in question, contacted him because the County owns the adjacent 20-acre parcel shown in bright green on the aerial map.
Mattice said when the County Board purchased the 20-acre parcel, they also signed an agreement with the Kersten family allowing them to continue to pasture their cattle on it until the County developed the land as a park. The Board signed another agreement with the Township that stated if the 20-acre parcel is developed as a park, Reardon Avenue, which borders the parcel, would become a County Road. At that time, the County would assume 100 percent responsibility for maintenance of the road. Sawatzke asked if the two agreements are in writing. Mattice said they are.
Mattice said he brought the matter before the Parks Commission. The consensus was the 100-acre parcel has a sharp incline and is not good for lake access. The only positive the Parks Commission found is that the County would not have to take over a Township road.
Sawatzke asked whether the County would have to develop Reardon Avenue according to the agreement if their access is not used. Riley said Reardon Avenue is not in good shape. Mattice said the Parks Commission thinks the road needs improvements.
Husom asked whether the County is currently maintaining the 20-acre parcel to the north of the 100-acre parcel under discussion. Mattice said it is not. Husom suggested leaving it as unimproved land.
Mattice said it is hard to get to the parcel by the road. People canoe to it from the lake side. Kersten’s cattle keep the grass mowed down. However, the Clearwater River Watershed District objects to the cattle going into the lake. Riley said the land is not classified as a feedlot. He directed attention to the Land Use Plan Map – Southside Township. The green areas are classified as Resource Land. Riley said mining would not be approved by the Planning Commission based on the Wright County Land Use Plan, Resource Land Policy 4: Mining:
All mining or extraction of material will be prohibited in these designated Resource Land areas.
Riley referred to the Wright County Land Use Plan, Section 5.5, Resource Lands:
In addition, the County will encourage the purchase of such lands from willing sellers by any public agency whose goal is to protect these natural resources and maintain/protect the “Heart of the Lakes” dedication to conservation and rural living.
Sawatzke said the County agreed to limit mining outside of aggregate resource areas in Southside Township. People are not receptive to mining near bodies of water. Riley said the land use designation for this parcel does not allow mining.
Mattice said the Parks Commission did not express strong feelings about acquiring the 100-acre parcel of land. He added that this is not a strategic property for the County Parks System, unless it is determined that the parcel is beneficial to the County as a whole.
Sawatzke asked about the grazing agreement. Mattice responded that it stays with Kersten. Riley said the parcel may not be turned into a feedlot because it is designated as Resource Land. It is also a Shoreland District.
Mattice said the only price given was the County assessed value. Sawatzke said the Committee’s response should be the County has minimal interest, and then ask Kersten for his price. Mattice added that the Parks Commission would never recommend applying for a grant for this particular property.
Mattice clarified that the direction is for him to tell Kersten the County has minimal interest in his land at this time.
Recommendation: Express minimal interest in the 100-acre parcel at this time.
(End of 1-22-14 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 1-28-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to accept the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0:
I. Assistant County Coordinator Position.
Kelly stated that he has identified a finalist for the position. In consultation with the Human Resources Director, he extended an offer to the candidate at Step 3 of the salary range. The candidate has requested additional compensation and time off. The purpose of today’s meeting is to discuss the parameters he has in making a job offer.
After discussion, it was the consensus to recommend that the position can be offered at up to Step 5 of the Salary Schedule.
Recommendation: Authorize offer of the Assistant County Coordinator position at up to Step 5 of the Salary Schedule.
(End of 1-28-14 Personnel Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates:
1. Ditch 10. Borrell met with the Sentence To Service (STS) Crew Leader. Although a commitment was not made long term, STS will start working on Ditch 10 as time permits. Borrell spoke with the Crew Leader about providing wood to the Parks Department. Borrell has not been in contact with Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, about this yet or about the Parks Department assisting in Ditch 10 with chain saws. Daleiden and Borrell agreed that the Ditch needs to be maintained once it has been cleaned out.
2. Emergency Services Board. Borrell said some of the Advisory Committees are very well attended by Wright County representatives and some are not. He plans to consult with the Sheriff’s Office to see whether additional appointees are needed to assure that there is representation at most of the meetings.
3. Wright County Fair Board. Borrell attended the Fair Board Meeting last evening. The group is gearing up for the 2014 Fair. They will be presenting information to the Board at a future meeting on acceptance of a grant from the MN Department of Agriculture in the amount of $10,768 for a performing arts building. They are looking into a larger building than originally planned.
4. Central MN EMS Region Board Meeting. Husom referenced the Three Echo Program which is gaining momentum and involves training for emergency medical services and fire departments. The training is centered on the active shooter. During the Columbine event, people were injured and EMS was unable to get in to help them. As part of the Three Echo Training Program, law enforcement clears an area and then brings in EMS and other responders so aid can be offered. An upcoming training is being planned. Grants may be offered to assist with this Program.
5. Website Redesign Meeting. Husom said a new website is planned and discussion at the meeting involved various options that are being reviewed.
(End of Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates)
Sawatzke said a few of the Commissioners have been contacted regarding snowmobile use in the Pelican Lake area. Lt. Todd Hoffman said it has been a good year for snowmobilers. However, that does lead to increased complaints. The Sheriff’s Office has been working with several residents in specific parts of the County including Cokato and Pelican Lake. This type of complaint is hard to investigate and solve. The Sheriff’s Office has been working with Bill Weldele who lives next to Pelican Lake. It is one of the more popular lakes for snowmobiles and fishing. The three calls the Sheriff’s Office received were quite some time after the snowmobiler had crossed the property. The Sheriff’s Office is completing extra patrol of the area.
Lt. Hoffman explained that Wright County has 240-250 miles of snowmobile trails. People also ride in road ditches. The Recreation Enforcement Unit patrols using snowmobiles for some of their shifts. They also trailer their snowmobiles so they are available when needed. With regard to the complaints received in Cokato, the Sheriff’s
Office was able to follow the trail to a local homeowner and a trespass citation was issued. Other complaints near Cokato have not been resolved as they were unable to follow the trail. The Sheriff’s Office has extra enforcement but the feasibility of their stopping a snowmobiler in a farm field is a challenge. Citations have been issued around the Pelican Lake area, but more for registrations. Borrell asked whether the Sheriff’s Office issues citations if the landowner does not have a problem with a snowmobiler riding on their property. Lt. Hoffman said they do not. They check with landowners first.
Lt. Hoffman said the Sheriff’s Office holds snowmobile education classes and the goal is to teach younger people about snowmobile safety. Sawatzke asked whether a snowmobiler can ride anywhere in the County unless it is posted. Borrell said most rural property owners don’t care if snowmobilers ride on their property. Sawatzke said he does not know if they care or not. Property ownership has rights and snowmobilers should obtain permission before riding on the property of others. Lt. Todd Hoffman said the DNR changed the Statute regarding trespassing on property, specifically agricultural, forests, and wetlands. There is a possibility of a citation being issued even if a property is not marked. Generally, the Sheriff’s Office contacts homeowners. If the Sheriff’s Office witnesses a snowmobiler potentially causing destruction to a field, for example, they identify the snowmobiler and then contact the homeowner before issuing the citation. A different set of criteria is used in a city or residential area. The biggest challenge is trying to identify the snowmobiler. Hoffman said the snowmobile associations do a good job of marking trails but there will be riders that travel off from trails. Sawatzke said he is not anti-snowmobile. Borrell thought a very small segment of the snowmobilers are causing the problems. Lt. Hoffman said they will continue to work on the complaints as they are received. Borrell suggested that landowners contact the snowmobile associations if more signage is needed. This was offered as an informational item.
Potter announced the AMC Local Government Legislative Conference that will be held on 2-26-14 and 2-27-14 in St. Paul. Sawatzke moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
Potter said the 2014 NACo Legislative Conference will be held in Washington, D.C., on 3-01-14 through 3-05-14. Topics include transportation, communication, and infrastructure financing. Potter has contacted the Legislative Delegation asking for feedback on whether the County’s presence at the Conference will be effective. Potter is seeking authorization to attend with the caveat that his decision will be based on feedback received from Legislators. Sawatzke asked Potter if he is familiar with the Washington Fly-In. Potter stated he is. The Fly-In is scheduled for later in March. Sawatzke said the Fly-In is the event that the Board typically authorizes attendance at relative to transportation. Sawatzke made a motion to authorize Potter’s attendance at the 2014 NACo Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. or the Washington Fly-In event. Potter said the NACo Conference will include keynote speakers who serve on transportation committees that address funding and other things. That is why he has interest in attending. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, was contacted by Dave Olafson of the MN Department of Human Services, who is working with the Community Behavioral Health Hospital in Annandale developing emergency plans. The request is whether the County has a willingness to allow use of the former Jail as a secondary back-up site for this facility. Kelly is unsure whether the County is able to provide what Olafson is seeking, based on preliminary conversation held yesterday. Kelly asked for direction on whether the Board would like to continue looking at this request, potentially at the Building Committee, or if the request should be denied at this time. Sawatzke asked for clarification on what back-up site means. Kelly stated alternate facilities have been identified and the primary back-up site will be in Willmar. They are seeking another possible temporary location for approximately 16 people. Sawatzke said his concern relates to whether the County will be required to have the former Jail in some type of “ready” status for an incident that may never happen. Sawatzke wants the space to be available for other purposes (such as files) and does not want the County to have to do something to the space to make it ready for such an event. Daleiden made a motion to send this topic to the Building Committee, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
Bills Approved
Adorama $599.00
Albertville Body Shop Inc 2,763.48
Ameripride Services 293.97
Annandale/City of 665.42
Anoka County Corrections 8,388.00
Anoka County Sheriff 52,362.60
Aramark Services Inc 7,105.46
Atom 250.00
Benton County Sheriff 100.00
Bestfriends Veterinary Clinic 460.00
Big Time Towing 160.31
Bluetarp Financial Inc 139.99
Boyer Truck Parts 284.90
Center Point Energy 5,284.23
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 67,306.14
Chamberlain Oil Co 2,459.90
Clearwater Township 1,014.70
Climate Air 1,307.42
Cokato/City of 300.00
Collins Brothers Towing 353.76
Commissioner of Transport. 453.45
Culligan of Buffalo 400.00
Dell Marketing LP 994.90
Elk River Municipal Utilities 120.25
Envirotech Services Inc 38,119.80
Fleetpride 306.66
Glock Inc 325.99
Glunz Const. Septic Serv. LLC 130.00
Gopher State One Call 100.00
Grainger 433.79
Helena Chemical Company 127.36
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 3,014.42
Howard/Jolanta 300.00
Huston’s Crane Service Inc 210.00
Indelco Plastics Corp 226.57
Integrated Fire & Security 175.00
Jahnke/Chris 181.50
Klein Heating and Cooling 130.00
Kris Engineering Inc 16,936.60
Lake Region Coop Oil-ML 315.59
League of MN Cities 935.00
M & M Express Sales/Service 400.22
Madden Galanter Hansen LLP 676.00
Maple Lake Township 959.20
Marco Inc 4,908.98
Menards - Buffalo 382.43
Midwest Protect. Agency Inc 4,639.46
MN Transportation Alliance 3,465.00
Morrell Towing Inc 181.68
Morries Parts & Service Group 1,788.17
Mountain Stream Sports/Appar. 206.92
Nagell Appraisal & Consult. 12,675.00
North American Salt Co 145,915.07
Office Depot 1,738.16
Otsego/City of 113.20
Paulson/Corey 125.00
Performance Kennels Inc 103.20
Potter/Michael J 173.88
Purick/Ryan 100.00
Regents of the Univ. of MN 126.00
Royal Tire Inc 4,804.35
Russell Security Resource Inc 706.97
Ryan Chevrolet 602.87
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 777.90
Setter/Randi 300.00
SHI International Corp 11,078.00
Sicheneder/Patrick 185.00
SRFConsulting Group Inc 228.72
St Cloud Times #1076 240.02
Sterling Solutions Inc 700.00
T & M Towing/Snow Plowing 562.18
Total Printing 155.00
Towmaster 572.23
Univ. of Minn./CCE Regist. 100.00
Varitech Industries Inc 36,547.78
Waverly/City of 365.25
West Payment Center 440.34
Windstream 111.80
Wright County Highway Dept 298.30
Wright Henn. Coop Elec Assn 6,473.44
Xcel Energy 1,650.39
19 Payments Less Than $100 862.05
Final Total: $461,976.32
The meeting adjourned at 10:05 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 24, 2014.