Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
May 13, 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 5-06-14 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows: Aud./Treas. Item #8, “Set Committee Of The Whole Meeting RE: Ditch Viewers Report, Ditch 38” (Hiivala); Items For Consid. #5, “Safe Communities Crash Vehicle” (Husom). Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty said awards were being presented to outstanding citizens who have assisted with the Sheriff’s Office role in keeping people safe. This is being done in coordination of National Police Week. Sgt. Brian Johnson recognized the following individuals:
George & Elaine Thole were presented with a Commendation Award for assisting an individual from a capsized boat until rescue was completed by the Maple Lake Fire Department.
Ronald Bodin received a Recognition Award. Bodin assisted with an individual from a capsized boat that needed medical assistance right away due to hypothermia. He placed himself in a dangerous situation to bring the person to safety.
Theodore Laporte was cited for a Recognition Award for his assistance with a burn victim as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
James Hessler & Paula Paumen were presented with Recognition Awards for aiding two victims of a roll over crash where the cab of the vehicle was submerged in water. They helped the individuals out of the vehicle kept them warm until assistance arrived.
Gail King & Lowell Johnson were presented with the Award of Merit for notifying the Sheriff’s Office of a possible ATV or snowmobile going through the ice. Upon investigation, Johnson went through the ice. King was able to successfully pull Johnson from the water.
Jerry Brown & Adam Arnquist were cited with Recognition Awards for their efforts in trying to contain a fire at a residence. Because of these efforts, the fire did not spread to the rest of the residence.
Pam Brunner, Dispatch employee of the Sheriff’s Office, received a Letter of Recognition for her assistance to a 911 caller in a hostile situation. Brunner was able to calm the individual and obtain information for the responding units, allowing for a peaceful and safe resolution.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #14-19 proclaiming the week of May 11-17, 2014 as Law Enforcement Officers Week in Wright County. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
A Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 5-06-14. Daleiden moved to approve the minutes of the meeting, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0. The minutes of the meeting follow:
I. Funding For Organizations.
This item was laid over from the 4-15-14 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting.
Borrell stated that during last year’s Budget process, the Committee discussed funding for groups and organizations that may benefit the County (i.e., Historical Society, Fair Board, SWCD, C.R.O.W., and Initiative Foundation).
Borrell distributed a handout reflecting discussion points for groups that receive funding from the County on an annual basis (see attached). Discussion involved the first point on the handout and whether that should be interpreted as all citizens or areas. Sawatzke said not all citizens may utilize services but they have the ability to.
The County is required by State Statute for the following areas: Water Management, Wetlands, Weed Management (Noxious Weeds), and the Library System.
Sawatzke provided history on the Central MN Initiative Foundation. The Foundation disperses funds and for grants for various projects. They also partner in loans through the Economic Development Partnership.
Representatives of the Historical Society, C.R.O.W., and SWCD presented information on their focus, efforts, responsibilities, and how funding and grants may be used.
Discussion followed on the Fair Board. Borrell said although the Fair Board meets the criteria outlined, he thought that enough revenue is brought in so they can support their activities. He suggested that instead of an annual contribution, the County consider contributing to a fund that can be drawn upon in years where the revenues aren’t as high.
Borrell’s concerns relate to what criteria are used when determining whether funding should be provided to a group and what input the County Board has on what those funds are used for. He said he may have a different opinion from the group or organization on where the funds are utilized. He wants to have funding directed where it makes a difference.
Recommendation: None.
(End of 5-06-14 Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
A Building Committee Meeting was held on 4-30-14. Daleiden moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0. The minutes of the meeting follow:
I. Compost Facility Equipment.
Stephens said he has not received any estimates. He sent two appraisers a list of the equipment. One of them came to the site to preview the equipment. Stephens had hoped the estimates would have arrived by this meeting. The second appraiser has not responded.
Stephens also asked equipment manufacturer Bühler Industries Inc. for the cost to do an assessment. Daleiden said the County would not pay to have them assess the compost facility equipment. Perhaps they would offer to purchase the equipment to sell to another entity. Stephens said the assessment could make a difference in the market value in an appraisal. Daleiden did not believe the equipment has any value. Potter said it may to someone else. Daleiden said Bühler should know without coming to the site. Stephens clarified that their assessment does not determine viability on the market. They will see whether the equipment still functions. That could affect the appraised value.
Stephens said the equipment is 20 years old and can’t compete with today’s technology. He can’t say whether there is any demand for it in today’s market. Daleiden said perhaps someone would be interested in the equipment for parts. Stephens added that there may be a demand overseas. If there are others still in existence throughout the world, someone may pay to have it shipped.
Stephens offered to arrange a tour of the Compost Facility site for the Commissioners.
Recommendation: Lay over until the next Building Committee meeting to review appraisal and assessment information.
II. Additional Security Cameras, Human Services Center Building & Property (HS Board).
III. Suggestion Box.
A suggestion requested better cell phone service. Bill Swing, Information Technology Director, told Kelly that the area is a dead zone. He is looking into presenting a request for the 2015 budget. Daleiden said that may be necessary with the Assessor’s Office moving to that area of the building. Recommendation: No action at this time.
(End of 4-30-14 Building Committee Minutes)
A Personnel Committee Meeting was held on 4-30-14. Daleiden moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0. The minutes of the meeting follow:
I. Lobby Reception Position.
Bigelow said one person walks in every five minutes on the average. Husom asked what type of duties she could do. It’s hard to assign tasks when the volume of calls and walk-in traffic varies daily. Husom prefers that a person be there to greet the public.
Potter said the County can’t provide customer service without someone to give it. Potter did not feel a kiosk provides good customer service. Husom said perhaps a kiosk could be utilized at the west door. Potter said the customer service issue is very important to him. He did not see how eliminating that position makes sense due to the number of people who call and walk in.
The other issue, Potter said, is privacy. What can be done to comply with data practices? He suggested putting up a one-way mirror, leaving the front open, but making it difficult to view the work on the reception desk. The front counter could be extended outward to prevent people from leaning over, and construct a ledge so the desk top may not be seen. Potter said at the same time, he does not want this position to peer at customers through a small window. With these precautions in place, this position could perform more tasks. He has spoken with the person in this position several times. If the position is eliminated, the public will walk into the Commissioners’ conference room and office area. Kelly said from a security standpoint, the lobby receptionist deters someone from wandering into the Commissioners’ offices.
Husom liked Potter’s idea about widening the divide between the public and the receptionist. Potter added that one-way glass panels would be four feet tall. Husom asked what tasks the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office could give this position, as well as Administration. However, this person can’t work on highly confidential documents. Schmidt said the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has been trying to give her work, but confidentiality is an issue. She is sure they will find more work for this position.
Bigelow said identifying other duties for this position would help prior to redesigning the workstation.
Schmidt said the mail comes to the Auditor/Treasurer’s office. They sort it in a short period of time. Husom said it wouldn’t make sense for this position to sort the mail. She asked if there is any data entry this position can do. Schmidt said yes.
Potter said the one-way glass is not secure. Someone could still get in. This position should put away any work she is doing prior to going to lunch or break.
Husom said the Building Committee could meet with the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office regarding redesigning the lobby receptionist workstation. Schmidt said they need someone to greet people and answer the phones. If the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office identifies other tasks that require confidentiality, then they can discuss it with the Building Committee.
Potter cautioned against spending too much. If the Courts ever move to another building, traffic will cut down substantially. He wants to make the position functional and be more productive from the public point of view. Husom said this discussion is to investigate other possible tasks the Front Lobby Receptionist can work on when not answering the phone or greeting walk-ins.
Kelly said it appears the consensus is to maintain the position, find more tasks, and reconfigure the workstation. Perhaps other Departments would have work for her as well. Administration doesn’t always have tasks for this position, as they may not have the software licenses to complete it. He did not see the value in paying for a software license, scanner, or other equipment that may only be needed temporarily.
Husom suggested determining the tasks this position could perform before reconfiguring the workstation. Kelly can ask a contractor to put together a quote, although it may be premature, not knowing what potential tasks will surface.
Potter said all that needs to be done is erect a few posts with privacy glass in between. That permits air flow and keeps the front open. Privacy issues and other tasks from the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office must be addressed first. Then determine the costs. If the reconfiguration costs $3,500, then determine what other tasks this position can do to make it cost effective.
Schmidt said the challenge is finding tasks that don’t involve concentration without interruption and time sensitivity. Kelly said the first priority it to determine potential tasks. He said that can be discussed at the Leadership Team meeting with other Departments.
Kelly said the privacy issue could drive the discussion to the Building Committee. He asked if the Committee wanted to revisit this or go to the staff level. Husom said a meeting was not necessary if they agree to bring the matter before the Leadership Team and Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer. If there is a need, the matter could be referred to the Building Committee to discuss reconfiguration of the workstation.
Recommendation: The Auditor/Treasurer’s Office will determine what tasks could be assigned to this position.
(End of 4-30-14 Personnel Committee Minutes)
A Ways & Means Committee Meeting was held on 4-30-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell asked whether Woodland Township has been contacted to take over the property. Sawatzke said Freedom Farms would like the property. The County holds a 99-year lease with Freedom Farms to allow them to utilize the property. Sawatzke understands that contributions from certain parties are on hold as they would like the property to be owned by Freedom Farms. Borrell said Woodland Township could take over the property and hold an agreement with Freedom Farms. Sawatzke said that is an option but thought that Woodland Township would have the same issues. Borrell said he will mention it to the Township. Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Daleiden, carried unanimously. The minutes follow:
I. Lake Ida School House.
The Committee reconvened the meeting recessed on 4-16-14. Kelly asked Asleson if he discovered any restrictions on transferring title from the County to Freedom Farm. Asleson said yes and no. The property (School House) is only approximately half an acre, but was deeded to the original school district in two parcels of one-quarter acre. One quarter-acre parcel sold for $25 in 1887 for the express purpose to be used as a school house. Asleson said the restriction stipulated that if the property was not used as a school in the future, it should go back to the grantors, their heirs or assigns. In 1914, the other quarter-acre parcel was purchased with no restrictions. Asleson said there is a statute and titles standards in Minnesota that states restrictions from more than 40 years ago expire unless people who have the property interest do certain things. In the case of the property in question, none of those things have been done. Asleson said he thinks the property may be conveyed without restrictions. He said whoever purchases the parcel may want title work done to be assured of clear title. The question, he said, is how to go about the sale.
Sawatzke asked who originally made the claim that the County couldn’t transfer the property. Bjorklund said it was not an owner or heir.
Riley said the School House property is nonconforming. Asleson said the County can sell it by private sale. Every land owner whose property touches the School House parcel must be notified. He said the property does not have to be advertised in the newspaper. Minnesota Statutes, Section 373.01, Subd. 1 (i) says the County may sell real estate that cannot be improved because of noncompliance, but in no case shall it be sold for less than 90 percent of value assigned by the County Assessor. Asleson said the Assessor should look at it. They may consider it a building site.
Husom asked if the School House property can be a building site if there is no place for a septic system. Sawatzke said the County could add the contingency that it is not a building site. The present building has been grandfathered there. A new one cannot be built.
Asleson said the working values in the County system are $20,000 for the building and $45,000 in land value. Riley said it is a legal nonconforming lot. That means it legally exists but is not conforming. Asleson said the County could put restrictions on it when they sell it. Sawatzke said originally Freedom Farm wanted to acquire the property. Would the Bjorklund family buy it? Bjorklund said that is not in their interests legally. Husom said Freedom Farm is a nonprofit that receives donations. Sawatzke said Freedom Farm is not an adjacent property owner.
Asleson said the easiest way to sell the School House property is to use the private sale statute. Otherwise, the property would need to be advertised. Sawatzke reiterated that since Freedom Farm is not an adjoining property owner, the County can’t sell to them. Asleson said he did not think that was possible. Sawatzke said the County would need a public sale.
Asleson said that is his understanding of the situation, unless another way is found to donate the property to a nonprofit. He suggested asking Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer.
Sawatzke said Freedom Farm has a certain purpose. Would someone else buy it? Asleson said use restrictions by the County could limit potential buyers. Riley asked if the property could be put on the market with the restriction that it cannot be used. Asleson said that could present problems if adjacent property is under different ownership.
Sawatzke asked what staff found out about the Sportsmen’s Club concerns. Dahl said Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, said the Club wants a parking spot near the lake access. Dahl said his understanding from Mattice is that Club representatives were not interested in attending this meeting.
Husom said they still have a club house building. Asleson said the Club owns the lake access. Dahl said the Club wants to maintain it, but they don’t have liability insurance. Dahl said they simply want to use the parking area.
Husom asked whether Club members have their own parking spots. Bjorklund said they park in the road. They also park in the other corner, and a few will park on the grass in front of the School House. There’s room for two vehicles, or one truck and a trailer. She said there are never a lot of vehicles parked on the School House property.
Dahl said the only way to alleviate the situation is for the County to retain ownership of the portion across Ferman Ave. and not transfer it to Freedom Farm. The County could also transfer title of that portion to the Club or the Township. Asleson said it would make sense to give it to the Township if a portion was split off for parking.
Sawatzke said the County has no long-term need for this property, as it is too small. The only value is to accommodate the public access. It would be foolish for the County to make that public access non-usable in the future.
Asleson said if the County notifies adjacent property owners that the property is for sale, and the Bjorklunds purchased the property, the Bjorklunds could subsequently convey it to Freedom Farm if they so chose. That would remove the County from the situation. However, Statute says the County is restricted to selling the property for 90 percent of fair market value as determined by the County Assessor.
Riley said the parcel is a legal nonconforming lot. This parcel may be transferred. It is designated nonconforming because it doesn’t meet today’s standards. There would be variances to rebuild. The owner could apply for permitted uses in this zoning district. Riley prefers to see the boundary lines go away to avoid having someone try to do that. If the boundary lines of the School House property were eliminated, and the property was transferred from Bjorklunds to Freedom Farm and perhaps a portion to the Sportsmen’s Club, it would no longer be a legally nonconforming property.
Asleson asked if the property was sold to an adjacent land owner, would a subsequent conveyance to a nonprofit organization cause problems for the Planning & Zoning Department. Riley said the parking situation would need to change. Asleson said the other possibility may be to combine the School House and Bjorklund’s properties, and then the Bjorklunds could lease the School House portion to Freedom Farm. He was not sure if that would affect donations. Sawatzke said the property wouldn’t exist as a separate lot of record, which would drive the cost down. Riley said if the property lines are gone, the School House could be leased.
Bjorklund said they are working with potential donors to raise money to renovate the School House property. Donors are concerned about the County owning the property. They would prefer to donate to Freedom Farm. She said the Bjorklunds are not going to pay $20,000 for the property. Husom asked whether the County could sell the property to them for $1. Riley said the County may not give the property away due to the Statute that requires the buyer to pay no less than 90 percent of fair market value. Sawatzke said the rationale is to make sure government doesn’t give preferential treatment when conveying property.
Asleson said the Statute was written to encourage the sale of County-owned property to return the real estate to the tax rolls. He suggested that the Assessor determine the value if the goal is to sell the property to the Bjorklunds.
Sawatzke asked how many other properties touch the School House parcel. Asleson said they may have to notify the Sportsmen’s Club. Riley mentioned another party’s property directly to the west that may be adjoining. Sawatzke said they are contiguous. There was discussion regarding how far property lines extend into the road.
Asleson said the County has to give notice to every contiguous property owner, and take the highest bid. Riley said the Assessor could say it’s worth $20,000, and someone could bid $40,000. Asleson said the County could place restrictions on it such as not rebuilding.
Bjorklund referred to the current lease. She said the lease states that Sportsmen’s Club members could park near the landing.
Bjorklund asked for clarification regarding requirements to improve parking according to the current lease. Riley asked if the Sportsmen’s Club has the right to use the parking now. Sawatzke said because it belongs to the County, they have no rights to it.
Dahl said the current lease is silent about who provides insurance if the building is improved. There is a general clause about providing liability insurance, saying either the County or Freedom Farm will secure insurance coverage. Bjorklund said Freedom Farm will cover damage to the building. Dahl said if it is leased, the County still owns the property. Parking is the issue. Even though County property is leased to Freedom Farm, if a loss occurs, both the County and Freedom Farm will be sued. Dahl said it must be determined who can park on the School House property. Dahl said if the Bjorklunds buy the School House property from the County, then the Bjorklunds own it and there are no worries regarding insurance from the Sportsmen’s Club. Sawatzke said the only issue is that the Sportsmen’s Club members want to park there. Sawatzke said the County could put an easement on that portion of the parcel that whoever buys it must provide X number of parking spots in that location.
Kelly said it appears the lease is the best the County can do in this situation. Bjorklund said either she or Freedom Farm must purchase the School House property with the risk that someone else could bid on it. Asleson said yes. Sawatzke clarified that Freedom Farm can’t buy the property without going to public sale. Bjorklund said she could purchase the land for 90 percent of fair market value, to be determined by the County Assessor. Leasing the property raises concerns at the County about the parking issue. Asleson said the lease says nothing about the parking. When the County signs a lease agreement, it gives up control of the land unless the lease is violated. Sawatzke said everything related to real estate must be in writing.
Husom asked for direction regarding Bjorklund’s next step. Asleson said there may be some decisions to be made regarding whether or not the Bjorklunds purchase the School House property. If selling to the public, a minimum price must be established. If the property is nonconforming, that would be at 90 percent of market value. He suggested the County Assessor look at the property.
Sawatzke asked what needs to be accomplished before the matter can progress. Asleson said he will talk with Assessor staff about evaluating the property value. He was unsure whether it would need to be a public or private sale.
Bjorklund said she gets 20 to 30 calls per day from veterans, high school students and parents. They need the building. It would be good to get this done. Asleson asked if she would like to set another meeting date. He will get a value from the Assessor’s Office, but he is not sure whether the County will have to advertise the property in a public sale.
Bjorklund said she will talk to the attorney for Freedom Farm before proceeding. Asleson said he does not believe there is a way for the County to donate the property to Freedom Farm.
Recommendation: None. No future meetings are scheduled. The fair market value will be determined by the County Assessor’s Office.
II. Vehicle Fleet (HS Board).
(End of 4-30-14 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
Tim Dahl, Risk Manager, said Wright County received the Meritorious Achievement Award at the 80th Safety and Health Conference. The Governor’s Safety Awards Program annually honors Minnesota employers with exceptional performance. Applicants are judged on several years of injury data as it compared with their industry’s national statistics and on progress in implementing a comprehensive safety program. The Meritorious Achievement is awarded when incident rates are better than the industry average for at least three years and when a score ranges between 50 and 74 on a 100-point safety point evaluation scale.
At 9:31 A.M., Commissioner Husom opened the Public Hearing on proposed revisions to the Wright County Water Surface Ordinance relating specifically to Bertram Chain of Lakes and to the Wright County Parks Ordinance. The Parks Commission and Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council have reviewed the proposed revisions to these Ordinances. Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said written comment was received from the City of Monticello, Franklin Township, and Cokato Township.
Kryzer said when dealing with a Parks Ordinance deregulating the water surface use, specifically within the Bertram Chain of Lakes (Bertram, Long, Mud and First Lakes), anything that gets approved by the County Board has to be sent to the DNR for approval. The DNR has up to 120 days for review. Kryzer sent a first round of the draft to the DNR. Originally the proposed changes were going to be included in the Park Ordinance (allowed by Statute to regulate the water surface use issues under the Parks Ordinance). However, the DNR said language should be placed in the Water Surface Use Ordinance and the Parks Ordinance should refer to it. Kryzer said that is why there are two Ordinances being reviewed.
The Water Surface Use Ordinance was originally adopted in 2012, with the last revision in December, 2012. Kryzer outlined the proposed changes (as underlined):
Part 1: Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance, Section 4.00 is proposed to be amended by adding a subdivision to read:
Subdivision. 1. Bertram Chain of Lakes. The following surface water restrictions shall apply to Bertram, Long, Mud and First Lakes also known as the Bertram Chain of Lakes and other waters which are located within the boundary of the Bertram Chain of Lakes County Park. The following restrictions apply 24 hours a day year round:
a) No person shall operate a gas powered motor on a watercraft.
b) No person shall operate a sea plane or motor vehicle including off road vehicles and snowmobiles.
c) Electric motors are allowed with a maximum thrust of 100 pounds or 2 horsepower.
d) The lower unit of gas powered motor on a watercraft must be propped up out of the water.
Kryzer said the amendments will allow fishing boats on the Lakes. The boats will only be allowed to be powered by a trolling motor, as long as the lower unit is propped out of the water. Kryzer outlined the following exemptions to the Water Surface Use Ordinance (as underlined):
Part 2: Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance, Section 6.00 is amended as follows:
Section 6.00 – Exemptions.
Subdivision. 1. All Authorized Resource Management, Emergency and Enforcement Personnel, and all employees of the Wright County Parks Department, while acting in the performance of their assigned duties are exempt from the foregoing restrictions.
Subdivision. 2. Persons with a permit as provided by the Wright County Parks Ordinance are exempt from the restrictions in Section 4.00, Subd. 1.
Kryzer said the Parks Ordinance was last amended in 1992. Additional changes are being proposed to update and bring the Ordinance in conformity with State and Federal laws. The largest changes deal with making the Ordinance more compatible with the American Disabilities Act and an Assisted Mobility Device being added to Section 2, Definitions. Another large change to the Water Surface Use Ordinance is the creation of a new section for the Bertram Chain of Lakes. The Ordinance contains a new definition as to what a permit is in Section 2,
Definitions. In Section 3, Regulations of General Conduct, language will be added to allow the ability to carry a firearm into the Park for persons who have a permit to carry in Minnesota.
Kryzer made a change to the draft of the Amendments to the Parks Ordinance on Page 4, Section 3, Regulations of General Conduct, Item F, line 6, change from “…except for purposed…” to “…except for purposes…”.
Borrell asked whether the proposed amendments will require the lower motor unit to be propped out of the water and if that is always possible. Potter answered yes to both. Borrell referenced Page 5, Section 4, Regulations for Protection of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Item B, which reflects, “Wright County sponsored hunting events for veterans of the United States Armed Forces are exempt from the provisions of this section.” Borrell did not feel veterans should be exempt from all items in Section 4. He suggested that be changed to being exempt only from Items A(2) and A(3) as follows:
A(2) Kill, trap, hunt, pursue, or in any manner disturb or cause to be disturbed, any species of wildlife within a park, except that fishing may be permitted in designated areas.
A(3) Remove any wildlife, living or dead, from a park, and any wildlife so removed or taken contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance or any laws of the State of Minnesota shall be considered contraband and subject to seizure and confiscation.
Kryzer agreed with Borrell’s suggested change to the proposed amendments. Section 4, Regulations for Protection of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Item B, will be amended to read, “Wright County sponsored hunting events for veterans of the United States Armed Forces are exempt from the provisions of 4A(2) and 4A(3) of this Section.”
Borrell referenced Page 6, Section 5, Regulations of Recreational Activities, Item A(4), and asked that the language be changed from “It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge water or any other wastes in a park…” to “It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge water or any other waste in a park…” The suggested change was agreed to by the County Board.
Borrell referenced Page 6, Section 5, Regulations of Recreational Activities, Item B(4), and asked that the language be changed from “It shall be unlawful for any person to se air mattresses, inner tubes, or other inflatable devices except in designated beach areas” to “It shall be unlawful for any person to use air mattresses, inner tubes, or other inflatable devices except in designated beach areas.” The County board agreed to the suggested change. Sawatzke asked whether the County can control this because it is a public body of water and there are private property owners on the Lake. Kryzer said the State Park Ordinance Act Statute reflects that the County can regulate all waters within a park and 300’ out from shore.
Dan Lemm from Monticello said there should have been more information available on the Public Hearing. He said not everyone knows the Park as well as the County staff. He voiced opposition to the requirement of no motors in Bertram Lakes other than electric motors as some people cannot afford electric motors. He suggested a 2hp-3hp maximum.
Borrell referenced Page 7, Section 5, Regulations of Recreational Activities, Item C(1) which reads, “It shall be unlawful for any person to launch or land any boat, yacht, canoe, raft, or other watercraft upon any water, lagoon, lake, pond, or slough within a park except at locations and times designated for that purpose.” Borrell said his question specifically relates to canoes and asked whether a person in a canoe can stop anywhere or just at designated spots. Mattice said they have designated access points within each of the Parks along the Crow River. The Ordinance is in effect to protect the riparian shoreline so an access point is maintained. Mattice said a lot of the Parks have two access points. Kryzer stated if there is an emergency, a person does have the authority to seek refuge at any point.
Borrell referenced Page 9, Section 5, Regulations of Recreational Activities, Item K(1) which references a park permit requirement. He suggested that the document could contain language stating that the permits are available from the Parks Administrator or their designated representative. Kryzer referenced Page 2, Section 2, Definitions, Item 2.09, which includes a definition of what a permit is and the requirement for written permission from the Parks Administrator or Wright County Parks Commission to carry out certain activities. As it is defined in this Section, the “Parks Administrator” reference was removed from other areas of the document.
Borrell referenced Page 13, Section 10, Severability – Repeal of Prior Ordinances. He asked that Item B be corrected to read “May 26, 1981.” The County Board agreed with that change.
Sawatzke referenced the suggested changes to the Water Surface Use Ordinance. When the first acquisition for Bertram Chain of Lakes was completed, there was a fairly extensive outreach program to obtain input from citizens on what they wanted to see in the Park. One thing that stood out was the request for non-motorized boats on these Lakes. Some felt that electric trolling motors should not be allowed, but it was determined there was no reason not to allow them. Sawatzke said it is the goal for this Park to be unique and this is one way to accomplish this.
Dan Lemm from Monticello said the County does not own all of the Lakes in Bertram Chain of Lakes. He is unsure how the County can make that law apply. His position is that there should be a 10hp maximum requirement for at least Bertram Lake. He thinks the County is being too restrictive.
Husom closed the Public Hearing at 9:56 A.M. and reconvened the Board Meeting.
Daleiden moved to adopt Ordinance Amendment #14-01 approving the Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance as amended. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0:
THE COUNTY BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY HEREBY ORDAINS:
The Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance is hereby amended as follows:
Part 1: Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance, Section 4.00 is amended by adding a subdivision to read:
Subdivision. 1. Bertram Chain of Lakes. The following surface water restrictions shall apply to Bertram, Long, Mud and First Lakes also known as the Bertram Chain of Lakes and other waters which are located within the boundary of the Bertram Chain of Lakes County Park. The following restrictions apply 24 hours a day year round:
a) No person shall operate a gas powered motor on a watercraft.
b) No person shall operate a sea plane or motor vehicle including off road vehicles and snowmobiles.
c) Electric motors are allowed with a maximum thrust of 100 pounds or 2 horsepower.
d) The lower unit of a gas powered motor on a watercraft must be propped up out of the water.
The remaining subdivisions in section 4.00 of the Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance shall be renumbered consecutively.
Part 2: Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance, Section 6.00 is amended as follows:
Section 6.00 – Exemptions
Subdivision. 1 All Authorized Resource Management, Emergency and Enforcement Personnel, and all employees of the Wright County Parks Department, while acting in the performance of their assigned duties are exempt from the foregoing restrictions.
Subd. 2. Persons with a permit as provided by the Wright County Parks Ordinance are exempt from the restrictions in Section 4.00, Subd. 1.
(End of Ordinance Amendment # 14-01)
Potter moved to adopt Ordinance Amendment #14-02 approving the Wright County Parks Ordinance as amended, including the changes as outlined. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried unanimously:
THE COUNTY BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY HEREBY ORDAINS:
The Wright County Parks Ordinance is hereby amended as follows:
WRIGHT COUNTY PARKS ORDINANCE
AN ORDINANCE GOVERNING PARKS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
SECTION 1: PURPOSE
The purpose of this Ordinance, which is enacted pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, is to secure the quiet, orderly and suitable use and enjoyment of public park reserves, county recreation areas, county-wide trail systems, wildlife sanctuaries, forest, historical sites, waysides and public access to lakes, rivers and streams in parks established by Wright County in the State of Minnesota, and to further the safety, health, comfort and welfare of all persons in the use thereof.
SECTION 2: DEFINITIONS
For the purpose of this Ordinance, the terms defined in this section shall have the meanings given them in this section.
2.01 “Alcoholic Beverage” means any intoxicating beverage as defined by Minnesota Statutes and includes, but is not limited to, intoxicating liquor, strong bear, 3.2 beer, and wine.
2.02 “Assisted Mobility Device” means any permitted single passenger, electric powered device, which provides access for a person in need of assistance due to a medical condition.
2.032 “Controlled Substance” means any substance defined as a controlled substance by Minnesota Statutes Chapter 152, or by other statutes or Federal law or regulations.
2.043 “Motorized Recreation Vehicles” means any self-propelled, off-the-road, or all terrain conveyance, including but not limited to, a snowmobile, mini-bike, amphibious vehicle, motorcycle, go-cart, trail bike or dune buggy.
2.054 “Park” means any land or water area, and all facilities thereon, established as a park by Wright County pursuant to Minnesota Statutes.
2.065 “Park Administrator” means the person appointed by the County Board to serve as the chief administrative officer of the Wright County Park System.
2.076 “Park Manager” means the person designated by the County Board of Commissioners with the responsibility for the operation and management of a particular park or parks.
2.087 “Park Visitor” means any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, governmental unit, company or organization of any kind within a park.
2.09 “Permit/Special Use Permit” means written permission obtained from the Park Administrator or the Wright County Parks Commission to carry out certain activities.
2.10 2.08 “Vehicle” means any motorized, self-propelled, animal-drawn or human powered conveyance.
2.11 2.09 “Weapon” means any device including, but not limited to, firearms, bows and arrows, slings, and spring guns, pellet or BB guns, and electronic weapons, from which a shot or projectile of any type is discharged or propelled by means of an explosive, gas, compressed air, or other means. An electronic weapon means a portable device which is designed, used, or intended to be used, offensively or defensively, to immobilize or incapacitate persons by the use of an electric current.
2.12 2.10 “Wildlife” means all living creatures, not human, wild by nature, endowed with sensation and power or voluntary motion, including quadrupeds, mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans and mollusks.
SECTION 3: REGULATIONS OF GENERAL CONDUCT
A. Possession and Use of Alcohol and Controlled Substances.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Serve, possess or consume any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance within a park.
(2) Exhibit any offensive behavior while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance.
B. Public Nuisance – Breach of Peace
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Use threatening, abusive, insulting, obscene or indecent language, or to act in an indecent manner, or to do any act which constitutes a breach of the public peace in a park.
(2) Disturb, harass, or interfere with any park visitor or a park visitor’s property.
(3) Gamble in a park.
(4) Use loudspeakers or other amplifying systems in a park, except with written permission from the Park Administrator.
C. Littering – Release of Foreign Substance.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Deposit, scatter, drop or abandon in a park any bottles, cans, broken glass, sewage, waste, or other material, except in receptacles provided for such purposes. Said waste receptacles are to be used only by park visitors for such wastes as are created during use of the park for recreational activities. Other use of said waste receptacles is a violation of this Ordinance.
(2) Throw, discharge, or place in any park or upon any lake, stream, creek, pond, or other body of water in or adjacent to any park, or upon any tributary, stream, storm sewer, or other drain flowing into such waters, any foreign substance, liquid, solid, or gas.
D. Fires.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Start a fire in a park, except in a designated area, such as a fireplace or fire ring, or as otherwise allowed by a permit. from the Park Administrator.
(2) Leave a fire unattended or fail to fully extinguish a fire.
(3) Drop, throw, or otherwise leave unattended in a park, lighted matches, burning cigars, cigarettes, tobacco, paper, or other combustible material.
E. Destruction of Park Property.
It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally deface, vandalize, or otherwise cause destruction to park property.
F. Possession and Use of Weapons.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Possess, hold, store, keep, or carry within any park land, facility or buildings, fire or discharge, or cause to be fired or discharged across, in or into any portion of the any park land, facility, or building and pistol, BB gun, rifle, or other firearm, spear, bow and arrow, crossbow, slingshot, air or gas weapon, paintball gun, or any other dangerous weapon or projectile, except for purposes designated by the Parks Administrator in areas and at times designated by the Parks Administrator. Persons who possess a valid Minnesota permit, or a valid permit from another state which is recognized in Minnesota may carry, hold, keep, store, or possess a pistol within any park land, facility, or building to the extent permitted by Minnesota Law. Licensed Peace Officers are exempt from the provisions of this subdivision. Possess any weapon within a park without a permit. obtained from the Park Administrator.
(2) Shoot any weapon into a park from beyond park boundaries.
G. Commercial Use – Public Meetings and Assemblies.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Sell, solicit, or carry on any business or commercial enterprise or service in a park without a permit. unless authorized by the Park Administrator in writing.
(2) Conduct public meetings, assemblies, entertainment, parades or demonstrations, within a park, without first obtaining a written permit from the Park Administrator, and then only in areas designated by the permit.
H. Pets.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Bring a dog, cat, or other pet into a park unless caged or kept on a non-retractable leash not more than six feet in length, or to tether any animal to a tree or other plant.
(2) Permit any dog, cat, or other pet to enter a beach area, nature center area, refuge area, picnic area, park building, or other unauthorized area within a park or into any park where their presence is prohibited by the Park Administrator.
(3) Permit a dog, cat, or other pet to disturb, harass, or interfere with any park visitor or a park visitor’s property.
SECTION 4: REGULATIONS FOR PROTECTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND WILDLIFE.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Injure, destroy, or remove any tree, flower, shrub, plant, rock, soil or mineral in a park.
(2) Kill, trap, hunt, pursue, or in any manner disturb or cause to be disturbed, any species of wildlife within a park, except that fishing may be permitted in designated areas.
(3) Remove any wildlife, living or dead, from a park, and any wildlife so removed or taken contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance or any laws of the State of Minnesota shall be considered contraband and subject to seizure and confiscation.
(4) Release within a park any plant, chemical, or other agent intentionally harmful to the vegetation or wildlife of the park.
B. Wright County sponsored hunting events for veterans of the United States Armed Forces are exempt from the provisions of section 4A(2) and 4(A)(3).
SECTION 5: REGULATIONS OF RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES.
A. Camping.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Camp in a park except in areas provided and designated for that purpose.
(2) Camp in a park without a written permit. from the Park Manager or Park Administrator or his authorized representative.
(3) Cause, create, or make any noise which disturbs the peace, quiet, and tranquility of the camping area.
(4) Discharge water or any other wastes in a park except into designated containers, drains, or dumping stations.
(5) Dig trenches or make any other excavations in a park.
(6) Occupy camp sites in a park contrary to a written permit, or otherwise violate any provision provisions of a permit.
B. Swimming.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Wade or swim within a park except at beaches designated for that purpose, and then only between sunrise and sunset, or such hours as may be designated by the Park Administrator, and park visitors shall swim or wade at their own risk when lifeguards are not on duty.
(2) Wade, swim, or use any beach in a park without proper bathing attire.
(3) Take cans, bottles, or glass of any kind, except eye glasses, into a designated beach area.
(4) Use Se air mattresses, inner tubes, or other inflatable devices except in designated beach areas.
C. Boating.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Launch or land any boat, yacht, canoe, raft, or other watercraft upon any water, lagoon, lake, pond, or slough within a park except at locations and times designated for that purpose.
(2) Leave unattended any boat or other watercraft except in areas designated for that purpose.
(3) Operate any watercraft in a designated swimming area or other prohibited area.
(4) Operate any watercraft in a park in violation of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 86B, “Water Safety, Watercraft and Watercraft Titling.”
D. Fishing.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Fish in a park in violation of any provision of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 97C.
(2) Fish in a park area designated as a no fishing area.
(3) Leave any structure or shelter on a frozen body of water in any park for more than 72 hours.
(4) Leave, store, abandon, or otherwise cause to remain on any park property or access site, any fish house, dark house, portable shelter, or other structure. Any such structure left on park property for more than 72 hours will be confiscated and/or destroyed.
E. Horseback Riding.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Ride, lead, or permit a horse to be within a park except in designated riding areas and at designated hours.
(2) Ride a horse in a reckless manner or in a manner to create a nuisance or to likely endanger the safety or property of any park visitor.
F. Bicycling.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Operate a bicycle except on park designated bikeways and roadways, and except as close to the right-hand side thereof as conditions will permit.
(2) Operate a mountain bike or similar cycle except on bike trails and roadways as permitted by the Park Administrator.
(3) Ride or operate a bicycle in a less than prudent and careful manner, or at speed faster than is reasonable and safe with regard to the safety of the operator and other persons in the immediate area.
G. Roller Skating/Rollerblading.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Roller skate or rollerblade in a park, except on paved bike trails unless posted otherwise.
(2) Roller skate or rollerblade in a park in a less than prudent and careful manner, or at a speed faster than is reasonable and safe with regard to the safety of the operator and other persons in the immediate area.
H. Winter Activities.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Skate, sled, coast, snowshoe, or ski in a park except at such times and at such paces as may be designated therefore.
(2) Cross-country ski in a park in violation of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 85 (without the required license).
I. Snowmobiling.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Operate a snowmobile in a park except at such times and at such places as may be designated therefore.

(2) Operate a snowmobile in a park in excess of the posted speed limits, at a rate of speed greater than reasonable or proper under current conditions, or in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the person or property of another, or to cause injury or damage thereto.
J. Use of Motorized Recreation Vehicles.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motorized recreation vehicle within a park, except at such times and in such areas as designated by the Park Administrator.
K. Use of Aircraft.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Use any land or body of water within a park for a starting or landing field for aircraft, hot air balloons, or parachutes, without a permit from the Park Administrator.
(2) Start, fly, or use any fuel powered model aircraft, model rocket, or like-powered toy or model, in a park without a permit. from the Park Administrator.
SECTION 6: REGULATIONS OF VEHICLES
A. Operation.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Operate any vehicle within a park except upon roadways, parking areas, or other designated locations therefore.
(1)(2) Operate a motorized recreational vehicle within a park except in such areas and at such times as designated by the Park Administrator or the County Board, or permitted to the extent necessary to accommodate reasonable and safe use of a trail by persons with disabilities dependent upon motorized transport.
(2)(3) Operate a vehicle in a park at a speed in excess of posted speed limits.
(3)(4) Operate a vehicle in a park in a reckless or careless manner.
(4)(5) Operate a vehicle which emits excessive or unusual noise, noxious fumes, dense smoke, or other polluting matter in a park.
B. Parking.
It shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Park or leave a vehicle standing within a park except in a designated parking area.
(2) Park or leave a vehicle standing after posted closing hours without a valid camping permit or other special use permit. from the Park Administrator.
C. Wash and Repair.
It shall be unlawful for any person to wash, polish, grease, change oil, or repair any vehicle in a park.
SECTION 7: PARK OPERATION
A. Hours of Operation.
(1) Parks shall be open to the public daily from 6:00 a.m. until one-half hour after sunset, unless otherwise posted. It shall be unlawful for a person to enter or remain in a park at any other time, except for campers in a designated camping area.
(2) Any park or portion thereof may be declared closed to the public by the Park Administrator, by the Wright County Board of Commissioners, or by the Wright County Sheriff, at any time, and for any interval of time, for the protection of park property, for the protection of the public health, safety, or welfare, or as the Park Administrator, Wright County Board of Commissioners, or Wright County Sheriff shall find reasonably necessary.
B. Permits.
(1) A person may be granted a permit by the Park Administrator or his authorized representative for special uses or activities within a park, or for temporary exclusive use of a reserved space within a park.
(2) Permits shall be required for any entertainment, tournament, exhibition, or any other special use of gathering which can reasonably be expected to involve 50 or more persons.
(3) The Park Administrator or his authorized representative may impose conditions upon use in connection with the granting of a permit. Any person, whether the permit applicant or not, who is using a park in accordance with a permit that has been granted, shall comply with the conditions of said permit.
(4) It shall be unlawful for a person to violate any conditions of a permit.
(5) Any permit granted pursuant to this Section may be revoked by the Park Administrator or his authorized representative upon the violation by the permit holder of any portion of this Ordinance or any provision of Minnesota Statutes.
C. Park Fees.
It shall be unlawful for any person to use any facility or area for which a fee or charge has been established by the Wright County Parks without payment of such fee or charge.
D. Liability.
The County of Wright and Wright County Parks shall not be liable for any loss, damage, or injury to property or persons sustained by any park visitor.
SECTION 8: BERTRAM CHAIN OF LAKES.
This section shall apply to the operation and use of all grounds and waters within the boundaries of the Bertram Chain of Lakes and are supplementary to the any other general park ordinance:
A. Whoever does any of the following, without a permit, is guilty of a crime:
1. Violates any of the restrictions as provided by the Wright County Water Surface Use Ordinance, Section 4.00, Subd. 1.
B. Licensed peace officers and employees of the Wright County Parks Department , in the official pursuit of their duties, are exempt from the provisions of this section.
SECTION 9 8: ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES.
A. Enforcement.
(1) The Park Administrator and the Wright County Board of Commissioners shall have the right to issue administrative rules and regulations for the purpose of clarifying and administering this Ordinance.
(2) The Wright County Sheriff’s Office, other peace officers, DNR Conservation Officers, and designated Wright County Parks employees, shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this Ordinance and may eject from a park any persons acting in violation of this Ordinance.
(3) Nothing in this Ordinance shall prevent Wright County Parks employees from performing their assigned duties.
(4) No person shall impersonate any Wright County Parks employee, nor shall they interfere with, harass, or hinder any Wright County Parks employee in the discharge of his/her duties.
B. Penalties.
(1) A person guilty of violating any provision of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, with a maximum punishment of 90 days imprisonment, $700 fine, or both. All fines collected under this Ordinance shall be deposited in the County Park Fund.
(2) The Park Administrator shall have the authority to revoke for good cause any permit or reservation issued under this Ordinance.
SECTION 10 9: SEVERABILITY – REPEAL OF PRIOR ORDINANCES.
A. Severability.
The provisions of this Ordinance shall be deemed to be severable. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Ordinance.
B. Repeal of Prior Ordinances.
Upon enactment of this Ordinance, pre-existing Parks Ordinances enacted on May 26, 2981 1981 and July 11, 1974 are hereby repealed.
SECTION 11 10: EFFECTIVE DATE.
(1) This Ordinance shall be effective upon passage and publication according to Minnesota Statutes.
(2) This Ordinance is was hereby originally passed and approved on this 22nd day of December 22, 1992 and amended on May 13, 2014.
(End of Ordinance Amendment #14-02)
Sawatzke referenced the written comments that were received for the Public Hearing. The response from Cokato Township references the timing of the notice provided to them. He thought it was a valid argument if the County is asking for input that the townships be provided with a timeline which meets the township’s meeting schedule. He asked that in the future, the County be cognizant of this. Kryzer responded that with this Public Hearing, he felt it was better to provide notice to the townships than none at all. It was a short timeline given the fact that they wanted to have these changes in effect because of fishing. It was the consensus of the Board that a letter should be sent to all townships acknowledging Cokato Township’s concern, indicating that the County will make efforts to address this in the future.
Marc Mattice, Parks Administrator, requested authorization for signatures on all documents relating to the Phase V and Phase VI acquisitions at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park, including:
1. Phase V Purchase Agreement.
2. Phase VI Purchase Agreement.
3. Fifth Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Monticello, Wright County, and the YMCA.
4. Amended and Restated Shared Use Agreement.
5. Ground Lease pertaining to Phase VI.
6. Operating Agreement related to Phase VI.
7. First Addendum to the Operating Agreement pertaining to Phase VI.
Mattice said that as part of the 5-01-14 Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Council meeting, members reviewed and discussed these documents and recommend to the Wright County Board of Commissioners and the Monticello City Council that they approve these documents and authorize signatures. All documents have been reviewed by Brian Asleson, Assistant Wright County, and the Attorneys for the City and YMCA.
Mattice said on 11-20-12, the County Board authorized the local cash match of $322,268 for Phase V with the City of Monticello contributing an equal share. On 5-28-13, the County Board authorized a local cash match of $472,371 plus appraisal and closing costs for Phase VI with the City contributing an equal share. On 11-12-13 the County Board approved the Fourth Addendum to the original Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU included as attachments the Ground Lease and the Operating Agreement. On 12-17-13, the County Board approved adding the First Addendum to the Operating Agreement.
Mattice stated one change was made yesterday with regarding to grant funding. There are two different grant sources and they had to review the documents. They have requested an amendment to the Ground Lease on Page 9, Item 5, Use of the Premises and the Property, (h) Signage and Camp Brochure, was changed to read, “All brochures, for the camp program will describe it as located at the Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park and state that the YMCA does not discriminate because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, age, and status with regard to public assistance, as stated in Minnesota State Statutes 353A.02.”
Daleiden moved to approve the following documents, including the amendment to the Ground Lease Agreement: Phase V Purchase Agreement, Phase VI Purchase Agreement, Fifth Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Monticello, Wright County, and the YMCA, Amended and Restated Shared Use Agreement, Ground Lease pertaining to Phase VI, Operating Agreement related to Phase VI, and First Addendum to the Operating Agreement pertaining to Phase VI. The motion was seconded by Sawatzke and carried 5-0.
The County Board recessed at 10:10 A.M. and reconvened at 10:25 A.M.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #14-20 designating the week of May 18-24, 2014 as Emergency Medical Services Week. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, presented six tax forfeit land resolutions for approval. Municipalities are provided with an opportunity to take certain tax forfeit parcels if they are for public purpose. The resolutions would recommend that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey the parcels to the cities. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the cities may incur a nominal fee from the State or through recording costs. Some tax forfeit lots may have become available when a developer fails to convey out lots to a city.
Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #14-21 recommending that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey to the City of South Haven by state deed the following tax forfeit properties: PID # 115-010-008070 and PID #115-010-008090 which will be used for off-street public parking. Potter seconded the motion and it carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Sawatzke moved to adopt Resolution #14-22 recommending that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey to the Township of Clearwater by state deed the tax forfeit property known as PID # 204-115-000260 which will be used for town road right-of-way. Potter seconded the motion and it carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-23 recommending that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey to the City of St. Michael by state deed the following tax forfeit properties for the uses as listed: PID # 114-195-000030 for storm water retention and drainage ditch, and PID # 114-197-000020 for storm water retention and public trail. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #14-24 recommending that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey to the City of Hanover by state deed the tax forfeit property known as PID # 108-500-363225 which will be used for street right-of-way. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and it carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #14-25 recommending that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey to the City of Otsego by quit claim deed the following tax forfeit parcels: PID # 118-228-000010, PID # 118-228-000020 and PID # 118-228-000030 which will be used for park and/or stormwater utility purposes. Potter seconded the motion and it carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
On a motion by Borrell, second by Daleiden, roll call vote carried 5-0 to adopt Resolution #14-26 recommending that the Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue convey to the City of Delano by quit claim deed the following tax forfeit parcels for the authorized public use as listed:
PID # 107-077-000040 storm drainage system
PID # 107-081-000040 storm drainage system
PID # 107-081-000050 storm drainage system
PID # 107-083-000040 storm drainage system
PID # 107-085-000010 storm drainage system
PID # 107-083-000030 access to public utility
Hiivala requested the Board schedule a Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 5-20-14 or 5-27-14 for the purpose of meeting with Ron Ringquist to review the ditch viewer report for Ditch 38. Because of the Board members not being available either of those two dates, Hiivala was directed to offer the date of 5-28-14 at 12:30 P.M. Hiivala will contact Ringquist on his availability. Hiivala stated that once the viewers deliver the report, the County has 60 days to take action.
The claims listing was reviewed. Daleiden referenced claims on Page 10 to Climate Air and Ernst General Construction coded to Repairs and Maintenance. He questioned whether the claims listing could reflect what the repairs are so the Board has a method of monitoring what is being repaired in a specific building. Hiivala responded that the report will be modified to reflect this information under the warrant description. Borrell moved to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $247,440.47 with 175 vendors and 228 transactions. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously.
Sue Vergin, Assistant County Coordinator, requested approval of a Data Practices Policy for Data Subjects, and a Data Practices Policy for Members of the Public. The Government Data Practices Act presumes that all government data is public, unless a state or federal law says the data is not public. There are three classifications of data, public, private or confidential. In 2013 State Statutes, Chapter 13, Data Practices, was amended which prompted the review of how data is disseminated, thus the two policies for the Board’s consideration. State Statute also requires that the County appoint a responsible authority to carry out the duties as assigned under Chapter 13, thus two resolutions are being presented for these appointments. The County is also required to create an inventory of the data that is collected, created, and retained. The inventory is being created but will not require County Board approval. Asleson stated the two Policies will be posted on the County’s website. The Policies are largely based on templates provided by the State Department of Administration or the State Authorities on data practices issues. He said it is not so much a change but making sure the County is up to speed on the requirements of the law and posting the Policies on the website. Asleson said that State Law reflects that elected officials are their own responsible authority for data in their offices, which would apply to Tom Kelly, Joe Hagerty and Bob Hiivala. The responsibility authority for other departments would be Lee Kelly, County Coordinator. Asleson thought the former County Coordinator was the previous authority for other departments and by adopting the resolution, it would designate Kelly in this role. There is a rule as well that designates the Human Services Director, Jami Goodrum-Schwartz, as the responsible authority for Human Services. Asleson said the County Attorney’s Office gets involved in a lot of data practices requests if they are out of the ordinary. The Policies list Asleson as the designee. It is more than just the responsible authority that gets involved in some of the requests. Statute requires the naming of an individual as the responsible authority and as the compliance official. Each time these positions are replaced, it will require the County to take action to name a new individual. Borrell asked about costs associated with data requests. Asleson said State Statute refers to a cost of $.25/page copy costs that may be charged up to 100 pages. Beyond that actual costs may be charged including employee time. If a data request involves a document that has been saved and can be transmitted by email, there may not be a cost. If the data is downloaded from archives and involves employee time, electronic transmission could involve a charge.
Sawatzke moved to approve the Data Practices Policy for Data Subjects. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0. Potter moved to approve the Data Practices Policy for Members of the Public, seconded by Sawatzke, carried 5-0. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-27 appointing Jami Goodrum-Schwartz, Human Services Director, as the responsible Authority for the County Social Services Agency. The motion was second by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-28 appointing Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, as the responsible Authority for those offices outside of elected officials. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Bill Patten, General Manager of Midwest Paratransit Services Inc., provided information on transit services available through their company. He provided a history of the company and said the County’s goals would be their goals. They would start with a scope of work that the County would determine, making sure the goals are shared to deliver the service that the County wants and expects. Midwest’s main office is located in Hassan Township which houses their office, dispatch, and call center. They also have a Buffalo location. They own RouteMatch software with Mobile Data Terminal integration which allows them to utilize GPS, schedule rides online, and real-time dispatching (rides added or canceled are immediately seen by the drivers). Information was provided on vehicle operation compliance and training.
Husom asked whether Midwest has the ability to expand its operation. Patten said they are currently expanding the operation in Hassan Township for other areas. Expansion is a possibility for their Buffalo location. Husom asked what STS represents. Patten said this relates to special transportation for clients that need more assistance. Service is mainly curb to curb but they are some cases where service is provided door to door. That is set up prior to the ride. Drivers receive 20 hours of classroom STS Training which includes defensive driving, passenger assistance A&B vulnerable adult/abuse prevention, and standard first aid.
Sawatzke referenced the software that is utilized by Midwest. Patten stated that the RouteMatch software would be used for Wright County. The MET Council uses Trapeze software. Those programs are connected to allow report generation. Husom asked whether transit services are available on Saturdays. Patten responded that their transit is available to run anytime. Their concept is to offer transit on specific days in specific areas.
Patten said with regard to vehicle maintenance they have a lift inspection program that is separate from vehicle inspection. Maintenance utilizes different software than RouteMatch. Buses are owned by areas that are serviced, not by Midwest. Midwest services, houses, and maintains the buses. Maintenance is included in the cost of transit. Tires are included and are insured. Midwest does not cover costs of vehicle acquisition. Sawatzke asked if that means local government would provide the bus originally and Midwest would provide such things as wiper blades for the life of the vehicle. Patten said that is correct. There are a few things that are not covered such as a major engine or transmission failure. There are a few high ticket items that will be covered if the bus is maintained and it can be proven through records. Those types of things would be addressed in the agreement.
Husom asked where the buses from Wright County would come from. Sawatzke said the County has nine buses. In the future, they would be acquired on a rotational basis.
Borrell asked Patten whether Midwest could provide transit service for Wright County by July 1st. Patten said they could. Sawatzke suggested a plan where for the remainder of the calendar year the current level of service could be provided, with the approval of MnDOT. An advisory group could be created with Wright County cities to evaluate the services. There could possibly be an enhancement of services in the future, including additional hours or service provided to areas that do not currently have transit service. Husom said three buses serve Functional Industries daily. Cities are looking at the possibility of utilizing those buses when they are not being used for that service. She understood Functional Industries has signed a contract with Trailblazer. Daleiden understood that they may still be working on that. Sawatzke assumed Functional Industries is able to move to something else if another transit system becomes available in the County.
Daleiden said currently riders pay when they get on the bus. He asked if Midwest has some type of audit process based off of MnDOT transit requirements. Patten said there are not fare boxes on the buses. The drivers collect the money. Any shortages are covered by Midwest. Sawatzke said with that system, the audit is not as critical. Husom said a large question is whether this will be approved by MnDOT since they fund 85% of transit.
Mike Schadauer, Office Director for MnDOT Transit, said it is MnDOT’s perspective that this situation would be viewed as a stand alone county doing transit through a third party provider. MnDOT is not doing this any longer and would not support it. In addition, federal money is being used for transit operation. Wright County would be required to go through a federal procurement process to put out Request For Proposal’s (RFP) for transit. He referenced the 48 days remaining until the July 1st date. He is aware the cities are trying to form a consortium, and MnDOT is working with Trailblazer to make sure they are open to working with the cities. Schadauer said they are. He said MnDOT, the cities, and Trailblazer feel they can put something together for service on July 1st. He asked that the County let this happen so service can be provided to the people that need it. Sawatzke said the County could let that happen, but he thought if city officials were given the opportunity they would prefer for Wright County to participate. He said there may be some cities willing to, as a last resort, create a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) and do something through Trailblazer. If those same cities could partner with Wright County on a mechanism such as this, he asked why MnDOT would stop that from happening. Schadauer said the primary reason is they are trying to form these regional transit systems. Sawatzke asked if there was anything in law that would prohibit Wright County from participating in this type of arrangement and being supported by MnDOT in that arrangement. Schadauer said there is nothing in law that would prevent that.
Sawatzke said he is familiar with transit for the future goals, as that has been explained to him during meetings with Sue Siemers, MnDOT Project Manager, and Tom Gottfried, MnDOT Program Director. Sawatzke said he had a shortened version of it in front of him. If the goals are looked at, one could argue that if Wright County combined with Maple Grove, Washington and Ramsey Counties to utilize the same provider, it is a form of consolidation and cooperation and to a certain extent does meet the goals of transit for the future. He asked Schadauer if he agreed. Schadauer said he could see that but there is not time to do that in this situation. Sawatzke said Schadauer was acknowledging that Wright County would be meeting some of those goals, and he did not see why there would not be time to do that. Midwest has indicated they can put this into place in two weeks, and they have a building in Buffalo which may be larger than what River Rider operated two counties out of. He advocates moving forward with this arrangement. Based on the discussion with Trailblazer and this discussion, if timing is an issue he thought transit would be accomplished much faster through Midwest. For various reasons, Trailblazer has chosen not to participate with Wright County. To get something going there would take longer. Sawatzke restated that Wright County will meet some of the goals of transit through Midwest, and they can try to meet more as time passes. He asked that MnDOT give Wright County a chance. As a local authority, he felt Wright County should have some decision making and choice as well. Schadauer said it could have worked with Trailblazer, but they chose not to work with Wright County. However, they have not made that decision with the cities. Schadauer said when MnDOT spoke with the cities, the cities expressed a clear desire to work with Trailblazer. He also understands there are a few cities that are wavering. He said part of that is because they keep being presented with option after option rather than being able to concentrate on something that can get this done. Sawatzke said this is the second option since Trailblazer. Tri Cap was a possibility, but their staff had concern that they couldn’t provide the service. Sawatzke said if Schadauer feels they are close to making progress via the cities that might have been misinterpreted. Schadauer said he feels they are very close and he welcomed the cities to comment. Husom invited comments from the cities that were present.
Clint Herbst, Mayor, City of Monticello, said when the cities were willing to try and work with Trailblazer, it was the only opportunity they had. Looking at the presentation today and in talking with Mayor Connie Holmes, Waverly, they would like to see something like this instituted. He referenced the comment made by Patten about the service provided would be what the County/cities wanted instead of what Midwest wanted to provide. Herbst felt that was very important. He did not feel it would take much effort on the cities part to come to resolution to back the County Board on going forward and trying to work with this type of system over Trailblazer. He said Monticello is a big player in transit. He supported the County Board negotiating for the County rather than the cities being segmented and getting in the way of this process. From Monticello’s perspective, he felt they would support the County’s decision on moving forward.
Connie Holmes, Mayor, City of Waverly, echoed Herbst’s comments. She referenced comments she made a few weeks ago indicating the cities’ support for the County taking the lead in transit. She said the cities did not start negotiating a JPA until 2-3 weeks ago when their backs were against the wall. Waverly does not have transportation service at this time, but is cooperating in the process so ultimately there will be some form of transportation on the Highway 12 corridor. She restated that the cities always wanted the County to take the lead, but 2-3 weeks ago proceeded as they did not see an alternative.
Potter said one of the things he looks at with Midwest is that they have a relationship in the metro area. About 60% of Wright County working residents work in the metro. He has attended enough MnDOT meetings to know they are trying to take some of the traffic off the roads and move to more of a transit style. Wright County has I94, and Highways 55 and 12 running through the County. He thought this as a great partnership for Wright County as they could bring residents to the transit links that continue into the metro. Wright County is the 10th largest county in the State. This places Wright County in a unique position because the County is a little too big for some and a little too small for others. The system in Sibley and McLeod Counties is a great system, but residents of Wright County are mostly urban east of Buffalo. To the west of Buffalo is more rural. Potter saw the advantage with Midwest is that they already provide bus service to the metro area. They could program transit in Wright County to make this a more efficient system, providing service from residents to the metro area and back. Potter asked if there was a possibility to allow this due to the unique situation and the numbers of people that commute to the metro area. The State Demographer has estimated an additional 60,000 people in the next 20 years in Wright County, and those people will use those same roads. With the funding mechanism through MnDOT, there has been no funding. He did not see anything for road expansion in the next 20 years. He mentioned Hwy. 12 has already been done and the I94 project is in the works. Potter viewed this as an opportunity for MnDOT to remove some of those cars from the roadways.
Schadauer said Potter is hitting on a goal of MnDOT to assist people in moving through these corridors as much as they can, and often that is accomplished by putting more people in fewer vehicles. He said that is absolutely a goal of MnDOT. It is something that River Rider could have been doing already, and there is nothing that would prevent any transit provider in Wright County to go into the metro area and provide this service. He said it might be a better relationship with a provider that already has that relationship in the metro area. Schadauer said he would not deny that. He said it is interesting to him and also to MnDOT that there has been no desire for that in the past. MnDOT is glad they are thinking about that type of thing. That is why they wanted to be able to move forward with corridor and human services transit opportunities. Schadauer hopes this is something that Wright County continues to care about as they move forward with transit.
Husom said MnDOT is looking more toward regionalizing, and said this is definitely regionalizing a system. She said Trailblazer was the County’s option. They were unaware of other options. Then Tri Cap was looked at and now there is the Midwest option, which is located in Wright County. There are also other private transit companies in Wright County that Human Services utilizes on a regular basis. She asked what would be the difference from MnDOT’s perspective if they are looking at a regionalized system, whether it would be through a metro transit company as opposed to Trailblazer. Schadauer said the metro area is growing, and maybe the MET Council should take over transit for the nearby collar counties. Opposition was voiced by Board members. He understood that no one here would want that but he thought that was the direction this was headed. Sawatzke viewed this as a scare tactic so people may not want to use this company. He said the line between Wright and Hennepin Counties is nothing but a line on a map. That doesn’t mean the desire is to become part of the MET Council. He said Wright County is different and not as metropolitan as they are. Sawatzke stated that because Wright County doesn’t want to become members of the MET Council does not mean that it should be suggested that there can’t be a relationship with anyone on that side of the line. For example, if they have a transit provider that can provide good service here and potentially help in the future with transporting those that commute to the metro, just because they are on the other side of the line doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a relationship with them. He added that it doesn’t mean that would require any other relationship beyond transportation with the metro area. Sawatzke said people do not want to become part of the MET Council. He said this should not be indicative of a discussion that is going to lead to that. Schadauer said that is part of why MnDOT thought Wright County would be a good match with Trailblazer. There are a lot of reasons but part of it is that the collar county situation is shared. Schadauer didn’t think Wright County wanted to be part of the metro area. Sawatzke did not feel Sibley County met the definition of a collar county.
Potter wanted to make the point that MnDOT is looking for efficiencies in transit. He viewed this situation as a win/win for MnDOT because there is a ride program, and it would remove more people off of the roadways. When people continue to move to this area, it will place a burden on already overtaxed roads. He viewed that as an exception that MnDOT might consider or allow because of the uniqueness of where Wright County is located. Tri Cap is located in St. Cloud and Trailblazer in Glencoe; both are a distance from Wright County. Those relationships would be different than with Midwest. Potter said Trailblazer is a great system but the question is whether it will fit Wright County’s transit needs. He thought that if Wright County is moving into transit, they need to make sure those commuting to their jobs can get there, as well as starting a 5311 Program.
Schadauer said it is not guaranteed that Midwest will be selected, as Wright County would be required to go through a competitive procurement process where companies will be able to bid. This will include a complete evaluation process. Sawatzke said that is one thing the County Board was unaware of, that there needs to be a competitive process. He said that may provide additional choices through other providers. He assumed the County would not be required to choose only based on the low bid. Sawatzke viewed Midwest as a very capable provider. He did not feel the City of Maple Grove would have continued with them for all of these years if they weren’t providing good service, and Midwest continues to pick up new contracts. If there were another company that was even more capable, the County would have an opportunity to choose them. He asked whether the award is based strictly on dollar value. Schadauer said the evaluation criteria are set up ahead of time and those criteria are decided upon by Wright County. It could be a combination of costs and qualifications. Wright County would also need to dedicate people to oversee a transit operation, run the procurements, and make sure that all federal and state laws are being followed. Wright County will be responsible for overseeing the third party operator and making sure they follow all of those requirements as well. Potter asked Schadauer if the administrative part of transit will be the responsibility of Wright County. Schadauer said that is correct. It may only be one person or possibly a part time person, but it is someone that is responsible for that transit operation on behalf of Wright County. Sawatzke said in theory, another potential long term option would be to join with someone else for the administrative portion. For example, the County could contract with Tri CAP for the administrative component. He asked whether the administrative costs are fully fundable as operational expenses. Schadauer said that is correct.
Borrell stated he was the Board member that wanted Wright County to stand on its own but has given up. He said that at the beginning of 2014, MnDOT gave Wright County the option to continue on its own until June 30th to allow time to come up with a partner. He asked if that timeline could be extended for an additional six months. He is okay with working through another entity to provide administrative services. Midwest could come in and start running operations with the understanding that Wright County would proceed as soon as something is available another County for the administrative side of things. Borrell said he has never opposed consolidation; he just did not want it forced on the County. He asked Schadauer if that is an option.
Schadauer said anything is an option. He said it is such a disappointment to MnDOT; he said MnDOT did not force Trailblazer on Wright County. MnDOT looked to see who could be partners that had the capacity to work with at this time. Trailblazer was found and provided as an option. If Tri Cap could have provided the service, MnDOT would have been fine with that. Schadauer said they are 48 days away from the need for transit. He said MnDOT did not set the June 30th date; that is when the River Rider JPB ceases so that is the deadline that was set for everyone. There is a solution that will provide service on July 1st or there is this patchwork stuff for a solution with an unknown final part. He said it is hard for MnDOT to be confident that this is a good transit system that will serve that area. Schadauer said it would be legal but it would be hard for MnDOT to say yes to that situation.
Sawatzke said MnDOT did set the deadline of June 30th. Sherburne County’s move to Tri CAP was natural because of the services provided to them. When that was decided, Wright County asked then what Borrell is asking now, whether River Rider could continue to operate beyond that indefinitely or until something is set in place. Sawatzke said they were told hard and fast by MnDOT officials that as of June 30th, River Rider was done. Sawatzke said it was not Schadauer that said that, but he was sure Schadauer was aware of that. Sawatzke said MnDOT did set the deadline. He and Borrell are members of the River Rider Board. There certainly would have been willingness by Sherburne County to work with Wright County to make sure River Rider could have continued on with the River Rider name and at that location with those administrative offices. He was sure the Wright County Board would have been agreeable to doing that until such time as an alternative would have been provided to avoid this July 1st deadline. Sawatzke said it was, in fact, MnDOT that said funding was gone on June 30th. Schadauer said they certainly held to that date after it was set. Sawatzke said MnDOT set the date. The County wanted a date beyond that so there was something in place to provide transit. He said Tom Gottfried made it absolutely clear that June 30th was the date it would be done. Borrell said the Sherburne County representatives on the River Rider Board said they would work with Wright County. Borrell stated the JPA includes language that allows extension beyond the six months following the date of the letter, if agreed upon by both parties. Borrell felt there was a willingness from Sherburne County representatives on the River Rider Board to work on this. Sawatzke thought Wright County could hold River Rider together for another three months if needed to allow time for the procurement process. Another site would have to be found. The Compost Facility is a possibility.
Dan Lemm, Monticello, said he was one of the people in 1995 that supported transportation. At that time, Midwest was one of the companies available for transportation in Wright County. He asked Schadauer how much this is going to cost, whether transit is provided through Midwest or Trailblazer.
Sawatzke responded that he understood from today’s discussion that Midwest may be a possibility. Despite the fact that Schadauer may not be happy about, the County hasn’t been told that this can’t be done. Husom asked what type of time frame is associated with the procurement process. Schadauer was unsure of the exact time frame for the RFP but it could be 30 or 45 days. RFP’s must be developed and distributed ahead of that time. Developing an RFP will depend on the resources available. Schadauer said it is important that the RFP include all federal and state clauses. MnDOT has procurement experts that could provide assistance. MnDOT is a consultant to local government units that are entering into these procurement processes. In summary, there is the time to prepare the RFP, 30-45 days to distribute it and allow submittals, evaluation, and time associated with award (typically 2 weeks to 1 month).
Borrell asked if MnDOT would be open to allowing Wright County to consult with Sherburne County on possibly extending the River Rider service until something is worked out. Schadauer wants to make sure transit is available on July 1st. He questioned whether River Rider is ready to keep going. They are losing their space and the approach has been that this is when River Rider ends. River Rider would have to be able to recover from that. Sawatzke said he and Borrell will be attending a River Rider meeting next week. Borrell spoke with the River Rider director previously about moving the setup to another location. It did not appear that it would be difficult.
Schadauer said Midwest provides great service. Some of the funding MnDOT provides for rural transit eventually goes to Midwest. He is unsure whether Midwest is the right partner for Wright County, and Wright County will not know that until they have gone through the procurement process. He is very curious as to what the rest of the cities are thinking. Schadauer said he possibly should have lined up cities to speak but he is not a lobbyist. He thought there were different perspectives than were being brought forth today. He hoped that was important to the County because it is important to MnDOT. Sawatzke responded that he did not believe anyone had lined anyone up to attend the meeting. He personally had not contacted anyone and advised them to come today. Sawatzke said he was informed by Jeff O’Neill, Monticello City Administrator, at the Rotary Meeting yesterday that he was coming to the Board Meeting and probably bringing the Mayor along. He asked O’Neill to provide an update from the meeting held by the cities yesterday.
O’Neill said he concurs with the comments made by Holmes. The cities would like to fill the void to maintain service. There are three cities that are relying on the service. The City of Monticello is receiving calls from people who are worried about transit. There is a JPA that has been reviewed. Part of the impetus for that is to bring in other cities that aren’t receiving service and feel a need. He viewed this as a priority. If the County were to proceed with a private contractor, that would be similar to a situation that the City of Monticello had when they contracted with Hoglund in the early 1990’s. The City went through the entire process that Schadauer described as far as defining the service area, the program, the budget, and then defining the criteria for their service provider. The City eventually merged with River Rider when that model didn’t work for their community. O’Neill hopes as the County moves into this process, that they bring in the cities to help set that framework and get input. Sawatzke referenced the tour of Midwest that was attended by himself, Potter and O’Neill. He asked O’Neill for input. O’Neill referenced one of the goals of the State to create some economies of scale. He said Midwest is a good size company and that probably means their pricing will reflect that. He said that rolls into the agreement with the State. They are getting scale by receiving better pricing and selecting a user that is already providing service to others. Although Trailblazer will not get the benefit of that scale, the users in this community that use the service will get that benefit. O’Neill said Midwest appears professional and well organized. To go this route, the County would have to go through the process to bid out the service. He thought Midwest would probably be a candidate that the County would be looking at.
Kelly Hinnenkamp, City of Annandale, said she would not speak for all of the cities. Part of the motivation for the JPA with the cities is the 48-day timeline, and there are constituents that need the service. She said the confidence in getting something done with the County has declined with how things have progressed in the last few weeks. Without MnDOT’s funding commitment, she did not feel the cities are going to consider other options. Hinnenkamp felt the timeline to get that commitment involved days. If this timeline drags out a couple of weeks, the cities are ready and motivated to put that JPA together and make a commitment with Trailblazer. She wanted the Board to know the cities feel there is a time crunch. She thought some cities may have felt backed into a corner with Trailblazer but others really feel they will be a good service provider in their communities.
Daleiden asked Schadauer whether River Rider has been funded through the end of the year. Sawatzke said there is money in the budget but MnDOT has said it is not going to go to River Rider, that it will go to someone else. Schadauer said Commissioner Sawatzke is correct. Husom said at one of the first meetings held at the City of Buffalo, which Siemers and Gottfried attended, someone from MnDOT said there would be service until the end of the year. Daleiden thought Gottfried said that. Husom said those in the room that day heard that. They knew that River Rider would be dissolving but understood there would be service until the end of the year. She questioned what has changed. Schadauer said he addressed this the last time he visited the Wright County Board Meeting. He tried to clarify that MnDOT is committed to working with local providers for uninterrupted service. They are required to have that partnership with the local organizations. Schadauer said Gottfried used words at that meeting that were probably unfortunate for the way they were intending it. MnDOT is committed to doing what can be done so the service is uninterrupted. He said MnDOT can’t guarantee that if there is not a local partnership.
Borrell said he and Sawatzke will attend the River Rider Board Meeting next week. If they make a proposal to keep this organization together for at least a few more months until they can get something together, they will need some type of commitment from MnDOT. His feeling from talking to River Rider members in the past is that they would be willing to do that. Borrell would like to formally ask next week if they are willing to do this. He said that would make it easier as River Rider does have that funding, and then the County could work toward another outcome. Sawatzke said it could either be River Rider as it exists (two counties) or Wright County (individually) as River Rider. Borrell said Schadauer indicated that if the organization is changed, then there other things that come into play. Sawatzke said that does not prevent MnDOT from allowing Wright to do this in the interim until such time as this other process is complete.
Schadauer said he will need to take this back to his leadership at MnDOT. This would be against all MnDOT is trying to accomplish. Their leadership has been supportive what MnDOT is trying to do.
Sawatzke asked Schadauer whether what Wright County has proposed would, to an extent, meet the goals and objectives. Schadauer said yes, Sawatzke is good at making those kinds of points, and he is correct. It does reflect in written material about cooperating with other organizations and Wright County is achieving that. He could not say that is wrong. The material also says they are trying to get away from single county systems. He said they would not be achieving that.
Daleiden said they want rides to be provided to those that need it. This situation came about as a surprise to the majority of the Board, and the County wasn’t given any other options. He thought Trailblazer was a good option but they did not really want to negotiate. Wright County was told, this is the way it is take it or leave it. Trailblazer also did not want to work with a commission that is divided. Daleiden said this commission will be divided as that is part of politics, no matter what happens. His concern is with the JPA through the cities is whether rides will be provided everywhere. Schadauer’s understanding is that the JPA would not be static; if other cities or townships wanted to join there would be opportunities to do so.
Daleiden did not feel he had enough information on rides because there wasn’t information provided to them. He said even if there is a JPA, there still is a lot more to discuss especially in the Human Services area. Those rides are currently being provided by private service. He did not see that Human Services would be able to utilize this JPA because of some clients residing in townships. Daleiden said he is trying to figure out how they can make this work for everyone. Schadauer said from MnDOT’s perspective the County as a joint powers member would have been the best solution, as it does take away those city to city questions that have been described. Schadauer said he is curious, from those who worked with River Rider, how they addressed in the past because the cities were providing the funding for River Rider. He asked if cities were upset at that time if rides went from one city to another.
Sawatzke said most cities were not providing funding for River Rider as the funding was sustained through ridership. Delano did provide funding recently. Then there was a question whether St. Michael, Albertville, Otsego, and Hanover may if the ridership wasn’t enough. Sawatzke said the rides did go from community to community, although that did not involve the majority of the rides. Functional Industries did this every day, and other people could utilize that as well. There was some limited flexibility on when a rider returned. Over the years, there was some concern from city officials that they did not want to transport to other communities because of the potential of losing business. There were other times when there were requests to bus to other communities. Husom said transit rides also assist with medical appointments. If a community does not have a clinic, a resident may need to travel to another community to see a doctor. Sawatzke said there was dialogue on that and it depended on what resources were available in that community.
Potter told Schadauer he understands consolidation for more of the outstate areas and also the economies of scale. He feels Wright County is in a unique situation with the proximity to the metro and the three major trunk highways. He knows that MnDOT does not like a stand-alone county or endorse it, but in Wright County’s situation it could be one that would work. With service through Trailblazer, administrative costs go up for Sibley and McLeod Counties because of their size. Adding Wright County would help to bring those costs down. Potter said Wright County’s situation may be an exception as well because of the people that commute to the metro for rides. He referenced clogged freeways and people commuting every day. He viewed this as an opportunity to alleviate some of the congestion problems on the highways in Wright County. Potter saw this as unique compared to other places and thought MnDOT should review and allow this. Schadauer said he will bring this back to MnDOT’s leadership.
Husom asked what will happen next. Sawatzke said that he and Borrell could speak with Chad Gessell from River Rider on continuing during an interim time period until the procurement process takes place. Sawatzke said Gessell should possibly be at the next Board Meeting to provide insight. Daleiden asked Schadauer when he will be able to meet with MnDOT leadership, when a decision will be made, and whether Wright County should be present at that meeting to plead the County’s case. Schadauer said he would have suggested by the end of the week until Daleiden suggested the County’s attendance, as it is hard to get everyone together. He thought things would happen more quickly if MnDOT could just meet and get things done. Borrell said the outcome might be better for Wright County with representation at that meeting. Potter hopes MnDOT takes into consideration the size, structure, people, and traffic counts. Borrell asked if Schadauer could let Wright County know when the meeting is going to be in case Sawatzke and Potter can attend. Schadauer said he would.
Husom said the other point is that the cities in Wright County would like the County to be part of the JPA. However, the JPA is between the cities and Trailblazer so the County would not have the same decision making authority. Perhaps the County can move into that role but right now that will not happen. All of the townships would not be represented in that scenario as they are not part of the JPA. She thought three of the cities have signed the JPA with Trailblazer. Functional Industries has also signed a contract with Trailblazer, and she is happy those clients are being served. Husom said there are only 48 days remaining, and they need to find a solution to continue transportation. Daleiden said it wasn’t until March that the County had an opportunity to meet on options. Schadauer said that was correct. Daleiden is unsure how that came about but felt that it was the point when the clock started for the County to try to figure out what to do. Husom said this is a huge undertaking. It took years to put River Rider and some of these other transit systems together.
O’Neill said he spoke with Hinnenkamp and Holmes during the meeting. They would like to invite representatives of the County Board to the next Joint Powers Board meeting of the cities to discuss cooperative efforts going forward. He thought this may be a productive use of time. The meeting will be held next Monday (5-19-14) in Buffalo at 9:00 A.M. Borrell may attend as the alternate.
Sawatzke said he is concerned that MnDOT would deny the County as they think there is this option with the cities. He thought the option with the cities is on shaky ground with what they have to accomplish. He would hate to see the State deny Wright County because they think they will get their ultimate goal of having Trailblazer provide transit. In light of the fact that the County is legally allowed to do this and are meeting the criteria, he said it would not sit well with him if it is denied. It would be different if federal guidelines made this illegal. Sawatzke is hesitant to get too involved in the city process as it gives the State an out. Schadauer said he would like to hear what the cities have to say that are working on the JPA. If they are feeling what the County wants to do is right, that will have a lot of sway with him. Daleiden thought Monday’s meeting would be a good time for Schadauer to hear that.
Dan Lemm, Monticello, restated that he has been around transportation since the beginning. He personally felt that River Rider could do more with scheduling. Lemm supported the City of Monticello’s efforts when they utilized the services of Hoglund Bus Service for transit. Sawatzke said Hoglund provided good service but the City was required to subsidize $25,000. That cost went to $0 with River Rider. O’Neill said that the grant administration part was removed when they moved to River Rider, which greatly saved staff time. Sawatzke said that is a good example of the State’s position on collaboration and cooperation. Lemm said areas east of Hwy. 25 are more urban and west of Hwy. 25 are more rural. He referenced the City of Annandale and thought Trailblazer may be a better option for them as those residents will want to travel to more rural areas. Lemm supported putting more money into transit to obtain better service.
Borrell made a motion to authorize Potter and Sawatzke to attend the MnDOT meeting if it works with their schedules. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. Sawatzke asked Schadauer to inform the County Coordinator of the meeting time and he will relay that to the County Board. The motion carried 5-0. It was noted that Potter and Sawatzke were authorized to attend the city meeting by action taken last week. Borrell will attend as an alternate if needed.
The Board discussed scheduling one committee meeting per month in June, July and August. Kelly said this has been done the past few years. Sawatzke moved to schedule committee meetings on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in June, July and August. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously.
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates:
1. First Responders Luncheon. Potter will attend a luncheon on 5-19-14 at Rogers Community Center which is being held to recognize first responders.
2. Community & Economic Development Symposium, Hamline University. Potter attended on 5-09-14. Discussion included social issues, impact investing, and moving jobs closer to where the people live. He said this may be a bit premature for Wright County. The information will be passed along to the Economic Development Partnership.
3. GRRL. Sawatzke mentioned a couple of weeks ago there will be a new library in Sartell and that will have an impact on the library budget. Morrison County is concerned with that and has asked that a special meeting be set with an official from each County. The meeting will be held in St. Cloud and Sawatzke plans to attend. Kelly said the tentative dates for that meeting are 5-14-14 or 5-16-14. Potter moved to authorize Sawatzke to attend, seconded by Borrell, carried 5-0.
Husom said last year, Safe Communities requested that a crashed vehicle be parked outside of the Courthouse for a week. Daleiden moved to authorize the vehicle to be parked at the Courthouse for one week, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
Bills Approved
Abrahamson/Brian $653.00
Aladdin Temp Rite LLC 528.16
American Pressure Inc 418.00
Ameripride Services 196.37
Annandale Advocate Inc 383.00
Aramark Services Inc 6,940.32
Beaudry Propane Inc 471.85
Benton County Sheriff 1,650.00
Berg Bag Company 1,629.99
Bersie/Bruce 125.00
Bonk/Gary W and Lucinda J 209.00
Brock White Co LLV 4,935.00
Buff N Glo Inc 125.00
Buffalo Auto Value 453.44
Buffalo Hospital 504.65
Buffalo/City of 59,172.82
CDW Government Inc 753.48
Center Point Energy 546.01
Central Mcgowan Inc 115.82
CenturyLink 107.81
Charm-Tex Inc 1,792.44
Chevrolet of Delano 140.56
Clearwater Township 754.40
Climate Air 21,852.65
Cokato Motor Sales Inc 17,100.00
Cokato Township 382.20
Cottens Inc 2,017.07
Country Chevrolet 16,400.00
Cyber Advisors Inc 742.50
Delano Rental Inc 255.70
Dotolo/John 1,931.04
Elert & Associates Inc 1,983.00
Ernst Gen. Construction Inc 4,165.00
French Lake Township 430.00
Gabriel/Cathleen 200.00
Gopher State One Call 137.85
Green Interiors 450.00
Greenview Inc 275.65
Hanover/City of 1,969.30
Helena Chemical Company 525.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 137.69
Holiday 21,975.14
Howard Lake/City of 989.60
Howard/Jolanta 100.00
Husom/Christine 254.21
Jayne F. Hofstad 902.00
Jensen/Chris 255.70
Klein Heating and Cooling 216.00
Laage/Travis 125.00
Maney International Inc 161.50
Marco 2,959.78
Menards - Buffalo 261.58
Mend Correctional Care LLC 18,133.33
Meritide Inc 131.25
Middleville Township 522.80
MN Monitoring Inc 10,286.00
MN Office of IT Services 2,100.00
MN Safety Council 1,080.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 220.00
MTI Distributing Inc 283.02
Nuss Truck & Equipment 1,917.54
Nut Man/The 123.00
O’Ryans Conoco Marathon 115.00
Office Depot 1,687.76
Palmer West Constr. Co Inc 1,375.50
Pope Douglas SW Management 315.90
Postmaster-Buffalo 345.00
Ramacciotti/Frank 100.00
Ryan Chevrolet 604.10
Schmidt/Jackie 204.00
Sherwin Williams 551.67
SHI International Corp 1,050.00
Tennant Sales and Service Co 328.24
The Omega Group 19,935.00
Total Printing 475.00
Waste Management-TC West 1,076.51
Waverly/City of 430.00
Westside Wholesale Tire 126.00
Wigen Companies Inc 310.00
Wright Lumber & Millwork Inc 142.79
36 Payments less than $100 1,709.78
Final total $247,440.47
The meeting adjourned at 12:18 P.M
Published in the Herald Journal June 16, 2014.