Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
AUGUST 5, 2014
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Borrell moved to approve the 7-29-14 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried unanimously.
Daleiden moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Potter, carried 5-0.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Borrell, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Refer Vehicle Fleet to Ways and Means Committee, August 13, 2014.
B. ADMINISTRATION
Schedule a Closed Session to Discuss Labor Negotiations Strategy on September 9th at 10:30 am.
C. ADMINISTRATION - TAMMY BIGELOW, HR DIRECTOR
Refer Leave Policies Discussion To Personnel Committee.
D. AUDITOR/TREASURER
Approve A Plat “Old Apostolic Lutheran Church Cemetery” (Franklin Twp).
E. HUMAN SERVICES - JAMI GOODRUM SCHWARTZ
Refer Hiring of Social Worker to Personnel Committee.
F. HUMAN SERVICES
A. Position Replacement 1. Office Technician II - Child Support L-Z.
G. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Position Replacement: Information Technology Technician.
H. PLANNING & ZONING
Accept the findings and recommendations of the Planning Commission for two rezonings.
1. GARY S. KROELLS – (Woodland Twp.) on a unanimous vote, the Commission recommends approval of the request to rezone approximately 7 acres lying east of road from AG General Agricultural and S-2 Residential-Recreational Shorelands to R-2a Suburban-Residential and S-2.
2. DAVID W. SNYDER & THOMAS R. TART – (Corinna Twp.) on a unanimous vote, the Commission recommends approval of the request to rezone a six-acre parcel from AG General Agricultural and S-2 Residential-Recreational Shorelands to R-2 Suburban-Residential and S-2.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, requested the Board set a date, time, and appoint members for the Primary County Canvassing Board. Hiivala said the membership consists of two County Commissioners, the Mayor of the largest City, and the Court Administrator. Daleiden made a motion to have Borrell and Sawatzke serve on the Primary County Canvassing Board on 8-15-14 at 9:00 A.M. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Hiivala brought forth a request to advertise for a Clearwater River Watershed Board appointment. The term of Mary Ellen Wells is up in August, 2014. Hiivala will advertise in the same newspapers as was done with the last appointment (Clearwater and Annandale areas). Sawatzke said that the desire is to have some geographic balance so representation is not all from one area. Daleiden moved to authorize Hiivala to proceed with advertisement, seconded by Sawatzke. The motion carried unanimously.
Hiivala presented the June Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report for approval. He explained new line items are being added for 2015 including 6260 (Software or Systems Support); 6343 (Machinery or Equipment Leases); and 6620 (Computer or Software Purchases). He is working with departments on how to use the new line items.
Daleiden moved to approve the June Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Borrell.
On a motion by Borrell, second by Potter, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for a total of $313,814.25 with 113 vendors and 178 transactions.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, presented for approval the 7-21-14 Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Minutes. The following corrections were made to the minutes: Page 1, Item 2, Clearwater 75 Erosion, Line 14 should read, “Approximately 500 CY of sand eroded away, and approximately 500 CY of clay will be brought in to be packed into the eroded area and will hold up better than sand against the flow of water” (Daleiden); Page 3, 2nd Paragraph, Line 18, change the word from “one” to “once” (Potter). Potter made a motion to approve the TCOTW Minutes as corrected and the recommendations, seconded by Borrell. Sawatzke referenced Item 4, PW Building Master Plan Study, and stated that he cannot support the recommendation to prepare Request For Proposals (RFP) with an estimated cost of improvements at $18.5 million. He said most bothersome is the proposed $7.5 million warm storage facility. He did not view that as essential because of available storage at the Compost Facility just a few miles north. Although the storage would not be on site, much of the equipment is seasonal. Borrell supports the improvements to the shop because it was designed for single axle trucks. At times, plows must be removed from vehicles in order to perform maintenance. He supports getting the shop done and a future Board can decide whether to add on storage. After further discussion, Daleiden made a friendly amendment to the motion that the engineer should design bids packages so they are broken down to reflect individual components (phased bid). Hawkins said right now they are just obtaining RFP’s for the architect and construction manager to get an idea how much it will cost to do the design. The friendly amendment was seconded by Borrell. The motion carried 4-1 with Sawatzke casting the nay vote. The 7-21-14 TCOTW Minutes, as corrected, follow:
1. Introductions
Chairperson Husom called the meeting to order and introductions were made.
2. Clearwater 75 Erosion
Hawkins explained that after the flooding in 2002, repairs funded by FEMA were made at this site. It was recently brought to the County’s attention that erosion (approx. 500 CY of sand) has occurred within the CSAH 75 right of way and that the sand has been deposited outside the right of way. A meeting was held onsite for the purpose of viewing the site, and the Highway Department has since drawn up a repair design to correct the problem. The Clearwater River Watershed District has agreed to contribute funds to cover part of the cost. There was considerable discussion about the extent of the damage and the depth of the washout that has been created by the erosion of sand. Some trees have already lost their stability, and if the problem isn’t corrected soon, it is likely that more trees will be lost. The plan design to correct the damage and to prevent further erosion included measures to slow the velocity of the water. The plan includes setting a manhole and having a gradual vertical drop. The current grade is 15%, and this will be changed to a 2% grade, which will help protect the hillside from sliding off. Water could be designed to be pooled in a catch basin on the other side of the highway, between the trail and the highway, which will help slow the flow of the water. Approximately 500 CY of sand eroded away, and approximately 500 CY of clay will be brought in to be packed into the eroded area and will hold up better than sand against the flow of water. It is likely that with the filling in of holes and packing of the clay, the water will infiltrate into the granular soils rather than erode the area again. Hausmann estimated that the cost of repairs would add up to approximately $50,000-60,000 if all work is hired. Some larger equipment not owned by the County would probably have to be hired, along with an operator, but other County maintenance equipment/staff could be available to help with hauling of clay and riprap placement. A resolution from the City supporting this action and a review of plans by the Watershed membership would both be beneficial in getting this project going. Sawatzke said that if some help is hired, some money is received from the Watershed, and County maintenance contributes to labor, a $15,000-20,000 cash outlay seems reasonable. County forces could provide off-site clay, dump it, and spread it out. Silver Creek is probably the closest source for clay. It was agreed that there is no sense in waiting, because the work can’t be done in the spring and more damage will be done by next summer. Hawkins said that he will proceed with plans to get it done this fall by using the County’s own labor where possible and renting out larger equipment. The mayor of Clearwater (Edmonson) said that he will get a resolution for the City Council in support of the Watershed’s request, and perhaps a truck and a driver from the City would also be available.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the recommendation of the TCOTW that steps be taken this calendar year to repair the damage caused by erosion from water flow from the right of way next to CSAH 75 in the Clearwater Watershed District. The Highway Department will provide the design plan for repairs and some manpower and equipment to help with hauling of materials, placement of clay, and helping with other incidentals to complete the project, with the understanding that the Clearwater Watershed District will contribute funds of $10,000 to the project and that the City of Clearwater will adopt a resolution of support and provide manpower and equipment to aid in this project, if available/needed.
3) Discuss Transportation Funding Options for 2015/Beyond
Hawkins explained that costs for transportation projects have increased approximately 300% in the past 20 years, and available funding for county transportation projects has not kept pace. The result is that our highway system condition has deteriorated and much needed reconstruction projects have been delayed. The Minnesota State Legislature recognized the need for increased transportation funding and enacted new laws in 2013 to address this need. The new funding options made available to counties specifically for transportation projects are the Wheelage Tax and the Local Option Sales Tax. It is estimated that the Wheelage Tax could generate up to $1.2 million dollars from Wright County residents, and the Local Option Sales Tax could generate up to $5-6 million dollars annually (with about 20% from local residents), specifically for Wright County transportation projects.
Wright County’s adopted Five-Year Plan was briefly reviewed, and the following reconstruction projects will have to be delayed until current funding levels increase:
• CSAH 12 Reconstruction (TH 55 to CSAH 37), planned for 2014 (DELAYED); $5.5 million
• CSAH 37 (O’Dean Ave to TH 101) in Otsego; 2017 ($1,530,000 Federal Funds awarded)
• CR 136/New CSAH 3 (TH 55 to CSAH 2); 2016
• CSAH 19/70th St (Otsego/Albertville); 2018 ($919,000 Federal Funds awarded)
• CSAH 35 Flood Control (West of CSAH 7, “Wolff Swamp”); 2016
• CSAH 32 Realignment @ TH 55 (Rockford
• CSAH 6 Reconstruction (CSAH 35 to TH 55)
The reconstruction project planned for CSAH 12 (from TH 55 to CSAH 37) has already been delayed a year due to lack of funding. The plans are completed (212 plan sheets) and approximately $300,000 has been spent buying right of way, but it is unfunded at this point for 2015. Implementation of either of the two new funding options would help provide some funding for these projects.
Hausmann explained that Wright County typically tries to complete about 25 miles of pavement preservation per year, which is a schedule that allows for each road to be worked on once every 20 years. With funding from State Aid, local levy, and varying amounts of federal aid, Wright County’s projects operate on about $7.2 million/year (on average), but the needs are closer to $12-13 million/year to keep the highway system from further deterioration. With the new funding options (Wheelage Tax & Local Option Sales Tax), it is possible that as much as $15,150,000 could be available for transportation projects. If the Local Option Sales Tax were to be implemented, it would have to be dedicated to specific projects, and collection of funds would continue until the specific projects on the list are funded. It takes about 90 days for the Department of Revenue to review and implement the request, and this newest action affects only outstate counties. The seven metro counties have already been given the ability to us the Local Option Sales Tax for transportation projects. Hawkins said that if money were available, he would like to get the CSAH 12 out for bid this year. The utility companies are ready to relocate private power lines this fall, and construction could begin in the spring. Reconstruction on CSAH 37 in Otsego is scheduled for 2017, with about $1.5 million in federal dollars already allocated to this project; and reconstruction on CSAH 19/70th Street in Albertville is scheduled for 2018, with just under $1 million allocated to this project. If additional funds are not available from Wright County, the federal money will have to be returned to the federal government. The CSAH 35 Flood Control Project, the CSAH 32 Realignment Project, the CSAH 6 Reconstruction Project, and the improvements to CR 136 (future CSAH 2) will have to be delayed or cancelled unless current funding levels increase. By implementing the Local Option Sales Tax, enough money could be collected to begin and complete these projects. Hawkins said that the local levy for 2015 construction could be lowered from the 2014 construction amount if this sales tax option were implemented, and the Highway Department could deliver the CSAH 12 reconstruction project.
There was discussion about the benefits and consequences of implementing this additional sales tax. It would add more tax to county residents, but the bulk of the money raised would come from those who live outside the county and do business in Wright County. Daleiden commented that roads are expensive, and well-maintained roads are good for safety and for economic development. Taking care of the roadways is one of the essential functions of county government. Sawatzke commented that perhaps the people of Wright County ought to have an opportunity for input, and Hawkins said that a Public Hearing is required before the decision to implement the sales tax is made. Daleiden added that we have to plan for the future, and Sawatzke said that once put in place, he doesn’t see the sales tax ever being removed. Borrell suggested that the list of projects be put on the ballot, and if it passes, the Board can them implement the sales tax. Based on the results of the ballot, the Board could determine whether or not they wanted go to the people each time. Daleiden commented that the commissioners have been elected to make decisions such as these. When asked his opinion on the implementation of the Local Option Sales Tax, Dean Mahlstedt, Cokato Township Chairman, said that speaking as a local business owner, he recognizes the importance of maintaining a good highway system, and that takes money. Highways need to be fixed and maintained in good condition, because poor roads cost everyone more money for tires, vehicle maintenance, and inefficient transport. Good roads are crucial to his and others’ businesses, and if they are not properly maintained, he will move his business elsewhere. He also said that once the sales tax is in place, he would prefer that it remain in place for expenses that will continue to occur, and that the administration of juggling different sales tax formulas is not only time consuming for business owners, but also adds another level of complications in reporting to the State. He doesn’t like higher taxes and doesn’t like excess, but he would like to see the sales tax added, leave it in place, and do something good for the counties. Take care of the highways and don’t waste the money. Borrell said that some people prefer to shop in Wright County because surrounding areas have a higher tax, and Mahlstedt said that Wright County won’t lose any customers for that same reason. Husom said that she likes the idea of having a Public Hearing, and Sawatzke said that it would hard for many people to attend if they are working. Bot said that he would advocate for this sales tax since the County’s local levy for construction projects is so low, because it costs money to keep the roads in shape. Sawatzke said that he would like to see it put on the ballot. Hawkins said that Stearns County is going through the same deliberations as Wright County, the St. Cloud metro area already has raised its sales tax, and Douglas County recently adopted it for their use. 47 counties, including a number of adjacent counties also have implemented the Wheelage Tax. Daleiden said that he prefers the sales tax and getting the bulk of money from people who don’t live in the county.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Hawkins research whether adjacent (to Wright County) counties have implemented the Local Option Sales Tax [See Attachment 2] and/or the Wheelage Tax [Carver, Hennepin, McLeod, Sherburne, and Stearns-Attachment 3] and share that information with Board members at the upcoming budget meetings for further discussion.
4) PW Building Master Plan Study: Next Steps
A copy of the PW Building Master Plan Study was distributed to the County Board of Commissioners the week of June 16th, 2014, via interoffice mail. In the accompanying memo from Virgil Hawkins, Marc Mattice, and Steve Jobe, background information regarding the age and current configuration of buildings was given. Since the construction of the maintenance garage in 1975, the Public Works Department needs have grown, and the personnel, equipment, and storage areas required to address these needs have grown as well. Currently, there are not enough meeting rooms, work areas, equipment garages, and storage areas to meet today’s needs, and expected continued growth will further cramp the facility. The public works facilities have been modified in a piecemeal fashion throughout the years, and this has created combined work/equipment storage areas that are problematic and unsafe, office space that is cramped and losing functionality, and most of the 1975 shop is not up to building code or ADA-compliant.
Hawkins showed a drawing of the final layout of the master plan (Concept G7) that was developed by HCM Architects and after much input by the three (3) Departments housed at the Public Works Building. The Highway Department will continue to use part of its current shop for maintenance, with more warm storage being built. The facility for the Highway Department housing the employees will be built first, and then the current PWB will be repurposed for the Parks and Surveyor Departments. Temporary accommodations will have to be found for these two departments (within the existing building) while the construction/remodeling is taking place (so there was no added cost included in the estimate of $16,290,560). This plan proposes that the current Sheriff’s shed being used for impound would be repurposed and be used by the Highway Department for additional storage. The Sheriff’s Department has agreed to relocate the impound lot, though the location has not yet been determined. There was some discussion about space on adjacent property that might be suitable for relocation of the impound facility (Stemper property).
There was some discussion about the favorable construction climate and the current interest rates, which are likely to rise soon. Daleiden commented that the Board could move forward at this time and at least see where the bids come in. Interest rates are likely to go up in a few years or sooner, and money is as cheap now as it’s going to be. The construction climate is still in our favor, also. He likes the idea of repurposing the current PW building and the proposal that the Highway Department still use part of the current shop area. Sawatzke said that the numbers look better than they did at the initial presentation, but he feels that the proposed storage area is too large, especially in light of the fact that there is another huge cold storage (compost) facility just over four miles away that will be sitting vacant. Daleiden suggested that it’s possible that the old compost facility could be sold, but Sawatzke said that no one has ever suggested that it be sold, and it is a county facility at this time. Husom mentioned that driving back and forth to this facility for equipment is a waste of staff time and resources, but Sawatzke countered that most of the movement of equipment takes place for seasonal items. Daleiden said that is more advantageous to have equipment on the same site as the mechanics, which results in more efficient maintenance. The proposed new warm storage facility for the current site amounts to about $7.5 million to the cost. Borrell expressed his desire to use the current compost facility for use by the entire Highway Department. He said that it would cost less to repurpose that building and enclose a concrete floor that is currently exposed and that it was designed for 30-40 employees. He asked what funding sources there were besides bonding. Lee said that other than bonding, the Board could decide to put funds away for several years, but he said that he didn’t know the conditions of construction costs or costs of bonding in the future. Costs will probably only go up. Hawkins said that if the County bonded for $18.5 million, the payment would be $1.4 million/year for 20 years. He added that transportation facilities are also allowed to be funded with the Local Option Sales Tax. Potter said that he would like to move forward on this, and Daleiden said that it doesn’t hurt to take the next step and see what the costs are. If the costs go up, the plans would still be there. Husom indicated her desire to move forward at this point.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Hawkins move ahead with the next step and prepare a Request for Proposals (RFP) to get prices for the design/construction management fees for the Public Works facility improvements, which includes a new building and repurposing of the current facility at the current site.
5) Rhoades Avenue Update
Mattice explained that Stockholm Township applied for State Park Road Account funds with an application dated October 16, 2013. The application was not approved for funding by the DNR. Dave Jorgensen, Supervisor for Stockholm Township, has told Mattice that he would be willing to resubmit the application for next year if Wright County would be willing to take a look at the road and help fix the bad spots. County maintenance staff expended labor, materials, and equipment in 2013 to patch several areas along this road. Daleiden asked if Wright County had committed to a cost share in the application, and Mattice said that it had not. He was asked to check on the effect that a commitment by the County would have on the application to see if that would help result in approval for funding. The amount of the request was $220,000.
6) CSAH 4 Culvert Update
Cokato Township coordinated a meeting on July 2, 2014, with various agencies regarding a concern with erosion that is occurring along 28th Street SW due to rain events, causing washouts and sediments to enter into Cokato Lake. A highway culvert under CSAH 4, located upstream of 28th Street SW, was replaced in 2002 with an Emergency Culvert Repair contract as a result of the June 2002 flooding that occurred in the county. A 48” diameter culvert was installed according to a FEMA approved hydraulic study to replace two 24” diameter culvert pipes that were not functioning at full capacity. Hawkins said that it appears that this is a watershed wide (433 acres) problem that may be impacting the water quality of Cokato Lake. The 48” diameter culvert pipe under CSAH 4 was observed to be half full of sand/debris on 7/2/2014. Hawkins said that Wright County’s jurisdiction is limited to its right of way, and the Highway Department maintenance staff will maintain our 48” pipe.
Dean Mahlstedt, Cokato Township Chair, said that following the meeting on 7/2/2014, he met on site with one of the primary agriculture owners and with Joe Jacobs of Soil & Water to review options to help stem the rapid flow of water, which is contributing to the erosion of private land and the township road and to the flow of sediment into Cokato Lake. It appears that there might be agreement by the affected seven property owners to contribute 25% of the cost (estimated at $100,000) of establishing water holding basins, which would help slow the rate of flow. When that has been accomplished, the undersized culverts on the township road and on the DNR access to the lake can be replaced. The DNR would be responsible for its own culverts.
There is an area of low land, about two acres, that would be a good area to establish a basin that would pool the water so that it flows at a slower rate during heavy rain events. The water flows from the west through the 48” culvert under CSAH 4 to a low area, through a couple more culverts, and then down to two DNR culverts that go to the lake. Mahlstedt said that he would like some County support to get the DNR on board with contributing to the solution for this problem. He said that Cokato Township had built a berm in years past to help hold the water, but the berm is now gone. Perhaps the DNR would be willing to buy an easement on the property to establish a holding pond. He can find out what that property owner would be willing to allow. He said that if the County works with Soil & Water, this might help the DNR prioritize this concern at a higher level of urgency.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that Cokato Township investigate the property, that Wright County work with Soil & Water Conservation District, Cokato Township, and interested parties to see if establishing a retention basin would be acceptable, and to offer a letter of support from the Wright County Board to the DNR asking that they work together with all parties to help address the erosion and flooding problems.
7) TH 25/CSAH 75 Project
The City of Monticello, in 2010, prepared an Operational Analysis of the TH 25/CSAH 75 intersection in an effort to support planned land-use patterns and encourage reinvestment and revitalization of the Monticello downtown area surrounding TH 25. The City has met with the Wright County Highway Department multiple times since then, showing several layout options to accomplish the proposed addition of dual turn lanes on TH 25 and CSAH 75. The Highway Department voiced concern over the layout options reducing CSAH 75 to one through lane and indicated those layout options would not be acceptable or supported, due to safety concerns resulting from the creation of a choke point on the highway.
CSAH 75 is one of the highest traffic volume highways on the County’s system, with a projected 20 year ADT of 17,500 to 22,000 vehicles/day. Hawkins explained that it is Wright County’s desire to maintain two through lanes on CSAH 75, both eastbound and westbound. Wright County offered support for the City’s application for Region 7W federal funding [Attachment 4], agreeing to participate financially up to the amount of a mill/fill maintenance overlay (about $80,000) on the condition that two (2) through lanes remain each direction on CSAH 75. Keeping two (2) lanes each direction on 75 was a condition of County financial support for the project – support which enabled the City to secure over $1.2 million dollars in the 2013 Region 7W Federal Funds solicitation.
Brett Weiss and Chuck Rickart of WSB Engineering represented the City of Monticello to explain the City’s desire to add dual-left turns lane at the expense of eliminating a through lane on eastbound CSAH 75 at the intersection with TH 25. The City has been discussing for years how they wanted to deal with this intersection, and they did have the opportunity to acquire some right of way from Walgreens on the northeast quadrant to install dual right turn lanes. Significant money has already been spent for future development, especially for the southeast quadrant to be pushed over. In addition, work has been done on River Street, restricting access so that traffic can move more easily over the river to Sherburne County. Traffic flow has a huge impact on the downtown property, and if people can’t get through the intersection, they won’t stop at the businesses. When the City of Monticello did the downtown study, they determined that unless this intersection gets fixed, they won’t be able to redevelop the downtown. It was stated that development of the downtown area will also benefit Wright County by increasing the tax base.
The City is proposing that the eastbound lane of CSAH 75 have a dual left turn lane to northbound TH 25 and that one of the eastbound through lanes be eliminated. ‘The City has developed a possible phased solution that would provide the on-street parking desired by the City and would provide a full four lane section in the future if there is a concern or upon redevelopment, if deemed necessary.’ Weiss said that the elimination of one through lane on eastbound CSAH 75 should not be a problem with 10,000 vehicles/day. Hawkins said that the count is 14,000/day and that the elimination of a through lane will increase the number of crashes due to a choke point being created. Currently, when maintenance is done on CSAH 75 and traffic is reduced to one lane, cars back up and citizens call to voice complaints about traffic backing up. Adding turn lanes to TH 25 will really help the intersection. Weiss said that the City has already spent over $500,000 on this intersection, and improvements benefit the City, but these are roadways that belong to the County and the State. He said that an important step was taken by acquiring right of way on the southeast quadrant, which will allow for two through lanes on the east side of TH 25. They would now like to go down to a single lane on the west side of the intersection to provide for two left turns to go to the north on TH 25. Hawkins said that having two lanes go to one will invite conflict and more collisions. Husom commented that she understands the desirability of having on-street parking for the businesses along this corridor. Sawatzke said that he see problems at the intersection on a daily basis, especially with semi-trucks turning right from TH 25 to CSAH 75. He wants this problem to be alleviated if anything is done to the intersection. Rickart said that the curb line will be moved out and there will be a larger radius to better accommodate this type of traffic.
Hawkins suggested that the existing single left turn lane on eastbound CSAH 75 could be extended farther to the west, which would allow for more stacking for left turners, as a compromise to reducing 75 to one lane eastbound. Weiss said that they would like to look at the actual traffic volumes and use what is there in the best way possible to maintain on-street parking. If the elimination of a lane becomes a problem, it can be redone. There was further discussion about how the lack of on-street parking might affect development and how the volume of traffic might affect the efficiency of the through lanes. Weiss said that the Walnut Street connection is important to the City and they don’t want to stack a turn lane on Walnut Street when they are trying to use dollars from outside the county to fix this thing. Hawkins commented that those dollars were obtained with the support of the County on the premise that two through lanes would be maintained on both eastbound and westbound CSAH 75. Hawkins said that the City’s Operational Analysis of the intersection indicated that traffic is the worst in the late afternoon, between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. and that it really isn’t a problem most of the day. A suggestion was made to eliminate parking during those hours, but that would be hard to enforce and confusing to traffic. Weiss agreed that application was made with support of the County, based on the County’s desire that two through lanes remain going each way. He said that he would be happy to go back and take a look at the plans. Hausmann commented that unless there is another river crossing before 2030, the entire intersection will fail regardless of what is done now. Weiss said that even though the County prefers two through lanes, he doesn’t think that this is best if there are other options that might work. They could consider something different in the short term and give the County the right to change it back. Both Hawkins and Hausmann said that they felt that extending the left turn lane west across Walnut would be a good compromise. Hausmann suggested that all the proposed work be done on TH 25 for now, which gets about 90% of the problem solved. Hawkins would like to implement the option of two main through lanes on CSAH 75, which would be good for safety, with on-street parking, and the left turn lane extended across Walnut Street. Rickart said that he would like to go with the proposal by WSB for two left turn lanes and one through lane on eastbound CSAH 75 and then change it back if necessary. It was acknowledged by all that it would be easier said than done to change 75 back to two through lanes by eliminating on street parking and that a future council could not be held to such an understanding/agreement. Hawkins said that since 2010 the County has met about a half dozen times with the City to discuss this, and he would like the City to honor the support that they accepted from the County (to keep two through lanes on 75) – support which enabled the city to secure $1.2 million in federal funding. Husom commented that this is a significant issue. Borrell said that he thought it would be a good compromise to extend the left turn lane across Walnut. Rickart said that he would like to consider that in the future and to redo the intersection to include two left turns at this time. He agreed that extending the single left turn lane further to the west would improve the current situation. Angela Schumann, Community Development Director for Monticello, said that they could go back and reconfigure the plans and come up with a recommendation. If that recommendation is not agreeable, then the City can come back with a contract giving the County authority to make changes. Borrell commented that he has good faith in the Highway Department and depends on their expertise in these matters.
RECOMMENDATION: It was the consensus of the TCOTW that the Wright County Highway Department staff and the City of Monticello staff meet soon and come to a compromise solution for the configuration of CSAH 75 at the intersection of TH 25 in Monticello (that keeps two thru lanes on CSAH 75 and keeps on street parking). A meeting date for the TCOTW was set for Monday, August 18, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in case a compromise cannot be reached when the City and County staffs meet. The TCOTW meeting would be cancelled if a compromise solution is reached (or if the City & County staffs do not meet prior to that date to work out a compromise).
(End of 7-21-14 TCOTW Minutes)
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #14-50 approving Cooperative Construction Agreement No. 06540 with MnDOT for the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) Sign Installation. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote. The Agreement covers MRT Sign Installation by MnDOT along Wright County Highways 39 and 75. Future sign maintenance will be accomplished as needed with signs provided by MnDOT.
Karla Heeter, Resident and Buffalo Hospital Leader, brought forth discussion on the vacant County Veteran Services/Nuclear position. Heeter explained that as a County Commissioner for the period of 2003-2008, some of her committee assignments that relate to this subject included the Regional EMS Board, Local EMS Board, and the Fire Chief’s Association. Heeter was also the Public Information Officer in case of a nuclear event, both participating in exercises and drills. She said the purpose of discussion today was to highlight an opportunity for the Board to make changes and be proactive with the position.
Heeter asked the Board to consider the following:
1. Placing Nuclear Defense with Emergency Management to create efficiencies and eliminate duplication of roles. The Emergency Management position was created while she served as a Board member, and she viewed that as the area where Nuclear belongs.
2. Potentially align Veteran Services with Human Services to enhance opportunities for veterans to access additional services, beyond those offered through Veteran Services.
3. Eliminate the Veteran Services/Nuclear Department Head position as a whole, saving taxpayers in excess of $100,000. The position has 2-3 direct reports at this time. If the roles and responsibilities were realigned, those positions could possibly be absorbed into a couple of other departments.
Heeter distributed a copy of the job description for the Veterans Service Officer-Civil Defense-Nuclear Director. The copy highlights areas of the job description which are being managed by the Emergency Management position. She said even if the Board decides to do nothing to change the position, the job description needs to be updated. Heeter said there is no reference in the description of NIMS or ICS requirements or certification as an emergency manager which is usually a requirement. She referenced the salary of $62,506-$83,279 and said this equates to $100,000 or more with benefits. She viewed this as an opportune time to discuss this position and streamline these roles as the Board will be entering into budget sessions. Heeter asked the Board to pull the position back, do some research, create some efficiencies, take the department head off the tax rolls, and redeploy the roles and responsibilities of this position.
The Board discussed the referenced changes to the position description. Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said the description was reviewed by the consultant in 2012 during the Classification Study. Both the former Veterans Services/Nuclear Director and the Emergency Manager would have been interviewed during that process for changes to their job descriptions. The Veterans Services/Nuclear Director position was discussed about one month ago at a Personnel Committee Of The Whole (PCOTW) Meeting. The direction given was to post the position vacancy so that was done. Kelly agreed that this would be the time to look at changes or additions to the description. Sawatzke clarified that the PCOTW members did not have a description in hand when the decision was made to proceed with advertising for the position so they were unaware there were inaccuracies.
Sawatzke said the PCOTW also discussed whether the position responsibilities should be split, with Veterans Services going under Human Services and Nuclear under the Sheriff’s Office. The Veteran Services Officer must be a veteran. He said the position potentially could be supervised by someone else, but that would not change the cost by $100,000 as Heeter referenced. Sawatzke said veterans are individuals that served our country and promises have been made to them for certain things. Those are the services they obtain at the Veterans Services Office. He said Human Services clients, although some may be veterans, did not necessarily serve the country but are there because they need help. He said the veterans may be in a different arena, and some veterans may view going to Human Services for their benefits as an insult. Borrell agreed. Heeter thought that Human Services and Public Health might be able to provide additional services to veterans that they are not aware of.
Husom said in some counties Veterans Service falls under Administration. Borrell said leaving the position as is will provide autonomy as a department head. He said the former Director went through State and Federal drills and did so outstandingly. Daleiden said there may be duplication. Borrell said redundancy may be okay in case of an event. Borrell said when this position was discussed at the PCOTW, the Sheriff indicated additional staff would be needed if the Nuclear portion of the position were absorbed into the Emergency Management Coordinator position. Heeter suggested redeploying existing staff to assist.
Amy Hass, Xcel Energy, works in emergency preparedness. She is the off-site liaison to five counties for both the Monticello and Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plants. She said the County currently meets the requirements for an emergency involving the Nuclear Plant. The last exercise was last summer and all requirements were met with no planning issues, areas requiring corrective action, or deficiencies. She said this is a State Program and it is run in conjunction with the County. Xcel is involved to make sure all the requirements are met as it involves their operating license. They work with Human Services, Nuclear, Highway, and the Sheriff’s Office. The County also has to coordinate with the State Patrol, MnDOT, and other State Agencies. She said that has all been coordinated effectively in the past.
Hass said that in 2015, there will be a new type of exercise called, “Hostile Action Based Emergency.” For two years, the Sheriff, Nuclear, Emergency Preparedness, and Security on site have been preparing for this type of exercise. There are quarterly emergency management meetings. The Sheriff’s Office was invited this last quarter and attended. She encourages the Emergency Management Coordinator and the group to attend meetings as it needs to be a coordinated effort. They need to meet the Federal requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and all of the requirements of the Nuclear Plan. Borrell asked if the County has done well in meeting these requirements in the past. Hass said that is correct, and there were no issues during the last exercise. Husom asked how much time is required of the Nuclear position. Hass responded that she is unsure of how the funding works as that is handled through the State. At least one full time salary goes from the Radiological Preparedness Program to a county. That can vary depending on the assistance available. In Goodhue County, there is a coordinated effort between the City and County to occupy and maintain their Emergency Operations Center and their Plan. Husom asked whether Nuclear falls under Emergency Management in Goodhue County and whether the position is full time. Haas said it is under Emergency Management but that position is not necessarily 100% nuclear. Emergency Managers have many other responsibilities including natural disasters. There are usually others that assist so they can try to cover both.
Haas stated the County is responsible for many things on years the Nuclear Plan is exercised. On the off years, the Program needs to be maintained and includes training (Deputies, Highway Department, those that staff the EOC). In order to maintain the qualification, an annual update of emergency plans and drilling the worker decontamination facilities that are in the County is required. Hass said generally this is a shared effort with emergency management or others to help staff that one position.
Carol Schefers, Public Health Director, said she discussed the positions with Jami Goodrum Schwartz, Wright County Human Services Director. Schwartz was not available for discussion today. Schefers referenced Veterans Services. Within Human Services, there are many programs that specific people can apply and receive benefits for. Human Services already serves veterans whether through past home care, through hospital/clinic referrals, or through Social Services. Those services are not being provided through referrals from Veterans Services. Schefers said by Statute, Veterans Services can be housed under Human Services. She viewed it as serving people in an easier way. She said more veterans have mental health issues. Schefers said she is not asking the Board to change this today but to take the time to look at the position.
Schefers also participates in emergency planning for all hazards. This planning is something that has occurred in the last few years. She feels the Nuclear Plant fits under the All Hazards Planning. Federal funding is received for many plans and so they are subject to being scrutinized by the Federal government. She said that will continue. What they try to do as an EMS group is work together and collaborate on drills. Schefers feels that Nuclear fits under Emergency Management. She encouraged the Board to look at the position and what is best for the community.
Sawatzke referenced Sherburne, Stearns, Meeker, McLeod and Carver Counties. He asked how many have separate Veteran Services Offices and which have them housed under Human Services. Debbie Ernst, Veteran Services/Civil Defense Office, said all of the Counties referenced have separate Veteran Services Offices. Kelly said data collected from about 20 counties reflects that some report to Human Services. The Counties that Sawatzke referenced have the position report to the Administration Office, which would lead him to believe that they are their own separate department. Sawatzke said either way, a veteran needs to be hired. The reporting authority could always change in the future. Borrell said discussion on these issues was held at a recent PCOTW Meeting and he indicated at that time that he does not want Veteran Services housed under Human Services. Schefers said there are different choices. If under Human Services, that position would probably be part of the management area. Schefers stated the person hired needs to have the training that is needed to be in any type of emergency management position, and the person hired needs to attend the Local EMS Council meetings and collaborate. Borrell said he guarantees that the person hired will be provided all of the training to do their job as required.
Sheriff Joe Hagerty said Emergency Management is housed under the Sheriff’s Office. There are two nuclear power plants in the State and safety and security is taken very seriously. The Sheriff’s Office works with Amy Hass at Xcel Energy along with their security people. Communication is a key issue. Wherever Nuclear ends up, there needs to be open dialogue between those involved.
Husom asked Berg about the time involved to complete this job. Steve Berg, Wright County Emergency Management Coordinator, referenced neighboring Sherburne County who also deals with the Nuclear Plant in Monticello. In Sherburne County, Nuclear is run under Emergency Management with three staff members. The population in Sherburne is 80,000; Wright County’s population is 125,000. Berg said in areas in the State that have Nuclear, many times it is within Emergency Management. Across the State, there is about a 50/50 split on whether Emergency Management lies in the Sheriff’s Department or as a stand alone department. Berg said he agrees with the idea Heeter presented that the Board should back up and take a look at this and the job description. Husom said that Nuclear could be housed anywhere; it does not need to be in the same proximity as whatever department supervises it. Berg added that the EOC must be outside of the 10-mile radius of the Nuclear Plant.
Kelly said his recommendation is to discuss the expectations of the position prior to interviewing for it. He said the candidates that have applied for the position worked off the current job description at a certain salary range. If the duties are separated, a different salary range may apply. It was consensus that the job description needs to be revised at minimum to remove the areas that are now being handled by the Emergency Management Coordinator. Daleiden made a motion to send the job description to the Personnel Committee, seconded by Potter. Sawatzke asked whether the purpose will be to make the description consistent with what the former Veterans Service/Nuclear Director’s job functions were since the Emergency Management Coordinator was hired (retain nuclear but remove emergency management). Daleiden said the purpose is to readdress this and make it correct. It is to bring this to the Committee level for discussion and back to the Board for a decision. He wants the description to reflect that coordination with Emergency Management is critical. The motion carried 5-0.
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Appointments:
1. Wright County Fair. Borrell reported that attendance was down slightly from last year’s record attendance. He expects to obtain more data at the next Fair Board Meeting scheduled for 8-11-14.
2. MET Council Meeting RE: Transportation Policy Plan. Potter plans to attend the next meeting scheduled for 8-11-14 at 5:00 P.M. in Minneapolis. He said this relates to the urban boundaries that have changed.
3. Regional Transportation Committee. Potter said a meeting will be held on 9-04-14 at 7:00 PM. Discussion will include a possible second crossing over the river, which will be more of a local crossing.
Bills Approved
Annandale/City of $ 417.40
Anoka County Sheriff 210.00
Aramark Services Inc 7,194.90
BP Amoco 180.02
Brandel Electric LLC 411.88
Budget Printing 218.88
CDW Government Inc 3,246.12
Cenex Fleetcard 2,244.30
Centra Sota Coop - Buffalo 8,165.85
CES Imaging 268.42
Climate Air 1,677.91
Community Lawn Care 247.00
Custom Towing LLC 300.00
Design Elec. Inc-Cold Spring 3,962.47
Dynamic Recycling 2,715.86
Elert & Associates Inc 1,500.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 149.12
Everett & Vanderwiel 2,275.50
Federated Co-ops Inc 317.77
Fischler & Associates/Gary L 2,600.00
Gabriel/Cathleen 500.00
Glunz Constr. Septic Serv. LLC 130.00
Gopher State One Call 245.25
Grainger 129.27
H&R Const Co 7,027.65
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 2,489.53
Howard Lake/City of 271.08
Karels Towing 223.00
Knife River Corp. - N. Central 2,499.52
L3 Communications Inc 2,382.69
Lacount Sales LLC 152.88
Laplant Demo Inc 554.24
Lube Tech ESI 219.70
M-R Sign Company Inc 1,508.92
Madden Galanter Hansen LLP 2,905.48
Maple Lake Lumber Company 312.67
Maple Lake Township 977.20
Marco Inc 4,408.52
Menards - Buffalo 180.85
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc 31,464.39
Monticello Towing LLC 150.00
Monticello Township 4,922.20
Morries Parts & Service Group 415.44
North American Salt Co 35,138.91
Northern Safety Technology 222.97
Office Depot 626.35
Omann Brothers Inc 68,678.06
Potter/Michael J 265.00
Purick/Ryan 100.00
Ramacciotti/Frank 100.00
RCM Specialties Inc 3,124.80
Rhodes Lock & Glass 154.50
Ridley/Glenda 1,346.75
Riebel/Augie 109.99
Royal Tire Inc 787.33
Russell Security Resource Inc 800.00
Safety Signs 45,982.79
SAVE-Sucide Awareness 426.79
Setter/Randi 400.00
Southside Township 718.40
Spence/Cynthia 100.00
St Cloud Times #1076 288.03
Suburban Tire Wholesale Inc 3,774.60
Timekeeping Systems Inc 1,025.00
Westside Pest Solutions Inc 149.00
Westside Wholesale Tire 146.00
Wright Co. Highway Dept 44,496.88
Xcel Energy 1,409.53
23 Payments less than $100 1,068.69
Final total $313,814.25
The meeting adjourned at 10:29 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Aug. 25, 2014.