Wright County Board Minutes

WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
SEPTEMBER 9, 2014
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Sawatzke, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Potter moved to approve the 8-26-14 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried unanimously.
Potter moved to approve the Agenda as presented, seconded by Daleiden. Husom requested that the Items For Consideration B (Great River Regional Library Board Appointment) and C (Standardized Submitted Materials for Appointments) be taken in reverse order. The motion carried 5-0.
On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
A. ASSESSOR
Approve Abatement, PID 105-500-331410, Tracy & Melody McConkey (City of Cokato).
B. ASSESSOR
Approve Abatement, PID 107-090-005160, Sean & Amanda Roff (City of Delano).
C. HUMAN SERVICES
Position Replacement: 1. Office Technician II.
(End of Consent Agenda)
A Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting was held on 8-27-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell said he supports the Zimride Program (Zimride.com) and feels it will benefit residents. At the COTW Meeting, it was learned that another rideshare program is listed on the Intranet (employee webpage). Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said that program is a remnant from the mid 2000’s and is not utilized much by employees. Borrell made a motion to also list the Zimride Program on the Intranet. After further discussion, Borrell indicated that he only wanted to proceed with approval of the minutes and recommendation at this time. Borrell made that motion and it was seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0. The COTW Minutes follow:
Zimride Webinar
Purpose of the meeting was for a webinar regarding Zimride. Chuck Welek was the presenter.
Zimride is a part of Enterprise Rental Car. They acquired Zimride approximately one year ago, as they looked to increase available options to their consumers. Zimride is an online service, via Facebook that allows people to seek rides or offer rides. You can sign up for one-time trips or ride sharing for commuting back and forth to work or school. This can also be set up as a private network. The U of M provides this under a private network, available only to those with an affiliation to the University.
Zimride would provide an account manager that would assist with identifying the needs within Wright County and would then assist with marketing and promoting the service in Wright County.
Zimride does not provide transportation; it is a platform for options. It is up to the third party transportation provider, driver or vehicle operator to offer the transportation services through Zimride. Zimride is not a transportation provider and therefore has no responsibility or liability for a transportation services provided by a third party.
Risk Manager Dahl raised some concerns. Zimride does not verify the status of drivers’ licenses, driving records, criminal records, and they do not verify the status or sufficiency of auto insurance coverage. Zimride has a disclaimer from any and all liability. Therefore the County by endorsing, promoting this service could have some liability. However, he would like to look into that further, and have the County’s attorneys review as well. There is a concern with money exchanging for this service, in Minnesota that can be construed as a Taxi service, and your own personal automobile insurance will not cover those situations.
Zimride is funded through service fees; currently they charge an annual fee of $24,000 ($2,000 per month). This would create a network for the County, provide the ability to track users, create awareness, and has a “green” calculator. Alternatively, Zimride is willing to assist with some start up for $2,500 and then negotiate the rest.
Commissioner Borrell feels that Wright County is a tight knit community with a lot of volunteerism. He has posted to Zimride to offer rides at no charge, but as of yet has not had any one contact him. It is a way to provide rides to those that do not have the means.
It was noted that the administration of this by the County would be minimal. Zimride would layout the landing page, and an account representative would be on call to assist as needed, and would review monthly to see how it is going.
Commissioner Sawatzke brought up discussion on how this could be done more regionally, rather than just in Wright County. Perhaps Benton, Stearns, Sherburne and Wright could work together, as you would then add in St. Cloud State, St. Benedicts, and St. Johns. These enhancements may make it more successful.
Dahl reiterated his concern with liability to the County, need to transfer the risk, limit the liability.
Recommendation
Commissioners Sawatzke and Borrell discussed whether there should be a recommendation. They concluded that the recommendation would be to explore more options, and that T. Dahl prepare a risk assessment.
(End of 8-27-14 COTW Minutes)
Tony Rasmuson, Interim County Assessor, introduced Tamara Anderson. Anderson was hired as a Property Appraiser in the Assessor’s Office.
Denise McCalla, Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer, presented the claims listing for approval. On a motion by Daleiden, second by Potter, all voted to approve the claims as listed in the abstract, subject to audit, for $1,552,122.36 with 242 vendors and 384 transactions.
Capt. Todd Hoffman and Lt. Sean Deringer, Sheriff’s Office, presented a request to approve a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) between Sherburne and Wright Counties relating to the Regional Criminal Tracking Analysis Project. Hoffman said the Project was started by the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office for criminal investigation analysis and is a collaborative effort in central Minnesota. The JPA has been reviewed by the Wright County Attorney’s Office and comes at no cost to the County. The JPA is to clarify how law enforcement data is exchanged. Deringer said Sherburne County adopted an official website that was approved by the BCA. Because private data is being exchanged, the BCA is requiring the JPA. The JPA allows for sharing of information but it will also allow Wright County to officially join and have immediate access to the website. The County does have a similar program, Tri-County Alerts, but the Regional Criminal Tracking Analysis Project allows for sharing of information closer to Wright County and within a smaller group. It will also provide immediate information through email. The Sherburne County Analyst in charge of the Program will decide whether information relayed in emails is relevant and of a significant nature so staff is not overrun by information sharing. Daleiden moved to approve the JPA with Sherburne County for the Regional Criminal Tracking Analysis Project. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Tammy Bigelow, HR Director, requested approval of revisions to Wright County Personnel Policies. The changes would be effective 1-01-15. The revisions have been discussed by the Personnel Committee and Leadership Team. A summary of the proposed revisions follow:
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES
FMLA
• Use of FMLA leave and accrued leave run concurrently (as opposed to FMLA waiting until all accrued time is exhausted)
• No accrual of vacation or sick leave on unpaid FMLA leave
PERSONAL LEAVE/MEDICAL LEAVE
(*Employee does not qualify for these leaves unless all accrued time is exhausted)
• Break out personal leave and medical leave into two separate categories (right now Personnel Policies only has personal leave – medical requests currently fall under personal leave)
• Human Resources Director can approve up to 3 months of medical leave (after FMLA leave, if applicable) before needing to go to County Board for approval
• Department head can approve up to 10 working days in a calendar year of personal leave
• Personal leave cannot be used for employee medical issues
• Anniversary dates will be adjusted after 80 consecutive hours of unpaid medical or personal leave
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
• FMLA and Workers’ Compensation leaves will run concurrently
• No accrual of vacation or sick leave when on Workers’ Compensation
• County will continue to pay Employer contributions for insurances when on Workers’ Compensation (employee continues to pay their contribution)
• Language added on County’s Return to Work Program
Various sections of the Personnel Policies will be changed to reflect prorated vacation and sick leave when on an unpaid leave. These sections include Vacation Benefits, Sick Leave Benefits and Vacation Donation.
Borrell questioned whether Bigelow has researched the costs associated with changing the Personnel Policies. Bigelow responded that she had not but envisioned a reduction in cost to the County. Sawatzke said the proposal includes changes that may benefit either the employee or the employer, and they are more standard with industry practices. Notice has been sent to the Union Business Agents along with a request for their input and offer to meet. Some feedback has been received. If approved, the changes would become effective 1-01-15 for Non Union employees. Daleiden moved to approve the revisions to the Wright County Personnel Policies as proposed, effective 1-01-15. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Sean Riley, Planning & Zoning Administrator, provided an update on the Aurora Solar Project being reviewed at the State level. Riley said the Project came before the County Board a year ago when the group was asking for a letter of support. Their application has been accepted by the Public Utilities Commission and is considered complete. Their next step is to proceed with public scoping meetings relating to the design and process for environmental assessment. The public hearing will follow on the environmental assessment process. Riley said no action is required of the County Board unless they would like to provide input for the “Local Government Scoping Questionnaire” that has a deadline for submittal of 9-28-14. Riley has contacted the other local jurisdictions that are affected for input. Riley explained that the permitting process is through the State because of the size of the project. The Public Utilities Commission is responsible for site permitting. If this were an individual location, then permitting would be done at the local level. Riley was asked for his opinion on the impacts of the project. Riley said his largest concern is that the panels are going to be sited in large farm fields, resulting in prime farm land being converted from crops to the production of energy using solar panels. Normally that land use decision is made on the local level but in this situation it is shared with the State. The other concern would be the loss of esthetics. Discussion led to management of brush and noxious weeds. Riley said the site plan reflects that vegetation will be established and maintained. It was the consensus that Husom and Borrell will contact the affected townships for input for the questionnaire. Commissioners are to contact Riley directly if they wish to include any comment on the questionnaire.
Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, referenced his first Agenda item which is to set a Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) Meeting. He asked that one of the proposed Agenda items be removed (reviewing design service proposals received for the Public Works Building Project) and addressed separately at a Building Committee Of The Whole (BCOTW) Meeting because of the timing of the budget. Kelly offered the suggestion of setting a BCOTW Meeting for this purpose on 9-16-14. If the subject is able to be addressed at the 9-15-14 Budget Session, then the BCOTW Meeting could be canceled. His concern was providing proper public notice. Potter made a motion to set a Building Committee Of The Whole Meeting for 9-16-14 at 11:00 A.M. for the purpose of reviewing design service proposals received for the Public Works Building Project. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Hawkins requested the Board schedule a TCOTW Meeting with the following Agenda items: 1) Request by E.M.S. providers for review of County Snow & Ice Control Policy; 2) Discuss intersection warning systems @ 8 & 35, 6 & 35, and 9 & 107; and 3) Update on TH 25/CSAH 75 intersection-City of Monticello. Daleiden requested adding Item 4) Rumble Strips. Potter moved to schedule a TCOTW Meeting on 9-30-14 at 11:00 A.M., Public Works Building. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
A bid opening occurred on 8-29-14 for Contract #1406, for the CSAH 19/37 intersection in Albertville. Hawkins said the recommendation is to award the contract to Hardrives, Inc. at a cost of $157,891.10. Hardrives, Inc. submitted the only bid received for the project. The Engineer’s estimate was $122,562.80. Daleiden moved to approve the recommendation, seconded by Potter. The motion carried unanimously.
Bill Weldele, resident on Pelican Lake, referenced the DNR’s WMA (Water Management Area) on Pelican Lake. He said the project is taking much longer than expected. The DNR was supposed to be draining the lake by this fall and nothing has happened. Daleiden said the DNR recently received approval from the City of St. Michael for the last piece of property needed for this project. Weldele felt the DNR should have cleared the land by now that was purchased in the past. Daleiden said the County supports the DNR moving ahead with this due to flooded roads in the past. Weldele suggested the County Board not allow any additional purchases of land by the DNR until the DNR gets this project moving. Sawatzke thought Bengtson probably is anxious to have this project completed as well but has to follow federal, state, and local rules and permitting processes.
Roger Marschel, resident near Pelican Lake, said if it rains 1.5 inches, the water level of Pelican Lake rises 3 inches; if it rains 2 inches, the Lake rises 4 inches. He said the DNR has been talking about draining the Lake for 40 years. Daleiden said the County has concerns as well and has raised the roads in the area due to flooding. Marschel said he has 33 acres under water at this time.
It was the consensus that Kelly should contact Fred Bengtson for a status report.
Weldele’s other concern relates to snowmobile trails near Pelican Lake. He said trails should be 10-12 feet wide, no matter where they are located. He suggested that snowmobile clubs take care of this to make sure snowmobilers stay on trails. He said along CSAH 35, they ride in the fields along the roads and should be in the lower part of the road ditch. Sawatzke said riders should remain inside of the area lined by the power poles. Riders outside of this area are technically trespassing unless they have been given permission. Weldele said snowmobile clubs should place signs and flyers to warn people. He suggested that fines be given by the Sheriff’s Office or machines be taken away when applicable. Potter said the Foxtailers Snowmobile Club does inform members to stay on trails. Husom added that it may not be Club members that are riding off trails. Sawatzke asked several audience members present from the Pelican Lake area for comment on this issue but none was provided. Sawatzke said law enforcement will do their best to patrol the area but it is not easy to enforce this. Husom said the Sheriff’s Office has done their due diligence when it comes to monitoring this situation. Weldele asked whether hunting, snowmobiling, or four-wheeling is allowed on County park land. Sawatzke said to hunt would take a special permit, and only snowmobiles are allowed on designated trails in the Parks. Four-wheeling is not allowed in the Parks.
David Gindele, resident near Pelican Lake, referenced Lake water levels. He farmed 320 acres about 16 years ago. He now farms 100 acres because of high water levels. He lost 200 acres of good farm land which has resulted in a substantial amount of income lost. He said the County has also lost tax revenue. The Lake level is so high that it is level with his land, and the water can’t be drained through the tile. Roger Marschel added that if a substantial amount of rain is received, such as happened a few years ago in southeastern Minnesota where it rained 10”, the water will flow to St. Michael. It was the consensus of the Board members that Fred Bengtson will be contacted for a status update.
A Committee Of The Whole Meeting was held on 8-26-14. At today’s County Board Meeting, Sawatzke moved to approve the minutes. The motion carried 5-0 on a second by Daleiden. The Committee Of The Whole Minutes follow:
I. Audit Exit Meeting
Host distributed a booklet of his PowerPoint presentation entitled, “Audit Presentation, Exit Conference: Communication with those Charged with Governance, Year Ending December 31, 2013” (Presentation). Host also distributed a document entitled “Financial Statements and Supplementary Information, Year Ended December 31, 2013” (Document). The Document is posted on the Wright County web site under the Auditor/Treasurer’s page.
Hiivala explained that this is an annual event. CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) is the County’s Audit Team. He introduced Host and Utsch. They have completed the Audit and will go over the findings and recommendations.
Host said today is the conclusion of the 2013 Audit. The Presentation summarizes key points mentioned in the 90-page Document. Host explained that he is the Principal Auditor and Utsch is the Manager. Page 3 of the Presentation lists other members of the Audit Team. Altogether, they have more than 43 years of government accounting and auditing experience. Host said they strive to maintain continuity with their audit teams. He, Utsch and a number of others on the Audit Team have worked on previous County Audits.
Host touched on Required Communications as seen on Page 5 of the Presentation. Audit standards require certain communications to the County Board. A letter from CLA to the County outlines the primary responsibilities charged to CLA when conducting an Audit. The most important one is the duty to issue an opinion on the state of the County’s Financial Statement. It is called an unmodified, or “clean” opinion. The County again received an unmodified opinion on the 2013 Financial Statement. Host said his team would have been required to report any difficulties working with County staff. He said there were no such issues.
Utsch turned to Page 7 of the Presentation, entitled “Internal Control Findings.” There were several Material Weaknesses listed that CLA reported in past County Audits. Material Weaknesses are defined as “deficiencies in internal control such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement would not be prevented or detected and corrected on a timely basis.” She said these are boilerplate findings. They are:
• Segregation of Duties
• Financial Reporting Process
• Material Audit Adjustments
Utsch said lack of segregation of duties is common in an organization the size of Wright County. Several Departments are collecting their own cash, doing their own receipts, and preparing invoices to be processed. Lack of segregation of duties is an overall risk with an entity of this size whenever an employee does an entire accounting function.
Utsch said the second finding is the Financial Reporting Process. CLA is required to communicate that some information may be missed when they prepare financial statements or Documents such as they presented today.
Regarding the finding for Material Audit Adjustments, Utsch said they propose some adjustments within the County’s accounting software. This is a required communication as well.
Utsch congratulated the Board that no Significant Deficiencies were reported. Significant Deficiencies are defined as “deficiencies in internal control that are less severe than material weaknesses, yet important enough to merit attention by those charged with governance.”
Potter asked how the County could improve on segregation of duties. Hiivala said hire more staff. He added that there are compensating controls in place, but there is not enough staff to segregate duties such as opening envelopes, endorsing checks or preparing deposits.
Host said the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has addressed this topic. Many local governments get frustrated by receiving this same communication year after year. Host said the GFOA recommended government entities do a cost benefit analysis on the segregation of duties concept before hiring additional staff. Host was not recommending the County hire more staff to prevent this communication for 2014. Some Departments collect very small amounts of money, and there would be little cost benefit in that situation. One possible remedy would be to designate one employee to review the total collections of that Department for a quarter, looking at the total expenses and comparing them to the prior year to see if anything doesn’t look right. Host said the person could evaluate bank statements quarterly for unusual transactions such as ATM withdrawals or transfers to other accounts.
Host said the County has a centralized accounting system through which many transactions are processed which provides an overall segregation of duties. Once money gets into the centralized accounting system, there are many checks and balances. The segregation of duties often becomes an issue at the collection point that is outside the centralized system. If there aren’t good controls when the money is initially collected, the controls within the accounting system won’t be able to correct problems incurred at the onset.
Hiivala said there is one main checking account for the County. Utsch added that there are several Departments with separate accounts, including Human Services. Daleiden asked if CLA audited those as well. Host said the State Auditors require CLA to do Departmental audits on a rotating basis. They aren’t fully audited annually, but they will review bank statements for those accounts. The depth of the Departmental Audit depends on the rotation and the year.
Utsch turned to page 10 of the Presentation, “Minnesota Legal Compliance Finding.” She said the Audit Team has to evaluate whether the County complies with State Statutes. CLA often reports the finding noted in this section regarding individual ditch fund balances. The finding for the County stated, “22 of 44 individual ditch systems had deficit fund balances at year-end.” Utsch said the State says these fund balances should be positive. However, once an assessment has been levied for ditch repair or maintenance, affected land owners have months or years to pay it back. Hiivala said the situation could be cured by building up a fund balance to pay those costs. Daleiden said the County should consider that option. Hiivala said now that the County has a Ditch Inspector, they can be more proactive. Host said the other option would be to work with other counties and get the Statute revised so that a deficit ditch fund balance would be acceptable if it is related to repairs. In theory, the Statute implies that the County must first save money for the repair and then pay for it. Sawatzke said by law, when an assessment is levied, the County can only assess a land owner up to the value received. Sawatzke said if he owns property and is assessed by the County, and the repair isn’t done during his ownership, where is the value? Sawatzke said there is good reason why the County should not save money in advance of ditch repairs. Host said this finding is in almost every Audit his firm conducts. Host finds this frustrating because it is well known how ditches are funded and repaired.
Utsch directed attention to Page 12 of the Presentation, “Federal Single Audit Findings, Significant Deficiencies (Compliance and Control).” Any time a County receives more than $500,000 in Federal awards, CLA is required to audit some of those programs and test compliance and controls. This year CLA tested four major programs: Highway, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Title 20, and Medical Assistance (MA). Host said Title 20 is also called Social Services Block Grant.
Utsch said they tested 40 case files for MA and TANF. Two for MA and four for TANF did not have citizenship or qualified alien documentation in the file, which is a Federal requirement for these programs.
The next finding revealed two case files of 40 tested for TANF that did not have a signature indicating review by the County. Clients must regularly complete a paper application in order to continue receiving benefits. Someone at the County must review and sign that application. Financial or Social Workers would typically do this task. Borrell said the two cases represent more than five percent of the cases tested. Kutz said they have taken steps within Human Services to correct this. A process is in place to ensure that TANF is verified before services are provided.
Sawatzke asked how the County compares to other counties in this area. Host said in the last year they have seen this finding or similar ones elsewhere, which may partially be due to the conversion to EDMS. Others may have to do with increases in caseloads.
Hiivala clarified that the two findings do not indicate that illegal aliens received assistance, or that cases weren’t reviewed. It simply means the document is not in the file.
Utsch said the third finding has to do with a random moment study (RMS) listing. Each quarter the County must submit a list of the names of employees who work on certain programs to the Department of Human Services (DHS). The State does an RMS and calls the listed employees to verify that those listed are working on the programs. When the County submits the list of employees to DHS, the list should also be coded to one place in the accounting payroll system. Then, when the County requests reimbursement, it is being requested for work done by the appropriate employees. The finding showed that during one quarter last year, one employee was not on the DHS list, but was coded in the accounting software as working on a program. There was potential for inappropriate allocation of funds if an employee was coded to a program but not working on it. This finding was due to turnover in the Department. The goal is to make sure a process is in place to ensure that the list sent to DHS includes only people working on the programs for which the County is requesting reimbursement. Hiivala said Human Services is taking action on this finding.
Utsch continued with Federal Single Audit Findings on Page 13. One file out of 40 tested for MA did not have documentation supporting an individual’s income. Also, one case file for TANF did not comply with work requirements. The County is required to sanction benefits if a client refuses to engage in assigned work. This was a transfer case when someone moved from another county to Wright County and received benefits. The County did not have all the necessary paperwork on file to sanction or reduce their benefits. About $2,500 in benefits went to this client that should have been sanctioned. This is a compliance issue.
Potter asked whether some of the documentation could have been lost in the transfer. Utsch said that was possible. They recommend that the County not continue benefits until all the documentation is in the file. It appears benefits continued without checking that the proper paperwork had been received. Host said DHS says the receiving County is responsible for maintaining the correct documentation.
Potter asked whether the County could simply cut benefits to the client in this scenario. Utsch said yes, but it would be a real hardship to the client. Potter said if a client is moving to a different county, and they are on Medical Assistance, they should make sure all documents are forwarded. Daleiden replied that all MA clients are not capable of such follow up. Host said there needs to be good communication between counties. The receiving county should contact the transferring county if they are missing documents. This is a time-consuming process.
Utsch referred to Page 15 of the Presentation, entitled “Financial Results, Months of Expenditures in Fund Balance – Governmental Funds.” Hiivala said this is of interest relating to the status of County Fund Balances and how they compare to State Auditor recommendations.
Husom asked for clarification regarding the number of months of expenditures required in Fund Balances. Host said there is no official target in accounting standards. The State Auditor might say no less than three to five months. That isn’t meant to be an exact amount, but a bare minimum.
Utsch directed attention to Pages 21 and 22 of the Financial Statements. She said most of the charts in the Presentation are taken from the data on these pages.
Borrell asked Kutz if someone in Human Services could do spot checks to ensure findings such as those mentioned do not reoccur. Kutz said they have established a new process that verifies documents are in place before moving forward. Hiivala said internal audits simply need to be documented.
Utsch said Page 15 of the Presentation, “Months Of Expenditures In Fund Balance – Governmental Funds, is a snapshot of the financial status of the County on 12-31-13 only. She directed attention to the Expenditures line at the bottom of the page. They went from $97.7 million in 2012 to $106.5 million in 2013. There was a large increase in expenditures due to Bertram Chain of Lakes and other capital expenditure items that were unique to 2013. It is taking 2013 expenditures divided by 12 to determine how many months are in the Fund Balance.
Utsch turned to Page 16 of the Presentation, “Financial Results, Governmental Funds, Revenues and Expenditures.” She said this bar chart shows revenues and expenditures for the County as a whole. Expenditures exceeded revenues by about $600,000. The Fund Balance decreased about $400,000. There are a few items that fall below the line. She said the Total Revenues and Total Expenses on Pages 21 and 22 of the Financial Statements show which funds are the culprits of this disparity on the line titled “Excess Or Revenues Over (Under) Expenditures.”
Utsch said Page 17 of the Presentation, “Financial Results, Revenues – All Governmental Funds” shows what components make up the County’s total revenues. The majority of revenues are generated by taxes. A strong second is intergovernmental funds from state, local, and federal grants.
Host said the big increase in intergovernmental revenue this year was funding for Highway, which received $4.5 million in federal grants received that were spent on roads.
Sawatzke pointed out a discrepancy between Page 16 and 15. He said the expenditure total for 2010 on Page 15 says $87,434,341, and the same category on Page 16 says $97,434,341. Utsch thanked him for pointing out the error. She said $97,434,341 is the correct number. The correction will bring the graph on Page 15 more in line with the rest of the years illustrated and not show the spike of 6.29 months of Fund \ Balance. The graph on Page 18 of the Presentation has $97 million as well. Host said the 6.29 is probably lower, and estimated about 5.6 months for 2010. Utsch said to divide $87 million by 12, and divide that into $45 million.
Host said on 12-31-13, the fair value on investments happened to be down. It recovered within a few weeks. Financial statements need the market data on 12-31-13. Utsch said he is referring to the negative interest on investments held by the County in 2013.
Host said realized gains or losses are when an entity sells an investment. This is an unrealized loss as it is on paper only. Borrell asked what kind of investments lost money. Utsch said it was mostly municipal securities. Hiivala said this fluctuates as the investment portfolio changes. Potter clarified that there were no derivatives. Hiivala concurred.
Daleiden asked what revenues are included under Miscellaneous. Utsch said some are refunds and reimbursements. For example, one Department may reimburse another, for rent, dividends, and so on. Host said the majority are in the General Fund. Daleiden said rent should be on its own separate line.
Sawatzke confirmed that bonds are not counted as revenues. Utsch said this appears in the Financial Statements, Pages 21 and 22 under Other Financing Sources. Host said these are non-operating transactions.
Sawatzke drew attention to Page 16 of the Presentation book, years 2011 and 2013. He said each year on the bar chart makes it appear the County spent more than it received. Actually, Sawatzke said the County was in the black each year.
Utsch said the Capital Projects Fund spent more than it received in 2013. She turned to Pages 17 and 18 of the Presentation, “Financial Results, Revenues” and “Financial Results, Expenditures” (Page 18) – “All Governmental Funds.” Utsch said the big spike in Capital Outlay is the jail. Otherwise, Highways & Streets had a big year, as did Intergovernmental Revenue.
Utsch said the graph on Page 19, “Financial Results, General Fund Revenues and Expenditures” focuses solely on the General Fund, versus Human Services or Road & Bridge. Revenues exceeded expenditures of $800,000 before the County transferred out $1 million to fund Capital Projects. Host said revenues exceeded regular expenditures for the year.
Hiivala said when the Cash Basis Year In Review report he presents every spring accounts for all the accruals and adjustments from the previous Auditor’s report. He said this past spring the County had a $2 million increase in the General Fund. These numbers bring that down to about $800,000.
Utsch said after the County transferred $1 million and other monies were received, the County’s total increase to the General Fund Balance was $169,582 as shown on Page 21 of the Financial Statement. That equates to the snapshot as of 12-31-13 at a little over 7 months of expenditures in the Unrestricted Fund Balance (the first column on the left).
Utsch turned to Page 20 of the Presentation, “Financial Results, Road and Bridge Fund Revenues and Expenditures.” Revenues and expenses were both higher than in previous years, but still close to each other. Expenditures exceeded revenues by $331,815 (as shown on Page 21 of the Financial Statement).
Utsch also drew attention to a “Non-operating item” regarding a loan to the City of Albertville of about $1.4 or $1.5 million. For financial reporting purposes, CLA is required to show that as a proceed to the County. They will report the debt on a different statement. The number to focus on for the year with Road & Bridge is the $331,815 in expenditures exceeding revenues. That creates a fund balance of approximately four months of expenditures for the Road & Bridge Fund as of 12-31-13. Hiivala added that as the County adopts aggressive schedules for projects over the years, the Road & Bridge Fund Balance fluctuates.
Utsch addressed Page 21 of the Presentation, “Financial Results, Human Services Revenues and Expenditures.” This chart shows a decrease in the Human Services Fund Balance of $430,050, which is also the amount that expenditures increased. As of 12-31-13, there was 2.9 months of expenditures in the Human Services Fund Balance.
Sawatzke interjected, saying at the end of the budget year, the County showed $100,000 in the black for Human Services. Some money from the Capital Improvement Fund paid for technology expenses. Host said that was a cash basis statement. The State is slow to reimburse County Human Services for the services they provide. The services provided by Human Services are included in the expenditures bar. The County will be reimbursed eventually by the State. Accounting standards say that reimbursable expenses may not be included in the revenue category unless they are received within 60 days of year-end in order to be included in the prior year (in this case, 2013).
Utsch said there were about $1 million of that type of expense. If they added $1 million of revenue to the numbers on this chart, that would bring the County to approximately $100,000 in the black, as Sawatzke indicated. Utsch said this year the State was slower than usual.
Hiivala said when he provided the cash basis report in the spring, there was a lot of delayed billing at that time which skewed the numbers. For that reason, Hiivala said he makes no recommendations until after the Audit is completed.
Utsch turned to the final graph on Page 22 of the Presentation, “Financial Results, County Indebtedness.” The County has bonds, compensated absences such as vested sick leave and vacation pay. There are no big changes in these numbers. However, as employees age, liabilities for sick and vacation leave increase. These are presented as a liability based on the hypothesis that everyone was to leave at once. Hiivala commented that this represents a paper liability.
Utsch summarized, saying the General Fund is within the State Auditor’s guidelines, Road & Bridge and Human Services Funds are a bit short of the “no less than 5 month rule” but are within the County target of 35-50 percent.
Hiivala explained Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB). In the County that is only an implicit rate subsidy, which is an implied liability. This is the exposure risk. It costs the County more to provide insurance to people on the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Host said there is a State Statute that requires all local governments to allow retirees to continue under their former employer’s group health insurance. If the State Statute weren’t there, they would not be allowed to do so, and the insurance rate would be lower. The retirees pay the full amount of the premium. Because they are part of the pool, everyone else’s rate in the pool increases. Daleiden said it is a theoretical number. He asked how many former County employees are on COBRA. Hiivala said sixteen. Hiivala said the County premiums are higher due to one large claim.
Hiivala expressed appreciation for the competence of the CLA Audit Team. Host thanked Hiivala and the County for their cooperation. Hiivala said he will ask the State Auditor to release the County to enter into another contract with CLA for an additional three years.
Recommendation: Informational only.
(End of 8-26-14 COTW Minutes)
Kelly brought forth discussion on developing a list of standardized required documents which would be used to vet candidates interested in appointments to boards and other capacities. This would provide the Board additional information to assist in decision making. The recommendation includes requiring a brief letter of interest, resume’, and references. Husom thought it became clear that a process was needed in the hope of clarifying the expectations the Board would like to see in vetting candidates. Advertising for openings would provide public notice to those that might be interested in applying. The process could be used for appointments to the Great River Regional Library Board (GRRL), and for positions such as the Ditch Inspector. Sawatzke agreed that a more consistent process may be desirable. Sawatzke said because the CRWD (Clearwater River Watershed District) has taxing authority, that is why a more intense or sophisticated approach for replacement or appointment is used. Sawatzke said with some of the positions, the authority that goes along with the position or Board is different than others.
Daleiden referenced the letter of interest, resume’ and references as recommended by Kelly. He prefers the County generate a form that the applicant would fill out relating to their education as it applies to the position, why they are interested, and why they feel they are qualified. The other items suggested by Kelly can be provided as well. The consensus of the Board members was that this type of position opening or appointment could be placed on the County’s website.
Borrell said that most appointments the Board makes are citizen appointments. He did not think a degree necessarily made a more qualified candidate. Husom said it has more to do with commitment and compassion. Sawatzke said another component is geographic diversity. In support of Borrell’s candidate, he said there has not been anyone on the GRRL Board in 20 years that has lived very far south of TH 55. Husom said that there were two people on the GRRL Board from District 2 until last year. Borrell said with appointments to entities like the Crow River Watershed District, he would prefer the Commissioner in that area recommend an appointment.
Potter made a motion to appoint Dan Bravinder to the GRRL Board, seconded by Borrell. Because the Board hadn’t moved to this Agenda item yet, the motion was withdrawn for discussion later in the Meeting.
The Board continued discussion on Kelly’s suggestion to set up standardized submitted materials for appointments. Husom does not want a situation where constituents are unaware of openings and come forward after the appointment because they saw it in the newspaper. Borrell said constituents in his District make contact to express interest in serving, and he retains their names for any future openings that arise. Husom has not been contacted ahead of time by constituents she represents expressing interest.
Husom would like open appointments posted on the County’s website. Daleiden suggested the press also place announcements in newspapers. Borrell said a formal application process is not needed; the opening can be placed on the website and anyone interested can contact their Commissioner. Husom felt applicants should be contacting Kelly, and he can send out the information to the Commissioners.
Kelly said he is looking for a simple process that will provide the Board with ample information to make an appointment. Based on today’s discussion, the two things that have been consistently voiced are placing an opening on the County website and having an applicant submit a letter of interest. Kelly said the County could proceed in that fashion. Daleiden made that motion for the future for any openings on any of the Boards. Borrell said that should apply to those openings that aren’t appointed by a specific Commissioner (i.e., Planning & Zoning). Sawatzke questioned whether Commissioners who have appointments have to wait until a letter is received from the candidate to make an appointment. He thought Borrell made a good point in that there are some appointments Commissioners make and others that are competitive. He thought letters on the competitive ones may be okay but individual Commissioners could have their own standards for the ones they are responsible for appointing. Husom said when there was an opening in her District for Planning Commission, she interviewed candidates and received their qualifications. That was what she based her recommendation on. Borrell said each Commissioner can proceed how they wish. Sawatzke said he contacts people to serve as well.
Daleiden made a motion that for future competitive openings or when people have an interest in something that comes along, they should provide a brief letter of interest and the opening should be posted on the website. He suggested that newspapers also announce openings. Daleiden said the motion would include allowing the Commissioners to place openings for other positions (i.e., Planning Commission) on the website and allowing constituents to apply. Daleiden thought any resident should be able to send in a letter of interest, even if a Commissioner has a candidate in mind. Sawatzke had some concern with that. He used an example of a term ending for someone serving on the Planning Commission. The opening is placed on the website. He might receive additional letters of interest when already had decided to reappoint a person that has served well.
Borrell did not feel a motion was needed. He did not see anything wrong with the way things were handled in the past for those specific appointments (i.e., GRRL Board, Central MN Mental Health). Husom said constituents would like to be informed when openings occur. Borrell said if someone has an interest in serving on a specific Board, they should contact their Commissioner even if there is not a current vacancy. Borrell favored seeking the Commissioners seeking someone as an appointment versus having many people applying for an opening. Husom said the person that will leave the GRRL Board (Wayne Rebischke) provided a recommendation for replacement. Husom knows the person and recommends her as the replacement because of her qualifications. Sawatzke said the southern part of the County deserves representation on the GRRL Board as well.
Husom called for a second to the motion. Hearing none, she passed the gavel to Vice Chair Potter. Husom seconded the motion. She clarified that the motion would include placing openings on the website and for the candidates to send letters of interest to Kelly. Kelly can then provide the information to the County Board so they can make an informed decision. This would apply to competitive processes and for the GRRL and Central MN Mental Health. Daleiden said this would apply when appointments are not made by Commissioner District. Sawatzke asked whether this process will be followed each time a term ends. Daleiden clarified that whenever there is an opening (when someone moves, retires, or leaves), that it is publicly announced so more can apply that are interested. Husom said that the public can look at any of these Boards and see when a term ends. The problem occurs when someone leaves prior to their term ending, and the public does not know about it. Borrell asked Husom if any constituents have expressed interest prior to an opening occurring. Husom said she has not. Borrell said this has happened in his District for Planning & Zoning, Board of Adjustment, and for the GRRL. He said only one person contacted him on the GRRL opening but he did speak with a couple of other people. Husom said there was also someone from the Delano area that had expressed interest. The motion fails with Potter, Sawatzke and Borrell casting the nay votes.
Laid over from the 8-26-14 Meeting, the Board addressed an appointment to the GRRL Board. Nominations were submitted for Lesley Walz and Dan Bravinder. Potter made a motion to appoint Dan Bravinder to the GRRL Board to fill out the term of Wayne Rebsichke (through 12-31-15). The motion was seconded by Borrell. Discussion followed on the two candidates. The motion carried 3-2 with Daleiden and Husom casting the nay votes. The next meeting of the GRRL is 9-16-14 at 7:00 P.M. Borrell will notify Bravinder.
On a motion by Potter, second by Daleiden, all voted to approve the revised Budget Committee Of The Whole Schedule. Kelly said at earlier budget sessions, the Board discussed appropriation requests from organizations. Three of those organizations would like to address the Board (Soil & Water Conservation District, Economic Development Partnership, and Central MN Initiative Foundation).
Daleiden requested that the next Board Agenda include discussion on the Crime Lab. He asked that all pertinent parties be notified and for them to provide any information the County Board will need to make decisions.
Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates
1. State Of The Cities Meeting. Sawatzke said this Meeting will be held in Monticello on 9-11-14. The meeting is being hosted by the Wright County Economic Development Partnership. Potter moved to authorize attendance, seconded by Daleiden, carried 5-0.
2. AMC Fall Conference in Alexandria. Potter attended the Conference last week. Transportation and broadband were discussed. Potter announced he will seek election for the Transportation Policy Committee Vice Chair position.
(End of Advisory Committee/Advisory Board Updates)
Bills Approved
AGC Networks Inc $433.24
Ameripride Services 164.09
Annandale/City of 175.00
Anoka County Corrections 2,596.00
Aramark Services Inc 15,764.64
Arrowwood Resort 318.50
Black Box Resale Services 161.00
Boyer Truck Parts 1,067.65
BP Amoco 1,337.08
Buffalo Auto Value 557.38
Buffalo Hospital 4,448.83
Buffalo/City of 50,933.11
Bureau of Crim. Apprehension 107.50
CDW Government Inc 1,760.80
Cenex Fleetcard 2,153.19
Center Point Energy 1,525.36
Centra Sota Coop. - Buffalo 31,156.02
Central Fire Protection 524.50
Central MN Mental Health Ctr 154.64
CenturyLink 164.84
Chamberlain Oil Co 2,220.36
Climate Air 1,637.45
Constellation Justice Systems 3,350.00
Contech Construction Product 10,151.16
Corinna Township 398.46
Cottens Inc 2,826.52
CPS Technology Solutions 2,700.00
CRA Payment Center 473.72
Crop Production Services Inc 285.38
Croteau Plumbing 316.46
CST Distribution LLC 1,126.44
Cummins NPOWER LLC 1,342.02
Czanstkowski/Don 125.00
Databank IMX LLC 4,375.00
Delano Rental Inc 144.48
Dell Marketing LP 37,031.76
Design Elect. Inc-Cold Spring 1,644.00
Diers/Carter 465.00
Elk River Municipal Utilities 144.92
Emerg. Comm. Network LLC 4,310.00
Ernst Gen. Construction Inc 1,784.75
Excel Systems 353.50
Fleetpride 182.02
Force America Inc 658.69
Gabriel/Cathleen 100.00
Gemmy Industries Corp 396.79
Glunz Constr. Septic Serv. LLC 260.00
Grainger 625.84
Granite Pest Control Services 211.45
Green Interiors 450.00
Greene Espel PLLP 980.00
GTS Educational Events 150.00
Hancock Concrete Prod. LLC 7,454.22
Hardrives Inc 1,168,591.40
Hedlund Plumbing 1,976.50
Helgeson/Nate 750.00
Hillyard Inc - Minneapolis 4,683.37
Holiday 19,674.59
Holt Motors Inc 335.00
Howard/Jolanta 300.00
Interstate Automotive 125.00
J S Seeding Inc 1,800.00
JME of Monticello Inc 373.00
Knife River Corp. - N. Central 872.00
LaCount Sales LLC 1,716.95
Lake Region Coop-ML 293.58
LaPlant Demo Inc 332.50
Larson Associates Inc 1,130.00
Lee/Danielle 374.10
Loberg Electric 516.04
M & M Express Sales/Service 257.27
Marco Inc 7,047.11
Martin Marietta Materials 162.44
Marysville Township 1,058.00
Menards - Buffalo 499.21
MEND Correctional Care LLC 18,283.33
Meritide Inc 4,550.00
Mid-Minnesota Hot Mix Inc 1,074.64
Midwest Protection Agency 2,800.58
MN Assn of County Surveyors 300.00
MN Corrections Association 545.00
MN Counties Ins Trust 950.28
MN GIS-LIS Consortium 1,060.00
MN Monitoring Inc 630.00
MN Secretary of State 240.00
MN Supreme Court 508.00
MNCVSO Assistants/Secretarys 107.00
Monticello Towing LLC 150.00
Morries Parts & Service Group 928.17
MSC Industrial Supply Co 279.36
Munson/Margaret 233.50
North American Salt Co 30,994.23
Northland Business Sys. Inc 6,500.00
Office Depot 2,990.38
Omann Brothers Inc 2,183.38
Powerplan OIB 1,653.97
Purick/Ryan 100.00
Ramacciotti/Frank 100.00
Rasmuson/Anthony 259.00
Retrofit Companies Inc 627.41
Royal Tire Inc 196.62
Ryan Automotive 1,452.49
Ryan Chevrolet 1,575.13
Safelite Fulfillment Inc 225.27
Sawatzke/Pat 457.00
Schneider Corporation 4,422.00
Schwans Inc 156.88
Sherburne County Sheriff 144.75
Sign Man of MN Inc/The 194.75
Specialty Turf & Ag 679.40
Sprint 4,287.58
St Croix Recreation Co Inc 669.00
Streichers 1,040.89
Tennant Sales and Service Co 981.27
Total Printing 345.00
Traffic Control Corporation 18,867.00
Traffic Marking Service Inc 557.12
Truck Utilities Inc 232.68
Twin City Seed Company 686.45
Upper Midwest Comm. Policing 250.00
Veit & Company 6,149.00
Verizon Wireless 172.15
Voss Lighting 366.00
Walmart Store 01-1577 741.50
Waste Management-TC West 3,276.43
Waverly/City of 196.44
Windstream 287.57
Wood Chuckers Firewood 972.00
Woodland Township 547.50
Wright County Highway Dept 1,737.40
Wright Hennepin Electric 377.40
Xcel Energy 2,367.06
Young/Mike 761.44
Zep Sales & Services 251.72
35 Payments less than $100 1,402.42
Final total $1,552,122.36
The meeting adjourned at 10:58 A.M
Published in the Herald Journal Sept. 29, 2014.