Wright County Board Minutes

JANUARY 9, 2018
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Potter, and Daleiden present. Borrell was absent.
Husom moved to approve the 1-02-18 County Board Minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 4-0.
The following item was petitioned to the Agenda: Item For Consid. F, “Set Ditch Committee Meeting For 1-24-18 @ 8:30 A.M., Auditor/Treasurer Conference Room, To Discuss Open Ditch Item For County Ditch 33” (Hiivala). Vetsch moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Potter, and carried 4-0.
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, all voted to approve the Consent Agenda:
1. Approved Abatement, PID # 212-000-282301, Curtis and Cassandra Larson
1. Approve MCIT 2018 Property Casualty & Workers Compensation Insurance Renewal, For A Total Of $1,141,193
2. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between December 26, 2017 And January 2, 2018
1. Position Replacement:
A. Corrections Officer
Presentation on Bob Holverson’s retirement on January 25, 2018
Bob Holverson, Social Worker for Health & Human Services, was recognized for his work with individuals from regional treatment centers and assisting hundreds with finding housing, employment, home care and health care. Holverson has been employed with the County for 29 years and will retire on 1-25-18. Holverson gave credit to his supervisors and coworkers. He said Wright County has good providers of services.
Approve Memo Of Understanding With The City of Albertville, City Of Cokato, & City Of Waverly For The Storage & Purchase Of Salt For The 2017-2018 Snow/Ice Control Season
Potter moved to approve the Memorandum of Understanding, seconded by Vetsch. The motion carried 4-0.
Request to fill two vacant Highway Engineering Technician Positions
At the Board Meeting, Hawkins modified the request to include filling one Highway Engineering Technician I position and to refer to the Personnel Committee the request to fill one Highway Engineering Technician I position as a Highway Engineering Technician II. One of the positions recently became vacant and the other has been vacant for 1.5 years. There are five Highway Technician positions and three are currently classified as Technician II’s. That classification is reached after six years of experience and certification. Hawkins said it is possible that the County could hire commensurate with experience and education.
Husom moved to approve advertising for a Highway Engineering Technician I position and to refer discussion on the Highway Engineering Technician II position to the Personnel Committee. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
Approve Agency Delegated Contract Process Agreement MnDOT Agency Agreement No.1030086
Hawkins explained the Agreement allows MnDOT to obtain federal funding which is distributed to counties and cities for federal projects. It is a more efficient means of handling the process.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #18-06, seconded by Vetsch, and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Accept the Findings and Recommendation of the Planning Commission and Adopt 17-3A the Amendment to Modify Section 155.48 to allow Schools with 150 students or less as a Conditional Use in the AG General Agriculture District of the Land Usage of the Wright County Code of Ordinances
Riley said Planning & Zoning received an application in December from a property owner/applicant to amend the Wright County Zoning Ordinance to include schools. Meetings were held on 11-16-17 and 12-14-17 and included lengthy discussion on the pros and cons of potentially allowing schools in townships. Notification was sent to all school districts. The Planning Commission made a unanimous recommendation to the Board to approve the Zoning Ordinance amendment. Action today would allow the possibility of schools being located in a township. If approved, any school would need a conditional use permit (CUP) that would require review by the County or the appropriate township.
Riley said the final ordinance amendment differs in a few aspects from the original. This includes grammar changes and the elimination of language referencing “children and adults” in a section that said it had to be accessory to an existing non-profit organization that provides camp and education experiences. The language was eliminated as they decided “children and adults” covered everyone. Otherwise there were not a lot of changes from the amendment that was presented in December. The meeting in December was closed after the recommendation was made to no further public comment or submissions. Since that time, no further public comment was taken and that applies to the Board Meeting today.
Vetsch said there has been a lot of dialogue on this topic. He suggested the potential of a Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting to allow the County Board to hear comment on both sides of the issue. Husom said she is struggling with this topic. She is supportive of Charter schools and alternative educational opportunities. She referenced the current application and said they are approved to have up to 300 people at this camp. She was concerned with setting precedence and giving consideration on a case-by-case basis. She has been contacted by a number of people who voiced strong concerns. Husom said one school had to bring city services to their site to meet the standards. She said the Planning Commission vetted the topic and held public meetings, but questioned whether they are talking about a larger aspect here.
Vetsch said the precedence the Board has set is that they want to keep rural areas rural. If the County decides to start carving out exceptions, he questioned whether other entities that are not schools might question whether the Board is being selective and whether that could lead to future litigation. In this instance, it only applies to this particular school. He questioned whether that is the right thing to do as a government entity to hand pick an ordinance for a particular entity.
Riley stated that regarding process, a public hearing would need to be scheduled to take additional public input and have more thorough discussion. They have lengthy testimony from the public hearings that have already been held. School districts were notified and they obtained input from townships. As far as land use goes, it was an applicant that brought this forward. To have a land use limited by capacity and location is not necessarily unusual or arbitrary, but it is crafted in a conservative way to allow this applicant to move forward. He said someone can always amend the ordinance put in place.
Daleiden asked whether Corinna Township supports the request. Riley responded they are in support but have some concerns with the details. Husom mentioned that Corinna administers their Planning & Zoning. Riley stated that Corinna Township would review the CUP. This amendment would apply to the County as it would be part of the Wright County Zoning Ordinance.
Vetsch said he was advocating for a public hearing based on hearing testimony and reading the information which gave him more concern. He asked for input from Daleiden and Potter.
Riley said the minutes from the public hearings include issues that cannot be dealt with on a County level. For example, the judgement on the quality of the school would potentially be the same whether in a city or township. Husom said she has fielded concerns on that topic relative to education and safety. A State license is required. Riley said there also has been concern with the code of schools in a farm field. They tried to address the capacity, location, and having it accessory to a facility that already has the services. Husom said she likes having it in a spot that is already approved for 300 people, but is concerned with future requests. Vetsch added that townships are not set up to have the large density population, law or fire facilities nearby, and traffic infrastructure. The other concern is the tailoring to fit this unique situation. Vetsch said he does not believe in that.
Potter asked Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer whether public hearings had been held and people given a chance to respond. Kryzer stated that is correct. Notice of the hearings were published and sent to all school districts in the County. Potter asked whether the County had followed the process for a public hearing. Kryzer responded that all standard procedures had been followed for a zoning ordinance amendment.
Potter made a motion to approve Ordinance Amendment 17-3A. The motion failed for a lack of a second.
Vetsch suggested that this topic be referred to a meeting where Borrell is present, as Borrell is a member of the Planning Commission. Potter said the reason he made the comments was that there was a public hearing and processes were followed. The Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval by the County Board. He supports the Planning Commission’s recommendation given that they followed the rules and requirements. Husom said she generally supports the Planning Commission but this seems to be more intuitive.
Vetsch moved to table this issue to a meeting when Commissioner Borrell can be present. Husom clarified whether the intent was to send this to the 1-23-18 County Board Meeting. Vetsch said that is correct. The motion was seconded by Husom. The motion carried 3-1 with Potter casting the nay vote.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said the Branding Committee would like to present the Style Guide document to the County Board for approval, to include discussion on rollout of the documents.
Husom moved to schedule a Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting for 1-23-18 at 10:30 AM. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
Kelly said a committee meeting was held in December on the space study and additional items were requested from the architectural firm. That information is available so the request is to schedule a meeting.
On a motion by Vetsch, second by Potter, all voted to set a COTW Meeting for 1-25-18 at 10:00 AM.
Kelly said a COTW Meeting is scheduled for 1-23-18 at 11:00 AM to discuss legislative priorities with legislators. However, he suggested moving that meeting to 2-07-18 at 9:30 AM as more of the legislators are available on that date. Vetsch and Potter indicated they have another meeting scheduled the morning of 2-07-18. Vetsch said he would attend the COTW Meeting and forego the other meeting if they both occur on 2-07-18.
Husom moved to schedule a COTW Meeting on 2-07-18 at 1:00 PM with legislators if they are available at that time. If not, the meeting will be held on 2-07-18 at 9:30 AM. The motion includes cancellation of the item from the 1-23-18 COTW Meeting. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 4-0.
On a motion by Husom, second by Vetsch, all voted to refer this item to the 1-23-18 COTW Meeting that has already been established at 10:30 AM. This will be the second item on that Agenda. Daleiden requested the Highway Department attend the meeting.
Vetsch moved to schedule a Ditch Committee Meeting on 1-24-18 at 8:30 AM in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Conference Room. Vetsch and Daleiden will attend. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
1. MN Rural Counties Meeting. Potter attended on 1-08-18 in Alexandria. The guest speaker was from the MN Center of Environmental Advocacy. Legislative priorities were provided. The top four include:
A. Support AMC Mental Health Bonding Proposal
B. Bring adequate reliable broadband access to all corners of the State
C. Support County Relief for Potential Tax Court Success by Utilities Challenging DOR Rates
D. Support a long-term transportation funding package with a strong focus on local roads that are adequately funded primarily with constitutionally protected revenues
Others receiving consideration include (legislative priorities for the year will be finalized at their 2-05-18 meeting):
• Address workforce and rural economic development needs by funding Greater MN Brain Gain pilot project.
• Increase mortgage deed tax
• Support beaver control cost-share
• Address acquisition of productive private lands with public funds
• Support Relief for Dark Store appraisals
• Establish acquisition mechanism for buffers
2. Buffalo Safe Schools. Husom attended a recent meeting. She said this time of year is hard for many kids because of various situations. The Middle School provided gifts to 25 kids during the holiday season.
3. Township Officers Meeting. Husom and Potter attended the meeting in Cokato Township on 1-04-18.
4. Parks Commission. Daleiden attended the meeting on 1-08-18. This upcoming Friday and Saturday will include the dog sledding activity at Ney Park. Registration is full with a waiting list. Discussions have included possibly adding this activity at Bertram Park in the future. The new bathroom at Otsego Park is constructed with pre-fabricated concrete material which Daleiden described as impressive.
The County Board will go into Closed Session following adjournment of the Board Meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 9:52 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Feb. 2, 2018.