Wright County Board Minutes

MARCH 6, 2018
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Potter, Daleiden and Borrell present.
On a motion by Potter, second by Husom, all voted to approve the 2-27-18 County Board Minutes.
The following items were petitioned to the Agenda: Consent Agenda Item I, “Approve Waiver Of 30-Day Notice For Modification To Annandale TIF District No. 1-14” (Hiivala). Vetsch moved to approve the Agenda as amended, seconded by Husom. The motion carried 5-0.
Borrell moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the addition of Item I. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0:
1. Approve The Following:
A. Owners Committee Of The Whole Minutes (10-17-17)
B. Owners Committee Of The Whole Minutes (12-12-17)
C. Owners Committee Minutes (12-14-17)
D. Owners Committee Of The Whole Minutes (1-25-18)
1. Madden, Galanter & Hansen, LLP - January 2018 Services $4,852.83
1. Set Date For Boy/Girl County Day, April 17, 2018
1. Authorize Payment of Highway 25 Coalition 2018 Dues
1. Position Replacement:
A. Office Technician I
2. Refer To The Ways And Means Committee:
A. Election Equipment Lease Agreement
B. Resolution Regarding The Acquisition And Standardization Of Election Equipment
3. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between February 21, 2018 And February 27, 2018
1. Refer To Personnel Committee Request To Hire Highway Technician Applicant 12% Above Pay Scale
1. Refer to the Technology Committee:
A. Office 365 Update
B. ERP Update
C. Project Portfolio
1. Refer to the 3/14/18 Personnel Committee:
A. Reclassification of Operations Specialist to Technical Support Specialist
B. Approve hiring Telecom Specialist above 12 percent
1. Approve Waiver Of 30-Day Notice For Modification To Annandale TIF District No. 1-14
Hire Replacement Viewers For CD 22
Hiivala stated that one of the viewers is unable to fulfill the role of viewer with Ron Ringquist. On a motion by Potter, second by Borrell, all voted to approve Joe Jacobs as the replacement viewer for CD 22.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For The CSAH 35/8 And 35/6 Rural Intersection Warning System, Contract 1708 With Design Electric of St. Cloud, MN. Authorize Final Payment In The Amount Of $12,508.83
Vetsch moved to adopt Resolution #18-17, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve Resolution Of Final Payment For The CSAH 3 Reconstruction project, Contract #1701 With Midwest Contracting LLC of Marshall MN. Authorize Final Payment In The Amount Of $49,116.36
Husom moved to adopt Resolution #18-18, seconded by Borrell. The motion carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Set Transportation Committee Of The Whole (TCOTW) To Discuss Transportation Items, Including:
A. Briarwood Ave Traffic Study Proposals
B. Marked Crosswalk Policy Update
C. Highway Maintenance Planning Items (Outlying Shops, Long Term Gravel Source, Future Staffing)
D. Updated 5 year plan
At the request of Daleiden, Item E, Local Option Sales Tax Discussion/Review, will be added to the TCOTW Agenda. Potter moved to schedule a TCOTW Meeting on 3-14-18 at 1:30 PM. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0. The meeting will be held at the Highway Department.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden referenced the permit to carry fee. The permit to purchase has no fee but it is required to be provided within 7 days. Chief Deputy Todd Hoffman stated that Wright County increased fees last year to be consistent with what is being charged in other counties. Revenues will be monitored. Counties are required to keep an adequate balance on hand in case of lawsuits relating to the denial of a permit. Husom made the following changes to Page 3 of the minutes: 1st paragraph, line one, change to “AIS issue”; 4th paragraph, 2nd to last line, change to “AIS stats.” Daleiden said the Committee does not want additional reclassification requests presented until the Class/Comp Study is complete but decided to forward this request for a Board decision. Husom moved to approve the Personnel/Employee Relations minutes and recommendations, seconded by Borrell.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator discussed the position reclassification request with Schawn Johnson, HR Director, and cautioned the Board to be consistent and fair throughout the organization. Adjustments made to compensation should have good background information and use consistent criteria. A concern is that if a reclassification is done prior to the study, the results could change and work could be undone. Daleiden said there are currently a number of managers that are being paid less than employees they supervise. Vetsch added that if the County consistently hires at 10-12% over the starting pay, it creates the leapfrogging situation. Daleiden said he asked the HR Director to come up with a methodology to address this.
Discussion led to Business Managers that have been added in other departments. Husom said the job duties of the Assistant Finance Director may not fit that description. Potter said that the level of duties may more closely match the Business Manager. He thought if this request for reclassification had been submitted two years ago, it would have been approved.
Jami Goodrum-Schwartz, HHS Director, expressed concern with implementing a moratorium on reclassifications and prefers review on a case-by-case basis. The last space study the County completed was extended. If that were to occur again, it would have a negative impact with a moratorium. Daleiden suggested a kick-off meeting with the firm selected for the Class/Comp Study to help address some of the questions and concerns. Discussion followed on whether this meeting would be held as a closed session. Kelly stated that with a union environment, any changes to the terms and conditions of employment will have to be negotiated with the unions. The Board could talk in general concept at an open session. He was envisioning that upon the selection of a Class/Comp consultant, there would be a closed session with the Board to include discussion on such things as compensation and philosophy. Asleson concurred with what Kelly voiced. Vetsch asked Hiivala on his plans to fill the Assistant Finance Director position. Hiivala said it is a critical position in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office, especially with the upcoming audit.
Hoffman said the Special Deputy Park Ranger position is a non-union position and asked that it be treated similarly to other uniformed positions in the Sheriff’s Office for uniforms. The position will supervise the seasonal positions and will be viewed as a shift lead. The cost of the initial uniform allowance is approximately $1,800. The position will not require the winter gear or the quantity of uniforms of a full-time position. The motion to approve the minutes and recommendations carried 5-0. The Personnel / Employee Relations Committee Minutes follow:
I. Request To Increase Office Tech II FTE Positions By 1, Sheriff’s Office
Chief Deputy Todd Hoffman provided the Personnel Committee with background information regarding the Sheriff’s Office request to add an Office Technician II position. This position directly relates to the permits to purchase, permit to carry duties of the Sheriff’s office.
Historically, these duties have been performed by an Administrative Deputy that is responsible for handling front counter walk ups. Chief Deputy Hoffman stated that over time the duties of this position have evolved into managing gun permits. At this time, the Administrative Deputy is spending almost 95% of their time managing the gun permitting process. Chief Deputy Hoffman added that this has resulted in an increase of revenue for the Sheriff’s Office, however it does not allow enough time for the Administrative Deputy to perform their other duties.
Chief Deputy Hoffman stated that by adding another Office Technician II position, this person would be able to assume a number of these job duties and that the licensed officer would still be responsible for monitoring the final approval process.
Business Manager Shawna Athman reported that this position is a levy neutral position and that the personnel expenses would be paid through the County’s gun permit account.
Business Manager Athman stated that there is a lot of public interest in obtain gun permits. At this time, it is difficult to track personnel costs on time cards due to the number of staff members that are currently involved in the permitting process. Rather than have the duties spread out amongst various staff members, it would be more efficient to have one person monitor the process. Business Manager Athman stated that request for gun permits are stable and consistent, until large scale events happen such as the high school shooting in Florida. After the shooting in Florida there were 33 permit to carry applications and that all of these applications have to take place in person, they get the application, they fill it out, usually ask a dozen questions and we need to review the documentation to make sure there are compliance and they are allowed to pay for the application.. Even though it may be irregular, they typically average 20 to 25 applications every couple of days.
Chief Deputy Hoffman said the County just increased the permit to carry fee.
Business Manager Athman said that the permit to carry fee is $75.00. The applicants must renew in a timely manner otherwise there are additional late fees that are charged to the permit holder.
Business Manager Athman stated that last year the gun permit revenue for the County was $233,190.00, which was for just the permits to carry and permits to purchase. Gun training Courses are processed separately.
Chief Deputy Hoffman said they have researched other Sheriff Departments and they have found that most agencies have civilian staff that are managing the gun permitting process. The Sheriff’s Office does plan on have a licensed officer conduct a final review of the permit application especially when there is a conviction or other issues is raised in the application materials.
Commissioner Daleiden and Commissioner Husom were both in agreement that this is a cost neutral position and were agreeable with adding the Office Technician II position.
Commissioner Daleiden asked what happens to the money in this fund. Business Manager Athman stated that they are statutorily required to hold on to the funds for any potential legal expenses that may incur due to an application being denied. All of the revenues that are received from the permit to purchase are also used to cover expenses such cards, cardstock or printers.
Recommendation: Proceed with the hiring of one Office Tech II position in the Sheriff’s Office.
II. Special Deputy Park Ranger Job Description
Chief Deputy Todd Hoffman provided the Personnel Committee with an update on the Special Deputy Park Ranger positon description. The Personnel Committee was provided a copy of the position description and the classification score that was associated with this position. Chief Deputy Hoffman stated that the County is seeking to create one full-time Special Deputy Park Ranger position description and a seasonal positon description. Chief Deputy Hoffman commented that they are currently planning on having five seasonal Special Deputy-Park Ranger employees during the spring, summer, and fall of 2018. The Parks Department currently has $20,000 budgeted in 2018 that will be used to offset the costs for the seasonal Special Deputy Park Ranger positions. The Sheriff’s Office would also hire one full-time Special Deputy Park Ranger position. This position would not be a licensed peace officer position. The salary range would be $19.44 – $27.22 per hour and a grade 8 position. Chief Deputy Hoffman commented that that adding of these new positions is not just in response to the AAIS issue with the Parks department, but due to the number of events that are being hosted at the Wright County park locations, such as, the Bertram Chain of Lakes. It is important that we have staff on-hand to monitor these types of activities in our County parks.
Chief Deputy Hoffman recommended that the seasonal employees previously employed in the Parks Department be transferred to the Sheriffs’ Office and a full-time Special Deputy Park Ranger be added to the Sheriff’s Office. This position would serve as a shift lead for the seasonal employees.
Commissioner Mark Daleiden commented that we are a growing County and if we have someone dedicated to monitoring our parks and lakes, he believes it would be beneficial to all involved.
Chief Deputy Hoffman added that there is definitely enough work to do in the County Parks, and that we saw that first hand last October. Commissioner Husom also stated that she is in favor of these personnel changes since there are events that happen year round and that it would be beneficial as well. Business Manager Athman added that once we have this person on staff we can start looking at the AISS stats and that there are grants available to help recover some of the costs for the new positions.
Recommendation: Proceed with the hiring of a Full-time Special Deputy Park Ranger position.
III. Reclassification Of Assistant Finance Director To Business Manager
Auditor Treasurer Bob Hiivala commented that anytime a position becomes available, it’s a good time to go over the job description and make any necessary changes. Mr. Hiivala stated that it his understanding that this position will also be looked at during the upcoming Compensatory and Classification study, however he wanted to take the opportunity to look at this position. Auditor Treasurer Hiivala explained that he asked Assistant Finance Director Lindsey Meyer to review the current job description and make notations of what she is doing, not doing (see attached). Auditor Treasurer Hiivala mentioned that the red-lines in the proposed job description are suggested changes. Auditor Treasurer Hiivala also stated for the record that Assistant Finance Director Lindsey Meyer has submitted her resignation and will be moving on to a private sector position. Mr. Hiivala also added that compensation was not the only consideration of her decision to resign, but it was a factor.
In reviewing the 2015 job description, Auditor Treasurer Hiivala recommended that the Assistant Finance Director position be changed to a Business Manager position. Mr. Hiivala commented that all the check marks in the Business Manager job description are actually currently in the Assistant Finance Director job description. However, some of the components in the Assistant Finance Director job description do not line up exactly verbatim.
Mr. Hiivala stated that after talking with Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy/Auditor Treasurer Tammi Vaith and Assistant Finance Director Lindsay Meyer, he feels that the best approach is to modify the current Assistant Finance Director job description. Mr. Hiivala stated that there are components of the job description that are missing.
A discussion pursued regarding the history of the position of the Assistant Finance Director, Auditor Treasurer Hiivala stated that when he first started in the County, that he held the position of Assistant Finance Director. When he vacated that position, he had trouble filling the position and shifted it to a different approach by promoting the Property Tax Administrator to Chief Deputy and it wasn’t until 2015, that he brought back the Assistant Finance Director position.
Commissioner Mark Daleiden and Commissioner Chris Husom both agreed that with the timing of the compensation and classification study that is about to take place, there are many positions that will be looked at closely in the upcoming study.
Commissioner Husom added that the timing is unfortunate, however, there will be an opportunity to provide this information during the study, so that the job description can be tailored accordingly.
Commissioner Daleiden said that changing the description in order to keep the Assistant Finance Director is one thing but to change it for someone that is unknown, is different.
Assistant Finance Director Meyer added that she would certainly consider staying if the position description is updated. Ms. Meyer added that she thinks the County will have a problem advancing ERP and doing the CAFR without somebody that can manage the proposed changes in the Assistant Finance Director positon description.
Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy/Auditor Treasurer Vaith added that when they had hired Assistant Finance Director Meyer they had a number of good candidates. However, they could see that she would able to provide a much higher caliber of skill sets and services to the County. Our concern is that we will go backwards and only have future candidates that can provide some of the skill sets needed but will not provide the same skill sets that the current Assistant Finance Director can provide to the County.
Mr. Hiivala added that the position description presented is not just what the Assistant Finance Director is doing now but what this position should be doing in the future.
Commissioner Daleiden asked for the two Business Managers input regarding this change. Business Manager Christine Partlow commented that she and Business Manager Shawna Athman discussed this and their concern is from their experience sitting through other recruitments that it is difficult to find good candidates with the skill sets needed to do the Assistant Finance Director job functions. The Business Manger position isn’t that far away from the Assistant Finance Director in respects to the compensation and classification study. However, the immediate need to fill this positon is extremely important to fill with someone as strong and qualified as Assistant Finance Director Meyer because it will only delay what they have been working so hard to accomplish over the last few years.
Discussion occurred regarding the comparison of the rating and step difference of the current Assistant Finance Director and the Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy/Auditor Treasurer positions.
Commissioner Husom commented that the difference of 2 classes is a significant difference, the fact of paying your supervisor quite a bit less money is an issue. They need to look across the entire organization, due to so many job descriptions that are coming in to be reclassified according to the work that is being performed is one of the main reasons for the compensation and classification study.
Commissioner Daleiden also commented that through this compensation and classification study, we will work to address modifying job descriptions when it is needed.
Chief Deputy Sheriff Todd Hoffman suggested the County keep the position the way it is and assign it to a different step.
Human Resources Director Schawn Johnson replied that that when that situation occurred it was most likely the result of a pay equity issue and the County was not in compliance.
The Personnel Committee had further discussion regarding supervisors making less money than the employees that they supervise.
Business Manager Shawna Athman stated that on behalf of her financial team that she needs someone in the Auditor Treasurer office to do what Assistant Finance Director Meyer is currently providing. It is imperative that the current projects that they are working on do not get dropped.
Auditor Treasurer Hiivala stated that Assistant Finance Director Meyer is currently doing the things that are in the Red line of the attachment and that these duties and responsibilities are needed across the County.
Human Resources Director Schawn Johnson commented that looking at both of the their salaries, Assistant Finance Director Meyer currently makes $39.64 and Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy/Auditor Treasurer Vaith makes $36 09. Even though the scale would allow the property tax admin/chief deputy/auditor treasurer to make more money over time, if we move the Assistant Finance Director positon to a step/grade 21, she will still be making more money than her supervisor within the same grade, which is an issue.
Auditor Treasurer Hiivala stated that he does not believe that the Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy/Auditor Treasurer position is in the the correct grade, but wants the focus of our discussion today to be on the Assistant Finance Director Position because it will be vacant.
Commissioner Husom said that with the compensation and classification study coming up, she wants it to be fair and to do the study all at the same time. This is a big thing and this is truly a full board decision. Asking for a different position because its two grades higher and when we make those kind of changes, the entire board needs to be involved along with our compensation consultant.
Human Resources Director Johnson added that if they do it for one they need to do it for all they have to treat everyone the same and looking at it organizational as a whole.
Commissioner Daleiden said that unfortunately they just don’t have a mechanism that will make it work, things will change within a year or less with the upcoming compensation and classification study. He really wishes that there was a way to figure out a way to solve this problem across the organization.
Commissioner Husom added that there are other departments that have similar situation.
Bob Hiivala asked if they could retitle her position to a Business Manager than change it back to an Assistant Finance Director position. If it’s skirting the deception of other departments. Move her forward with the caveat that she will be reclassified into the assistant finance director after the study is completed.
Commissioner Daleiden said there is still the issue with the Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy/Auditor Treasurer in regards to fairness.
The Personnel Committee recommended that this item be forwarded to the County Board for further discussion.
Recommendation: The Personnel Committee recommended that this item be forwarded to the County Board for further discussion.
(End of 2-27-18 Personnel / Employee Relations Committee Minutes)
Vetsch made a motion to direct Kelly and Asleson to put together suggested COTW Meeting dates pending the Comp/Class firm selection. Compensation of various positions and leapfrogging will be discussed at that meeting. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Vetsch moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter. Daleiden said that another meeting will be held with InfoTech on 3-09-18, after which a COTW meeting will be scheduled to update the full Board on the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). A project portfolio update could be provided at that meeting as well. The motion carried 5-0:
I. Office 365 Status
Presented by Adam Tagarro
The O365 migration is 2/3rds complete. The migration consists of moving all County departments to the O365 Outlook client. Health and Human Services was moved last week, which included over 200 users. This migration went relatively smooth; issues were seen with mobile users and shared calendars. Court Services, Extension, Parks, and Surveyors were moved on Tuesday. The remaining departments will be migrated over the next two weekends. Staff members have continued to report that the Outlook move has been relatively uneventful for them, wondering what changes were made. Tagarro noted that the IT team has been happy with the progress of the migrations and that the big changes were made on the back side with heavy leg work from the IT department. He went on to state the users will see some slight changes when Office 2016 (part of O365) is rolled out and the really new tool will be Skype for Business. The Governance Committee has already received a demo on Skype. Skype is being planned to roll out with the O365 Office 2016 client. As an incentive for departments to ensure training has been completed, those departments who have an 80% staff completion rate for training will be able to migrate first. Commissioner Daleiden was strongly in favor of the incentive as it provides users the independence to answer questions on their own. Cheri Nelson stated that the Office 2016 and Skype rollout will be completed with the SCCM product, allowing the IT team to remotely install the client on user’s computers without having to physically go to every desk. This will be a tremendous saving on staff time.
The migration to Outlook brought up a question of usage of pictures within O365. Sue Vergin questioned, on behalf of the Branding Committee, if there would be any requirements for the picture. There was brief discussion with the consensus that usage will need to be reviewed and a policy or guideline will likely be adopted. The Microsoft Licensing Agreement was also discussed. Nelson stated that the Board approved the new agreement this month, the licensing process has been submitted with Microsoft. There will be 800 licenses for the County, additional licenses may be necessary due to the requirements of some shared accounts. Commissioner Daleiden questioned why there was a need for so many extra licenses. It was asked how many employees the County currently has, Vergin answered that there are 737 full time employees. She noted that this number doesn’t account for part time employees or contractors. Nelson said that part time employees and certain contractors will need O365 licenses, as well as certain shared accounts. Commissioner Vetsch questioned what happens when an employee leaves. Tagarro responded that the license is left as is for about 30 days allowing for the closeout of the account and notice to any parties, after this time the license is released allowing it to be used by a new staff member. Christine Paltrow noted that 30 days is fitting as that is about how long the hiring process takes. The migration to O365 is on track, with the Outlook client presenting the heavy work for IT. The IT team is looking forward to finishing with Outlook and moving on to the Office and Skype rollout.
Action: Informational update only
II. IT Project Portfolio Update
Presented by Britta Holland
The presentation began with a recap of the previous meeting. Both Commissioners stated that they were thankful for the work done by Holland, and that when speaking with the other Commissioners they felt it would be helpful to provide them with a brief summary of the Feb. 14th information. Holland agreed that she would put a document together for them. After a brief discussion on the types of projects and work that IT does, one being categorized as operational or “keeping the lights on” type of tasks, Commissioner Daleiden requested the number of track-it tickets that IT receives daily be added to the minutes. As request, and per Nelson, the IT team receives on average 900 work tickets a month, averaging out to 45 per day. After reviewing the previous meeting Holland then moved the discussion to present two of the project lists along with a general data change. She stated that the team was using “Enterprise” as a department that could “own” a project. This usage while correct in one sense was flawed in that it does not allow a resource to refer to anyone specifically for project questions. The team decided that the usage of an “Authorizing Department or Department Sponsor” would be used instead, noting that the “Impact” would still be noted as enterprise, multi-department, or single department. After reviewing this change Holland presented the Project Portfolio page on SharePoint. Commissioner Daleiden questioned who could access the page. Olga Strobel stated that presently it was the IT project management group.
Holland reviewed the page with the committee focusing on the two categories of Discretionary Projects (mainly single department projects) and Technical Compliance Projects (internal IT projects). Commissioner Daleiden questioned the CAMA and tax system projects, which Holland stated were Strategic Projects due to their Board directed development. The Discretionary projects were presented first, where members were able to see how the prioritization method played out. Holland noted that using the method discussed in last week’s meeting the projects were prioritized. She also stated that due to the nature of project work some projects that are prioritized lower may move along faster than anticipated. This is due to the prioritization method being used effectively. An example being one resource may have completed their work on project priority 1, project priority 2 may not be ready for them to work on yet, so project priority 3 is worked on. This scenario can play out several different ways, but being able to refer to the priority will allow resources to move projects along faster. Holland also noted that resource allocation can change as work progresses, for example if more resources need to be pulled in on a project than initially expected, or vice versa. Members noted that the progress percentages were listed, Nelson stated these were reflective of the project manager’s best estimation. Also, that a project may be 30% complete, but that it doesn’t necessarily mean the project is behind, simply that the project itself has many phases to complete before it is considered 100% complete. That 30% can still represent the project being on-task. Partlow noted that the list appears as if those departments with fewer projects will continually trump those with several projects. She also questioned if some existing projects can be reviewed for accuracy of existing project state. Holland stated that she will work on access to the Project Portfolio for committee members review. Tanya West also questioned how a project sits when it is a very large project, but perhaps not time sensitive. Her department specifically has an EDMS project, electronic data management system, that has seemed to stall out. West specifically questioned how to move the process along so that a vendor can get the greenlight to start their steps if needed or if IT needs to complete work first. Holland responded that from the review of the IT team, some projects need to have the scope redefined. She also stated that the EDMS projects in specific are more of an initiative and need ongoing effort to stay on task. Tagarro added that EDMS projects often began with an undefined scope, which presented issues of tracking progress as many pieces and projects came out of them. One project might be completed with the EDMS program but as a whole the program is not complete, this is where a more clearly defined scope and definition of the project would be beneficial. The committee agreed that the method of prioritization of Discretionary projects was acceptable, but the concerns brought up remained.
Holland then reviewed the Technical Compliance projects with members. Todd Hoffman questioned the timeframe of some of the projects, which the response was work is completed as the team is able to. Bob Hiivala questioned the percent complete being available, which Commissioner Daleiden added would be beneficial to the team to see. Paltrow noted that some items on the list were ones which would affect other departments, virtual desktop in particular. Tagarro noted that VDI is in the research stage, so it’s placement is with the IT projects. Members expressed clear interest in seeing the IT project list or Technical Compliance list. Tagarro stated that the IT team is open to adjustment and tweaking of the project methodology as a whole. That the discussion and views of the members present allows the team to look differently at the projects. Commissioner Daleiden agreed that the portfolio really is a living document that can be fluid as change will naturally occur. In review Hoffman stated that it is nice to see how projects sit within the categories and the movement of individual projects. Tagarro reminded the members that the process may seem dry but it really allows the need to show how resources are being used and why they are needed. Holland finished with a goal of having the Portfolio more visible and accessible to members. She also welcomed feedback as discussed as she wants the Portfolio to work for all members of the County. The next meeting will be a review of the Strategic Project list.
Action: Committee will work on prioritization of projects list. Design Project Portfolio Page for Technology Committee review.
(End of 2-27-18 Technology Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell made a motion to approve the minutes and recommendations. Husom said after the Committee meeting, they learned that Stephens has the ability to move forward with the hire at a cost of up to $25,000. Therefore, County Board approval will not be required with the hire of the consulting firm. Daleiden said he would like to know who makes the decision on who to hire and suggested the Board meet as a COTW to lay the groundwork for the consultant. Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said the SWMP (Solid Waste Management Plan) is a high level plan that details and takes into account the current waste needs, current tonnage of recyclables, and reflects the geographical area that the waste can go. It also addresses the disposable capacity of landfills and other waste handling facilities. It takes into account any hazardous waste and mitigation. The MPCA (MN Pollution Control Agency) uses the SWMP in their long-term planning. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the State requires counties to have a SWMP, even if there are no landfills or facilities. If the Board has thoughts of expansion of an activity at the site, it would be a separate discussion. The motion to approve the minutes was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Hire Of Consulting Firm To Assist In The Update Of The Wright County Solid Waste Management Plan
Environmental Health Supervisor Bill Stephens distributed two documents: “SWMP Update Comparison,” and “Wright County Solid Waste Fund Analysis” (see attachments). He requested permission to update the County Solid Waste Management Plan (County Plan) utilizing the services of a consultant. In the past, the update was done in-house, with help from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The programs are changing now. Two years ago, the Metropolitan Solid Waste Management Policy 2016-2036 (Metro Policy) was updated. Stephens is anticipating that the County will see more issues regarding solid waste management over the next ten years as the population grows. The County Plan is for ten years. Stephens feels it is prudent to observe what is happening in the Metro area as the population expands there. As the influx of population moves closer, he can plan for the impact it will have on County programs.
Stephens said plan requirements have changed since the last update in 2007. The State now requires a solid waste plan to be formatted by program areas, such as organics, electronics, industrial solid waste, construction demolition, and others. More detail will be required regarding the type of things the County will address.
Stephens said theoretically, the County could produce a Solid Waste Management Plan in-house, but it would not likely be as good a document as will be needed over the next ten years. The County Plan wouldn’t address whether or not a landfill is needed, but rather, indicate how various materials will be managed. The State deals with landfill space requirements as they arise.
The State produces an annual goal volume table indicating the amount of solid waste expected to be generated over the next ten years in Wright County. Stephens said the table is used to guide County programs related to the projected increase or decrease of various waste materials. If the numbers are incorrect within any program area in five years, the County Plan can be amended. Commissioner Christine Husom said if the updated plan is required, it is important to provide a good product. Things are changing so fast with waste management that predictions are showing less and less need for landfills.
Stephens said the influence in the highly populated areas is volume of materials generated. In outstate Minnesota, the issues are more related to transportation due to the space between landfills. The County is trending away from transportation and toward quantity of materials.
Stephens said he emailed most of the Solid Waste Officers in the State and asked whether they had updated their solid waste management plans lately, and if so, to provide the cost, and the name of their consultant, if any. A handful responded. He referred to the SWMP attachment for details. Stephens said he spoke with the respondents who used a consultant. Most felt it was convenient and very beneficial, as the consultant had access to information that individual counties may not be able to acquire. Stephens said the general average amount paid for a consultant was $14,300.
Stephens said at the end of January 2018, the SCORE (Select Committee On Recycling and the Environment) Fund had a balance of a little more than $1 million. He has been trying to save money for the last ten years to prepare for potential changes in programs and infrastructure. SCORE FUNDS are dedicated to waste management, administration, and planning.
Stephens said the County is required to have a Solid Waste Management Plan, approved by the MPCA, in order to receive the SCORE funds. The County receives a little over $377,000 annually. Assistant County Coordinator Susan Vergin said those funds filter down to the townships and municipalities. Stephens said they are used for the recycling and reimbursement program. The County allocates approximately $225,000 to $250,000 per year in quarterly recycling grants and community cleanup reimbursements to the cities and townships. Stephens said they use about 60 to 65 percent of the annual SCORE money. The County uses the rest to run programs. There has been no need to tap into any General Revenue dollars for many years. He added that if the program expands and the County population increases and more people are using the programs, the SCORE fund will probably start to deplete over time. In that case, in five or ten years, he may need to ask for General Revenue dollars to support the solid waste management program. The SCORE Fund is includes a base allocation to each county and also factoring in a county’s population. The more the County population grows, the more the SCORE Fund grows.
Borrell said the money is there for this purpose. Stephens said proposed legislation states that a County has to have an approved plan that addresses certain program areas to be able to apply for State grants.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize Stephens to send out a Request For Proposals if required by County policy. If not, Stephens may proceed with acquiring bids for a consultant for the County Solid Waste Management Plan.
(End of 1-27-18 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
Husom moved to cancel the 5-23-18 Committee Meeting date and reschedule it to 5-30-18. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Jami Goodrum-Schwartz, HHS Director, referenced the study and how it relates to the move of HHS staff to a different building from the HHS Center. Schwartz said it is not her intent to try to persuade the Board on whether to retrofit the Government Center after the Courts Facility is built or whether to construct a new building. Her purpose is to provide information on staffing/building needs and to request that the decision not be delayed. When the HHS building was purchased in 1999, it was seen as a temporary option (5-8 years). It is now going on 20 years and staff housed there has grown from 13% to 25%. She conveyed information on problems associated with overcrowding, security, and severe weather areas.
Potter said it is not his intent to keep staff at the HHS Center long term. The Space Study came as a result of the Courts facility construction project to look at space needs for 20 years. The earliest the move of justice-related departments to the new facility would be the second or third quarter of 2020. If the Government Center were remodeled to accommodate HHS staff, it would take a minimum of six months to do so. Goodrum-Schwartz said that is an agreeable timeline but does not want the time frame pushed back. Potter said the construction of the Highway building addressed the long-term space needs of four departments with minimal impact to taxpayers. Discussion led to reimbursement for HHS space. Goodrum-Schwartz said the State is billed for case management services which includes overhead costs.
Husom said the Board wants a plan in place for when the Government Center is vacated by judicial related departments. There are things which need to be taken into consideration including information gathering for topics such as bonding. Borrell said another consideration is the implementation of allowing certain staff to work from home, saving space and allowing for sharing of offices.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, echoed Goodrum-Schwartz’s comments on the desire to keep this moving. He said there wasn’t much direction from the 2-22-18 COTW Meeting where the Space Study was discussed. There was some discussion at that meeting regarding legislation that may move forward related to defunding of power plants that could impact counties. He said BKV Group has provided the final plan and no additional information has been requested of them. Kelly would like to keep this moving so information is available prior to 2019 budget sessions. He said it is agreed that at some point there will be a campus north of town; the question is a timeframe of when. That decision impacts the 2019 budget.
Potter moved to schedule a COTW Meeting on 3-27-18 at 1:00 PM for the purpose of addressing the space study. The meeting location will be the County Board Room. The motion was seconded by Husom. Potter said he will try to obtain the information from Bruce Kimmel, Ehlers Inc., on a scenario referenced at the last COTW Meeting that is under $9 million. The motion carried 5-0.
Husom moved to schedule a COTW Meeting on 3-20-18 at 1:00 PM. Daleiden asked that the motion include asking Board members to convey any agenda items they would like to have discussed. Husom said it should include discussion on the Strategic Plan. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0.
1. AMC Legislative Conference. Board members attended the Conference. The structure was changed where counties were paired when meeting with legislators. Various topics discussed at the Conference included MNLARS, Real ID and Corridors of Commerce project funding. Corridors of Commerce funding is in the scoring process and awards will be announced in early April. At the conference, an emergency management presentation was made on their role in crisis. The Skywarn Training is being held on 3-27-18 at 1:30 PM and 6:30 PM at the Government Center. Contact Steve Berg at 763-684-2364 to enroll. Daleiden suggested the County Board meet with legislators prior to next year’s sessions, possibly around Thanksgiving or the first/second week of January.
2. Bertram Chain Of Lakes Advisory Board. Daleiden said a meeting was held last week. Preliminary campground plans are expected the first week in April. Vetsch said the entire deliverables are scheduled for November. The group also received a presentation on AIS by the SWCD. Vetsch referenced new summer programs at Bertram Park to include a family camp out on June 22-23. Tents and gear will be provided for participants allowing those that haven’t camped previously an opportunity to try it out. Registration will be through the Parks Department.
3. Coordinator Updates
A. Kelly spent a good portion of the last 2 weeks on jury duty in Stearns County.
B. Digital sign boards for navigation in the Government Center are being installed. One board in the Lobby will be touch screen interactive.
C. Interviews are being held for janitorial services for County buildings.
D. The Assistant HR Director posting closed on 2-22-18 and interviews will be held. The Communications Specialist position has been posted. These positions were approved as part of the 2018 budget.
E. Interviews for the Class/Comp RFP interviews are being held today. Those being interviewed include Springsted, Keystone, and Bjorklund.
The meeting adjourned at 10:46 AM.
Published in the Herald Journal March 23, 2018.