Wright County Board Minutes

JULY 24, 2018
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Potter, Daleiden and Borrell present.
The 7-17-18 Board Minutes were corrected as follows: Paragraph 2, title should reflect, “County Board Minutes 7-10-18” (Kelly). Husom moved to approve the minutes as amended, seconded by Vetsch. The motion carried 5-0.
Borrell moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0.
Potter moved to approve the Consent Agenda, seconded by Husom. The motion carried 5-0.
1. Claim - Madden, Galanter & Hansen LLP, June 2018 Services, $6,375.06
1. Authorize Signatures On Memorandum Of Agreement To allow AFSCME Members To Donate Accrued Vacation Time To Susette Rubel
1. Approve Abatement, PID 103-500-172406, VA Appeal C 26 168 323; Docket 14-28-948; Individual Would Have Qualified For Market Value Exclusion From 2015 -2018. Documentation On File In The Assessor’s Office.
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between July 11, 2018 And July 17, 2018
1. Refer To The 07-25-18 Personnel Committee:
A. Request To Temporarily Extend Part-Time Staffing Hours For Social Services
1. Refer To Personnel Committee Request To Hire A Highway Maintenance Worker
1. Refer to the 7-25-18 Technology Committee:
A. Enterprise Resource Planning Status Update
B. Office 365 Status Update
C. Project Portfolio
Informational Item: State Demographer’s 2017 Annual Population Estimate - We Were Not Notified Of Any Changes By The State Demographer’s Deadline Of July 15, So We Are To Assume The Estimates Presented At The June 12, 2018 Board Meeting Are Correct.
Hiivala stated the population data is final and has not changed since the information was provided to the County Board in June. Wright County’s population is set at 134,365 for 2017. This was provided as an informational item.
Update Regarding Clearwater River Watershed District Board Of Managers Appointment. Also Set Appointment Dates To End On July 31 And Begin On August 1 Of Appropriate Years.
Hiivala said there are two appointments. Chris Uecker, incumbent, was the only person to contact the Auditor with interest.
At the recommendation of Hiivala, Vetsch moved to appoint Chris Uecker to the CRWD Board of Managers from 8-14-18 to 7-31-19 to fill out the remainder of his term. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Vetsch moved to appoint Chris Uecker to a new term from 8-01-19 to 7-31-22. The motion includes moving the application period for positions to July and a new termination date of August 1 annually. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting For Open Gov Training
The Open Gov Training item was discussed at the last Board Meeting and action was taken at today’s Board Meeting.
On a motion by Vetsch, second by Potter, all voted to schedule a COTW Meeting on 8-07-18 at 10:30 AM. The purpose of the meeting is for training on OpenGov for the Commissioners, County Coordinator, and Assistant County Coordinator.
Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting To Set The Audit Exit Meeting With CliftonLarsonAllen.
On a motion by Husom, second by Borrell, all voted to set a COTW Meeting on 8-14-18 at 11:00 AM.
Schedule Committee Of The Whole Meeting For Presentation Of Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) With OpenGov.
On a motion by Borrell, second by Husom, all voted to schedule a COTW Meeting on 8-07-18 at 1:00 PM.
Approve The Bid For Tree Removal Services On County Ditch 22.
Matt Detjen, Ditch Coordinator, explained a redetermination of benefits is being completed on Ditch 22 which is located south of Montrose and close to Ditch 31. A public hearing is scheduled for 9-11-18. Bids were received from:
Consolidated Landcare, Inc. $60,192
MSB Excavating & Tiling $60,241
Wuetherich Drainage, Inc. $71,000
Elfmann Excavating $88,000
Detjen recommended the bid from MSB Excavating & Tiling (MSB) in the amount of $60,241. Daleiden asked whether the removal includes all trees. Detjen said it will remove trees on both sides of the Ditch in the 16.5’ buffer. The Ditch will be maintained thereafter through the Central Applicators spraying program. Detjen said staff have decided to require a bid bonds with this type of work. MSB Excavating & Tiling is the only bidder that submitted a bid bond. Detjen said MSB has a plan for the firewood. Some will be burned and there are interested parties for the remainder. Vetsch asked whether landowners would have first option. Detjen said if landowners want the wood and are motivated to move it, he will work with them. There is a short time frame for removal.
Borrell moved to approve the bid from MSB Excavating & Tiling in the amount of $60,241 for County Ditch 22. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Adoption of the North Fork Crow One Watershed One Plan
O’Hare said the draft was approved at a prior Board Meeting and was accepted by BWSR (Board of Water and Soil Resources) on 6-27-18. Adoption of the Plan will open funding of a block grant for $640,000 which will be used in the North Fork Crow River Watershed and distributed according to a workplan created by participating entities.
Potter moved to adopt the North Fork Crow One Watershed One Plan. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Authorize Signatures On North Fork Crow River Implementation Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA)
The request is to authorize signatures on the MOA for the implementation of the North Fork Crow River One Watershed One Plan. The MOA dictates the partnership that will distribute funding of grants given to the North Fork Crow River Watershed. O’Hare said the technical committee and policy committee have reviewed the document. It was also reviewed by the Wright County Attorney’s Office. O’Hare said it is still being reviewed and the final document will be signed later.
Borrell said a few minor changes were made at the last policy committee meeting. He requested a redlined version reflecting the changes was in order for the next policy committee meeting. He is comfortable with authorizing signature on the document.
Borrell moved to authorize signature of the Board Chair on the MOA, barring any substantial changes to the document. The motion was seconded by Husom. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, said the signature page lists the Board Chair and District Manager. The County Coordinator should sign the document in place of the District Manager. The motion and second were amended to include the County Coordinator’s signature on the MOA. The motion carried 5-0.
Regional Inspection Plan Update
O’Hare provided an update on the Wright Regional Inspection Plan (WRIP) for 2018 to date (PowerPoint presentation located in online County Board packet). The material reflects data on the number of inspections for Sylvia, John, Pleasant and Sugar Lakes, wait times, violations/enforcement, user feedback, and staff time. There was a total of 2,562 inspections. On the 4th of July weekend, inspections were open 65 hours from Friday to Monday which is comparable to the hours in 2017.
Vetsch noted that the Board did not receive the information prior to the meeting today and was therefore not prepared to bring forward questions on the program. O’Hare responded that the Program is complex and takes up much of her work time. She referred to the presentation material on staff time spent on the WRIP. The Wright SWCD (Soil & Water Conservation District) has devoted $19,722.50 which includes 2/3 of O’Hare’s time. Approximately 114 law enforcement hours have been expended as of 7-15-18 which equates to $8,229.60 based on the contract rate. The water patrol spends an estimate half of their hours toward the WRIP, either patrolling the site or responding to dispatch calls. O’Hare stated she spends an extraordinary amount of time on this and is still trying to keep up. Vetsch said he would have preferred delaying the presentation until the material is ready.
Discussion followed on the surveys being taken. Daleiden questioned whether this is a requirement by the DNR (Department of Natural Resources). O’Hare said that is correct. Basically, the survey questions are similar to what is being asked during the inspection. Questions vary dependent on the type of inspection. There are questions that boaters are not required to answer but they are required to submit to the inspection of water related equipment.
Regarding violations, there were 69 in May, 80 in June, and 80 in the first half of July. The reason there were more incidences in July was that the Sheriff’s Water Patrol Division patrolled in addition to what the rovers are completing. There were 165 notices left on windshields with no further contact. There were 8 license plates that showed up twice meaning they violated twice. There were situations where solo trailers were left at the ramps. Vetsch said the circumstance could be that a boat was launched for more than a day (docked at a lake residence). This would not be breaking the law. These are some of the nuances of the system where people are not really breaking the law. O’Hare said that is correct. It would be a violation if the boat was taken out of the water and then re-entered. The presentation reflects one exempt vehicle which was for a DNR conservation officer.
Potter said some residents have asked why the WRIP is in place. He referenced the starry stonewort problem on Lake Koronis near Paynesville. Kevin Farnum, Chair for the Stearns County AIS Committee, said 250,000 lbs. of starry stonewort were removed the first year and 235,000 lbs. were removed the second year. Potter stated the WRIP is a pilot program; there is no illusion that AIS will be stopped but hopefully it will be slowed down. He said the reports gather data. A main objective is to educate the public on AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species). There will be challenges that arise, but when the pilot is finished the data can be analyzed and the process streamlined. The goal is to try to keep this asset in Wright County so people can enjoy it. Husom echoed the comments. She appreciates the efficiencies realized with locating the decontamination station near the landing.
O’Hare referenced the WRIP User Survey (copy included in online Board packet) which is required for the grant for Lake Sylvia. A consultant was hired to analyze the grant. There were 56 responses with 43% of respondents strongly supporting the Program and 39% strongly opposing it. Users are divided on whether the program increased their knowledge of AIS practices. Only 20% of users learned of the inspection by going to the landing, which indicates prior communication and education efforts were mostly successful. The vast majority of respondents (89%) visit Annandale lakes 5+ times in a season. The majority (57%) will not change their use but a portion (39%) will reduce their use because of the WRIP.
A full report is issued to the DNR at the end of the year. It was the consensus that a report should be provided to the County Board after the season is over, possibly early to mid-December. Daleiden stated that any financial requests relating to the program will need to be presented during the upcoming budget sessions or there will be no County funding available.
Chief Deputy Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, said a 30-day report (June 23-July 23) was run on calls for service relating to AIS inspections. There were 126 invasive species calls for the three lakes, with an average time spent of 40 minutes. For comparison purposes, during that time there were 4 burglaries, 20 assaults, 24 neighborhood disputes, 34 shoplifting complaints, 47 criminal damage of property, 47 fraud complaints, 73 theft complaints, 87 domestic disturbance complaints, and 88 gas drive offs.
Hoffman said the focus on this phase of the AIS project is to educate the public. Educational flyers are placed on the alleged violating vehicles. He estimated that over 80% of the calls include no one by the alleged violating vehicle as they are on the lake. If the deputy’s decision is to move to enforcement, the 40 minutes of deputy time increases substantially. The Special Deputy position has started but is on a military leave (2 weeks). Seasonal employees are being trained.
Hoffman said in 2017, the Deputy Director of the DNR advised the County Board that if they adopted this ordinance they would be taking on the sole responsibility of AIS for the three lakes. Hoffman read off some other invasive species and said the Sheriff’s Office will need more staffing if the Board wants to go into invasive species enforcement. This is becoming a drain on resources. Vetsch thanked Hoffman for quantifying what it costs the County to enforce and what is lost in not enforcing other laws. Vetsch said they all agree they want to protect lakes, but at what cost. Hoffman questioned whether Wright County is equipped to deal with this state-wide issue or is a state agency better equipped to do so.
Chris Hector, past President of the Greater Lake Sylvia Association. Hector said there will be data to present in 3-4 weeks. It will not be the final audited figures, but it will give an idea on cost of operation. He offered to work with O’Hare and others to put together a presentation on finances. Daleiden said 3 weeks would be better if funding is being requested for the County, due to the timing of budget sessions. O’Hare said they anticipate receiving AIS funding next year but the exact amount will not be known until August. She anticipates approximately the same amount, but it will depend on requests by other counties.
Mike Ziska works for the SWCD and is also a lake owner. His opinion is that this is not a lake association issue and commended the association for trying to keep the lakes clean. He said this is important to all present and future residents and affects the tax base.
Potter responded that this is a pilot program. He commended Lake Sylvia for coming forward. Education is the key, and not just for those living on the lake. All who use lakes need to be good stewards of the lakes. Those with lake properties pay high taxes. The DNR has not been a willing participant, and Potter said they are making this data intensive.
Kevin Farnum, Delano and Lake Koronis resident. Farnum serves as the Chair of the Stearns County AIS Committee and manages the project for Starry Stonewort on Lake Koronis. He thanked the Commissioners for taking on the pilot program and said others are watching and learning from the project. He offered to work with Wright County in trying to figure out things that can be done together regarding AIS. He said Wright County doesn’t want Starry Stonewort.
Daleiden questioned whether inspections are being completed at all entrances and exits of Lake Koronis. Farnum said there are five access locations. Two of the accesses do not have inspections and are not heavily utilized. The regional park access is shared with Meeker County and is staffed mostly with weekend hours. The access at TH 55 and Hwy. 4 is staffed 90 hours/week. The city launch staffs about the same. The budget is about $90,000. Their strategy is don’t let AIS go out, don’t let a new AIS come in, and figure out a way to manage what they have. Farnum said the grant from the Initiative Foundation was not extended. It is a $425,000 matching grant. The way the pilot is set up makes it difficult on how the funds can be spent.
A person from the audience said Lake Sylvia was treated a week ago for Starry Stonewort and inquired the cost to treat Lake Koronis. Farnum said it was $84,000 for the chemical treatment which did not include the survey work of about $4,000. A pre and post survey was completed. Lake Koronis has a total acreage of 3,000 acres and 241 acres were treated. The DNR has assisted them in developing a lake management plan. Farnum recently did a presentation in New York on what they have learned with Starry Stonewort.
Joe Schneider is President of the Christmas Lake Homeowners Association and President of MN COLA, which is the state-wide network of lake associations. Schneider said it was known there would be challenges with a pilot and that things would be implemented as the pilot progresses. He viewed this as a fantastic first step. The reality is that this is not being solved by the DNR. Schneider said the MN COLA applauds Wright County’s leadership in taking this on and looks forward to working with Wright County in any way they can to help keep public waters free of AIS.
The meeting recessed at 10:22 AM and reconvened at 10:33 AM.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Commissioners discussed a proposal from BKV Group on a new Government Center building versus remaining at the current site. Vetsch referenced the COTW minutes and said the cost to remodel the current Government Center could be as low as $18 million and as high as $22 million. Discussion followed on the size of the current Government Center versus a new building as proposed by BKV.
Bruce Schwartzman, AIA, Partner - BKV Group, referenced a memorandum that was sent to the Facilities Director on the possibility of area increases for the space program prepared in the facility study. BKV recently met again with departments on a 20-year space projection. The space needs were increased for several areas including Health & Human Services, Facilities Management, and Recorder bringing the revised number is 129,514 SF (8% increase).
Additional space for potential leasers was identified:
DMV Drivers Testing (700 SF)
SWCD (1,893 SF)
C.R.O.W. (700 SF)
Dental Clinic (5,000 SF)
Health Partners Clinic (1,500 SF)
The additional 11,000 SF increases the construction costs by $3-$3.5 million. No furniture would be provided by the County for the leased area.
Schwartzman said the Courts Facility bid was about $2.62/SF. With inflation to 2019 values, this would equate to about $2.89/SF. The number used for a new Government Center site is about $2.97/SF which includes $8 of contingency. Vetsch said this would equate to about $41.5 million plus FFE and contingency to total $46-$47 million. Schwartzman said that would be correct.
Schwartzman sent the Facilities Director a preliminary schedule for the construction of a new Government Center. The goal would be to bid the project in the early spring 2019. Vetsch questioned whether any cost savings would be realized constructing the Government Center at the same time as the Justice Center. Schwartzman responded that cost savings may be seen in the areas of inflation, coordination of site work, utilities, and subcontractors’ costs as crews will be onsite. The Board said a tunnel versus a skyway between buildings was discussed and it was the consensus to forego either one due to cost and a skyway being intrusive. Regarding the area designated for potential leasers, Schwartzman said that preliminary agreements would be in place prior to moving ahead. Husom and Vetsch said they will want to know the time parameter of recouping the cost of the additional space through lease payments.
Discussion followed on costs to operate the current Government Center versus a new building. Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said the current utility cost is about $360,000-$400,000 (electric/fuel). Vetsch said that alone equates to $2 million in savings in 30 years. Vetsch said placing all departments on one campus for efficiencies makes sense and would result in savings. Schwartzman said that there was a meeting on 2-22-18 where utility information was discussed. The cost for the Government Center and the Jail is roughly $300,000/year, which is about $1.72/SF. He estimated $60,000-$100,000 per year in energy savings.
Borrell favored doing virtually nothing which he said would buy the County 10-15 years for a new building. He added that increased interest rates may be realized at that time. Potter spoke with residents at the Fair about the nuclear plant potentially decommissioning in 2030. Residents commented that they would prefer moving forward with a new site versus as the burden to the taxpayer will be more in the future.
Vetsch moved to approve the first item of the 7-12-18 COTW minutes and recommendation, “BKV Group Proposal.” The following changes were made to that section of the minutes:
- Page 1, 6th paragraph, 1st sentence should read, “After considerable discussion the consensus was to move forward with the project and to look into more detail”
- Page 1, 8th paragraph, was changed to read, “RECOMMENDATION: Include costs for new building project in the 2019 Budget. BKV will review space programming with the departments and outside entities. Move forward to schematic phase. Meet and confer with leasing entities and explore cost of leases.”
Husom asked whether the schematic phase would include other entities. Schwartzman said it will. Borrell said he did not support the motion. The motion was seconded by Potter. Vetsch and Potter confirmed that the motion includes approval of the first item of the COTW Minutes, as amended. The motion carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote.
Vetsch moved to approve the 7-12-18 COTW minutes and recommendation for Item II, “Budget Kickoff Discussion.” The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
The 7-12-18 COTW Minutes, as amended, follow:
I. BKV Group Proposal
L. Kelly noted that at a previous meeting the board had requested clarification on the pricing of the proposal. He thought it would be wise to have BKV come before the board.
Daleiden noted the study stated there is adequate space at the current government center for the next 20 years. Schwartzman said that is correct if extensive remodeling would be done to accommodate the department space needs.
Vetsch questioned whether the space programming that was done for the departments includes ample space for the next 20 years. In addition, the county has discussed the possibility of leasing space and moving in the license testing, Soil and Water or possibly including a health clinic. Schwartzman recommended a next step would be to confirm the space programming.
Moving in to the areas vacated by the law/legal departments was discussed. L. Kelly noted that remodeling could not begin until the law/legal departments moved to the justice center in 2020.
Vetsch felt there were 3 options, to remodel the current Government Center, build a new building, or do nothing. It was decided not to remodel the Government Center due to the cost of the extensive remodeling needed to make the building operate efficiently.
After considerable discussion the consensus was to move forward with the project and to look into more detail. The timing of the construction was discussed. L. Kelly noted he needed guidance regarding the proposal for the 2019 budget. The timing will impact the equipment replacement schedule and accounting for the funds needed to support the project. The recommendation was to move forward as soon as possible. Schwartzman would like to bid the project no later than March in order to get the most competitive bids. To meet this schedule the space programming would need to be reviewed with departments as soon as possible.
Wilczek asked if the board wanted to move forward on BKV’s proposal or negotiate further. Schwartzman said the board could sign a contract but stop the project at any time. The consensus was to review the space programming and determine the scope of the building prior to signing a contract for design services.
RECOMMENDATION: Include costs for new building project in the 2019 Budget. BKV will review space programming with the departments and outside entities. Move forward to schematic phase. Meet and confer with leasing entities and explore cost of leases.
II. Budget Kickoff Discussion
L. Kelly explained the purpose of today’s meeting was to discuss the schedule and format of this year’s budget process. Kelly said departmental budget workbooks are due by July 27th. Budget Committee meetings are anticipated to begin the week of August 20th. Kelly noted that while the County has until September 30th to adopt the preliminary budget and levy he would like to have this completed by mid September. The September 11th Board meeting is targeted at this time.
Kelly proposed a schedule like last year. The public budget (TNT) meeting will be held December 6th, at 6PM.
The budget workbooks are similar as previous years, with the addition of new line items to standardize the chart of accounts. Departments will also be asked to provide a forecast of major budget items anticipated in the next 5 years.
The Capital Improvement Plan process has been different than in past years. It was noted the CIP, a 5 year budget projection, and a summary of position requests should be presented early in the budget process. Vetsch recommended holding this meeting the week before budget sessions begin.
Kelly noted this year’s budget session will leverage technology. OpenGov, SharePoint and Skype will be used in presenting the budget materials.
(End of 7-12-18 COTW Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Husom. In response to questions raised by the Board, Kelly stated that the switch to Administrator and Assistant Administrator will occur 1-01-19. The minutes were revised as follows: Page 1, 6th paragraph, add a last sentence which reads, “New points will be assigned 1-01-19 based on the new job description.” The motion carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. County Administrator Job Description
It was confirmed by consensus of the Committee that it is the intent of the County to move from a Coordinator to an Administrator structure as of January 1, 2019.
The draft employment agreement was reviewed. It was agreed to have a three (3) year term, commencing January 1, 2019. Kryzer stated language should be added to the contract that written notice to terminate the contract must be provided within 90 days of the end of the contract or the contract automatically renews.
It was noted that in the event of termination the Assistant County Administrator would step in until the Administrator position was filled.
Discussed wages, and the impact that the class and comp study may have when completed. It was the consensus to increase L. Kelly’s wages to the top of his current wage scale with a 2.5% general adjustment, effective January 1, 2019. The contract requires an initial 6-month review, at which time the comp and class study should be completed, and the Board can then revisit the wages for the Administrator.
Questioned whether a range should be established. Kryzer stated that the wages need to be on the chart, so yes, a range needs to be identified.
Discussed the Assistant Administrator position. Will wait until the class and comp study is completed before making any adjustments to wages. The current Assistant Coordinator job description will be updated and then pointed. New points will be assigned 1-01-19 based on the new job description.
Kryzer pointed out that there is language in the proposed Administrator’s contract addressing severance which would be paid out if terminated with or without cause. The contract should address termination in event of a criminal act, where upon no severance would be provided. Kryzer will provide language to be added to the contract.
Recommendation: Revise the Employment Contract. Prepare a job description for the Assistant Administrator position. Send both Administrator and Assistant Administrator job descriptions to be pointed. Springsted will be alerted that the change is being made to go from a Coordinator to an Administrator so that can be considered in the class and comp study. Schedule a COTW meeting in October for final review.
(End of 7-17-18 COTW Minutes)
On a motion by Husom, second by Potter, all voted to schedule a COTW Meeting on 8-08-18 at 1:00 PM.
No updates were given due to time constraints.
The meeting adjourned at 11:18 A.M.
Respectfully submitted,
Susan Backes, Clerk to the County Board
Published in the Herald Journal Aug. 10, 2018.