Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 16, 2018
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Daleiden, Potter, and Borrell present. Commissioner Vetsch was absent.
Husom moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 4-0.
Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said in September, the County Board scheduled the County Ditch 33 Public Hearing for 9:30 A.M. today. However, it was omitted from the official posting of the Agenda. Greg Kryzer, Assistant County Attorney, said that notice was mailed to property owners as required and notice was published for three weeks.
Borrell moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 4-0.
Potter moved to approve the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0:
1. Approve Wright County Policy Regarding Christmas Eve Work Hours
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between October 3, 2018 And October 9, 2018
1. Position Replacement
A. Social Worker
1. Position Replacement:
A. Highway Sign Technician
1. Refer to the 10-24-18 Technology Committee Meeting:
A. ERP Status Update
B. Office 365 Status Update
C. Office 365/OneDrive Training Requirements
D. 711 policy language change recommendation
E. Project Portfolio
Introduction of Corissa Aronson, Office Manager/Election Supervisor
Hiivala introduced Aronson who was recently hired in the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office. Aronson was welcomed.
Approve September Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report
Hiivala provided an overview of the report. At 75% of the year, revenues are looking good and expenses are cyclical. The trend is similar to last year. Property taxes were due yesterday, and state grants were received early. Regarding expenses, the trend has been a little under budget for personnel. Delays in staffing result in funding being placed in turnback dollars, which is transferred to the debt service fund to offset future debt service or to take advantage of call dates. Hiivala plans to condense the report to a narrative to post on the website.
Potter made a motion to approve the September Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0.
Approve Amended Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) With SWCD For Formation Of New Wetland Appeal Board
Kryzer presented the Agenda item. He explained this has been a long work in progress with Risk Management, Administration, the Attorney’s Office, and Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) to obtain liability insurance for a new Joint Powers entity for the creation of a Wetland Appeal Board. The Wetland Appeal Board will be comprised of seven members (5-SWCD and 2-County Board). Kryzer said the entity still does not have insurance but they will continue to work toward that effort over the next five months and applications have been delayed for that same period.
Kryzer said the Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) made the following changes to the draft JPA being reviewed today:
- Page 1, #5, 1st sentence should read, “All Wetland Appeal Board Meetings, unless mutually agreed by the parties, shall be held in the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District Boardroom and shall be scheduled to convene as needed on the second Monday of every month at 5:00 p.m.”
- Page 3, #14, should read, “The Policy Handbook adopted by the Wright Soil and Water Conservation District on July 10, 2017 is reaffirmed and readopted and made applicable to all wetland conservation act matters proceeding under this amended joint powers agreement.”
Daleiden asked when insurance coverage is expected for this entity. Kryzer responded that there are criteria which must be met as set forth by MCIT. The request must them be approved by the MCIT Board which meets quarterly.
Discussion followed on the history of this item. Kryzer explained that the Board wanted to create this new entity to provide commissioners in various districts an opportunity to have input on this new board. Potter added that there are constituents that are frustrated by the Wetland Conservation Act laws and not having a voice. This entity would provide an opportunity to be heard when it comes to a project or decision affecting their properties. Borrell said the County Board delegated this authority to the SWCD years ago. He suggested bringing this authority back to the County Board, but an idea was proposed by a SWCD member to try this joint board.
Borrell made a motion to adopt the Amended Joint Powers Agreement for the Administration of the Wetland Conservation Act (1991), seconded by Husom. The motion carried 4-0.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Husom moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Borrell.
Hiivala offered an idea the Board consider realigning the Lobby Reception position into Administration along with the budgetary piece. This would provide Administration the budgetary authority for the position. In 2019, there are contingencies built in the budget that could be transferred to Administration. Daleiden said this is something that would have to be referred to the Personnel Committee.
Hiivala said he was approached by Becky Aanerud, License Bureau Supervisor, who stressed the importance of hiring additional staff in the License Bureau. MNLARS (Minnesota Licensing and Registration System) implementation has been long and laborious. Patrons to the License Bureau are expressing frustrations to staff. The State’s MNLARS software is causing the problems. Daleiden said legislators need to be informed of this problem. This is a cost shift from the State to the local level, and software was provided that does not work. Daleiden said the request for a position in the License Bureau would need to go to the Personnel Committee.
The motion to approve the 10-08-18 COTW minutes and recommendations carried 4-0. On a motion by Borrell, second by Potter, all voted to refer discussion of the position for the Front Reception Desk/Position For License Bureau to the Personnel Committee.
The 10-08-18 COTW Minutes follow:
I. Per Parcel Rates And Fees For The 2020 And 2021 Assessment Contracts
Tony Rasmuson, County Assessor, provided information regarding current rates related to parcel assessment services, as well as comparisons with other counties. He distributed the following attachments:
• Wright County (Total Parcel Counts, Average Parcel Count Per Appraiser, Local Appraiser list)
• MAAO 2018 Salarx Survex
• 2019 Wright County Budget Worksheet
• 2019 Assessment Rates
Rasmuson said the current County rate for townships is $12 per parcel. There was discussion about raising the rate. Borrell is in favor of increasing the rate so that the County doesn’t undercut private industry. Vetsch favored letting the revenue generate as much as possible versus subsidizing costs. Rasmuson said historically the County fee has accounted for 1/3 the cost of Assessor personnel. His department generates about $500,000 versus the $1.6 million in costs for personnel. He also projects future employee increases. Potter preferred incremental rate increases. Rasmuson said the increase won’t affect townships this year. He said new construction parcels take more staff time. These new construction fees are most frequently applied to cities, who can pass them on to the public. Past practice has been that townships are not charged new construction fees, as they are already working with the County. Rasmuson said County personnel provide a lot of assistance to local appraisers regarding assessments, behind-the-scenes processing for homesteads, and tax forfeits. He said the townships pay their assessors at a rate competitive with the County.
Discussion continued regarding the amount of a proposed parcel rate increase. Potter recommended that the per parcel rate be raised by one dollar each year for the next two-year contract beginning in 2020 to more closely reflect the cost of doing business.
Recommendation: Raise the County per parcel rate by $1.00 to $13.00 in 2020 and $14.00 in 2020 for the next two-year contract, beginning in 2020.
II. Front Reception Desk
Sue Vergin, Assistant County Coordinator, distributed an outline recapping prior discussions regarding the Front Receptionist position in the lobby area (see attached). This topic was brought back for discussion after the original pool of volunteers dwindled. New inquirers are being told the volunteer position is on hold for the moment. The original goal was to help the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office move an Office Technician I position to the License Bureau. The suggestion at that time was to use volunteers to staff the front lobby desk, and let the public utilize the touch screen directory at the east entrance. Vergin said volunteers would probably not be able to cover all business hours, but ideally could be scheduled for the busiest times.
Vergin said several departments brought up concerns regarding how people would be directed if there is no one at the front desk. Monica Tschumper, Court Administrator, expressed concerns that callers would be routed through a phone tree to Court Administration and get frustrated. They may not know if they have a civil or criminal matter, and a person at the front desk might be able to help them. Vergin said there will be no reception area in the new Justice Center. There needs to be a discussion regarding the phone tree process for that building. She asked the County Board for direction regarding where to proceed from here. Should the volunteer program be discontinued? Should a part-time person be hired?
Vetsch said a front desk person at the new Justice Center would be ideal. Husom added that an employee is also needed to answer phones coming to the general County number. Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said bailiffs at the new Justice Center who work in security will have to give directions that a front lobby receptionist would otherwise provide. Tammi Vaith, Property Tax Administrator/Chief Deputy Auditor/Treasurer said Tschumper felt a real person is better able to assist customers. Vaith said that is not happening now, as County staff cannot determine whether a case is civil or criminal, or when a court date is scheduled. She said the touch screen directory is also not being used. Krista Anderson, Court Administration
Supervisor, said Tschumper wants a front desk person to determine whether the person needs Court Administration or another department. Anderson said Tschumper is concerned that a phone tree will divert callers to too many destinations, but never get to the person who can help them.
Jami Goodrum Schwartz, Health & Human Services Director, said there is no reason for a receptionist to sit in the front lobby, but a person should be designated to receive calls to the County and direct them accordingly. Kelly said initially the thought was that volunteers would be present at the front desk most of the time. He expressed concern that the volume of calls to the Administration Department would increase significantly. Borrell said he does not require a live person to sit in the lobby, but wants someone available to answer calls. Callers should not get routed through a phone tree that does not accomplish their needs. Vetsch said he does not expect someone to answer 90% of calls. He would be satisfied with 80%. Potter said the main goal is that callers get served.
Kelly said it seems too early to abandon the volunteer idea. The idea needs more discussion. Husom agreed. Daleiden suggested staffing the front desk with part-time employees. Vaith didn’t disagree with the volunteer idea, but was concerned about what happens when a volunteer doesn’t show up, or there aren’t enough volunteers. Vergin said currently four volunteers are on hold. There are unfortunately no guarantees they will stay interested. Vetsch said a part-time person could work 24 hours per week, and volunteers could fill in the rest. Kelly said it may be easier to staff if a part-time person worked a set block of hours every day.
Kelly preferred to continue working to recruit volunteers. If callers get a live person 80% of the time, that would be acceptable. Hours may be adjusted based on busy times. He said he will put the position in the budget if the Board wants the front desk staffed. Potter said his preference is to hire one part-time person for certain times, and staff the remaining hours with volunteers.
There was discussion regarding postponing the hiring of approved positions to later in 2019 to make room in the budget for a part-time front desk person. Kelly reiterated his concern about Administration covering phone calls. Daleiden said there will be turnback dollars from unfilled positions that could be utilized to fill the part-time front desk position. Kelly confirmed that the Board wanted recruitment for a 24-hour per week Office Technician I position to begin immediately. Goodrum Schwartz said a 67-day temporary employee could also be used while determining the need for this position. Kelly said Vergin and Vaith will train the volunteers.
Recommendation: Begin recruitment for a part-time Office Technician I (or appropriate position) for up to 24 hours per week, and fill the remaining hours with volunteers.
The meeting adjourned at 10:46 A.M.
Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 10-08-18 COTW Minutes)
At 9:30 A.M., Daleiden opened the Public Hearing for County Ditch 33. The purpose of the hearing is to address the transfer of ditch authority for the outlet of County Ditch 33 back to Wright County from the City of Monticello.
Kryzer said the County Board is acting in their capacity as Drainage Authority and then read the following statement into record:
1. This is a public hearing on the Petition of the City of Monticello Requesting Reopening of Proceedings and Partial Rescission of Order on Wright County Ditch 33.
The drainage system is located in Sections 8, 17 through 21, 28, 29, 32 (T121N, R24W) of Monticello Township, Wright County. The drainage area is developed for agricultural land use and urban and rural residential.
2. In 2006 the City of Monticello petitioned to transfer a portion of CD 33 to their jurisdiction pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 103E.812. This transfer was completed in anticipation of residential development on land that was going to be annexed into the City of Monticello. The Drainage Authority by order dated September 13, 2006 authorized the transfer of portions of CD 33 to the City of Monticello.
3. After the transfer was completed the area for the proposed development was annexed into the city however the proposed development failed.
4. This has now resulted in a portion of CD 33 which is laying outside the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Monticello to be controlled by the City of Monticello. Minn. Stat § 103E.812 only allowed for those portions of a drainage system lying within the boundaries of the city to be transferred.
5. In light of the requirements of Minn. Stat. 103E.812, the City of Monticello is now petitioning to reconsider the September 13, 2006 order as it appears it was improvidently granted.
6. The City of Monticello has petitioned to reopen this proceeding to and rescind the portions of the prior order which transferred part of CD 33 to the City of Monticello.
7. The Board mailed notice of this final hearing to all property owners benefited or damaged by the drainage systems on September 13, 2018. Other interested parties were provided notice by publication in the Herald Journal. Evidence of all notices are on file with the Drainage Authority.
8. Substantive comments received during today’s hearing, if any, will be incorporated into the final findings for the Board.
9. Evidence of all actions in this matter, including the resolution and minutes from the City of Monticello, affidavits of mailing, publication or posting as well as hearing agendas and presentation materials shall be considered the record of proceedings in this matter.
10. The intent of this proceeding is to determine whether or not the Drainage Authority should grant the petition submitted by the City of Monticello.
11. Based on your comments and testimony today, the Drainage Authority may make one or more of the following decisions:
a. Accept the Petition from the City of Monticello and reopen the proceeding and rescind the prior order transferring parts of CD 33 to the City of Monticello as being improvidently granted.
b. Accept the Petition from the City of Monticello and reopen the proceeding and rescind the prior order with regards to only that portion of CD 33 from outlet control structure 2 to the end of the system as being improvidently granted and ordering the City of Monticello to maintain branches 1 and 2.
c. Adopt an order rejecting the petition from the City of Monticello.
12. As requested by the Drainage Authority, please limit your comments to whether or not the Petition filed by the City of Monticello for rescinding the prior order should be granted. Comments related to repair of the drainage system are not germane to this public hearing.
13. The decision standard for the Board is whether, based on the proceedings herein, the evidence presented at this hearing establishes that portions of CD 33 were improvidently transferred to the City of Monticello.
Matt Detjen, Ditch Coordinator, said this is not a repair proceeding as it is not yet to that stage. It was discovered that there are petitions that prevent work from being completed in certain areas of the CD 33. There are areas that are controlled by the City of Monticello, and to expend any funds there must be a proceeding. The discussion today is to address why it might be important for Wright County to take back control of these portions of CD 33.
Detjen presented a PowerPoint which highlighted the history of CD 33, maps of the area, photos of some of the problem areas, outlet petitions for Carlisle Village and Hidden Forest/Niagara Falls developments, and a resolution adopted by the City of Monticello petitioning to reopen proceedings related to the transfer of portions of CD 33 to the City of Monticello.
Detjen said site visits show that there are areas in desperate need of repair (blowouts, broken tile, and culverts filled with sediment). Relating to the outlet petitions, Carlisle Village was adopted in 2005 and $167,000 was set aside by the developer for improvements to the outlet. Those funds are currently held by the City. The Hidden Forest/Niagara Falls petition was adopted in 2006, and transfer of Branch 1, Branch 2, and a portion of the ditch from Outlet Structure #2 to the City occurred. The Hidden Forest/Niagara Falls development fell through, so the new outlet was not created. Detjen said Carlisle Village is located southwest of I-94 and the Hidden Forest/Niagara Falls development would have been located north of I-94. Carlisle Village has its own system that is not part of CD 33 but it runs into Outlet 2. There is a culvert located under I-94 to outlet into Branch 2. Detjen said the outlet portion technically lies in the township so the City does not have legal authority to complete repairs at that outlet. The work needs to start at the outlet and work backward to figure out issues upstream.
Discussion followed on the outlet repair. Borrell thought if repaired to original size it may be inadequate. Detjen said the plan is to allow Huston Engineering to complete their work to determine what is needed. Detjen said the County will need to be diligent in review of any future outlet petitions.
At 9:49 A.M., Daleiden opened the public comment portion of the Public Hearing.
Jeff O’Neill, Monticello City Administrator. O’Neill said the City has tried to regulate the flow into the ditch. They have systems in place that detain water so it does not exceed the original pre-settlement rate. If the ditch is working properly, what the City has done wouldn’t have an effect and create flooding. O’Neill said the system hasn’t been maintained for years.
O’Neill said that the water from the Meadow Oaks development runs into a pipe and then into the river, which is a reduction in the water to the ditch. There are sections of the City where the bypass is not available, as is the case with the Carlisle Village development. That area does produce more volume than what was previously there. O’Neill referenced 2006-2007 when it was anticipated that the City could create a bypass, but that did not occur. It was hoped they could correct the situation for the area north of I-94. He said there is a need to resolve the problems for the residents. He referenced the $167,000 from Carlisle Village that can be used. The money was originally set aside to divert money out of the ditch.
Borrell asked O’Neill for his perspective on whether a future repair should be an improvement based on anticipated growth. He thought it could eventually turn into a regular storm sewer system which would have different requirements than ditch standards. O’Neill said if the ditch is working properly and the rate is not increased, urban infrastructure can be built around it. Larger retention basins may be needed in urban areas to not overwhelm the ditch from the urban runoff. It is unknown whether there will be a bypass in the future, but right now there is repair that needs to be done. The area lies in the Orderly Annexation Area, and it could be many years before that becomes part of the City. It is difficult to address future needs when there is a problem that exists.
Borrell said this will be a significant repair and will impact neighbors and the area. He does not want to get criticized for not increasing the size at the time of repair. O’Neill said that if the repair had been done 30 years ago, the development that has been added since would not have created a problem with the system. Borrell asked if the County repairs the system, could future development have a bypass or other ways to handle it. O’Neill said that is correct. There may be some implications with designing ponds in the future because of the size of the system, but those problems are not insurmountable. O’Neill said the City pays their prorated share of repairs for the property located within the City that contributes to CD 33. The City will be part of the design discussion and the City engineer will be involved.
Daleiden asked whether the I-94 test plot area affected this ditch. Detjen said that is correct. Daleiden said that will get addressed as part of the redetermination of the ditch. Detjen pointed out CD 33 was originally designed for agricultural drainage. It is not a storm water system. He would not have recommended additional water flow to the ditch as was decided by previous Boards.
James Biegler, Monticello. Biegler referenced a map of CD 33 and showed the location of his property. He pointed out areas of tile replacement and areas that need to be repaired. He said when Carlisle Village was developed, they were pumping water over the hill. They approached Biegler and asked whether they could work out a 7%/acre usage deal until the new ditch was built. That did not happen. Pumping was ceased and the water flow was diverted to another area of the ditch. That area of the ditch has been flooded since that time and is in disrepair, so it is unable to drain.
Detjen pointed out areas of the ditch on the map. They will look at the potential of realignment. The goal will be for the ditch to work for the next 50-100 years. He said the main issue in the referenced area is the open part of the ditch. The tile is not in good shape and will need replacement as the system is old.
Kryzer reiterated that the discussion should relate to the petition from the City and not about repairs. He will recommend that the Public Hearing be continued because there is a lot of information included and the public needs time to understand it.
Mark Peterson, Monticello. Peterson referenced the map and the location of his property. He questioned how property located in the township can be city property and how that will affect this proposed change. Daleiden stated that if a property is located in the city it will remain in the city, if it is located in the township it will remain in the township. Peterson asked about how city property can be in a township if it is not directly abutting the city limits. It was explained that it relates to the Orderly Annexation Area which is a different proceeding.
O’Neill said that property was annexed under an agreement with the township and was done so in anticipation of development. The development did not occur. When approached on taking the property back, the township declined. That is still an option under the Orderly Annexation Agreement. Potter asked whether Monticello Township is in favor of the County taking this portion of CD 33 back. Kryzer said the township has not weighed in on this either way. The County cannot complete repairs under the current situation, and neither can the City as it is not in their jurisdiction.
Kryzer recommended the Public Hearing be continued to further discuss this topic. Borrell made a motion to continue the Public Hearing for CD 33 to a Ditch Committee Of The Whole Meeting on 11-14-18 at 1:00 P.M. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0.
Potter moved to authorize attendance. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0.
1. I-94 Groundbreaking. Potter, Husom, Daleiden and Virgil Hawkins, Highway Engineer, attended the groundbreaking in celebration of the $56 million received from the Corridors of Commerce. Potter said that Charles Zelle, MnDOT Commissioner of Transportation, announced that the section from Monticello to Clearwater will have a permanent third lane.
2. Coordinator Updates. The Branding Committee held their quarterly meeting. Departments are supposed to supposed to follow the style guide by end of the year.
3. MN Rural Caucus in Glenwood. Borrell attended the meeting in Glenwood. Some of the topics included Enbridge, mining, and broadband.
4. State Community Advisory Committee. Husom attended the meeting in Brainerd on 10-17-18. Discussion included elder abuse, mental health, and the opioid crisis.
5. City of Buffalo. Husom made a County budget presentation at the City’s meeting on 10-15-18. The presentation is also available on the County’s website. More detailed information is included in the Budget Committee Of The Whole Minutes in the 10-09-18 County Board packet (online). Daleiden noted that this is the preliminary levy and it can still be lowered.
6. City of St. Michael. Daleiden and Potter presented the County’s budget at the City meeting on 10-09-18.
7. Safe Schools, Rogers. Daleiden attended the meeting in Rogers on 10-12-18. Many of the same issues are being experienced as other schools. Discussion included the use of E-Cigs by students. This is a very large issue.
The meeting adjourned at 10:31 A.M.
County Board Minutes Submitted by: Susan Backes, Clerk to the County Board
Published in the Herald Journal Nov. 2, 2018.