Wright County Board Minutes

NOVEMBER 20, 2018
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Daleiden, Potter, Vetsch and Borrell present.
Husom moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Potter. Potter made a correction to the minutes: Page 5, Item 2, 3rd line, sentence should read, “He said the County has received over $100 million in State and Federal funding over the last six years.” The motion and second accepted the correction, and the motion carried 5-0.
Vetsch moved to approve the Agenda, seconded by Potter. The motion carried 5-0.
Potter made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Husom seconded the motion and it carried 5-0:
1. Approve A Memorandum Of Agreement With AFSCME For The County Contributions For The 2019 Health Insurance Plans
1. Claim - Madden, Galanter & Hansen, LLP, 10-2018 Services, $4,316.48
1. Authorize Attendance At County Board Area Design Meeting With BKV On November 29, 2018 @ 10:30 A.M., County Board Room
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between November 6, 2018 And November 13, 2018
2. Approve Renewal of 2019 Tobacco Licenses for:
A. City of Albertville: Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #2412
B. City of Clearwater: Clearwater Enterprises, Inc. DBA Clearwater Travel Plaza
C. Clearwater Enterprises, Inc. DBA Clearwater Travel Plaza - Fuel Center
D. City of Cokato: Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #1647
E. French Lake Township: Lantto’s Store, Inc.
F. City of Maple Lake: Madigan’s Pub & Grill, Inc.
G. City of Montrose: Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #3601
H. City of Otsego: Napa Valley Liquor, Inc. DBA Napa Valley Liquors
I. City of Rockford: Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #2156
J. City of St. Michael: W&S, Inc. DBA Corner Bar
1. Accept The Findings And Recommendation Of The Planning Commission For The Following Rezoning:
A. BEN & TRISHA RIVERS - (Corinna Twp.) Planning Commission Unanimously Recommend Approval Of The Rezoning Of 1.1 Acre To The County Board Of Commissioners From R-2a Suburban-Residential To AG General Agricultural As Described On Survey Prepared By Webb Surveying LLC, Project #18094 Because The Board Finds It Meets The Criteria Laid Out In The Land Use Plan And The Town Board Approves.
Approve A Plat “Whispering Winds Industrial Park Second Addition” (Rockford Township)
On a motion by Potter, second by Vetsch, all voted to approve the plat.
Approve October Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report Hiivala provided an overview of the report which reflects the County is at 83.33% of the budget year. Revenues are cyclically behind, partially due to not having settled property taxes. Expenses are behind overall to the prorated budget mostly due to Personal Service and Program Expenses. The report will be posted on the County website.
Potter moved to approve the October Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Approve Minutes From Ditch Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting On 10-30-2018
Matt Detjen, Ditch Coordinator, made the following correction to the minutes: Page 1, 5th paragraph, line two should read, “...since we have not maintained these ditches for so many years.” Hiivala has been in contact with U.S. Bank on a possible loan for future ditch repairs. Interest rates discussed were 3.0-3.5%. That rate would be locked for a maximum of 10 years, but Hiivala would recommend a 5-year timeline. Hiivala is unsure of when the funds will be needed and suggested a line of credit that can be drawn upon as needed. Detjen said County Ditch 10 will be worked on first, with County Ditch 33 following.
Potter moved to approve the 10-30-18 Ditch COTW minutes. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0. The COTW Minutes follow:
Meeting was called to order by Daleiden at 10:30 am. Hiivala stated the reason he requested the meeting was to discuss future substantial repair costs on ditch systems. The county can establish a reserve fund. All properties benefitted by the drainage system may be assessed to finance the fund. However, in this case we have redeterminations in process and do not have a final benefitted roles list, to establish a repair fund. Therefore, the county will incur the costs and then spread those costs to the benefitted landowners once final.
Daleiden asked if the funds would come from reserves or do you plan on levying? Hiivala stated that for projects this large, most counties would bond for the funds. Hiivala added that the county could borrow money from a bank to avoid the bond issuance cost. However, there would probably be a high interest rate on a bank loan. Daleiden inquired as to why we couldn’t take the funds from reserves, since we know it is only going to be a couple of years to levy the funds.
Vetsch stated that he didn’t like the practice of an assessment to establish a reserve fund, since we have not maintained these ditches for so many years. To assess the landowners, and they have not seen any work done yet, we would have to prove to them that we are going to complete the repairs. Borrell stated that if we had the final list of benefitted landowners from the redetermination process though, he wouldn’t have a problem with an assessment, to establish a reserve fund.
Vetsch inquired what the interest rates would be right now on a bank loan for about 1.5 million? Hiivala stated the approach he would take is to establish the amount we would need and then have various banks bid and compete on the interest rate. Potter added that right now adjustable interest rates are about 5% to 5.25% for a loan. The county would probably get a little bit better rate then that. The bond rate came in at about 3.03% over 20 years. Hiivala said he would not recommend going 20 years with these bonds. Vetsch stated that loan issuance costs are fractional compared to bond issuance costs. Whatever interest rate we get on a loan, we would charge that same rate back to the benefitted landowners. If we use reserves, we would have to set the interest rate at 3.5% with the average rate of 3% which we are receiving on investments now, so that we don’t end up losing money. Hiivala added that another thing about a bank loan, we can prepay it at any time. Potter felt that a bank loan gives us a lot more flexibility. Especially if a lot of the landowner’s chose to pre-pay the assessment because they do not want to pay interest at all or do not want it added to their property tax statements. Hiivala stated that also with a bank loan we could set up our draw schedule. We wouldn’t need to withdraw the funds until we absolutely needed it.
Vetsch added the only way he felt we should look at using reserves, instead of a bank loan, would be if we couldn’t get an interest rate below 4.25%. Daleiden stated we need to find out what the rates would be before making any final decision.
Vetsch added the recommendation for staff would be to come back with some bank rates and do some more research to have another discussion whether to go with a bank loan or reserves.
Hiivala said the other issue discussed was the terms of the assessments. In the past we had allowed any assessment over $500 to be spread over 3 years. Looking at the future repair costs, we could have a landowner with an eighty-four-thousand-dollar assessment spread over 3 years. Obviously, they benefit a lot from that system. Potter suggested that at a certain price point the number of years would change from a 1-year, 2-year, 3-year or 5-year assessment. Daleiden agreed it would be the fairest way to do it, with the option to pre-pay if the landowner wanted to do so.
Borrell added that he feels interest rates are going to continue to rise and looking at locking in on a lower interest rate right now on a bond might be the way to go. If rates increase to 14-15% and we can give landowners a 4% interest rate by locking into a bond rate right now, landowners would be agreeable to proceed with the repairs in the future. Borrell wanted to strongly recommend to the board to go with a bond which would be like a revolving line of credit.
Daleiden reiterated that to make a final decision the board needs more information regarding rates and terms. Vetsch added that it is the fixed costs up front also that needs to be taken into consideration along with bank rates and bond rates and how often they change. Daleiden added we also need to know the legality regarding the terms we can offer landowners.
Detjen stated that the final item on the agenda was to discuss the replacement of Mike Young who has requested to resign as Ditch Inspector. Detjen added that he had spoke with the Surveyors office who were willing to allow us to utilize their equipment on days of the year where they were not that busy. By statue we are required to complete 4 inspections per year on our ditch systems.
Borrell wanted an opportunity to speak with Mike Young prior to the board pursuing looking at other candidates.
Meeting was adjourned at 11:15 am
(End of 10-30-18 Ditch Committee Of The Whole Minutes)
Set Public Hearing Regarding Impassable Road Complaint From Chatham Township Residents
Asleson said last month, the County received a complaint signed by thirteen Chatham Township landowners regarding the condition of 21st St. NW and 25th St. NW in Chatham Township. The County has since received a complaint by three additional landowners from the same general area. Minnesota Statute 163.16 reflects the County Board is required to hold a hearing on the complaint. Asleson notified the Chatham Township Clerk of the complaint.
The Chatham Township Board met on 11-13-18. Asleson said the Township Clerk indicates the Township is engaging the services of an engineer to review the roads to determine repair. The Statute reflects that if a public hearing is held and it is determined that the road is impassable, the County Board can order the Township to complete certain repairs. Asleson suggested two options: A) The Board can set a public hearing date to receive input from the residents; or B) The topic can be deferred until the Township receives a report from the engineer.
Daleiden asked if there is a timeframe on the public hearing. Asleson responded that the statute gives the directive that if the County Board receives a complaint by five or more landowners, they shall fix a time and place for the hearing. Notification would then be sent to the Township Board and those registering the complaint.
Husom said the Township recently delivered gravel to the area so steps may have been taken to help the situation. Potter wants to see the engineer’s report to determine the plan of action, drive the area, and consult with the Highway Department. Husom agreed that more information is needed. Borrell suggested having the Highway Department look at the roads to make sure there is not a safety concern. Asleson said one possibility would be to lay this topic over to January, allowing time for the engineer’s report to be prepared and reviewed. The Township could do what they can now to alleviate the situation given the weather conditions.
Husom said elections for Chatham Township are held in March. Part of the discussion at the Township level included encouraging residents to attend the annual meeting in March to voice their concerns.
After further discussion, Potter moved to lay over to January the discussion on whether to set a public hearing on the complaint, as the Township Board has hired an engineer to study the roads and determine the appropriate solution. The motion includes requesting the County Highway Department to look at the roads and to provide information to the Board on their observations. The motion was seconded by Husom. Borrell said if there are safety concerns, this topic should be brought back to the Board prior to January. The motion carried 5-0.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Husom moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter.
Vetsch voiced concern on Item II, Hire of Senior Survey Technician above 12% of Minimum Hire Range. He feels the County should let the Compensation/Classification Study (Study) play out. He referenced the candidate’s five years of experience and the suggested salary bringing them close to the top of the salary range for that position. He said there are no wage comparisons with surrounding counties. If the candidate is coming from Hennepin County, the wages will be less if they work in Wright County.
Daleiden’s response is that there are many different issues with the Study. Husom added that they hope this all evens out when the Study is done. Potter said actions can have a ripple effect, and each request is being taken individually. Daleiden said in the past if someone were placed at the top end of the salary schedule, their wage was frozen for a number of years. This request is not ideal, but there are very few candidates applying for the position. Lee Kelly, County Coordinator, said this is a technical position where state wide, the supply of workers is low. It is a non-union position. The County has experienced trouble hiring and retaining for the position. Vetsch is concerned with the leapfrogging situation that will occur.
Potter said survey is not a core function of government. Another option would be to contract for services. Vetsch said the County could look at this prior to the Study being completed. He stressed that he does not want to set the bar before the Study is complete. The motion to approve the Personnel/Employee Relations Committee minutes and recommendations carried 4-1 with Vetsch casting the nay vote. The Committee minutes follow:
Mike MacMillan, Court Services Director presented to the committee with a request to begin the recruitment process for hiring an Office Technician II position. This position is included in the proposed 2019 budget. The Office Technician II position is tentatively scheduled to start sometime in January 2019.
Commissioners Mark Daleiden and Chris Husom both approved the request to move forward with the hiring process for the Office Technician II position in Court Services.
Steve Jobe, County Surveyor provided the committee with an overview to the recruitment process for the open Senior Survey Technician position. Jobe explained that the last candidate was in this position for approximately three months. Jobe stated that they have interviewed other candidates for this position. The top candidate for the Senior Survey Technician position displayed the experience, education and leadership characteristics that are necessary for this position. This candidate also lives locally and has five years job experience working within another county in the surveyor field. The selected candidate is requesting a starting salary of $33.67 per hour. The requested starting wage is above 12% of the starting salary range for this position. Jobe added that all of the candidates that they interviewed for this position are requesting a starting wage of 12% above the minimum hiring range.
Commissioner Mark Daleiden asked if this candidate has been made aware of the leadership role that this position requires. Jobe replied that when he checked on the candidate’s job references, all of his current and previous employers stated that the top candidate was very self-motivated and displayed leadership qualities in the work place.
Commissioner Chris Husom asked what the current salary range for this position is and what the percentage of $33.67 is for this position. Human Resources Director, Schawn Johnson reported that the current range is $24.71 – $34.58.
Commissioner Daleiden asked if leap frogging would incur? Jobe confirmed that this hiring would leap frog the current Sr. Survey Technician, Eric Stennes. Stennes commented that he understands the situation and believes that this is the only way for the County to hire good candidates. Stennes also commented that he feels that this candidate would be a much better fit than the previous candidate. Jobe also added that he appreciates the maturity of his staff and their understanding of this challenging situation.
Commissioners Husom and Daleiden agreed that this situation is not ideal, however, considering the candidates skill set, experience, references and character traits along with the potential outcome from the Classification and Compensation Study of correcting this scenario, they both approved moving forward with this request.
Recommendation: Performance Appraisal – Jami Goodrum Schwartz, Health and Human Services Director; Based on five (5) performance evaluations received, the Committee recommends a rating of “Meets Expectations”.
Minutes Submitted By: Kathleen Brannan-Merritt
(End of 11-14-18 Personnel/Employee Relations Committee Minutes)
The purpose of the hearing is to review proposed changes to the Fees For Service Schedule. Kelly said statute requires the public hearing. Publication requirements have been met. No correspondence was received from the public regarding the proposed changes.
At 9:37 A.M., Daleiden opened the public hearing. No public comment was taken. The hearing was closed at 9:38 A.M.
Discussion followed on the following fees:
Fiscal Agent Administrative Fee – Accounting Services $25.00 per month
Fiscal Agent Administrative Fee – Payroll Services $25.00 per month
Vetsch has concern with taking away from private business because the fees are so low. Borrell understood that the rates were expected to go up based on a conversation at a prior meeting. Hiivala said a market comparison has not been done. Currently, payroll services are being provided for free to the Fair Board, Soil & Water Conservation District, CROW, and Historical Society. As this is a budgetary issue for these entities, he would prefer providing them notice of the intent to increase the fees. Vetsch said the County also has the latitude on whether they want to offer the services. It takes up staff time and other entities could request these services. It was the consensus that this should be reviewed for next year’s fee increases, to include amount of time spent for each entity. Those that are being provided services should be notified that the County is looking to increase these fees next year.
Potter moved to approve the proposed changes to the Fees For Service Schedule. The motion was seconded by Borrell. Borrell asked that more information on these fees should be brought to the Board in the future. The motion carried 5-0. The changes are effective 1-01-19 and listed below:
Change the following language on the Fees For Service Schedule:
Local Assessor Citrix Fee Local Assessor VDI Fee $100.00
Add the following language/fees on the Fees For Service Schedule:
Local Assessor CAMA Setup Fee $100.00
Local Assessor CAMA Training Fee $50.00 per hour
Valuation Estimates $50.00 per hour (1 hour minimum)
County Assessor Certificate $5.00
Miscellaneous Services/Research $50.00 per hour (1 hour minimum)
Add the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Credit Card Convenience Fee, Property Tax Payments: 2.35% fee, with a minimum of $1.75, for property tax credit card transactions;
$3.95 flat fee for property tax debit card transactions;
$1.75 flat fee for property tax ECheck transactions
Credit Card Convenience Fee, Non-Property: 2.35% fee, with a minimum of $1.75 per transaction
Tax Payments
Green Acre Payback Calculation Expedited (within 3 business days) $100.00 per parcel
Delinquent Manufactured Home Tax Administrative Fee $32.00 per parcel
Fiscal Agent Administrative Fee – Accounting Services $25.00 per month
Fiscal Agent Administrative Fee – Payroll Services $25.00 per month
Change the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Notice of Expiration of Redemption $40.00 $100.00
Auditor’s Certificate of Compliance $30.00 $75.00
Green Acre Payback Calculation $25.00 per parcel $50.00 per parcel
Delinquent Tax Parcel Administrative Fee Delinquent Real Estate Tax Administrative Fee
Add the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Credit Card Convenience Fee 2.45% fee, with a minimum of $1.75, for License Bureau debit and credit card transactions
Change the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Credit Card Convenience Fee, Non-Property 2.35% fee, with a minimum of $1.75 per transaction
Special Detail Fee $60.00/hour $65.00/hour-two hour minimum, prepayment required unless post payment approved by Chief Deputy or Sheriff
Deputy Time on Seizure $50.00/hour $60.00/hour-one hour minimum, prepayment required unless post payment approved by Chief Deputy or Sheriff
Change the following fee on the Schedule:
Subdivision and CIC Plat, or registered land survey (RLS): $300.00 per plat + $35 $40 per lot
Add the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Beacon – Interactive GIS Map Subscription
$300.00 per year
$25.00 per month
$10.00 per day (24 hour)
Add the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Credit Card Convenience Fee 2.35% fee, with a minimum of $1.75 per transaction
Add the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Credit Card Convenience Fee 2.35% fee, with a minimum of $1.75 per transaction
Add/change/remove the following language/fees on the Schedule:
Revenue Recapture for Full Cost Debts Miscellaneous Fees (EHM, Drug Test, etc.) Fee determination
Minimum Subpoena Rate $600 or per contract
Employee Costs
Social Services $73/hr $76/hr.
Financial Services $51/hr $55/hr.
Public Health Services $53/hr $49/hr.
Office Support $27/hr.
Public Health Services:
Hepatitis B Shot (public) $45
Hepatitis B Shot (private) $65
Mantoux Test (public) $35
Mantoux Test (private) $40
I. Social Service Fees:
Licensure Training - Daycare Providers $18
Child Care Background Checks $100
* These fees are eligible for the sliding fee scale below:
Add the following language/fees on the schedule:
Notary Services $1.00 MN Statute 357.17
Color Copies $1.00 per copy
(End of changes to the Fees For Service Schedule)
1. Daleiden provided stats from an article in the Elk River Star News. Wright and Sherburne Counties are in the top ten for growth. Wright is tied for fourth place, with a 7.7% rate of growth since 2010. The metro area has seen the fastest growth.
2. Park Commission. Daleiden attended a meeting on 11-19-18. The Commission declined an offer to purchase park property. In the past, the County has allowed campers to bring in their own firewood. Because of emerald ash bore, any wood that is brought into the County cannot leave. Also discussed was fuel wood permits. There are 10-12 Wright County residents that clear wood in parks and use it for fuel. Past rules were that it is a County resident or someone who lives within 15 miles of the park. Because of the emerald ash bore problem, wood cannot be taken out of the County. It was recommended that the Parks Department start inventorying and planning replacement of ash trees in the park (trees showing stress). Various winter programs are available and are listed under the Parks Department on the County website.
3. Vetsch participated in the Stop For Me campaign designed to educate the public on safety and laws in crosswalks, sponsored by Public Health and the Sheriff’s Office.
4. Clearwater River Watershed District. Vetsch attended a meeting on 11-19-18 and met the new Administrator, Sonja Mosley. The Mobitrack is a product discussed that would be a helpful tool for the CRWD and other partner watersheds.
5. Coordinator Updates:
A. MACA Executive Meeting. Kelly attended a meeting on 11-09-18. Various issues were discussed. An update was provided by AMC (Association of Minnesota Counties) on the elections.
B. Kelly plans to meet with Sheriff elect Sean Deringer today to discuss operations between Administration and Sheriff.
C. Condolences were expressed to the family of Randy Des Marais, who recently passed away. Des Marais worked for the County for 29 years including the position of Deputy Assessor. Kelly said he did a great job for the County. It was added that when the former County Assessor was out on medical leave, Des Marais delayed his retirement to assist in his absence. The Board acknowledged that Des Marais went above and beyond for the residents in that time of need, and expressed appreciation for what he did.
6. 12-11-18 Committee Of The Whole Meeting. Borrell said that he was in contact with Luke Johnson, Soil & Water Conservation District. There may be a need to reschedule the 12-11-18 COTW date. Kelly will follow up with Johnson to determine whether there is a conflict. If a change is needed, it will be brought to the next County Board Meeting.
7. Wright County Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council. Husom attended a meeting last week. Topics discussed included county emergency management updates, the opioid epidemic, and avian flu in Stearns County (in animals). Husom said the group also talked about the problems associated with mental health patients who are brought to hospitals that have no space. Because of this, Centra Care in Monticello and Allina Hospital in Buffalo will not go into diversion status at the same time. Personal safety for fire fighters was discussed. The requirements and training have increased. Daleiden suggested that regional fire departments may have to be investigated. Husom said the problem is there is no stable funding source. It is difficult for smaller communities to continue to fund their fire departments. Husom said fire fighters and emergency responders do a tremendous service for our communities.
The meeting adjourned at 10:02 A.M.
County Board Minutes Submitted by: Susan Backes, Clerk to the County Board
Published in the Herald Journal Dec. 7, 2018.