Wright County Board Minutes

JULY 2, 2019
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Vetsch, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present. Commissioner Husom was absent.
Daleiden moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 4-0.
Petitions were accepted to the Agenda as follows:
- Consent Item B2, “Auditor/Treasurer, Position Replacement: Office Technician I – License Bureau” (Hiivala)
- Timed Item, Auditor/Treasurer, add Item #3, “Release Of The 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)” (Hiivala)
The following item was removed from the Agenda at the request of the Highway Engineer and will be brought back to a future Board Meeting:
- Timed Item, Highway Engineer, “Approve Agency Agreement No.1032956 Between Wright County And MnDOT Which Allows For MnDOT To Act As Wright County’s Agent In Accepting Additional Federal Funds (In Exchange For Wright County Transferring An Equal Amount Of State Aid Funds To Stearns County). A Resolution is required. This Resolution Will Rescind Resolution 19-37 That Was Approved On March 26, 2019.”
Borrell moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
Daleiden moved to approve the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0:
1. Refer To The 7-10-19 Technology Committee, Draft CIP - 2020 Projects (Technology Funds)
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between June 19, 2019 And June 25, 2019
1. Position Replacement
A. Office Technician I
1. Authorize Signatures To Renew 3/4 Housing Contract With The MN DOC. Changes Include Extending The Current Expiration Date To 6-30-21 And Increasing The Per-Diem From $55 To $65 Per Day.
1. Position Replacement:
A. Sr. Survey Technician
1. Refer To The 07-10-19 Personnel Committee, Surveyor Department Staffing
Approve 2019 Tobacco License For Andre Prude DBA Victory Vapes (City of Montrose) For The License Period July 2, 2019 Through December 31, 2019
Hiivala stated the proper paperwork and fees are in order. Borrell moved to approve the tobacco license as presented. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 4-0.
Approve May Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report
Hiivala explained the report encompasses the first five months of 2019. He noted the following:
- Highway expenditures on overtime are over budget due to the spring storms.
- Fund 100:
A new line item 5711 was added relating to GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board).
Line item 5710 is investment income. The line items were delineated for tracking purposes.
Daleiden moved to approve the May Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
Release Of The 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)
Hiivala said the CAFR will be posted on the County’s website and is the basis for the audit exit meeting scheduled for 7-16-19.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 4-0. The minutes follow:
I. Legislative Update From Flaherty & Hood
Shane Zahrt, Attorney, Flaherty & Hood, provided legislative updates regarding their work with the state legislature regarding utility evaluations and the state assessed property appeals process. Zahrt said he would also touch on Xcel Energy’s integrated resource planning process and possible re-licensure of the Monticello plant to extend its operational life. He said overall the legislative session was one of compromise. No one got everything they wanted. A substantive tax bill was passed, but there was a lot missing from it. On the energy front, there was almost no middle ground to be found.
Zahrt said last December before the session started, talk was still revolving around potential legislation to reform the entire state assessed evaluation process, a discussion that has occurred periodically since 2015. Despite the initial energy behind the issue, Zahrt said the discussion fizzled early in the session due to an impasse between the two parties and lack of interest on the part of the new House Tax Chair. Xcel decided not to pursue this proposal and focused on the integrated resource planning process and plant retirements or license extensions.
Zahrt explained that there were changes made to the Administrative Appeals process in 2017 that gave it more teeth. A key distinction is that the previous process did not require a settlement to be binding, once one was reached. For example, if Xcel Energy and the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) negotiated a settlement agreement on a valuation, Xcel could still decide to take the case to Tax Court. The 2017 tax bill was initiated by the DOR to create a binding settlement process to eliminate years of litigation in Tax Court. The binding settlement is effective for the next year. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, there is still the option to go to Tax Court, which terminates the Administrative Appeal.
Zahrt said this process played out last year when Xcel got through the point of settlement and the County Board set their preliminary levy. A few days later, the County received a call that the County budget numbers would not be as originally projected due to a seven percent reduction of the value of the Xcel system as a result of that settlement. The Monticello plant valuation will be evaluated again in subsequent years. Darek Vetsch, County Board Chair, said the new administrative appeals process is an improvement, but not a fix.
Zahrt discussed several cases that had impact on various Minnesota counties. He said a bipartisan bill introduced in both the House and the Senate proposed that if a valuation case goes to Tax Court and the challenger wins, creating a large payback for the local government, the DOR would be responsible to pay back the taxes and not the local government. These tax paybacks could potentially have catastrophic impacts on some counties. Both the House and Senate discussed proposals related to state assessed properties. Zahrt said the House took very little action on both the state assessed property bill and the “State Pays” bill. They ended by deciding to study the issue further. The Senate passed a version of the bill Flaherty and Hood proposed.
Zahrt said the DOR is setting up a new virtual room as a communication system that will be available to all counties and city staff. The intent is to be a source of information for local governments regarding state assessed property appeals. The DOR is committed to five weekly updates on challenges and their expected conclusions.
Zahrt said the issue that precipitated the proposed legislation was lack of or delayed information from the state. With the old system, local governments would receive a preliminary report of state assessed property evaluations in July. Vetsch added that the DOR would not issue the final reports until late September or October, well after local government budgets were set for the next year. Local governments who utilize the new DOR virtual room will get notices of changes in dispositions prior to receiving the final report.
Zahrt said they asked for earlier initial notice of expected final dispositions to allow local governments to respond to such changes. They were hoping to move up the start date of the appeals process to at least June 15.
Utilities have to provide their information to the DOR by the end of March, which can be extended until mid-April. Usually the DOR is able to value the property and respond to utility companies by mid-June. In the end, the final bill set the deadline as July 15. Zahrt said this doesn’t help local governments at all. Vetsch said the original date was August 1.
L. Kelly said the County has until September 30 to approve the budget preliminary levy.
Recommendation: Direct Lee Kelly, County Administrator, to solicit issues from the Leadership Team to discuss at a future meeting regarding legislative strategies.
Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 6-20-19 COTW Minutes)
Adopt Resolution & Findings To Not Require An Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) For The Valley Paving Asphalt Plant (14584 County Road 75 NW, Silver Creek Township; PID 216-100-222300)
Vetsch expressed disappointment that the Board completely changed its position on whether to require an EAW. He asked Board members to reconsider reverting to the original direction of requiring an EAW for Valley Paving.
Daleiden responded that he visited the site and reviewed an EAW worksheet while there. Many of the questions could be answered without much research. He said the EAW will not stop this plant and that it just slows the process. Potter added that the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) has stringent regulations compared to other states. If there was concern, it would have been reflected in the letter from the MPCA.
Riley said this issue has been heard several times at the Board level. The draft resolution being considered would be to not require an EAW for the Valley Paving Asphalt Plant. If adopted, the issue would then be heard at the July Planning Commission Meeting, to include input from Silver Creek Township and neighborhood residents. A decision on the CUP (Conditional Use Permit) will be addressed at the Planning Commission, including any requirements attached to the CUP.
Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #19-79 approving the Findings and Order that a discretionary EAW is not required for the Valley Paving Asphalt Plant. The motion was seconded by Potter.
Vetsch requested that the Planning Commission work closely with the neighbors on the conditions that will be attached to the CUP. Homeowners were in the area first, and this will be a large change in living conditions. Borrell said the Silver Creek Township Board has done a good job of review and has asked for certain conditions as part of the CUP approval process relating to hours of operation. Discussion followed on operations that occur in townships, such as farming and asphalt plants. Borrell said people need to understand these things are going to occur because of the demand for resources.
The motion to approve Resolution #19-79 carried 3-1 with Vetsch casting the nay vote (Husom absent).
Consider Further Action On Citizens’ Complaint Regarding 21st and 25th Streets NW
Asleson said the original complaint was filed with the County Administrator and was heard by the County Board on 11-20-19. The Board acted to lay the topic over to January to allow Chatham Township time to research the complaint. In addition, the Highway Engineer and Surveyor were asked to investigate the road. The Engineer and Surveyor found that the road is similar to other township roads and that there are no safety issues. The Engineer indicated there are no unusual conditions and both appear to be typical township roads.
Borrell visited the area and said the road is in rough condition, including soft spots. He said one of the contributing factors may be that traffic was diverted to this area when CR 12 was under water.
Asleson said Paul Otto, a local engineer, was hired by the Township. As reflected in a recent email, a portion of the roadway had to be redone because of nails found in the gravel that was used. They are looking to work on this in the fall to resolve the situation.
Asleson said the County Board could continue the matter to a future meeting or indicate to the residents in that area that it was found that the road is not impassable, and the matter is closed in their opinion. The Board could find that the Townships reaction is adequate. He said it may be better to have the Township complete the work, as the County is limited to an expenditure of $3,000/mile.
Borrell moved to lay the issue over for three months, seconded by Daleiden. Potter said Chatham Township has taken the initiative to seek help on a solution, and this will allow time for them to proceed. The motion carried 4-0.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0. The minutes follow:
I. Discussion of the Law Enforcement City Contract Rate
Shawna Athman, Business Manager for the Sheriff’s Office, distributed two documents: a list of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office City Contract Rates from 1972 through 2019, and a comparison of hourly rates for the contract cities from 2019 to 2021 (see attachments).
Athman said every two years the Sheriff’s Office contracts with cities. The current rate is $74.50 per hour. The recommended rate for 2020 is $78.25 per hour, which is a little over a 5 percent increase. The recommended rate for 2021 is $81.75 per hour, which is a 4.47 percent increase. The intent is to avoid a 9 percent increase. Historically, this is not the largest percentage increase by the Sheriff’s Office, but it is when comparing dollar amounts.
Captain Todd Hoffman clarified that according to statute, the Sheriff’s Office is required to provide a base level of service to all residents in the County, whether they live in a city or township, or a city that has a local police department. Sometimes there are comments that one city gets a better law enforcement rate than another city. One city may choose to pay an additional amount for law enforcement coverage for their own police department. If there was a homicide or a felony case, the Sheriff’s Office would be required to respond to that investigation if the city did not want to. The city could also decide to handle the investigation themselves. The Sheriff’s Office has to be able to provide the coverage if necessary.
Hoffman said that contract cities have chosen to supplement the statutory requirement by purchasing additional hours from the Sheriff’s Office. There is no standard formula across the state or the nation regarding how to build a formula for contract coverage. Hoffman said Athman has created a good formula.
Hoffman said non-contract cities or townships will not receive the same response time as contract cities, but the Sheriff’s Office will fulfill statutory requirements. Contract cities pay for a faster response.
Athman said the average hourly wage for a deputy, including benefits, is $41.68. Overtime is included in the formula using a specific percentage based on known use. Full expenses, plus all equipment lines and even phone and postage costs are included in the contract rate.
RECOMMENDATION: Approval of the 2020-2021 Law Enforcement City Contract Rates.
Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 6-26-19 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 4-0. The minutes follow:
I. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Update
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, gave an ERP update to the committee. The ERP Core Team met with the Board to review ERP progress and next steps. The Master Services Agreements are presently being worked on, with the Ciber agreement received, the team is still waiting on the Oracle agreement. There are two agreements due to Oracle providing the product, and Ciber providing the professional services. The ERP Core Team met on June 14th with Auditor Bob Hiivala and Commissioner Vetsch in attendance. Each voiced various concerns, where it was determined that the ERP schedule needed to be revisited. The original schedule had Phase 1 Financials having a August 2019 – April 2020 timeline. The team decided to move the Phase 1 Financials schedule to a September 2019 – September 2020 timeline, with Phase 2 Human Capital Management beginning September 2020. With current projects and staffing changes this was thought to be a more prudent course to take. Commissioner Daleiden questioned if the schedule change would affect the ERP cost. Kelly responded that the County will need to negotiate the change with Ciber. Another recent Board decision was the approval on June 18th of the development of a job description and assigned points of an ERP Business Architect. The position was modeled on a similar position in St. Croix County. Commissioner Daleiden also asked if the Core Team had looked into a staffing resource that Hennepin County had used for Cloud implementations. Kelly stated that he had passed the information along to the Core Team. Kelly also stated that the City of Minneapolis recently posted an ERP position, noting that the County is not the only one looking for this staffing resource.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational Only. Vendor Negotiations still ongoing.
II. Office 365 (O365) Status Update
Pat Spaude, IT Manager, stated that a lot has been happening with O365. Presently IT is working on the ability to provide remote password reset for local police departments (a result of the Zuercher Police Department Integration Project). The present plan is to then move this capability to the rest of the County. Spaude then reviewed that IT is currently taking a thorough look at the O365 timeline in relation to available O365 products. The team is analyzing the remaining pieces from a security perspective first, defining & prioritizing, along with using a risk process. The resulting plan would show where we are now as well as identify a concrete Phase 1 of O365 with specific pieces and products. Then the next Phase would be identified, the goal allowing IT to prioritize the rest of O365 into pieces with clear beginning and end, so that other projects can move forward. Commissioner Daleiden questioned what was left of O365, noting that there seems to be new things that keep coming up when there are items such as SharePoint that the County had planned to do from the beginning. Todd Hoffman, Sheriff’s Office, also noted that there are a lot of things the County can do with O365 and we are only doing a small part of them. Spaude noted that Microsoft is changing O365 continuously, with new items being added routinely, this creates an environment where O365 is really never done in whole. He also reminded the Committee that the products and capabilities available in the Government version of O365 can be very different from the Private industry O365 version. ConnieMae Cooper, IT, stated that there is not a clear understanding for how far along the County is in the O365 project. That the planned review and prioritization will provide clear bookends for everyone to see. Along that note Hoffman added that there is a large cost to O365 and wanted to know if the County is getting everything we were told we would get from the licensing. Cooper noted being able to bookend the Phases will assist with seeing if we are realizing the value of O365. Commissioner Daleiden questioned when SharePoint would be addressed, noting that we have updated the Microsoft Office Suite Product which is core to the County, SharePoint is a core product as well; Spaude stated it is the next big project to work on within O365. Andrea Benedict, IT, stated that many modules come after the move to Cloud for
SharePoint with the Flow workflow product being a Milestone item that will impact SharePoint. Commissioner Daleiden also questioned the length of the O365 Project Manager contract, wanting to ensure the County is being prudent in its spending.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational only. Committee strongly advised to be provided with timeline of O365 projects as well as prioritization of SharePoint Online as next O365 item to be worked on.
Britta Holland, IT, reviewed the progress within Quarter 1 and 2 on technology projects. See attached document for details. Committee discussion noted that the ERP project is for Vendor Selection, identifying that as an item on it’s own, with the final milestone being signed vendor contracts. Zuercher Police Department (PD) integration has been going well according to Todd Hoffman. Andrea Benedict noted that Zuercher is a new platform for the local PD’s, so they are continuing to work it out. ConnieMae Cooper stated that efficiencies have been gained as the project now allows digital sharing of documentation across Zuercher and Damion with the County Attorney’s Office. Pat Spaude stated that Netmail, in regards to O365, is also completed. The MSWeb4 Server Replacement involved a lot of careful planning in regards to security and dependencies. Another project not listed that has been closed is the HR EDMS project, which was a big win for the HR team. Health and Human Services (HHS) Reporting Dashboards was the closed project spotlight. Jim O’Dell, HHS, stated that they are very happy with the results. Cooper informed the Committee that the Reporting Dashboard is actually an enterprise module and can be included in new or existing OnBase EDMS platforms for other Departments.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational Only.
IV. Call Center for HHS
Pat Spaude began the discussion with the current state of the HHS Call Center, the Avaya Aura Contact Center needs attention due to the server it is running on being end of life in January 2020 as well as the software it is running on no longer being upgraded. Mark Staller, IT, provided background to the system, it routes calls to the best available agent based on the caller’s menu choice, it also has real time reporting. Jami Goodrum Schwartz, HHS Director, stated that before the department had the call center they had call efficiency levels at 40%, with the call center they are at 90%, with calls being routed to the correct person right away rather than having a caller go through several staff members before reaching the intended end point. Service being a core of the HHS mission, the department wants to be proactive in answering calls, providing more visibility in viewing the real time status of the queue, allowing them to react appropriately, especially during periods of high call volume. The HHS Financial Services division alone answers around 20,000 calls each month. Goodrum Schwartz noted that there are limitations to the present system that result in an underutilization of staff. Mark Staller along with Jim O’Dell stated that the Call Center is an entity of it’s own, a Cloud version of Call Center could be plugged into any Phone System the County would have, thus future proofing the solution. There was a lengthy discussion regarding this agenda item. The Committee went over several options surrounding Call Center. Topics covered included four options to replace Call Center for HHS, the various call management applications and options available and in use throughout the County. Discussion touched on the phone system itself, the upgrades currently being done and also planned for the future, and how they tie into Call Center functionality. Cost and timelines of various system upgrades / replacements were a large part of the discussion. Several questioned the timing of phone system upgrades and replacements in regards to practical investments. Commissioner Borrell brought up the need for the County to provide better options for Customer Service for citizens to have the ability to speak with a live person. This review led to the desire for clarity. Commissioner Daleiden, leading much of the discussion in regards to clarifying, led the Committee to move this topic to a Committee of the Whole in order to provide more information. He directed the Committee of the Whole to cover the Call Center request as well as the present and future County Voice Environments to have a clear picture of what the County has and needs. To provide further clarity Mark Staller was directed to contact other Counties to see what their phone and call center solutions are. The Committee was in agreement to this direction.
RECOMMENDATION: Schedule a Committee of the Whole to review the Call Center along with present and future Voice Environments to have a clear picture of what we have. Directed IT Telecom Specialist Mark Staller to see what other Counties are doing in regard to call center solutions.
V. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, VDI
Pat Spaude, IT Manager, reviewed that there is a need to bring an enterprise wide version of VDI to provide for remote workers. Olga Strobel, IT Manager noted that the current VDI environment will not cover more teleworkers or occasional remote workers. Spaude added that they are looking at alternatives to the VDI product as well. Commissioner Daleiden questioned the cost benefit to remote workers. Jami Goodrum Schwartz, HHS Director, along with Jim O’Dell, stated that the new Government Building was designed with 48 HHS staff working as teleworkers, which saved $600,000 in the design of the building. Presently HHS has half of those staff members working remotely. IT will continue to research options for best products for remote work.
RECOMMENDATION: IT will continue to review historical VDI project information along with researching needs for present testing and future expansion regarding remote work.
VI. 800 MHz Radio Fee for 2020
Lee Kelly brought the annual review of the chargeback to local organizations for 800 MHz radio usage. Commissioners Daleiden and Borrell both felt that last years increase, to $100 was adequate to provide for no increase for the 2020 Budget Fee. The fee will be reviewed again next year.
RECOMMENDATION: Fee will remain at $100 per radio for Budget 2020.
VII.Joint Technology and CIP Committee Meeting to review requested CIP Technology Projects
Sue Vergin, Assistant County Administrator, brought up the desire to schedule a meeting with both the Technology Committee and the CIP Committee to review the requested CIP projects as part of the 2020 Budget process. Committee members in attendance agreed to the joint meeting.
RECOMMENDATION: Sue Vergin will schedule the joint meeting for the 2nd week in July.
Minutes submitted by Jennifer Rasset
(End of 6-26-19 Technology Committee Minutes
The recommendation from the 6-26-19 Technology Committee Meeting was to schedule a COTW Meeting to discuss the call center for HHS. Discussion at today’s Board Meeting included consideration of a broader scope, to include the new Government Center phone system and the HHS call center. It was suggested that staff reach out to other counties for information on their phone systems and call centers. That information should be brought to the COTW Meeting. Daleiden noted that voice mail is not part of the call center, but they do interact.
Potter moved to schedule a COTW Meeting on 7-23-19 at 10:30 A.M. to discuss the call center for HHS and the phone system for the County. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 4-0.
Vetsch and Daleiden conveyed information on a request for an intergovernmental loan from the County to the City of Otsego. The project will allow completion of the streets and infrastructure in that location. Otherwise, it may not happen. The estimated loan amount is $500,000-$600,000 with a 2-3 year payback. It was the consensus that the County should review charging an interest rate similar to what is earned through the MAGIC fund, or at a rate comparable to what is assessed to residents for county ditch repairs. Lee Kelly, County Administrator, said this type of initiative is common in counties across the nation. Borrell noted that this action would be precedence setting, and he supports helping cities with economic development. He suggested the Board set parameters for these initiatives. Kelly said he will coordinate the effort, but it will involve multiple staff on both the financial and legal sides. Potter said the Wright County Economic Development Partnership (EDP) includes a revolving loan fund of $50,000 for gap financing. The loan fund balance is $200,000 but loan parameters limit expenditures to $50,000. He said they are looking to bring an item forward requesting modernization of the fund.
It was the consensus that Kelly will obtain more information to present at the August County Board Workshop Meeting. The Board will discuss developing criteria for the intergovernmental loans.
1. Administrator Updates.
A. Matt Arant was hired as the Facility Supervisor for the Law Enforcement Center and started work today.
B. Highway 25 Coalition. Kelly and Vetsch attended a meeting on 6-27-19. The group discussed becoming a more regional planning group. The Highway 25 Coalition will be renamed as a result. Responsibilities were divided amongst various people, but a group of three (one acting as primary) will coordinate activities. A planning coordinator was assigned. Kelly will follow up with Board members on the logistics and associated staff resources. Currently, Wright County is taking minutes of Highway 25 Coalition meetings. The group plans to meet every couple of weeks.
C. New Government Center & Tactical Training Center.
- Advertisement for bids for the new Government Center will be placed in the newspaper for the next several weeks. Plans will be listed on Contegrity’s website.
- The Tactical Training Center cost estimate and a request to send out bids will be placed on the 7-16-19 County Board Agenda.
D. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and Oracle. Kelly said there will be an ERP meeting on 7-03-19 and an Oracle Meeting next week.
2. Wright County Economic Development Partnership. Potter restated that the plan is to present a request to the County Board to modernize the EDP funding. He requested that this item be sent to the August workshop date.
3. Washington D.C. Fly In/7W Transportation/I-94. Potter attended the Fly In in Washington D.C. and is pleased with the outcome. He attended a 7W Transportation Meeting a few weeks back, and he explained that funding will decrease in 2021/2022 but will rebound in 2022/2023. MnDOT has decided to submit for a BUILD grant for the area from Albertville to Monticello. Potter will request authorization to attend a one-day trip to Washington D.C. with the I-94 Coalition to meet with the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) on the grant.
D. Bertram Lake. Daleiden attended a meeting where discussion included the design build for camper cabins, restrooms, and the contact center. Final designs and drawings are expected in the next month.
E. Trailblazer. Vetsch attended a meeting with MnDOT. Funding will move from annual to biannual. Needs and growth projections will be reviewed. Trailblazer will be the test pilot for dispatch software. There is no cost associated with the software because of the pilot but there will be annual fees.
F. Emergency Services Board. Borrell attended a recent meeting. A vote will be taken the end of July on the budget.
G. Wright County Fair. The Fair will be held July 24-28 in Howard Lake.
H. C.R.O.W. Borrell said the C.R.O.W. had anticipated disbanding but that has not occurred. Discussion involved the hire of a new One Watershed One Plan administrator. Borrell plans to meet with SWCD staff on a fiscal agent and plan coordinator for the North Fork One Watershed One Plan.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal July 26, 2019.