Wright County Board Minutes

BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
AUGUST 20, 2019
DATE APPROVED: AUGUST 27, 2019
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Vetsch, Husom, Potter and Borrell present. Commissioner Daleiden joined the meeting at 9:12 A.M.
COUNTY BOARD MINUTES 8-06-19
Borrell moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 4-0.
AGENDA
The following changes were made to the Consent Agenda:
- Amend Consent Item J2 to read, “Approve 9-06-19 Development Disabilities Unit Retreat” (Kelly)
- Add Consent Item L, “Approve Three Sewer Connections To The Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Service District (PID’s 215-160-001010, 215-160-001020, and 215-160-001030)” (Asleson)
Potter moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0.
CONSENT AGENDA
Potter moved to approve the Consent Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0:
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Authorize Attendance Of Commissioners & County Administrator, AMC Fall Policy Conference, September 12-13, 2019, Arrowwood Conference Center, Alexandria
B. ADMINISTRATION
1. Award Contracts & Authorize Signatures For Construction Of The Government Center, Including Alternate #2 With The Exception Of Category #2, & Approve Justice Center PR 62 Cost
C. ADMINISTRATION
1. Claim - Madden, Galanter & Hansen, LLP. 7-2019 Services $1,884.30
D. ADMINISTRATION
1. Approval Of A Separation Agreement With Sheri Lumley
E. ADMINISTRATION
1. Reclassify Appraisal Technician To Assessment Process Specialist Per Recommendation From The 8-14-19 Budget Committee Of The Whole Meeting
F. ADMINISTRATION
1. Refer To Technology Committee:
A. ERP Update
B. Text Message Retention Project Update
C. Discuss/Prioritize Projects:
1. O365 EMS
2. Enterprise Remote Access
3. Highway Fleet Management
4. CAMA
5. Datifi
6. Sheriff Office Key Management
G. AUDITOR/TREASURER
1. Approve Request Of License Bureau To Close At 4:30 P.M. On Thursday, October 31, 2019 Due To Holiday
2. Approve State Of Minnesota Voting Equipment Grant Agreement Amendment To Extend The Deadline To File A Final VEGA Grant Expenditure Report From August 1, 2019 To March 13, 2020
3. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between July 31, 2019 And August 13, 2019
H. COURT SERVICES
1. Position Replacement:
A. Office Tech II
I. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
1. Position Replacement:
A. Social Worker III/Mental Health Professional
J. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
1. Position Replacement:
A. Office Technician II
B. Social Worker
C. Information System Specialist
2. Approve 9-06-19 Development Disabilities Unit Retreat
K. PARKS & RECREATION
1. Position Replacement:
A. Parks and Natural Resource Technician Position
L. ATTORNEY
1. Approve Three Sewer Connections To The Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Service District (PID’s 215-160-001010, 215-160-001020, and 215-160-001030)
TIMED AGENDA ITEMS
BOB HIIVALA, AUDITOR/TREASURER
Approve July Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report
Potter moved to approve the July Revenue/Expenditure Report. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 4-0.
COUNTY DITCH 22
Joe Gallus, Constituent On County Ditch 22, RE: Property Damage Resulting From Ditch Cleaning On County Ditch 22
Wright County Staff Response
Gallus has lived on his property abutting County Ditch 22 (CD22) for 30 years. The ditch was cleaned in the 1980’s and property owners were assessed. Since that time, he said there has been no ditch maintenance other than that performed by the Gallus’s on their side of the ditch.
Gallus was notified by the County of the intent to clean the ditch, and he attended an informational meeting at Woodland Township to express concern. He was told that the benefits of cleaning outweigh the assessment on the meadow land on his property. Since that time, trees were felled on the east side of the CD22 in November/December 2018. Those trees were left until July 9, 2019 at which time Gallus contacted Commissioner Borrell. Gallus said the dropping of those trees caused damming, backing up the water flow which prevented him from harvesting his meadow/field this year. He said the fields are an integral part of his operation.
Gallus said that Borrell contacted him on July 24, 2019 to determine estimated damages and he provided a figure of $5,000. Borrell indicated that the County Board would have to address the request.
Gallus stated that removal of the felled trees was 90% complete on July 31, 2019, and a noticeable flow in the ditch occurred thereafter. He noted there is debris remaining in the ditch. He was able to cut hay, but it had no value, and expects the recover and repair of the meadow/field areas will be ongoing until a hard frost. Gallus provided an aerial photo of his property.
Gallus consulted a civil engineer. Using the Manning Equation (used to analyze open channel flows), he stated it is estimated that the ditch is working six times worse than in the fall of 2018 because of the felled trees. The estimated loss came to $9,000 but because of the wet year, he decided to absorb some of the cost and request $5,000.
Husom referenced a CD 22 ditch inspection performed by Mike Young, Wright County Ditch Inspector. It reflects a tire being one of the obstructions in the ditch, along with sediment and vegetation. She inquired on the plan for cleanout.
Matt Detjen, Agricultural and Drainage Coordinator, said tree removal was performed in the fall of 2018. The intent is to remove the sediment from the outlet to one of the ditch lateral’s by Gallus’s property. Detjen said a redetermination of benefits has been completed on CD 22. The system hasn’t been cleaned since 1985. His goal is to have bids out by the end of the week on the CD 22 cleanout.
Vetsch said that Gallus may need to pursue litigation to be compensated. Husom said this type of request is unprecedented at this level. Discussion followed on the contractor’s responsibility for removal of the trees in a timely manner. Detjen said the intent was to have them removed by July. Brian Asleson, Chief Deputy Attorney, stated that if the County were named in litigation, MCIT (Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust) may cover decisions made by the Board acting in their capacity as Drainage Authority. The responsibility could fall on the contractor for not completing the work properly and could be pursued in conciliation court. Potter said future contracts should include language reflecting expectations and consequences for not completing work in a timely manner.
The County Board took no action at this time.
PUBLIC HEARING FOR PROPOSED LAKE JOHN LAKE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (LID) (Public Hearing Continued From 7-16-19)
At 9:34 A.M., the public hearing was opened for the proposed Lake John Improvement District (continued from the hearing on 7-16-19). Commissioner Vetsch explained comment would be taken from those that have not commented previously, for new information, or rebuttal to additional comments. No public comment was received. At 9:36 A.M., Potter made a motion to close the public hearing. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Asleson distributed a map of the proposed LID area. Borrell asked about whether statute dictates what property should be included in a LID. Asleson said that DNR (Department of Natural Resources) rules guide LID’s, but the desire is to include the entire watershed if possible. He referenced a letter from the DNR dated 7-30-19 showing approval to include all properties with deeded access to the lake, rather than just those parcels within 100 feet of the lake as originally proposed. Also referenced was an 8-11-19 letter from Southside Township reflecting, “on a vote of two for and one against the Township of Southside has voted in favor of creating a Lake Improvement District for Lake John.” Township support is not required but considered advisory.
Daleiden made a motion to approve the formation of the Lake John Improvement District. The motion was seconded by Husom. At the request of Asleson, the motion was amended to direct staff to prepare an order for the Lake John LID.
Borrell said he is opposed. He referenced the letter (petition) sent to residents of the district which was lengthy and includes a section reflecting this will be a taxing district. Borrell said he does not feel this is clear enough, so people may not be aware of it. He is opposed on those grounds.
Potter inquired what the procedures are to decertify a LID. Asleson stated that LIDs are required to hold annual meetings to set the budget. Statute includes a section that addresses dismantling LIDs, which must come back to the County Board.
Daleiden asked whether the County must state how the LID notifies residents of the annual meeting including naming the LID Board members. Asleson said the order establishing the LID will name the first LID Board members which serve until the first annual meeting. It does not address notification, but that is included in statute. The order will speak to some of the things in the original petition relating to why the district is being formed, goals, etc. In the past, the order has typically included what powers the LID has which generally follows what is included in statute. The County will rely on the organizers of the LID to provide names of proposed LID Board members to the County.
Vetsch asked whether the LID can change how funds are collected from members of the LID. Currently it will be per parcel but asked whether the LID can change this to being based on valuation. Asleson said it depends on how the order is written. The ad valorem tax is an option under the financing statute.
Vetsch requested that the order include language reflecting that decisions on change from per parcel to valuation be brought before the County Board. Potter requested the order also include the statement of purpose of the LID. Husom said this purpose has been made clear through the process and read the purpose from the LID’s summer newsletter, “The purpose of our LID is to provide steady reliable funding to continue treatment and control of the existing invasive species already in Lake John and to try and prevent new invasives from entering our lake in the first place.” Potter requested the purpose be included in the order.
The motion to approve the formation of the Lake John Improvement District and to direct staff to prepare an order for the Lake John LID. The motion carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote.
SEAN RILEY, PLANNING & ZONING ADMINISTRATOR
Accept The Findings And Recommendation Of The Planning Commission Hearings Held June 27 & July 18, 2019 To Adopt Ordinance Amendment Number 19-4. Language changes to Section 155.03(B)(46) & Section 155.048(D)(12).
Riley presented draft Ordinance Amendment 19-4 for amendments to Chapter 155, Zoning, Rules and Definitions as recommended by the Planning Commission:
Sec. 1
§155.003 RULES AND DEFINITIONS
Amend § 155.03(B)(46):
(46) FARM ACCESSORY MOBILE HOME OR STRUCTURE. A mobile home or structure with livable area placed on a farm which already has a primary residence on the same parcel or nearby land under the same homestead, said mobile home or structure to be used as a temporary residence by a family member or farm employee. Farm employment must be the primary occupation of the resident of the mobile home or structure, and the applicant for such a mobile home or structure must demonstrate the need for such occupant to be located on the farm site in addition to the primary farm residence. No such mobile home or structure shall be allowed as the primary or only residence on any parcel. The structure with livable area must share access with the primary farm residence and shall be within 750 feet of the primary farm residence.
Sec. 2
§155.048 GENERAL AGRICULTURE (AG):
Amend § 155.048(D)(12):
(12) One farm accessory mobile home or structure per farm operation as a temporary use;
Riley said the underlined language includes proposed changes to current Zoning Ordinance language and is what was presented to the Planning Commission. At their last meeting, the Planning Commission amended the definition to include the last sentence (underlined) of (46) Farm Accessory Mobile Home or Structure.
Riley said the current definition allows a mobile home. A small number of requests are received through the CUP process and are reviewed by the Planning Commission. Reviewed are location, need, farm operation and township input.
The proposed modification to the Zoning Ordinance relates to a citizen’s petition to allow a structure (finished pole shed for habitable space) to be used for the farm operation.
Vetsch said he had concern with the proposal at first but with additional research became more accepting of it. He suggested the draft ordinance language be amended:
Last line of (46) be amended to read,
“Any structure with livable area must share access with the primary farm residence or the farm operation and shall be within 750 feet of the primary farm residence or the farm operation.”
Riley said the Planning Commission discussed this at length. A Planning Commission member that made the amendment had concerns that this use will be more difficult to remove from the property than the current provisions for the mobile home. It can be tough to convert back to a pole shed. Riley said if the Board’s decision is to require the structure to be a certain distance from the primary residence or farm operation, they will have to be clear on the access point to the dwelling or the farm operation. The structure cannot have its own access. Borrell said he is supportive of that.
The June 27th Planning Commission Minutes were referenced which reflect, “Martie- spoke with Commissioner Husom and she supports this.” Husom referenced last winter when Martie provided information, at which time she may have been supportive of his efforts to proceed but she did not know anything about an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance. She said the minutes incorrectly reflect that she conveyed support of the amendment to Martie. She offered this as a point of clarification.
It was clarified that the draft ordinance language needs to reflect that the structure with livable area must share access with the primary farm residence, or secondary farm operation and shall be within 750 feet of the primary farm residence or farm operation.
Russ Martie was present for discussion at the Board Meeting and is the person who presented the request to the Planning Commission for an amendment to allow conversion of an accessory structure into habitable living space as a temporary residence by a farm employee. He said the temporary residence on his property would be 1250’ from his home. Vetsch said that is why he looked at this request further. Vetsch clarified that the location needs to be within 750’ of where this person will be caring for animals. Martie said he is comfortable with the language.
Borrell made a motion to adopt Ordinance Amendment 19-4 with the amended language. The motion failed for lack of a second.
Husom voiced concern with the proposed amendment because of township response. Riley said township response was five in support of the amendment, five not in support, and one no comment. Townships expressed concern on enforcement. Borrell said the townships more involved in discussion were more supportive. For others, it may be the change or being unaware of the allowance for mobile homes through the CUP (Conditional Use Permit) process. Vetsch said another concern voiced by townships was the grandfathering of building requirements.
Daleiden noted the amendment is being proposed because of Martie’s request and now the Board is amending the proposed draft to make it work for him. He understands that Martie does not currently have horses, but they will be brought into that location with the person who would reside in the structure. He viewed that as different than farm help. Borrell asked Daleiden not to focus on one individual. He referenced the passage of the solar ordinance and said that related to Wright Hennepin’s request, but it was also an amendment that worked for the entire County. Husom questioned whether this is Martie’s farm help or another operation. Borrell said the proposed amendment relates to a request by an individual, but they are looking to amend an ordinance to apply County-wide.
Riley stated today’s discussion relates to a zoning amendment. Individuals will be required to apply for a CUP whether it involves a mobile home or a structure (if passed). There are three methods to request an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, by the County Board, Planning Commission, or a property owner. It is not often that a property owner proposes an amendment. He said Daleiden is correct that the petition is by one individual. He reminded the Board that with passage, the change applies to the entire County. A person can apply for a CUP or change in a structure in a habitable area. The Planning Commission and subject township will have to agree that it is for a farm operation and that it meets the rest of the definition. Vetsch said that he would imagine that before a person puts in a structure, there would need to be animals on site. At the time there are no animals, the permit would expire, and the temporary residence removed within a reasonable time frame. Riley said there is a township review process to address this. Riley said Stacy Marquardt, Planner for Wright County Planning & Zoning, sent the proposed language changes to townships for their input.
Daleiden referenced the mobile homes that have been placed on properties and the process for removal. Borrell said the townships currently review these placements. What is being addressed today will not provide a building entitlement. Riley agreed. Marquardt said there are approximately ten manufactured homes on farms at this time. There is one that is being removed with the assistance of the township.
Borrell asked whether this would be more palatable if the language would address review by the township annually or
bi-annually. Riley said that is already built into the system. Daleiden asked whether improvements to a pole shed will impact property taxes. Riley said that will be determined by the Assessors Office.
Daleiden made a motion to adopt Ordinance Amendment 19-4 with the conditions that were added by Borrell. It was the consensus that there will be annual township reviews and that this should be included in the amendment language. Borrell seconded the motion. Potter said he still has concern with the temporary versus permanent language. Once it is made a permanent structure, it will remain.
Potter asked that the question on the motion be called. The motion carried 3-2 with Husom and Potter casting the nay votes. Husom referenced the comments made by townships. In the minutes, Maple Lake Township was not included. She said she is voting in opposition based on input from the townships.
Discussion followed on the ordinance language and possible revisions. Based on that, Daleiden moved to rescind adoption of Ordinance Amendment 19-4. This will allow staff to review and present the draft ordinance language as amended at the next County Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
VIRGIL HAWKINS, HIGHWAY ENGINEER
Distribution Of The 2018 Highway Department Annual Report To Be Reviewed And Edit Prior To The September 3 Board Meeting Where The Annual Report Will Be Accepted
Chad Hausmann, Assistant Highway Engineer, presented the Highway Department Agenda items. Hausmann stated the Annual Report will be submitted for approval on the 9-03-19 Board Agenda.
Resolution Approving Amendment #1 To Agency Agreement (MnDOT Contract No. 1033820) Between Wright County And MnDOT. This Amendment Is To Correct The Federal Funding Amount In Agreement No. 1033820. Agreement No. 1033820 Is For Advance Construction Of The CSAH 39 Buffer Lane Safety Project (Monticello To Otsego).
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-83 approving Amendment #1 to Agency Agreement (MnDOT Contract No. 1033820) between Wright County and MnDOT. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For Contract No. 1502 And Authorize Final Payment To Knife River Corporation, Inc. In The Amount Of $10,000.00
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-84, final acceptance for Contract No. 1502 and authorizing final payment to Knife River Corporation, Inc. in the amount of $10,000.00. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For The CSAH 3 Full Depth Reclamation & Pavement Preservation Project, Contract No. 1709
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-85, final acceptance for the CSAH 3 Full Depth Reclamation & Pavement Preservation Project, Contract 1709. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For Contract No. 1802 And Authorize Final Payment To Knife River Corporation, Inc. In The Amount Of $123,531.94
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-86, final acceptance for Contract No. 18-02 and authorizing final payment to Knife River Corporation, Inc., $123,531.94. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For Contract 1809 And Authorize Final Payment To Landwehr Construction, Inc. In The Amount Of $7,391.00
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-87, final acceptance for Contract 1809 and authorizing final payment to Landwehr Construction Inc., $7,391.00. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Award Quote For CSAH 38 Utility Grading Work (For CSAH 19/38 Project). We Received A Quote From Fehn Companies, Inc. In The Amount Of $114,580.25, Which Is 28% Below The Engineer’s Estimate Of $160,000
Borrell moved to award the quote for the CSAH 38 Utility Grading Work (CSAH 19/38 Project) to Fehn Companies, Inc., $114,580.25. The motion was seconded by Potter. Hausmann explained this relates to a small grading project for right of way so utilities can be relocated in the fall for a larger project. Fehn has the material available from a project nearby. The motion carried 5-0.
Resolution Approving Maintenance Agreement With Hennepin County For The Following Two (2) County-Line Highways:
A. Wright County Road (CR) 139/Hennepin County Road 139 (1.5 Miles In Length)
B. Wright CSAH 17/Hennepin CSAH 157 (0.5 Miles In Length)
This Is For Renewal Of An Agreement With Hennepin County For Two (2) County-Line Highways
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-88 approving the Maintenance Agreement with Hennepin County for the above-mentioned highways. The motion was second by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION
8-12-19 COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE (COTW) MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell moved to approve the minutes but not the Committee’s recommendation within the minutes. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Vetsch said the Trailblazer Board is fully supportive of moving forward with the transfer of ownership from the City of Buffalo to Wright County for the Trailblazer Facility located in Buffalo, MN. After the COTW Meeting, approval was received from MnDOT for expansion of the facility and funding for $350,000. MnDOT is fully funding the bond payment for the next two years.
Potter moved to approve recommendation of the COTW, “Authorize moving forward with a bond issue in the amount of $5,215,000 to finance the Trailblazer facility and expansion as set forth in the proposed timetable. The motion was seconded by Husom. Daleiden questioned what will happen if the bids come in higher than $350,000. Vetsch responded that MnDOT has approved up to $360,000. Potter said the cost structure for that type of building has not changed much. He extended appreciation to Ehlers and the City of Buffalo for their assistance in finding a way to defease the City debt without financial impact to the County. The motion carried 4-1 with Borrell casting the nay vote. The 8-12-19 COTW Minutes follow:
I. TRAILBLAZER FACILITY
Darek Vetsch, County Board Chair, said there is a need to transfer ownership of the Trailblazer facility to Wright County, since the City of Buffalo no longer wishes to be involved with Trailblazer Transit. All payments on the building are being funded through the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) 5311 program.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, said the bonds issued by the City of Buffalo are not callable yet. The County would issue bonds to be put in escrow.
Bruce Kimmel, Senior Municipal Advisor for Ehlers, distributed a presentation titled “County Acquisition and Financing of Trailblazer Transit Facility / Expansion” (see attachment). The City of Buffalo (City) issued $3.4 million in General Obligation (GO) Tax Abatement Bonds in 2015 to finance approximately $3.25 million of the Trailblazer Joint Powers Board (JPB) facility. The bonds were 20-year terms and first callable in May of 2024.
The City entered into a lease and purchase option agreement as lessor with Trailblazer Transit as lessee. Trailblazer makes lease payments to the City equal to the bond payments, and is responsible for all operations and maintenance expenses. The City then makes the bond payments with the money from Trailblazer.
Kimmel said the City has expressed interest in defeasing the 2015 bonds. The most practical option is for the County to issue its own series of GO Tax Abatement Bonds as a tax-exempt issuance. Kimmel said the term “abatement” is a misnomer as no taxes in an abatement area are lower or higher than they would be outside of the area.
Kimmel said there are two purposes for this bond issue:
1) Fund the acquisition of the existing facility and agree to take out or defease the City debt for $3.1 million in a
defeasance escrow to be held by a corporate trust bank, which would make all remaining City bond payments
through May of 2024, and then payoff the principal balance.
2) Fund $2 million to finance expansion of the Trailblazer facility.
The County would enter into a new lease with Trailblazer for the facility and potentially fund the facility expansion. Kimmel said if Trailblazer had the cash to allocate toward the expansion, the financing portion of the expansion could be reduced.
Kimmel added that a third option would be to work with the Bond Council to see if it makes sense for Trailblazer to pay ahead to create a cushion toward its lease obligation instead of buying down the size of the bonds.
Borrell asked what advantage there is for the County to issue the bonds and take over the City’s debt. Kimmel said now that the County is part of the JPB, and given the size of the present and potential customer base, a number of parties at the County felt it was an appropriate move. Kimmel said there was very little risk to the County’s rating or access to capital.
Discussion continued regarding potential risks to the County. Vetsch said if MnDOT decides not to fund Trailblazer in five years, the County has equity in the building. Kimmel said if the Board decides to move forward, there is a non-appropriation option that is hard to get out of. He did not say there was no risk, but the chances of Trailblazer defaulting on the lease are minimal. Vetsch said the City is giving up their equity. Potter said they wish to use the abatement for other properties.
Kimmel said they are proposing to structure the bonds for twenty-year terms. Even though Trailblazer has been paying on the lease for three to four years, the refinancing portion would reset to a twenty-year term, as would the expansion bond. Trailblazer has confirmed that works for them. Both bonds would be twenty-year terms.
Minnesota statute 469.1812-1815 allows counties, cities, and school districts to use Tax Abatement for two primary purposes:
1) “TIF Lite;” Similar to tax increment financing, each entity decides whether/how it will reimburse property taxes to a property owner, typically for new development.
2) Public Project: An entity designates taxes from one or more parcels to pay debt service on bonds issued
to acquire/construct public facilities, and/or help provide residents with access to services. Kimmel said this option is often used when the GO Bond mechanism doesn’t fit.
Kimmel said abatements are also used with a facility lease, in which lease payments offset or cancel the annual abatement levy. The estimated abatement in the proposed situation would be about $350,000 per year. The Auditor/Treasurer’s office would draft an abatement levy each year. The lease payments from Trailblazer would offset the bond payment. He added that this tax abatement would be about 2.1 percent of the County’s abatement capacity. A standard public hearing is required to approve the abatement and associated bonds, with no reverse referendum provision. The notice has to identify the proposed abatement parcel(s). The County has the freedom to determine which parcel or parcels will be in the abatement parcel. For example, the Albertville Mall property generates about $368,000 in County taxes every year. This process legally directs taxes from one parcel to cover abatement or bond payments. There has to be enough abatement dollars to cover the payment. If there isn’t, another abatement parcel must be established. No taxes will be increased or lowered in the abatement area.
Gary Ludwig, Executive Director, Trailblazer Transit, said his organization would pay 100 percent of maintenance and operations costs. Laureen Bodin, Assistant City Administration for the City of Buffalo, said the computer equipment would stay with the facility. Kimmel said the growing demand for transit services, the strength of the County’s credit, and the small size of this bond issue helps to mitigate the risk to the County.
Kimmel said the County Attorney’s Office indicated that the existing lease could easily be replaced by one between the County and Trailblazer. It has not yet been determined how much cash Trailblazer will have to fund either the expansion or a reserve fund, and how that may affect the County’s bond issue.
Kimmel included a draft schedule of events (see attached). Notice of the public hearing would be published beginning 8-23-19. The Public Hearing would be 9-3-19. The Board would approve the resolution specifying the final terms and award the bond to the winning bidder on 10-01-19. The bond would close on 10-24-19.
Hiivala said MnDOT has given Ludwig permission to incorporate the new lease payment into the Trailblazer budget.
Ludwig said Trailblazer has been authorized to make payments up to $360,000.
Kimmel said the combined bond issues total approximately $5.215 million. Vetsch said after working with all involved parties, this appears to be a win-win solution for everyone.
Wilczek asked if Trailblazer Capital Improvement funds would be responsible for capital expenditures for components such as the roof, HVAC, or parking lot repairs. Ludwig said yes. Wilczek followed up with a question regarding hiring the construction manager team. Ludwig said the County would hire the Construction Manager as the owner. He proposed to act as “Deputy Construction Manager” to be a liaison between the County and the company. The Construction Manager would be Vos Construction from Green Isle, MN. The architect would be hired through Vos to create construction documents. Wilczek wanted to make sure that inspections and routine maintenance items would be performed regularly.
Kimmel will work with the Bond Council regarding liability issues related to the technology equipment staying in the facility. Ludwig said the building is insured by the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust.
Kimmel said he will come back to the County Board with information on how the lease payments from Trailblazer would match up to the bond payments. There would be one bond that serves two purposes as outlined previously.
Ludwig said Wright County will encompass 60 percent of ridership by the end of 2020.
Daleiden, Husom, Potter and Vetsch expressed agreement regarding moving forward with the bond issue. Borrell did not favor doing so.
Kimmel will attend the 9-03-19 County Board meeting for the Public Hearing and presale discussion on the bonds.
RECOMMENDATION: Authorize moving forward with a bond issue in the amount of $5,215,000 to finance the Trailblazer facility and expansion as set forth in the proposed timetable.
(End of 8-12-19 COTW Minutes)
SET TAX ABATEMENT HEARING FOR 9-03-19 RE: TRAILBLAZER
Potter moved to set the Tax Abatement Hearing for 9-03-19 at 9:30 A.M. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
SCHEDULE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING RE: TACTICAL CENTER BIDS
Recommended Date: August 28, 2019 Or Later
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, said the purpose of the COTW Meeting will be to discuss the bids that are being received today for the Tactical Center.
Husom moved to schedule a COTW Meeting on 8-29-19 at 9:00 AM. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
CANCEL COUNTY BOARD MEETING IN OCTOBER (FIVE TUESDAYS)
Potter moved to cancel the 10-08-19 County Board Workshop Meeting. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
SCHEDULE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING FOR 9-09-19 AT 10:00 AM RE: INTERGOVERNMENTAL LOANS
Potter moved to schedule a COTW Meeting for 9-09-19 at 10:00 A.M. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
RESCHEDULE SEPTEMBER COUNTY BOARD WORKSHOP
Kelly said the 9-10-19 County Board Workshop needs to be rescheduled as it conflicts with required nuclear training exercises.
Potter moved to reschedule the Workshop to 9-09-19 at 11:00 A.M. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE/ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES
1. Potter, Asleson, and Hiivala attended a meeting last week on the Lake Charlotte Sewer District. Discussion included bonding shortages and possible bank notes for residents that need to repay over time. Residents requested an audit but that is included in the County’s annual audit. Another meeting will be scheduled.
2. Highway 55 Coalition. Potter and Husom attended a meeting last week. The County’s Highway Engineer provided an update that MnDOT granted approval of funding for planning for five years. They are hoping for a bonding bill for the first phase which includes improvements from Loram to Loretto including intersection improvements. Anticipated cost is $40 million. The environmental work was completed last year.
3. WCCA (Wright County Community Action). Borrell and Daleiden attended a training session on 8-19-19. Bremer Bank made a generous $30,000 donation for improvements to the WCCA facility in Maple Lake.
4. MEADA (Mentorship Education and Drug Awareness Coalition of Wright County). Husom attended a recent meeting where two $500 grants were approved. The grants are used by schools for programs on preventing teen substance abuse. Also discussed was the proposed T21 (Tobacco 21) ordinance. A public hearing will be held by Wright County on the proposed ordinance on 9-17-19.
5. All County Safe Schools Meeting. Husom attended the meeting held 8-14-19. It is the 25th year for Safe Schools. She said this is a great collaboration between the County and the School Districts. There was a presentation on CBD and vaping.
6. County Administrator Updates:
A. Hwy. 25 Coalition/CMRP Board. Kelly met with City Administrators on the revision to the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA), changing the name from Highway 25 Corridor Coalition to CMRP (Central Mississippi River Regional Planning Partnership). The JPA will be coming before the Board for approval. Vetsch said most members of that group are sending two representatives to meetings. Currently Wright County has one voting member and one alternate. Wright County may want to bring in another member. The scope of that group will be discussed at the upcoming County Board Workshop in September.
The meeting adjourned at 10:57 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Sept. 6, 2019.