Wright County Board Minutes

OCTOBER 22, 2019
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Vetsch, Husom, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
Potter moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Husom. Husom presented the following change to the minutes:
Page 5, Item 10, should read, “MEADA (Mentorship Education and Drug Awareness Coalition of Wright County)”. The motion carried 5-0.
Borrell moved to approve the Agenda. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Daleiden moved to approve the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0:
1. Approve Wright County Policy Regarding Christmas Eve Work Hours
1. Approve Amendment To Personnel Policy 711 Acceptable Use Of Technology
1. Pursuant to MN Statutes 182.676, Schedule A Safety Committee Meeting For November 6, 2019 - Safety Committee Orientation Training
1. Approval Of The 2020 Wright County Non-Union Benefit Contributions
1. Schedule Committee Of The Whole, Closed Session, For 10-29-19 @ 10:30 AM, Labor Negotiations Strategies
1. Schedule Commissioners/Administrator Retreat, 10-28-19, Ney Nature Center
1. Authorize Signatures On Agreement For Development Of A Solar Energy Farm (Agreement between Wright County, Cokato Township, Harlan & Mary Anderson [Solarstone Partners, LLC] And Cokato Holdco LLC)
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between October 9, 2019 And October 15, 2019
1. Approve Appointments:
A. Appoint Richard Ward From The Emergency Management Division Of The Sheriff’s Office As An Alternate Representative On The Regional Advisory Committee (RAC), Owners And Operators Committee (O&O), Users Committee, & Central Region Emergency Management Assistance Compact Committee (EMAC), Effective October 22, 2019 With No Expiration Term.
Approve Request To Increase Auditor/Treasurer Change Fund By $1,000.00 For A Total Change Fund Of $3,000.00
Husom moved to increase the Auditor/Treasurer’s Change Fund to $4,000.00. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
O’Hare provided updates as follows.
1. 1W1P Updates:
A. North Fork CROW
The North Fork Crow River 1W1P (One Watershed One Plan) is in the implementation phase. It encompasses 2/3 of the County (65.8% of Wright County). In FY 2018-2019, the plan offered $642,377 to the entire North Fork Crow. Wright SWCD (Soil & Water Conservation District) has secured $79,500 of that funding for three projects. Ditch 10 is one of those projects. The next round of funding for FY 2020-2021 has increased the funding for the North Fork to $1,120,477.
B. Mississippi - St. Cloud
The Mississippi-St. Cloud watershed (29.5% of County) in the North and South Fork Crow River (4.7% of the County) have yet to begin the 1W1P process. The SWCD has joined respective partners in each watershed to consider when to apply for funds to start the planning process. In general, the SWCD is in favor of beginning the process as soon as possible. First, the County Water Plan covering the Mississippi-St. Cloud and the South Fork Crow River was initially written in 2005. The normal life of a water plan is 10 years. Second, there is funding available for the planning process from the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). As more watersheds join the process, it is possible that the funding will be spread thinner.
C. South Fork CROW
The South Fork Crow River has the added consideration of determining if the SWCD and the County will participate or opt out of the planning process. The threshold for mandatory participation is 5% of the county area, and the South Fork Crow River Watershed is 4.7% of Wright County. Opting out will still allow input. The SWCD has decided to support the South Fork Crow River partners in apply for the BWSR planning funds. SWCD staff will attend future meetings to determine the course of action on whether to opt in or out of the planning process.
O’Hare presented a map of the South Fork Crow River watershed. Borrell supports partnerships for both. He said if there are projects needed in an area, he wants the County to be part of those discussions. O’Hare said the decision is whether to opt in or out of the planning process.
2. AIS Committee Update
O’Hare said the group will meet later this year or early next year to discuss next year’s boating season. Bylaws are being developed. Vetsch and Husom serve on the committee.
Adopt Amendments To Park Ordinances:
- Section 92.03 - Relating To General Conduct
- Section 92.07 - Relating To General Conduct
Mattice said the proposed changes to the Park Ordinance were discussed on at the 9-24-19 Board Meeting and laid over. A public hearing on the ordinance amendments is not required per the Attorney’s Office.
The amendments relate to:
Section 92.03, beer and wine at reserved facilities and intoxicating liquor served by a caterer under permit
Section 92.07, sets the final hour for the park operation to 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM year round
Borrell moved to adopt Ordinance Amendment 19-3 approving amendments to the Park Ordinance in Section 92.03 and Section 92.07. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
A summary of Ordinance Amendment 19-3 follows:
Ordinance Amendment 19-3 amended Chapter 92 – Park and Recreation. This proposed amended ordinance authorizes the consumption of malt beverages and wine in reserved facilities and campsites. The amendment also authorizes the consumption of intoxicating beverages provided it is distributed by a person holding a Caterer’s Permit. The park hours were also amended to 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. instead of closing at sunset.
Nettestad, Huemoeller, and Flesher provided information on the Wright County Jail Release Assistance Program. The program is a collaborated effort by staff from the offices of Health & Human Services, Jail/Sheriff, and Court Services to reduce recidivism rates in the jail. The program began in August 2018 and ran until January 2019, with 93 inmates seen and only 1 returning to the jail. The program was reinstated in March of 2019 and to date, 88 inmates have taken advantage of the program with only 4 returning to custody.
Service areas include mental health, assistance with housing, benefits, employment, drivers license, chemical dependency, public health, veteran’s services, and legal. Funding for the program is a collaborative effort between the Wright County Jail and CAMHI (Community Adult Mental Health Initiative) grant. Funds restrict the number of hours services can be provided at the jail and time is limited due to the adult mental health caseload.
Huemoeller complimented the Wright County Jail Programs Unit that provides 40 programs to inmates. He said what is provided far surpasses other jail facilities. Commissioners commended those involved with the Jail Release Assistance Program, providing inmates with tools and opportunities to be successful. Nettestad referenced the funding restriction for hours of service at the Jail. Nettestad is at the jail 4 hours/week. She provided information on expansion of the Program but said it is not possible now because of time. Jami Goodrum-Schwartz, Health & Human Services Director, said Nettestad has a full adult mental health caseload. Expansion will only be possible with additional staff. Grant funding in the amount of approximately $50,000 has been approved for 2020.
Approve Purchase Agreement And Lease And Purchase Option Agreement For Trailblazer Facility In The City Of Buffalo
Asleson presented documents for approval as part of the process of the County’s acquisition of the Trailblazer Transit Facility in Buffalo.
- Purchase Agreement between Wright County and the City of Buffalo
- Lease and Purchase Agreement between Wright County and Trailblazer
- Access and Easement Agreement between Wright County and the City of Buffalo
The Purchase Agreement was presented to the Buffalo City Council for approval last evening. The Lease and Purchase Agreement was approved by the Trailblazer Board last week. The Access and Easement Agreement relates to the City’s fiber hub located in the Facility. The Agreement will allow the City to access the Facility for maintenance purposes. Asleson distributed a revised resolution relating to the execution of documents related to the purchase/lease of the Transit Facility. The revision relates to incorporating language relating to the Access and Easement Agreement.
Asleson said the final version of the Purchase Agreement differs from that in the Board packet for this meeting. The City of Buffalo’s attorney suggested changes, and Asleson is comfortable with those changes. One change with a financial impact to the County relates to the costs of the title commitment being included in the bond proceeds. Closing is scheduled for approximately November 1, 2019.
Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the Purchase Agreement and Lease and Purchase Agreement. The motion was seconded by Potter. Borrell suggested that the County track expenses related to this Facility, including in-kind services. Discussion included ownership of the Facility. Vetsch said if Trailblazer dissolves at any point, the County will receive a percentage of ownership of the Facility. Otherwise, the intent at the end of bonding is to sell the Facility to Trailblazer. The $700,000 the County invested in capital purchases (buses) is different. There is a fluctuating value as the vehicles depreciate. Vetsch said the $700,000 will be returned to Wright County. Asleson said the Lease and Purchase Agreement incorporates the expansion of the Facility. The County is building that expansion for Trailblazer. Lease payments made by Trailblazer will cover the payments. The County will own the addition until the end of the Agreement at which time Trailblazer can purchase the entire Facility. Borrell said he would abstain from the vote rather than opposing. The motion carried 4-0 with Borrell abstaining.
Asleson said that the Access and Easement Agreement provides the City of Buffalo entry to service the fiber hub in the Facility. Gary Ludwig, Trailblazer, will incorporate the described area as an exhibit to the Agreement. One of the provisions includes the City being required to maintain and insure the equipment. Trailblazer also requested that if there is a change in the size or scope of the fiber, both the County and Trailblazer need to agree to it. The Access and Easement Agreement run concurrently with the Lease and Purchase Agreement, and the City of Buffalo indemnifies and holds the County harmless through the Agreement. Access to the hub requires advance notice to Trailblazer.
Daleiden moved to authorize signatures on the Access and Easement Agreement. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Adopt Resolution Authorizing Signatures On Necessary Documents Regarding Transit Facility Acquisition
Asleson distributed a revised resolution which incorporates the language relating to the Access and Easement Agreement. It formalizes authorizing signatures on the documents and by the Auditor/Treasurer on additional documents as required.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-106 authorizing signatures on necessary documents relating to the Transit Facility acquisition. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote with Borrell abstaining.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Vetsch made the following correction to the minutes: Page 3, 1st paragraph, line 4, changes the sentence to read, “Kryzer said if the County establishes an EDA, the County Board could specify the development that will come in with the City as a partner.”
Borrell stated the original request by the City of Otsego relates to tax increment financing. Requests for tax increment financing through the Economic Development Partnership qualify if the business is a manufacturing company. Since the business is grocery related, it does not. Borrell said because of the business owner’s history with tax court, he suggested an agreement which would disallow going to tax court in the future with any properties associated with the owner. Husom noted that the request is for infrastructure for the business (stormwater, buildings), not financing the business.
Daleiden said discussion at the committee level involved the County becoming an EDA (Economic Development Authority). If the decision is made to proceed with an EDA, Daleiden suggested moving to a 7-member Board with representation to include both a larger city and a smaller city or township to provide input from both sizes of communities. Borrell does not favor an EDA. He feels business will grow in the County based on tax base, low taxes, and growth in the County. He said a business should be able to survive on its own. Daleiden said the EDA is something to consider for the future, and there are situations where tax increment financing makes sense. Vetsch added that it can enhance the quality of life by putting in the right infrastructure for businesses to survive.
Potter said the conversation began as the Economic Development Partnership (EDP) had limitations with MIF (Minnesota Investment Fund) funds. Gap financing is limited to $50,000. That model worked years ago but not today. The idea was to place $1 million in the EDP to allow them to facilitate. Potter said this has morphed into everything else but what the original intent was. Discussion occurred on the retirement next spring of the EDP Executive Director and whether the intent will be to keep the EDP, move forward with an EDA, or a combination. Potter said the gap financing needs a higher threshold.
Husom made a motion to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried
5-0. The 10-15-19 COTW Minutes follow:
I. Tax Abatement and Intergovernmental Loans
Bruce Kimmel, Senior Municipal Advisor for Ehlers, distributed a document titled, “Potential County Development Partnerships with Otsego and Other Communities” (see attached). He began on the last page, Development Assistance Policies.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, said staff was tasked with drafting tax abatement and intergovernmental loan policies in order to loan money to jurisdictions in the County. The policies were drafted based on initial ideas, but are not yet finalized. Since then, Kelly has had many discussions with staff and Ehlers related to economic development in Wright County. It would be good to discuss the vision of the Board, possible methodologies, and various options. In addition to the policies, the City of Otsego has presented an opportunity to the County. The County has stated some interest in participating. It is important that the County set strategies and methodologies related to economic development.
Kelly said he learned that the County is not legally able to lend money to a municipality. Staff suspended work on the policies until more information is received. He scheduled this meeting to discuss options and drive decisions on the policies. An Economic Development Authority (EDA) must be established. Kimmel is present to speak to the Board and discuss other options.
Kimmel said there are many ways to structure the County’s participation in economic development via County funds, an EDA, or an Economic Development Partnership (EDP). He came prepared to talk about the Otsego proposal. The County can decide the level and type of participation in economic development. It is critical to examine why the County would participate. Considerations include identifying gaps in the current market or the capacity of local government partners in the County, goals regarding new development, business retention and expansion, County participation with tax diversification, and local employment. In short, what is or is not happening that motivates the Board to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of local governments related to economic development? Why is the County’s participation necessary?
Kimmel said the County currently has an Economic Development Partnership (EDP). The EDP is a quasi-public/private entity for which the County provides some funding. It is not an EDA. More counties now have EDAs, Housing and Redevelopment Authorities, or Joint Development Authorities (JDA). The County must clarify whether there is need for a new entity, whether an EDA or something else, and whether it will replace the EDP.
An EDA is a public entity. The County Board could be the governing body, or have appointed representatives, or a mixture. An EDA has the ability to issue bonds or levy a tax for economic and redevelopment purposes. It can have public employees. County EDAs may have a range of public powers per State statutes. An EDP has none of those powers.
Discussion ensued regarding the process of liquidating County property with and without an EDA. Kimmel said counties can participate in economic development, but there is more clarity and logical division of labor if an EDA has been established to handle those activities. There are definite benefits to creating a County EDA, especially if the goal is to get involved with economic development activities.
Michael Potter, County Commissioner, said the current EDP director is retiring this spring. He asked whether the EDP structure should change, and where the County should go from this point. Kimmel said the County Board could be the EDA. Christine Husom, County Commissioner, said the County Board is also the Health & Human Service Board and the Drainage Authority. Charles Borrell, County Commissioner, said he did not necessarily favor creating an EDA, but if it were, he preferred that the EDA be comprised of County Board members. Mark Daleiden, County Commissioner, would like to add a few other members.
Kimmel said there are many questions that need to be answered. He asked if the County merged the EDP and the EDA, would the private participation that Daleiden valued as productive still be present? Kimmel said there are other questions. He referred to bullet 3 on the Development Assistance Policies page, such as whether and when the County will participate with local partners versus directly with developers. A decision-making process will need to be determined, whether through an EDA, the EDP, or other means. Will the County consider proposals? Kimmel has worked with rural counties who have EDAs because their development is happening outside of municipalities. Kimmel said the County may need an EDA to work directly with developers and not just partner with local jurisdictions.
Darek Vetsch, County Board Chair, said if the County established an EDA, any entity applying for help from the County would first need the local municipality to sponsor their request. In this case, a vetting process would occur before the request comes to the County. Kimmel said an EDA is generally a good idea. Perhaps proposals vetted by a local government would get bonus points in comparison with others. In his experience, a lot of townships won’t necessarily do this. He advised the County to build flexibility into the process to respond to each situation, but have robust criteria and guidelines. He suggested that the County establish indicators regarding what factors indicate a strong positive and others that give pause for concern. If a proposal comes in without local endorsement, a good question to ask might be why it wasn’t obtained. It may not disqualify the proposal, but prompt additional discussion.
Kimmel referred back to the Development Assistance Policies page and identified development tools in the fourth bullet point. Developers often say they need tax increment financing (TIF), a loan, or a grant. In that instance, Kimmel said he encourages everyone involved to take a step back, look at the project and the amount of assistance dollars needed. Once the need or rationale for the request is known, the best resource can be determined. He advised the County to focus on the request, the rationale, and the need to see how the project benefits County goals and objectives. He can provide the County with a range of options and the best tools in each circumstance.
The fifth bullet on the Development Assistance Policies page recommends defining a standardized process by which the County will receive, evaluate, negotiate, and approve all participation proposals. Kimmel stressed that the County needs flexibility as one size does not fit all. Regardless of whether the County utilizes an EDP, an EDA, or other vehicle, a consistent protocol, purpose, and rationale must be established that everyone understands to ensure fairness and transparency. The County can be confident that proposals have gone through the appropriate steps and will ease communication with other governments, developers, and the public.
Vetsch said staff drafted a potential pointed application system. Kimmel said the drafted abatement and loan policies were strong starts. He recommended that the Board and staff answer the foundational questions above such as the role of the EDP and how the County will receive proposals before drafting a policy.
Discussion continued regarding the roles and merits of EDAs and EDPs, and whether to combine the two in Wright County or keep them separate. Vetsch said the EDP functions more as a mentor to area businesses. An EDA does not.
Kimmel said it might make sense to clearly define the lines between the County, the EDA (if the County sets one up), and expectations for Kimmel’s role. The EDA could also be a completely independent entity. He said there is no right or wrong. Considerations include how to keep the best of the EDP and perhaps add the power of an EDA. The County needs to be accountable with spending decisions, and assured that the money has been vetted properly.
Vetsch asked whether the County could liquidate its own land holdings if they form an EDA. Greg Kryser, Assistant County Attorney, said if the County creates an EDA, it would acting be under the same powers as granted to a city. Vetsch said a property could be transferred to the EDA to sell. Currently, a property goes through a bidding process. Kryzer said if the County establishes an EDA, the County Board could specify the development that will come in with the City as a partner. The EDA can indicate what the County will accept.
Vetsch said if the County sets up an EDA, it could also create a TIF. Kryzer said in order to create an EDA, the County has to notify all the municipalities and cities and create a committee comprised of 11-15 people from the community. That committee has to submit a report to the County Board within 90 days (with a possible 60-day extension) as to whether an EDA is created or not. He estimated 90-150 days to create an EDA.
Kimmel said there is a way for the County to do what the City of Otsego is asking. He explained the Otsego proposal, and pages two and three of the hand out. Kimmel reminded the Board that he does not represent Otsego; he advises the County. His colleague is a lead adviser for the City of Otsego. He said there are between $800- and $900 thousand dollars in infrastructure construction costs for this project. The proposal is to divide that into thirds. The first portion for $300,000 would be funded by the County and paid back by new County taxes. A tax abatement for that amount has been discussed to pay back the County’s investment. Kimmel said that is not the only option to pay the County back. The Auditor/Treasurer’s Office could track the taxes from the new development to determine how the County could recoup the $300,000 via regular tax levy dollars.
Kimmel said a TIF is a stronger tool. If the County set up a TIF district, the County would capture incremental new taxes that the development generates, as well as all the City, County and school taxes. A TIF is like a light switch; either all taxes are captured, or not. An abatement is more like a dimmer switch. The County and City each decide what they will do. The parties can create one abatement for Portion 1, or each have their own. Because the County is not going to issue bonds or give abatement dollars to a developer or another party, there is no compelling reason to do a County abatement for this proposed deal.
Portion 1 entails County funding to be paid back in County taxes. A tax abatement would require a public hearing.
As part of the agreement between the City of Otsego and Wright County, Portion 1 would not be loaning but contributing $300,000 to this development. The County may contribute to this infrastructure, but may not want to do this. Kimmel said there are some protections that the City has proposed in the agreement, but none are 100 percent guarantees.
Kimmel directed attention to Portion 2 of the Otsego proposal. The County would contribute another approximately $300,000 to be repaid via a City tax abatement. The Auditor/Treasurer’s Office would track the City dollars generated from the project. This money would be repaid to the County on a pay-as-you-go basis. Portion 2 money would be repaid first.
Kimmel explained that Portion 3 is another $300,000 that the City would bond and pay itself back from a City tax abatement after paying the County back for Portion 2. No interest would be paid.
Kimmel said the County and City can’t enter into a loan for Portion 2 for the part to be repaid from the City tax abatement. If the County created an EDA, a loan agreement would be allowed. Instead, the City is proposing the pay-as-you-go note back to the County, or essentially an IOU. As the new taxes from the new parcels permit, the City promises to pay the County back for its contribution to Portion 2.
Kimmel said Portion 2 could be done as a General Obligation (GO) bond. The City could pay it back as a city tax abatement. Otsego has a AAA+ bond rating. Their bond attorney said that the County would need a rating for this $300,000 loan if they bought this small bond. At this time, the City does not want to go to the time and expense to get a bond rating.
Kimmel referred to the second page of the Otsego proposal that discusses the Pay-Go Note terms, a solution proposed by the City for Portion 1, and questions the County needs to resolve. Kimmel asked whether the County wants to provide this type of funding for Otsego to facilitate the development. The developer told the City they would not pay for the infrastructure. The City is asking the County to help them pay for it. If the Board is comfortable with this idea, Kimmel asked whether the three-portion structure as proposed by the City with its pay-as-you-go feature was workable for the County. If the County says no, it’s back to the drawing board. If the County feels there is potential, then the Board must address the points listed on the Information Needed From Otsego page of the presentation.
Charles Borrell, County Commissioner, said he was not in favor of the proposal if it costs the County money. Vetsch said the County would lose interest on $600,000 (Portions 1 and 2).
Discussion continued regarding whether to do a tax abatement with the City or create an EDA that can loan money and earn interest. Kimmel asked whether the Board was inclined to work with the City’s proposal in some form or pursue a different option such as buying a GO bond from the City.
The consensus was that more information is needed.
1) Staff will research the feasibility of a combination EDP/EDA entity.
2) Staff will continue discussion regarding the Otsego proposals and investigate an option to buy bonds from the City to fund infrastructure.
Minutes submitted by Deborah Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 10-15-19 COTW Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0. The Technology Committee Minutes follow:
I. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Update
County Administrator, Lee Kelly, updated the Committee on the progress of ERP. The County Board approved Statements of Work with both Oracle (product vendor) and Ciber (implementation vendor) to move ahead with ERP. This step closes the ERP Vendor Selection project and moves ERP into the Implementation phase. Auditor Treasurer staff have been meeting with departments about their usage of the chart of accounts, which are one of the first necessary items for ERP setup. The ERP Implementation Project Site is also set up and ready. Rooms have been reserved at the LEC for project discussion. The ERP Administrator position closed on Sept. 27th, with the interview team set to begin on Monday Oct. 14th. Commissioner Mark Daleiden requested clarification on the role of the ERP Admin, to which several ERP Core Team members responded. The position will be similar to other large function Admins that the County has, such as OnBase and SharePoint Administrators. HHS Business Manager, Christine Partlow, also stated that the position will be the Business Process Administrator as well, managing both the technical and business modifications of the ERP system. IT Manager, Pat Spaude, noted that County BA, Business Analyst / Project Manager, Scott Weiland, will be the onsite full time Project Manager for ERP, managing county implementation process. Ciber has also assigned a dedicated ERP project manager from their end as well. The project is on pace to keep progressing.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational Only.
II. Project Progress
IT Director, Matthew Fomby, presented the Committee with a prioritized list of Active projects for November and December. He noted that there are several types of projects that compete for IT resource time, Strategic, Discretionary, and Administrative, as well as many staff having a lot of time devoted to KTLO work (Keeping The Lights On). That all three categories need to be looked at to provide true transparency of work. Realizing that strategic projects such as ERP are happening at the same time as administrative projects such as Server Replacements, allows clear visibility to work. IT Staff have also been completing Time Trackers to provide more direction for management regarding workload. Presently the IT team will be utilizing a BA with fulltime ERP project management, the process to hire an additional BA is happening now, this position will help to balance the workload. When asked the Committee did not see issues with present prioritization of projects.
The Committee discussed the CAMA project with Commissioner Daleiden requesting status. Heather Lemieux, AT, Tanya West, County Recorder, along with Lee Kelly, responded that MNCCC, Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative, has requested to hear if counties are in or out with the current CAMA system, presently Wright County is on the sidelines. Once all responses are received, they will know more about next steps. Commissioner Daleiden expressed his concern with this decision. Commissioner Daleiden also made an inquiry to the Server project. Mark Kellogg responded that it is only servers that are being replaced with the 2016 platform. Fomby also noted that it is best not to go with the newest, 2019 servers, because of vulnerabilities, to which Daleiden agreed that it’s best to go with a proven one.
The HHS, Health and Human Services, Call Center was also discussed at the promoting of Fomby and Kellogg. IT has been researching solutions for Remote Access as well as Call Center function. Christine Partlow noted that HHS has a need right now for a solution to the issue as presently they cannot add teleworkers. The determination has been that the two are large individual issues needing two separate solutions. The plan is to continue with the planned Call Center server & software upgrade. The next step would be to look at a solution for Call Center that meets HHS requirements. As part of this process IT has determined that an ideal Call Center solution cannot happen without first having a solid solution to Remote Access. The Committee was understanding that the Call Center upgrade was a separate project from County Remote Access.
At this time Shawna Athman, Sheriff’s Office Business Manager, brought up the Video Conferencing project as an immediate need for ERP implementation. Fomby responded that the County has implemented a voice conferencing solution with Century Link at minimal cost, with County wide video conferencing solutions still being looked at. He also stated that a temporary solution for ERP has been provided at the Core Teams request. Partlow noted that the University of Minnesota is utilizing Zoom as a solution for video conferencing. Fomby stated that video and screen sharing will need to be implemented as this is where technology is moving.
The discussion then moved to the project intake process, with Jim O’Dell, HHS Technology Supervisor, stating that they appreciate the project Intake meeting, but wondering where smaller projects that don’t make the Strategic list end up. O’Dell wondered about low hanging fruit where projects have gone through an intake process but are waiting for IT’s approval to proceed, that they may have a solution set before them. Wondering if there is a process for different categories of projects. Partlow added that it would help departments to buy into the process if they saw results. She brought up a current HHS project that went through the project intake, it has a low cost of $3500 paid for by the department, the solution assisting in a compliance need for the department, yet is waiting for IT to approve it, and HHS can’t see where it is in the approval process. Fomby acknowledged that the project process is an imperfect system, but there are more items from the tip of the iceberg. He stated that IT needs to ensure data and operational security is met, requirements are met, and if the solution is comprehensive as a good custodial use of finances. He also noted that the new Project Portfolio Analyst will be starting soon, which will help with transparency and communication of project state. In closing of the projects presented, Fomby stated that the list will change as projects and priority’s will naturally alter. IT Staff Time Trackers will assist with project management and planning.
RECOMMENDATION: Information Only; recognition that the HHS Call Center upgrade is a separate project from County Remote Access and that both are being addressed independently.
III. Status of CIP
Heather Lemieux, Auditor Treasurer Assistant Finance Director, began the discussion stating that Auditor Treasurer staff, Bob Hiivala, Ryan Kotila, herself, Administration Staff Susan Vergin, and IT Staff Jen Rasset, met to discuss the CIP Funding Tracking process. The decision was to move the CIP Budget into IFS, which presently holds the County operational budgets. Lemieux then turned the conversation to Ryan Kotila, AT, to present the process. Kotila began by showing the Committee the process of finding project codes in the IFS application. He noted that this CIP Budget will show the full flow of dollars as unused CIP dollars can move ahead if not fully expended. The Committee was shown an IFS Budget Report with CIP Technology project expenses and budgets listed. The Committee was also directed to utilize OnBase to see visuals of invoices and payments. To ensure transparency and full process are followed Kotila brought up the Budget Amendment form, which will be utilized for any CIP funding change. When a new project is developed, funds can be transferred from one CIP project to a new CIP project, that change will begin with AT, IT, and the sponsoring department determining funding, reviewing the proposed fund transfer with Administration, after review by Administration the Fund transfer will be recorded on the Budget Amendment Form and will go before the Board as a consent agenda item. Once approved AT will then transfer the funds utilizing selected account codes per form direction. All Budget Amendment forms will be stored on the intranet Budget Amendment Library. Kotila noted that the net adjustments for these transfers will always be net zero, as they will be transferring existing funds from one project to another. Jen Rasset, IT, stated the goal of this process is to provide full transparency of the CIP Budget, so all departments can see at any given moment what their funds are at, similar to operational budgets. It also provides a clear process for movement of funds, to allow all parties to be on the same page. Lemieux finished the process review noting that any closed project will go to a selected CIP account containing unallocated funds, again to provide transparency. Committee members were favorable to this process change, requesting training materials be developed for staff to run IFS reports.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational Only. Note Process will include Board Approvals of CIP funding changes. Training materials will be created for staff to utilize to run IFS reports.
Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Rasset
(End of 10-09-19 Technology Committee Minutes)
1. Fair Board. Borrell attended a Fair Board Meeting on 10-21-19 where members were reelected.
2. AMC District V Meeting. The meeting was held in Isanti County. Commissioners voiced support for the format of the meeting. Kelly will relay this support to AMC. Discussion items included transportation and ideas for funding the $200 million annual gap to maintain the highway system.
3. SWCD Meeting. Vetsch and Borrell attended a meeting last week. Discussion items included the AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) group and membership.
4. Vetsch attended a meeting with Clearwater on an orderly annexation agreement.
5. Trailblazer. Vetsch said the operating budget was adopted for the two-year budgeting cycle. Potter extended appreciation to Vetsch and Mayor Kevin Kasel for understanding the urgency to increase funding for level of service.
6. Vetsch plans to participate in CMRP (Central Mississippi River Regional Planning Partnership) interviews for the RFQ for a planner. The next CMRP meeting will be held on 10-24-19 in Sherburne County at 7:30 AM. Adopting a new joint powers agreement is on the agenda.
7. Centra Care Foundation, Monticello. Vetsch was M.C. for the meeting today which highlighted the great things this organization does.
8. Daleiden will attend a land use plan meeting on 10-23-19 at the Kelly Inn in St. Cloud.
9. Potter provided an update on recent Owners Committee Meeting-Justice Center. The project is 60% complete. Indoor work is being completed. An update was provided on project details.
10. GRRL (Great River Regional Library) Board. Potter attended a meeting last week where the work plan was approved. St. Michael is looking for three additional hours at their branch and hours may be changed at the Rockford branch. The Howard Lake branch has been experiencing water problems. Usership is down and needs a marked increase or closing may be a consideration.
11. Transportation Alliance. Potter said the Transportation Alliance will hold their annual meeting on November 4th in Mankato.
12. Greater MSP. A meeting will be held at the Ordway in early November.
13. Administrator Updates:
A. Staff has been busy attending meetings associated with negotiations and the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), conducting interviews for the Communication Specialist position, and working on the Otsego project based on discussion at last week’s COTW Meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 10:47 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Nov. 8, 2019.