BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
DECEMBER 17, 2019
DATE APPROVED: DECEMBER 31, 2019
The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Vetsch, Husom, Daleiden, Potter and Borrell present.
COUNTY BOARD MINUTES 12-03-19 AM MEETING
Husom moved to approve the 12-03-19 County Board Minutes AM Meeting. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
COUNTY BOARD MINUTES 12-03-19 PM MEETING
Daleiden moved to approve the 12-03-19 County Board Minutes AM Meeting. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, announced the cancellation of the Owners Committee Meeting, New Government Center, scheduled for 12-18-19 at 10:30 AM. The meeting is being cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.
Potter 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 Husom and carried 5-0:
1. Approve Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) Between International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 49ers And Wright County For Ten-Hour Work Days For The Highway Engineering Division
1. Approve The 2020 Non-Union Salary Ranges, Eff. January 1, 2020
1. Requesting Adoption, Amending The Wright County DOT Drug And Alcohol Testing Policy For Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers To Comply With The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Clearinghouse Final Rule.
1. Authorize Signatures On Contracts For Professional Services Of Guardianship And Conservatorship With Lutheran Social Services Of Minnesota, Contract Term Of January 1, 2020 Through December 31, 2020.
2. Authorize Signatures On Contract For Professional Services Of Guardianship And Conservatorship With Solid Oak Financial Services, Contract Term Of November 1, 2019 Through December 31, 2020.
1. Authorize Signatures On Purchase Agreement With Braun Property LLC For PID # 114-010-001010.
1. Authorize Signatures on the Holder’s Acceptance of Conservation Easement for Cedar Lake Estates Plat.
1. Approve Budget Amendment 092019 Increasing Election Revenue And Expenditure Line Items To Account For Not Offsetting The Expenses By The Revenues:
01-071-000-0000-5801 REFUNDS AND REIMBURSEMENTS -$21,591
01-071-000-0000-6260 SOFTWARE OR SYSTEMS SUPPORT $21,591
2. Approve Budget Amendment 102019 Increasing The Capital Improvement Budget To Account For The Building Of The New County Facilities:
34-162-000-0000-6602 BUILDING CONSTRUCTION $39,107,111
34-163-000-0000-5950 BOND PROCEEDS -$53,521,480
34-163-000-0000-6602 BUILDING CONSTRUCTION $53,521,480
34-164-000-0000-5950 BOND PROCEEDS -$ 5,885,335
34-164-000-0000-6602 BUILDING CONSTRUCTION $ 5,885,335
3. Authorize Signatures For The Conservation Easement On The County Ditch #10 Holding Pond
4. Approve Renewal of 2020 Tobacco Licenses For:
Albertville: Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA Speedway #5048; Dooley’s Petroleum, Inc. DBA Emma’s Express; Westside Liquor of Albertville, Inc. DBA Westside Liquor; Albertville Tobacco and Vapor, Inc. DBA Albertville Tobacco and Vapor
Clearwater: Holiday Stationstores, LLC #254; CTP, Inc. DBA Clearwater Travel Plaza Fuel Center; CTP, Inc. DBA Clearwater Travel Plaza
Delano: Holiday Stationstores, LLC #214; City of Delano DBA Delano Wine & Spirits
Maple Lake: Madigan’s Pub & Grill, Inc.
Monticello: Holiday Stationstores, LLC #196; Holiday Stationstores, LLC #344; Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA Speedway #4479; Monticello Smoke Shop, Inc. DNA Monti Smoke Shop
Otsego: Holiday/Otsego, LLC DBA Holiday Stationstore #378
St. Michael: Marohn’s St. Michael Marketplace, Inc. DBA The Marketplace; Holiday Stationstores, LLC #394; Backyard Liquor, Inc.; Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA Speedway #4554; Northern Tier Retail, LLC DBA Speedway #4267
5. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between November 26, 2019 And December 10, 2019
H. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
1. Approve New 2-Year Contract: TreeHouse (Teens & Transition Program) - January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021
2. Approve Grant-Funded Out-Of-State Travel For Rebecca Graham, Jacob Anson And Eleanor Vanasse: 2020 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, Nashville, TN, April 13 - 16, 2020. Funded By Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP)
3. Position Replacements:
A. Case Aide
B. Social Worker
I. PARKS & RECREATION
1. Confirm Commissioner District 3 - Parks Commission Appointment Sarah Hansen, of Albertville, MN, Effective January 1, 2020 Term Ends On December 31, 2023 (Three Year Term).
TIMED AGENDA ITEMS
SUE VERGIN, ASSISTANT COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR
Introduction Of John Holler, Communications Specialist
Vergin introduced John Holler who was recently hired as the Communications Specialist in the Administration Office. Holler was welcomed.
TONY RASMUSON, COUNTY ASSESSOR
Presentation Of Retirement Plaque To Jim Borrett, Acknowledging 19 Years Of service As A Property Appraiser For The Wright County Assessor’s Office
Rasmuson presented Jim Borrett with a retirement plaque for his 19 years of service to Wright County as a Property Appraiser. Borrett’s tenure focused on assessment work in the City of Buffalo, and he also assisted with special projects and assessment work in other districts as needed. Borrett is described as conscientious, professional, and one who provides leadership to others. Borrett extended appreciation to past and current County Boards for the support offered to the Assessor’s Office. He thanked management and staff in the Assessor’s Office, including co-worker Dawn Nolte for her expertise. He acknowledged the City of Buffalo administration and the residents of the City of Buffalo.
CAPTAIN TODD HOFFMAN, SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Schedule 911 Planning Committee For The Week Of January 20, 2020. Agenda Items Include ARMER Radio Connectivity, Dispatch Center, And Backup Dispatch Center.
Shawna Athman, Sheriff’s Office Business Manager, requested the Board set the meeting the week of 1-20-20.
Potter moved to schedule the 911 Planning Committee Meeting for 1-21-20 at 10:30 AM. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
TRACY JANIKULA, FEEDLOT ADMINISTRATOR, PLANNING & ZONING
Review Wright County Feedlot Grant Agreement And Authorize Chairman’s Signature On Agreement
Janikula explained that feedlots no longer are included as part of the Natural Resources Block Grant through the Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD). The two-year grant has a not-to-exceed figure of $64,802, and the County’s match requirement is $19,076. Borrell questioned whether the funding level from the State is decreasing. Janikula said what is appropriated by the State Legislature has been constant for fourteen years. They have requested each legislative session for an increase, but that has not happened. Wright County is funded for approximately 286 feedlots. Feedlot registrations can be completed by anyone that has a knowledge of the operation.
Daleiden moved to accept and to authorize signatures on the Wright County Feedlot Grant Agreement through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
ALICIA O’HARE, WATER RESOURCE SPECIALIST - WRIGHT SOIL & WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
Adopt Aquatic Invasive Species Delegation Resolution For 2020
The Legislature provides $10,000,000 to Minnesota counties for a County Program AID grant for AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species) prevention. The amount designated for each county is based on the number of watercraft trailer launches as well as the number of watercraft trailer parking spaces within each county. Wright County was allocated approximately 2.3% of the total which equates to $227,249 for 2020. O’Hare said the draft resolution accepts the aid and designates oversight of Wright County’s AIS prevention efforts to the Wright SWCD. It also delegates to the SWCD the responsibility to implement reporting and funding allocation requirements in the above legislation. Daleiden asked whether the Board will receive a breakdown on how funding is spent. O’Hare responded that information will be provided. There will be some rollover from 2019 and the funds will be allocated early in 2020.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-118 accepting the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Aid, designating oversight of the Wright County AIS prevention efforts to the Wright SWCD, and delegating the responsibility to implement reporting and funding allocation requirements in the above legislation. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
MARC MATTICE, PARKS & RECREATION DIRECTOR
Take Action On Parks Commission Recommendations (December 2, 2019)
A. Authorize The Director of Parks and Recreations To Establish A Partnership Which Includes The Purchase And Placement Of A CD3 Station at Schroeder Park With The Cedar Lake Conservation Club Utilizing Designated Campground Funds For 50% Of The Purchase Price.
Mattice presented recommendations from the Parks Commission Meeting of 12-02-19. In attendance at the Board Meeting were members of the Cedar Lake Conservation Club. The recommendation is to purchase a CD3 Station at Schroeder Park for approximately $34,000. The CD3 Station is solar powered and provides tools that empower the public to increase their compliance with AIS rules and regulations. CD3 Station is a waterless unit that includes a shop vac, compressed air, and hand tools.
Approval includes establishing a partnership with the Cedar Lake Conservation Club for purchase and placement of the unit at Schroeder Park with a 50/50 cost share and up to five years of maintenance. Maintenance is estimated at $1,500/year. Mattice and the Parks Commission recommend utilizing the Schroeder Park campground fees account for this purchase. Daleiden asked whether the CRWD (Clearwater River Watershed District) was consulted on possible contribution of funds toward this purchase. Karen Lohn, Past President of the Cedar Lake Conservation Club, said that the CRWD funds have been utilized for mapping and AIS treatment of Cedar Lake. She would be surprised if that money could be used for the CD3 station.
Potter asked whether a portable unit can be purchased in the future. O’Hare stated that there is a portable version available, and AIS funds are a possible funding source. Mattice received a request from Limestone Lake for a partnership; however, Wright County does not own the access on that Lake. The County has seven designated lake accesses that are managed.
Daleiden moved to authorize establishing a partnership with the Cedar Lake Conservation Club for the purchase and placement of a CD3 Station at Schroeder Park, utilizing designated campground fees for 50% of the purchase price. The motion was seconded by Husom. Mattice will work with the Attorney’s Office and County Administrator on developing this partnership. Mattice is authorized to sign the agreement. Vetsch extended appreciation to the Cedar Lake Conservation Club for providing funds to make this happen. He said those residents are dedicating their personal funds to preserve the quality of the lake. The motion carried 5-0.
B. Authorize The Parks and Recreation Department To Apply For Three Grants Offered Through The MN DNR Local Grants Program:
1. The Federal Recreation Trail Grant: This is a $120k grant with a $60k match. This would be used to purchase grooming equipment, adding one unit to the fleet to assist with increased grooming demands.
Daleiden moved to approve applying for the grant. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
2. The Outdoor Recreation Grant: This is a $150k grant with a $75K match. This would be used to purchase additional playground equipment at Beebe Lake.
Daleiden moved to approve applying for the grant. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
3. No Child Left Inside/DNR: This is a $50k grant with a $10k match. This would be used to create a Nature Play Trail at Bertram Park.
Daleiden moved to approve applying for the grant. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
BRIAN ASLESON, CHIEF DEPUTY ATTORNEY
Appoint Members Of Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Service District Advisory Committee
Asleson said a Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting was held on 11-05-19 to discuss the formation of the seven-member advisory board to address the shortfall of bond payments beginning in 2020 for the Subordinate Sewer District. The suggested membership includes a member from each of the lakes, one member without lake frontage, a member of the township, and a county commissioner.
Daleiden made a motion to appoint members of the Charlotte/Martha Subordinate Sewer District Advisory Committee. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0:
County Commissioner Mike Potter
Town Board Supervisor Greg Eckblad
Landowner w/o Lake Frontage Laura Baloun
Lake Charlotte Landowners Robin Kohn
Tom Larson (alternate)
Lake Martha Landowners Rick Dehmer
Jim Miller (alternate)
The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
VIRGIL HAWKINS, HIGHWAY ENGINEER
Award Contract No. 1910, Highway 19 & 38 Reconstruction/Expansion Project, To Mathiowetz Construction Company Of Sleepy Eye, MN. In The Amount Of $9,801,755.09.
Chad Hausmann, Assistant Highway Engineer, said this project is for reconstruction of Highways 19 and 38 near the Albertville outlet mall. Bids were opened in May. The project was rebid due to the cost, and bids came in $2.7 million in less cost to the County. This project involves a partnership with Albertville and Otsego and a joint powers board for water. The City of Albertville approved their share at their meeting on 12-16-19.
Potter moved to award Contract No. 1910 for the Highway 19 & 38 Reconstruction Project to Mathiowetz Construction Company of Sleepy Eye, $9,801,755.09. The motion was seconded by Borrell. The motion carried 5-0
Approve Resolution Authorizing Distribution Of A Negative Declaration On The Need For An EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) For The CSAH 39 Four Lane Expansion Project In Otsego. Based On The Criteria Established In Minnesota Rule 4410.1700, And The Findings Of Fact And Conclusions, The Project Does Not Have The Potential For Significant Environmental Effects To Trigger The Need For An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #19-119 authorizing a negative declaration on the need for an EIS for the CSAH 39 four-lane expansion project in Otsego. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Request To Approve Sponsoring Agency Resolution For A Transportation Alternatives (TA) Project Application For The Dassel-Cokato School District. The Application Is For A Project That Would Connect A Pedestrian Path From The Existing Pathway Along US Highway 12 To The Dassel-Cokato High School Parking Lot And To The Performing Arts Center And Along The Football Field. The School District Is Requesting $150,000 In Federal Funding (Out Of A Total Project Cost Of $187,500).
Husom moved to adopt Resolution #19-120 to approve being the sponsoring agency for the Transportation Alternatives (TA) Project Application for the Dassel-Cokato School District. The School District will cover $37,500 in local costs and be responsible for future ownership and operations/maintenance of the pathway. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
BOB HIIVALA, AUDITOR/TREASURER
Approve A Plat “The Landing” (Cokato Township)
Daleiden moved to approve the plat. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Approve Precious Metal Dealer License For James Carroll Miller DBA Miller’s Jewelry, Annandale, MN For A One-Year Period.
Husom moved to approve the Precious Metal Dealer License for James Carroll Miller DBA Miller’s Jewelry, Annandale, for a one-year period. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Set A Date And Time For The County Canvassing Board To Meet To Canvass The Results of The Special Primary Election On January 14, 2020 for HD 30A; Set A Date And Time For The County Canvassing Board To Meet To Canvass The Results of The Special Election On February 4, 2020 for HD 30A; Set A Date And Time For The County Canvassing Board To Meet To Canvass The Results Of The Presidential Nominating Primary (PNP) Election; Appoint Members to County Canvassing Board The County Canvassing Board consists of the County Auditor, the Court Administrator, the Mayor or Chair of the Town Board of the County’s most populous municipality, and two members of the County Board who are not candidates in the election.
Potter moved to set 1-14-20 at 12:00 PM to meet to canvass the results of the special primary election. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. (see amended motion below to change the date/time of the meeting)
Potter moved to set 2-04-20 at 8:30 AM to meet to canvass the results of the special election for House District 30A. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0. (see amended motion below to change the date/time of the meeting)
Daleiden moved to set 3-06-20 at 1:00 PM to meet to canvass the result of the Presidential Nominating Primary (PNP) Election. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Daleiden moved to appoint Daleiden and Husom as Canvassing Board members. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Later in the Board Meeting, Hiivala returned to indicate that the canvassing dates set were incorrect as they fall on election dates.
Per M.S. 204D.27, subd. 1, the County Canvass Board must meet to canvass the next day after the special election.
Per M.S. 204C.32, the County Canvass Board must meet either the 2nd or 3rd day following the Presidential Nominating Primary.
Therefore, the dates for the County Canvassing Board were amended as follows:
Potter moved to amend the motion to set 1-15-20 at 1:30 PM to meet to canvass the results of the special primary election (not 1-14-20 at 12:00 PM as earlier passed). The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Potter moved to amend the motion to set 2-05-20 at 1:30 PM to meet to canvass the results of the special election for House District 30A (not 2-04-20 at 8:30 AM as earlier passed). The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
It was reaffirmed that the Board set 3-06-20 at 1:00 PM to meet to canvass the result of the Presidential Nominating Primary (PNP) Election.
Approve Resolution Establishing Absentee Ballot Board, Mail Ballot Absentee Ballot Board and UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) Absentee Ballot Board
Hiivala said Wright County is required by Minnesota Statutes 203B.121, subd. 1; 203B.23, subd.1, and 204B.45 subd. 2 to establish an Absentee Ballot Board, Mail Ballot Absentee Ballot Board, and UOCAVA Absentee Ballot Board for the 2020 election cycle. He recommended the Board appoint his office to do so.
Husom moved to adopt Resolution #19-121 appointing the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office as the Absentee Ballot Board, Mail Ballot Absentee Ballot Board, and UOCAVA. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve November Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report
Potter moved to approve the November Revenue/Expenditure Budget Report. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Board Approval To Seek Quotes For Equipment Purchases Utilizing The Buffer Enforcement Grant Funding
Hiivala said this equipment purchase relates to a position in the draft 2020 budget that will work with both Parks and ditches.
Matt Detjen, Agricultural & Drainage Coordinator, requested permission to seek quotes for the equipment. Action does not involve approving the purchase. As Mattice will be purchasing equipment for Parks & Maintenance, he offered to seek quotes for a diesel truck, a trailer, and a side-by-side vehicle. It was agreed at a prior meeting to use buffer enforcement grant funding for the purchases.
Borrell moved to authorize Detjen and Mattice to seek quotes for the purchase of the equipment. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Schedule The Redetermination Of Benefits Public Hearings For County Ditch #16 and County Ditch #19 For February 19, 2020 At 2:00 p.m.
Daleiden moved to schedule a Ditch Committee Of The Whole Meeting, Public Hearing, for 2-19-20 at 2:00 PM. This will be for the Public Hearing on the redetermination of benefits for County Ditch #16 and County Ditch #19. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Discuss The Redetermination Of Benefits On County Ditch #33 (CD #33) And Schedule A Committee Of The Whole To Discuss Required Repairs.
A PowerPoint presentation was made on CD #33 by Detjen. Highlights include:
- Ditch 33 was established in 1917 and is about 9.1 miles in length (mostly a closed system). It runs through Monticello Township and ends at CR 39, with portions within the City of Monticello. Benefits are from the original establishment. Viewers have been hired but the report has not been adopted.
- Current condition of CD #33 dictates the need for repair including joint separation, uneven profile between pipe sections, root intrusion, soil deposits, and deformations. Tile condition can limit capacity by 30-40%. Some sections of CD #33 have close to a 60-70% reduction.
- Maps of the ditch were presented from 1987 and 1991. Areas farmed or completely dry in 1987 were wet in 1991 and continue to be. Potter said during the MnROAD project, the vein of gravel found was much larger and deeper than anticipated so more material was taken than originally planned. He said could have made an impact in this area. Potter said this was prior to WCA (Wetland Conservation Act) laws, and MnDOT may not have had good data on wetland impacts on projects.
- Detjen said there may be a large issue with MnDOT Holding Pond C. He referenced the I-94 section from Monticello to Clearwater and thought this area of the project is slated for the next five years. Potter said it is on the MnDOT STIP (Statewide Transportation Improvement Program) for full reconstruction in 2025. This issue will need to be resolved prior to the reconstruction of I-94 between Albertville and Monticello. Detjen said the County can use this time to work with the City of Monticello and Monticello Township to bring some sort of joint agreement to MnDOT to show them some of these issues that these projects have caused.
- Photos were provided reflecting some of the problems in the CD #33 system.
• Branch 3 has broken tile and work is needed at the outlet of the system.
• Other areas have significant debris in portions of CD #33.
• There are two culverts running under a railroad that are more than half filled with sediment. It is the responsibility of the railroad to clean those out. A suggested method would be for the county, township and city to approach the railroad with the repair request.
• Detjen said a tile inspection should be done. Borrell stated that an option that many counties use is to run a tile system parallel to the existing tile system. Once completed, the original tile system is abandoned.
- Next steps include:
• Form a Drainage Committee to begin discussion on future repairs.
• Contact MnDOT to begin preparation for the I-94 Construction through Monticello.
• Contact the BNSF Railroad and begin the process of jetting culverts.
• Begin permitting process for wetlands and rerouting
• Plan video inspection of tile at the outlet of the system.
• Finalize Redetermination of Benefits
Discussion followed on notification of meetings that will be held related to CD #33. Under Drainage Code Section 103E., there is a provision for mailing notice to someone who was omitted from a prior mailing, and basically asserting jurisdiction over them. Benefits have not been finalized, so there will be another public hearing held. The new list of benefited landowners will be available at that time. Setting a meeting to discuss CD #33 repairs was referred to a future Board Meeting.
ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION
12-03-19 COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Lobbying Services
Darek Vetsch, County Board Chair, said the County utilized the services of Flaherty & Hood during the previous legislative session. They kept the County updated on legislative efforts and presented County concerns to legislators regarding the Xcel Nuclear Generating Plant in Monticello. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss whether to continue their services related to the Xcel Nuclear Plant, and possibly expand their scope to include drainage issues and a bond for a proposed dental center at the new Government Center building.
Shane Zahrt, Attorney/Lobbyist for Flaherty & Hood, said this meeting is a discussion about the needs of the County and legislative goals for 2020. Thus far three priorities include:
1) Address State-assessed valuation taxation of the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant and related issues, as well as
monitoring the re-licensure process for the facility
2) Potential bonding project for a dental center in the new Government Center building
3) Drainage and County ditch issues
Zahrt referred to a proposal titled, “Meeting the Government Relations Needs of Wright County” (see attached). The proposal is a draft that represents their understanding of the County’s interests to date. Refinements may be made after today’s discussion. The County is growing fast, and the goal is to establish a presence at the Legislature to best represent County interests. Zahrt said they want to identify needs and issues to ensure that the agreement reflects them.
Zahrt then referred to the bonding project. Sarah Grosshuesch, Public Health Director, said she spoke with a representative from Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) yesterday regarding the bonding process. She said there are a number of strings attached to this process, and would like the County Board to decide if they are comfortable with those requirements.
Zahrt said a bonding bill is typically a General Obligation Bond (GO), which is backed by the State of Minnesota. MMB oversees the State’s GO bonding. To qualify for a GO bond, the project has to be intended for a public purpose, and the facility that is being built or improved has to be publicly owned and operated. The potential dental center project would qualify as it would reside in the new Government Center building.
Zahrt described the two-year calendar that affects the bonding process. A legislative session starts, for example, in 2019. Bonding projects and State agency requests are introduced by lawmakers as bills. Legislators often consider the odd-numbered year the “budget year.” Constitutionally, legislators are required to pass the entire State budget in odd-numbered years. There are no legal requirements for a bonding bill to be passed in an even-numbered year. MMB goes through a local government and State agency request process, usually in the months of May and June. Lawmakers then do bonding tours to view potential projects. Governors will propose their own bonding bills.
Zahrt advised to submit projects early with as much detail as possible. Tell the story and express the needs for the projects. The more lawmakers are familiar with a project, the better. Local and legislative support is very important. They are the best allies.
A 60 percent majority is needed to pass a bonding bill. This year, the DFL majority needs Republican votes in the House to pass a bonding bill, and the Republican majority in the Senate need DFL votes. Local legislator support is vital to keep a project on the list.
Bradley Peterson, Shareholder/Attorney for Flaherty & Hood, said the support of legislators is critical. The House will need Republican votes. That provides a motivated legislator in the minority a lot of opportunity to make an impact for a particular project. Legislators will negotiate and sometimes agree to include someone else’s bonding bill if theirs is included also. They will also look at the merits of a project and the need within the community.
Charles Borrell, County Commissioner, did not favor the County employing lobbyists. He does want equity and fairness when it comes to the Xcel Nuclear Power Plant. He wants to know who has the final say when County Ditches involve public waters. Senior leadership at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told him they would appeal adverse rulings from the local hydrologist. If that doesn’t work, Borrell would support legislation.
Peterson said this issue is on the radar for the Watershed Districts and the Association of Minnesota Counties, but it hasn’t been elevated to a high priority yet. The County can either submit legislation with its priorities listed first, or add onto legislation put forth by other entities and risk being ranked sixth or seventh. Peterson said it is advantageous to introduce legislation at the same time that the local government is working with a State agency on their project. This can motivate the State agency to work more creatively with the local government.
Daniel Marx, Senior Attorney, Flaherty & Hood, said he enjoys working with State agencies to solve complicated environmental problems on behalf of local governments. Local folks usually get significant pushback. They can go over the heads of State agency staff, but that also presents challenges. Marx said what has worked well with some large State agencies is to work with them as much as possible, but also come equipped with a comprehensive, legal and regulatory legislative strategy so that the project can move forward.
Peterson said having a bill before the Legislature seems to prompt agencies to remove administrative burdens. It involves stepping forward and saying, “This is a problem.” Next, figure out who is also affected by the problem, gather all the entities together, and then encourage the Legislature to take up the charge. Peterson said there is currently an opportunity in the State Senate. After the 2020 election, the situation is uncertain. Marx said the key is to be collaborative, straightforward, identify the problem, and provide regulatory and legislative solutions.
Zahrt said Flaherty & Hood is a government relations and advocacy firm. Legislation is just one tool in the toolbox. Vetsch said Flaherty & Hood did a fantastic job of educating the Board on the many complex issues and how to work with the Legislature. Potter said they can also keep the Board informed of issues that might affect the County in the future. Daleiden said he views Flaherty & Hood as teachers because the legislators don’t know what is going on locally. Borrell said he didn’t dislike lobbyists; he just doesn’t like paying for them. Christine Husom, County Commissioner, said it would be good to have experts at the Legislature on behalf of the County.
Vetsch said the contract from Flaherty & Hood addresses the three issues mentioned previously. Any changes to the scope of the contract will be addressed in writing. Zahrt said they are drafting a contract to be responsive to the identified issues, while realizing there may be changes. They will not work on any issues the County hasn’t requested. Zahrt will be the primary contact from Flaherty & Hood.
Vetsch asked whether the collective County Board is inclined to pursue a bonding bill. Meeker, McLeod, and Sherburne Counties may benefit from this bill as well. Pederson explained that funds may be available either from a GO bond, an Economic Development grant, or cash.
Grosshuesch said the total cost of building a dental center inside an existing building was approximately $1.25 million. However, bonding cannot pay for all the components. They do not have a proposal yet for interior space costs. Zahrt said as a rule, bond funds cannot be used for reimbursement for components that are already constructed, or for general operations and maintenance costs. The bond has to be for construction.
Recommendation: Authorize staff to work with Flaherty & Hood to formalize the legislative services contract.
Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 12-03-19 COTW Minutes)
11-26-19 PERSONNEL COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MINUTES
At today’s County Board Meeting, the following changes was made to the minutes:
- Page 1, 2nd paragraph, 2nd line, change to read, “The WCSO is the third largest in the State,......” (Husom)
Husom moved to approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. DISCUSS 2020 SALARIES OF ELECTED OFFICIALS
Tom Kelly, County Attorney, discussed information related to compensation for his position. Mark Daleiden, County Commissioner, said T. Kelly presents a strong case. T. Kelly asked for an increase of 8.75 percent to bring his compensation closer to that of comparable counties.
Recommendation: Authorize an annual compensation of $165,775 for 2020 for the County Attorney.
Sean Deringer, County Sheriff, said employee engagement in the Wright County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) is strong and things are going well. The WCSO is the third largest in the State, with more contracts than any other sheriff’s office, with the largest School Resource Officer division in the State, and the largest patrol division in Minnesota. His salary is ranked 18th. Deringer said he receives calls at all hours of the day and night and works 60-75 hours per week. The consensus was to increase the Wright County Sheriff’s compensation to a salary of $148,000 for 2020.
Recommendation: Authorize an annual compensation of $148,000 for 2020 for the County Sheriff.
Bob Hiivala, Auditor/Treasurer, discussed his request for an increase of 5 percent, for an annual compensation of $139,156. Daleiden said the average comparable salary is $137,966. Potter suggested annual compensation of $138,162.52. Daleiden said that is close to the average wage and is justifiable.
Recommendation: Authorize an annual compensation of 138,162.52 for 2020 for the Auditor/Treasurer.
Discussion included compensation that would attract qualified people to serve and accurately reflects the level of responsibilities involved.
Recommendation: Authorize the salary for the County Board of Commissioners for 2020 to be $49,800.
Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Assistant
(End of 11-26-19 Personnel Committee Minutes)
RESOLUTION SETTING COUNTY ATTORNEY’S SALARY FOR 2020
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-122 setting the County Attorney’s salary at $165,775 for 2020. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
RESOLUTION SETTING COUNTY BOARD SALARY FOR 2020
Husom moved to adopt Resolution #19-123 setting the County Board’s annual salary, exclusive of per diem payments, at $49,800. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
RESOLUTION SETTING SHERIFF’S SALARY FOR 2020
Daleiden moved to adopt Resolution #19-124 setting the Sheriff’s salary at $148,000 for 2020. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
RESOLUTION SETTING AUDITOR/TREASURER’S SALARY FOR 2020
Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #19-125 setting the Auditor/Treasurer’s salary at $138,162.52 for 2020. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 4-1 with Daleiden casting the nay vote.
SCHEDULE COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING RE: COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR PERFORMANCE REVIEW
Kelly said it is permissible to hold this meeting as a closed session under MN Statute 13.
Potter moved to set a COTW Meeting, Closed Session, for 1-13-20 at 9:30 AM for the County Administrator’s Performance Review. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
LETTER TO OTTO BREMER TRUST ACKNOWLEDGING AWARD OF GRANT FUNDING TO WRIGHT COUNTY COMMUNITY ACTION
Borrell made a motion to approve sending a letter to Otto Bremer Trust for the generous donation of $28,879 in grant funding provided to Wright County Community Action to expand its administrative and program operations space. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE 2020 BUDGET AND 2020 CERTIFIED LEVY
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-126 establishing the 2020 Budget at $160,944,532 and the 2020 Total Certified Taxable Levy at $78,582,512 (or $78,452,987 without the Lake Improvement Districts). The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING 2020 HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #19-127 authorizing the 2020 Health & Human Services Budget. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE / ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES
There were no updates given at this meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 10:53 A.M.
Published in the Herald Journal Jan. 10, 2020.