Wright County Board Minutes

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Potter, Daleiden and Borrell present.
Daleiden moved to approve the 8-04-20 Wright County Board Minutes. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0.
The following additions were made to the Agenda under Items For Consideration:
- Cancel the 8-24-20 Health & Human Services Board Meeting (Borrell)
- Bleacher Project Approval, Wright County Fairgrounds (Borrell)
- Approve Revisions To Budget Committee Of The Whole Schedule (Kelly)
- Great River Regional Library Work Session Update (Potter)
Borrell moved to approve the Agenda as amended. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Daleiden moved to approve the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
1. Schedule CARES Act Non-Profit/Affiliates Advisory Committee Meeting On 8-20-20 @ 9:30 AM
2. Schedule CARES Act Wright County Economic Development Advisory Committee Meeting On 8-20-20 @ 10:30 AM
1. Position Replacement: A. Facilities Maintenance Technician
1. Authorize Signatures On Contract For Professional Services Of Guardianship And/Or Conservatorship With Michele E. Muller
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between July 29, 2020 And August 11, 2020
1. Position Replacement
A. Social Worker
1. Refer To 08/26/2020 Technology Committee:
A. Project Updates
1. O365
2. ERP Implementation
3. New Building Updates
4. Admin-Event Scheduler
5. HHS – Contact Management Center
6. ISeries
7. CAMA - Assessors
8. OnBase Foundation EP3 Upgrade
9. Strategic Project Updates
B. New Project Requests
1. AUD Assisted Voting Technology
C. Soft Phone Demonstration
D. CIP Project Funding Discussion
1. Accept Findings And Recommendation Of The Planning Commission For The Following Request To Rezone:
A. Robert Gruys - (Corinna Twp.)Approximately 33 Acres Zoned AG General Agriculture And S-2 Residential Recreational Shorelands As Follows: That Part Of The Property That Is Riparian Shoreland To R-2 Suburban Residential (Minimum 2.5 Acre Lot Standard) And The Balance That Is Non-Riparian To R-2a (Minimum 5 Acre Lot Standard).
Approve A Plat “Registered Land Survey No. 49” (Franklin Township)
Hiivala said this involves the subdivision of a Torrens property. All signatures have been obtained and he recommended approval.
Daleiden moved to approve the Plat, “Registered Land Survey No. 49 (Franklin Township).” The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Requesting Waiver Of 30-Day Requirement For Delano TIF District
Hiivala was notified last Thursday of a planned TIF (Tax Increment Financing) District in Delano. The City of Delano has a meeting scheduled for this evening and is requesting waiver of the 30-day comment period.
Potter moved to waive the 30-day comment period requirement for the Delano TIF District. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For Contract 1906 And Authorize Final Payment To Minnesota Paving & Materials, Inc. In The Amount Of $48,102.
Hawkins stated this involves a LRIP (Local Road Improvement Project for 150th St. NW. This is a shared roadway by both Clearwater Township and Silver Creek Township. The final value of the work is $962,050.30. A LRIP Grant was received for $750,000 and the township local share was $212,050.30.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #20-47 for final acceptance of Contract 1906 and to authorize final payment to Minnesota Paving & Materials, Inc. in the amount of $48,102. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Approve Resolution Of Final Acceptance For Contract No. 2004 And Authorize Final Payment To Pearson Bros., Inc. In The Amount Of $12,720.63
Hawkins said Contract 2004 was for the County’s 2020 sealcoat program and included some Southside Township roads.
Potter moved to adopt Resolution #20-48 for final acceptance of Contract No. 2004 and to authorize final payment to Pearson Bros., Inc. in the amount of $12,720.63. The final value of the work is $636,041.36 with $65,552.98 as Southside Township’s portion. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Adopt An Updated Resolution Related To A Grant Application Through The Greater Minnesota Regional Parks And Trails Commission For Connecting People To The Outdoors - Equipment Purchases And Program Offerings
Mattice explained that an updated resolution is required for the grant. The original resolution was adopted on 6-16-20. If approved, the grant will fund the purchase of program and rental equipment for outdoor recreation and programming.
Borrell moved to adopt Resolution #20-49, an updated resolution required for the grant through the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission for Connecting People To The Outdoors - Equipment Purchases And Program Offerings. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Review Parks Commission Minutes And Recommendations From July 13, 2020
A. Approve Request By Freedom Farm For Addition To The Lake Ida School House
Mattice said Freedom Farms has requested an addition to the Lake Ida School House (624 sq. ft.) for a small section of classroom space to better meet needs. The Parks Commission unanimously supports the request.
B. Approve Food Truck Policy For Park Areas
Mattice presented an application for approval which would allow food trucks in the parks at a permit fee of $100. It is a one-time application fee. This was a recommendation of the Parks Commission. If the park lies within a city, the applicant would be required to obtain permission from both entities. This is to meet MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) and insurance requirements. If a special event (i.e., wedding, graduation party) is held, a permit is not needed as it is a catered event. It is a one-time application fee.
Daleiden moved to approve the request by Freedom Farms for the addition to the Lake Ida School House and to approve the Food Truck Policy for the Parks. The motion was seconded by Borrell and carried 5-0.
Borrell stated that the presenter planned for the 8-24-20 HHS Board Meeting is not available, so the meeting should be cancelled.
Borrell moved to cancel the 8-24-20 HHS Board Meeting. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 5-0.
Borrell said the Fair Board is required to present Fairgrounds projects over $10,000 to the County Board for approval. An anonymous entity has offered to donate bleachers to include a section for an announcer. The estimated cost to move the bleachers to the Fairgrounds is approximately $50,000.
Borrell moved to approve the bleacher project for the Fairgrounds with funding to come from the Fair Board. The motion was seconded by Potter. Potter said the County owns the property and the Fair Board leases it. Expenditures over $10,000 must be presented to the Board for approval. Daleiden requested that the Risk Manager be involved. Borrell said there is a foundation issue with the current bleachers, so they will need to repair that. The Fair Board will make sure the foundation is appropriate to support the new bleachers as well. The motion carried 5-0.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, presented the following changes to the Budget COTW Schedule:
- August 19 Move Veteran Services to 10:00 AM
- August 19 Move Assessor to 1:00 PM
- August 21 Change the time of Parks & Recreation from 11:00 AM to 11:30 AM
- August 21 Remove Budget 100 at 1:00 PM as Budget 100 was discussed at the 8-17-20 Budget COTW Meeting
- August 24 Add Health & Human Services (continued if necessary) at 1:30 PM
- August 25 Add Lake John LID at 11:00 AM per the LID’s request to meet with the Budget COTW
- August 25 Remove Health & Human Services at 1:00 PM
Daleiden moved to approve the requested changes to the Budget COTW Schedule. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0.
Potter attended a GRRL Special Session recently. The topic of discussion centered around public libraries and racism as brought forth by AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) and relates to instances in Ohio and Illinois. Potter and other members did not feel this was the appropriate forum, as the GRRL has mechanisms in place to address this type of complaint. He suggested a letter from the Wright County Board reflecting this and indicating the focus of libraries is to encourage reading. Potter made a motion to submit a letter to the GRRL reflecting this. Vetsch said more information would be needed to know what the group is looking for. He said the County Board needs to be cautious about the content of the letter, so it is not misconstrued. Daleiden referenced the Core Values of the GRRL listed on the website which reflects in part, “We are inclusive, and embrace diversity.” He thought what the group was referencing related to police brutality.
It was the consensus that Potter should attend the GRRL meeting today to obtain more information on what it is the group is seeking. This topic could be discussed at the next County Board Meeting. Potter withdrew the motion.
At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the 8-04-20 COTW Minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. CARES Act Funding
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, reviewed the CARES Act funding levels as recommended at the 7-14-20 Committee Of The Whole:
• County - $7 million
• Economic Development - $2 million
• Affiliates / Community Partners - $3 million
• School Districts - $4.4 million (Public Schools)
• Charter Schools - $200,000

Kelly said Health & Human Services has a list of items they want to address at tomorrow’s committee meetings.
Discussion ensued regarding whether to include Wright Technical Center in the distribution to schools or pay them separately from the Charter Schools account, as well as how to best distribute the funds, obtain receipts from recipients, and verification that the money was spent in compliance with the CARES Act.
Daniel Loch, the representative from CliftonLarsenAllen, said some city and county CARES Act applications request information to show that the expenditure was necessary due to COVID-19, how it was connected to COVID expenditures, and whether it was budgeted prior to COVID. The expenditures must occur between March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020. Other counties often require applicants to certify that their expenses are COVID-related. He will provide examples of policies other counties have drafted for the Wright County Board.
Kelly distributed draft application forms for small businesses and non-profit organizations for the Board to review, and an Eligible Expenses Worksheet (see attachments).
Loch said as long as the application includes examples of eligible expenditures as listed in the CARES Act, businesses can use them for costs due to business interruption, such as rent or utilities. The application should also include a rationale from the applicant regarding why the expenses are COVID-related, and certification from the applicant that X percentage of lost revenues occurred from March 1, 2020 through a specific date, no later than December 30, 2020. Loch gave examples of COVID-related expenses such as costs to implement social distancing measures, decrease in customer demand, personal protective equipment, plexiglass shields, and additional cleaning expenses. Loch advised the County to provide guidance to small businesses to answer their questions, while following Treasury Department criteria.
Darek Vetsch, County Commissioner, said another question is how much money to give to non-profit organizations.
Loch said cities with more than a population of 200 receive funding from the State. Townships and cities with less than 200 population do not. He advised the County Board to consider reimbursement of COVID costs for smaller cities and townships. He added that it is important to get school districts, economic development authorities, and advisory agencies to relay information about CARES Act funding to community businesses and non-profit organizations.
Loch said Rebecca Fields from CliftonLarsonAllen will be the contact person for cities and townships regarding questions about the application and grant compliance. Loch’s expertise is eligibility. As long as expenses were incurred due to COVID-19 and weren’t budgeted, and occurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020, they are eligible expenditures. He reiterated that the County should provide guidance to businesses along with a list of eligible expenses, require applicants to certify that the expenses are eligible, and determine how to disseminate information about CARES Act funding to the community.
Recommendation: Discussions related to specific requests for CARES Act Funding will be addressed at the
8-05-20 Committee meetings.
The meeting adjourned at 11:00 A.M.
8-04-20 COTW Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 8-04-20 COTW Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Vetsch moved to approve the 8-05-20 Committee Minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Borrell. Husom made the following change to the minutes: Change the spelling to “Rod Pederson” throughout the minutes. The motion carried 5-0. The 8-05-20 CARES Act Committee Minutes follow:
I. CARES Act Funding
9:00 AM CARES Act Wright County Economic Development Advisory Committee (Potter, Vetsch)
Jolene Foss, Executive Director for the Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP) was present and offered to facilitate the Economic Development application process on behalf of the County. She will provide the County with her application and other documentation, and seek out a process for facilitating online applications.
Applications for small businesses and non-profit organizations were discussed (see attachments). Terms of the programs were discussed. To be eligible, businesses will need to have been in operation for at least one year and in good standing with the County. The committee discussed whether these programs would be grants or forgivable loans. The consensus was to proceed with loans that would be forgiven after twelve months. Businesses would be able to request a loan up to $20,000 to cover eligible expenditures. Of the $2 million in CARES funds set aside for Economic Development, $1.6 million will be allocated to this program with $400,000 held in reserve. Of the $1.6 million, the funding would be further divided to $1.3 million for businesses and $300,000 for non-profit organizations. Based on the number of applications and need, further funds may be considered for allocation.
Discussion turned to the administrative process. It was planned that the application program would be open for a set period of time. The WCEDP would gather the applications, review them, and submit them to the CARES Act subcommittees that have been formed with two commissioners to give the final decision. Foss also noted WCEDP can assist with the marketing and communications regarding these programs.
1) WCEDP will assist in administering the CARES Economic Development funds.
2) WCEDP will develop applications for forgivable loans for businesses and non-profit organizations and present them to the County for approval.
10:00 AM CARES Act Non-Profit/Affiliates Advisory Committee (Daleiden, Husom)
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, provided a brief update from the previous meeting. Christine Husom, County Board Chair, said they have received requests from two affiliates to date.
Jami Goodrum Schwartz, Health and Human Services Director, said group homes and also Central Minnesota Jobs and Training are having a difficult time. Functional Industries is a close partner to HHS. If they suffer financial loss, the County would spend more money trying to fulfill the services they provide. She recommended supporting their requests. She has not talked with all area agencies regarding CARES Act funding yet.
Mark Daleiden, County Commissioner, said it is hard to allocate dollars without knowing how many potential recipients are involved. Schwartz guessed there are less than a dozen. Group homes are in a different category. She would also like to take some funding from the HHS allotted for daycare and channel to group homes that show COVID-19 related costs.
Michelle Miller, Social Services Manager, said adult foster care may also show needs. Daleiden reiterated his request for a list of potential recipients. Schwartz will provide that by the end of the week. Foster care, respite care, crisis nurseries would also be well served with CARES funding.
Husom suggested $1.5 million for larger affiliates. If requests don’t come in, money can be shifted to other entities or programs.
Rod Pederson, Functional Industries, said group homes have been receiving additional income, whereas Functional Industries have not been allowed to serve any clients since the shutdown. They just started with a group of 30 who can only work three hours per day. They are limited to only 50 individuals in their building. Pederson has run into resistance from group homes not allowing the few individuals to come back.
Functional Industries hasn’t generated any program income since March 15, 2020. The initial figures Pederson sent could offset 25% of the organization’s costs for only 90 days. Pederson feels he could start generating some income, but it will be extremely limited. He is seeking around $480,000 to assist Functional Industries with 25% of their expenses for six months. Over that time he is hoping to ramp up. He has retained some staff working remotely, but 73 of his staff was kept busy. Just this week he has started to have staff resign. He wants to make sure Functional Industries has resources to retain staff to provide core services.
Yesterday there were five new organizations like Functional Industries that have closed their doors for good. Pederson said his plan is to receive some assistance but yet contribute on their own as well. Any money now would help. If his initial request for 90 days could be doubled to six months, that would assist Functional Industries with 25% of their expenses. They have pared their expenses to the bare minimum. Without program income, they are starting to go into their reserves. They have very little debt. Functional Industries is a strong bet for CARES Act funding. Last year they served more than 700 individuals. They have a better chance of surviving than most, if they could keep their 70+ staff employed.
Pederson said the Department of Human Services (DHS) has responded with aid to group homes, but not to Functional Industries. In the past, group homes wanted people to come to Functional Industries to limit their staff. Now group homes are receiving funding, some more than before. Functional Industries has safety precautions in place, but group homes are resisting sending people there. His biggest concern is having to lay off key staff. If it gets to that point, there won’t be any other organizations around to provide those services. This is a setback for people who are most disabled. He is advocating for those folks. The situation is bleak without assistance. He understands the concerns of groups homes wanting to protect their people. He wants to be a good partner and maintain those relationships. He is trying to work with them.
Pederson said their Cokato facility is closed and the property is for sale. Those consumers were sent to the Buffalo facility. Services, especially in rural areas, are disappearing. There will be no place for them to go. A program like Functional Industries is not built overnight. It would take decades to rebuild.
1. Designate $1.5 million to assist affiliate agencies demonstrating need.
2. Health and Human Services will develop a list of agencies and an application.
11:00 A.M. CARES Act County Advisory Committee (Borrell, Vetsch)
Christine Partlow, Business Manager, HHS, discussed costs for the new call center. (See attached list of proposed items to receive CARES Act funding).
Partlow said this would be a contact center and not just a phone answering service. The contact center would allow text messaging and would replace costs forecasted in other areas, and help them best serve clients in a comprehensive manner.
Discussion continued regarding whether to implement the call center now or later. Partlow said she was told by Information Technology that the contact center could be up and running by the end of the year. HHS did not budget for any phone replacements since Fomby said they would be getting a contact center. Partlow said she understood that the contact center needs to be paid for and installed by 12-10-20. The cost would be $320,000.
Discussion moved through the items on the HHS CARES Act funding list. Vetsch suggested dropping the Stable and Emergency Housing item for $150,000 and increase Essential Services from $50,000 to $100,000.
Regarding the contact center, Matthew Fomby, Information Technology Director, said two more demonstrations are scheduled in six days. Once they select a vendor after 8-11-20, a check may be cut, and implementation begun. Vetsch asked him to provide confirmation next week.
Sarah Grosshuesch, Public Health Director, provided an overview of the community testing strategy proposal. Upon discussion, the allocation amount was reduced from $430,000 to $350,000. Grosshuesch mentioned that a program to assist foster care and child care providers in deep cleaning their facilities would be beneficial under this program. The consensus was to allocate $20,000 for this purpose.
Kelly noted employee wages would make up a large portion of this allocation. In addition, expenses for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), building modification, and additional cleaning services have been identified. The CARES funds have been received from the State and will be receipted in the General Fund. The plan is to recognize the funds as revenues through Budget 100. Reallocation to Departments will not take place at this time.
Recommendation: Approve allocations as revised for Health and Human Services proposed CARES Act budget.
The meeting adjourned at 12:06 P.M.
8-05-20 Committee Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 8-05-20 Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Potter moved to approve the 8-11-20 County Board Workshop Minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden.
Husom said school bus drivers have voiced frustration with the DMV testing process. They are required to travel to other locations and may have to return several times. She said DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) testing is something the County should continue to work on. Vetsch referenced legislation that allows school bus companies to use a proctor for testing at the school bus locations. However, the drivers are still required to go to the DMV to obtain the card. The license is only good for the bus company they work for. Vetsch agreed the County needs to be more aggressive with the DPS (Department of Public Safety) to get the Buffalo testing location reopened. This cannot wait to be brought up at the next legislative session. The County needs to be able to show they have exhausted all avenues with the DVS.
Vetsch suggested working with Flaherty & Hood to draft a letter from the County Board stating the displeasure of the closure of the Buffalo testing facility and asking when services will be available again in the community. Kelly said the letter could reference the County’s intent to provide space for testing. Daleiden thought the letter should be copied to all state representatives and senators. The consensus of the County Board was to proceed as outlined.
The motion to approve the 8-11-20 County Board Workshop Minutes carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
The Wright County Board met in workshop session at 9: 00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Daleiden, Potter, and Borrell present.
I. Schedule Meetings As Needed
Draft Budget Schedule
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, requested approval of the draft budget schedule. Ag & Drainage will be included with the Parks & Recreation budget session.
Husom suggested the potential of moving Health & Human Services from 8-25-20 at 1:00 PM to 8-24-20 at 1:30 PM. If that occurs, the draft schedule will be revised at that time.
Recommendation: Approve Budget Committee Of The Whole Schedule as presented.
II. Legislative Update – Flaherty & Hood
Shane Zahrt, Flaherty & Hood, provided an informational update.
A. Bonding.
Referenced was the memorandum from the Assistant County Administrator to the County Board on the Dental Clinic outlining key points for bonding of the dental clinic (attached).
Zahrt provided the timeline of the bonding activities at the Legislature to date. The dental clinic is included in the all versions of the omnibus bill that either the House or Senate have put forward. He said this is testament to the quality of the project, as well as information provided and groundwork completed prior to presenting the proposal to the Legislature. Community Dental Care and the County conveyed to the Legislature the need for the project and were able to get traction despite an odd and difficult session. A hearing occurred in the House just before things shut down due to COVID-19. A hearing did not occur in the Senate, but they were able to push it forward nonetheless.
Zahrt said a regular session and two special sessions have occurred. The most recent version of the bonding bill was for the most part agreed to in both chambers with some caveats. It includes the dental center project at $1.4 million in general obligation bonds. The package overall came in at $1.35 billion and was the one that emerged into the second special session. At that time, there was discussion from both parties on the substance of the bill. Discussion included a couple of provisions related to light rail and some other things that they did not support, but all parties said they were about 90% in agreement on when or if there is a bonding bill, this is a mix of the projects to be included.
Zahrt referenced things that have impacted the bonding bill move ahead including the death of George Floyd, the call for police reform, and Governor Walz’s emergency powers related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the month of August, Zahrt said there is a black-out period where the Legislature can’t act on the bonding bill even if they would come back for a special session. This is because of the state entering a scheduled bond sale for previously authorized bonding. Upcoming elections make a bill even more difficult to pass. A number of coalition groups and the Transportation Alliance are making a final push for passage of the bill in September. Otherwise it will be next year.
Recommendation: Informational only
B. Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) Testing.
Zahrt said this was an emerging issue prior to COVID-19. Legislature was already looking to close a number of testing centers in the state to achieve efficiencies. With the COVID-19 pandemic, all 93 DVS testing centers were shut down. In May, 14-16 testing centers in the state were re-opened. Staff were consolidated to achieve efficiencies and to work through the backlog of tests.
Zahrt stated there were a number of concerns with the state’s plan before COVID-19 and those concerns continued after the pandemic. There was a hearing in the Senate a week prior to the shutdown on a third-party testing bill to expand the ability of testing to private third parties. The pandemic occurred, and the legislature started doing things remotely. The topic re-emerged in May. There were a number of objections to that bill and it didn’t end up passing in that form. However, the topic was pushed along to where both the House and Senate were paying attention to this issue at the end of the regular session. The House Transportation Committee held an informational hearing during the first special session. Commissioner Vetsch testified along with other interested parties who were concerned with the direction the DVS was taking, particularly around closing some of its testing centers.
Zahrt said a key point to any of the solutions is that the whole picture needs to be considered. A primary objection to the DVS approach is that the agency can achieve efficiencies through closure of testing centers and consolidation of staff, but it shifts the logistical and travel burdens onto the people they are supposed to be serving. Those individuals should have access to easy and convenient testing.
Zahrt said after the hearings, there was agreement on a paired down approach on how to move forward and acknowledgement that this will continue to be an issue that will be focused on in the 2021 legislative session. The final bill did three things:
1. Abolishes the ability of entities to set up reoccurring appointments, i.e. block scheduling. School districts and other agencies previously had annual reoccurring appointment times blocked for testing. This resulted in appointment times not being used. It was found to be inefficient and will be a discontinued practice in the bill.
2. Allows the agency to proctor the written portion of the driver’s test online. Zahrt said this portion will help with time savings and geographic concerns.
3. Implements reporting requirements to the legislature on January 1st detailing the testing backlog. It will include the progress to alleviate that backlog, the status of online testing, and a number of other factors. A report will be available sometime in December that will drive the discussion going forward.
Vetsch asked whether the state is implementing fees for testing no shows. Zahrt responding that the DVS said no-shows are one of the largest inefficiencies that lead to the testing backlog. One of the things discussed with the legislature was the ability to impose a no-show fee as a deterrent, with the hopes of reducing the rate of people arriving late or not showing up.
Vetsch asked Zahrt to follow up with the DVS on the status of online testing and whether the no-show fee has been implemented. Vetsch requested that Zahrt inquire about when they will release information on Phase II for reopening of testing locations. Zahrt will contact the DPS (Department of Public Safety) and DVS (Department of Vehicle Services) for the status.
Recommendation: Informational only
C. Monticello Nuclear Power Plant/ Xcel Energy Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) Process
Zahrt stated that the current Xcel Energy IRP was scheduled to be filed with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in February 2019. Xcel Energy was granted an extension to the summer of 2019. That plan included different modeling, so the PUC and others requested more information on the updates. Therefore, another extension was given to do a supplemental filing to the summer of 2020. That plan was refiled just over 30 days ago. Zahrt said there are no changes with regard to the Monticello Nuclear Plant.
Zahrt noted that the public comment period has opened at the PUC. Members of the public or a public entity can submit comment to the PUC. This may be something the County Board would like to look at relative to extending the life of the Monticello Nuclear Plant. The local government angle is something the PUC is interested in as it relates to economic impacts relative to plant extensions and closures. Vetsch thought a resolution could be drafted this fall and provided to Zahrt to carry forward.
Recommendation: Informational only
D. Drainage Legislation
Zahrt said COVID-19 impacted the drainage legislation. The bill was introduced the day prior to the shutdown, and the legislature did not meet in person after that. He will check on the status and provide an update.
Recommendation: Informational only
III. Dental Clinic
Vetsch said it is highly unlikely bonding will be approved within the next 6-9 months for the dental clinic. The Board needs to address how to proceed, including whether to stub out utilities at the new Government Center building.
Sarah Grosshuesch, Public Health Director, said the cost of the schematic design was included in the bonding request. A quote was received for approximately $120,000 for the schematic design. Reimbursement is not allowable if completed ahead of bonding.
Karen Kleinhans, CEO of Community Dental Care, and Phil Lacher, CFO of Community Dental Care, joined the meeting remotely. Kleinhans said the architect’s bid came in higher than anticipated and has asked the architect to figure out another approach.
Kleinhans said this is broken into phases. The first phase for the initial schematic design has been done at a cost of about $11,000, and allowed them to obtain bids from the construction industry to help write the bonding request. The architect would like to proceed with construction drawings, which are detailed drawings allowing the project to be shovel ready. That would occur over two phases. One phase would occur in the fall and another in the winter/spring to be completed by May. Those two phases of construction drawings combined total just under $80,000. The remaining amount of the bid was for construction administration.
Wilczek said with regard to stubbing utilities into the space, what is needed is a general schematic plan reflecting the location of the utility and sub panel. Wilczek said if they do not start drawings and get construction documents until spring, it will take another 6-8 months to get that process completed. If they start now, the documents will be ready in the spring.
Vetsch asked whether community campaigning and fundraising would reimburse the County for half of the schematic design cost when the project is at completion. Kleinhans said they would not. Similar to bonding rules, they may not spend any money until the grant is received. She believes Otto Bremer and Delta Dental will eventually help pay for this, but funds can’t be expended prior to the grant. Grosshuesch said they have been offered support from HealthPartners and Buffalo Hospital has set aside $20,000 for this project. Kleinhans said they will have to raise funds for the portion that is not eligible for bonding coverage (furniture, IT, supplies).
Discussion followed on the concern with the amount of the architect’s bid. It does not include plumbing, electrical or mechanicals. Kleinhans suggested inviting the architect to meet with the Board to answer any questions. The architect was selected based on the positive experience Community Dental Care had on a clinic project he worked on in Rochester. Daleiden asked whether BKV Group had been consulted to provide this service. Wilczek said there had been discussion but it wasn’t part of that process. Husom said her concern is that the structural engineering has already been done. The services would involve designing the space.
Wilczek will move forward to stub utilities based on the current floor plan, making sure the sanitary is run deep enough that they have the whole length of the space, making it as flexible as they can.
Recommendation: It was the consensus not to proceed with the schematic design at this time due to cost, but to proceed with stubbing utilities to the space.
IV. Economic Development Authority Update
Kelly stated the first EDA (Economic Development Authority) Advisory Committee Meeting is scheduled for 8-12-20, which is required by statute for formation of an EDA.
Bruce Kimmel, Senior Financial/Municipal Advisor, Ehlers-Inc., said the primary focus is to meet statutory requirements in terms of the findings and discussion that the EDA Advisory Committee has, and that they are looking to have some open discussion on partnerships between the County and other entities as it relates to economic development. It is also to build on strategic planning which was discussed at meetings held between the County, cities, and townships. He said this is not a long-term commitment or expansive; they are not going to cover all hypothetical ways the County could be involved in economic development. The focus will be primarily on the findings regarding the current provision of services, the recommended organizational option for providing services, and the suggested geographic area of operations.
Kimmel said an agenda was posted for the EDA Advisory Committee’s meeting tomorrow. He will provide Kelly with the suggested framework in terms of what this committee report could look like. He anticipates the report to be short, given the County’s expectation that the scope of the committee will be limited. Commissioners Vetsch and Potter will serve as the Board representatives on the EDA Advisory Committee. The agenda for that meeting will include selection of a chair.
Recommendation: Informational only.
V. Construction Projects Update
A. Trailblazer
Kelly said bids for the project were opened on 7-29-20 (see attached bid tabulation). About $2 million was bonded for the project. He requested approval of $1,550,050.95 to include pay off of the abatement in the amount of $350,000.
Gary Ludwig, Executive Director of Trailblazer Transit, said when planning, they dialed in on the essential elements for the garage and useful amenities were removed, including an under-carriage wash for the wash bay. They also trimmed up the parking lot. He requested the savings realized be used to add some of the features back into the project. The gross maximum price would enable those systems and allow the construction manager to proceed without returning to the Board for approval of smaller items. Daleiden suggested that Ludwig reach out to Brian Jans, Highway Department, to discuss the under-carriage wash to make sure they include necessary elements.
Recommendation: Approve the $1,550,050.95 as outlined, to include payoff of the abatement amount of $350,000 and adding back to the project the features as outlined by Ludwig.
B. County Facilities
Tactical Training Center
Wilczek outlined delays associated with running fiber to the facility and expects this to be done in June. The facility is currently using a DSL connection. Work continues on mechanical and electrical punch lists, lighting, and furniture is expected to be in the end of the week. Erosion and seeding issues occurred so the site will be reseeded. A meeting is planned with contractors on 8-14-20. The Emergency Operations Center will be ready by the end of the week. A new vendor was selected for security card access, and card access/keys are being worked on. They also are switching to a different camera system for that site. Outdoor shooting started last week and indoor this week.
Justice Center
Wilczek said outdoor site work continues. The small Justice Center parking lot was paved and will be utilized while work is being completed on the Law Enforcement Center lot. The handicap ramp will be redone at the contractor’s expense due to incorrect grade. The landscape contractor will be present next week for site work to include tree planting, landscaping, and seeding boulevards. Interior work continues to include the lobby and public corridors and wood panels in courtrooms. Carpeting and furniture has been completed in departments. If the in-custody area is not complete when the building opens, another option for moving inmates to courtrooms has been defined. Wilczek said employees will carry two card keys until next year due to the transition to a new card system. The lobby mural is ready for final review by the Board.
The deadline for contractors is 9-01-20 for substantial work, with punch list items to follow. The occupancy date is targeted for 10-12-20.
Wilczek said a PR was issued by BKV Group to contractors on south and east parking lot revisions that were provided in civil drawings issued by Wenck. This will be presented to the Board for approval. Civil drawings for storm water and elevations are expected.
Government Center
Wilczek provided an update on construction activities at the new Government Center building. Some departments have been on site and a few changes will be made with minimal cost. He anticipates the facility to be enclosed by mid-November to early December.
Potter said there is the potential the Economic Development Partnership will approach the County on the need to utilize space at the new Government Center. Wilczek said the office layout needs to be determined. Vetsch will follow up with the EDP. Daleiden said another potential space requirement would be for DMV testing.
Recommendation: Informational only
VI. SWCD and Ag/Drainage Project Fund
Matt Detjen, Ag & Drainage Coordinator, and Marc Mattice, Parks & Recreation Director, were present for discussion.
Vetsch placed this on today’s Agenda due to the number of ditch projects and upcoming budget sessions. He said the SWCD (Soil & Water Conservation District) has 33,000 in their special projects fund. He asked for discussion on potentially increasing funding for Ag & Drainage to address ditch repairs. Potter asked about the status of ditch projects.
Detjen said there are a number of projects that will be brought forward. A County Ditch 10 informational meeting will be held next week where a presentation will be made on a draft version of the repair report. He envisioned it to be a two-year project. A hearing on repairs will follow, potentially the end of September. He said there are many ditch systems in need of work. COVID-19 has impacted this and also dealing with some of the regulatory aspects for repairs.
Detjen referenced Ditch 22 where problems were identified with bank erosion and tile inlets that resulted in transporting sediment into the ditch and reducing water quality downstream. The idea of the project funding would be to help offset costs that aren’t for actual ditch cleaning and to provide savings to the benefited landowners.
Detjen cited Statute 103E.011 Subd. 5 that reflects that the project funding can be used for things such as wetland restoration, water quality improvement projects, and those sort of things.
Mattice said the amount requested will be an additional $32,000 to total $65,000 with the funds from the SWCD. Potter supports moving ahead. Mattice said that in the past, the SWCD funds were placed in Budget 100. With the transition of Ag & Drainage to Parks & Recreation, that appropriation and revenues will be budgeted in the Parks & Recreation Department (01-522-6272).
Daleiden asked whether the County will be able to leverage the additional funding for grants. Detjen replied that they apply for grants when appropriate and the funds can be used for the matching component of projects. Most grants cover 75% of projects, but the 25% of match is required by benefited property owners. The funds may also be used to assist with smaller ditch/water quality projects that are under $10,000 and therefore harder to obtain grant funding for.
Vetsch said he wanted the discussion today prior to the request being placed addressed in budget sessions. Mattice, Vetsch and the SWCD worked together on the SWCD’s appropriation budget. Detjen said for use of the SWCD funding, requests have to be approved by the SWCD Board. The Attorney’s Office assisted with a process that would allow utilization of the additional $32,000 in situations where work needs to be done more expediently during construction and would not have to wait for approval by the SWCD Board.
Recommendation: The request for the additional funding will be part of the Ag & Drainage budget request for 2021.
VI. Fairgrounds Paving
The paving work has been completed. A neighbor drove equipment on the pavement and so one area is rough. Potter asked Dennis Beise to get a cost estimate for repair.
Kelly said last year, the County transferred $35,000 toward this project. The total project cost was $90,000 so the County’s portion is $45,000. Borrell said the amount was close enough to what was figured so they went ahead. They also included an extra area of paving by the office building due to water flow concerns.
Potter said the Wright County Fair was not held this year, and that was possibly how the Fair Board was going to come up with the funding. One idea was that the County fund this in total. Potter said otherwise, next year’s funding request may be even higher. Kelly confirmed that is the case; the budget request from the Fair Board is for $131,000 for the 2021 budget. Commissioners commented that the Fair was not held, so the Fair Board did not have that expense.
Recommendation: Discuss at upcoming budget sessions.
The workshop adjourned at 11:13 AM.
8-11-20 County Board Workshop Minutes submitted by Susan Backes, Clerk to the County Board
(End of 8-11-20 Count Board Workshop Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Daleiden moved to approve the 8-12-20 Personnel Committee Minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Request to hire an Accounting Technician to fill vacancy (due to recent retirement of Highway Accounting Clerk)
Highway Director, Virgil Hawkins provided an overview to the Personnel Committee of the request to hire an Accounting Technician to fill the vacancy due to a recent retirement of a Highway Accounting Clerk. Hawkins sent a memo (including a proposed organizational chart) to the committee members that summarizes the justification to reclassify the Accounting Clerk to an Accounting Technician.
Commissioners Chris Husom and Mark Daleiden both agreed that this request seems appropriate considering the difficulty and dollar value of the Highway Department’s budget which includes the responsibilities of working with federal and state transportation funds and knowledge of software programs that are used to track and report federal transportation funding projects. Due to the complexity of these job tasks it is important to have someone with a higher education and/or job experience level.
Human Resources Director, Schawn Johnson stated that his staff is supportive of the Highway Department’s request. The Accounting Clerk position is a grade 4 in the County’s compensation and classification system. An Accounting Technician is classified as a grade 7. Johnson reported that the cost increase for hiring an Accounting Technician would be roughly $7,300 (minimum pay) to $10,000 (maximum pay) per year. He noted that there is an increase of cost for changing to an Accounting Technician, but the Highway Department would be gaining additional skillset that are needed to manage the department’s financial expenditures and budgeting.
Discussion was held regarding the next steps in the process and recruitment time frame to move forward with the Accounting Technician position. The County Board will be discussing this item at the next County Board meeting (Tuesday, August 18, 2020). The Highway Department will need to submit an addendum for the Accounting Technician Job description. Assistant Human Resources Director, Lori Pawelk stated that she has sent the addendum information to Highway Accountant, Patsy Waytashek. Pawelk explained that the recruitment process for the Accounting Technician position will take roughly 4 - 6 weeks to complete.
Personnel Committee agreed to the recommendation.
RECOMMENDATION: Approve to Hire an Accounting Technician to fill vacancy (due to recent retirement of Highway Accounting Clerk).
8-12-20 Personnel Committee Minutes submitted by Kathleen Brannan-Merritt
(End of 8-12-20 Personnel Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Borrell requested the following change to the Ways & Means Committee Minutes:
- Change the first sentence of the minutes to read, “Sheriff Sean Deringer said last spring he received requests from two additional school districts for School Resource Officers (SRO).”
Borrell moved to approve the 8-12-20 Personnel Committee Minutes as corrected and the recommendations. The motion was seconded by Potter and carried 5-0. The 8-12-20 Ways & Means Committee Minutes follow:
I. School Resource Officer Contract Rate
Sheriff Sean Deringer said last spring he received requests from two additional school districts for School Resource Officers (SRO). One since declined to pursue an SRO contract at this time.
Deringer said the SRO contract rate for the 2020-21 school year is $43,764, or 9/12 of a starting deputy’s wage. He would ultimately like to increase the contract rate to approximately $69,000. The intent is to start a three-year rate increase, starting in the 2021-22 school year with an increase of $5,486, for an annual total of $49,250. The annual rate would increase by $10,000 for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years, to totals of $59,250 and $69,250 respectively. After that, the percentage increase would mirror the City contract rate. This will make budget forecasting much easier.
Deringer said the County is not subsidizing school districts. While not all costs are recouped, SROs provide value by their presence and by building relationships with students, and reduces the need for deputies to respond to calls to schools. The Sheriff’s Office is trying to identify what the base level of service should be. He is grateful for the support law enforcement receives in Wright County.
The consensus was to approve the proposed School Resource Officer contract rate increases as stated.
Recommendations: Approve the proposed School Resource Office contract rate increases as follows:
• 2021-2022 school year increase $5,486 to $49,250
• 2022-2023 school year increase $10,000 to $59,250
• 2023-2024 school year increase $10,000 to $69,250
• Thereafter percentage increases would mirror the City contract rate.
8-12-20 Ways & Means Committee Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 8-12-20 Ways & Means Committee Minutes)
At today’s County Board Meeting, Vetsch moved to approve the 8-12-20 Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Minutes and recommendations. The motion was seconded by Daleiden.
The following changes were requested:
- Add Daleiden to Members present (Daleiden)
- Add Tom Neumann to Others Present (Husom)
- Change Dennis Beise from Delano to Rockford Township (Borrell)
Vetsch spoke with a member of a township that did not attend the meeting. What was conveyed was that they were not going to do anything with the CARES Act funding and assumed the County would just receive the funding. Vetsch suggested today that another email be sent to the townships indicating that action is required, or the funding returns back to the federal government. Husom said a comment received was that the process is too difficult. It was noted that Rebecca from CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) is a great resource for assistance to the townships in this process. Jolene Foss, Wright County Economic Development Partnership, also has been assisting with getting certification at the state. Kelly said staff is working with CLA to get the questions addressed. They will put together a FAQ sheet which could be sent along with the email to the townships. Kelly said there is a meeting planned for this afternoon at the staff level, and two committee meetings will occur on 8-20-20 relating to the CARES Act. This topic can be discussed at that time.
The motion and second agreed to the changes to the minutes as outlined. The motion to approve the 8-12-20 COTW minutes carried 5-0. The minutes follow:
I. Meeting with Wright County Townships RE: CARES Act Funding
Darek Vetsch, County Commissioner, gave a presentation on CARES Act Funding for Wright County Townships (see attachment).
Vetsch reviewed the actions needed to take place on the part of local governments to receive this funding, including setting up a State of Minnesota State Wide Integrated Financial Tool (SWIFT) supplier ID, a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and register in the System for Award Management (SAM). If a local government is accepting CRF funding, they must have a SWIFT ID at submission, and a SAM account ID within 30 days of submission of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) Certification form. The CRF Certification form must be submitted by September 15, 2020.
The County received $16.55 million in CARES Act Funding:
• $7 million for the County COVID Associated Expense
• $5 million for economic development, County-affiliated service providers (such as WCCA or Functional Industries, etc.)
• $4.4 million allocated to school districts around Wright County
Vetsch said there are many rules associated with this funding, and the process must be followed closely. Townships may elect to receive the funds directly, and take on all the administration, distribution, and reporting responsibilities themselves. Alternatively, Townships may elect to forward the funds to the County by resolution. The County would then administer, distribute, and report how the funds were used. The funds would be dedicated to that Township and allocated on an application basis.
Rebecca Field from CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) is available to assist the County and Townships with the application, approval, and reporting processes. Her contact information is Rebecca.Field@CLAconnect.com and 612-397-3053.
To qualify, expenses must satisfy three criteria:
1. Necessary expenditures
2. Unaccounted-for expenditures
3. Incurred during the covered period of March 1 through December 15, 2020.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, said some expenses are black and white, but others fall into gray areas. He recommended that local governments contact Fields at CLA with any questions. If an expense was already budgeted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will most likely not be eligible.
Field said Townships must send information on their reimbursable expenses to the County by November 15, 2020. Eligible expenses must be incurred by November 15, 2020. The County must submit them to the State by December 1, 2020.
Field reiterated that expenses must not have been accounted for in the most recent budget to be eligible for reimbursement. If an expense was previously budgeted, but the amount spent was substantially different than originally budgeted due to response to the COVID-19 pandemic, documentation must be provided. For example, if a maintenance person spent substantial additional time to clean their truck, over and above the usual time, that justification must be documented. With payroll, if additional time was required in response to COVID-19, that must be shown.
Vetsch described the distribution methodology for the SAM account and DUNS number process (see attachment).
Jolene Foss, Executive Director for the Wright County Economic Development Partnership, offered her assistance to local governments as well.
Vetsch said the Townships should decide quickly whether they want to receive the CARES Act funds directly or have them forwarded to the County.
Field said expenses incurred over and above amounts allocated by other Federal funding may be reimbursed with CARES Act funds if they are eligible in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kelly said the presentation will be emailed to Townships. Vetsch said a template resolution will be included for those Townships that decide to forward their funds to the County for administration.
The meeting adjourned at 6:09 P.M.
Recommendation: Informational only.
8-12-20 COTW Minutes submitted by Deb Schreiner, Administrative Specialist
(End of 8-12-20 COTW Minutes)
1. Borrell attended a SWCD meeting and a Canvassing Board meeting recently.
2. Bertram Chain of Lakes Advisory Meeting. Vetsch and Daleiden attended. Vetsch stated the group was onsite to look at the new paving done at the park. Daleiden said the southern parking lot may need to expand. Vetsch thought another entrance should be added because of the proximity of the current entrance to where people are entering the field. The campground should be open in May 2021. The City of Monticello plans to hold nature-based schooling at the park (K-5).
3. New Government Center. Husom and Kelly toured the building last week.
4. MEADA (Mentorship Education and Drug Awareness). Husom attended a meeting last week. A grant request was approved for Wright Choice which is a program that offers an alternative to school suspension.
5. Trailblazer. Potter said the groundbreaking for the garage addition will be held in September. The project came in under budget.
6. Highway 55 Coalition. Potter said there was a full membership meeting on 8-14-20. The group discussed HF 3916 which relates to the section from the arrowhead to Loretto. There is a companion bill in the senate. The group is working with MnDOT and the federal government to extend the agreement for the TH 55 Coalition to 2025, and they are looking for an additional $45,000 in funding. The Routes (Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success) Program is a federal program. There was concern of eligibility because Hennepin County is urbanized. Since they are using the 2010 census figures, the part from the arrowhead out is not in the urban core area and is eligible. They will attempt to get the Routes funding. The Coalition also extended the contract with SRF Consulting through July 2021.
7. ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). Daleiden was part of a Teams meeting for ERP with Oracle and Cyber. He encouraged Board members to read the update sent by Kelly yesterday which explains some of the issues that are being experienced. Kelly said they are identifying gaps they feel should be addressed by the system. This is a large project for the County and they want to do it once and do it right, with a goal of getting a quality product. Staff is setting up a meeting with Oracle and Cyber for later this week to discuss follow up from the previous meeting.
8. Administrator Updates:
A. Kelly said the Trailblazer groundbreaking will be held on 9-17-20 at 11:00 AM. He extended an invitation to Board members and staff that would like to attend.
B. The Economic Development Authority exploration group held their first meeting on 8-12-20. Kelly said Bruce Kimmel, Ehlers-Inc., did a nice job of explaining what is needed by Statute to explore the EDA possibility.
C. The focus of staff during the past few weeks has been on the 2021 budget, and responding to the CARES Act both internally and externally.
The meeting adjourned at 10:38 AM.
County Board Minutes submitted by Susan Backes, Clerk to the County Board
Published in the Herald Journal, Sept. 11, 2020.
WARRANTS FOR PUBLICATIONWarrants Approved On 7/29/2020 For Payment 7/29/2020
21 Payments less than 2000 6,669.37
Final Total: 51,516.89
Warrants Approved On 7/31/2020 For Payment 7/31/2020
DHS- SWIFT 6,041.44
MARCO 3,125.13
48 Payments less than 2000 25,831.50
Final Total: 141,914.38
Warrants Approved On 8/04/2020 For Payment 8/04/2020
49 Payments less than 2000 11,734.68
Final Total: 38,027.45
Warrants Approved On 8/07/2020 For Payment 8/07/2020
BOLTON & MENK INC 8,264.69
KNIFE RIVER 4,021,105.93
PRINSCO INC 7,374.00
46 Payments less than 2000 23,200.20
Final Total: 5,594,546.80
Warrants Approved On 8/11/2020 For Payment 8/11/2020
A M MAUS & SON INC 28,546.00
62 Payments less than 2000 29,095.49
Final Total: 171,621.21
Published in the Herald Journal, Sept. 11, 2020.