Wright County Board Minutes

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Vetsch, Daleiden, Wetter and Kaczmarek present. Husom attended the meeting remotely.
Vetsch moved to approve the minutes from 7-27-21. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Vetsch moved to approve the Agenda. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Kaczmarek requested to pull Items A4 (Administration) and D1 (Sheriff’s Office) for discussion and clarification.
Vetsch moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the removal of Items A4 (Administration), D1 (Sheriff’s Office) for discussion and clarification. The motion was seconded by Wetter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
* Items A4 and D1 for discussion.
1. Update Wright County Data Practices Policy for Members of the Public
2. Update Wright County Data Practices Policy for Data Subjects
3. Schedule Employee Years of Service quarterly recognition on September 28, 2021
4. *Approve the 2021-2022 Lease Agreement with Wright Choice. The Lease Agreement is for a 10-month term, beginning August 15, 2021 and ending June 15, 2022 for a total sum of $20,864
1. Approve Tobacco License for DG Retail, LLC DBA Dollar General Store #22351 (City of Delano) for the period of August 10, 2021 through December 31, 2021
2. Approve Tobacco License for Coborn’s, Incorporated DBA Coborn’s Gas Station #2047 (City of Otsego) for the period of August 10, 2021 through December 31, 2021
3. Request position replacement for Office Tech II
4. Acknowledge Warrants issued between July 21, 2021 and August 2, 2021 (See Below, Item IX. Warrant Listing)
The Recorder’s Office requested a budget adjustment to create an overtime line item to accommodate the increase in demand for Plats and Vitals. In addition, the notary fees are being adjusted between Finance and Taxpayer Services and the Recorder’s Department to match the budget to the activity in the monthly reports.
1. Sign contract and agreement for New Case Management System with Karpel Solutions
2. Authorize signatures on Retainer Agreement for Torrens Registration proceeding
1. *Approve contracts for Law Enforcement Coverage for 2022-2023 for Maple Lake, Waverly, Montrose and Cokato
4. Approve the 2021-2022 Lease Agreement with Wright Choice. The Lease Agreement is for a 10-month term, beginning August 15, 2021 and ending June 15, 2022 for a total sum of $20,864
Assistant County Administrator Holly Wilson stated the County is leasing the space for $19.60 per square foot. The contract is a 10-month term and renewed annually. County Administrator Lee Kelly stated the program is a partnership between several Wright County Schools and Wright County Court Services. Half of the total cost of the lease ($10,437) is paid from the Court Services budget. Daleiden added the program is a cost savings to the County because it prevents truancy and eliminates the need for the Sheriff’s Office to get involved in numerous truancy cases.
1. Approve contracts for Law Enforcement Coverage for 2022-2023 for Maple Lake, Waverly, Montrose and Cokato
Kaczmarek questioned is any of the cities renewing contracts with the Sheriff’s Office have increased or decreased hours of coverage. Daleiden stated the Sheriff’s Office provides recommendations to each of the cities based on activity in the previous year. It is up to each city to determine coverage needs and budgetary allowance for the service.
Kaczmarek moved to approve Items A4 and D1 under the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Adopt Resolution to accept $300.00 donation from Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Hutchinson Area Unit 37
Veteran Services Director Gregory Pickard stated the DAV Hutchison Area Unit 37 donated another $300.00 to the department to use assisting Wright County Veterans. The previous donation was used to supply gas cards to at-risk Veterans. Pickard requested the Commissioners sign the thank you letter being sent to the DAV Unit 37.
Vetsch moved to adopt a resolution accepting a $300.00 donation from DAV Hutchinson Area Unit 37. The motion was seconded by Wetter and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Additionally, Pickard provided an update regarding the grave marker for the Civil War Veteran that was found. Pickard met with the family and returned the gravestone on Friday, August 6, 2021. The family was appreciative of the efforts.
Potential August Workshop
Kelly wanted to verify the meeting schedule for August. After discussion, the Commissioners agreed to hold regular Board Meetings for the remainder of August as there were no time-sensitive topics needing to be discussed at a Workshop.
Vetsch moved to accept the Committee of the Whole meeting minutes and recommendations from 7-26-21. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
I. American Rescue Plan Update
Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels stated the professional services contracts with Flaherty & Hood and Baker Tilly will be on the Tuesday, July 27. County Board Agenda for approval.
Townships were invited to request American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds the week of July 19. Commissioner Kaczmarek suggested setting another meeting in the evening for other townships to attend. Karels will schedule the meeting.
The comment period on the Interim Final Rule closed on Friday, July 16. There may be changes to the Final Rule based on the comments received. The U.S. Economic Development Administration issued several additional programs the county may be eligible for. The first ARP report is due Tuesday, August 31.
All proposed projects and grant applications will be collected in OnBase. All proposed projects will be sent to Baker Tilly for verification that the project qualifies.
Almost $28 million in projects have already been requested. $4 million was allocated to school districts at a previous meeting. Karels stated the Monticello School District is requesting two programs: an afterschool program and a social emotional learning resource.
Director of Business Services for Monticello Public School District Tina Burkholder stated the initial estimates of CARES funds were much higher than what was received. There was also a lack of guidance on how the funds could be spent as the school district was trying to plan for the following year. Twenty percent of the funds needed to be used for learning loss but there was no clear guidance on what that entailed. After some initial planning, the school district found out the program had to be before and after school or summer programming. Burkholder is working with the state to see if some of the initial plans will qualify. The state developed a flow chart to determine how the three rounds of stimulus money could be spent. Applications must be submitted by Friday, October 1 and require public input. The school districts know how much money will be received; however, it is unclear if the programs will be permitted.
Commissioner Husom stated the funds need to be allocated by December 2024 and the funds need to be spent by December 2026. This timeframe gives the commissioners time to plan and determine where the money is needed. Commissioner Vetsch stated the county wants to help but does not want to duplicate efforts. He suggested having the school districts work with Flaherty & Hood.
Burkholder stated an allocation of funds in 2022 or 2023 would be helpful as the school districts will no longer receive CARES funds. Vetsch stated it is possible to allocate funds in future years if it does not happen this year. Husom stated a lot of students are transferring to schools that allow online learning. Once more information is available it will be easier to decide how and when to allocate funds.
Karels stated the reporting guidelines for ARP have been released. An expenditure category must be assigned to each of the projects; some categories require the project serve disadvantaged communities. The methodology for identifying disadvantaged communities needs to be determined.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational only.
II. Fiscal Agent Contracts
Finance Director Lindsey Meyer contacted the Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Historical Society. Both organizations understood the county would be increasing fees at some point. Additionally, each entity can utilize an outside firm for the services. The primary concern, specifically from the Historical Society, is not being on the county’s health insurance plan. Meyer discussed with Human Resources and determined each entity must find all services elsewhere or pay for both payroll and health insurance through the county.
Human Resources Director Schawn Johnson stated county benefits are deducted from payroll. If the two are split, the county would receive separate bills and it would be very difficult to track.
Meyer presented the commissioners with the total cost to the county of providing the services as well as an approximate cost if each entity were to purchase these services elsewhere. Human Resources could help provide the outside entities the costs of obtaining health insurance. Each entity is currently being charged $300 per year.
Vetsch stated the county should actualize accounting costs but it will likely cost more for each entity to be on a small group plan.
Kaczmarek asked if staff could provide the exact cost that would be passed along to employees if the outside entities joined another group plan. Vetsch stated neither group had shopped the market yet, but small plans tend to have high rates. He anticipates a 30 percent increase for both the SWCD and Historical Society employees.
Johnson stated the plan renewal period begins June 30 and ends July 1. There is a three-year look back at utilization. Johnson suggested having the entities reach out to the county’s broker for assistance with joining a small group plan.
Kaczmarek questioned if there are other Lake Improvement Districts (LIDs) that are not enrolled in the county’s benefits. He wondered if each of the LIDs could join the same plan. Meyer stated the county provides service to three of the four LIDs.
Johnson stated the entities have accepted the county’s contribution rate for health insurance and their employees would be responsible for the difference.
Vetsch stated the amount for the county to provide services only includes labor. There could be additional costs once Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is implemented. He questioned if it would make sense for the outside entities to pay more for health insurance or if the county should incur the additional costs with ERP. Both options would cost additional funds and it would be a matter of determining who would pay for it.
Vetsch suggested charging the outside agencies $3,117 in the short-term. He would like to gather information on the exact amount it would cost for the agencies to join separate health insurance plans as well as the additional cost for ERP and weigh the options.
County Administrator Lee Kelly stated a non-profit recently asked if the county could serve as its fiscal agent. Daleiden stated the commissioners would need more information on what the costs would entail. He suggested having the non-profit ask the township first. Meyer stated if the county became the fiscal agent, there would be an obligation to understand what the funds are being used for.
Charge the outside agencies the total cost for the county to provide the services. Meyer will review the current fiscal agent agreements and set them up for an annual review of fees. A new rate will be established for 2022 and adjust yearly.
Staff will determine the exact cost of the agencies joining separate health insurance plans as well as the additional cost for ERP. Once the information is gathered, the commissioners will weigh the options.
Wetter moved to accept the Dental Clinic Project Steering Committee meeting minutes and recommendations from 7-26-21. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
Kaczmarek questioned the gap in funding that is currently estimated at $36,000. Daleiden stated the gap in funding includes several items, such as professional services and legal fees. Some of the items cannot be paid using bond funds.
I. Project Budget
Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels distributed a projected predesign estimate budget and summary with the Dental Clinic Project Steering Committee members. She mentioned that this was discussed a couple of weeks ago at the at the County Board Workshop. Karels explained that the County has already contributed to the project construction of the dental clinic, which is basically considered the shell. The County also paid for some conceptual designs that Widseth Architects have completed. Those items had come out of County funding and was completed prior to the passage of the state bonding bill.
Commissioner Mark Daleiden asked Facilities Director Alan Wilczek if there had been any update on the concrete flooring being constructed as part of the dental clinic shell. Wilczek responded that there has been a discussion with the contractor and their willingness to come back and do it. However, they wanted to see a floor design and floor plan which was sent to them electronically. Wilczek also commented he is waiting for a response with the cost estimate. Although there may be a wage adjustment, it will still be better off financially to use the existing contractor. Commissioner Mary Wetter commented that she doesn’t believe that concrete costs have risen compared to other construction materials. Wilczek said he’d have an adjustment available.
Karels continued to present the current portion of the project, which included design fees and a predesign construction cost estimate and reported that the plan is to use a combination of the UCare grant funds and state bonding funds received.
Karels explained Community Dental will seek funding through private grants and fundraising to cover costs that include furniture, major appliances and equipment, dental clinic equipment, I.T. phones, security, and clinic start-up costs. She also mentioned that the last two pieces are the legal services from Flaherty & Hood that the County has been using and the Registered Land Survey piece that was referenced to from the last County Board meeting and plan to use funds from the UCare grant. However, Karels explained that it will be necessary to find an alternate funding source, because the UCare grant will expire in mid-December and the project is not allowed to use state bonding funds to cover those particular services in 2022.
Karels also stated there will be a gap in funding which the County will be responsible for providing. She reported the gap is currently estimated to be $36,000. County Administrator Lee Kelly mentioned that since this will fall in 2022, it will offer the County the opportunity to work it into the budget. He added that it may not necessarily fall under the Capital Improvement Budget, perhaps it could be placed in the site improvement or professional services line and can be adjusted as needed.
Daleiden asked if American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds would be available to use. Kelly responded that it may be something to explore, however, there are other projects that fall more in line with ARP requirements. Karels added that there are other possible grants to look in to and mentioned that Community Dental also applied for UCare grants and they may have ideas for other possibilities.
Daleiden clarified that there is $80,000 that cannot be used through bond funds with the last two items being the legal services and the Registered Land Survey and the UCare grant would expire December 15, 2021. Karels commented that architecture fees can be covered by state bond funds because it’s part of the capital costs.
Wilczek added that the gap may be larger than estimated. Phil Lacher of Community Dental suggested to reach out to some of the grants for a possible extension. Karels replied that she will ask Sarah Grosshuesch to reach out to UCare for assistance in getting an extension from Ucare. She reported there will still be a gap in the funding of $36,000 with the current estimates in hand.
Daleiden asked Tim Keppel from Heritage Construction (subconsultant to Auromira Architects) if these estimates are accurate. Keppel said that he is confident of the current numbers presented and says he typically estimates 5 to 6 percent above costs. He also commented that the numbers should go down. Daleiden thought if the numbers would come down that it may end up covering the gap. Karels said the UCare grant extension, possible Health Partners funding or with Flaherty & Hood it may help as a backup plan. Kelly added that some of the turnback dollars possibly could be used.
A discussion was held regarding how many stations will be constructed for the dental clinic along with equipment and staffing needs. Lecher reported 18 stations will be constructed and shared that it will take some time up, possibly, four to five months to get actually get up to speed with a full workforce to serve clients in efficient time frames in order to see any profitable gains.
Karen Kleinhans, Community Dental, had discussed moving $63,000 from the County to the Community Dental’s responsibility, because Community Dental will be renting the space and should provide the furniture. She added that this will increase her fundraising effort to accommodate that portion. Suggestions for using existing unused County office furniture that is currently located in storage was discussed as a possibility for them to have for office space or waiting room areas. Wilczek explained that all the colored chairs are available for them to use. Robert Scott, Flaherty & Hood added the Community Dental will identify what is acceptable use and will include it in the draft of the lease that the space will be furnished or partially furnished.
II. Use Agreement, including Lease Rate
Karels stated the use agreement and lease rates were discussed at a County Board Workshop two weeks earlier with a methodology that came up to the rate of $15.10 per square foot. She mentioned that she is aware this rate might be outside the Community Dental’s ability to pay. She then explained that Community Dental provided the attached listing of the operating costs showing the status of where Community Dental currently at with the numbers and what a break-even point would be and would not be operating at a loss.
Lacher shared the anticipated needs of staffing at first, of hiring three dentists, no dental therapist, and three hygienists. He added the number of patients seen will also have to get ramped up over time, commenting that some of the doctors will most likely be new and a bit slower at first, end eventually speed up the number of patients seen with experience. He listed several other staffing needs that will be necessary. Lacher also continued to say that it will take about three months to catch up with cash flow and by the time claims are submitted, by the end of the year collections on claims should be around 9.4 percent. He suggested that this would be positive and will increase the second year.
Daleiden wondered if the square footage of the rental could be adjusted on a yearly basis. Scott responded that there is freedom to negotiate a figure with both parties can live with. He added that there are restrictions they are operating under, with any payment coming into the County directly needs to be applied to the operational expenses by square footage to the overall cost of the building and submitted as a basis as rent. Daleiden asked the County could be start out with a lower lease rate and work up as production increases.
Lacher asked if the $15.10 would be the base rent and asked if it included the snow removal, heat, etc. Wilczek confirmed that the lease rate would come from the cost allocation plan and would cover all the maintenance staff, snow removal, and would also include janitorial service and the fire system. Wilczek commented the County contracts out for cleaning and assured that they go through a background check and training. Kleinhans added and confirmed that the rate would not include electricity and water.
Daleiden requested Community Dental share the profit and loss statements each year and adding that into the agreement. Lacher said that he had no problem sharing that and explained they are required to report that to the state.
Kelly wanted to confirm that the lease rate was calculated based off the cost allocation plan. The County’s rate is $19.60 at the Justice Center and the other facilities that are already being used, but due to the nature of the state bonding, the County cannot charge the dental clinic for depreciation, which brings the rate to $15.10.
Kelly commented that although Community Dental has done a nice job looking at the financials the County will still have to pick up some of the cost. Daleiden asked if the rent is applied to the general revenue fund and if the county would charge for the entire year although they wouldn’t be operational until June or July of 2022. Kelly said typically it would be applied to the general revenue, and the County would need to set an operating term date.
Karels instructed if everyone is okay with the budget portion piece presented that the next step is the submittal of the predesign report even though the finalization on the lease rate or operating agreement are not in place yet. Scott confirmed that the County can submit the predesign report and the lease rate and operating cost agreement between the County and the Community Dental.
Karels shared the project is currently in the process of submitting the 170 pages of the predesign report to the state with the anticipation of being approved. Karels added that there are several design phases that need to occur after predesign. Mythili Thiagarajan commented that she has been working on adding a bit more detail for the schematic design phases. Scott explained from the state’s perspective that the predesign report is the state’s preliminary window to make sure that what is proposed is consistent within the scale of what the County initially presented to the legislature in order to be included on the bonding bill.
Discussion was had regarding timing of submittal requirements, Wetter asked if they were still on target for the timeline requirements stated in the July 13 Dental Clinic update, that the predesign report would need to be submitted to the state by August 24. Karels explained that the state has 10 business days to approve the predesign report. The consensus was that since no action is required for a preliminary submittal by the Board, it was not necessary to wait for the next Board meeting to delay the submittal of the predesign report.
Wilczek suggested the lease rate should be discussed sooner than later and Kelly agreed suggesting adding the item to the County Board meeting tomorrow, July 26th in order to set a Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting sometime in August to discuss building lease rates across the County.
Daleiden asked what the timeline is to submit the rental lease agreement rates. Scott suggested to work backwards from the time the County would want to award the construction contract, allowing a cushion of a couple of months as a benchmark and it will take as much as sixty business days to build.
Kleinhans expressed that she expects the timing of order and receiving equipment may take much longer than anticipated. Thiagarajan also added that she had spoken with the state’s building inspector and he mentioned that the plumbing review is taking about three months, and suggested that the way around this, is when the construction drawing designs are done and there are licensed engineers that would be eligible to submit the drawings to the state.
Karels share a project schedule with the use agreement going to the County Board in mid-September, the grant application piece in October, and expecting that the grant from the state in December matches up, the County can then release the contract by December. The lease rate will be approved by the state no later than mid-December.
RECOMMENDATION: Submit the Predesign Report to the State, reach out for additional funding resources, request an extension on the UCare Grant, and set a Committee of The Whole meeting in August to discuss lease rates
Kaczmarek moved to accept the Transportation Committee of the Whole meeting minutes and recommendations from 7-27-21. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
I. Update/Revisions to the Highway Department’s Five-Year Plan
Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins explained that the current Five-Year Plan and Map were approved in December 2020 and cover the years 2021-2025. He said the plan is a living document that requires updating occasionally due to changes in funding, grant fund awards, changing timelines with partner agencies and balancing workload from year to year. Highway staff presented a list of 10 proposed changes for inclusion in the Five-Year Plan
• Add CSAH 19 mill/fill (57th Street to I-94 ramps) to 2023 Pavement Preservation Program
• Move CSAH 35 Pavement Preservation Project (Hwy. 55 to Jamison Avenue) from 2023 to 2024
• Move CSAH 19/39 Roundabout Intersection Project from 2023 to 2024 (the county received a $400,000 Highway Safety Improvement Program grant for 2024)
• Move CSAH 32 (from CSAH 14 to Hwy. 55) & CSAH 37 (from CSAH 5 to CSAH 6) Pavement Preservation Project from 2024 to 2023 to balance the workload from year to year
• Move Hwy. 25/CSAH 83 Roundabout Project from 2024 to 2023 (request from the Minnesota Department of Transportation) – project funding includes $1 million in MnDOT grant funds
• Update limits on CSAH 19 Pavement Preservation Project for 2022 – three-lane mill/fill from the One-Way Pairs to Walnut Avenue
• Add CSAH 19 Pavement Preservation Project from 2023 – two-lane with spot widening from Walnut Avenue to north of CSAH 34
• Update funding source for the CSAH 35/Dague Avenue Roundabout Intersection Project for 2022 (received a $400,000 HSIP Safety Grant)
• Update funding source and project termini (end point) for CSAH 36 reconstruction in 2025 (county received $2 million in federal grant funds through MnDOT Region 7W)
• Add CSAH 38 Pavement Preservation Project to 2023 (east of Maciver Avenue to Martin Farms Avenue in Otsego)
Hawkins said the proposed changes balanced out the workload and brought the construction program costs more in line - $16.91 million in 2021, $18.4 million in 2022, $17.34 million in 2023, $17.97 million in 2024 and $12.38 million in 2025, which Hawkins described as currently being a “work in progress.”
Recommendation: Request the County Board approve the 10 proposed changes to the Highway Department Five-Year Plan.
II. Update on MnDOT’s Hwy. 25 Corridor Study/City of Buffalo Housing Development
Hawkins provided background on the corridor study, which MnDOT’s District 3 began in December 2020 in partnership with Wright County and the cities of Buffalo and Monticello. The purpose of the study was to identify access, intersection and safety improvements to Hwy. 25 between Buffalo and Monticello. The study is being conducted in advance of a pavement mill and overlay project planned for 2026 construction.
MnDOT provided an update on the project. In February 2021, the public was invited to respond to an online survey regarding issues and concerns with Hwy. 25. Almost 2,200 people responded and provided more than 2,800 comments. The key issues identified were safety, pedestrian/bicycle access, turning onto Hwy. 25, left turns off of Hwy. 25 and traffic controls at intersections. The next steps were identified as sharing the results of technical analysis on the MnDOT website (July 2021), complete alternatives development (August 2021), share alternatives with the public and ask for input (September 2021)/ and develop an implementation plan for proposed improvements/publish a final report (October 2021).
Hawkins pointed out that between Catlin Avenue in Buffalo and Kjellberg Court in Monticello, there are 18 intersections on Hwy. 25 that potentially impact traffic. He added that a pending housing development in Buffalo will construct an access to Hwy. 25 and identified potential access points. Hawkins added that, in January 2022, the remaining employees in the Wright County Government Center will be moving to the main campus of county facilities on Braddock Avenue – which will increase traffic flow on Hwy. 25. He said a study was done in 2019, which determined that the additional traffic would be acceptable if employees on the county campus would stagger the arrival/departure times of employees so that everyone isn’t arriving or departing at the same time. Traffic patterns continue to be monitored dealing with the timing of the traffic signal at the intersection of Co. Rd. 83 and Hwy. 25. Hawkins added that, since the study was completed, the county received a grant to build a roundabout to replace the traffic signal at the intersection of Hwy. 25 and CSAH 83.
Vetsch asked about the funding for the minor collector road coming from the Buffalo housing development. Hawkins said there would be no cost to the county and the costs would be paid by the City of Buffalo and the developer. Vetsch said it would be important to have information about the minor collector roads to Hwy. 25 and Braddock Avenue sooner than later to assist in the decision-making process. Scott Dahlke, civil engineer on the Buffalo development project, said the minor collector roads will be done in two phases. The first phase would be making the road connection to Hwy. 25. The connection to Braddock Avenue would be part of the second phase. Dahlke added that there may be some grading completed this year with the project moving into high gear in 2022.
Recommendation: Informational only
III. Preview Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) Program Open House Information
Hawkins provided background on LOST funding. On June 13, 2017, the Wright County Board adopted Resolution 17-30 establishing a 0.5 cent Local Option Sales Tax for transportation projects. The collection of sales tax revenue under the resolution is scheduled to sunset Dec. 31, 2022 if not renewed. The Highway Department was directed to conduct open house meetings to gather public input and feedback on extending LOST beyond Dec. 31, 2022. Hawkins said he would like to do the information sharing portion of the open house virtually, saying that virtual open houses get much more public input and feedback than one-time, in-person open houses. He suggested posting the open house information on the county website for three to four weeks.
Daleiden and Husom both expressed interest in having at least one in-person open house to accommodate those who have specific questions that aren’t answered virtually or don’t have online capability. Hawkins said he would be open to having both options. Kaczmarek said he would like to see more than one meeting. Daleiden said it could be costly in terms of staff time to have numerous in-person meetings throughout the county. Kaczmarek maintained that there is a lack of knowledge about the LOST program from discussions he has had with constituents. Husom said the 2017 decision to implement LOST was well-vetted at the time.
John Uecker, Albion Township Supervisor, said it would be beneficial to discuss LOST at the October Township Officers Association meeting in Corinna Township and questioned whether LOST funds could be used for projects in townships. Vetsch said that a portion of LOST funding could be segregated for city or township projects, but they would first have to be included on the approved list of projects moving forward. Husom added that every project on the LOST list needs to be subject to a public hearing and voted on by the County Board. When the initial list of projects was determined in 2017, there were 18 projects spanning a 15-year period.
Kaczmarek said there should be three meetings. It was determined one should be in Buffalo given its central location and access to the technology and space requirements county facilities can provide. Kaczmarek suggested another site could be the South Shore Event Center in Howard Lake, which has hosted large public events. Kaczmarek said that he wants to be sure that projects are fairly spread throughout the county. Daleiden said that several projects over the last 10 years have been in the western portion of the county and have been equitably distributed. Vetsch questioned whether the meetings should be Committee of the Whole meetings since there will likely be a quorum of commissioners attending.
Gene Janikula, Woodland Township Supervisor, said that meeting with the Township Officers Association would be a good idea, but the discussion should be a limited conversation. Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer suggested having Highway Department staff make a presentation and the commissioners be in the audience as guests, which would not be an Open Meeting Law violation because they wouldn’t be making any recommendations at the meeting or debating whether money will be earmarked for townships. Daleiden added that a similar type of meeting should take place with city officials (such as the Wright County Mayors Association). Hawkins said he could provide informational handout materials about the program.
Hawkins said that Wright County takes in $8-9 million a year from LOST and approximately 25 percent of those funds ($2.2 million) come from non-Wright County residents. He discussed projects that have already been completed – CSAH 9 in Waverly, CSAH 18 in Albertville/St. Michael, CSAH 30 in Delano and CSAH 39 in Otsego – as well as five more projects currently in progress with revenue generated by LOST through December 2022 – Co. Rd. 118 in Monticello/Monticello Township, CSAH 37 in Albertville/Otsego, CSAH 19 in St. Michael, right-of-way acquisition for the CSAH 19 project in Hanover and CSAH 35 from Jamison Avenue to the One-Way Pairs on CSAH 19 in St. Michael. He added none of these projects would have been done without LOST funding. Vetsch asked if one or two flashing yellow lights to signal left turns signal projects at about $60,000 each could be included in the list of LOST projects each year. Vetsch added that LOST doesn’t apply to the purchase of vehicles like cars and boats because they already have motor vehicle taxes charged to them.
Hawkins said that approximately 300 of the county’s 512-mile road system don’t meet standards for new construction and LOST funding helps fill that void. Assistant Highway Engineer Chad Hausmann added that, due to COVID, it was expected that state gas tax revenue for 2021 would be down 15 percent. The actual drop in revenue was around 11 percent.
Recommendation: Ask the County Board to approve a virtual online open house for three to four weeks on the county website, in-person meetings at the October Township Officers Association meeting in Corinna Township, at the Highway Department Conference Room in Buffalo and the South Shore Event Center in Howard Lake. It is also recommended to extend an invitation to cities to potentially schedule a meeting with the Wright County Mayor’s Association.
IV. Monarch Butterfly CCAA (Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances)
Hawkins provided background information that the monarch butterfly is under consideration of being listed as a “threatened and endangered species” under the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Endangered Species Act. Over the past 20 years, the numbers of this vital pollinator have been in decline. The numbers of the eastern monarch butterfly have dropped by 84 percent and the western monarch butterfly have declined 97 percent. The CCAA agreement is a cooperative agreement between the USFWS and non-federal partners. Under a CCAA, a county can voluntarily designate a percentage of county highway right-of-way as monarch habitat to avoid delays in permitting for highway maintenance and construction activities should the monarch butterfly become officially listed as threatened and endangered. In December 2020, the monarch butterfly was deemed “warranted but precluded” from inclusion in the Endangered Species Act, but that its status will be reviewed annually. To date, 26 of Minnesota’s 87 counties have indicated they intend to enroll in a CCAA.
Hawkins and Hausmann discussed the pros and cons for enrollment in a CCAA. The pros included county maintenance, construction and utility activities are excluded from federal permit requirements (if the monarch is listed); would allow continued cutting and haying of enrolled highway right-of-way; cost effective to mitigate/avoid future construction project delays and permitting (if the monarch is listed); and helping create critical habitat for a species in danger. The cons include CCAA enrollment fees and the cost to create and maintain habitat (estimated at $25,000 up front and $10,000 in annual maintenance); up-front time/cost creating a CCAA implementation plan; time and material for implementing conservation methods; reducing the ability to cut hay in right-of-way; restrictions to public right-of-way; and the requirement to have a CCAA agreement in place prior to the monarch being listed.
Hausmann said Highway Department staff is recommending taking a “wait and see” approach and not enrolling in the monarch CCAA program at this time.
Recommendation: Informational only.
V. Right-of-Way Management Maintenance Practices (Weed Spraying and Mowing)
Kaczmarek said this item came up at the last Township Officers meeting. Uecker said that brush and small trees are growing in the backslopes of ditches on numerous roads and it is costing townships thousands of dollars to clean up, adding that ditches have been cleared by the county for 50 or more years, yet are now falling into disrepair despite the county having the equipment to fix the problem. Uecker said the county and townships should work more closely together on this issue and the county should maintain the cleaning of ditches as it has in the past. Husom the county is limited in the areas it maintains in its road system (county right-of-way) asked if the county could legally remove brush and trees from private property. Don Schmidt, Buffalo Township, said he owns seven acres of land in county right-of-way and now has thistle bushes that are four feet high. Vetsch said that when townships identify trouble spots to report them to the Highway Department so there is a level of accountability. Highway Maintenance Supervisor Steve Meyer said the right-of-way on many roads is just 66 feet (33 feet from the centerline on both sides) and the county has just four mowers. There are also issues with organic farmers and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulations that interfere with spraying weeds. Kaczmarek said cleaning ditches has been a responsibility of the county for decades and isn’t a new responsibility. Hawkins said there are notices put out for those who don’t want ditches on their property mowed or sprayed. Kaczmarek said the county has two licensed sprayers on staff and, if needed, more should be trained and utilized. Hausmann said that would result in a reallocation of resources. Daleiden said there needs to be better communication between the county, townships and residents to reduce these issues.
Recommendation: Develop a Communication Plan that can be presented to the County Board at a future meeting.
VI. Highway Maintenance Culvert Improvement Practices (Linings and Aprons)
Janikula discussed a culvert in his area that is three feet above where the water flow is. Hawkins said typically culvert assessments are done a year prior to a road project and when it comes to liners, all the Highway Department is doing a putting a liner inside an existing culvert – adding that anything beyond the right-of-way is outside of his department’s jurisdiction. Hawkins said the culvert elevations are a significant issue with the DNR and often require a hydraulic study to change the depth of an existing culvert. Vetsch said the county’s hands are tied in some of these instances because if the county encroaches on private property the county would face liability issues and would need to get permission from a township if a culvert is in township right-of-way. Daleiden said an effort needs to be taken to improve communication between the county and townships and should look into formulating a plan to deal with culvert issues in the future.
Recommendation: No action taken.
Vetsch moved to accept the Technology Committee meeting minutes and recommendations from 7-28-21. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek and carried 5-0 on a roll call vote.
I. Project Updates
Jeremy Kringler, IT Business Analyst (BA), updated on the CAMA project. IT, Information Technology, staff are actively working on moving data to the Tyler product as part of this project. The data will then be reviewed after migration to the Tyler product. IT staff are working on other tasks with this project as well. The project is still set to meet the November 16th completion goal.
The Administration Event Scheduler was covered by IT BA Kevin Kaszynski. The HHS, Health & Human Services, Department will be using QFlow. The quote is presently being reviewed with movement to be made soon. Facilities Director Alan Wilczek questioned if there will be any new infrastructure needs for HHS and the License Center at the New Government Center. James O’Dell, HHS, responded that HHS will need wall mounted kiosks and display monitors. Kaszynski provided that the License Center is looking for clarification from the vendor on needs. Wilczek also asked for clarification with the PA System zones. Commissioner Vetsch requested that the next Technology Committee have an agenda item to provide follow-up and clarity regarding the functions of the scheduling system that will be used in the New Government Center.
The New Government Center Technology was reviewed by IT Manager, Mark Kellogg. CISCO equipment is being set up with the assistance of a contractor. Interns will soon come on board to help prep for the move to the New GC. Commissioner Vetsch asked about logistics for the move, Kellogg responded that they are working that out with Wilczek. Commissioner Vetsch advised that perhaps the HHS Information System Specialists (ISS) would be able to assist with the move as well, O’Dell responded that he has been speaking with Kellogg about that idea.
The SQL Server project was updated by IT Supervisor, Mike Janckila. Six SQL servers are being updated/replaced. Applications on the servers will be moved each week. Janckila will work with Department Business Owners when their applications are set to move.
The Enterprise Resource Planning Project (ERP) was reviewed by Finance Director, Lindsey Meyer. ERP Committee members are providing a “lay of the land” for the new ERP partner, gathering information which will be delivered to the vender towards the end of the week.
RECOMMENDATION: The next Technology Committee will have an agenda item to provide follow-up and clarity regarding the functions of the scheduling system that will be used in the New Government Center.
II. Solution Architect Update
ConnieMae Cooper, ECM (Enterprise Content Management) Architect updated the committee on various projects within the County. Cooper highlighted the long-awaited System Security Authorization analysis, the SSA is a tool used by staff across the County. Another is the County Attorney Truancy analysis and development, a process requested by the County Attorney. It was brought up that HHS also deals with Truancy, and the two processes could dovetail, however at this time this initiative is for the County Attorney’s office. Much work has also been made on the digital automation process of the American Rescue Plan, with the end goal being a streamlined process for a complicated plan. Cooper has closed OnBase Automate Object Requests, which is now able to include more requests in general, as well as bringing in users from all departments. There is now a self-service platform for the public to access listed foreclosures from the Sheriff’s office. This results in staff time being freed up for focused tasks. Work was also made on the Court Services and Attorney’s Driver Diversion Program. Progress continues to be made on many fronts for ECM.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational Only
III. New Project Requests
Rebecca Murphy, IT, brought to the Committee two new projects from Departments across the County. The County Elections team brought to the IT project process the Assistive Voting Device Upgrade from AutoMARK to OnmiBallots. It was determined that no IT support was needed, and the project was approved for FastTrack. A finance code will be created for this project from the Elections funds.
The next project was the Lease Accounting Solution, CLA, for Finance. This project was also deemed to be Fast Track approved as there were no IT concerns. Christine Partlow, HHS Business Manager, questioned about who owns the data. Meyer responded that CLA can export to the ERP when that time comes. Funding was discussed, with the project being $20,000 this year, with annual cost of $7000, which is in the 2022 Finance Operating Budget.
RECOMMENDATION: IT has the capacity for the above-mentioned projects to proceed
IV. 2021 Project Portfolio Summary
Rebecca Murphy reviewed the Project Summary with the Committee focusing on a few items. The Committee had in-depth discussion on the Administration Fleet Process which has redefined opportunities to make it a strategic new effort. Kevin Kaszynski is the BA on the project and noted that it includes scheduling, the Tracka Key Management tool, and Administration of Fleet information (documents, insurance, etc.). Commissioner Vetsch noted that the move to the New Government Center, with the County on one Campus allows the County the opportunity to have a better utilization to have budget changes down the road looking to 2023 to 2024. The one campus style could capitalize on available vehicles for all departments, noting that some fleets receive a lot of usage while others receive minimal usage. The end goal would allow economic efficiencies eliminating waste. The Committee left the Fleet project in its current standing of the final active project.
Additional projects include the Property Tax Manager seeing some progress with MNCCC looking at the Tyler vendor. This project continues to take time to vet out. The Recorder Land Notification was highlighted by IT BA Heidi Staunton. The Recorders office socialized it at the Wright County Fair and Staunton will be working to get it into the hands of other entities throughout the County as well. Staff are continuing to train and fine tune the website. Staunton is also working on the Emergency notification transferring from Everbridge to Rave. The kickoff will be next week, HHS requested that Jim O’Dell be added to the meetings.
Murphy closed the discussion with a review of Team Dynamix, with IT Manager, Pat Spaude noting it is an Enterprise Service Management Solution specifically providing IT Service Management (a HelpDesk Replacement), as well as Project Portfolio Management. The tool will be one place for all steps, it has a service portal for staff to login to see the status of their tickets / projects. It also provides an overarching tool for IT to manage tasks and projects. Commissioner Vetsch asked if inventory will be in the tool, Jesus Castillo, IT Supervisor, replied that IT will be putting device inventory into the system, a cross check of a physical inventory and SCCM will provide an additional source of truth. Commissioner Vetsch stated it would be nice to be able to see what devices are assigned to staff members. Murphy added that there are many reporting features that can be developed and integrated with the tool. Partlow questioned if HHS would have access to the ISS staff, with Murphy responding yes. Murphy added that departments will also have the ability to track staff time for projects as well. Jen Rasset, IT, noted that it allows the County the transparency to see the true cost of a project, as it ties in staff time.
Commissioner Vetsch asked about the funding for the project, with Rasset responding that the project was budgeted for in 2021 CIP Technology, with the following annual cost included in the proposed 2022 IT Budget. The Committee is looking forward to the new tool; IT will continue to update staff on the progress of the project.
RECOMMENDATION: Administration Fleet Process is an active project remaining in its current priority.
V. Project Review – Parks Spraylogger
Marc Mattice, Parks Director detailed his recent Spraylogger FastTrack project. He explained that they budgeted for it for year 2020, however it was not approved at that time. They did analysis of the request with IT, and with that basis it was funded for 2021. The implementation was quick because the prior analysis had been completed. The tool provides quick information to community members when they are asking questions about various sprays and noxious weeds within the Parks system. The tool allows for the integration of GIS Coordination, pictures, and further location detail, which together provides valuable information for the department and the community. Murphy noted that this could possibly be a useful tool for the Highway Department, which Commissioner Vetsch agreed with, as well as the Wright County Soil & Water Conservation District. Murphy also highlighted the success of the FastTrack process, with 11 requests completed and one currently in progress. Staff were directed to reach out to Murphy with any questions about FastTrack.
RECOMMENDATION: Informational Only
Midwest Regional Forensic Lab. Husom and County Attorney Brian Lutes attended the meeting on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. The Lab is producing efficient turnaround times for biology priorities, drug chemistry, toxicology, and latent prints. Midwest Regional Forensic Lab ranked 13th in the nation through Project Foresight. The addition of an Administrative Assistant position has been approved; almost 400 applications were received. An $80,000 federal grant was awarded for the purchase of equipment.
Safety Committee. The Safety Committee met on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 to review accidents and incidents. There were no new reports of hazardous conditions and no new safety suggestions were made. The renewal process for workers compensation has started. The insurance rate will likely decrease because the frequency and severity of workers compensation cases have gone down.
Central Minnesota EMS. There have been leadership changes at the state level and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Regulatory Board is currently hiring for leadership roles. The State has approved each EMS region to receive an additional $100,000 per year. A Treatment Linkage to Care Grant was awarded, and a Case Aide was hired.
Mentorship Education and Drug Awareness Coalition (M.E.A.D.A.) of Wright County. MEADA is hosting an event, “In Other Words”, on Thursday, August 12, 2021. The presentation has been receiving recognition around the state.
Local Heroes Days. Thursday, August 19, 2021 through Saturday, August 21, 2021 will be the Local Heroes Days in Monticello. The first 500 local heroes will receive a t-shirt. There will be a color guard ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, 2021.
Great River Regional Library Board. The board voted to use a portion of reserve funds which will decrease Wright County’s contribution from $35,000 down to $28,000.
Wright County Fair. Approximately 56,000 people attended the fair this year. The Demolition Derby set an attendance record this year. Wrestling and the circus had high attendance.
Planning Commission. There was a workshop to discuss process and procedures.
Breakfast on the Farm. The event was held on Saturday, August 7, 2021. There was a good turnout despite the rain.
Central Mississippi River Regional Planning Partnership (CMRP). CMRP met the new Facilitator Bill Kemp. Kemp will be coordinating efforts moving forward as the action plans are implemented. Vetsch will present the findings from Framework 2030 planning efforts to the board.
Central Minnesota Council on Aging. Wetter attended the meeting on Thursday, July 29, 2021. The council hired a consultant to review salaries and benefits of employees.
Catholic Charities. The group has increased the delivery of frozen meals in northern counties. An increase in federal funding was approved. In Wright County, 25,907 meals were served to 621 clients over the last year.
Congressman Emmer. Wetter, Kelly, and Veteran Services Director Gregory Pickard met with Congressman Tom Emmer on Thursday, August 5, 2021 to discuss Veteran services in Wright County.
Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). SWCD met on Monday, August 9, 2021. Ramp inspections will be ending on Labor Day. Some lake associations may pay for the ramp inspections to continue through September.
Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT). The county will receive a dividend in the amount of $434,782. Most of the funds will be from worker’s compensation.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Sierra Cedar has assigned a project manager. Meetings have been set up regarding the various modules.
The meeting adjourned at 10:01 a.m.
County Board Minutes submitted by Angie Fisher, Administrative Specialist
Published in the Herald Journal, Aug. 27, 2021.
Warrants Approved On 7/21/2021For Payment 7/21/2021
ADORAMA INC. 5,307.88
18 Payments less than 2000 4,435.26
Final Total: 44,962.09
Warrants Approved On 7/22/2021For Payment 7/22/2021
FORD METRO INC 80,922.90
HUMERA TECH 7,985.60
ROOF 1 RBR INC 10,431.60
4 Payments less than 2000 2,551.19
Final Total: 1,652,428.81
Warrants Approved On 7/22/2021For Payment 7/22/2021
FLAHERTY & HOOD P.A. 5,352.60
HARTFORD 25,924.00
MARCO 2,445.10
58 Payments less than 2000 29,342.43
Final Total: 343,989.08
Warrants ApprovedFor Payment 7/22/2021
Final Total: 25,242.58
Warrants Approved On 7/22/2021For Payment 7/22/2021
2 Payments less than 2000 3,176.89
Final Total: 43,270.02
Warrants ApprovedFor Payment 7/22/2021
Final Total: 54,676.50
Warrants Approved On 7/23/2021For Payment 7/23/2021
DUININCK INC 421,099.73
28 Payments less than 2000 10,222.85
Final Total: 1,067,741.34
Warrants Approved On 7/27/2021For Payment 7/27/2021
FURTHER 2,663.40
SPRINT 2,090.84
UMB BANK, N.A. 3,000.00
WRIGHT SWCD 113,756.50
33 Payments less than 2000 8,995.08
Final Total: 232,310.14
Warrants Approved On 7/28/2021For Payment 7/28/2021
PAKOR INC 2,793.30
TECHMATE 4,317.00
TW VENDING INC 17,785.22
47 Payments less than 2000 28,404.86
Final Total: 121,061.25
Warrants Approved On 7/30/2021For Payment 7/30/2021
2 Payments less than 2000 630.50
Final Total: 383,101.92
Warrants Approved On 7/30/2021For Payment 7/30/2021
DHS- SWIFT 4,766.64
KNIFE RIVER 4,160,827.34
23 Payments less than 2000 9,788.13
Final Total: 4,517,687.16
Warrants Approved On 8/02/2021For Payment 8/02/2021
MARCO 77,558.17
TW VENDING INC 11,266.83
65 Payments less than 2000 19,325.51
Final Total: 131,181.96
Warrants ApprovedFor Payment 8/02/2021
Final Total: 593,128.99
Published in the Herald Journal, Aug. 27, 2021.