Wright County Board Minutes

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Daleiden, Wetter and Kaczmarek present.
Husom moved to approve the minutes from 10-5-21. The motion was seconded by Wetter and carried 5-0.
Kaczmarek requested to add Item I City of Howard Lake – Tax Increment Financing (TIF).
Vetsch moved to approve the Agenda with the addition of Item I City of Howard Lake TIF. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek and carried 5-0.
Kaczmarek requested to pull Item B4 (Administration – Finance) and Item D1 (Court Services) for further discussion.
Kaczmarek moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the removal of Item B4 (Administration – Finance) and Item D1 (Court Services) for further discussion. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
* Item added I
** Items removed B4 and D1
1. Position Replacement: Planning & Zoning Administrator
1. Approve Renewal of 2021 Tobacco Licenses for:
A. Mark Allen Campbell DBA Brothers Smoke & More (Clearwater)
B. Hansoline, Inc. DBA Flippin Bill’s (Delano)
C. Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #3601 (Montrose)
D. Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #1647 (Cokato)
E. Casey’s Retail Company DBA Casey’s General Store #2412 (Albertville)
F. Cardinal Enterprises, LLC DBA Speedway #4834 (Rockford)
G. Cardinal Enterprises, LLC DBA Speedway #4849 (Albertville)
H. Lake Region Coop Oil Association (Cokato)
I. Lake Region Coop Oil Association (Maple Lake)
J. AMBEMA Retails, LLC DBA South Haven Sports (South Haven)
K. Don’s Auto Service & Repair, Inc. (Albertville)
L. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #1020 (Albertville)
M. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #104 (Clearwater)
N. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #1031 (Delano)
O. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #177 (Monticello)
P. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #345 (Monticello)
Q. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #162 (Otsego)
R. Kwik Trip, Inc. DBA Kwik Trip #681 (St. Michael)
2. Motion to Approve the Reimbursement of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Funds as follows:
County ARP Funds:
Approval of County Reimbursement of $4,323.49 from 01-099-493.6910 Transfer Out Into 01-100-493.5910 Transfer In as follows:
$2,495.58 for Administrative Expenses – Staff Costs
$1,827.91 for 1.8 Other COVID-19 Public Health Expenses – Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Approval of Use of ARP Funds from 01-099-493.6801
$90 7.1 Administrative – Consultant Support
$54.08 1.5 PPE and Other Supplies
3. Approved Transfer of $40,828.75 from Fund 11 Human Services Fund to 34 Capital Improvements Fund
11-450-000-0000-6910 Transfer Out $40,828.75
34-150-000-8216-5910 Transfer In $40,828.75
4. Approval of Change Fund at the Compost Facility in the amount of $200
5. Acknowledge Warrants Issued between September 29, 2021, and October 12, 2021 (See Below, Item IX. Warrants Issued)
C. ATTORNEY 1. Reschedule Tobacco Ordinance Amendment 21-4 from October 19, 2021, to November 30, 2021, at 9:30 a.m.
1. Authorize Signatures on an Agreement between Wright County and Anoka County for Contract Beds
1. Position replacement
A. Social Worker
B. Social Worker
C. Social Worker II
1. Authorize Signatures by County Administrator and Board Chair to sign Developer’s Agreement for construction of a turn and bypass lane along County Highway 18. Construction will be for the installation of a turn lane and bypass lane for The Preserve Development in Albertville along County Highway 18
2. Approve minor revisions/updates to the Wright County 2021-2025 five-year construction plan & map
1. Refer to October 27, 2021, Technology Committee:
A. Project updates
1. Retention updates
2. MOU
4. Website redesign
5. TeamDynamix
B. New project requests
1. WSCO Jail – EMR Replacement
2. WSCO Server Decommission
C. TeamDynamix Portal Demo
1. Approve the Contract for Law Enforcement Coverage with the City of Rockford for 2022-2023
Kaczmarek said the City of Howard Lake Administrator sent an email requesting a waiver relating to Tax Increment Financing. The waiver would assist the development for a balance of the Turning Trails Subdivision in Howard Lake. The request is to waive the statutory notice and comment period contained in Minnesota Statute §469.175(2)(A) regarding the establishment of Tax Increment Financing District No. 1-21 in the City of Howard Lake.
4. Approval of Change Fund at the Compost Facility in the amount of $200
Kaczmarek asked Assistant Finance Director Heather Lemieux the reason why after more than 25 years there is a change fund at the Compost Facility? Lemieux said multiple departments have had change funds which is typical throughout the county. Sending it to the Consent Agenda is a formality making it legal for the audit.
Vetsch said this has been done over the last four years with other departments. This basically creates a record for documentation purposes to hold the county accountable.
Kaczmarek asked if every department that hands out change has change funds? Lemieux said there is a formal action by the board authorizing the change fund and the dollar amount for every department. There will be a complete list in January 2022 of each department that has change funds and dollar amounts.
Husom added that some departments have had to increase the change fund when it’s recognized there isn’t enough for certain departments.
1. Authorize Signatures on an Agreement between Wright County and Anoka County for Contract Beds
Kaczmarek said the revenue shortfall has an amount of $28,348 and the original state grant money the amount is $227,454. Kaczmarek asked Court Services Director Mike MacMillan to explain what those amounts represent? MacMillan said during the budget process there was discussion regarding the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) which the county has been a member of since 1995. In that time, this is the third revision which is down to a five-year JPA. This is a complete restructure of how bills are paid through Finance. MacMillan said Exhibit C is the amount that will be billed monthly to Wright County using the new formula. Exhibit D is an example of the monies originally received from the State of Minnesota to open a Juvenile Detention Facility/Placing Facility, otherwise known as a Regional Juvenile Facility. Unfortunately, there are no grant funds available now to help offset the cost. MacMillan said the new formula helped streamline the process to make things clear.
Kaczmarek said he didn’t understand why there is a shortfall of $28,348. MacMillan said the $28,348 is the county’s flat monthly amount for the three beds it owns in the facility. Based on the allocations that every county has to pay there will not be a shortfall. Once it’s reconciled the county could receive a check back which could be put in the reserve funds for the operations of the facility.
Vetsch said the Lino Lakes Detention Facility operates on a maximum occupancy of 36 beds. However, the facility budgets on 32 beds. Over the last eight-years the facility has been occupying above the budgeted 32 beds and building up a reserve fund. Last year, due to COVID, there was a shortfall because the occupancy was below the budgeted 32 beds.
Kaczmarek moved to approve Item B4 (Administration – Finance) and Item D1 (Court Services) under the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Wetter and carried 5-0.
Introduce and Sign Approval of Appointment and Oath for Lindsey R. Danielson, Assistant Wright County Attorney
County Attorney Brian Lutes introduced Assistant Wright County Attorney Lindsey R. Danielson. Danielson started with the county on October 4, 2021. Danielson grew up in Odessa, Texas and attended the University of Texas. Danielson joined the Army for six years, serving one year as a linguist in Iraq. After her tenure in the Army, she worked for The Department of Homeland Security for four-years in the Aviation Division based in Colorado Springs. Danielson then decided to go back to school, attending law school at the University of Iowa.
Vetsch moved to approve the appointment and oath of office for Lindsey R. Danielson, Assistant Wright County Attorney. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek and carried 5-0.
Schedule Committee of the Whole Meeting at 10:00 a.m. October 21, 2021, regarding solar.
Kryzer said the Committee of the Whole meeting is to review the proposed Solar Ordinance Amendment 12-5.
Vetsch moved to schedule a Committee of the Whole meeting at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, October 21, 2021. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Approve Agreement No. 21-55 for the County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 19 one-way pair reconstruction project within the city limits of St. Michael. This agreement covers the reconstruction of CSAH 19 from Chestnut Avenue SE. to Ash Avenue NE. Both the City and Joint Powers have approved the agreement already
Wetter asked when this project will be finished? Hawkins said it is scheduled to be constructed in 2022. Wetter asked how long of a stretch of road is this project? Daleiden said it’s about a block and a half.
Vetsch moved to approve Agreement No. 21-55 for the CSAH 19 one-way pair reconstruction project within the city limits of St. Michael. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek and carried 5-0.
Approve Agreement No. 21-58 with the City of Otsego for the construction of turn lanes along CSAH 38 at the “Street C”/Marlowe Avenue NE. intersection
Wetter wanted to clarify that the developer would be paying for most of the project. Hawkins said when there is impact to the county’s highway system due to development, there is an agreement with the cities to figure out who pays for what. Typically, most of the cost is passed to the developer. The cities will have the engineers develop a plan which will be reviewed and approved. This project is scheduled for 2023.
Vetsch moved to approve Agreement No. 21-58 with the City of Otsego for the construction of turn lanes along CSAH 38 at the “Street C”/Marlowe Avenue NE. intersection. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
The 2021 Emerging Leaders are raising funds to help the survivors of, those affected by, and in memory of those lost to domestic violence
Lead Eligibility Specialist Janet Marquette, Facilities Maintenance Technician Marc Thibodeaux and Court Services Office Manager Jessica Miller are part of the 2021 Emerging Leaders are a group comprised of county employees that are not in management roles but take on leadership roles in the departments. As part of this year’s project, the Emerging Leaders chose to focus on domestic violence awareness.
Marquette said in an effort to raise awareness countywide, there are purple lights on top of the Justice Center shining at night. Every employee has received a purple ribbon to wear. The Emerging Leaders are asking staff to wear purple on Thursday in honor of those that have been impacted by domestic violence and those that have been lost to domestic violence.
The Emerging Leaders are raising funds through donations from staff. When a staff member donates, they receive a paperclip angel. All the money raised will be donated to organizations that serve Wright County residents such as Anna Marie’s Alliance, Rivers of Hope and Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center.
Marquette asked the board to consider Proclaiming October 21, 2021, as Domestic Violence Awareness Day as part of the effort to raise awareness within the county.
Husom moved to officially recognize October 21, 2021, as Domestic Violence Awareness Day. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0.
Schedule Public Hearing for changes to the Fees for Service Schedule
County Administrator Lee Kelly said departments have been asked if there are any changes that they are looking to make to the fees for service schedule, which is updated annually, with a hearing in November.
Kaczmarek said he had questions and wanted clarification regarding the fee schedule. Kelly said if there are questions regarding the fee schedule it could be put on the agenda for the Board Workshop in November. Kaczmarek asked about the fees that are in red. Kelly said any fee in red is either a change or a new fee.
Kaczmarek wanted clarification regarding the Septic Loan Application fee in the amount of $172, which is in red under Planning and Zoning. Kelly said it’s a new charge that the county did not have in the past. Kaczmarek asked if the septic system replacements are mandated by a county inspector? Planning and Zoning Administrator Sean Riley said there are several reasons why the septic system may be an issue such as the property sells, the system is non-compliant, or the property owner knows a septic system is needed. This program is a mechanism to pay for it. As far as the fee, it is collected by the Planning and Zoning office, then disbursed to different departments. The Recorder’s Office receives $92, Finance and Taxpayer Services receives $50, and Planning and Zoning receives $30.
Daleiden said it would be best to add this to the workshop in November.
Vetsch moved to schedule a Public Hearing for changes to the Fees for Service Schedule at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 30, 2021. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
A Proclamation on National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month, 2021
Husom said there was a Mentorship, Education and Drug Awareness (MEADA) meeting. Husom said it would be good to recognize this proclamation. President Biden declared October as National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month.
Husom said in 2020 more than 93,000 people died from overdoses. COVID has exasperated the need for resources to address these issues.
Vetsch moved to approve the County Board Workshop meeting minutes and recommendations from 10-12-21. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
I. Schedule meetings as needed
County Administrator Lee Kelly suggested scheduling a Committee of the Whole to discuss dog training at the Compost Facility, so that everyone who needs to be there will be notified.
Commissioner Kaczmarek said Information Technology (IT) was advised a few months ago to develop a proposal for the county’s Local Independent Assessors. Kaczmarek said IT has come up with a new proposal therefore he would like to schedule a meeting with the Local Independent Assessors, IT, and the board to review the proposal to make sure it’s practical.
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer said the staff came up with an Agreement Template for what to do with non-county employees that have access to the county’s network. Kryzer said that a meeting would not be the most functionable place to be negotiating a contract. Kryzer said it should be discussed with staff and then brought to the County Board on the Consent Agenda.
IT Director Matt Fomby said the agreement has been sent to the Local Independent Assessors. Fomby said it’s essentially the same agreement that every outside third party is given. Kryzer said if a person is accessing the county’s network that person must have insurance and assumes all responsibility. If a person doesn’t want to sign it, the next option is for that person to come sit in a cubicle in IT and use a computer dedicated for that purpose.
Commissioner Vetsch said that is standard business operations. Fomby said he is meeting with the Local Independent Assessors in the afternoon today, Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Fomby said nothing operational is changing, it’s simply an acknowledgement that the person is working on Wright County’s network.
Kaczmarek said he didn’t believe there is an emergency that would stop the board from calling a meeting. Fomby said technically Wright County is in security violation. Fomby said the county would be liable if there was an incident because there is currently no security in place.
Vetsch suggested adding to the Tuesday, November 9, 2021, County Board Workshop, legislative discussion for the 2022 session.
• Kelly will touch base with the Sheriff’s Office to come up with possible dates to discuss dog training at the Compost Facility. Kelly will notify the board members of suggested dates at the County Board Meeting Tuesday, October 19, 2021
• Add Legislative discussion for the 2022 session to the County Board Workshop on Tuesday, November 9, 2021
II. License Center Update
Vetsch asked if the Q-Flow will be operational by the opening of the new Government Center in January 2022. License Center Supervisor Jessica Gadach said it is the plan, but she is still waiting to hear an estimated time of arrival for the equipment to be delivered and when the License Center staff will start working with the programmers.
Fomby said the equipment has been ordered, the contract has been signed but there has not been a program manager assigned yet. Fomby said the License Center will still be moved to the new building and can still operate effectively.
Vetsch asked if the License Center will be able to administer the written test on Day One in the new building or if it will be a while. Gadach said that is to be determined because the Number One priority is to be operational in general and get the drive-thru working. Gadach said there will be a delay getting the driver’s license photo camera moved because it must be done by the state. At this point, trying to figure out the most efficient way to place staff for appointments, walk-ins, and drive-thru. Gadach said the License Center is trying to get a temporary camera set up, so it doesn’t interfere with daily business.
Gadach said the License Center takes care of driver’s licenses, motor vehicle transactions and game and fish licenses. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has approved game and fish to move to the new building. The License Center is mid-way through the approval to move. So, now the focus is getting the approval for the driver’s license portion and adding exams.
Daleiden asked Facilities Services Director Alan Wilczek to give the board an update regarding the move-in date for the new Government Center. Wilczek said he is confident that the county will receive its Certificate of Occupancy on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. There will be a few days buffer for the moving company to start with an anticipated move-in date of Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
Wilczek said the new Government Center had extra time built in to finish up punch list items and to get the furniture and audio/video equipment installed. It will most likely be a few weeks before all departments and staff are fully moved to the new building. The furniture should be delivered for the second and third floor by the third week in November.
Commissioner Husom asked when the person that takes care of the plants/flowers at the Government Center can go to the new building to look at the layout. Wilczek said the best time will most likely be in November when most of the finishes will be done on the first floor.
Commissioner Wetter asked what the employees will be responsible to move to the new building? Wilczek said each employee will be given a box to put their personal belongings in and they will be responsible to move. IT will disassemble computers and monitors and leave it on the desk. The movers will tag the items and move everything to the new building.
III. Dental Clinic Update
Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels gave the board an update regarding the dental clinic. The predesign was approved by the state on Monday, September 20, 2021. The schematic design and design development were completed on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Currently the construction documents are being worked on. The detailed plans and specifications are being developed so a bid package can be put together. Karels said the Dental Steering Committee is working with Community Dental to identify sources and uses of funds which is a requirement that needs to be met before the grant with Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) can be applied for.
The Use Agreement with Community Dental is an ongoing piece. Community Dental will be bringing the Use Agreement to its board on Friday, October 22, 2021. After that it will be brought to the County Board to review, sent to the state and then sent back to the County Board for approval. Karels said the Torrens Process is also currently being worked on.
After those items are finished the next steps will be to submit the grant application and issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for construction.
Karels said there are two groups of costs. The first group are Capital Costs which the state considers part of the project. The second group are Other Project Costs which cannot be paid for by state bond funds. Karels broke down the costs and what the funding source is.
Karels said currently there is about $36,000 in costs that Wright County will need to pay. There are not construction bids yet so the cost could be higher than what is estimated. Daleiden said there should be enough money left over in the contingency fund. Wilczek said the contingency fund is almost gone but there is about $1 million in the no conditions and when all is said and done, it should have about $800,000 left over.
Vetsch said the $25,000 allotted for the registered land survey seems extremely high. Kryzer said that amount isn’t just for the registered land survey but also updating the abstract, assistance from outside counsel, surveying, title examiner fees, and court costs for the process.
County Surveyor Steve Jobe said the word Torrens should be added to the registered land survey line. The Torrens process is what most of the cost is going to be. Jobe said the registered land survey is pretty much done and is in the preliminary stage with a cost around $4,500.
Jobe suggested adding Torrens to the registered land survey line.
IV. Compost Facility
Daleiden said since Planning and Zoning Administrator Sean Riley has put in his notice of resignation the board needs to figure out who will oversee the Compost Facility until his replacement is hired. Kelly said the recruitment is ready to be posted. Kelly said there are three applicants for the supervisor position at the Compost Facility.
Kelly said there was a request for an RFP for the future processes or uses at the Compost Facility and he would like to proceed. The board members agreed.
Kelly said Risk Manager Tim Dahl has been working with Shop Maintenance Superintendent Brian Jans on the fuel tanks, loader and other safety items at the Compost Facility. Wilczek gave the board updates on the progress of the entire facility. Wilczek said the locks have been changed and keys have been distributed to those that need one. On Friday, October 8, 2021, the fire inspection was done but the report has not been received. Wilczek said a lot of vegetation and debris has been cleared from the systems to get it operational. Wilczek said Facilities Master Electrician John Pregler has been at the Compost Facility working on getting permanent power pulled into the building. Wilczek said he has been trying to contact of the Buffalo Fire Chief to discuss what types of materials can be stored in the facility with the type of fire suppression system in place.
Kelly said a Lease Agreement has been drafted if the board wants to continue to allow the DNR to store items at the Compost Facility. Daleiden said Kaczmarek spoke with the DNR and unfortunately there isn’t another option at this point. Kaczmarek said he agreed with the lease if there is an inventory list of the items being stored there.
Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala gave an update on different recycling vendors that he has reached out to. Hiivala reached out to Stearns County to see how it handles recycling. It uses a mobile unit. There are a few vendors interested in the recyclables but not hazardous waste. There must be training done when it comes to hazardous waste. Waste Management has an option to take hazardous waste, however, it will not be cheap. Daleiden said he was contacted by a resident that suggested having information on the county website for locations to drop off certain types of materials. Husom said the county must provide hazardous waste disposal for its residents. Daleiden suggested Hiivala ask the recycling providers what is accepted and where items can be disposed of along with a price range for disposing of items.
Daleiden suggested Hiivala ask the recycling providers what is accepted and where items can be disposed of along with a price range.
V. Waters of the United States (WOTUS)
Commissioner Wetter gave an overview of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). WOTUS has been mentioned on Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Extra. The Clean Water Act Amendments of 1972 gave the federal government jurisdiction on navigable waters and became the “Waters of the U.S.”.
In 2017 the Trump Administration Navigable Waters Protection Rule was stopped, and the present rules went back to the pre-2015 rules.
The new definition will be on the streams, ditches, adjacent wetlands, etc. There have been five public hearings, a comment period, and there will possibly be future litigation once the rules or definitions are decided. This process could take at least two to three years.
Kaczmarek moved to set a Committee of the Whole at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 10, 2021. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Kaczmarek moved to approve the Committee of the Whole meeting minutes and recommendations from 10-12-21. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
I. American Rescue Plan (ARP) Updates
A. Internal Controls
Assistant Finance Director Heather Lemieux explained there are additional requirements for American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds that must be documented that are different than what was required for CARES. Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels stated the information will be captured in OnBase.
Additionally, Lemieux stated any equipment purchases over $5,000 must be approved by the oversight agency, the United States Department of the Treasury. Disposition of equipment also requires approval from the oversight agency.
County Administrator Lee Kelly asked if any “buy American” sourcing requirements have been released. Lemieux stated that has been discussed but is not a requirement at this time. Karels stated all requests are reviewed to ensure requirements are being followed.
B. Update on Approved Programs and Grants
Karels explained $24 million of ARP funds have been allocated to programs; of that $6.4 million has been awarded in grants to both internal and external recipients. Karels will send the commissioners an updated report. Cities have been notified of the water-sewer grant opportunity. Cities have until the end of 2023 to apply. Karels is working with school districts to identify needs, however the schools have received ARP funds directly. Other program requests and grant applications are in progress. Karels will provide the information to the board.
C. Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services Proposals
Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services (CMJTS) Development Manager Leslie Wojtowicz proposed the following programs: Consumer Outreach, Training and Educational Opportunities, and Career Exploration Camp.
Consumer Outreach – Wojtowicz explained there were 1,741 unemployment claims in Wright County in August. The unemployed individuals have not been coming into the CMJTS office, as was done in the previous recession. Wojtowicz proposed hiring a person to engage with these individuals because they are needed in the workforce. CMJTS does not have the funding for an outreach staff member. CMJTS is requesting $80,000 per year for three years.
Training and Educational Opportunities – Program Manager Dina Wuornos proposed hiring a Training Coordinator to help identify training needs specific to businesses in Wright County. CMJTS would match job seekers with available jobs in the area and work in collaboration with Wright Technical Center, Ridgewater College, and St. Cloud Technical & Community College to provide individuals with the training needed for the position. Examples of training would be: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) programs, welding, and Industrial Maintenance Technician (IMT). Individuals would not have to travel to receive the training. CMJTS is requesting $150,000 per year for three years for training, support services, and staffing.
Career Exploration Camp – Youth Program Manager Diana Ristamaki proposed a two-week hands-on career exploration camp. CMJTS partnered with Mille Lacs Health System to pilot the program in Onamia, MN. Ristamaki played a video that provided program details and testimonials. The camp is targeted for at-risk youth, ages 14-20. CMJTS would ideally hold two camps per year, with approximately 15 participants.
Transportation, lunches, and supplies are provided. The camp is very time-consuming to coordinate because the objective is to have employer engagement. CMJTS is requesting $30,000 per year for three years.
Flaherty & Hood’s Shane Zahrt stated he is constantly monitoring other grant opportunities that become available. There is a federal grant program available through the United Stated Economic Development Administration (US EDA) called the Good Jobs Challenge. This grant opportunity may be a good fit for the programs CMJTS proposed. Wojtowicz stated the Training and Educational Opportunities Proposal may fit with the requirements of the grant. Wojtowicz stated CMJTS will apply but would like the opportunity to bring the proposal back to the Commissioners if the application is unsuccessful. Commissioner Daleiden stated the United States Department of Transportation also has a Workforce Development grant.
Commissioner Vetsch suggested CMJTS apply for the Good Jobs Challenge grant opportunity. Vetsch suggested partnering in an application with support from both Wright and Sherburne counties. The Consumer Outreach may be better funded jointly with Wright and Sherburne Counties as well.
Commissioner Kaczmarek questioned what would happen to the position hired for Consumer Outreach after three years. Wojtowicz stated ideally, the position would no longer be needed. The pandemic has created many issues that will hopefully be resolved in the next three years.
Kaczmarek questioned if there are concerns with any of the proposals. Karels stated the proposals have been sent to Baker Tilly to verify eligibility. Karels also stated the county established guidelines to not hire any new staff with ARP funds.
RECOMMENDATION: CMJTS will apply for the Good Jobs Challenge grant opportunity. Zahrt will provide assistance with the grant application process. Wright County will meet with Sherburne County to discuss joint opportunities for the three CMJTS proposals. The committee will meet again during the first quarter of 2022.
Vetsch moved to approve the Deferred Compensation Committee meeting minutes and recommendations from 10-13-21. The motion was seconded by Wetter and carried 5-0.
Kaczmarek asked how many representatives the county has from AIG? Finance Director Lindsey Meyer said she is not sure how many representatives there are for the county. Meyer said the county’s role with Deferred Compensation is purely to assist employees in setting up an account.
I. Introduction to new AIG Team (Formally VALIC)
Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala introduced AIG’s District Vice President Dave Koller and Financial Advisor Dave Douglas. Koller explained employer-directed plans allow employees to withdraw money at any age once the employee has ceased employment with the county. If the employee continues to work, the money cannot be withdrawn without penalty until age 70. Plans with a Roth deferral require five years of contribution, age 59, and separation of service to withdraw money. The county’s plan also has a loan provision. An individual can borrow money against their retirement fund and have five years to pay it back. The loan provision does not require approval from the plan administrator.
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act went into effect on January 1, 2020. The county has the option to adopt the new provisions.
A. Change Required Minimum Distributions from 70 to 72
The rules around taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or employer’s retirement plan changed. Now plan participants must be 72 years old for minimum withdrawals to begin.
B. Change in Death Beneficiaries from “Stretch Payout” to 10 years
The rules for distributions to a beneficiary following the primary account holder’s death have changed. Rather than allowing all individuals who are designated beneficiaries to take their payments over their life expectancy (sometimes referred to as a “Stretch Payout”), the period over which payments may be made to many of these beneficiaries will be limited to 10 years. The limit will not apply to post-death distributions to a surviving spouse, the account holder’s minor child until age of majority, a chronically ill or disabled beneficiary, or a beneficiary who is not more than 10 years younger than the account holder.
The rule for a beneficiary who does not qualify as a “designated beneficiary” has not changed; if the account holder dies before RMDs have begun, those distributions will be required within five years following the account holder’s death.
Additionally, the legislation reduced the earliest permitted distribution age, for in-service distributions, to 59 for eligible governmental 457 (b) plans. A provision in the legislation allows distributions upon the birth or adoption of a child, referred to as a “qualified birth or adoption distribution,” of up to $5,000 from an applicable eligible defined contribution plan.
Koller explained the county can adopt any or all the provisions before January 1, 2024. Finance Director Lindsey Meyer stated the changes would benefit employees and recommended moving forward with adoption. Commissioner Daleiden stated the changes should be made to all county sponsored plans.
Hiivala discussed the ability for individuals to declare an unforeseen circumstance. There are plans that would allow the provider to determine if something is an unforeseen circumstance, rather than bringing the discussion to the commissioners. Koller explained the county has one plan with four vendors. AIG generally does not determine unforeseen circumstances on multi-vendor plans. Meyer questioned why the county would ever deny an unforeseen circumstance request. IRS regulations must be followed; penalties could be received if regulations are not followed. Meyer is the county’s plan administrator. Meyer will work with Human Resources Director Schawn Johnson to review unforeseen circumstance requests; requests will no longer be reviewed by the committee.
III.Modification to Hardship Rule
A. Make Allowance for Employees who switch from Employment to Elected Status
Koller explained this is determined by how the county classifies the individual. Elected officials are typically still employees and would be benefit eligible. Contract employees are not benefit eligible. In this case, the title was changed but the individual is still an employee and required to follow the Hardship Rule.
Meyer asked what the benefits are to the county being a sole provider. Koller explained the fee structure would be reduced and AIG would provide a mutual fund platform. The employee would save assets. The county would not have to keep track of multiple providers and would be able to provide better communication and education to employees.
Daleiden asked how many employees are enrolled in each plan. Meyer stated she did not have exact numbers but there are plans with very few employees enrolled. The county is mandated to provide the Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS) plan, however MSRS is not able to provide financial advice or planning. Other plans offered include Nationwide Retirement Solutions, VALIC/AIG Retirement Solutions, and Dougherty & Associates Financial Advisors.
RECOMMENDATION: The county will adopt all SECURE Act provisions. Chief of Civil Division Attorney Greg Kryzer and Meyer will coordinate with Koller to make the amendments to the county’s plan, which will be sent to the County Board for approval. Unforeseen Circumstances will be reviewed by Meyer and Johnson.
Wetter moved to approve the Ways & Means Committee meeting minutes and recommendations from 10-13-21. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Husom said she had a discussion with a member of the Buffalo Strong Committee regarding accepting donations from county employees, but she does not have an address to send donations. Husom spoke with Buffalo City Administrator Laureen Bodin regarding a site location for the memorial. Bodin said the city is looking into placing the memorial at Sturges Park.
I. Allina Clinic Memorial Monument
Commissioner Husom said she met with the President of Buffalo Hospital and Cambridge Medical Center Kelly Spratt and Manager for Allina Hospitals & Clinics Mona Volden in May 2021 after the county decided to recognize the people that were impacted or responded to the clinic on February 9, 2021, after the tragic shooting.
Husom said she also met with Dr. Andrew Burgdorf from the Buffalo Allina Clinic. Dr. Burgdorf suggested a Peace Crane from Casting Creations as a sign of hope that could possibly be a memorial. Husom reached out to the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Strong to see if there was interest in contributing to the memorial.
There has been a lot of discussion as to where this memorial should be placed. It has been suggested to put the memorial at the new Government Center, a park in the City of Buffalo or the Buffalo Hospital.
After some research it was realized that a government agency cannot contribute to the memorial. Instead, there was a suggestion that employees of the county could make donations.
Volden said everyone is learning as this process is moving forward. Volden said Buffalo Strong may be able to collect community donations for the memorial. Volden said the one-year anniversary will be in February 2022. The memorial could be a remembrance of the anniversary by having it installed in February.
Finance Director Lindsey Meyer said the county should remain as uninvolved as possible to make sure the county has no liability issues. Husom suggested finding out if donations could be made directly to Buffalo Strong for the memorial.
• Husom will reach out to Buffalo Strong’s Dani Palmer to see if community donations could be sent directly to Buffalo Strong for the memorial
• Husom will reach out to the City of Buffalo to determine a location for the memorial
• If Buffalo Strong is willing to accept donations for the memorial, then a request for donations will be posted on the county’s website, Facebook, and Twitter
• Volden will contact the Allina Hospital Foundation to see if there are any funds that can be contributed to the memorial
Husom moved to approve the Committee of the Whole meeting minutes and recommendations from 10-14-21. The motion was seconded by Wetter and carried 5-0.
I. Wright County Personnel Handbook, Sections 300 and 400
A. Section 300
Vetsch said the amended language regarding Emergency Paid Sick Leave are mainly housekeeping items because there are unknown factors which were unknown when the policy was created. This gives the county the latitude that is needed to be flexible. Human Resources Director Schawn Johnson agreed and said the amended language gives more latitude especially if there is an exposure at work because it could involve worker’s compensation and the county would pay for the employee’s time off anyway. Vetsch said it could say the county from litigation.
Husom asked if there has been an uptick in COVID cases since school has started? Risk Manager Tim Dahl said there has been an uptick. Dahl has been vetting five to 10 new cases a day. Vetsch asked if an employee must stay home if one of their family members tests positive for COVID? Dahl said it depends on the situation and if the employee is unvaccinated because there is the potential that the employee could expose coworkers to COVID. Vetsch said it will have to be a case-by-case basis.
County Administrator Lee Kelly said early revisions to the personnel policy related to the court case, Hall vs. City of Plainview, which is what drove some of the discussions and language in the policy. Johnson said that in Sections 300 to 312 the primary change is due to the court case language. The county’s Labor Attorney reviewed the current policies. It was recommended to add in a disclaimer line because the State Supreme Court ruled that if policies are not clearly delineated it could have a contractual basis. This doesn’t impact the union contract because those are standalone agreements.
B. Section 400
Vetsch said section 402.01, “all employees shall be responsible for submitting complete and accurate timesheets to their supervisors”. Vetsch asked if that means exempt and nonexempt employees need to turn in a timecard? Johnson clarified that Vetsch was correct, and currently all employees do turn in a timecard. Daleiden said this policy is to clarify why employees must turn in a timecard. Johnson said the intent is not to change how it is currently done, it’s just documenting the process and procedures the county follows.
Vetsch said he doesn’t want exempt employees to forgo evening events or meetings. Assistant Human Resources Director Lori Pawelk said if an exempt employee takes more than three hours off in a day, that employee needs to put Paid Time Off (PTO) on the timecard. Johnson said exempt employees need to put in the hours necessary to fulfill the job requirements.
Finance Director Lindsey Meyer said this shouldn’t necessarily be looked at by the pay period. Meyer said some of the exempt staff during audit time (which is January through April) put in well above 40 hours per week, but in the summer it’s not as busy. Meyer asked that a larger time frame be considered when it comes to exempt employees.
Sheriff Sean Deringer said there should not be a limit of how many hours an exempt employee needs to work for a day, such as the three hours, to make up the extra hours worked. As a department head, Deringer said he can manage his employees. If there is abuse by a department head regarding exempt employees and their time off, then it should be addressed.
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer said there is litigation risk when exempt employees put down the exact hours worked. Kryzer said an exempt employee should put down eight hours across the timesheet unless that employee takes time off as PTO.
Kaczmarek said he would like the department heads to inform the board how they account for their exempt employees’ time.
Johnson said Section 402.01 is a proposed policy and the county has survived many years without this policy. Johnson recommended pulling 402.01 and set the expectation that a report will be run at the end of the year to make sure exempt employees have worked a total of 2,080 hours. If there are exempt employees that haven’t met the required number of hours for the year, then the department head will address those issues. Wetter said she agreed with Johnson by pulling Section 402.01.
• Department heads will inform the County board how they account for their exempt employee’s time
Approval of Revisions to Sections 300 & 400 of the Wright County Personnel Handbook
Kelly said there has been a lot of discussion regarding the policies and it would be a good idea to have it documented and clarified so everyone understands the policies because some of the language proposed was not adopted.
Daleiden said these revisions will help with the legality to help prevent the county from getting into legal issues with the state.
Vetsch moved to approve the Revisions to Sections 300 & 400 of the Wright County Personnel Handbook. The motion was seconded by Husom and carried 5-0.
Adopt the Revised Wright County Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Policy
Husom moved to adopt the Revised Wright County Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy. The motion was seconded by Vetsch and carried 5-0.
Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC). Kelly reminded the board members that the AMC District 5 meeting is Monday, October 25, 2021, in Sherburne County.
County Township Meeting. Wetter attended the County Township meeting Thursday, October 7, 2021. There was discussion regarding the Local Option Sales Tax. There was an employee from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) that spoke about the speed limit studies.
Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Wetter attended the SWCD meetings on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, and Thursday, October 14, 2021. There was discussion regarding the 12-Mile Creek Watershed District trying to reduce the suspended solids and total phosphorus by best management practices. There was a 319 Grant received in the amount of $319,000 that was received from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which can be used from 2022 to 2025. This grant can be renewed three times and is a 40 percent match. It also received about $1.2 million for the North Fork Crow River One Watershed One Plan which is a 25 percent match.
East Central Regional Juvenile Detention Center. Vetsch attending the meeting. The new funding formula and the new Joint Powers Agreement were discussed.
County Ditch #33. Vetsch attended the County Ditch #33 group meeting. The group came up with a path moving forward. Kryzer said there were some logistical issues that need to be worked out regarding easement accesses. Those issues need to be figured out before anything else is done. If this ditch is transferred to a storm water system, the county has to make sure there is space in the ground to be able to put the system in.
Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP). Vetsch attended the WCEDP meeting Friday, October 15, 2021. The final details are being put together for the Strategic Planning goal-setting session which will hopefully be held in November. The group raised over $8,000 at its fundraising golf tournament.
COVID. Daleiden said the COVID numbers are starting to decline. Daleiden asked that staff follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding disinfecting.
Wright County Community Action (WCCA). Wetter asked Daleiden if there is a new Director for the WCCA? Daleiden said there were five applications turned in and three of those applicants will be interviewed by the Executive Committee starting the week of October 25th.
Buffalo and Annandale Safe Schools. Husom met with Buffalo and Annandale Safe Schools. There were 30 professionals that attended the meeting. The group talked about how it could pool resources to do some different programs.
Husom said mental health issues have been an increasing problem during COVID. There are $10,000 grants available to schools for a “chill out” room where students can take a few minutes and get away.
Husom said there are Tik Tok challenges that are happening which have been a problem in the schools.
Mentorship Education and Drug Awareness (MEADA). Husom attended the MEADA meeting. The Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Citizens State Bank of Waverly branch in Montrose and the Bank of Elk River in Otsego and Elk River.
Husom said there are videos that MEADA is trying to make available to the public. The first video is called “Dead on Arrival” which discusses fentanyl-laced substance overdose deaths.
Highway 55 Corridor Coalition Executive Committee. Husom said the Highway 55 Corridor Coalition Executive Committee met and discussed some initiatives for 2021 recap of the legislative session. The 20th Anniversary is coming up and the group is looking at having a celebration at the December meeting.
Emergency Services Board. Kaczmarek said the Emergency Services Board met. There was discussion regarding meeting in person or virtual. The group decided there is one of three reasons that a person can attend meeting virtually. The first is practicality, the second is convenience, and the third is medical. However, you can only use these reasons three times a year.
Kaczmarek said there was discussion regarding texting 9-1-1. There are three counties that contract through other agencies to handle texting 9-1-1 calls.
Wright County Fair Board. Kaczmarek attended the Fair Board meeting. The final report on the 2021 Wright County Fair should be submitted and approved soon.
Delano Safe Schools. Kaczmarek attended the Delano Safe Schools meeting. The discussion focused on discipline and truancy issues.
Solar Meeting. Kaczmarek attended the Solar meeting. The group fine-tuned the Solar Ordinance.
Howard Lake. Kaczmarek said there was an open house concerning the Local Option Sales Tax and unfortunately there wasn’t a great turnout.
Compost Facility. Daleiden, Wetter and Kaczmarek visited the Compost Facility Thursday, October 14, 2021. There was discussion with a person from Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regarding hazardous waste. She complemented the staff at the Compost Facility.
The meeting adjourned at 10:29 a.m.
County Board Minutes submitted by
Angie Fisher, Administrative Specialist
Published in the Herald Journal, Nov. 5, 2021.
Warrants Approved On 9/29/2021For Payment 9/29/2021
HARTFORD 2,707.87
MCIT 5,599.00
22 Payments less than 2000 10,853.58
Final Total: 21,195.19
Warrants Approved On 9/30/2021For Payment 9/30/2021
24 Payments less than 2000 9,266.21
Final Total: 279,122.62
Warrants Approved On 10/01/2021For Payment 10/01/2021
DHS- SWIFT 3,956.90
EASI FILE 2,843.00
TW VENDING INC 12,680.36
42 Payments less than 2000 21,251.60
Final Total: 125,610.91
Warrants Approved On 10/06/2021For Payment 10/06/2021
COKATO/CITY OF 19,044.99
DELANO/CITY OF 25,398.34
OTSEGO/CITY OF 76,179.95
WRIGHT SWCD 113,750.00
8 Payments less than 2000 4,929.63
Final Total: 1,340,135.52
Warrants Approved On 10/07/2021For Payment 10/07/2021
27 Payments less than 2000 12,712.37
Final Total: 23,239.67
Warrants Approved On 10/08/2021For Payment 10/08/2021
51 Payments less than 2000 16,834.89
Final Total: 122,544.57
Warrants Approved On 10/08/2021For Payment 10/08/2021
AFSCME LOCAL 2685 4,142.74
ING 13,823.00
7 Payments less than 2000 2,378.62
Final Total: 593,089.24
Warrants Approved On 10/12/2021For Payment 10/12/2021
EASI FILE 2,990.00
42 Payments less than 2000 9,926.84
Final Total: 71,055.03
Warrants Approved For Payment 10/12/2021
Final Total: 559,843.02
Published in the Herald Journal, Nov. 5, 2021.