Archive for Public Notices

Winsted Township filing notice

WINSTED TOWNSHIP
FILING NOTICE
Notice of filing for Township Election.
Notice is hereby given to qualified voters of Winsted Township, McLeod County, Minnesota, Affidavits of candidacy may be filed with the Winsted Township Clerk for the following office:
One Township Clerk- four (4) year term
One Township Supervior seat 3 – four (4) year term
Any qualified voters who wish to have
their name on the official ballot for any of the above said office must file with the Township Clerk at 6212 230th St. Winsted, MN 55395, In person by appointment only, or by mail. The time for filing is between August 2, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. and August 16th at 5:00 p.m. Call the Clerk at (320) 485-7400 to schedule an appointment.
Shirley Carlson
Clerk, Winsted Township
Published in the Herald Journal, July 29 and August 5, 2022. |

Wright County Board minutes 6/28/22

BOARD MINUTES
BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JUNE 28, 2022
DATE APPROVED: JULY 5, 2022

The Wright County Board met in regular session at 9:00 A.M. with Husom, Vetsch, Daleiden, Wetter, and Kaczmarek present.
COUNTY BOARD MINUTES 06-21-2022
Commissioner Christine Husom wanted a correction made on page 18 to say she made an appearance at the Mentorship, Education, and Drug Awareness (MEADA) booth at the Sheriff’s Office open house. Commissioner Mary Wetter said she wanted a change made on page 4 that Commissioner Mark Daleiden wanted to note that the board needed to set a date for next week or the week after for citizen placement in each township for the Gravel Work Group. Also on page 18, Wetter wanted a period added after the City of Rockford in her advisory board updates.
Commissioner Darek Vetsch moved to approve the County Board minutes from Tuesday, June 21, 2022, with the suggested corrections. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Mark Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
AGENDA
County Administrator Lee Kelly petitioned the board to have an agenda item added from the Sheriff’s Office regarding a resolution to accept a 2022 State of Minnesota Boat & Water Safety Grant in the amount of $20,260 for the period beginning January 1, 2022.
Vetsch moved to approve the agenda with the addition of the petitioned item from the Sheriff’s Office. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
CONSENT AGENDA
Daleiden moved to approve the Consent Agenda with the exception of Item D1 to be removed for further discussion. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Mike Kaczmarek. The motion carried 5-0.
*Items removed for further discussion and placed in the timed agenda.
A. ADMINISTRATION
1. Amend Work Assignment For Bob Hiivala To Conduct Outlined Work And Research Pertaining To The Wright County Fair Board.
B. ADMINSTRATION – FINANCE
1. Acknowledge Warrants Issued Between June 13, 2022 And June 21, 2022.
2. Approve Renewal Of Annual Club On-Sale, Off-Sale And Sunday Liquor License For Up The Creek Grill & Bar For The License Period July 1, 2022 To June 30, 2023.
3. Approve A Temporary 1-Day On-Sale Liquor License For Clearwater American Legion Post 323 For An Event On July 16th, 2022.
4. Motion To Approve The Reimbursement Of The American Rescue Plan Act Funds (ARP) As Follows:
i. County ARP Funds:
ii. Approval Of Use Of ARP Funds From 01-099-493-8433-6020.
iii. $3,510.00 2.2 Household Assistance
5. Motion To Approve The Reimbursement Of The American Rescue Plan Act Funds (ARP) As Follows:
i. County ARP Funds:
ii. Approval Of Use Of ARP Funds From 01-099-493-8416-6814.$469.99 2.34 Aid To Nonprofit Organizations
6. Approve Budget Amendment And Transfer Of $448,195.00 From Department 100 To The Department 250 For The Increase To The Jail Medical Contract.
01-100-000-0000-6910 Transfer Out $448,195.00
01-250-000-0000-5910 Transfer In $448,195.00
ADMINISTRATION – HUMAN RESOURCES
1. Request Approval To Appoint Michael Brandenburg To A Three-Year Term On The Wright County Personnel Board Of Appeals Effective July 1, 2022 Through June 30, 2025
ADMINISTRATION – PROJECT ADMINISTRATION
*1. Approve Out Of State Travel For Alek Halverson, GIS Coordinator, To Attend The 2022 ESRI User Conference In San Diego, California From July 11-July 15.
ADMINISTRATION – RISK MANAGEMENT
1. Authorization For Signatures On An Agreement Between The State Of Minnesota Department Of Natural Resources (DNR) And Wright County. The Agreement Will Allow The DNR Use The Space Under The Hangar Building Located At 505 County Road 37 NE Buffalo, MN (Wright County Compost And Recycling Center).
ATTORNEY
1. Refer New Position Of Assistant Civil Division Chief And County Attorney Office Reorganization And Reclassification To The Personnel Committee.
ITEMS REMOVED FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION
ADMINISTRATION – PROJECT ADMINISTRATION
Approve Out Of State Travel For Alek Halverson, GIS Coordinator, To Attend The 2022 ESRI User Conference In San Diego From July 11-July 15.
Kaczmarek wanted a summary for the cost of the travel and expenses. Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels said the estimated travel cost was about $3,000.00. She said the conference itself was free so the $3,000.00 would cover the cost of air fare, lodging, and meals. Upon returning, Halverson could give a report about the conference. The 2022 ESRI User Conference would provide hundreds of hours of training and numerous networking opportunities that would not be available virtually. She said this was a good way to stay on top of GIS updates and make sure our GIS System was state of the art.
Kaczmarek moved to approve out of state travel for Halverson to attend the 2022 ESRI User Conference in San Diego from July 11-July 15. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
TIMED AGENDA ITEMS
LINDSEY MEYER, ADMINISTRATION FINANCE
Approve Absentee Ballot Board, Mail Ballot Absentee Ballot Board, And UOCAVA Ballot Board Members For The 2022-2023 Election Cycle.
Finance Director Lindsey Meyer requested the board approve the absentee ballot board, mail ballot absentee ballot board, and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) ballot board members for the 2022-2023 election cycle. There were two groups mentioned, the first group being those who were hired as temporary staff. The second group was staff in the Taxpayer Service Office who had gone through the vetting process and background check. The staff members would only be used if they were needed to fill in gaps.
Daleiden moved to approve the acceptance of the Absentee Ballot Board, Mail Ballot Absentee Ballot Board, and UOCAVA Ballot Board Members For The 2022-2023 Election Cycle. The motion was seconded by Wetter. The motion carried 5-0.
JOHN BOWEN, ATTORNEY
Approve Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) For Inspection Of Grandstand Bleachers At The Wright County Fairgrounds
Assistant County Attorney John Bowen asked that the board approve the Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) for inspection of grandstand bleachers at the Wright County Fairgrounds to allow Planning and Zoning to inspect the fairground bleachers. The Fairground bleachers were located within the city limits of Howard Lake and there is a state statute on bleacher inspections already in place.
Daleiden moved to approve the JPA for inspection of grandstand bleachers at the Wright County Fairgrounds. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek. The motion carried 5-0.
ADAM AUSTING, EXTENSION
Adopt A Resolution Proclaiming The Lambert Family As The Wright County 2022 Farm Family Of The Year.
University of Minnesota Extension Educator Adam Austing said the Farm Family Recognition Program had existed for more than 30 years and honors farm families throughout Minnesota for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities. All of the honored farm families have made significant contributions to Minnesota agriculture and their communities. Austing said this year, Wright County was fortunate to be represented by the Gene and Mary Jo Lambert family of Lambert Farms west of Buffalo in Chatham Township. Gene and Mary Jo’s farm was first purchased in 1956 by Gene’s parents, Clinton and Betty. The couple moved to Buffalo after selling their Howard Lake farm. Gene and his brother started cropping the land in the spring of 1980 and they launched a dairy operation later that same year. Gene and Mary Jo moved to the farm in the fall of 1993 and raised four children (Joe, Dan, Andrew, and Krista) while dairying for 33 years. Three of the four children help on family farms today, two in Wright County and one in Roseau County.
Austing explained that currently Gene and Mary Jo raise 200 dairy steers annually and grow a 1,000-acre corn and soybean rotation. Gene and Mary Jo were joined in the operation by their two sons, Dan and Andrew, and their families. Dan and his wife Teagen have three children, Kendal, Burke, Cole and have a baby due in July. Andrew and his wife Bryn have two children, Hoyt and Millie. The Lamberts are active in their church. Mary Jo is a past board member of the Wright County Farmer Service Agency (FSA). The family was involved in the Wright County Dairy Association and Wright County 4-H. Gene and Mary Jo also enjoy helping out at Wright-Carver Breakfast on the Farm, at the milk booth during the Wright County Fair. The Lambert family was nominated by another local farmer who very concisely summed up why they deserved the award: “They epitomize what it means to be a good neighbor.” Austing thanked the Lamberts for the positive impact they had made in their community and Minnesota agriculture. Mary Jo Lambert appreciated being able to represent the Grain and Dairy Farmers of Wright County. She also reminded the board that June was Dairy Month!
SHAWNA ATHMAN, SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Resolution To Accept 2022 State of Minnesota Boat & Water Safety Grant In The Amount of $20,260.00 For The Time Beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
Sheriff’s Office Administrator Shawna Athman requested that the board accept the resolution for the 2022 State of Minnesota Boat & Water Safety Grant in the amount of $20,260.00 for the time period beginning Jan. 1, 2022. She explained the amount had steadily gone up since 2017 with some additional DNR grant reporting. This amount of $20,260.00 would cover part of the wages to the boat and water position, temporary staff for boat and water shifts, and miscellaneous costs such as the placing of signs when there is thin ice.
Daleiden moved to approve the resolution to accept the 2022 State of Minnesota Boat & Water Safety Grant in the amount of $20,260.00 for the time beginning Jan. 1, 2022. The motion was seconded by Wetter. The motion carried 5-0.
PUBLIC HEARING FOR COUNTY DITCH #10
Public Hearing For County Ditch #10
Agriculture and Drainage Coordinator Matt Detjen said that Joe Lewis from Huston Engineering was joining the board via Microsoft Teams and that he could help answer any questions the board had. Detjen said this was a public hearing on a Petition from the Wright County Board of Commissioners to make a minor alteration or change in the County Ditch #10 alignment from 51+00 to Station 59+00. This public hearing had been scheduled pursuant to Minnesota Statute section 163.17. The purpose of the hearing was to gather information from the Commissioners’ representative and the public as to whether or not the alteration or change would affect or impair the efficiency of the drainage system. Minnesota Statute section 163.17 stated that if the drainage authority determined after hearing from the public that the alteration or change would not affect the efficiency that it should approve the petition.
Though information may be presented regarding the current condition of the drainage system, this hearing was not an appropriate time to discuss issues related to possible future actions such as a repair. Detjen said if such actions were warranted, the Drainage Authority would initiate a separate proceeding to discuss those issues. However, if there was an immediate concern Detjen asked that he be contacted directly. The purpose of the hearing was to review the petition and determine whether the proposed alteration or change would affect the efficiency of the drainage system.
Daleiden asked if this was an open ditch. Detjen said it was open and this proposal would just be realigning the ditch. There was erosion due to the ditch being so close the CSAH 30. Kaczmarek said it had been pointed out that the ditch was too close to the road when this project started. Detjen said there were discussions about realigning the ditch at that time, but he did not want additional cost to the landowners if it was not warranted. Agriculture and Drainage decided to hold off to see if there were issues that would arise. By making alterations now the charge would not be accessed to the landowners and would save them some money because this was a road maintenance issue. Detjen said it would cost $15,000-$20,000 to move the ditch. The easement acquisition to move this to the north approximately 80 feet would be $5,650.
Husom opened the floor for the public hearing at 9:38 a.m. There was no public comment. Husom closed the floor for the public hearing at 9:39 a.m.
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer pointed out that the county board was the Drainage Authority for Wright County Ditch 10 and Highway Engineer Virgil Hawkins had filed a petition pursuant to Minnesota Statute § 163.17 to alter a public drainage system under a County State Aid Highway (CSAH 30). The board provided public notice and held a public hearing on the petition at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 28 in the County Boardroom. Notice of the hearing was mailed to all benefited property owners. Notice of the hearing was published in the Howard Lake Herald-Journal. Evidence of all notices was on file in the Finance Department. Kryzer noted that during the public hearing portion of the proceedings, the county’s drainage supervisor provided an overview of the petition process. Assistant Highway Engineer Chad Hausmann appeared for Hawkins and provided explanation of the request. The request is to realign the ditch between stations 51+00 to 59+00. Kryzer noted that the hearing was opened to public comment and no comments were received from the public and no evidence had been presented to the Drainage Authority to show that the proposed alteration by the highway engineer for this realignment along CSAH 30, would not affect or impair the efficiency of County Ditch 10. The Drainage Authority approved the petition from Hawkins to alter a public drainage system pursuant to Minnesota Statute § 163.17 for Wright County Ditch 10.
Daleiden moved to approve the recommendation to alter a public drainage system pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 163.17 for Wright County Ditch 10. The motion was seconded by Kaczmarek. The motion carried 5-0.
ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION
COMMITTEE MINUTES
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING MINUTES (06/20/2022)
Husom said on Monday, June 20 there was a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss truancy and county operations dealing with truancy. She said the board had a great discussion with Health & Human Services and Court Services. It was determined that with the prior meetings, the recommendation was to move forward with the truancy program being shifted to Court Services with the addition of two new agents and one new case aide. Husom said there should be an edit to the recommendation in the minutes. It should say “Court Services agents” not “social workers”. Also, there was an update on the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The initial allocation was $26.8 million and all but $1.2 million had been allocated so the board was looking at more grant recipients. The board has until 2024 to allocate funds and 2026 before it needed to be expended.
Daleiden moved to approve the Committee of the Whole minutes from Monday, June 20. The motion was seconded by Vetsch. The motion carried 5-0.
Discussion Regarding Truancy
Social Services Manager Michelle Miller began the meeting by sharing the survey results regarding Truancy and Educational Neglect within the county. The survey was sent to the 10 school districts within Wright County as well as other districts outside of the county. Nine school districts responded with Annandale, Dassel-Cokato, Maple Lake and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Districts being the ones within the county that did not respond. The vast majority of these schools would remove students who had between one to 10 unexcused absences. The School Support Plan within the county would take on students who school districts referred to the county. 66 percent of respondents thought the support plan was too time consuming. 63 percent thought the initial referral was easy to use and 45 percent thought the intervention form was easy to use. For the County Attorney intervention survey question 40 percent of respondents were satisfied with the program itself. Miller found that the districts thought the communication and having a social worker were both good pieces of the process. She heard from the community that it liked the support it received and the process with court intervention referral and family meetings.
She said the difficult part was to find out where they succeeded the best in the survey because not all respondents answered all the questions. She said that when looking at the percentage, court intervention ranked the highest in regard to improvements in attendance due to intervention. The moderate amount of improvement attendance was direct County Attorney referral, initial referral and intervention referral being at around 30 percent improvement in schools’ opinions. Intervention and Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) referrals were intervention methods with the lowest improvement. Miller explained that the last question on the survey asked what the school district would like to do differently next year. Several schools answered that earlier referral would help promote a better outcome. Miller said that what the members of the truancy program agreed. The schools had a difficult time post-COVID-19 pandemic trying to get kids back into the routine of going to school. This caused referrals to be lower than typical years because schools wanted to give students a break getting back into the routine. The statistics showed that annual truancy showed a successful change from the prior year. There were 335 students that came through the initial referral and there were fewer students who came back following that. The truancy program saw this as an improvement. The total number of truancy petitions was 68. There was a 46 percent to 76 percent improvement across all of the programs that were offered from 2020 to 2021.
Commissioner Mike Kaczmarek asked why there were no direct county attorney referrals from 2014-2015. Miller explained that this was a program that was introduced in 2021. County Attorney Brian Lutes said that he had heard from the schools that their biggest issues were truancy. He said when Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced this program in the Summer of 2021, he wanted to be involved via direct referral. HHS Director Jami Goodrum explained that before this program went through the County Attorney’s Office it went through HHS. It was then passed along to the County Attorney’s Office and the number of petitions from this transition was 16 in the past year. Goodrum said that schools felt that they lost a lot of control after the COVID -19 pandemic and said this was a great opportunity for the county to reevaluate its truancy program. She added that this was a highly court-driven process and social workers were at least one step removed from this process. Goodrum said that she and Court Services Director Mike MacMillan had been working on a reevaluation of this program. Goodrum and MacMillan wanted to simplify the program overall, add more staffing to be regionalized throughout the county and thought that a more direct path to the courts would streamline the processes with the families.
Commissioner Mary Wetter asked what age range usually was involved in truancy. Miller answered that it was students over the age of 12. Wetter asked how many of these students would end up dropping out after an incident with truancy. Miller did not know an exact number but thought it was a handful of students from the survey results but explained that it was hard to tell with the option of online schooling. MacMillan explained that after discussion with HHS and the County Attorney’s Office, he thought it made sense to move the Truancy program into his department at Court Services. He saw that the difficulty would be getting to the end of the budget cycle and asked the board if it thought it was a good idea. MacMillan thought it made logical sense to move it to his agency. He added that at the end of a truancy these adolescents may end up with the Sheriff’s Office or court system and thought it would be good to have that relationship started already.
He wanted to put the fiscal numbers associated with this transition into the 2023 budget request. MacMillan thought it would be best to put this on the next board agenda for approval to begin this transition of assuming responsibility of the Truancy program effective September 1, 2022. This would not include Educational Neglect and children under the age of 12, he explained that those students’ cases would stay with HHS. MacMillan requested additional staff to include a case aide and two social workers. He did not want to take staff away from HHS but rather create a new position. MacMillan wanted to use the term diversion within the community for continuity with the court system’s diversion program. He noted that if the child failed the diversion, he or she would then go through the court system processes. He thought that the current Attorney’s Office program would blend well with his proposed program. Commissioner Christine Husom thought this would be the best option for the truancy program. She understood the need for additional staff and said that the board had approved new positions before the budget process in the past, so this request was not unheard of. Commissioner Darek Vetsch asked if the $75,000 allocation was for the four-month gap. MacMillan said this was correct. Vetsch thought this four-month gap could be mitigated by a budget amendment.
Goodrum clarified that she wanted to keep her two social workers who were working the truancy program at that time. She would in turn reduce her request for the number of social worker positions in the 2023 budget request. Goodrum wanted to increase the request to two social workers and one case aide who would all be absorbed into HHS. Vetsch thought Goodrum’s request was too ambiguous to approve. Goodrum explained that she did have a plan for the two social workers who she was requesting stay with HHS saying that the social workers within truancy would transition into the Relative Care Licensing positions which was an area of HHS with a great need. Miller said the other social worker would be a MnChoices Social Worker. Goodrum wanted to the board to take into account the high case load and mitigate potential employee burnout. Husom clarified that MacMillan was asking for one case aides and two social workers. MacMillan confirmed this was correct and his intention was to launch this before school starts in the Fall 2022. He said his department would be able to launch this by August 2022 so that the schools would be completely in the know going into the new school year. MacMillan understood that this was uncomfortable when considering budgets but reiterated that the timing was what was best for the schools.
Kaczmarek thought that the schools get along with the HHS workers well and asked if it would be possible to move the social workers over to Court Services rather than hire on new employees. Vetsch clarified that it would not be as smooth a transition as it sounded in theory and explained that the positions of social worker versus probation agent were vastly different. Vetsch added that this truancy issue would take a different approach than how those current HHS social workers would approach it. Goodrum explained that the issue of truancy needed more of a punitive approach and noted that her social workers were working more on educational neglect for students under 12 years of age rather than on truancy. Husom agreed and thought students would take it more seriously if the courts system was involved. She thought the age range would need more of a court approach rather than a social worker approach. Vetsch wanted to warn the board against approving positions outside of the budget process. He was concerned that this would set a precedent for other departments. Commissioner Mark Daleiden thought this request would not have too much of an effect this year, but he wanted to look closer at the budget before making a final decision. Vetsch thought there were other positions in the budget forecast that might allow for a request of this nature. He reiterated that he thought it was dangerous to approve new positions outside of the budget process without the consideration of keeping the tax rate flat. MacMillan noted that he would not be asking for any other positions in the 2023 budget. After talking to Goodrum, he said that there were ongoing positions in other departments, and this was what made him feel comfortable bringing this forward to the board. Goodrum explained that this impact would be neutral for this budget due to the number of vacancies within her department. She said these positions would be bringing more funding into the county. Vetsch agreed, but thought it was important to caution the board against approving these positions via this route especially going into the upcoming budget meeting.
Husom added that Court Services had not made many position requests over the past 10 years which was what made her feel comfortable knowing it was not taking advantage of this request opportunity. Kaczmarek asked if these position shifts would require reclassification. MacMillan said it would not and that he would be absorbing the positions into his existing program. Kaczmarek asked Goodrum why she was requesting four positions when MacMillan thought he could get this job done with three positions. Goodrum explained that this was a valid request considering the increased need for social workers, the growth in the county, and the different approach her staff would take with Educational Neglect when compared with MacMillan’s approach to truancy.
Vetsch thought this was a more individualized approach with HHS, rather than Court Services which was a much more direct and serious approach. He explained there were reasons why HHS was making this request as it warranted a very different approach. Goodrum noted that she shared six clients with Court Services. This transition would address the issue Court Services and HHS were having where more than one person was working on the same case. Husom said that providing the fourth position to HHS would allow Court Services to take the two new positions. Goodrum added that it was important to have this change implemented at the start of the school year. Husom agreed and suggested a Safe Schools meeting would be the best time to introduce this change. MacMillan thought this would clean up the process and added that he had Wright County judges that wanted to get involved with this process directly. Goodrum said this transition would be good because Court Services has a relationship with the courts in a way HHS did not. She thought this would help the truancy concerns in a better way than she could on her end. Lutes thought this would be a more unified approach and would allow him to be less involved in a direct referral aspect.
Kaczmarek said entertaining budget requests in the off-season may create a precedent that departments can do this going forward. Vetsch thought the board should move forward with the requested change and proceed in posting the positions. He recommended having those positions stay within HHS with an ultimate review at budget time in order to start this process before the school year starts. He wanted to start the process and implement the changes moving forward in order to improve truancy. Daleiden asked how the relationship with the truancy program compares to the wRight Choice program.
Juvenile Team Supervisor Tammi Solarz wanted to utilize the wRight Choice program more going forward with truancy students and said that she had worked with Nate Hanson who runs the wRight Choice program in regard to how he envisioned the relationship in the future. Hanson and Solarz saw that one of the obstacles that stood in the way of getting students back to school was the fear of being behind in their schoolwork. She thought having wRight Choice involved was a huge help because that program could help mitigate this fear for students by assisting in getting them caught up with their schoolwork and ultimately back into school. Daleiden asked if the county was duplicating programs that were already active programs within school districts throughout the county. Solarz explained that the wRight Choice program was for students who would traditionally have been suspended and kept home. This program allows them to keep learning and on the same pace which was the difference from other alternative education programs. Husom agreed and said it didn’t make sense to keep kids at home who are acting up because that would not improve the problem.
RECOMMENDATION: Move forward with the transfer of the truancy program to Court Services with the addition of two new Court Service Agent positions and one new Case Aide position. Review the option of new full-time Social Workers in Health and Human Services when the 2023 Budget discussions take place.
Update on American Rescue Plan (ARP) Program
Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels presented American Rescue Plan (ARP) program updates to the board. The initial allocation was $26.8 million and all but $1.2 million had been allocated. For Business and Economic Relief there were three grants that totaled $320,000 and were granted to recipients Wright County 4-H, Community Dental Care, and the Cokato Charitable Trust for replacement furniture. Kaczmarek asked if the $200,000 granted for the Economic Assistance for Community Dental Care was funding in lieu of using the fund balance, in that same amount, from Dental Clinic Construction shortage. Karels explained that amount was unrelated to construction costs but rather to offset the lease costs for the first couple years due to negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
$66,000 was granted to education, jobs and training and used for technology support and training for seniors. Kaczmarek asked how much time would pass before the in-progress items would be completed. Karels said everything needed to be obligated by the end of 2024 and paid by the end of 2026. Daleiden noted that all reimbursements would need to have receipts to be reimbursed. Karels introduced the next category which was family grants. The Volunteer Recruitment for Safe Families closed but it was reimbursed before that. Infrastructure was the next category in which Broadband had a number of projects still in progress. The Broadband Feasibility Study used almost $70,000 and was closed. She explained that every grant she presented was a reimbursement grant. She explained that only seven cities had applied for the Water and Sewer Grant, and she encouraged the commissioners to share this information with their cities who were not included so those cities could have access to this assistance as well.
Another infrastructure project was the Water Quality Improvement Project. Both the Otsego Streambank Restoration Expansion and the Basins and Grade Stabilization on the North Fork Crow River were closed, and the total granted for both projects was $147,764. Husom thought the Otsego Restoration Expansion had turned out incredibly well. The next category was Internal County Expenses. There were a number of projects that were still in progress to include the Administration Time Project, Consultant Support, Customer Flow Management System, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other supplies, and testing supplies. The total of in-progress and closed grants and programs for this category was $10,820,487. Karels noted that the Customer Flow Management System was in the HHS lobby and Licensing Center. She explained that there are a few items on the list that are underspent, and she wanted to reallocate these funds in time to transition the funding to other projects.
She asked the board if it was opposed to staff making recommendations for the reallocations. The board agreed it was open to recommendations. Vetsch thought it was important to spend this before the money disappeared at the start of the new budget cycle. Karels explained that there was a clause in the project policies that allowed for annual review of funding and consideration for continuing the program or reallocate the funds. Daleiden thought it was important to have the funds designated by the end of 2024. Vetsch thought it would be important for staff to make those recommendations. Kaczmarek asked if Karels thought there would be less of a need for outside consultants going forward. Karels thought the county had too many consultants the prior year, but did recommend keeping a relationship with Baker Tilly US, LLP since it still reviews eligibility for more complex programs. She thought that Flaherty and Hood, PA had not been utilized and this relationship could cease causing a reduction in the funding allocation.
2021 Community Health Assessment ARP Fund Allocation Report
Director of Public Health Sarah Grosshuesch presented the results from the 2021 Community Health Survey to the board. She noted that Wright County received $26,878,110 from the American Rescue Plan and Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARP-SLFRF) program. The funds from this program had to be obligated by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026. Grosshuesch noted that the survey results were free responses not multiple choices.
Public Health Promotion Specialist Joel Torkelson explained that staff had put in a lot of time and energy to analyze the data. They added the question “As Wright County prioritizes support across communities with COVID-19 recovery funds, what areas of concern do you think we should address?” to the Community Health Survey. HHS received 684 survey responses to this question. Public Health Promotion Specialist Gregory Wise said that from the 684 comments that were received he and his team created a work group within Public Health. He said the respondents may have addressed multiple issues within their responses and not simply answered with one suggested use for recovery funds. Wise explained that due to the open-ended nature of the question, this question produced 1,043 comments which he used to then create 10 themes. The 10 themes were economic, COVID-19, healthcare, mental health, education, food, public safety, substance use, diversity/equity/inclusion and a miscellaneous category. He explained that he and his group tried to take the path of least interpretation in order to keep the potential solutions all encompassing. Within those 10 themes, subcategories were created. The top five most common themes included economic, COVID-19, healthcare, mental health and miscellaneous. The work group wanted to get an idea of how many comments were being received from each category and were ranked on a scale of most to least referred, but this was not necessarily indicative of importance level.
Grosshuesch explained that her staff originally went into this project with its own verbiage and ideas but transitioned over to the language the board was using in order to promote continuity. The funding categories came out to be and included Education, jobs and training, families, support to schools, and mental health. Grosshuesch noted that the time of the survey was at the end of the summer when most of the programs were coming to an end. She explained that some comments were clearer than others, but the work group tried to take them all into consideration. For example, a vague request made to “keep students safe”, the work group interpreted as safe from the dangers of COVID-19 as well as safe from other dangers students may come across.
Torkelson highlighted some of the data from the survey. He said in addition to the comments the work group had data to compare and contrast. The survey asked 8,000 residents about the delay of care to include care regarding medical and mental health. The work group received 1,550 survey responses which showed 25 percent of respondents reported delaying or not getting care in the past 12 months. 35 percent of those who delayed care said COVID-19 was a reason why there was delayed care. As for mental health, 15 percent reported delaying or not getting care in the past 12 months. Of that 15 percent, 14 percent of those who delayed care said COVID-19 was a reason why. The ability for residents to see providers remotely could have helped mitigate this delay in health and mental health care. Torkelson said that 18 percent of respondents reported delaying or not getting dental care in the past 12 months. Of that 18 percent, 29 percent reported the delayed care was a COVID-19 related delay for dental care. He said the work group asked the survey takers if they had experienced any loss related to COVID-19 and the top five answers were 40 percent of respondents noted social connectedness, 36 percent reported no loss related to COVID-19, 35 percent reported recreation or entertainment loss, 18 percent reported exercise opportunity loss, and 17 percent reported regular school routine loss. Torkelson noted that this total percentage did not equal 100 percent because the respondents had the ability to answer with more than one loss.
Goodrum shared the recommendations that came out of the survey results. Her first recommendation was to involve community members in solutions. The second recommendation was to use evidence-based programs and other resources for program development. The third recommendation was to use existing community resource providers. The fourth recommendation was to prioritize funding toward areas emphasized in both community survey and county priority setting. The fifth recommendation was to reduce barriers and eliminate undue cost to community members during recovery. Goodrum gave the example of waiving fees that could assist with families and businesses in economic recovery, for instance foster care fees. She said she and Karels had met to discuss the priorities and current projects. Goodrum said there was one project that could be closed out and thought it was important to talk about how to best take advantage of other opportunities.
Social Services Manager Jill Pooler said the co-responder model was going through the State Legislator and starting in July 2022 it would be a part of Medical Assistance (MA) bill. Pooler noted this could be a potential funding source. She said the safer the communities were, the lower the mental health crisis would potentially keep those with mental health issues out of the jail system. Pooler explained that this was an example of a request that was currently up for recommendation. She thought that having community partners assist with these recommendations would assist making this long term. Pooler said that in the Sheriff’s Office it was looking to increase its jail staff, increasing hours from part-time to full-time. She said the jail had usually seen 25 to 30 adults in a designated timeframe but were currently seeing close to 50 adults in that same timeframe. Goodrum understood that the board did not like to use these funds for employment positions but noted that this might be the time to make a change and use those funds for an alternate purpose to achieve the same goal.
Grosshuesch talked about a grant funding source that would need to be approved by the state and expressed that she would want to send the program to an alternate funding source. Goodrum added that she thought there were great opportunities for connectedness funding. Goodrum explained that programs come and go but pointed out that positions could be reutilized. She thought that reclassifying and utilizing the staff positions that HHS already had been allocated was important to do. She had reclassified several positions when the need presented itself rather than petitioning the board for a new position. Kaczmarek asked how the Public Health Survey work group decided where to send the 8,000 surveys. Grosshuesch explained that it filed per district and the group used an outside contractor to provide mailing lists, which were randomized to select who the survey was sent to. Daleiden said there was no guarantee that each district would respond equally. Grosshuesch said the work group had not tied the comments to commissioner districts and she thought this level of review was unnecessary. Kaczmarek thought it was important for the commissioners to be able to explain to their constituents that the survey was sent out in an equal and fair way.
PERSONNEL/ EMPLOYEE RELATIONS MINUTES (06/22/2022)
Vetsch said at the June 22, 2022, Personnel Committee meeting there were recommendations to have staff produce a projected organizational chart for potential reorganization across departments, revisions to Personnel Policy 301.07 Extended Sick Leave Bank, and the board discussed the transfer from the open Administrative Specialist position to create the position of Risk Management Specialist. Vetsch said with some vacancies in Taxpayer Services, this could be the time to make modifications where individuals were located. Administration did some research to see how the Taxpayer Services Office, Assessor’s Office, and Recorder’s Office interacted to see if it made more sense to have the Taxpayer Services office exist long-term in Finance or another department. There was no approval of positions, only discussion for placement. Husom said whenever there was a change in staff or positions, it was important to have a discussion to see if things needed to be modified.
Kaczmarek said he would like the recommendation for potential reorganization across departments to be clearer. Kelly said there could be some language regarding Taxpayer Services & Elections in the recommendation. Kaczmarek said he wanted to bring to the board’s attention that the two people who moved positions the day prior received a $4 an hour raise and a $9 an hour raise. He said Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is coming and he was worried about the financial impact. Vetsch said that these positions were scored higher than he thought they would have been. This pay raise was discussed about 18 months prior and could not be modified. Vetsch said this change was still worth it. Every time a classification happens, there is a possibility pay could go up or down. Kelly said there had been a number of moving pieces, some that were planned for and some that were opportunities that had arisen as there had been turnover. He thought it made sense to look at these positions to see where they fit into the organization. Moving forward, Kelly wanted to make sure there was communication and transparency to the board and the public. Kaczmarek would like an update during the appropriate time or meeting on ERP from beginning to current.
Vetsch moved to approve the first two recommendations from the Personnel and Employee Relations Committee minutes with the discussed changed to the recommendation. One to specifically focus on the organizational chart of finance and Taxpayer Services and Elections staff. Vetsch also moved to approve the Personnel and Employee Relations Committee minutes from Wednesday, June 22. The motion was seconded by Daleiden. The motion carried 5-0.
The recommendation for approval to fill position of Risk Management Specialist was pulled for further discussion. Vetsch said that Risk Management wanted to hire a Risk Management Specialist and to do so, Administration would be trading the open Administration Specialist position. Kaczmarek asked if any other counties had more than one Risk Management position. Vetsch said there had been a chart created and that Wright County was an oddity because the information collected from peer counties were not exactly comparable. Wright County was listed as the sixth-largest law enforcement agency and the third-largest Sheriff’s Office. This required a high volume of services from Risk Management. Assistant County Administrator Clay Wilfahrt said most counties did have more than one Risk Management Specialist. There was half dozen that did have more than one or two people dedicated to Risk Management. Some of the others may have two or three but they are imbedded in other departments.
Kaczmarek said starting pay for Risk Management is $27 per hour and the point five Administrative Specialist starting pay was $21 per hour. He did not see this as a fair trade with the open Administrative Specialist position. Daleiden said some other counties had quite a few more Risk Management Specialists and Wilfahrt said St. Louis County, which was roughly 40 to50 percent larger than Wright County, did have three or four people dedicated to this position. Kelly said there had been a lot of change and the hope he had was to trade the Administration Specialist for the Risk Management position, but to understand that down the road if it presented itself that we needed another Administration Specialist that would be able to come back to this. Kaczmarek said he would not go along with this recommendation. Daleiden said he would like to make the public aware that law enforcement has a lot of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) workers compensation claims statewide, not just in Wright County. In Wright County there were 46 workers compensation claims in 2018, 41 in 2019, and 43 in 2020. In 2021, the county had 96 workers compensation claims which is twice as many as the previous year. Workers’ compensation claims were just a small part of what the Risk Manager was having to process. Daleiden said there were a lot of things that had changed since the board had originally said no to the Risk Management Specialist position addition. Husom said the Risk Manager saved the county a lot of money.
Kaczmarek asked about the PTSD workers compensation claims wondering what the process was for these, and if the claims were sent to another clinic or medical professional. Kelly said this claim would start out as a discussion with our attorney’s office and usually an insurance provider would be involved. Kryzer said a PTSD claim involving a law enforcement officer would end up involving numerous statutory provisions and end up going down two different tracks. Workers’ compensation would then the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) would go through the county’s insurance trust. The other aspect of this was a para disability challenge that would go through the administrative law process which was not covered by MCIT. The Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) Disability Law entitles the law enforcement officer to receive health insurance premiums until the officer turns 65 years old and includes dependents. Outside counsel had been hired for this before and the county paid less than $5,000. Kryzer said the law firm of Kennedy and Graven Charted had a lot more experience in that particular realm because it represented numerous cities with all their various law enforcement entities. Kryzer said all PTSD claims would be a case-by-case analysis.
Daleiden moved to approve the third recommendation to hire a Risk Management Specialist. The motion was seconded by Vetsch. The motion carried 4-1, Kaczmarek being opposed.
Taxpayer Services/Elections Organizational Discussion
Assistant County Administrator Marc Mattice said over the past two months, organizational discussions had occurred with the Department Heads involved in the Taxpayer Services and Elections Organization. These discussions aimed to understand employee roles, how work is getting done, how job functions are shared, and how to understand, appreciate, and value employees’ work. Mattice explained that through these discussions, everyone involved had gained a deeper appreciation of the shared business processes across the organization.
Mattice said that through this process the collective goal was to keep in mind the County’s Vision Statement when approaching changes. The vision which promoted a great quality of life with education, opportunity, relaxation, and prosperity at your doorstep. Mattice added that the Department Heads also kept in mind the main strategic objective of improving operational excellence. The group of representatives from the departments evaluated internal, external and shared responsibilities as well as reviewed and documented workflows and relationships to create business process maps and tasks. Having this discussion and knowledge base allowed the group to better understand departmental functions. Mattice said the group also discussed how work within one department can affect other departments, how customers were served and whether the current state provided exceptional service. Mattice discussed ideas to help build an understanding of communication between shared functions, and what would be the optimal organization.
There is a need to continually identify, build and enhance relationships and understanding the interdependence of business processes between departments. The following questions were to be considered when making organizational changes. Are there improvements to handing off tasks and collaboration? For each shared process, who is the owner, who is responsible, who is a contributor, and who is a user? What are the boundaries? Are there timelines/deadlines, and how do these affect others? How do we implement a continuous and collaborative process improvement method? What is the clear vision of where the County needs to go?
Commissioner Darek Vetsch asked if the county board should expect budget changes or new position requests due to this organizational change. Mattice said the group was considering one or two reclassifications, but he could not say specifically where the reclassifications would happen. Mattice did not foresee a request for additional staffing at that time. Vetsch asked if he could expect a potential organizational chart at the July Personnel and Employee Relations Committee meeting. Mattice said that the intention was to have a few different options for the committee to consider.
Commissioner Mark Daleiden asked for an update on the elections processes and staff. Finance & Taxpayer Services Director Lindsey Meyer said former Technology Coordinator Tyler Webster had been promoted to Elections Manager. The Technology Coordinator position was open and posted in several different places and had no applicants after two weeks. Meyer noted that after having a conversation about the need to fill this position with Information Technology (IT) Director Matthew Fomby, an applicant had been found. Assistant Human Resources Director Lori Pawelk explained that it was a unique position to fill.
County Administrator Lee Kelly updated the committee regarding the transition of Highway Department staff over to Centralized Finance. He said this change would take place in conjunction with the start of the next pay period on Monday, June 27 along with the centralization of moving over some Health and Human Services staff to Finance as well. Meyer said both sides agreed that this change was necessary. She noted that there would need to be ongoing conversations about centralization to make sure departments remained on the same page and that customer service needs were met. Meyer said that once everything was settled, the departments would have a better understanding of if there needed to be additional changes going forward.
RECOMMENDATION: Have staff produce an organizational chart that indicates where Taxpayer Services and Elections staff are most effectively located across departments.
Revisions to Personnel Policy 301.07 Extend Sick Leave Bank
Mattice explained that this policy revision had come as a recommendation from the Employee Retention Work Group (R.A.I.S.E.). Mattice then worked closely with the Human Resources Department to discuss the best way to address the recommended changes and policy updates. He explained that he thought this change promoted the county’s goal of retention of the long-term employees that had switched over to Paid Time Off (PTO) in 2016. The draft language designated a sick leave bank for qualified Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) events that may happen throughout the year.
He said that if there was a non-qualifying FMLA event, the leave cap would be increased to 30 days rather than 15 days. Daleiden asked if this would affect additional payouts. Vetsch said it could lessen the payout, but the highest payout was 35 percent and less than 10 percent of employees were at that point. Pawelk said there were not a lot of employees that had an Emergency Sick Leave Bank (ESLB) that this policy would apply to. She explained that policy would be a retention tool for the employees who had used their PTO, sick and vacation time off prudently and had accumulated high banks of vacation or sick leave. This would then go into their ESLB and allow employees to utilize this leave time. Pawelk added that this could be used outside of an FMLA event. Human Resources Director Schawn Johnson said that about 111 employees had ESLB and that those employees’ averages were about 200 hours. Vetsch said that in addition to this policy update being good for employees it also had a small short-term effect and a limited long-term usage, which made him feel comfortable recommending this policy update. Johnson noted that this would be a way for the county to assist its long-term employees who had a dire need to utilize these hours.
RECOMMENDATION: Approve the revisions to Personnel Policy 301.07 Extended Sick Leave Bank.
Request Approval To Fill Position OF Risk Management Specialist
Kelly said that this conversation was coming out of December’s discussions on strategic planning. He explained that with the agreement to hire two Assistant County Administrators and moving Projects Administration, Administration would hold Administration Specialist and Risk Management Specialist positions open. Kelly said he was coming to the committee today to request the Risk Management Specialist position be filled.
Assistant County Administrator Clay Wilfahrt said that Risk Manager Tim Dahl currently managed 29 safety programs across the county to ensure compliance with Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Dahl also managed several regulatory programs through organizations that included the Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI), and many more. Wilfahrt added that Dahl also managed insurance claims through the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) and other insurers, preformed contract reviews and submitted Request for Board Action (RFBA) forms for Risk Management concerns. This along with several other miscellaneous tasks throughout the day to include building safety, workplace violence prevention, panic button implementation and management, fire extinguisher regulation, chemical safety regulation, and workers compensation claims, was why Dahl had such a need for a Risk Management Specialist. Wilfahrt added that as of May 1, 2022, there were 43 workers compensation claims and a projected total of 100 claims for the 2022 Fiscal Year. In the 2021 Fiscal Year there were 96 workers compensation claims and the years prior from 2018 to 2020 the number workers compensation claims were consistently between 40 to 50 each year. This clearly illustrated the rising need for a Risk Management Specialist.
Daleiden asked if the county still had an active Return-to-Work Program. Dahl confirmed the county did and explained that it was a very effective program that enhanced the relationship that between the county and its employees in addition to saving the county money. There had been a rising number of mental illness issues that were highly complex and produced equally complex written documents and follow-ups that were time consuming. Vetsch appreciated that mental illness claims would be hard to manage and noted that a physical injury workers compensation claim was entirely different. Vetsch asked how a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) claim started when there was typically not a First Report of Injury. Dahl said these claims usually came out of FMLA events. Once an employee’s 480 hours of FMLA were used up, this was the point when the employee typically filed a report with the assistance of legal counsel. Dahl said he would work closely with Johnson and added that there were several time-consuming steps and follow-up that needed to be done. Vetsch said documenting these cases sounded very convoluted and hard to manage. Johnson said all claims of that nature were particularly unique and, in some situations, there would be a possibility that the employee never returned.
Wilfahrt added that mental health cases were not as cut and dried as physical injuries, for example a broken arm. Wilfahrt noted that the county population had grown by 60 percent since 2000 when the Risk Management position was first created. He said that having a Risk Management Specialist would allow the county to move from a reactive position on Risk Management to a proactive one. There could be more walk-throughs that catch potential risk factors and mitigate them. Dahl was the only employee trained to do succession planning. Wilfahrt said there was a need to train someone else but did not have the current staffing to achieve this nor did he want to take away from other employees’ designated duties.
Daleiden asked if the Sheriff’s Office would be able to provide an employee to assist in filling these occupational needs. Wilfahrt said that he and Dahl had talked about the potential of having a dispatcher fill in for this role. He explained that there were options, one of them being the addition of a Risk Management Specialist. Wilfahrt said there were not many people trained to do this specific type of work. In Risk Management, there tended to be a lot of gray area where turnaround time and other procedures were left up to interpretation. Wilfahrt explained that having a designated team in the county to address Risk Management issues county-wide would create consistency across departments, rather than having the same claim handled differently in different departments. The expectation of the Risk Management Specialist would be for that individual to take on more administration paperwork in addition to onsite inspections. This in turn would free up Dahl, allowing him to focus more on policy, budget, and more specific planning objectives.
Dahl gave the example of testing panic buttons as something he could pass onto a Risk Management Specialist as it was not the best use of his time. He gave other examples where he was pulled away from bigger picture items to deal with smaller items, but which required an immediate response. Wilfahrt noted that not all counties that were comparable in size to Wright County had multiple positions, but he thought it was important in order to promote consistency. Dahl added that counties were doing risk management on some level but calling it something different. Dahl suggested the idea that the Risk Management Specialist’s pay be based on the work completed. Vetsch said that he took this information seriously.
Dahl understood that Wright County was unique in regard to its risk management division and wanted to help customize the new position to fit the needs of the county. The overview of the Risk Management Specialist position was in the 2022 budget with an hourly range of $27.41 to $38.36. The County Board had placed this position on hold due to the hiring of a second Assistant County Administrator position. The staff recommendation was that the Personnel and Employee Relations Committee move in approving this position. Daleiden asked Meyer and Assistant Finance Director Heather Lemieux about budget to actual for payroll for the whole county. Lemieux ran a budget to actual report, which stated that the General Fund was at $24 million of the budgeted $57 million. She noted that this put the county at 42 percent of the budget for the year.
Vetsch asked if there was a need for an additional Administrative Specialist or if that position hold could be shifted over to become the Risk Management Specialist. Kelly did not see a need to fill the open Administrative Specialist position at this time but was not willing to altogether release it. Vetsch asked if Kelly would be willing to relinquish the Administrative Specialist position if he did not plan to fill it within the next 60 days. Kelly said there needed to be an open discussion to delve into the release of that particular position but that at this time he was not willing to release the Administrative Specialist position. Daleiden asked for a clearer idea of where Administration was at in regard to the Full-Time Employee (FTE) budget. Kelly said there were a lot of moving parts and that an IT position had been eliminated which created available funds for hiring. However, he also noted that Administration hired two Administrative Specialists which accounted for $64,000. Kelly said that there had also been staff turnover to consider. He did not want to debate the specifics of positions that had been filled and turned over but reiterated Lemieux’s statement that the county was in a good position overall to fill this new Risk Management position.
Wilfahrt thought there was a consensus among the members of the committee that the Risk Management Specialist position would be a value to the county. He asked how the committee thought he should move forward with the hiring process. Daleiden thought it would take time to fill this position and Johnson agreed due to the position requiring a special skill set. He thought it would take at least two months to find applicants. Johnson suggested the committee pursue a candidate in the insurance realm and train them into risk management. Vetsch thought the best option was to approve the Risk Management Specialist position with the swap from the open Administrative Specialist position. Wilfahrt said he would need to consult with staff to be sure taking away this position was feasible.
Pawelk asked if this position was going to report to Dahl since his title was not a supervisory position. Johnson recommended the Risk Management Specialist report to him, and Dahl would serve as a lead similar to Pawelk’s relationship to the three Human Resources Representatives. Johnson added that in time this could be adjusted as need be. Dahl pointed out that not all positions would be revenue generating, but there was still a benefit to the county. Vetsch added that filling this position could potentially save the county money in the long run by mitigating issues more efficiently. Daleiden requested that all of the information presented at the meeting be sent to the rest of the County Board so it can have a complete picture of benefits of filling this position.
RECOMMENDATION: Transfer the open Administrative Specialist position to Risk Management to create the position of Risk Management Specialist.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE / ADVISORY BOARD UPDATES
Commissioner Mary Wetter
Wetter had no updates to share.
Commissioner Darek Vetsch
Vetsch said he and staff had a discussion with the state Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) in regard to the timed written road testing being made available in Wright County for classes D, C, B, A licenses as well as motorcycle testing five days a week. He had a meeting with Central Mississippi River Regional Planning Partnership (CMRP), to learn how the National Environmental Policy Act (NEBA) process worked. He said it was very educational and there would be another meeting Thursday, June 30.
Commissioner Mark Daleiden
Daleiden had no updates to share.
Commissioner Michael Kaczmarek
Kaczmarek and county staff had their first election work group meeting this week. Their concerns were listed and there will be another meeting scheduled to address the concerns that arose at the meeting.
County Administrator Lee Kelly
Kelly said he was happy to attend a DVS meeting on Tuesday, June 21. He mentioned that he was working on a few updates regarding the agenda timeline and had some further ideas to bring up in the Leadership meeting. The Well @ Work Clinic grand opening was scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 29. He said the Wright County Economic Development Partnership (WCEDP) had a meeting on Thursday, June 23. Kelly thought the Leadership Retreat Thursday, June 23 went well, and he viewed it as a start to an ongoing discussion. Kelly said he was very dedicated to making Wright County the best it could be.
Commissioner Christine Husom
Husom felt that the Leadership Retreat Thursday, June 23 was very productive. This retreat was with the commissioners, department heads and staff. She appreciated being a part of that day and having the commissioners and staff come together.
The meeting adjourned at 10:06 a.m.
County Board Minutes submitted by Delia Scepaniak, Administrative Specialist.
Published in the Herald Journal, July 29, 2022.

Lester Prairie School Board minutes 6/20/22

REGULAR MEETING of the SCHOOL BOARD of EDUCATION
Lester Prairie Public Schools
Monday June 20th, 2022 5:45 pm
Lester Prairie School Media Center
Roll call was taken and the following board members were present: Corbey Hentges, Steve Ziermann remote, Mary Otto, Brian Heimerl, Rebecca Heimerl and Megan Stifter. Administration present: Dr. Melissa Radeke, Mike Lee, and Jenna Wolff. Other Staff: Alice Daak, Rachel Stender, Guests: Troy Feltman, Sean Tritabaugh, Ivan Raconteur from Herald Journal.
Pledge of Allegiance was led by Rebecca Heimerl.
Agenda
Motion by R. Heimerl second by B. Heimerl to approve the Agenda as presented and or modified
Vote: 6 for, 0 against
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Recognition of Communications since Last Meeting:
Communication – Report:
Trap shooting went well.
Trevor Schauer shot 97 out of 100
Jessa Heimerl 8th in High Jump and Addison Hoof placing 3rd in 400 in track.
Recognizing the coaches helping the kids
Open dialogue – none
Minutes and Bills
Motion by R. Heimerl and second by Stifter-Knoll to approve the meeting minutes of the Regular Board meeting on 5/16, and pay the bills in the amount of $81942.78. Building Project bills of $11,370.76 and student activity fees of $38.68
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Administrative Reports
Mr. Lee K-12 Principal Report: – highlights
Graduation went very well, and the school well
Finished 1st week of summer camps – 100 kids attending every day
Basketball and volleyball camps going well
Summer school has started
2nd session of camps start July 11th – 44 students signed up
Digital Citizenship committee met for 2nd – 12th grade for scope and sequence
PBIS team met on June 1st – develop Behavioral Chart
Updating student and staff handbooks
Looking for Para’s
Float in LP parade
Jenna Wolff AD Report: – highlights
MSHSL resolution on agenda
Why we play
Defining success – Did you do your best, did you help others exceed, did you improve, were you a good teammate etc.
Soccer – looking for interested students
BOYS pairing with NYA, Sibley East
Girls pairing with NYA, Sibley East, and Mayer Lutheran
Track – 3 girls and 2 boys advanced to section meet
Addison Hoof, Jessa Heimerl, Brooke Albers, Sam Jeurissen, Jeffrey Olivares. Addison and Jessa advancing to state
Softball season finished in MRC 2-10 and 4-17 overall
Baseball season finished 1-11 in MRC and 6-14 overall
Trap Shooting – Trevor Schauer advancing to State
FPS international – Alex Overby, and Andrew Ruwersma placed 2nd
Dr. Melissa Radeke Superintendent Report: – highlights
Student Survey Report – Leadership team to go over results in the fall
Results very similar to 2019 survey
Students still want to do well
Things I learn at school are useful – Disagree was higher from 2019 results
Adults at my school listen – Disagree was higher from 2019 results
69% of 8th graders were not aware of Service Resource Officer available
Students have a high sense of safety
Bullying was based the same as size and appearance
Budget comparison – preliminary budget for 2023 prepared by Alice
$6,863 per student for 2022
Food Service is a guess – may need to start to charging per Federal changes
Joe Uhlhorn not joining the call but working on:
speaker issue MLA covering costs
Gym floor and kitchen floor repairs
Time Cards to send in
School Board Reports
Community Ed. – none meeting on Wednesday
PTO – none
Facilities/Maintenance– B. Heimerl working on water meter issue for fields, Bleachers need to be reviewed for replacement. Need to decide on type, size etc. Shed power connected with Xcel, FOB to be connected at shed. Electrical for sign and plan in place.
Tech/Media: TechChek to start E-rate cabling work,
Activities Committee – basketball hoops being repaired; worked with a couple companies to finalize the repair
Negotiations –
Certified – none
Non certified – Review contracts
Administration – none
Meet and Confer – none
Policy – none
Legislative – Failed to pass the E-12 Supplemental Bill. May need to have Special Session
City Council – City Field Agreement – B. Heimerl working with City. City offered a new proposal; need to revise some details for expectations etc.
New Business
City Agreement – Sean Tritabaugh – Park Board proposal to go to the city council 0$ rental fee. Approximately $4,000 yearly maintenance fees, School to cover 65% of this fee. Costs; 15% for summer program is not for discussion, city to cover the remaining 20%. If there is a capital project, this need to be looked at by both the city and school for covering costs. There is no policy at the city for cleaning the bathrooms. Events taking place to return them to the previous condition. Further discussion took place.
Motion by Stifter-Knoll and 2nd by R. Heimerl to approve the 2022-2023 Minnesota State High School League (MSHL) Membership Resolution
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by B. Heimerl and 2nd by Ziermann to designate Jenna Wolf as the MSHSL School Representative for 2022-2023.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by Ziermann and 2nd by R. Heimerl to designate Brian Heimerl as the MSHSL School Board Representative for 2022-2023.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll to approve the revised June 2022 Local Literacy Plan as presented.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by B. Heimerl and 2nd by Ziermann to approve the Athletic and Activities Participant/Parent Handbook for 2022-2023.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Old Business
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by B. Heimerl to approve the Athletic Trainer position.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
School Finance
Motion by Sifter-Knoll and 2nd by R. Heimerl to approve the 2022-2024 Employment Agreement for the Minnesota School Employees Association.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by B. Heimerl and 2nd by Ziermann to approve Bergan KDV for Audit Services.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by B. Heimerl to approve the bid for milk with Kemps.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll to approve bid for bread with Pan O’ Gold
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by Ziermann to approve bid for propane with Glencoe COOP.
Discussion – Propane is back up for 2 – 800 gallon tanks
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by B. Heimerl and 2nd by R. Heimerl to approve the Preliminary Budget for 2022-2023 School year as presented.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll to approve fundraisers for the 2022-2023 school year.
Band: Butter braids and Coffee Before Christmas
Baseball: Discount Cards
Football: Salt Sales
National Honor Society: Fall and Spring Food Drive; Toys for Tots
Boys and Girls Basketball: Shoot-a-Thon
Junior Class: Concessions; Min-Tex fruit; Clubs Choice; That’s My Pan
Senior Class: Carlson Orchard Pies; Unhinged Pizza
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Policy Administration – none
Personnel
Motion by Stifter-Knoll to and 2nd by B. Heimerl approve Brian Herrmann as Head Volleyball Coach for the 2022-23 school year.
Discussion – He coached JO volleyball and is certified
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl to and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll approve Return to Work Agreement for Joe Scoblic for the 2022-23 school year.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by B. Heimerl to and 2nd by Ziermann approve revised 2021-23 contract for Director of Food Services Lori Bebo.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by Stifter-Knoll to and 2nd by R. Heimerl approve revised 2022-2024 contract for Business Official Kelly Elling.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by B. Heimerl to and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll approve 2-year leave of absence as paraprofessional for Cheryl Bayerl starting July 1, 2022 and ending June 30, 2024
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl to and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll approve Data & Systems Coordinator contract for Cheryl Bayerl starting July 1, 2022 and ending June 30, 2023.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl to and 2nd by B. Heimerl approve Medical Assistant Official Contract for Joy Schrupp for 2022-2023 school year.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Motion by R. Heimerl to and 2nd by Stifter-Knoll approve resignation of Business Manager Alice Daak effective June 30, 2022.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Other Items for the Board
Motion by R. Heimerl and 2nd by B. Heimerl to approve the Notice given for Filing dates for Election to District 424 School Board. August 2, 2022 until 5pm August 16th, 2022 with Election being held on November 8th, 2022. Two – 4yr terms each. Filing fee of $2. Candidates must be a resident of the school district.
Vote: 6 for, 0 against;
B. Heimerl–yes, R. Heimerl–yes, Otto– yes, Ziermann– yes, Stifter-Knoll – yes, Hentges – yes;
Meeting was adjourned at 6:52 PM
/s/Steven D. Ziermann, Clerk ISD #424
Published in the Herald Journal, July 29, 2022.

Wright County public hearing: Knife River Corp. conditional use permit, Silver Creek Twp.

N O T I C E O F P U B L I C H E A R I N G
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. the Wright County Planning Commission will hold a hearing in the County Commissioner’s Board Room at the Courthouse, in the City of Buffalo, Minnesota to consider the following item:
KNIFE RIVER CORP.
LOCATION: 4301 County Road 39 NW – S ½ of NW ¼ of SE ¼ and S ½ of NE ¼ of SE ¼ and S ½ of SE ¼ and N ½ of NW ¼ of
SE ¼, except tract described in Book 321 of Deeds, page 439, at the Office of the Wright County Recorder; all Section 8, Township 121, Range 26, Wright County, (Silver Creek Twp.) Tax #216-000-084300 Property owner: Fay A Naaktgeboren Rev Trust
Petition to amend the existing Conditional Use Permit boundaries according to the 2022 EAW in accord with Section 155.029 & 155.048 (D) & 155.100 of Chapter 155 Title XV, Land Usage & Zoning of the Wright County Code of Ordinances.
Such persons that desire to be heard with reference to the proposed application will be heard at this time. If you do not attend the hearing or submit written comment, it will be assumed that you have no objections to the proposal. If there are any questions, please contact the Planning and Zoning Office in Buffalo. Interpreter services for the hearing impaired will be provided on request for public meetings and other county-sponsored classes and events.
WRIGHT COUNTY PLANNING & ZONING OFFICE
WRIGHT COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER
3650 BRADDOCK AVE NE, STE 1600
BUFFALO MINNESOTA 55313-1185
PHONE: (763) 682-7338
Published in the Herald Journal, July 29, 2022. |

Wright County public hearing: Buffalo Lake conditional use permit, Marysville Twp.

N O T I C E O F P U B L I C H E A R I N G
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that on Thursday, August 11, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. the Wright County Planning Commission will hold a hearing in the County Commissioner’s Board Room at the Courthouse, in the City of Buffalo, Minnesota to consider the following item:
BUFFALO LAKE, LLC, represented by Michael M. Erpelding
LOCATION: Part of Gov’t Lots 4, 5 & 6 Section 1, Township 119, Range 26, Wright County, Minnesota. (Deer & Buffalo Lakes – Marysville Twp.) Tax #211-000-012400 & -013100
Petitions for a Conditional Use Permit for a platted 12-lot residential subdivision as regulated in Section 155.028, 155.029, 155.047, 155.057 & 155.059, Chapter 155 Title XV, Land Usage & Zoning of the Wright County Code of Ordinances and Subdivision Regulations.
Such persons that desire to be heard with reference to the proposed application will be heard at this time. If you do not attend the hearing or submit written comment, it will be assumed that you have no objections to the proposal. If there are any questions, please contact the Planning and Zoning Office in Buffalo. Interpreter services for the hearing impaired will be provided on request for public meetings and other county-sponsored classes and events.
WRIGHT COUNTY PLANNING & ZONING OFFICE
WRIGHT COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER
3650 BRADDOCK AVE NE, STE 1600
BUFFALO MINNESOTA 55313-1185
PHONE: (763) 682-7338
Published in the Herald Journal, July 29, 2022. |

Wright County voting accuracy test

WRIGHT COUNTY
NOTICE OF PUBLIC ACCURACY TEST
FOR THE STATE PRIMARY ELECTION
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Public Accuracy Test of the DS450 central count, DS200 ballot tabulator and the OmniBallot assistive voting device for absentee and mail ballot precincts, to be used for the August 9, 2022, State Primary election, will be conducted at the Wright County Government Center, 3650 Braddock Avenue NE, Conference Room 1103, Buffalo, MN beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 1, 2022. The Public Accuracy Test is open to the public.
Notice is hereby given the 20th day of July 2022
Lindsey Meyer
Wright County Finance director
Posted – July 20, 2022
Published in the Herald Journal, July 29, 2022. |