County board briefs: County partners with three others to purchase aerial images

Washington County will work with Pictometry International Corporation to provide aerial imagery and special software licensing to the county, after the County Board approved a contract with the company Feb. 18.

The imagery to be purchased consists of oblique images, which are photographs taken at an angle rather than straight down. The Pictometry software combines these oblique images to enable a user to view all sides of a structure. Additionally, every pixel of the photograph is georeferenced to its exact location on the earth, which provides measurements of area, distance, height, elevation, pitch, and bearing. Many county departments use the Pictometry imagery and data to aid their planning, inspection, or engineering work.

The last flight was done in spring of 2011 when Washington County partnered with four other metro counties to reduce costs. This time around, Washington County is again partnering with Anoka, Carver and Dakota counties for a flight in spring 2014. Other local government agencies within Washington County are also able to use the Pictometry imagery at no additional cost. The Washington County portion of the flight will provide six-inch resolution for a majority of the county and nine-inch resolution for Scandia, and the townships of Denmark, May, and Stillwater.

The contract is for two years, with $13,325.87 due at signing, a payment of $39,977.63 after the delivery of the images in 2014, and a payment of $48,587.50 for licensing in 2015.

Public hearing set to receive comment on groundwater draft plan

The Washington County Board of Commissioners set a public hearing for March 4 to receive comments on the Washington County Groundwater Plan Draft 2014-2024 prior to releasing it for state review.

The Washington County 2003-2013 Groundwater Plan expired at the end of 2013. The county has been updating the plan for 2014-2024. Metropolitan counties have the authority to write and implement groundwater plans under state law, which provide the organizational framework to establish policy and solve local water problems.

The groundwater plan defines policies and identifies issues and implementation strategies.

The public hearing will be at the beginning of the regular county board meeting, at 9 a.m. in the board room of the government center, 14949 N. 62nd St. in Stillwater.

Public hearing on hazardous waste management ordinance

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will conduct a public hearing March 18 to receive comments on a proposed revision to the county’s Hazardous Waste Management ordinance.

The county is proposing changes to Hazardous Waste Management Ordinance No. 187. The county will notify licensed hazardous waste generators and cities and towns, and post the draft ordinance on the county website.

The Hazardous Waste Management Program was first established by ordinance in 1983 and adopts the state’s hazardous waste rules as operating standards. The ordinance requires periodic revisions to incorporate updates or revised state rules. County staff members license, inspect, and provide training and outreach to hazardous waste generators and facilities.

The ordinance revision will add a provision allowing the county to adopt management policies, called a Special Variance, published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; adjust the minimum requirement for financial assurance at hazardous waste facilities from $1,000 to $10,000; add a provision so that the ordinance will conform to and remain current with state rules as amended; and clarify existing requirements and formatting for accuracy and conformance to legal standards.

The public hearing will be at the beginning of the regular county board meeting, at 9 a.m. in the board room of the government center, 14949 N. 62nd St. in Stillwater.

County will work with technology company to support ‘paperless’ programs

Washington County will continue to work toward “paperless” offices in its child support and public assistance programs, after the County Board approved a contract Feb. 18 to work with Chapter Technology to provide ongoing software support and maintenance for CaseWorks, an electronic case file system for social service programs.

The contract is for work to be done over the next five years, and is expected to cost $388,934. Of that, $217,663 will be paid with federal funds.

In an effort to create efficiency, the county’s child support and public assistance units have implemented a paperless filing system, CaseWorks. The program allows collaboration among all employees within the unit and provides records management, and workflow management.

Next Chapter Technology will continue to provide software updates and technical support for the program.

County will continue working with FamilyWise Services for family support

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a contract Feb. 18 with FamilyWise Services, which provides parenting and youth training to county residents.

The contract is for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and costs are not to exceed $40,000 each year. The organization provides parenting assessments, supervised visitation, in-home parenting education, independent living skills training, and one-on-one youth services training.

FamilyWise supports families who are in crisis or experiencing challenging times by providing direct services, skill building, and encouragement. The goals of FamilyWise are to educate parents on skills needed to lead stable lives and provide safe homes, to empower families to achieve self-sufficiency, and to enrich the lives of families.

Tax-forfeited land sold to state, bank

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved two sales of tax-forfeited land at its meeting Feb. 18, one conveying land to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), and the other conveying land to USBANK NA, as trustee.

One parcel will be used by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for right-of-way in the roadways around the new St. Croix River Crossing, at the intersection of highways 36 and 95.

The property forfeited to the state for non-payment of property taxes in 1990. The County Board may sell a parcel of tax-forfeited land to a governmental subdivision or state agency for a public purpose. MnDOT will purchase the parcel for $500, plus $92.65 in extra costs.

The other property is in Forest Lake, forfeited for the non-payment of property taxes in 2013. The former owner of the property was Lasalle Bank National Assoc. By law, a former owner of a tax-forfeited parcel that was non-homesteaded at the time of the forfeiture may apply for a repurchase for up to one year following the forfeiture or until the property is sold or conveyed by the county. The repurchase amount is calculated by adding all delinquent taxes and fees incurred while the property was in tax forfeiture. In this case, the repurchase amount is $6,438.29.