County board briefs: Board agrees to submit new groundwater plan


The Washington County Board of Commissioners continued a public hearing March 11 on a proposed Washington County Groundwater Plan for 2014-2024.

The public hearing was first opened March 4.

No residents spoke at the hearing. The hearing was extended from March 4 to March 11 to allow for more public comment.

The Washington County 2003-2013 Groundwater Plan expired at the end of 2013. The county has been updating the plan for 2014-2024. The county has the authority to write and implement Groundwater Plans under state law. A county’s Groundwater Plan provides the organizational framework to establish policy and solve local water problems.

All of the county’s drinking water is from groundwater, and the plan identifies issues that affect groundwater quality and quantity, and explores ways in which to address those issues. The groundwater plan provides a countywide framework that guides the protection and conservation of groundwater resources. It is developed with the assistance of the county’s Groundwater Advisory Committee that is appointed by the County Board and the Technical Advisory Committee.

The goal of the groundwater plan is to “manage the quality and quantity of groundwater in Washington County to protect health and ensure sufficient supplies of clean water to support human uses and natural ecosystems.”

Two areas of discussion in the plan are to regulate the land spreading of septage to protect groundwater; and to align the county Groundwater Plan with the county Solid Waste Master Plan to develop and support waste management practices that will minimize the need for landfills to protect groundwater.

After the hearing, the board agreed to submit the plan to the Metropolitan Council, state agencies, and the Board of Water and Soil Resources for review. The county must adopt the plan and implement it within 120 days of the board’s approval.

Sheriff’s office to share squad installer

St. Croix County, Wisconsin, will pay the Washington County’s Sheriff’s Office $15,000 to commission and decommission law enforcement vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed to the work sharing March 11.

St. Croix County will pay for the commission and decommission of up to 11 St. Croix County emergency vehicles. The cost of any additional vehicle will be $1,700, except for unmarked vehicles, which will cost $300. The agreement runs through 2014.

Contractor to design Hwy. 5 intersection

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed to a contract with SRF Consulting Group for design engineering for the County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 17 and Highway 5 intersection in Lake Elmo.

The contract is for $120,000.

Washington County will construct two traffic signals and dedicated right-turn lanes on Highway 5 at the north and south legs of CSAH 17 in Lake Elmo. The project also includes a dedicated right-turn lane at Laverne Avenue North on the north side of Highway 5. The proposed improvements are needed to reduce crashes, mitigate sight distance issues, and improve mobility on the roadways.

Washington County, in cooperation with the City of Lake Elmo, submitted an application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Office of Metro State Aid for the Cooperative Agreement Program. The project was selected and awarded $462,000, which must be used for construction and construction engineering/inspection.

Design engineering is Washington County’s responsibility as the project sponsor. SRF Consulting Group, Inc., has performed previous analysis and design work at these two intersections and can complete the design work for this project in the compressed schedule. The contract is for $119,950.

The project cost estimate is $669,500, with $119,500 for design and $550,000 for construction. Of that, $462,000 will come from the Cooperative Agreement funds and $207,500 will come from County State Aid funds.

It is anticipated that the engineering will be completed this spring, and bids will be let in July. Construction will occur between this fall and next spring.

Fund balance to clean up library

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will use $150,000 from the county’s fund balance to pay for clean-up and restoration costs for water damage at the Wildwood Library, until the insurance claim is settled.

A water pipe in the ceiling of the Wildwood Library in Mahtomedi burst Jan. 3 causing extensive damage and closure of the facility. The county mobilized a sprinkler, mechanical, and electrical contractor, a restoration company, and moving company to clean up, repair and restore the library.  The data cabling in the library had to be replaced as well as the carpeting. The library reopened Feb. 5.

Costs to restore the library totaled $150,000, which will be taken from the county’s fund balance until insurance payments are received to cover the costs. The county’s deductible for the insurance is $25,000, therefore $125,000 will be returned to fund balance once the insurance claim is paid.

Request for boundary change for Brown’s Creek District

The Washington County Board of Commissioners will request boundary changes for the Brown’s Creek Watershed District that will address 39 parcels along the district’s boundary with the Rice Creek Watershed District.

The County Board authorized the request March 11, which goes to the Board of Water and Soil Resources.

The parcels are in Grant and Hugo and are either not within a watershed district at all, or are bisected by a boundary line. State law states that all areas within the seven-county metropolitan area must be covered by a watershed organization. New topographic information allows for the designation of these parcels to the proper watershed district, thereby coming into compliance with state law.

Both cities support the boundary change, and all parcel owners were contacted by the watershed districts in January.

Communications contract for Gateway Corridor

The Washington County Board of Commissioners, sitting as the Washington County Regional Rail Authority (WCRRA) March 11, approved a contract with Jeff Dehler Public Relations to perform strategic communications for the Gateway Corridor.

The contract is for $110,000 and is for work through February 2015, and will be paid for by the Gateway Corridor Commission.

The Gateway Corridor stretches from downtown St. Paul to the St. Croix River Bridge, along Interstate 94, Hudson Road, and Highway 12. The WCRRA serves as the fiscal agent for the Gateway Corridor Commission, which is comprised of local elected officials, business and community leaders planning for transit in the corridor.

Work that the firm will provide for the Gateway Corridor Commission include:

• project management and ongoing strategy consultation;

• legislative communications support;

• media and community relations;

• hosting a development forum;

• community and business engagement;

• video production;

• coordination with regional transit events;

• update strategic communication plan.

County will keep leasing houses on park land

The Washington Board of Commissioners approved leases for two renters March 11, for property on county park land.

When Washington County acquires land for regional parks, houses on the land are typically leased, until the area is developed for park use.

In 2010, Washington County acquired a house on St. Croix Trail South in Denmark Township. A tenant has signed a lease with the county to rent the house for 12 months, until Feb. 28, 2015, for $800 per month. The tenant pays utilities and sanitation.

In 2008, Washington County acquired a house on 165th Street North. A tenant has signed a lease to rent the house for 12 months until Feb. 28, 2015, for $950 per month. The tenant also pays utilities and sanitation.

Revenue from rental of the houses supplements parks funds and helps pay for the maintenance of the property.