When the lake runneth over

In 2011, through a time when Wright County was battered with numerous heavy rainstorms that were enough to raise lake levels, the county board enacted emergency “no wake” rules for the lakes. A year later, at the Aug. 21 meeting, the board adopted a water surface use ordinance.
Assistant County Attorney Greg Kryzer brought the ordinance to the board, saying the County Attorney’s Office took no official position on the matter, rather allowing any individual lake boards to decide whether they wanted to be included.
“Wright County had an unprecedented amount of rain which resulted in a number of lakes being at a high elevation,” Kryzer said. “Looking back at the historical data, Wright County had over 18 inches of rain between May and July 2011 and the county was approached by lakeshore owners requesting emergency no-wake ordinance.”
The county left the decision of setting no-wake restrictions at times of high water events up to the lake associations. Of the 27 lake associations in Wright County, only four decided to adopt the county ordinance – Cedar Lake, East West Lake Sylvia, Howard Lake and Lake Ann.
At the Aug. 21 public hearing, four residents addressed the board and the only negative comments came from a lake association that didn’t opt into the program. The county commissioners all voted to approve the ordinance and allow lake associations the right to enact the rules in the future if they choose.
“I want to thank the lake associations and the Sheriff’s Office because this was a laborious process,” said Board Chair Rose Thelen. “Last year was a learning process and I think we’re better off for it now.”

In other agenda items Aug. 21, the board:
• Accepted the July revenue/expenditure guidelines. Auditor/Treasurer Bob Hiivala said that both revenues and expenditures are in line with budgeted amounts.
• Awarded a contract for parking lot resurfacing at the Human Services Center. The low bid was received from Mind-Minnesota Hot Mix of Annandale for $155,814 – more than $50,000 under the estimated cost.
• Authorized county delegates for the Association of Minnesota Counties’ fall policy meetings Sept. 27-28 in Brainerd.
• By a 3-1 vote, authorized filling a vacant full-time administrative specialist position, which had been vacant for two years. Commissioner Pat Sawatzke voted against the proposal, claiming it could “open the floodgate” for other positions that have been frozen during the economic downturn.
• Approved an amendment to the county joint powers agreement with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to include court data services. The current JPA covers the criminal justice data network but did not include court data services. The board approved the amendment on the county attorney’s recommendation.
• Scheduled a public hearing for 9:30 a.m. Sept. 11 to review grant applications being prepared for the non-metro regional parks grant program and the park and trail Legacy grant program.
• Adopted a resolution conveying a pair of tax-forfeit land parcels to the city of St. Michael.
• Reappointed Mark Kampa to the Clearwater River Watershed District and authorized advertising for a second vacant position.
• Authorized payment of $1,274 to the law firm of Madden Galanter Hansen for work done on behalf of the county in union negotiations in July.
• Set a tentative meeting date to discuss a cleanout of Joint County Ditch 14 for either Sept. 12 or 13, depending on landowners’ availability in Stockholm Township. The ditch is shared by Wright, Meeker and McLeod counties.

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