Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Human Services and County Board Meetings

Cook County Human Services Board
A monthly meeting of the Human Services Board is held the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 8:30 am.

Statewide Health Improvement Project (SHIP)
Kristen De Arruda Wharton and April McCormick, SHIP Coordinators from Cook County and Grand Portage, provided an update on their respective programs.  Although these programs are funded independently of each other, they collaborate where it makes sense.  The SHIP program was established by the MN Department of Health to help Minnesotans live better and targets tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor nutrition in communities throughout the state.  Joan Farnum wrote an informative article about the SHIP Program in the current issue of Highway 61.

Director's Report 
Human Services Director Sue Futterer reported on both the Local Public Health Association of MN (LPHA) and Minnesota Association of County Social Service Administrators (MACSSA) legislative priorities.  Futterer also reported on the evaluation recently completed by the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) done for Medical Non-emergency Transportation and the Region 3 Redesign Update noting that costs for this effort are still varying by ~20%. 

Futterer invited the new and existing members of the Human Services Board to participate in the "Public Health Update for New Local Elected Officials Orientation to Public Health" to be held on March 28 via ITV from the Courthouse.  I know that I'm looking forward to this Session sponsored by the State Community Health Services Advisory Committee and the MN Department of Health Office of Performance Improvement.  The world of Public Health is complex and trainings such as this are certainly appreciated by me.

Fiscal Supervisor's Report
Jan Parish elaborated on Sue Futterer's report on Non-emergency Medical Transportation, both noting that it is somewhat cumbersome.  Parish also reported that effective March 1, 2011 additional low income adults will be eligible for Medicaid benefits when MN begins implementing the expanded Medical Assistance (MA) program.

Board Actions
The Board approved the appointment of Edwina Hertzberg for a 3-year term on the Public Health & Human Services Advisory Committee through 2013.

The Board also approved (4) Service agreements for the year 2011, including Home Delivered Meals (aka Meals on Wheels).

County Board Meeting

Immediately after the Human Services Board Meeting, the County Board held its regularly scheduled meeting.

County Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting
On County Assessor Mary Black's recommendation, the Board set the 2011 County Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting for 6:30 pm on Tuesday, June 21 to hear appeals from property owners who disagree with their assessed value.

Establishing a Boundary Commission
Wayne Hensche, Cook County contract surveyor, was unable to attend today's meeting to discuss the possible need to establish a Boundary Commission for the SAG/Top of the Trail area.  In the past, a request such as this has come as a request from the Public.  This issue will be added to the agenda for March.

ORB Management 
After a healthy discussion, the County Board voted unanimously to accept the proposed Master Consulting Agreement between ORB Management and Cook County.  Under this Agreement, the County may enter into Sub-Agreements with ORB to consult on public infrastructure projects funded through the 1% Sales Tax (passed by Voter Referendum in 2009).  ORB's role as a Consultant may vary depending upon the project, but will likely include assisting in the management and administration of some or all of the 1% Sales Tax Projects.  Under this Agreement, ORB  will be paid a consulting fee not to exceed 2.5% of the total cost of each individual 1% Project plus reimbursables (i.e., fees on a $1M project would be $25,000).  Either party may suspend or terminate this Agreement upon (60) days written notice to the other party.

ORB also provided a brief update on the Community Center Project, currently in the Design Phase of the project.  The Community Center Steering Committee is meeting from 8-5 pm Wednesday (Commissioner's Room) and again Thursday from 3-4 (Community Center) to discuss the programing, facility design and location of the new Community Center.  A more detailed presentation will be given to the County Board on February 22.  The Public is welcome to attend any of these meetings.

The County Board voted unanimously for Tim Scannell and Braidy Powers to draft for review and approval a proposed Sub-Agreement for ORB Management to assist in the management and administration of the Library Expansion project.

Exterior Courthouse Lighting 
The County Board approved a request from Maintenance Director Brian Silence for new exterior lighting fixtures to replace the damaged and not-very-effective lighting that exists on the east side of the Courthouse.

Reports and Concerns
-  Dave Saethre was appointed to the Airport Commission.
-  The County Auditor/Treasurer's Office continues to explore the pros and cons of assuming EDA financial and payroll functions.