Tuesday, March 8, 2011

County Board Meeting

Today's County Board Meeting was led by Vice-Chair Jan Hall in Jim Johnson's absence.

Open Forum 
City Council Member Tim Kennedy invited the County Board to attend a Superior Cycling Association meeting in Lutsen on March 15 at 2 pm.  The purpose of the meeting is to inform the Public about efforts to build a mountain bike trail designed to draw road cycling enthuasiast of every skill level to the Arrowhead Region. 

PILT Title III Funding Request
Patty Johnson, US Forest Service Representative, informed the County Board about a GIS Special Data project she has been working on with Kyle Oberg from the County IT Department.  Johnson reported that she is seeking County Board support to pursue Title III Funding for a project to create spatial data to be used across agencies and eventually tied into a 911 system.  The County Board authorized Johnson to move forward on her proposal and to estimate costs.

Highway Department Capital Purchase Requests
The County Board approved the purchase of (2) 2011 GMC Sierra 2500 4WD Crew Cab Pickups, (1) 2011 MT525B 4WD Tractor and 30' boom with rotary mower and controls, and (1) 23' boom with rotary mower.  When questioned as to why it was necessary to purchase (2) new pickup trucks, the Board learned that the newer 2002 truck has 146,000 miles and is in rough condition and the 1994 truck has 180,000 miles on it.  Combined, these purchases are over the previously approved budget by $19,400.  County Engineer David Betts and Maintenance Supervisor Russell Klegstad stated that this overrun will be managed within their existing budget by rescheduling some non-essential culvert work.

Airport Commission Capital Purchase Reqeust
Rod Roy, Airport Commission, requested approval from the County Board to authorize $17,114.79 to purchase a John Deere WAM Mower to replace a 1985 mower which is worn out.  The total cost for this equipment is $51,863.39 including tax.  A State FAA grant will pay 2/3 of this cost.  The County Board approved this purchase.

County Veterans Service Office Enhancement Grant Program
The County Board approved a resolution to enter into a grant contract with the MN Department of Veteran Affairs for transporting veterans to medical appointments.  The State awarded this two-year grant in the amount of $12,350.

Emergency Operations Plans Review
Commissioners Jan Hall and Jim Johnson were appointed to participate in the Cook County Emergency Operations Plan review to be conducted between June and September 2011.

One Percent Project Updates
Commissioner Fritz Sobanja reported that there will be a County Board Work Session on Tuesday March 15 from 1:30-3:00 with the Library Board and representatives of the City to discuss the Library Expansion Project.

Commissioner Bruce Martinson, supported by Tom Wacholz of ORB Management, reported that the RFP seeking proposals from a qualified golf course management expert for the provision of a comprehensive assessment of Superior National Golf Course will be mailed this week with a due to of April 1.

I reported that the Community Center Sub-Committees have met/continue to meet and will reconvene at the next full Steering Committee Meeting to be held from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Wednesday, March 16.  As a reminder, the public is welcome to attend these meetings.

Discussion of "No Net Gain" regarding Public Land
The Association of Minnesota County's question asking if your County has ever passed a resolution for no net gain of public land or if you plan to consider this in the future, prompted a lively discussion about this issue.  Cook County does not currently have a "no net gain" policy on record.  I need more information before making a decision with as much impact as this and plan to research it.  Clearly, there are compelling arguments to be made on both sides of this concern.  Prior to today's meeting, I read with interest an article entitled "Let's Keep Lawmakers Out of the Real Estate Business" written in Points North by local writer and outdoorsman Shawn Perich.