Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meetings! Meetings! Meetings!

It was a full agenda for the Human Services Board and the County Board today with a Human Services Board Meeting, County Board Meeting, Public Hearing for Judge Magney Area Survey, and One Percent Library Project Work Session.

Human Services Board Meeting

As a reminder, the Human Services Board consists of the County Board, Diane Fitzgerald and Carla LaPointe.  All were present today except Jan Hall who was ill.

After some tweaks to the agenda, approval of the February 15 Meeting Minutes and Committee Reports, Wendy Danielson gave an informative presentation on Child Support.

Child Support Officer Report
Wendy Danielson is the Child Support Officer for Public Health & Human Services.  From Danielson's presentation I learned that Cook County serves a target population of clients who need, want or require child support services.  Most clients are non-public assistance clients.  As of March 2011, Cook County had 208 cases compared to 174 last year.

As the Child Support Officer, Danielson works to locate parents, establish paternity and support obligations, enforce and collect support obligations, provide program education and refer clients to other needed resources.  This work is important because it benefits children by enforcing parental responsibility.

If you, or someone you know, has questions about child support issues, you may find further information by going to the Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Support web page or the Minnesota Judicial Branch Child Support Self-Help Center.  Danielson also encourages those in need or with questions to contact her directly at 218 387 3619. 

Financial Report
Jan Parish, Income Maintenance & Fiscal Supervisor, gave a year-to-date financial report.  Parish noted that she is still working to close out 2010.  She also gave the Board advance notification that the PHHS Fund Balance is likely to go down ~$24,000.  This is due mainly to a reduction in property tax collected.

Director's Report
Sue Futterer, Director, reported on revisions to the Region 3 Redesign Income Maintenance Project.  This Project is our first step in Minnesota's Human Services Redesign Project to examine how we might deliver Human Services more effectively and more efficiently.  Cook County Human Services, working with Carlton, Aitkin, Itasca, Koochiching and Lake Counties has agreed to participate in a Discovery Phase to Redesign Income Maintenance Services by standardizing the business process, improving efficiency, and offering a choice of service area for clients receiving Income Maintenance.  The Board approved authorization of $122,298 to be divided among the 6 counties or $20,383.  50% of this amount will be reimbursed from the Federal Government.

Futterer continues to keep an eye on Legislative Issues, particularly as they relate to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Budget.  Specific budget cuts in HHS are expected to be released on March 22.

And, upon Futterer's request, the Board has proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month during which the Cook County Human Services Board calls upon all citizens, community groups, religious organizations, medical facilities, and businesses to increase their participation in efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect, thereby strengthening the community in which we live.

Board Actions  
Board approved an Amendment to Purchase of Service Agreement between Cook County and Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) to include transportation funds for an MFIP Work Program for 2011.

Board approved a Purchase of Service Agreement between Cook County and the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment for Detoxification Services for 2011. 

County Board Meeting

Public Comment Period
Sam Parker addressed the Board.  Parker stated that Boundary Commissions do solve problems.  He also stressed the importance of considering private sector service providers wanting opportunities to bid survey jobs noting that not all survey work needs to be done by the County Surveyor.

Amendment to Lease Agreement for Lutsen Tower
The Board approved an amendment to renew Lease Agreement No. 09623 for an additional term of (5) years from April 2, 2011 through March 31, 2016.  This lease agreement is between Cook County and MN DOT for a State owned tower on County owned property.

Clearwater Lodge Satisfaction of Mortgage
The County Board declined a request to further reduce the balance due the County Revolving Loan Fund to $21,750.  Last year the County Board agreed to reduce the balance due from ~$55K to ~$27,500 in an effort to support a potential sale of the Lodge.

Discussion of Boundary Commission for End of the Gunflint Trail
After consideration of the need for a Boundary Comission at the end of the Gunflint Trail, County Contract Surveyor Wayne Hensche recommends no action by the County.  Hensche explained that areas of concern could be addressed by the affected owners agreeing to corrections and hiring their own surveyors.

11:00 AM PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUATION for Judge Magney Area Survey
This hearing was continued from February 22, 2011.  Property owner Tom Fiero asked County Contract Surveyor Wayne Hensche several questions about the plat.  The County Board discussed how to most equitably allocate the costs of the survey among the property owners.  Historically, the County has divided the cost by the number of acres and allocated the costs by acreage.  In an effort to achieve fairness, the County Board has decided to impose a minimum charge of $650 to property owners.  As a result, the Public Hearing has been continued to 11:00 AM on Tuesday April, 19, 2011. 

US Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Invasives Grant (GLRI)
County Engineer/Agriculture Inspector, David Betts, along with Jack Greenlee of the US Forest Service presented (2) Agreements regarding the GLRI Grant--1) Master Agreement with general provisions, and 2) Supplemental Agreement for this specific grant.  This GLRI Grant is for $93,825 and requires a 20 percent local match which may be provided as monies or in-kind labor.  The purpose of this initiative is to combat invasive plant species within Cook County through various methods including hand-pulling, mowing and spraying. The County Board approved entering into both agreements.

Betts also reported that seasonal road restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 am., Friday, March 18, 2011, and will remain in effect for a minimum of eight weeks. After that period, road restrictions will be lifted on a case-by-case basis as conditions warrant.

2011 County Board Work Sessions
The Board agreed to schedule work sessions to a) discuss the 2012 budget (May) and b) get training on writing objective employee reviews (June). 

One Percent Library Project Work Session

A work session was held with the County Board, Library Board, City of Grand Marais representatives Mike Roth and Bill Lenz, County Auditor/Treasurer Braidy Powers, County Attorney Tim Scannell, ORB Management, DSGW Architects to discuss the organizational structure of the One Percent Library Project.  ORB Management will provide (2) proposals for County Board review on March 22 outlining services and costs as either a Consultant or Construction Manager.