Wednesday, June 22, 2011

County Board Meeting

County Board Chair Jim Johnson and Commissioners Hakes, Hall, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for yesterday's regularly scheduled County Board meeting.  Also present were Braidy Powers, Janet Simonen and Tim Scannell (in part). 

Open Forum
No member of the Public opted to address the County Board at the open forum.

County Highway Department
The County Highway Department received 2 bids for furnishing and blending 2500 cubic yards of sand for the winter stockpile.  The project was awarded to low bidder Edwin E. Thoreson, Inc.

Office of Planning and Zoning (OPZ)
The County Board voted to approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) allowing the long-term use of recreational vehicles for habitation at Trail Center.  The CUP was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on a 5-2 vote.  All septic systems on the property were inspected in June 2010 and found to be in compliance with MN Rule 7080.

Community Center Site Options Analysis
ORB Management President Tom Wacholz presented the County Board with a proposal for Additional Services for Site Exploration.  This proposal was made at the request of the County Board after determining more information is needed about the (3) site options for the proposed Community Center.  The proposal is broken into (3) work areas:  A) Design and Engineering $58,777.50, B) Subsurface Investigation $10,000, and C) Project Management $19,688.00.  The Board authorized this work up to $88,465.50.  The (3) locations identified for further consideration include Option 1 which is between the existing Community Center and the School and requires moving the tennis courts and skate park.  Option 2 is also between the existing Community Center and the School but the building is reconfigured and does not require moving the tennis courts or skate park.  And Option 5 is north of the existing Pappy Wright Field in the NW corner of County owned property.  Leadtime for providing this work is estimated to be 4 weeks for the soil borings and geotechnical analysis.

IT Department
IT Director Danna MacKenzie provided the County Board with an update on Regional Broadband Projects including the Lake County, North East Service Cooperative (NESC) and Arrowhead Electric Cooperative projects.  MacKenzie reported that Arrowhead Electric has ordered fiber and plans to break ground by the end of July 2011.  This is great news.  Arrowhead Electric plans to build the west end communities of Schroeder, Tofte and Lutsen first.  Those interested in pre-registering may do so at

MacKenzie also reported on the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) projects.  Two of the MIRC projects include ISD166 streaming of the 2011 Graduation Ceremony and the Historical Society's project to put their records collection on-line. 

Veterans Services Officer
Personnel Director Janet Simonen reported that Veterans Services Officer Clarence Everson will continue providing Veterans Services even if the State Government does shut down.

Minnesota Housing Partnership Grant
The County Board voted to support Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency in its request to pursue a $10,000 grant to conduct a community wide planning effort designed to better understand Cook County lack of affordable housing and homelessness problems.