Tuesday, August 9, 2011

County Board Meeting

County Board Chair Jim Johnson and Commissioners Hakes, Hall, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for today's regularly scheduled Board Meeting.  Also present were Braidy Powers, Tim Scannell and Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
No member of the Public opted to speak during the Public Comment period.

Maintenance Department
The Board authorized Maintenance Supervisor Brian Silence to enter into an agreement for $4800 with the Jamar Company to conduct an extensive investigation of the tie-in to the original building and gutter eave of that building.  This investigation and subsequent repair will be done to prevent water intrusion.

The Board also authorized Silence to purchase 9 personal task lights  at a cost of $335 each to be installed on the Commissioner's table.  These lights are being installed so that overhead compact florescent lights may be turned off in the presence of people with sensitivity to such  lighting.  The new lights consume minimal energy.

Information Systems (IS)
Congratulations to Information Systems Director Danna MacKenzie for being selected as a 2011-2012 Policy Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  MacKenzie was selected from a large number of robust applicants to develop core leadership competencies necessary to inspire, organize and work effectively to advance the public good.  The County Board was pleased to authorize MacKenzie to use $1000 from the IS Department training budget for years 2011 and 2012 to pay ~1/3 of the program fees.

As noted in the Policy Fellows Program Overview, a vibrant community benefits everyone and MacKenzie's participation in this program will certainly benefit Cook County.  "Citizens who take part in public affairs must turn from the private interests to take a look at something other than themselves." Alexis de Tocqueville.    

Ehlers and Associates
The County Board passed a resolution calling for public hearings on a capital improvement plan and the intent to use capital improvement bonds.  More simply stated, the County would like to refinance their debt for the Cook County Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center.  By refinancing, the County is likely to save an estimated $122,000 in interest costs.

On another note, Bruce Kimmel of Ehlers and Associates presented an overall bond timing and master cashflow scenario for all one percent sales tax projects.  In this scenario, the County will likely issue bonds for $8,500,000 this Fall.  Interest rates are very attractive and anticipated to remain low.

PUBLIC HEARING to survey Sections 7-8-9-17-19, T58N, R5W in Schroeder Township
A pubic hearing was held on this matter.  No objections from the public were raised and the process will move forward.  A citizen petition tallied 67% in favor of this corner restoration survey.

Cook County Historical Society (CCHS)
Carrie McHugh, Cook County Historical Society Museum Director, gave a wonderful mid-year overview of the work the Cook County Historical Society has completed, is working on, or has plans for.  Of particular note is the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Exhibit which included a two-room exhibit, digitization of photos and oral histories, as well as an on-line component.  And, the CCHS is hopeful they will be successful in their request for a grant from the LLoyd K. Johnson foundation to fund conservation of the Grand Marais Lighthouse Lens to be received on long-term loan from the Coast Guard, perhaps as early as this Fall.

The CCHS requested the County Board continue their annual grant for their important work.

Vacating County Road 79
The Board authorized a resolution to begin the process to vacate County Road 79, formerly a section of Old Highway 61.  Recent Mn/DOT Highway 61 road construction in Lutsen created a new access to property owners using CR 79 so it is no longer needed.

Permits and Licenses
The County Board approved a raffle on August 13 at the Midtrail Firehall as requested by the Mid Trail Home Owners Association.  The Board also approved a temporary on-sale liquor license for a single day (9/22/11) as requested by the Schroeder Area Historical Society for the an event at the Cross River Heritage Center.

Superior National Golf Course
The County Board reviewed a proposal from Sirius Golf Advisors to conduct a business and marketing plan for Superior National Golf Course.  Sirius also proposed a consulting contract to provide assistance in executing the business plan.  The County Board agreed that it needs a Work Session with the EDA to determine a) direction and mission of SNGC, b) roles & responsibilities of the County, the EDA and SNGC Staff, and c) funding.  The County Board also asked EDA Liaison Bruce Martinson to recommend that the EDA/SNGC Staff immediately implement the no-cost or low-cost suggestions already given by Sirius Golf Advisors to improve operations at SNGC this year.  It is anticipated that the County/EDA Work Session will be held Thursday, August 18th at 7 pm in the Commissioner's Room.

Highway 61 Otis Creek Crossing
Highway Engineer Dave Betts drafted a letter to Mn/DOT requesting that Mn/DOT replace the TH61 box culvert over Otis Creek.  This request is being made to handle any increase in flow that would result from increasing the size of the CSAH 16 culvert as desired.  The existing drainage structure is undersized; excess runoff is impacting local residents and needs to be corrected.  The Board authorized Betts' letter.