Wednesday, November 23, 2011

County Board Meeting for November 22, 2011

County Board Chair Jim Johnson and Commissioners Hakes, Hall, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for the November 22 County Board Meeting.  Also present were Tim Scannell, Braidy Powers and Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
Stan Tull asked the County Board about its contractual relationship with Sirius Golf Advisors wondering if they were still under contract as a Consultant to the Board.

Pat Campanaro encouraged the County Board to seek outside funding for the Superior National Golf Course project and to hire local contractors whenever possible.

County Highway Department
The County Board approved the final payment to Edwin E. Thoreson, Inc. on project CP 10-02 Furnish Aggregate Stockpile, Class I.

Andrew Graupmann was selected from (5) applicants for the Engineering Technician vacated by Fran Johnson.  No local applications were received.

Cook County Historical Society
The County Board voted to support an application for grant funding for the Cook County Historical Society from the MN Lake Superior Coastal program for a Maritime Heritage Exhibit.  The CCHS, owned by the County, is an excellent site for this type of exhibit as it was once the lighthouse keeper's residence.

Office of Planning and Zoning
The Cook County Planning Commission held a Public Hearing on Wednesday, November 9, to take public comments on formulating recommendations for several proposed ordinance amendments.  Nobody from the public was in attendance at this Public Hearing, nor were any comments submitted before or after the Public Hearing. After much deliberation, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to forward the following recommendations.  At its November 22 regularly scheduled meeting, the County Board supported the recommendations of the Planning Commission:

Section 1.1 of the Subdivision Ordinance--Proposals for subdivision of property located within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Grand Marais (2 miles beyond Grand Marais City limits) are now exempt by Cook County from the requirements of the Cook County Subdivision Ordinance.

Section 9 of the Zoning Ordinance--The Planning Commission and the County Board felt it was too restrictive to require "Type I" septic system standards for non-conforming lots when the MN Rules Chapter 7080 allows for some more moderate design standards.  As such, the words "Type I" have been removed out of Section 9.03(A)(2) and 9.03(B)(2).  This modification will result in this one ordinance provision to be less restrictive than the state statute language.  The County Board approved this 4-1 with Jim Johnson dissenting.

Section 14 of the Zoning Ordinance--Language for Criteria for Decisions for Variances was tweaked only slightly per the recommendation of County Attorney Tim Scannell.  The changes were semantic in nature.

Potential Cook County Zoning Ordinance Amendment--A Public Hearing will be scheduled (most likely in December) and posted for proposed changes to Section 4.09(C)(1) and Section 4.17(C)(1)(c) related to Planned Unit Developments within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Grand Marais.

County Attorney
At the recommendation of County Attorney Tim Scannell, the County Board authorized the hiring of Attorney Jean Smith at 35 hours/week for the open Victim's Advocate/Paralegal position.  $32,000 of this position is funded by the State.

Maintenance Department
The Board accepted the resignation of Maintenance Department employee John Johnson.  A temporary replacement will be hired until a decision regarding how best to fill this position can be made.

1% Library Project
Library Director Linda Chappell and Library Board President David Quick updated the County Board on the Library Project budget line items for carpet replacement, relocation expenses and FFE (Furniture, Fixtures, Equipement).  Chappell and Quick also presented a list for FFE at a cost of $95,885.  The County Board approved these purchases up to $95,885 to be paid for with a) $50,000 allocated for FFE, b) $9,250 in a Restricted Capital Fund for carpet from the City/County, and c) Unused funds budgeted for the relocation of the Library.  It is good news that the relocation of the Library was significantly less than anticipated due to length of construction time and rents negotiated.

1% Community Center Project 
Commissioner Hakes reported that Tim Scannell, Braidy Powers, Commissioner Sobanja and she have done some preliminary exploration into potential 3rd party management for the proposed Community Center. An introductory telecon with Mark Hennessy representing the YMCA organization and Tom Wacholz of ORB Management was held to explore the possibility of working together.  A follow up meeting with YMCA personnel is being scheduled to discuss this further and to also include Diane Booth.  Other management options for the proposed new Community Center include the County and Community Education.

1% Superior National Golf Course Project
On Monday, November 14, the County Board met to discuss the Superior National Golf Course Project.  At this November 14th  meeting, the Board made a motion to allocate a total of $3.1 million of One Percent Local Sales Option Tax funding for Phase I of this Plan to improve Superior National Golf Course, contingent upon County Board review of the overall One Percent Funding plan. (Please note that Hakes and Hall voted NO on this motion.) The County Board has scheduled a meeting to discuss the overall One Percent Funding on Tuesday, December 20, from 1:30 to 4:30 pm.  As always, this meeting is open to the public.