Wednesday, June 13, 2012

County Board Meeting for June 12, 2012

Board Chair Jan Hall, Commissioners Sue Hakes, Bruce Martinson and Fritz Sobanja, along with Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Personnel Director Janet Simonen and Assistant County Attorney Molly Hicken were all present for the June 6 Meeting.  Commissioner Jim Johnson was absent for health reasons.

Public Comment
Molly Hoffman expressed concerns about the feasibility studies done for the proposed new Community Center.

Courthouse Lighting 
Brian Silence requested authorization for additional exterior lighting on the west side of the Courthouse.  Silence and the Commissioners agreed that this decision would not be made until after the CJES Security Audit on the Courthouse was complete.

Subsurface Septic Treatment System Loan Ordinance Proposal
Office of Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson and Ilena Berg of the Soil and Water Conservation District, presented a proposed ordinance and set of policies and procedures for a Subsurface Septic Treatment System Loan Ordinance Proposal. If adopted, this Ordinance authorizes Cook County to administer a low interest public loan program that assists private landowners to finance replacement of failed Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems. A Public Hearing for has been set for 7 pm on Wednesday July 11 before the Planning Commission in the Commissioner's Room.

Highway Department
Special permits were approved for a) the Tofte Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks, and b) the Grand Marais Fourth of July Parade.

Contracts for geotechnical borings and evaluations were awarded to a) American Engineering Testing for $7400 on the CSAH 7 pavement rehabilitation project, and b) Braun Intertec for $13,000 on the CSAH 12 reconstruction project.

Cook County Energy Plan
George Wilkes, Virginia Danfelt-Martin, and Don Grant, all of the Cook County Local Energy Project (CCLEP), presented the "Cook County and Grand Marais Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Plan" to the County Board.   In 2010, CCLEP  partnered with the City of Grand Marais and Cook County to develop an Energy Plan for both the City and the County in an effort to better prepare our community for the challenges and opportunities in a rapidly changing energy environment.  Also present for this discussion was Joe Buttweiler of Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (AEC).  AEC has been working with CCLEP on portions of this project.  Through the discussion at yesterday's meeting, both AEC and CCLEP agreed to continue working together and re-present the plan to the County Board.  The City of Grand Marais has adopted the plan.

Lake Superior Poplar River Water District (LSPR Water District) 
The Board approved a resolution approving the LSPR Water District which will be certified and sent to the Secretary of State.  The Board also appointed the directors for the Water District meeting the requirements of the recently passed State Legislation and as recommended by Skinner:  Mark Sandbo, Bob Fenwick, Charles Skinner, Tom Rider, Bob Ryan.

Veteran's Servce Officer
Clarence Everson came before the County Board to request funding to transport Veterans to the VA Hospital 320 miles away.  These rides were previously funded through a State of MN Enhancement Grant which the State did not approve for the Year 2013.  Everson noted that the number of Vets needing this important service is growing due to the new troops coming home and the older Veterans needing more medical attention.  The County Board authorized Everson's $6000 request for the remainder of 2012 and encouraged him to ask for additional funding during the 2013 budget process.  Grand Portage also authorized $15,000.

Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers
At the recommendation/request  of Braidy Powers the County Board approved a) the 2011 County audit letter,  b) the 2013 County Budget Calendar, c) a County Board work session on June 19 from 1:30-4:30 pm to discuss the Building Fund Budget, and d) authorization to reimburse homeowners 75% of the sprinkler installation cost under the Sprinkler Grand Policy.

EDA Funding Request for Superior National Golf Course (SNGC)
Mark Sandbo, EDA Chairman and Bob Fenwick, Superior National Golf Course Manager, requested authorization to pay invoices totalling $21,924.58 for design, development associated with the SNGC Renovation Project.  After a significant discussion, the request was approved.

Commissioner Hakes expressed serious concern about continuing to spend money on this project without a written agreement with the EDA and a detailed plan showing financial commitment for the project.  Braidy Powers agreed and re-distributed a 1-page document with 10 key points to be used as a basis for an agreement between the County and the EDA.  (Powers has presented this document previously.)    Hakes made a motion that the County Board write a letter to the EDA stating the need for an Agreement to be put in place using this 10 point document as a basis for the County/EDA Agreement.  The motion passed.

Personnel Committee 
Personnel Director Janet Simonen presented (6) recommendations from the Personnel Committee which were accepted unanimously.

Courthouse Security
A proposal was received from Steve Swenson of CJES to conduct security assessments at the Highway Department, Community Center, Recycle Center, Middle School, High School, Hospital and Care Center.  This proposal will be discussed at the June 19 Work Session of the County Board.

Meeting Minutes
Written meeting minutes of this meeting will be made available on the Cook County website after they are approved or by contacting Janet Simonen at 387-3602.  For a video of this meeting, go to Boreal.TV