Tuesday, June 26, 2012

County Board Meeting on June 26, 2012

Board Chair Janice Hall, along with Commissioners Hakes, Johnson, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for today's Board Meeting.  Also present was Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
No member of the Public opted to address the County Board.  

Highway Department
Special Event permits were authorized for both the Grand Marais Arts Festival and the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival.

The Board authorized awarding Edwin E. Thoreson the bid for furnishing and blending 2,000 cubic yards of sand for the winter stockpile.  Edwin E. Thoreson was the low bidder.

Capital Purchase Request, Sheriff Mark Falk
At the request of Sheriff Falk, the Board authorized the approval to purchase a new chair for the Law Enforcement Dispatchers.  This chair is specifically designed for people who spend hours in a chair.  Dispatch chairs are used 24/7/365.  The $626 cost of this chair will be paid for from the E 9-1-1 Fund.

Interim Use Permits
The Board approved an Interim Use Permit for Lyle and Carol Blair to allow the extended use of a Recreational Vehicle (RV) for habitation on their property adjacent to the Powers Lake Road for a period of  3 years.  The property owners intend to use their trailer as a place to stay while they carry out the goals for their property as stated in the Woodland Stewardship Plan.

The Board approved an Interim Use Permit for Mark Linne to allow the extended use of a Recreational Vehicle (RV) for habitation on property adjacent to Seagull Lake for a period of 3 years.  The property owner lost his cabin in the 2007 Ham Lake fire; his intention is to replace the building that was lost in the fire.

The Board approved an Interim Use Permit to allow Ulland Brothers and Cook County to use a Portable Hot Mix Asphalt Plant in the Cook County gravel pit adjacent to the Ball Club Lake Road. Hours of operation shall be limited from 07:00 to 21:00 and shall expire on August 24, 2012.

All (3) Interim Use Permits were recommended for approval by the Planning Commission.

Veteran's Service Officer Contract
Per State Statute, counties are required to provide for a Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to assist veterans and/or their families in obtaining various services and benefits.  Currently, Cook County contracts with the State of MN for 16 hours per week at a cost to the County of $23,500/year.  To meet the terms of this contract, the State assigned Tribal VSO Clarence Everson to work 16 hours per week for Cook County  This arrangement has worked very well.  Just recently, however, the State has informed us that the State is not interested in continuing this contract service on a long-term basis and will only extend the existing contract for one additional year beginning July 1, 2012.  The County Board authorized this extension and will spend the next year working to determine how best to service Cook County veterans after July 1, 2013.

Trail Grants and Liquor License
The Board accepted (2) Trail Grants for a) MN DNR for the Local Trail Connections Program from the Banadad Trail Association for purchase of easement and trail re locations, and b) MN DNR for the Federal Recreation Trail Program from the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee for BWCAW wilderness trail maintenance.

The Board approved on-sale wine and on/off-sale beer licenses for Nor'wester Lodge subject to applicable approvals, insurance, and license compliances.

Financials and  Budget
The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) created new classes of reserve funds for counties.  Braidy Powers and John Peterson made the appropriate changes and reviewed them with our local audit team.  The Board approved the classification changes by resolution as required.

Guidelines for Department Heads to prepare their 2013 budgets were approved and a memo will be issued.

The Board approved disbursement of One Percent Funds to the Town of Tofte for payment of expenses on the Birch Grove 1% Improvement Project.

Public Comment Guidelines
The County Board agreed to provide some guidelines for the Public Comment period of the Board Meeting.  Janet Simonen collected and provided some examples used by other governmental boards which were discussed.  Commissioner Hakes will prepare draft guidelines for Cook County for review at the next County Board meeting.

Local Contractors
Board Chair Jan Hall expressed concern about the low percentage of local contractors being used on the Lutsen Fire Hall construction project.  Commissioner Martinson disagreed vehemently and applauded the project for awarding a significant portion of the project to local contractors.  The Board agreed unanimously on the importance of using local contractors whenever possible.

One Percent Projects
The County Board authorized a new design agreement for the Community Center project with JLG Architects as the Architect of Record and Meyer Group as the Associate Architect.  This agreement has been reviewed and recommended for approval by Tim Scannell, Braidy Powers and ORB Management.

The County Board passed a resolution in response to a request from the ISD166 School Board regarding the attachment of the Community Center to the west end of ISD166.  The resolution, accompanied by a letter from the County Board, assures the School Board that the County Board is in agreement with and support of the School Board Resolution.

Hakes shared that the Community Center Steering Committee passed a motion making Outdoor Ice a priority to ensure it will be ready for the 2012-2013 winter season.

Commissioner Sobanja gave the Board an overview of the advantages that might be gained if the Search and Rescue Building is moved to a different location and used for storage for the zamboni, hockey, softball, and other outdoor recreation activities.  Sobanja will take this information to the Community Center Steering Committee for study and a recommendation.

Commissioner Hakes reported that Arrowhead Electric Cooperative has received notification from Rural Utility Services (RUS) that all conditions have been met and funding advances are forthcomirng for the Arrowhead Electric Cooperative Broadband Project!  This is great news!

Meeting Minutes
Minutes for this meeting will be posted on the Cook County website after they are approved.  For a written copy, contact Janet Simonen at 387-3602.  A video of this meeting will be available on Boreal.TV within a day or two.