Tuesday, July 24, 2012

County Board Meeting on July 24, 2012

Board Chair Jan Hall, along with Commissioners Sue Hakes, Jim Johnson, Bruce Martinson and Fritz Sobanja were all present for today's County Board meeting.  Also present were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
Biz Clark, Poplar Lake resident and member of the Water Advisory Board, spoke in favor of the Septic Loan Ordinance requesting that funds be disbursed based on need to replace septic systems and not on homestead or permanent year-round residency status.

Sub-Surface Treatment System (SSTS) Loan Ordinance
The County Board voted unanimously to approve the Cook County SSTS Loan Ordinance Number 60, as well as a Resolution entitled Agricultural Best Management Practices Loan Program.  The purpose and intent of these actions are to create a public loan program that assists Cook County property owners with the financing, site evaluation, design, installation, repair and replacement of failing Sub-Surface Treatment Systems and the sealing and replacement of failing wells on private property.  New construction or upgrading conforming systems is not allowed under this program.

The Resolution allows Cook County to act as a Local Lender and allow participants to repay loans as an assessment to their property through the property tax system.  Loan limits are $25,000 for a single-connection system and $50,000 for a multi-connection system. The interest rate is 3% and maximum length of loan 10 years.

The major benefits of this program are water quality improvement/protection and reasonable financing terms to Cook County taxpayers needing to replace their failed septic or well .

Interim Use Permit on Tom Lake
The County Board supported a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve an Interim Use Permit (IUP) for Larry Spry to keep a recreational vehicle on his property at Tom Lake.  The IUP is subject to 1) a new variance from the Board of Adjustment allowing the trailer to be within the shoreline setback of Tom Lake, 2) Conformance to MN Rule 7080 including the proper abandonment of the outhouse currently on the property, and 3) expiration of the IUP on October 1, 2013.

Geotechnical Evaluation on CSAH 12 near Seagull Lake
The Board authorized County Engineer David Betts to approve $9,038 to Braun Intertec to perform a geotechnial evaluation to determine the cause of settlement and potential solutions at MM 54 on the Gunflint Trail.

Sawtooth Challenge Mountain Bike Race
At the request of David Betts, the Board authorized a Special Event Permit Application from the Superior Cycling Association for the September 2, 2012, Sawtooth Challenge Mountain Bike Race.  The Board also discussed Mr. Kennedy's request for waiving the $100 Permit Fee, but no motion was made to support that request.

2012 Six Month Budget Review
Braidy Powers reviewed the January thru June 2012 Budget noting that overall, 47.4% of the 2012 is spent at the mid-year point.  Powers pointed out specific accounts that were over/under significantly including Court Administration which is 131% spent mostly due to a significant increase Child Protection Service Cases.

The Board authorized liquor and tobacco licenses for the Chicago Bay Marketplace subject to applicable reviews and approvals by governing bodies and authorities.  These licenses are currently in place; new licensing is required for the new owners.

As recommended by the Revolving Loan Fund Committee, loans were approved for Jeff Lynch of Sawtooth Outfitters ($75,000) for renovation and expansion of his outfitter building, and Paul Sporn ($46,667) for the purchase of Clyde's Car Wash.

Braidy Powers asked the Board to consider increasing Election Judge pay from $10/hour to $12/hour noting there has not been an increase for approximately 16 years.  Powers also noted that it would be reasonable to wait for the Voter ID Amendment decision this Fall; passage of this amendment will have a significant impact on the Cook County Election budget.

One Percent Projects
Wade Cole, ORB Management, presented the Board with a current overview of the One Percent Sales Tax Budget.  Cole also reviewed the budget estimates for the current schematic design of the Cook County Family YMCA facility planned for attachment to ISD166.  ORB Management and the Steering Committee are working with the Architectural Team of JLG and Meyer Group to design within the $9.5M budget.

The County Board authorized an invitation to solicit sealed bids for the Cook County Family YMCA Project to begin construction of the outdoor ice rink and some site demolition (silo, block building).  Wade Cole presented the details of the bid process.  Bid documents will be available for public inspection on or after August 6, 2012, prospective bidders are invited to a pre-bid meeting at the job site at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, August 14, and sealed bids are due at 3:00 pm on Monday, August 27, 2012.

The County Board solicited and reviewed (2) proposals received for appraising the west end of ISD166 and the additional land needed to build the Cook County Family YMCA.  After a discussion and comparison of the bids, the Board selected Cole Appraisal and Consulting to do this work.  The appraisal will be used in the determination of fair value for the school owned property.

Diane Booth reviewed the delineation and mitigation process, options and estimates for the area designated for a new ball field (NW Corner).  Booth recommended she work with the Steering Committee to get a recommended location for the ball field and report back to the Board

Bruce Martinson reported that progress is being made on the Birch Grove Community Center project.

Cook County Assessor/Land Commissioner Position
Janet Simonen reported that she has begun the search process for a new County Assessor/Land Commissioner to fill the vacancy created by Mary Black's resignation.

Salary Negotiations
The County Board voted to give a 1.8% COLA increase to the (5) non-union, non-exempt employees.  Because their work is similar in many ways to the work of the Courthouse Administrative workforce, the increase granted is the same as negotiated with the Cook County Employees Association.  This is the final employee group to be negotiated.

The County Board passed a motion made by Commissioner Hakes for the Commissioners to contribute monthly to their Single and Family Health Insurance.  The Commissioners are not getting any salary increase; they will contribute $10/monthly.

Commissioner Sue Hakes has been invited by the Association of MN Counties (AMC) and authorized by the County Board to be a member of the AMC Futures Task Force.  FUTURES is an advanced leadership academy that also serves as the R&D arm of AMC.  (I am very exited to be a part of this work!!)

Bruce Martinson has been appointed to the MN Tourism Board, a role fully supported by the Cook County Board.

Highway Department
David Betts and Russell Klegstad gave the County Board a tour of the Tofte Highway Department garage and grounds.

Meeting Minutes
Official Meeting Minutes for the July 24 County Board Meeting may be obtained after they are drafted and approved by going to the Cook County Website or by calling Janet Simonen at 218/387-3602.  For a video of the meeting, go to Boreal.TV.