Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Human Services, County Board and City/County Negotiation Meetings on September 18, 2012

Human Services Board Meeting
Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes along with Board Members Jim Johnson, Carla LaPointe, Jerry Lilja, Bruce Martinson and Fritz Sobanja were all present for today's HS Board Meeting.  Also present were Sue Futterer, Jan Parish, Grace Bushard, Anna Sandstrom and Janet Simonen.  Jan Hall joined the meeting 9:50.

Committee Reports
Report updates were provided by those serving on Arrowhead Health Alliance, Arrowhead Regional  Corrections, Community Health Board, Public Health & Human Services Advisory Committee and North Shore Collaborative.

Forensic Interviewing-Child Protection
Grace Bushard, Social Service Supervisor, gave the Board an overview on Forensic Interviewing of children.  Forensic interviews are used in situations where there is a child abuse report that is also criminal in nature.  This includes physical abuse where marks are left, reports resulting in egregious harm or reports of sexual abuse.  This type of interview is used very infrequently, but the interview technique is important in the protection of children.  Cook County has a multi-disciplinary team specially trained in this area to gather information that is non-leading  and does not cause harm to children.

Director's Report
Director Sue Futterer reported that PHHS will soon be short staffed due to (2) resignations and a planned leave.  Both open positions have been posted; the planned leave opening will be filled with a temporary employee.  The Human Services Board also voted to recommend advertising to fill an additional case aid worker position which the County Board ultimately approved.

Futterer reported that the Leadership Training she attended last week was excellent and very applicable to changes forthcoming in Human Service, such as the Affordable Care Act.  Futterer said the Board will be hearing more about what she learned as she begins to apply it.

Board Actions
The Board approved an agreement between Cook County PHHS and the Region III Adult Mental Health Initiative to begin a pilot program to provide Virtual Collaborative Consultation to the North Shore Hospital to stabilize patients with mental health needs if they come to ERs outside of regular weekday business hours.  Funding has been secured for this initiative.

Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Board Chair Jan Hall and Commissioners Hakes, Johnson, Martinson and 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
No members of the public opted to come before the Board.

Highway Department
Highway Engineer David Betts reported a gravel purchase was made for $18,300.  The Board also approved the purchase of an AutoCAD Civil 3D license for the new assistant engineer.

Information Systems
Information Systems Director Danna MacKenzie introduced the newly hired IT/Radio Support Technician Rowan Watkins.  Watkins is working closely with Duane Ege and will ultimately replace him.  Welcome Rowan!

The Board approved the purchase of a Dell Precision T1650 workstation for the new Assistant Highway Engineer.  They also approved the purchase of 2 Toshiba Copiers.

The Board approved an IT Policy to standardize on copiers to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The Board authorized MacKenzie to review and consider the request from Buell/Verizon to work with Cook County to build a new tower at the location of the WDIO tower. The Board appointed Sue Hakes to work with MacKenzie in this effort.

Miscellaneous Actions
At the request of Kerrie Fabius, SWCD District Manager, the Board approved and accepted the Natural Resources Block Grant for County SWCD programs.

The Board authorized $25,000 cost-share for the Legacy Trails Grant application for Cook County Mountain Bike Trail System.

The Truth in Taxation Meeting was set for Wednesday, December 12, at 6:00 p.m.

The County Board set the preliminary EDA Levy at $148,566 and not the $200,000+ requested.  The County Board will schedule a meeting with the EDA, City Council and County Board to hear the EDA's business plan and direction for 2013 as it relates to their budget request.

Power to the Tower
Cook County and the State of MN are working to bring power to the tower on the Tower Road in Hovland.  The easement needed for trenching the power has been surveyed and written easements have been drafted by Arrowhead Electric.  Property owners have been contacted and a sincere attempt has been made to address their concerns.  It is anticipated that easements will be granted and power will be installed this year.  Power to this tower is a critical piece of the ARMER system and will improve public safety.  Bringing power to this tower is also critical for Hovland Volunteer Fire Department communications and the HVFD is strongly advocating that it be done now.

Meeting of Cook County Board of Commissioners and Grand Marais City Council
The County Board and City Council met to negotiate a financial partnership for supporting the Cook County Family YMCA.  The discussion was positive and productive.  After 90 minutes of discussion, the parties came to the following agreement:

-  The City will share in any operating loss on a percentage split of 50%.  The City's participation will be capped at $100,000/year and excludes the cost of the existing community center and grounds operations.

-  An agreement similar to the existing Library agreement between the City and County will be negotiated to address future growth of the cap.

- The County will continue its committed level of support to the existing pool operating loss until the pool is closed or the community center opens.  The County pays 1/3 of the existing pool's operating loss up to $75,000/year.

- The County will pay 1/2 of the City's settlement costs with Burbach Aquatics and 1/2 of the demolition costs for the existing pool.

-  The City will pay 1/2 of the Cook County Family YMCA's personnel costs for the 6 months PRIOR to opening the facility.

-  The County and the City will each contribute $10,000/year to the facility's capital fund.

Meeting Minutes
Official meeting minutes will be made available on the Cook County website or by calling Janet Simonen at 218/387-3602.  A video of this meeting is available on Boreal.TV.