Wednesday, September 26, 2012

September 25 County Board Meeting and County/School Negotiations

 County Board Chair Jan Hall, along with Commissioners Hakes, Johnson, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for the September 25 Board Meeting. Also present were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

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

Law Enforcement, Sheriff Mark Falk
At the request of Sheriff Falk, the Board passed a motion to approve the State of MN Communications Use Agreement with Cook County for use of antenna space on the Hovland Tower.  The State of MN wants to use the Hovland Tower as an ARMER site which will improve ARMER coverage as well as overall communications coverage in Hovland.  This improved communication is critically important to the Hovland Volunteer Fire Department and First Responders.  Mn/DOT will pay to install electric power from the Arrowhead Trail to the tower.  The County is working with Arrowhead Electric and property owners along the Tower Road to get easement agreements in place.

At the 10/9 County Board Meeting Sheriff Falk will present the annual report on ATV use as requested by the County Board per Cook County Ordinance #54 Class 1 ATV Use on County Roads.  Included in the report will be input from the Highway Department and the DNR. The Board will also discuss extension of the ordinance.

The Board approved the purchase of a Horn/Strobe with a blue lens for the Law Enforcement Center; this device will be tripped from the existing Duress system. The Board also approved the purchase and installation of a 3-ton air conditioning system for the server room at the Law Enforcement Center. Maintenance Director Brian Silence is working on these purchase and installations.

Highway Department
The FCC requires narrowband compliant radio communication effective January 1, 2013.  The Board authorized $103,658 plus tax and installation for the purchase of the required radios and base station units for the Highway Department.  State bid pricing shows Motorola to be the most competitively priced.

The Board approved a work order for the Highway Department to provide winter maintenance on the Rollins Creek Road for a lump sum of $3,000 to be paid by Mn/DOT.

The Board approved the hiring recommendation from Highway Engineer David Betts to fill the open Highway Department Clerk position.

Interim Use Permit
The Board approved an Interim Use Permit for Ulland Brothers as recommended by the Planning Commission allowing the stockpiling and crushing of gravel on property adjacent to Cook County Road 5, subject to restrictions on volume, crushing times and dates, noise and dust supression. Ulland Brothers was the successful bidder on completion of a 1.6 mile portion of the DNR Gitchi Gammi Trail Project connecting Cook County Road 34 and the Ski Hill Road.

Legacy Trails Grant Application for Mountain Bike Trail System
The Board passed a resolution in support of the grant application made to the MN DNR for the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program to complete the construction of a single-track mountain bike trail system in the Pincushion Rec Area and at the Britton Peak Trailhead.

Cook County Family YMCA
The County Board approved the name Cook County Family YMCA as the name of the Community Center to be built with 1 % Sales Tax Funding.

Wade Cole, ORB Management, provided the Board with the Project Payment Status of each of the 1% Sales Tax projects.  The Board discussed the funds spent to date, funds allocated and authorizations to be determined.

Commissioner Hakes updated the Board on the September 18 negotiations between representatives for the County (Hakes and F. Sobanja) and ISD166 (Leonard Sobanja, Jeanne Anderson, Beth Schwarz). The Board authorized $160,000 for the purchase of the west end of the ISD166 School Building including lease of the land.  The west end will be renovated for the Cook County Family YMCA.  The next negotiation is scheduled for later in the day September 25.

The Board approved the concrete bid for the Community Center skating rink in the amount of $117,590 to K. Johnson Construction.  This brings the total hard construction cost for Bid Package 1 (demolition of silo, concrete building, tunnel and construction of skating rink with lights) to $346,031.39, including the Value Engineering reduction from Becker Arena Products for $30,053.61. The Community Center Steering Committee and ORB Management worked with the Hockey Association to ensure the needs of hockey players and skaters are being met.

The Board approved applying for (2) grants being worked on by Jim Wiinanen in Emergency Services, Diane Booth Community Center, and Wade Cole of ORB Management.  Grants will be submitted for assistance in demolition of the extreme west end of the School and for building a safe room as part of the Cook County Family YMCA.

Wade Cole introduced Mark Kragenbring of ORB Management.  Kragenbring will be the Project Manager for the construction of the YMCA and explained the process for moving through the construction phase.  Weekly meetings will be held with a small team of representatives from the County, City of Grand Marais, ISD166, and the YMCA.  A process is being established to deal with the day-to-day business of construction as well as any problems that may arise.

The Board gave its approval to bid Phase II of the Cook County Family YMCA which will include demolition, some interior demolition and foundation work.  No construction awards will be granted until formal agreements are in place between the County and the YMCA, City of Grand Marais, and ISD166.

The County voted to support Dorie Carlson's Middle School class with $400 for a field trip to see homes affected by the Ham Lake fire, and learn about ways to reduce the risk of wildfires.  This was supported by the Firewise Program.

The Board approved Quit Claim Deeds to complete the survey work clearing up a small discrepancy along property owned by the County near the Hovland Dock.

The Board authorized Janet Simonen to extend an offer of employment to fill the County Assessor's position vacated by Mary Black.

Cook County and ISD166 Property Negotiations
In a meeting separate from the County Board meeting, Commissioners Fritz Sobanja and Sue Hakes met with School Board Members Leonard Sobanja and Jeanne Anderson and Superintendent Beth Schwarz.  Diane Booth, Community Center Director, was also in attendance on behalf of the County.  This team of negotiators reached consensus for the purchase of the west end of ISD166 and lease of the land underneath and to the southwesterly.  The terms of this agreement will need to be approved by both the School Board and the County Board.  The agreement made is as follows:

1.  Sale Price of building is $160,000.
2.  99-year land lease for $1/year.

These values are consistent with the appraisal done by Cole Appraisal for the County and John Vigen's review of that appraisal on behalf of the School Board.

3. Revenues from the DNR lease with ISD166 will be paid to the School until the DNR moves out of the building, even if ownership has transferred to the County.

4. The School will be responsible for heating and cleaning the DNR rented space throughout the length of the lease, even if ownership has transferred to the County.

5.  The School will use Health and Safety funds to remove asbestos flooring from the gymnasium.

Meeting Minutes
Complete meeting minutes of the County Board meeting are available by calling Janet Simonen at 387-3602 or by going to the Cook County website.  Video of the County Board meeting is also available on Boreal.TV.