Sunday, October 21, 2012

Human Services and County Board Meetings on October 16, 2012

Human Services Board Meeting

Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes, along with Commissioners Jan Hall, Jim Johnson, Bruce Martinson and Fritz Sobanja were all present for the 10/16/2012 Board Meeting.  Carla LaPointe and Jerry Lilja had excused absences.  Also present was Sue Futterer, PHHS Director, and Janet Simonen, Personnel Director.

Committee Reports
Arrowhead Regional Corrections--Comissioners Hall and Sobanja reported that Cook County will host the ARC Board on Friday, 10/19/12.
Community Health Board--Commissioner Hall reported that the Community Health Board will be conducting a local Community Health Assessment and Planning session in Cook County on 10/22/12.
Health Care Planning Committee--Commissioner Johnson reported that the Hospital is working on plans to improve their facility.  He also reported that a study has been funded to study mercury levels in Cook County, which are high.
North Shore Collaborative--At its last meeting, the NSC held a facilitated planning session to revisit its Mission, Goals and Structure.  At this meeting a Ways & Means Committee was formed. The Collaborative will continue to work to position itself for effectiveness.

Child Support Report
Child Support Officer, Wendy Danielson, gave the HS Board an overview of the services she provides in the Child Support Program for Cook County.  In her job, Danielson helps parents establish paternity and financial child support for the parents with physical custody.  She currently has 218 open cases.

Danielson's work can get complex; she collaborates with county attorneys, human services staff, out-of-state child support agencies, private attorneys, magistrates, judges, court administration, state staff, law enforcement and probation.  And, her performance is closely measured in (5) categories:  1) paternity establishment, 2) support establishment, 3) current collections, 4) arrears collections, and 5) cost effectiveness (ratio of dollars spent to dollars collected).

Cook County's continued high performance is important to Danielson; she works closely with Sue Futterer to continue to maintain high scores.  Danielson says to achieve success in her job its important that she stay trained to keep up her expertise.

Financial Report
Income Maintenance and Fiscal Supervisor, Jan Parish, augmented Wendy Danielson's report with some financial information about the Child Support Program.  She further explained the expenditures, revenues and incentive revenues in this program.

Parish also gave the Board an overview of the September 30, 2012 PHHS Budget. Generally speaking, the Department is on plan for this time of year.

Director's Report
PHHS Director, Sue Futterer, reported that several candidates have taken the tests necessary to apply for the open social worker and financial worker positions in PHHS.

Futterer was extremely pleased to share Governor Mark Dayton's recognition of Financial Workers and Case Aides and the important, complex work that they do.  An Official Proclamation signed by the Governor will be framed and hung in the PHHS Department.  This recognition was well deserved!

In other good news, Futterer reported that Minnesota will be receiving $1.2 Million for improvements to the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) also known as Food Support.  Approximately 75% of this funding will be distributed to counties.  Click here if you need information about getting Food Support.

Sue Futterer gave the Board a high-level overview on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion and its impact to Minnesota and Cook County.

Futterer also announced the resignation of Social Worker Hilja Iverson which the Board accepted with regrets.

Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Board Chair Jan Hall and Commissioners Hakes, Johnson, Martinson and Sobanja were all present for the 10/16/12 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 come before the County Board.

Winter Maintenance for Subordinate Government Service District Roads
The County Board approved snowplowing bids for Evergreen Road, Mile O'Pine Road, Voyageur's Point and West Rosebush Lane with all awards going to the low bidder.

A Public Hearing was held to consider making changes to the Cook County Fee Schedule for E911 signs and E911 sign posts.  The change to these fees was approved by the Board.

Exterior Courthouse Lighting
The Board authorized purchase and installation of (2) light poles along the north sidewalk at the Courthouse as presented by Maintenance Director Brian Silence at a cost of $4838.  These lights are being installed as a safety measure.

Proposed Wind Tower Ordinance Amendments
Office of Planning and Zoning Director, Tim Nelson, presented a copy of a proposed ordinance amendment to the wind tower portion of the Cook County Tower Facility Ordinance.  The proposed amendment addresses Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT).  The County Board voted to approve a Public Hearing for this matter to be held before the Planning Commission on November 14, 2012 at a time to be determined by the Planning Commission.

Auditor-Treasurer, Braidy Powers, Miscellaneous Items
The Board accepted a donation of $55 to the Sherrif's Department and a power washer to Search & Rescue.  The donation was given in appreciation of Search & Rescue finding missing canoeists on Brule Lake.

Braidy Powers led the County Board through a 3rd Quarter Review of the General Fund Budget.  After adjustments for grants, the Net Actual Total is 63% of the Budgeted Total with 75% of the year completed.

The County Board set 10/23/12 from 1-3:00 to review the 2013 Budget as part of the regularly scheduled County Board Meeting.

One Percent Project Updates
Commissioner Hakes reported that legal documents between the County, City of Grand Marais, ISD166 and the YMCA are being finalized.

Other Meetings
Bruce Martinson reminded the Board of the Joint County and City of Grand Marais meeting with the EDA on Monday 10/22/12 at 3:00 pm at City Hall.

MN Senator Tom Bakk will be in attendance at the 10/23/12 Board Meeting.  The County Board identified several priority issues to discuss with Senator Bakk including:  Parks & Trails Legacy Funding, Cook County Airport runway extension safety issue, Veterans Services, Sales Tax on ARMER, costs associated with Voter ID if it passes, restoration to Violence Prevention funding.

Voter ID
The County Board voted unanimously to oppose the proposed Voter ID amendment.  This was a business decision made on the part of the County Board because of the unknown implementation costs.  The proposed Voter ID amendment language is vague and there is no clear understanding of how it will be implemented or what the costs will be.

Meeting Minutes
For complete minutes of the County Board Meetings contact Janet Simonen at 387-3602 or by going to the Cook County website.  The meeting may also be viewed in its entirety at Boreal.TV.