Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15, 2013 County Board Meeting: Committee Assignments, Capital Expenditures, MCIT Attorney

Board Chair Jan Hall, along with Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson were all present for today's County 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 come before the County Board.

Mark Falk, County Sheriff
The Board approved a request from Sheriff Falk to approve the Cook County PSAP Grant.  This grant will reimburse Cook County for making the improvements necessary for migration from the existing 911 System to the Next Generation 911 System.  Law Enforcement and Danna MacKenzie, IT Director, are working now to make these improvements.

Tim Nelson,  Office of Planning and Zoning (OPZ) Director
As recommended by Tim Nelson, the County Board passed a motion authorizing members of the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and Board of Commissioners to attend the regional land use legal workshop in Carlton County on February 8.  The motion also authorized payment registration fees and mileage reimbursement as budgeted within the OPZ.

The Board authorized the purchase of an Excel EX-63 Horizontal Baler at a cost of $55,329 including freight, installation, training, and $15,000 trade-in value of the old baler.  Funds for this purchase are in the 2013 Recycling Center capital purchases budget.

David Betts, County Highway Engineer
The Board approved a special event permit for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on Sunday, January 27, 2013.  A route map and description was included in the application given to the Highway Department.  The County will be named as an additional insured on the liability insurance.  Race sponsors agree to pay all costs associated with traffic control, including personnel expenses.  Later in the meeting, the Board gave permission to the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon to cross property owned by Cook County during the period of January 27 through January 20, 2013.

The County Board approved the purchase of (2) Mack GU713 tandem axle dump trucks at a cost of $230,871.73 each.  The Board also approved the purchase of a 2013 GMC Crew Cab Pickup at a cost of $34,255.72.  All (3) vehicles approved for purchases were budgeted to be paid from the Equipment Bond.

The Board authorized the Highway Department to advertise for snowplowing bids on behalf of the Irish Creek Subordinate Service District.  Bids are due at 2:00 pm on February 13, 2013.  The Board also discussed the negative feedback received from the Public (after the Public Hearing) regarding the Board's decision to approve the Irish Creek Subordinate Service District.  In response to this, the Board scheduled a Public Hearing for June 25, 2013 at 10:30 am to consider withdrawing the Irish Creek Subordinate Service District.

Dusty Nelms, County Recorder
The Board approved a new Minnesota Counties Information Systems Joint and Cooperative Agreement as presented by Recorder Dusty Nelms.  Nelms reported this document has been reviewed by County Attorney Tim Scannell and found to be acceptable.

Braidy Powers, Auditor-Treasurer
Several actions were taken at the request of Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers:
a) The Board approved the permit for lawful gambling activity as submitted by the Cook County Snowmobile Club for their annual "Fun Run" to be held on February 2 and the Landing at Devi Track.
b) A donation of $500 from North House Folk School to the Cook County GO Team for the development of a strategic economic plan was accepted by the County Board.
c) Powers distributed a copy of the Post-Issuance Debt Compliance Policy as part of the closing of the bond sale for sales tax and equipment bonds last November.  This information was for Board awareness with no action required.
d) The Board approved an IRRRB grant received for $103,000 to help defray some of the costs for the new YMCA construction project.  Community Center/Extension Director Diane Booth wrote the successful grant; her work and diligence was noted by Commissioner Hakes.
e)  The Board passed a resolution appointing Dr. Sandy Stover as the Cook County Coroner..
f)  Commissioners Hall and Gamble exchanged their liaison responsibilities with Hall as the liaison to the Assessor's Office and Gamble the liaison to the Recorder's Office.

Appointments to Boards and Commissions
Janet Simonen distributed the list of Board and Commission assignments as determined at last week's County Board Organizational Meeting.  This information will be posted on the County website.

One Percent Projects
Commissioner Hakes reported on the construction progress of the Cook County Family YMCA; weekly reports are posted on the Cook County website.  The last of the "noisy" work of blasting, jack hammering and hoe ramming should be complete after this coming weekend.  Bids for the majority of the construction effort are due January 17.

Land Exchanges
County Assessor Betty Schulz asked the County Board if they wish to re-prioritize the land parcels being exchanged with the USFS.  The Board determined they are not likely to make any changes until the appraisal is complete.

Commissioners Hakes and Martinson, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, and Assessor Betty Schulz attended a meeting in St. Louis County called by Senator Al Franken.  Senator Franken was doing his due diligence in understanding the issues of St. Louis, Lake and Cook Counties with respect to the potential MN School Trust Land exchange.

Dyan Ebert, MCIT Attorney
Attorney Dyan Ebert of Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT) met with the County Board in an open session.  This session was originally posted as a closed session in the event that the Board would be discussing non-public data or engaging in an attorney/client privileged discussion.  However, Ebert explained that non-public data would not be discussed at this meeting and that attorney/client privilege did not apply at this time.

Ebert has been retained by the County Board to assist them in properly addressing and responding to allegations made against the elected Cook County Attorney.  Ebert advised the County Board to let the process play out and to not take any unnecessary or inappropriate action.  She said it is important to wait until the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigation is complete.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the complete minutes from this meeting will be made available on the Cook County Website once they are typed and approved.  You may also obtain a copy by calling Janet Simonen at 218/387-3602.  A video of this entire meeting is available for viewing on Boreal.TV.