Tuesday, March 26, 2013

County Board Meeting: Broadband Commission Annual Report, Proclamation for Child Abuse Prevention Month

In the absence of Board Chair Jan Hall and Vice Chair Bruce Martinson, Sue Hakes chaired today's County Board Meeting.  Also present were Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, Commissioner Garry Gamble, County Attorney Tim Scannell, and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.  County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers was absent.

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

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
The Board supported Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer's request to proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Child abuse is an issue that affects all members of our community and finding solutions depends on involvement among many people throughout the community.  If you know of any child or family that needs help, contact Cook County Social Services at 387-3620, Child Protection Worker Beth Faraone at 387-3608, or Law Enforcement at 387-3030.

Aimee Luick, Chief Deputy Auditor-Treasurer
The County Board approved appointing Lisa Sorlie and Jeanne Smith to the Cook County Deferred Compensation Committee replacing Ann Zellner and Tim Scannell respectively.  Garry Gamble replaced Fritz Sobanja in January 2012.

Highway Department
The Board approved awarding the aggregate stockpile project to low bidder Edwin E. Thoreson for $175,450.

The Board authorized (3) capital purchases for the Highway Department including a) Deckover Trailer for $11,900.53, b) Fine Aggregate 8" Tapping Shaker with Sound Compartment for $3741.00 and c) Survey Levels and Rods for $2476.29.  Each of these equipment purchases was included in the 2013 Budget and in the Capital Equipment Bond.

Information Systems, Director Danna MacKenzie
The County Board approved an amendment to the tower space lease between Cook County and Verizon Wireless.  This agreement permits Verizon Wireless to replace the tower recently acquired by the County from WDIO-TV with a new one of the same height for the purposes of building, operating and maintaining a cell site that serves the Grand Marais area.  Once the tower is completed, it is Verizon's responsibility to dispose of the old tower.  The new tower will belong to the County. In exchange for building the tower, Verizon will be entitled to a 50% lease abatement for 240 months.

Paul Harvey, Chairman of the Cook County Broadband Commission, joined Danna MacKenzie to present the Cook County Broadband Commission 2012 Status and Activity Report.  This 4 page report gives a high level overview of the accomplishments of the Broadband Commission in areas of both Access and Application to prepare for being able to take full advantage of this new utility when it becomes available.  Commissioner Hakes complimented the Broadband Committee for its hard work and success noting that although she and Commissioner Martinson serve on this Committee the "heavy lifting" is done by the almost all volunteer committee members including Chair Paul Harvey, Vice-Chair Pat Campanaro, Terry Meath, Paula Sundet-Wolf, Jim Boyd, Bob Pranis, Jack McDonnell, Danna MacKenzie.

Emergency Management, Director Jim Wiinanen
At the request of Emergency Management Director Jim Wiinanen, the Board voted to support the "Forest Service - Eastern Region Hazardous Fuels - Federal Assistance Proposal FY2013" in the amount of $200,000.  For this proposal, treatments will focus in the Two Island Area Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) and will include landowner involvement, mechanical fuel reduction treatments and a prescribed burn. Cook County will act as the fiscal agent for this grant.

The Board approved Michael Valentini Property Services as a vendor to install waterfront sprinkler systems under the 2011 PDM Wildfire Mitigation Grant as recommended by the Cook County Firewise Committee.

One Percent Project Updates
Wade Cole of ORB Management came before the Board to present an update on the Cook County Family YMCA project budget.  The current cost projection is $9,768,595.33 with (3) bids unknown at this time due to rebidding:  structural steel, earthwork, and aluminum storefronts/glazing.  Cole also noted that there is $409,992 in the project contingency fund, $106,200 which is allocated.  The work continues to bring the project to within the $9.5M allocated.

Cole also informed the Board that YMCA Project Manager, Mark Kragenbring of ORB, has resigned to take another position.  Cole will be taking over as Project Manager.  Kragenbring's last day with ORB is Friday, March 29.

County Coordinator/County Administrator
The Board discussed what they had learned regarding the pros and cons of hiring a County Coordinator or a County Administrator from their individual and recent discussions with others at Association of MN Counties Workshop.  A Special Meeting of the County Board has been scheduled for April 15 from 1-3 pm to discuss this further.  County Administrators Trish Klein (Itasca) and Tim Houle (Crow Wing) will be guests at this meeting to help the Board's understanding of the pros and cons and how to ensure a successful transition to any decision made.

Meeting Minutes
Official minutes for this meeting may be found by going to the Cook County Website or by contact Board Secretary Janet Simonen at 218 387 3602.  A video of this meeting in its entirety is available on Boreal.TV.