Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Human Services Board Meeting and County Board Meeting for March 19, 2013

Human Services Board Meeting
Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes, and Board Members Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Jan Hall, Carla LaPointe, Bruce Martinson were all present at today's Human Services Board Meeting.  Jerry Lilja arrived a bit late due to being snowed in at his home.  Also present were Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer, Personel Director Janet Simonen and Case Aid Alison McIntyre.

Committee Reports
Committee Reports were given by the individual board members that serve on those committees:  AEOA - Sue Hakes, Arrowhead Regional Corrections - Jan Hall & Garry Gamble, Community Health Board - Jan Hall, Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee - Carla LaPointe, Health Care Planning Committee - Bruce Martinson, North Shore Collaborative - Sue Hakes.

In Home Support Program, Social Worker Martina Williams
Martina Williams, Licensed Social Worker, gave a thorough overview of her work on the Cook County In-Home Support Program.  The Cook County In-Home Support Program (IHS) assists individuals in need of in-home care by providing specific services so that they may remain living safely in their homes and function at their highest capacity.  IHS services County residents with a permanent or temporary disability.  It also serves individuals 65 and over in need of in-home care whether or not they suffer from a disability.

The Cook County IHS program is staffed by 14 part-time providers; Williams serves as the Coordinator. Referrals to the program come from many sources including PHHS Staff, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, North Shore Hospital, North Shore Home Care, family and friends, or the individual seeking assistance.

Williams reported that there are currently 34 In-Home Support Clients.  Coordinating and providing these vital services is getting more and complex as costs increase, funding decreases, financials become more complex, and the need to coordinate with other programs grows.  In addition to this work, Williams is also a Social Worker for the County.  She is well suited to the position and enjoys the work.

February Financial Report - Sue Futterer
The February Financial Report was presented by Sue Futterer in the absence of Jan Parish, Income Maintenance and Fiscal Supervisor.

Director's Report - Sue Futterer
The Board discussed in some detail the Home Health Care program (different from the In-Home Support Program) provided by the Cook County North Shore Hospital and supported by Cook County.  This discussion was prompted by County resident Tamara Rude, who was also present at today's meeting.  In an email to the Human Service Board, Rude had expressed her concern about the County's 3% annual reduction in support funding for this program.  Rude's concern about how we will provide critical support to our elderly population is valid; her concern is shared by the Human Services Board, Public Health and Human Services and the Cook County North Shore Hospital.  

Home Health Care used to be provided by the County.  Several years ago (circa 1997) the program was taken over by the Hospital.  At that time an agreement was made between the Hospital and the County for the County to provide some financial support to the Hospital for Home Health Care.  Budget constraints on the County led to the current plan to reduce funding for this program by 3% annually.

Recently, PHHS Director Sue Futterer, and Cook County North Shore Director Kimber Wraalstad have discussed the importance of this program and the funding challenges for this non-mandated program.  It is anticipated that Wraalstad will come to the Human Services Board and the County Board to ask for stabilization of the ~$40,000 in funding paid by the County to the Hospital for Home Health Care.  This request will be included as part of the 2014 Budget discussions.  Commissioner Doo-Kirk, County liaison to the Hospital Board, reported that the Hospital Board considers this program a high priority and has no plans to discontinue it.

Futterer and Hakes both thanked Tamara Rude for expressing her concern and for attending the meeting to be a part of the conversation. 

Futterer updated the Board on Region 3 Redesign, noting that Cook County's date to implement E-Docs has been pushed to September 2014 due to lack of broadband services in Cook County.

The Board approved Futterer's request to hire Michael Garry as the full-time replacement for Wendy Danielson as the Cook County Child Support Officer.  The Board also authorized Futterer to move forward with a Redesign Pilot project with Carlton County for shared supervision and working with the established Carlton County child support unit team.  This should have no adverse implications to Cook County clients for these services.  Futterer is moving forward to determine the full financial implications and legal issues.

Futterer expressed concern about the workload increases that are coming to MN counties as a result of the changes in Health Care.  It is anticipated that extra county staff will need to be hired sometime late summer or early fall 2014 to process client applications that used to be processed at the State.  Futterer requested that County Commissioners work with our legislators to seek some portion of the Federal reimbursement funding going to the State to at least offset some of this additional expense to counties.

Board Actions
The Board passed a motion to provide $4500 in support of Cecelia Bloomquist's training as a Parent-Child Interaction Therapist (PCIT).  PCIT is an evidence based treatment designed to improve the relationship between a parent or other caregiver and the child 2 1/2 - 7 with diagnosed severe disruptive behavior.  This work is part of the larger strategy for early intervention in an effort to avoid out-of-home placement of children.

The Board approved hiring a temporary replacement for a Case Aid/Office Support worker going on Parenting Leave.

Cook County Board Meeting
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 were Janet Simonen and Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers.

Public Comment
Tod Sylvester came before the County Board to express his concern over remarks posted to Facebook by Cook County Visitor's Bureau Director, Sally Nankivell regarding Cook County culture.

North House Folk School
North House Folk School Director Greg Wright and North House Board Member Buck Benson came before the County Board to give their annual report on North House.  Wright shared that North House is celebrating its 16th Birthday this year, and that student enrollment is up significantly.  Members of the County Board expressed their thanks to North House for being a great community asset in a multitude of ways. 

Information Systems, IT Director Danna MacKenzie and Sheriff Mark Falk
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of MN for the 2011 Homeland Security Cyber Security grant participation.  The purpose of this grant is to improve the monitoring of state and local government computer networks for cyber security risks and threats.

The Board authorized proceeding with the purchase of a Motorola MCC7500 Radio Console and integration services from St. Louis County for a project cost of ~$170,000.  This console will provide Cook County full integration with the state-wide ARMER radio system.

MacKenzie and Falk were extremely pleased to announce that Cook County was successful in obtaining a FEMA Grant in the amount of $648,000 for ARMER radios for Cook County firefighters.  The County is committed to providing $34,000 in matching funds.  MacKenzie and Falk recognized Jim Boyd and Jetty St. John for their grant writing work in this achievement and the Board concurred.

The Board made a motion to designate the Cook County Communications Committee as the entity that will review requests and make recommendations to the County Board regarding the ARMER radio system.

Office of Planning and Zoning, Tim Nelson Director and Solid Waste Officer
The Board authorized publishing a notice to fill the position vacated by the resignation of Roger Michaelson at the Tofte Transfer Station.  The Tofte Transfer Station Attendance is a permanent part-time position that fluctuates between 12 and 18 hours per week depending on the season.

Hedstrom Lumber
Company President Howard Hedstrom, Accountant Chris Hegg and Attorney Baiers Hereen came before the County Board to request that the County release all non-operating properties owned by Hedstrom Lumber from being collateral on their $150,000 County Revolving Loan.  Hedstrom reported a steady recovery from the market forces that created the recent financial challenges for Hedstrom Lumber.  The County Board had no reservations about changing the collateral from non-operating properties to the actual Mill property.

Hedstrom was happy to report that Hedstrom Lumber Company will be celebrating 100 years in 2014.

One Percent Projects
Commissioner Hakes reported that the ISD166 School Board approved the change in the Cook County Family YMCA floorplan to a) leave the existing Girl's Locker Room as one locker room and b) restore one of the Elementary Gym locker rooms back to a locker room instead of a storage space.  Because of this change, the ISD166 School Board also requested that the County pay for a Security Door.  The estimated cost for the locker room renovation is $10,000 and the security door is $6,000.

Braidy Powers is investigating whether or not One Percent Funds may be used for the locker room restoration.  The Board passed a motion 3-2 (Doo-Kirk and Gamble opposed) to use the County Building Fund to pay for this if it is not possible or reasonable to pay this from One Percent Funds.

The Board passed a motion 4-1 (Gamble opposed) to pay for the Security Door from the Building Fund.  Braidy Powers reported that the Building Fund has enough money in it to support these needs.

This change to the locker rooms was made to reduce the cost of the Cook County Family YMCA project by ~$75,000 and bring it to within the $9.5 million budget.

Veterans Support Project
Commissioner Hakes reported that she has met with Will Surbaugh (11 year old student at GES), his father Steve Surbaugh, and County Veteran's Service Officer Clarence "Clinker" Everson regarding Will and Steve's idea to promote the pursuit of a fellowship from "The Mission Continues".  This fellowship program is intended to ease the Veteran's transition to the civilian world by empowering Veterans to serve and lead by working with a local not-for-profit.

North House Folk School has agreed to help raise funds and to provide this 20 hours/week for 26 weeks fellowship opportunity should a Cook County Veteran be successful in receiving this grant. This opportunity is available to post 9/11 men and women veterans.  

Will Surbaugh is making posters to announce the opportunity and find applicants. The team is also hoping for an article in the local newspapers and an interview on WTIP.  Stay tuned as this opportunity evolves. 

You may remember that Will Surbaugh raised over $15,000 for The Mission Continues by doing over 600 push ups in just one hour! 

HOME Consortium
Commissioner Hakes reported that she and EDA Housing Director, Nancy Grabko, had success at the HOME Consortium  meeting last Friday in Virginia, MN.  The Cook County EDA was awarded $30,000 in rental rehabilitation funding and $70,000 (through AEOA) for the Grand Marais Apartment rehabilitation project currently underway.  In addition, Hakes and Grabko met with AEOA to discuss a potential construction project for Affordable Rental Housing in Cook County.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the approved meeting minutes will be made available on the Cook County website or by calling Board Secretary Janet Simonen at 218 387 3602.  A video of this meeting is available for viewing on Boreal.TV.