Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16 Human Services and County Board Meetings: SHIP, EDA Advance, Security Equipment, SSTS Ordinance, ATV Grant

Cook County Human Services Board Meeting
Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes and Board Members Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Jan Hall, Jerry Lilja, Carla LaPointe, and Bruce Martinson were all present for today's Human Services Board Meeting.  Also present were Sue Futterer, Jan Parish and Alison McIntyre.

Committee Reports
Commissioner Hakes reported on the most recent Arrowhead Health Alliance Joint Powers meeting and Commissioner Martinson reported on the most recent Health Care Planning Committee.  For details on these meetings, contact Hakes or Martinson directly.  No other Committee Reports were given as the Committees hadn't met since the last Human Services Board Meeting.

Statewide Health Improvement Project (SHIP)
Kristin DeArruda Wharton, Local Project Coordinator for SHIP, gave an overview of the SHIP Program and Services in Cook County.  The Minnesota SHIP Program was created to improve health and reduce health care costs by reducing the risk factors that contribute most heavily to chronic disease.

DeArruda Wharton gave an update on the active School Day and Healthy School Food SHIP initiatives in partnership with the ISD166 Wellness Program. These programs focus on healthier environments through policies and systems changes. Current work includes providing healthy snacks, improving athlete lunches and healthier vending options in the school. Work is also being done to incorporate more physical activity throughout the school day.

SHIP Funding in Cook County expires on June 30, 2013, but DeArruda Wharton is hopeful that continued funding for Cook County's health improvement efforts will come from a variety of grant sources, including the possibility of SHIP 3 funding.

DeArruda Wharton is passionate about her work and is to be credited for the statewide recognition and success of SHIP in NE Minnesota and Cook County.

March Financial Report/Update on Financial Assistance Programs
Jan Parish, Income Maintenance & Fiscal Supervisor, presented the March 2013 Financial Report noting that the Fund Balance is low at $537,700.  Generally speaking, the fund balance is low at this time of year due to the lag in billing and the delayed receipt of some grant and block funding.  However, Parish expressed some concern about the current balance being too low due to expenditures from the Fund Balance to meet services.  Of specific concern is the cost of out-of-home placements which is currently at 24% of the annual budget after just 2 months.

Parish also discussed the projected caseload increase with the Medical Assistance expansion coming in the 4th Quarter of 2013.  It is anticipated there will be at least 25% increase, but that number is in flux.

Director's Report, Sue Futterer
PHHS Director, Sue Futterer, reported that Region 3 Redesign continues to move forward with E-documents Management System planned to go live in Cook County on 9/30/13.

Futterer also gave the Board a legislative update on current bills in both the MN House and MN Senate.  At this time, it looks grim for any additional funds for Counties to absorb the additional costs anticipated from the planned Medical Assistance expansion.  There is also the potential for $150 Million in cuts to Public Health and Human Services statewide.  On the brighter side there does seem to be good support for modernizing the Department of Human Services computer systems (still using DOS).

Board Action
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Cook County and Carlton County for the provision of Child Support Officer Supervision and Consulting from April 1 thru September 30, 2013.

Cook County Board of Commissioner's Meeting
County Board Chair Jan Hall, Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Gamble, Hakes, and Martinson  were present at today's County 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.

Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA)
Scott Harrison, EDA Board Member, came before the County Board to request an advance in the tax levy in the amount of $60,000 to meet cash flow needs.  The County Board voted to pay the EDA this amount now instead of waiting until June.

Harrison also requested an additional $50,000 in funding to begin marketing for Superior National Golf  Course.  This request is in addition to the existing $225,000 loan from the County to the EDA.  The entire $275,000 will be paid back in full in November 2013.

Building Maintenance, Director Brian Silence
The Board approved a contract in the amount of $135,717.93 to purchase and install security equipment from ESC Systems in the Courthouse including duress buttons, security cameras, county-wide intercom/paging, and key card access control systems as approved by the Board on March 12, 2013.  This contract also includes duress buttons and cameras at the existing Community Center and Highway Department.  ESC Systems is the vendor of choice because they service Cook County and their equipment is compatible with existing security equipment already installed.

2013 Budget Review
The Board reviewed and approved the First Quarter 2013 Budget Review for the General Revenue Fund as presented by Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers.

Cook County Septic Ordinance Number 58
Office of Planning and Zoning Director Tim Nelson came before the County Board to request the Board take the next steps in the creation of a new Cook County Septic Ordinance as is required by 2014.  Nelson explained that the proposed draft of Cook County Septic Ordinance Number 58 was created by a local working committee and that counties have some liberty to use alternative standards to State Septic requirements.  The Board had several questions and concerns including clarification of the areas that differed from State requirements.  It was agreed that the Board would hold a Work Session on May 21 at 2:30 to discuss this proposal.  In general, the Board had concerns about making the local ordinance more restrictive than necessary.

ATV Grant-in-Aid Trail Grant
The County Board reviewed the project description and public comments received for the ATV Grant-in-Aid Trail Grant applied for by the Cook County ATV Club through the Minnesota Trail Assistance Program for construction and maintenance of off-highway trails for ATVs.  It was noted that most comments were positive.  During this review, Braidy Powers told the Board this grant had been approved for $3000.  ATV Club Board Member Vilnis Neilands was present to answer any questions.  Neilands also expressed gratitude for DNR's work on this project.

Revolving Loan Fund
The County Board approved (3) Revolving Loans as recommended by the Revolving Loan Fund Committee:  1)  $48,000 to Randy Sjogren for Putt 'n Pets purchase and improvement, 2) $16,000 to David Rak for improvements to the Mangy Moose Motel including the hair salon, and 3) $17,000 to Bruce Block for improvements to Sydney's Frozen Custard & Pizzeria.

Assessor's Office
The Board authorized the purchase of a computer, computer monitor, and office furniture for the new employee to be hired in the Assessor's Office.  No unused office furniture was available for use.

Cook County Family YMCA
In a written memo from Chris Francis, President and CEO of the Duluth Family YMCA, it was announced with great pleasure that Emily Marshall has been selected as Branch Executive Director for the Cook County Family YMCA.  The interview process included a panel of individuals representing the city, county, school district and the community.  Emily is currently serving as the Aquatics Director of the Downtown Y in Duluth.  Prior to this she was the Program Director at Camp Miller and the Youth and Family Program Specialist for the Downtown Y.

Replacement for Janet Simonen
The County Board is currently discussing how best to replace Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen who is retiring on August 9, 2013.  The Board has held (2) Special Meetings to discuss the possibility of replacing Simonen with a County Administrator or a County Coordinator.  The last of these meetings was held on April 15 with (3) invited County Administrators from neighboring counties:  Trish Klein (Itasca), Tim Houle (Crow Wing), Brian Benson (Sherburne).  The next steps in this process will be a meeting on April 30.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the Meeting Minutes from the April 16 County Board Meeting will be made available on the Cook County Website or by calling Janet Simonen at 387-3602.  A video of the meeting in its entirety will be made available on Boreal.TV.