Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cook County Human Service and County Board Meetings for May 21, 2013: Staffing, Conditional Use Permits, Septic Ordinance Workshop

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

Committee Reports
Committee Reports were given for Arrowhead Regional Corrections (Jan Hall, Garry Gamble), Community Health Board (Jan Hall), Public Health & Human Services Advisory Committee (Jerry Lilja and Carla LaPointe), North Shore Collaborative (Sue Futterer).  For more information on any of these meetings, please feel free to contact Sue Hakes or the reporting Board Member.

Director's Report - Sue Futterer
Most of today's meeting was spent understanding the workload and responsibility changes coming in the PHHS Department as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010.  Enrollment for the ACA begins this Fall; MN applicants will use MNSure, the State's new online health insurance marketplace to determine eligibility.

All of this means increased caseloads for the County and a request from Futterer to add (1) financial worker to the PHHS staff.   Fortunately, the Federal Government has enhanced its federal match from 50% to 75% for County financial eligibility workers.  The County is also eligible for reimbursement based on the number of clients enrolled in MN Health Care programs.  It is anticipated that these matching and reimbursement funds will offset the projected ~$51,644 annual cost of the added financial worker.  

The Board approved the addition of (1) full-time financial worker for two years.  It is anticipated that management of the Affordable Care Act will be challenging at the upstart, but will create more efficiencies in the long run. 

The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to expand access to quality health care to lower-income Americans with the hope that greater access to health care will create healthier communities. 

The Board also approved Futterer's request to add 2 hours to a Social Services Case Aid position and 2 hours to a Social Worker position at a total estimated cost of ~$5,000/year.

2012 Year End Financial & Client Report - Jan Parish, Income Maintenance & Fiscal Supervisor
Due to a lack of time, the Board moved Jan Parish's presentation of the 2012 Year End Financial & Client Report to next month's Human Services Meeting.

Cook County Board Meeting
Board Chair Janice Hall, along with Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson were all present for today's meeting.  Also present was Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
Two members of the Public came before the County Board to respectfully state their concerns about the establishment of a portable hot mix asphalt plant and a mobile aggregate wash plant at a gravel pit adjacent to the Meridian Road north of County Road 6.  

Russ Viton is concerned about the health risks from breathing asphalt fumes.  He requested that if the County approves the plant, that hours of operation be spread differently and that the County find a way to monitor and mitigate the dust created and speed of hauling trucks.

Carolyn Sevareid submitted her concerns in writing, but also spoke to the County Board.  She also expressed health concerns from emissions and dust stating she will have to move from her home on the days the asphalt plant operates.

Clearwater and Leo Lake Landing Maintenance
The Board approved a contract with Gloria Johnson for cleaning and maintenance services at Clearwater and Leo Lake landings.

Special Events Permits
The Board authorized Special Event Permits for the Tofte Fourth of July Parade & Fireworks and the Grand Marais Arts Festival.

Conditional Use Permits
The County Board approved a Conditional Use Permit for James Elverhoy--as recommended by the Planning Commission--to establish a home business in the Single Family Residential (R-1) zone district in Tofte, MN.  Elverhoy intends to produce vegetables, as well as produce rock and stone products.

The County Board approved a Conditional Use Permit--as recommended by the Planning Commission--for Stan Bautch to allow the establishment of a portable hot mix asphalt plant and a mobile aggregate wash plant at a gravel pit adjacent to the Meridian Road.  The Planning Commission had several conditions including no more than 12 days of hot-mix asphalt production and limiting hours of operation to 7:00 am 7:00 pm Monday through Saturday.  The County Board added an additional condition that the contractors contact the concerned neighbors 1-3 days prior to hot mix asphalt plant operations.  Highway Engineer David Betts agreed to talk with the contractors about holding their speed on the gravel roads. (See Public Comment above.)

Miscellaneous - Braidy Powers
The Board approved claims for payment.

Powers clarified that on March 19th, the Board approved paying $6000 for a security door to allow for access to a second locker room near the Elementary School gymnasium.  That vote was four ayes and one nay (Gamble).  Because the Board did not make a motion to rescind the March 19th vote, the decision stands as approved on March 19.

The Board asked Commissioner Hakes to talk with Beth Schwarz and Jeanne Anderson regarding the possibility of funding the locker room and security door with school funds, in exchange for the County funding bleachers the school is considering buying.  Hakes will contact Schwarz and Anderson to discuss this idea and find a fair and equitable arrangement.

Powers presented the renewal contract for the Sentence to Serve program for July 2013 through June 2015.  The Board asked Powers to invite Dan Traun from the State of MN to a future board meeting to discuss this program and answer questions prior to approving the contract.

Policy Review regarding Same-Sex Marriage Legislation
Commissioner Hakes requested all Department Heads review their internal policies and update where necessary to reflect the recently passed MN State Legislation passing same-sex marriage.  Personnel Director Janet Simonen reported that she has already proactively contacted Blue Cross Blue Shield and is working on any necessary document changes.  Powers reported that all Department Heads will be making changes where necessary.

Public Comment at County Board Meetings
Commissioner Gamble proposed several new guidelines to the Public Comment period at the beginning of County Board Meetings.  The Commissioners discussed Gamble's proposal, but no motion was made to modify the existing guidelines.

County Administrator Hiring Process
Commissioners Doo-Kirk and Hakes expressed concern over the length of time it is taking to hire a County Administrator with Doo-Kirk asking if the Board would be ready to move forward next Tuesday.  Hakes reiterated concerns she expressed last week over the lengthy and cumbersome process and said it is time for action. The Board will discuss this again next Tuesday.  Reminder:  There is a public meeting Wednesday May 22 at 7:00 pm in the Community Center to solicit public input.

Affordable Housing
The EDA authorized the AEOA to move forward in exploring the feasibility of a 16-24 Unit Affordable Housing project.

Veteran's Services Officer
Janet Simonen reported that several applications were received for the open County Veteran's Services Officer position and asked for (2) commissioners to be on the interview team.  Board Chair Jan Hall and Commissioner Sue Hakes both volunteered.

Cook County Septic Ordinance Work Session
Office of Planning and Zoning Director, Tim Nelson, and Environmental Health and Septic Officer, Mitch Everson, led the County Board through a review of the current draft of the Cook County Septic Ordinance Number 58.  Also in attendance at this meeting were private SSTS contractors Dean Berneking, Dave Tuttle, and Doug Finn.  After 2.5 hours, the group had only covered about 1/2 of the draft ordinance.  A plan was made to complete the review next Tuesday at 1:00.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the official meeting minutes will be posted on the Cook County website.  You may also request a copy from Board Secretary Janet Simonen by calling 218/387-3602.  A video of this meeting in its entirety may be viewed at Boreal.TV.