Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Human Service Board, County Board and Board of Appeal and Equalization

Human Services Board
Human Services Board Chair Sue Hakes called the meeting to order.  Other Board members present were Jan Hall, Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Carla LaPointe, Jerry Lilja, and Bruce Martinson.  Also present were Public Health and Human Services Director Sue Futterer and Jan Parish, Income Maintenance and Fiscal Supervisor, and Andrea Devore.

Committee Reports
Arrowhead Health Alliance Joint Powers--Sue Hakes reported that the Region 3 Adult Mental Health Initiative is progressing with plans for a new Mental Health Facility to replace Bridge House in Duluth.  The location selected for this facility is at the end of Burning Tree Road in Hermantown.  Hakes also reported that AHA is working with the Department of Human Services to pilot and incorporate technology into diagnosing mental health patients in rural MN.  Cook County Hospital has been using Vidyo Telepresence for about 6 weeks.

Health Care Planning Committee--Bruce Martinson reported that Sawtooth Clinic has been awarded a $150,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to be used over a period of 3 years.  He also reported that Care Partners has been awarded a transportation grant for two years in the amounts of $10,000 and $20,000 respectively.

No other committee reports were made as none of the other committees have met since the last Human Services Board meeting.

2012 Year End Financial & Client Report, Jan Parish
Jan Parish gave an overview of the 2012 PHHS financials reporting that 2012 spending was $102,998 over budget, mostly due to out-of-home placements. Budgeting for PHHS is extremely unpredictable as each year is different and services needed and provided may vary greatly.  Parish also reported that the fund balance was at $847,922 at the end of 2012.  Parish also gave an update on May 2013 financials.  2013 revenues are lagging behind expenses which is typical for this time of year.

Director's Report, Sue Futterer
Futterer shared a a recent information bulletin from MN Department of Commerce entitled, "Consumer Assistance Partner Bulletin 2013-1" which outlined the Navigator program designed to assist consumers through the elibility and enrollment process for MNSure.  Futterer also reported that 30-hours of MNChoices training will be necessary for (4) employees in PHHS.

Futterer presented a handout that highlighted the outcomes achieved through the work of the Community Health Board and partners in 2012 including programs such as smoking cessation, active living, healthy eating, breastfeeding policies, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention.

And lastly, Futterer reported that Region 3 Redesign for Child Support is on plan with equipment being ordered and training underway.

Items for Board Action
-  The Board approved an agreement between Cook County and the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment for providing detoxification services between June 18-December 31, 2013.  The daily rate has increased from $286/day to $350/day.

-The Board regretfully accepted the resignation of Sandra Petty, Lead Eligibility Specialist and authorized advertising to fill the position.

-  The Board authorized (4-1 with Gamble opposed) the adoption of the Merit System Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Guidelines as Cook County's Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Plan as recommended by Futterer.

The Human Services Board discussed the high turnover in this Department in the past 18 months.

County Board Meeting
Board Chair Janice Hall called the meeting to order.  Commissioners present were Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson.  Also present were Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and Personnel Director/Board Secretary Janet Simonen.

Public Comment
No member of the Public came before the board.

County Attorney's Office
County Attorney Tim Scannell apologized for not notifying the County Board that he hired Attorney Vernon Swanum.  Swanum will work on a contract basis for up to $15,000 at a rate of $120/hour.  The County Board supports this hiring decision.

Cook County Community YMCA
Duluth YMCA Executive Director, Chris Francis, came before the Board to introduce Cook County Community YMCA Branch Director Emily Marshall. Marshall was eager to report the work she has been doing in the areas of marketing, programming, relationship building, budgeting, board development and planning for 2012 and 2013.  Marshall's enthusiasm is contagious!

Wade Cole (ORB Management) and Dan Miller (JLG Architects) updated the Board on the construction progress of the Cook County Community YMCA.  In addition, the Board authorized a payment of $21,600 to JLG to settle a fee dispute with Meyer Group; Meyer Group will no longer be involved in the project.  In addition, the Board authorized $48,274 for additional design services for work done to reduce square footage of the building. (4-1 with Gamble opposed on both actions.)

Subsurface Septic Treatment System (SSTS) Loan Ordinance, Tim Nelson
The Board reviewed proposed amendments to the SSTS Loan Ordinance as recommended by Tim Nelson and initiated the public hearing process to be held before the Planning Commission on Wednesday, August 14.  Basically,  the proposal is to amend the Ordinance to include system abandonments when a dwelling is approved to be connected to a municipal wastewater system.

Gypsy Moth Quarantine Proposal
Lucia Hunt and Chuck Dryke, both of the MN Department of Agriculture Plant Protection Division, came before the County Board to talk about the proposed Gypsy Moth Quarantine for Cook and Lake Counties.  Gypsy moths are ranked among America's most destructive forest pests causing millions of dollars in damage to woodlands as it advanced from New England to Wisconsin.  The goal of the proposed quarantine is to prevent the human-assisted spread of the gypsy moth. Howard Hedstrom was also present; Hedstrom acknowledged the problem as serious and talked about the challenges a quarantine as proposed could cause the timber industry.  Hedstrom will continue to work with the MDA on this issue.  More information is available on the MDA website.

Miscellaneous, Braidy Powers and Janet Simonen
The Board approved a temporary liquor license for the Schroeder Area Historical Society fundraiser to be held on September 26, 2013 at the Cross River Heritage Center.

The Board approved a Revolving Loan Fund Request as recommended by the RLF Committee in the amount of $26,500.  This request was made by the Gunflint Tavern and is part of a larger $79,500 commercial rehab project to install energy efficient windows and doors as well as some tuckpointing..

The Board authorized the purchase of one laptop computer, mouse and software up to $1500 for the new Cook County Veteran's Services Officer.

Border Crossing Fees
The County Board passed a motion to oppose Border Crossing Fees at the US/Canadian border.  A letter will be drafted and sent to Senator Klobuchar, Senator Franken, Representative Nolan, NACO and Homeland Security.  The County's position is consistent with the opposition from Arrowhead Counties Association.

AEOA Affordable Housing Project
Sue Hakes serves on the AEOA Board.  In that capacity, she acknowledged the work of AEOA Housing personnel--supported by EDA Board Member Abby Tofte and County Board liaison to the EDA, Heidi Doo-Kirk--for the proposed Affordable Housing project.  Doo-Kirk and Tofte have invited AEOA Housing personnel to come before the EDA Board next month to answer questions and clarify any misconceptions about the project and AEOA's history in Cook County.

County Administrator Hiring Process
The Board met with David Unmacht of Springsted Group over SKYPE to discuss what is needed in a County Administrator.  At the end of ~90 minutes, Unmacht had a better understanding of Cook County and its needs.  He will use the information to find candidates that are not only qualified, but will also "fit" the needs of the County.

Cook County Board of Appeal and Equalization
The County Board of Appeal and Equalization is held to provide a fair and objective forum for property owners to appeal their valuation and classification for the 2013 assessment.  No members of the Public were in attendance at this meeting.

Meeting Minutes
Official meeting minutes for June 18 will be made available at the County Website or by contacting Janet Simonen at 218-387-3602.  A video of today's Human Services and County Board meetings may be viewed by going to Boreal.TV.