Board Chair Jan Hall resumed the 2013 Cook County Board of Appeal and Equalization Meeting from last week. Assessor Betty Schultz was present, she updated the Board about one property and the County Board passed a resolution to accept the changes in the slate of properties as recommended by Schultz. The meeting was then closed.
County Board Meeting
Board Chair Jan Hall called the meeting to order; in attendance were Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Gamble, Martinson and Hakes. Also present were County Attorney Tim Scannell, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Bev Wolke, and Board Secretary/Personnel Director Janet Simonen.
Public Comment Period
No member of the public came before the County Board.
Land Lease for NE Services Cooperative (NESC)
Assessor/Land Commissioner Betty Schultz came before the County Board to consider the sale of a portion of the Recyclig Center property for the NESC equipment building (necessary for Broadband). The Board agreed to support its September 18, 2012 resolution to lease this land and authorized a subcommittee of Braidy Powers, Bruce Martinson, and Betty Schultz to move forward in lease negotiation. Input will also be solicited from IS Director Danna MacKenzie and Tim Scannell.
Information Systems, Director Danna MacKenzie
The Board authorized a significant purchase for 267 Motorola XTS2500 800MHz (ARMER) radios and (5) 6-unit rapid chargers. This purchase is a continuation of the County's 2010 decision to covert to the state-wide 800MHz ARMER radio system. This cost of this portion of the conversion is $642,559. $391,200 will be paid from the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and $251,359 will come from the 2012 Capital Equipment Note Fund as determined by the County Board on November 27, 2012.
The Board authorized purchasing a Dell Equalogic Network Storage System - PS4100E as recommended and requested by MacKenzie. Cook County is reaching capacity for existing storage on its network. The replacement of the existing network storage is part of a long-term management plan to ensure the stability of county data systems.
Office of Planning and Zoning (OPZ) Requests and Temporary Worker
OPZ Director Tim Nelson and Bill Lane, Planning and Zoning Administrator came before the County Board to present (3) requests that had already been supported and recommended from the Planning Commission. The County Board authorized all (3) requests.
1. CUP from Randy Sjogren to expand an existing recreational business in the General Commercial zone district to include domestic animals for viewing. The Board approved the request limiting the number of animals to up to 5 goats, 20 small birds and 7 large birds. The animals will be cared for at another property during the winter months.
2. The Board authorized a Conditional Use Permit for Wintertee, Inc. allowing for a 22 Unit Commercial PUD (existing), plus 3 single family residential/commercial units.
3. The Board authorized an Interim Use Permit for Christopher Beaudoin to allow use of a recreational vehicle for habitation in the FAR-3 zone district. This permit shall expire in 2 years.
The Board gave Tim Nelson authorization to hire a temporary worker for the Recycling Center to support the summer workload.
PUBLIC HEARING at 10:30 AM
A Public Hearing was held to consider whether to pass a resolution to withdraw the Irish Creek Winter Maintenance Subordinate Service District (SSD) created on November 13, 2012. Over a dozen citizens spoke at the hearing, nearly all in favor of the Irish Creek SSD. There were also several letters received by the County Board in support. A motion to DENY the request to withdraw the Irish Creek Winter Maintenance Subordinate Service District (SSD) was made and passed 3-2 (Gamble and Hall opposed), so the SSD will remain in place. A second motion passed unanimously to explore the possibility of expanding the SSD.
Highway Department, County Engineer David Betts and Maintenance Supervisor Russell Klegstad
The County Board approved the proposal for wetland delineation services at Maple Hill Pit from MSA Professional Services of Duluth, MN for up to $2800. Commissioner Hakes asked why a local Wetland Delineation Company wasn't hired for this work. It was explained that the local providers of this service are unable to provide regulatory assistance (permits) as required by the Highway Department.
The County Board approved the hiring of Nanette Arands as Account Clerk effective July 15. Nanette will be transferring from her position as dispatcher for the Law Enforcement Center.
The Board approved a special permit for the Greater Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce sponsored Fourth of July Parade in Grand Marais. Parade time is 8:00 to 8:20 pm.
Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority
EDA Treasurer Scott Harrison came before the Board with a proposed final Grant Agreement between Cook County/Grand Marais Joint Economic Development Authority and Cook County, MN. This agreement lays out the terms of the $3.1M previously approved by the County Board for the upgrade to Superior National Golf Course. The agreement was approved unanimously.
$3.1 million County's Local Option 1% Sales Tax**
$1.1 million new revenue bond
$4.8 million total project cost
(**Commissioner Hakes did not support Superior National Golf Course for the amount of $3.1 million of 1% Local Option Sales Tax funds; instead she supported the project in the amount of $1.1 million. However, Hakes respects the decision of the County Board in 2012 to move forward at the $3.1 million and will now do her best to ensure success of this project.)
The Board also authorized a 60-day bridge loan in the amount of $300,000 to the EDA until $300,000 of IRRRB grant funds are received.
2014 Budget Cycle
The Board approved the 2014 Cook County Budget Calendar and 2014 Cook County Budget Guidelines as recommended by Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers.
Cook County Community YMCA
Hakes reported that construction on the Cook County Community YMCA continues to move forward; completion is still anticipated for December 2013. Resolution for the previously existing drain tile problem under the tennis courts is still being worked.
Veteran's Transit Meeting
Commissioner Hakes reported on the Veteran's Transit Meeting she attended last week in Carlton County. This meeting was facilitated by the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission and attended by several area County Commissioners and Staff , County Veteran Service Officers, MN Dot, MACV. Special Attendees included: Michael Rosecrans, VA Patient Advocate and Congressional liaison for VA Hospital, and Reggie Worlds, Deputy Commissioner for MN State Department of Veteran Affairs. Also present were Tom Albright of Senator Franken's Office and Mark Privatsky of Representative Nolan's Office.
Both Rosecrans and Worlds agreed to be a voice for this group and to advocate for the needs of Veterans in rural areas. Of particular benefit to Cook County Veterans would be approval of having a doctor and nurse from the Ely CBOC come to Silver Bay on a regular basis to provide routine medical care for Cook and Lake County Veterans. Other solutions discussed included better bus scheduling, telemedicine, better scheduling at the VA for Veterans traveling a great distance, gas cards.
Senator Franken will be re-proposing a bipartisan bill he introduced last year specifically to improve access to medical care for Veterans living in rural areas. This should happen in July 2013.
MN Historical Society Grant for Bill Bally Blacksmith Shop
The Board approved an agreement required from the MN Historical Society in which the County agrees to provide continued maintenance and repair of the Bill Billy Blacksmith Shop for 20 years. In practice, this work will be the full responsibility of the Cook County Historical Society.
A copy of the final meeting minutes for July 25, 2013 may be obtained by contacting Janet Simonen at 218-387-3602 or by going to the County Website. A video of this meeting may be viewed on Boreal.TV.