Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sept. 17 Human Services and County Board Meetings: Burn Barrels, Airport Funding, Rumble Strips

Human Services Board
Human Services Board Chair, Sue Hakes, and 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, Alison McIntyre, Jan Parish and Linda Waterhouse.

Child Care & Foster Care Licensing Responsibilities
Social Worker Linda Waterhouse gave an overview of the State Licensing Program/Services that she does for Adult Foster Care, Child Foster Care, Child Care, and Child Foster Home.  Current caseload in Cook County includes (3) pending relative child foster home applications, (2) adult foster care facilities, and (9) child care licenses.

An aging population, a mini "baby boom" in Cook County, and ever changing licensing and training requirements have resulted in an increase in the licensing workload.  This presents a challenge to Cook County's small agency with limited staff resources.

Licensing responsibility was transferred to Waterhouse within the last year and she notes that the work has changed since she did licensing about a decade ago. Waterhouse believes that one reason it is different is because of the growing challenges on families overall.

Board Chair Sue Hakes thanked Waterhouse for stepping up to take on this important work in addition to her responsibilities as a Social Worker.

August Financial Report
Jan Parish, Financial Services & Fiscal Supervisor, presented the August Financial Report noting that the fund balance is down ~$15K from last month.  Parish also noted that Out of Home placement costs will be increasing this quarter.

Parish explained that the Financial workers are extremely busy with their regular work and the additional training required for eDocs, MNSure, Child Care and MFIP. Some overtime will be required.

Parish happily reported that the Good Samaritan Fund was recently replenished with a $22K donation from Spirit of the Wilderness.

Director's Report
PHHS Director, Sue Futterer, reported that based on County input, the State has selected UCare to partner with the MN Department of Human Services to offer Health Care in Cook County.

Futterer continues to explore with Carlton County a way in which Cook and Carlton Counties can work together to staff the Child Support Program and Services for Cook County.  Carlton County is servicing Cook County cases on a temporary basis.

Futterer reported that (4) interviews were conducted to fill the open Case Aid position and that a decision would be forthcoming very soon.

Futterer reported that the Redesign Project for the Electronic Documents Management System (EDMS) for Child Support continues to move forward.

And, Futterer reminded the Board that enrollment for MNSure--a central health insurance marketplace for Minnesotans--begins in October 2013 with coverage beginning January 2014.

Items for Board Action
The Board approved hiring Andrea DeBoer as an Eligibility Specialist at 40 hours/week.  This new position will be reviewed after 2 years.

Jerry Lilja forwarded a motion made by the PHHS Advisory Committee to "recommend that there be no reductions t the proposed 2014 PHHS budget expenditures".  The County Board will consider this recommendation seriously when finalizing the 2014 Budget

Carla LaPointe forwarded a second motion made by the PHHS Advisory Committee to "recommend to initiate a No Burn Resolution as outlined from the MPCA and reviewed by the Carlton, Cook, Lake, and St. Louis Counties Community Health Board.  This issue will be added to the 9/24/13 County Board agenda for discussion and consideration.

The Board authorized the purchase of (3) Dell desktop PCs to be used for eDOCS EDMS system scanning for a net cost to the County of $1275.

Committee Reports
Committee Reports were made as identified below.  If you have questions or want more detail, please feel free to contact Human Services Board Chair, Sue Hakes, or the Board Member reporting:

Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency--Sue Hakes reported.
Public Health and Human Services Advisory--Carla LaPointe and Jerry Lilja reported.
Health Care Planning Committee--Bruce Martinson reported.
North Shore Collaborative--Sue Hakes reported.

Bill and Abstracts were approved and the meeting adjourned at 10:05 am.

County Board of Commissioners Meeting
County Board Chair Jan Hall and Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson were all present for today's meeting.  Also present were County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, County Attorney Tim Scannell, and Support Staff Bev Wolke.

Public Comment
No member of the Public came before the Board today.

Highway Department
The County Board approved a work order for the County to provide winter maintenance services for the Rollins Creek Road.  MNDot will pay the County $3000 for this service.

Moving Matters Kick-Off and Walking/Biking Tour
Kristin Dearruda-Wharton invited the County Board to join in the Moving Matters Kick-Off this Thursday, September 19 from 10 am to 6 pm on the Grand Marais Public Library Lawn.  Moving Matters is a county-wide project with the main goal of increasing walking and biking throughout Cook County by making our streets and roads safer and more accessible for walking and biking.  Jim Oberstar will be present to talk about active living and participate in a Walking/Biking Tour around town.  Fun for all ages!  Everybody is welcome!

Cook County Community YMCA
As requested by Y Director Emily Marshall, the Board approved the low bid purchase of a Door Access System for (3) doors in the new facility:  front entrance, back entrance, school entrance (4-1 with Gamble opposed).  Marshall also reported to the Board that she was successful in purchasing used exercise equipment from the Virginia YMCA at a savings estimated to be $20,000.

Wade Cole of ORB was present via SKYPE to discuss the need to add $70K to the contingency fund to cover construction costs for the Y project.  County Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers restated the complexities of the project and the potential cost of delay.  After a lengthy discussion, the Board approved the request 3-2 (Gamble and Doo-Kirk) opposed.

Commissioner Concerns
-  Brian Silence reported on the need for new siding/repair on the Hovland Town Hall.
-  Commissioner Hakes raised the issue of clarifying the contract between Cook County and Boreal.TV.   Commissioners Hakes and Martinson, Tim Scannell and Braidy Powers will work to provide a draft contract for presentation to the parties.
-  Commissioners Martinson and Gamble presented their Staffing Analysis of several other counties to be discussed at a later County Board meeting.

Airport Funding
The County Board voted to support moving forward with the Airport runway extension design at a cost not to exceed $451,400 and subject to Board approval on the final contract and costs.  Funding for this project comes from Entitlement Funds ($300K) and Highway Department easement payment ($151,400).

Rumble Strips
As requested at last week's Board Meeting, resolution language regarding the Centerline Rumble Strips was prepared by Bob Carter.  The County Board passed the proposed resolution with just a minor addition:

The Cook County Board supports its citizens, who are opposed to the Centerline Rumble Strips (CRS) that have been placed on Highway 61 between Grand Marais and the border, in:

a)  Working toward a mutually agreeable solution between them, MnDOT and the County Board to substantially reduce or eliminate the negative consequences of the CRS.
b) addition to MnDOT District One Engineer Duane Hill meeting with the County Board on October 8, hosting a public meeting in the near future with MnDOT and stakeholders in Cook County to voice concerns, questions and suggested changes to the CRS.
c)  Requesting a moratorium on the installation of any CRS in Cook County without public meetings and input.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the final meeting minutes will be made available by contacting the Auditor-Treasurer's Office at 218/387-3640 or by going to the Cook County website.  A video of this meeting in its entirety may be viewed by going to Boreal.TV

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013 County Board Meeting: Rumble Strips, Preliminary Levy, YMCA Update

County 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 Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, County Attorney Tim Scannell (until the break), and Bev Wolke.

Public Comment
Colvill resident Bob Carter came before the County Board representing ~65 (and growing) concerned neighbors to express their concern over the recently installed center line rumble strips on Highway 61 from Grand Marais to Grand Portage. Carter summarized some of the concerns including:  safety, quality of life, property values, location of rumble strips, and effect on our Designated Scenic Highway.

Carter also asked the County Board to pass a resolution on the matter which the Board agreed to discuss at their September 17, 2013 Board Meeting.  Carter agreed to submit proposed language for Board consideration.

Carter was supported by several members of the public including Jeff Larson who echoed Carter's comments and added that MN Dot has not provided any evidence that center line rumble strips improve safety.

Carter, Larson and the others in attendance were well received by the County Board.

Last week, the County Board hand delivered a letter to MN Dot Commissioner Charles Zelle outlining Cook County's concerns and requesting MN Dot Officials conduct a Public Meeting in Cook County this Fall.  Today, the Board appointed Commissioner Martinson to be the County Board lead in resolving this issue for Cook County.

Cook County Community YMCA
Wade Cole, ORB Management, came before the Board to provide a construction update reporting that the project is still on track for completion in 2013.  The pool has been dug and is taking shape, locker rooms have been constructed and primed, the gymnasium and the Child Watch and Teen Center (former Jane Mianowski room) should be completed sometime in October.

Cole also gave the Board an update on the  Y Construction Budget.  At the County Board Meeting on July 9, 2013, Cole requested ~$140,000 be transferred from the Uncommitted One Percent Funds to the YMCA project, in part to cover the State of MN changing its ruling regarding permitting and a fee settlement payment to Meyer Group.  At the July 9 meeting, the Board transferred $67,764 of the funds requested.  Today, Cole asked for the remaining $70,000 as projected to complete the project.  A motion to transfer half ($35,000) failed 2-3 with Martinson and Hakes voting to approve.  The Board did not give ORB clear direction on how to proceed under these constraints.

County Highway Department
The Board accepted Maintenance Worker II Bill Bohnen's resignation with regret and authorized County Engineer David Betts to fill the position either from the pool of valid candidates from last Spring or by re-advertising.

The Board approved advertising and receiving bids for winter maintenance on (5) Subordinate Governmental Service Districts (SGSDs):  Evergreen Road, Voyageur's Point, Mile O' Pine Road, West Rosebush Lane and Irish Creek.

The Board approved the final pay request of $13,463.66 for the Junco River project.  Seventy nine percent of the project was paid for with regular CSAH State Aid funds; the balance was paid by bridge bond monies.

Betts reported that the County Road 7 project is nearly complete.  Guard rails, some shoulder work and a "bird bath" area are all part of the punch list for work to be completed.  Commissioner Hakes reported that she had several favorable comments regarding the project from District 3 residents.

Law Enforcement
As requested by Sheriff Mark Falk, the Board authorized signing and accepting (2) annual grants:  OHV Safety Enforcement Grant and Stone Garden Grant.

Firewise, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers
-  A request to re-allocate SRS Title III funds was approved as recommended by the Firewise Committee.
- The Board approved an amendment to the Gunflint Trail Assessment Grant due to the DNR announcing an increase in payment from $10 to $15/assessment.
-  The Board approved a grant contract for fuel reduction in the Twin Lakes area.

Truth-in Taxation Meeting
The County Board set its Truth-In-Taxation Meeting for December 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm in the Commissioner's Room.  Sue Hakes notified the Board she would not be available on this date prior to Board approval for this date.  Hakes will participate by telephone.

2014 Proposed Budget and Levy
The County Board set the 2014 Proposed Levy at 2.9%.  The Final Budget and Levy, set in December 2013, can be reduced from 2.9%, but may not be larger than the Proposed Levy.  The Board scheduled a Budget Work Session for September 24, 2013 as part of the regularly scheduled Board Meeting.

Outdoor Drinking Fountain 
Commissioner Gamble presented information regarding the proposed outdoor drinking fountain to be installed near the tennis courts and baseball field.  The Board made a decision to NOT install the drinking fountain as a stand alone near the north tennis courts, but is still considering having it installed on an outside wall of the YMCA.  The Board also discussed accessibility issues to the fountain and between the Community Center and the YMCA.  Gamble will lead this effort, including obtaining quotes for this work.

Cook County Council on Aging
The Board received a corrected Balance Summary Report for the Cook County Council on Aging.  Commissioners Hall and Gamble will work with the Council on Aging Board to have an audit of their financial conducted on a routine basis.

A copy of the approved minutes for this meeting may be obtained by calling the Auditor-Treasurer's Office at 218/387-3640 or by going to the Cook County Website.  A video of this meeting in its entirety may be viewed at Boreal.TV