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