Board Chair Jan Hall and Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson were all present for today's County Board Meeting. Also present were County Administrator Jay Kieft, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Assistant County Attorney Jeanne Smith, and Administrative Support Bev Wolke.
Representing herself, Deb Benedict came before the County Board to express her concern about the white strobe light planned for the 350' tower north of Grand Marais. Rena Rogers, IS Director, explained that this decision was made by the Communications Committee based on cost, risk mitigation, and impact to the community. Rogers reported that a low scatter LED light has been specified. An alternative to the lighting would be to paint the tower in a candystripe fashion with alternating red and white paint. The County Board will consider Benedict's request, but need more information on the pros and cons of both alternatives.
Community Center Director, Diane Booth, came before Board with a revision of the Community Center Board of Trustees By-Laws. The Commissioners had several questions regarding the revisions and will forward them to Jay Kieft for compilation. Booth will incorporate changes as appropriate and re-present to the Board.
Booth presented the Board with the recently updated Community Center Fee Schedule.
The County Board approved the purchase of a Cyclone DP48 Sand Blast Cabinet for $1725 plus freight. This purchase is in the 2014 Highway Department budget.
The Board authorized the Highway Department to advertise for bids for a) aggregate stockpile, b) liquid calcium chloride, and c) summer road maintenance bids for Evergreen Road, Voyageur's Point Road, Mile O'Pine Road, West Rosebush Lane, and Rosebush Hill.
The Board authorized awarding (2) service contract bids for geotechnical borings and evaluation to Braun Intertec Corporation based on low bid.
The Board authorized the Highway Department to solicit proposals for design of the CR46 Bridge. It is anticipated that State Local Bridge Replacement Bonds will be used to pay for the bridge replacement.
New Director Information System and Communications
Rena Rogers, recently hired Information Systems and Communications director, came before the Board to share initial observations of her new position. Rogers shared that she has felt very welcome by the Board and county employees. She talked about her vision to make County business more effective both internally and externally.
Land Use Guide Plan Steering Committee
Office of Planning and Zoning (OPZ) Director, Tim Nelson presented the Land Use Guide Plan Update Committee recommendations for reviewing the existing Land Use plan, identifying issues, and updating the Land Use Guide Plan. The county will contract with Consultant John Powers to lead the process which will include opportunities for public input, including (2) public meetings.
Mark Sandbo request
Mark Sandbo came before the Board requesting a letter of support for him to continue serving on the Governor's Council on Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program. The Board agreed to provide the letter as requested.
Kelly's Hill Road
At the request of the County Attorney's office, Baiers Heeren reviewed correspondence from Kelly's Hill Road Maintenance Association (KHRMA), applicable statutes and real estate record relating to Kelly's Hill Road. Heeren reported that there is no record evidence that establishes Kelly's Hill Road as a Town Road or subsequently as a county road or highway. Jeff Wenz of KHRMA expressed surprise and disappointment at this finding and will need some time to review the written opinion provided by Heeren.
National Crime Victim's Rights Week
The Board approved Jeanne Smith's request to create an informational display in the Courthouse lobby during National Crime Victims' Rights Week.
County Assessor, Betty Schulz, provided a progress report on the Assessor Office's work in their quintile property review as required by the State. This past year, 2660 reviews have been completed including north Hovland, Grand Marais, new construction and land. Commissioners Doo-Kirk, Martinson and Gamble complimented them on their work.
Superior National Golf Course Bonding
The Board discussed pros and cons for creating an abatement of property taxes for certain Lutsen area properties and pledging that revenue for payment of financing a portion of the Superior National Golf Course renovation. Commissioner Hakes raised multiple concerns, most notably the risk in this proposal. No action was taken, but Commissioner Doo-Kirk requested that all questions regarding this matter be forwarded to her in writing to be delivered to the EDA.
Veteran's Transportation Services
Commissioner Hakes reported on a meeting she attended with VSO Clarence Everson and VSO Pat Strand to discuss transportation for Veteran's from remote rural areas in northeastern MN to Vet medical facilities in Minneapolis. Hakes reported that Reggie Worlds, MN DVA Deputy Commissioner, is securing $200,000 in funding to purchase (1) bus and (2) vans. Subsequent planning meetings will be held to determine routes, schedules, van locations, and other details necessary to provide this service. This is good news for northeastern MN veterans! Stay tuned for more information.
Spring 2014 Declarations for Spearing
The Board discussed the 2014 Declaration for Spearing in the 1854 ceded territory. The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has worked with the State of MN to develop a list of lakes authorized by the Band for spearing walleye. Cook County lakes include Ball Club, Caribou, Cascade, Elbow, Fourmile, Pike, Tait and Tom. The Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands will not spear walleyes in the 1854 treaty area.
Road Maintenance Funds for Superior National Forest
The Board passed a motion requesting the USFS properly maintain the roads within its jurisdiction and increase future dollars budgeted for road maintenance within the Superior National Forest. Well maintained USFS roads are important to tourists, local residents, loggers and firefighters.
Official meeting minutes for today may be accessed by going to the Cook County website or by calling the County Administrator's Office at 218-387-3602. A video of this meeting may be viewed by going to Boreal.TV.