Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 10, 2015 County Board Meeting: MIS Request, Public Hearings for Highway Lighting & Rumble Strips, AMC District One

Board Chair Jan Hall and Commissioners Heidi Doo-Kirk, Garry Gamble, Sue Hakes and Bruce Martinson were all present at the June 10 County Board Meeting.  Also present were County Administrator Jay Kieft, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers, Attorney Jeanne Smith, and Administrative Support Bev Wolke.

Consent Agenda
The Consent Agenda including an Amendment to Subsurface Sewage Treatment System Loan Policies and Procedures, Planning Commission Appointment and Claims was approved.  Charles LaBoda was apointed to the Planning Commission.

Public Comment
No member of the Public opted to address the County Board.

Management Information Systems
The County Board approved the purchase of (5) Cisco switches at $20,181.59 to support the County facilities Wide Area Network (WAN) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems.

Information/Communications Director, Rena Rogers, presented the MIS Infrastructure Improvement Program Summary, a series of improvement projects that will enable County government to fully realize the potential of Broadband Connectivity.  Phase I is currently underway and consists of a Firewall/Security Monitoring Project and the New Server Room/Courthouse Re-cabling Project.  Phase 2 will extend Broadband to other County facilities in Grand Marais.

County Highway Department--PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED
The County Board scheduled (2) dates for Public Hearings on Intersection Lighting and Paved Shoulders and Rumble Strips.

The Cook County Highway Department has received a federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grant for 2015 to provide intersection lighting at the following intersections:

1.  CSAH 8 and CSAH 12 (2 lights)
2.  CSAH 7 and CSAH 6 (1 light)
3.  CSAH 7 and CR 45 (1 light)

Downcast cutoff lights will be used to minimize the spread of the light.

The Cook County Highway Department has received a federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) grant for 2015 to provide 2-foot paved shoulders with edgeline rumblestrips on the Gunflint Trail from the city limits near the water tower to the intersection with CSAH 8.

The County Board has scheduled public hearings on both of these matters as follows:

Monday, June 14 at 7:00 pm in the Commissioner's Room at the Courthouse
Tuesday, June 15 at 10:30 am in the Commissioner's Room at the Courthouse

Th public is encouraged to attend either or both of these public hearings to provide input for consideration by the County Board.  Let your voice be heard.

Emergency Management
The Board approved a Memorandum of Agreement between Cook County and the Conservations Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.  An agreement with Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa would be for services during emergencies and disasters, but can also be used for routine trail work without the need to bid projects out.  It allows the County to move more quickly when it needs to.

The Board approved the public notice of a proposal by the Firewise Committee to use the $28,922.22 of Title III funds for the following purposes:  1)  Search and Rescue in the amount of $5,000, and 2) compensation for the Firewise Coordinator in the amount of $23,922.22.

The Board approved up to $10,000 to move and set the old Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department Hall (GTVFD) #3 as the mid-trail Search and Rescue Building at the GTVFD Hall #1 Poplar Lake site.

Budget Process Changes, Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers
Braidy Powers has been contemplating changes to the budget process with the goal of improving management and department head understanding of their roles, a smoother process and better predictability.

In addition to changing the date of the budget hearings, Powers is suggesting a general review of department budgets by the Auditor (Powers) and County Administrator Jay Kieft before the County Board budget hearings.  Most significantly, Powers is proposing the creation of a Finance Committee consisting of one or two County Commissioners, County Administrator, Auditor and Financial Coordinator.  It is believed that more upfront work on the budget will enable greater operating efficiencies through the year.

The County Board is generally supportive of the changes, but asked for clarity on the powers and obligations of the proposed Finance Committee before any decisions will be made.

The Board approved the renewal of Life Insurance plan with MN Life and the Long Term Disability Plan with Madison National; both were low quote.

Highway 61 Centerline Rumble Strips
Commissioner Hakes happily acknowledged the June 5 MN Department of Transportation Press Release that stated in part, " MnDOT will also fill in all of the centerline rumble strips in Cook County except those located north of Grand Portage where there aren't any adjacent homes."  MnDOT District 1 acting traffic engineer Jim Miles also noted, "Considering this (housing density), and the mix of tourist and local traffic, which leads to increased passing an driving over the centerline rumble strips, we decided to fill them in."

Hakes commended the Public for making their concerns about the Centerline Rumble Strips known directly to MnDOT and the County Board.  It made a huge difference and resulted directly in the positive action taken by MnDOT.

Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) District One Meeting
Cook County is hosting the Spring AMC District One Meeting on June 12-13.  In addition to AMC business, Cook County will host a tour of the YMCA and a tour of the Security enhancements made to County facilities.

Closed Session:  Attorney-Client Privileged
The meeting was closed and the Board engaged in an attorney-client privileged closed session.

Meeting Minutes
A copy of the official meeting minutes may be obtained by calling the County Administrator's Office at 218 387 3602 or by going to the Cook County website.  A video of this meeting in its entirety may be viewed on Boreal.TV.