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February 27th  Committee of the Whole Meeting Highlights

Cook County MN  February 27th Trails  Lake Superior Newxs
#LSN_News  North Shore Ski and Run Club and the Superior Cycling Association

COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA  February 27, 2018 –   (LSN)   
Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Feb. 27 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Public Comment Period

1)  Mr. Joe Pandy introduced himself as the General Manager of Arrowhead Electric and True North Broadband.  He spoke about the purpose of each entity. He presented a 2017 resident survey regarding energy use and demographics of customers to Commissioners. He asked that no one hesitate to give him a call to talk about either.

2) Ms. Arvis Thompson spoke about the getting people excited about government.  She expressed concern about the tax payer dollars being spent. She had questions about the Hovland garage and consent agenda items.

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda was approved as presented with one addition from Braidy Powers for a gambling raffle permit next month. Consent agenda items are those items that are a part of the routine and continuing business of the County. Items that are eligible for the Consent Agenda follow current County Policy and are already included in the current budget.

Agenda items

Community Center Projects
Diane Booth, Director – Community Center & MN Extension Services, brought forth a request to approve contract with Meyer Group to provide architectural services from final design to architectural drawings to construction administration and the required bidding phase for the previously approved Community Center park projects including the warming house and hockey rink.  Motion was made and carried.

Attorney’s Office/PHHS Department

County Attorney Molly Hicken asked that the Board authorize a Joint Powers Agreement for Civil Commitment Representation for St. Louis, Carlton, Lake and Cook Counties in the amount of $885.20 per year for legal services by the attorney. Hicken gave a presentation that Counties in Minnesota are responsible for providing legal representation in matters involving civil commitments of individuals (as mentally ill and/or chemical dependent). County Attorneys represent Human Services in these court actions so they are prohibited by conflict of interest rules from also representing the subject of the commitment. The County for many years has partnered with other counties in the Sixth Judicial District to pool funds and hire an attorney to represent the respondents in commitment cases. Each county pays their share of the attorney costs based upon

both population of the county and number of cases requiring representation. Motion was made and carried.

Attorney Hicken also asked that authority be given to Alison McIntrye to execute the Purchase of Service Agreement between Cook County Public & Health Human Services (PHHS) and Lutheran Social Services for clients of Cook County PHHS who are placed at the West Central Regional Juvenile Center. Motion as made and carried.  

Highway Department
The Board welcomed Krysten Foster as our new County Highway Engineer. Krysten will keep office hours two days per week in Cook County and two days in Two Harbors with the fifth day where required. Thank you to Two Harbors for agreeing to this shared position. Ms. Foster is happy to be here and is looking forward to working with everyone on a permanent basis. 

Ms. Foster asked for authorization to advertise for bids for SAP 016-605-005 which is the Ski Run Bridge at Lutsen Ski Hill. Motion was made and carried. She also spoke about the upcoming projects for the Highway Department.

Addition of Another Engineering Technician
Judy Hill, HR Generalist and Krysten Foster, Highway Engineer, asked that an Engineering Technician be added to the Highway Department staff as a replacement for the unfilled Assistant Highway Engineer position. In the past, we have advertised unsuccessfully for an Assistant Highway Engineer. Motion was made and carried.

North Superior Ski and Run Club
Jim Shinners brought forth a 2018 Equipment Grant joint application of the North Shore Ski and Run Club and the Superior Cycling Association, asking that the County be the fiscal agent for the grant.  No money would be coming from the County. Mr. Shinners along with Tim Kennedy of the SCA and Chris O’Brien of NSSRC, gave an overview of what the equipment would be used for in collaboration between the skiing/hiking and cycling trails associations. Motion was made and carried.

Land Services
Bill Lane, Land Services Administrator, brought forth an IUP (Interim Use Permit) request from Rachelle and Cory Christianson from Skyport Lodge and the Raven Rock Grill. There was an agreement to lease land from the County for $240 per year for 10 years to allow placement of an off-premise sign located adjacent to County Road 8. The sign permit completes the process. Motion was made and carried.

MN DNR Firewise Grant
Braidy Powers, County Auditor/Treasurer, brought forth a revised Firewise Grant. He explained that federal funding has been cut way back. Last year we received $134,000 and were asking for $68,000 for this year. With the cuts we may get $15,000 - $20,000. He is asking for approval of applying for $20,000 for the grant. Motion was made and carried.


Resolution Calling for Public Hearing on Capital Improvement Plan and Intent to Issue Bonds

Powers requested approval of a Resolution calling for a Public Hearing on a Capital Improvement Plan and Intent to Issue Bonds to finance the plan.  The resolution calls for a Public Hearing on April 10 at 10 am, in the Commissioner’s Room to consider the following projects:

(i)                  Road and Bridge Improvements – a portion of the road and bridge improvements identified in the “Greater Minnesota Transportation Sales and Use Tax Transportation Improvement Project List” approved on Sept 27, 2016, which will be part of the Plan, and including, but not limited to: (a) engineering costs for improvements to CSAH 42-45 and CSAH 15; (b) improvements to CSAH 17; (c) CSAH 5 Brule Run Bridge replacement; and (d) improvements to County 71 Carlson Creek Bridge;

(ii)                County Courthouse Improvements – including roof and window improvements;

(iii)               Law Enforcement Center Improvements – including window improvements;

(iv)               Public Works Facility Improvements – including construction of a new public works facility in Hovland and improvements to the County’s public works facility located on East Fourth Avenue in Grand Marais;

(v)                Park Improvements – including improvements to the Community Center Outdoor Park; and

(vi)               Various Eligible Facilities – including lighting upgrades in County facilities eligible to be financed under Minnesota Statutes, Section 373.40 and the Plan.

There was discussion asking if this could be an evening event and the consensus was that the Public Hearing will be on April 10, 2018 at 10 am, and a possible a public conservation on Monday, April 9, 2018 at 6 pm. The deadline for the bid process will be April 1, 2018.

Full details of Board Meetings are available through video footage, Agendas and Minutes at County Board Meetings are open to the public.




About Cook County Minnesota

Cook Country Minnesota   Lake Superior News

Cook County is at the tip of Minnesota's Arrowhead region in the remote northeastern part of the state, stretching from the shores of Lake Superior to the US-Canada border. By land it borders Ontario, Canada to the north, and Lake County, MN to the west.  The highest point in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain is 2,301 feet and the highest lake,  Total Area equals 3,339.72 sq miles

Cook County is home to three national protected areas:
Grand Portage National Monument
Superior National Forest
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Cook County include:
 Grand Marais     Lutsen Mountains
 Gunflint Trail      Superior Hiking Trail
 Grand Portage 
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