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Commissioner's Minutes - June 17, 2008



Grand Marais, Minnesota

June 17, 2008


The Board met in regular session this 17th day of June, 2008, at the Courthouse in Grand Marais, Minnesota.





Robert Fenwick

Sue Futterer, Director

Jim Johnson

Jan Hall

Anna Jorgenson, Case Aide/Office Support

Bruce Martinson

Jan Parish, Fiscal Supervisor

Fritz Sobanja

Janet Simonen, Personnel

Darrel Fisher

Beverly Green

The Human Services Board met in regular session on the 17th of June 2008, in the commissioner's room of the Cook County Courthouse in Grand Marais, MN.  Robert Fenwick, Chair, called the meeting to order at 8:32 A.M.

Jan Hall made a motion to approve the May 20, 2008 meeting minutes, seconded by Darrel Fisher and approved all ayes.

Jim Johnson made a motion to approve the agenda with an addition, seconded by Bruce Martinson and approved all ayes. Sue Futterer added a letter from the Department of Health Commissioner to the Director's report.


  1. Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency:  Jim Johnson reported the next meeting is June 18, 2008.
  2. Arrowhead Health Alliance:  Robert Fenwick reported from the meeting that all counties involved approved the Bylaws. The contract for Ric Shaefer to continue as Director was approved for another 18 months. There was some discussion on how to take on risk sharing with First Plan and the general consensus was to take none or very little. Sue added that the decision was made to not apply for the Preferred Integrated Network (PIN) grant at this time, as they did not feel all the information was provided to counties by DHS. Persons with mental illness will instead be under the Managed Care plan beginning in January 2009.
  3. Arrowhead Regional Corrections:  Jan Hall reported the next meeting is June 20, 2008.
  4. Community Health Board:  Jan Hall reported from the June 9th meeting. Legislator, Representative Tom Huntley gave a presentation. Tobacco, Obesity, Diabetes and Youth grants will be part of the focus for the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). There was discussion on setting up a website. The possibility of the State giving CHB the responsibility of Food, Beverage and Lodging inspections was discussed. Sue added that she was not sure that would happen and informed the board that she had met the new inspector from the state and was optimistic that in the future data would be communicated to Cook County.
  5. Public Health and Human Services Advisory Committee:  The next meeting is on July 1, 2008.
  6. Health Care Planning Committee:  No report was given.
  7. Interagency Services Committee:  No report was given.
  8. North Shore Collaborative: No report was given.


  1. Letter pertaining to Maintenance of Effort and Matching Requirements Suspended: Sue referenced attachment #1 in the packets. The suspension of MOE is causing counties to determine how this will affect the 2009 budget. Since Human Services is mandated to offer services, it causes concerns with the newly imposed levy limits. Sue noted that the Commissioner of Human Services advised counties to ignore this as it will likely change once legislation is back in session. This lead to discussion on why the state is relaying important changes to non-government entities such as AMC and MACCSA rather than directly to Counties. Bob noted that he does not anticipate hearing good news at the next AMC meeting. Mandated services have to be provided, but with the MOE suspended and levy limits imposed both cannot be accomplished. PHHS will do the best they can preparing the budget and hope to know more by budget time.
  2. Wilderness Chemical Dependency Treatment Program Transition Planning: Sue discussed the transition of Swift and Associates and the future of the CD program. Swift and Associates would like to continue to oversee the program with a new hire of a CD counselor. There is one person currently in school who may be interning either this fall or spring with PHHS. PHHS is mandated to offer some sort of CD treatment and currently Cook County is one of only two counties that have their own license to offer and complete outpatient treatment. It is cost effective to have a local license rather than send them out of county for outpatient treatment. Harry Swift of Swift and Associates has enhanced the program and established a well-known relationship with the community and professionals with his commitment to recovery. Sue recommended contracting with a consultant to assess needs and develop a plan of action. Sue has already spoken with Patty Beech who gave her an estimate of 2,000 - 4,000 for the project. The CD program has earned revenue and likely will continue to do so.

Jim Johnson made a motion to approve contracting with a consultant to gain community input and develop a plan for the CD Treatment Program not to exceed $4,000, seconded by Beverly Green and approved all ayes.

  1. DHS Grant Award for the North Shore Initiative Caring for Elders (NICE) Project: PHHS was granted the request for the NICE project. This will fund the In Home Support Program, mini clinics through the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, and programs through HDC such as Caregiver Support Group. It also funds programs for persons over 65 in Grand Portage and Lake County. A new item that will be funded is facilitation to work on Adult Protection assessment and protocols. Jim Johnson mentioned the need for assistance with Transportation to Medical Appointments for Care Center residents and other high-risk patients. Discussion was held determining a gap in services.
  2. Interim Staffing: Sue reported that Anna Jorgenson is working on her Social Work degree and will be in her last year that requires on campus classes Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anna currently works 40 hours a week as the Case Aide/Office Support Specialist. Sue and Janet have looked at many strategies, but recommended hiring a part-time county employee to work 16 hours a week during the time while Anna's hours are reduced to 24 per week. This will still allow Anna to have prorated benefits. Sue added that when Anna is done in the Spring, she intends to reinstate Anna's 40 hours a week and the temporary employee would likely have to be laid off.

Bruce Martinson made a motion to approve the hire of a part-time case aide eligible for part time benefits while Anna Jorgenson is completing her Social Work degree Fall and Spring semester, seconded by Jan Hall, and approved all ayes.

Financial Report-Jan Parish, Fiscal Supervisor and Financial Worker Supervisor:

Jan gave a brief report pointing out that PHHS is at 34% expenditures, which is where it should be. PHHS has completed the collection of all 2007 revenue.


Bruce Martinson made a motion granting Permission for Director to Approve and Sign Contract with the Department of Human Services for the NICE Project, seconded by Fritz Sobanja, approved all ayes. Grace Bushard will be meeting with DHS June 20, 2008 to complete negotiations on the Contract.

Beverly Green made a motion to approve the abstracts and bills, seconded by Fritz Sobanja and approved with all ayes. 

Fritz Sobanja made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:43 AM, seconded by Jim Johnson and approved with all ayes.  

The next Human Services Board meeting will be on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, commencing at 8:30 A.M.   


At 10:00 a.m. the 2008 Cook County Board of Equalization meeting was called to order.  Present were  Commissioners Hall, Fenwick, Martinson, Johnson, Sobanja and Auditor-Treasurer Powers.


Mary Black, Cook County Assessor/Land Commissioner, appeared before the Board of Equalization.  Black reviewed of the purpose of the Board of Equalization.  Black also reviewed property value and sales information for 2008, noting the down turn in the current real estate market, and compared sales data with other Minnesota Counties.  Black also noted a new law that created a "Rural Land Classification", and a requirement that one Board of Equalization member must attend state training on how to run the Board of Equalization meeting.  Black further reported that County Boards can delegate the Board of Equalization powers to a separate special Board, if the County Board does not want to retain said authority itself.


Black and the Board reviewed a list of 70 parcels which were being appealed to the Board of Equalization, due to classification or valuation issues, including 54 parcels owned by George Nelson under three different corporations.  Black recommended that the value of 17 parcels be reduced, that 1 parcel change its classification, and that the remainder of values and/or classifications remain unchanged.  No citizens were present for the Cook County Board of Equalization meeting.  Motion was made by Johnson, seconded by Sobanja, and carried to approve the recommendation regarding the following valuation reductions on 17 parcels and classification changes on 1 parcel:  Paul James, parcel 25-068-1015,              -$16,000; Randy & Lisa Nelson, parcel 25-068-1040 -$11,000; Lutsen Land Company, parcel 27-005-2210, -$88,800; Lutsen Corp, parcel 27-050-0530, -$35,800; Lutsen Corp, parcel 27-121-2300, -$33,600; Lutsen Limited Partnership, parcel 27-128-3400, -$35,300; Lutsen Corp, parcel 27-132-1125, -$58,300; Lutsen Land Company, parcel 27-133-1100, -$19,500; Lutsen Limited Partnership, parcel 27-133-1275,-  -$7,700; Lutsen Limited Partnership, parcel 27-133-1320, -$48,800; Lutsen Corp, parcel 27-133-3330,      -$59,000; Lutsen Corp, parcel 27-133-3450, -$49,700; Lutsen Limited Partnership, parcel 27-196-0303,    -$44,000; Lutsen Corp, parcel 27-133-3350, -$56,300; Richard Crosby, parcel 53-160-1101, -$17,800; Joan Crosby, parcel 53-160-1106, -$73,800; Alan & Janet Lindstrom, parcel 55-218-2300, -$10,000; and  Lutsen Land Company, parcel 27-233-1100, change in class from 233 to 151.


Motion was made by Hall, seconded by Sobanja, and carried to recess the 2008 Cook County Board of Equalization, in case members of the public come to the meeting through the morning.


At 10:30 a.m. the regular meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners was called to order. Motion was made by Sobanja, seconded by Johnson, and carried to approve the agenda for the meeting as amended.



•A.        Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority meeting minutes for 5/13/08 and 5/27/08.  Commissioner Martinson will keep the County Board updated regarding the Cedar Park and Baptist Church affordable housing projects.


•B.         Materials for 6/2/08 Grand Marais Public Library Board meeting.  Information.


•C.         Materials for 6/16/08 meeting of Cook County Higher Education Board.  Information.


•D.        Letter to Cook County Soil & Water Conservation District from Paul Quinn, 6/7/08, re: Poplar River restoration project.  Information.


•E.         MN Transportation Alliance 2008 Legislative Session Summary.  Information.


•F.          Materials from 3/10/08 Carlton-Cook-Lake-St. Louis Community Health Board meeting.  Information.


Shae Kosmalski, County Highway Engineer, appeared before the Board with several issues.  Kosmalski and the Board reviewed a proposed policy and permit procedure for individuals or organizations to follow to obtain a special road permit when conducting an activity that involves Cook County roads. The Policy requires that the Coordinator of an event attend a four-hour training for traffic control, in order to adhere to MN Statutory Standards.  Kosmalski recommended adoption of the policy as presented, with a future discussion to be held regarding any proposed permit fees.  Motion was made by Sobanja, seconded by Fenwick, and carried to approve the Cook County Special Road Use Policy and Permit Procedure effective July 8, 2008, with a discussion regarding permit fees to be held at a later date.


Kosmalski provided an update regarding the damage done to local roads as a result of the June 6, 2008 flash flood event.  Kosmalski estimated that total damage will be in the $2.5 to 3 million-dollar range.  County Auditor-Treasurer Powers and Kosmalski reported that County representatives were working with Emergency Management Director Jim Wiinanen to determine whether sufficient damage was incurred to meet the FEMA threshold for financial reimbursement.  Kosmalski further reported that she hoped to remove all of the temporary road bans by the coming weekend as the roads were drying up.  No action was needed at this time.


Tim Nelson, Planning Director/Solid Waste Officer, appeared before the Board. Nelson reviewed the process whereby the County retained the services of Tim Kennedy in 2005 to assist in reconciling the physical zoning maps to the new digital maps in the Planning Department.  Nelson reported that the zoning map reconciliation project is now completed, and Kennedy had submitted his final invoice in the amount of $1,150.00.  Motion was made by Hall, seconded by Fenwick, and carried to authorize the payment of $1,150.00 to Mr. Tim Kennedy for his assistance in the completion of the zoning map reconciliation project.


Nelson reported that he is working with Information Systems Director Danna MacKenzie to research electronic permitting and tracking system software that could be used by the Planning Department.  Nelson requested permission to seek requests for proposals for said software.  Motion was made by Hall, seconded by Sobanja, and carried to authorize the Planning Director to seek requests for proposals in conjunction with the MIS Department for the implementation of an electronic permitting and tracking system.  Proposals will be reviewed in July 2008, and a recommendation shall be brought back before the Board by the 1st meeting in August.


Danna MacKenzie, Information Systems Director, appeared before the Board.  MacKenzie presented a capital purchase request for a new data server at the Law Enforcement Center.  It would replace the aging LEC server, and was included in the 2008 adopted budget.  Motion was made by Fenwick, seconded by Hall, and carried to purchase a new rack-mount server for the Law Enforcement Center in the amount of $5,000.00.


MacKenzie presented a capital purchase request for a new Dell laptop computer to be used by Emergency Preparedness personnel in the Public Health/Human Services Department, and also to be used by PH/HS Director Sue Futterer when traveling.  Motion was made by Johnson, seconded by Fenwick, and carried to purchase a Dell D630 laptop in the amount of $1,400.00 with money to come from the Emergency Preparedness Fund. 


Commissioner Sobanja moved the adoption of the following resolution and upon seconding by Commissioner Hall was adopted by unanimous yea vote of all members present:


                                                           RESOLUTION NO. 2008-51B

BE IT RESOLVED, that the following claims totaling $ 21,113.84 having been audited and found to be true and correct claims against Cook County, are approved and the Auditor-Treasurer is hereby authorized to draw warrants in payment of said claims:

Revenue  Fund

M A C A I                                                  245.00

Road & Bridge Fund

A S C E                                                       225.00

Anderson Lubricants                               1,181.02

Boyer Trucks                                               249.72

Brock White                                             7,794.74

Bucks Hardware Hank                                 36.17

Dulmeier Sales                                            575.62

Edwin E Thoreson Inc                                243.89

G & K Services                                             46.70

Grand Marais Auto Parts                            503.12

Hibbing Community College                   2,220.55

Johnsons Foods                                             12.04

Little Falls Machine Inc                           2,014.64

Mikes Holiday Grand Marais                       70.60

North Shore Oil Do                                 1,795.31

Northern Kawasaki Inc                                 55.39

Perrin Mobile Medical                                135.00

St Joseph Equipment Inc                            985.25

Steves Sports & Auto                                   71.19

Truck Bodies & Equipment Inte                 312.99

University of MN                                       350.00

V & H Inc                                                   452.14

Viking Plumbing & Heating                         10.17

Ziegler Inc                                                1,527.59

Braidy Powers, Auditor-Treasurer, appeared before the Board with several issues.  Powers presented a capital purchase request on behalf of Cook County Community Center Director Diane Booth, to purchase 100 folding chairs for the Community Center in the amount of $3,021.66 which will be taken from the Community Center Capital Purchase Budget.  Motion was made by Fenwick, seconded by Sobanja, and carried to approve the purchase of the Community Center chairs as requested.


Powers reported that the FAA approved Cook County's grant request for $244,198.00 for the Sea Plane Base Perimeter Fence and the runway extension environmental assessment. Motion was made by Fenwick, seconded by Sobanja, and carried to approve the grant agreement between Cook County and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration for project No. 3-27-0036-09-08 as presented. 


Powers reported that Cook County gave Park & Recreation Grant funds to Cascade Lodge and Velo Marais, for recreation projects. Both entities asked for a two-year extension in which to incur expenses under the grant as weather has prevented them from completing the projects.  Motion was made by Sobanja, seconded by Johnson, and carried to grant a two-year extension to the Park & Recreation grants given to Cascade Lodge and Velo Marais.


Powers reported that Cook County received a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to use as start up funds for the local energy initiative project.  $4,000 will be given initially, an additional $4,000 will be given upon receipt of an interim report due January 15, 2009, and $2,000 will be received following a final report.  Motion was made by Sobanja, seconded by Johnson, and carried to accept the $10,000 Energy Grant Project funds from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Powers will research the local energy initiative organizational structure prior to distribution of funds, to insure that they can legally receive said grant money.


The Commissioners noted that a Joint Grand Marais City Council/County Board meeting would be held on June 24, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Room at the Cook County Courthouse to discuss issues of mutual concern.


Brian Silence, Maintenance Director, appeared before the Board.  Silence reported that he received three propane quotes.  All three quotes were given at 7 cents over their base price cost, but that Superior Fuel locked in their quote at 7 cents for a full year and Como Oil and North Shore Oil would have fluctuating surcharges.  The Board discussed the manner in which propane quotes are developed.  Following discussion, motion was made by Sobanja, seconded by Fenwick, and carried to grant the propane quote to Superior Fuel at 7 cents over their base price cost, with a one year guarantee. 


There being no further business, at 11:45 a.m. a motion was made by Fenwick, seconded by Johnson, and carried to adjourn the regular meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and reconvene the 2008 Cook County Board of Equalization meeting.  Cook County Assessor/Land Commissioner Mary Black appeared before the Board of Equalization and reported that no additional citizens came to the Courthouse or contacted her, requesting to appear before the Board of Equalization.


There being no further business, motion was made by Fenwick, seconded by Sobanja, and carried to

adjourn the 2008 Cook County Board of Equalization meeting.




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