The Itasca County Board of Commissioners met for a regular session on Tuesday, July 13. 

Commissioners voted 5-0 to adopt a water surface use ordinance for a slow-no wake zone on the North Bay of Johnson Lake (#31059600). The adoption of the ordinance is pending approval by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Safety is a concern for property owners on the North Bay of Johnson Lake. The east side of Johnson Lake is close to Highway 38 and residences and cabins heavily populate the east side. The North Bay is long and narrow, with properties circling all three sides of the bay.

“There are a lot of children that swim in the bay and a lot of families that recreate,” Commissioner Terry Snyder said. “We try not to regulate surface water and try to keep it fair and impartial to everybody, but in this case, it certainly warranted it.”

Mike Johnson of Grand Rapids spoke to the County Board as a representative of the Johnson Lake Association. The Johnson Lake Association voted unanimously to propose the adoption of a slow-no wake zone on the North Bay for the safety of swimmers and boaters in the bay. 

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County

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Coleraine Pedestrian Crossing System

A contract for construction of a pedestrian crossing system on Highway 169 in Coleraine was awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, TNT Construction Group, in the amount of $218,900. 

Only two total bids were received. The other came from KGM Contractors for $293,505. 

Both bids were substantially higher than the county’s initial estimate of $125,856. 

County Highway Engineer Karin Grandia said the cost of the crossing system was approximately double the cost of the county’s initial $33,000 estimate. The Minnesota Department of Transportation also requested that Itasca County be responsible for the removal of sidewalk on the north side of Highway 169, which added an additional $10,000 to the project. 

Grandia stated that she reviewed the bids with state aid. She felt the lowest bidder was still a reasonable award. 

“This money would come from our municipal state aid account. We have adequate funds there to pay for this, so it is my recommendation still to move forward,” Grandia said. 

Commissioners voted 5-0 to award the contract to TNT Construction Group and authorize signatures on the contracts.

Huber Engineered Woods easement

Commissioners approved an adjustment to an easement over tax-forfeited land to Huber Engineered Woods. The deferment period within the easement was extended from nine to 18 months to deal with land-related issues. The easement is for railway purposes over tax-forfeited land described as Government Lot 3, Government Lot 4 and the East Half of the Southwest Quarter all in Section 31, Township 56 North, Range 26 West.

COVID-19 Update

Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Eric Villeneuve provided a situational and informational update regarding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in Itasca County, including information regarding vaccination roll-out. If you have questions or concerns regarding COVID19, please call the Public Health Hotline at (218) 327-6784, visit www.co.itasca.mn.us or contact First Call for Help/211 at (218) 326-8565.

Commissioner Warrants 

Motion To: Approve Commissioner Warrants with a check date of July 16, 2021, 2021, in the amount of $2,587,358.03.

Consent agenda

Commissioners agreed to pull item #5.9 (Easement over Tax-Forfeited Land to Huber Engineered Woods), add the item as Item #6.7, amend Item #6.7 (Commissioner Warrants), and approve the agenda, as amended.

• Approved contract with Braun Intertec for Soil, Groundwater, and Soil Vapor investigation at the new Correctional Facility/Courts construction site.

• Approved contract with Braun Intertec for Special Inspection and Construction Materials Testing Services for the Correctional Facility/Courts construction.

• Authorized IMCare Director and County Board Chair to sign the contract between IMCare and Kreklow Dental PLLC. 

• Authorized Itasca County Health and Human Services (HHS) to use Honeywell, Inc. as the project manager to go out for bids on the Itasca Resource Center (IRC) Roof Top Unit (RTU) Replacement Project. 

• Awarded Contract 66322 for TH 2 / CSAH 63 Intersection Project to the lowest responsible bidder, KGM Contractors, Inc., in the amount of $927,662.17 and authorize the required signatures on the contract documents. 

• Adopted the Resolution Re: Cooperative Construction Agreement No. 07012021 between Itasca County and the City of Grand Rapids, which authorizes Itasca County to enter into the agreement. 

• Approved Highway Easement over Portions of Tax-Forfeit Land to the City of Deer River over and across tax-forfeited trust lands described as that part of the East 120 feet of Lots 13 and 14, Block 17, Plat of Itasca City for the appraised value of $276.00 and authorize necessary signatures. 

• Accepted attached land classification list and schedule a Fall 2021 Land Classification Meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 at 1 p.m. in the County Board Room.  

• Approved Recreational Trail License to the City of Cohasset across tax-forfeited land described as part of Lot 8; Section 23, Township 55 North, Range 26 West, and authorize necessary signatures.

Recognition of County Employees

The following employees were recognized:

Congratulations to Lee Nowling who accepted a job change from Social Worker, Family Services Division to Child Support Officer, Health & Human Services Department effective June 27, 2021. 

Welcome new employee Aaron Gabler, Highway Maintenance Worker, Transportation Department effective July 6, 2021. Welcome new employee Blake Thompson, Helpdesk Technician, MIS Department effective July 6, 2021. Welcome new employee Clint Chance, Highway Maintenance Worker, Transportation Department effective July 12, 2021. Welcome new employee Nicole Maki, Eligibility Specialist, Family Services Division, Health & Human Services Department effective July 12, 2021. Farewell to Carrie Sheehy whose last day as an Administrative Services Assistant will be July 14, 2021 after 19+ years of service.

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