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October 23 Board of Commissioners
Meeting Highlights

Cook County  Lake Superior News
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COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA - October 23, 2018  (LSN) Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Oct 23 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Approve the Agenda
Motion was made and carried to approve the agenda with pulling item 7A, and adding 8E Arts and Culture Grants from the Consent Agenda for discussion later in the meeting. Approved as amended.


Public Comment Period
Mike Carlson encouraged people to vote in the upcoming election.


Consent Agenda

Motion was made and carried to approve the following Consent Agenda items: 

  1. Claims
  2. Oh, Ole Night Holiday Parade
  3. Cancel Fire Department Loan
  4. OHV Grant Resolution
  5. Cook County Curling Club Lease Agreement
  6. Liquor and Tobacco Licenses



Bailiff Position Approval
Judy Hill, HR Generalist, requested approval of posting of a part-time regular Bailiff position. This position works to provide bailiff duties during court proceedings. Motion carried.


WTIP Tower Lease & Fee Waiver
MIS Director Rena Rogers explained the history behind WTIP, tower ownership and the lack of consistent contracts. The proposed tower contracts formalize and quantify the value of the space occupied by WTIP broadcasting equipment on county towers. Arrangements have been made for WTIP to be paying the direct cost of utilities in all of the tower locations they have equipment on. The tower contracts were approved, and the tower lease was waived for the first five years of the agreement due the significant public safety value the local community media provides.


Parks & Trails Commission
Lisa Kerr, Land Commissioner and Denny Caneff - Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), addressed the Board and reviewed the proposal to reroute the SHT through Pincushion to avoid the current routing where the SHT shares a trail with winter cross country ski trails. Hiking and snowshoeing are incompatible with maintaining groomed ski trails. The proposed re-route places the Trail alongside the ski trail with two crossings. Motion was made and supported to approve the re-route. GIS and easement work will commence and come back to the Board when complete.

Kerr presented the basic elements of the Sawtooth Bluff Master Plan identifying the document as a planning document and not a project document. There are no commitments to individual aspects of the plan and each project would be considered individually. After the plan has been presented to the Grand Marais City Council, Kerr will be back to ask both the City and County to adopt the plan and to appoint the Joint Powers Board called for in the plan.


Revolving Loan Fund
Braidy Powers, Auditor-Treasurer, along with Hal Greenwood and Pat Campanero spoke to the history and purpose of the Revolving Loan Fund. The Fund was initially funded through State funds and has not been funded through local County dollars. 
More than six million dollars of projects have been funded through this process.


Administrator Update
Jeff Cadwell, County Administrator, indicated that Board Chair Ginny Storlie was selected as the MCIT Voting Delegate, and Commissioner Bob Deschampe was selected as the alternate.

The Board accepted the letter of retirement from Julie Berglund, Administrative Office Assistant in the County Administrator’s Office, after more than 24 years of service with the County. Her last day will be Nov 30, 2018. The Board also approved posting the vacancy to fill this position of Administrative Office Assistant.


Todd Smith was appointed County Assessor on Sept 27, 2016 but was sworn-in to the position January of 2017. Smith believed he had two years from the January date to attain his Senior Assessor Certification. However, the Department of Revenue considered two-year temporary appointment to run out Sept 27, 2018. According to the Department of Revenue, County Auditor Powers has the authority to designate Smith to perform the duties of Assessor for 90 days while he completes his certification.

The Cook County Budget Committee allocated $15,200 to support arts and culture grants for 2019. This is the same amount that was awarded in 2018. Three applications were received from the Art Colony, Northshore Music Association and Grand Marais Playhouse. Requests exceeded the amount available and grant amounts recommended by the Budget Committee were:

  • $9,200 for Art Colony
  • $2,000 for Northshore Music Association, and
  • $4,000 for Grand Marais Playhouse.

Motion was made to approve the recommendation of the Committee and passed by a vote of 4-1 with commissioner Deschampe voting against.


Representative Rob Ecklund, Senator Tom Bakk, Commissioner Mark Phillips, IRRR gave an update of legislative activity and IRRR activities for the past year, and a preview for 2019. They are in town every fall to meet with local officials, the public and to attend the Fall Gala.

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 

Fall Colours
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