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January 16th Committee of the Whole Meeting Highlights

Cook County MN  January 16   Lake Superior Newxs

COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA  January 16 2018 –   (LSN)  
 Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Jan 16 Committee of the Whole meeting. New in 2018, Committee of the Whole meetings are taking place at 5 pm on the third Tuesday of the month, rather than at 1 pm, and allows for public comment and question.

Several members of the public in attendance asked questions about Commissioner assignments and County Board procedures. Board Chair Ginny Storlie facilitated a conversational approach to these questions and a good discussion was had.

Roadside Vegetation & Firewise Standards for Emergency Vehicle Access
Todd Armbruster, Cook County Firewise Coordinator, brought forward a request that the Board consider adopting Firewise Standards to roadside vegetation to potentially improve emergency vehicle access to development off of the county road system. He suggested that one opportunity was to include Firewise Brushing Guidelines into any future Subordinate Governmental Service District (SGSD) agreements. General consensus was that specific language should be developed and brought to the Public Safety and Transportation Committee for further discussion.

Bonding List: Transportation Tax & Capital Projects
Administrator Jeff Cadwell reviewed the proposed schedule, process and projects for consideration in the proposed Capital Improvement/Equipment Bond. Auditor Braidy Powers reviewed the qualifications and limitations for both Capital Improvement and Equipment Bonds and gave an update on collections from the recently authorized ½% Transportation Sales Tax. $6.3 million of the proposed $8.3 million-bond is for Transportation Sales Tax-authorized projects. The list has been modified to include bridges that have been moved to a higher priority. Proposed capital projects include:

  • $300,000 for deferred Courthouse and Law Enforcement Center maintenance and repair, including windows and roofing,
  • $400,000 for Community Center Park improvements to playground equipment and the skating rink, and
  • $845,000 for a proposed new Public Works facility in Hovland to replace the current facility that has exceeded its useful life.

Equipment bonds would be used to pay for updated countywide Pictometry and updates to Law Enforcement 911 Dispatch hardware and software. Once the list is finalized, there will be a public hearing for public comment on the proposed list of projects, and on the use of general obligation bonds to finance these projects.

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