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January 23rd Regular Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

David Eckel  receiving Award from Rachel Espe Lake Superior News
#LSN_News  David Eckel  receiving Award from Rachel Espe

COOK COUNTY, MINNESOTA  January 23 2018 –   (LSN)  – Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Jan. 23 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Public Comment

No citizens were present

Consent Agenda
All items following were approved:

  • Claims
  • Tofte Transfer Station Attendant Position Hire
  • U of M Extension Committee
  • CC Community Center Board of Trustees
  • National Resource Block Grant Agreement
  • Mountain Bike Connector Trail Bids
  • Raffle Permit Request
  • After discussion, the reappointment of Scott Harrison to the Economic Development Authority Board was approved.

Gravel Pit Review

As presented by Zoning Administrator Bill, the 12 active gravel pits permitted by Cook County are subject to an annual review by the Land Services Department and representative Commissions. The Planning Commission approved 10 of the reviews on Dec. 13, 2017, and as per a Land Services' request, agreed to allow more time to address pit concerns and/or permit modifications at the LaBoda/Kemp Pit and the Mathisen Cliff Creek Pit, during the spring of 2018. The Planning Commission requested approval of the 2017 Gravel Pit Reviews, while acknowledging two of those pits will be evaluated at a later time when landscape conditions allow. The motion carried and was approved as presented.

Zone Changes

On Dec. 13, 2017, the Cook County Planning Commission approved the rezoning of six parcels from FAR-1 to FAR-3, on properties (roughly) proximal to the Camp 20 Road (hereafter: Hong Hill). The properties have been in place since 1946, and include acreage ranging from 5 to 15 acres (average size 8.9 acres) to address two significant issues. First, some of the cabins are on the wrong properties; second, the FAR-1 zoning (minimum 20-acres) precludes the ability to adjust property boundaries (as per the Cook County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances) and to assign errant cabins to the appropriate property owners. The rezoning will allow a "fix" of that ownership dilemma.

The Planning Commission asked the Board of Commissioners to approve this rezoning action, as a prelude to property, structural, and ownership adjustments by the ownership groups of Hong Hill. The Motion was carried and approved as presented.

Community Center Skating Rink & Warming House Improvements

Diane Booth, Director - Community Center and MN Extension Service, brought skating rink and warming house improvements to the Board. The Hockey Association would like to add on to the hockey rink and the warming house and will donate $32,000 towards the project but is requesting that $194,300, for capital improvements to the warming house space and concrete curbs be added to the bonding request for the Cook County Community Center Park Improvement Project bringing the $205,713 request to a total of $400,013 in bonds. The motion was carried and approved to add this to the Proposed Transportation Tax & Capital Projects Bond. 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.

Safety Achievement Award

The first-ever Safety Achievement Award from the Cook County Safety Wellness Committee was presented to David Eckel of the Maintenance Department, for his contributions to employee/workplace safety. Rachel Espe and Judy Hill presented the Award to Eckel on behalf of the Safety & Wellness Committee. (Photo attached receiving Award from Rachel Espe.)

Auditor’s Payments

County Auditor & Treasurer Braidy Powers brought a resolution to the Board regarding the Auditor’s Warrants to Pay regular claims for the third Tuesday of each month, following the Board’s decision to eliminate a regular Board meeting on the third Tuesday of each month. This will allow vendors to continue to receive payments on the current regular schedules.  The motion was carried and approved. 


Highway Department Positions

A motion was made and carried to approve the job description for the Highway General Foreman and to promote interim General Foreman Charlie Sawyer to fill this position. Sawyer has been acting in the position for several months.

A motion was made and carried to approve the job description for the Maintenance Supervisor and to advertise to fill this vacancy. 

Labor Negotiations

County Administrator Jeff Cadwell brought agreements reached with the Cook County Employee Association (CCEA) to the Board approval.  A list of provisions for the CCEA include:

  • Three-year contract,
  • Adoption of the recommendations of the Keystone Class/Comp study,
  • Proposed wage scale, 2.5% increase in each of the three years,
  • Change in cost-share for health benefits to 80/20,
  • Addition of a longevity incentive for 10, 15 and 20 years of service, and
  • Synchronization of Paid Time Off Accrual schedules.

Motion was carried and approved to accept the CCEA contract as presented.

Update on Strategic Plan Process

Departmental meetings related to further development of the Strategic Plan will start this week.

Addition of Link to Corrections on website

Arrowhead Regional Corrections would like a link to their website link on the County’s website. This will be completed through the County’s MIS Department.

National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislation Conference

The NACo Legislation Conference which will be held in Washington DC, March 3-7 this year, was deferred to be discussed at Feb. 13 Board Meeting.

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




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