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November 21 Board of Commissioners & Committee of the Whole Meeting Highlights

Nov 22, 2017 02:15PM ● Published by Editor

November 22, 2017 – Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Nov. 21 Board of Commissioners and Committee of the Whole Meetings: 

Public Comment Period
The Cook County Board of Commissioners heard concerns from a few attendees during the public comment period. Misinformation about the “pictometry machine” or program was once again addressed, concern about the affordability of the proposed property tax levy was addressed, and questions about the budgeting process were raised.

What is Pictometry and why is it important to the County?
The County is not purchasing a “pictometry machine.” Pictometry is the name of a patented aerial image capture process used to acquire high resolution aerial photography for GIS and map data, and is the name of the service. Cook County, in partnership with other cost-sharing partners including USFS, Grand Portage, the City of Grand Marais, Arrowhead Electric Cooperative Inc., and others, is contracting with Pictometry (an EagleView Company) to have the aerial image database used in a number of county services and programs that relies on GIS and map data, updated in the spring. Having accurate map and GIS data is critical for many services that the County provides impacting nearly every department. Having accurate data reduces costly fieldwork and provides more accurate results.

Currently, this imagery is used daily in desktop GIS maps and hard copy map prints to support everything from public safety, land records, transportation, facilities, recreation, conservation, GIS data development, and more. This improved and updated imagery will be used inside new and existing web and mobile GIS applications such as those available from the County’s ArcGIS Online Site, mAPP, and the Zuercher Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system in the Sheriff’s Office. All the partners will utilize this imagery for operational and project work. This imagery is also available to businesses and the general public. Realtors are a big consumer of this information.

This is not the first time the County has done a Pictometry project. In fact, this is the third time; the last time was 2012. Changes in the landscape and to property over that time makes the current imagery less reliable. 

In the past, the County has footed the entire bill. This time we are working with these partners to reduce the cost to the County significantly and provide tools that help these other local groups do their jobs more cost effectively as well. 

Cook County Buffer Ordinance
Tim Nelson, Land Services Director, brought a request before the Board to adopt proposed Cook County Buffer Ordinance #61 that was unanimously forwarded by the Planning Commission. The Board had already authorized opting in to the Buffer Enforcement Program in June of 2017. The resolution was drafted and subjected to the public input process. The public hearing was lightly attended and there were no public comments submitted for or against the proposed ordinance. The Board unanimously approved the ordinance to be effective upon publication.

Job Description Revision – Administrative Office Assistant
County Administrator Jeff Cadwell brought a revised job description forward for the Board’s approval. According to Cook County policy, job description reviews can be requested by employees or their supervisors. The description was for the Administrative Office Assistant in the County Administrator’s Office. The job description had changed due to a reallocation of hours and duties and addition of new software systems that the employee will be responsible for managing. The revised job description was approved unanimously.

Committee of the Whole Meeting

At the Committee of the Whole, the Board heard a history of the acquisition and development of the Superior National Golf Course provided by Scott Harrison and Howard Hedstrom. The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) budget request was also reviewed within this context.

Truth in Taxation Public Meeting

Commissioners and staff reviewed the agenda, format and materials to be used for the Truth in Taxation meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 27, at 6 p, in the County Courthouse. It was noted that Truth in Taxation is about the proposed budget and levy for the coming year. Property valuation is not a part of this conversation. Questions about valuation should be directed to the County Assessor’s Office.

Discretionary Non-Profit Requests
The list of discretionary non-profits requests was reviewed. This year, a subcommittee of the Public Health & Human Services Advisory Board reviewed the applications and made recommendations based upon community public health needs. The majority of requests address public health needs within the community. The Board had previously set a target budget of $157,300 which is 2% of the current year’s general fund levy.

Discussion and decisions about the EDA, discretionary and other budget items will continue at Board Meetings scheduled after the Truth in Taxation meeting.

 Full details of Board Meetings are available through video footage, Agendas and Minutes at www.co.cook.mn.us. County Board Meetings are open to the public.


Contact: Jeff Cadwell, Cook County Administrator, 218-387-3687 or jeff.cadwell@co.cook.mn.us

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