Around Cook County
At their Feb. 12 meeting, county commissioners did not
disagree with the notion that the Assessor’s Office has a lot of work
to do or that keeping more detailed property records is a good idea,
but they weren’t ready at their February 12 county board meeting to
grant Assessor Betty Schultz’s request for a new position in the
The Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) requires that counties
assess at least one-fifth of their properties – called a quintile –
each year so that all properties get assessed at least every five
years. The DOR is in the process of conducting a review of all
Minnesota assessor offices to gauge compliance.
Cook County has not been able to meet the quintile requirement for
years, and Assessor Schultz is trying to figure out how her department
is going to do it. She said the DOR has told her the county must be
in compliance within five years. “It’s a serious responsibility,” she
said. “Right now we cannot meet the requirements at the current level
In addition to increasing the number of assessments the department
will be doing each year, the county board has authorized Schultz to
gather more detailed information on all properties and implement a new
computer system to track that information.
The onsite assessment will involve measuring land elevations, views,
access, lakeshore footage, roadways, tillable soils, water, sewer, and
electric utilities, and buildings, including quality, condition, story
heights, open vault areas, age, decks and porches, differing uses
Each weekend WTIP news produces a round up of the news stories they’ve been following this week. A lawsuit to stop the Lake Superior region wolf hunts has been filed. There’s a new mining process being tested, Post Office woes in Duluth and a conversation with Rep. David Dill…all in this week’s news.
The North Shore Music Association invites the community to
the 2013 Local Musicians Showcase on Saturday, February 16 at 7:30
p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais.
The showcase includes Samuel Black on piano; Jane Howard on piano;
Pederson & Cora, a folk duo; Kent Johnson, acoustic guitar; Swamp
Donkey, psychedelic soul-rock and Cook County's Most Wanted, eclectic
blues and rock.
Tickets are $10 adults, $5 for students 18 and under. The event is
general seating, for sale at door or www.tix.com (no fees!)
Whether to work out project reductions with the lowest
bidders on the next phase of the Cook County Family YMCA building or
to re-bid the work was still in question after a discussion by the
county board on February 12. Wade Cole of ORB Management brought the
pros and cons to the commissioners after a conference call the day
before with attorney Ken Donovan.
When the bids for the next phase came in, they brought the project
cost to $1.96 million over its $9.5 million maximum. The Community
Center Steering Committee then came up with a list of how the costs
could be contained.
Attorney Donavon said there could be a legal risk if the county did
not re-bid the project. Companies that were not the low bidders could
take issue with not being able to re-bid when the project was changed
In the conference call, the attorney told the county representatives
that the need to re-bid or not depends in large part on the extent of
material changes within the project. Although there is no clear
definition of when a material change is large enough in scope to
require a re-bid, Mr. Donovan indicated that a 20 percent scope change
is sometimes used as a general rule.
After discussing the items that could be changed to bring costs down,
the attorney stated that the risk to the county was ‘not terribly
high’ and any second low bidder would have the burden of proof of
showing that the county had not done its due diligence.
Re-bidding the work would put the project behind about six to eight
weeks, bringing its completion into 2014.
Costs could also increase because of “reimbursables,” extra costs
PolyMet Mining announced Thursday that it has accomplished “numerous improvements” in solving potential environmental problems at its proposed copper mine and processing plant near Hoyt Lakes.
The Vancouver-based company said the advancements will reduce environmental impacts of the project, help ready its long-delayed draft Environmental Impact Statement for release this coming summer and should help move the project along through permitting and toward construction.
Company officials say the latest advancements include reductions in sulfur dioxide, mercury and greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater seepage containment and all water discharged from the project will be treated using reverse osmosis.
The North Shore Care Center is delighted to offer a special evening of music with The Sivertones tonight, February 14, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Sivertones will bring their eclectic mix of blues and jazz to the Care Center in a Valentine’s Day celebration.
Additional live music in February will be presented by the award-winning Portage band, Al Fuller, Susan Scherer, Myron Bursheim, and Harris Mills. The Care Center has become a venue for great music over the years. We thank everyone who contributes to the music and dancing scene—especially during these winter months to beat “cabin fever.”
For more information about activity programs or volunteer opportunities, please contact the Activity Department at 218.387.3518 or visit: www.nshorehospital.com.