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Boreal Community Media

October 9 Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

Oct 11, 2018 01:50PM ● By Editor

October 9, 2018 – Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Oct 9 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Approve the Agenda
Motion was made and carried to approve the agenda as presented. Remove item 4. C. 

Public Comment Period

Arvis Thompson appeared before the Board with a discussion about the Jail Study.

Consent Agenda
Motion was made and carried to approve the following Consent Agenda items with exception of pulling item F. for discussion.  
A. Claims
B. Cook County Board Minutes for Sept. 11 & 25, 2018  
C. SSTS Grant Signature  
D. Resignation letter from Dr. Stover re: Coroner Services  
E. NERAC By-laws Update   
F. Amend Per Diem Policy 
G. Approve Election Judges for Nov. 6 
H. Liquor and Tobacco License Application Approvals 
F. Item was pulled for discussion.  Motion was made and carried to table this discussion to a future meeting.


Law Library Fee
Molly Hicken, County Attorney brought forth a recommendation of the Cook County Law Library Board of Trustees reduce the Law Library fee from $15to $10 by resolution, effective Nov 11, 2018. Motion was made and carried. 

Land Exchange Update

Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken indicated the land exchange between Cook County and the United States Forest Service is not yet complete. The Cook County lands involved in this exchange are held in trust by the State of Minnesota. Due to a last-minute issue with the State of Minnesota’s deed of conveyance, the exchange is on hold until this issue is resolved. The recommendation to cancel the six land transactions was made. Motion carried.

Radio & 911 Communications Update

Rena Rogers, Director – MIS, updated the Board on a number of communications infrastructure topics including:

911 Redundancy:

  • Progress/status update on efforts by the State, Century Link, and NESC to eliminate a single point of failure that results in County-wide 911 outage.

Cell Service Projects:

  • AT&T and T-Mobile at various stages (structural analysis, site plans, tower modification, contract language, etc.) on co-location projects throughout the County. AT&T at the Sawbill, Hovland, and Old Ski Hill tower. T-Mobile at the Lutsen and MidTrail towers. Targeting 2019 build-out for all except T-Mobile at Lutsen where construction has already started.

Remaining MnDOT ARMER Projects:

Operational Work:   

  • Continue to move forward with contracts for our new and existing tenants. 148th Duluth Air National Guard, Mediacom, Sawbill Outfitters, WTIP, etc.
  • Regular site maintenance – site clearing at Bogus and Honeymoon, tower inspection at Midtrail, etc.
  • Radio Programming and tuning of all ARMER radios under the Cook County Participation Plan, just under 800 radios. Recommendation from MnDOT and the manufacture is to have it done every three years and starting this Dec. - Jan. is in line with that recommendation.

Bi-directional Amplifiers:

  • A technical solution we are exploring for improving the ARMER coverage along HWY 61 in the Hovland/Covill and Tofte/Schroder areas involves the use of Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs). Location and support structure requirements have been identified for the Hovland/Covill area, waiting for coverage study to be available and presented to stakeholders. We’ll be seeking a recommendation from the 911/Communications Committee once completed. Tofte/Schroder area still being designed.

Zoning Ordinance Amendments
Timothy Nelson, Land Services Director presented Zoning Ordinance Amendments: Request to accept the unanimous recommendation from the Planning Commission to adopt the proposed language amendments to the Cook County Zoning Ordinance. There are the four changes:

  1. A three-year sunset clause for any Conditional Use Permit not acted upon, to bring it in line with the current variance sunset clause
  2. The deletion of the list of additional considerations for “after-the-fact” variance requests since the Minnesota Statute changed with no longer provides a legal basis for the additional considerations
  3. A provision to set a deadline for the submission of written comments in conjunction with the public hearings related to the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment in order for the boards to have sufficient time to consider the material
  4. A provision allowing for the Chair of the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment to impose reasonable time limits in cases where there are multiple individuals who wish to comment on the same item so that everyone would have the time and opportunity to speak. A public Hearing was held on Wednesday, Sept12, 2018, received no comments from the public. Motion was made and carried to approve these language changes to the Cook County Zoning Ordinance. A request was also made to accept the resignation of David Seaton from the Cook County Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment, and to appoint Donald Fehr to the Board of Adjustment to fill the open position. Motion was made and carried to accept the resignation and appoint Donald Fehr to the Board of Adjustment.

2019 Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Grant 
Michaela Clingaman, Soil & Water Technician, presented regarding the 2019 Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Grant in the amount of $19,177.20, provided $1,187.20 in-kind Highway Department staff time match towards Cook County Invasive Team’s partner matches totaling $8,227.20.  Motion was made and carried to approve applying for the Grant. 

Revolving Loan Fund Exchange
Braidy Powers, Auditor-Treasurer requested approval of motion to accept a deed for land from Evelyn Larsen as payment-in-full of a promissory note from Brian and David Larsen for a revolving loan dated May 22, 2008, and in exchange for a release of mortgage from Brian and Jane Howard, held as collateral for the revolving loan. Motion was made and carried to have the Revolving Loan Committee relook at this issue



County Administrator Update
Jeff Cadwell spoke to the Jail Study completed by Wold Architects and indicated they weretasked with evaluating the space and program of the Cook County LEC and Jail. Given the operational costs of transporting prisoners out of the County the recommendation of the Study was to consider modifying the facility to accommodate a 12-month County Jail according to Department of Corrections standards. The cost-benefit to this recommendation shows operational savings in the first year of the switch. The long-term cost-benefit will be further explored in a follow-up cost-benefit analysis that the Board of Commissioners will have before they are asked to consider preliminary architectural design options for the facility. The number of beds and the size of a potential expansion were addressed in the Wold Study, but estimates would be further refined during schematic and architectural design.

The Annual Fall AMC District 1 District Meeting will be held on Thursday, Oct 11. The agenda for the meeting will include County updates and budget plans. The legislative platform that was developed at the AMC Fall Policy Conference will be discussed and prioritized by District 1 representatives. The legislative process will continue with the final adoption of 2019 Legislative Priorities at the AMC Annual Conference Dec 3-4, 2018.

Commissioner Concerns 

Commissioner Doo-Kirk read the employee anniversaries for the month of October and extended congratulations to the following staff:

Michael Running, Cook County Sheriff’s Office
Anita Jeziah, Public Health & Human Services
Pat Strand, Veterans Services Office
Katy Smith, Public Health & Human Services
Elis Walch, Public Health & Human Services
Joni Kristenson, Public Health & Human Services
Jeanne Monson, Public Health & Human Services 
Agne Smith, Public Health & Human Services
Robert Thompson, Assessor’s Office, and 
Heidi Akin. 

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



Contact: Jeff Cadwell, Cook County Administrator, 218-387-3687 or [email protected]