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Boreal Community Media

November 13 Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

Nov 15, 2018 03:06PM ● By Editor

November 13, 2018 – Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Nov 13 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Approval of Agenda
Motion was made and carried to approve the agenda with the exception of pulling items C and H from the Consent Agenda for discussion later in the meeting, and to add an item regarding legislative priorities for the Arrowhead Counties Association meeting Nov14, 2018. Revised Agenda approved.

Public Comment Period
Arvis Thompson appeared before the Board regarding Discretionary Funds in the proposed Budget and concerns regarding retention of residents.

Consent Agenda
Motion was made and carried to approve the following Consent Agenda items. 

  1. Claims
  2. Minutes, Oct 9, 2018 and Oct 23, 2018
  3. Approve hiring of Bailiff
  4. Approve life insurance benefits for part-time staff
  5. Acceptance of donation to Sheriff’s Office
  6. Grant-in-aid Permit Renewal
  7. Billboard Lease Agreement


Parcel Abatement
County Assessor Todd Smith, appeared before the Board regarding abatement of parcel #55-331-2200 reduction in value due to agreement from the Tax Court case affecting pay for 2017 and 2018 and change for 2019. Motion was made to accept and carried.

Short-Term Vacation Rental (STVR) Classification

Short-Term Vacation Rental (STVR) Classification
The Cook County Assessor’s Office including Assessor Todd Smith and Bob Thompson, discussed the implementation of a 2019 Classification Change for Short-term Vacation Rentals in Cook County, which will be realized/payable in 2020. Many properties currently being listed and rented through short-term vacation rental sites such as VRBO, Airbnb, HomeAway, etc., are currently classified as Seasonal Recreational and will be changed to Residential Non-Homestead. Around 300 STVR cabins/house properties, in addition to over 320 resort units who list through VRBO, have been identified and will be affected by the change – notification from the Assessor’s Office and Land Services will be distributed soon, along with additional public communication. Changing the classification will keep a greater portion of the taxes that currently go to the State, here in the County and in some cases property owners may see a reduction in actual taxes. The Assessor’s Office regularly updates, and will continue to update, the list of parcels available for short-term rentals in the County. Cook County has done an extensive amount of research across the State with other jurisdictions, and with the Department of Revenue to develop the appropriate classification. Cook County is among the highest occurrence of STVR counties in the State and is leading the way on this topic to develop consistencies in classifications and licensing. Counties across the State have been struggling with how to address this growing issue.   


Auditor-Treasurer Items
County Auditor & Treasurer Braidy Powers requested approval to seek annual legal newspaper bids for the publication of legal notices. Motion carried.

A Firewise service contract is being updated due to a change in the name of the company providing the service. Motion to approve was carried.

Coroner Services Contract
In response to the cancellation of the current Coroner Contract with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and departure of Dr. Stover, the County authorized the expansion of the current Medical Examiners Contract with Anoka County to include autopsy and coroner services. The transfer of services will begin Jan 1, 2019.

Historical Museum Society
Carrie McHugh gave an overview of the annual traffic to the Historical Museum and an overview of the scope of the archives that the Historical Society maintains. The basement of the Historical museum has flooded twice in the last year. Long-term, the Historical Society needs additional, appropriate archival storage to mitigate the potential for loss. In the short term, the Board accepted a bid from Northern State Basement Systems to provide drain tile and sump pumps to reduce the likelihood of water in the basement and to preserve the foundation of the building. Contract is in the amount of $11,914. 

YMCA Programming

Emily Marshall of the YMCA, gave an update of YMCA operations and programming. She highlighted childcare services which were not originally in the program when the Cook County YMCA opened. Childcare services were added due to community needs, and the YMCA daycare center is currently licensed for approximately 40 children including infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The space being used for toddler and preschool daycare currently does not have any bathroom facilities which creates a challenging situation as children need to be escorted through hallways to use the existing facilities. 

ARI was contracted to design appropriate child-sized bathrooms for the space and the YMCA is currently looking for grants to pay for the improvement. Once the project has been finalized and the grants have been secured, the YMCA will ask the County Board for permission to modify the facility and to provide any matching funds needed for the project. The project is estimated at approximately $100,000; the YMCA can secure up to $80,000 in grants.

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Update

County Administrator Jeff Cadwell reviewed the progress of the projects and spending from the CIP Bond 2018A. A specific financial update will be provided soon; however, it appears that projects are being completed within the scope of the project estimations and it is hoped that all projects and bond proceeds will be completed in 2019.

After all bids for the Hovland Public Works project were rejected earlier this year, alternative methods for completing this project were considered. Cadwell worked with Sourcewell to identify a contractor who would be willing to construct the project using state-bid-compliant costing. Kraus-Anderson submitted a bid for the project that was $200,000 less than the low bid received in June 2018, but it was still above the budget for the project. The Board voted to reject the proposal from Krause-Anderson and rebid the project in early 2019.

Bids for the Courthouse and LEC windows were opened on Nov 8, 2018. Options and alternatives provided during that process will be reviewed and a recommendation to proceed will be presented to the Board on Nov 27, 2018.

Financial Management Plan

Administrator Cadwell and Auditor Powers worked with Ehlers to update the County’s Financial Management Plan. Final 2018 budget and actual bond numbers for the Capital Improvement Bond 2018A. Assumptions related to possible future capital projects were updated and ranges for levy, interest, and cost of living increases have been adjusted to current projections.

Budget Committee Update
Administrator Cadwell summarized the work of the Budget Committee to-date and reviewed the remaining schedule for budget approval. The Budget Committee is scheduled to meet on Nov 13. The annual Truth in Taxation Meeting is scheduled for Nov 29, 2018, at 6 pm at the Courthouse in the Commissioners Room. The Budget Committee is working with current Department Budgets to meet the preliminary levy goal set by the Board in September.

Employee Milestones

The Board recognized County staff who celebrate their employment anniversaries in November.

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]


Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here