Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

November 27 Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

Nov 28, 2018 01:50PM ● By Editor

Media release from Cook County - November 28, 2018

Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, November 27 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Approval of Agenda
Motion was made and carried to approve the agenda as presented.

Public Comment Period

Several people addressed the Board during public comment on topics ranging from the proposed Interim Use Permit on the agenda to the proposed Jail/LEC addition.

Consent Agenda

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

  1. Claims
  2. Minutes, Nov 13, 2018
  3. Superior Trail Fall Races Permit
  4. Superior Trail Spring Races Permit
  5. Gunflint Mail Run Permit


Fueling System Repairs and Upgrade

Krysten Foster, Highway Engineer reported on necessary repairs and upgrade to the Gasboy Fuel System used by County and other public agency partner fleet vehicles. Motion was made and carried to approve the costs in the amount of $18,825.

Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Agreement

Valerie Marasco, Director - Emergency Management & Public Information, requested Board approval and signature of the 2018 Fiscal Year EMPG Grant Agreement. The EMPG program provides $15,881 towards emergency management costs.

Fire Alarm System

Brian Silence, Maintenance Director, provided a quote from Endresen Sound Company to replace the Courthouse fire alarm system panel, remote enunciator, smoke detectors and notification devices for a cost of $18,653. Commissioner Deschamps asked if there were alternative providers for the equipment. Administrator Jeff Cadwell explained that Endresen is the current system provider and that a change in supplier would require conversion of the entire alarm system. Motion was made and approved unanimously.

Interim Use Permit (IUP)

Planning and Zoning Administrator Bill Lane brought a request to approve an IUP for a home-based business to the Board for consideration. The Planning Commission respectfully requested approval of the IUP application submitted by Christine Day and Alisa Logan to establish a Home Business (meditation center) on their property within the R-1 Zone District. Duration of the permit shall not exceed one-year, with opportunities to submit a new application thereafter, contingent upon acceptable reviews by Land Services and the Planning Commission. After discussion, the resolution recommended unanimously by the Planning Commission was approved by the Board 3-2, with Commissioners Bursheim and Deschamps opposed.

Sawtooth Bluff Master Plan

Lisa Kerr, Land Commissioner/Parks & Trails Director, asked the Board to approve the final draft of the Sawtooth Bluff Master Plan and to re-appoint the Sawtooth Bluff Steering Committee to act as the joint powers board called for in the Plan. A motion was made and carried unanimously.

Sawtooth Bluff was recognized as a potential trail-head during the creation of the Cook County Comprehensive Trails Plan. In 2016, the City of Grand Marais submitted a designation application to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission and obtained Regional Significance designation for Sawtooth Bluff. Next step for the project was a Master Plan. In 2017, the County Parks & Trails Commission approved and began the Master Plan process by obtaining a STAR Grant, creating a Steering Committee and contracting with Arrowhead Regional Development Commission. The draft went through multiple public input opportunities both online and through public meeting, plus a technical review by Greater Minnesota Regional Parks & Trails Commission, where initial funding would be sought. County Parks & Trails Commission approved of the Final Draft at their September meeting and recommend it for approval by the County Board and City Council. Once approved by County Board and City Council, as this is a joint project, the next step will be to develop the Joint Powers Board to manage the project. Suggestion of potential to re-establish Sawtooth Bluff Steering Committee for Joint Powers Agreement as they have the background knowledge and provide good representation of County and City Officials, plus local residents on Old Ski Hill Rd.

Jail Study

John McNamara, Wold Architects and Engineers, and Sheriff Pat Eliasen presented a summary of the findings of the contracted Jail Study which included a review of the process, the current facility and future alternatives. The Core Planning group worked with Wold to determine a recommendation of the conversion of the current county Class I (72-Hour) Jail to a full Class III County Jail.

After discussion, the Board approved the contract with Wold to begin the Schematic Design Process in January 2019.

County Administration 

County Administrator Jeff Cadwell presented a recommendation from Wold Architects and Engineers that the county reject all bids for the replacement of the courthouse and LEC windows due to unexpectedly high costs. Bid specifications will be reviewed and rebid in 2019. Completion of the window replacement will take place in 2019. Motion was made and carried unanimously.

Cadwell also presented a resolution to appoint Anoka County and Dr. Quinn Strobl, Medical Examiner, for Cook County. This resolution is housekeeping after the Board previously approved the contract for Medical Examiner services earlier in November.

Cadwell asked the Board to authorize him to sign a Fire Marshal Permission for Inspection Form related to the licensing of the YMCA Daycare. Motion was made and carried unanimously.

Cook County Library Board
Steve Harsin, Library Director and several members of the Library Board presented the proposed 2019 budget, reviewed accomplishments for 2018, and presented highlights looking forward to 2019. Motion was made and carried unanimously to support the budget as presented.

Myhr Creek Ridge Scientific and Natural Area (SNA)
Amberbeth VanNingen, Northeast Regional Specialist with MN Department of Natural Resources, requested County Board approval for designating the 80 acres adjacent to Myhr Creek Ridge as a Scientific and Natural Area. If granted, the acquisition would likely close by April 2019.  The proposed addition is 80 acres in size and adjacent on its eastern side to the existing Myhr Creek Ridge Scientific and Natural Area (SNA). It borders private land on the other three sides. The addition, is covered by a Jack Pine woodland and rock outcrops that are contiguous with the communities on the existing SNA. This larger area has been identified by the Minnesota Biological Survey (MBS) as the Myhr Creek Ridge Site of High Biodiversity Significance. This area was identified by MBS because of the large complexes of fire‐dependent forests and bedrock outcrop plant communities. The site is one of only two occurrences of this complex of plant communities in the North Shore Highlands, an area more known for its hardwood forests. This 80-acre-parcel would be added to the existing SNA. Myhr Creek Ridge was first designated in 2004. It is accessible by County Road 69 (North Road) where there is a small pull‐off for parking.

SNAs are open to the public for research, education, and recreation such as hiking, snowshoeing, photography, and wildlife viewing. In addition, Myhr Creek Ridge is open to public hunting, picnicking, non‐commercial edible berry picking, and dogs under control. These same rules would apply to the addition.  Motion was made and carried unanimously.


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]


Upcoming Events Near You
Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here