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Boreal Community Media

January 22 Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

Jan 22, 2019 05:13PM ● By Editor

Media Release from Cook County - January 22, 2019

Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Jan 22 Board of Commissioners Meeting:

Additions/Adjustments to the Agenda

  • Cook County Amateur Radio Team (CCART) Tower Contracts
  • Radio Communication Program Quarterly Report
  • 2019 DNR Snowmobile Grant Legal Sponsor

Public Comment Period

  • Mike Carlson thanked the Board for their work. 

Consent Agenda
All items on the consent agenda were approved unanimously: 
A.  Claims
B.  Minutes of Jan 8, 2019 Board Meeting
C.  Solid Waste License Renewals
D.  2019 Boards & Commissions List 
E.  Cook County Community Center Board of Trustees and U of M Extension Committee Appointments 
F.  Parks & Trails Commission Appointments



Krysten Foster, Highway Engineer brought the following items to the Board for action:

  • Fredenberg Creek resolution represents a partnership between the Soil & Water Conservation District and CC Highway Department to address a deficient culvert and to promote brook trout habitat on a segment of CSAH 1. Board approval requested in order to secure participation in a grant to help lower costs. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 
  • Bridge priorities resolution. Is a running summary of bridge needs specifically reflecting recent annual bridge inspection data. This is not a commitment of funds, but an acknowledgement of needs. This is also a process of prioritizing projects and potentially making them eligible for funding through various non-levy sources. Board approval requested for resolution. Motion was made and carried unanimously.
  • Irish Creek Subordinate Governmental Service District (SGSD) Winter Maintenance Update: There are no current contracts for 2019 although the Highway Department will be looking at possible contracts for next year.



Todd Smith, County Assessor brought the following items to the Board for action:


  • Abatement of Parcel 52-226-4420 related to valuation change as a result of a recent fire October 14, 2018. Local option disaster abatement, Thelma Hedstrom property. Board approval requested for abatement in order to lower the valuation of the property. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 


Land Services
Tim Nelson, Land Services Director brought the following items to the Board for action:

  • Initiate Zoning Ordinance Amendment. Board approval requested to make housekeeping changes to Zoning ordinance 10.04 and 10.06 to represent changes in state statute. Motion was made and carried unanimously.



Rowan Watkins, Radio Communication Analyst brought the following items to the Board for action:


  • Cook County Amateur Radio Team tower contracts. As a component of the Emergency Operations Plan as a back-up emergency communication system, Board approval is requested to waive the fee for space according to the tower ordinance. It will continue to be tracked but would not be billed. The organization is a not-for-profit group that contributes is willing to provide emergency communications when requested by Emergency Management and/or the Sheriff’s Office in the event of other communication system failures. Motion was made and carried unanimously.
  • Radio Communication Program quarterly report on activity and reinforced that the primary objective of the Radio Communications Division is to “maximize service while minimizing impacts.”
  • 911 redundancy in trunk fiber service to the County and redundancy to County building services. This fiber provides connectivity services for many County agencies and is intended to eradicate 911 outages.
  • ATT Sawbill, Hovland, Old Ski Hill projects could be completed in 2019.
  • Seagull Lake Tower project is slated for 2019 although MDOT is still seeking formal approval from the United States Forest Service so they can proceed.


Valerie Marasco, Director – Emergency Management & Public Information brought the following items to the Board for discussion and direction to proceed with legwork to implement:

  • Communications Strategies to improve public engagement and transparency in County operations.
  • Develop editorial schedule with Communications Committee and begin County column in the Cook County News Herald.
  • Develop public info page on the County website and include a section that allows responses to public comment, commissioner concerns and other questions about county policy and operations.
  • Research the possibility of conducting a citizen survey. 
  • Consider regular department updates as a component of regular County board meetings.
  • Develop a public meeting schedule for 2019 and identify opportunities for open meeting/town halls. 

Auditor Report
Braidy Powers, Auditor/Treasurer brought the following items to the Board for action:

  • 2019 DNR Snowmobile Grant Legal Sponsor. Board approval requested for resolution which is required by the MN DNR for state funding of county snowmobile trails. Motion was made and carried unanimously.
  • Report on cost of travel meal expenses. Auditor reported an estimated $11,364 was spent last year in meal expenses. This amount was at the current travel per diem of $37. If the County were to increase the meal per diem to the GSA rate of $55, it would be an estimated $5,500 increase to the budget. The Board referred this item back to the Personnel Committee for recommendations.

Employee Concerns/Commissioner Concerns
Commissioner Bursheim reported on the Restorative Justice Committee. The Committee currently has one case with a couple more cases referred. The purpose of the Restorative Justice Program is to allow persons to see the real impact of their actions and how it affects others. Commissioner Bursheim reports that there has been great success with this program.


  • Laurentian RC&D Letter
  • Lodging Tax Summary

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

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


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