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Boreal Community Media

February 12 Board of Commissioners Meeting Highlights

Feb 14, 2019 02:35PM ● By Editor

Media Release from Cook County - February 14, 2019

February 12, 2019 – Following are highlights and key priorities covered at the Tuesday, Feb 12 Board of Commissioners Meeting: 

Additions/Adjustments to the Agenda 

• Moment of silence to honor the late Norman Deschampe, Tribal Chairman-Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa 
• Posting dual Highway Engineer Supervisor and Highway Engineer Technician II positions 
• Zigmund Subordination Agreement 

Public Comment Period 

• Arvis Thompson voiced her concerns over the YMCA bathroom project and asked for an update on the Jail project. Ms. Thompson wanted to know when the open public hearings would be taking place. 
• Russell Straub voiced concerns over the Duluth YMCA running the local YMCA branch and would like to see it owned and operated locally. 
• Rae Piepho voiced her concerns over the law report not being in the newspaper. Ms. Piepho is also concerned over the jail project and the system being used. Ms. Piepho was concerned over the square footage price of the bathroom project at the YMCA as well as concerns over the Duluth YMCA running the facility. Ms. Piepho doesn’t feel that the County should be in a 25-year contract for the maintenance of the YMCA. 

Consent Agenda 

All items on the consent agenda were approved unanimously: 

A. Claims 
B. Minutes of Dec 11, 2018 and Jan 22, 2019 Board Meetings 
C. Cook County Water Advisory Committee 
D. Road Use Permit for Lutsen 99er Mountain Bike Race 
E. Amend Credit Card Policy 
F. Permit for Lawful Gambling 
G. Relief Association Appointments 
H. Resolution to Support a Snowmobile Equipment Grant Application 
I. Revolving Loan Fund Committee Application 
J. Signature of Natural Resources Block Grant Financial Reports 
K. Annual Renewal for Heart of the Continent 
L. Road Use Permit for Le Grand du Nord Cycling Event 
M. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Cooperative Weed Management Areas- USFS 



Krysten Foster, Highway Engineer, brought the following items to the Board for action:
• Report to the Board on the Bridge Resolution that was passed in January. After participating in the County Engineers Association conference, Cook County received up to $952,000 towards the replacement of one of the two Flute Reed River Bridges on North Road due to the support of the Board.
• Federal Fund Exchange Agreement with St. Louis County. By receiving state aid funds from St. Louis County and trading federal funds towards their project, it eliminates the expense and time of preparing federal level documentation associated with the projects. St. Louis County is able to utilize the federal funds in 2019 and in exchange will compensate Cook County for our project estimate. Requested motion to approve a resolution for the agreement. Motion was made and carried unanimously.
• Posting dual Highway Engineer Technician Supervisor and Highway Engineer Technician II. Request approval for re-posting position as previous candidate has accepted another position elsewhere. The position would be advertised as a dual posting but only one position would be filled based on the top applicants’ qualifications. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 

Land Services 

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

• Increase full-time staff at the Recycling Center. Request that the agenda item be tabled until further research and documentation can be provided to the Board regarding the cost of the use of a temporary position vs. a permanent position. 

Bill Lane, Zoning Administrator, brought the following items to the Board for action: 

• Gravel pit review. The Mathisen Cliff Creek Gravel Pit conditions established in 1996 remain in place. However, during the 2018 construction season, some permit conditions were not met. Discussion ensued between Mr. Mathisen and the adjacent property owners and a decision made by the Planning Commission to approve the review process for 2018. The review process reengaged in 2019 to determine how the pit is operations are conducted, based-upon established conditions and constraints. 
• Zickrick Sawmill/Home Business conditional use permit. Mr. Zickrick requested an Interim Use Permit allowing a temporary sawmill operation and home business at this residence on the Gunflint Trail. The request was supported by adjacent property owners. The Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the Zickrick Interim Use Permit request to the County Board. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 
• Conditional Use Permit for construction of maintenance building. Cook County established an agreement with the Cook County Snowmobile club in 2002, for a trail maintenance hub on a County parcel within the Whispering Pine Plat. The Snowmobile club is requesting a Conditional Use Permit to construct a 2,160 square foot maintenance building on the property. The Planning Commission expressed no concerns and recommended approval of the permit by the County Board. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 
• Mit Lake Wireless Communication Tower. The United States Forest Service denied a permit request to build the tower on Lima Mountain. The proposed tower is needed to provide redundancy to the Public Safety Radio Network. Cook County has tax forfeited property adjacent to Mit Lake that meets the line of site criteria, at a height that does not require tower lighting. Planning Commission recommends the Board approve the conditional use permit to build the proposed communication tower. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 


Rena Rogers, MIS Director and Wayne Hensche, County Surveyor, brought the following items to the Board for action: 

• Public Land Survey System Corner Project. Request Board to authorize the allocation of $20,000 from the Recorders unallocated fund for the procurement of precise coordinate information for the Public Land Survey System corners. The Recorders Unallocated Fund comes from real estate transaction fees which are used to improve the delivery of property information online. Funds will be used to both purchase private survey information and to compensate Wayne Hensche for time spent on the project. The procurement of this information will provide precise electronic information on boundary lines and property information. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 

Auditor Report 

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

• Notice of Public Hearing. Requested approval for setting a date and publishing a notice of public hearing for the Department of Employment and Economic Development Small Cities Development Program Grant. This is for housing and small businesses in Lutsen that are in need of rehabilitation. The public hearing is required. Proposed time for the public hearing is March 12 at ten o’clock to be held in the Commissioner’s Room. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 
• Sale of tax forfeit land to the State of Minnesota. The State identified a couple of parcels of land that Cook County owns that are in the right of way and construction zone for the Highway 61 project. The land is a small 471 square foot parcel that the State wishes to purchase from Cook County. The State will pay the assessed value of $1,000 for the land. The land is unusable for anything else; therefore, request has been made for the Board for approval of the sale. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 
• Zigmund Subordination Agreement. Requesting the Board approve a subordination agreement for septic loan program for David and Nancy Zigmund. Applications for the program are recorded as a lien until the property owner’s bank funds the loan. The subordination agreement will allow the property owners to be placed in first place on the application in order to obtain financing from the banks. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 


Molly Hicken, County Attorney, brought the following items to the Board for action: 

• Hire Law Clerk Intern. Requesting Board approval to post for an Intern Law Clerk. The Attorney’s Office will be short staffed from May until August and would like to hire an Intern Law Clerk. This would be an unpaid position that would receive a living expense stipend that would come out of the Attorney’s forfeiture funds. The forfeiture funds are restricted and used to support law enforcement purposes and since the Law Clerk would be appearing in Court for the arraignment calendar, it is appropriate to use these funds. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 

• Larsen Brothers revolving loan fund delinquency. The Revolving Loan Fund made a loan to the Larsen Brothers in 2008 for $75,000. The loan was secured with a promissory note and a lien on a personal residence. The loan has been delinquent since 2016 and several attempts have been made to come to an arrangement with the borrower. Cook County has the option to either forgive the loan, foreclose on the personal residence or accept a parcel of land worth $45,000 the borrowers own and a $10,000 promissory note. Motion was made to close the meeting for discussion due to attorney/client privileges. After reconvening, motion was made and carried (4-1) to accept the land and promissory note. 

• Open Meeting Law presentation. The general purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to prohibit actions taken at a secret meeting where it’s impossible for the interested public to become fully informed and to avoid the making of decisions behind closed doors. 


Jeff Cadwell, County Administrator, brought the following items to the Board for discussion: 

• YMCA architectural review is focusing on the air handling systems, locker rooms and the drain and mechanical systems related to the pool. The architectural review will obtain and review plans of the as built drawings to help determine the needed improvements. The Maintenance Department’s building funds would be used for the architectural review. Motion was made and carried (4-1). 
• YMCA daycare project. The change in proximity of the bathroom will allow the occupancy of the daycare to increase, giving Cook County residents much needed daycare. Grant funds in of nearly $100,000 will be the primary source of funding for the project. If the grant is not used to complete the bathroom project, Cook County will lose the grant money. Motion was made by Commissioner Deschampe to table the project. The motion was not carried (1-4). Motion was made to approve the project and was carried (4-1). 
• YMCA scrubber purchase. The scrubber was put in the budget for 2019 and will be used to deep clean the tile floors in the pool and locker rooms. Motion was made and carried unanimously. 

Employee Concerns/Commissioner Concerns Commissioner Deschampe will not be attending the Association of Minnesota Counties Legislative Conference this week. 


The Board acknowledged the service of the following employees who celebrate work anniversaries in the month of February. 

Employee Anniversaries 

Timothy Nelson, Land Services 20 Years 

Sara Schoonover, Public Health & Human Services 1 Year 

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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