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Commissioners set preliminary levy at 5.99 percent

Cook County Board of Commissioners 2018. Photo by Joe Friedrichs
Cook County Board of Commissioners 2018. Photo by Joe Friedrichs

There was a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, Sept. 11.

The biggest announcement or decision by the county board on Tuesday was to set the preliminary levy for 2019. This process was scheduled for later in the month, but due to some scheduling conflicts with the commissioners, they opted to vote on the preliminary levy at Tuesday’s meeting. After discussion, the board set the preliminary levy for 2019 to not exceed 5.99 percent. The Truth in Taxation meeting will be Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.

The board voted 5-0 to set the preliminary levy at 5.99 percent, which means it cannot go higher than that figure but it can go lower.

Commissioner Myron Burhseim made the motion during Tuesday’s meeting to set the preliminary levy.

Leading up to Tuesday’s meeting where the preliminary levy was set, there were a series of town hall meetings held throughout the county to discuss the 2019 budget. The last of these town halls was on Monday night Sept. 10 at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais. At that event, there were a number of concerns expressed by community members regarding the county’s budget and where the county spends taxpayer dollars. Among the concerns expressed were how much money the county spends on the local YMCA, the county’s policy on vacation rentals and the number of staff the county is considering hiring next year. Bursheim said he found the discussion worthwhile Monday night at the community center, but that one key aspect seemed to be missing from the dialogue: the fact essentially no one in attendance asked specifically about the 2019 levy. 

In more news related to the 2019 budget, County Administrator Jeff Cadwell said the county needs to speak with the city of Grand Marais to increase its share of expenses toward the YMCA, as well as renew the contract it has with the city regarding the YMCA. Cadwell said the county sent a letter to city officials regarding the YMCA contract and expenses. The county is budgeting for more than $100,000 in additional expenses for the YMCA in 2019, according to Powers, though that figure could change.