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Cook County Board approves budget with levy increase

The Cook County Board on Tuesday approved, by a 3-2 vote, the county’s 2018 budget with a tax levy increase of 17.5 percent.

The final levy approved by the board on Tuesday was a decrease from the initially proposed 19.9 percent. The decrease was due to cutting nonmandated entities, reducing highway equipment expenditures by about $270,000 and adding revenue for human services in the county’s general fund, according to the county.

County Administrator Jeff Cadwell previously told the News Tribune that the proposed 19.9 percent increase would equal about $5 per month on every $100,000 worth of property — and that after the large increase in 2018, the county is expected to have tax levy increases of about 4 percent beginning in 2019.

During Tuesday’s county board meeting, several residents spoke in favor of and against the budget and the board’s work.

WTIP radio in Grand Marais reported that Commissioner Robert Deschampe voted against the levy because he felt it was too high, while Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk voted against it because she felt the 19.9 percent increase was in the best interest of the county.