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County administrator shares update ahead of Truth in Taxation meeting

Cook County has been working with officials in Grand Marais, the Grand Portage Tribal Council, local townships and multiple partners in the healthcare and business communities to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impacts on the local economy, according to County Administrator James Joerke.

This collaboration has been highly successful, Joerke said, and has resulted in the county having the lowest case count in Minnesota for most of the year and heading into the holiday season.

Joerke shared these sentiments and other updates related to happenings in local government during a Nov. 24 meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

In budget related news for the county, Joerke said the $730,000 federal CARES Act funding that supported most of the COVID-19 response work in Cook County this year is expiring. With the expiration of the federal funds, the county is looking for ways to meet the increased need for contact tracing resulting from ongoing community spread of the virus, according to local healthcare officials. If there is no new federal COVID relief bill in 2021, it will be a challenge to continue the contact tracing activities that are so critical to keeping residents healthy and safe, Joerke said.

The county’s calendar is busy to start the new month in December. Up first is the annual Truth in Taxation meeting. This year’s meeting will be in a virtual format, starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 1.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Joerke about the latest in county news following the most recent meeting of the commissioners. The audio below is their conversation.