Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today was my last City Council Meeting as Mayor of Grand Marais.  My term officially ends January 3, 2011.  I will miss being the Mayor. 

Thank you to all of the City staff, City employees, residents and business owners of Grand Marais for making our town a great place to live, work and visit.  Thank you for allowing me to represent you as Mayor and for making the job so rewarding.  I'm grateful for the experience and for everything I've learned. 

The conclusion of my mayoral term is bittersweet. On Tuesday, January 4, 2011, I will be sworn in as the Cook County Commissioner for District 3.  I look forward to representing District 3 (half of which is in the City of Grand Marais) and working for all the residents of Cook County.  If you're interested, check my new blog at

Happy New Year! 

Sue Hakes

Last City Council Meeting

Today's City Council Meeting was attended by Mayor Sue Hakes and Councilors Costello, Kennedy, Lenz and Sivertson.  Also present was Finance Director Kim Dunsmoor.  City Administrator Mike Roth and City Attorney Chris Hood were absent.

Open Forum
No member of the Public opted to speak at the Open Forum.

Consent Agenda
The Consent Agenda was approved with no changes.

2011 Legal Fees
Council unanimously approved a $5/hour increase in the hourly fees to be paid to Flaherty & Hood, the legal firm representing the City of Grand Marais.  This increase was to occur for the year 2010, but Flaherty & Hood postponed the fee increase until 2011 because of the significant cuts to the City's LGA (Local Government Aid).

2011 Mileage Reimbursement Rate
Council voted unanimously to accept the Internal Revenue Service 2011 Standard Mileage Rates to calculate the costs of operating an automobile for City Business.  The rate was increased by $.01 to $.51.

Council & Staff Reports
Kay Costello reported that she will attend the next (2) Library Board Meetings on her own behalf.  Kay's term as a City Councilor expires this term, but she is committed to making a seamless transition from her position on the Library Board to the new City appointee.
Bill Lenz reported that the roof on the Municipal Pool is complete.  The Pool will re-open Monday, January 3 for use in the hot tub, sauna and kiddie pool.  The main pool will take some time to warm up, but is anticipated to be ready to use mid-January. 

Mark Your Calendars
Wednesday, January 12 at 4:30 pm, City Council Meeting

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

City Council Meeting with Budget and Levy Public Hearing

Mayor Hakes and Councilors Costello, Kennedy and Lenz were all present for today's City Council Meeting, as well as the Budget and Levy Public Hearing. Councilor Sivertson was absent. Also present were City Administrator Mike Roth, Finance Director Kim Dunsmoor and City Attorney Chris Hood (via telephone).

Open Forum
Maggie Barnhard, Events Director for the Cook County Events and Visitors Bureau, came before the Council to share plans being made for Cook County Winter Festival scheduled for February 4-13, 2011. Cook County Winter Festival is a winter festival that builds on winter activities already occurring in the County and provides a unique opportunity to enhance our brand message by incorporating all the ways residents and visitors can "Do North". Events will include a) Cook County Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club Fun Run, b) Easter Seals Snowarama Snowmobile Event, c) Lutsen Family Fun Fest, d) Volks Ski 400, e) The Bearskin Pursuit: Man vs. Dog. Snow Sculptures in Harbor Park will also be part of the Festival and Barnhard requested permission to use Harbor Park for this event. She also requested an in-kind contribution of $500 in the form of labor and equipment to build (4) blocks to be used for snow sculpturing. Council supported this event and approved the City's contribution unanimously.

Consent Agenda
The Consent Agenda was approved with minor corrections.

Planning Commission Report
Council unanimously approved a Conditional Use Permit request from Karen Holte/Randall & Cheryl Woodward to operate a bed and breakfast as a boarding house at the Holte property located in the R-1 district. The building is currently operating as a bed and breakfast under a conditional use permit that requires a new conditional use permit to continue after a sale. The potential new owners are not proposing any changes to the operation.

2011 Budget Discussion
Mike Roth presented the Council with a list of the risk factors to be considered before setting the final budget and levy for the City of Grand Marais. The largest risk to the City's budget is the unknown cuts in State Aid (LGA and MVHC). Although the State has informed the City that they have certified the full amount of $204,396 for LGA and MVHC combined, it is highly unlikely that this amount will actually be received. Knowing this, City Staff and the Council, built the budget around the amount received in 2010 of $111,577. The State is reporting a $6 Billion deficit for 2011, so the $111,577 is still at high risk. Other risk factors include to-be-negotiated wages, aging building and mechanical repairs (including a possible boiler replacement) at the pool, other. On the brighter side, the Rec Park continues to provide good income with projected revenues over $700,000. Gunflint Hills had a decent year showing a ~$10,000 loss in a declining golf market.

Budget and Levy Public Hearing at 6:00 pm
No member of the public attended the Budget and Levy Public Hearing

Certification of the Final Levy
Council adopted Resolution 2010-16 certifying the final levy at $825,997.43. This is a 3% increase which amounts to $23,340.05.

Council & Staff Reports
Tim Kennedy reported that there will be (2) public meetings held this month. The first is 12/9 at 7 PM in the County Commissioner's Room to provide information and solicit input regarding the Biomass Energy Feasibility Study. The second is 12/14 at 5 PM at the Community Center on the Joint City/County Energy Plan. Kennedy also reported that the PUC will not be raising rates for electric or sewer in 2011. There will be a slight increase in water rates.
Bill Lenz reported that the Park Board has been working on 2011 Rec Park Rates. There will be modest increases in some areas. Lenz also reported that the Community Center Steering Committee is reviewing Architect proposals tomorrow.
Kay Costello reported that the Library Board met with DSGW to review preliminary plans for the Library expansion. She also reported that she was interviewed by AEOA personnel regarding homelessness in Cook County. (Mayor Hakes and Mayor-elect Larry Carlson noted that they were also interviewed.)
Sue Hakes reported that she has received multiple complaints regarding icy sidewalks both along the harbor and in residential areas.

Mark Your Calendar

Wednesday, December 29 at 4:30 PM, City Council Meeting
Wednesday, January 12 at 4:30 PM, City Council Meeting
Wednesday, January 26 at 4:30 PM, City Council Meeting