COOK – County Commissioner candidate Paul McDonald told the Cook City Council, last Thursday, of his plans to help expand county services in rural communities here if elected to the county board …
COOK – County Commissioner candidate Paul McDonald told the Cook City Council, last Thursday, of his plans to help expand county services in rural communities here if elected to the county board next month.
“Five to ten jobs with benefits would be a big boost to the community,” McDonald said. “When you talk about jobs, you are going to get jobs up here.”
The candidate is hoping to bring up to a dozen county health and human services jobs to Cook, if elected, utilizing unused space in old government properties and small hospitals to expand rural services.
McDonald said having those jobs in larger communities such as Duluth and Virginia defeated the purpose of serving the region’s smaller communities.
On the health front, McDonald said, small hospitals in Cook and Ely could house more mental health units to prevent people from having to travel to Duluth or in some cases to the Twin Cities, or even out of state.
“With the mental health crisis in our country right now, making six-to-eight-bed wings in each little hospital and using telemedicine with doctors and psychiatrists could help,” he said. “If we look at doing these mental health wings, number one it brings in revenue.”McDonald added that mental health patients are better served in familiar settings rather than far away.
On infrastructure, McDonald said he also wanted to see the county form a “citizens’ road committee” that would advise the county board in Duluth on what needed to be done.
“What better people to give advice than the people who are driving on the roads?” he asked. “We have to get as many roads done up here as we can.”
Falling liquor sales
A year-over-year comparison of liquor revenue in Cook revealed a $5,000 drop in sales in August over last year. Overall, year-to-date sales are down around $30,000.
“Did our sales dip because of the bigger, cheaper out-of-town liquor stores?” councilwoman Kim Brunner asked.
Council member Elizabeth Storm said locals needed to realize that buying liquor at the city-owned store helps underwrite other city services, such as water and sewer.
“We need to strategize and talk about marketing,” said City Administrator Theresa Martinson. She added she would be making calls to some of the stores that may be cutting into the city’s own sales.
In other city business, the council:
Gave permission to Martinson to work with the city attorney on potentially acquiring a plot of land that is attracting safety complaints from city residents.
Approved a request to apply for a grant giving the fire department funds for a new dryer.
Approved a grant application request to seek funds for renovating the library for better ADA access.