County endorses offer on former public health buildingThe former Carlton County Public Health building at 30 North 10th St. in Cloquet may soon have new life.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
The former Carlton County Public Health building at 30 North 10th St. in Cloquet may soon have new life.
At Monday’s meeting of the Carlton County Board, commissioners approved the top bid for the sale of the building, which has been vacant since the Public Health Department moved into the new Community Services Building in fall 2011.
Carlton County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert informed commissioners that the top bidder was Nick Siltanen of Cloquet with a bid of $129,700. Also submitting bids were Richard Vukonich and Marty Ketola. Gassert explained that Siltanen had some additional issues to be resolved regarding the building’s boiler inspections, elevator and back parking lot, all of which Gassert said should be resolved in a matter of days. He explained that Siltanen will now have 45 days to secure financing for the purchase of the building. If that deadline is not met, the county would then move on to the next highest bidder.
In other business to come before the board on Monday, commissioners approved a liquor license for Jon Sabick of Esko Liquors. Sabick, former proprietor of Piedmont Bottle Shop in Duluth, plans to open a liquor store in the building located at the northeast corner just off the I-35 exit that has sat empty since the previous owner declared bankruptcy. The license has already been approved by the Thomson Township board and must now be signed off on by the Carlton County attorney and sheriff and Sabick must provide proof of insurance.
The board approved a consultation agreement with the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation to evaluate and measure the outcomes of the TXT4Life program, which allows young people contemplating suicide or involved in some other crisis to text for help to trained consultants. Carlton County has led the way in this initiative, which was recently approved for state-wide use in the state of Minnesota. Dave Lee, director of Carlton County Public Health and Human Services, said the cost of the consultant will be covered by the grant that funds the TXT4Life initiative.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to waive the septic system application fee for a Wrenshall resident whose home was destroyed in the 2012 flooding. Lutheran Social Services is assisting the man, who is disable and retired, to build a new home, and he stated in a letter to commissioners that waiving the fee would be a great help to him as he seeks to rebuild his home and his life. Board members agreed that such a fee waiver would be appropriate considering the man is facing so major a rebuild. Drew Digby, regional long-term recovery director, pointed out that the same gesture has already been extended to other flood victims as well.
Jim Nynas of the Carlton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) requested that the board agree to act as guarantor for a grant application the SWCD has submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help fund the proposed construction of a new building that would house the SWCD and various other agencies. Nynas explained the loan process is also under way, but since the USDA has no previous experience with granting loans to a SWCD, they continue to request new information and guarantees, even though the loan application was submitted back on July 12. The board agreed to act as loan guarantor, with the understanding that if the SWCD is unable to obtain land for the project, the loan will not go through.
Finally, the board approved the 2013-14 Public Health fee schedule. The largest increase was in the cost of vaccinations, which will go up from $14 to $20.