The 2019 proposed levy increase dropped to 2.98 percent due to a change in the Carlton County employee's health insurance costs. The 2018 payable levy was $26.64 million and the levy to meet the 2019 budget is $27.43 million. The difference is $266,356.

Outgoing District 4 Commissioner and current chairperson Susan Zmyslony thanked all involved during the final County Board regular meeting of the year Wednesday, Dec. 26.

The 2019 levy was finalized Dec. 26. Zmyslony has been urging the departments to find ways to cut costs during the year and was thrilled to discover it dropped from the estimated 4.5 percent in September to 2.98 percent.

The commissioners authorized contracting for legal support due to the recently discovered Brady issues that caused many cases to be dismissed by the county attorney. County Coordinator Dennis Genereau said they found an attorney in the Twin Cities area they are interested in who has experience working cases involving "Brady issues."

Cloquet Police Officer Scott Beckman entered into a separation agreement with the city in December. Eighteen court cases involving Beckman have been dismissed and the County Attorney's Office was reviewing an additional 25 cases as of late December.

The Twin Cities attorney's name was unavailable because a contract hasn't been finalized. Acting Carlton County Attorney Jeffrey Boucher claimed the attorney is one of the best in the state, but unavailable until 2019.

Carlton County Attorney-elect Lauri Ketola also reviewed the attorney, but would not comment until she is able to review the cases after taking office Monday, Jan.7.

Ketola's wage was set at $115,019. Genereau said that will put her above the bottom three lowest-paid counties similar in size to Carlton County.

The meeting ended with Zmyslony reading a heartfelt farewell to county employees and commissioners. She thanked everyone for the hard work over the four years she has been on the board and on bringing down the final levy.

She urged the county to find a way to livestream the County Board meetings so residents can become more involved.