The mayor and city council of Cook have agreed to go without pay in order to delay an increase in local water rates. The move should save Cook, population 572, about $550 a month. The city faces rising water rates in part because it installed a new water tower and water and sewer lines in the past few years, said council member Jody Bixby.

“It’s the thing we get the most complaints about,” she said. The council members started talking about serving on the council and public service at last week’s meeting and decided it wasn’t about the small stipends they earn for their time, said Bixby.

“We enjoy being on the council,” she said.

The mayor makes $150 a month, and each of the four city councilors makes $100 a month. Their salaries will be suspended for 2016 starting in January.

matt mckinney @_mattmckinney



City wrestles with allowing goats, other small hoofed pets

Duluth officials are considering whether it’s OK for residents to keep small, hoofed animals as pets within city limits.

Current law doesn’t technically allow it, a city official said, but a proposed ordinance would give the OK to a maximum of three such animals, including sheep or pigs, so long as they are no larger than 30 pounds as adults and property owners meet certain requirements such as a minimum 2-acre lot.

The subject came up when the city received a complaint about a resident with Pygmy goats, said Keith Hamre, director of planning and construction services.

The city council has allowed chickens and beekeeping, but the definitions for small hoofed animals were ambiguous, Hamre said. “We wanted to get some clarity.”

The proposed ordinance came before the council last week, but it was sent back to the administration for more study.

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie



Anti-development group calls Thursday meeting

A new group that opposes Destination Medical Center — the taxpayer-supported plan to remake Rochester into an international destination for health — plans to hold its first meeting this week at the Rochester VFW Post #1215. An announcement in the Rochester Post-Bulletin says the 6:30 p.m. Thursday meetup is the first of a group called the Coalition Against the DMC.

“Help stop the tax-and-spend agenda of DMC,” the announcement reads. No name or phone number is listed. In 2013, the Legislature approved the 20-year project: $585 million in public funds for infrastructure fixes with $3.5 billion in Mayo investments, and another $2 billion in private investment.

matt mckinney @_mattmckinney