St. Louis County Board to discuss north-south split in Tuesday's - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

St. Louis County Board to discuss north-south split in Tuesday's meeting

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VIRGINIA, MN -

A divided Saint Louis County is on the table at tomorrow's County Board meeting.

Some say a north-south division will make things fair, when it comes to distributing tax money, but others are disgusted it's even up for debate.

It's not the first time someone suggested the state's largest county, got a little smaller, but St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson wants to stop that discussion in its tracks.

"If you don't think before you speak, this is what happens," he said.

After hearing fellow Commissioner Tom Rukavina asked state lawmakers to consider legislation dividing St. Louis County between north and south districts, Nelson says he drafted a resolution to shoot down that conversation.

"We are seven people, seven individuals that make up a board and it is the cumulative decision of those seven commissioners that should be going to the state legislature, not one commissioner," Nelson said.

Rukavina said he's simply trying to learn the facts so county voters can decide whether the county is better off in two parts. 

He said right now, it seems like Duluth has too much control over the county, and districts like his and Nelson's are losing out. 

"See the facts and if the facts are there once they're out and everybody sees the facts, then let the people vote," he said.

Rukavina said this discussion has been on the table off and on for the past 120 years so his request is nothing new.

He pushed a similar piece of legislation through the Minnesota house in 1996, but it was shot down in the Senate. Right now there is no physical piece of legislation in the works but Nelson said that's only because the session doesn't start up until the 20th.

As for Rukavina's claims of inequity between the range and Duluth, Nelson said that's an insult to the cooperation the board has seen over the past several years.

"On the very same day, that we're voting to bond for $46 million to build a new health and human services building up north a new county maintenance facility up in Cook, o the very same day to look Duluth commissioners and say somehow there's a problem with them?"

The board will discuss and vote on the issue at Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting, but the third Range commissioner Mike Jugovich said he's interested in hearing more before discussion is over. 

"I've got a lot of people saying, we're interested in this we should do this and my response is always, we need to get our information," he said.

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