Study will help find out how many County jobs absconded to Duluth

How many St. Louis County jobs have been relocated to Duluth? How are our tax dollars being appropriated regionally? If a renewed push to answer these two questions comes to fruition, then it will be worth all the fighting to find out the truth.
Now joined by elected officials across the Iron Range, St. Louis County commissioner Tom Rukavina is no longer standing alone. He’s joined by fellow commissioner Mike Jugovich, and a unanimous vote by the 18-member elected officials on the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools.
We’re surprised St. Louis County commissioner Keith Nelson of Virginia has continued to throw up road blocks on this study and that he continues to side with the Duluth commissioners. Maybe he’s afraid of what the truth will reveal.
Ely and Virginia are perfect examples of how the county has been consolidating jobs in Duluth, taking families and school kids out of communities in the north half of the county.
Ely used to have six public works department engineers based here. Virginia used to have 16 people who operated the 911 system. Those jobs, and more, have moved to Duluth. This hurts our communities, our schools and feeds the division between north and south on the county board.
The county has 3,000 miles of roads it maintains with 1,480 in Rukavina’s district. Where are the engineers located? Look to Duluth. This doesn’t make sense, economically or politically.
What Nelson and the Duluth commissioners don’t want people to know is the money is also flowing south. The Range, defined by the taconite tax relief area, pays 62 percent of the taxes the county receives. But only 20 percent of the budget comes back to the Range.
We’ve heard the administration wants to run St. Louis County as a corporation and have all of the jobs in the county seat. But it’s not a corporation, it’s a county with taxpayers who deserve to get a fair shake.
Nelson and others on the board have characterized this issue as attempts “to split the county” and “cause divisiveness.” The people are seeing through this ruse and simply asking for the facts to be brought out into the open.
We believe the people have a right to know.