Cass County now is looking at a 3.51 percent levy increase for 2017, down from the 4.9 percent higher preliminary levy the county board approved in September. The lower increase was made possible by the receipt of more grants for 2017 than originally confirmed, the wage savings for some offices sitting vacant for a time during employee turnover and some financial support from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
Cass County Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported the county is on track to bring in $1 million from the newly enacted transportation half-cent sales tax this year. This is the amount estimated that the tax could generate annually to help fund highway improvement projects over the next 10 years. It would be after the state deducts its costs to process the sales tax.
Cass County Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson updated the county board Tuesday, May 17, on some of the changes being made to the county capital improvement plan. There will be a public hearing on the plan at 9 a.m. during the June 9 regular board meeting at the courthouse in Walker. The county's costs for improvements to the south courthouse parking lot and curb, gutter and new connections to the city's sewer and water systems are expected to cost the county more than $300,000. There would be additional cost for the county to make connections to the city storm drains.
Cass County Engineer David Enblom obtained county board approval Tuesday, May 17, to begin right-of-way acquisition for the repaving project planned for County State Aid Highway 77 through Lake Shore in 2017. In conjunction with the county road project, the city of Lake Shore plans to develop a walking/biking trail adjacent to the road. Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk expressed concern about the possibility that eminent domain proceedings might be used if any landowner opposes right-of-way acquisition. He said he does
The Cass County Board named Kirk Titus to succeed Joshua Stevenson as Cass County land commissioner, effective May 9. And the board selected Heidi Tumberg to succeed Melanie Wolfe as director of business management at Health, Human and Veterans Services, effective July 5. Titus has been Crow Wing County land services supervisor/natural resources manager since 2009. His wife, Julie, teaches at St. Francis of the Lakes Catholic School in Brainerd. They have two grown sons.
Cass County Engineer David Enblom obtained county board approval Tuesday, April 12, to patch several paved roads this summer to prolong the life of those roads. Patches on these roads will range in length from 10 feet to close to 1,400 feet. Also approved was paving for the driveway at the new county highway garage being built this summer at Pine River. Roads scheduled for the patches include County State Aid Highway 1 near Pillager Lake and east of Pine River, CSAH 18 in East Gull Lake city limits, County Road 104 near Casino and CR 114 and CR 171 near Pine River.
Cass County commissioners set a timetable Tuesday, March 15, toward hiring a new land commissioner and a new county engineer. The board appointed Joshua Stevenson, current land commissioner, earlier this month to replace retiring administrator Robert Yochum. The search for a new land commissioner was to begin this week. The county board selected commissioners Jeff Peterson and Dick Downham to help county staff screen applicants.
Sandra Norikane will become Cass County's new chief financial officer May 16. She will replace retiring chief financial officer Larry Wolfe, who was hired to oversee the county's record keeping in the auditor's office in 1994. Responsibilities were added to his position through the years until he was named the county's first chief financial officer in 2007.
On a split vote, Cass County commissioners Tuesday, Jan. 5, decided against taking any position on the controversial Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposal to stock muskies in Gull Lake. Kevin Egan appeared before the board to ask the commissioners to pass a resolution asking the DNR to study the issue for two more years before making a decision. He said without support for a delay, the DNR is expected to make a decision this month or next month. Egan told the board the issue has strong proponents and opponents.
Cass County Board elected Jeff Peterson chair for 2016 and Dick Downham vice chair during the board's first meeting of the year Tuesday. The commissioners will hold their first meeting each month on the first Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m. All meetings will be held at the courthouse in Walker with the exception of election days, Aug. 2 (primary) and Nov. 1 (general), which will be held at the land department building in Backus. Second meetings each month will begin at 9 a.m. the third Tuesday from January through April