WALKER—Cass County issued 972 land use permits through September this year, up from 955 in 2017, Environmental Services Director John Ringle reported to the county board Tuesday, Nov. 6. These permits were for new building construction and new private sewer systems. The number of variances the planning commission approved rose from 76 to 80 during the same period. The number of conditional use permits issued rose from 16 to 25.
WALKER—Cass County commissioners reported Tuesday, Nov. 6, all appointed department heads have achieved the requirements of their position in the last year. This follows closed county board meetings Oct. 9 and 16 during which the commissioners met individually with each department head for a personnel review.
WALKER—Cass County Board Tuesday, Nov. 6, approved a new program to help drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked to get a new driving license. The program does not accept those whose licenses have been canceled. Scott Atkinson of Diversion Solutions explained the program to the board, noting it already is being used in Crow Wing County and its cities. Thirteen percent of Minnesota drivers have a suspended or revoked license, Atkinson said.
WALKER—Cass County Economic Development Executive Director Mike Paulus updated the county board Tuesday, Nov. 6, on projects the nonprofit has undertaken in the last year. A program they named "Side Hustle" was designed to encourage a person who has $46,000 or less annual income and an existing hobby or side business to expand that hobby or side business into something that could generate $500 or more per month. Five of 11 qualified candidates continue to work with the EDC toward that goal, Paulus said.
WALKER—All Cass County 2018 highway construction projects were completed before the weather turned cold and cost less than the bid prices, County Engineer Darrick Anderson reported to the county board Tuesday, Nov. 6. Those projects included repaving on county state aid highways 12, 38, 61 and 66. The county also completed the two-year improvement to County Highway 77. There may be some work needed in the spring, he said, so final payments are being withheld until then.
BACKUS—Environmental Services Director John Ringle obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday, Oct. 16, to reconvene the county's Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force to update the county's AIS Management Plan. Cass was the first county in the state to write such a plan. Ringle said it now should be updated to keep the plan current. Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District Board was assigned the duty of distributing grant money each year to applicants seeking to fund projects to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in the county's waterways.
BACKUS—County Engineer Darrick Anderson obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday, Oct. 16, to seek Minnesota DNR grants to cooperatively improve two county roads. The DNR will provide gravel, culverts and other materials, while the county will provide employee labor and equipment to do the work.
BACKUS—Cass County Board put into a new written Electronic Transaction Policy the practices it's been using to govern electronic payments the county uses. Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane informed the board Tuesday, Oct. 16, she was unable to find any documentation in older county board minutes that authorized practices the county used to make payments or accept payments electronically or for employees who issued county payment or credit cards.
BACKUS—There were 37 fewer Cass County children in out-of-home placements the first nine months this year compared with 2017, but costs were higher that costs in 2017, Michele Piprude reported to the county board Tuesday, Oct. 16. The Health, Human and Veterans Services director said the biggest reason is a growing number of children need more structured mental health services, which means they need to be placed in a residential treatment facility. This can cost about $300 per day per child, Piprude said.
WALKER—Mental illness. Chemical dependency. Suicide. Post-traumatic stress. These are all terms we hear a lot about today. Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Michelle Piprude and Tammy Stacey, county team leader for adult and children mental health services, discussed recently the wide range of programs the county offers to help people to recover.