Cass County commissioners Tuesday, Sept. 5, set the county's preliminary 2018 levy at $22,307,860 or 2.49 percent higher than the $21,766,554 levied for 2017. The county's tax rate will rise 1.71 percent at that dollar amount to 32.285, up from 31.742 this year. Cass County's citizen budget committee, composed of one appointed citizen representative from each commissioner district and Commissioners Neal Gaalswyk and Dick Downham, recommended the levy amount after reviewing department head requests for 2018 and comparing those with 2017 revenues and expenses.
Fairview Township moved one step closer Tuesday, July 18, toward building a recreational trail to connect a trail in East Gull Lake with a trail under construction this year in Lake Shore. The Cass County Board approved contributing $180,000 toward design and engineering.
Work could begin in about a week to rebuild and repave Cass County State Aid Highway 77 in Lake Shore. Cass County commissioners on Thursday, July 6, accepted the lowest bid of eight submitted. It came from Tom's Backhoe Services Inc. at $5,323,114.14. The Lake Shore City Council approved the award earlier. The project still needs Minnesota Department of Transportation approval, which County Engineer Darrick Anderson said could take about two weeks.
BACKUS—Cass County commissioners authorized a six-person research team to study on county managed land where and in what type of trees bats roost at sites near Hackensack and Remer. Minnesota DNR, University of Minnesota Duluth, the Natural Resource Research Institute and the U.S. Forest Service will conduct the study. Researchers will net bats, band their wings with transmitters. They then track the bats to roosting trees, mark those trees, then subsequently study the trees to identify similarities. They also will count the number of bats leaving each roost.
Lynnette Dirks, Support Within Reach Walker office representative, informed the Cass County Board earlier this month about an upcoming film and panel discussion being planned for teens age 13 and older April 26 and 27 in Hackensack. Support Within Reach is a sexual violence resource center. The two-night program will be presented at Bear Pause Theater. Doors will open at 5 p.m. The programs will begin at 6 p.m. Admission is free.
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.