WALKER—Cass County will not raise any employee benefit costs for 2019, the county board decided Tuesday, Oct. 2. Cass has a self-insurance program for its employees. It contracts with insurance carriers to administer the programs. Blue Cross/Blue Shield administers Cass' primary employee health plan. In 1991, Cass had $179,708 in its self-insurance fund, or two months of expected payments. By the end of 2017, the self-insurance fund increased to $5,809,021, or enough to pay out claims for 16.46 months.
WALKER—Cass County Board voted to table action Tuesday, Oct. 2, on a proposal to include "other water courses" in its water plan. Currently, only public waters are identified in the plan and thereby subject to state buffer protection laws. If the board votes to include other water courses, it would add smaller ponds and streams on both public and private land and make them subject to the same state laws that govern land around public waters.
WALKER—Using a contractor to administer Cass County's child care assistance program failed to reach more families, so the county board voted against extending its contract with Lakes and Prairie. County officials hoped Lakes and Prairie would bring more families into the program to offer child care assistance on a sliding fee schedule to help them pay for day care for preschoolers.
REMER—Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday, Sept. 18, to drop reference to Leech Lake Reservation in the title of the county's children's initiative bylaws. Leech Lake initially worked with the county to establish a children's initiative to offer support to children in families throughout the county and on the reservation. The bylaws were first written in 1994. It has been quite a few years since the reservation named a representative to the initiative board or actively participated.
REMER—The Cass County Board met in the new Remer Fire Department meeting room Tuesday night, Sept. 18. The city's new fire hall is part of a complex built jointly in 2017 with Remer Ambulance Service for a new ambulance garage and with the county for a new county highway equipment garage. The joint project saved substantial money for all three projects. The county is overseeing a similar project at Longville this year for a joint county highway garage and ambulance service building. Longville's fire hall did not need to be replaced.
REMER—As mapping capabilities have improved so, too, have questions about land ownership. The U.S. Forest Service recently laid their Chippewa National Forest ownership map over the county's website map of ownerships and discovered the county maps show a government lot in unorganized township had a conflict. County tax records showed the government lot was forfeited for non-payment of taxes in 1945, so it is listed as a county tax-forfeited lot on the county map.
WALKER—Dan Steward, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, informed the Cass County Board Tuesday, Sept. 4, about the expanding focus for protecting the Mississippi Headwaters area. The Mississippi Headwaters Board has maintained zoning and river protection efforts for the first 400 miles of the river since 1980, Steward recalled. This board was formed as a local alternative to naming that portion of the river a national wild and scenic river and placing it under federal control.
WALKER—Changing demographics have had a big impact in increasing ambulance service runs in the Longville area, according to Kevin Lee, North Memorial Health Services, which operates the Longville Ambulance Service. He told Cass County commissioners Tuesday, Sept. 4, the impact is not only apparent at Longville, but throughout North Memorial's service area in Minnesota. People are aging as the baby boomers hit retirement age. Many are retiring to their cabins. They need more medical services as they age, he said.
WALKER—Cass County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday, Sept. 4, to set the preliminary 2019 county levy at $22,530,913. That is $223,053 or 1 percent, more than levied for 2018. The final levy will be set following a public hearing in December. It includes $22,027,913 to be levied countywide to fund county operations, which is up 1.023 percent over 2018, and $503,000 to be levied only in the Longville Ambulance Service District and funds ambulance service in the area surrounding Longville. There is no increase proposed for the ambulance district.
BLIND LAKE TOWNSHIP—Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported the state auditor made no changes in the final report on the county's 2017 audit from the items reported preliminarily in July. Cass County received 46 percent of its revenue from property and other taxes in 2017, 27 percent from state and local, 12 percent from federal grants, 8 percent from fess/charges/other, 5 percent from miscellaneous sources and 2 percent from investment income.