Cass County Board accepted a 2015-16 wage agreement with Minnesota Teamsters Public and Law Enforcement Employees' Union for county sheriff patrol and jail employees. The new contract follows a uniform county pay scale, which includes a 2.5 percent increase from the 2014 scale and gives another 2.5 percent raise in 2016. It also follows uniform clothing allowance changes as approved in agreements signed last month with two other bargaining units. Each employee also receives a step increase on the pay scale July 1 each year to recognize another year of service to the county.
Judge David Harrington swore into office Tuesday, Jan. 6, newly elected Cass County Commissioner Scott Bruns, who replaced retired commissioner Jim Dowson. Also taking their oath of office were re-elected officials County Attorney Christopher Strandlie, Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk and Recorder Kathryn (Katie) Norby. The county board convened its first meeting of 2015 by electing Gaalswyk chair and Jeff Peterson vice chair. The board accepted the lowest bid of three from Walker Pilot-Independent for publishing all county legal notices except the second financial statement.
WALKER - Scott Wilson, Cass County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) director, obtained a $30,000 one-year operating loan from the county Tuesday. This came after several county commissioners expressed their reservations about the one-time loan. Commissioner Dick Downham was the only one who voted against the loan in the end.
The Cass County Board voted Tuesday, Dec.
Commissioner Jim Dowson retired from the Cass County Board on Tuesday, Dec. 16. He attended the last scheduled meeting of 2014. His fellow commissioners and the Leech Lake Reservation recognized him for 47 years of service to the county in a variety of roles. Dowson came to Cass County in 1967 as a young sheriff's deputy. He rose through the ranks in that department until he became chief deputy under then-sheriff Louis Chalich. Chalich retired in 1986.
Prahm Construction was the lowest of eight bidders to win the contract Tuesday, Dec. 16, to install a new bridge on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 over Stony Brook about 1.5 miles east of CSAH 24. The project will cost $422,602 or 3.35 percent higher than the engineering estimate. Other bids ran as high as 44.49 percent over the estimate. County Engineer David Enblom said he was surprised by high number of bidders.
With the taxable value of property in Cass County rising for the first time in eight years, the county board voted Tuesday, Dec.
Cass County commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 2, decided to keep the sheriff's substation at the Pine River Police Department rather than move it to Backus. Pine River had asked the county to pay rent earlier this fall. Because of the county's policy against paying rent for any substations, the board considered moving its substation to Backus. The county does, however, pay some other jurisdictions a sum to offset the cost of using Internet services at substations.
State Sen. Tom Saxhaug and state Reps. Tom Anzelc and John Persell discussed upcoming legislative issues with Cass County commissioners at the regular county board meeting Tuesday, Dec. 2. All three, who represent portions of Cass County, are DFL lawmakers. Saxhaug said he has been meeting since August with a bipartisan rural Minnesota group of legislators who want to address economic development issues.
Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District's (SWCD) first-year effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) from lake to lake began with monitoring accesses to 22 lakes this summer. Environmental Services (ESD) Director John Ringle told the county board Tuesday, Dec. 2, he expects the inspection program to expand to additional lakes in 2015 if there are sufficient people willing to train to inspect and willing to devote time to doing inspections. Inspectors identify any invasive species attached to boats and trailers before letting them enter or leave a lake.