BACKUS - Hackensack-Onigum-Walker-Akeley Family Center will wind down operations between now and the end of this year and close all operations in 2016. Tuesday, the county board referred to the budget committee an evaluation of whether the county should continue funding family centers at the same level in 2016, considering that the funding level was designed to help five family centers. Now, there will be only three.
BACKUS - Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has notified Cass County by letter the DNR dropped plans to offer mineral lease sales within the county during 2015. The county only became aware of the proposed sale of minerals from under land the county and private individuals own after a DNR representative spoke before the board late this summer. The mineral sales from under 6,638 acres had been advertised to bidders June 22, but not in local newspapers.
BACKUS - Cass County commissioners approved an agreement with U.S. Forest Service Tuesday that will enable more revenue from forest service timber sales to be used locally to improve forest roads. The USFS representative from the Walker office Darla Lenz said about 30 percent of USFS timber sale proceeds currently come back to the local office. The USFS uses this money to contract road maintenance on some of the forest service roads. Some of those roads also are township roads in the county's unorganized township areas.
BACKUS — Cass County Board voted Tuesday to authorize Sheriff Tom Burch to negotiate a contract with another county to house 20 more Cass County inmates. Currently, Cass has a contract with Crow Wing County to house 40 inmates at the jail in Brainerd. With Tuesday's authorization, Burch first will try to negotiate with Crow Wing for a 60-bed contract. If that is unsuccessful, he will seek a contract with another neighboring county.
Boat inspections and public education that Cass County and its residents have used to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) appears to be the right approach. Association of Cass County Lakes (ACCL) members convened their fall meeting Friday morning, Sept. 25, at the Hackensack Senior Center to share information about what each member lake association has been doing this summer to prevent AIS spread. State Sen. Tom Saxhaug and Rep.
Kerry Swenson, Cass County emergency services director, reported to the county board Tuesday, Sept. 15, that Cass local government costs from the July 12 straight-line windstorm have reached $1.6 million. The county, cities of Lake Shore and East Gull Lake and towns of Fairview, Sylvan and May are receiving 75 percent reimbursements from the state disaster fund.
The Cass County Board set a 2016 preliminary levy dollar amount Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 6.55 percent more than the 2015 budget, but this would cause only a 5.12 increase in the county's tax rate. The county is levying $19,585,613 in 2015. The 2016 preliminary levy the board set is $21,014,633. That would raise the county's tax rate from 30.567 percent to 32.132 percent next year. Cass has the lowest tax rate among all neighboring counties.
Cass County, East Gull Lake and Fairview Township have spent $800,000 to clean up road areas from the July 12 storm and will spend another $100,000 to shred another 50,000 cubic yards of public road tree debris. County Engineer David Enblom told the Cass County Board on Tuesday, Aug. 18, he expects the final total to exceed $1 million. The county board approved keeping open the two county tree debris collection sites until Nov.
Cass County will conduct a test over five years on a portion of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 to determine whether chip sealing pavement helps preserve asphalt surfaces. The six-mile CSAH 1 segment was paved last week. One mile will be chip sealed after one year and another one mile each of the following five years. One mile will not be treated. Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will pay $10,000 each year, with the county paying $15,000 for each chip seal treatment. Chip sealing involves spreading oil, then a layer of gravel over the paved surface.
Four family centers in Cass County reported Tuesday, April 21, to the county board about the programs they offered and supported in 2014. Leslie Bouchonville now oversees both the Pine River-Backus (PR-B) Family Center and the Northland Family Center at Remer. In Pine River, the food shelf is now located at the family center. An average of 500 people a month use the food shelf. The PR-B Family Center has served 18 area townships in addition to the city for 18 years. That family center provides home visitation for newborns to 3-year-olds.