WALKER—Cass County commissioners elected Commissioner Bob Kangas as 2018 chair and Commissioner Scott Bruns as vice-chair Tuesday. They adopted the same rules of business for conducting county board meetings as they used in 2017. Those rules call for meeting 9 a.m. the first Tuesday each month at the courthouse in Walker and third Tuesday—January through April and October through December—at the land department building in Backus.
WALKER—Cass had 33 inspectors on 35 lakes at 40 public accesses checking boats for aquatic invasive species during the 2017 boating season, Cass AIS Program Director Rima Smith-Keprios told the Cass County Board Tuesday. In addition, Lake Shore Police Department conducted about 3,000 inspections and Cass County sheriff's deputies did 200.
WALKER—Reps. Sandy Layman and John Poston attended the Cass County Board meeting Tuesday to learn more about the county's concerns to take to the 2018 Minnesota Legislature. While the state made money available to build new recreational trails, Cass officials would like to see money designated for maintaining those trails. There currently is no state funding for overlaying or crack sealing on existing paved trails.
WALKER—Sheriff Tom Burch informed the Cass County Board Tuesday that the Minnesota Sheriff's Association recognized Cass County Deputy Eric Alger as the Minnesota Deputy of the Year. The Cass County Sheriff's Department nominated him for the award, which is based on sustained performance or actions over a sustained period of time that is above the average contribution to the betterment of the office and community.
WALKER—The Cass County Board Tuesday set the county's final 2018 levy at $22,307,860. That is 2.49 percent above the 2017 levy. The state requires the county to show the $503,000 levy for Longville Ambulance District in its total levy even though that is only collected from property owners in the ambulance service area. Without the ambulance levy, the amount levied for just county use will be $21,804,860 or 2.55 percent higher than the amount for the county share in 2017. Cass's tax rate in 2018 will be 31.836 percent.
WALKER—Veterans Services Officer Jeff Woodford obtained Cass County Board approval Thursday to apply for a $10,000 National Joint Powers Alliance grant in 2018 to purchase a storage shed, which would be located on the county highway garage property at Hackensack. It will house durable medical equipment such as hospital beds, lifts and wheelchairs. Until now, that equipment technically has had to be stored at a veteran facility at Bemidji, but in practicality, has been stored on volunteers' properties in Cass County to make it more convenient, Woodford said.
WALKER—County Engineer Darrick Anderson reported Thursday to the county board the county's cost for the new highway garage at Remer looks like it will finalize at below $825,000. That is well below the $900,000 to $1 million projected cost if the county had not partnered with the city of Remer for also building a new ambulance garage and a new fire hall. Anderson said several other counties have asked him how Cass could build its project for such a reasonable cost.
WALKER—Lt. Chris Thompson told the Cass County Board Tuesday some of the criticism the county received in its recent jail inspection reflect tighter scrutiny by a new Minnesota Department of Corrections inspector. Some also reflect the fact Thompson is still updating some jail procedures since he assumed the jail administrator position in August 2016. There were eight notations in which the county was found non-compliant and six concerns cited, he said.
WALKER—Former County Attorney Christopher Strandlie, now a Minnesota district court judge, on Thursday swore into office his successor, Ben Lindstrom, during the regular Cass County Board meeting at the courthouse in Walker. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Strandlie a judge this fall. The county board advertised for a replacement county attorney to serve until the November 2018 elections. The county board hosted interviews, then selected Lindstrom for the position last month.
WALKER—Ben Thuringer from Madden's on Gull Lake was the only resident to attend Cass County's truth in taxation public hearing Thursday on the county's proposed 2018 budget and levy. He noted the resort's taxes again are proposed to rise, though it appears much of this year's increase will be due to school district taxes. He also visited with assessor Mark Peterson about the property's valuation.