Cass County Engineer David Enblom obtained county board approval Tuesday, April 12, to patch several paved roads this summer to prolong the life of those roads. Patches on these roads will range in length from 10 feet to close to 1,400 feet. Also approved was paving for the driveway at the new county highway garage being built this summer at Pine River. Roads scheduled for the patches include County State Aid Highway 1 near Pillager Lake and east of Pine River, CSAH 18 in East Gull Lake city limits, County Road 104 near Casino and CR 114 and CR 171 near Pine River.
Cass County commissioners set a timetable Tuesday, March 15, toward hiring a new land commissioner and a new county engineer. The board appointed Joshua Stevenson, current land commissioner, earlier this month to replace retiring administrator Robert Yochum. The search for a new land commissioner was to begin this week. The county board selected commissioners Jeff Peterson and Dick Downham to help county staff screen applicants.
Sandra Norikane will become Cass County's new chief financial officer May 16. She will replace retiring chief financial officer Larry Wolfe, who was hired to oversee the county's record keeping in the auditor's office in 1994. Responsibilities were added to his position through the years until he was named the county's first chief financial officer in 2007.
On a split vote, Cass County commissioners Tuesday, Jan. 5, decided against taking any position on the controversial Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposal to stock muskies in Gull Lake. Kevin Egan appeared before the board to ask the commissioners to pass a resolution asking the DNR to study the issue for two more years before making a decision. He said without support for a delay, the DNR is expected to make a decision this month or next month. Egan told the board the issue has strong proponents and opponents.
Cass County Board elected Jeff Peterson chair for 2016 and Dick Downham vice chair during the board's first meeting of the year Tuesday. The commissioners will hold their first meeting each month on the first Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m. All meetings will be held at the courthouse in Walker with the exception of election days, Aug. 2 (primary) and Nov. 1 (general), which will be held at the land department building in Backus. Second meetings each month will begin at 9 a.m. the third Tuesday from January through April
Cass County commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 15, adopted a final 2016 levy and budget, a capital equipment list and set salaries for elected officials. The final levy will include a 4.19 percent increase from 2015, as presented at the Dec. 1 public hearing. That is down from the preliminary levy set in September, which was 6.4 percent higher than 2015.
Cass County commissioners adopted a timetable Tuesday, Dec. 15, to begin the process to seek a replacement for retiring county administrator Robert Yochum. Cass County created its administrator position in 1996. Yochum has been the only person to fill the position during the intervening 20 years. The county will advertise for a new administrator from Jan. 10 to Feb. 12. Department interviews with candidates may be conducted following the board's regular Jan. 19 meeting.
The Cass County Board adopted a one-half cent local option sales tax Tuesday night, Dec. 1, that will be spent on road improvements and repairs. The unanimous vote followed public hearings on the new sales tax and on the 2016 proposed budget and levy. The board will not vote on the final budget and levy until the Dec. 15 regular board meeting, which begins at 10 a.m. at the courthouse in Walker. A growing number of counties have adopted the local transportation sales tax as state aid road funding has fallen behind county highway maintenance costs.
Cass County has reached the point where not enough money is coming into the county to keep up with costs to maintain the roads, so county engineer David Enblom proposes to use a state-allowed option for a half a cent county sales tax. If enacted, the sales tax is projected to bring Cass County $1,072,131.51 per year. Cass commissioners were scheduled to hold a public hearing at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the courthouse in Walker on the optional sales tax.
Several top Cass County government personnel, including the administrator, have announced plans to retire in 2016. The Cass County Board on Tuesday, Nov. 3, named commissioners to serve on search committees to replace those retiring. The full board will begin searching for a new county administrator in January to prepare for Administrator Robert Yochum's retirement at year end.