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

and October through December at the land department building in Backus. Meetings in May

through September will be held at 6 p.m. in town or city halls throughout the county. Exact

locations will be scheduled before May.

The board has held summer night meetings at locations throughout the county since 2003.

In other business Tuesday, the board set the 2016 IRS mileage rate of 54 cents per mile for employees and others eligible to receive county mileage payments. Any employee who has a county car available, but chooses to use their own vehicle instead will be paid only 27 cents per mile.

County employees may not receive any meal and incidental expense payments for costs

incurred within the county. Employees who present an itemized receipt may claim reimbursement up to $20 per day for expenses incurred outside the county when no overnight

travel is involved.

With receipts, they may claim up to $46 per day for meals and incidental expenses when

traveling outside the county overnight in Minnesota. Higher rates are allowed up to a maximum

for St. Louis County of $56, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties of $71 or Olmstead County of $51.

Meals and incidental expense claims are subject to employment withholding taxes.

Rates for travel outside Minnesota are posted online at on the auditor-treasurer section of the county website.

Cass commissioners selected the majority of their committee appointments Tuesday.

They are still seeking applicants for the following committee vacancies: Bi-County

Community Action Program; County Budget Committee (from Commissioner District 3); and

Health, Human and Veterans Services Advisory Committee.

Walker Pilot Independent was the successful bidder to continue as the county's primary legal

newspaper. Cass Lake Times will make second publications of legal county documents requiring two publications.

The commissioners made no changes to the meeting rules of business this year.

They authorized Central Services Director Tim Richardson to spend up to $50,500 to run

new phone and data cable lines on the Health, Human and Veterans Services building second

floor, to rent a storage unit for two months to hold cubicle partitions, to run new electric lines and to re-carpet that floor.

They approved paying the $14,039 Association of Minnesota Counties membership fee for