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Cass County Board: County garage cost comes in below estimates

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.

He said he attributes it not only to the shared costs of a joint project, but also to the fact Cass has engaged a separate, private construction management contractor to oversee all its construction projects in recent years.

One factor bringing the Remer project a little higher than initially planned, Anderson said, was mucky soil under part of the area and an old dumping ground for former concrete curbing in another area.

Those soils and concrete debris were removed and replaced with clean sand before building could begin, he said.

The county is paying for its building, the city utility extensions to the site and the parking area. Remer is responsible for the fire hall and ambulance garage costs.

Anderson said he expects the fire hall to be occupied by the middle of this month, the ambulance garage occupied by Jan. 1 and the county garage occupied by mid-January. Gravel on the parking lot will be allowed to settle over winter and paved next spring, he added.

The county board approved paying cities that maintain state aid-qualifying streets within their boundaries an annual allotment for those services.

Cass Lake maintains 1.4 miles of such roads. All other cities maintain less than a third of a mile.

The cities and their 2017 payments are: Cass Lake, $11,015.91; Pine River, $1,809.76; Hackensack, $2,360.55: and Walker, $1,180.28.

Land Commissioner Kirk Titus obtained board approval Thursday to make an agreement with Minnesota DNR, which will spray noxious weeds tansy and spotted knapweed along forest roads northeast of Outing. Some of the abutting land is state. Some is county.

The board approved an agreement to run through 2022. By the agreement, the U.S. Forest Service will pay Cass County to maintain snowmobile trails running through the Chippewa Forest.

The county will maintain those trails as it does its other recreational trails, by paying the four snowmobile clubs within the county to keep trails groomed. There also are two Crow Wing County clubs, which groom some mileage within southern Cass under a similar program in that county, Titus said.

Cass has 450 miles of groomed trails in the county, he said.

The county sold 5,041 cords of timber and 2,700 board feet of saw logs from county-managed land at a Nov. 30 auction. Loggers paid $43.38 per cord for aspen, the vast majority of the timber type sold. They bought all six tracts of timber offered.