Backus: Council seeks savings on Head Start building

Backus, Minnesota.

During a discussion of the lease of the Head Start building in Backus by Bi-County Community Action Program, the Backus City Council mulled over the cost of providing services to the building.

The city was responsible for the cost of building a new roof on the facility some time ago and provides both plowing and mowing for the property. A new lease with cost agreements would need to be approved by the state commissioner of human services and must meet specific guidelines, which means the council cannot increase the rent to fund future capital improvement plans and can't charge for services above the city's cost of service.

The council considered various options at its regular meeting Monday, June 1, including asking whether Bi-CAP would purchase the building outright, if the city could leave insurance to Bi-CAP, and if the city could require Bi-CAP to be responsible for all expenses for the building.

The council discussed what the city gained from renting to Bi-CAP for Head Start, which is a school readiness program. For the time being the council agreed to direct Andy Schwartz, with the Pine River Area Sanitary District, to calculate the city's cost of mowing, plowing and providing other city services.

In other business Monday, the council granted permission to Willard's Saloon and Eatery to open a fenced-in outdoor area in front of the building for operation during the duration of the COVID-19 related shutdown.


The council also learned that the Cass County Sheriff's Department has begun to arrest people again, which council members were happy to hear. Many city residents have been on high alert due to what seems to be an increase in thefts, vandalism, speeding and squatting in the city.

The council gave the sheriff's department tips to watch for two Cadillac cars, one white and one black, that have been seen driving at high rates of speed in the city limits by several council members as well as residents.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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