Cass County Board returns to Walker
Commissioners discussed the costs of public safety radios alongside future capital improvements.
WALKER — After 15 months, the Cass County commissioners met in the boardroom at the Cass County Courthouse Tuesday, June 1, for a regular board meeting.
Sheriff Tom Burch was on hand to request the board approve invoicing all Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response, or ARMER, users for their radios.
Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response is Minnesota’s primary two-way trunked public safety radio system for all state agencies as well as all police, fire, emergency medical services, city, county, federal and tribal governments. The system was developed to improve communication among emergency service providers during natural and man-made disasters.
Burch stated currently, schools with these radios are not being charged for their radio and requested the board decide whether to begin charging the school districts. The county has 747 active radios within the county with approximately 100 of them located in the schools. The cost of these radios are $21,343.38 with a 1% increase per year through 2025. Therefore, the cost passed on to each user would be $28.58 with a 1% increase per year through 2025. The board unanimously approved passing this expense on to all users including schools.
The meeting was then opened up for the public hearing on the adoption of the county’s capital improvement plan. Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane explained the five-year forecast changed since the previous discussion to include the county’s anticipated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act grant, an increase for deferred maintenance in 2021, with a decrease in 2022 and to reflect an increase in the levy for 2022. Norikane stated the increase for deferred maintenance is in order to keep ahead of aging infrastructure of the county campus.
Most maintenance needing to be completed is repaving/concrete work around the county campus, so the intention is to have all work bid at the same time while anticipating some work will possibly be completed during 2022 due to availability of material and workforce. With no public comments, the hearing was closed with the board voting unanimously to approve the plan as submitted.
County Administrator Josh Stevenson updated the board on a location change for the July 20 meeting. Due to a scheduling conflict, Lima Township requested a special meeting in December for a road revocation. Therefore, the July 20 meeting will be in Smoky Hollow Township.
The next meetings are as follows: Cass County Board of Equalization, 2 p.m. June 14 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker; commissioner’s board meeting, 6 p.m. June 15 at Powers Township, 850 E. Horseshoe Dr. NW, Backus ; AMC District II meeting, 8 a.m. June 16 at Beltrami County Board Room, 701 Minnesota Ave. SW, Bemidji; the annual planning work session, 9 a.m. June 25 at the land department meeting room in Backus and commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. July 6 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker.
In other business, the county board:
Heard the Longville ambulance report from Kevin Lee, ambulance services manager for North Memorial Health. Lee shared activity is still down from prior years. Therefore, revenue is down and expenses were up slightly due to a couple of staff being on leave with worker compensation injuries.
Approved the updated 2021 Longville ambulance building lease and the 2021 contract amendment.
Appointed a staff committee for the purpose of preparing redistricting options after receiving the 2020 Census and reporting back to the board with those options.
Awarded the contract for noxious weed spraying to B & P Weed Control in the amount of $16,970.
Approved a joint powers agreement with the city of Hackensack for the reconstruction of County Highway 204.
Awarded the contract for the ground in pavement messages project to Traffic Marking Service, Inc. in the amount of $87,006.
Approved revoking 0.75 miles of county highway mileage from County Highway 18 for the portion transferring to the city of East Gull Lake.
Approved revoking 1.8 miles of county highway mileage from County Highway 70.
Approved designating 3.06 miles of county highway mileage to County Highway 70.
Approved a memorandum of understanding regarding management of commercial permitting with Sylvan Township and authorized Environmental Service Director John Ringle to sign on behalf of the county board.