For the second meeting in a row, Cass County commissioners on Tuesday, Oct. 15, sent people seeking money from the county environmental trust fund to instead raise money locally before appealing to the county.
Several weeks ago, the board told Walker City Administrator Terri Bjorklund the city would need to raise contributions toward a new trail inside the city to connect trails leading to the city before the county would consider any match.
The commissioners also indicated the environmental trust fund is not available for building structures like a public bathroom, which the city had requested, but might be at a later date for a portion of the trail cost.
Linnea Dietrich, chair of the Make Hackensack Dog Friendly committee, and Betty Thomas, committee member, asked the board to provide $10,463 of the estimated $15,995 cost to create a fenced dog park within the Hackensack city limits.
They propose to raise $5,532 locally from donations and cited Hackensack Lions Club as one possible donor. They also intend to seek an Initiative Foundation grant.
Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane said the county’s trust fund, known as Fund 73, was created for improvements of natural resources. It is funded by interest earned on money the county raised by selling formerly leased lots the state owned.
Most of the interest money in the account has been spent or already dedicated to projects this year, Norikane said. New interest income will not be credited to the account until Dec. 31, she said.
Comments from board members Oct. 15 showed the dog project project may get mixed support.
“How can we in good faith fund this when we don’t have housing for people,” Commissioner Bob Kangas asked after hearing a presentation on homelessness just prior to the dog park request.
Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk said he has seen dog parks very well used in other cities.
Commissioners Dick Downham said his criteria for Fund 73 grants is the project should be something everyone can use, something he does not see with a dog park.
Commissioner Jeff Peterson suggested Dietrich and Thomas do their local fundraising this winter and come back to the board next spring with letters of support for the dog park from the city of Hackensack and people in the community.