WALKER -- What has changed in recycling? What is being revised in the land use ordinance? What is different about this year’s election cycle? How does the 2020 census work? Where will county roads be rebuilt in 2020?

These are among the topics planned for the 2020 county newsletter to be sent to property taxpayers with their spring tax statements this year. The county board approved sending the spring newsletter at its Tuesday, Jan. 7, regular board meeting.

The statements are mailed in late March or early April.

Elections Administrator Sharon Anderson informed the county board she has already begun moving voting equipment from storage to voting precincts where town and city halls have heat. This ensures all election equipment will be ready for voters during the March 3 presidential nominating primary election, no matter what the weather may be that week, she explained.

Presidential primary voters will have to publicly declare a party affiliation, unlike in the Aug. 11 state primary election (including Congressional offices) where the voter’s party choice is kept private.

Those living in mail ballot precincts can expect to see their ballots arrived shortly after the following mailing dates: Jan. 29 for presidential primary, July 8 for state primary and Sept. 30 for November general election. Ballots will have a Cass County return address and will say “Official Election Mail.”

In other business, the county board:

Learned from public health team leader Jeri Seegmiller that most Cass County businesses selling tobacco and electronic cigarette products have changed their signs to read that sales are only to persons age 21 and older.

Approved a contract with Martin Mechanical Design of Fargo, North Dakota, to complete a feasibility study for improving the operation of Cass County’s garbage and recycling transfer center north of Pine River. County Engineer Darrick Anderson will oversee the project for the county.

Authorized the county engineer to attend the National Association of County Engineers annual meeting and technical conference in April in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Approved engaging the Minnesota State Auditor’s Office to conduct the 2019 county financial audit.

Approved extending a contract with Franz J. Vancura, a Long Prairie attorney, to continue serving as the county’s potentially dangerous dog hearing officer. He charges $150 per hour, plus mileage and related expenses.

Approved accepting a $173,400 Minnesota Legacy Grant from the 0.375% sales tax to purchase 150 acres in Pine Lake Township and 27 acres in Crooked Lake Township. There is a $31,600 county match. Both parcels are surrounded by public land.

Accepted a $200,000 Minnesota Department of Public Safety Community Crime Prevention grant to run through Nov. 30, 2021.

Approved $12,369 for Northland Family Center of Remer/Longville, $9,500 for Pillager Family Center and $17,425 for Pine River/Backus Family Center to provide child and teen checkup outreach in 2020. The family centers submitted annual activity reports to the board.

Approved a contract with Northern Psychiatric Associates to conduct competency Restoration Community Evaluations for adults at $1,000 per evaluation, $250 per hour to testify in court and $200 fee for a non-compliant cancellation of a 24-hour notice of services not needed.

Approved a contract with Woodview Support Services/Oakridge Homes Inc. to provide adult and children’s community support programs and employment services, not to exceed $45,000 in 2020.

Approved a contract to Dr. John Parkin to provide mental health services to children and adults, not to exceed $5,000 in 2020.

Approved a contract Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program to oversee the Diversionary Work Program for $48,675 and the Minnesota Family Investment Program for $327,559 in 2020.

Accepted a $200 donation from Boy River American Legion for veterans service needs and a $100 donation from Margaret M. Brown for the sheriff’s K-9 program.

Learned the land department sold $301,661 worth of timber on nine tracts of county administered land at a Dec. 19 auction. Loggers paid $34.63 per cord for aspen and $25.39 per cord for red oak, the two largest species of wood sold.