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Contract awarded to convert records

BACKUS - Cass County Board awarded a contract Tuesday to Mid America Business Systems to convert old county tax and assessment lists dating back to 1873 to digital records.

County Recorder Katy told the board the project will be completed in four to six months. The board reaffirmed a maximum expenditure of $100,000. Once the digital records are complete, the entire list will be available without charge to the public on the county's website at

The old record books have been stored in a courthouse sub-basement where water and sewer pipes in the ceiling to serve the jail have at times leaked onto the old bound paper record books. Court records will be stored in that space in the future, but Administrator Robert Yochum said those records will either be kept in plastic tubs or lateral files, so they cannot be water damaged.

Once scanning is complete for the old tax and assessment records, years prior to 1900 and years ending on "0" and "1" will be donated to state archives. The most recent 20 years must be retained in the county by state law, but Cass's most recent years are already digital and have not been kept in paper books.

Old paper records for years "2" through "9" will be offered to townships and cities, then to Cass County Historical Society.

Fourteen contractors submitted bids to demolish old buildings on five Cass County and two Crow Wing County tax forfeited land sites. Crow Wing County Board will award contracts separately for a property in Crosby and in Roosevelt Township.

Cass commissioners Tuesday awarded contracts to T&C Excavating for two sites in Cass Lake and one in Bena, to Schrupp Excavating for one in Laporte and a demolition contract to Kurt Sawyer and Tyler Crow in Backus and an abatement contract to ACCT Inc., also for the Backus property.

Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson obtain board approval to seek bids from book dealers to purchase 3,000 to 4,000 books a business owner left behind in a Pine River property when the former store tax forfeited. Stevenson said most of the books are used, soft cover, but some are new and some are hard cover.

Environmental Services Director John Ringle reported the number of land use zoning permits the county issued declined by only four from 865 in 2009 to 861 in 2010. This is after a drop of 132 from 997 in 2008 to the 865 in 2009. Variances were up, but conditional use and shoreland alteration permits were down in 2010.

The greatest amount of new construction continues to be in southern Cass, around the Emily-Outing area, between Hackensack and Longville and around Walker.

Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson reported the county earned $1,100,404.58 on investments during 2010. This is down from the $1,401,188 earned in 2009, but above the $800,000 the county estimated for earnings at the beginning of 2010.

Chippewa National Forest payment paid to Cass County from federal forest timber receipts declined $68,997.09 from the 2009 payment made in January 2010 to the 2010 payment made this month of $397,555.78.

Of this year's payment, $198,777.89 will go to county highway department, $26,976.15 to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District, $68,926.23 to Cass Lake-Bena School District, $98,080.99 to Remer-Longville School District and $4,794.52 to Deer River School District.