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Bids awarded for two Cass road projects

LONGVILLE — Cass County Board awarded contracts Tuesday for two road construction projects.

Red Lake Builders won the contract to rebuild County Road 109 with the lowest of five bids received. Their $499,423.42 bid was 1.35 percent under engineering estimates. That road will be paved in 2012 under a contract yet to be advertised.

It is the last county road (numbered over 100 and ineligible for state aid funds) on the schedule the county had to pave roads carrying 100 or more vehicles per day.

Tri-City Paving won the contract with the lowest of four bids to mill and overlay a section of County State Aid Highway 1 with a $140,003.50 bid. That ran 7.1 percent under engineering estimates.

County Engineer David Enblom and Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk took the county’s annual trip this year to Washington, D.C., to lobby congressmen about the importance of federal highway funding for county road projects.

Enblom said they found Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., serving his first term, had not been informed of the federal funding program for local highways within federal forests. Enblom said he and Gaalswyk were able to present information about county roads this program has helped fund and about the money the county now seeks to improve CSAH 8.

They also met with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and gained support for their project from both congressional officials.

County Economic Development Director Gail Leverson gave the county board an update on work that non-profit agency is doing. The county has contributed $259,000 to the EDC since 2004, she said.

During that time, Cass EDC has obtained $3,600,000 in grants for communities in the county, helped create over 500 jobs and drawn over $58,000,000 in capital investment for businesses in the county, according to Leverson.

During the last year, she has helped the following new businesses: JT Industries Inc. and Jr’s 19 BBQ Snack Bar at Pine River, Inside-Out Manufacturing at Longville, Remer Cut Stock expansion at Remer and Smart Image Solutions at Motley.

Current projects include establishing a Central Lakes College outreach site where people can take college classes at Pine River and computer assistance lab where students can take on-line college classes at Pine River, helping the city of Walker extend city sewer and water to 11 additional lots in the industrial park and the development of a 12-unit assisted living apartment complex at Remer, she said.

The EDC had $919,884 grants approved last year for some these projects and for business improvements in Walker and Hackensack.

Local governments, businesses and individuals also help support the EDC with annual memberships. For more information about becoming an EDC member, contact Leverson at (218) 947-7522.

Cass County Family Centers gave the board an update on their services to support families and children.

Leslie Bouchonville, Pine River Family Center Director, said the county’s $37,500 contribution to the family centers now represents only about 2 percent of the overall income to operate the five centers.

Foundation grants, donations, state and federal grants, income from thrift stores, schools and user fees provide most of the money for the $1,668,613 total budget, she explained.

Services provided at family centers include child abuse prevention, child and teen checkup clinics, early childhood (home visiting, preschool, child care), family functioning (food shelf, family support) and youth services (after school programs and mentoring).

Family centers are located at Pillager, Pine River, Longville, Walker and Cass Lake. Bouchonville said each center tailors their programs differently to meet their community’s needs.

The county board Tuesday approved contracting with LouAnn Maschler to inspect 236 private sewer systems in the Lake Margaret Watershed at $45 per system and Aaron Kellerman at $49 per system to inspect systems on Sylvan Lake in a voluntary program.

They presented the lowest of eight bids the county received. Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources will fund the inspections under a state grant.

Environmental Services Director John Ringle reported Cass, Crow Wing and Hubbard Counties and Leech Lake Reservation will receive a $20,000 Minnesota Pollution Control Agency grant to collect electronic waste.

Cass will receive $451,440 federal payment in lieu of taxes this year. Of that, $316,007 will go to the county and $135,433 will be divided among townships overlapping the Chippewa National Forest.

Due to harsh winter weather conditions, the county board extended by 45 days the deadline three contractors had to finish re-establishing government survey corners in the county. The project is still scheduled to be completed this year.

The contractors are Northern Engineering and Consulting Inc., Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. and Westwood Professional Services Inc.

Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Reno Wells reported the county had spent only 36.73 percent of that budget after 41.67 percent of the year at the end of May.

The county had spent only 35 percent of the budget for out of home child placements.

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