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Cass County Board: New wildlife area in Cass County

BACKUS — Cass County will lease to Minnesota DNR for a wildlife management area 82 acres the county purchased from Potlatch to be managed with 92 tax-forfeited acres and 49 state-owned acres in Byron Township.

The site will be known as the Farnham Lake State Wildlife Management Area.

As a part of the lease, the county will require that existing snowmobile and off highway vehicle trails continue to be maintained in that area.

The county awarded contracts for grading the following recreational vehicle trails to Holmvig Excavating, Bungo and Moose Lake for $850; Sawyer Timer, Deerfield for $675 and Bull Moose for $800; and Schrupp Excavating, Old Grade for $3,700.

Cass sold $144,906 worth of timber from county administered land at a March 29 auction.

The board approved a land exchange with Brad and Laura Zubke in Leech Lake and Wilkinson Townships.

Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson said the county will get rid of two parcels surrounded by residences and gain property adjacent to land Potlatch owns and manages for timber regeneration.

Bob Goede, Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust (MCIT), reported to the county board on Cass’s improved ratings with the joint county self-funded insurance program for property-casualty and workers compensation coverage.

Cass’s MCIT rates dropped in both 2011 and 2012. The dividend Cass received as a result of its experience rating rose from an average of about $170,000 a year for three prior years to $290,042 in 2010 and to $449,441 in 2011, Goede said.

Sheriff Tom Burch reported Jim Tuller, owner of Swanson’s Bait in Hackensack, has donated a 1974 20-foot pontoon boat with a new trailer to the sheriff’s office for use in putting buoys in and out of the water each season.

Burch said he has had to borrow an Army Corps of Engineers barge to do this other years as the number and weight of buoys has increased.

Burch also reported his department has received a $13,875 federal boat and water safety patrolling grant. This will pay for additional patrol hours between May and September beyond the county’s state-funded water patrol grant.

Cass will received $59,860.50 from state sales taxes collected on Leech Lake Reservation. Cass’s share this year would have been $65,165.50, but the state, in a letter to the county, indicated it had miscalculated Cass’s 2010 share and would deduct $5,305 from this year’s payment.

Chief Financial Officer Larry Wolfe said Cass had expected to receive $70,000 this year based on prior year payments the state forwarded from Leech Lake Reservation sales taxes paid to the state.

Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson reported the county earned $209,581.46 on investments the first quarter of 2012 or 23 percent of budget expectations after 25 percent of the year. This is down from the $289,815.35 earned the first quarter of 2011.