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Minimum salary set for Cass elected officials

WALKER — Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson obtained county board approval Tuesday to set the minimum salary for elected officials at Step 1 on the county pay scale, preliminary to the 2014 elections.

Any newly elected official could expect to be paid at that minimum rate rather than at a higher step like current officials who benefit from credit for years on the job.

The minimum rates are $53,664 per year for recorder, $74,297 for sheriff and $86,153 for county attorney.

Persons wishing to file for those offices or county commissioner in District 1 or 4 (currently held by Commissioners Neal Gaalswyk and Commissioner Jim Dowson) or Soil and Water Conservation District positions in Districts 1, 4 and 5 may file their intent at the courthouse in Walker between May 20 and June 3 for this fall’s Nov. 4 general election.

The board Tuesday approved an updated version of the county’s policy to comply with Minnesota Government Practices Act. That covers what information is available to the public and what the county does to protect data considered private.

A copy of the policy will be posted on the county website at

Cass commissioners will conduct a public hearing during the 9 a.m. Jan. 21 regular board meeting at the land department in Backus to receive comment on a proposal for the county to accept a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grant from Minnesota Investment Funds as money passed through to the Cass County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

The EDC will administer the money as a loan to American Surplus and Manufacturing $107,500 to purchase property at Pine River and begin a second manufacturing plant.

Jeffrey Drexler and his partner will purchase the land and buildings on Highway 371, which used to be a Chrysler dealership. Drexler’s business in Montevideo, American Surplus and Manufacturing, will then open a second manufacturing plant and also will offer retail sales at Pine River. Their product is Ice Castle Fish Houses.

The firm employs 87 people in Montevideo where employees earn between $10 and $14 per hour and, after one year employment, also have health care insurance and vacation benefits.

They plan to employ 20 people in the first two years at the Pine River location, according to Gail Leverson, Cass EDC executive director. Average wage with benefits will be $12.45, she said. As Drexler repays the loan, Leverson said the EDC will return 80 percent of that money to the state, while retaining 20 percent, which EDC then can use to offer new loans to other businesses, Leverson explained.

Wilson Township Board, where the property is located, has voted to support the project.