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Cass townships to share gas tax money

WALKER — Cass County townships will share $460,870 in gas tax money this year, up $15,611 from last year.

This is the first year under a new state law. Previously, each township had to levy locally a minimum amount to qualify for the state gas tax.

Now, there is no minimum local levy required.

Torrey and Gould Townships will qualify to receive gas tax, because of that change, for the first time this year. Lima and Salem are the only two townships in the county still ineligible for gas tax. They have no town roads.

County Engineer David Enblom Tuesday obtained county board approval to award the 2014 calcium chloride contract to treat gravel roads in the summer to low bidder Tri-City Paving of Little Falls for 91.8 cents per gallon or a total of $688,500.

Some townships will purchase calcium chloride under this contract. The board approved authorizing Enblom to check market prices next year before accepting Tri-City’s bids for 96.4 cents per gallon in 2015 or $1.02 per gallon for 2016.

If market prices are running lower, Cass would re-bid next year. When Cass began treating gravel roads with calcium chloride a number of years ago, the cost ran 30 cents a gallon, he sbaid, adding there has been a spike this year, because the main chloride supplier nationally,

Unibar, no longer has a storage warehouse at Duluth to serve Minnesota purchasers.

Chloride application companies like Tri-City must now buy from smaller suppliers or haul from longer distances, Enblom said, raising the cost.

The board approved Enblom’s purchase of a used Trimble GPS survey

receiver for the highway department engineering division at $8,500.

This equipment will enable receiving signals from Russian as well as American satellites, which improves accuracy and allows accessibility to satellite signals throughout the work day. There are 31 American satellites and 24 Russian ones, Enblom said.

Previously, there county be more than one two-hour span where survey technicians could not get a signal during their work day, he said. Now, there should be coverage from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hand held personal GPS units are accurate to about 10 feet, Tim Anderson, engineering technician said, but this device improves accuracy to about a half a tenth of a meter. It also requires only one person to operate it.

Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson obtained county board approval Tuesday to award contracts to North Fork Boulders to demolish buildings for $25,520 on six properties which recently tax forfeited. Storlie Construction won the contract to demolish buildings on a seventh property for $4,100.

Five of the lots are in Cass Lake. One each is in Remer and Pine River.

Most have a house and garage and/or shed(s), Stevenson said. Any asbestos in the buildings will be removed separately before demolition.

Cass County Land Department received comments made to the office through Jan. 24 and at a public meeting Jan. 29 on a proposed Woodtick Wheelers grant in aid trail route application to Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Of the comments, 145 supported the project, and 23 commenters expressed concerns, Stevenson said. Many who had concerns asked for the route to be moved farther from houses.

Woodtick Wheelers will work on re-routing before the proposal moves farther into the application process, Stevenson said.

The county board voted to make a one-time exemption from a portion of the county timber sale policy for logging permits expiring this spring.

This is because loggers were unable to work during the 20 to 30 below zero temperature days when Stevenson said loggers could not operate hydraulic equipment due to the cold.

Normally, they would have to pay the full balance of their purchase contract and a $3,000 contract extension fee to extend their time to cut the timber. Under the one-time exemption, they will have to pay only the $3,000 fee to extend their contract.

Stevenson said 31 sale contracts would qualify for the exemption this spring.

Loggers bought timber 11 of 13 tracts offered at auction Jan. 30, paying $202,913.93 for the wood. Aspen sold for $19.18 per cord. They paid the least, $3.18, for tamarack and the most, $24.47, for red oak. ww