BACKUS — Cass County property sales and new zoning permits were up and foreclosures down through the third quarter of 2015, compared with 2014. The assessor's office reported 718 arms-length property sales through September this year, compared with 588 in 2014. The 12 third-quarter mortgage foreclosures recorded were nearly half the 21 recorded in 2014. Nine seasonal recreational properties went into foreclosure both years, but the number of homesteaded properties foreclosed dropped from nine in 2014 to three this year in the third quarter. Two of the 12 were located on lakes.
BACKUS - Cass County Chief Financial Officer Larry Wolfe told the county board Tuesday the information property taxpayers received this week is slightly higher than the board now expects to approve for a final county levy in December. The county budget committee has recommended lowering the levy from the preliminary levy set in September. The board expects to use the lower rate when they set the final levy by using some fund balance reserves.
BACKUS - The Cass County Board passed a resolution Tuesday to seek a Minnesota Department of Transportation variance allowing the county to do less than the state requires to lessen hills and valleys when the county repaves Cass County Highway 77. On 3,500 feet of Highway 77, approximately between Cobbanwood Way and Balsam Lane, there currently are several hills and valleys at a 10 to 15 mph design. The state transportation department standards call for the county to bring those areas up to a 30 mph design. The county is asking for the variance to allow using a 20 mph design.
BACKUS—Cass County will seek people to fill vacancies on county commissions and boards for terms to begin Jan. 1, 2016. The county website— www.co.cass.mn.us—has a list of open positions and application forms. The deadline to submit an application form is Nov. 30. The commissioners will consider making appointments at their Dec. 1 regular meeting at the courthouse in Walker. Completed applications may be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to Linda Husby, Administrator's Office, P.O.
WALKER - Cass County Commissioners approved two resolutions Tuesday in response to issues raised at an Oct. 28 Association of Minnesota Counties legislative issues meeting they attended in Bemidji. The first resolution calls for the state to pay counties and townships transition aid, thereby treating those units of government similarly to the manner in which transition aid has been paid to school districts. Currently, various utility companies have a case in tax court, arguing their properties have been overvalued under state property value formulas and, therefore, they have been overpaying property taxes. Should the court decide in the utilities' favor, counties and townships would have to refund some of the utilities' past and current property taxes and would stand to receive less tax in future years.
WALKER—Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson informed the Cass County Board Tuesday the market for the county's timber is getting pulled both up and down and has gone in new directions. Some people were burning turkey droppings, mixed with wood chips. When bird flu hit the Minnesota turkey industry last spring, that cut off the turkey dropping supply for these burners. So, Stevenson said, loggers cutting Cass timber sold their logs to companies shredding it to feed burners having no turkey droppings to burn.
WALKER - Cass County has reached the point where not enough money is coming into the county to keep up with costs to maintain the roads, so County Engineer David Enblom has proposed using a state-allowed option for a half a cent county sales tax. Cass County had about 20 percent of its 400 miles of state aid roads in poor or very poor condition about four years ago, Enblom told the county board Tuesday.
WALKER - Several top Cass County government personnel, including the administrator, have announced plans to retire in 2016. Cass County Board Tuesday named commissioners to serve on search committees to replace those retiring. The full board will begin searching for a new county administrator in January to prepare for Administrator Robert Yochum's retirement at year end.
WALKER - To lower the 2016 property tax increase, the Cass County Citizen Budget Committee now recommends the county board use some of the county's reserve fund balance to pay for some 2016 expenses. The county board set a preliminary 2016 property tax levy in September at $21,014,633. State law permits lowering but not raising that amount before year end. The budget committee reviewed budget requests from department heads and some outside agencies in detail at an Oct. 23 meeting.
BACKUS - Hackensack-Onigum-Walker-Akeley Family Center will wind down operations between now and the end of this year and close all operations in 2016. Tuesday, the county board referred to the budget committee an evaluation of whether the county should continue funding family centers at the same level in 2016, considering that the funding level was designed to help five family centers. Now, there will be only three.