BACKUS—Environmental Services Director John Ringle obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday, Oct. 16, to reconvene the county's Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force to update the county's AIS Management Plan. Cass was the first county in the state to write such a plan. Ringle said it now should be updated to keep the plan current. Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District Board was assigned the duty of distributing grant money each year to applicants seeking to fund projects to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species in the county's waterways.
BACKUS—County Engineer Darrick Anderson obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday, Oct. 16, to seek Minnesota DNR grants to cooperatively improve two county roads. The DNR will provide gravel, culverts and other materials, while the county will provide employee labor and equipment to do the work.
BACKUS—Cass County Board put into a new written Electronic Transaction Policy the practices it's been using to govern electronic payments the county uses. Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane informed the board Tuesday, Oct. 16, she was unable to find any documentation in older county board minutes that authorized practices the county used to make payments or accept payments electronically or for employees who issued county payment or credit cards.
BACKUS—There were 37 fewer Cass County children in out-of-home placements the first nine months this year compared with 2017, but costs were higher that costs in 2017, Michele Piprude reported to the county board Tuesday, Oct. 16. The Health, Human and Veterans Services director said the biggest reason is a growing number of children need more structured mental health services, which means they need to be placed in a residential treatment facility. This can cost about $300 per day per child, Piprude said.
WALKER—Mental illness. Chemical dependency. Suicide. Post-traumatic stress. These are all terms we hear a lot about today. Cass County Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Michelle Piprude and Tammy Stacey, county team leader for adult and children mental health services, discussed recently the wide range of programs the county offers to help people to recover.
WALKER—Cass County will not raise any employee benefit costs for 2019, the county board decided Tuesday, Oct. 2. Cass has a self-insurance program for its employees. It contracts with insurance carriers to administer the programs. Blue Cross/Blue Shield administers Cass' primary employee health plan. In 1991, Cass had $179,708 in its self-insurance fund, or two months of expected payments. By the end of 2017, the self-insurance fund increased to $5,809,021, or enough to pay out claims for 16.46 months.
WALKER—Cass County Board voted to table action Tuesday, Oct. 2, on a proposal to include "other water courses" in its water plan. Currently, only public waters are identified in the plan and thereby subject to state buffer protection laws. If the board votes to include other water courses, it would add smaller ponds and streams on both public and private land and make them subject to the same state laws that govern land around public waters.
WALKER—Using a contractor to administer Cass County's child care assistance program failed to reach more families, so the county board voted against extending its contract with Lakes and Prairie. County officials hoped Lakes and Prairie would bring more families into the program to offer child care assistance on a sliding fee schedule to help them pay for day care for preschoolers.
REMER—Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday, Sept. 18, to drop reference to Leech Lake Reservation in the title of the county's children's initiative bylaws. Leech Lake initially worked with the county to establish a children's initiative to offer support to children in families throughout the county and on the reservation. The bylaws were first written in 1994. It has been quite a few years since the reservation named a representative to the initiative board or actively participated.
REMER—The Cass County Board met in the new Remer Fire Department meeting room Tuesday night, Sept. 18. The city's new fire hall is part of a complex built jointly in 2017 with Remer Ambulance Service for a new ambulance garage and with the county for a new county highway equipment garage. The joint project saved substantial money for all three projects. The county is overseeing a similar project at Longville this year for a joint county highway garage and ambulance service building. Longville's fire hall did not need to be replaced.