BACKUS — Cass County's spending has run in the first half of this year about as the 2017 budget projected, according to Sandra Norikane, chief financial officer. Some departments are a little over. This is offset by some being a little under budget, Norikane said. County commissioners, citizen budget committee members and county department heads met Friday at Backus for their annual planning retreat. They reviewed each department's operations in the past year, current situation and expected 2018 changes.
BOY LAKE — Fairview Township Tuesday obtained a Cass County Board letter of support for its plan to build a connecting recreational trail link between East Gull Lake and Lake Shore and to seek grant money to pay for it. The county board met at Boy Lake Town Hall Tuesday. East Gull Lake has completed its segment on the south end of Gull Lake. Lake Shore's trail is being constructed this year in connection with a road resurfacing project on County State Aid Highway 77 toward the north end.
BOY LAKE—Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday to offer the Longville Ambulance Service building, located at the airport, to the city by quit claim deed transfer for the cost of $1. The sale would take place after the new county highway garage at Longville is built in 2018, so an addition for the ambulance service could be included with the new highway building construction project. Administrator Joshua Stevenson said the Longville City Council approved a similar resolution at a May 17 meeting.
BOY LAKE—Cass County Board voted Tuesday night to assume enforcement of the state agricultural buffer law rather than to have Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources do so. The 2017 Legislature extended the compliance start time to this fall. It requires permanent vegetation on a 50-foot strip between tilled agricultural land and public waterways.
WALKER — Cass County commissioners approved, after getting no response from the public Tuesday, their five-year capital improvement plan. The primary change since the plan was initially proposed calls for the county to provide $4,000 as a 50 percent match to Deep Portage Learning Center's projects this summer to bring the kitchen fire protection system up to code and to install security cameras in the main entrance and hallways.
WALKER—Rita Albrecht, northwest regional director for Minnesota DNR, informed Cass County Board members Tuesday about some of the DNR's current activities. That DNR region covers 23 counties from Cass west to the North Dakota border and north to the Canadian border. Albrecht said the DNR is making an effort to create new wildlife management areas by selling some of its smaller land tracts to public, then using that money to buy new sites connected to existing state land. The agency also seeks sensitive habitat areas for entirely new management sites.
WALKER—Traffic Marking Services won the right to paint lane striping on Cass County roads with a bid 30.16 percent below engineering estimates at $481,172.30. All the other three bids ran at least 12 percent under estimates. Cass County will do summer road grading and bill Minnesota DNR for equipment use and labor on three access roads to DNR properties. They include Laura Lake access, Big Rice Lake and Mud Goose wildlife management areas.
LONGVILLE—Cass County commissioners approved two preliminary steps Tuesday toward realigning access onto Shingobee Island and toward adding the long-closed restaurant back onto the island's community sewer system. The board set a public hearing for the 9 a.m. June 6 regular board meeting at the courthouse in Walker to consider vacating an existing access from Highway 371 to Leech Lake. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has been remodeling the former restaurant building on the island this spring, with plans to open it as a sports bar and grill early this summer.
LONGVILLE — Cass County Board voted to hire Joshua Howe as the new assistant county engineer. Howe has a Bachelor of Science degree from North Dakota State University at Fargo and is a certified professional engineer. He most recently was employed by Bolt and Menk Engineering Inc. as a project designer. Projects he designed or oversaw included some in North Dakota, but most have been for Minnesota Department of Transportation or local Minnesota governments.
LONGVILLE—Cass County has planted 2.6 million tree seedlings since 2002. The county board approved planting 126,720 seedlings this year during its regular second meeting of the month, held this month at Longville City Hall. The commissioners will hold the second meeting each month through September at a city or town hall. The county will start thinning these planted tree stands in 25 years, Land Commissioner Kirk Titus said Tuesday.