BACKUS - Cass County Board approved the last of labor agreements Tuesday to cover Cass's employees through Dec. 31, 2016. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees bargaining unit for health, human and veterans services have approved the agreement. Like agreements approved earlier this year, it calls for 2.5 percent raises in 2015 and 2016, plus a mid-year step increase that will be about 3 percent. People who have worked for the county 10 years and reached top step will receive, instead of the step increase, a lump sum longevity payment in December.
BACKUS - Frank Sherf, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, presented five alcohol breath testing devices to Cass County Sheriff's Department at Tuesday's county board meeting. The presentation is in recognition of Cass Sheriff's Department being one of eight agencies statewide to be recognized as an outstanding agency in implementing the Toward Zero Deaths enforcement program in the fourth quarter. Sherf said the state's high for traffic deaths in a year is 655.
BACKUS - Veterans services and Longville Ambulance Service presented their annual reports to Cass County commissioners Tuesday. Veterans Services Officer Jeff Woodford said the number of veterans coming to the Backus office and satellite offices in Cass Lake, Remer and Pillager rose significantly in 2014, though about seven fewer vets visited the office in Walker. The veterans transportation program, where vets can get rides to medical appointments, continues to be a popular service.
BACKUS - It looks like it is more cost effective to pave roads than to repeatedly re-gravel and apply chloride to gravel surfaced roads, County Engineer David Enblom told the county board Tuesday. For this reason, Enblom said he plans to prepare a proposed paving plan for additional roads to implement when the up-front money to pave more roads is available. He said he would like to be able to begin more paving while oil prices are down. He said he has done some rough calculation.
WALKER — Probation Director Jim Schneider obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to apply for a MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge Grant. If this grant for up to $150,000 is approved to permit the county to plan how to keep fewer people in jail, then the county could apply for another grant to implement the plan. Schneider said nearly 75 percent of pretrial and sentenced people here are in jail for non-violent crimes such as traffic, property, drug or public order offenses.
WALKER - Townships will have to provide a building with a modern electrical system, heated to at least 55 degrees and free of mice, skunks and other creatures if they want to continue to use county voting equipment for elections. Towns also must show they consistently can recruit a sufficient number of election judges and alternates to continue have an in-person voting precinct at their town hall. Cass County Board adopted these requirements Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson recommended as part of her report to the board Tuesday about the pending purchase of new voting machines. A state gra
WALKER - Human Resource Director Joshua Stevenson presented a chart to Cass County Board Tuesday listing potential key position retirements over the next five years. Though the commissioners took no immediate action on the proposed timetable for seeking replacements, they did indicate board action will be likely later this year for retirements likely to occur in 2016. The board already has authorized advertising to replace retiring environmental services resource specialist Retta Freeman, who has retired, and to add a new permit intake person to that department, who will also specialize in a
WALKER - Cass County Board members decided Tuesday to begin replacing county highway garage buildings in four cities. Two more garages still would be replaced 10 to 15 years from now. The county had been on a program to repair and upgrade existing highway garages to try to buy 10 years before replacement would be needed.
BACKUS - Merritt Bussiere, University of Minnesota Extension educator, presented an eight-county analysis of second homeowners from a survey extension conducted. The counties include Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Aitkin, Wadena, Todd, Morrison and Benton. About 47 percent of Cass County residences are second homes for the owners, he said.
BACKUS - Cass County Probation Department has begun to assess each client's potential to reoffend in an effort to help offenders avoid committing new offenses, Jim Schneider, director told the county board Tuesday. He presented his annual report to the board. He said county probation officers now look at each client's belief system, who they hang out with and what their temperament is to determine where the officer can help them change their lifestyle to help them turn around their life. "The goal is to facilitate the client's effort to change their behavior, which in turn lowers their risk