BACKUS—Cass County Board took first steps Tuesday toward adopting a local Buffer Law Ordinance to manage vegetative buffers along the edge of farm fields, which abut waterways. Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District Board approved the proposed ordinance at an Oct. 6 meeting. The county board now referred the proposed ordinance for a 30-day public comment period to be followed by a public hearing before the county's planning commission. If the planning commission approves it, the ordinance would come back to the county board for final adoption.
BACKUS—Cass County will publicly advertise for applicants from Oct. 20 to Nov. 3 to fill Cass's vacant county attorney position. Interviews will be Nov. 15 or 16. A committee consisting of commissioners Dick Downham and Bob Kangas; Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Michelle Piprude; Probation Director Jim Schneider; and Administrator Joshua Stevenson recommended this process and the county board adopted it Tuesday. The committee will conduct the interviews.
BACKUS—Cass County could install its first county road roundabout east of Pine River if the county's grant application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation is successful. The county board voted Tuesday to seek a Local Road Improvement grant from MnDOT to put the roundabout at the junction of county highways 1 and 44. The intersection currently is a four-way stop, with rumble strips and "Stop Ahead" indicators. Even as enhancements have been added, the intersection has had numerous serious crashes.
BACKUS—Sarah Smythe, income maintenance supervisor, reported to the Cass County Board Tuesday on client use of social services financial support programs. Medical Assistance is the program used by the largest number of people and costing the most, she said. The average number of people served per month by MA has run 8,188 so far in 2017, compared with an average of 8,506 per month in 2016. Cost per person averaged $923.36 in 2016, but cost figures so far this year are not yet available.
WALKER—Preliminary reports indicate Cass County will exceed the $51,420 minimum required to qualify for state emergency assistance from the Sept. 20 windstorm that blew through Cass and Crow Wing counties. Those preliminary Cass County reports show Crow Wing Power sustained $45,000 in damage, city of Lake Shore, $10,000; Loon Lake Township, $5,000; and Fairview Township, $4,000, he said. Other township reports are pending. If approved, the state will reimburse the local electric utility and local governments 75 percent of their losses, he said.
WALKER — Mike Paulus gave the county board a report Tuesday on what Cass County Economic Development has accomplished in the last year since he took over as director of the nonprofit corporation. The EDC has worked with 52 businesses, he said. Startup and expanding businesses have added 80 new jobs. Businesses have raised $5,200,000 with help from the EDC. The EDC provided 445 hours of assistance to businesses, he said.
WALKER—The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires counties to maintain a material safety data sheet on each product a county department uses in the course of its operation. Assistant Cass County Highway Engineer Kris Lyytinen brought to Tuesday's county board meeting a three-ring binder of all the data sheets for the highway department's over 100 items OSHA says must be maintained to meet its requirement. The book is about 6 inches thick. "We have to keep an up-to-date copy of this book for each highway garage," Lyytinen explained to the board.
WALKER—Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday to keep the county's major medical charges to the county and employees the same in 2018 as in 2017. This marks the third year in a row for rates to remain the same. Cass has a self-insurance program for major medical coverage. The county contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield to administer the program, but the county chooses premium rates and decides how much reserve funding to maintain.
WOODROW TOWNSHIP—Cass County commissioners approved several land reclassifications at their meeting Tuesday night in Woodrow Township, east of Hackensack. A 12.7-acre site in Section 27 of Walden Township, formerly part of an 80-acre parcel, was reclassified from agriculture/forestry to rural residential 10, a class designed for residential properties of 10 or more acres. Rural residential classes are for single family homes.
WOODROW TOWNSHIP — Cass County Board appointed commissioners Bob Kangas and Dick Downham to serve as a committee of the board to recommend an appointment to county attorney following Christopher Strandlie's resignation. The board met at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Woodrow Town Hall east of Hackensack. Commissioners Scott Bruns and Neal Gaalswyk were absent. Strandlie's resignation will take effective Oct. 6 when he will be sworn in as a district court judge.