PINE RIVER—It has taken three years to complete the first half of Cass County's portion of the Minnesota Geological Survey and likely will take another three years to finish the second half, according to Robert Tipping, University of Minnesota. He outlined progress so far on the project designed to bring together data on soils and distance to bedrock, plus an analysis of groundwater. The university was in charge of completing the soils half of the project. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will complete the water half, he explained.
PINE RIVER—Despite the fact the number of veterans living in the county declined as older vets died, expenditures per veteran escalated significantly, Jeff Woodford, veterans services officer, reported Tuesday, July 17, to the Cass County Board. Cass vets received $30,762,000 in federal benefits in 2017, compared with $18,408,000 in 2008. There were 2,961 veterans living in the county in 2017, compared with 3,474 in 2008. The average annual expenditure per veteran nearly doubled from $5,299 in 2008 to $10,389 in 2017.
PINE RIVER—Cass County sold 211.33 acres of tax-forfeited land at a June 26 auction for $294,473, Land Commissioner Kirk Titus reported to the county board Tuesday, July 17. Fourteen of the 26 land parcels offered at the auction sold, he said. In addition, the county sold another eight parcels over the counter from the land office in Backus since the first of this year, netting another $166,750.
PINE RIVER — Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported Cass is in the final review for the Minnesota State Auditor's audit of Cass County 2017 records. As a result of that audit, the county has changed the bank overseeing its investments to one the state recommended as providing less risk in the way investments are purchased and allocated to the county.
PINE RIVER — Cass County Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday night, July 17, at the regular meeting in Pine River Township Hall to seek a new Minnesota Department of Transportation study for speed limits on County Highway 77. The city of Lake Shore requested a speed study through that city. The county resolution, however, covers from about 780 feet east of the west junction of Highway 77 with Miller Lane to the east Cass/Crow Wing line. A cooperative study will be asked for the Crow Wing portion of the road as well.
WALKER—Cass County's long-standing requirement that sewer systems be inspected for compliance with any new permit application has been so successful, the vast majority of non-compliant systems were updated, planner Paul Fairbanks told the county board in June. Therefore, changes the board adopted July 3 to the countywide land use ordinance will relax sewer inspection requirements for some new permits.
WALKER—New blue recycle bins replaced old, rusted green bins at Cass County recycling collection sites this summer, but that does not mean rules have changed on what people can recycle. These bins now accept commingled recyclables, with a separate bin for paper/cardboard. The Cass Environmental Service Department issued a plea to recycle bin users to be sure items they put in the bins are clean, approved items for recycling.
WALKER—Cass County commissioners Tuesday, July 3, declared a state of emergency to make the county eligible for a 75 percent state reimbursement for the cost to repair flooded roads. The most significant event occurred June 17, according to Emergency Services Director Chad Emery, but the state is leaving open eligible damages since that date, because heavy rains have continued to damage roads. Emery said townships also qualify to participate in the county's declaration.
BACKUS—What saves money for some county departments can cost another one future revenue loss. Multiple Cass County department heads reported during the county's annual planning meeting Friday, June 22, switching to electronic work systems improves efficiency and productivity, letting their employees do more work more easily as they find better systems and train to use programs.
PILLAGER—Longville ambulance personnel have been busy, the Cass County Board meeting learned at its Tuesday, June 19, meeting. Kevin Lee, North Memorial Health, reported the Longville Ambulance Subordinate Service District had a significant increase in calls for service the first quarter this year compared with last year. The service billed for 41 patients the first quarter of 2017 and for 75 patients the first quarter 2018. Lee said the increase has continued through May.