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Cass County Board: Piprude named interim director of Health, Human and Veterans Services

BACKUS—Cass County Board appointed Social Services Manager Michele Piprude interim Health, Human and Veterans Services director effective Oct. 18.

The social services manager position will remain vacant until she decides whether to accept a permanent appointment as director. The county received 25 applications and interviewed five people before making the appointment.

Retiring director Reno Wells will continue in an advisory capacity until his retirement in January 2016.

The board named Tonya Heldt to a new team leader position.

The commissioners appointed Assessor Mark Peterson to another four-year term. That appointment is subject to state approval.

Commissioners Jeff Peterson and Scott Bruns will meet with Longville Municipal Airport Advisory Board and city council members concerning the Federal Aviation Administration's determination that the county, as owner of the Longville Ambulance Service building, must pay a market rate lease for having the building on airport land.

The FAA proposes a 25-year land lease, after which the building would have to be moved. There is no provision to extend the lease as the current FAA terms have been written.

The Longville Airport was built using money from an FAA grant. Any future FAA airport grants are at risk unless the county agrees to lease the land at market rate.

Administrator Robert Yochum said that would mean about $2,000 per year at current rates. The proposed FAA agreement also has an annual rent escalator clause.

Yochum proposes the county could ask the FAA to pay an equivalent lease to continue using a portion of the ambulance building as a lounge for arriving and departing air travelers at the site, making the cost a wash.

The commissioners voted Tuesday to pay the $2,500 insurance deductible to repair damage to the septic system at Deep Portage. A tree fell on the pump for the system during the July 21 windstorm.

They approved paying $4,000 to have flashing and two panels replaced on a metal building at the county's recycling center and transfer station north of Pine River. The roof was leaking by the flashing.

Central Services Director Tim Richardson obtained board approval for the county to have Minnesota Counties Information Systems, a multi-county collaborative, take over storage of Cass' main computer system data. This will eliminate the need for the county to upgrade its main computer hardware.

The basic system will also give the county cost savings for mainframe operations over a five-year contract period.

Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson reported the county earned $750,902.21 interest income on investments through September this year, up from $728,979.08 last year.