TURTLE LAKE TOWNSHIP-For the first time in a few years, the number of foreclosed properties rose the first quarter of 2019 from the prior year.

Assessor Mark Peterson reported to the county board Tuesday, May 21, at Turtle Lake Town Hall that seven properties went into foreclosure the first quarter this year, compared with only four in 2018.

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This year's foreclosures included two homesteads, one agricultural property and four seasonal homes. All were valued under $400,000.

He also reported the number of arms-length sales of existing properties was exactly the same as the first quarter of 2019 as 2018 at 156.

In other business, the county board:

Approved a recommendation from Lt. Chris Thompson to place an ATM in the lobby of the county jail at Walker at no cost to the county that would be available to anyone needing cash to pay at any county office in the courthouse.

Card Care Systems Inc. of Fargo, N.D., will own and operate the ATM.

Learned the county received $1,647,236 from timber sales on tax forfeited property in 2018. Of that, 30 percent will be retained for reforestation and 20 percent for trails. The $823,618 balance will be distributed to townships and school districts where the timber was cut.

This is the third highest tax forfeit settlement in the last 20 years. The highest was in 2006.

Awarded a contract to Houle Excavating, the lowest of five bidders at $257,857.50 to replace a box culvert on County Road 107 west of Lake Shore in Home Brook Township. State bridge bonding and county road construction dollars will pay the cost.

Approved an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service for county deputies to patrol the forest and respond to fires within it from May 1 through Dec. 31 for up to $9,700.

Accepted a $114,048 federal grant through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for county victims services.

Approved paying $5,000 as budgeted to support Cass County Historical Society.

Learned fewer children were in out of home placements the first four months this year compared with last year, but costs ran higher, partially because more were in group homes and fewer were in foster care. Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Michelle Piprude said in a telephone interview Wednesday that a family counseling program and the greater availability of relatives to take custody of children has helped to drop out of home placement numbers.

The most significant reason for the shift from foster home to group home use is due to the increased number of children who are a safety risk either to themselves or others, Piprude said.

There were 275 children in placement the first four months of 2018 at a cost of $544,308. There were 208 children in placement the first four months of 2019 at a cost of $639,058. These numbers and total costs also included children placed in emergency shelters and correctional facilities.

The county spent 25.66 percent of the Health, Human and Veterans Services budget after 33.33 percent of the year in 2019.

Accepted a $31,102 grant to participate with the Minnesota Department of Health in responding to a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public health emergency and for preparedness.

Accepted up to $80,000 for fraud prevention investigation and up to $14,000 for criminal fraud investigation from Minnesota Department of Human Services for use by the sheriff's office's fraud investigator. These amounts are for each year of the state's fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

Approved out of state travel each quarter for the veterans service officer or his assistant to attend quarterly federal Veterans Administration meetings in Fargo, N.D.

Approved Veterans Service Officer Jeff Woodford's letter of support to Sourcewell for innovative funding for the Regional Yellow Ribbon Project to support veterans and their families.

Learned HHVS has adopted Minnesota Merit System's Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Guidelines for that county department.

Approved allowing the Chippewa Triathlon to be on some county administered land on the condition the activity takes place on existing trails without moving dirt or cutting trees and the event organizer will provide insurance and hold the county harmless.

Learned the county earned $446,056.67 interest on investments through April this year, up from $391,598.86 in 2018.

Approved Kirk Smith's request to reclassify 12.1 acres in Crooked Lake Township from Shoreland Residential to Commercial for his boat storage business west of Washburn Lake and Brian and Wendy Erdmann's request to reclassify 18.44 acres in Beulah Township south of Lake

Leavitt from Agricultural/Forested to Rural Residential 2.5.

The planning commission approved both reclassifications at a May 13 meeting.