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Cass board buys ambulance building for $1

BACKUS - Cass County Board agreed Tuesday to purchase for $1 the building which houses Longville Ambulance Service. Six townships and the city of Longville in 1997 contributed between $200 and $5,000, based on the amount of their town within the ...

BACKUS - Cass County Board agreed Tuesday to purchase for $1 the building which houses Longville Ambulance Service.

Six townships and the city of Longville in 1997 contributed between $200 and $5,000, based on the amount of their town within the ambulance service area, to build a building at Longville to house the ambulance service. At that time, it was a volunteer service.

The building was built at the Longville Airport.

A representative of each town and the city has served on the Ambulance Building District Joint Powers Board to oversee the building since it was built. That board now wants to sell it to the county for two reasons.

The county now oversees Longville Ambulance Service, collecting taxes in that district and hiring North Memorial Ambulance to operate it. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has objected to a non-air service use and building being on what they see as airport, not city, land.

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Fred Smith, chair of the ambulance building board, told the county board Tuesday they have sought federal approval to declare the building non-aeronautical. If that is approved, the ambulance district could lease the land under the building for about $1,300 to $1,400 per year, he said. This would clean up the conflict with the airport and FAA, he explained.

Each town and the city must now approve the property transfer to the county. A final vote to approve and to dissolve the ambulance building board is expected at a 4 p.m., Nov. 20 meeting in Longville. The current title transfer document calls for the city to be given an option to buy the building back for $1 if the ambulance service ever ceases to use it.

Cass commissioners reported their Oct. 21 closed-meeting evaluations of the following department heads resulted in a determination all achieved the requirements of their position: Chief Financial Officer Larry Wolfe, Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson, Highway Engineer David Enblom and County Administrator Robert Yochum.

The county will seek public applications for county committee appointments through Nov. 25. Application forms are available from the county website, www.co.cass.mn.us or by calling the county administrator's office at 218-547-7419. A list of committees also is on the website.

Tim Richardson, central services director, obtained board approval to spend up to $10,500 to hire Engineering Design Initiative (EDI) of Minneapolis to design a central fire system for the courthouse, law enforcement center and health, human and veterans services (HHVS) buildings in Walker.

Currently, there are three separate fire alarm systems, installed in 1976, 1986 and 1990. Parts are getting hard to obtain for the two oldest systems, Richardson said, plus he would like to see all three systems tied into one.

The EDI contract calls for them to design a system and prepare a bid package for a central system for all three buildings.

The commissioners referred to the county's law library committee a suggestion from Walter Kuckes of Avon for the county to hire a person trained in legal affairs to help people fill out court forms for civil issues.

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He noted some counties now offer this service, plus simple how-to books to help make it easier for the public to navigate the legal system without having to hire a lawyer for simpler application processes. Even two hours a week has made a big difference in some counties, Kuckes maintains.

Court administration personnel are not allowed by state law to give advice on filling out court forms.

Veterans Services Officer Jeff Woodford informed the board he is in the process of training to be certified to directly access the Veterans Administration (VA) computer system without having to first go through a veteran organization.

He said he and his now-fully certified assistant veteran services officer will begin to begin scanning old case files for currently active clients. The goal will be to have a totally paperless system in the office, Woodford said.

Vets will have to apply to see if they qualify to use non-VA medical services when they are determined under a new federal law passed this summer to live farther than 40 miles from VA services, he said.

So far, Woddford said, he still is waiting for a determination from the VA on whether the mileage will be computed from clinics at Brainerd or Bemidji or whether it will be computed from the hospitals at St. Cloud and Fargo. It may depend upon the services needed, he said.

HHVS reported spending 66.99 percent of budget through 75 percent of the year, with 69 percent of the budget for out of home child placements spent.

The board approved allowing Little Sand Group Homes at Remer to increase the per diem rate it charges for juveniles the court places at their homes from $183.71 per day to $199.19.

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Cass will receive about $35,000 this year from Minnesota Department of Public Safety to operate the county crime victim services office.

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY BOARD
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