Cass County Board: Audit of county financial records in final review

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.


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.

Cass also changed its policy on use of gasoline credit cards, because, even though employees are not allowed to purchase anything except gasoline with the cards, the state was concerned that an employee could use the card to buy something in a gas station store.

Now a sign-off sheet will be used, outlining responsibilities for using the cards.

Once the audit is final, Norikane said she will recommend the county set aside this year $1.5 million for uninsured claims toward the potential sum the county could face repaying Enbridge in excess property taxes as a result of a court decision in Enbridge's favor.


The state set the value of Enbridge's property on which taxes are based, but the counties and other local governments currently would be the ones required to repay the back tax money owed to Enbridge. No state legislation has passed to help offset that.

Norikane also said she will recommend the county increase the out-of-home placement reserve fund to $3.5 million this year until more is known about unfunded state mandates. Health, Human and Veterans Services Department has been budgeting more than it has spent in anticipation of these potential cost increases.

Through June 2018, Cass spent 41.34 percent of its HHVS budget, or $6,178,062.

Out-of-home child placement costs ran 39.79 percent of budget projections for 50 percent of the year or $1,022,258. After recoveries and reimbursements, Cass' share of those costs ran $926,423 through June.

Norikane reported the county's expenditures and revenues are trending mostly as expected so far this year.

A local bank increased saving account interest rates, helping interest earned on investments exceed budget projections, Norikane said. After half the year, Cass earned $612,340.75 in interest on investments or 62 percent of budget projections for the whole year. This is also above the $439,861.02 earned the first half of 2017.

The local option sales tax to benefit the highway department continues to exceed expectations, with $771,844 collected so far in 2018, Norikane said.

She reported Cass County's federal Payment In Lieu of Taxes will be $429,407 this year, down from over $500,000 received the prior six years and the nearly $600,000 paid in 2014.


Of the total this year, the county will retain $300,585 and divide the remaining $128,822 among 19 townships having land inside the Chippewa National Forest.

Norikane obtained board approval to amend the county's procurement policy effective Aug. 1 to take into account the increased threshold from $100,000 to $175,000 for requiring sealed bids.

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