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Cass County Board: Commissioners approve updating bridge replacement priority list

WALKER -- Incoming County Engineer Darrick Anderson obtained county board approval Tuesday for an updated bridge replacement priority list. Three new bridges have been installed on County State Aid Highway 1 since the last list was approved in 2013.

WALKER - Incoming County Engineer Darrick Anderson obtained county board approval Tuesday for an updated bridge replacement priority list.

Three new bridges have been installed on County State Aid Highway 1 since the last list was approved in 2013. Another on County Road 107 was installed in 2016. A Wabedo Township bridge is now underway.

Next to be replaced from the 2013 list will be a bridge on County Road 129.

Being added to the list this year as top priorities are another bridge on County Road 107 that was damaged during last summer's storms and a bridge on County Road 103 that was closed for a while in 2016 until temporary repairs could be made after the support under one lane was found broken.

While the one remaining bridge on CSAH 1 is still soundly built, Anderson said it will be added to the list for a future date when extra grant money might become available, because it is narrower than all the other bridges on that road.

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This is the first CSAH 1 bridge south of Pine River.

Also added to the list this year is a CSAH 43 bridge over Ada Brook.

Cass townships' 2017 share of the state gas tax is $8,712 lower than the 2016 allotment. Towns will share $496,240 this year.

Cass County's proposed, revised water plan goes into a 30-day public comment period following a hearing before the county board Tuesday.

Mike Tauber, a rural Backus resident, expressed concern about whether the plan adequately addresses the potential impact large farming operations will have on groundwater quality when they replace former Potlatch timber plots.

He also questioned whether the county plan coordinates with Hubbard County's water plan, because of the large timber-to-agriculture conversions, which have taken place to the west of his property.

Environmental Services Director John Ringle suggested Tauber participate in a separate up-coming Leech Lake Watershed area plan, which will cover parts of Cass and Hubbard counties and likely will include the area where Tauber lives. Tauber expressed interest in participating.

The Cass County water plan is posted on Cass' website at www.co.cass.mn.us to view. Comments should be addressed to Cass County Environmental Services at P.O. Box 3000, Walker, MN, 56484 or cass.esd@ co.cass.mn.us.

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Following the local comment period, Cass' water plan will go to a regional state Board of Water and Soil Resources committee for review before going to the main BWSR office in St. Paul for approval. Final county board approval is expected to occur in May.

Ringle said the approved, updated water plan will be necessary for Cass to qualify for up to $270,000 in grants that can be used to improve the county's water quality.

Cass County accepted storm damaged trees from last summer's storms at the county's transfer sites near Hackensack and Pine River.

The firm they hired to grind the wood waste, Sylva Corp., has now offered to credit the county for $50 per load for the wood mulch they haul away, Ringle reported.

The county can apply the credit for new shredding services in the future, he said.

Land Commissioner Kirk Titus obtained county board approval Tuesday to remove from over-the-counter sales three parcels that have not sold. He will have them appraised at a lower value, then re-offer those for sale on this summer's county land auction.

Cass will offer 20 parcels for sale at a 9 a.m. auction June 24 at the courthouse in Walker.

The county sold 24 parcels in 2016 for $472,000. About 40 percent of that is shared with townships where the property is located.

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Titus reported the county sold 5,859 cords of wood from county land for $190,323.89. Timber from all six tracts offered was sold.

Loggers paid higher prices this month. Aspen went for $34.60 per cord and red oak for $37.63. The county offers the largest volume of those two tree species.

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