Cass County Board: County unloads 9 parcels at auction

WALKER -- Cass County sold nine of 18 land parcels offered for sale at a June 30 auction, Kirk Titus, land commissioner reported to the county board Tuesday.

WALKER - Cass County sold nine of 18 land parcels offered for sale at a June 30 auction, Kirk Titus, land commissioner reported to the county board Tuesday.

Buyers paid $210,367 for 89.35 acres of land. They have paid another $20,500 for properties offered for sale over the counter from prior land sales.

The nine lots that did not sell this June are still available at appraised value over the counter at the land department building in Backus.

Cass's June 27 Timber auction sold 4,034 cords of standing wood and 16,600 board feet of pine saw logs for $172,510. Aspen sold for $50.37 per cord. Red oak sold for $39.10 per cord.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported Cass will receive $509,802 federal payment in lieu of taxes this year, $152,941 of which will go to townships lying within Chippewa National Forest.


The county's federal PILT is lower this year than last year due to the fact the federal government has not fully funded payments in lieu of taxes.

Administrator Joshua Stevenson reported the Cass Lake Fire Department is considering an addition to its existing fire hall. That has been estimated to cost $900,000. The department is evaluating whether to go ahead with seeking bids likely to be near that or to modify their design plan.

The county board serves as the town board for unorganized township areas in northern Cass County. Cass Lake Fire Department contracts service to unorganized areas.

Others the department serves are Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the city of Cass Lake and several organized townships in Cass, Beltrami and Hubbard counties.

Stevenson said the county will need to know the fire department's plans before September in order to levy against properties lying within Commissioner District 5 in unorganized areas for 2018 if the project goes ahead.

If the project does cost $900,000, the unorganized township share would run about $68,000, Stevenson said.

Bob Goede, Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust, gave his biennial report to the county board Tuesday. MCIT is a multi-county insurance risk pool, which began in 1979 and now serves most of the counties in the state.

Meadowbrook Insurance Group has been contracting to underwrite property/casualty insurance for MCIT for several years. Beginning in 2018, MCIT will end its Meadowbrook contract and process all insurance for its members using MCIT staff.


Goede said, in response Commissioner Jeff Peterson's question, that he does not expect costs to increase with this change even though MCIT will hire additional staff, because the contract cost will be eliminated.

MCIT also provides counties workers compensation insurance. Base rates charged to counties to participate in the program have been lowered, so dividends paid back to counties also have gone down, Goede noted.

Central Services Director Tim Richardson obtained county board approval to sign a five year contract with Motorola to service the 800 MHz sheriff's radio system for $313,271.70.

The board approved renewing Richardson's power limited technician's license to enable him to continue running low voltage cabling for networks and alarms in county buildings without having to contract for those services.

Cass County Sheriff's Department will contract to provide law enforcement services to Moondance Jam in addition to the security forces Moondance also hires. The event and contract run from July 19-23. They pay overtime rate deputy salaries, which under the contract, reimburses the sheriff for fringe benefits and use of deputy equipment and vehicles in addition to regular deputy pay.

Outing Volunteer Library donated $50 to the sheriff's office in return for the sentence to service crew helping set up their book sale. Sylvan Township donated $900 to the sheriff for the Lakes Area Dive Team.

The commissioners authorized making the $5,000 annual support payment to Cass County Historical Museum and referred to the citizen budget committee a request from the Initiative Foundation for $17,500 in 2018.

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