Cass County Board: County won't deviate from state standards with Sunday liquor law

BACKUS--Cass County will not require any additional licenses or deviate from the state-set hours of operation when the new, statewide Sunday off-sale liquor sales take effect July 1.


BACKUS-Cass County will not require any additional licenses or deviate from the state-set hours of operation when the new, statewide Sunday off-sale liquor sales take effect July 1.

That state law permits off-sale stores to open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson informed the board she has had inquiries recently about how the county enforces its Liquor License ordinance section, which stipulates license holders cannot be delinquent on their taxes.

All persons seeking a new license or to renew an existing license cannot be delinquent on any federal, state or local taxes, including property taxes, assessment or other financial claims, according to the ordinance.

Anderson said the county does not check each license holder during the year, but will not renew the annual licenses until all payments are up to date. If they want to stay open, they have to be current on tax payments at least once a year, she said.


Environmental Services Director John Ringle informed the county board Tuesday he plans to have the county monitor compliance with the state's buffer zone around waterways until the Legislature finishes its work this spring.

He said he believes most land in Cass County is compliant with the law now. Ringle is hopeful the county could benefit from some state funding, which could accompany changes to the law this year.

If in the future the program proved costly without funding, Cass could later request Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources take over program management. This is the program requiring vegetative buffers between tilled fields and waterways.

Counties most affected are in western Minnesota, Ringle said.

Emergency service mutual aid is not only for emergencies, but also can be used to prevent a crisis.

Cass commissioners approved paying Itasca County Sheriff's Office $500 and city of Cohasset Fire Department $500 to bring specialized ice rescue equipment and men wearing floating rescue suits to Walker last month to be able to respond quickly if anyone went through the ice or had a medical emergency during Eelpout Festival. No one did.

Administrator Joshua Stevenson said ambulances do not drive on ice, so even a heart attack event could have required the ice rescue team to bring a victim to shore.

Cass County commissioners added a letter of support to Pine River-Backus School's application for a Minnesota Department of Transportation Safe Route to School program planning grant application.


The county will provide election administration services to Pillager School District for a special bond referendum election Nov. 7, 2017. Cost to the school will be up to $5,000, plus paper and other supplies and transportation. The district will pay its own election judges.

Tim Terrell, Mississippi Headwaters Board executive director, informed the county board about how MHB has been expanding its focus beyond just zoning along the upper Mississippi.

With the help of some grants, MHB has bought some land along the river and added conservation easements. MHB works with counties on monitoring the river, preventing storm water runoff into the river and educates the public on social media about aquatic invasive species, Terrell said.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane obtained board approval to amend the 2016 budget to reflect where the county actually spent money that had not been planned when the original budget was set.

Cass spent $249,005 from its unassigned fund balance reserves in 2016.

The commissioners approved extending their contract with Public Employment HR Consulting of Lampasas, Texas, through 2017 at the same rates as the last two years. The firm provides job evaluations and writes job descriptions to keep the county's job classification scale current when needed.

They charge $140 per hour for general consulting, $140 per position to maintain the job classifications and $120 per job description to write a new description.

Probation Director Jim Schneider obtained board approval to attend the Coalition for Juvenile Justice Annual Conference in June in Washington, D.C.


The chief justice of Minnesota Supreme Court has established as grant program to improve safety and security in courthouses and attached facilities. Cass will apply for a $16,750 grant under this program, which the county would match.

The project would add five security doors, six additional cameras in courtrooms and access areas and add three controlled access locks to the current courthouse door security system.

Cass will contract with Brainerd Medical Center Inc./Essentia Health for up to $2,000 per year to provide infant mental health services to local clients.

An anonymous person donated baby blankets and burp cloths to Cass Health, Human and Veterans Services for clients.

Land Commissioner Kirk Titus obtained board approval to award a contract to low bidder Superior forestry services to plant 110,000 trees on county administered land for $74.40 per thousand seedlings.

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