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Cass County Board: Funds approved to replace Wabedo Township bridge

CASS LAKE--County Engineer David Enblom obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to use money from the township bridge fund to help Wabedo Township replace a bridge over the Boy River at the north end of Little Boy Lake.

CASS LAKE-County Engineer David Enblom obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to use money from the township bridge fund to help Wabedo Township replace a bridge over the Boy River at the north end of Little Boy Lake.

Cass Highway Department receives $37,000 per year from state collected gas taxes to create a fund townships can tap to help them pay to replace bridges on town roads.

The county currently has $90,000 accumulated in its town bridge fund, Enblom reported. Most of that is expected to be used for this bridge, he said.

Erickson Engineering has a contract to design and oversee the bridge construction. Cass County will administer the funding once the township awards construction bids for the project.

Erickson will submit bills to the county, which, in turn, will process them to get payments released from the state town bridge fund for both engineering and construction bills.

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Wabedo will pay $10,000 of its money at the project beginning and another $10,000 at the project end. The gas tax money will pay the rest. Receipts for all work are required.

Enblom said the joint powers agreement with Wabedo the board approved Tuesday will serve as a template for future projects and reflects the county's past practices. He drafted the agreement to serve as a guide for future town bridge projects, because he will retire soon.

In the public comment period of Tuesday's meeting, Doug Carpenter approached the board to inform the commissioners, who also act as the board for the unorganized townships, that he believes they have violated the law by using unorganized township money to improve U.S. Forest Service roads.

He provided the board with copies of Minnesota Statutes on misconduct of public officers or employees, permitting false claims against government, reporting to the state auditor or legislative auditor and on a private person's authority to make a citizen's arrest.

Carpenter also presented state statutes on the county board's powers to establish county roads and expend money on those.

He earlier this month had submitted a request for public data on the county's 2015 state audit. That audit currently is in process and will be posted on the county website when complete.

Carpenter's daughter owns property north of Highway 2 at Bena in Cass County. He lives in Itasca County. He has appeared at county board meetings in past years to ask the county board to survey the road that provides access to his daughter's property.

County Engineer David Enblom informed him then that the county does not have sufficient funds to survey all its roads. Its policy is to survey roads only when improvement work is being done on a road.

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Since he first appeared before the county board, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has undertaken a project to pave the road in question and did do a road survey. Carpenter had filed an objection to that survey with the Leech Lake Band.

No action was taken at Tuesday's county board meeting by either Carpenter or the board.

Land Commissioner Titus Kirk reported to the county board the county sold 13 of 17 tax forfeited parcels at or above appraised value at the county's June 25 public auction. Total land sale auction proceeds were $371,700 for 213 acres.

Cass also has sold another 19 acres on five parcels over the counter since Jan. 1.

The land department will receive $190,755 for its expenses to process the sale. The highway department will receive $7,400. Cities and towns where the land is located will share $46,629. School districts where the land is located will get a share of $93,258. Another $93,258 will go to the county general fund.

Kirk said there was "tremendous turnout" for the sale, with the commissioner's meeting room filled with buyers.

The county sold 4,105 cords of timber from county tax forfeited land at a June 30 action, generating $179,309 in revenue. Per cord price paid for aspen jumped about another $10 this month to $47.63. Red oak sold for $49.28 per cord. Those were the two largest tree species offered.

The board approved transferring an easement across county land from Northern Lakes Company to Leslie Ann Olson. The site is located in Turtle Lake Township.

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY BOARD
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