Cass County Board: Heavy rains prompt Cass County to declare state of emergency

WALKER--Cass County commissioners Tuesday, July 3, declared a state of emergency to make the county eligible for a 75 percent state reimbursement for the cost to repair flooded roads.

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WALKER-Cass County commissioners Tuesday, July 3, declared a state of emergency to make the county eligible for a 75 percent state reimbursement for the cost to repair flooded roads.

The most significant event occurred June 17, according to Emergency Services Director Chad Emery, but the state is leaving open eligible damages since that date, because heavy rains have continued to damage roads.

Emery said townships also qualify to participate in the county's declaration.

To qualify for state reimbursement, the county's damages must exceed $52,563.28 for the event on the declared date. So far county and township costs are at about $72,000, he said.

Lightning struck the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Spire Valley Hatchery at Remer, causing a well to fail. Their road also was damaged. Total cost is $22,500.


The county sustained about $20,000 damage to road surfaces and lost two culverts in Meadowbrook, Homebrook, Maple and Loon Lake townships. County roads affected include 24, 35, 102, 103, 107, 115 and 168.

Sylvan Township estimated its road damage at $5,000. Moose Lake Township estimated washouts caused about $18,000 damage. Poplar and Hiram townships' damages were pending as of Tuesday.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported about $5,000 damage at its Highway 64 intersection with Cass County Road 24.

In other county board action Tuesday:

Sheriff Tom Burch obtained board approval for the county to sign a joint powers agreement with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to enable the county to received funding to implement an adapter to make the sheriff's records management system compatible with the National Incident-Based Reporting system requirements.

The FBI will require all local law enforcement agencies to participate in NIBRS by Jan. 1, 2021.

The state will reimburse the county under this agreement for the county's initial $8,000 cost. Once installed, the new system will enable the county to report data on crimes to the national system and to retrieve information from it.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported Cass has been receiving smaller federal payments in lieu of taxes for federal property like Chippewa National Forest, which cannot be taxed for property taxes.


The board passed a resolution Tuesday to enable the county to participate in a class action lawsuit with other local governments to seek full payment of PILT for years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Norikane said the federal government authorized paying one amount to each local government, but failed to authorize enough money to pay the entire amount. Partial payments were made. The lawsuit seeks the missing difference, she explained.

She warned the board to expect lower PILT payments in the future, because she said the federal government says it is making the full payment for 2018, but the amount is much lower than the reduced amounts paid in the prior contested years.

Approved increasing county funding granted to replace the fishing pier at Hackensack from $25,000 to $65,000. This will enable Hackensack to install a vinyl composite retaining wall with a 50-year warranty rather than a 20-year wooden retaining wall.

Jim Tuller, representing the fishing pier committee, told the board they collected $24,000 toward a local match for the project and are still collecting local donations. If they can get enough local donations, he said the committee may not need the full $65,000 county share.

Set a 9 a.m. Aug. 7 regular board meeting at the courthouse to reconvene a public hearing on Mark and Timothy Dorholt's request for a cartway to their property.

Blandin Paper Co. successfully went before the district court, which ruled the cartway the board approved in 2017 could not cross their property because it has a conservation easement on it.

Judge David Harrington remanded the issue back to the county board for reconsideration.


The board set the cartway along a section line, with half crossing along Blandin and county tax-forfeited land and half along property owned by David and Samantha Nikkel. The option the Dorholts originally sought would have run the cartway entirely on Nikkel property.

Administrator Joshua Stevenson informed the board the county's only cost on this lawsuit is a $2,500 deductible to the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust.

Authorized Burch to accept a $62,793 donation from the Lakes Area Dive Team to purchase a replacement van for dive team use.

He also can accept a $900 donation from Sylvan Township for the dive team.

Approved accepting a $4,950 bid from North Fork Boulders and Excavation to remove abandoned boats, furniture and construction debris from tax-forfeited properties in Poplar, Ponto Lake, South Trelipe and Beulah townships.

Awarded a $900 per month contract to North Country Janitorial & Supply Inc. to clean the land department building in Backus. Most cleaning will be done twice a week, with carpets shampooed and windows cleaned annually.

Awarded contracts to low bidders of six to add gravel and replace culverts on forest roads.

North Fork Boulders and Excavation will repair Snoway 1 and Moose Lake trails in Moose Lake Township and Bull Moose Trail in Bull Moose Township for $12,399. Holmvig Excavating LLC will repair Green/Fish Lake trails in Bungo Township for $28,500. Houle Excavating LLC will repair the Deerfield Trail in Hiram Township for $8,000.


Awarded a contract of $1,800 to Mustang Forestry to hand release a 10-acre conifer plantation. They will brush a 4-foot radius around pine seedlings to slow competition. There was only one other bidder.

Authorized Probation Officer Travis Fisher to attend the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies conference in August in Fort Worth, Texas.

Approved writing off 490 claims against individuals worth $227,184.35 for money Health, Human and Veterans Services hoped to claim through its agency collection system. A large percentage of the claims were for detoxification services or for county fees.

Some of the claims dated back to 1995. All were first filed against the people before 2012. Some were placed on revenue recapture, but no payments were received within the last three years or the client was deceased. One client filed bankruptcy.

Extended the time Cass County can use the remainder of its Follow Along Program federal grant to March 31, 2019.

Referred to the 2019 budget committee Central Minnesota Council on Aging's request to continue the county's $3,040 annual support in 2019.

Awarded a $24,000 contract to Anderson Industrial Scales to remove the concrete deck and replace with steel the weighing scale at the county transfer station north of Pine River. The old scale has been in place since 1992.

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