REMER-The Cass County Board met in the new Remer Fire Department meeting room Tuesday night, Sept. 18.
The city's new fire hall is part of a complex built jointly in 2017 with Remer Ambulance Service for a new ambulance garage and with the county for a new county highway equipment garage. The joint project saved substantial money for all three projects.
The county is overseeing a similar project at Longville this year for a joint county highway garage and ambulance service building. Longville's fire hall did not need to be replaced.
Remer officials reported they are finding it is easier to recruit new, younger volunteers for their fire department and ambulance services now that they have newer electronics installed in the new garages.
Remer sold its old fire hall and ambulance garage to private parties, who now are paying property taxes.
Matt Varilek, Initiative Foundation of Little Falls president, updated the county board on that organization's continuing efforts help improve communities in its 14 member counties.
It covers an area from Cass County south to just north of the metro area and from Todd County east to the Wisconsin border.
This year in Cass, the Initiative Foundation has helped Walker Area Community Center, Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation, Faith in Action, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance and The Warehouse (Riverside Church) in Pine River.
It also has enabled the following grants: $22,212 for Cass County Soil and Water Conservation District, $4,000 for Hackensack Faith in Action, $5,000 for the city of Hackensack and $2,500 for Cass County Economic Development Corp.
It assists for profit and nonprofit businesses to obtain gap funding and prepare business plans, helps local communities plan for business development and does philanthropy.
By leveraging money from other sources, Varilek said the Initiative Foundation continues to be able to return more than $4 for every $1 Cass County has given to support the foundation.
In other business Tuesday, the county board:
Designated Oct. 7 through 13 as 4-H Week. Nic Podoll, Cass County 4-H director, informed the board 4-H participation is growing as the after-school programs spread through most of the county. Programs for Cass Lake still are pending, he said.
During 4-H Week, club members will do chalk art on sidewalks in Pine River and Hackensack and have a cookie bake Oct. 7 in Hackensack.
Approved an agreement with Rainforest Alliance to conduct an audit of the county's forest management practices, a step preliminary to extending the county's designation for managing a sustainable forest.
Selected low bidder Lawrence Valuation Services to conduct a survey of land the county is considering purchasing in the unorganized township. Survey cost is not to exceed $1,650.
Selected low bidder Northfork Excavating to repair a forest road in Bungo Township. Cost is not to exceed $1,190.
Accepted a $35,325 grant from Minnesota Department of Public Safety to be used for the Toward Zero Death enforcement program.
Approved out-of-state travel for Lt. Chris Thompson and Sgt. Rick Wolske to attend the TurnKey Corrections Users Conference in River Falls, Wis., which will provide training on using the software program Cass uses to track jail services such as cell checks for inmates while they are in Cass County Jail.
Accepted donations from Agency Bay Lodge ($100) for the boat and water safety program and Hackensack Legion Auxiliary ($200) for the veterans transportation program.
Accepted a $10,000 Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs grant for the county veteran services office operational enhancement, to be used between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.
Canceled 40 outstanding checks the county wrote in 2017, but never were cashed. They ranged in value between 10 cents and $179.52. Total value was $906.46.
Learned the county received 87 percent of expected interest on investments after 67 percent of the year or $855,649.79. This compares with $600,096.86 during the same period in 2017.