BACKUS — Cass County received $3.69 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Cass County Administrator Josh Stevenson informed Cass County Board members of the receipt of the coronavirus relief funds at the board’s Tuesday, July 7, meeting, which was set up in the same manner as previous meetings with commissioners Dick Downham and Bob Kangas joining via phone conference along with some presenters and other staff members.
Stevenson said there are numerous projects and expenses that may qualify under the CARES Act funding, including modifications to courtrooms, but there are numerous rules that need to be followed or the county may have to pay back the money.
Board chairman Neal Gaalswyk asked if it would be helpful to form a committee to determine how best to utilize the funds. Stevenson stated he will be working on the specifics and hopes to have more information at the next board meeting. It was also noted these funds were to be used and if the funds were not spent by the end of December they would have to be given back.
Renee Lukkason with Health, Human and Veteran Services presented the 2020 County Health Rankings report to the commissioners, which showed Cass County ranked 86 out of 87 counties for health outcomes, the same ranking as last year. Cass County is ranked 83rd for health factors, which is a move up from previous years.
Lukkason explained how the health rankings are determined and what is factored into how each county is ranked. Health outcomes are determined by length of life and quality of life, while there are four main factors that determine health factors. The first factor is health behaviors, which includes tobacco use, diet and exercise, alcohol and drug use and sexual activity. Having access to clinical care and the quality of care is the second factor. Thirdly, social and economic factors are considered, which include education, employment and income, family and social support and community safety. The fourth factor includes citizens' physical environment, the air and water quality and housing and transit.
In other business, the county board:
Certified the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Cass County as presented with modification of wording, changing any reference from workers to staff.
Approved adding a unisex restroom on the second floor of the courthouse in the abandoned elevator shaft at a cost not to exceed the price of $40,000. In discussion it was noted that there are no other restrooms on the second floor, therefore there is a need to have one installed to restrict the public from having to access other facilities in the courthouse. Most of the expense of adding this restroom will be for plumbing and this may be a project where the county could use funds from the CARES act.
Approved the installation of secure door controls on the first and second Annex fire doors and tie the courthouse to Law Enforcement Center fire doors to system door controller at a cost not to exceed $15,000. This will allow for better control of traffic as courtrooms begin to reopen for jury trials and more in-person activities. This expense may also qualify as a CARES act expense.
The next meetings are as follows: commissioner’s board meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, at Wilkinson Township, 6789 140th St. NW, Cass Lake, and commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug, 4, at the Land Department Meeting Room in Backus.