BACKUS — Cass County will continue to disperse COVID-19 relief fund grants to area business and organizations.

County Administrator Josh Stevenson presented the consent agenda with a request to pull and discuss the COVID-19 relief grant applications at the regular board of commissioners meeting Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane stated there were a total of 166 first time applicants and 25 repeat applicants were awarded grant money. There still is a remaining amount of approximately $119,000 to be allocated. The county plans to distribute a second round of checks to all applicants.

Norikane also mentioned having a set amount for the grant applications was very helpful and made the application, approval and distribution process more efficient and, with the possibility of another round of grants being distributed in the future, her recommendation was to allocate those funds in the same manner.

Kevin Lee, manager of the Longville Ambulance Subordinate Service District, presented the fourth quarter report to the board stating volumes for 2020 were down for all four quarters. Lee said a total of 312 patients were billed with revenue of $860,436. Expenses for the year were in the amount of $810,679. The net margin for 2020 was $49,757. Lee also told the board the hospitals with the most transports were Brainerd and Crosby with 109 and 68, respectively.

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Environmental Service Director John Ringle provided updates with the board during the meeting. The first update Ringle discussed was the status of the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan Program. Currently Cass County is involved in three plans, all being at different stages of implementation. Those plans are: Leech Lake River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan, the Pine River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan and Mississippi River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. Ringle noted there are three more watershed plans Cass County will be involved in, with one being slated to begin in 2022 and the other two having unknown start dates.

Ringle also presented a revised variance application to the board for approval. This new application would take the place of the current variance application and would be a simpler and clearer application process. The board unanimously approved the new application.

The final item Ringle presented to the board was a request for a proposal to update the Cass County comprehensive plan. The last time the plan was updated was in 2010 and it is scheduled for a review and update, he said. No action was taken and Ringle said he will report back to the board with a recommendation at the March 16 regular meeting.

In other business, the county board:

Approved an off-sale intoxicating liquor license for The Pines Resort & Campground after conducting a public hearing during the regular meeting.

Approved the summary of proposed amendments to the Cass County Tobacco Ordinance to accommodate the new laws to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products. The first reading of the ordinance will be April 6 with a public hearing and adoption of the ordinance April 20.

Approved an additional $10,000 to the Cass County Housing Study through Cass County Housing and Redevelop Authority from the commissioners’ budget with the payment being consistent to the payment to the contractor.

Accepted a land donation from the Conservation Fund and incorporated the land into the existing county forest management system.

Adopted various local road improvement program resolutions with Shingobee Township, the city of East Gull Lake and the city of Cass Lake.

Adopted a resolution to support a local road improvement program application for the County State Aid Highway 37 project and a joint application with Crow Wing County on County Road 167/170.

The next meetings are as follows: commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 2; and commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 16. All meetings will be at the Land Department meeting room in Backus unless otherwise noted.