Cass County Board: Initiative Foundation awards $7.6M in Cass County so far in 2022

For every dollar from Cass County contributed the Initiative Foundation has invested $4.58 back into the county.

Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Brainerd Dispatch

WALKER — So far this year, about $8 million from the Initiative Foundation was awarded in Cass County for various initiatives.

Mike Burton, external relations officer with Initiative Foundation, presented an update to the commissioners at their regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 2. Initiative Foundation helps people throughout central Minnesota by investing in the local community. Burton said the foundation received approximately $1.6 million in local donations and returned $7.6 million to Cass County through grants, loans and scholarships. For every local dollar contributed, the Initiative Foundation invested $4.58 back into Cass County, Burton said, which is up from 2021.

Kristy Smart, county veterans service officer, shared the annual Veterans Services update with the board. She said although the population of veterans declined over the past few years, expenditures continue to rise mainly due to increasing health care costs. Smart also shared information concerning the Post 9/11 Veteran Service Bonus that Gov. Tim Walz signed during the 2022 Legislature, which allows eligible veterans who served from Sept. 11, 2001, to Aug. 30, 2021, a bonus of either $600, $1,200 or $2,000. Those who are eligible for this funding are military veterans, currently serving servicemembers, and veterans’ beneficiaries, guardians, conservators or legally appointed personal representatives. For more information, visit .

Michelle Piprude, Health, Human & Veterans Services director, gave an update to the board on the juvenile truancy intervention policy implemented last year. Piprude said the participation from area schools wasn’t as high as the department had hoped but they are hoping with the development of the program more schools will begin to participate. Piprude also said the policy was revised to remove wording related to COVID-19 and the school year so the policy wouldn’t have to be revised each year. Another update was made to the referral form, where last year the school could fill some of it out online but then had to print it off and fill the rest out. Now the whole form is capable of being filled out online, Piprude said.

In other business, the county board:


Established a public hearing for consideration of an ordinance allowing golf cart use on city and county roads in Lake Shore.

Heard a report from the budget committee concerning American Rescue Plan Act funds activity. The board approved funding the Deep Portage reroof project in the amount of $640,000, designated $250,000 for salaries in order to reduce the levy for 2023 and 2024 budgets and pause the American Rescue Plan Act grant program until Jan. 1 to determine if all funded projects are still viable.

Approved providing a letter of support for the grant application of Charter Communications to provide broadband in Loon Lake and Maple townships.

Approved the 2022 distribution of the state in lieu of payment in the amount of $1,240,874 and the wildlife management lands distribution in the amount of $107,148.

Approved the allocation of Chippewa National Forest federal funds for fiscal year 2022 and future funds, with 15% to the forest service and the remaining amount split equally between highway districts and the school districts in the county.

Approved payment of $15,427 to Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust for 2021 workers’ compensation, that resulted from a payroll audit, using funds received from MCIT as a one-time special distribution.

Appointed commissioners Bob Kangas and Jeff Peterson to the county canvassing board. Peterson then appointed Administrator Josh Stevenson to serve on his behalf.

Approved continuing the Cass County imagery project flights with Eagleview at a cost of $358,050 over the next six years.


Heard an update from the highway department concerning the gravel resource mapping project.

The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at Kego Township, Longville Fire Hall, 1350 County Highway 5 in Longville; and commissioner’s board meeting 9 a.m. Sept. 6 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker.

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