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Cass County Board: Longville Ambulance seeks subsidy increase from county

The net income margin for the ambulance service is negative 2.9%, with the goal net margin being positive 10%.

Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Cass County Courthouse in Walker.
Brainerd Dispatch
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BACKUS — Rising costs forced the operators of Longville Ambulance Service to seek more money from Cass County.

Kevin Lee, ambulance services manager for North Memorial Health, which operates Longville Ambulance Service, joined the Tuesday, Nov. 15, Cass County Board meeting via Zoom to give the third quarter Longville Ambulance Service report.

Lee said volumes continue to trend at a slight increase, with the ambulance servicing 229 patients compared to 222 during the same period last year. Even though there is an uptick in billable patients, Lee said, the net income margin for the ambulance service is negative 2.9%, with the goal net margin being positive 10%.

Due to salary expenses being significantly higher since the last subsidy increase in 2017, Lee requested a subsidy increase for 2023 to meet the margin goal of 10%. The county board took no action on the request Tuesday.

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However, total permit revenue is down 9.31% over the previous year.

Mark Gossman, land commissioner, requested the board approve the Munroe Turntable-Roundhouse Phase 2 Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society in the amount of $48,080 and to send out requests for quotes to qualified archaeologists. The commissioners previously approved a grant application in December of 2019 for Phase 1 of the project, with that phase being completed in April of 2020. During that study archeologists discovered logging camp relics along the late 19th century Brainerd and Northern Minnesota Railway at the Munroe turntable-roundhouse site. The site is approximately 10.6 acres and located in the southwest part of Cass County.

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In April of 2022, the land department was approved to apply for another survey to be conducted in order to determine if the site qualifies for eligibility to the National Register of Historic Places. In November of 2022, Cass County was awarded the grant, with the county required to provide a $5,680 match and subject to approval from the board.

Commissioner Jeff Peterson expressed said he was concerned if this area is determined to be of historical value, many other areas may be looked at similarly and may hinder the future of logging and development in Cass County. Gossman said by approving this study it would represent the county’s commitment to the Forest Stewardship Council. A motion was unanimously approved to accept the grant and request quotes from area archaeologists.

Environmental Services Director Jeff Woodrow requested the board approve a bid from Tyler’s Backhoe Service in the amount of $4,800 to transport loose brush and wood waste from the Walker-Hackensack transfer site to the old Cass County gravel pit.

Peterson said the commissioners considered opening the old gravel pit up year-round for the public to dispose of brush and wood waste there instead of at the transfer site, with the county having to pay to relocate it every year. Woodrow said sometimes when opening up an unsupervised site to the public people tend to leave unauthorized items at the location, even if signs are posted not to dispose of trash.

Tyler’s Backhoe Service was awarded the contract to haul the brush.

Woodrow also informed the board of possible changes in the future of recycling county cardboard. Due to the closure of one of only two companies that accept cardboard recycling, the county’s current contractor said they no longer want to accept paper from the county due to having more than enough cardboard. Therefore, the county may need to find an alternative option for paper recycling, Woodrow said.

During the confirmation of the upcoming meetings, Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk said a meeting he planned on attending Wednesday concerned current issues surrounding the Indian Child Welfare Act and the possible future and outcome from a Supreme Court ruling. The Indian Child Welfare Act was an act created in 1978 to prevent Native American children from being separated from their tribes and culture.

Gaalswyk said depending on the ruling from the Supreme Court, the state of Minnesota may create their own version of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

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The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker, along with the 2023 Cass County fee schedule, budget and property tax Levy beginning at 6 p.m.; joint meeting with the Leech Lake band of Ojibwe 10 a.m. Dec. 8 at Northern Lights Casino, 6800 Y Frontage Rd NW, Walker; and commissioner’s board meeting 9 a.m. Dec. 20 at the Land Department Meeting Room in Backus.

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