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Low bid awarded contract for Cass bridge

WALKER - Prahm Construction was the lowest of eight bidders to win the contract Tuesday to install a new bridge on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 over Stony Brook about 1.5 miles east of CSAH 24.

WALKER - Prahm Construction was the lowest of eight bidders to win the contract Tuesday to install a new bridge on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 over Stony Brook about 1.5 miles east of CSAH 24.

The project will cost $422,602 or 3.35 percent higher than the engineering estimate. Other bids ran as high as 44.49 percent over the estimate.

County Engineer David Enblom said he was surprised by high number of bidders. Usually, there are three or fewer bridge bidders, he said.

The county board approved allocating up to $20,000 from Fund 73 to purchase easements and move a 30-by-300-foot section of the Paul Bunyan Trail connection to Walker from the Christmas Point Road ditch and onto private land.

That fund comes from interest earned on money the county generated by selling former state leased lots several years ago. Interest, but not the principle may be spent for environmental and recreational purposes.

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Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson reported the Secretary of State's office has issued voter information from the last election.

The no-excuse absentee voting initiated in the 2014 election brought a 30 percent increase in absentee voting in Cass County over the 2010 mid-term elections, Anderson said.

While Cass County has 4,480 people who are eligible to vote who have not registered to vote, Cass still has registered 80 percent of those eligible and ranks 18th out of 87 counties for voters registered. The county ranks 14th among the 87 counties for those eligible who voted in the 2014 election.

Crow Wing County ranks 21st at 79 percent for the number registered of those eligible to vote and ranked 10th this year for eligible voters who did vote.

Anderson will start a committee of county, city and township representatives in 2015 to evaluate potential voting tabulators to replace those the county currently uses.

She plans to purchase new machines in 2016 rather than 2018. Software no longer supports updating current machines, she said.

Those vote tabulators likely will cost the county between $300,000 and $350,000, she said. Another $150,000 to $200,000 will be needed to replace the handicapped voter voting machines at the same time, she added.

No state funding is available currently to replace voting equipment like when the state first rolled out computerized voting equipment, she said. For this reason, Anderson will be encouraging more townships to go to mail balloting or to consolidate their polling places to cut down on the number of new machines needed.

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Cass County is seeking bidders to print 42,000 property tax statements and mail those to taxpayers. Proposals should be submitted by Dec. 30 to the auditor-treasurer office.

The county board approved three of four agreement extensions for corrugated cardboard collectors who pick up used cardboard to recycle in the county to run through Dec. 31, 2017. The fourth still is in negotiations, Environmental Services Director John Ringle said.

The county is still looking for three more citizen representatives to represent the county on committees. Needed are a representative to Bi-County Community Action Program, a representative from District 4 (Walker area) to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and an alternate from anywhere in the county to the planning commission.

Related Topics: CASS COUNTY
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