February 7, 2024 at 11:38 a.m.
Cass County Board:

Commissioners considers purchase of former Bi-CAP building in Backus



By By Kyndra Johnson of the Press-Citizen | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

   WALKER—Chairman Neal Gaalswyk began the Tuesday, Feb. 6 commissioner’s meeting with a moment of silence in recognition of the Late Alfred “Tig” Pemberton. Pemberton served as Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Secretary/Treasurer from 1976-1990 and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Chairman from 1992-1996. Pemberton also was a United States Army Veteran. After the moment of silence Gaalswyk then recognized Kristin Kelley, Jailer for one year of service with the County.

   Mike Paulus, Executive Director of Cass County Economic Development Corporation approached the board with another request for the remaining amount of money in the revolving loan fund. The request was from MDIC LLC to assist in the final stage of the renovation of the old Walker Rehab and Healthcare Center into an assisted living unit that will offer dementia care. Paulus reported the facility will consist of 29 assisted living beds and will create 20 plus jobs in the area. The total amount requested was for $271,471.50 which will exhaust the Cass County Revolving Loan Fund. Commissioner Scott Bruns motioned to approve the request with Commissioner Bob Kangas seconding the motion and all Commissioner’s approving.

   Sheriff Bryan Welk requested input from the board regarding the next step for the Sheriff’s Office evidence storage and training building. Recently the City of Backus had reached out to the Sheriff’s Department regarding purchasing the former Head Start building and adjacent land. Sheriff Welk stated he believed more information was needed before considering entering into a purchase agreement with the City of Backus. One decision needing to be made is what the needs of the Sheriff’s Office is to meet both storage and training needs. It was mentioned, the proposed location not only had a building but also had adjacent land available for purchase in which the Sheriff’s department could utilize as a K-9 training area. After some discussion a motion was made by Commissioner Rick Haaland with a second by Commissioner Jeff Peterson to request an appraisal from the City of Backus for the Bi-CAP building and associated land and to move forward with a needs assessment for evidence and training quarters. The motion was approved unanimously.

   In other business, the county board: 

   • Approved establishing a Corrections Advisory Board for Cass County Probation and the Minnesota Department of Corrections with Commissioners Gaalswyk and Haaland serving on the committee.

   • Approved the resolution establishing the tax forfeit land sale on August 24, 2024 at 9 a.m. contingent on any possible Legislative changes.

   • Approved support for an easement to Sylvan Township to cross Cass County-owned land for a recreational trail with a motorized trail alternative with the final easement brought back for County Board approval.

   • Approved USDA Forest Service Road easements on Campers Landing Road, County Roads 125, 126 and 127 and to authorize the County Engineer to sign on behalf of the County Board.

   • Approved payment in the amount of $177,500 to the City of East Gull Lake in lieu of completing improvements on County State Aid Highway 18 which was revoked to the City in May 2021 with an understanding of completion of improvements. The City of East Gull Lake is planning on making additional work and requested a payment rather than the work be completed.

   The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Land Department meeting room in Backus; AMC Legislative Conference Wednesday, Feb. 21 through Thursday, Feb. 22 at The Intercontinental Hotel, St. Paul and commissioner’s board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, Mar. 5 at the Land Department meeting room in Backus.


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