June 7, 2024 at 1:28 p.m.
Cass County Board:

Anderson presents 2023 Highway Department Annual Report

By Kyndra Johnson | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

   WALKER — County Engineer Darrick Anderson presented the 2023 annual Highway Department report to the Cass County Board Tuesday, June 4.

   Anderson shared a summary of highway maintenance costs, specific maintenance projects, equipment sold and purchased and an update on construction projects in progress and when the projects will be completed.

   In 2023, the total regular maintenance cost for County State Aid Highways was $3,622,461. Of that total, $2,862,374, or 79.02%, came from state aid funds. The remaining $760,087, or 20.98%, came from county funds. Anderson pointed out the county received less funding this past year from state aid funds than the previous three years, but this is the typical amount of funding received. The previous two years funding was up due to the types of projects Anderson noted. 

   Cass County received a total of $3,060,845 in Local Option Sales Tax during 2023 and completed the following projects with that funding: County State Aid Highway 5 pavement reconditioning; County Road 126 reclaim and pave; County Road 103 grading, culverts, aggregate base and bituminous surfacing and County Road 103 grading and paving.

   Anderson informed the board out of the several grant applications submitted during 2023, to help reduce taxpayer cost on road projects, the county received full funding for the County State Aid Highway 5 and Trunk Highway 371 roundabout project. However, the other roundabout project at County State Aid Highway 1 and Trunk Highway 210 was not funded. Therefore, the highway department will continue to pursue funding for this project.

   For the complete Highway Department Annual Report go to www.co.cass.mn.us.

   In other highway business Tuesday the county board approved a request to advertise and fill a full-time Engineering Technician, which is a new position and replaces the part time position vacated due to a retirement; approved the purchase of crossing improvements at the Sunup Ranch crossing on County State Aid Highway 18 for $10,863; approved final payment to Anderson Brothers Construction Company in the amount of $8,273,040.16 for work on County State Aid Highway 5, County Road 121, County Road 122 and County Road 126 and award a contract to Anderson Brothers Construction Company for $2,099,974.06 or work on County Road 155 and County State Aid Highway 48.

   Board Chair Neal Gaalswyk recognized Brain Sewall, Deputy Sheriff and Cassandra Shoop, County Agency Social Worker for one year of service with the county, however neither employee was able to be present due to being out of the office on a call. 

   Kevin Lee, ambulance services manager for North Memorial Health, presented the first quarter Longville ambulance report. Lee said revenue was favorable by $39,250 due to increased volumes, with the billed patients being 80 verses the budgeted amount of 68. He also said first quarter expenses were unfavorable to the budgeted amounts by $41,978 due to increased salary expenses. 

   Lee also updated board members on the one-time allotment of funding from the State of Minnesota for ambulance services across the state. It was mentioned all ambulance services had requested assistance from the State of Minnesota in the amount of $120 million, which is what was lost in income during 2022. During legislature this year, it was decided to allocate $30 million to area ambulances with $6 million funded to St. Louis and Ottertail Counties and the remaining to be distributed across the state. Therefore, Lee stated, the Longille Ambulance will receive $116,220 which can only be used for ambulance related expenses.

   In other business, the county board:

   • Held a public hearing regarding the Cass County Subdivision Ordinance. With no public input a motion was made to adopt the ordinance and was approved unanimously.

   • Held a public hearing regarding the County’s Capital Improvement Plan. Also, with no public input a motion was made to adopt the improvement plan and was approved unanimously.

   • Heard a financial update from Chief Financial Officer Becky Toso regarding the audit, the self-fund insurance fund, the local option sales tax and other fund balances. Toso did mention the county is in year nine of ten for the local option sales tax and needs to evaluate on whether to continue, and if so, the possibility of increasing it.

   • Authorized Toso to solicit bids for the 2024 audit.

   • Adopted a resolution authorizing the Julie M. Madison Trustee land exchange application, the establishment of appraised values of all properties involved, the classification of non-conservation land and to establish a public hearing on August 6, during the regular County board meeting.

   The next meetings are as follows: County Board of Equalization, 2 p.m. Monday, June 17 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker; commissioner’s board meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at Salem Township Hall, 10754 County 52 NE, Remer and annual planning work session, 9 a.m. Thursday, June 20 at Deep Portage Learning Center, 2197 Nature Center Dr. NW, Hackensack.


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