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Cass County Board: No public comment received on body camera policy

BACKUS -- No one sent a letter to the sheriff. No one sent a letter to the county administrator. No one showed up for a public hearing. Sheriff Tom Burch told the county board when he asked to host a public hearing at a county board meeting on hi...

BACKUS - No one sent a letter to the sheriff. No one sent a letter to the county administrator. No one showed up for a public hearing.

Sheriff Tom Burch told the county board when he asked to host a public hearing at a county board meeting on his proposed revisions to his policy for use of body cameras that he thought his deputies' use of the cameras was well accepted here.

He suggested changes mostly to comply with new state laws.

The cameras have been in use in Cass County for six or seven years.

The county board Tuesday approved an agreement with Pillager School for the sheriff to provide law enforcement services during the 36-week school year in 2017.

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Following performance reviews with county department heads Oct. 11 and Oct. 18, the commissioners concluded each "achieves the requirements of their position."

Cass County spent 67.03 percent of its Health, Human and Veterans Services budget after 75 percent of the year. While it appears revenues at $14,078,555 were less than expenditures at $14,628,555, Heidi Stromberg, fiscal supervisor, explained the county receives its state and federal reimbursements only quarterly and at two months after the close of a quarter.

Thus, the reimbursement income will not come until November.

The same is true for out-of-home child placements where the county share of those costs, $1,687,381, was at 76 percent of budget expectations after 75 percent of the year, but one federal reimbursement was only 35 percent of budget expectations.

The number of children in out-of-home placements does continue a trend of increasing that has occurred in recent years.

The commissioners approved a 2016 contract with Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota to provide guardianship services this year at $55 per hour.

They approved paying a second year special $35,000 payment to Cass County Housing and Redevelopment Authority in 2017 to offset federal income the agency lost due to the federal Sequestration Act.

Scott Wilson, HRA director, told the board he expects the phase-out of that lost income and for HRA to be back receiving the full amount the federal government pledged beginning in 2018.

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He also presented the HRA annual audit and obtained board approval to pay mileage and meeting per diems to the agency's board for January through October. Those payments are in line with other committees and boards the county board appoints.

Land Commissioner Kirk Titus obtained the commissioners' approval to permit Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to conduct a study of wood duck breeding habitat on county administered land.

The study is designed to identify cavity trees conducive to nesting, aquatic vegetation likely to attract broods and seasonal wetlands likely to attract nesting hens in spring.

The board accepted the low quote of $120 per hour from North Fork Boulders and Excavating for snow removal at land department buildings and the low quote from North Fork of $760 to provide gravel and spread it on Snoway One snowmobile trail, which currently is being used as a forest access road for a timber sale.

The county sold 6,389 cords of wood and 101,000 board feet of saw timber from county administered land at an Oct. 27 auction. Timber from all six land tracts offered was sold.

Loggers paid $39.61 per cord for aspen.

The board tabled the minutes from a viewing and public hearing on a petition for a cartway in northern Cass, based on a recommendation from County Attorney Christopher Strandlie. He said not all owners of the property seeking public access support the petition for public access to the land they own.

He recommended the action to table until the board receives a consistent request.

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Central Services Director Tim Richardson obtained board approval to hire a college intern for the spring and summer semesters to assist with updating the county's GIS system, so the Next Generation 911 can be implemented for emergency response.

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