Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane updated Cass County Commissioners Oct. 15 on the status of the 2019 budget.

Norikane noted that budgets are trending fairly well, and a couple of program budgets need to be monitored entering the fourth quarter. She mentioned the Longville ambulance station might need a fourth quarter budget amendment, due to construction costs but wanted to monitor the budget before making an amendment.

She also reviewed the proposed fee schedule for 2020 and it was approved to add the fee schedule to the Truth in Taxation public hearing agenda. The meeting is set for Dec. 5, starting at 6 p.m. at the courthouse.

Homelessness update

Rachel Zetah with Central Minnesota Council on Aging gave an eye-opening presentation about the homeless situation in the area. Homelessness can be defined as anything from living in a fish house, a car or camper, to sleeping on friends’ and relative’s couches.

Homelessness happens through the inability to afford housing, but other prominent causes include chronic health issues such as mental illnesses, and also domestic violence. Another sad fact is that although they represent a small amount of the homeless there has been a 25 percent increase in older adult homelessness since 2015.

Zetah also offered several resources that people could use to help curb the problem such as Wilder Research at http//mnhomeless.org, the Minn Housing Finance Agency, and the Minn Interagency Council on Homelessness, all of which have websites. Cass County has an additional resource in Bi-Cap, the bi-county (Cass and Hubbard) community action program.

Highway department contract requests

Assistant County Engineer Joshua Howe requested approval for culvert replacements on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 3 (Unorganized Township in the northeast part of the county).

Two existing culverts are not working correctly could result in a flooded out roadway he explained, and the board accepted the lower of two bids from Young Excavating, Inc., for $157,040.25; the second from TNT Aggregates, LLC (Hammerlund Construction) came in at $172,000.

The board also increased the beaver control reimbursement amount from $30 to $50.

Hackensack dog park proposal

Linnea Dietrich, Chair of the Make Hackensack Dog Friendly Committee, and  Betty Thomas, Make Hackensack Dog Friendly Committee Member, requested a donation from Conservation Fund 73 to be used along with other funds to create a fenced-in dog park in the city of Hackensack. The request was for $13,400.

The request was tabled and the presenters were encouraged to return after they have increased donations. So far the dog park has received donations from the Hackensack Lions and Be the Game Changers group.

County employee insurance program

The board also approved an Insurance Committee of the Board recommendation to approve the 2020 insurance plan, and plan contributions as presented and identical to the 2019 plan with no increases for participants.

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