BACKUS-Cass County commissioners voted Tuesday to nominate portions of two state highways in the county for Minnesota Department of Transportation's Corridors of Commerce program.
If MnDOT accepts the projects into the program, they could become eligible for up to $200 million each in state road improvement funding.
Cass seeks expanding to four lanes Highway 210 from Motley to Baxter, and Highway 371 from Jenkins to Pine River. The county board declined to nominate two citizen recommendations for expanding Highway 371 farther north or Highway 210 farther east at this time.
In other county board action:
Elections Administrator Sharon Anderson obtained county board approval to use $23,971.76 to match $29,463.24 of the county's state grant for new election equipment to purchase new electronic polling books for each precinct in the county.
This will be the first step toward updating the county's voter equipment this year before elections.
In another report to the board on frequently asked voter questions, Anderson reported the first step to hack-proof elections is to replace outdated voting equipment, which will have updated security.
She also noted the training provided to election officials, the fact that two or more officials are involved in most voting processes to help ensure elections run accurately. Political party, candidate or general public representatives may observe voting processes here, she noted.
Minnesota has both paper and electronic backup voting records, Anderson reported. As voters put their paper ballots into the scanner, it creates an electronic count and ultimately creates a paper tape count of a voting precinct, which can be compiled with the county count and state count.
There will be electronic records of a voter's votes and a precinct's votes at both the county and the state.
Paper and electronic records are cross-checked with the registration record signed when voters come to vote, so the number of votes cast will match the number of people who signed the register to vote in that election.
Election officials are trained to create the same kind of backup records and cross reference with voter registrations for mailed ballots, Anderson said.
She recommended and the board approved endorsing proposed state legislation this year to allow more ballot sizes and vendor options for new assistive voting devices.
County Engineer Darrick Anderson obtained approval to spend up to $5,000 to engage the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to trap beavers and destroy their dams this year if beaver activity threatens county roads, bridges, culverts or rights of way.
Anderson presented a map of the county's spring road load limit restrictions. The county restrictions follow the state dates for this area and will be in effect until after the spring thaw.
Cass will pay $27,941.66 to have Cass County Highway 1 seal-coated under a Crow Wing County seal-coating contract. State aid funds will reimburse $10,000 of Cass's costs.
Land Commissioner Kirk Titus obtained board approval Tuesday to award hazardous materials abatement contracts to three bidders who will remove the materials from buildings on county tax-forfeited properties prior to their demolition.
Bieniek will abate one building in Bena for $1,580. ACCT Inc. will abate one building for $2,550 in Backus. MAVO Systems Inc. will abate one building for $950 in Cass Lake.
Shepard Excavating won contracts to demolish six buildings for $28,346. Those are located in Pine River, Backus, Remer, Cass Lake and Bena.
Schrupp Excavating won a contract to demolish one building in Backus for $2,000. Storlie Construction won a contract to destroy one building in Bena for $8,100.
Once the buildings have been removed, the county expects to sell the remaining land where they were located on the county's annual land auction sale.
Champion Forestry Services was low bidder to win a contract at $69.80 per thousand to plant 115,840 seedling trees on county-managed land in Poplar, Trelipe North, Powers, Blind Lake and Deerfield townships this summer.
Tinjum Appraisal Company won a contract for up to $3,200 with a low bid to appraise a 40-acre parcel in Bull Moose Township preliminary to the county seeking to buy the parcel with Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council funding.
West Central Environmental Consultants obtained county approval to sample soil and groundwater on two county properties in the city of Backus on behalf of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and at no cost to the county.
The test is designed to evaluate potential future groundwater pollution for city water wells from an old gas station.
The board approved a 2018 contract to engage Mark Beard at $50 per hour to continue serving as the county's project manager for county construction projects. This is the same rate he has charged the last five years.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' boat and water safety grant to Cass this year will be $60,843.
Michael Barone, child support collections supervisor, obtained board approval to allow non-custodial parents to pay their child support payments to custodial parents in cash at CVS pharmacies, 7-Eleven Stores, Family Dollar Stores and Casey's General Stores under a new PayNearMe program.
The board approved a contract with Productive Alternatives to help people receiving benefits to train for and find employments under a Region Five program.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.