5/3/2018 1:37:00 PM Cass Commissioners mull 5-year improvement plan
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
WALKER-Cass County commissioners got their first look Tuesday at the proposed capital improvement plan for the next five years.
They will host a public hearing at their 9 a.m. June 5 meeting at the courthouse in Walker before adopting a final plan.
Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane informed the board Cass had $15,093,689 in the capital projects fund at the beginning of this year.
With the addition of $170,000 in levy dollars dedicated for capital projects, grants and specially dedicated capital project money from some department budgets, the total to start 2018 was $16,249,531.
Cass County continues to have no debt.
The capital plan indicates the only factor that could lead the county to borrow money would be at a time the county board decides to build a new county jail and government complex at the former Ah-Gwah-Ching property the county owns or another site. Such a complex has been estimated to cost at least $50 million.
Current plans are to make necessary improvements to existing county buildings to extend the lifespan of those. New equipment is also a capital fund cost.
The county proposes to spend $2,856,423 on capital projects in 2018, leaving $13,393,108 left in the fund at the end of the year.
Capital fund expenditures for 2018 include completing the new election equipment purchase and remodeling a county building to store the equipment, repairing a garbage transfer station wall, installing a new phone system for county buildings in Walker, routine repairs on the courthouse building, new jail and east courthouse entryway roofs, phase 2 of Pictometry high-resolution aerial mapping, a replacement county highway garage at Longville and highway equipment replacements.
The county set a goal this year to set aside $50,000 toward repairs on buildings at Deep Portage Learning Center. The county owns the buildings and Deep Portage Foundation operates programs there. County money would match what the foundation has been contributing to building repairs.
Among expenditures proposed over the next five years are updated electronic jail controls, integrated voucher software, newer uninterruptible power supply, a baler for the garbage transfer station, replacing courthouse campus heating and cooling system, roof/sky light repairs on the land department building and historical society museum repairs.
The courthouse complex heating system started out as a steam and hot water heating system over 30 years ago. It was converted to wood pellets, then to oil and now runs on propane. There is a proposal for a vendor to run natural gas from Cass Lake to Walker, which could lead to another conversion.
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