BACKUS - Cass County will offer six half-day household hazardous waste collection sites throughout the county this coming summer. Environmental Services Director John Ringle shared at the Tuesday, March 16 Cass County Board meeting.

The special collection days include:

June 8-1-4 p.m. at the county highway garage on County Highway 12.

June 24-1-4 p.m. at East Gull Lake City Hall.

July 14-Noon to 3 p.m. at Longville City Hall.

Aug. 12-10 a.m. to noon at Remer Do It Best Hardware.

Aug. 12-1-3 p.m. at Crooked Lake Town Hall.

Aug. 17-1-3 p.m. at May Township Transfer Station site.

The county also accepts household hazardous waste at the main transfer station north of Pine River on Highway 371 during normal business hours throughout the year.

On Feb. 17, Ringle and Commissioner Scott Bruns attended the Northwest Minnesota Household Hazardous Waste Joint Powers Board meeting. Randall Bodensteiner, manager of the program, said out of the 10 counties that comprise the joint powers board, Cass County had the highest number of participants in the disposal program. Cass County also reportedly had a total of 280 participants at the local collection events, making these summer collection events very successful.

Hazardous waste includes unused paints, stains, varnishes, herbicides, pesticides, some types of cleaners and other materials.

Environmental Services Deputy Directory Jessica Manifold shared with the board the challenges of the past year developing the Draft Land Use Ordinance and the Environmental Definitions Ordinance Revisions for Cass County. After the first public hearing last April was postponed due to COVID-19, it was realized additional time was needed to evaluate the proposed edits. On Feb. 22, a Zoom meeting with additional public comment was heard by the planning commission.

The planning commission unanimously voted to recommend the proposed Land Use Ordinance and Environmental Definitions Ordinance to the county board and has requested the board establish a public hearing. Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk motioned to establish a public hearing and second reading of the ordinance to be held April 6 at the next regular commissioner's meeting. Commissioner Bob Kangas seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

Ringle also requested the board approve a proposal from Houston Engineering, Inc. in the amount of $19,872 to update the Cass County Comprehensive Plan. This bid was received after the board authorized Ringle to issue a request for proposals at the Feb. 16 commissioner's meeting.

Houston Engineering, Inc.'s quote came in $7,722 higher than the next lowest quote, but they proposed to have the work completed by August of 2021, whereas the other consultant couldn't complete the work until April of 2022. Ringle secured $15,000 in funding from the Cass Soil Water Conservation District and felt that if the county was to accept the quote from the lower consultant the county may loose out on those funds. Therefore, Ringle requested the board approve the proposal and expend $4,872 from Natural Resources Fund 73 to cost-share with $15,000 in funding obligated from the Cass Soil Water Conservation District. A motion was made and approved unanimously.

County Administrator Josh Stevenson shared a summary of a recent meeting by the Deep Portage Area With Limitations and Timber Management Committee of the Board. In regards to the Deep Portage Area with Limitations it was noted that Deep Portage has always been a place to hunt and where youth could learn to hunt safely. Public land owners are required to accommodate individuals with mobility limitations in non-motorized areas and currently the land department issues waivers to individuals with mobility limitations. Therefore, in regards to the request to open gates and allow motorized vehicles during deer hunting season the committee felt with the above options there was no need to change the policy of this area. However, better information is needed on how to obtain a mobility waiver if needed.

The committee also reviewed the timber management plan for the next six to 10 years. The committee reported that an annual meeting between Deep Portage staff and the land department should take place to review upcoming and current timber sales along with addressing the unintentional consequences of past timber sales on trails and programming.

In other business, the county board:

• Approved the final 2020 budget amendments as presented by Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane.

The next meetings are as follows: Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe State of the Band Address at 10 a.m. Friday, March 26 hosted virtually; commissioner's board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 6; and commissioner's board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 20. All meetings will be at the Land Department meeting room in Backus unless otherwise noted.