WALKER— Mike Burton, External Relations Officer with Initiative Foundation presented an update to the commissioners at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Initiative Foundation helps people throughout central Minnesota by investing in the local community. Burton stated they have received approximately $1.6 million in local donations and have returned $7.6 million to Cass County through grants, loans and scholarships. Burton reported for every local dollar contributed the Initiative Foundation has invested $4.58 back into Cass County, which is up from 2021.

   Kristy Smart, Veterans Service Officer, shared the annual Veterans Services update with the board stating although the population of Veterans has declined over the past few years, expenditures continue to rise mainly due to health care costs increasing. Smart also shared information concerning the Post 9/11 Veteran Service Bonus that Governor Walz signed  during the 2022 Legislature, which allows eligible Veterans who served from Sept. 11, 2001 to Aug. 30, 2021 a bonus of either $600, $1,200 or $2,000. Those that are eligible for this funding are Veterans, currently serving service member, Veterans’ beneficiaries or Veterans’ guardians, conservators or legally appointed personal representatives. For more information visit MinnesotaVeteran.org/ServiceBonus.

   Michelle Piprude, Health, Human & Veterans Services Director, shared an update with the board on the juvenile truancy intervention policy  that was implemented last year. It was stated the participation from area schools wasn’t as high as the department had hoped, but they are hoping with the development of the program more schools will begin to participate. Piprude also stated the policy has been revised to remove wording related to Covid and the school year so the policy wouldn’t have to be revised each year. Another update made was to the referral form, where last year the school could fill some of it out on-line but then had to print it off and fill the rest out now the whole form is capable of being filled out on-line.

   In other business, the county board:

   • Establish a public hearing for consideration of an ordinance allowing golf cart use on city and county roads in Lake Shore.

   • Heard a report from the budget committee concerning American Rescue Plan Act Funds (ARPA) activity. The board approved funding the Deep Portage re-roof project in the amount of $640,000, designated $250,000 for salaries in order to reduce the levy for 2023 and 2024 budgets and pause the ARPA grant program until January 1, 2023 in order to determine if all funded projects are still viable.

   • Approved providing a letter of support for the grant application of Charter Communications to provide broadband in Loon Lake and Maple Townships.

   • Approved the 2022 distribution of the State in Lieu payment in the amount of $1,240,874 and the Wildlife management lands distribution in the amount of $107,148.

   • Approved the allocation of Chippewa Federal Funds for fiscal year 2022, and future funds, with 15% to the forest service and the remaining amount split equally between highway and the school districts in the county.

   • Approved payment of $15,427 to MCIT for 2021 workers’ compensation, that resulted from a payroll audit, using funds received from MCIT as a one-time special distribution.

   • Appointed members to the County Canvassing board, with those being Commissioner Bob Kangas and Jeff Peterson, who then appointed Administrator Josh Stevenson to serve on behalf of him.

   • Approved continuing the Cass County imagery project flights  with Eagleview in the total amount of $358,050 over the next six years.

   • Heard an update from the highway department concerning the gravel resource mapping project.

   The next meetings are as follows: Commissioner’s board meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Kego Township, Longville Fire Hall, 1350 County 5, Longville and commissioner’s board meeting 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 at the boardroom in the courthouse annex in Walker.