3/5/2021 4:22:00 PM Cass County Board: Despite objections, county considers establishing gravel pits
By Kyndra Johnson of the Press-Citizen
BACKUS - Cass County started the process of establishing its own gravel pits to be used for county needs.
At the Cass County Board's Tuesday, March 2 meeting, County Administrator Josh Stevenson led the discussion of beginning the process for county gravel pits to be established in section three of Pine River Township and section 19 of Walden Township. The main concern from public speakers was the proposed site in Pine River Township is near a couple of privately owned gravel pits, and would compete with private companies.
Jerry Young, owner of Young Excavating, and Ray Schrupp, owner of Schrupp Excavating, voiced their objections to the county opening a gravel pit in Pine River Township. By the county having a pit located there Young and Schrupp said it would take away business and be in direct competition with them. Young also mentioned that he had plenty of gravel on hand and would be willing to sell gravel and fill to the county when needed.
County Engineer Darrick Anderson said the recommendation to the board was to begin a conditional use permit process to secure a location to stockpile the county's gravel. Anderson said private gravel pits are not secure to stockpile county gravel without the worry of a private party using county gravel. Anderson also mentioned that the county has a very specific quality of gravel that has to be used for their projects and it cannot be purchased from private gravel pits without having to spend extra money on quality control testing.
Board Chair Jeff Peterson motioned for the highway department to begin searching for gravel resources on county land, but not to begin the conditional use permit process at this time. The motion was unanimously approved.
Stevenson also reported on the Soil and Water Conservation District Liaison committee meeting, which recently had a summary of the comprehensive watershed management plans, an update of comprehensive management plan, a staff update and an aquatic invasive species program plan update.
The final committee report Stevenson presented was regarding the Deep Portage Area, with limitations and timber management. At the meeting, the committee reviewed the existing area with limitations designation and the history of non-motorized use in Deep Portage. During this meeting the request to open three gates two weeks prior to deer hunting season was acknowledged.
Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane presented the final request for payment on the most recent coronavirus relief grants. The board had a request to approve a final payment of $127,000, which would require tapping into the state allocated administration fees in the amount of $7,111 in order to fund all requests received by the Feb. 16 cutoff date. After utilizing all of the funds the county would still have about $7,200 to use for administrative fees, which would be used at the board's discretion.
In other business, the county board:
Approved continuing limited public access to county buildings through April 20, with courtrooms and court proceedings remaining open.
Approved advancing the County Road 103 bridge replacement project from 2023 to 2021 and to add the County State Aid Highway 25 bridge replacement to the 2021 construction program.
Adopted local road improvement program resolution with Woodrow Township.
The next meetings are as follows: commissioner's board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 16; and commissioner's board meeting, 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 6. All meetings will be at the Land Department meeting room in Backus unless otherwise noted.