WALKER -- Cass County Engineer David Enblom reported to the Cass County Board on Tuesday he selected Kristopher A. Lyytinen of Deer River to fill the new maintenance division assistant county engineer position.
Lyytinen is a registered engineer who has been employed the last 10 years by a private engineering firm in Duluth.
A graduate of Deer River High School, he completed his pre-engineering studies at Moorhead State University and received his civil engineering degree from North Dakota State University.
The county board authorized Enblom to spend up to the budgeted $20,000 to remodel a portion of the highway department offices in Walker to provide private office spaces for supervisory personnel. Enblom said three employees currently share an office with one supervisor.
Enblom obtained board approval to participate in Phase I of the Minnesota Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Safety Improvement Program being conducted by Region V and MnDOT's office of Freight, Railroads and Waterways.
Of the $300,000 estimated cost for Phase I, 90 percent is expected to come from federal funds, Enblom said, with the balance to be paid by state, local and private money.
MnDOT and Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railroad may assume up to 100 percent of the local share, according to a notice Enblom received from MnDOT.
Cass County Highway Department will receive $121,589.83. Walker, Cass Lake, Remer and Deer River school districts will share another $121589.83. This represents the federal government sharing of revenue received from timber sales and recreational fees collected in the Chippewa National Forest last year.
Federal law initiated this sharing in 1908 to compensate local governments for loss of private property tax income for school operations and roads from U.S. Forest Service lands.
Administrator Robert Yochum said this amount is about $100,000 less than the county and schools have received in recent years. He said U.S. Forest Service officials reported in 2001 the federal government's intention to retain a larger portion of forest income for their operations before sharing the remaining 25 percent federal law dictates with local governments.
Yochum said he expects to discuss with forest service officials why the impact is as large as it appears to be this year.
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