BACKUS - Several Cass County departmental supervisors submitted to the county board Tuesday projects they have "shovel ready" to apply for federal economic stimulus package funds when Congress approves a plan.
Administrator Robert Yochum said he expects Congress to allocate stimulus block grants to states. Additional state funding may or may not be added before each state selects projects to receive grant awards.
Additionally, Yochum said he has received word from St. Paul that Rep. Larry Howes proposes to introduce legislation to use stimulus funding to build the critical access hospital at Ah-Gwah-Ching.
This proposal might bring a positive response from other legislators, Yochum believes, because the hospital project not only would create construction jobs, but also new long-term medical service jobs.
Kris Lyytinen, assistant county engineer, listed $2 million to reclaim pavement and overlay County State Aid Highway 3, $800,000 to overlay pavement on CSAH 6, $400,000 to pave County Road 155, $200,000 to pave shoulders on CR 35 and $200,000 local match for Sucker Bay Road overlay.
He also listed replacing bridges on CSAH 1 over the south fork of the Pine River and on CR 120 at Wabedo Lake for $700,000.
If the county were to receive funds to replace any of the existing highway department garages throughout the county, Lyytinen estimated $800,000 cost each for the garage in Walker and a joint facility with Wabedo Township at Longville and $600,000 each for any of the remaining five.
The highway department has sought for some time to replace some of the county garages to improve energy and operating efficiencies.
Environmental services department listed replacing light ballasts and driveway paving at the county's garbage collection and recycling center north of Pine River.
Central services department listed $8,519,000 worth of improvements to heating/cooling systems, communications, elevators, fire suppression, telephones and data links at Walker county buildings. Of that total, $6 million would go to upgrade the county's emergency radio system to 800 MHz.
Josh Stevenson, assistant land commissioner, listed $200,000 to locate and replace all missing survey corner markers in the county and $500,000 over five years to purchase land to create wildlife and trails corridors.
Stevenson also proposed establishing a $5 million fund to purchase land timber companies are selling or leasing today, with the intent to preserve this land for public hunting and recreation. The land also would be used for timber production, with proceeds from timber sales to create a revolving fund to purchase additional land.
Commissioner Jim Dowson said the county should have a list of health-related projects ready to go, because he understands the federal legislation proposes several applicable health categories.
Yochum said he thinks the area joint county radio communications system for emergency services, which has been studied in recent years, likely also might qualify for this funding to implement the plan.
The board Tuesday approved the highway department requests to seek stimulus funding. All other proposals listed would have to return to the county board for grant application and acceptance approval.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.