Sheriff: All squads now have in-car computers. All deputies have uniform department-issued weapons and Tasers. A new records management system with less expensive hardware is installed. A chaplaincy program started to help victims and staff following major events. Drug enforcement is going well. The county is waiting for the state on a new 800 megahertz radio system.
Recorder: Some electronic recording is in place. The county hopes to get in on early funding for electronic certificate of real estate recording.
Probation: Department staff learned a lot about security and case management from their first audit in 2007. Under consideration is a center where probationers would report weekly in person. A joint powers with the tribal court to supervise cases is being considered. The focus on DWI cases here is working. In 2007, only one of the four Cass County traffic fatalities was alcohol-related and 22 percent of injury accidents were alcohol-related. More work is needed, because half the people who get a second DWI will get a third, and half of those with three get a fourth.
Management information systems: In process is a secure encrypted e-mail system and a transition from several small data storage boxes to a single larger one that will store more data and require less cooling. The county needs a good disaster recovery plan. Improved maps are going on the county Web site that will print cleaner, give more detail and allow more data overlapping. Plat book data is updated weekly on the Web site. About 1,000 people visit the Cass Web site maps daily.
Land department: People who trespass with development onto county-administered land are being required to remove that trespass. In an effort to help save high-paying forestry jobs and land available to public recreation, department employees are lobbying to keep timber lands under industrial forest classification. Smartwood certification inspection of the county's forestry management for the first time in 2007 found no deficiencies. The county supports having the state levy against ATVs like they do snowmobiles a sum to help maintain trails and support enforcement.
Highway: Cass is close to paving all county roads carrying 150 or more vehicles per day and expects to have a five-year lull before more county roads must be paved. State aid highway funding is still short of needs. Turning back short road stubs to townships has improved communication with towns. Cass has eight bridge designs ready if the state approves bridge construction funding this year. The county got extra safety money to install street lights at potentially high accident rural intersections. The county will help Pine River depot restoration group and a Walker trails group process their project funding.
Health, human, veterans services: Leech Lake Reservation took over Indian child welfare programs this year. The county board wants to continue offering county staff assistance to ensure that program's success to save the county money and improve outcomes for Indian children. A medical emergency program is in place. The county medical assistance program completed the first year with South Country Health Alliance. Family centers in the county are struggling to find new, adequate funding sources.
Environmental services: Comprehensive plan and revised zoning ordinances will be presented to the public for comment before adoption this spring. New zoning maps are ready, with more than half the townships having recorded support so far.
Court administration: The state has made available on the Internet public access to all resolved district court cases at www.mncourts.gov/publicaccess, with the final two counties, Ramsey and Anoka to be added in April. A self-help workstation for people wanting help to fill out court forms is available in the courthouse now. Statewide performance standards are expected to give more consistent data entry. Cass County court administration has installed nine new workstations as the department increased to 14 employees in the last year. A third judge's hearing room is nearly ready. Electronic filings and bill paying will be added next year. Visa and MasterCard are being accepted for fine payments now. Real-time court proceeding updates and electronic case filings are coming.
Building and grounds: Health, Human, Veterans Services building continues to have heating and cooling system problems, though the county has not incurred any warrantee repair costs. The county needs to decide whether to replace or shut down the outdated 1961 elevator in the old courthouse.
Auditor-treasurer: Record election turnout is expected in 2008. Staff is cross training. More technology use may enable not replacing one expected staff retirement in 2009. Electronic pay, deed recording and bank reconciliation is in place. The county earned a record $1.9 million on investments in 2007, but projections for 2008 have been set at $1.3 million.
County attorney: More use of interactive television for court proceedings is expected, but the prosecutors do not support camera use in courtrooms, because of privacy protection for victims. The law library is losing revenue, because of an increased number of people going to tribal court and increased number of cities writing local citations to collect administrative fees. County Attorney Earl Maus will become a district court judge March 13, to be succeeded by his chief assistant, Chris Strandlie.
Assessor: The county valuation is close to $7 billion. Foreclosures have increased in the county. Lower interest rates likely will lead to more housing refinancings. The Legislature is expected to redefine farms for taxing purposes. Hobby farming will be separated from working farms.
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