BACKUS - The Cass County Board voted Tuesday to begin rewriting the county's Lawful Assembly Ordinance to be more effective in regulating activities permitted on ice, effectively making changes to ensure the ordinance will cover Eelpout Festival in the future.
A board-appointed committee consisting of Commissioners Jim Dowson and Jeff Peterson (who attended when Commissioner Jim Demgen had a scheduling conflict), Sheriff Randy Fisher, Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson, Chief Deputy Tom Burch and Sgt. Erick Hoglund met following this year's Eelpout Festival at Walker and recommended the rewrite.
The committee reviewed improvements Eelpout promoter Jim Gerchy made to the 2010 festival this February, concluding that while additional portable bathrooms were provided, more of those and more refuse containers were needed.
County staff played a major role in cleanup efforts, they concluded.
Provisions of the ordinance amendments are expected to address penalties for non-compliance, define when a contract for law enforcement will be required and include a provision for road access for emergency response.
The committee will look at the definition of which events are to be regulated and at a possible tiered structure for events of shorter duration, with the primary intent that any event held on the ice is held to the same standards.
County Attorney Christopher Strandlie will work with the committee to draft amendments. Before the amendments return to the county board for consideration, a draft will be discussed with Minnesota DNR, the city of Walker, Leech Lake Reservation and event promoters.
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