WALKER -- The Cass County Board adopted a resolution Tuesday concerning the county's plan to deal with the state shutdown.
Commissioenrs: passed the following instructions to county department heads:
"Determine any program funds interrupted by the delay in the state of Minnesota's ability to adopt a fiscal year 2005-2007 budget, and:
* "Suspend any nonessential program for which state reimbursement is not assured.
* "Provide state program and funding reports at each regular meeting of the board of commissioners until the state adopts a fiscal year 2005-2007 budget."
The board also urged the Legislature to complete its business as soon as possible.
In another resolution, the board set aside $2,037,025 of the general fund balance to pay employee severance liabilities, a 7 percent increase over last year.
County Administrator Robert Yochum told the board many counties don't have the money set aside to pay employees until their retirement or severance from the county. Without having a fund to cover this liability, they have to raise taxes significantly in a single year to make the payments when retirements take place.
The commissioners set 10 a.m. Aug. 27 at Walker for the annual auction of surplus county equipment.
They rescinded action taken last month to advertise for a new telephone system. Management Information Systems Director Tim Richardson reported Arvig Communication Systems has offered to continue paying the $9.20 per county telephone extension federal fee (about a $24,000 annual cost) in the county's behalf through 2006.
This agreement extension eliminated the reason the county sought a new phone system, which Richardson estimated would have cost $100,000.
Cass County will receive $138,269 from federal forest payment in lieu of taxes this year, with another $59,262 going to townships where timber cutting was done on federal forest land in those townships
Sheriff Randy Fisher reported receiving $8,409 from Minnesota DNR for off-highway vehicle law enforcement.
Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Dorothy Opheim reported, after being able to control costs for out of home child placements the last two years, the number of children in placement in May this year hit 135, with costs for their care running $246,307.
Overall out of home placement expenditures so far this year are about on target for the amount budgeted after 41 percent of the year, but the county has not been able to recover as much from Title IV-E as expected, so the county's share of expenses is 3 percent higher than expected.
Through May, $1,044,023 was spent on Cass out of home placements, with $945,282 of that pay by the county. Over half of that amount, $524,771, paid for children to be placed in correctional facilities.
Opheim said one reason less is being collected from Title IV-E federal funding is because more children had to be placed in correctional facilities rather than in qualifying group or foster homes. That federal grant does not pay correctional costs, she explained.
County Recorder Katie Norby reported the Legislature has significantly increased fees to record abstract and torrens documents effective July 1, raising the rate from $19.50 to $46, with $10.50 of the increase to transfer to the state treasury as a surcharge fee.
Documents containing multiple satisfactions/releases, assignments or partial releases will be $46. If more than four documents are referenced, an additional $10 per document referenced will be added.
Plat recording fees will be $56. Certified copies will be a flat $10 regardless of number of pages. Duplicate copy submitted with original will be $2. A document will be rejected if it is not legible or cannot be archived.
Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson reported the Legislature eliminated the ability of her office to charge some county fees permitted in the past. She estimated her department will lose an anticipated $42,000 revenue she had expected to collect this year.
The Legislature also set a maximum 25-cent ceiling for photocopy charges per page for most county information or documents. Cass has been charging $1 per page.
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