WALKER -- Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to use $15,000 from the recent surplus county equipment auction and all proceeds from the sale of confiscated firearms to donate toward a Hovercraft.
The Walker Fire Department will buy the Hovercraft for emergency rescue services, but it will be available to any Cass County emergency service needing it.
Walker firefighters have trained to use a Hovercraft and will operate it for any agency needing the services, said Fire Chief Scott Bruns. The Walker Fire Department's old Hovercraft, damaged beyond repair this spring in an emergency rescue effort, was a used machine the city received from the sheriff's department, which also had obtained it used.
The Cass County Board asked that the fire department insure the new machine against damage and liability. Bruns said the department expects to do that.
The Hovercraft and trailer to move it will cost $40,000 to $46,000, Bruns said. To date, besides the Cass County donation, the Walker Fire Department has committed $10,000 from its budget, and $6,000 in donations have been received.
Fisher said Hubbard County also has expressed an interest in donating funds toward the purchase, but has not set a definite amount. The Remer Fire Department also expressed an interest in donating funds.
Letters of support for the purchase have been received from the Cass Lake Fire Department, Pillager Fire and Rescue and the city of Backus.
In response to concerns from the Outing Quick Response emergency medical service unit over the poor radio communications for their area, the county board Tuesday authorized a complete communications needs analysis for the county.
Commissioner Jim Dowson suggested Fisher seek federal Homelands Security funds for the analysis and future improvements to the county communications system.
Fisher said other areas of the county besides Outing have difficulty reaching the Walker dispatching services. These include the Pillager area and many sections of northern Cass.
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