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Minutes

PINE COUNTY TOWNSHIP OFFICER’S ASSOCIATION MEETING SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2019

PINE COUNTY TOWNSHIP OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION MEETING SATURDAY, MARCH 23, 2019

The Spring Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chair Katy Overtoom at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Katy Overtoom. The Invocation was provided by Katy Overtoom.

Roll call was taken with 26 townships present, establishing a quorum.

Motion made and seconded to approve the minutes from the Spring Meeting, Saturday, October 28, 2018 read by Secretary/Treasurer Glen Williamson.

Jason Rarick, State Senator MN District 11. There were problems and concerns with the extraordinary special primaries and elections for Tony Lourey’s Senate seat and Jason’s house seat when he was elected Senator. Some mail-in ballots didn’t get to the courthouse on time with the short window. He is asking for more money for township broadband internet and cell-phone service beyond the one-time grants to include bonding like with road and bridge and transportation bonding. He’s working with the Rural Transportation Bill to increase the share small cities and townships get; now we get only 5% of the gas tax although we have 40% of the roads in the state. He said there is more talk about the NXL Railroad funding but the legislators can’t control the outcome once money is designated to an agency. He opposes the $.20 gas tax increase since it adversely affects rural drivers with longer distances and older vehicles. It’s supposed to go into the transportation fund but can be diverted to transit. He supports a designated sales tax for transportation. Powerball funds can’t be used for roads or other purposes than what it’s designated for. One idea is tracking drivers with GPS and charging by miles driven.

Steve Hallan, District 1 commissioner. Asked for prayers for those suffering in the Nebraska/Iowa floods. Said the commissioners are also focused on bringing broadband to townships. He supports a gas-tax increase and wants more to go to townships. New county building in Sandstone is coming along and the next County/township commissioners meeting might be there. County is understaffed and have to do more with less. There are six openings for jailers, a good paying job with a retirement program that only requires a high-school diploma. Out-of-home placements are hurting the budget with over 100 kids in placements, and it’s also a social problem. Kids have to have somewhere to go. Road projects include redoing the highway 70 overpass and bridge and also the Walmart exit and road to re-engineer the roads for better visibility of oncoming cars. Want to replace the big box culverts in Willow River but hung up with permits to work in the river bed. Some towns want to give the county some of their roads; they can’t take any more except with a swap.

Josh Mohr, District 2 Commissioner and county chair. The special primaries and elections hit towns and the county pretty hard. It cost the county $18,000; $12,000 for ballots alone plus overtime and it cost many towns $1,000 per election. He wants the state to come up with a better way to handle these special elections, perhaps with mail ballots. Mohr testified at the capitol for Rarick’s bill for a fairer share of the casino taxes. Rarick wants the county’s share doubled.

Jeff Nelson, County Sheriff: Drug use is still a big concern in the county, mostly with meth, but also heroin and opioids. This affects all county agencies; they want to steer people in the right direction. The jail program tries to rehab and redirect offenders.

Kelly Schroeder, New County Auditor/Treasurer. The 2020 elections are only a year away. One big change will be a state-wide March Presidential primary election, as well as the August primary. The legislative language is unclear about primaries; they now require up to four separate ballots, for each party instead of putting all offices on one ballot. There’s a bill to allow one ballot and to make the Presidential Primary a mail ballot election. The 16,000 mail ballots would still be cheaper than polling places. She talked about how tax for land and timber sales trickles down to townships. The County Forester is doing an inventory of county land for a plan for the timber harvest. Property tax assessments are going out this week; township levies are going down but county levies are going up. Big push for recycling programs with 11 sites for recycling sheds run by PHASE, and they found a site for the Willow River transfer station north of Willow River that will take garbage and tires and mattresses and recyclables 3 days a week. They want to make this a pilot project in General Andrews Station for garbage and recyclables, since half of the people in the county do not have any garbage service so they burn it or dump their garbage.

County-wide Zoning: Still only opt-in but they are almost ready to release it and there will be big public meetings when it is released.

Lorri Houtsma, New County Assessor. Boards of Appeal start April 8. She distributed land values schedules for 2020. Most people will have an uptick in values, mostly in high-ground tillable land. There is online assessor training in July for Supervisors. Open-book boards of appeal give people more time to appeal their assessments, up until June.

Jordan Zeller, ECRDC said economic development creates jobs and grows the local tax base. They’ve started an inventors and entrepreneurs club to help inventors get patents and create more businesses to hire more people. Check the ecmnbusiness.com website for updates. They will meet monthly in Braham. ECRDC has a small business revolving loan fund to buy equipment and start businesses. If someone can’t get full funding they will loan $30,000 and take the second position to the bank. Four loans are out now at good interest rates. They support the MN Rural Broadband Coalition for internet and have a day on the Hill on April 3rd.

Katie Draper, Director of Govt. Affairs for Mille Lacs Band Ojibwe: The band has 16,000 acres with 4,700 members, 609 in Pine County. There are six Minnesota Chippewa tribes. They have 750 full time employees in 30 businesses and operate public works, clinics, schools, and entertainment events. District 3 is east of Hinckley in Pine County. They have a new community center by the casino with a gym and track open to the public. The tribe pays $125,000 in property taxes on 50 million in assets.

Miranda Janssen, Rep for 8th District Congressman Pete Stauber: Need to get the federal mileage rate or a fair parity rate for volunteer drivers. Stauber is working on the transportation bill and the Rural Broadband Coalition.

Ben Weiner, Veterans Services: The VA is the second largest bureaucracy in government. They bring millions to veterans services for education and services.

Business Meeting

Motion made and seconded to approve the Treasurer’s report by Secretary/Treasurer, Glen Williamson, Sr.

Election of Two Replacement Board Members: Two Executive Board members, Susan Grill (Kettle River Township) and Robert Sunstrom (Ogema Township) were re-elected by unanimous ballot for three-year terms. Next county township officers meeting October 26, 2019, 4th Saturday at the American Legion in Hinckley.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 10:25 am.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.
Secretary/Treasurer
Pine County Township Officer’s Association

Date Approved:______________________

Chair___________________________

Photographs by Paul Raymond, Clerk, Wilma Township

Categories
Minutes

Fall Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association, Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Fall Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, October 27, 2018, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chair Katy Overtoom at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Katy Overtoom. The Invocation was provided by Katy Overtoom.

Roll call was taken with 21 townships present, establishing a quorum.

Motion made and seconded to approve the minutes from the Spring Meeting, Saturday, March 24, 2018.

We had several speakers:

State Senator, District 11, Tony Lourey said that the last session virtually nothing got done at the state legislature. However, they did get a bonding bill passed. He is looking forward to the legislature fostering a civil, fact-based dialogue between the parties. 

Tim Burkhardt, Candidate, District 11B lives in Hinckley and served three terms on the city council.  He’s also a Regional 5 director for the MN Association of Small Cities.  He talked about his background and why he’s running for State Representative.

State Representative, District 11B, Jason Rarick said if a fiber optic company is using state and federal money to expand, they should allow companies to access the services that’s on their route.  He talked about many issues, including the fact that townships have more roads than the state.  He went on to say that he and Tony Lourey work well together.  He answered many questions about internet connectivity.

Matt Ludwig, County Commissioner, District 5 said he’s been on the board since 2013.  He talked about the drug epidemic and that there are 100 kids in out placement.  There is $1.8 million dollars for Heath and Human Services.  The county added probation officers and a new court room.  There was also a $630,000 increase in wages and benefits this year over last year.

Reese Fredrickson, County Attorney talked about the military and his time in the Air Force.  He talked about military veterans that have got caught up in the criminal system and how he helps to divert them.  They are setting up a regional veteran treatment court to serve Pine, Isanti, Chisago and Kanabec Counties.  They are also looking for mentors for veterans. Last year was a record year for bookings and this year is about the same.  

County Sheriff, Jeff Nelson said he’s been sheriff for four years now.  He stated that overall the community feels good about what the department has accomplished.  He talked about the Drug Task Force and what they have done.

Kelly Schroeder, County Land Services Director that Land Services have a lot going on.  The county has added many recycling sheds and they will staff and new site near Willow River/Rutledge area.  Kelly talked about zoning initiative, the draft ordinance and that it will be an opt-in program.  She distributed flyers about the Pine County Zoning Initiative public meetings, Board of Equalization dates, culvert workshops and who is trained to be on the Board of Equation.

Karen Amundson, ECRDC Community Development Planner is putting together a Regional Development Transportation Committee. She talked about the different planning states and how we could help with transportation.

Leah Kampa and Dustie Speldrich, DNR Conservation Officers from the northern part of Pine County said we don’t have Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in our county.  However, they do in Aitkin and a couple others.  They went on to describe the symptoms of CWD.  If you’re involved in a car – deer kill, any police officer can give you a permit to keep the carcass.  They went on to say that trespassing is huge in this county.  To avoid trespassers, you must post signs at all entrances and back sides of your property, every 500 feet.

Rick Olseen, Field Representative for Congressman Rick Nolan said he’s on a farewell tour because Congressman Nolan is retiring and so he’ll be out of a job, January 2, 2019. He said that Congressman Nolan has a bill that would give those that volunteer for non-profit organizations the same rate as the federal mileage rate. He talked about many issues including that there is a Rural Broadband Coalition, and that as an organization that we may want to join.  He noted that 10% of the American economy is transported through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Tim Fisher, MAT, District 10 Director and MAT new Executive Director David Hann came instead of Michael Miller, District 7 Director who had to be at his regular job. Halm said that he served on the state legislature for 14 years.  Even though he never lived in a township, while in the legislature, he stated he represented the interest of all Minnesotans.  He went on to state that many in the legislature are unaware about townships, but he plans on educating them.  He also talked about broadband and his work with the fire department.

Skip Thompson, Candidate for Pine County Commissioner, District 5 said he wants to sell tax forfeited land.  He talked about county wide zoning and what the cost would be.

Business Meeting

Motion made and seconded to approve the Treasurer’s report.

Susan Grill from Kettle River Township was elected to fill the vacancy until March 2019 on the Executive Board, vacated by Roberta Folkestad, Royalton Township.  Dan O’Flanagan, Dell Grove township was elected to fill the vacancy until March 2020 on the Executive Board, vacated by Dave Baker, New Dosey Township.

Motion made, seconded and pass to keep rolls in the morning, but discontinue lunch starting March 23, 2019.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 11:15 am.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.

Secretary/Treasurer

Pine County Township Officers Association

Date Approved:______________________

Chairman___________________________

Categories
Minutes

The Spring Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Spring Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chair Katy Overtoom at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Katy Overtoom. The Invocation was provided by Katy Overtoom.

Roll call was taken with 25 townships present, establishing a quorum.

Motion made and seconded to approve the minutes from the Fall Meeting, Saturday, October 22, 2016.

We had several speakers:

Rick Olseen, Field Representative for Congressman Rick Nolan … he said that Congressman Nolan would like the wolf matters to become a state issue.  He mentioned that meals on wheels program are at risk.  He also talked about the Veterans Choice Program.

State Representative, District 11B, Jason Rarick is the chair of the Jobs Committee.  He talked about many issues including broadband and a tax cut for many Minnesotans.

Stephan Hallan, County Commissioner, District 1 said that the county got funds to do surfacing on many roads.  Arrowhead gave 106,00 rides last year.  Most of those rides are contracted rides with Phase.  However, understand that the bus system is for everyone. He took a survey to see how many of the officers do not have trash service in their area.  The county is also putting dumpster on an experimental basis in a few areas, i.e. Willow River.  He also talked about recycling and where you can take your used appliances in Beroun, near the exit off of Interstate 35.

Jeff Nelson, Pine County Sheriff  – thanked County Attorney Reese for the work he’s doing.  2015 – 2016 there were 2,000 more law enforcement calls and it’s not slowing down.  So far this year they have written 38 search warrants which include blood draws and search of homes.  He encourages citizen to come along for a ride with other deputies.  Just call the office for details.  So far this year, the department has recovered over $100,000 in stolen properties (not all of them are from this county).  The department also just got their 2nd canine and it’s in a 8 to 9 week training program.

Kelly Schroeder, County Land Services Director passed out solid waste guides and land assessment maps. Land value in the southern part of the county is going down, however it’s staying put or going up in the rest of the county.  She’s now the official County Recorder and has such it has become more customer service friendly.  Also remember that with all filing papers, signatures must be notarized.  She also talked about electronic and garbage recycle programs on Wednesdays and Saturdays in Willow River.  It will be $6.00 per garbage bag.    They will also have roll offs starting May 1 at the Hinckley VFW and Brook Park.  Their Household Hazardous Waste Facility served over 800 households in the county.

Lenny Bonander with NLX brought along Frank Leotterle with the Passenger Rail Office of MN DOT.  They are planning for the train to run from Target Field in Minneapolis to the city of Duluth.  They are planning on 40 round trips per day.  The travel time is expected to be 2 ½ hours each way.    They are just finishing up on the Environmental Assessment study and it’s now in D.C. for review.  He believes that it will be officially published by the end of June 2017.

Frank Loetterle, NLX Project Manager, MN DOT said that what’s being done so far is preparation work.  The cost of the project is about $500 million.  Most of the land belongs to BNF.   Every crossing must have a gate or an arm.  They will not close any crossing unless absolutely necessary – for example Nickerson Township.  They will make sure that local people are involve in the decision making process.  They are hoping for a maintenance facility in Sandstone and Duluth.

Bob Voss, ECRDC Director updated Economic Strategy for the region.  The commission must do it every five years.  Broadband needed to be worked on.  He mentioned that the ECRBC has a gap funding loan program for local businesses and they have about $126,000 to lend.  Currently they have about $400,000 in existing loans.  They can only loan up to 49% of money needed to start/run your business.

Penny Simonsen, ECRDC Community Director worked with Wilma Township to get internet service through Blandin Foundation.  Other townships, such as Arna are looking to do the same thing.

Ron Osladil of the North Pine Area Hospital District said the District is working hand and hand with Essentia, Thrifty White and Gateway.  The new hospital will host a tour May 9, 2017.  The hospital will formally open May 17, 2017.  They have sold the old hospital to a company called Hill Top.   Also the kitchen will be next door in the long-term nursing facility.

Brett Grundmeier, DNR Conservation Officer mentioned that Chronic Wasting Disease is a huge deal.  They have had 9 deer tested positive, mostly in SW Minnesota.   Hunters cannot bring mount back to Minnesota.  They can only bring back clean skulls.  He went on to talk about the catch and release program on Mille Lacs Lake and that you can only fish for walleyes with artificial bait.  Also after April 1, call if you have a wolf problem and they’ll send out a trapper.  His phone number is 320-384-7382.

Lyle Johnson, MAT District 7 Director – Minnesota will have $1.6 billion in surplus over the next 2 years.  With six million people, that’s about $150 per person surplus.  So, it’s not that much.   Good news: MATIT issued a dividend on worker’s compensation.  That’s two years in a row.

Other speakers were Alyssa and Olivia Dyksta, spoke about K-5 in Montessori in Sandstone,  Mike Swiridow and Larry Helwig.

Bob Ruppe or Couri & Ruppe Law Firm talked about their upcoming free seminar in Rutledge, Saturday, September 16, 2017 and what they have to offer to township.

Business Meeting

Motion made and seconded to approve the Treasurer’s report.

Dave Baker, New Dosey Township reelected to a 3 year term on the Executive Board.  Glen Williamson, Wilma Township was reelected to a three year term as Secretary/Treasurer.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 11:10 am.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.

Secretary/Treasurer

Pine County Township Officers Association

Date Approved:______________________

Chairman___________________________

 

Categories
Minutes

Minutes Spring Meeting, March 28, 2015

The Spring Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Frank Grundmeier at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Frank Grundmeier. The Invocation was provided by Frank Grundmeier.

Roll call was taken with 28 townships present, establishing a quorum.

Motion made and seconded to approve the minutes from the Fall Meeting, Saturday, October 25, 2014.

Motion made and seconded to approve the Treasurer’s report.

We had several speakers:

Jason Rarick, State Representative, District 11B wants to get to as many township meetings as possible.  He’s working hard to get a bridge put in for the new hospital.  He’s pushing for $60 million to go to townships for roads.  He also wants to end funding going into MNDOT for NLX.  You can write to him at rep.jason.rarick@house.mn

Stephan Hallan, County Commissioner, District 1 said he’s working with Representative Rarick and Senator Lourey on the Indian Child Welfare Act.  The county has 1600 miles of road.  He said that the county zoning on noise and blight is being worked on.  We’ll know more in two years.  There isn’t a quick fix.

He mentioned that the county also put a lot of money into upgrading roads all around the county.

Curt Rossow, County Commissioner, District 4 said that we shouldn’t fret over county zoning on noise and blight.  County is within budget.  He wants the state to fully fund their mandates.  County Road 52  will be black topped to Denham in 2016.  It cost about $256K per mile to black top a road.  He talked about the county official salary and why it wasn’t published in the newspaper.

Reese Fredrickson, County Attorney said he works great with the Sheriff and County Commissioners.  He’ll be cracking down on repeat criminals and also maybe getting another prosecutor.

Jeff Nelson, County Sheriff wants to attend township meetings.  His email address is jeffrey.nelson@co.pine.mn.us, phone 320-591-0409.  Many deputy sheriffs are doing 12 hour shifts and hopefully they’ll be hiring new people.  He recently sent two deputies to Field Training Officer’s Course.  He’s finding funding for technology.

Kelly Schroeder, County Land Services Director said tax statement went out Friday.  Some property taxes went up, some went down.  Land value basically stayed the same, but building values went up.  She expects to have a quiet Board of Review throughout the county.   Eighteen townships have their own sewer ordinance.  Many township officers in attendance thanked her for help in doing their own sewer ordinance.

Sandstone City Councilor, Lenny Bonander, President of the Sandstone Economic Committee  said that the 40 acre medical campus will service the entire community.  The city of Sandstone will put about $2 million into this project.  He said they are working with our state representative and senator to help build a bridge that the hospital needs.

He also mentioned that the railroad corridor running through this area needs a significant upgrade.

Ron Osladil of the North Pine Area Hospital District passed out flyers about what’s going on with the Hospital District.

Conservation Officer Brent Grundmeier said there is a new law that establishes new perennial vegetation buffers of up to 50 feet along rivers, streams, and ditches that will help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment.   They are working on helping to get Minnesota out of the Wolf Endangered Species Act and he can also help farmers again with wolf kill.  They are down to only 25 Conservation Officers.  Deer numbers are down and probably will see restrictions on the number of deer taken.

Lyle Johnson, MAT, District 7 Director spoke about what the L and R committee is all about and the time limit for bringing the resolutions  to be voting on.   Also said they are working on making it easier for land to revert back to to townships.  Many local roads need fixing, we just need to figure out how to fund it.  The Department of Revenue will no longer be doing Board of Review Training.   However MAT is trying to get them to reconsider.  The Broadband Initiative is that all rural residences would have 10 meg down/5 meg up of internet bandwidth.

The Retro Reflectivity law has been rescinded.  Also, you can download the Traffic Sign Maintenance Handbook from the MAT webstie.

Business Meeting

Frank Grundmeier said he will be retiring from the East Central Regional Development Commission in June.  Glen Williamson was nominated and elected to replace Frank on the commission.  Glen’s first ECRDC meeting will be Monday, August 24, 2015 in Mora, MN.

Paul Raymond and Katy Overtoom were Reelected to the Executive Board for another 3 years.

Tiffany Roots, Kettle River, Katy Overtoom, Chengwantana, Gigi Everett, Paul Raymond and Glen Williamson, Wilma townships were voted on to receive $300 stipend each to attend the MAT Annual Conference, November 19 – 21, 2015 in Alexandria, MN.  The stipend/reimbursement will be paid directly to each of their respective township.  They must submit a claim form to receive this reimbursement.

Lyle Johnson, MAT District 7 Director explained why it was important to attend the MAT Annual Conference.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 11:00 a.m.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.

Secretary/Treasurer

Pine County Township Officer’s Association

Date Approved:______________________

Chairman___________________________

Categories
Meetings Minutes

Spring Meeting – March 30, 2013

The Spring Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 30, 2013, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Frank Grundmeier at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Frank Grundmeier. The Invocation was provided by Frank Grundmeier.

Roll call was taken with 27 townships present, establishing a quorum.

We had several speakers:

Stephan Hallan, County Commissioner, District1, Curt Rossow, County Commissioner, District 4 and Doug Carlson, County Commissioner, District 5, all spoke about the direction the county is going and they agree to hold down levies down.

Kelly Schroeder, County Land Services Director and Assessor said that there were 112 houses damaged in the recent flood.  She also brought a list of trained reviewers for the Board of Equalization and also dropped off a list of residents involved in the Green Acres Program.

Sheriff Cole spoke about the shooting in the Brook Park area and about the Deputy that was charged with a felony for stealing prescription drugs.

He also spoke about the 800 MHz system and how it’s being implanted.

Lenny Bonander thanked everyone for their support to help keep the hospital in Sandstone.  He also spoke on other matters related to the Hospital Board.

Curt Nelson from Clover Township spoke about his opposition to the Hospital Board.

Steve Nelson, Arlone Township said the hospital has done well under Essentia.

David Coleman, Sandstone Township, said we need the Hospital District.

Conservation Officer, Eugene Wynn, said that they have three CO’s to cover Pine County.  He spoke on various issues, including the past wolf hunt and the effort to stop aquatic invasive species from taking over lakes.

Rick Olsen, Field Representative for Congressman Nolan mentioned that his office is in Chisago County.  He spoke about issues of concerns, including Hwy 70, trucks using it to haul silicon gravel. He also went on to say that Congressman Nolan is for NLX.  He also believes that broadband should be implemented similar to the REA.

Tim Faust, State Representative, District 11B spoke about school funding, gun control, and about the increase in gas tax.

Don Sherper, MAT District Manager, said that township officers need to attend the district meetings; he also talked about upcoming laws that can affect townships, such as city annexing townships; allowing local road authorities to set speed limits, plus or minus 10 miles; silicon mining issues and about non elected fire board affecting levies.

Business Meeting

Motion made, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes of the October 27, 2012 meeting.

Motion made, seconded, and passed to approve the Treasurer’s March 30, 2013 report.

Dave Kappauf from Clover Township and Frank Grundmeier from Dell Grove Township were re-elected for a three year term on the Pine County Township Officer’s Executive Committee.

Frank Grundmeier said that the ECRDC will get an increase in money this year.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 12:00 p.m.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.

Secretary/Treasurer

Pine County Township Officers Association

Date Approved:______________________

 

Chairman___________________________

 

 

Categories
Minutes

MINUTES – PINE COUNTY TOWNSHIP OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION FALL MEETING, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2012

PINE COUNTY TOWNSHIP OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION FALL MEETING, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2012

           Chairman Frank Grundmeier called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed with prayer.  Roll call:  26 Townships represented.

          SPEAKERS:  Tony Lourey:  Tony said he spent several years as Kerrick Township Supervisor, which helped in his approach to his Senate duties.  He echoed Frank’s prayer for cooperation and dialogue and finding common ground.  Tony said there are several serious state issues.  They were unable to agree on budget issues, and the state borrowed $2.7 billion from the tobacco settlement which was for schools.  The state has a $4.5 billion deficit.  Tony said his goal is to raise revenue fairly.  The state neglected road issues and pushed more of the burden down to counties and townships.  To avoid a tax increase, the state increased property taxes and removed the Homestead Tax Credit, which doubled property taxes over the past years.  Rural property owners were hit 3 times as hard as city dwellers.  Tony said we have to cut services and expenditures plus raise taxes to combat the deficit; it is not moral to keep pushing the problem to the next biennial.

County Commissioners:   Steve Hallan, District 1:    He said he agrees with Frank and Tony on the need for civil discourse and discussion.

Steve Chaffee, District 2:    He said the Commissioners  agree on the need for action, but not always on the means.  He said even with the loss of the Homestead Tax Credit, they were able to keep the levy at minus 1.  They have tried to hold down spending without cutting services.  They’ve learned to do more with less.

Curt Rossow, District 4:  He represents the townships and communities affected by the flooding this year.  The county has acted to help people fill out FEMA forms and get grant money to help people with forms.  It can take up to 40 hours to fill out the forms.  They were able to keep the levy at zero increase.

Doug Carlson, District 5: PineCounty is part of the Arrowhead County Association and the Minnesota Association of Counties.  They’ve worked on the problems of floods and blowdowns and tackled the issues of bureaucracy and regulations and streamlining agencies.  Their biggest issue is wetlands regulations, which have hurt our area a lot, affecting road projects and businesses.  They were able to refinance the jail with bonds and lowered interest rates from 6% to 2.7%, which will save the county $1 million.

Terry Croup, candidate for District 3 Commissioner:  He said his priority is public safety and roads.  He is concerned with the county losing population and said we need jobs to keep people here.  He said there are 900 businesses inPineCounty, including farms.  More businesses mean more employment.

Sheriff Robin Cole:  He’s been busy working on property crimes and arresting burglars.  This was a bad summer for car and ATV accidents, with 12 deaths.  Most accidents were caused by speed, not alcohol.  Kerrick and Ogema had a new problem, giant outdoor concerts with multiple bands over several days.  They choose Pine County because of little zoning.  The Ogema rave brought 1,500 people and cost the county $5,000 to police, and requested an ambulance and fire truck, and only had 6 security working.   There were drug arrests and fights and deputies arrested the promoter.  Ogema is now working on an ordinance to control raves.  Radios:  The new 800 MHz system is already working at the county level.  All 11 fire departments will get up to 75% of the needed radios.  The state is buying another 200 radios and Pine County may get 30. He encouraged the township officers to put pressure on the county commissioners to provide more radios.  The new system will cost $1.6 million.  They will need 5 towers, but the one in Duxbury and Cloverdale haven’t started construction, and the state isn’t responding.  He said they have other options to cover dead spots.  County Watch Program:  Thefts fueled by drug use are an issue.  This is hard to combat, so he stressed the importance of neighborhood watch groups at the local area, and of reporting any suspicious activities.

Tim Faust, Candidate for District 11B Representative:  The district lines were changed and Bill Hilty is not running.  Tim wants to restore the Homestead Tax Credit to townships because farm taxes have increased up to 250% or more, and rural taxes are greater than in the metro area.  He said if voter ID is passed, it will cost townships more to implement it.

Cathy Clemmer, County Auditor:  The levy proposal notices are ready.  Some township’s levies are going down.  School levies are still high. 60% of taxpayers will be paying less.  One third of our townships are mail-ballot precincts, and it is not clear how voter ID will work with absentee and mail-ballots and military ballots.  We don’t know yet how much it will cost.

Lenny Bonander, Pine Hospital Board:  Lenny gave the history of Essentia’s attempted takeover of the Pine Medical Center, and the grass-roots campaign opposing this, with townships and county and state and federal elected officials all getting involved with petitions and resolutions and letters.  This led to Essentia agreeing to a new lease and new agreement, and will be building a new hospital behind Gateway Health Clinic on a 55 acre site.  They hope to start construction by March, 2014.  Roads and sewer and water are going in already.

Ben Weiner, Candidate for District 11B Representative:  His focus is on the lack of jobs in our area, leading to foreclosed homes and our population decreasing.  He will fight unfunded mandates and excess regulations.  He said there is a big difference between the cities and rural communities in taxing and mandates.

Kelly Schroeder, County Assessor:  Many property values have gone down, and some people’s taxes have gone down.  Values are now holding.  The last 300 sales in the county were reasonably stable.  The flooding in northPineCounty affected 130 homes.  All non-productive land has been removed from the Green Acres program, and people must appeal by May 1, or they can lose their green acre status.  She distributed a list of 263 people at risk of losing Green Acre status, which could increase their taxes.

Mark LeBrun, County Engineer:  A 5-year road program has just been approved, with 100 miles of resurfacing paved roads and some newly paved roads.  He explained the specs for breakaway posts and said the county is now starting applying chloride on high-volume dirt roads, at a cost of $2,500/mile.  This reduces the frequency of blading and extends the regraveling interval from 5-7 to 10 years.

Brett Grundmeier, DNR:  Still concerned with fewer younger hunters and anglers, and they’re working to encourage more, with special hunts, etc.  Still fighting invasive species and cracking down on removing weeds and pulling plugs on boats.  Zebra mussels can wreck a lake.  Don’t know how the new wolf season will work; he suspects a lot of large coyotes will be brought in.  Some hybrid wolf-coyotes can’t be distinguished from wolves.  Farmers are allowed to kill wolves that are stalking their cattle.  His most frustrating problem is trespassing, and the law will not protect property owners if they don’t post their land every 500 feet, or at all entrances and corner borders, with a name and phone number or a signature.  Brett encouraged the township officers to call on the legislators to remove the posting law.

Don Sherper, MAT District Manager:   He said federal funds are disappearing due to the national debt.  He encouraged attendance at the state MAT convention inSt. Cloud.

Frank Grundmeier said the townships must work together to solve problems.  We can’t always get our way, and if we don’t work together, nothing will work.  We need to speak up at the grass-roots level, or things will not change.

BUSINESS MEETING:          Minutes of Spring Meeting:   Paul Raymond read Glen Williamson’s record of the March Township Officers Meeting.  Motion made and seconded to approve, with two changes:  Doug Carlson said it was 14 times running for all offices, not just commissioner, and Sue Koecher is fromNickersonTownship, not Wilma. Passed.

Treasurer’s Report:  Paul gave Glen’s treasurer’s report.  Motion and second to approve.  Passed.

State MAT Educational and Annual Meeting:   Paul explained howWilmaTownship has sent a representative several years, but felt that it would be better if the whole county township officers were represented at theSt. Cloud conference November 15-17.  The theme is Townships Serving Their Citizens—Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  Paul suggested they send our Secretary-Treasurer Glen Williamson, since he is knowledgeable about our county township issues.  Frank said the total cost would be around $500.  He asked if there were any interest in sending a representative.  There was no motion or discussion, and the matter died.

Frank Grundmeier, East Central Regional Development Committee:  This year the Minnesota Department of Transportation is making a survey of all roads and will have a representative from ECRDC speak at the next township officers’ meeting. PineCounty has more roads than many counties.

Assessor Training:  Frank said we still have a program of financial assistance for anyone interested in becoming an assessor.

Pine County Hospital:  David Cullen fromSandstoneTownship said the new hospital is on a fast track for construction.  This is very important for our county and area.  He encouraged townships who are in the hospital district to get involved.  The hospital is owned by the district and the participating townships.

Motion and second and vote to adjourn meeting at 11:20 a.m.

BUSINESS MEETING:   Dave Kapoff, Dave Baker, Frank Grundmeier, and Paul Raymond present.  Sue Koecher’s mother died and she is absent, as is Glen Williamson. Motion made, seconded and passed to approve minutes of the September 20  business meeting.    Checks were signed, bills were paid. $66.50 was donated for the lunch.  Motion made, seconded and approved to adjourn at 12:20 p.m.

Paul Raymond, acting Secretary Treasurer, Pine Co. Twp. Officers’ Assn.

 

Date Approved: ___________Chairman:___________________________

Categories
Minutes

Minutes – Spring Meeting, Pine County Township Officer’s Association, March 31, 2012

The Spring  Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 31, 2012, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Frank Grundmeier at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Frank Grundmeier. The Invocation was provided by Frank Grundmeier.

Roll call was taken with 31 townships present, establishing a quorum.

We had several speakers:

Roger Crawford, State Representative District 8B spoke about the need for a $220 million upgrade to fix electrical and other improvements at the State Capital.  He went on to say that he doesn’t believe in expanding gambling to cover the Viking Stadium.  However, he believes that electronic gambling has the least amount of resistance to the people.

MAT Rep District Manager Don Sherper said that interim ordinances are important to townships.  He went on to say that the constitutional amendment for voter id, if passed will cost the townships a lot of money to enforce.  He’s concerned as to how it will affect veterans and the elderly.

Sherriff Robin Cole said that he went from 28 sworn officers last year to 40 deputies now on staff.  He’s adjusted his staffing to meet the needs of the 30,000 residents in Pine County.  Any weekend, we have from ten to 16,000 visitors to the area… i.e. people coming to their cabins.

They are getting new squad cars; they have about 40 volunteer posse to help the sworn officers.  The posse did about 4500 volunteer hours last year.

The Drug Task Force is very active and recently raided a home in Finlayson.  It’s important to keep this raid up because drugs are the driving force behind many of the burglaries.

He said that statistically, the average burglar does eight crimes before being arrested;  when crime goes up, they check their records to see who was released.

Many township officers engaged Sheriff Cole on matters ranging from cabin break burglaries to what he’s doing about speeding.

Cole said that he spent about 150 hours of his time working on the Property room at the jail.  He said that book keeping wasn’t that good prior to him taking office.  He said that about 12 firearms were missing.  These weapons are entered as stolen.

District 1 Commissioner Stephan Hallan said the he represents the least amount of townships; he represents Rock Creek, Pine City and Pine City Township.  He would like us to join with Kanabec Health and Human Services.  Their combined population would be about 45,000 residents.   He believe it would better serve the residents in the long run.

District 3 Commissioner Steve Chaffee said that he’s in his final year of his four year term.  He said the county board has been good at holding cost down.

District 4 Commissioner Curt Rossow said that it is a pleasure working with the board most of the time.  He said that County Rd 41 will be blacktop next year.  The county has about 700 miles of road, but only 300 miles are blacktopped.

District 5 Commissioner Doug Carlson said that this will be his 14th time running for county commissioner and has been involved in government for twenty-six years.  He went on to say that most residents are not happy with property tax increases; half of the budget is Health and Human Services.

Kelly Schroeder, County Assessor, started working March 7, 2012.  She grew up in Isanti County.  She talked about Green Acres and Rural Preserve Programs.

Kurt Schneider sent a survey, “2012 Pine County Township Land Use and Permitting Survey,” that was passed out.

DNR Conservation Officer Brent Grundmeier talked about the fire danger and that there is a burning restriction in place.   He mentioned that timber wolves have been delisted.  You can now protect your livestock if they threaten them.   He talked about aquatic invasive species and the importance of checking your boat when leaving the water.

Leonard Bonander, President of Sandstone Economic Council touched on many topics.

The railroad is an economic issue; it’s a job creator.  He said that the railroad is an efficient way to take people to work and to put people to work.  NorthenLightExpress.org is a good place to get information about the train.  Eighty percent of the funds for the railroad project will come from the federal government and other twenty percent will be from the state.

Terry from Hinckley Township doesn’t want to the train to go to the casino.  They were reminded that the casino is the biggest payer of taxes in the county and they employ about 1700 people.

Sandstone Federal Correctional Institution has the opportunity to add 250 to 750 new jobs in the coming years.

Bonander talked about Essentia trying to acquire the Sandstone Hospital for little or nothing, based on a contract the Hospital Board signed about 15 years ago.  The hospital did about $30 million dollars in business last year and has about $3 million in the bank.  Essentia wants to exercise an agreement in the contract and want to only pay $170,000 for it.  There isn’t any legal recourse; so the community is using political pressure to politicians and the press to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Essentia is worth $1.5 Billion.  Bonander said this is a non-partisan issue.  They need the community to send letters and make phone calls.

Business Meeting

Motion made, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes of the October 22, 2011 meeting.

Motion made, seconded, and passed to approve the Treasurer’s March 31, 2012 report.

Paul Raymond from Wilma Township and Susan Koecher from Wilma Township were re-elected and elected by unanimous ballots for a three year term on the Pine County Township Officer’s Executive Committee.

A motion was made, seconded and passed a resolution in support of the North Pine Area Hospital District retaining local control of the Sandstone Hospital. The only township that opposed the resolution and voted against it was Arlone, who was represented by Bill Peel.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 12:00 p.m.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.

Secretary/Treasurer

Pine County Township Officers Association

Date Approved:______________________

Chairman___________________________

 

Categories
Minutes

Minutes, Fall Meeting, Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fall Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, October 22, 2011, at the Hinckley American Legion Hall. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Frank Grundmeier at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led Chair Frank Grundmeier. The Invocation was provided by Frank Grundmeier.

Roll call was taken with 26 townships present, establishing a quorum.

We had several speakers:

Roger Crawford, State Representative District 8B said there will be a meeting on November 2, 2011 to talk about issues including property taxes. He said that with the budget shortfall, everyone had to sacrifice.  He would like to see property taxes uncomplicated.  Currently, we have over 50 classes.  Most states have less than ten.   He doesn’t believe that the state should tell local government what to do.  It does against the Republican policy.  He went on to say that about 40,000 people work for the State of MN, 34,000 for the Feds and 19,000 work for the University of Minnesota.  He said the state spends about $34 Billion in a year, that $26,000 per family of four… when compared to Colorado which spends only $4600 per family.  As of October 1, 2011 the new law got rid of Sales Certificate requirement for local government unit/townships.

Frank Grundemeier made a comment that townships should be able to levy our own taxes.

District 1 Commissioner Stephan Hallan encouraged the officers to attend the meeting, November 2.  He said even if the county set the levy at zero, we’ll still have an increase of 5.2% in taxes. He went on to say that the county government is running smooth as silk and that they just sold a ¼ million dollars in land.  If anyone is interested in purchasing county land, check at the courthouse.

District 2 Commissioner Mitch Pangerl said that the board agrees to disagree.  As the new guy on the board, he’s always looking for suggestions.

Numerous officers, including Bill Foster, Munch Township, Jerry DuBois, Pokegma Township, Ben Hancock, Mission Township, Tom Martini, Pine City Township and Dave Baker from New Dosey Township voiced their opinion on gravel pit, weight restriction and speed limit.  Stephan Hallan responded by saying that township is the road authority and can post weight and speed limit.

District 3 Commissioner Steve Chaffee thanked the townships for all their hard work.  He said he lives in Hinckley Township and thanked them for keeping his taxes low.  The County Board voted to have a zero levy.  He went on to say that board members can disagree and still get along.  He’s on the Negotiating Committee for Employee Benefits.

Jane Richey, Mission Creek Township wanted to know more about Pine County adopting a county wide zoning.

Steve said he doesn’t think the board is truly interested. He said they talked about it, but will allow townships to opt in or out.

Bob Brewster, Arna Township said that county should look for a minimum ordinance for the county.

District 4 Commissioner Curt Rossow said they have a good county board.  He stated that it’s always good when you have opposite votes.  Roscow said don’t’ be afraid to call your commissioner if there is something wrong with your county road.

District 5 Commissioner Doug Carlson said the issues the county has is always changing.  He represents ten townships in Eastern and Northern Pine County. He thinks that the county board is fiscally responsible.  He said that the truckers who are clearing trees in Wilma and Arna area are doing a good job for the communities involved.

Tony Lourey, District 8 State Senator said that he spent nine years on the town board.  He wanted cover three things.

  1.  The process is failing.
  2. Market Value – Homestead Credit
  3. Redistricting
  1. He said the process is becoming unglued and we have to be open, honest and transparent in government. Zoning and land use process is really important. Health and Human Services funding is a very large part of the state budget.  He said he’s very involved with Health and Human Services.
  2. In regards to market value and homestead credit, he said most of this was done in closed door with the Majority leader, governor and other people.  It wasn’t very transparent.  Low and moderately income people are struggling with property tax. He said that the state was trying to be a good partner by trying to help out with homestead credit.  However there is a bi-partisan effort to undo this.
  3. Redistricting – Population has shifted to the cities and its suburbs.  There will be less legislatures from the rural area which means less representation.

County Auditor Cathy Clemmer and Assistant Assessor Tory Stewart gave a presentation.  Troy Stewart said that Mike Sheehy had a serious head injury in June and may not be back.  He talked about property taxes and said it will go down for about 10 percent of property owners.

Cathy Clemmer spoke about Market Value Exclusion and that many property taxes will go up for all townships except for Crosby.

Gary Anderson from Pine County townships said the original legislation for Homestead Credit was help those with lower income.

Clemmer said that anyone that doesn’t have a homestead credit will be picking up the slack in the coming year.

Pine County Jail Administrator Rick Boland spoke on behalf of the Sheriff’s Department.  Sheriff Robin Cole is out of state for training.  Boland said that it cost about $3 million to run the jail and it gets about $760,000 from boarding prisoners from outside Pine County.  Over the last year they boarded about 1500 prisoners and half were from outside of Pine County.  They usually house about 90 prisoners per day.

Boland said that they have AAA, religious, knitting and a variety of different groups for the incarcerated.  This helps the inmates to have a positive attitude.  They also have a STS Crew (Sentence to Serve).  These are usually offenders are usually those who have committed misdemeanor to gross misdemeanor crimes.  They usually do community service.  However, those who have committed burglaries are not included.  The STS crew did about 9000 hours last year.  If you’re interested in having STS crew work in your community, check out the sheriff’s department website for an application.

DNR Conservation Officer Dustin Heaton states that he’s in charge of the Northern 1/3rd of Pine County form Askov and north of Finlayson.  He said he’s been a CO for seven years.  He said that Road Authority may remove dam within 300 feet of a road, even if it’s on a private property.  However, before killing a beaver you need a permit from the DNR.  He said he won’t issue a permit to an individual unless he hears from the township.  He also won’t issue a permit if with one of the trapping season which starts October 29th.  You still cannot kill a wolf unless it’s threatening you personally.

MAT Rep District Manager Don Sherper said 113 people from Minnesota attended the National Association meeting in September.  He said that MAT is pushing for a $600 income tax exemption for First Responders.   Sherper said that with Market Value Exclusion whatever you levy is basically what you’ll get.  He talked about an asphalt scam where people just don’t do a good job… so watch for it.   He talked about the unfunded signage mandate and that the township must have a policy in place by January 22, 2012.  Also as of October 1, 2011, townships don’t have to pay sales taxes.   He announced that November 17 – 19, 2011 will be MAT state convention in Alexandria, MN and urge all officers to attend.

Paul Raymond talked to Bill foster about Wilma Township policy of getting escrow from loggers.

Bob Brewster, Zoning Administrator from Arna Township would like to get a committee of township officers to takes to the county board. He would like to see one township officers on the board from each district.  Frank Grundmeier said he was with agreement with Bob Brewster.

There was made by Terry Lougren and seconded by Jerry DuBois for the Glen Williamson (Secretary/Treasurer) to setup a web site for the Pine County Township Association for $300 per year. This includes securing the domain, setting it up and administering the site. The motion passed.

Ann Mlaskoch from Kettle River townships said that all of us can access the internet from the library.

Business Meeting

Motion made, seconded, and passed to approve the minutes of the March 26, 2011 meeting.

Motion made, seconded, and passed to approve the Treasurer’s October 22, 2011 report.

Motion made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 11:30 a.m.

Respectively submitted by

Glen Williamson Sr.

Secretary/Treasurer

Pine County Township Officers Association

Date Approved:______________________

Chairman___________________________