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.
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.
Pine County Township Officers Association