The Spring Meeting of the Pine County Township Officer’s Association was held on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at the Hinckley Community Center, in Hinckley, MN. The meeting was called to order by Secretary/Treasurer Glen Williamson at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Secretary/Treasurer Glen Williamson. The Invocation was provided by Paul Raymond. The Chair Katy Overtoom later came in and took over the meeting.
Roll call was taken with 18 townships present, establishing a quorum.
Motion made and seconded to approve the minutes from the Fall Meeting, Saturday, October 27, 2020.
We had several speakers:
Jason Rarick, State Senator 11 said the state is back to a surplus. Gas tax is not the long range solution. He believes this country will be going to electric cars in 25 to 30 years.
State Rep. Nathan, 11B said there will be a special session if they agree on the budget by June 30. He mentioned that the governor has a lot of discretion on funding. Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) is a topic and what to do with the carcasses. Kanabec landfill didn’t want them. About 600 samples were taken, but don’t believe there is a big problem with CWD. There is a lot of funding for broadband, however there is a discrepancy on how to allocate it.
Steve Hallan, District 1 Commissioner, said he and Commissioner Terry Lovgren will speak for the County Commissioners. There is a plan on broadband around Hinckley and Rock Creek this summer. The county is getting money from the American Rescue Plan Act and they have until 2024 to spend it. As townships get money they will get guidance on what to do with it. CWD is a big deal in Pine County because a lot of lives revolve around hunting. Economic impact of deer hunting in this county adds up.
Terry Lovgren, Commissioner District 3 said she went to the National County Meeting via Zoom. She has a list of how much money the townships will get directly from the American Rescue Plan. Townships will be getting 10% less on tax forfeited land this year.
Kelly Schroeder, County Auditor said election last fall took incredible effort. She thanked the clerks and election judges a fantastic job. Tax statement will be mailed on Monday. Vacant land value went way down. With houses will go up. Property is selling higher than usual. She’s concerned because this will drive value up. A lot of baby boomers are moving to the area.
County Attorney Reese Frederickson said there is now a Veterans Court Initiative with Chisago County. The court will be having two graduates soon. Zoom court has been interesting. Overall, it’s doing great. People are still being held accountable. Meth is still a problem in the county with lots of overdoses. Burglary is related to the addiction problem. They have put a lot of drug dealers in prison. Drug dealers like to snitch on each other.
Caleb Anderson, Planning and Zoning said the county adopted a county wide zoning ordinance January 2020. It’s an opt in program. They use Beacon to see wetlands in the county. There isn’t any fee for informal reviews of what you can do near wetlands. The constituents care a lot about recycling. There is recylcing three days a week in three different areas of Pine County.
Jordan Zeller with East Central Regional Development Commission/ECRDC doing housing familiar tours. If you have housing property for sale or development, let him know. Also doing it for commercial and industrial land. Has funds for small business development. Can do COVID loans for 0%.
Brett Grundmeier from the DNR said hunting has the highest economic impact in this county for the state. A lot of money is spent here. No CWD has been found in the wild. This year it’s a requirement to get deer tested for CWD. The goal is to test at least 1,000 deer. You still cannot feed deer, but you can still do salt blocks. There are two wolf zones in the states and you can remove wolves if they are a threat to you and your cattle. North of Highway 48/18 is more lenient. South of that line they must be a threat …i.e. stalking cattle, but you need to call them.
Mindy Sandell, Veterans Services said roughly 2500 veterans came into her office. They have COVID relief grants and gave out 50% of them. There is a van ride program available for veterans to go to the VA, etc. They are averaging about 60 phone calls per week. The office is now open at North Pine Government Center.
Katy Overtoom and Paul Raymond were re-elected to the PCTOA Executive Board to serve until March 2024.
Motion made and seconded to adjourn at 11:00 am.
Respectively submitted by
Glen Williamson Sr.
Pine County Township Officers’ Association