The Fall Meeting of the Pine County Township Officers’ Association was held on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at the Hinckley American Legion, in Hinckley, MN. The meeting was called to order by Chair Katy Overtoom at 9:00 a.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Chair Katie Overtoom. The Invocation was provided by Katy Overtoom.
Roll call was taken with 16 townships present, establishing a quorum.
Motion made and seconded to approve the minutes read by Stefanie Williamson, Deputy Clerk, Wilma Township from the Spring Meeting, Saturday, March 27, 2022.
We had several speakers:
Jen Schultz, Candidate for US 8th Congressional District – She has been a MN State Representative for District 7A, Duluth area and is an economist at the University of MN. She knows that Broadband is essential for the district. Her phone number is 218-340-5686.
State Senator Jason Rarick District 11 said he’s an electrician and talked about energy future and that he works a lot with Pine County Technical and Community College. There are two big issues in this area, Broadband for townships and Roads. He also talked about the ECE $300 million project.
Michelle Boyechko, State Senate Candidate, District 11 – said she’s a small, pig farmer from Carlton County. She’s pro legal abortion and for gun control. She would work on getting small and medium farmers into the market. Also, will work for affordable day care.
Eric Olson, Candidate, State Representative, District 11B – Phone number 320-279-1858 – Said there is a division between rural and urban areas. He said the government close to the ground makes better decisions for the people. He would like to see an Energy District like the Soil and Water District. Education is important. He’s a teacher and has been in the Peace Corps. He says we need to adjust the way we pay for education. He grew up in Pine County, been a park ranger and a teacher. He said Pine County has the second lowest Broadband penetration in the state.
Terry Lovgren, District 3 Commissioner said that Pete Stauber helped to secure a Federal grant to help the county construct fiber broadband. She spoke more about Broadband issues and went on to say that they have to file another grant application to get more money. She stated that Pine County has the second lowest income, per capita, in the state.
Steve Hallan, District 1 Commissioner said as of this meeting, he’s been to 31 or 32 county officers’ meetings. He advocates that there are no state surpluses until the state goes back to what’s owed to small government. The county budget is $21 million. 50 to 55% goes to public safety, i.e., the Sheriff department. The value of land has been going up. We are 86 out of 87 counties in MN for Broadband access. However, Pine County is leading the change in family issues.
Skip Thomson, District 5 Candidate for Commissioner – said Pine County is the 16th highest tax county out of 87. He stated that bigger government doesn’t mean better government and the process of housings are coming down. He’s running so that the people in the 5th district should have a choice and little government handles money better than bigger government.
Kelly Schroeder, County Auditor said they are working on Truth and Taxation Statements, and it should be going out about a week earlier. She and Leslie are available if you need help. 20/21 high school graduates can go to Pine Tech free. Also, if they are taking law programs at Fond Du Lac College. Her office is reaching out to townships to what their voting needs are. The county commissioners are responsible for redistricting. 3500 acres are a part of the Memorial Forest Ordinance this summer. The county got a grant to build a Household Hazardous Building in the north area. Hopefully construction will start Spring 2022.
Since 2016, the county opened two transfer stations and they will be opening a new hazardous waste station in Willow River.
Jeff Nelson, Sheriff – has been here for eight years and only missed one county association meeting. He has also been trying to get to as many townships as possible. Housing prisoners has been very interesting, that includes keeping those with Covid away from the general prison population. They currently have four canines, and they can ask them to do stuff that humans wouldn’t do. Technology is wonderful. They currently have four drones now. All school districts now have an SRO.
Fran Levings, Pine Area Hospital District Vice President – said the hospital board was created by the MN Legislature in 1986 to provide quality health care access in this area. They just approved a grant of $250,000.00 for the Sandstone hospital. Also, for those going to school to be in the medical field, they have a $7000 loan to help with education. If they work in the hospital district for two years, their loan will be forgiven. Property owners in the hospital district are taxed $31 per $100,000.00 of property owned, per year.
Conservation Officer, Ben Karon, DNR – said that he’s now covering this area because CO Bret Grundmeier is now the acting supervisor. Karon states that he’s the only game warden in Pine County now. Mandatory testing is still required on deer for Chronic Waste Disease (CWD). There haven’t been any positive results in the wild. He went on to state that farmers cannot shoot wolves anymore, even if they are eating their cattle. You can only shoot them if your life is threatened and in danger.
Curt Kalk, Area Relations, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe – said that there are 4800 people in the Mille Lacs Band and the government structure is the same as the Minnesota legislature. His primary job is government affairs. Pine County officials have a good relationship with the band. They spend about $136 million a year of which $100 million is federal and state grants. Also, the clinics are directly funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Jeff Krueger, MN Association of Township Director – said that he’s been director of the association for 18 months. MAT was started in 1933 and in 1979 became a 501-c organization in 1979. The association has over 9,000 members. He said that townships have over 55,000 miles of roads, and it’s more than any other government entities in Minnesota. They helped 425 townships to get ARPA funds. Mike Miller is no longer District 7 (our district) director and there will be an election January 31, 2023, for a new director.
Tammy Carlson, Clerk, Pine City Township – will be running for District 7 Director, January 31, 2023. Her phone number is 651-621-4049.
Motion made, seconded and passed to adjourn at 11:00am.
Respectively submitted by
Glen Williamson Sr.
Pine County Township Officers’ Association