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.
- The process is failing.
- Market Value – Homestead Credit
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Pine County Township Officers Association