Northern Township

Monday, January 10, 2022. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.

PRESENT: Supervisors Mike Kelly, Jess Frenzel, Curt Blumhagen, Chris Lahn, and Gary Barnard. Road Supervisor Tim Vigen, and Clerk Mary Israelson. Absent: Treasurer Doug Kranich. See sign-in sheet for guests.

It was agreed that the re-organizational meeting would be held later in the meeting.

MINUTES: A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the minutes of the December 27, 2021, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.


December Snow Removal – A copy of the invoice from Johnson Construction was reviewed, with a total of $20,857.50 for one month. It seems quite high for one month, but there were several snowfalls.

Pickup – Vigen reported that he had an issue with the township’s snowplow, and it is in the shop for repair. Kelly asked that he do some research on the price of new plows and he submitted several quotes. They ranged in price from @ $8,000 to $10,000. Kelly then suggested that some work be done on exploring new equipment, with some discussion on various types of pickups with the possibility of ones that might be able to perform various jobs, such as sanding, etc. And then also, added the concept of removing the existing garage on the town hall property, and replacing it with a larger garage with heat that could store the equipment. Blumhagen expressed concerns about owning equipment versus contracting for the work. Is it worth the expense and upkeep of owning equipment? It was agreed that Kelly and Vigen will do some research on equipment.

There is one (1) planning case for the upcoming meeting on Wednesday.

Blumhagen reported that the Annual Meeting will be Thursday, January 27th. The notice indicated that it would be held at the fire hall on Sumac Rd, but it was planned to be at our town hall, so he will verify. Also, the Long Range Planning committee is expected to meet soon.

Kelly reported that he received a call from the City Mayor, and a meeting was held with Mayor Prince, Kelly, Frenzel and City Councilman Ron Johnson. They talked about whether or not there was some common ground that could be considered with the City extending service to Ruttger’s, and possibly other areas along the north end of Lake Bemidji. Their policy of requiring annexation in order for that to happen is a definite issue for the Township. The City Council is meeting tonight in a work session, and the City Manager has prepared a list of six (6) options that might be considered. This list was reviewed and it was determined that item #5 was a new scenario that would allow Northern Township to construct the entire distribution system in the Township, and then the City would allow connection to their treatment system at an increased cost to those users. After some discussion it was agreed that this idea would be presented to the City Council at tomorrow night’s joint meeting, and ask that some time be given to explore various options for funding from various sources.

Bills – Clerk Israelson presented the bills in the absence of Kranich and are payable with check numbers 11075 to 11095 totaling $88,238.67, with the largest payments to; Johnson Construction for winter road maintenance – $20,857.50, payment to the City of Bemidji for the Elliot Road blacktop project – $37,016.90, and the 1st quarter payment for joint planning – $14,275.75. A motion was offered by Frenzel, and seconded by Blumhagen, to pay the bills as presented, and it carried unanimously.

Elliot Road – This blacktopping project was a combined effort with the City of Bemidji that received Local Road Improvement Project (LRIP) funds of more than $643,000. There were uncovered expenses, mostly engineering, that the Board had agreed to share 50/50 with the City of Bemidji. They were expected to be approximately $43,000 each, but ended up being $37,016.90. It was agreed that this was a great project and was well worth this expense.

Treasurer Report – Cash by Fund balances are; Revenue – $289,348.82, Road & Bridge – $689,278.28, Rural Fire – $12,149.39, and Sewer District Waville – $14,401.51, and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Federal COVID Relief funds – $219,768.83, for a total of $1,224,946.83. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, seconded by Barnard, and carried, to approve the report as presented.

Certificates of Deposit – Israelson reported that there is a $150,000 CD maturing and recommended that $120,000 of it be invested for 30 days at .70% at Security Bank USA. Consent was given for the investment.

1) Joint Planning Board training scheduled for Thursday, March 10th from 1:00-4:00 pm, 2) Notice of the Annual Meeting and Board of Audit for the Bemidji Rural Fire Association, 3) Notice of joint meeting with the City of Bemidji scheduled for Tuesday, January 11th at the Northern Town Hall, 4) copy of statement that was given to the City Council at the previous joint meeting held on January 4, 2002, and the estimate for the utility extension along the north end of Lake Bemidji, 5) thank you letter from David Hengel of Greater Bemidji for our contribution, and 6) several copies of correspondence from residents with comments regarding the extension of utility topic.

Audio/Visual Equipment – Lahn presented his recommendation for this equipment and he was given the approval to go ahead. The total will be approximately $1,600.00.

Re-Organizational Meeting:
Chairman Kelly started the re-organizational meeting by making a statement thanking everyone who has been involved with township affairs during his terms as Chairman. He had indicated last year that he will be stepping down from that position this year. He then asked Israelson to proceed, and she asked for nominations for Chairman for the coming year.

Chairman – Lahn offered a motion to nominate Frenzel, with Kelly seconding the motion. With no other nomination forthcoming, the question was called with all voting in favor of the nomination.

Vice-Chairman – A motion was offered by Frenzel to nominate Lahn, and Blumhagen seconded the motion, with it carrying unanimously.

Joint Planning Board (JPB) – Frenzel and Lahn will represent Northern Twp, with entire Board as the alternates. Blumhagen would be the first alternate.

Beltrami Association of Township Officers (BATO) – Barnard has taken over the duty. Israelson serves as Secretary/Treasurer.

Bemidji Rural Animal Control Association (BRACO) – Lahn. Israelson also serves as Secretary/Treasurer.

Rural Fire Association (RFA) – Blumhagen, with Kelly acting as the alternate when needed.

Joint Planning Commission (JPC) – Allen Steffen, Clark Chambers and Michael Granlund. Chambers was appointed recently to replace Smith, who re-signed.

Roads/Public Accesses – Kelly and Frenzel, with Road Supervisor Vigen also a part of the sub-committee.

Township Properties – Blumhagen and Kelly.

Waville – Barnard has agreed to be the liaison.

Human Resource – Blumhagen and Lahn will take over these duties.


MEETING DATES AND TIME – Regular meeting dates on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month, unless one falls on a Legal Holiday or changed due to other conflicts. The meeting time would also remain at 6:00 p.m.

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS – All local financial establishments.

POSTING PLACES – The Town Hall and Northdale Oil. Agenda and Minutes are also posted on the township website (

Blumhagen offered a motion to maintain the fee rates as follows, with Lahn seconding the motion, and it carried unanimously.

Gopher Bounty – $2.00 per gopher.

Town Hall Rental Fees – The Clerk indicated that the new rates that were initiated a couple years ago were working out well, and they will remain.

Supervisor Salaries – The Supervisor fees are $300/month, with $350/month being paid to the Chairman. A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Lahn, to increase the fee by $100/month. The motion carried unanimously.

Planning Commission – This was changed last year to $75/meeting.

Treasurer, Road Supervisor, and Clerk – The Human Resource Committee was asked to review these with the staff.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 7:29 p.m.