Northern Township

Monday, January 24, 2022 – 6:00 p.m. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.

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

MINUTES: A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the minutes of the January 10, 2022, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.

Mark Fuller, Freeberg & Grund – Was asked to start preparing a plan for Fairgrounds Rd near the Northdale Oil property. It was felt that some work should be done to look at preliminary plans for improvements to the road, as it relates to re-alignment and if there would be any ROW or land swaps needed. It was felt that this should be done prior to possible applications for Local Road Improvement Project (LRIP) funds.

Vigen was asked to present some quotes for a new 3/4 ton pickups, and was asked to also explore quotes for one (1) ton pickups.

He also reported that he is starting to think about some springtime projects, such as brushing and crack filling.

The recent meeting was quite short with only one (1) planning case to review. A new Chairman was appointed, Jorge Prince, and Chris Lahn was appointed Vice-Chair. It was agreed to ask Melissa, who was hired to do the enforcement duties in the JPB office, to come to a future town board meeting. She will be asked to discuss some of her priorities for Northern Township land use violations.

Lahn reported on some of the discussions that have been held with various entities regarding the concept of obtaining funding for possible sewer/water extensions on the northern end of Lake Bemidji. The DNR have indicated that they would like the services at their regional offices and at the Bemidji State Park property, but do not want to be in the middle of an annexation matter – they do not care who provides the service. They suggested contacting the area legislators to try and get the request for funding in the current session, and Frenzel and Lahn agreed to reach out to them. A meeting was also held with Rural Development, and they would have access to low interest financing and long term loans (40 years). They suggested getting added to the State’s Project Priority List (PPL). A motion was then made by Lahn, and seconded by Barnard, to give Mark Fuller the authority to do the work to get added to the PPL. The motion carried unanimously. Another meeting is scheduled for February 1st with the City Council.

Blumhagen reported that a brief meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee was held, with the Treasurer absent. The Annual Meeting of the RFA will be held this Thursday, and it is expected that next year’s budget will be approved, with a large increase in dues expected for 2023.

1) Letter sent to Turtle River Township along with $400 contribution toward maintenance of bordering Big Bass Road, 2) Assessment Agreement from Beltrami County for 2022 services at $22,896.00, 3) request from Great River Rescue for a contribution, 4) notice of a MAT training to be held for new Clerks and Treasurers, 5) contact list for the Rural Development financing matter, 6) various correspondence received via email regarding the sewer/water issue.

Micro Soft Teams – The new video equipment was received, and Lahn recommended that a subscription to the web services be purchased, for $4.00 or $5.00 per month. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to authorize this purchase. A motion carried.

County Auditor/Treasurer – The Beltrami County Board is considering a Resolution to authorize the appointment of this position versus being an elected one. It was agreed that the job is very technical as it relates to elections, as well as many other topics related to township government, and takes someone very knowledgeable in the position. It makes a lot of sense to hire the most qualified person for the position, versus the risk of electing someone who isn’t as qualified. It was agreed to have the Chair send a letter of support in favor of the Resolution to our County Commissioner Jim Lucachick.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.