Northern Township

NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Monday, June 13, 2022. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.

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

MINUTES: A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the minutes of the May 23, 2022, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.


John Winnett, Wilson and Son, is doing the repair work on the fence at the Cemetery. The primary work that was previously approved is on the damage to the fence along Irvine Ave that was hit by a car this winter and was covered by the insurance of the owner of the vehicle. Also, a tree had fallen on the north fence and then it was discovered that much of that portion of fence along the north side had been dismantled and rolled up, as if someone had tried to take it! Winnett has submitted a quote for $2,600.00 to complete all the repairs to the north fence line, and then a quote for $1,94100 to retie the entire perimeter of the fence around the cemetery. He indicated that the material he uses for tying the fence is a more superior product than that used previously. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Kelly, to approve the quote and work as presented. The motion carried unanimously.

Jeanne Jaeger, lives adjacent to the Beach Lane Public Access on Lake Bemidji and had sent a letter, along with several pictures, to each of the Board members expressing her concerns mostly regarding the parking that is taking place on the access. There are some ‘No Parking’ signs posted and pictures depicting vehicles parked next to them, while the designated parking area is empty. It was noted that the ‘No Parking’ signs were installed as a courtesy, mostly to allow for those with boats/trailers to maneuver better. The Board agreed to look at some ideas to help with the issue, possibly some painting on the curb, sign in the designated parking area, more striping, handicapped parking signs, etc.

Marc Grankee, 11652 Werner Road, had some severe flooding on his property this spring and he is planning on doing some work to try mitigate having the problem happen again. There is a culvert under Werner Road near his property and he is wondering if the township would be willing to approve any recommended re-ditching. Engineer Mark Fuller was present and reported that he has looked at this property. Unfortunately, the home was built in the low point of that area and also noted that the culvert under the road is appropriate. He believes that it might be possible to build up the back-slope of the ditch and the Board indicated that they would be open to suggestions that might provide help to the property owner in this situation. More engineering plans are to be provided by the property owner before the Board would approve any revisions to the road or right-of-way.

Erik Probstfield and Mike Keeler, wanted to hear an update on the sewer/water extension project concept. Chairman Frenzel and members of the Board updated them with the status of the applications for funding through the State and Federal legislators, and provided responses to their questions and concerns.


Mark Fuller, Freeberg & Grund, presented new concept diagrams for the township’s road adjacent to the Northdale Oil properties. The owners of the property will be asked to sit down and meet again, to review the proposed plan. Frenzel would like everything to be ready to try and apply for LRIP funds next spring, if available.

Tavistock Road/S. Movil Lake Road – The bid opening is scheduled for June 23rd at 11:00 a.m. at the Freeberg & Grund offices.

Gravel – Vigen has scheduled re-graveling for Raspberry Court for Wednesday morning. He has consulted Joel Johnson regarding the request for gravel on Wild Plum Lane, and they feel that it is not needed.

Crack Filling – This is planned for the new future.

Brushing – This has been scheduled.


The joint LGU meeting is this Wednesday, and there are a few items that the Board would like to address; 1) possible chip seal application on Elliot Road – this would be a joint expense with the City of Bemidji, 2) the LGU meetings used to rotate between the two entities – we would like them to be held at the Northern Town Hall again, 3) discussion regarding the re-location of the JPB offices – they were temporarily re-located following flooding at City Hall, and there has been no formal agreement for future plans.


The State Legislative Session did adjourn and there were no bonding bills passed, and it is not know if there will be any special sessions. The Federal funding request should be known early this fall.


Blumhagen reported that the Long Range Planning Committee will be meeting soon.


The prep for the new storage building on the town hall property is going well. Johnson Construction has prepared the site, the plumbers were on site Friday, the slab is to go down in the next week, and Larson Electric will be digging in a new service line.


Bills – Kranich presented the bills payable with check numbers 11179 to 11214 totaling $213,296.79, (#11191 & 11206 were voided) with the largest payments to; Miller McDonald for progress payment on Audit – $7,000.00, Wilson & Son progress payment and repairs to fence – $8,203.96, Rural Fire Assn for first half year – $85,608.00, Johnson Construction for road mnt – $21,704.25, RB Enterprises for material progress payment – $50,000.00, Freeberg & Grund for engineering work on Tavistock/S. Movil – $22,686.16. A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Barnard, to pay the bills as presented, except for the progress payment to RB Enterprises. Kelly felt that a $50,000 payment was excessive since there has been no work started and no materials delivered. It was then agreed that the motion would be amended to change the $50,000.00 payment to two (2) checks, each for $25,000.00, with the first check to be released now in order for the contractor to cover materials that have been ordered. The 2nd check will be held until the next Board meeting, and released if the appropriate progress on the construction has been made.

Treasurer Report – Cash by Fund balances are; Revenue – $237,386.11, Road & Bridge – $677,201.22, Rural Fire – $148,664.49, and Sewer District Waville – $10,804.02, and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Federal COVID Relief funds – $148,664.49, for a total of $1,095,479.06. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, seconded by Barnard, and carried, to approve the report as presented.

Certificates of Deposit – Kranich recommended that $150,000.00 of the maturing CD be re-invested at Security Bank USA for one(1) year at 1.40% interest. Consent was given for the investment. The tax settlement should be received prior to month end, and will total approximately $480,000 – $490,000.00.

Audit – Jon, with Miller McDonald will attend the next board meeting to present the information from the annual audit.


Kelly offered a motion to keep the contributions the same as last year’s; Support within Reach – $200.00, Let’s Go Fishing – $300.00, Lakes Area Dive Team – $500.00, and the 1st Responders – $1,000.00. The motion was seconded by Barnard for discussion. It was suggested that Great River Rescue be included due to the service they provide us through the BRACO kenneling contract, and Blumhagen suggested that the total contribution be increased by $200.00 to accommodate this addition. Kelly was not in favor of amending his motion, and did not want to increase the total amount designated for contributions. It was then agreed that the motion would be amended to the following; Support within Reach – $200.00, Let’s Go Fishing – $150.00, Great River Rescue – $150.00, Lakes Area Dive Team – $500.00, and 1st Responders – $1,000.00, totaling $2,000.00, and it carried unanimously.


  1. Receipt of Land Use Permit for the new storage building, 2) quote from Wagner Plumbing for new water heater and water softener for town hall, 3) State Demographer report of 2021 Population Estimate for Northern Township of 3,824, 3) ad for bids for the Tavistock/S. Movil Lake road project, 4) receipt of bill and Maintenance Agreement from Turtle River Township regarding Big Bass Road, 5) report from JPB Compliance Inspector Melissa Fahrenbruch with a list of development projects and enforcement actions, 6) information from Executive Airport Director Karen Weller regarding formation of the new Airport Zoning Board.

Wagner Pluming – Blumhagen received a quote from Wagner Plumbing for the installation of a new water heater ($1,285.00) and softener ($1,475.00) at the town hall. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the quote as presented. The motion carried unanimously.

Turtle River Township – It had been decided that $400.00 would be contributed to Turtle River Township each year in January for expenses related to the maintenance of Big Bass Road. This road borders Northern and Turtle River Township, but Northern Township has no residents residing along the road since it borders our Section 36, which is State School Trust Property. It is used mostly by Turtle River Township residents who reside on the east side of it, and would be considered a minimum maintenance road for Northern Township. Also, Northern Township was not consulted or involved in the blacktopping of the road, and have indicated that they are not willing to pay for any expense related to its repair (blacktop repair expenses of $3,720.00 were inadvertently paid last summer). Another bill was received from Turtle River Township for $597.00 along with a copy of a proposed agreement for maintenance, that this Board has not agreed to. It was agreed that the $400.00 contribution is sufficient and another letter will be sent to them indicating such.


Beach Lane – Barnard was encouraged to pursue looking into the possibility of applying for State/DNR funds for improvements to portions of the road connecting Whitetail Road and the Beach Lane Public Access.

Pintail Lane Public Access – Vigen had contacted Randy Lofgren to do some brushing at this access to the lake.

Pickup – Vigen will get information for getting setup for a snowplow.

Johnson Construction – Johnson has submitted a request for an increase in his road maintenance prices due to the high cost of fuel currently. He is asking for an increase of $15.00/hour for grader rental. This would increase from $120 to $135/hour. The Board agreed to put this item on the Agenda for the next meeting, since they just received the request tonight.

Road Maintenance Contract – It was agreed that there should be some discussion about putting this work out for bid every few years.

Knife River Materials – There was a request for permission to haul water from Sumac Pond above the weight restriction on Winter Sumac Road, for work that they are doing on the Hwy 71 project. The temporary permission was granted.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m.