NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Monday, June 27, 2022. 6:00 p.m. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.
PRESENT: Chairman Jess Frenzel, and Supervisors Chris Lahn, Curt Blumhagen, Mike Kelly and Gary Barnard. Treasurer Doug Kranich, Road Supervisor Tim Vigen, and Clerk Mary Israelson. See sign-in sheet for guests.
MINUTES: A motion was offered by Bumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the minutes of the June 13, 2022, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.
Audit – Jon Roscoe, Miller McDonald Inc., presented the 2021 Audit information that was recently completed, along with the financial statements. There were no major deficiencies found, except for an isolated incident when our deposits were not fully insured at the bank for a short period of time. This issue has been taken care of by the bank, and should not happen again. The general fund balance is healthy and supporting many months more operating funds than recommended. The segregation of duties in a township is a normal concern due to the lack of personnel, but is something that cannot be avoided and he feels we handle it quite well. The Board agreed to acknowledge the completed Audit.
Gravel – Raspberry Court received 532 yards of gravel.
Ditch Mowing – A review of the Statute indicates that the first eight (8) feet from the roads edge can be mowed any time of year, so the contractor will be asked to start as soon as he can.
Crack Filling – Vigen reported that this is scheduled to be done right after the 4th of July.
Centerpoint Court – The approach has been blacktopped, and the shouldering completed today. The property owners there also did some additional blacktopping.
Snow Plow Quotes – Vigen obtained the following quotes for a plow for the new pickup. Snodgrass Industrial – SnowDogg 8’6” plow w/ install …… $9,284.42
Southside Towing – Boss 8’6” plow w/ install …………… $9,943.09
Southside Towing – Boss 8’2” plow w/ instal …………….. $9,678.79
These prices include sales tax, but would be omitted due to the township being sales tax exempt. A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Blumhagen, to approve the purchase of the plow from Snodgrass Industrial as quoted. The motion carried unanimously. Snodgrass is a Northern Township property owner and has done various work for us in the past.
Tavistock/S. Movil Lake Road Bids – This work was put out for bids and one was received from Johnson Construction, for $322,266.50. This was approximately $8,000 under the engineers estimate, and the engineer recommends approval. A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the bid as presented. The motion carried unanimously. Letters will be sent to the property owners with an update of the project, and the needed ROW easements will be requested.
Sumac Road – Kelly reported that Beltrami County’s Sumac Road blacktopping project is starting today. He was contacted regarding an approach for a road owned by Hugh Welle, and therefore talked with Welle about his plans for the property. Welle indicated that he plans to develop the property in the future and hoped to turn the road over to the Township at some point.
Johnson Construction – Has requested an increase of $15/hr on his rate for his motor grader, due to the increase in diesel fuel prices (up from $3.37 in November, to $5.78 currently). The increase would be from $120/hr to $135/hr for summer grading. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Kelly, to authorize the increase effective June 1st, until September 30th, at which time it would be re-evaluated dependent on fuel prices. The motion carried unanimously.
Elliot Road – It was suggested at the Joint LGU Meeting that consideration be made to apply a chip seal treatment to Elliot Road, following the shared blacktopping project from last year. Assistant City Engineer Sam Anderson has indicated that he talked with the County Engineer and plans on being included in next years bid for this work. Therefore, he is estimating the cost to be approximately $40,000, which would be split equally with Northern Township. It was agreed to consider this item in the 2023 budget.
JOINT PLANNING BOARD (JPB) REPORT:
The JPB office was relocated to the City’s public works offices due to the flooding of the lower level of City Hall this spring. Now they are going to set up in offices along 5th St across from the fire hall. The City’s building department is also going to relocate there.
Frenzel reported that he received an email update from Senator Klobuchar’s office, indicating that our Federal request for funding for wastewater treatment infrastructure is still being reviewed. Since there does not appear to be any movement with the Mn State Legislature calling a special session, discussion centered on how to proceed. It was decided that a meeting with Attorney Jason Kuboushek would be scheduled, to discuss various topics related to the next steps. Also, Frenzel and Barnard will work on authoring a letter to be sent to Ruttger’s
RURAL FIRE ASSOCIATION:
Blumhagen reported that the meeting that was scheduled for the executive committee did not happen, but the Fire Chief did send a report: The new fire engine should be here in September, and the tender later this year. Staffing is still a major concern, and they are hoping to add seven additional career employees, plus eight new paid on-call fire fighters. A new ISO rating process is being worked on.
Garage – Kelly has asked to look into using our tax exemption for the costs, and it was agreed that it is too late at this point. The materials would qualify for the tax exemption and the bid for the work would need to be quoted separately, and then a contract with the contractor for the materials would be required. Progress on the building is proceeding with the structure up, and it was agreed to release the 2nd $25,000.00 progress payment. Thee will be a wait period for some of the metal materials.
Cemetery – The fence work is nearly complete, except that the contractor was short on some fencing, so they will be back to finish.
1) Notice from MnDot that they will be hauling across Maple Ave and Alder Street from the Fitzgerald gravel pit and that we should document any damage done to the road as a result of the work, 2) Information from the County Auditors office regarding the upcoming primary and general elections and Election Judge preparations, 3) note from the Assistant City Engineer Sam Anderson regarding plans to chip seal Elliot Road in 2023, 4) written complaint regarding a nuisance dog that was unsigned but forwarded to the Animal Control Officer, 5) letter and violation notice sent to Michael Schulke regarding noxious weeds after receiving a complaint, 6) email sent to the Turtle River Township Clerk regarding Big Bass Road.
Big Bass Road – An email was sent to the Clerk of Turtle River Township indicating that Northern Township has not agreed to their suggested Maintenance Agreement (63% Northern/37% Turtle River Twp) regarding this road that borders our townships.
MnDot – Vigen was asked to keep an eye on these roads while the hauling is being done.
Trees on S. Movil Lake Road – Kelly reported that there are three (3) large trees near the trailer park that are on the road ROW and should be taken down. Vigen reported that he had talked with the property owner, who indicated that he was told that the trees could stay until they die or fall down. The trees appear to be dead and it was agreed that if so, they will be taken down. Vigen will talk with the property owner again.
Roads – Kelly asked that a more comprehensive approach be taken on our roads, as it relates to maintenance and reconstruction. He believes that some sort of long-range plan should be worked on and developed by a committee of the Board. Kelly, Barnard, and Blumhagen agreed to work on this. The Clerk will talk to the County about getting a map for this work.
Rentals – Frenzel wants the Clerk to keep an eye on rentals, as it relates to the renter cleaning up afterwards. He believes that cleaning deposits should be kept if the hall is not cleaned up properly, and extra work by the Clerk is needed.
Audit – Blumhagen wanted to thank Treasurer Kranich and Clerk Israelson for their work on the Audit again this year.
With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.