Northern Township

NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Tuesday, December 27, 2022. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN. The date was changed from the 4th Monday due to the Legal Holiday on the 26th.

PRESENT: Chairman Jess Frenzel, and Supervisors Chris Lahn, Curt Blumhagen, Mike Kelly, and Gary Barnard. 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 December 12, 2022, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.


Tim Korby, PE with HR Green Engineering, attended via our Microsoft Teams link, and congratulated the Board on the notice of a Federal Government Community Funding ‘earmark’ appropriation of $5,000,000.00 for the Phase I extension of sewer/water utilities along the northwest side of Lake Bemidji to Ruttger’s Resort. The bill has passed, and is waiting to be signed by President Biden. Mark Fuller, Freeberg & Grund, Inc., has been assisting us through this process and was also present. He reported that there isn’t a lot of information yet, but expects that the initial step would be to start any archaeological requirements needed for the project. There isn’t anything immediate that needs to be done, but will keep the Board informed on it. There will be a 20% matching funds requirement from the Township, which is expected to come in assessments to the proposed users, and the engineering fees are anticipated to be 12-13% of the project costs. Once the official announcement of the appropriation comes, the City will be notified so that they can be part of the media release, and an official agreement can be worked on for the connection to the services.


Fairgrounds Road – Fuller reported that Matt Murray is working on this project, preparing the materials needed to get the proper right-of-way secured for the proposed improvements to the road.

Wild Plum/Beach Lane – Fuller reported that MnDOT is looking at the possibility of providing some of their parking lot property for right-of-way purposes for possible improvements to this road. This route provides access to the Beach Lane Public Access and the intent is to apply for State Park Road funding through the State of Minnesota.

Tavistock/S. Movil Lake Road – It was agreed to direct Fuller to prepare the documents for blacktopping bids to be opened April 6th, and presented at the April 10th Town Board Meeting. There is a bit of curb/gutter construction still needed to be finished by Johnson Construction as soon as possible in the Spring, so the blacktopping would need to be done after that. A completion date prior to the fall start of school is necessary, so a completion date of around Sept 1st would be required.

Vigen reported that he is working with Lofgren Tree Service to have some more brushing done where needed.

The roads seem to be a pretty good condition, with snowplowing being done by Johnson Construction when needed.


The sub-committee met to discuss the dissolving of this organization. It was agreed that Northern Township would be given until July 1, 2023, to give notice of the date that they wish to end the agreement. Currently, the date is December 31, 2024, but some consideration will be given to end sooner. It was also agreed that since there is a healthy fund balance, there will be no increase in fees paid by each entity in 2023, as previously expected.


Beltrami County has been asked to again join Northern Township in the State of Minnesota Bonding request for the extension of sewer/water services along the north side of Lake Bemidji as part of the Birchmont Beach Road Project that the County has scheduled. The County is a bit apprehensive to make the request, since they will be approaching the State for funding with their required Jail Improvement Project. This request will be brought before them to formally approve.


Lahn reported that there was a meeting to review and approve a budget for 2023. There is reserve balance at the end of the year, so it was agreed that the fees paid by the member entities would remain the same as last year. A fuel surcharge of $500 was approved for the Animal Control Officer, since he is required to use his own vehicle and gas. Also, annual increases were given to him and the Secretary/Treasurer, due primarily to cost of living increases.


1) Agenda for the GBAJPB sub-committee meeting, 2) email correspondence from Jess Bishop, Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Pete Stauber, indicating the securing of $5,000,000 for the Northern Township Sewer and Water Infrastructure Project, 3) email from Dave Hengel with Greater Bemidji thanking us for the support and the benefits associated with it, 4) confirmation of the upgrade in storage for the township website, 5) email from Mark Fuller regarding some time-sensitive considerations in moving the utility project ahead.

Dog Complaint – There was a nuisance dog complaint (along Maple Ridge Crt) mentioned that Israelson will follow up on with the Animal Control Officer.


Incorporation – Frenzel asked that someone take the lead on this process, and Lahn volunteered to do so. He will be contacting Attorney Kuboushek regarding the next steps in the process.

Financing – Kelly reported that he has talked with a local lender about the possibility of some short financing, in case it is needed through this utility extension process, and 1st National Bank is willing to provide it.

Planning Administrator – Everyone was asked to make a list of the ‘wants’ that they would like to see in this new position. The Clerk will get a copy of the one used for the JPB position, as a starting place.

Refrigerator – The refrigerator in the Kitchen stopped working the week prior to Christmas, and needed to be replaced since there was a renter expected that weekend. The Clerk asked for direction, and proceeded to purchase a replacement at SND Appliances. It was delivered, and was a bit large for the opening, so a smaller one will replace it. There was some discussion regarding spending authority, and it was agreed that the $500 limit for the Clerk and Treasurer would be maintained, unless permission is given otherwise. The Clerk asked that consideration be given to also replace the stove with a new model to match the refrigerator. Both appliances are original to the building and 32 years old.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 7:54 p.m.