Northern Township

NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Monday, February 27, 2023, 6:00 PM. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.

PRESENT: Supervisors:Jess Frenzel, Mike Kelly, Gary Barnard, Chris Lahn. Treasurer, Doug Kranich, Road Supervisor, Tim Vigen and Deputy Clerk Dianne Dockendorf.

Curt Blumhagen via Zoom. See sign in sheet for guests.

MINUTES: A motion was offered by Kelly and seconded by Lahn to approve the minutes of the February 13, 2023 meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.

VISITORS: Wayne Coombs-was present to follow up on the status of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city council, as well as a visit from Rep Pete Stauber to the area and a recent article submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer from the town board. A city work session is forthcoming to discuss the MOU. Kelly and Frenzel will attend the March 6th city council meeting.

ROAD REPORT: Supervisor Vigen reported that all township roads appear to be in good condition. Beltrami County has sent a new Township Service Agreement highlighting a revision of calculated charges for services the county performs on township roads. Supervisors will review the proposal.

Birchmont Court: Initial survey is complete. Road right of way would require a bare minimum of a 40’ easement. It is recommended that a 50’ easement be obtained for future improvements as needed. Communication with effected residents, after snow melt this spring, will include postal mail correspondence, public meeting and individual onsite visits to answer any concerns.

JOINT PLANNING BOARD (JPB) REPORT: No report. Lahn will attend the April 12 meeting in place of Frenzel.

EXTENSION OF UTILITY SERVICES: Frenzel is scheduled to visit with Rep Grossell via Zoom on Thursday, March 2. Consensus was to move forward with a grant opportunity through congressional spending-application is due by March 10, 2023. Barnard will research contact information for groups that may support the effort of the township to protect waterways and the life that the waterways preserve. The city of Bemidji has not yet given a response to proposal.

BEMIDJI RURAL FIRE ASSOCIATION (RFA): Kelly reported on a meeting with city finance, RFA president, RFA Treasurer, and Bemidji Fire Chief. Discussion included the need for a new fire hall, at least 4 additional employees (with 7 being optimal), and the need to order another fire engine. Lead time in ordering is 38 months at a cost of approximately $1,070,000.

The Bemidji Fire Department held their annual meeting of review at Northern Town hall on Thursday, February 23. A comprehensive report outlined the need for improvements stated above.

TREASURER REPORT: Kranich provided an overview of 2024 Tax Levy worksheet and a Comparison of Income and Expenditures. No levy increase has been implemented since 2020 leaving the township to absorb rising costs. Due to current township projects and the economic forecast, a levy increase is needed. After discussion edits will be made and brought forth to review.

CORRESPONDENCE: 1)Request for donation from Greater Bemidji. 2) Informational packet from LP contracting introducing their business, which includes excavation, dirt work and land clearing services. 3) Beltrami County, new service agreement noted above. 4) Telephone call received from Eckles Township resident regarding a surface water issue. It was noted that the area of concern lies within the city limits and deputy clerk will follow up with the caller.

OTHER: Discussion was held regarding the continuation of donations and considerations given to those entities that would serve all township residents.

Wild Plum Lane – Frenzel and Lahn met with a representative from MNDOT and the DNR. Approval is needed from the MNDOT office in St Paul, as well as consent from landowners across the street. Grant applications will need to be submitted.

Planning Position – In order to efficiently move forward with current projects it is felt that a timeline is necessary to have this individual in place. It is expected that the proposed individual (Mark Borseth) will notify Frenzel of his intentions by the end of this week.

Incorporation – No report. Lahn will contact attorney to find out if there is anything the township should be preparing at this time. It was noted that a new administrator is to be in place before the incorporation process begins.

Lakeland Public News – requests interview. Frenzel and Lahn will meet with them to highlight the sewer and water project.

Lahn will add information to the township website soon, to update the residents on sewer and water projects as well as the status of incorporation.

Lahn will chair the March 27 Township meeting in place of Frenzel, who will be unable to attend.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 pm. Motion made by Lahn, seconded by Barnard. All in favor.