Northern Township

NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Monday, August 14, 2023. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.

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

MINUTES: A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Barnard, to approve the minutes of the July 24, 2023, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.


Beltrami County Commissioner John Carlson, and Chairman Frenzel, attended an event held at a resident’s home as part of National Night Out. Most of the conversation centered around an upcoming Beltrami County road re-construction project along Birchmont Beach Road NE, and Beltrami County Highway Engineer Bruce Hasbargen did a great job answering questions and addressing concerns. Plans for the project have not been finalized at this point, but the focus will be on handling the traffic that is already traveling the road, along with the pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Safety will be a big concern, and the County will conduct a public hearing eventually. It was agreed that the Northern Township Board goes on record supporting good engineering practices with the maintenance of traffic flow (no dead-ends), speed limits, public safety, etc., on this County project.

Mark Fuller, Freeberg & Grund Engineering, updated the Board on a few projects:

Fairgrounds Road – The topo work is done and 50% of the plans, and will be complete by the next board meeting. The next step will be securing the Letters of Support from the road authorities and businesses adjacent to the road. It was just reported that the LRIP program is now in place and applications can be submitted starting September 12th. Fuller is familiar with the application process and will continue to work on getting everything ready for it, along with help from Borseth.

Wild Plum – It was suggested that someone reach out to Matt Murray in order that that easement documents be ready for the affected property owners to sign.

Wastewater Utility Project – A power point presentation is being prepared for Monday’s meeting with reps from the DNR. Some of the information was reviewed and it was agreed that this process will continue through the week in order to finalize it prior to Monday. Fuller asked for direction on preparing a budget for the project, and Kelly suggested that it wait until after Monday’s meeting.

Congressman Stauber – Will be stopping at the Town Hall on Thursday, August 24th, and a pared down version of the DNR presentation will be given to his group. Others who will be invited include; County Commissioners Gaasvig and Carlson, County Administrator, Highway Engineer, and Environmental Services Adm, as well as Mississippii Headwaters Director, DNR Regional Supervisor, etc.

Tavistock/S. Movil Lake Road – A pre-construction meeting will be held Wednesday at the Freeberg & Grund offices. Kelly will attend from the Board. The contract for blacktopping states a Sept 1st substantial completion deadline, or penalties will be assessed.


Crack Sealing – Pitch Black Sealcoating submitted an invoice for the work done so far that included work on Town Hall, Aspen and Whiting Roads, at $21,416.46. Also, a quote for roads in the Four Seasons development was submitted for $12,660.00, and it was agreed that the work be done.

Beach Lane Public Access – It was noticed that there are some trees growing in the rock retention areas and Kelly will have them cleaned out. Striping for a couple additional parking spots was discussed and will be done.

Brushing – Vigen asked that he have some brushing done by Kelm Contracting at $130/hr, and he was told to go ahead.

Gravel – There is some work that needs to be done, but Vigen hasn’t been able to coordinate the work. If it doesn’t work out this year, it will wait until next spring.

Striping – Vigen is waiting for a quote from Pitch Black Sealcoating, and was told to go ahead when received.


Lahn reported that there were two (2) cases approved; a variance in Northern Township and a rezone in the City of Bemidji. Staff was directed to work on a draft ordinance dealing with the jail topic, that would go to the Joint Planning Commission for review and public hearing.


Kelly attended the long-range planning meeting and the quarterly business meeting.

  • They are dealing with the tires on the new Tender, since they are not compatible for Minnesota winters
  • The old tender was donated to Itasca County.
  • Radios need to updated and they are hoping for grant dollars to cover the $50,000 expense.
  • Fire Engine #4 was in Grand Forks for an unexpected repair.
  • The Fire District concept is on hold at this time.
  • The remodeling of Station #1 is estimated at $71M.
  • The RFA Contract – expired in 2017 and then extended for 3 years in 2020 and then again for another 3 tears through 2023. There will be a new contract negotiated in 2024!
  • They are short 6 paid on-call firefighters, and have requested 3 more permanent firefighters


The quarterly meeting was held recently, with each entity asked to weigh in on the concept of requiring that impounded dogs be required to be “chipped” before they are returned to the owner. The Board felt that this might be an unnecessary requirement since there didn’t seem to be a good reason for it. Are there that many repeat offenders that are impounded, and not able to identify? It seemed that the added expense might be another reason someone wouldn’t retrieve their animal.


Bills – Kranich reported that this month’s bills are payable with check numbers 11562 to 11583, totaling $66,859.69. The larger items include payments to; Pitch Black Sealcoating for crack sealing – $21,416.46, and Freeberg & Grund for various projects – $20,573.97. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Lahn, to pay the bills as presented. Kelly questioned the $7,000 expense for soil borings on Fairgrounds Rd on the Freeberg & Grund invoice, and asked that the Clerk get clarification, since they are not normally done. The motion carried.

Treasurer Report: Cash by Fund balances are; Revenue – $249,161.84, Road & Bridge – $1,111,539.77, Rural Fire – $20,393.21, Sewer District Waville – $17,704.28, and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds – $219,646.71, for a total of $1,618,445.81. A motion was offered by Kelly, seconded by Blumhagen, and carried, to approve the report as presented.

Certificates of Deposit: Kranich recommended that a $350,000 CD be set up for 30 days at 4.95% interest. Consensus was given for approval.


  1. Signed Beltrami County Road Maintenance Agreement, 2) the pre-construction meeting for Tavistock/S. Movil Roads is next Wed in Freeberg & Grund’s offices, 3) the LRIP funding has been setup and applications will be received starting Sept 12th, 4) the new Election Laws book are ready to be picked up in the Auditor’s office, 5) Notice of MAT District 12 Meeting on Tuesday, August 22nd, 6) quarterly report for the Waville Wastewater Treatment plant, 7) email question regarding starting a cannabis business in Northern Township, 8) list of RFA calls year to date, 9) call regarding noxious weed complaint along Aspen Ave.

Maintenance Agreement – Beltrami County Hwy department requires a signed document in order to do any business with their department, and now it is complete.

Cannabis – This topic will need to be addressed in our ordinance, so now is a good time to start preparing for it, with more research needed.

Noxious Weeds – Frenzel had gotten a complaint about the weeds, and Vigen had them sprayed. A property owners expressed concern to the Clerk that he did not want them sprayed in front of his home, but the township does have an obligation to take care of them in the ROW.


Airport – A committee has been formed to start looking at a new customized zoning plan, and Lahn was supposed to be part of that group as a rep from Northern Township.

Land Use Planning – It was agreed that the Board will meet at 5:00 p.m. on August 24th to start talking about a plan to start implementing an Ordinance.

Township Treasurer – Kelly has someone in mind who might be interested in filling the treasurer position, and it was agreed that he go ahead and talk with the candidate about the position.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.