Northern Township

NORTHERN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS – Monday, November 13, 2023. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.

5:00 p.m. – Work Session to Review Proposed Ordinances.

PRESENT: Supervisors Jess Frenzel, Curt Blumhagen, Mike Kelly, and Chris Lahn. Absent: Gary Barnard. Administrator Mark Borseth, and Clerk Mary Israelson.

Mark Fuller, Freeberg & Grund, presented the updated Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance, the Comprehensive Plan, and the zoning map. He has taken out all of the sections that are specific to the City of Bemidji, and has some questions regarding clarification and intent on some items. Those were reviewed, with consensus received on those topics.

Fuller will make the appropriate revisions and will have it ready to copy and put on the website this week. The 1st reading of the Northern Township Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance, and the Northern Township Comprehensive Plan, will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 27th, with the 2nd reading planned for Monday, December 11th.

The work session adjourned at 5:59 p.m.

6:00 p.m. – Regular Meeting.

PRESENT: Supervisors Jess Frenzel, Curt Blumhagen, Mike Kelly, and Chris Lahn. Administrator Mark Borseth, Treasurer Doug Kranich, new Treasurer Crystal Peterson, Road Supervisor Tim Vigen, and Clerk Mary Israelson. Absent: Supervisor Gary Barnard.

MINUTES: A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Blumhagen, to approve the minutes of the October 23, 2023, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.


Supervisor Blumhagen introduced new Treasurer Crystal Peterson, who will be taking over the duties that have been performed by Doug Kranich for more than 30 years.


Wild Plum – The application to the State Park Road Account was completed and sent.

Fairgrounds Road – The LRIP application is nearly complete, with the follow-up being made to some property owners for letters of support.

Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan – The suggested changes will be made and Freeberg & Grund will be completing their work on that. The public hearing for the 1st reading of each will be held Monday, November 27, 2023, starting at 6:00 p.m. The fee schedule and planning commission meeting schedule is also complete.


Frenzel reported that he met with the DNR Area Supervisor Theresa Ebbenga, and she indicated that there was going to be a meeting regarding the topics involving Sect.36 at the state level. It was suggested that a letter be sent before the meeting to all the parties involved, that explains the project and that all other options for its location have been exhausted. The letter has been reviewed and each supervisor will sign before the Clerk emails it out tomorrow.

The application to the State Legislature for state funding is being completed. Lahn and Fuller have met with the administrator of the federal grant, and it has been determined that the land acquisition could be used as part of the township’s matching share portion, possibly with a grant agreement. Some more review is needed to explore Lessard-Sams funds.


Lofgren Tree Service – Vigen reported that the tree trimming was done today.

Grading – He will be asking that all the gravel roads be graded in order to get ready for the winter weather.

Tavistock/S. Movil Lake Road – Fuller reported that the slope finishing has now been redone, and they are compliant as of today. NRA will be there this week to complete the seeding. The retainage is being held from the Mark Sand & Gravel payment, with a driveway to be addressed and redone next spring.


Lahn reported that there is still some outstanding business with the Jail permitting, and after the first of the year, the City alone will be dealing with the matter. There were two (2) other cases; an extension of a permit, and an after-the-fact variance being addressed.

Dissolution Agreement – The final draft was presented, and a motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Lahn, to approve. The motion carried unanimously. Another meeting of the committee will be held between Christmas and New Year’s.


Blumhagen reported that he attended the recent meeting. There have been 19 total fires this year with four (4) in Northern Township. The Fire Chief is recommending two (2) more fire fighters, and it has been approved by the City. This would be an increase in expense and it was turned down at the meeting (motion made by a substitute member). There will be a Long Range Planning Meeting on November 30th. There is a 13% increase in the fire dept budget proposed, prior to the additional staff, and 43% is assessed to the RFA.


Blumhagen reported that the quarterly meeting was held with everything operating pretty smoothly.


The semi-annual meeting was held with Barnard and Israelson attending. Guests included the Beltrami County Sheriff, Betrami County AIS Director, and County Commissioner Craig Gaasvig. A lot of emphasis was put on encouraging township officers to attend the MAT Annual Conference in December in St. Cloud. Some amendments to their By-Laws are being proposed.


A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Blumhagen, to approve the township consent. The motion carried unanimously.


A motion was offered by Kelly, and seconded by Blumhagen, to approve Resolution #2023-1120. The motion carried unanimously.


Bills – Kranich reported that this month’s bills are payable with check numbers 11631 to 11664, totaling $417,617.21. The larger items include payments to; Mark Sand & Gravel for S.Movil/Tavistock blacktopping – $268,693.35, Bemidji Rural Fire – $101,450.50, Iverson Reuvers Law (March to Sept) – $6,042.00, and Freeberg & Grund for various projects – $8,927.75. A motion was offered by Blumhagen, and seconded by Lahn, to pay the bills as presented. The motion carried unanimously.

Treasurer Report: Cash by Fund balances are; Revenue – $197,078.51, Road & Bridge – $1,003,040.91, Rural Fire – $20,900.70, Sewer District Waville – $11,421.71, and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds – $198,663.65, for a total of $1,431,105.48. A motion was offered by Lahn, seconded by Blumhagen, and carried, to approve the report as presented.

Certificates of Deposit: Kranich recommended that a $110,000 CD be set up for 30 days at 5.2% interest. Consensus was given for approval.

Treasurer Position: A motion was offered by Blumhagen to add Crystal Peterson to the required bank accounts as Treasurer, and to leave Doug Kranich as a deputy treasurer signer. The motion was seconded by Lahn and carried unanimously.


1) Completed application for State Park Road Account Funding (SPRA) for Wild Plum NE Reconstruction, 2) Email receipt of the SPRA application, 3) Mark Fuller’s final inspection of the roads in the Plantation Estates development and approval of the release of escrow funds, 4) notice of Legal Ad for the 1st reading of the proposed Northern Township Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan, 5) information regarding Annual Educational Conference and Annual Meeting.


Election – Clerk Israelson reported that there were 930 voters at the poll for the Beltrami County Special Election to pass a referendum for a sales tax to be used for the new jail. The turnout was much better than the County Auditor had anticipated, since we were only given 600 ballots to start the day.

Committees – Kelly would like the building and cemetery committees to meet next year, to talk about expansions.

Planning Commission – Applications were received from five (5) interested residents, as well as indication from the three (3) existing planning commission members that they were interested in continuing on the new Northern Township Planning Commission. Kelly reported that he had talked with the applicants and offered the following motion to approve appointing Clark Chambers, Wayne Coombs, Ron Cuperus, Mark Arndt, and Bill Smith, with Mike Granlund as a substitute. Blumhagen seconded the motion. After questioning the substitute position, Kelly amended his motion to eliminate the substitute, with Blumhagen agreeing to the amendment. The motion carried unanimously. Kelly explained that he is looking at a change on the make-up of the commission, and including some long-term residents with experience. At this point, the terms will be left open until each member is talked to. Al Steffen and Mike Granlund will be thanked for their work on the planning commission.

Kelly also reported that he had a recent meeting with the City’s Mayor.

With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30.m.