Archive for April, 2009
WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF APPEAL/EQUALIZATION
APRIL 15, 2009
Chairman Glenford Williamson, Sr., called the meeting to order at 10 a.m. at the Town Hall with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were Supervisors Gary Vink and Michael McCullen, and Clerk Paul Raymond, Lonna Meier from the Pine County Assessor’s Office, Township Assessor Robert Brewster, and Joseph Vink and Mike Fust.
Lonna got the Assessment Certification signed by the Supervisors.
First up was Mike Fust, representing William J. Fust and James E. Fust, Parcels 32.00112 and 32.0026, 93.8 acres. Mike said the Assessment for both parcels was $213,300 for the land only, and $217,900 thousand for the land and buildings. He said Bill Fust had a private surveyor assess the property and they came up with $148,000, which Mike said is a big discrepancy. Bob explained that assessed values are always a year old, because they are required to do a sales study based on Oct. 1, 2007 to Sept. 30, 2008. But even with this lag, a difference of almost $70,000 seems too much. Bob said that Mike Sheehey asks that all private assessments be forwarded to the county for study. Lonna said that the riverfront assessment for McDermott Creek may be double assessed, and that 1,300 front feet should be removed. Bob said they had a private assessment of 160 acres at $112,000, but no land in Pine County has sold for less than $1,000/acre, so this should have been at least $160,000. Lonna said that two sales in Wilma Township, one in December, 2007, had 80 acres at $1,900/acre, and one in October, 2008, had 80 acres at $2,000/acre. Bob said this would make the 160 acres worth $320,000. Lonna asked Mike Fust to ask his assessor if they took into consideration the creek frontage. Bob said to forward their assessment to Mike Sheehey at the Assessor’s Office.
Next up was Joseph Vink. Lonna said that if any petitioner is related to a member of the Board, that if there is not a quorum of Supervisors without this Supervisor, that the petition cannot be heard but must be forwarded to the County Assessor. Gary Vink recused himself, but with Mike McCullen and Glen Williamson, the Board still had a quorum.
Parcel 32.0053, one acre with the cabin at the corner of Eagle Head Road. This was appraised at $100,000. Bob said this seems high. The land alone is $24,000. By law the first acre of any property, no matter how many acres, is assessed at $16,000 if it is on a road with access and site amenities. The land is $8,000 and utilities $16,000 = $24,000. The first acre is classified as small lots, so the land is $24,000. Bob said that 3 years ago the estimated market value was $102,000, last year at $100,000 and this year (for 2010 taxes) $97,000, so it has gone down. The cabin is 40′ x 25′, with a closed porch, which is classified as unimproved and cold. There is also a newer garage, 960 square feet, at $12,500, and a small lawn shed at $500. Bob said there are two kinds of log cabins, real logs and long siding. Bob said he knows the logs are deteriorating and cracking. Also the forced air heating should be changed to convection. Lonna said they’ve already rated the cabin as low as it can go, and it is fully depreciated. The only area for change is abnormal physical deterioration, and for functional or unique depreciation they could take some off.
Second parcel, 32.0055, the north farm. 80 acres. Joe said it went up 9.6%. Bob said that in 2009 it was $158,000 but for 2010 it will be $153,700, so it has gone down $4,600. Lonna said the shed is valued at $300 but also has a $16,500 utility value for the building site and the electric utilities. Joe said there is only a driveway, no electricity. Bob said this is his error and can reduce the site by ¼, which will reduce it $3,250.
Third parcel, 32.0141, the south farm, 200 acres. The buildings (barn, house and trailer) are valued at $400 total. There is a 1-acre site amenity. The gravel pit is closed off. 18 acres are swamp. Two acres are for the road (1/2 mile). It is valued as a half-site with electricity. 179 acres are high ground; 17 acres tillable. The value went down from $305,000 to $299,000 for 2010.
Glen Williamson recused himself to appeal Parcel 32.20180, 4.7 acres on River Cabin Road. It is appraised with a building and driveway. Glen said his neighbor owns the driveway. He has no buildings. Bob said it may have been recorded wrong originally. Parcel 180 is recorded as Craig Menson’s, not Glen’s. Bob said he doesn’t trust the fire numbers, so goes by his odometer readings. Lonna said the error may be in the Auditor’s transfer. Glen asked what he should do on May 15, since he’s being taxed on a pole barn he does not have. Lonna said he should pay the tax and then appeal to the assessor to run an abatement to have it adjusted. He may be able to get up to three years of refunds, and this adjustment can be added to the other guy for up to six years. Glen has owned it since 2002, and has been paying the wrong tax all along. Only the Assessor can approve refunds.
Mike Fust: Bob recommended that 1,400 front feet of river be removed. $44,000 will be removed but $14,000 will be added, so the actual adjustment will be a $34,000 reduction. Mike McCullen moved that the Fust appraisal be reviewed by Bob Brewster to reduce the river frontage from 2,720′ to 1,320′ and that their private appraisal be forwarded to the County Assessor for him to rule. Glen seconded. Gary did not vote.
Joe Vink: Cabin at Eagle Head Road: Glen moved that Bob go back and make an adjustment on the heating and cabin condition, and that the Board accept whatever recommendation the assessor makes. Mike seconded. Gary did not vote.
Vink North Farm: Mike moved to lower the site amenity by one-fourth, $3,250. Glen seconded. Gary abstained.
Vink South Farm: Glen moved that there be no change. Mike seconded; Gary abstained.
Glen Williamson: River Cabin Road, R32080.004: This will be reviewed by the County Auditor and Recorder. Gary moved that Glen contact the County Assessor to have it recorded correctly and to receive an abatement of incorrect taxes paid. Mike seconded. Glen abstained.
There were no letters, but Lonna found a case in the office, James Bredesen. He has a capped basement, but his appraisal went up to $92,000 from $39,000, but had made no changes. She said it should be entered as a house, but should remove the finished basement. This increase was likely a clerical error, and Bob agreed that it should be returned to the same as last year. Lonna said she refigured it at $33,000. Mike McCullen moved that the assessment be changed from $92,200 to $33,000. Glen seconded. Lonna said that when they make a change like this that they notify the taxpayer of the adjustment.
Glen thanked Lonna and Bob for their work and participation, and Mike Fust and Joe for coming in. Bob said he would go to the Vink cabin after the meeting to reevaluate it. Glen moved to adjourn the meeting. Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 12 noon.
Paul Raymond, Clerk
NOTICE WILMA TOWNSHIP
Spring Road Inspection
Wednesday, May 6, 10 a.m.
Meet at Duxbury Store
WILMA TOWN BOARD MEETING WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, 2009
New Chairman Glenford Williamson, Sr. called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were Supervisors Gary Vink and Michael McCullen, Treasurer Patrice Winfield and Clerk Paul Raymond, plus Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke and Toni Williamson.
Paul read the record of the March meeting. Gary moved to approve; Mike seconded. Mike asked for a reading of the record of the Annual Town Meeting on March 10 since he had to leave early. Paul read the record from the part where levies were voted on.
OLD BUSINESS: Dental Insurance: Paul and Patrice got information on dental insurance at the St. Cloud Short Course. Glen called Becky Johnson at MAT to get prices; there are three options: Choice, the best, costs $27 per month and has 100% coverage for preventative care and teeth cleaning; services like braces or fillings has a $50 deductible. Select costs $24.50 per month and pays 80% of preventative and a higher deductible; Plus also pays 80%, for $21.80 per month, and larger deductibles. There is a $1,000 limit per year for all plans. Mike asked if this was the maximum out-of-pocket payment or the maximum the plans will pay. Many services could cost more than $1,000. Any insurance would be paid by the officers, not the township. The Board decided to table this until Glen can get more information from Becky.
Federated Coop: We got a bill for propane; Gary asked if our pre-buy was used up. Patrice said by her figures we did use it all up and we owed $226, but they billed us for $176.
Short Course: Paul and Patrice attended the St. Cloud Short Course because she had a conflict with the April 2 date. Glen and Donna will be attending tomorrow in Grand Rapids. Glen will contact Donna after the meeting to remind her. Marg asked if anyone could go; Paul said anyone can go, but only officers will be paid and have their tuition paid. He told her that Donna is Deputy Clerk and she asked to go at the Annual Meeting.
Pine County Township Officers Meeting: Paul gave a report from the meeting last Saturday that he and Glen attended. 29 Townships were represented. These officials gave reports: Tony Lourey warned about land-use planning where the cities are trying to take control of everything and squeeze out townships. They want cluster developments near cities. He said that in the economic crisis our old mechanisms are not working; this is an opportunity for townships to work for solutions. He said there are 5-6 weeks left in the session and we have a historic deficit of $6.4 million. 20% of the budget is gone. Revenues and expenditures are far out of sync. The Constitution mandates a balanced budget, and they have three tools to accomplish it: increase revenue/taxes; reduce expenditures, and use the one-time stimulus shifts. Tony said we need to keep our eyes on the long-term goals; if we don’t get it balanced now we will be in deep trouble in two years. He said the gap can’t be filled with revenues; it will require cuts, but we can’t take 20% from expenditures, it would be too painful. The temptation is to use the temporary stimulus solution and not make necessary cuts. He spoke a little about the Green Acres and that the conference committee took out the 7-year plowback because it was inconsistently applied and there were abuses.
Tim Faust spoke more about Green Acres. He said the Federal Conformity Bill (Green Acres) gets the Minnesota code in line with the Federal code. The House plan grandfathered in old Green Acres; the Senate plan required new registration. Pine County has $1.8 million in Forest Development Land, designated for timber development. A new bill allows counties to use the money to make up for local govt. aid cuts.
Bill Hilty said that the federal stimulus bill will not bring things back to where they were. We need to take advantage of the time it will buy us; we can’t keep on doing what we’ve been doing. He said that exponential growth is not sustainable. We need to rethink everything: revenue system, education, health care. He said the annexation bill will not pass; it gives all the authority to cities, not townships. The only way to grow and manage population density is to give someone the authority.
Steve Holland, County Commissioner, spoke about the success of the new PHASE recycling project at the old Chris’. Twenty six jobs were added, both for abled and disabled workers. Out of 120,000 pounds of recycling picked up, 97,000 pounds were actual recyclables; the rest was garbage. They have bailing and storage of materials, waiting for prices to go up. They plan to have plastic bottle recycling bins in stores. The program is spending the same amount as before but employing a lot more people. The county lost out in allotment because our fiscal year ends in December and the State’s in June. Our state check in December should have been $60.000 but it was $30,000. The plan to have Arrowhead Public Transportation couldn’t start because of this shortage. The Commissioners still want to get some kind of public transportation. They can’t set the levy until they see what the state is allowing. The County budget is $33 million, $12 million from taxpayers, $21 million from outside the county. Mandated services are not being funded.
Curt Russell, County Commissioner, said some blacktop projects for County roads will have to be postponed.
Doug Carlson said the budget cuts may force the county to cut some positions and require unpaid time off and a freeze on salaries. He said the land-use issue is critical for townships. He would like to eliminate programs, not add new ones. He said there are only 11 counties with more townships than Pine.
Sheriff Mark Mansavage said the jail now houses 90 – 100 inmates, 38 to 45 of them from out of the county. He said his staff is up to capacity and there is less overtime. He is concerned about a Hell’s Angels gathering in Carlton Co. in July and having them drive through Pine Co. His deputies are directed to not interfere with them and let them pass. He said drug trafficking is increasing with a new meth-cooking method using coolers. There is also an increase in property crimes and stabbings and violence.
Mike Sheehy, County Assessor, said that seasonal/recreational land is now classified as rural vacant land. If you have a timber management program it can be classified as managed forest. The limited market value program ended in 2009 for 2010 taxes. Some people’s rates increased dramatically as they had to bring 15 years worth of limited market value up to full estimated market value, at the same time as there was a 4 – 7% decrease in county land values. Limited market value started in 1991. At the upcoming Boards of Review the values will be based on sales 1 ½ years ago, even if values have gone down since then.
Marc LeBrun, County Engineer, said there is a federal mandate for retro reflectivity for road signs. By 2015 all signs have to be clearly seen at night. Counties and townships need a plan by 2012. There is a federal program that will pay 90% of the cost of replacement signs. Mike McCullen asked if the county will pay for township road and stop signs. Paul said Marc said that if every township participates in the federal program they will pay 90%.
Don Sherper, Pine County Director on the Mn. Assn. Of Townships Board, said that assessor certification for Supervisors has to be renewed every 4 years. Townships can get financial assistance to pay for the certification and the Township Association offers this training at the Summer Short Course. This will be at the Black Bear Casino this year.
Eldon commended Paul for the report and said if those who attend can give good reports we can send fewer officers.
Snowplowing: Gary asked Paul to bill New Dosey for the March 11 storm, ½ hour plowing Heller Drive, $75, New Dosey’s half $37.50. Also Arna township, 1 hour plowing Pete Anderson/Langstrom Drives, $150, Arna’s ½ = $75. Arna has paid for the December storms.
Fire Department Special Assessment: Cathy Clemmer at the Auditor’s office, said that it would be possible for the tri-township Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department to have an assessment put on individual properties like the disposal district does. Mike said he will talk with Jesse McGough and see how they do it, and then they can bring it up at Fire Department meetings. Paul said the fire department would have to handle all the details and procedures since it is an independent entity and not connected with the townships.
Township Vice-Chair: Glen said we need a vice-chair and didn’t vote for one at the Board of Reorganization. Mike nominated Gary; Glen seconded. Passed. Glen said he is not authorized to sign checks yet; Patrice will get the paperwork at the bank and bring in the minutes from the Reorganization so Glen will be authorized. Glen said he wanted to commend Gary Vink and his many years of service as Chairman of the Board of Wilma Township. Everyone applauded. Glen said Gary is still in charge of roads and town hall maintenance.
Pancake Breakfast: Gary moved that the Fire Department be allowed to use the Town Hall Sunday May 24 for the Annual Pancake Breakfast. Mike seconded. Passed.
Snowplowing: Eldon said he feels that there is no fairness in the order that township roads and driveways are plowed. He asked that the direction the plow goes be rotated on a regular basis so that each direction is first one in four plows. Gary said this is fair and that this is what he has always tried to do. By law, Gary said, we can’t plow driveways and then go back and do township roads. Mike said there is no law that we have to plow roads every snowfall, and that we often plow roads with no residents while residents miss work while they are waiting to be plowed out. Mike moved that at every meeting we get a road report on what roadwork was done and what order the snowplowing was done when there’s been snow, for the record. Gary seconded. Eldon asked for a report on all monies expended on the grader since we purchased it in 2006. Patrice was able to produce an accounting since 2007. Mike moved to authorize Paul to assemble a record of the grader costs as long as it doesn’t take more than three hours. Glen seconded.
Road Inspection: Mike moved that the Spring Road Inspection be held the same day as our May meeting, Wednesday, May 6th, at 10 a.m., meeting at the Duxbury Store. Paul said that at the Short Course they insisted that the clerk has to go along on road inspections.
Supervisor Work/Conflict of Interest: The new Township News says that any time a Supervisor does work for the township outside of normal duties that he has to sign an affidavit and the board has to pass a resolution authorizing him to be paid. Glen made a motion that we follow this policy; Mike seconded. Passed.
Township Records: Glen read from Township News that all township meeting minutes and Treasurer’s reports and records must be available to the public at all times. Right now our minutes are online for the last two years, and any prior year’s records can be viewed at the Clerk’s home if anyone calls and comes over, so we are in compliance.
Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Patrice gave the Supervisors and Clerk the Treasurer’s Report (attached). Bills were presented:
MAT (Errors and Omissions) $ 165.00
US Treasury (1st quarter withholding) 373.20
Patrice Winfield (expenses) 45.00
Pine County Courier 15.04
Donna Filler 32.50
Toni Williamson 32.50
Glen Williamson, Sr. (expenses) 33.00
Aspire, Inc. 200.00
Paul Raymond (expenses) 254.04
Federated Coop 176.80
Mike McCullen 80.80
Mark Pallow 88.66
Paul Raymond 323.23
Gary Vink 70.41
Glenford Williamson, Sr. 140.83
Total Bills $ 2,332.42
Mike moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report and to transfer $2,340.00 from savings to checking. Gary seconded.
Glen announced that Ken Yager had been taken to the hospital that morning and our first responders gave him aid. Marg asked that we send him a card, or that everyone send cards.
Gary moved to adjourn; Mike seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk