WILMA TOWNSHIP ANNUAL TOWN MEETING, MARCH 13, 2012
BOARD OF CANVASS: Supervisors Gary Vink and Glen Williamson surveyed and signed the canvass of the votes for the election held earlier and certified Michael McCullen, elected Supervisor for the next three years, and Paul Raymond, Clerk for two years.
The Annual Meeting of the Citizens of Wilma Township followed; in attendance: Gary, Paul, Glen and Toni Williamson, Eldon and Marg Schmedeke, Patrice Winfield, Mark Pallow, Frank Rehberger, and Joe Vink. Clerk Paul Raymond called the meeting to order at 8:20 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Nominations were taken for Moderator: Gary Vink nominated Glen Williamson; Frank Rehberger seconded. No other nominations, Glen was elected.
Paul read Toni Williamson’s record of last years Annual Meeting. Gary moved to approve; Patrice seconded.
LEVIES: ROAD & BRIDGE: Eldon read a statement regarding the powers of taxation, that taxes may only be imposed to do the necessary business of government, and any excess leads to tyranny. Eldon said that with the balances we have in our funds now, we should not be taxing so much and that he will be asking for a reduction in all our levies. Paul read the auditor’s statement on the minimum Road & Bridge levy, based on our tax base, not on our road mileage. We have a $30 million base and must tax at least .04835% of this for our roads.
Mark said as Road Manager, he would like to see us use our Road and Bridge funds this year to bring all our township roads up to specs, with gravel and crowning and grading. Many roads have not received much maintenance. Mark said we did do thousands of dollars of work and gravel on theNorth Duncan Roadin 2011. The Board had recommended a levy of $16,000 for 2013; Eldon moved that we levy $15,000. Paul seconded. Motion failed. Mark moved that we set the levy at $16,000. Garyseconded; passed. Eldon said he’d like it noted that we need to spend some funds this year to improve and fix our roads. Glen noted that we are not asking for increases in any funds, except to restore the Building Fund to its previous level.
BULDING: Last year, the town voted to lower this fund from $1,200 to $600. Paul said that with the repairs needed for the Fire Hall and the possibility of building an addition to our Town Hall, we should bring it back to the previous level. Patrice moved that the fund be set at $1,600; Toni seconded. This passed.
FIRE FUND: This one is automatic, as all three townships in the department are billed the same amount, $4,500. Garysaid that with three different Fire Halls, all with their own equipment and fire fighters, we are better protected than when we had mutual aid with Sandstone. Garymoved to set the levy at $4,500; Eldon seconded.
PARK FUND: Eldon said that with the $5,500 balance in the account we should reduce the levy to $100. He’d like to see us keep this levy going, even if we don’t need it now. He moved that we levy $100 in 2013. Garyseconded. Glen asked Paul to explain what the Park Fund is for. We own 40 acres on theDuxbury Roadnext to the Belle Anderson School House. Last yearGaryrepaired the culvert, so there is access to the park, but no areas have been cleared and there are no facilities there. A few years ago there was talk of building a new Town Hall there.
GENERAL FUND: Patrice explained what this fund is used for: salaries, insurance, propane, publishing notices, legal fees, utilities; almost everything that is not road related. Patrice said that this fund is already in the hole for this year, and we had to borrow $10,000 from the Road and Bridge Fund to keep the township running until we get some of our 2012 levies. Eldon said he would like to see this fund lowered from $10,000, and that we could continue to borrow from the Road and Bridge Fund. Patrice said that if anything, we should increase the fund. She moved that it be set again at $10,000 for 2013. Eldon seconded, but asked that it be noted that we will use the Road and Bridge funds to fix and improve our roads. Passed.
WAGES AND OTHER ITEMS: Glen said that the rest of the agenda items are to solicit the citizens’ recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The Board alone has the authority to set wages and other items, but that we have always given the citizens the right to voice their opinions and recommendations at our annual meetings.
WAGES: Patrice moved that we keep all wages for 2012 the same as they were in 2011. Paul said the only one he thinks is not in line with the other wages is election judges. He said $12/hour would be more in line with bookkeeping wages, and could make it more attractive for people to serve. In some years he has had problems recruiting judges. Patrice said with three or four judges required for up to 8 hours for state and federal elections, this can be a lot of money, and that election judge wages are the only ones that are not taxed, either income taxes or for social security/Medicare, so they are more than they appear. Toni seconded Patrice’s motion. Passed.
SNOWPLOWING: Marg moved that we keep the snowplowing fees the same for the 2012/2013 season as this year. Toni seconded.
DENTAL COVERAGE FOR OFFICERS: Glen said that many townships provide coverage for their officers through the Minnesota Association of Townships Insurance. They offer three levels of coverage, the main difference being 80% coverage for fillings and extractions vs. 50% coverage. Eldon expressed concern that if we approve that, there will be no end to different benefits that the board will ask for. Toni moved that the township pay for the Choice Plan of dental insurance for board members with the Township Agency. Paul seconded. The vote was 6 yes, 3 no. Passed.
SEVEN COUNTY SENIOR FEDERATION: They have asked that we sign a contract with them for services to seniors. Patrice gave an explanation of all the benefits they provide for seniors, including Medicare counseling and assistance, advocacy on issues with the legislature, help with secondary insurance and prescription drugs. They maintain thrift stores to fund their services, and have requested that townships donate $300 in support, but the board has recommended $100. Eldon moved that we donate $100, authorized for this year only. Patrice seconded. Passed.
PINECOUNTYHISTORICAL SOCIETY: They recently purchased the middle school in Askov to open a museum to display Richard Bergland’s huge collection of railroad memorabilia and artifacts, and to consolidate some of their other historical displays. They have asked every township to donate $1 per resident for this effort, or $100. Glen said we do not have 100 people, but moved that we donate $1 per resident. Patrice said we have 63 residents as per the 2010 census, and she seconded the motion. The vote was 5 yes to 4 no to donate $1 per Wilma resident.
CITIZEN RECOGNITION PLAQUE: Glen said he has advocated for this for many years, a simple plaque to acknowledge contributions of our town. We have decided to limit this to people who have passed, and to open it to all citizens, not just major contributors. Mark said we should forget this idea. Garysaid where would you draw the line? There have been hundreds of people in our township, and he said this wouldn’t work. Mark moved that we not have a plaque. Garyseconded. This passed.
TOWN HALL ADDITION: Paul and Patrice explained the proposal to add a heated, insulated addition to our town hall on the east side, with plumbing and a kitchen and bathrooms. It would have access from the existing hall, which would still be used for functions like Fall Fest and the pancake breakfast. Patrice designed her home and said she would be happy to draw up plans for an addition. Mark said the foundation of our present hall would have to be repaired before we could tack on an addition. Patrice said she has checked the foundation and has not seen significant problems. Our hall is stable and the floor is solid and level. Paul said we could have a contractor check the foundation and work with Patrice to draw up a proposal. Joe said the township owns the land all the way to the fence. This area is not used now. Eldon said he prefers to start from scratch and build a whole new town hall on our park land. Patrice said this could cost us many thousands of dollars more than just adding to our existing hall. Patrice moved that we go ahead and have a contractor survey our building and site and draw up a feasibility plan, and start getting estimates or bids from contractors. Paul seconded. This passed.
WILMA FALL FEST: Toni said it was a great success last year, and we can do it again this year within the same budget. Actually, it had been budgeted at $400, but because we hired a live band, the board raised it to $500. Toni moved that we set the budget again at $500, and hold it the third weekend in October. Patrice seconded. Mark said we ran out of food because a lot of people did not bring dishes. We need to either provide some of the food or communicate better that it is a pot-luck.
BANK CD’S: Eldon said the CD’s aren’t getting much interest these days. If we increase the amounts we have deposited, we could get a higher interest rate. Patrice said our CD’s are already staggered, with 6 month, 1 year and 18 month, and we could increase the amounts in all of them. She moved that we add $500 to each CD account. Mark seconded.
BACKUP GRADER OPERATOR: Joe asked if he is still listed as backup grader operator. Glen said Mark is the Road Manager and it’s up to him. Mark then replied that he also a backup grader. Frank said he didn’t know this, and would have deferred to Joe to do the backup grading. He already does grading for New Dosey Township.
TOWNSHIP ROAD RIGHTS OF WAY: Eldon said that someone was logging up on the North Duncan Road. We could have requested that they cut all trees on the sides of the road to make it 66 feet wide, to remove the trees that are shading the road and keeping it from drying out. We did remove trees several years ago and had to write to each landowner to get permission to cut trees over 4” in diameter. Eldon said we should find a logger who is willing to cut trees in our road rights of way, or we may eventually need to condemn the land to cut the trees.
SANDSTONE HOSPITAL: Joe said a board member of SandstoneTownshiphas asked that our township show support for keeping the hospital in Sandstone. He moved that the board write a letter to the Pine County Board of Commissioners advocating keeping our hospital in Sandstone. Patrice seconded. This passed.
Glen reminded the Board and citizens of the Pine County Township Officers meeting at the Hinckley American Legion on March 31st.
The Board of Equalization and Appeal will be Wednesday, April 25, at 10 a.m. for people to appeal their property appraisals.
Board of Reorganization will be Sunday, March 25, at 12:30 p.m. at the Duxbury Store.
Gary moved to adjourn the meeting; Toni seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk