WILMA TOWNSHIP ANNUAL TOWN MEETING MARCH 14, 2017
Clerk Paul Raymond called the meeting to order at 8:15, following the township election and the Board of Canvass. 13 citizens voted and Gary Vink was re-elected Supervisor and Patrice Winfield was re-elected as Treasurer. Glen, Mike and Gary canvassed and approved the votes. Eleven citizens attended the Annual Meeting: Jeff and Jeanne Grand Pre, Pat and Helene Story, Alden Shute, Glen Williamson, Toni Williamson, Mason Williamson, Patrice Winfield, Gary Vink and Paul Raymond.
Nominations for Moderator for the meeting: Glen nominated Alden Shute; Jeff seconded. No other nominations. Passed. Alden took the floor as moderator.
Paul read the record of the March 2016 Town Meeting. Glen moved to approve; Gary seconded.
Patrice presented the 2016 Wilma Township Financial Statement. She again broke down payroll and other compensation for officers to show what each officer is receiving in salary, and for other compensation like insurance, conferences, short courses, mileage, internet, and for judging elections. At the end of the year the township carried over a balance of $145,141.69 in all funds and CD’s. Balance starting 2016: $123,821.05; receipts in 2016: $79,267.44 in total revenues; disbursements: $57,946.80.
Patrice was commended for her good report. Glen moved to approve the report; Alden seconded.
Road Report: Alden gave the Road Report for 2016. Scheduled work in 2016 included some ditching on the South Duncan Road but due to flooding, the work was put on hold. Gravel on the North Duncan Road. New 24” x 30′ culvert placed in Eagle Head Road, with rip-rap and gravel. Major erosion-control project on Little Tamarack Lake road, including 20 loads of gravel and 20 loads of rip-rap to build up the erosion-damaged road. The county hauled more gravel to Schmedeke Lane extension beyond their original budget of $10,000, including gravel on Eldon’s two driveways, and this road was brought up to specs and graded. Work for 2017 will be determined by the board at the May road inspection meeting, but he may start on the ditch repair on the South Duncan Road if it dries out, and apply gravel on the North Duncan Road. Glen moved to approve the road report, and thanked Alden for a good job. Gary seconded. Passed.
LEVIES AND BUDGET FOR 2018: Township Funds: Glen said the Board is not recommending any increases in any of our funds or levies for 2018, and he moved to leave the Road and Bridge fund at $16,000 for 2018; the Building Fund at $5,000; the Fire Fund at $4,500; the Park Fund at $100; and the General Fund at $10,000. Patrice seconded; passed.
Wages for Reports, Moderator, Meetings, Judges, Mechanic, Grader Operator: A payroll comparison report was presented showing a big discrepancy between Wilma, Arna, and New Dosey Townships, our immediate neighbors and partners in our fire department and disposal district. Wilma wages are almost half of what other towns pay. Alden said we didn’t have data from Danforth, whose wages are as low or lower than ours. Mike said they only meet every other month and they have a small population. Pat said there are always attenuating factors when making comparisons with other towns. For one thing, Wilma has a great deal of clay, which New Dosey does not have, making our road work more difficult and our roads harder to maintain since it attracts water and rises to the surface. He feels that the Road Manager/Grader Operator should be paid more than the suggested increase, maybe $25-$26/hour. Mike said our payroll rates have remained stable for years, and were even lower before that, and if there were an increase he would have more incentive to attend meetings when he would rather be fishing. Mike said he feels a deep obligation to our township since he and his family have such a long history here, as have the Shutes, Glienkes, Vinks and Schmedekes. He feels that the board has an obligation to keep our township strong and vital and in good order and to keep harmful and negative influences out. Patrice said she has tried to resign as treasurer for years, but an increase would give her an incentive to remain on the board. Jeanne said she supports the idea of payroll increases, and also supports a rate for the Road Manager/Grader Operator of $25. Mike said the board may create a two-tiered rate, $20 for paperwork and reports and $25 for grading. We already have a major mechanic rate of $30/hour. Jeff brought up that Alden is on-call 24 hours in the winter for snowplowing, and there should be some compensation for that. Alden said he does not want that. Discussion on the need for a backup grader operator, so if Alden should be on vacation in the winter, roads could still be plowed. Patrice said Steve Menth wants this job and is a licensed driver and a 49’er machine operator. Jeff is his neighbor and will talk with him and tell him to contact Alden.
Glen suggested that we hold a vote of all non-board members present to get an idea of community support for a payroll increase. All voters present were polled and it was unanimous to back the suggested increases.
Snowplowing: Patrice moved that snowplowing rates and policies remain the same for the 2017-18 season as this past season. Alden seconded. Passed. Patrice said the deadline is the November board meeting date, but we should change it to before the first major snowfall, whenever that is. Paul said he needs a date in order to publish the increase but the board can show some leeway if someone is late but before the first snowfall. Mike said he feels strongly that we need to provide this service because the voters paid for the grader, and we have not lost money on private drives. Some years we have a large surplus, and others we may go slightly in the hole, but we break even.
Wilma Fall Fest: Paul moved that the fund remain at $500 for 2017. Patrice seconded. We will hold it this year on October 21. It’s a fun, free night of great live music and wonderful food and Jeff said his neighbors really look forward to it. Motion passed. Jeff said we should have fewer prizes but larger ones, so the drawings don’t distract from the band and socializing. Toni said we need to keep the WiFi turned off this year, so people don’t focus on their phones or tablets instead of the party.
Donations to Old School Art Center, Pine County Historical Museum, and The Seven County Senior Federation: The Board was proposing that we give each of them the same as we did last year, $100 each. We got a fourth request this year, from Family Pathways. There was discussion on changing one of our donations to Pathways to fund their food shelf in Sandstone, but Jeane suggested we keep our donations at $300 but spread out to all four groups. She moved that all four groups be funded at $75 for 2017. Paul seconded; passed. The Board of Supervisors has final authority on these expenditures at the Board of Reorganization.
PUBLIC WIFI FOR WILMA HOMES: Glen Williamson gave a report on how The Blanden Foundation awarded the ECRDC a grant for $13,000 to to bring broadband internet/WIFI to a rural township, and Wilma Township was awarded $10,000 of this. We were able to build a small open-mesh satellite system with four access points, so we have WiFi in our hall and in the immediate neighborhood. People are accessing our internet; we have an allowance of 150 Gb per month, and so far in March we’ve used 30. We have enough in the fund to finance WiFi for at least four more years.
Board of Reorganization: Gary moved that we hold the Board of Reorganization to swear in Gary and Patrice and to make other decisions for the township on wages and notice and posting sites and bank of deposit on Monday, March 20 at noon at the Duxbury Store. Glen seconded. Passed.
EAGLE HEAD FIRE STATION: Senator Tony Lourey has a bill in Senate Committee to transfer title to the Eagle Head Fire Station to Wilma Township. They cannot give it to the volunteer fire department, but Wilma can lease it to the department for a small fee. The parcel includes the big tower, so there will need to be an arrangement where Wilma leases the tower land to MnDot. MnDot suggests that the big pole barn be torn down as a falling-ice hazard, but Chief Mike McCullen says that is the main building the fire department wants. This is not a condition of the transfer.
TRI-TOWNSHIP DISPOSAL DISTRICT INCREASE: They want to raise the annual fee to $36, where it was for years. Gary said there are five townships in the district now, and he doesn’t know if their final decision will be based on township votes, but if there is an increase it will apply to everyone. Paul said it is still a great deal and he moved that our township approve the increase. Toni seconded; passed.
Board of Appeal and Review: For taxpayers to appeal their property assessments for 2018 taxes, Monday April 10, 1 p.m. At the Town Hall.
Glen moved to adjourn the meeting; Patrice seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk
Glen Williamson, Chair.
Alden Shute, Moderator