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Regular Board Meeting, June 4, 2008

WILMA TOWN BOARD MEETING, JUNE 4, 2008

Deputy Chairman Michael McCullen called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were Supervisors Glenford Williamson and Gary Vink, Treasurer Patrice Winfield and Clerk Paul Raymond, and Eldon and Margjorie Schmedeke and Mark Pallow.

Paul read the record of the May meeting; Mike moved to approve, Glen seconded.

OLD BUSINESS: Schmedeke Lane: Gary said that Mark Pallow cut the tree that was in Schmedeke Lane, and that the County said that until the issue is resolved on moving Schmedeke Lane, we should maintain it as a minimum maintenance road.

Crooked Lake/Eagle Head Roads: Danforth had said that they were considering contracting Sandstone Township to do maintenance and grading on these roads, but nothing was done last month. Crooked Lake road is rough and needs work. Also, Danforth has not paid any of our invoices since August, 2007. So far they owe:

9-21-07 $75.00

10-25-07 225.00

12-27-07 225.00

12-24-07 75.00

3-16-08 75.00

Total due: $ 675.00

Paul was directed to write a letter to the Danforth Board to Jeff Shute, Danforth Chairman, stating that at their next regularly scheduled board meeting they need to pay all outstanding invoices in full or we will be assessing 1 ½ % per month on all unpaid invoices. Glen said we should remind them of our joint road agreement where the two towns agreed that Wilma Township will be responsible for all road maintenance on these roads, and that in the future all unpaid invoices will be assessed at 1 ½ % interest after 30 days.

New Dosey: Dave Baker said that New Dosey is considering buying some culverts and want to know if we want to go in with them on this. Arna has told them they will be getting their own. Gary said neither township was aware of the joint purchasing agreement with the county. Gary said it may be cheaper for them to purchase them through us as we are covered by the joint purchasing venture. Gary asked if we need any culverts. Mike said we need one on the Mayfield Road and we should have a couple stockpiled for future needs. Mike said we need to find out what sizes New Dosey needs and what price they are getting and what prices we can get through the county. Gary will check with the county on their prices and talk with Dave Baker about what their vendor charges.

Roads: Mark graded some roads before Memorial Day. Mike Scott was complaining that some divots had been dug out of Mona Drive and he thinks this will ruin the road. Gary told him he could fix them himself and get some gravel. Mike wanted to know how much was left in the escrow account. Gary looked up the agreement and it states that we bill them for all maintenance until tax revenues pay for it, before we take anything out of the escrow account. Gary expected Mike Scott to come to the meeting. Mike wanted more class 5 gravel on the road. Gary said that 4-wheelers were spinning up the road and taking off the gravel.

Town Park Site Logging Agreement: Duane Glienke said that he will not put in a driveway into the park site as there is little salable wood near Duxbury Road, and he would have to make a skid trail all the way to the end of the park to drag the wood out. Also, that it may be too soft this summer anyway, until winter. Eldon said that if Duane doesn’t want to build a road to do the logging, that we should get someone else to do it. He said all loggers build roads and landings when they log off land. Gary said that we have a signed contract with Duane and that we cannot abrogate this. Paul read the minutes of the March meeting where the agreement was made with Duane. Although Mike said he wanted Duane to clear out a landing and to use the present driveway off of the Duxbury Road, the motion did not stipulate that this was the only way he could get the wood. Glen said that the Board did not see the contract, but only Duane and Gary, and he moved that all future contracts entered into by the Board be approved and signed by the entire board, and not just the chairman. Mike seconded; all aye. Eldon said that letting Duane have access from the back is not working for the township.

County Assessor Fee: Glen questioned the County Assessor’s billing for commercial properties in Wilma Township. Patrice said this includes the store and the campground, properties that Bob Brewster does not assess.

CTAS Checks: Patrice called the other two check providers. One didn’t return her call, but the other one, used by New Dosey Township, charges $217 for 1,000 checks with no set-up fee and free shipping, vs. $199 for 1,000 checks and a $40 set-up fee. Glen moved that we buy 1,000 checks from Victor Lundeen at $217. Gary said to tell them that we are tax exempt; our tax number is #2193593 for the state and #41160926 Federal.

River Cabin Road concerns: Glen got an email from David Thielman at lot 66177 River Cabin Road complaining that the road at the cul-de-sac gets very soft and can’t be used. Mark confirmed that it is very soft at the end of the road and much muddier than other roads. Gary said this is because 4-wheelers are tearing the road up. (At this point Mike had to leave the meeting due to illness). Glen moved that we put one tandem truck load of class 5 gravel at the cul-de-sac at the end of River Cabin Road to firm this road up. There was no second and the motion failed. Gary said that when we coordinate all the gravel for township roads, that this one will also be considered. Glen moved that when we coordinate the gravel for all township roads that will receive gravel, that the cul-de-sac at 66117 River Cabin Road also be included. No second; motion failed.

TREASURER’S REPORT AND BILLS:

Patrice gave the Treasurer’s report (attached.)

Bills:

Pine Co. Courier $ 15.04

Mark Pallow 73.88

ECE 41.06

FNBNS (grader loan) 2,000.00

The Evergreen 5.50

Paul Raymond 96.97

Mike McCullen 38.09

Pine Co. Public Works (blade) 177.57

Patrice Winfield 95.93

Glenford Williamson 38.09

Gary Vink 160.29

Pine Co. Assessor 289.00

Victor Lundeen Checks 217.00

Total Bills $ 3,248.42

Gary moved to pay all the bills, to approve the Treasurer’s Report, and to transfer $3,200 from savings to checking. Glen seconded.

Glen moved to adjourn the meeting; Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Paul Raymond, Clerk

Regular Board Meeting, May 7, 2008

WILMA TOWN BOARD MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2008

Chairman Gary Vink called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were Supervisors Michael McCullen and Glenford Williamson, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, and Eldon and Margorie Schmedeke, Beverly Vink, Mark and Lisa Sisterman, Mark Pallow, Rick Dunckley, and three citizens.

Paul read the record of the April meeting. Mike moved to approve; Glen seconded.

Rick Dunckley, Area Supervisor for the DNR Division of Forestry, took the floor to explain the town’s involvement in obtaining the easement for Mark and Lisa Sisterman, who have purchased the Parrish place on Grace’s Lake. Rick said that this land is DNR State Trust Land, which is held in trust for school districts, and any revenues from these lands go into this trust. Since private citizens cannot purchase DNR Trust Land, the town would have to purchase the easement property. He said several townships own easements that the DNR maintains; he has never had a ruling from the Attorney General on liability in this. Rick said the township would purchase just the land for the easement, and the Sistermans would pay all the costs and fees. The state owns 250,000 acres of land in our area, and hundreds of landowners are landlocked. This land would be a town road and the town would have to work out the gate issue. Mark said he would prefer to leave the gate there because of people driving in and dumping. Glen asked the Sistermans if they would agree to an agreement where the town would have no liability for the road or any maintenance. They said yes. Mike said the gate could be a town liability issue, and if they moved it to their property line this would remove the liability. He said he hates to have public roads gated off. The public should be allowed on public land.

Glen moved that the town adopt a resolution stating that the Town of Wilma intends to continue the process of obtaining an easement from the DNR for the preexisting driveway in the NW ¼ of the NE ¼ of section 36 in Wilma Township, approximately .4 of an acre, to give the Sistermans access to their land; and, that the Sistermans will hold the Town of Wilma harmless from any legal action on stated property; and, that the Sistermans will be responsible for all maintenance on this easement; and, that this easement will be labeled a minimum maintenance cartway; and, that the Sistermans will pay all costs and legal fees for the survey and purchase of this property. Mike seconded.

Beverly Vink took the floor to have the Chairman and Clerk sign the permit for the Duxbury Store for a permit to sell 3.2 beer. Mike moved to approve the application; Glen seconded.

CTAS PAYROLL CHECKS: Patrice said that at the Spring Short Course they said we need to separate payroll from non-taxable expenses on our checks, and that she would like to purchase computerized checks for payroll, so the CTAS program could print them out, with all the deductions. They gave her three suppliers; one didn’t answer, one she hasn’t contacted, and the third charges $199 for 1,000 checks, plus a $40 setup fee. Glen said this seems high and Mike asked Patrice to check on the other supplier and to report at the next meeting.

ROAD INSPECTION REPORT:

Gary reported on the road inspection held earlier in the day.

Crooked Lake Road: Glen and Gary met Jason Palme at Crooked Lake Road. Glen said Jason Palme complained about our charges for roadwork, and he said that Danforth may contract with Sandstone to do roadwork; he said they would only chage $65/hour. Mike said fine, if they want to be responsible for it and bill us half.

Bob Johnson needs to install a culvert at his field road driveway. They will get a bid on ditching the side of the road. Someone pulled out part of the second culvert, and the third culvert is bowed from logging trucks. The fourth culvert by Jason Palme’s is plugged again and is barely draining, and needs screens. Both Eagle Head and Crooked Lake Roads need brushing; Jason talked about Danforth renting a boom brush mower. Eagle Head road needs some gravel at the culvert where it washed over, and some pit run at the end of the road. Glen said Bob Johnson has been dragging the road and bringing up rocks. Glen moved that we send a letter to Bob Johnson telling him that we have reports that he has been dragging this road and telling him not to do any dragging or maintenance on this road. Mike said dragging isn’t always damaging to roads; the McCullen Drive is dragged and is probably the best township road.

Dollar Lake Road: Some of the trees need to be trimmed on the sides of the road. Mike asked Paul to write to Alan Seley who bought Fliegel’s place and tell them we will be trimming trees in our road right-of-way, and to give them the option of trimming the trees for firewood. We need to see if Eric Vathne will widen the road entrance. The road needs gravel on low spots.

Vink Road: Needs gravel at the beginning and up by Mannings.

Heller Road: Needs trees cut by the culvert.

Tamarack Pine Rd.: Needs gravel and brushing.

Little Tamarack Lake Road: Needs gravel and grading from the ECE escrow account. Mike asked if ECE graded it with a flat blade and removed the crown. Gary said it is flat.

Mayfield Road: This road is soft and has frost boils. Glen said it looks like it’s going to erode. We need to do frequent checks on this road and it’s possible the culvert will need to be dug up and replaced.

Short Road: (at Arna townline, off 25) Nothing needs to be done.

River Cabin Road: Regular grading.

Mona Drive: Regular grading.

Kenny Peterson Road: Needs branches cut and a load of pit run at the end. Mike said we’d agreed to put a load of pit run on this road every year.

Mink Farm Road: Regular grading and some brushing.

Pete Anderson Road: Both culverts are good on Pete Anderson and at Schemedeke’s. It needs some gravel from T & T’s escrow account.

S. Duncan Road: Needs some gravel from T & T’s escrow account for some soft spots and at the landing.

N. Duncan Road: Needs gravel from Tri State’s escrow account on the ditch by Barret’s. Someone got stuck up by Barret’s and we need to do some grading there.

Escrow Account: Glen said that $500 is not enough to cover the damages loggers are doing on our roads. Costs are going through the roof and we haven’t increased the escrow fee since it was established. There was a discussion on increasing the fee. Mike said we don’t want to increase it on the small loggers, as they couldn’t afford $1,000. He suggested setting the fee based on the number of acres logged. Glen said we could require a logging permit which would specify the area to be logged. Mike said this could open up a can of worms, and if they don’t use township roads we would not need a permit. The board decided to table this for futher discussion.

Schmedeke Lane: The board said that because the county has ruled that this road is in Jensen’s property and will be moved, that we would not do work on this road at this time. Eldon asked about the tree across the road, if the board intends to remove it. Marg said this issue is not resolved and may go to court, and it is still now a township road. Eldon said all he’s asking is that the tree be cut. Mike moved that we cut the tree on the road and blade the road until the county makes the final decision on this road and the sign is removed. Eldon said he pays $2,700 a year in taxes to Wilma Township and feels he should not have had to bring up the tree in the road.

JUNKYARD ORDINANCE: Eldon said no supervisors attended the Junkyard Ordinance hearing. He spoke up at the hearing and said the government will be coming after old barns next, considering them health hazards. People need to know who reports them for junkyard violations.

SCHOOLHOUSE: Glen said there is a lot of concern about the litter and garbage at the schoolhouse, and asked if there is anything we could do. Ken suggested talking to their father and letting him talk to them. Marg said a letter is the wrong approach; it would be better to go personally. Glen moved that Paul write a friendly and non-threatening letter from the Town Board of Wilma Township asking them to clean up their yard. Mike seconded. Gary abstained.

TOWN PARK SITE: The Park Committee surveyed the site today and Eldon said that the driveway and culvert goes into a part of the land that is low and soggy; he said that since Duane has to build up the driveway into the park to do the logging, could we ask him to move it about 200 yards west where it is higher ground and where it drains naturally, and where he would not need to put any gravel at his landing. Gary said there is no salable wood at the driveway site and that Duane wants to go in from the private road where the trees are. Gary said he will ask Duane if he will build up a new driveway and culvert into the park land, and if he is still interested in logging the land under those conditions. Glen said that the supervisors need to always be aware that they represent the people and not their own agendas, and that they need to be able to see all perspectives.

TREASURER’S REPORT AND BILLS:

Patrice gave the Treasurer’s Report (attached).

Bills were presented:

Mark Pallow $ 271.04

Paul Raymond 275.49

Mike McCullen 69.26

Patrice Winfield 227.76

Glen Williamson 373.87

ECE 46.59

Gary Vink 179.15

Pine Co. Courier 15.04

The Evergreen 7.50

Federated Coop 116.97

MAT Insurance 2,380.00

FNBNS 2,000.00

Total all Bills: $ 5,962.62

Mike moved to pay all bills, and to transfer $6,000 from savings to checking, and to approve the Treasurer’s Report. Glen seconded. Glen moved to adjourn the meeting; Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

Paul Raymond, Clerk

Board of Appeal/Equalization, April 16, 2008

WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF APPEAL/EQUALIZATION
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2008

Chairman Gary Vink called the meeting to order at 10: a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were County Assessor Mike Sheehy, Wilma Township Assessor Bob Brewster, Supervisors Michael McCullen and Glenford Williamson, Clerk Paul Raymond, and Joe Vink, Eldon and Marg Schmedeke, Bruce and Donna Filler, Dave and Judy Swanson, Patrice Winfield, and Scott Quady.

Joe Vink asked for the floor to ask a question of Mike Sheehy: “What would happen if the Board lowered everyone’s taxes to what they were a year ago?” Mike said the Board has no authority over taxes, but can lower property values, but the overall taxes would remain the same. Joe said that taxpayers have lost control of their government and we have to take back the power.

Paul read the record of last years Board of Appeal/Equalization. Mike moved to approve the record; Gary seconded. Mike Sheehy confirmed that there was a quorum present and that both Gary and Glen are certified as having taken supervisor assessment training.

Mike McCullen said he has heard from outraged taxpayers who are fed up with our valuation. He said our values are way too high. There are no sales in our township because prices are set so high by realtors.

Mike Sheehy said valuations are sometimes higher than what properties sell for, sometimes less. They compare assessments to sale prices of what properties actually sell for. The middle rate is the median ratio. There were 267 sales, 1/3 less than the year before, with an average of 96.8% of market value. The base year for 2008 assessments and 2009 taxes is October 1, 2006, to September 30, 2007, so there is a lag in a time of decreasing values that won’t be reflected for a couple of years. Mike said that of 57 sales in Pine County for all land from 30 to 730 acres, only three sales were for less than $1,000 an acre, even in the declining market. Ten years ago there were many sales for $200-250 an acre. Mike said that taxes are based on local jurisdictions, such as townships and school districts. Costs for things like fuel have gone up, and towns lost local government aid that used to alleviate the tax burden.

Bob Brewster said that being fair and comparable is foremost on his mind in doing assessments. He said that evaluations are going down in Wilma township for most taxpayers. The site amenity for the first acre went down from $18,500 to $18,000. Bob encourages taxpayers to call him (320/242-3236).

First up were Bruce and Donna Filler, Parcel 32.0095. They said the appraisal is higher than the real value for their manufactured home. Their home on 8 acres is valued at $157,000, and they feel it’s closer to $100,000. Bob said their assessed values actually decreased this year, and that he could take another look at the part of their land that is swamp. Wasteland is valued at $650/acre and high ground is $1,500. Filler’s home was evaluated as a modular home, not a manufactured home, and there is a difference. Stick-built homes are $96/square foot; modular homes $70/ square foot; manufactured homes $60/square foot; and mobile homes $40/square foot.

Second, Patrice Winfield, Parcel 32.0138. She said her valuation went up and she believes it is being appraised at 100% complete. Bob said it is still rated 95% complete. She asked why her land valuation went up from $102,000 to $109,500 and her building from $144,100 to $146,400. Her overall assessment rose from $247,000 to $255,900. Bob said she has 825 feet of river front land, appraised as waterfront property, 10.25 acres of high ground, 8 acres limited access, across the river. The site amenity for riverfront property went up from $27,000 for the first acre to $35,000, an increase of $8,000.

Next, Dave and Judy Swanson, Parcel 32.0028, 42.4 acres. Bob said it went down from $80,400 to $78,100, and their overall assessment went down from $158,100 to $155,200. The limited market value of all properties has been kept artificially low for many years by the state legislature, but this will expire so the limited and estimated market values will be the same, and the limited market values went way up for 2009.

Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke, Parcels 32.0104, 0106, 0008, 0114, and 0112. He asked if any parcels in Wilma sold for over $2,000 an acre. He said these five parcels are all valued at over $2,000 an acre. Bob said three of the parcels went down in value, but 0008 has McDermott Creek running through it. Eldon said that the taxable market values are going up and this scares him. People don’t seem willing to speak up and we are going to lose our land. Bob said that by law they must set values at 90 to 105% of what it would sell at an open transaction.

Joe asked why river frontage keeps going up while DNR restrictions on use of that land keep increasing. He asked how you could remove wetlands from tax rolls. Mike explained that in southern Minnesota farmers who had wetlands that could be feasibly drained could have them removed from the tax rolls since they couldn’t farm the land.

Next, Scott Quady, Parcel 32.00160. He has 2.5 acres and a hunting shack, and he had a jump from $14,200 to $26,900, while he has made no improvements. Bob said he valued the site amenities as a full site, with a well and septic. Scott said he only has electricity. Bob said this would drop it $8,000, to $18,900.

Glen Williamson had a question about his high land vs. swampland. Because he is on the board, his questions need to go to the county board. Gary moved that Glen’s case be kept open and forwarded to the county board for action. Mike seconded.

BOARD ACTIONS:

Bruce and Donna Filler: Gary moved to change the classification of their home from modular to manufactured, and that the assessment change be made by the county assessor. Mike seconded.

Patrice Winfield: Mike moved to make no change but to have Bob re-evaluate Patrice’s property and land and forward his recommendation to the board. Glen seconded.

Dave and Judy Swanson: Glen moved to make no change; Mike seconded.

Eldon and Marg Schmedeke: Seven parcels went down and one went up due to river frontage. Glen moved that Bob review the 7 parcels and see if they are fairly assessed as far as high vs. low land. Mike seconded.

Scott Quady: Glen said this is the clearest one as it was improperly assessed for site amenities, and he moved that it be assessed as half a site; Mike seconded.

Mike had two letters. One trailer at Two Creeks Campground had no license so was assessed as private property. Mike moved to remove the assessment as private property as it has been licensed and has current registration. Gary seconded.

Second letter, Gordon and Delores Anderson, Parcel 32.0195, next to Randy Michel’s old place. They felt they were under-assessed. They have a 20 x 30′ cabin with a deck and porch. Mike moved to have Bob assess this cabin and to forward his recommendation for adjustments to the county board; Glen seconded. Glen said the Andersons deserve a commendation from the board for coming forward to have their assessment corrected.

Glen moved to adjourn; Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 1 p.m.

Paul Raymond, Clerk