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