WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ MEETING, JUNE 4, 2014
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present, Supervisors Gary Vink and Mike McCullen, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, Road Manager Mark Pallow, County Commissioner Steve Chaffee, County Forester/Land Commissioner Greg Beck, and Pat Story and Jeff and Jean GrandPre.
OLD BUSINESS: Wilma Land Sale Resolution: Steve Chaffee said the County Board understands Wilma Township’s concerns, especially about preserving lands for future generations, but the county Board wants to move forward on selling the non-conservation lands in Wilma Township. The Board does not intend to sell all the tax-forfeited land in Wilma Township, especially not right away. They sympathize with our desire to preserve land for all the public, and not just for a private playground. Steve said he personally does not want to sell all the public lands in Wilma Township.
Greg said the County does not necessarily want to override the township. By law, they have to notify the affected townships, and the local govt. units have first priority to buy the lands, like Wilma is with our park. The law was intended to allow towns to have input to deny sales but does not give them 100% veto power. If the town votes to deny the sale, then there is a public hearing where people can give opinions and input on both sides. The Commissioners have final say on whether to proceed with the sales.
Greg gave the history of tax-forfeited properties. The County has 48-50,000 acres of county land. In the past, these were classified as Conservation lands, which the county kept public, and Non-conservation, which they would sell. They have a third category, Memorial Forest, large tracts that they want to preserve and manage, but may eventually sell. Out of 48,000 total acres currently, 33,000 acres are Memorial Forest, for timber sales and public use; 3,000 conservation lands, not for sale; and 12,000 Non-conservation, which they want to sell. They determine Memorial lands by 5 criteria: 1. large acreage; 2. access; 3. public recreation; 4. timber potential; and 5. environmental uniqueness. If 3 out of 5 apply, the land is Memorial forest, e.g., Crooked Lake land, which would be very high-value land if sold, but would deny the public access, so is Memorial. Larger blocks in Sections 1 and 2 connect with New Dosey. Greg said the old board, including Doug Carlson, didn’t want to sell County land, except for smaller 80’s and 40’s, but wanted the County to manage larger tracts.
Glen said that the County has already received money from timber sales. Gary said the access to the land in Sections 6 and 7 show access, but Doody has barricaded the road. Beck said they told him he has to remove the barricades and can’t lock the gate. Section 9, north of Glienke’s, is landlocked, and they would force access.
The County wants to sell the 240 acres in Section 11 to recoup the money spent on Schmedeke Lane extension. The road was built better than a forest road for access to the timber, but also to make the land more attractive for sale. In Section 18 Dollar Lake Road, 53 acres west of the road; end of Mayfield Road, 140 acres in two separate parcels. They purchased an easement from McHughs. Section 7, north of Vink Road the county already paid for access and will build a road if they sell it. The County has expended $46,000 on these parcels, including the Schmedeke Lane Extension and the easements.
Glen said it sounds like no matter what the township wants, on July 15 the Board will overrule the township. Glen said he can’t attend, so it’s up to Mike and Gary to appeal the Township’s interests. Mike said for that $46,000 investment, the County did receive a lot of money for timber sales, and if the county sells all the tax-forfeited lands in Wilma, they will have no more land to manage. Out of the 12 parcels in Wilma Township, the County wants to sell 8 of them, and they will only have 4 left, and then what, when there is no more land? We are almost out of public lands, and public lands are more of an asset to the township. Some of the lakes that used to be public access are now gated up. Steve said he sympathizes because the same is true in his township; lakes they used to be able to fish are now locked. Mike asked why they are so determined to sell the land, when they can get another timber harvest in 40-50 years if it is managed for the public?
Greg said he has opinions, but has to act as directed by the Commissioners, and if they tell him to designate lands for Memorial Forest, he will. Greg said we need to compromise; he has a list of properties the County could revise. Steve said the township needs to appear to appeal and explain their side, and the Commissioners need to hear how important public lands are to the people of Wilma Township. Mike said he and Gary will be there. Pat said they are speaking for him as well. Mike said if we compromise and one parcel is sold every year, before long there will be no public land left. Greg said our resolution sounds like Wilma does not want to have any tax-forfeited land sales ever. He can understand that in larger parcels, but the County sometimes gets small acre lots. Mike said the board doesn’t have a problem with that.
Township Park: Glen asked what is the status of our Park; is the county going to give it to the township? Greg said that because it has public waters, the state legislature has to approve the sale, and the county will convey it to Wilma under conditional use, like the south half of the Park (which the town gets free-and-clear in 2015). No one knows for sure why the County or Wilma has no proof of the town owning the north 20 acres; they speculate that the process started and then stopped, although the county and everyone has always thought the whole 36.5 acres belonged to Wilma. The town will have to pay a few hundred dollars for the sale.
Garbage in County Rights-of-Way: Paul asked about the sofa and garbage dumped along the Duxbury Road by North Duncan Road, and the TV dumped at the end of the Mink Farm Road. Steve asked if we had contacted Melzark; Paul said we notified the Co. Highway Dept.
McDermott Creek Dropoff: Glen told Steve and Greg that we notified the Highway Dept. about the steep dropoff on McDermott Creek on the Markville Road, with no markers or barriers. Greg said they would go check it out, and at least there would be some warning signs put up.
Schmedeke Lane Extension: Glen asked what exactly is the County asking Eldon to purchase? Greg said they are offering him 132 feet, but he will only be paying for 62 feet. He will be buying 8 acres for the price of 4, so the County can retain access. The deed will be for 8 acres. If Eldon does not accept this, the county will not give us the road. The deadline is first Tuesday in August; then the offer will be withdrawn. If he doesn’t buy it, the county will sell the whole block but will retain the easement with the extension they built, 66′ of road. They will sell it in 3 blocks. If he accepts the agreement, Eldon will be getting 8 acres for the price of 4 and the other 4 will not be taxed. He will have road frontage on a good township road, built up to County specs.
Conclusions: Glen asked Paul to write a letter to Chaffee about McDermott Creek. Glen moved that a committee of Mike, Pat, and Jeff draft a position paper on why Wilma Township does not want the County to sell any public lands in Wilma Township before the July 15 hearing, up to two hours at the $15/hour rate. Paul said our resolution already spells out very clearly our reasons for denying the sales, and he read the relevant portions. Mike said maybe they can elaborate a little for the Commissioners to understand our position, and he seconded the motion. The committee will present their report at the July 2nd Board meeting, so it can be forwarded to the Commissioners before the July 15 hearing.
May Meeting Record: Paul read the record of the May meeting. Glen made one correction: the storm shelter cost $4,600, not $6,000, and with this correction, he moved to approve the report. Mike seconded. Patrice asked if Paul will send the report of Ben Glocke as a new hire, and if we have to report all our hires retroactively. Paul said he will find out and take care of it.
Gravel: Gary moved that Mark use the township gravel at Alden’s pit and have Hopkins haul it. Mike seconded.
Summer Short Course: June 26; Patrice got the form and will send it in for Glen, Gary, Paul and herself. Glen will drive if his truck is fixed.
2015 Assessments: Mike moved to appoint Bob Brewster as our township assessor for 2015.
Duxbury Store 3.2 Beer license: Glen moved to approve and sign the application for the Duxbury Store; Mike seconded. Gary abstained.
Treasurer’s report and Claims: Patrice gave the Treasurer’s report (attached). Bills were presented:
Pine Co. Assessor (Special Assessments) $ 367.00
Paul (internet) 10.00
Mark (expenses) 18.48
Glen (road inspection mileage) 40.88
Patrice (expenses) 19.80
Antoinette Williamson 13.85
Pat Story 120.00
Total Claims $ 1,916.59
Gary moved to approve the Treasurer’s report and to pay all the claims and to transfer $1,900 from savings into checking. Mike seconded. Mike moved to adjourn the meeting; Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk
Glen Williamson, Chair