Wilma Township Board of Supervisors’ Meeting, November 2, 2011
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were Supervisors Gary Vink and Mike McCullen, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, Grader Operator Mark Pallow, and County Coordinator/Engineer Mark LeBrun, County Commissioner Steve Chaffee, Eldon and Marjorie Schmedeke, Joe Vink, Toni Williamson and Steve Menth.
Paul read the record of the October Board Meeting. Patrice asked that Jenn Nelson be substituted for Patrice Winfield in the record as Paul had Patrice twice. Mike questioned the term “emergency board meeting,” for his meeting with Gary to survey the road damage. Paul said anytime two supervisors meet, it is a meeting, no matter what you call it, and the time-frame Mike described made this an emergency board meeting. Gary moved to accept the minutes; Mike seconded. Paul read the record of the Special Town Board Meeting on October 12th. Glen asked that the statement from our Township Attorney Robert Ruppe on October 10, 2011 be included in the record as read at the meeting: “MN Stat. 471.81 Subd. 1 states that any contracts entered into between the Town Board and a Supervisor that did not follow the statutory conflict of interest procedures is considered ‘void.’ As a matter of law, because the Town Board did not follow the required conflict of interest procedures the contract entered into last week with Mike is void. With regard to the threatened lawsuit, Mike would not be able to win any lawsuit filed against the Township because the contract voted upon at the last meeting is void.” With this addition, Glen moved to approve the record; Gary seconded.
County Commissioner Steve Chaffee and County Coordinator Mark LeBrun took the floor to answer questions about the condition and repairs on Co. Road 141, the Duxbury Road east of Duxbury. Gary asked them about the report in the paper that the County bought a portion of land from Robert Jensen to allow Bruce Greenly access to Schmedeke Lane. Gary asked if the Board had approved this. Mark LeBrun said they had tried to work out an exchange with Bob Jensen but without success. This purchase will help avoid any future road issues.
County Road 141: Mike said the biggest issue is the bridge is still too low, although it was raised a few years ago. It was under water at least 3 times in the past year. Gary said the real problem is with Keene Creek. It is so crooked with curves that water backs up and actually flows backwards to cover the road. He said the Army Corps of Engineers would have to approve straightening out the river so it flows directly into the Tamarack River. Eldon asked is there any other road in the County as bad as 141? He said neither Wilma nor Arna Townships have done anything to remedy the problem. He has had his car stall trying to get through the flood. The bridge was finished in 2000; they raised the road on one side but not on the other. Eldon said he has paid over $30,000 in taxes to the county, and he can’t get out when it rains. Someone could get injured or drown on this road. A load of gravel costs about $100, he said, and the County could get the road raised for about $4,000; he pays that much in taxes in one year.
Mark LeBrun said the road is a county road and the Townships are not responsible and have no authority or fix it. Mark said that Steiben has 3,000 miles of County roads he is responsible for, but he did come out here last summer and did some repair on the road. It’s in the best shape now it’s ever been, even though the bridge issue still needs to be addressed. Joe asked why the bridge cost so much, and how much more did it cost because of the sod on the side of the road that Eldon demanded? Eldon said this was a federal project. LeBrun said the County will work on the frost boils this spring and will determine what more they need to do.
Glen asked why the pavement stopped at the Duxbury Store and never went further east? LeBrun said Co. Road 30 is a state-aid road, and 141 is only a County road and must depend on property taxes. Mike said it would have been great if 141 and the Cloverton Road could have been paved; all three towns would be connected by paved roads. Eldon said paving 141 was the plan originally, but the people out here didn’t want it. LeBrun said the state-aid program was set up in the 1950’s and doesn’t always make sense, why some roads are included and some not. Joe said it is not true that the townspeople weren’t for paving 141. Paulson was the CountyEngineer at that time and all the bridges on Co. Road 25 were condemned, and Paulson used the state-aid money to pay for the bridges on 25. 141 was going to get the funds next, but then the state passed a law that you couldn’t swap state-aid road money, so there was no funding for 141.
Steve Chaffee thanked the board for inviting them to the Board Meeting; he said it is always good to see how townships operate. He said Eldon has some good points. He has confidence in Dave Steiben and Mark LeBrun. The County will do something for Co. Road 141. Dave did what he could do last summer, and hopefully they will be able to do more this coming spring and summer. Steve said dirt roads in the County have improved a lot over what they used to be. Joe said 141 used to have water 4 feet deep from one hill to the other. Mike remembers riding an air-boat across the flood. Eldon said 141 has been a problem for 100 years, and needs to be fixed.
LeBrun asked questions about the status of our FEMA funds for tree removal. He said in future emergencies like that, that we should call them to come in to help. Steve’s number is 320-980-2023 and Mark LeBrun is 320-591-1621. Mike said there is a big push to get the trees out of the rights-of-way before the snowplows have to go through; when the trees are covered in snow it will be a serious hazard.
Eldon asked about the radio tower. Mike said it is up. Eldon said we still don’t have cell-phone coverage out here. Mark LeBrun said the state is putting up the 800 megawatt radio system towers here and at Kerrick and we will have radios by spring. Possibly a cell-phone transmitter could be put on the towers, and the whole county would have cell-phone service.
OLD BUSINESS: Danforth Township Billing: Mark Pallow talked with Jason Palme and he explained the bill; our half is $2,230. Gary asked if the back-hoe is included in the bill. Mike moved to pay the bill; Gary seconded. Passed.
Special Board Meeting: Glen said the special meeting we had for the FEMA contract was necessary to make a wrong situation right. Now we don’t have to be looking over our shoulders, that we acted illegally or unethically.
Wilma Fall Fest: We had nearly 75 people here on October 22. The hall was packed. Barry and the Hoot Owls played. The board has received many positive comments. Toni said we had 25 sponsors who provided prizes, and many people from other towns attended. Glen asked if we can do anything to keep the flies out; he and Toni cleaned the hall and dead flies covered the floor. Gary said we’d need to seal the chimney pipe off.
Water Tank for Fire Department: The tank is buried and has already been filled with 4,000 gallons of water. It will hold 15,000 gallons when it is full.
North Duncan Road: Hopkins Gravel will be there Friday morning at 7:30 to haul gravel in. Glen said the FEMA tree removal needs to do the high-priority roads first so the grader can get in. Little Tamarack Lake Road and North Duncan Roads are high priorities. Mike said he completed Short Road today. The town will devote $7,000 of gravel and grading on the North Duncan Road. We also have $6,000 in FEMA funds for our flood-damaged roads. It is a 75/25 deal between the Federal Govt. and the State. FEMA pays the state 75% of the money and the state will eventually pay Wilma. The contract is in Washington now, getting approved. Nothing is guaranteed. Mike moved that we hire Hopkins Gravel to haul the gravel for the flood damage FEMA has said they will pay for. Gary seconded. Passed. Mike said we need to keep good track of any gravel or grading done on the FEMA projects, so we can give an accounting to the State and to FEMA. Mark Pallow got a copy of the FEMA agreement with Wilma and will keep records of how the money is spent.
FEMA Wood: Paul said the contract for Road Work Services between the Township and Fudally Tackle states that “MN Stat. 160 allows residents to claim the wood that is removed from Wilma rights-of-way next to their land. Any remaining usable timber shall remain the property of the Town of Wilma for the fair and equitable distribution to interested township citizens.” Mike is maintaining a separate pile from the township wood that he says is his. Mike said he paid the DNR $24 to get all the wood on the Short Road, and this road had more damaged trees than any other in our township. He said 90% of the downed wood in the town is poplar.
Old Graders: Mark had the grader weighed. It weighs 28,666 pounds. He said he had offer from Kukuk to pay $1,500 for the grader for scrap, about $80/ton. Mark said there is nothing we can sell for parts. Joe said he is interested in buying either or both graders and will give $1,500 each. Mike moved to sell Joe Vink the two graders for $1,500 each. Glen seconded. Gary abstained. Passed.
NEW BUSINESS: U.S. Census Report: Glen got the 2011 Government Units Survey from the Census Dept. It is due November 11. Paul said he has filled it out in the past, and Glen gave it to him.
Homestead Credits: Paul passed out copies of the County report on the Homestead Credits taxpayers used to get. Homesteaders will still get the credits, but it will not be offset by the State, but by other taxpayers.
Training and Conferences: Glen said he would like to move that board members be allowed to use their discretion on attending Short Courses or Township Officers’ Meetings or training, and not always need a new vote by the board. Gary said he still thinks we should vote on it every time. Paul said there are some meetings we have always attended, the Spring and Summer Short Courses and the twice yearly County Township Officers meetings. Special trainings or conferences like the MAT State Conference could still be approved as they come up. No action was taken.
Snowplowing: Today is the deadline for fees. Patrice has a number of payments and will make a list for Mark and Frank Rehberger.
Smoky the Bear Sign: Paul got a call from the DNR asking if anyone had information on the missing Smoky the Bear sign that used to hang at the corner of Co. Road 24 and 25. The DNR recently replaced the State Forest sign and Paul thought they took the Smoky sign for repainting then, but they said it blew down in the storm and then later disappeared.
Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Patrice gave the Treasurer’s Report (attached). Bills were presented:
Pine Co. Courier
Patrice Winfield (expenses and internet)
Fall Fest (Toni Williamson, for the band and exp.) 442.05
MAT Fall Conference for Glen
Mark Pallow (expenses)
Paul Raymond (mileage/expenses)
Mike moved to pay the bills and to transfer $4,600 from savings to checking, and to approve the Treasurer’s Report. Gary seconded. Passed.
Gary moved to adjourn the meeting; Mike seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.