WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF APPEAL AND EQUALIZATION, APRIL 6, 2015
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 1 pm at the Wilma Town Hall with the Pledge of Allegiance. County Assessor Kelly Schroeder and Wilma Assessor Bob Brewster attended, plus Supervisors Mike McCullen and Gary Vink and Clerk Paul Raymond, plus Pat and Helena Story.
Kelly said that Wilma had no sales in the period from Oct. 2013 through September, 2014, so property values had to be determined by sales in Arna and New Dosey, which had a .38% increase in values determined by new sales, and a ½ of 1% increase in parcels over 34 acres.
Kelly said the statute states that valuation notices for 2016 have to be mailed ten days before the Board of Appeal, and since there were only seven days today’s meeting can’t be adjourned but must be continued after voters have another opportunity to appeal their taxes in Sandstone April 14 or at the Courthouse April 15. Then the board can meet again to continue the meeting or have a conference call with all the Supervisors and Clerk and Assessors after these appeals. Mike moved that the Board meet by conference call on Wednesday, April 22, at noon. Gary seconded.
Pat and Helena Story, Parcel 32.5084.000: Pat said he didn’t understand why his property taxes have increased so much since he moved here permanently. He wanted to know how the tax values are determined, and what he is getting for his taxes. He doesn’t feel he is getting the services he pays for, e.g. the very inadequate warning reflectors on McDermott Creek dropoff. Bob said Pat’s tax valuation did go up by $9,000 in 2015, from $160,000 to $169,000. Bob said the county had valued his home as fake (half) log siding, when in fact it is whole logs, which increased the value. Also a new cement slab patio increased the value by $570, which meant a $5 tax increase. The increase is not retroactive, so Pat was paying lower taxes than he should have for the past 5 years. Kelly said Pat and Helena’s home is not homesteaded and asked why. Pat said when he first moved here he also had a home in Washington County that was homesteaded, so he wasn’t allowed to homestead the Wilma home. Kelly said homesteading no longer cuts taxes in half, but Pat would save $282 in taxes if he homesteads, and she gave him the application forms to do it. This also can’t be made retroactive, but he will have this discount every year from now on. Gary moved that there be no change in Pat and Helena’s statement property value except for the homesteading credit. Mike seconded. Passed.
Mike McCullen: Mike said he isn’t contesting his value, but he thinks the arbitrary categories of real logs/fake logs doesn’t take into account the great difference in value of a whole log home make from redwood or cedar or oak logs versus poplar logs, although they are taxed the same. Bob said there would be too many categories if they tried to distinguish the kind of wood.
Kelly said the Board of County Commissioners are holding their meetings in various towns to give the taxpayers opportunities to voice their concerns and ask questions. The next community meeting will be the 4th Tuesday of May at the Duquette Community Center in Kerrick. They will also be holding them in Sandstone and Hinckley.
Glen moved that the Board of Appeal be continued on Wednesday, April 22 at 12 noon by conference call to vote on any appeals made at the two county Boards of Appeal. Mike seconded. Kelly will call all the Supervisors and the Clerk to set up the conference call. No adjournment.
APRIL 22, CONFERENCE CALL CONTINUATION OF MEETING: Assessor Kelly Schroeder reconvened the Board of Equalization and Review by conference call with Glen Williamson, Gary Vink and Paul Raymond.
There were no more appeals at the courthouse or by letter since our meeting. Gary asked about two Vink parcels and how the agricultural tax values went up $6,500 in value. Kelly said part of this increase is that all river-front or lakefront property went up to $30 per foot, on both sides of the river. Kelly said that one of Gary’s parcels would be reduced because there is no road access to the property. Gary said their land in Sections 5 and 8 have been clear-cut, and should get a reduction in value. Kelly said they do not consider trees in property values, whether it’s forested or clear cut, only if it’s high-ground or swamp.
Kelly reminded Paul to have the Board of Review certification form filled out at the May 6 board meeting.
Glen moved to adjourn; Gary seconded. Meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk
NOTICE WILMA TOWNSHIP: Due to insufficient time for Wilma taxpayers to appeal their 2016 property evaluations, they may appeal at Sandstone City Hall on Tuesday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., or at the Pine Co. Courthouse on April 15thfrom 2 to 4 p.m. Wilma’s Board of Appeal held on April 6th has been continued to Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 12 noon by conference call of the Supervisors and Assessors to vote on any appeals. Parties wishing to be part of this conference call notify Clerk Paul Raymond 320-245-2579.
WILMA TOWNSHIP BOARD OF REORGANIZATION AND BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ MEETING 4-1-2015
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present were Supervisors Mike McCullen and Gary Vink, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, and Jeff and Jeane GrandPre, Alden Shute, and Eldon Schmedeke.
Paul read the record of the March meeting. Glen said that Toni Williamson will also be attending the short course on Friday. With this correction, Gary moved to approve; Mike seconded. Gary said he will not be going to the short course after all.
Former Supervisor Joseph E. Vink: Glen took a minute to acknowledge the great debt the town owes to Joseph Vink who died earlier this week. He was Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for decades and one of the founders of the Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department. Glen asked that we observe a minute of silence in honor of Joe.
BOARD OF REORGANIZATION: Mike nominated Glen to be Chairman of the Board for another year; Gary seconded. Passed. Glen nominated Gary to be Vice Chair; Mike seconded. Passed. Mike moved that the board approve all the wages and meetings pay and election judge pay that the voters authorized at the annual meeting. Gary seconded. Passed. Glen moved that Northview Bank be our bank of deposit; that the Pine County Courier and the Evergreen be our papers of publication; that the Duxbury Store and Wilma Town Hall be our posting places. Mike seconded. Passed. Mike moved that we keep the charge for snowplowing private drives the same as the 2014-15 season; Glen seconded; passed.
Donations to Civic Organizations: Mike moved that Wilma township enter into a contract with the Seven County Senior Federation, with the Old School Arts Center, and with the Pine County Historical Museum for services and to pay them $100 each, as approved by the voters. Glen seconded. Gary voted nay; Passed. Alden Shute said he and other voters have expressed a fear that this could snowball to supporting dozens of organizations. He would like to have the board set a limit on how many we support and for how much. Paul said we have never had any requests from anyone but these three. Glen moved that Wilma Township support just three civic organizations and that our donations not exceed $100 each. Mike seconded. Gary voted nay; Passed.
OLD BUSINESS: Pine County Township Officers’ Meeting. Paul gave a report on the meeting last Saturday. Glen said it was very well attended (over 85 officers) and much good information given out. Glen, Toni, Patrice and Paul all attended. Highlights: Jeff Nelson, new Co. Sheriff, gave out direct line to his office: 320-591-1409, and email email@example.com. He is hiring new deputies and moving to 12 hour shifts and better FTO training. He wants to attend another Wilma Board Meeting.
Kelly Schroeder, Land Services Director, will draw up clear guidelines for recording documents to avoid repeat rejections. Assessor training will be only online (Twp. Association still subsidizes training to $1,000). The Twp. Assn. will still offer Board of Appeal training.
Jason Rarick, new Representative: Email firstname.lastname@example.org. He wants to attend a Wilma Board Meeting later this summer.
Steve Hallan, Commissioner: Pine Co. has aprox. 700 miles of County Roads and 700 miles of Township Roads. Proposals to have county-wide zoning. Some townships like Wilma do not want any zoning, and the county has to balance these concerns. Not all towns and districts will be zoned the same.
Lenny Bonander: New hospital will cost Sandstone $2 million. $230 K for 22.5 acre campus; $300 K for utilities and road upgrade. $250 from State, $500 K. from Sandstone. Bills in house and senate to get more state funding for infrastructure and a new bridge. High Speed Rail: Concern that corridor will need costly upgrade and will need federal subsidies. $400 Million partnership.
Brent Grundmeier, DNR: Invasive species, mandatory training before boats can be moved from lake to lake, can be done online. Bad wolf problem now and control taken from state and farmers. Only the DNR can remove nuisance wolves. Trying to get legislation for reimbursement for livestock. 246 wolves harvested in 2014 before Federal ban went back into place in Minnesota. May have restricted deer season and lottery this fall as very few deer.
Retro-reflectivity Sign Ordinance: The deadline for compliance with retro-reflectivity has been removed, and we only have to comply as we replace signs.
East Central Regional Development Corporation: Frank Grundemeier from Dell Grove will not be on the Township Officers Board after next year so can’t serve on the ECRDC Board, and Glen was elected unanimously to serve for life on the board starting in June. Five counties are included, Pine, Kanabek, Isanti, Mille Lacs, and Chisago.
Schmedeke Lane Extension: Eldon asked that the board agree that the land bordering the east and west sides of the existing Schmedeke Lane have a 33′ easement both directions from the center of the road, for utilities. He has also said that a slope and ditch easement be provided on the west side of Schmedeke Lane. Eldon also asked the board to pass a resolution stating that “Be it resolved that anyone cutting or harvesting timber for market shall clear cut all trees 3” or larger in diameter within 33′ from the center of any township road they are logging on, for ditch and slope and easement purposes”. The board thanked Eldon for his input and participation in the meeting.
Town Hall: Alden said he loves our town hall, and only realized at the annual meeting how really nice it is. He said if we invested a few thousand into properly blowing some insulation into the ceiling and upgrading the furnace we could make it more comfortable in the winters. Paul urged him to attend our annual Wilma Fall Fest so he could see the hall with a band on the stage and people dancing and enjoying great food and entertainment.
North Pine Hospital District: Glen said Fran Levings has asked to speak to the board at our May meeting to encourage our township to become a member of the district. Glen said he approved this. Gary said we have voted on this several times and it has always been defeated.
NEW BUSINESS: New computer and printer. Patrice and Glen got CTAS V.8 loaded on our new computer and a new wireless printer hooked up. They were able to migrate all the data from our old CTAS V.7, and Paul was also able to download CTAS V8 on both his computers and all the old records and data migrated with Patrice’s flash drive. Patrice said the new program is more difficult to use and it will take longer to write all the checks tonight.
Treasurer’s Report and Bills: Patrice gave the Treasurer’s Report (attached) and also presented a list of all the claims and payroll for approval (also attached). The bills total $3,055. Gary moved to approve her report, to pay all the claims, and to transfer $3,000 from savings into checking.
Gary moved to adjourn the meeting; Mike seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk
Attested: Glen Williamson, Chair
WILMA TOWNSHIP ANNUAL TOWN MEETING MARCH 10, 2015
Clerk Paul Raymond called the meeting to order at 8:15, following the township election and the Board of Canvass. 14 citizens voted and Mike McCullen was re-elected Supervisor and Patrice Winfield was re-elected as Treasurer. Glen, Mike and Gary canvassed and approved the votes. Ten citizens attended the Annual Meeting: Eldon Schmedeke, Alden Shute, Patrick Story, Glen and Toni Williamson, Mike McCullen, Patrice Winfield, Ben Glocke, Gary Vink and Paul Raymond.
Nominations for Moderator for the meeting: Mike nominated Ben Glocke; Patrice seconded. Paul nominated Patrice; Toni seconded. Vote was tied; Patrice said she deferred to Ben and Ben took the floor as moderator.
Paul read the record of the March 2014 Town Meeting. Glen moved to approve; Gary seconded.
Patrice presented the 2014 Wilma Township Financial Statement. She explained how she 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 $129,849.47 in all funds and CD’s. Balance starting 2014: $113,758.07; receipts in 2014: $67,229.12 in total revenues; disbursements: $51,137.72.
Paul said he had wanted to submit a supplemental report of all the governmental workers our taxes support, from the President of the United States to our Senators and State Senators and Representative, and our county officials like the Sheriff, Auditor, Jailer and Assessor, including all perks and benefits, but Pine County no longer discloses what our county officials receive, and he would have to file a freedom of information act request to see them. He said there is no doubt that township officials are at the very very bottom of the totem pole in compensation, yet they most directly benefit our citizens in our most important needs, roads, security, and community support. Patrice was commended for her good report. Glen moved to approve the report; Alden seconded.
Road Report: Road Manager Mark Pallow is in San Francisco, so Gary gave the Road Report for 2014. Gary said we used up all of our gravel pile at Alden Shute’s, and put gravel on several roads, mostly on the Mayfield Road where a new culvert was put in. Schmedeke Lane extension was adopted by the Township as a township road, and in the spring the county will pay us $10,000 to build up the road with class 5 gravel and reinforcement of the culvert. Gary said there have been some problems with escrow bonds with truckers, partly them trying to use one permit for multiple roads, and two loggers, Hayward and T&T both logging on Tamarack Pine Drive and the Mink Farm Road, but not both paying deposits. Ben thanked Gary for the road report, which he had to assemble on short notice.
LEVIES AND BUDGET FOR 2016: Road and Bridge Fund: Pat asked what comes under this fund; Mike said gravel, grading, snowplowing, culverts, grader operators, repairs and equipment. Pat asked why the fund was not being increased, when expenses in so many areas are going up. Our funds have remained stable for several years. Mike said we still have a balance of $76,625 in the Road & Bridge fund, plus over $20,000 in R&B CD’s, plus we’ll be getting the $10,000 from the county. Mike moved to leave the fund at $16,000 for 2015; Patrice seconded; passed.
Building Fund: Gary moved to keep the fund at $5,000 for 2015. Mike said there is still some electrical and other work on the fire hall. Mike seconded; passed.
Fire Fund: This amount is fixed, and what the Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department requests from all three participating townships, $4,500. Gary moved to fund that amount; Mike seconded and said the Fire Dept. doesn’t intend to increase the request soon. Passed.
General Fund: Patrice said the General Fund pays for all payroll and insurance and mileage and training, and it may come up short. Mike said we spent less than our budget last year, so we’re ahead and he moved to keep the General Fund at $10,000. Gary seconded. Passed.
Park Fund: As we don’t have any expenses with our park, Toni moved to keep the fund at $100 for 2015. Pat seconded. Passed. The State Legislature and Senator Tony Lourey are passing legislation to allow the state to give the north 20 acres of our park to Wilma township under conditional use. Just this year our south 16.5 acres passed from conditional use to full ownership. Mike said the Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department is trying to get ownership of the Eagle Head Fire Station that they now have under lease. He said there may be a stipulation that MN Dot can give the land and buildings to a township but not to a fire department, so Wilma would have title to Eagle Head, as we do now for our Duxbury Fire Hall. Wilma could lease it to the fire department for $1 year, and the fire department would be willing to invest in heating and insulation. Patrice asked if the house site would be included, and Mike said they’re asking for that. Patrice said it would make a nice cleared site for a new town hall, and is already leveled off. We would have to put in water and septic for the one MN Dot destroyed. Ben moved that the fire department be encouraged to go ahead with the plans to get the land, even if it involves the township getting ownership. Patrice seconded; passed.
Wages for Reports, Moderator, Meetings, Judges, Mechanic, Grader Operator: Glen moved that we keep all wages and meetings and other paid duties the same as in 2014. Patrice seconded.
Snowplowing: Patrice moved that snowplowing rates and policies remain the same for the 2015-16 season as this past season. Toni seconded. Passed.
Wilma Fall Fest: Toni moved that the fund remain at $500 for 2015. Paul seconded. Paul said we need more local participation in Fall Fest; most of the people who come are from outside our township. It’s a fun, free night of great live music and wonderful food. Motion passed.
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. Long discussion on what each group does and how it is related to our township’s citizens. Alden said he supports the Historical Society with a paid membership, plus paying admission, but he doesn’t think taxpayers should be forced to support them. Paul said they sponsored the election debates this past fall, and that with our tax base, the actual tax each one will be paying will be tiny for $100. Alden said that’s not the point. Glen said the Historical Museum helps people in Pine County to know our past and where we came from. Glen said the board has been very frugal on our donations and they are not squandering money for the township. Eldon questioned how the Old School Art Center benefits our township. He said support for them should be voluntary. Toni said OSAC features our township and area artists and it brings people together. They also have classes on art and woodworking and pottery. Pat said we should expect our local government to help fund some community benefit associations to make a better community for us all to live in and he moved that all three be funded again in 2015 by $100 each. Patrice seconded. Hand vote: 6 aye, 3 nay; passed. Paul reminded them that the Board of Supervisors has final authority on these expenditures at the Board of Reorganization.
Wilma Septic Ordinance: The Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on our new ordinance on March 4th, plus it has been posted online for over 6 months. They passed the ordinance unanimously at the March 4th meeting, and it will take effect on April 1st. Gary said the township’s only alternative was to turn over all our local assessments and hearings to the county. Our ordinance is no stricter than the county’s but is is also not weaker. One major addition is that inspections are required whenever properties with septic systems are sold or pass to other owners
Board of Reorganization: Gary moved that we hold the Board of Reorganization, to swear in the two officers and make other decisions for the township on wages and notice and posting sites and bank of deposit at the regular Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Wednesday, April 1st. Toni seconded. Passed.
Board of Appeal and Review: For taxpayers to appeal their property assessments for 2016 taxes, Monday April 6, 1 p.m. At the Town Hall. There was a question of whether it is ever worth appealing. Mike said definitely. Our Board knows the people and the area and often get assessments changed. Ben said his gravel pit got taken off and that Alden should if his is also gone. They may not check for 5 years otherwise.
Eldon asked for the floor to thank Patrice for her thorough treasurer’s reports, and Mike for his wonderful, patient response as First Responder when Marjorie needed the ambulance. He also thanked Paul for his good meeting reports he provides every month. He said it seems like properties that are sold are appraised at higher rates if they have trees; he would have clear-cut his if he’d known. He says he pays $12,000 a year in property taxes. He also said we should change the name of the Road and Bridge fund to the Road fund since we have no bridges. Gary said we do share a bridge/culvert with New Dosey Township on Heller Drive. Eldon said he feels very strongly that we should have a road log in the grader so the Road Manager/Grader Operator could document thoroughly what work and gravel is being done on each road. He also believes the grader should have a log so any damages to it could be documented. We need to spend more of our funds on improving our roads, he said. He said he didn’t think a fire truck could make it to the end of most of our township roads, they’re in such bad shape.
Eldon said we need to investigate getting some kind of cell tower in Wilma Township so we can have cell-phone service. Mike said the state won’t put one on the Eagle Head Tower and it’s not economically feasible for any phone companies. Gary said MN Dot and Homeland Security don’t want to share their tower. Patrice echoed Eldon’s concern for cell service. She said companies don’t want to invest here.
Glen said it is concerns like this that make it so important that we attend state law meetings and township association meetings and lobby days at the state legislature.
Glen moved to adjourn the meeting; Mike seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
Paul Raymond, Clerk
Glen Williamson, Chair.