Clerk Paul Raymond called the meeting to order at 8:30, following the township election and the Board of Canvass. 43 citizens voted and Mike McCullen was re-elected Supervisor for three years and Paul Raymond was re-elected as clerk for two years. Glen, Mike, and Alden canvassed and approved the vote; Twenty citizens signed in on the sheet at Annual Meeting: Mike McCullen, Kim Felton, Glen Williamson, Stefanie Williamson, Cindy Kleinschmidt, Patrice Winfield, Stan and Tracy Riley, Zach Hanson, Steve Menth, Clay Heller, Alden and Lori Shute, Nick and Jody Mattson, Tom and Kate Ackerman, Angie Anderson, Jim Bredesen, Dave Nelson, Derek Nelson, Hunter Vink, and Paul Raymond.

Approve Ground Rules: Paul asked for a motion to approve some basic ground rules for the meeting: Citizens must raise their hand to speak; No interuptions; If a speaker asks question of another person, they can answer but speaker holds the floor; Maintain respect and decorum. Mike moved to adopt the groundrules; Cindy seconded. Passed. Nominations for Moderator for the meeting: Paul nominated Mike Mccullen; Cindy seconded. Stefanie nominated Glen; Tracy seconded. Hand vote and Mike elected and took the gavel as moderator. Mike annouced the results of the Board of Canvass of the election: For Supervisor, Mike McCullen, 30 votes; Cindy Kleinschmidt, 9 write-in votes; Steve Menth, 3 write-ins. For Clerk, Paul Raymond, 31 votes; Stefanie Williamson, 11 write-in votes.

Paul read the record of the March 14, 2023 Town Meeting. Kim moved to approve; Cindy seconded; Approved.

Financial Statement: Patrice presented the 2023 Wilma Township Financial Statement. Patrice again 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 $202,285 in all funds and CD’s. Balance starting 2023: $194905.78; receipts in 2023: $87,404.84 total revenues; disbursements: $80,024.88.

Stefanie questioned the amounts listed on the financial report for Mike for road work trimming trees on township roads, as compared to the report submitted to the county and FEMA for reimbursement. Patrice said she will research it. Paul said he has all the claims we submitted if she needs them. Our total was $11,134.

Paul moved to approve the report; Tom seconded, passed.

Old Issues: Stan wanted to bring up the issue of election fraud last year. Mike said this has no place in this meeting and did not allow Stan to keep talking about it. Stan and Tracy left the meeting.

Road Report: Alden gave the Road Report. The biggest issue in 2023 was damage on our roads’ rights-of-way from the December, 2022 snowstorm. We may still need to trim some trees on the roads.

Tamarack Pine Drive: The big job for 2023 was putting redrock gravel the length of Tamarack Pine Drive. Jody and Nick said they are pleased with the road. For 2024, one big project will be improving Little Tamarack Lake Road, where the first 8th mile is all rock. River Cabin Road has clay and soft spots and will need work. The town board road inspection will be in May and projects will be prioritized and decided on then. There were still some beaver problems on Eagle Head Road and Alden said he wants to get a permanent solution and redo the culvert somehow, but the problems have been somewhat alleviated.

Heller Drive Cement Culvert: The board will inspect it for cracks and future replacement. Clay said that when we had the last heavy rain, all the culverts on the river failed except his.

Jody moved to approve his report; Nick seconded.

LEVIES AND BUDGET FOR 2025: Township Funds: Mike said the Board is not recommending any increases in any of our funds or levies for 2025, and that the board has not increased taxes for at least a decade, yet we still have a balance of $202,285.

Park Fund: There was a discussion on the Wilma Town Park, the 40 acre section where the old school house is next to Eagle Head Station, minus the school and EagleHead property. Discussion on clearing the park site and graveling it for a parking lot to hold 8-10 cars. Several spoke against spending town funds on the park, but Mike moved that Alden study the project and the potential costs to remove trees and stumps and improve the access and gravel and make parking space. Duane Glienke may take the trees without cost to the town. At next years Annual Meeting we can vote on whether or how much we should allocate to the park. Patrice seconded; passed.

Jody shared her and Nick’s experience with the end of Tamarack Pine Drive “park.” At one time Tamarack Pine Drive crossed a bridge over the Tamarack River to link to Vink Road. People used to drive to the end of the road to the old bridge site to party and gather as if it were a public park, even though this was Nick and Jody’s private land, and George and Alice Anderson’s home before that. Jody said if we develop the park we could have some of the same problems they had with partiers and drinking.

Paul moved to keep the funds and levies for 2025 as proposed: R&B, $16,000; Building Fund at $5,000; the Fire Fund at $4,500; the Park Fund at $100; and the General Fund at $10,000. Cindy seconded; passed.

Wages for Reports, Moderator, Meetings, Judges, Mechanic, Grader Operator: The Board has final say on wages at the Board of Reorganization. No changes or increases proposed by the board for meetings or labor. Mileage: We’ve always used the federal rate, which is $.67 for 2023. Jody moved that the board accept the suggested wages and rates for 2023; Nick seconded. Passed.

Snowplowing: No change for 2024-5 season, standard driveways, $100.; over 700’: $125/season; 1,000 ft. to ½ mile: $200; Over ½ mile, $375. “Must have turnaround space. No closed gates. No overhanging trees that can hit the grader. Wilma Township not liable for inadvertent damages while plowing private drives. 2023-24 snowplowing fees due by October 3, 2023, one month earlier than 2023.”

Township Website, Wilmatownship.com: Wilma Township has a website open to the public called wilmatownship.com. Paul again raised the question of what do voters want to see on the website? Limit it strictly to official township notices and meeting records, or allow occasional community service announcements like fire department events like the Pancake Breakfast or free computers for residents, fire department notices and information, scholarship opportunities for our students, township events that are not sponsored by the town board, etc? Paul said last year the Sandstone Government Center had a stack of boxes of free brand new Dell computers complete with monitors and cameras and many were never claimed because people were not informed that they were available. Paul moved to allow some relevant and important posts that are not official township notices to be posted. Kim seconded. Passed.

FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORT: Chief Mike McCullen gave a report on the fire department. They had a quiet year, with 3-4 structure and several grass fires. Medical calls still dominate. They fought a very big house/pole-barn fire on Sunday night in Markville. Mike attended Arna’s town board meeting on Monday and told them that everyone there bore some responsibility for the fire totally consuming the home because Markville has no volunteers who could have had the Markville tanker out and fire controlled early. As it was, it took over 7 hours to control and extinguish the fire, and they drained the big 13,000 gallon underground water tank completely. Between Sandstone and Duxbury VFD and all the tankers, they used 23,000 gallons of water on this fire.

Discussion on openness and transparency in the department. The department is not a fire relief organization and is not bound by open meeting laws and has restricted meetings and financial and personnel information only to members. Stefanie proposed a resolution to open the fire department records of personnel information and certification status and training and calls and other things. Angie seconded; motion failed.

Jody said more people would join the departmtent but they don’t like all the conflict in the department. Paul said the conflicts were all in the township meetings, not in the fire department. She said there was a conflict at the pancake breakfast two years ago with two volunteers. Paul said Jody has not been at any drills or fire department meetings like Nick has, or she would know that everyone on the department gets along with and respects each other and are friends and there are no conflicts now and Nick is treated with respect as assistant chief.

Mike said the department has to follow the bylaws on qualifications to join, including criminal records. Some departments don’t even allow anyone with a DWI or no license.

Plow Display: This spring we will put lettering on the plow. What do voters want it to say? DUXBURY, MN on one wing and TOWN OF WILMA, EST. 1907 on the other? Patrice moved that we have both names on each side; Paul seconded; passed. Alden said he thinks that the safety yellow color is an eyesore. Paul said the original plow was safety yellow and he wanted to be faithful to the history. Alden moved to paint it gray or silver; Patrice seconded; passed.

Wilma Fall Fest: Voters have authorized the town to sponsor this event every October since our 100th year, 2007, except for 2020 when COVID shut us down. Paul moved that the fund be set at $300 for 2022. Patrice moved that it be $400. Jody seconded; Passed. The committee will decide on a date, October 19 or 26.

Donations to 210 Art Galery, Pine County Historical Museum, The Seven County Senior Federation and Family Pathways: In 2019 the voters voted to cap donations at $300 for all groups for the next 10 years. The Board of Supervisors has final authority on how to distribute these expenditures at the Board of Reorganization. No vote needed.

Board of Reorganization: The Board will hold the Board of Reorganization to swear in Mike and to make decisions for the township on wages and notice and posting sites before the regular April 3rd board meeting. The Clerk can be sworn in by the Deputy Clerk Cindy Kleinschmidt before the meeting. The board will designate a bank of deposit and where notices will be published or posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2024, 7:30.

Board of Appeal and Review: For taxpayers to appeal their property assessments for 2023 taxes, Monday April 12, 1 p.m., at the Town Hall. The county assessor and our assessor and our town assessor will be there in person.

Pine County Township Officers’ Meeting: Will be Saturday, March 30, 9 am at the Community Center, Hinckley. Scheduled or invited speakers: Jason Rarick, Nathan Nelson, Commissioners Hallan, Mohr, Walden, Lovgren, and Ludwig; Auditor Schroeder; Attorney Frederickson; Sheriff Nelson; Co. Engineer LeBrun; Assessor Houtsma; Hospital Dist. Fischer; DNR Officer Karon; Veterans Mindy Sandell; MAT Director Carlson; MilleLacs Band Ojibwe Curt Kalk. Election of Board Members (Bob Sunstrom from Ogema is retiring).

Spring Short Course for Officers: Live in-person MAT Short Course will be in Duluth at the DECC on Friday, April 5. We will try to car pool. Sessions for new officers, for clerks, treasurers and supervisors.

Set Meeting Place and Time for 2025 Annual Town Meeting: This is a formality, but is required. Glen moved hold the next annual meeting the second Tuesday of March 2025 (March 11) and to adjourn this meeting; Jody seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m. Paul Raymond, Clerk