[Unapproved Record; MAT Attorney Graham Berg-MKoeberg instructs clerks that “There is no requirement that meeting minutes be a complete transcript of everything that is said at the meeting. The minutes need to indicate the votes taken at the meeting. Especially for controversial issues or disputes that may end up in court, it is a good idea for your minutes to include your reasoning or important pieces of evidence that led the town board to their decision, and this may be summarized.”]
Chairman Mike McCullen called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present: Supervisors Glen Williamson and Alden Shute, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, Road Manager Alden Shute, Stan and Tracy Riley, Kim Felton, Stefanie Williamson, Rod Sodegaard, Mike Siebenaler from Lost River Road, Jim Bredesen, and Steve Menth.
Approve Ground Rules: Mike asked for a motion to approve a resolution for some basic ground rules for board meetings: Citizens must raise their hand to speak; No interruptions; If a speaker asks question of another person, they can answer but speaker holds the floor; Maintain respect and decorum. Glen moved to adopt this resolution; Alden seconded; passed.
Clerk’s Report of April Board of Reorganization and Board Meeting. Paul read the record; some corrections: change Mike to Glen; change Glen to Alden; change 2021 to 2023; change Mike to Glen; change Glen to Alden; change DVDD to DVFD. With these corrections, Alden moved to approve; Mike seconded; Glen abstained and said he will not approve the clerk’s records, but offered no further corrections.
Road Report: Alden graded Lost River Road, River Cabin Road, and, ordered shims for the grader Alden said he got no calls or emails from Clay Heller regarding Heller Drive maintenance. We have the records of the work done on the road last year. Pine County Highway Department Bridge Report Heller Drive: Alden took it to study it and reported that they want us to cut two trees that are too close to the bridge.
Road Inspection Meeting: Set forMonday, May 22, 10 a.m., meet at hall. Paul will post it. Discussion on whether this is an open meeting that requires posting; Mike said if any decisions are made for any road or gravel, it is an open meeting. We need to look for any flood damage to any roads or culvets and tree damage from the December storm for reimbursement by County Disaster Relief Funds. Alden said none of our roads suffered flood damage.
State, County and Township Road Emergency: [In January, the board and Pine County declared that the December 14 storms were a county and township road right-of-way emergency, allowing us to clear and cut trees in the right-of-way. Paul filed our official application for disaster assistance, and we gave the county an estimate of $6,000 for Wilma Township damages, based on Alden’s estimates for Rootke and Duane Glienke.] Paul has filed requests with Wayne Lemereaux and Denise Anderson to see if we can be reimbursed for the purchase of a township chainsaw and pole saw, or for rental of these items and a wood-chipper. No answer yet.
Hiring Contractors: Alden will contact Duane Glienke and Rootke to see if and when they can do the work. Mike said we need a wood chipper.
Reimbursment Rate for Private Equipment; Discussion: If Board members do work for the township using their own equipment, e.g. chainsaws, should we make a rate chart for what we will pay per hour for each kind of equipment? Alden suggested $5/hour for a personal chainsaw. Mike said gas alone would be more than that. He won’t do it for $5. Other personal property that may be used by officers or employees: weed whips, snow blowers, tractors. We can check commercial rental rates.
OLD BUSINESS: Dumpster Camera: Erv bought a new camera and installed it and it is working. It is mounted on the fire hall. Employees vs. contrators: Patrice said without exception, if anyone does any work for the township they must be either employees and have taxes deducted or contractors with $1.5 million insurance and Erv will need to be hired as an employee and have taxes taken out. Paul said he didn’t think it applies to a one-time little job but she said it does. Paul will contact the MAT Attorney. We paid the citizens who cleared the trees with non-tax claims.
Fire Hall Light: At the April meeting, Mike said it is dark at night on the east side of the hall and at night you can’t see to unlock the door or pump water from the tank and Mike moved that we have Erv purchase and install a motion-sensitive solar powered light facing east on the hall. If Patrice is correct, Erv will have to do it as an employee or contrator.
MAT Spring Short Course: Was April 7, at the DECC in Duluth. Paul gave the clerk’s/treasurers’ reports to Mike; he was the only one who didn’t go.
MAT Lobby Day in St. Paul: Was April 18 to lobby our Representative and Senator and other officials with township issues at the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul . Glen tried to go but had car issues.
Board of Appeal/Equalization: For voters to appeal 2024 property tax assessments, was Monday, April 10, 2021, 1 p.m. at the hall with County Assessor Lorri L. Houtsma.
Town Park: At the Annual Town Meeting the voters asked to have a sign on the park (the 36 acres behind and west of the Eagle Head Fire Station), identifying it as the Wilma Town Park, with boundary markers. Erv got prices for carved DNR-type signs with Wilma Town Park carved in. With Cedar, it was over $700.
Plow Display: Stefanie reminded the board that they had agreed to display the old blow blade in a raised bed. Discussion on gravel and how to build display. Alden will take care of it.
NEW BUSINESS: “Resolution to Request Michael McCullen Resign Either as Chief of DVFD or as Supervisor Because Such Positions Could be Deemed an Incompatability of Offices.” Glen presented a resolution claiming that four of the five attorneys he contacted (Bob Ruppe, Steve Fenske, Graham Berg-Moberg, Reese Frederickson, and Kevin Hofstad) believe that the two positions are incompatible or at the least a conflict of interest. Both Paul and Mike said they also spoke to Fenske and he did not say this to them. Glen moved to approve his resolution; Alden seconded. Passed. Mike resigned as Fire Chief.
Guidelines for Contacting Township Attorney: Our Township Attorneys, Couri&Ruppe charge $275 per hour for any questions or research. Discussion: Should officers be able to contact them without board approval? Glen said Mike Roupe told him any Supervisor can contact them and the town be billed without board approval.
Resolution Authorizing Contract With Interested Officers and Affadavits of Conflict of Interest: If any Board member wants to do work for the township outside of their normal duties, they need a one-time Resolution by the board authorizing this work and the officer must file an Affadavit of Official Interest in Claim every time they are paid. Resolutions were made for Alden, Mike and Paul for Board to be approved. Glen moved to approve resolution authorizing contract with Mike; Alden seconded; Mike abstained; Glen moved to approve resolution authorizing Paul; Alden seconded; passed. Glen moved to approve Alden; Mike seconded; Alden abstained; passed. Each officer must file affidavits of interest every time they are paid. Paul gave Alden a stack of affidavits.
Transfer ARPA Funds to Broadband Fund. The Board voted in April to spend $800 of our ARPA funds into our internet fund. Patrice made the transfer.
Mike Siebenaler from Lost River Road: He has a lot of debris from the winter storm and asked if the township will take care of it. Mike said only if it is in the township right-of-way. We can’t remove driveway debris. We will chip debris in our ditches.
Rod Sodegaard Town Hall Rental: He gave Patrice the form and deposit for a wedding shower. Paul said the hall should be clean and set up for the pancake breakfast.
Couri&Ruppe Legal Seminar: Will be Saturday, September 16 in Rutledge, 9-4. They will answer all legal questions for free.
Treasurer’s Report and Claims: Patrice gave the treasurer’s report. Total bills for May are $4,418.50; she needs a transfer of $4,400. Glen moved to approve her report and to transfer the funds. Alden seconded.
[Note: These are the approved minutes; the record was read and approved at the May board meeting. MAT Attorney Graham Berg-MKoeberg instructs clerks that “There is no requirement that meeting minutes be a complete transcript of everything that is said at the meeting. The minutes need to indicate the votes taken at the meeting. Especially for controversial issues or disputes that may end up in court, it is a good idea for your minutes to include your reasoning or important pieces of evidence that led the town board to their decision, and this may be summarized.”]
Chairman Glen Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Also present: Supervisors Mike McCullen and Alden Shute, Treasurer Patrice Winfield, Clerk Paul Raymond, Road Manager Alden Shute, Stan and Tracy Riley, Kim Felton, Stefanie Williamson and Deputy Clerk Cindy Kleinschmidt.
BOARD OF REORGANIZATION: Alden took the Oath of Office for Supervisor, Patrice as Treasurer, and Cindy as Deputy Clerk. Alden nominated Mike to serve as Chairman; Mike seconded. Glen abstained. Passed. Mike took the gavel. Mike moved that Glen be assistant Chair; Alden seconded; passed. Treasurer Patrice designated Northview as our bank of deposit. Mike moved that The Evergreen and Pine County Courier and the Town Hall and the township website be our notice-posting and publishing places. Alden second. Passed.
Approve wages and fees for 2023-2024:
Mike moved to change the wages for Mechanic Assistant, General labor, Clerk and Treasurer Reports from $20 to $22/hour for 2023. Alden seconded; passed. Mike moved to increase election judge wages fro $18/hour to $20. Alden seconded. Passed. Mike moved to increase Supervisor labor (clearing trees, etc.) from $20/hour to $25. Alden seconded; passed.
WAGES Chairman $105/Mtg. (3 Hrs). 105/meeting
Supervisor 100/mtg. (3 Hrs.) 100.00/mtg.
Clerk 100.00/meeting 100.00/mtg.
Treasurer 100.00/meeting 100.00/mtg.
Clerk and Treasurer reports 20.00/hr. 22.00/hour
General Labor 16.00/hour 22.00/hour
Major Mech. 30.00/hour 30.00/hour
Mech. Asst. 16.00/hour 22.00/hour
Grader Op. 25.00/hr 25.00/hour
Annual Meeting Moderator 75.00/mtg. 75.00/mtg.
Out of Town Meetings 100.00/half day 100.00/half day
150.00/full day 150.00/full day
Election Judges 18.00/hour 20.00/hr.
Zoom Meetings for all Board Members 20.00/hr. 20.00
Mileage: Federal rate for officers, judges, delegated township representatives, for judges training, township officers training, and association meetings, etc. $.65.5/mi. For 2023.
SNOWPLOWING: 75.00/per season 100.00
Driveways over 700 feet: 100.00/per season 125.00
Driveways 1,000’ to ½ mile: 175.00/per season 200.00
Driveways over ½ mile 350.00/per season 375.00
Northview CD’s Resolution: At our March meeting, the board voted to move all four CD’s to four new 13 month CD’s at the 4.05% rate. Glen moved that we remove deceased board members Gary Vink and Antoinette Williamson from our bank documents and resolutions, and that the board adopt a resolution to transfer our CD’s at Northview Bank to new CD accounts with higher interest, and that Patrice Winfield, Paul Raymond, Glen Williamson, Sr., Mike McCullen, Alden Shute, and Cynthia Kleinschmidt be added to our Bank Resolution; and that Mike and Patrice be authorized to open deposit accounts; Patrice only to enter a lease for a safe deposit box; Patrice and Mike authorized to use Visa Debit Cards for business checking and/or Visa credit cards; and all six officers’ signatures are required to endorse checks or withdraw or transfer fund on deposit. Alden seconded; passed. All six board members signed the bank resolution. Patrice said we may have penalties on some of the CD’s for early transfer; Mike said if we will make at least 50% more in interest for transferring them in the long run, to do it.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING: Approve Ground Rules: Mike asked for a motion to approve some basic ground rules for the meeting: Citizens must raise their hand to speak; No interruptions; If a speaker asks question of another person, they can answer but the speaker holds the floor; Maintain respect and decorum. Glen moved; Alden seconded; passed.
Affidavit of Conflict of Interest for Website: Glen signed an affidavit of conflict of interest for the Wilmatownship.com website. He said Alden and Mike should also file affidavits and that you only need to do it when you are paid for any work they do for the township besides their Supervisor duties. Paul will need to file one for maintenance work.
Clerk’s Report of March Board Meeting. Paul read the record; some corrections: On the motion to approve the Clerk’s report, it should read, “Passed.” Paul added “unanimously.” Mike said any time there is a Supervisor abstention or no vote, it must be noted in the record. On the State, County and Township Road Emergency: Add Maureen and Kevin as citizens who had to clear township roads after the December 14 storm. On Town Propane Tank: Our “500-gallon” propane tank only holds 400 gallons. On Town Hall Furnace: change subject “dropped” to “tabled for one year.” On the subject of our propane tank being empty, Alden said he has Jeff come out once a year to check on the garage furnaces. Question on how old they are. Paul thought they were recent, 10 or 20 years, but Mike said they may be the original furnaces when the hall was built. [“June 6, 2005 record: Fire Hall Furnace: The fire dept. has been getting bids on furnaces for the fire hall, and will get a bid for two furnaces from Federated. November 5, 2005: They’re in and installed. One can’t be connected until a hard-wire line is run to it. Gary has someone lined up to do it.”]
Road Report: Alden gave Paul the billing for Crooked Lake, Eaglehead and Heller Drive range line roads. He said he plowed all roads and subscribed drives several times and cleared major drifts and Heller, Mink Farm and N. Duncan Roads. He did maintenance with Greg on the lights, steering column, wing cable, pulleys and pistons, and greasing the grader. He got a call from Pat Story today about the ice storm and slush on Lost River Road and he went out and plowed it. Alden said he was offended that there were complaints on our Heller Drive maintenance. Alden said that we want citizens to know that any problems we are made aware of will be taken care of. We have the records of the work done on the road last year. Paul will compile it.
Alden said he’d like an increase in our charge to neighboring townships for range-line roads, from $100 hour to $120/hour and he so moved; Mike seconded; passed.
OLD BUSINESS: Pine County Township Officers’ Meeting: Was Saturday, March 25, at the Community Center in Hinckley. There was good attendance with speakers and reports by Senator Jason Rarick and Representative Nathan Nelson, Commissioners Teri Lovgren and Steve Hallan, Sheriff Jeff Nelson, Jordan Zeller from ECRDC; Barbara Fisher from NPAHD; Caleb Anderson from zoning; Mindy Sandell from Veterans, Jeff Krueger, Exec. Director of MAT. Glen said he has a report on the Pine County Township Officers Website. Paul gave a report: There was a big focus on broadband and ECE bringing fiber optic to the homes of all Wilma residents within the next five years. Commissioner Hallan said ECE has 94 miles of fiber optic ready to go. With 1500 miles of roads in our
county, that won’t go far, he said. He said that Pine County currently provides scholarships for 49 county youth to attend Pine Tech to become mechanics, plumbers and electricians. He and others talked about the meth and opioid crisis in Pine County. Commissioner Terry Lovgren spoke about the county family resource center, to help with money or child care. She said we need more cell towers for cell phone reception; Sheriff Jeff Nelson spoke about the opioid and meth crisis; we had 3 OD’s just last week, 17 this year and 6 deaths.
The Sheriff’s Department is sponsoring a free seminar on the opiod crisis in Pine County on April 26, with a free dinner, 5-8 p.m. Hinckley Casino Ballroom. Register using the link below: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/pinecountyopioidforum. Jeff Krueger the MAT director encouraged people to go to the lobby day in St. Paul on April 18, and the annual conference in St. Cloud on December 8 and 9.
State, County and Township Road Emergency: In January, the board and Pine County declared that the December 14 storms were a county and township road right-of-way emergency, allowing us to clear and cut trees in the right-of-way. Paul filed our official application for disaster assistance, and we gave the county an estimate of $6,000 for Wilma Township damages, based on Alden’s estimates for Rootke and Duane Glienke. It will be actual costs that will be reimbursed. We can’t cut the trees until the snow thaws.
Tree Trimmings: Alden said the actual deadline for landowners to claim or remove tree trimmings and cut trees in the right-of-way will be determined by when we can do the work. It will be 30 days from when we do the work. Paul said he won’t send notices until then.
Alden said that Carlson Timber also does tree-trimming work and he will get estimates from them as well as Rootke. Mike said they might be pretty booked up so we need to do it soon, and we should get the one who can do it soonest.
Dumpster Camera: In February, Glen gave the camera to Stan to program it to show on cell phones. Stan said he was not able to program it so it was given to Cindy Klienschmidt for Erv to program it. Erv said by the time he got it, the camera lens was scratched and did not work, so he bought a new camera and installed it and it is working. It is mounted on the fire hall.
Fire Hall Light: Mike said it is dark at night on the east side of the hall and at night you can’t see to unlock the door or pump water from the tank. Glen moved that we have Erv purchase and install a motion-sensitive solar-powered light facing east on the hall. Alden seconded. Passed.
NEW BUSINESS: MAT Spring Short Course: Will be this Friday, April 7, at the DECC in Duluth. We will car-pool and Patrice will drive. Glen said he doesn’t want to go. The Short Course that Cindy was planning to attend was canceled for the blizzard Thursday. Alden will also go to Duluth but drive separately. He said he would not bill for mileage; Paul said that he should.
Pine County Highway Department Bridge Report Heller Drive: We have a copy for our files and for any questions. Mike gave the report to Alden to go over it and report; it is several pages long.
MATIT Consolidated Liability Coverage Renewal: They asked the Board to review our coverage for June, 2023 to July 1, 2024. Mike said we are paying to insure the Automark. Patrice said it was because she stored it at her home and we no longer have it. Alden moved and Glen seconded to drop the insurance for it. Passed.
MAT Lobby Day in St. Paul: Will be on April 18 to lobby our Representative and Senator and other officials with township issues; RSVP requested. It will be at the Minnesota State Capitol Building in St. Paul from 12:00 to 4 PM, hosted by MAT District 7 Director Tammy Carlson. They request a RSVP to Kristen at Kristen@RosedahlPublicAffairs.com or (651) 764-9953 with your name, position, and township. Both Glen and Stefanie said they want numbers to show the power and importance of townships. Glen said if anyone wants to go, he will drive and we can carpool. Paul said he will go, and Patrice also said she may.
Board of Appeal/Equalization: For voters to appeal 2024 property tax assessments, will be held on Monday, April 10, 2023, 1 p.m. at the hall. County Assessor Lorri L. Houtsma and the county assessor for Wilma Township will be here. Glen said we can’t have it unless we have a supervisor trained for township’s boards of review, and he is the only one. He said he may not show up. If he doesn’t we will have to cancel the board and will not be allowed to hold a local board of review for two years; citizens will have to go to the County courthouse. Mike does not have internet to take the class. Paul said he got a new PC computer for the town hall that can connect to the internet and Mike can go to the hall to take the class when it is set up.
Town Park: At the Annual Town Meeting the voters asked to have a sign on the park (the 36 acres behind and west of the Eagle Head Fire Station), identifying it as the Wilma Town Park, with boundary markers. Mike suggested a carved wooden sign like the DNR uses for state forests. Cindy said she and Erv have contacts to make these signs; they get them for the ATV trails. She will get prices for a sign, at least 5 feet long, with Wilma Town Park carved in.
Town Hall Maintenance and Mowing: Stan Riley resigned as grounds manager and Paul has been shoveling out the propane tank and ramp. He is willing to mow and weed whip this summer at the Clerk’s rate. He will sign an affadavit of conflict of interest, although he doesn’t vote on payroll. He has a mower that the township could buy. Mike said we’d be better off getting a new mower and Glen moved that we purchase a push mower for $300 or less. Alden seconded. Passed.
Township Website, Wilmatownship.com: The voters at the annual meeting said they’d like to have a tab on the website that would take people to another page on the website for community events and notices like well-water testing or fire department events. Glen had said that he can do this, but if he does the minutes will not be the first thing one sees opening the web site. Patrice said she doesn’t see the minutes at all when she goes to the site. Glen said it would be better to have a separate Facebook page if we want community postings. The consensus of the board was not to open a social media page.
Couri&Ruppe Legal Seminar: Will be Saturday, September 16 in Rutledge, 9-4.
Treasurer’s Report and Claims: Patrice gave the treasurer’s report. Total bills for April are $5,792.12; she needs a transfer of $5,700. Alden moved to approve her report and to transfer the funds. Mike seconded.
Grader Operator: Stan said that now that Alden is a Supervisor, Stan would like the job of Road Manager/Grader Operator. He said he has experience with machinery. We will find out from MAT Attorney Steve Fenske if there is a conflict of interest in Alden serving both positions.
Fire Department Meeting Records: Glen said that since the township is paying for fire protection and medical responses, the board should be given copies of the minutes and records of the fire department. Mike said he’d ask the other fire chiefs in the county what they do.
Township/Fire Department Issues: Stan again brought up the March 3 response by the DVFD Chief Mike McCullen to his home. He wanted the record to state that Stan never said that if he or Tracy had a heart attack he would not want Mike in his home. Paul said he can state in the record that Stan says that he did not say that if he or Tracy had a heart attack he would not want Mike in his home. Stan is not satisfied with this. Mike said he now has the transcript of the actual 911 call made by Stan and Tracy.
Stefanie Williamson Statement: She said she wanted to file a complaint against the Clerk, Paul Raymond, alleging biased or loose record keeping. Part of her complaint is that Paul did not print the entire complaint made by Stan and Tracy in the record. Paul said the way township records work is that he takes as complete and accurate records as he can, he posts them on the website for anyone to correct, and then the whole board votes on whether it is a true and accurate record or not. So far, until tonight, all of his records for the last 29 years have been approved unanimously by the Supervisors and he has never before been accused of inaccurate records. The Supervisors and the public have another opportunity to correct the record before they vote. Once they are approved, they are not the Clerk’s record but the record of the Board of Supervisors. He also said that now that we are recording meetings, the recordings are also the official record of the Board of Supervisors and cannot be altered or deleted. Stefanie said that Stan Riley never said that if he or Tracy had a heart attack he would not want Mike in his home. Paul said she wasn’t there, he was, and he says before God that Stan did say that to him, and Stan had multiple opportunities to deny it when confronted and he did not, until the last two meetings when he said it wasn’t him but three other citizens who said they didn’t want Mike in their homes after Stan told them about Mike’s EMR certification having expired.
Clerk Paul Raymond called the meeting to order at 8:15, following the township election and the Board of Canvass. A record 44 citizens voted and Alden Shute was re-elected Supervisor for three years and Patrice Winfield was re-elected as Treasurer for two years. Glen and Mike canvassed and approved the vote; Alden could not attend the meeting. Fifteen citizens attended the Annual Meeting: Mike McCullen, Kim Felton, Glen Williamson, Stefanie Williamson, Cindy Kleinschmidt, Patrice Winfield, Stan and Tracy Riley, Zach Hanson, Dan and Barb Bothman, Angie Anderson, Jim Bredesen 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 interruptions; If a speaker asks a question of another person, they can answer but the speaker holds the floor; Maintain respect and decorum. Mike moved to adopt the ground rules; Cindy seconded. Nominations for Moderator for the meeting: Stefanie nominated Glen; Tracy seconded. No other nominations. Voice vote; Glen was elected and took the floor as moderator. Glen announced the results of the Board of Canvass of the election: For Supervisor, Alden Shute, 34 votes; Stan Riley, 8 votes; Steve Menth, 2 write-ins. For Treasurer, Patrice Winfield 34 votes; Maureen Rioux, 1 write in.
Paul read the record of the March 8, 2022 Town Meeting. Patrice moved to approve; Cindy seconded; Approved.
Financial Statement: Patrice presented the 2022 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 $194,905.78 in all funds and CD’s. Balance starting 2022: $179,298.83; receipts in 2022: $68,803.93 total revenues; disbursements: $53,196.98. Mike made a motion to waive reading of all checks. Kim seconded, passed. Mike moved to approve the report; Dan seconded, passed.
Road Report: Alden was unable to attend the meeting, so Mike gave a short Road Report. He said there was not a lot spent on roads in 2022 because the grader couldn’t get out as much. There were some beaver problems on Eagle Head and Vink Roads, but they have been alleviated. Grader maintenance in 2022 was normal, with routine maintenance and greasing and oil changes, plus tires and a cutting edge. The grader was damaged by branches after the December storm and all the lights were knocked out. The big job for 2023 will be putting redrock gravel the length of Tamarack Pine Drive.
Paul moved to approve his report; Patrice seconded.
LEVIES AND BUDGET FOR 2024: Township Funds: Paul said the Board is not recommending any increases in any of our funds or levies for 2024, and that the board has not increased taxes for at least a decade, yet we still have a balance of $195,000. Glen said he spoke with the state auditor who told him cities and counties have spent over their budgets, but townships have gone down every year.
Park Fund: There was a discussion on the Park Fund. It’s been set at $100/year for many years, but we still have a balance of $6,800 in it. Glen said many people don’t realize that we have a park, the 40 acre section where the old school house is next to Eagle Head Station, minus the school and EagleHead property. Paul said any townsperson is allowed to take deadwood firewood from the park. Mike said the old board had posted no hunting signs on the park. Paul asked if we can open it to hunting for citizens. Most at the meeting opposed this idea, in case they wanted to run their dogs in the park. Angie said that we should put a sign on the park identifying it as the Wilma Town Park, with boundary markers. Mike suggested a carved wooden sign like the DNR uses for state forests. At one time there was discussion on building a new town hall on the parkland, Paul said.
Paul moved to keep the funds and levies for 2024 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, but an increase for election judges to $20. Mileage: Glen said we’ve always used the federal rate, which is $.65.5 for 2023. Mike moved that we continue to follow federal guidelines; Stefanie seconded; passed. Mike moved that the board accept the suggested wages and rates for 2023; Dan seconded.
Snowplowing: An across-the-board increase of $25 was proposed by the board: For 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 Nov. 1, 2023.” Dan moved that snowplowing rates increase by $25 across the board and that the policies remain the same for the 2023-24 season as this past season. Kim seconded. Passed.
Township Website, Wilmatownship.com: Wilma Township has a website open to the public called wilmatownship.com. Voters pay $350/year for this and it is one of our three official posting sites along with the Evergreen and Pine County News. Paul 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 the resumption of well water testing, 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? The Clerk is the moderator of the site and is not paid for moderating and updating the site. Patrice said she thought the website was made just for meeting records and official business. Paul asked if she had ever looked at the site and she said no. Glen said he thought Paul would post frivolous things that he may think are important and he doesn’t want Paul to have the power to decide what goes on the site. Mike said Paul could clear everything with the board before he posts it. Paul said that would not be workable and he has demonstrated that he will not post irrelevant things that have no interest to our citizens, but he doesn’t want to fight over it. If people don’t want to hear about things like well-water testing and free computers for citizens, so be it. Glen asked why not post in a separate site for Wilma residents Paul said Toni had made such a site, Duxbury/Wilma News that was used for this, but now he has been banned from the site. Stefanie asked if we could put a tab on the website that would take people to another page on the website for community events. Paul asked how could this work, but Cindy said she thinks it could be done. Her husband Erv is a website developer and he would know how to do it. Glen said he can do it. Patrice moved to put a tab on the webpage directing people to a community forum page for posts like Paul was talking about. Cindy seconded. Passed. This will go to the Board of Supervisors.
FIRE DEPARTMENT REPORT: The Duxbury Volunteer Fire Department is a separate organization from the Town of Wilma, but every year our citizens pay the fire department $4,500 for fire protection and medical responses. Chief Mike McCullen gave a report on the history of the department as founded by Joe Vink, George Anderson and Ron McCullen in 1983 as a private fire department separate from the town. The State Fire Marshall said many towns have similar volunteer fire departments and even some big cities. For years Wilma also continued paying Sandstone Township for fire protection until the mid 90’s around $7,000 year, equal to over $20,000 per year today. The township agreed to build a new grader/fire hall and give two bays to the fire department. At that time Mike, Gary and Joe took firefighter I training and EMR training, and when we had our own truck and tanker, Wilma severed the relationship with Sandstone. In the early 2000’s Arna and New Dosey joined the department, and their firefighters all took the firefighter I class, David Drake, Mel Elliot, Don Mishler, Ed Carlin and others. The two new towns built their own fire halls and the department purchased fire engines and tankers for each hall, and we have buried huge water tanks at each hall to store water so we don’t have to go to rivers and lakes any more or cut through the ice to get water.
Mike said the 2011 blowdown was the fire department’s opportunity to demonstrate to the communities how valuable a fire department can be. We set up a command station in Markville who was without power for almost two weeks, clearing roads, serving Red Cross meals and providing water to the people for bathing and drinking. Following the blowdown with a $25,000 grant from FEMA, the department started a retirement program for firefighters.
To this day, the 3 townships only pay $4,500/year for fire protection and medical responses, and Ogema pays $1,500 for only medical responses, which accounts for 80% of our medical calls. Three firefighters completed the Firefighter 1 & 2 class and another one was certified as an EMR medical responder. Stan said Mike is not a certified EMR since his certification expired in 2016. Mike said he has taken the EMR course several times, but did not get to renew it. He plans to retake the class soon with other firefighters on the department. Stan asked how can he respond to medical calls? Mike said he is a fire department first responder. Paul said Mike responds to literally hundreds of medical emergencies a year and he works side-by-side with the ambulance drivers and paramedics and he learns any new information from them, plus they give him supplies like gloves and CPR masks. He said that Mike gets in-field experience every time he responds to an emergency.
Mike said we had a relatively quiet year with a few structure fires. Our most critical need now is still for volunteer responders and firefighters, especially in the satellite companies in Markville and Cloverton.
Glen said he always assumed the fire department was open to the public and that if anyone wanted to, they could go to meetings or drills. Only recently has the department said they are not bound by open meeting laws and that they have restricted meetings only to members. Paul said no one ever wanted to come to our meetings. It was never an issue, until a misleading Facebook post implied that the department is a fire relief organization and is bound by open meeting laws. From the beginning, Mike insisted that we are not a relief organization, but before Paul researched it and found out that he is right, Paul assumed that we were and he sent Stan meeting records and by-laws. He said everyone at this meeting is paying far more to the garbage board than to the fire department, yet no one ever has demanded to go to their meetings or see their finances. Why just the fire department? Angie said that when she tried to go to meetings after she moved out of Mike’s home she was told it was a conflict of interest for her to be at meetings. Mike told her that she had no driver’s license and no car and no way to respond to any calls and she had moved to Cloverton. Angie said she would walk.
The issue of a medical call by Stan and Tracy on March 3 came up, where Mike responded to the call but staged a safe distance from their home because of his knowledge of Stan saying to Paul that even if he had a heart attack, he would not want Mike in his home. Mike called a deputy for backup and urged the ambulance to step it up. On the Facebook thread on Duxbury News, Paul reminded Stan twice that he had said that if he had a heart attack, he would not let Mike in his home, and Stan did not deny it either time. Stan had many opportunities to deny that he said that, and he never has until recently when he said that what he actually said was that three people he had talked to against Mike, that his EMR license had expired, said that they would not let him in their homes. Stan suggested that racism is behind his not being welcomed on the department. Paul said we have had three African American firefighters and they were all treated with respect by Mike and the other firefighters. Angie said Eric was not; Paul said she wasn’t there. Eric drilled with us and ate with us and was treated with full acceptance and respect. Mike trained them equally with the other firefighters. If they had not quit, they would all still be on the department today.
Stan said he moved here 2 ½ years ago and Mike never came to his home to welcome them to the community. He also brought up the difficulty Gary Vink and Mike made it for him to open his business. Stan said that he wanted to work it out with Mike and he asked Mike if they could sit down together and work things out. Mike said that he would see; feelings now are pretty raw.
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 remain at $500 for 2022. Patrice seconded. Passed. We will hold it this year on the fourth Saturday, October 28.
Donations to Old School Art Center, 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. Mike moved to continue the $300 total donations for 2021; Patrice seconded, passed. Patrice said we never sent the donations last year because she did not have the contracts with the organizations. Paul said he will get them for both years, since we already voted to pay them last year.
Board of Reorganization: The Board will hold the Board of Reorganization to swear in Alden and Patrice and to make decisions for the township on wages and notice and posting sites before the regular April 5th board meeting. The board will designate a bank of deposit and where notices will be published or posted: Wednesday, April 5, 2022, before April board meeting.
Board of Appeal and Review: For taxpayers to appeal their property assessments for 2023 taxes, Monday April 10, 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 25, 9 am at the Community Center, Hinckley. For all township officers.
Spring Short Course for Officers: Live in-person Short Courses will resume this spring, at various locations. Most board members will go to Duluth to the DECC on Friday, April 7. We will try to car pool. Sessions for new officers, for clerks, treasurers and supervisors.
Set Meeting Place and Time for 2024 Annual Town Meeting: This is a formality, but is required. Patrice moved hold the next annual meeting the second Tuesday of March 2024 and to adjourn this meeting; Mike seconded. Meeting adjourned at 10 p.m.
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