May 14, 2024, Township Board Meeting Minutes (Unapproved)

The meeting was called to order by Chair Douglas Nelson at 7:00 p.m.

Town officers present: Chair Douglas Nelson, Vice-Chair James Wilson, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, and Treasurer Carol Nelson

Town officers absent: Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp, Deputy Treasurer Raymond Barnes

Guests present: Bonnie Dressen, Dorothy Galinski, Lori Gherna, Charles Kuetttel, Deb Pomroy, Carmi Von Arb, Brom Von Arb, Daryle Waldriff, Ted Wallace

Clerk’s Report: Copies of the April 9, 2024 minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Dressen motion to approve the minutes, second by Wilson, motion carried. Nelson yay, Wilson yay, Dressen yay.

Treasurer’s Report

APRIL 2024
Total Funds on Hand 4/1/2024 $245,424.95
Plus: Deposits $410.12
-Interest on Accounts 410.12
-Misc Items
Less: Disbursements $4,740.35
-Payroll 1,508.94
-Other Expenses 614.41
-Plowing 1,177.60
-941 Federal Taxes 1,439.40
Total Funds on Hand 4/30/2024 $241,094.72
Checks Written 1988-2011

MAY 2024
Expected Receipts
None Expected

Checks Written 2003a – 2017 $2,079.30
No transfer to checking needed

C. Nelson reported that most of the funds from Superior Credit Union will be moved to National Bank of Commerce when CD’s mature. NBC offers CD for 10 months at 5% interest.

Old Business

  • Update on West Branch Road report from Chair Nelson: I walked the full length of the township road and found it to be in reasonable condition. Last year’s patch and seal held up during the winter and spring thaw. I found two new pot holes that need filling and I will buy some material and fill them.We were not successful in our LRIP grant application at this time. They will hold the applications in case the State of Minnesota releases additional funds for this purpose. I have a teleconference with Rashmi Brewer, the engineer in charge of Grant Programs for the state on June 11th. The grants are scored and she will explain how we did compared to other applicants and help with next year’s application. We will keep trying.In addition, I have reached out to the township attorney for advice on how to proceed with setting up a Subordinate Service District. The first step will be to secure a petition from 50% or more of the landowners in the new Service District asking the Township Board to establish the district. If approved, we would then have the ability to levy all landowners along the West Branch township road to accumulate funds for the eventual replacement of the road. I will keep you updated of my progress.Further Discussion: St. Louis County placed the 5-ton restriction on West Branch Road and Pequaywan Lake Road except garbage trucks. They can increase if the road is travelled by 100 or more cars.
  • Reminder about June 1stdrop-off  of tree yard waste at Township site -11:00-2:00 (time extended one hour)
  • Procedure for guests wishing to speak at township meetings – for public comment, contact the clerk by email at peqclerk@gmail.com and specify the topic of your comment.
  • Discussion about Township trail usage and mowing requirements – Nelson and Wilson will walk the trail and report their finding next meeting. Suggestion to install an outdoor camera to determine how many people use it. There was more discussion if it is worth it to purchase of a pull behind finishing lawnmower.
  • Adding past years minutes to township website -discussion on possible hours and cost to accomplish the goal. Decision was not to put the past years minutes on the website. If someone wants to see the files, they can contact the clerk by email at peqclerk@gmail.com
  • A request for a Living Memorial for Scott Mead on township land: Family members and friends of Scott Mead travelled to Duluth and planted an oak tree in honor of Scott Mead with help from community members. This is to honor the leadership role he played for the township.

New Business

  • Proper and prompt response to e-mails received and open meeting rules – Any requests received will have to be discussed at the meeting for approval.
  • Discuss to re-key the old filing cabinets – suggested to put a padlock on the cabinets.
  • Update on purchase of a new filing cabinet – Dressen reported that a filing cabinet had been purchased and will be delivered to the Firehall when folks are available to help
  • Discuss Mark Munger introduction to the board – Mark Munger who is running for office sent an email request to attend a future board meeting. The board is open to have candidates come and tell us their opinions.
  • FYI: Ray Barnes was re-hired as deputy treasurer effective April 10, 2024
  • FYI: Wilson completed the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) training as required by the Department of Revenue and received a certificate to take effect in 2025
  • Discussion to request web administrator Daisy Wallace to create a group email for officers so everyone gets the email sent via the Contact List from the town website instead of individual officer.
  • Someone is requesting if the township can plow the Drummond Road which is presently being plowed by the county since part of the road is under the township and there will be at least five full residents. No action taken.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Materials for the Local Board of Appeal Meeting on May 7 from St. Louis County Assessor’s Office (Sales Book, Assessment 2024 Book for CVT 502
  • Invoice from Minnesota Unemployment Insurance for unemployment compensation they paid a former Web Administrator Daisy Wallace in the amount of $25.00.

Sent:

  • List of officers effective April 10, 2024 to Minnesota Association of Townships and St. Louis County Elections
  • Online submission of the Presidential Nomination Primary Election expense reimbursement to the State of Minnesota

Public Comment: The Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below: One public comment per citizen which is limited to two minutes. Submit request by the first Saturday of the month to peqclerk@gmail.com with your full name and comment information. The board can either address the issue, assign someone to address the issue, or do nothing.

Next Meeting, June 11, 2024, 7:00 p.m.

Dressen motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:05 p.m. second by Wilson, motion carried. Nelson yay, Wilson yay, Dressen yay.

Respectfully submitted by:
Lita Wallace, Clerk

April 9, 2024, Township Board Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen.

Town officers present: Supervisors Douglas Nelson, Douglas Dressen, James Wilson; Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson

Town officer absent: Shane Stolp, Deputy Clerk

Guests present: Ted Wallace, Lori Gherna, Bonnie Dressen, Daryle Waldriff, Deb Pomroy, Ray Barnes, Stephen Jones, Steve Mueller, Charles Kuettel, Dorothy Salinsky, Ken Kost Aileen Kost, Chris Jussila, Todd Abernethy

Clerk’s Report:

Copies of the March 12, 2024 minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Nelson motion to approve the minutes, second by Wilson, motion carried. Nelson yay, Dressen yay, Wilson yay.

Treasurer’s Report

MARCH 2024
Total Funds on Hand 3/1/2024 $247,167.83
Plus: Deposits $790.76
-Interest on Accounts 393.76
-Misc Items 397.00

Less: Disbursements $2,533.64
-Payroll 2,206.64
-Other Expenses 327.00

Total Funds on Hand 3/31/2024 $245,424.95
Checks Written 1986-1997

APRIL 2024
Expected Receipts
None Expected

Checks Written 1998 – 2010 $4,722.85
No transfer to checking needed

Nelson motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report, second by Wilson, motion carried. Nelson yay, Dressen yay, Wilson yay.

Old Business

  • Result of LRIP (Local Road Improvement Program) grant request – the grant request was denied.
  • Update on West Branch Road – An attorney has not been contacted yet as waiting to contact other folks for financing.
  • Unemployment insurance discussion – A former employee filed for unemployment and was paid $160.48 so the township will be billed by the Minnesota Unemployment Office. Motion to approve payment is tabled until the invoice is received. Treasurer Nelson reported that the township does not have to pay a monthly unemployment insurance but a bill will be sent to the township if someone claims unemployment.
  • Update on open Deputy Treasurer position – nobody has applied for the position
  • Last reminder: LBAE (Local Board of Appeal and Equalization) meeting scheduled on May 7, 2024 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Pequaywan Firehall. The purpose of this meeting is to determine whether property in the jurisdiction has been properly valued and classified by the Assessor. Public Notice posted on posting sites.

New Business

  • Appoint Chair and Vice Chair for Township Board – D. Nelson was appointed as Chair and Wilson as Vice-Chair. Nelson and Wilson aye for Nelson to be chair, Dressen nay. Three ayes for Wilson as Vice-Chair.
  • Upcoming dates for tree/brush burn area drop off and posting – Saturday, June 1, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is the next drop-off date to dispose off dead trees. Location is on the township property in the corner of Rossini Road and Pequaywan Lake Road.
    Requirements are: maximum diameter must be 10 inches; and 2. branches must be de-limbed or separated from the trunk.
  • Discussion whether the Town Board Meeting Minutes starting in 1980 be added to the town website. There were 50s 60s and 70s which are Association Minutes. – the cost of the project was discussed and was tabled until next month.
  • FYI: Oath of office for elected supervisor James Wilson concluded on March 26. 2024 by clerk Wallace
  • Reorganizational Meeting (after the Town Board Meeting)
  • Discussion to purchase a pull behind finishing lawnmower. Used one is $900.00 to $1,000.00. Brand new one costs $2,800.00. It will be used in the 1.3 miles Walking Trail in the Rossini area land that the township owns. More discussion next month as additional information is gathered.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Letter from MN Department of Transportation re-result of the grant application for (LRIP) Local Road Improvement Program
  • Email from St. Louis County Assessor’s Office re-info about the upcoming LBAE (Local Board of Appeal and Equalization) meeting
  • Several emails from St. Louis County Association of Townships (SLCAT) and United Township Officers of MN re-upcoming voting for changes in the MAT (Minnesota Association of Townships) Bylaws during Spring Short Course training to various locations.

Sent: None

Public Comment: The Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below: One public comment per citizen which is limited to two minutes. Submit request by the first Saturday of the month to peqclerk@gmail.com with your full name and comment information. The board can either address the issue, assign someone to address the issue, or do nothing.

Next Meeting, May 14, 2024, 7:00 p.m.

Dressen motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:57 p.m., second by Wilson, motion carried. Nelson yay, Dressen yay, Wilson yay. 

Respectfully submitted by:
Lita Wallace, Clerk

March 12, 2024, Township Board Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 9:45 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Town officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson, Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp.

Guests: Stephanie Jones, Stephen Jones, Steve Mueller, Bonnie Dressen, Ted Wallace

Clerk’s Report: Copies of the February 13, 2024 minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Nelson motion to approve the minutes, second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Treasurer’s Report:

FEBRUARY 2024
Total Funds on Hand 2/1/2024 $252,921.12
Plus: Deposits $5,837.33
–Interest on Accounts 417.48
–Town Road Aid 1,832.85
–Taconite Production 3,587.00
Less: Disbursements $11,590.62
–Payroll 752.47
–Fire & EMS 10,000.00
–MAT – Township Dues 315.44
–Other Expenses 522.71
Total Funds on Hand 2/29/2024 $247,167.83
Checks Written 1976 – 1985

MARCH 2024
Expected Receipts
Forfeit Land Revenue – not known
Checks Written 1986 – 1997 $2,531.14
No transfer to checking needed

Motion made by Nelson, second by Dressen to accept Treasurer’s Report. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Treasurer Nelson will move checking and savings accounts to National Bank of Commerce from Superior Choice Credit Union and the officers will sign using “DocuSign”, sign paperworks online. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Old Business

  • Reminder: Spring training on April 5, 2024 at the DECC for town officers
  • Reminder: schedule of LBAE meeting: Tuesday, May 7, 2024, 2:00-3:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall
  • Update on the computer software (Microsoft Office and Bit Defender) – Wallace reported that the software MS365 has been purchased and installed on the clerk laptop with John Wall’s help. He will get in contact with other officers to get it installed in their laptops. Wallace also mentioned that Ray Barnes has 4 Bit Defender licenses that he can share with the township. Bit Defender on the clerk’s laptop is working. Treasurer and deputy clerk will need to contact Ray Barnes to get access code for Bit Defender.
  • Update on the West Branch Road: If the township did not get the grant, Plan B would be to have assessment going to property owners. Kuettel motion for Nelson to work with a local lawyer to obtain information on how to establish an assessment for residents and the legality of it. Nelson to also inquire if obtaining an assessment will prevent future grants. Kuettel second. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

New Business

  • Motion by Nelson, second by Kuettel to accept the 2025 Levy in the amount of $60,000.00 with $25,000.00 for Pequaywan Fire & EMS as accepted at the Annual Town Meeting. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen nay, Nelson yay. Dressen votes nay as he believes the road plan goes against the oath that he took as a town supervisor not to tax anyone who doesn’t live on the road. Motion carried.
  • Results of the township election James, Wilson 34 votes; write-in Donald Swanstrom, 22 votes; write-in Dorothy Galinski, 1 vote. Wilson is being elected as the new supervisor to replace Charles Kuettel.
  • A new filing cabinet purchase was requested. Motion by Dressen, second by Nelson to approve, motion carried. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay. Dressen will purchase the filing cabinet.
  • Question whether deputy clerk gets paid for attending Annual Town Meeting as requested by the clerk as it is part of training purposes and assistance to the clerk – per MAT it is at the discretion of the board: Nelson motion to pay meeting rate, Dressen second. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.
  • Unemployment Insurance was discussed. Board requested the treasurer to follow-up and report an update next month.
  • Discussion on Pequaywan Fire and EMS to do a monthly update and safety column on the town website and/or Facebook page: Nelson discussed with fire chief at last meeting. Chief was in favor. Motion by Nelson to add, second by Dressen. Motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.
  • Letter from Representative Natalie Zeleznikar: a task force was formed to financially help EMS programs in Minnesota
  • Per Minnesota Association of Townships, the following are information that should be in the minutes of board meetings:
  1. the kind of meeting (e.g., regular town board meeting);
    2. name of the governing body;
    3. date, time, and place of the meeting;
    4. full name of all the town officers, present or absent;
    5. reading and approval of previous meeting minutes;
    6. reading and approval of the financial report;
    7. the individual items of business raised and the full name of the officers making and       seconding the motion;
    8. the votes of the supervisors on any action taken in the meeting, including the vote of     each supervisor on each appropriation of money, except for payments of judgments,           claims, and amounts fixed by statute; Minn. Stat. § 13D.01, subd. 4(b);
    9. adjournment and time of adjournment; and
    10. signature by the clerk and chair upon approval.

Correspondence
Received:

  • Various emails from St. Louis County Elections regarding the March elections
  • Invoice from Daisy Wallace for March 2024 web maintenance in the amount of $75.00,
  • Letter from Representative Natalie Zeleznikar

Sent:

  • Mailed Absentee Ballots for Town Election residents

Public CommentThe Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below: One public comment per citizen which is limited to two minutes. Submit comment information by the first Saturday of the month to peqclerk@gmail.com with your full name . The board can either address the issue, assign someone to address the issue, or do nothing.
Public comment request: N/A

Next Meeting
, April 9, 2024 at 7:00 p.m.

Dressen motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:40 p.m., second by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Respectfully submitted by:
Lita Wallace, Clerk
Shane Stolp, Deputy Clerk

 

March 12, 2024, Annual Town Meeting Minutes (Unapproved)

  • The meeting was called to order by clerk Lita Wallace at 8:40 p.m. The meeting was held at the Pequaywan Fire Hall.
  • Attendees: Clerk Lita Wallace, Bill Scalzo, Lynn Scalzo, Faye Swanstrom, Don Swanstrom, Doug Dressen, Deb Pomroy, Bonnie Dressen, Carol Nelson, Dale Brooks, Corbin Ringsred, Katlin Dellenbach, Lori Rich, John Rich, John Wall, Chris Jussila, Thomas Getchell, Dorothy Galinski, Laurie King, Ken Kost, Mike Nilsen, Nancy Nilsen, Steven Call, Melodee Call, Ted Wallace, Stephen Jones, Stephanie Jones, Steve Mueller, Matt Nielsen, Debbie Maida, Jeff Maida, Charles Kuettel, Brian Linn Penny Linn, Jeff Gruver, Jim Wilson, Mark Freeman, Daryle Waldriff, Thomas Jackson
  • Wallace read the result of Township Election for one open supervisor position as follows: James Wilson, 34 votes; write-in Donald Swanstrom, 22 votes; write-in Dorothy Galinski, 1 vote. James Wilson won the election.
  • Election of a moderator (registered voters at Pequaywan Township): Chris Jussila and Mark Freeman were nominated. Mark Freeman declined. Voters voted for Chris Jussila to be the moderator which he accepted with a unanimous vote.
  • Moderator announced Agenda for rest of Meeting (moderator, subject to modification by vote of electorate) in which there was no change.
  • (Moderator) Review and approve previous year’s annual meeting minutes: The clerk provided copies of the 2023 Annual meeting minutes. A motion and second  to approve the minutes were provided, and voted unanimously, motion carried.
  • Road Report was provided by supervisors Douglas Nelson, Charles Kuettel, and Douglas Dressen. Discussion ensued around how much has been spent on the road over the years, grant status for assistance on repair, and potential assessment for residents. Further discussion to take place at board level. See below for more information on the Road Report.
  • (Treasurer) Reading of Board of Audit Report was completed.
2023 Cash Control Statement 1/1/2023-12/31/2023
Fund Beginning Balance Receipts Disbursements Ending Balance
General Fund $26,772.97 $48,073.55 $33,903.89 $40,942.63
Road and Bridge (On-going Maintenance 11,782.09 4,349.55 9,371.99 6,759.65
Fire and EMS 21,525.28 18,373.31 18,000.00 21,898.59
Building/Property Maintenance Fund 3,500.00 1,994.12 0.00 5,494.12
Roads and Bridges (Capital Reserve) 171,929.15 7,471.73 0.00 179,400.88
Total $235,509.49 $80,262.26 $61,275.88 $254,495.87
  • Treasurer presented comparison of Levy and Expenses from previous years
SUMMARY 2024 LEVY 2023 LEVY   2023 EXPENSES 2022 EXPENSES
General Fund $26.000.00 $35,000.00 $33,903.89 $18,669.77
Road and Bridges (On-going Maintenance 2,000.00 2,000.00 9,371.99 3,168.83
Fire and EMS 25,000.00 18,000.00 18,000.00 16,500.00
Building/Property Maintenance Fund 2,000.00 2,000.00 0.00 0.00
Roads and Bridges (Capital Reserve) 5,000.00 2,000.00 0.00 0.00
Total $60,000.00 $59,000.00 $61,275.88 $38,338.60
  • (Pequaywan Fire Chief Tom Getchell) Report from Pequaywan Fire & EMS and request for 2025 Levy:  The Fire Department is requesting $25,000.00 which is the same as in 2024 and to be paid in two installments in 2025. Electors vote on the amount to provide for fire department, supervisors will render the final decision during March Town Board Meeting. See 2024 Budget at https://pequaywantownship.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/PLVFD.pdf

For 2022 and 2023, their expenses exceeded their income. A question was asked about their 2024 income and expenses and again the loss projected. Getchell said that that future levy requests would be higher. Getchell mentioned that dead balsam issue is a fire hazard. Residents thanked the fire department for taking care of pile of brush on Rossini Road and for the work throughout the year. A resident requests board increase their funding by $5,000 with no action taken.

  • Treasurer presented total levy which was not increased from 2024. The Levy for Roads and Bridges (Capital Reserve) was set at $35,000.00 to make up for the lowered Levy in 2023 and 2024. It was discussed that we should build up this fund in order to be in a better position to apply for matching funds grants for road improvements.
  • (Moderator) Motion(s) to approve general levy and any dedicated levies (road & bridge, plus others determined helpful to treat as designated and not just a budget item from the general fund) and to affirm total levy including funds for Pequaywan Fire & EMS. Eligible voters vote on the 2025 Levy as proposed by the present Town Board.

Motion and second (voted 37 yays and 3 nays) to set a levy of $60,000 as presented including $25,000.00 for Pequaywan Fire & EMS, motion carried.

SUMMARY Estimated Balance 1/1/2025 2025 General Levy (Receipts) 2025 Budget (Disburse ments) Estimated Balance 12/21/2025
General Fund $46,900.00 $5,000.00 $ 30,000.00 $21,900.00
Road and Bridges (On-going Maintenance 3,750.00 5,000.00 5000.00 3,750.00
Fire and EMS 21,900.00 15,000.00 25,000.00 11,900.00
Building/Property Maintenance Fund 7,500.00 0.00 0 7,500.00
Roads and Bridges (Capital Reserve) 184,400.00 35,000.00 0 219,400.00
Total 264,450.00 $60,000.00 $60,000.00 264,450.00
  • General Discussion of Items of Concern: This section can be used to allow the residents to voice their opinions on any matter, but such input is only advisory to the board. Common issues may include culvert policies, desired posting locations, etc.

–A resident recommended to update the community Pequaywan Lake Association directory and suggested to put it on the Association website. However, there was a strong consensus not to put it on the website due to spam concerns and hacking.

  • The State of Minnesota set the Annual Town Meeting on the second Tuesday of March following the Town Election. The Annual Town Meeting will be held at Pequaywan Firehall
  • Motion and second to set monthly Town Board Meeting date, time and location to second Tuesday of each month, 7:00 p.m. with the exception of March Meeting to be scheduled after the Annual Town Meeting. Location is Pequaywan Fire Hall.
  • Motion and second to set time to convene and call to order the 2025 Annual Town Meeting at 8:35 p.m.
  • Motion and second to set primary voting place at Pequaywan Fire Hall; garage in case Pequaywan Fire Hall is not available due to unforeseen circumstances, secondary voting place is Pequaywan Trail Blazer Snowmobile Club (contact person is Ray Barnes)
  • Motion and second to set voting time as follows:
    10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Presidential Nomination Primary Election, Primary Election and General Election
    10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., State Election
    10:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m., Special Primary Election  and Special General Election
    5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Township Election
  • Motion and second to set posting areas at:
    – pequaywantownship.org website
    – West Branch Road Marquee
    – Pequaywan Fire & EMS bulletin board
    – Pequaywan Inn bulletin board
    -Pequaywan Lake Community Facebook Page

All motions voted unanimously, motion carried.

  • Motion and second to adjourn meeting at 9:58 p.m., motion carried.Respectfully submitted by:
    Lita Wallace, Clerk
    Shane Stolp, Deputy Clerk

———————————————————–

Annual Road Update by Supervisor Douglas Nelson

During the past year, the township spent $25,071.99 on the West Branch Road. The breakdown is as follows:

Snowplowing $2.298.85
Pothole patch by supervisor $73.14
Sinnot Blacktop, LLC $22,700.00

The largest amount was for Sinnot Blacktop, LLC at $22,700.00. This was in two stages. The first was patching the holes and filling in along the road edges. The second state was to fill the cracks with tar. These repairs have help up very well over the winter and will extend the useful life of the road by several years. The blacktop road is 30 years old. The repairs will buy us some time but it is nearing the end of its useful life.

The township has applied for a grant from the State of Minnesota under the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP). We must thank Lynne Scalzo for doing all the work on this grant application. If approved, it will rebuild and repave the entire 2.3 miles of township road. The new road would be a 10-ton road limit with 2 layers of blacktop vs. the existing 7-ton road limit and improved shoulders. The grant amount would be in the amount of $1,435.594. The township would be responsible for engineering and miscellaneous expenses approximately $86,135.00. This grant requires us to build the new road to State Specifications. We should hear the results of our request by April 1st.

If we do not get the grant, our next option will be to apply for other state aid programs. These grants are need based and often use matching funds, The township must show that State that they are making a reasonable effort to fund the road project on their own before they are willing to help. During the past years, the township have been setting aside funds in the Road and Bridge Capital Reserve account that can only be used for the township road. We have been buying CD’s within the funds to create some income. To date, we have $179,400.88 in the fund. Last year, we put the funds levied into the General Fund. We now know we are better off having the funds in our Road and Bridge Capital Reserve account so we are better able to get State funds.

In this year’s levy, we are asking for $35,000.00 earmarked for Road and Bridge Capital Reserve. There is no increase in the Levy we are asking for over last year’s funding. Taxes are not going up! We’re just putting the money in a different category. Taxes will probably go down because of the increase in Taxable Market Value based on the recent home sales and new homes being built.

In addition, we get Minnesota State Gas Tax revenue which by law ban only be used for Road and Bridges. In 2023, we received $1,611.68. In 2024, we will receive $1,832.85 from this gas tax.

How does Pequaywan Township taxes “Levy” compare to other townships? We are far lower than most townships. The supervisors over the years have been very frugal with your money.

Pequaywan Township levy in 2023 was 9.011
Northstar Township 14.0256
Alden Township 20.133
Normanna Township 9.793
Unorganized Township 12.279

A little history of the Township road. The original blacktop was done in 1993 at a cost of $75,000.00 The cost was split 50/50 between the landowners and the township portion of West Branch Road and the township itself, each paying $37,500.00, The work was done piggybacking on a County Road blacktop project nearby that greatly reduced the cost. It is cost effective to do our project at the same time the County is doing work nearby.

Several numbers have been put forth about what the new road will cost. We received a bid last year from Sinnot Blacktop to do an overlay of the existing road at a cost of $651,100.00. Sinnott offered that they can do it in 3 phases to spread the cost over time.

In addition, we know there are a couple of areas where a new base needs to be installed. Typically removing about 5 feet of fill, installing stabilization fabric and refill with gravel compacting as you go then new blacktop. My best guess is that by the time we are ready to do the project it will be close to $1,000,000.00. This will be a 7-ton load limit road.

The quality of West Branch Road is important for the residents who use it every day as well as the seasonal cabin owners. No dust in our homes, no flat tires. no chipped windshields, no dirty vehicles and much greater safety.

It is also very important for our EMS and firefighters to have a very good road when every minute counts toward saving a life or putting out a fire. This also applies to Law Enforcement.

The County plow river inspects the road each fall and if he decides it’s not in good repair and would damage his equipment, he can cancel our county plowing contract. This contract is very low and a bargain compared to having a private company do the plowing. We’re paying $2,298.95 now. If we had to find a private contractor, the price would be triple or quadruple.

A quick breakdown of your taxes:
St. Louis County 60,381.00
School District 9,722.00
Pequaywan Township 9.011
Total 79.114

I will use my own house as an example. My 2024 estimated market value is $452,700.00. You can use your house values to interpret your costs. My market value went up by $20,100.00 and my taxes went down by $129.00,

My proposed tax is $3,546.00
St. Louis County $2,647.3
School District $703.85
Pequaywan Township General Fund and Fire Department $156.26
Pequaywan Township Road and Bridge Capital Reserve Fund $218.46

In summary, that is about $18.20 per month.

——————————————

From Supervisor Douglas Dressen: Two of the Supervisors approved this levy.  According to recent meeting notes, Doug Nelson says West Branch is now fixed to be usable for 3 years.  The snowplowing bill from ST. Louis County is under $2500, and there is $8759.65 in the maintenance fund now.  Why are we being taxed another $5000?

There are 493 parcels in Pequaywan and 88 on 2.3 miles of West Branch. These numbers are directly from the Auditor’s office, some of these parcels are not tax paying. Since 2015, I count $179,800 tax dollars have been spent on West Branch and in 2016 $193,695 was taken from the General Fund and put in a Capital Reserve account that cannot be used for anything but West Branch Rd. The Minnesota Constitution that the Supervisors pledge to uphold states in section 10 Public Purpose expenditures, that the criteria for public expenditures will benefit the community as a body.

There are $184,400 in the Capitol Reserve Fund now. I found no mention of a vote from taxpayers to take so much money and designate it to be exclusively for West Branch.  These dollars benefit only a fraction of our population.

Our agreement with county when we split from Alden Township was that we will build a Town Hall for voting and Township business., and maintain the graveled West Branch Road.  The residents on West Branch want an improved and more like County 44 road and there is a fix for this-  a statute passed in 1989 called a Subordinate Service District.  We need to address this in the near future with an all taxpayer vote.

As far as the Levy presented today, if you haven’t seen any benefit from the $179,800 spent, and the $184,400  that the Township Supervisors transferred from the General Fund to the Capital Reserve Fund, I’m hoping you’ll vote no.

February 13, 2024, Budget Meeting

The meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 7:50 p.m.

Town officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson

Town officer Absent: Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp

Guest: Nancy Nilsen, Dan Ahonen, Katie Dehenbach, Thomas Getchell, Dorothy Galinski, John Wall, Stephen Jones, Steve Mueller, Chris Jussila, Ed Potter, Ted Wallace

2023 Cash Control Statement
1/1/2023-12/31/2023
Fund Beginning Balance Receipts Disbursements Ending Balance
General Fund $26,772.97 $48,073.55 $33,903.89 $40,942.63
Road and Bridge (On-going Maintenance 11,782.09 4,349.55 9,371.99 6,759.65
Fire and EMS 21,525.28 18,373.31 18,000.00 21,898.59
Building/Property Maintenance Fund 3,500.00 1,994.12 0 5,494.12
Roads and Bridges (Capital Reserve) 171,929.15 7,471.73 0 179,400.88
Total $235.509.49 $80,262.26 $61,275.88 $254,495.87

Discuss and Set-up Proposed Budget for 2025

Name of Fund 2025 Levy Approved by the Board for Presentation at the March Annual Town Meeting (Receipts) 2025 Budget Approved by the Board (Disbursements)
General Fund
$ 5,000.00 $30,000.00
Road and Bridges (On-going Maintenance)
5,000.00 5,000.00
Fire & EMS
15,000.00 25,000.00
Building/Property Maintenance Fund
0.00 0.00
Road and Bridges (Capital Reserve)
35,000.00 0.00
Total Amount
$60,000.00 $60,000.00

The total Levy was not increased from 2024. The Levy for Roads and Bridges (Capital Fund) was set at $35,000.00 to make up for the lowered Levy in 2023 and 2024. It was discussed that we should build up this fund in order to be in a better position to apply for matching funds grants for road improvements.

Nelson motion to approve, second by Kuettel, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen nay, Nelson yay.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk

 

 

February 13, 2024, Township Board Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 7:00 p.m.

Town officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson

Town officers Absent: Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp

Guests: Chris Jussila, Steve Mueller, Stephen Jones, Deb Pomroy, Ted Wallace, Ray Barnes, Bonnie Dressen, Dorothy Galinski Jim Wilson, John Wall, Kenneth Kost, Aileen Kost, Nancy Nilsen

Clerk’s Report

Copies of the January 9, 2024 minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Dressen motion to approve the minutes, second by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Treasurer’s Report

JANUARY 2024
Total Funds on Hand 1/1/2024 $254,495.87
Plus: Deposits $748.11
Interest on Accounts 416.97
St Louis County Auditor 331.14
Less: Disbursements $2,322.86
-Payroll 564.64
-941 PR Taxes 917.52
-MN Revenue 100.00
-Legal 550.00
Other Expenses 190.70

Total Funds on Hand 1/31/2024 $252,921.12
Checks Written 1967 – 1975

FEBRUARY 2024
Expected Receipts
-St Louis Cty – Road Aid $1,832.85
-Taconite Production Tax not known

Checks Written #1976 – #1985 $11,590.62 (Disbursements include $10,000.00 advance payment to Pequaywan Fire and EMS with agreement that they will submit a request to that effect.

No transfer to checking needed

Nelson motion to approve the minutes, second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Old Business

  • St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department discussion – no one from the Sheriff’s Office was present
  • Update on the West Branch Road: Kuettel read the following statement: “The township has applied for a grant to replace the road (our best option). Most of the cost will be covered by the grant. Other options would be for the township and property owners of West Branch Road to pay for a contractor to replace the road. There is an estimate from a road contractor of $600,000.00 to replace the road that could be spread three (3) years. The property owners of West Branch Road would need to form a committee to make an assessment to pay their portion of the cost. The above mentioned work would not start until at least two (2) years from now. The road repair done last year has given the life span of the road at least more years before any major work is done.”
  • Elections reminder: Presidential Nomination Primary Election, March 5 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and March 12 Town Election from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., both at Pequaywan Firehall
  • Treasurer Nelson presented possible financial institutions to replace our current one with comparison of interest rates

New Business

  • Spring training on April 5, 2024 at the DECC – Wallace advised the officers to let her know if they are planning on attending and she can submit one registration for everybody.
  • Open position for deputy treasurer – Ed Potter submitted a resignation letter for his deputy treasurer position effective February 13, 2024 due to personal reasons. The vacant position should be posted in posting places.
  • Schedule of LBAE meeting: Tuesday, May 7, 2024, 2:00-3:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall.
  • Approve Resolution to Appoint Election Judges – motion to approve by Nelson, second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.
  • Approve Resolution to Appoint Absentee Ballot Board – motion to approve by Nelson, second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.
  • Establish salary for Annual Town Meeting Moderator – Nelson motion a $50.00 salary for moderator during Annual Town Meeting. Moderator must be a resident voter.
  • Discussion about the found March 13, 1990 Annual Town Meeting Minutes that talked about West Branch Road – table till March Annual Town Meeting
  • Unemployment Insurance – appointed officers are covered by Unemployment Insurance and eligible for unemployment compensation on eligible reasons for leaving the employment.
  • Budget Meeting for 2025 right after the Board Meeting tonight
  • Clerk request to purchase Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) software for installation on clerk laptop with one-time purchase in the amount of $149.99 plus tax for one PC – Nelson motion to allow the maximum amount of $450.00 to purchase annual subscription for Microsoft 365 and an anti-virus software for the four (4) laptops owned by the township. John Wall volunteered to research and assist with installation.
  • Help needed to set-up additional chairs and fold tables after the Town Election to get ready for the Annual Town Meeting – several folks have volunteered.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Various emails from St. Louis County Elections regarding the upcoming Presidential Nomination Primary Election as well as the March Town Election including several training modules for the clerk and election judges to complete before the elections. Also email re-guide to operate the new OmniBallot voting machine.
  • Email from MATIT (Minnesota Association of Townships Insurance & Bond Trust re-requirement to submit 2023 Workers’ Compensation Payroll Audit which includes payroll information and W-3 form by February 15.
  • Email from St, Louis County Auditor’s Office to submit the Annual Report of Outstanding Indebtedness for 2023 by February 1.
  • Email from St. Louis County Assessor’s Office for information on the 2024 Local Board of Appeal Equalization date for the township which is May 7, 2024 at 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Invoice from Daisy Wallace for February 2024 web maintenance in the amount of $56.25.
  • Email from U.S. Census Bureau to complete the online form for 2024 Boundary and Annexation Survey.

Sent:

  • Mailed Absentee Ballots for Town Election to three residents (clerk)
  • Filled the online form 2024 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS) from U.S. Census Bureau with due date of March 1, 2024 (C. Kuettel)
  • Mailed the Annual Report of Outstanding Indebtedness with due date of February 1, 2024 (treasurer)
  • Submitted CTAS financial statement online with due date of April 2024 (treasurer)
  • Mailed MATIT Workers’ Compensation (WC) Survey with due date of February 15, 2024 (treasurer)

Public CommentThe Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below:

  1. No more than one public comment per citizen.
  2. Submit your comment information to peqclerk@gmail.com with your full name.
  3. Deadline to submit your request is the first Saturday of the month.
  4. Your presentation will be limited to two minutes.
  5. What you said will be on file, and the board can either address the issue, assign someone to address the issue, or do nothing.

Public comment request by: Bonnie Dressen re-Township Solidarity: She commented that since people pay taxes, they should be able to vote on West Branch Road issue.

Next Meeting, March 12, 2024 at 9:45 p.m. or after the Annual Town Meeting.

Nelson motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:40 p.m., second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk

January 16, 2024, Board of Audit Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m. by Charles Kuettel

Attendance:

Town Officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson, Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp
Town Officer Absent: Ed Potter
Guest: Ted Wallace

Clerk and treasurer both provided receipts register to the board.
Each board member selected a receipt to review and check. Checked that identification is the same as in clerk/treasurer records. Checked that the deposit can be noted on the appropriate bank statement.

RECEIPTS
#6 – St. Louis County Auditor – $34,365.00 (Douglas Nelson)
#16 – St. Louis County Auditor – $3,903.80 (Charles Kuettel)
#23 – Superior Choice Credit Union Savings Acct 9027 – $12.17 (Douglas Dressen)

Board members each selected a disbursement to review and check. Checked that identification is the same on clerk/treasurer records, did transaction match, and did the check go through the bank for approved amount?

DISBURSEMENTS

#1858 – Pequaywan Lake Area Fire Department – $16,500.00 (Douglas Nelson)
#1924 – MATIT – $970 (Charles Kuettel)
#1951 – Lilita Wallace – $211.74 (Douglas Dressen)

Reviewed treasurer and clerk’s Claims (or Disursements) Ledger (compare Fund/Account/Object Codes) – each board member selected and reviewed one disbursement to review and check

Reviewed Treasurer and Clerk’s Receipts Ledgers (compare Fund/Account) – verify that deposits are noted on the appropriate bank statement, each board member selected and reviewed one receipt

Reviewed Bank Statements to check that Cash Control Statement demonstrated same  balance as the Bank Statement

Reviewed Schedule 1 printed from both clerk and treasurer showing balance with the bank and each other

Verified that Clerk and Treasurer are balancing and reconciling bank statements (have the same balance), and Schedule 1 matches for both Treasurer and Clerk

Board member also verified that clerk/treasurer:
1. have been balancing bank statements;
2. have the same balance for each fund.
3. Cash Control Statement matches showing receipts, disbursements and balances;
4. cash balance statements match the final bank statement;

Board of Audit approved the reports as submitted by the clerk and treasurer.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m. by Charles Kuettel.

Respectfully submitted by
Lita Wallace, Clerk

 

January 9, 2024, Township Board Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 7:03 p.m.

Attendance:

Town officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace,

Town officers Absent: Treasurer Carol Nelson, Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp, Deputy Treasurer Ed Potter

Guests: Todd Abernethy, Ray Barnes, Bonnie Dressen, Dorothy Galinski, Thomas Getchell, Scott Gronseth, Stephen Jones, Steven Mueller, Mike Nilsen, Nancy Nilsen, Deb Pomroy, Darylle Waldriff, Ted Wallace

Clerk’s Report

Copies of the minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Discussion to remove the statements: “This is because the vote would not change the nature or character of the town road, other than improve existing status quo.  By that I mean, we are not going from a minimum maintenance grassy trail to a 4 lane paved roadway.  Instead, we are merely replacing something that was already there.I understand this response does not present a “one size fits all” answer to your question. Because there is no hard and fast rule in Minnesota, the answer depends on the facts and circumstances of each specific matter being voted on. More information on Conflicts of Interest can be found at the Minnesota Association of Townships website under Chapter 10.” Motion by Nelson to approve the Clerk’s Report as amended, second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Treasurer’s Report

DECEMBER 2023
Total Funds on Hand 12/1/2023 $230,188.28
Plus: Deposits $25,646.09
-Interest on Accounts 496.33
-St Louis County Auditor 24,339.26
-State of MN 810.50
Less: Disbursements $1,338.50
-Payroll 888.10
-MATIT – WC 285.00
-Other Expenses 165.40
Total Funds on Hand 12/31/2023 $254,495.87
Checks Written #1955 – #1966

JANUARY 2024
Expected Receipts None
Checks Written #1967 – #1975 $2,222.86
No transfer to checking needed

Motion by Dressen to approve the Treasurer’s Report, second by Nelson, motion carried, Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Old Business 

New Business

  • Discussion regarding our area by the county sheriff’s department – St Louis County Sheriff’s Office would like to let the community know that they would like to get more involved with the community. Todd Abernethy of the Sheriff’s Office lives in the neighborhood and mentioned that he will try to start coming to some of the township meetings. He also mentioned that Pequaywan Township is a safe neighborhood; only had seven calls since January 2022; call 911 or him in case of an emergency; and if residents are away on vacation, they can call the Sheriff’s Office and they can do drive-by check.
  • Review of past minutes on the township website – a review by Dressen and Kuettel on the website does not show any missing minutes since 2006.
  • Weed inspector discussion – Deb Pomroy suggested that Luanne Lake need to be revisited. King Lake is a smaller lake and needs attention as well. She confirmed that she is acceptable with the $15.00 per hour with mileage. The board approved.
  • Pequaywan Firehall & EMS request for 2025 levy – Tom Getchell, Fire Chief requested a Fire Department Levy in the amount of $25,000.00 for 2025 which is the same as 2024. He added that they have $10,000.00 in their budget right now but need to use it for training and other expenses. Even though they are getting a $5,000.00 matching grant from NRRI, they are required to spend $10,000.00 by June and thus, they are requesting an advance of $10,000.00. The board decided to put it on hold until February meeting to check fund availability.
  • Important Dates (meetings, elections & Public Accuracy Test are held at Pequaywan Firehall)

1/9   – Pequaywan Town Board Meeting, 7 p.m.
1/16 – Open supervisor position Candidacy Filing ends at 5:00 p.m., contact clerk for the form or questions at 525-4068
1/16- Board of Audit Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
2/9 -2/20  – Absentee Balloting starts: (1) contact St. Louis County to register for Presidential Nomination Primary Election at 726-2385; (2) contact Pequaywan Clerk to register for March Town Election at 525-4068
2/13 – Pequaywan Town Board Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
2/13- Budget Meeting, after Town Board Meeting
2/27- Public Accuracy Test, Firehall, 11:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
3/5  – Presidential Nomination Primary Election Day
Pequaywan Firehall, 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
3/9  – Absentee Balloting for Town Election, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall
3/11- Absentee Balloting for Town Election, 1:00-5:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall
3/12- Township Election Day, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall
3/12- Annual Town Meeting, 8:45 p.m. or after ballots are counted whichever is later
3/12- Pequaywan Town Board Meeting, after Annual Town Hall Meeting.
3/12- Board of Canvas Meeting, after Town Board Meeting

Wallace reported that as of date: (1)  nobody has contacted her for Candidacy Filing for the supervisor position; (2) voters can submit an application for Absentee Balloting until February 20; (3) for Presidential Nomination Primary, St. Louis County will send them three ballots for each major political party but they should only return a ballot for their party affiliation; (4) for the March Town Election, the town clerk will send them a ballot;  in-person Absentee Balloting are offered on March 9 and March 11, contact the clerk (peqclerk@gmail.com) for location and time.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from St. Louis County Elections re- disposal of Automark Machine and to be replaced with OmniBallot.
  • Email from MATIT for key dates to submit Workers’ Compensation Surveys.
  • Email from the State of Minnesota GID (Government Information Division) that deadline to submit CTAS (County, Township Accounting System) financial reports to the state is April 1, 2024.
  • Invoice from Hanft Fride Law Firm in the amount of $550.00 for legal consultation.
  • Invoice from Daisy Wallace for January 2024 web maintenance in the amount of $25.00.

Sent:

  • N/A

Public CommentThe Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below:

  1. No more than one public comment per citizen.
  2. Submit your comment information to peqclerk@gmail.com with your full name.
  3. Deadline to submit your request is the first Saturday of the month.
  4. Your presentation will be limited to two minutes.
  5. What you said will be on file, and the board can either address the issue, assign someone to address the issue, or do nothing.

Next Meeting, February 13, 2024, 7:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall

 Nelson motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:40 p.m., second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk

December 12, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 7:00 p.m.

Attendance:

 Town officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson, Deputy Treasurer Ed Potter

 Town officers Absent: Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp

Guests: Ray Barnes, Bonnie Dressen, Stephen Jones, Nancy Nilsen, Deb Pomroy, Ted Wallace

 Clerk’s Report

Copies of the minutes were distributed by Wallace to attendees and they were given time to read it. Motion to add the following to the minutes: (1) Under Update on West Branch Road – “Used 6 tons for blacktop for $7,000.00 which comes out at $1,160.00 per ton versus $1,400.00 per ton with Dressen’s proposal.” (2) Third bullet on Old Business – Dressen conversation with MAT attorney about weights and taxation, at the end of the sentence, add. “Motion by Dressen to reinstate to pass the resolution without Nelson voting. second by Kuettel, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson abstain. (3) Under 7-ton road exceptions, add “emergency vehicles”.

Nelson second the corrections, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Treasurer’s Report

NOVEMBER 2023
Total Funds on Hand 11/1/2023 $247,200.17
Plus: Deposits $505.93
—Interest on Accounts 505.93
Less: Disbursements $17,517.82
—Payroll 375.98
—St. Louis County Plowing 1,177.60
—Sinnot Blacktopping 15,700.00
—Other Expenses 264.24
Total Funds on Hand 11/30/2023 $230,188.28
Checks Written #1948 – #1954

DECEMBER 2023

Expected Receipts None
Second Half Tax Apportionment $24,339.26
Checks Written #1955 – #1966 $1,338.50
No transfer to checking needed

Motion by Dressen to approve the Treasurer’s Report, second by Nelson, motion carried, Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Old Business

Information from township lawyer re-Conflict of Interest and West Branch Road – As per Kuettel’s inquiry, Scott A. Witty of Hanft Fride, A Professional Association, responded with: “In my opinion, a supervisor voting on spot repairs on a town road that he/she owns property abutting would not be a conflict of interest. Likewise, I do not believe a judge would conclude that a supervisor voting on a road surface replacement for a road he/she owns property abutting constitutes a conflict.

  • Firewise Grant update – Ed Potter talked with folks in-charge of the grant. Might need to check with other residents who helped with the first Firewise grant for some suggestions. Ed is wondering if there are companies that can chip-in like the Cooperative Light and Power. Nancy Nilsen added that the county had cut dead trees in the past and if there are trees that are really bad, let her office know, contact can be found under GIS in the St. Louis County website.
  • Invasive Weed Inspector open position and pay for 2024 – The board decided to re-hire Deb Pomroy as Invasive Weed Inspector starting 2024 with a pay of $15.00 per hour. Motion by Dressen, second by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.
  • Training information attended by Wallace on Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) Election:
  1. The PNP elections will be held on March 5, 2024. Voters should stand a minimum of 6 feet away for privacy. Applies to all voters. Even husbands and wives must maintain a 6 foot distance. Three sample ballots for each major political party will be posted.
  2. The MN Secretary of State’s Office will reimburse municipalities for expenses incurred for the PNP. Deadline to submit is May 11, 2024. Reimbursement includes training hours, election judges and ballot board salaries, name badges, Public Accuracy Test hours worked and voting office hours open and other expenses as approved by the MN Secretary of State,
  3. If a voter refuses to indicate their political party choice, they are ineligible to vote. Political choice is private. Once a voter sigs the roster and indicates their party preference, they cannot come back and change their party preference. Their ballot will be spoiled and they can be given a replacement ballot of the same party.
  4. Major political party chairs will only receive political party lists of voters who selected their party. During 2020 PNP -all political party lists were provided to each major political party chair.
    5.Individuals will be automatically registered to vote when they apply for a new or renewed driver’s license or state ID card. Registration notice will be sent to applicants by MN Secretary of State’s Office and can opt out of registration within 20 days of the date of mailing.
    6.Individual who is under the age of 18, but at least 16 years of age can preregister to vote by submitting a voter registration. Still can not vote undtil they turn the age of 18. Voters under 18 will be entered in SVRS and set to a pended status. PVC letter will be mailed after voter turns 18.
    7. PNP Absentee Ballot Application sent to permanent absentee voters. They will receive a ballot for each political party and vote on only one.
    8.St. Louis County Auditor Nancy Nilsen had mentioned in the past meeting that Pequaywan Township will be provided an OmniBallot. A Public Accuracy Test will be conducted for the OmniBallot a few days before the March 5 election. The public is welcome to observe. Attendance of two judges from two major political parties are required for the Public Accuracy Test.
  • West Branch Road update – Discussion was the same as in previous months. The grant application for Local Road Improvement Project (LRIP) has been completed and submitted successfully by Lynne Scalzo. Also that, residents must form a committee to determine assessments of properties to pay for the road repair.

New Business

  • 2023 Invasive Weed report and pay for Michele Kokosh for her work on tracking invasive species in the township and completing the EDDMapS report – Michele will be paid the amount of $30.00 for her work. Deb Pomroy will also be paid $30.00 who was mentoring Michele and had been physically present at the inspections and assisting with the reports.
  • Treasurer Nelson reported that there is one CD maturing in December 2023. The board approved to have the CD mature and put the funds back in the checking account. The two CDs maturing in November 2024 will be left there until maturity. The board requested C. Nelson to research possible financial institutions that we can transfer the townships’ account before the credit union closes their Duluth office.
  • Wallace requested to have checks cashed before the end of the year as suggested by the State of Minnesota to ease the treasurer and clerk’s CTAS financial reporting in January 2024.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from St. Louis County Land Minerals Department, re-2023 Annual City and Township Report on Noxious Weed due on December 30.
  • Email from St. Louis County Assesor’s Office re- Board of Appeal and Equalization Training available online to be completed by February 1.
  • Invoice from Daisy Wallace for December 2023 web maintenance in the amount of $25.00.
  • Michele Kokosh time spent on Noxious Weed inspection and reports.
  • Premium Notice from MATIT (Minnesota Association of Townships Insurance Trust from 1/1/2024 to 12/31/2024 in the amount of $285.00
  • Letter to Steve Krasaway of St. Louis County Public Works in support of their LRIP funding application for the pavement rehabilitation project on CSAH 44 between CSAH37 (Jean Duluth Rd) and CR 272 (Briar Lake Rd).

Sent:

  • Online Noxious Weed Report sent to EddMapS by Michele Kokosh
  • Online LRIP grant application successfully submitted
  • Letter to Steve Krasaway of St. Louis County Public Works in support of their LRIP funding application

Public Comment:

The Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board.

If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below:

  • No more than one (1) public comment per citizen will be accepted per meeting.
  • Comment information with your name and topic of comments must be submitted to the clerk via email (peqclerk@gmail.com) three (3) daysbefore the scheduled meeting.
  • Your presentation will be limited to two (2) minutes.

Next Meeting: January 9, 2024, 7:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall

Dressen motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m., second by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk

November 14, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 7:00 p.m

Attendance:

Town officers Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Douglas Dressen, Supervisor Douglas Nelson, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson

Town officers Absent: Deputy Clerk Shane Stolp, Deputy Treasurer Ed Potter

Guests: Ray Barnes, Bonnie Dressen, Stephen Jones, Jeff Maida, Steve Mueller, Nancy Nilsen, Daryle Olson, Josh Pelovsky, Deb Pomroy, Bill Scalzo, Lynne Scalzo, Ted Wallace, Dale Waldriff, Daryle Waldriff, John Wilson, Sandee Wlson

Clerk’s Report

Copies of the October Minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Kuettel made a correction that “he did talked with a lawyer before the meeting and was told that the board cannot sign a written agreement with the church nor donate land to the church due to the  “separation between church and state.” Motion by Dressen to approve with correction, second by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Treasurer’s Report

October 2023

Total Funds on Hand 10/1/2023 $247,880.37
Plus: Deposits $763.68
—Interest on Accounts 488.68
—Road Permit & fee 275.00
Less: Disbursements $1,443.88
—Payroll 615.33
—United States Treasury 589.20
—Other Expenses 239.35
Total Funds on Hand 10/31/2023 $247,200.17
Checks Written #1942 – #1947

November 2023
Expected Receipts None
Checks Written #1948 – #1953 $1,817.82
No transfer to checking needed

Motion by Dressen to approve the Treasurer’s Report, second by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.

Old Business 

  • Update on the West Branch Road – – Nelson reported that Sinnot Blacktop finished patching and crack filling on the township portion of the West Branch Road just in time for the first plowing of the season. The bid by Sinnot called for 3,500 lbs of tar but was short so they added 500 more lbs without charge for a total of 4,000 lbs. They used 6 tons for blacktop for $7,000.00 which comes out at $1,160.00 per ton versus $1,400.00 per ton with Dressen’s proposal.Nelson added that (1) at the Annual Meeting in 2024, the township will need to present a budget and levy on the cost sharing between the property owners on West Branch Road and the township; (2) start the process of fund raising now so we can spread the burden over a longer period making it more affordable; (3) invest the funds from the Road account at attractive interest rates currently using CDs; (4) reminder what he said in the past that the current road was done on a 50%/50% split.
  • Follow-up discussion on West Branch Road, residents to create a committee with a purpose of discussing the levy for the road repair.

New Business

  • Vote on the Resolution to support the Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) Grant Application which is available for road construction – – Lynne Scalzo explained what the requirements are and that the full cost of road construction (estimated at $877,804.00) for West Branch Road will be covered by the LRIP grant with sponsorship from MNDoT and St. Louis County. The township’s responsibility is the costs for Engineering, Construction  Administration/Inspection, right of way acquisition, private utility work and aesthetic treatments above the standard (estimated at 6% of the construction cost) as well as LRIP-eligible items in excess of the LRIP grant amount. The county will take care of the bidding process. Nelson motion to approve the support of the LRIP grant resolution, second by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay. Resolution #2023-007.
  • Dressen conversation with Minnesota Association of Townships attorney about weights and taxation – – Dressen talked with a lawyer at Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) and was told that every dollar that were put on the road since 1989 was not in compliance. The township should not be paying for the repair of West Branch Road. The residents should be charged for the cost of road repair. Per the lawyer, Dressen quoted Chapter 8, Revenue, Finance and Debt, 8.3D of the Manual on Town Government 2023 which states: “In 1989, the Legislature created gave towns authority to establish subordinate service districts (SSD), An SSD is an area within a town receiving one or more town services, or enhanced services, provided specifically for that area and financed from revenues from the area.Minn Stat. §365A.02. While districts can be created for any service the town is authorized to provide, some common uses are road improvement projects, septic systems, and dust control.” Dressen also added that the township is responsible for snow plowing and grading. Due to the above statement, Dressen motion to rescind the earlier approval of Resolution 2023-007 as there is a conflict of interest for a party voting as he resides in West Branch Road, second by Kuettel, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson abstain. In addition, Dressen motion to reinstate to pass the resolution without Nelson voting. second by Kuettel, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson abstain.
  • Dressen mentioned that the 7-ton road should only be 5-ton with exceptions for snow plow, emergency vehicles, and garbage trucks. If it is abused, we can call the Sheriff’s Office which can enforce the weight limit.
  • Nelson motion for Kuettel to hire a local lawyer as recommended by MAT to verify questions such as: (1) Can Nelson vote on decisions about any repair to West Branch Road as he lives on that road due to Conflict of Interest?; (2) How to determine assessment of properties for West Branch road property owners? (3) Can the township spend the Road funds levy for the repair of West Branch Road? Dressen second, motion passed. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay.
  • Treasurer Nelson reported that she has not received a bill from Sinnot Blacktop, LLC, for the final work at West Branch Road. Suggested to follow-up with them and get the final amount and if the board approves, she can pay them this month. Motion by Dressen, second by Kuettel, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson abstain.
  • St. Louis County Firewise grant – Community Specific Wildfire Strategic Planning – tabled as Deputy Treasurer Ed Potter was absent
  • Wallace reported the following March 2024 Township Election:
    a) December 19, 2023: Notice of offices to be elected will be published
    b.) One supervisor position is open for election. Kuettel’s term is ending in March 2024.

c.) January 2-16, 2023: Filing period for open supervisor position, clerk’s office open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on January 16, the last day of filing period – contact the clerk at peqclerk@gmail.com or 218-525-4068 for information on filing candidacy for open position

d.) February 9 – March 11, 2024: Absentee Balloting period for March Township Election – Absentee ballot application information is available at: https://www.stlouiscountymn.gov/departments-a-z/auditor/elections-voting#3011122-absentee-voting

e.) March 12, 2024, March Township Election Day

  • March 5, 2024: Presidential Nomination Primary Election
  • Per St. Louis County Elections, townships are no longer required to establish polling locations prior to each new election year if there is no changes due to recent change in legislation – Wallace stated that the township does not need to create a Resolution for Polling Place every year not unless there is a change in location.
  • Nancy Nilsen, County Auditor of St. Louis County, confirmed that the county will pick up the Automark machine and Pequaywan Township will receive an OmniBallot funded by the county for use during elections.
  • Clerk and deputy clerk will be attending the Election training in Duluth conducted by St. Louis County Elections on December 1 for the 2024 Presidential Nomination Primary Election
  • Treasurer Nelson reported that Superior Credit Union will be closing its Hermantown branch with only the Superior, Wisconsin, and Grand Avenue remaining open which will be a challenge and further distance to transact business with them. Kuettel advise to locate another bank.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Snowplow bill from St. Louis County Public Works Department in the amount of $1,177.60 for the 1st half of 2023-2024 snow season
  • $275.00 check from Waste Wood Recyclers for overweight permit at West Branch Road.
  • Invoice from Daisy Wallace for October 2023 web maintenance in the amount of $37.50

Sent:

  • Contract application for 2023-2024 snow plowing to St. Louis County Public Works

Public CommentThe Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. If you wish to comment during the Township Meeting, follow the protocol below:

  1. No more than one public comment per citizen.
  2. Submit your comment information to peqclerk@gmail.com with your full name.
  3. Deadline to submit your request is the first Saturday of the month.
  4. Your presentation will be limited to two minutes.
  5. What you said will be on file, and the board can either address the issue, assign someone to address the issue, or do nothing.

Next Meeting, December 12, 2023, 7:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall

Dressen motion to adjourn at 8:21 p.m., second by Nelson, motion carried. Dressen yay, Nelson, yay, Kuettel, yay.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk