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 (Unapproved)

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.
  • 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:
    ) 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

October 10, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 7:01 p.m.

Attendance:

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

Guests:

Ray Barnes, Bonnie Dressen, Rick Johnson, Jeff Maida, Sccott Mead, Mike Nilsen, Nancy Nilsen, Daryl Olson, Nancy Olson, Deb Pomroy, Jeff Tyllia, Daryle Waldriff, Ted Wallace, Jeff Westman, John Wilson, Sandie Wilson, Chris Wood, Ken Wood, Natalie Zeleznikar

Clerk’s Report

Copies of the minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Dressen made a correction to include the bid from A1 Asphalt Services for $1,400.00 in discussion about the West Branch Road repair as part of the meeting notes. Kuettel also made a correction under public comment, #3, last sentence states the “board is still working through how it can be done and if we can assess specific property owners which appears difficult.” Include “we can form a committee of West Branch Road landowners to assess and pay for a portion of the cost.” Also, where “someone asked why is part in the county and some in township” an answer was provided at the meeting that it is because the county line goes through there.

Motioned by Nelson to approve the Clerk’s Report with correction, seconded by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel, yay, Dressen, yay, Nelson, yay

Treasurer’s Report

SEPTEMBER 2023
Total Funds on Hand 9/1/2023 $255,804.11
Plus: Deposits $502.39
–Interest on Accounts 502.39
Less: Disbursements $8,426.13
–Payroll 1,251.43
–Sinnott Blacktopping 7,000.00
–Other Expenses 174.70
Total Funds on Hand 8/31/2023 $247,880.37
Checks Written #1930 – #1941

OCTOBER 2023
Expected Receipts None
Checks Written #1942 – #1947 $1,443.88
No transfer to checking needed 

Old Business

  • Update on West Branch Road by Nelson: Road repairs delayed due to rain. There will be no impact on the county plowing due to this delay as per Kuettel’s conversation with the county. Sinott will begin on October 11, 2023 in the morning starting on far end of road. Hot mix coming up with a semi. It will be a few days before cracks are filled. Hope to be done by end of week taking care of the road. Hoping current work will buy more time before major work is required. Drilling of core samples will be completed in the future to obtain actual thickness of road to help clarify the accuracy of the road. With that additional information, future estimates can be more accurate to replace the road. Nelson presented the Bloomington City Council “Pavement Management Program” for review. Nelson believes we need to adopt a new long term plan for the repair and care of the West Branch Road starting now. Through a program like Bloomington they can extend the life of a road for 75 years. This includes seal coat every 5 years, overlay in years 30 and 55, and reconstruct in year 75. Nelson points out that our town website states the main business of our township is maintenance on our road. History is interesting but doesn’t dictate the future. The road is a vital link for residents, cabin owners and their guests. It’s a quality of life issue. Nelson states he lived on the road when it was gravel. There are three main questions to address: 1. What work must be done? 2. What will it cost? 3. How are we going to pay for it?

These are issues going forward. While some are opposed to what we must do we all paid taxes to the county to provide a great road for the residences on the East side of Pequaywan. We need to start accumulating funds for this future work rather than borrowing large amounts at today’s high interest rates.

The township will pay a portion of the cost and look into how the amount will be determined. It has to be a cost benefit to the township. Not everyone will be paying the same amount.

Regarding one property owner who needs to fix their driveway, MAT lawyer conversation with Kuettel was to send a letter and then give him certain days to finish the work. If not done, we can complete at township expense and bill him in future. Resident is doing some work later on and could fix it at that time. Ongoing conversations are being had with the resident.

Dressen started going to meetings 40 years ago. Other commitments were discussed at that time such as community center and made comment that we have done lots of work on the West Branch Road to date while not on the other commitments from those prior meetings.

  • Firewise Grant was discussed. The next grant date is October 31. Potter notes that Dovetail is the organization that administers this grant. Potter talked to her and did receive a form with a letter. A committee would need to be formed and talk with property owners as we need to show support and provide a matching grant which can be in kind. Power companies could have interest as well. Try and build support; if the community can get financial support and put together a proposal then we can apply. St. Louis County has money. Potter will forward the information he has. The grant will have to be matched by the township with labor and time for volunteer hours.

New Business

  • Supervisor Doug Nelson completed the course Board of Appeal and Equalization Training good for 2024 to 2027 Local Board of Appeal meetings
  • Clerk process of the Meeting Agenda and Minutes were discussed. Kuettel made note that the clerk puts up the minutes of the meeting on the website. There have been concerns with folks bringing up big changes prior to the next meeting. Would like a clarification on the process to be agreed upon. Motioned by Nelson to allow small changes like name or spelling of name to be made to the meeting minutes prior to the meeting but any big changes must be discussed at the next meeting. The change request is determined big or small at the clerk’s discretion. Seconded by Dressen, motion carried, Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay. .Wallace attended a Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) training where few of the clerks and treasurers inquired about the process of meeting minutes. Lori Stalker, MAT trainer, stated “the minutes are the board’s minutes and not the residents. Any changes must be submitted to the board and will be discussed at next month’s meeting.”
  • Future voting – Wallace reported that there are four elections in 2024. The Presidential Nomination Primary Election is one of them and is set for March 5, 2024 and election will be held at the Pequaywan Firehall. Voters will receive three ballots for each of the primary parties: Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Legal Marijuana Now Party and Republican Party and voters must choose only one to vote for their affiliated party.
  • Discussion on having a building on the township land: Jeff Tyllia of Pequaywan Lakeside Chapel Board requested a chance to talk with the board about exploring possibilities on sharing a space in case Pequaywan Township builds a town hall in the future: Jeff Tyllia has a cabin on big lake for about 20 years. They have been attending lakeside chapel next summer will be 52 nd year meeting. Currently meet every Sunday morning – real community Sunday and all are invited starting memorial day thru end of September. Currently meet on a property owned by a resident since 2000. Jerry Rosdahl’s property is being acquired by second generation and the Lakeside Chapel needs to start looking at the future and how they can continue to meet. Looking at options as to where they will meet. Have a three year commitment of which two years remain. Possibly that this could be extend another three years. Looking as a board as to what the future plans are with limited resources. Building is only used for a couple hours on a Sunday. Have regular attendance of 30–70 each Sunday. John Wilson suggested to donate a piece of the land to the church group that his parents donated to the township. Before the meeting, Kuettel had discussed with a lawyer the question of having a township community center used for church service. Separation of church and state is highly critical and because of this, the board cannot sign a written agreement with the church nor donate land to the church.
  • Clerk report from the MAT 4-Corners Training re-CTAS attended in Grand Rapids. CTAS is City, Townships Accounting System of the State of Minnesota where clerks and treasurers submit financial reports at the end of the year. At the training, the trainer talked about providing a copy of the Cash Control Statement, Claims, Disbursements, Receipts to the board with the Agenda packet. Wallace verified if they want copies or not and it can be shared by hard copy of email. The board wants less paper and since the Treasurer’s Report contains each month’s financial information, they do not need copies of the financial statements. Every month, the Agenda is long due to correspondence received. Going forward, we only need to put action items in the Correspondence received. Reminder that checks must be cashed before the end of the year to prevent issues with CTAS. Reminder that vendors must submit Tax ID number before payment is made. Some townships are doing direct deposit. This will eliminate outstanding checks.
  • Road restriction weight permit enforcement: Dressen brought up road restriction on West Branch Road which has been posted as a 7-ton road. He received a call from someone stating they were going to be on the road with a weight of 9 tons. MN Weight permit is $75.00 plus a general fee of $400.00. Dressen can write the permit but needs the board to determine action route. Question if this only applies to commercial or to all, including private citizens. Answer is yes for all. Dressen wonders if we should adopt the fees in accordance with what the state charges. Kuettel feels the dollar amount is high as the higher the price the more that people will ignore. Nelson wonders about doing 50% of the state’s fee. Dressen inquires what to do if someone ignores the sign. Kuettel recommends 50% without any penalty due to inability to enforce at this time until opportunity to visit with the lawyer on how to enforce. Dressen made motion to charge half of the $400 that the state charges, Nelson seconded, motion carried. Nelson, yay, Dressen, yay, Kuettel yay.
  • Representative Natalie Zeleznikar was welcomed and provided time to speak and have an Q&A with the residents. She updated on changes and issues from the prior session. Kuettel inquired if anything was impactful to township that we should know about to which she responded no.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in the 911 division requesting to provide township contacts for after hours incidents that require immediate attention (e.g. a tree falls in the middle of the night and is blocking a township road or a township road has been heavily eroded after heavy rainfall and needs to be closed.
  • Email from St. Louis County Elections that the 2024 Presidential Nomination Primary Election is set for March 5, 2024.

Sent:

  • Clerk submitted the Contract application online for 2023-2024 snow plowing of West Branch Road to St. Louis County Public Works
  • Invitation to Representative Natalie Zeleznikar to attend the October Town Board Meeting. She responded “yes.”
  • Email to St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office in the 911 division providing them with Pequaywan Township’s contact information
  • Contract with St. Louis County Elections concerning distribution plan for allocating funds from voter account

Public Comment: The Public Comment section is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. To request to make a public comment, follow the protocol below:

  • Submit both your (1) full name, and (2) what you want to comment about to the clerk via email to peqclerk@gmail.com
  • Deadline to submit your request is the 1st Saturday of the month.
  • Your presentation will be limited to (2) minutes.
  • 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 Requests:

  • Bonnie Dressen states she has spent more time on West Branch Road this summer than 50 years she has been here. The road was gravel and bumpy when most residents bought property there. The residents have a quiet good place in the Northwoods. Hwy 44 was also gravel when she bought and she doesn’t think it will go to gravel. $22,700 was committed to repairing West Branch at last meeting. The board went out and looked at the road in June but declined the bid for $1,400. The plan was to invest every dollar in road fund to redo the road. Just like the folks on Hwy 44 chose to live on busy road the West Branch Road folks need to accept their road as to how it is.
  • Daryl and Nancy Olson have been here around 10 years and have three properties on East side. The question is “if this is a need or a want that we are going to supply the taxes for this. Safety is a big deal on West Branch. Feels this meeting is about the community center and not the road.” Nelson asked for clarification if the county would take over the road. Nancy Nilsen stated the county’s initiative is to reduce roads, not add. The $600,000 price we have now is based on road being a double layer; taking one layer off and then doing an overlay. Due to not knowing what the road is the quote could be inaccurate.
  • Kuettel noted we are trying to obtain grants. Nancy spoke with county about them being a sponsor of the grant and give the Board guidance as to what it would take. There are other options they are willing to discuss with the township supervisors. Nancy could also assist with how to assess properties and determine costs per owner. Kuettel would like to make a special committee of affected residences in the spring after snow birds are back.
  • Jeff Wessman lives on West Branch Road. Parents and grandparents have lived here and his parents were part of the West Branch Road when it was gravel. His desire is to leave as asphalt due to safety and dust concerns for kids, pets, and others. Willing to pay his share and wishes to avoid friction.
  • Daryle Waldriff asked how a resident can have input into the property taxes when they don’t live here full time. Answer is can only vote in the area you are a resident. Nancy Nilsen adds that one can only vote in one spot.
  • Nancy Nilsen added that the county will be working on Highway 44 in 2026 from Jean Duluth Road to Barrs Lake and the township can try to piggy back but mentioned that it may still be better for the township to go with the $650,000.00, She confirmed that the county is not taking over the maintenance of West Branch Road. She also added that Lynn Scalzo is working on a grant which requires sponsorship from the township and St. Louis County and that Lynn is willing to work with the board in the completion of the application.

Next Meeting, November 14, 2023, 7:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall

Motioned by Dressen to adjourn, seconded by Nelson, motion carried. Dressen yay, Nelson, yay, Kuettel, yay.

Adjourned at 9:01 p.m.

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

September 12, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

Attendance:

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

Guests:  Ray Barnes, John Brickley, Nancy Brickley, Ann Cutts, Rich Cutts, Bonnie Dressen, Al Hanson, Peggy Hanson, Dorothy Galinski, Jim Hacking   , Mark Johnson, Ken Kost, Debbie Maida, Jeff Maida, Phyllis Mead, Scott Mead, Steve Mueller,  Mike Nilsen, Nancy Nilsen, Greg Planting, Diana Potter, Gloria Redburn, Bill Scalzo, Lynne Scalzo, Charmin Thramer, Daryl Waldriff, John E. Wall, Daisy Wallace, Ted Wallace, Jim Wilson

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

Clerk’s Report: Copies of the minutes were distributed to attendees and they were given time to read it. Correction to add the statement ” There are three more for sale in the amount of $180,000.00 and mid $340,000.00″ to the Old Business under letter (a.) “Report from Dressen after the amount of $599,000.00.”

Motion by Nelson to approve the Clerk’s Report with correction, seconded by Dressen, motion carried. Kuettel, yay, Dressen, yay, Nelson, yay.

Treasurer’s Report

AUGUST 2023

Total Funds on Hand 8/1/2023 $249,682.23
Plus: Deposits $7,542.79
—Interest on Accounts 500.99
—Payment in Lieu of Taxes 3,903.80
—Taconite Production Tax 3,138.00
Less: Disbursements $1,420.91
—Payroll 348.71
—MATIT Insurance 970.00
—Other Expenses 102.20
Total Funds on Hand 8/31/2023 $255,804.11
Checks Written #1924 – #1929
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

SEPTEMBER 2023

Expected Receipts None
Checks Written #1930 – #1940 1426.13
No transfer to the Checking Account will be needed

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

Old Business

  • Update on the deputy clerk position – Wallace introduced Shane Stolp as the new deputy clerk
  • Update on the West Branch Road repair: Nelson presented an update on work in progress in securing maintenance services on all 2.3 miles of West Branch Road. The estimate from Sinnot Blacktop, LLC was for $22,700.00. Since the amount of repair was approved last August meeting for $19,000.00, Nelson motioned to increase the amount by $3,700.00 with a new total of  $22,700.00. Motion was seconded by Kuettel, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen nay, Nelson yay. The repair are as follows: Blow out cracks using 120PSI Air Compressor Crack Fill joint adhesive hot applied ($15,700); and Pothole patching/leveling areas needed using MN Spec Bituminous Hot Mix/Roll for compaction No-sew cutting ($7,000.00). The contractor is Sinnot Contracting, LLC. To be completed the month of September 2023.
  • Options and cost of repair for the township area on West Branch Road: Nelson pointed out that a lot of numbers have been floating around about the cost to repave the 2.3 miles of the West Branch Road. He stated that he was able to secure a second bid from Sinnot Blacktop for $651,000.00. They are willing to break the project in 2 or 3 phases to make it easier to pay over a longer time. They have deducted the areas that have already been repaved that are in good condition. The projected project consists of (1) removing half layer of existing blacktop and reclaim; (2) regrade and repair areas as needed; (3) 3.5″ MN Specs Bituminous pavement.
  • Dressen submitted a bid from A1 Asphalt Services for $1,400.00 in discussion about the West Branch Road repair.

New Business

  • Township tree/branch drop off: Saturday, October 7, 2023, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Requirements are: (1) maximum diameter must be 10 inches; and (2) branches must be de-limbed or separated from the trunk.
  • Pequaywan Township website – pequaywantownship.org: Wallace explained that the website contains contact info for all the town officers, minutes, resolutions, history of the town and more.
  • Election Allocation Fund – Wallace presented that the amount of $11.20 was allocated to Pequaywan Township by St. Louis County Auditor’s Office to cover cost of Absentee Balloting which the county is requesting to either retain the funds allocated for Voting Operations, Technology and Election Resources (VOTER) or be issued a check. The board approved for St. Louis County to retain the fund.
  • How to register for Absentee Ballots for any election – Wallace described that the form is available at St. Louis County Elections website and she has printed copies available tonight. Voters must register for Absentee Balloting with St. Louis County for each election. For Town March election, the county will advise the clerk who have requested Absentee Ballots and the clerk will be the one to mail the Absentee Ballots. For all other elections (state, federal, presidential), the county will mail the ballots.
  • Snow plowing Renewal Application due on September 15, 2023 – the board approved Wallace to apply for renewal which is done online.
  • Invasive Species new software reporting: Ray Barnes shared that he and Deb Pomroy, former Weed Inspector for Pequaywan Township, attended an Invasive Species Management Team Meeting at the Lake County SWCD (Soil and Water Conservation District). The team consists of more than a dozen government agencies and other individual with backgrounds in invasive plant species identification. A new piece of software, ISMTrack (Invasive Species Management Tracking System) with a software designed to be used in conjunction with EDDMapS (Early Detection Distribution Mapping System. The program allows agencies to effectively develop control programs for invasive species, compute the cost of control, number of people needed for application. Deb has been training the Michele Kokosh who volunteered to be the new Weed Inspector and they had inspected some areas in the township property in which Spotted Knapweed were found. One way to eradicate it is to keep cutting and mowing.
  • MN Department of Natural Resources Community Wildfire Defense Grants – Potter reported that a total of $890,000.00 is available to townships to minimize the fire risk of dead and dying Balsams. He has been in contact with Dovetail.org who is handling the grants for St. Louis County. He is requesting assistance from the residents so that a committee could be formed to pursue this initiative. His contact information is on the Pequaywan Township website. Application is on January to June.
  • Trail, mower, loon, no wake signs: Trail, mower: Dressen stated that he does not know how much longer he can do the mowing of the trail and requested to put a notice on the town website if someone is interested in taking over. Loon: Dressen noted that the Lakes Association had requested residents to put a No Wake Sign and obtain bouys to place in the water around areas of loon nesting. Mr. Gustafson from the Association is spearheading this project. Water surface rules apply and an application is required to put a sign in the water. Dressen motion for residents to put a “No Wake Signs” in their private property in both the big lake and little lake, seconded by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Nelson yay, Dressen yay.
  • Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) provides funding assistance to local agencies and federally recognized Indian Tribes for construction or reconditioning projects.: Douglas Nelson participated in the webinar and gauged that with the requirements, Pequaywan Township is not eligible for the grant: Some activities that are not eligible are filling potholes, blading gravel roads, and standalone ditch repairs.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from MN Department of Natural Resources forwarded by Ed Potter re-Community Wildfire Defense Grants
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) re 2023 LRIP (Local Road Improvement Program) funding and upcoming webinars
  • Email from St. Louis County re-snow plowing renewal application form to be submitted by September 15, 2023
  • 2024 Levy Form from St. Louis County Auditor’s Office to be filled out and submitted by September 15, 2023
  • Email from MN Association of Townships re-“4-Corners CTAS Training for Clerks and Treasurers”
  • Bill from MN Association of Townships for attendance by town clerk to 4-Corners Clerk Training in Grand Rapids in October
  • Application for deputy clerk position
  • 533-page 2023 Election Laws from St. Louis County Elections
  • Email from Victor Lund, Traffic Engineer, sent by Christine Clark of St. Louis County Public Works Department re-2023 LRIP eligibility requirements, funding, etc.
  • Email from St. Louis County Planning and Community Development re-NE MN HOME Consortium Public Meeting HOME Funding Process
  • Email from Dewey Johnson, Emergency Operations Manager of St. Louis County sent by Holly Olson St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office requesting an initial damage assessment they are conducting from the storm on September 5, 2023
  • Email from Ray Barnes of North Star re-new piece of software, ISMTrack (Invasive Species Management Tracking System) to use in conjunction with EDDMapS (Early Detection Distribution Mapping System)

Sent:

  • Mailed completed 2024 Levy Form to St. Louis County Auditor’s Office
  • Mailed contract accepting St. Louis County to retain the funds allocated for Voting Operations, Technology and Election Resources (VOTER)

Public Comments/Questions/Opinions:

  • West Branch Road was constructed in 1992. The county completed the work as they were working in the area. $37,500 was paid by the township with the other $37,500 assessed to the land owners.
  • There were a lot of questions and opinions expressed amongst the attendees. Majority expressed that we all want a safe and plowed road. That everyone has different priorities, opinions and emotions. Even though some residents do not live on West Branch Road and do not want their tax dollars spent on something they do not use, this is the time when we decide to be neighbors if we want to share common goals and support road projects. We should trust that the board will be mindful and as usual provide the residents with accurate and clear information and in return for the residents to abide by with the decision.
  • We are not talking about redoing the whole road at once and instead about spreading out the work. The levy portion designated to roads is a small portion. Divided out on average it was estimated to be around $230.00 per resident for the road funds. Kuettel researched other townships and compared to our levy. Ours is around .091 whereas the next township over is 1.2 Taxes here are cheaper compared to our neighboring townships. Dressen added that Hermantown re-did Lavaque Road and they assessed owners on that road. Kuettel commented that he understands that you cannot assess owners beyond their property value increase from improvements completed. The  levy includes specific road fund and the funds in that account cannot be spent for anything other than roads. The board is still working through how it can be done and if we can assess specific property owners which appears difficult. We can form a committee of West Branch Road landowners to assess and pay for a portion of the cost.
  • For folks who are concerned about the tax implication with a higher levy on those low income population, it was advised that they can get a normal property tax refund depending on income and cost of taxes along with possibly qualifying for a special refund if their taxes go up more than 12% in one year. The form to use is Form M1PR from the State of Minnesota.
  • Nancy Nilsen, St. Louis County Auditor, added that West Branch Road has 84 parcels of land  including state parcels. She commented that she is worried of the concept going to gravel. Suggested that residents pay a portion in addition to what the township is paying and for residents to get together for a discussion. A Bond can be secured for the cost of a new road. Her office can help in running numbers.
  • A question was asked how many residents there are in the township. Wallace responded that there are 62 registered voters in 42 homes. Pequaywan Lake Road has 78 registered voters in 36 homes. The numbers are only for full time residents.
  • Attendees thank the board for all the work they have devoted for the township especially with the current West Branch road repair.
  • A resident expressed concerns why there was no vote from residents on the $22,700.00 road repair expenses, no road bed exist in West Branch Road which is an issue, and that the township does not have a townhall.
  • Scott Mead, a former town supervisor, shared these: The 2.3 miles township portion of West Branch Road was blacktopped 30 years ago and the only maintenance done has been a few bags of pothole patch, the enlargement of the turnaround at the end of the road, patching of a few places that had broken up and had become dangerous, and replacement of a culvert. Some of the work was done by township supervisors and a few citizens who donated their time. Assessing each property owner on the road for road maintenance is not simple. A suggested idea of reverting the road back to gravel as it was 30 years presents other considerations. The cost of removing the blacktop would be quite high and the cost of class 5 for the road bed would be extremely high. Costs of maintaining the road would be far more than fixing a blacktop road. Would the township need to buy a road grader? The county would not maintain it for us if we tried to contract with them. It takes more class 5 gravel if the blacktop stays in place because of possible damage to the road by the grader.
  • Another resident commented that last year, he had a hard time turning around at the end of the road with his equipment since the snow was not plowed wide enough.
  • Someone asked why is part of West Branch Road in the county and part in the township. An answer was provided that it is because the county line goes through there.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. Motion by Dressen, seconded by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel, yay, Dressen, yay, Nelson, yay.

 Next Meeting, October 10, 2023, 7:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:

Lita Wallace, Clerk
Shane Stolp, Deputy Clerk

August 8, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

Attendance:

Town officers: Supervisors Charles Kuettel,  Doug Dressen,  Doug Nelson; Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson,  Deputy Treasurer Ed Potter

Guests:  Bonnie Dressen, Ray Barnes, Scott Mead, Deb Pomroy, Daryle Waldriff, Ted Wallace

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

 Clerk’s Report – Wallace presented the July Meeting Minutes which was motioned by Dressen for approval with correction on adding Bonnie Dressen’s name to the guest list. Seconded by Nelson, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report – C. Nelson presented the Treasurer’s Report. Nelson motioned to approve, Dressen seconded, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay, 3-0-0.

JULY 2023

Total Funds on Hand 7/1/2023 $215,772.96
Plus: Deposits $35,659.05
Interest on Accounts 483.55
First Half Tax Apportionment 34,365.00
State of MN Town Aid $810.50
Less: Disbursements $1,749.78
Payroll 549.03
941 PR Taxes 1,040.09
Other Expenses 160.66
Total Funds on Hand 7/31/2023 $249,682.23
Checks Written #1914 – #1923
Check Voided #1918

AUGUST 2023

Claims (August) $1,420.91
Checks Written #1924-#1929
Expected Receipts MN DNR Payment in lieu of taxes
Taconite Production taxes
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

Nelson motioned to approve, Dressen seconded, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • Update on the West Branch Road:1. Report from Nelson – The meeting with Steve Krasaway of St. Louis County was held on July 20. All three township supervisors were in attendance. Steve indicated that our township road #2412 was not a viable candidate for the chip and seal program offered by the county because there were too many issues with potholes, oversized cracking and missing blacktop on the edges. He also said the county normally considers the useful life of Asphalt Road to be about 20 to 30 years old. Our road was probably built in 1992 or 1993 at a cost of $75,000.00 according to the notes of past meetings I could find making our road about 30 years old. His educated guess at replacement cost today would probably be about $500,000.00. That could be reduced if someone set up a batch plant and was doing other roads in the vicinity. Steve also indicated that we probably would not qualify for any grants or aid from the state or federal government because of the limited usage. This leaves the township with the task of repairing and maintaining the road as best we can within our resources. I will continue to contact other contractors. In this month’s issue of Minnesota Association of Township Insider Magazine, there is a mention of financial help with culver replacement which I intend to investigate further to see if we can get a grant to help cover our costs.
    2. Report from Dressen: Googled blacktopping a road in MN and found the average cost per foot is $70.00 to $170.00 per foot.  That is $370.00 to $900,000.00 per mile.   The township has 2.3 miles of road to do. Pequaywan township would have to spend over a million dollars to repair our 2.3 miles on West Branch.  That money would come from all the taxpayers on this lake and in the township. John Wilson has stated that West Branch Rd was intended to simply be an access to the cabins his father built.  It never did have the usual foundation prepared to put down a paved road. Communication by phone to County Traffic Engineer Victor Lund in 2019 was to determine West Branch would be classified as a 5 ton or 7 ton road.  I pushed for 7 ton so garbage and propane trucks could use the road for residents.  Since then, much larger vehicles and pieces of equipment have been hired by residents using the road beyond that 7 ton listed capability. Pequaywan has moved from being a cabin lake to a lake bordered by large expensive homes.  Realty records show the last couple of sales were $640,000.00 and $576,400.00.  The Island is currently listed for $599,000. There are three more for sale in the amount of $180,000.00 and mid $340,000.00. Park Point is having the same problem right now. A former Pequaywan resident’s Park Point home was purchased by a large corporation at a huge price. Corporations are pushing private bidders out of home sales so the large investors can use the land for luxury rental properties.  Taxes rise and smaller long time owners can no longer live there. We have to address this problem now before the road is completely gone. The County has already threatened to stop plowing if all the deep potholes were not filled. I’d like the issue presented at the Annual meeting so the Board can get feedback from all township residents on this issue and which of very few options we can use to resolve this important issue.
    3. Nelson motion to hire a contractor to repair West Branch Road for $19,000.00 or under, Kuettel seconded, motion carried. Kuettel yay, Nelson yay, Dressen nay, 2-1-0.
  • Update on the deputy clerk position opening – Wallace reported that no one has applied for the position

New Business

  • Upcoming Pequaywan Lakes Association event: Pequaywan National Night Out is a community social event scheduled on August 12 at 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Pequaywan Inn. Dressen mentioned that he will have a map of the trail.
  • Email from MN Department of Revenue regarding Town Aid Certification states that Pequaywan Township will be receiving $1.621.00 for 2023 and $1,470.00.00 in 2024. C. Nelson mentioned that we already received half of the $1,621.00.
  • Wallace reported that she will be attending the Minnesota Association of Townships “4-Corners” Training for Clerks and Treasurers in Grand Rapids.

Correspondence

Received:

  • August Newsletter from St. Louis County Public Health re-Disease Prevention and Control Projects
  • District 10 Meeting and Election on August 24, 2023 Email from Minnesota Association of Townships
  • July 2023 Newsletter from Minnesota Association of Townships
  • Email from Josh Brinkman of St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office re-FEMA spring flooding disaster applicant briefing
  • Email from MN Department of Revenue re-Town Aid Certification Update – 2024 Aid Amounts Posted
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development’s upcoming regional gatherings in August and September at 17 different locations to discuss funding for broadband infrastructure and the preparation for a plan by each eligible entity for how to achieve internet for all.
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re- Clerk and Treasurer “4-Corners” Training
  • Email from Cathy Roleau re- MAT District 10 Director elections and SLCAT District 10 Candidate Forum
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-“4-Corners Training for Clerks and Treasurers scheduled on October 5 in Grand Rapids, MN

Sent:

Public Comment:
This is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board. No more than one (1) public comment per citizen will be accepted per meeting. A Public Comment information with your name and topic of comments must be submitted to the clerk via email (peqclerk@gmail.com) three (3) days before the scheduled meeting. Your presentation will be limited to two (2) minutes.

Note: There was no public comment received.

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

Meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m. by Nelson, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, Kuettel yay, Dressen yay, Nelson yay, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk

July 11, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

Attendance:

Town officers: Supervisors Charles Kuettel,  Doug Dressen,  Doug Nelson; Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Carol Nelson,  Deputy Treasurer Ed Potter

Guests:  Ray Barnes, Steve Mueller, Deb Pomroy, Daryle Waldriff, Ted Wallace

Meeting was called to order by Kuettel at 7:04 p.m.

 Clerk’s Report

June  Board Meeting Minutes was presented for approval. Motion to approve by Dressen, seconded by Nelson, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

JUNE 2023
Total Funds on Hand 6/1/2023 $216,970.29
Plus: Deposits $497.09
Interest on Accounts 497.09
Less: Disbursements $1,694.42
Payroll 1,215.74
Other Expenses 478.68
Total Funds on Hand 6/30/2023 $215,772.96
Checks Written #1905-#1913

JULY 2023

Claims (July) – $14,249.78
Checks Written #1914-#1923
Expected Receipts First Half Tax Apportionment – $34,365
State of MN Town Aid

Nelson motioned to approve the Treasurer’s Report, Dressen seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • Update on West Branch Road – D. Nelson reported that he contacted St. Louis County and a few businesses. Supervisors will meet with St. Louis County on July 20 to seek information on what needs to be done and estimate on how much it will cost.
  • Update on deputy clerk position opening – Wallace reported that the opening was posted on the town website and Pequaywan Lake Community Facebook page but as of tonight, no one has applied.
  • Question on MATIT insurance coverage – C. Nelson asked a question about the invoice regarding coverage for Automark since it will no longer be used in future elections. It was agreed that coverage will be kept until the machine is turned-over to the company. When we receive the new voting machine, that will be added to the coverage.

New Business

  • Items discussed at the Northstar Township meeting on June 23 regarding short term rentals (STR) with North Star and Pequaywan Townships supervisors and St. Louis County – this is a continuing issue for townships. Some questions raised were: (1) Should more items on STR be imposed? (2) Should permit be approved by the township in addition to the county? (3) Enforcement?
  • Clerk report on completing the required new clerk election training for 2024 Presidential Election – Wallace reported that St. Louis County will conduct in-person election training in June 2024. Since the Presidential Primary Election will be held in March, she was required by the county to complete a set of election materials to receive the certificate as an election judge which she completed.
  • D. Nelson mentioned that he will complete the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) online training for LBAE 2024.

Received:

  • Email from St.Louis County Elections with new clerk  election training materials for the clerk to review and complete to complete initial clerk certification.
  • Minnesota Association of Townships June 2023 Newsletter via email
  • Email from Breanna Archer of St. Louis County Public Works re-website created that centralizes all the information regarding their Construction Projects, Plans, and Studies. https://slc-mn-public-works-slcgis.hub.arcgis.com/
  • Email from Teresa Hirsch regarding the results of the calcium chloride dust control bid for 2023. Envirotech Services Inc. was awarded the bid for liquid calcium chloride. Edwards Oil Inc. was awarded the bid for magnesium chloride.
  • Email from NST Assessments requesting special current pending and/or levied assessments information against a property at Pequaywan Lake Road.
  • Bill from Minnesota Association of Townships Insurance And Bond Trust (MATIT) in the amount of $970.00.
  • Invoice from Daisy Wallace for tech work in June 2023 in the amount of $12.50.
  • Invoice #00000435 dated January 11, 2023 from St. Louis County Elections for election judge training in the amount of $47.00 for 2022 election.
  • Email from Ryan Bauers of St. Louis County Economic Services & Supports re-Critical Medical Assistance information to get the word out to the community.
  • Email from Lora Skarman of St. Louis County Assessor’s Office re- Board of Appeals and Equalization 2024 appeals season training available online for voting county board members to access.

Sent: 

  • Posted Critical Medical Assistance information from St. Louis County to the “Pequaywan Lake Community” Facebook page
  • Posted Deputy Clerk position opening to the “Pequaywan Lake Community” Facebook page

Public CommentThis is a courtesy extended to persons wishing to address the Board who are not on the agenda. No more than one (1) public comment form per citizen will be accepted per meeting. Your presentation will be limited to two (2) minutes. A complete Public Comment information must be emailed to the clerk, peqclerk@gmail.com, prior to the meeting.

There was no public comment received.

Next Meeting, August 8, 2023, 7:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall

Meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m. by Nelson, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Clerk