March 27, 2020
Present: Chair Charles Kuettel, Vice-Chair Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Deputy Clerk Stephanie Teek. By phone: Treasurer Ray Barnes, Deputy Treasurer Jennifer Maciewski.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, an outdoor Emergency Town Board Meeting was convened at the parking lot of Pequaywan FireHall to discuss issues related to ways in conducting upcoming meetings, processes to pay Claims, and training of deputy clerk and deputy treasurer.
Note that list of resources for COVID-19 is posted on the town webpage, pequaywantownship.org.
Meeting was called to order by Chair Kuettel at 1:00 p.m.
CHECK SIGNATORY/CLAIMS PAYMENT
Planning ahead, Barnes reported that he had contacted Superior Choice Credit Union a few days ago to check what can be done to avoid delay in town officers signing checks in case the township don’t meet in-person. He was advised that one-signatory authorization for the checks will be acceptable if a copy of town board meeting minutes or resolution is submitted indicating that decision. Dressen motioned to approve Barnes to sign the one-signatory checks effective March 27, 2020 until rescinded, Swanstrom second, motion carried, 3-0-0. Barnes will submit a copy of the Meeting Minutes to the credit union. A Resolution will be submitted after the Town Board Meeting on April 14, 2020.
Kuettel instructed that Maciewski, the new deputy treasurer, should be added as signatory on the township credit union accounts. Barnes will follow-up with the credit union.
In paying Claims, Barnes will continue the procedure of running a Claims Report then will email the Report to the supervisors for approval and signature then supervisors will email back to the treasurer and copy the clerk.
DEPUTY CLERK/DEPUTY TREASURER TRAINING/SALARY
Clerk and Treasurer have been authorized to start training the deputy clerk and deputy treasurer effective immediately. Training could be done in person, telephone or using the MAT online training materials. Wallace will verify if the cancelled MAT Spring Short Course training are now available online. Swanstrom motioned that the deputy clerk and deputy treasurer be paid the same salary as the clerk and treasurer. Dressen second, motion carried, 3-0-0. The deputy clerk and deputy treasurer will keep track of their hours worked and submit it to the treasurer for payment. Wallace turned-over ownership of her old laptop to the deputy clerk. Barnes will do the same with his old laptop to turn over to the deputy treasurer.
Following various COVID-19 guidelines and resolutions from government entities in conducting meetings, the Town of Pequaywan has decided that to keep everyone safe and healthy, Kuettel reported that the township has been working with Lee Kaplan on determining ways to conduct town board meetings, including the upcoming Local Board of Appeal and Equalization (LBAE) meeting, via telephone or other electronic means. He further mentioned that the only feasible way that will work in our area is via telephone conferencing.
Swanstrom motioned that effective March 27, 2020 and until further notice, the Town of Pequaywan will be holding all meetings via telephone conference, including the LBAE meeting. During the telephone conference, no public comments will be allowed. The public can contact a supervisor by phone or email of their concerns. The process is still being worked on with assistance from resident Lee Kaplan wherein a phone number will be provided to call by homeowners interested in “virtually” attending the meeting. More information will be posted on the town website. Dressen second, motion carried, 3-0-0.
St. Louis County Assessor’s Office had informed townships of the three options to choose from in conducting LBAE meetings. Furthermore, they advised that assessors will only be available by phone or video and physical inspection of the property are suspended until further notice, a temporary solution to the crisis at hand. The choices are:
- to go ahead with the in-person meeting which would risks further exposing people unnecessarily to COVID-19;
- to hold a “Virtual Meeting” by telephone or other electronic means requiring property owners to submit their appeal in writing than in-person; and
- to cancel your local board meeting and allow your jurisdiction to go open book. This option places the burden on our office and allows appellants to deal with their assessor directly and if need be, go straight to the county board of appeal. All appeals could be easily handled over the phone and this option ensures the safety of board members and the general public. Jurisdictions
choosing this option will be required to go open book for this and next year’s local board season, but can regain their right to a local board of appeal and equalization for the 2022 assessment year.
Swanstrom expressed his concern about choosing #3 and states that two years is a long time to transfer jurisdiction and it is for the betterment of town folks to have us (supervisors) who live in the township assisting them in their appeals. Swanstrom motioned to choose #2, conduct the LBAE meeting “virtually.” Dressen second, motion carried, 3-0-0.
Kuettel requested that a Resolution be created for the change of the meeting from in-person to telephone conference.
Meeting was motioned to adjourn at 2:05 p.m. by Dressen, second by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.
Lita Wallace, Pequaywan Clerk