October 10, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes

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


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


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

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

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.



  • 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.


  • 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