September 12, 2023, Township Board Meeting Minutes


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


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


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 – 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 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.



  • 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)


  • 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