BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Monday, June 8, 2020. Northern Town Hall, 445 Town Hall Road NW, Bemidji, MN.
PRESENT: Supervisors Mike Kelly, Clark Chambers, Jess Frenzel and Chris Lahn. Treasurer Doug Kranich, Road Supervisor Tim Vigen, and Clerk Mary Israelson. Absent; Curt Blumhagen. See sign-in sheet for guests.
We are still dealing with a peacetime pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19 and therefore, this meeting is being conducted with social-distancing guidelines put in place. Less than 10 people were gathered.
MINUTES: A motion was offered by Frenzel, and seconded by Lahn, to approve the minutes of the May 26, 2020, meeting as presented. The motion carried unanimously.
Jon Roscoe, Miller McDonald Inc., presented the 2019 Audit information that was recently completed, along with the financial statement unmodified. The general fund balance is healthy and supporting approximately 12 months of operating funds. Mention was made of the Waville enterprise fund balance, of which it was noted that a renovation project is being planned that will likely be financed using general revenue funds and assessed to the users. The segregation of duties in a township is a normal concern due to the lack of personnel, but is something that cannot be avoided and he feels we handle it quite well. With a few question answered, the Board agreed to acknowledge the completed Audit.
Bill Palm, lives in the Wheatfield Development, and asked when Aspen Ave will be blacktop. He was informed of the contract is with Knife River Materials and the completion date of October 1st.
Joe McKinnon, MN Dept of Transportation, was present to give the board an update on the planning that is taking place for the Hwy 71 improvements from Hwy 197 to Winter Sumac Road in Northern Township. The Town Hall Road/Glidden Road intersection is a concern since it has had 20 crashes in the last 10 years, with 16 of them being right angle crash conflicts. The goal is to help eliminate the right angle crashes, and they have looked at several options with the R-Cut (J-turn) being the best option that reduces the conflict by 100%. Other options such as reducing to two (2) lanes have been suggested, but studies indicated the crash rate is only reduces by 50%. The Board thanked him for the update but there are concerns regarding the R-Cut option for trucks entering Hwy #71 from Glidden Road, with concern that the trucks will use Winter Sumac Road instead and it is just not built to accommodate heavy truck hauling traffic. McKinnon acknowledged the concerns and will discuss them with the design firm to look more into the option of reducing the number of lanes on Hwy #71 to two (2) lanes west of the Town Hall Road/Glidden Road intersection.
Crack Filling - With some direction from the Board at the previous meeting, Vigen has sought quotes for the work to be done on Goldenrod Road and Winter Sumac/Sumac Roads.
Calcium Chloride - Wildwood Road will be scheduled for an application at approximately $1,500 ($3,000/mile). The Eckles Town Board will be meeting tomorrow night, and will consider sharing the cost of applying chloride to Werner Road. They are likely going to recommend that the application be done from Grange Road south 1.5 miles to Cartway Road, at a shared cost of 50/50%. Also, the Clerk received a request from a resident along Vincent Street, and the Board agreed that they are not willing to start applying chloride to development roads.
Waville Road and Heather Lane - There is a low area of Waville Road that the blacktop is in need of repair, and Vigen is recommending that a patch approximately 100 feet long be put down. Also, Heather Lane was repaired with some reclaimed bituminous last year and needs a patch about 150 feet long. Vigen got a quote from Northern Paving, but will get another. He was told to go ahead with the low quote.
Deer Path Development - Kelly reported that Freeberg & Grund Inc. was asked to put together a preliminary estimate of the work that is required to be done on these development roads prior to it being accepted as a Township Road. This work would include the improvement work required plus overlayment of the blacktopped areas, and blacktopping the gravel portions of the road, totaling approximately $400,000.00. After some discussion the Board agreed that this matter continues to be an issue and they would be willing to make an exception to the policy of accepting roads by participating in the cost of bringing the roads up to the proper standard, including the blacktopping. It was suggested that 25% of the project be paid from township road & bridge funds and the balance assessed to all the property owners equally (approximately $300,000 divided by 57 properties at about $5,300 each), with financing available through township reserves and payable through special assessments on their real estate tax bills. A letter will be written and it is hoped that a meeting can be held in the next month with the property owners, depending on the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
PUBLIC ACCESS REPORT:
Johnson Construction has indicated that he might start the work around the first week of July.
JOINT PLANNING BOARD (JPB) REPORT:
Frenzel reported that they will be meeting this Wednesday with all the cases in the City of Bemidji. The enforcement position hiring is still an issue.
RURAL FIRE ASSOCIATION:
Work on the new satellite station along Winter Sumac Road has started.
Chambers reported that he is trying to find a contractor to replace the worn shingles on the storage garage.
Bills - The bills are payable with check numbers 10567 to 10585 totaling $75,287.89 being the total, with the largest payment made to the Rural Fire Association for the 1st half dues contribution of $64,663.00. A motion was offered by Frenzel, and seconded by Chambers, to pay the bills as presented, and it carried unanimously.
Treasurer Report - Cash by Fund balances are; Revenue - $157,743.36, Road & Bridge - $507,577.71, Rural Fire - $26,187.55, and Sewer District Waville - $13,351.42 for a total of $704,860.04. A motion was offered by Chambers, seconded by Lahn, and carried to approve the report as presented.
Certificates of Deposit - Kranich recommended that $230,000 of the maturing CDs be placed in a 30 day CD at Security Bank at .85%, and consensus was given to proceed as recommended.
1) Letter mailed to the Bel Tree Drive property owners with information regarding potential blacktopping of their development road, 2) notice from DNR Forestry that burning restrictions have been lifted and we can begin issuing permits, 3) State Demographer estimate, 4) thank you note from Greater Bemidji for the contribution.
Bel Tree Drive - A letter has been mailed with information to the property owners regarding the process involved to blacktop their development road. Gravel was placed on the road a couple summers ago, so the road would be ready for blacktop if the property owners wished to pay that expense.
State Demographer - The 2019 population and household estimates for Northern Township are 3,455 in population, and 1,267 households. It appears that the annexation that happened in 2015 is finally reflected in these numbers since they are down from last year (2018 - population estimated at 4,128 and household at 1,537).
Town Hall Rentals - It was agreed to wait at least another month before allowing rentals to start again.
Road Tour - Will be held Monday, May 15th starting at 5:00 p.m. Paul Bunyan Transit will be contacted to find out if they have a mini-bus available for the tour.
With no further business forthcoming, the meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.