24 Dec

December 8, 2020 Township Board Meeting (Unapproved)

Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Attendance: Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes.

Clerk’s Report: Since the meeting was conducted via teleconference, the supervisors read

the November 10, 2020 minutes from the town webpage. Dressen motioned to approve the minutes, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

NOVEMBER 2020
Total Funds on hand as of 11/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $171,717.42
Plus: Deposits – $135.50
Interest on Accounts – $135.50
Less: Disbursements (November) – $1,648.33
First Half Snowplowing Township Road – $1,121.25
Other Disbursements – $527.08
Total Funds on hand as of 11/30/2020 – $170,204.59
November Check # 1599 – 1605

DECEMBER 2020
Claims (December) – $885.88
December Check # 1606 – 1613
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

Dressen motioned to approve the November 2020 Treasurer’s Report and Claims for December 2020, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • West Branch Road update: a supervisor will check the plowing turnaround area with damages on newly planted trees
  • Future voting and meetings update:
    1. Location of the Annual Townhall and March Town Board meetings will be discussed at the January Town Board Meeting.
    2. There were 134 residents that voted during the November 3 General Election which was conducted by St. Louis County via mail-in voting.
    3. January meeting will be conducted via teleconference.
    4. Swanstrom motioned and Dressen seconded to schedule the Board of Audit Meeting and Budget Meeting on Tuesday, January 26, at 7:00p.m. Motion carried, 3-0-0. These are open meetings.
    5. Wallace reported that due to COVID-19, the municipal governing body may authorize mail balloting by resolution for the March 2021 town election. And also due to COVID-19, two of the election judges are not available to serve and back-up judges may also not be available. Due to the worsening situation with the virus and not knowing what it will be like in March, Dressen motioned to submit a resolution to conduct mail balloting during the March 2021 town election, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Update on the deputy clerk and deputy treasurer open positions:
    1. Discussion will include possible letter to township residents and the possible dismantling of the township if we can’t fill the open positions.
    2. Wallace reported that as of this date, there were no applicants for the deputy clerk/clerk position. Kuettel instructed Wallace to put together an advertisement for clerk position in the Duluth News Tribune, must reside in Duluth or surrounding area.
    3. Barnes reported that Lynne Scalzo applied for the treasurer position. Swanstrom motioned, Dressen seconded to accept the hire of Scalzo as treasurer-in-training, motion carried, 3-0-0.
    4. Kuettel presented a rough draft of a letter for residents requesting assistance in finding an individual to apply for the clerk position and explaining the possible scenario in case one is not found.
  • LBAE supervisor training: Kuettel had completed the training

New Business

  • Polling place and resolution for 2021 elections: Pequaywan Firehall has been designated as the polling place for March 2021 elections per Town Resolution # 2020-008, Resolution Designating Annual Polling Place
  • Report open town officer position/s to St. Louis County for March town election: one supervisor position is open

Correspondence

Received:

  • Newsletters via email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-polling place designation for 2021; and operational guidelines operating the township amid
    COVID-19
  • Email from EDDMapS (Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System) coordinator confirming that a local EDDMapS verifier has verified that plant determinations submitted by Deb Pomroy, town’s Noxious Weed Inspector, on August 5, 2020, was correct and will be publicly available on maps and download
  • Schedule of SLCAT meeting for December 2020 to March 2021 meetings
  • Email from St. Louis County’s COVID-19 weekly partner communications with information on the new COVIDawareMN app that will notify the population if someone who’s been near them later test positive for coronavirus, COVIDaware MN | State of Minnesota COVID-19 exposure notification applicatio

Sent: None

Public Comment: None

Next Meeting, January 12, 2021, 7:30 p.m., via teleconference

Adjourn meeting: Swanstrom motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m., seconded by Dressen, motion carried 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

20 Nov

November 10, 2020 Township Board Meeting

Meeting was called to order at 7:34 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Attendance: Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom,

Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes.

Clerk’s Report: Since the meeting was conducted via teleconference, the supervisors read the Ocotober 13, 2020 Minutes from the town webpage. Swanstrom motioned to approve the minutes, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

OCTOBER 2020

Total Funds on hand as of 10/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $172,757.54
Plus: Deposits – $2,081.11
CARES Election Grant ($449.00)
Transfer to Building/Property Fund from General Fund ($1500.00)
Interest on Accounts ($132.11)
Less: Disbursements (October) – $3,121.23
Transfer from General Fund to Building/Property Fund ($1500.00)
Other Disbursements ($1621.23)
Total Funds on hand as of 10/31/2020 – $171,717.42
October Check # 1593 – 1598

NOVEMBER 2020

Claims (November) – $1648.33 (includes snowplowing bill)
November Check # 1599 – 1605
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

Dressen motioned to approve the October 2020 Treasurer’s Report and Claims for November 2020, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • Update on West Branch Road – some residents have expressed concern on trees going down partly in township area. No update yet whether the repair on West Branch Road had been completed.
  • Discussion on upcoming township meetings – with the uncertainty of the effects of COVID-19, the township will continue to meet via teleconference and will keep discussing monthly. For the election and Annual Town Meeting in March, the township will try to find a location to conduct the election and the meeting. Barnes will check with the Snowmobile Club if their building can be used.
  • Update on clerk and treasurer positions – The position for clerk and treasurer are still open. No application has been received as of this date. Barnes will talk with the incoming North Star clerk if she might be interested. The only problem is that she cannot be in two places during the Annual Town Meeting. Kuettel requested Wallace if she will be available to conduct the Annual Meeting and serve as Deputy Clerk. Wallace agreed.
  • Dressen mentioned that there was a situation when an individual called asking about the vehicle axle weight limit in West Branch Road but has no idea how big the equipment is.

New Business

  • Invasive weed report – Deborah Pomroy, Town of Pequaywan Weed Inspector, reported that she completed the submission of the required Noxious Weed Survey Report online via EDDMaps to St. Louis County Land Department. She mentioned that other government agencies such as the MN Department of Agriculture reviews the report but nothing has been done by the agencies.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-the 2020 MAT Educational Conference and Annual Meeting schedules
  • Various emails from St. Louis County Elections re- upcoming General Election on November 3
  • Email from Frontier Communications verifying if they need a permit for a work to be done on the township between homes 9196 and 9182 West Branch Road
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-2020 MAT Educational Conference and Annual Meeting on November 20 to be held via Zoom webinar due to the pandemic
  • Email from St. Louis County Association of Townships re-Agenda for October 28 Zoom meeting, minutes of February 2020 meeting, minutes of the 56th Annual meeting on May 22, 2019 and the By-laws
  • Snowplowing bill for West Branch Road from St. Louis County Public Works Department in the amount of $1,121.25 for 1st half of 2020-2021
  • Bill from Deborah Pomroy, Pequaywan Township weed inspector, in the amount of $200.00, for the survey completed in two areas specified in the report below
  • Bill from Minnesota Association of Townships Insurance Trust in the amount of $255.00 for Worker’s Compensation premium covering 1/1/2021-1/1/2022 due 1/1/2021

Sent:

  • Minnesota Unemployment Insurance and the Minnesota State Withholding Reports have been filed electronically with the State of Minnesota by Barnes
  • Noxious Weed Survey Report of burning site on township land located at T54N R12W NE1/4 of NE1/4 Sec 19 and weed survey of St. Louis County gravel pit located at T54N R12W NE1/4 of SE1/4 Sec 18 was submitted by Deborah Pomroy to St. Louis County Land Department thru EDDMapS, http://www.eddmaps.org/
  • Submitted the Resolution Adopting the Minnesota Township General Records Retention Schedule to Minnesota Historical Society – confirmed received on 11/10/2020

Public Comment:

  • Outdoor lighting – the individual that requested this topic was not able to join the meeting but the supervisors agreed that it is a concern. They could make recommendations but the township cannot enforce it.

Next Meeting, December 8, 2020, 7:30 p.m., via teleconference

Swanstrom motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:16 p.m., seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

14 Oct

October 13, 2020 Township Board Meeting

Meeting was called to order at 7:34 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Attendance: Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes, Recording Secretary Marialice Arndt

Guests: Richard Arndt, Lisa Klassen, Paul Klassen, Shane Stolp, John Wilson

Clerk’s Report: Since the meeting was conducted via teleconference, the supervisors read the September 8, 2020 minutes from the town webpage. Dressen motioned to approve the minutes with spelling correction of his last name, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

SEPTEMBER 2020

Total Funds on hand as of 09/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $174,718.78
Plus: Deposits – $135.21
Interest on Accounts ($135.21)
Less: Disbursements (September) – $2,096.45
Total Funds on hand as of 09/30/2020 – $172,757.54
September Check # 1580 – 1592

OCTOBER 2020
Claims (October) – $1621.23
October Check # 1593 – 1598
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

Dressen motioned to approve the September 2020 Treasurer’s Report and Claims for October 2020, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • Update on the West Branch Road repairs: Kuettel stated that part of the work was done and will be completed the week of October 19.
  • Tree branch drop off site update: Kuettel mentioned that tree drop off is done for the year and dates for 2021 will be scheduled in the spring. Motion by Dressen to close the tree drop off site for 2020 and to request Pequaywan Volunteer Fire Department to burn the pile after a snow fall, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried 3-0-0.
  • LBAE training: Supervisor Dressen had scheduled a mid November date to complete the training. Supervisor Swanstrom has not completed the training.
  • Position opening for deputy clerk: At this time there has been no application received for the deputy clerk position. Ray Barnes will discuss the position with an interested party when North Star Township meet this Thursday. Supervisor Dressen suggests that meetings go through Zoom for more interest in the meetings in general but also for the deputy clerk position.

New Business

  • Monthly town board meetings and upcoming meetings and elections including budget meeting, board of audit meeting, annual town meeting, board of canvass meeting, reorganization meeting, LBAE meeting, and annual town election: Discussions need to be had about safety protocol for meetings and election or locate a larger capacity location. Pequaywan Firehall can accommodate up to 13 people. The snowmobile club is 40×60 and may be a solution as the grooming equipment will not be housed until after April 1st. If Zoom is considered a practice, run would be prudent.
  • Wallace reported that the township received CARES election grant funding from the state through St. Louis County to assist the township with 2020 election cycle preparation and related costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the amount of $449.00. The amount submitted was for $515.98. The default allocation included the following factors: a flat base allocation for all counties, 2018 voter turnout, 2018 absentee voter turnout, number of registered voters, number of polling places, and population.
  • Barnes will create a new fund titled Building Property and Maintenance Fund in the amount of $1,500.00 which will come from the General Fund.
  • Town residents Marialice Arndt, Richard Arndt and John Wilson proposed to install a flagpole, a landscape rock and a granite plaque in the corner of West Branch Road with the landowner’s approval. Motion by Dressen for Richard Arndt to apply for a Cooperative Light & Power (CLP) Roundup Grant to install a flagpole at the corner of West Branch Road using the township as Representative Organization, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from Brian Fritsinger, St. Louis County Administrator re-CARES grant to Small Cities and Town to reimburse election and non-election expenses incurred related to COVID-19
  • Email from Phil Chapman, St. Louis County Elections re-CARES grant for reimbursement of expenses related to election in the amount of $449.00
  • Email from Lora Skarman of St. Louis County Assessor’s Office re-LBAE Minnesota training for 2021 LBAE meeting

Sent:

  • Submitted the CARES grant reimbursement form for election expenses related to COVID-19 in the amount of $449.00 to St. Louis County

Public Comment:

  • Short term rental/license: St. Louis County Ordinance 62 will go into effect in January 2021. Chair Kuettel said that Pequaywan Township has no jurisdiction for enforcement of short term rental/license as that is the role of the county.

Next Meeting, November 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m., via teleconference

Dreseen motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:29 p.m., seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Minutes was taken by Marialice Arndt, Recording Secretary

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

15 Sep

September 8, 2020 Township Board Meeting

The meeting which was held outdoor was called to order at 6:42 p.m. by Chair Kuettel. Attendees were following 6-foot social distancing.

Attendance:

Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes

Guests: Richard Arndt, Bonnie Dressen, Lisa Klassen, Paul Klassen, Deb Pomroy, Faye Swanstrom

Clerk’s Report

A copy of the minutes of the Board of Supervisors meeting on August 12, 2020 was provided to attendees, Motion to approve by Dressen, second by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0

Treasurer’s Report

AUGUST 2020
Total Funds on hand as of 08/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $169,188.54
Plus: Deposits – $8,844.16  (2020 MN DNR PILT $3,867.51; 19 Tac Prod-Aug20 Dist $4,841.00; Interest on Accounts $135.65)
Less: Disbursements (August) – $3,313.92
Total Funds on hand as of 08/31/2020 – $174,718.78
August Check # 1570 – 1579

SEPTEMBER 2020
Claims (September) – $2,096.45
September Check # 1580 – 1592
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed.

Motion by Swanstrom to approve August Treasurer’s Report and September Claims, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • September in-person meeting was held outdoor.
  • Update on the tree branch drop off site and discuss next date for drop off: There were 51 individuals who came on August 29 to drop off dead trees. One problem is that branches were not cut off from the trunk. Reminder to make sure that trunks are de-limbed or branches separated from the trunk. The township thanks Richard and Marialice Arndt for helping during the drop-off. Kuettel and Dressen finished the access road. Next drop off date is September 26 from 10: a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Richard Arndt will have the key to the gate and will supervise the site.
  • West Branch road damage – what to do if contractor damage (discussion on road damage while unloading large equipment for work on homeowner property): It was decided that in the latest case, the road was not properly firm and the township must pay for the repair. Per Minnesota Association of Townships, the landowner is liable for road damage due to work connected with their property and may seek reimbursement from the contractor.
  • Weed control update – Once leaves fall, Pomroy and Dressen will inspect for Buckthorn.
  • Mail-in voting for November General Election – 136 letters from the township mailed on August 24 to resident registered voters.
  • Walking path: Dressen mowed the walking path for the last time this year. The path is greatly improved and the area provides a lovely walk.
  • LBAE training: reminder to supervisors that needs re-certification to complete the online training for 2021 LBAE meeting.

New Business

  • Position opening for deputy clerk: The deputy clerk hired earlier this year has put in her resignation. And since the current town clerk is leaving the position in March 2021, the township really needs to hire a deputy clerk as soon as possible so that person can be trained to take over the clerk position. It is vitally important that this position is filled, so please ask any prospective applicants to contact the town clerk at peqclerk@gmail.com. The posting with required qualifications and duties can be found at http://www.pequaywantownship.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/deputyclerk.pdf.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Auditor approval letter from St. Louis County Auditor’s Office re-approval to switch Pequaywan Township to a mail ballot precinct for the 2020 General Election
  • LBAE training information for 2021 appeals season from Minnesota Department of Revenue
  • From Minnesota Association of Townships: District 10 meeting in August; 2020 Fall Legislative & Research Committee meeting; August 2020 Newsletter
  • From St. Louis County re- (1) County Small Business COVID-19 relief grants available starting August 24; (2) maintenance programs for 2021
  • Special assessment request from Steve Ball & Associations for a property at 9021 West Branch Road
  • Special assessment request from North Shore Title for a property at 8887 Pequaywan Lake Road

Sent:

  • Mail-in voting letter for the November General Election to 136 registered resident voters

Public Comment:

  • Short-term rental (STR) and enforcement: St. Louis County Ordinance 62 will go into effect in January 2021. A local resident has applied for an STR application. Another local resident has stated some complaints but was advised to concentrate more on the illegal activities than the lesser problems.
  • Speeding in Highway 44: Increased speed continues to be a problem in Highway 44. The township is looking into adding road signs for lower speed.
  • A resident inquired about the Rossini Road being closed for traffic: Rossini Road signs do not indicate date of work on road. Kuettel called St. Louis County and was told that September 9 is the only day the road was closed so a culvert can be installed.

Next Meeting, October 13, 2020, back to regular time at 7:30 p.m. and will be held via teleconference. Barnes will be the moderator with Wallace as back-up. Will contact Lee Kaplan for assistance in setting up the teleconference.

Dressen motioned to adjourn the meeting at 7:45 p.m., seconded by Swanstrom, 3-0-0.

Minutes were taken by Bonnie Dressen.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

13 Aug

August 12, 2020, Township Board Meeting

AGENDA

The meeting which was held outdoor was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chair Kuettel. Attendees were following 6-foot social distancing.

Attendance:
Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes

Guests: Marialice Arndt, Richard Arndt, Bonnie Dressen, Jim Hacking, Paul Klassen, Ken Kost, Deb Pomroy, Tom Sykes, Ted Wallace, Daryl Waldriff, John Wilson

Clerk’s Report:

Wallace presented the minutes of the Board of Supervisors Meeting  on July 14, 2020 and July 29, 2020 Emergency Meeting. Revision was suggested to add that instead of in-person voting in November, it will be mail-in voting for the July 14 meeting minutes. No changes on the Emergency Minutes. Motion to approve by Dresden, second by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0

Treasurer’s Report

JULY 2020

Total Funds on hand as of 07/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $148,470.88
Plus: Deposits – $22,890.22
Less: Disbursements (July) – $2,172.56
Total Funds on hand as of 07/31/2020 – $169,188.54
July Check # 1563 – 1569

Motion by Swanstrom to approve July Treasurer’s Report, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

AUGUST 2020

Claims (August) – $3313.92
August Check # 1570 – 1579
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

Motion by Swanstrom to approve August Treasurer’s Report and the Claims, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0

Old Business

  • August in-person meeting was held outdoor.
  • September in-person meeting will be held at Pequaywan Firehall with a possibility of conducting it outdoors, weather permitting, following guidelines for in-person meeting. September Town Board Meeting has been revised to start at 6:30 p.m. Motioned by Swanstrom, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Status and possible date for tree disposal at township land/opening of collection area for dead trees: St. Louis County is scheduled to inspect and approve that a culvert is not needed in the driveway to the tree disposal area. Kuettel reported that the tentative date for the tree disposal area will be Saturday, August 29, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Requirements are that maximum diameter must be 10 inches and the branches must be de-limbed/ separated from the trunk.  Second burning will be scheduled sometime in September and will be announced during the September meeting. Swanstrom motioned the opening of the area and the date and time, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Update on the walking trail: Dressen reported that he had finished mowing the trail and mentioned that there is a huge problem with thistle. He commented that “the walking trail is an absolute jewel for the township.” The township is hoping that more people will use it.”
  • Fire threat from dead trees at West Branch Road: Swanstrom reported that he talked with Kelly Sandroski of St. Louis County and they are interested in getting the trees taken cared of as we are. Landowners could be advised to take care of the issue and if they don’t do anything with it, the township can decide what to do next. DNR has more authority on it. Some guests suggested to write a letter to the property owners to ask them to remove the dead trees. The dead trees are in the county land within the right of way.
  • DS200: Wallace reported that she talked with the company that sells DS200 and was told that the machine processes ballots at 300 per hour. The county stated that it is not a requirement to purchase the machine, a township can continue to do hand count. Since the town only has under 150 registered voters, the supervisors decided that it is not worth it to purchase the machine for over $5,000.00 . Swanstrom motioned to advise the state that the township declines the grant, Dressen seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Cares Act grant for Election 2020 expenses: Wallace reported that the state through St. Louis County has approved this grant to cover expenses incurred during state and federal elections during this pandemic. Example of an expense will be plexiglass barrier.
  • August 2020 Primary election update – 32 out of 135 registered voters voted in-person. There were 13 Absentee Ballots.
  • November 2020 General Election mail-in voting: Registered voters will be receiving their ballots for November election from St. Louis County
  • Discuss the following resolutions:
    1. Records Retention and Filing System for Townships
    2. Statutory Conflicts of Interest
    Dressen motioned to approve the two resolutions, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.

New Business

  • Dressen reported that there is someone selling a landmower that the township can purchase. Dressen motioned to set-up a Building/Property Maintenance fund for $1500.00, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Chinese Mystery Snails (click to view image) in the area and how to dispose of them: Pomroy reported that she had seen hundreds of Chinese mystery snail in the area. She also mentioned that these snails (click to view image) were found at the little lake two years ago. Furthermore, she said that to properly dispose of them, DNR advises to bury them in the ground. The snails carry parasites transmissible to ducks and they are decimating certain population of waterfowl. Dressen suggested for Pomroy to do a research for helpful websites that can be posted to the town webpage. Guests were concerned that folks are bringing boats that are used from other lakes and bringing invasive species to the lakes here.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Newsletters from the Office of the State Auditor with information on CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Securities)
  • Several emails from St. Louis County Elections: clerk/election judge training; election supplies; rosters; PPE (hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray, masks) available for pickup; reminder to do preliminary test of the Automark machine prior to holding the public accuracy test; DS200 manual; mailing labels for registered voters; sample mail ballot letter; CARES Act; names of voters that requested Absentee ballots for August election to be marked on the roster
  • Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State with instructions on VEGA-2 grant funds and expenditure reporting for the purchase of DS200 counting machine
  • Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81 from St. Louis County which says beginning July 25, 2020, all Minnesotans must wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces including polling places
  • Requests from Steve Bell & Associates, and North Shore Title to verify special assessments levied on properties in the township
  • Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) re-unsolicited packages of mystery seeds appearing to come from China
  • MAT special teleconference on CARES Act funding for townships
  • S. Census Bureau updates on the Final Boundary Validation Program
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources re-CPL grant program open for applications to nonprofit organizations and government entities with purpose of funding conservation projects that restore, enhance, or protect forests, wetlands, prairies, or habitat for fish, game, and wildlife in Minnesota with grant ranging from $5,000 to $400,000

Sent:

  • Emailed Resolution 2020-012 Supporting Mail Voting for November 2020 General Election to St. Louis County Elections
  • Emailed list to St. Louis County Elections of training completed by election judges

Public Comment:

Next Meeting, September 8, 2020, 6:30 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall, 8764 Pequaywan Lake Road

Dressen motioned to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m., seconded by Swanstrom, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

31 Jul

July 29, 2020 Emergency Township Board Meeting

Meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Attendance:
Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes and Deputy Clerk Stephanie Teek

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and decide whether to conduct  in-person or mail voting during the November General Election due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuettel read aloud the Resolution Supporting Mail Voting for November 2020 General Election with wording as follows:

RESOLUTION # 2020-012: A RESOLUTION SUPPORTING MAIL VOTING FOR NOVEMBER 2020 GENERAL ELECTION

WHEREAS, the Pequaywan Town Board, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, offers this resolution in support of mail balloting for the November general election;

WHEREAS, due to the pandemic, voting in a building would have the voters and election judges subject to becoming infected with COVID-19;

WHEREAS, the Town Board feels this action is in the public interest of voters and election judges in Pequaywan Township,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED; that the Pequaywan Town Board does hereby support the voting for the November general election by mail.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the supervisors support this resolution with the following signatures and attested to by the town clerk.

Adopted by the Pequaywan Board of Supervisors this 29th day of July 2020.

Swanstrom motioned to approve the resolution, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Kuettel verified who is in-charge of mailing the ballots and how much work does it entail for the clerk. Wallace responded that the county will be mailing the ballots but the township would probably need to send out letters to the resident voters to let them know of the decision to change from in-person voting to mail voting (Absentee ballots.) Wallace will contact the county to get more information.

Meeting was motioned to adjourn at 7:12 p.m. by Dressen, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

20 Jul

July 14, 2020, Township Board Meeting (via teleconference)

Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Attendance:
Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes, Deputy Clerk Stephanie Teek, Deputy Treasurer Jennifer Maciewski.

Clerk’s Report: Since the meeting was conducted via teleconference, the town officers read the May 12, 2020 Minutes from the town webpage. There was one (1) correction cited, after which the Minutes were motioned for approval by Dressen, motioned by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

JUNE 2020
Total Funds on hand as of 06/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $148,691.49
Plus: Deposits – $1,323.66
Less: Disbursements (June) – $1,544.27
Total Funds on hand as of 06/30/2020 – $148,470.88
June Check # 1552 – 1562

JULY 2020
Claims (July) – $2,172.56
July Check # 1563 – 1569
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

Dressen motioned to approve the June 2020 Treasurer’s Report and Claims for July 2020, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • Status and possible date for tree disposal at the township land: Waldriff Trucking completed the work on the driveway access and clearing the land  for $700.00. However, two stumps still need to be cleared. Nick Elmquist provided an estimate of $1,050 to pull the two stumps and bring a load of gravel for the unloading area. Swanstrom motioned to approve the work for $1,050, Dressen seconded, motion carried. 3-0-0. Kuettel estimated that the disposal area will be ready by mid-August. Announcement when it is open will be posted at the town webpage. Kuettel also announced the need for help to clear rocks in the land. Residents can remove the rocks free for personal use or move/pile a little ways out of the way from the unloading area.
  • Dressen volunteered to do mowing on the town property. The township will cover the cost of repair to the equipment if it breaks while mowing the area.
  • Develop plan for future in-person meeting: Kuettel provided the guidelines the township will use to safely conduct in-person meeting starting in August: (1) use of facemask; (2) providing hand sanitizer; (3) sanitizing tables, chairs, etc.; (4) capacity of 12 excluding family members; (5) if a person has fever or exposed to someone with COVID-19, they must stay home (body temperature may be checked); (6) windows open; and (7) follow 6′ social distancing. Swanstrom motioned to approve the in-person meeting following the guidelines provided with the option to change, if necessary, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Repair estimate for cracks in West Branch Road: Swanstrom motioned to approve the cost estimate of $2,500 ($1,000 for materials and $1,500 for labor), seconded by Kuettel, motion carried 2-1-0.
  • Discuss fire threat from dead trees at West Branch Road: Swanstrom was not able to check with the county. Reminder that the trees are in public land so information gathered will be provided to the landowners.
  • DS200 grant/purchase update from state: Barnes reported that he got trained for the use of DS200. He explained that the DS200 is a tabulating machine and not a voting machine and as of this time there is not a machine that is replacing the Automark. He also reported that he took the maintenance individual to the firehall to update the Automark. Decision in purchasing DS200 continues to be put on hold. Wallace will get more information from the county and state.
  • Schedule an appointment with deputy clerk, deputy treasurer and SCCU to add them to  co-sign the accounts: Barnes will work on this.
  • Correct the curve in West Branch Road: cost estimate is $3,000 and will need the landowner’s permission. No action taken.

New Business 

  • Primary Election, August 11, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall
  • General Election, November 3, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Pequaywan Firehall
    (Revision update:  the Pequaywan Town Board passed Resolution 2020-012
    A Resolution Supporting Mail Voting for the November 2020 Election on July 29, 2020 meaning there will be no in=person voting in November. Ballots will be mailed to voters by St. Louis County.)
  • The township encourages voters to wear a mask but not mandatory for the elections
  • Town Board Meeting date/time as Primary Election in August is same day as the Town Board Meeting with the following option changes:
    1 start at 8:30 p.m. if hiring additional judge to help count ballots, with approval
    2. start at 9:00 p.m. if not hiring additional judge
    3. schedule another day

Swanstrom motioned to re-schedule the meeting to either August 12 or August 13, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0. Wallace will check the availability of the firehall with the fire chief.

  • Swanstrom motioned to hire additional election judges starting at 8:00 p.m. during the November General Election to speed up counting the ballots, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Minnesota’s Secretary of State will provide facemasks for election judges and voters, hand sanitizers and disinfectant for use during election but townships are responsible for purchasing Plexiglass barriers. The state can require election judges to wear masks and encourage voters to wear masks but voters cannot be required to wear a mask to vote.
  • Wallace requested approval in purchasing Plexiglass barrier, disposable gloves, plastic wrap, paper towels, and other items for safety precaution use during elections. Swanstrom motioned to approve the purchase, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Swanstrom motioned to approve for two of our election judges who needed re-certification to take the St. Louis County online Election Training for election judges at $9.90 per person, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Wallace reported that she has completed the St. Louis County’s 2020 Clerk Election Training
  • Dressen motioned to approve the deputy clerk to work during primary and/or general election as part of election training, if her schedule allows, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Minnesota Association of Townships online training in July for election judges and treasurer’s handling of election judges salary.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Presidential Nomination Primary election reimbursement expenses in the amount of $1,174.85 was received
  • Clerk election training information, guidelines during election day, election judge recruitment resources, polling places, Notice of Primary and General Election posters
  • Release of CTAS 2020 software from the Office of the State Auditor
  • June 2020 Newsletter, info on governor’s funding to Minnesota communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, special teleconference with the governor from Minnesota Association of Townships
  • Regional Bi-Weekly Partner Briefings from Census Bureau
  • Benafica health insurance benefit available to town officers and employees
  • Department of Revenue notification of training for 2021 Board of Appeals and Equalization registration is now open
  • Pending and/or assessment info request against a property on the township from North Shore Title
  • DS200 Sales Order Agreement in the amount of $5,760 from Election Systems and Software
  • Notice of Litigation from Brown Rudnick LLP (acting as facilitator),  sent to all city, tribe, county or other municipality holding consolidated claims against Purdue Pharma, L.P., Case No. 19-23649

Sent: None

Public Comment:

  • Alex Olson who built the picnic bench on the township land received his Eagle Scout rank
  • Kuettel reported that John Wilson is requesting a copy of the key to the gate as he goes to the town property 2-3x a week to water trees, maintain wood chips, etc. Swanstrom motioned to approve to provide Wilson with a copy of the key, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Next Meeting, August 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m. at Pequaywan Firehall, 8764 Pequaywan Lake Road

Meeting was motioned to adjourn at 9:01 p.m. by Dressen, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

20 Apr

April 14, 2020, Township Board Meeting (via teleconference)

Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

Attendance: Town officers: Supervisor Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Donald Swanstrom, Supervisor Douglas Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond G. Barnes, Deputy Clerk Stephanie Teek, Deputy Treasurer Jennifer Maciewski

Clerk’s Report: Since the meeting was conducted via teleconference, the supervisors read the minutes from the March 10, 2020 Meeting, Board of Canvass Meeting and Emergency Meeting from the town webpage. Swanstrom motioned to approve Minutes of the three meetings, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

MARCH 2020
Total Funds on hand as of 03/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $156,029.13
Plus: Deposits – $204.92
Less: Disbursements (March) – $3,149.56
Total Funds on hand as of 03/31/2020 – $153,084.49
March Check # 1521 – 1529

APRIL 2020
Claims (April) – $3865.58
April Check # 1530 – 1542
No transfers to Checking Account will be needed
SCCU returned $4.00 to our Savings Account (03/09/2020) due to an error in charging a Bad Address Fee. At the end of March, their computer charged our account $2.00 again for a Bad Address Fee. A computer software error is causing the problem. Their IT is in the process of correcting the error.
Our (2) 18-Month Certificates were rolled over and the new interest rate is 1.341 %. The new Maturity Date is 10/10/2021

Swanstrom motioned to approve the March 2020 Treasurer’s Report and Claims for April 2020, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Old Business

  • Reminder: LBAE (Local Board of Appeal and Equalization) meeting scheduled on April 29, 2020, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Pequaywan Fire Hall: Wallace reported that Joe Odell and Roy Levitt of St. Louis County Assessor’s Office will be participating. Per St. Louis County, physical inspections of properties are suspended until further notice and  meetings will be handled virtually by their personnel. Property owners are required to submit their appeal in writing than in-person.
  • Update: Due to COVID-19, monthly town board meetings and other meetings to be conducted via teleconference until further notice, see pequaywantownship.org for update
  • Update: deputy clerk/deputy treasurer training – training is ongoing
  • Update: Option B (appointed position) implementation for deputy clerk and deputy treasurer converting to clerk and treasurer in March 2021 – Wallace contacted MAT (Minnesota Association of Townships) to verify and was advised  by the legal counsel that since the township had passed Option B, the township can appoint the next clerk and treasurer until they rescind Option B.
  • Update: One-signatory check and adding deputy treasurer on the account – Docu-sign document instead of in-person by town officers as required by the credit union – officers signed the document and was implemented. Addition of the deputy treasurer and deputy clerk on the account will be put on hold until the time it is safe to go to the bank in person.

New Business

  • Appointing Chair and Vice-Chair: Dressen motioned to keep Kuettel as Chair and Swanstrom as Vice-Chair, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0
  • Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) online town officer training on April 17
  • West Branch Road – concern of dead trees near the road and property: Swanstrom suggested to get a map that shows the right-of-way on the township road, Kuettel suggested for the officers to have a discussion with the landowner and attend the April MAT training, “Trees in the Right of Way,” to learn the legality of removing the trees
  • MAT informational conference calls for town officers available on April 13 and April 14
  • Roster or ballots from the March 2020 Township Election may be kept and stored for the required 22 months so old election files can be shredded
  • What meetings deputy clerk and deputy treasurer required to attend: Dressen motioned that the deputy clerk and deputy treasurer may attend any of the meetings they are able to attend, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • Oath of Office conducted on March 16, 2020 for elected supervisor Don Swanstrom, appointed deputy clerk Stephanie Teek, and appointed deputy treasurer Jennifer Maciewski
  • Providing keys to deputy clerk and deputy treasurer for the Pequaywan Firehall door and filing cabinet – keys were made and will be provided to the deputies
  • Discussion and adoption of the following Resolutions:
  1. Resolution for One Signatory Check to Pay Claims: Dressen motioned to approve, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0. In the case the treasurer is not able to make out the Claims and the checks, the deputy treasurer will enter the Claims in CTAS for supervisor’s approval and the clerk will prepare and sign the checks or any of the supervisors may also sign the checks.
  2. Resolution for Adopting Teleconference Meetings Due to COVID-19: Dressen motioned to approve, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0, The deputy clerk will be in-charge of the teleconference set-up.
  3. Resolution for 2021 Levy: Dressen motioned to approve, Swanstrom seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0

Correspondence

Received:

  • Email from Saint Louis County Public Health and Human Services Department re-liaison for township guidance on COVID-19 and continuing follow-up weekly newsletter  thereafter
  • Email from Saint Louis County Election Department advising that any roster or ballots for the March Township Election may be kept and stored for the required 22 months
  • Emails from Minnesota Association of Townships re-training; online seminar, MAT Coronavirus Conference Call; teleconference township meeting guide
  • Emails from Lora Skarman of St. Louis County Assessor’s Office re-LBAE meeting instructions, supplies, Assessment book
  • Email from St. Louis County Association of Townships Officers (SLCAT) re-March Miniutes, SLCAT Lobby Day, April and May Meeting cancellations
  • Email from Phil Chapman of St. Louis County Election Department re-deadline to submit Presidential Primary Election Reimbursement
  • Email from St. Louis County Auditor re-dates of Early Distribution of 2020 Tax Collections
  • Email from Joe Odell of St. Louis County Assessors Department re-meeting options and guides due to COVID-19
  • Email from MN Department of Natural Resources re-Spring burning restrictions begin in Minnesota on March 27
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-the “Stay at Home” Emergency Executive Order by MN Governor Walz effective March 27 at 11:59 p.m. through April 10 at 5 p.m.
  • Emails from Katherine Brey of St. Louis County Assessor’s Office in setting up a website for townships that have changed formats of meeting to either telephone or video conference, https://www.stlouiscountymn.gov/departments-a-z/assessor/2020-local-board-format-changes
  • Email from Superior Choice Credit Union re-signing document electronically via Docu-sign for one-signatory check approval

Sent:

  • MATIT Life Insurance form and payment for officers sent via postage mail
  • Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) Expense Reimbursement form delivered to St. Louis County Auditor’s Office Election Department on March 11, 2020
  • Personal delivery of ballots and other election materials from the Presidential Primary Election and March Township Election

Public Comment: Dressen reported that the owner of the short term rental in the township placed the property on the market and converted it to long term rental for 30 days or more. Also, that a resident had contacted him if it is possible to change the Town Resolution for short term rental to the county. Kuettel responded that the Resolution was only Recommendations re-short term rental to the county. Other folks are asking about update on the fiber optics but there is no information available at this time.

Next Meeting, May 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m., via teleconference until further notice or check the town webpage, pequaywantownship.org for update.

Meeting was motioned to adjourn at 8:24 p.m. by Swanstrom, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk

20 Apr

April 14, 2020, Reorganizational Meeting via teleconference

Meeting was called to order at 8:25 p.m. by Chair Kuettel.

AttendanceTown officers: Chair Charles Kuettel, Supervisor Don Swanstrom, Supervisor Doug Dressen, Clerk Lita Wallace, Treasurer Raymond Barnes, Deputy Clerk Stephanie Teek, Deputy Treasurer Jennifer Maciewski

Discussion of the following Resolutions:

  • Resolution on Polling Place for 2021 Election/s was motioned to approve by Swanstrom, second by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0
  • Establishing Policy for the Compensation and Reimbursement of Town Officers was motioned to approve by Swantrom, second by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Resolutions to be discussed at a later time:

  • Retention Schedule
  • Statutory Conflicts of Interest

Swanstrom motioned to adjourn at 8:31 p.m., seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

28 Mar

March 27, 2020, Emergency Township Board Meeting

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.

MEETINGS

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.

LBAE MEETING

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:

  1. to go ahead with the in-person meeting which would risks further exposing people unnecessarily to COVID-19;
  2. to hold a “Virtual Meeting” by telephone or other electronic means requiring property owners to submit their appeal in writing than in-person; and
  3. 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.

Respectfully submitted,
Lita Wallace, Pequaywan Clerk