13 Jun

June 9, 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 May 12, 2020 Minutes from the town webpage. There were no corrections cited, after which the Minutes were motioned for approval by Swanstrom, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

MAY 2020
Total Funds on hand as of 05/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $149,426.73
Plus: Deposits – $152.60
Less: Disbursements (May) – $887.84
Total Funds on hand as of 05/31/2020 – $148,691.49
May Check # 1543 – 1551

JUNE 2020
Claims (June) – $1544.27
June Check # 1552 – 1562
No transfers to the Checking Account will be needed

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

Old Business

  • St. Louis County Election contacted Walllace inquiring what the township’s planned purchase date and use of the DS200 voting machine. Wallace to contact the State of Minnesota to inquire about the purchasing deadline so we don’t lose our grant. We will hold off ordering until we hear the decision on whether it will be voting by mail this year or not.
  • Reimbursement of the Presidential Nomination Primary Election costs via the state’s SWIFT system: Barnes is working with the state to get the amount refunded
  • Concern of dead trees in West Branch Road – Swanstrom volunteered to contact St. Louis County Forester to get an opinion as to the hazard of the dead Balsam since some of them are on private property. With the information from St. Louis County and after the burning area is opened, a communication will be sent to residents.
  • There are two areas of curvy road in West Branch Road that the township would like straightened and will be working with Nick Elmquist to inspect the area and determine the cost.
  • West Branch Road weight limit sign. Dressen installed the sign on June 1st and reported no inquiries about the weight limit yet.
  • SCCU Lobby Opening on June 8th – adding deputy clerk and deputy treasurer to co-sign on the account. Barnes to make an appointment with Brad/SCCU, Teek and Maciewski; then acquire signatures from town officers.
  • Township Land update
    (1) New driveway permit:  driveway permit has been obtained at the cost of $100.00. There are two driveway options and either option is acceptable. Driveway is in the process of getting work started.
    (2) Tree pile area: Pequaywan Fire Department is agreeable to the proposed location of the burn pile. There was a discussion on burning the pile vs. chipping wood. Burning is free and will serve as training for the fire department. The cost of chipping wood is $200.00/hour and will require a place to put the chips. The township will continue to evaluate chip or burn potential as the property is developed.
    (3) Application for Property Tax Exemption: Kuettel mailed the Application for Property Tax Exemption to St. Louis County and hope it will be a permanent application that will not require renewal every 2-3 years.

New Business

  • Workers’ Comp coverage for election judges: Barnes reported that the election judges are automatically covered along with the town officers as the premium is based on total annual payroll submitted to Minnesota Benefit Association at the end of the year.
  • Township meeting: The board tentatively agreed to conduct an in-person meeting in July at Pequaywan Firehall if it is safe to do so. We will follow guidelines associated with COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of our officers and the public, some of which are: limited number of attendees, 6-foot  social distancing, wearing masks, not to attend the meeting if sick or exposed to someone who is sick,, and providing hand sanitizers. Windows may also be opened for more ventilation.Things can change rapidly, therefore, final decision as to whether it will be an in-person meeting or via teleconference will be posted on the town webpage 10 days prior to the July 14th meeting and at the door of Pequaywan Firehall.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Two LBAE Letters of Appeal
  • Email from St. Louis County Public Health Division with link to online business guide for businesses affected by the pandemic
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-invitation on a teleconference with Governor Walz on May 19 at 5:00m.
  • Email from US Census Bureau, Regional Weekly Partner Briefing invitation on May 14 at 10:00 m.
  • Email from St. Louis County re-Election Judge Party List
  • Email from US Census Bureau, Regional Weekly Partner Briefing invitation on May 28, 3:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships, May 2020 newsletter
  • Weekly email update from St. Louis County Public Health Division re-COVID-19
  • Email from Minnesota Secretary of State re-VEGA-2 Reallocation Opportunity
  • Email from US Census Bureau, Regional Bi-Weekly Partner Briefing invitation on May 28 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Email from St. Louis County re-Application for Property Tax Exemption on Pequaywan Township parcel
  • Email from St. Louis County Government Services re-CDBG-CV funding application
  • Email from Minnesota Secretary of State re-PNP Payments
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships – newsletter re-Tuesday Township conference calls, Survey from Center for Rural Policy & Development, MAT Office Summer Hours and web seminar schedule
  • Email from St. Louis County re-2020 Calcium Chloride Dust Control Bid #5619
  • Email from Minnesota State Demographic Center re-how to challenge the population and household estimates from the State Demographer
  • Email from Census Bureau: Regional Bi-Weekly Chicago Region-Partner Briefing

Sent:

  • CTAS 2019 financial report submitted online to the State of Minnesota Auditor’s Office in March 2020
  • Town Levy for 2021 sent by postage mail to St. Louis County Assessor’s Office in May 2020
  • Application for Property Tax Exemption to St. Louis County mailed in June 2020

Public Comment:

Dressen was informed that the Clover Valley Initiative continue to acquire broadband funding from another source and the individual was inquiring if the township is still able to provide financial support as previously pledged. The supervisors agreed that financial support will be provided as promised.

Next Meeting: July 14, 2020, 7:30 p.m., tentatively scheduled to be in-person (will be updated whether it is a teleconference or in-person meeting at least 10 days before the scheduled meeting.)

Meeting was motioned to adjourn at 8:19 p.m. by Swanstrom, seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk
Stephanie Teek, Deputy Clerk

14 May

May 12, 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. Guest: Lisa Klassen.

Clerk’s Report: Since the meeting was conducted via teleconference, the town officers read the April 14, 2020 Minutes from the town webpage. There was one (1) correction cited, after which the Minutes were motioned for approval. The Reorganizational Meeting Minutes were motioned for approval without corrections.

Dressen motioned to approve Minutes of the two meetings, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Treasurer’s Report

APRIL 2020
Total Funds on hand as of 03/01/2020 (Includes Investments) – $153,084.49
Plus: Deposits – $207.82
Less: Disbursements (April) – $3,865.58
Total Funds on hand as of 04/30/2020 – $149,426.73
March Check # 1530-1542

MAY 2020
Claims (May) – $887.84
April Check # 1543 – 1551
No transfers to Checking Account will be needed
SCCU returned $2.00 to our Savings Account (04/06/2020) due to an error in charging a Bad Address Fee. This monthly fee has been corrected by SCCU and will not appear anymore

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

Old Business

  • Update: MN Secretary of State VEGA Grant Award in the amount of $1,382.60 submitted by the township to purchase new election equipment to replace the Automark machine. Wallace reported we applied for this grant earlier in the year and we were hoping to receive $2,500.00, but only received $1,382.60 due to the number of Townships that applied for the grant. The cost of the machine is estimated to be $5,000.00.
  • Update: Burn/Chipping area on Township land. We are in the process of obtaining a permit from St. Louis County to install a circular driveway in the burning or chip area. It will cost $600.00 for the permit, of which $500.00 will be refunded after the permit is approved – leaving the final cost at $100.00. Dressen motioned to approve the purchase of the permit for $100, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried 3-0-0.A quote of $500.00 from Daryle Waldriff was received to clear the circular driveway and knock down one tree. Work will start once the permit has been received. Dressen motioned to approve the $500.00 cost of clearing the driveway and cutting one tree, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried 3-0-0.Since there were residents that submitted Public Comments related to the burn/chipping area on township land, Kuettel suggested to discuss it further under Public Comments and move on to the next Agenda.

New Business

  • Conducting future township meetings: Barnes said Governor Walz might extend the stay at home order past May 18, 2020, and/or change guidelines for length of social distancing in meeting rooms with poor air circulation advocating from 6′ to 13′. If we reconvene for in-person meeting, Kuettel recommended we follow the Minnesota Association of Townships (MAT) guidelines for future meetings. Announcement will be posted on the town webpage 10 days before the scheduled meeting. If an officer is not able to make the meeting, we will accommodate and conduct a teleconference call with that officer. Swanstrom motioned to approve and follow the MAT guidelines and conduct the meeting on these circumstances, Dressen seconded, motion carried, 3-0-0.
  • West Branch Road repairs: Kuettel recommended we wait another 2-4 weeks and inspect it again before doing any repair on the cracks.Widening of two (2) areas in West Branch Road: Nick Elmquist will provide a quote, hopefully, in two weeks and recommend the best method for widening. Dressen motioned for Swanstrom to notify the landowners affected by the plan in widening the two areas in West Branch Road and know the cost before we make any decision, seconded by Swanstrom, motion carried 3-0-0.
  • Adding Dressen’s contact info, email and phone number, on the town homepage regarding weight limits before the signs are installed in West Branch Road: The weight limit is being implemented to conserve the newly fixed road. The signs will be delivered to Dressen who will be in-charge of installing it in township land. The wording on the weight restriction will state “Vehicle axle weight should be restricted to 7-ton axle.” If a permit is needed for overweight vehicle or if anyone has questions, contact Dressen at dhdressen@aol.com or 218-348-7318.
  • Adding Deputy Clerk and Deputy Treasurer on the life insurance policy and Workers’ Compensation: Swanstrom motioned to approve adding deputy clerk and deputy treasurer on the life insurance policy and Workers’ Comp, seconded by Dressen, motion  carried 3-0-0. Barnes will contact MATIT.

Correspondence

Received:

  • Two LBAE Letters of Appeal
  • Email request from North Shore Title requesting info on pending and/or levied assessments against a property in the township
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships, April 2020 newsletter and training info
  • Weekly email update from St. Louis County re-COVID-19
  • Email from MN Secretary of State re-VEGA-2 Grant Award in the amount of $1,382.60 submitted by the township for purchase of election equipment to replace Automark
  • Email from South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) re-60 day Notice of Intent to plan St. Louis Watershed Comprehensive Watership Management Plan
  • Email from MN Association of Townships informing townships that in-person township board meetings are now allowed
  • Email from U.S. Census Bureau re-2020 Census Updates and Response Rates
  • Email and postage mail from St. Louis County Elections re-the November 3, 2020 Notice of General Election
  • Email from St. Louis County Assessors Department re-supplies and materials for LBAE meeting on April 29 and Minutes/Certification after the meeting
  • Email from Minnesota Association of Townships re-invitation on a teleconference with Governor Walz on May 13 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Email from Becky Orn/North Shore Title re-Assessment Inquiry of a property in the township

Sent:

  • Mailed Pequaywan Township Officer List to Minnesota Association of Townships on April 16, 2020 (due May 1, 2020)
  • Emailed Pequaywan Township Officer List to St. Louis County Election Department
  • Mailed snowplowing check to St. Louis County Public Works
  • Mailed decision response to the two Letters of Appeal as discussed during the LBAE meeting on April 29
  • Email response to Becky Orn/North Shore Title re-request for a pending and/or levied assessments against a property on the township

Public Comment:

Burning vs. chipping: Swanstrom reported that Lee Kaplan requested the township brush/tree collection area be designated as a “wood chip only” area. Kuettel responded that the township would like to keep the area as both a wood chip and a burn area and use it as what will be needed at the time, namely, if we need wood chip, we will chip wood, otherwise, it will be burned. Pequaywan Fire Department would also like to use this for training purposes which will help keep the overall amount of brush down. Dressen commented people might not like using the township trail system and see huge piles of brush/chips but wondering if we could extend the trail to the new property to get more benefit from it.

Kuettel received an email from a resident asking about the availability of a brush/tree collection area. He responded that it is in the process of being built and will hopefully be done this fall or earlier.

Another resident asked if the township sends out any reminder by postage mail before the 4th of July regarding fireworks and the implications of using them. Kuettel commented that the township does not send out any reminder as it would be difficult to enforce. Pequaywan Lakes Association had sent out a reminder in the past to get people to adhere to the law and be considerate of neighbors. The township cannot do anything if people do not listen.

Next Meeting, June 9, 2020, 7:30 p.m. We will follow guidelines from Minnesota Association of Townships in conducting future township meetings. Check the town webpage, pequaywantownship.org, for update as to whether we will have a teleconference or an in-person meeting. It will be posted at least 10 days before the scheduled meeting.

Swanstrom motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m., seconded by Dressen, motion carried, 3-0-0.

Respectfully submitted by,
Lita Wallace, Town Clerk
Stephanie Teek, Deputy Clerk