Annual Meeting of Palmer Township
March 14, 2017
The annual meeting of Palmer Township was called to order by Kelly McCann Township Clerk on March 14, 2017 at 8:10 p.m. with all Board members and15 constituents in attendance. The meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Maureen Havert made a motion to nominate Alan Peterson to be the moderator for the 2017 Annual Meeting. Motion seconded by Mitch Hoefer. Motion was approved unanimously and Alan Peterson was voted to be Moderator for the 2017 Annual Meeting.
Clerk McCann read the minutes from the 2016 Annual Meeting. Sue Merchant made a motion to approve the minutes, as read. Motion seconded by George Kydd. Motion carried.
Clerk McCann proposed putting the Annual meeting minutes on the website for public review and gave the option of reviewing them prior to the meeting instead of reading them allowed during the Annual meeting. Alan Peterson and Maureen Havert would like to continue reading the minutes at the meeting along with posting them on the website.
Treasurer’s Report – The Treasurer’s report for 2016 was read by Roger Johnson. Roger informed the constituents that the playground equipment is not a levied fund as the money was donated by the Clear Lake Lions specifically for the equipment. Harry Ernzer made a motion to approve the Treasurer's report as read. Motion seconded by Clint Schendzelios. Motion carried.
P.E.C. – Steve Demeules announced that Earth Day/Cleanup Day is scheduled for May 20th from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Steve Demeules informed all that if this date is not convenient, Palmer residents may drop off discards at any Sherburne County drop site. Participation in 2016 was 195, up from 157 in 2015. The SCORE grant will increase in 2017 bringing the total to approximately $7000.00. Steve stated that the item prices, when determined, will be published in the Sherburne County Citizen the two Saturdays prior to May 20th. It will also be posted on the website. Earth Day 2016 brought the Township $73.51.
Fire Protection -
Roger Johnson read the tax capacity report for the fire contract. The 2017 fire contract is $231,694.69, with Palmer's share $121,628.56. Roger stated that the percentage charged to Palmer is 52.49% based on tax capacity. Clear Lake City's share is $18,198.07 with Clear Lake Township's share at $91,868.06.
Roger noted that budgeted amount will include the capital expenditure fund for a second grass truck that will be stationed at Fire Station 2.
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Road Report – Mike Ganz read a copy of the road report for 2016. He stated for informational purposes that the reason for brushing along the roads is to allow the sun to get to the roads and assist in melting the snow and ice in the winter along with keeping the corners clean for better vision and safe driving in the summer.
Gopher Bounty – Richard Larson reported that gopher bounty of $ 1,172.00 had been paid for with the collection of 586 pair. The reimbursement from Sherburne County remains at .75 a pair. Mitch Hoefer made a motion to keep the bounty at $2.00 per pair. Dan Merchant seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Park - Mike Ganz presented the 2016 park report which included estimated expenses and income for 2017. Mike reported that most of the oak wilt has been removed from the back side of the park. Plans for the park in 2017 include finishing the cement work around the playground and possibly adding an irrigation system to the well. George Kydd asked how often the well is tested for Nitrates. Mitch Hoefer reported that the Minnesota Department of Health comes out once per year to test.
Lake Association – Dan Merchant thanked the township for keeping the landings and lakes clean and supporting the water testing for lake quality. Steve Demeules reported that the Lake Association is still active in doing testing for Zebra Muscles and also working with the LID for lake improvement. He reported that the LID will be taking over the AIS in the three lakes. George Kydd inquired if the LID should be a separate report from the Lake Association. Steve Demeules will ask the LID if they want to report at the annual meeting.
Tax Levy - Roger Johnson reported on the 2016 budget, projected versus actual. The 2016 budget was at $467,859, however $526,456 was actually spent. This figure was $58,597 over the proposed budget. Roger reported that in order to continue to meet the current township needs in 2018 an additional $55, 639 would need to be collected which would be an approximate tax levy of 12%. Roger gave additional proposals for increases of 4%, 5%, 6%, 7%, and 8%. Maureen Havert asked if there was a formula to figure out what an estimated increase would be on agricultural land. Roger has inquired with the county to get this information but they also do not have any way of formulating amounts on an agricultural land.
There was a question as to what the attorney fee's were for in 2016. Roger reported they were to cover legalities on the Westby property and the Perkins Property.
There was a question of what line items on the budget are specifically in need of an increase. Roger reported that the roads are in need of repair. He also stated currently in Palmer Township all roads repaired are paid for equally by all tax payers within the township. There are other
townships that require that the homeowners who live on the specific road being repaired to split the cost of the repair with only a portion being paid for by the township.
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Maureen Havert asked if the township is required to widen roads like the county is. Mike Ganz stated there is no requirement, but each road is assessed individually to determine if there is a need for road widening.
Mitch Hoefer asked if it was possible to make a list of roads that are in need of repair each year and then pick the highest priority road to fix that year. Then go down the line and budget for each road in the years after that. Roger Johnson recommended determining the road repair needs during the annual road trip and then bringing this information to the annual meeting for public review.
Tom Godlewski stated he feels that the township should be proactive in fixing the roads when they are in need rather than putting a bandaid on them until they are beyond repair and will need even more work. He stated that it is more cost effective to do the repairs right away to avoid more damage and inflation costs.
Tom made a motion to increase the tax levy to 12%. Harry Ernzer felt that 12% was too high. Alan Peterson commented that we are not a city and should consider not overspending what our budget is set for. Dan Merchant seconded the motion and a vote was taken. There were 14 votes in favor of a 12% increase and 6 votes against. Motion was carried.
Library / Historical Society –Maureen Havert made a motion to donate $100.00 to the Great River Regional Library. Dan Merchant seconded and motion carried unanimously. Harry Ernzer made a motion to donate $500.00 to the Sherburne County Historical Society. Motion was seconded by Clint Schendzelios and motion carried unanimously.
Election Results – Supervisor position elected.
Richard Larson 98 votes
Harry Ernzer1 vote
Richard Larson was elected Supervisor for a three year term.
Proposal of Moving March Election - Kelly McCann was asked by Sherburne County to propose considering moving the March election to the election held in November. Benefits of moving the election date would decrease township expenses by approximately $1000.00 per year. The supervisors would then be changed to a four year term to be on the same rotation as the November elections. If the citizens would like to consider this option it would need to be voted on today to be put on the March ballot in 2018 for the township residents to vote on. Harry Ernzer would like more information regarding the pros and cons to moving the election and asked that we table this until next year.
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Questions from the Floor:
There were no additional questions from the floor.
Harry Ernzer made a motion to adjourn. Clint Schendzelios seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Meeting adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
Board of Canvass - 10:05 p.m.
The Township Board of Supervisors met as a Board of Canvass to cover the election held on March 14, 2017 for Township Supervisor. After examining the summary sheets submitted by the election judges, the Board determined that Richard Larson was the winner of the election for Palmer Township Supervisor.
Meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
Palmer Township Clerk.