By Natascha Watercott
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Windemere proposes moving township elections from March to November

 

August 30, 2018



At the August 9 Windemere Township Board of Supervisors meeting, the board passed a resolution to move the township elections from March to November.

This would go into effect for the 2020 town election if residents vote to authorize the designation at the next town election in March 2019. Town Clerk Scott Danelski will prepare the ballot question.

Board member Pete Steen explained it may help improve voter turnout and save the township some money. “It’s the big day. We all know when people go out to vote. March is not what people think of for voting. The other piece why I brought this forward is, it is a little bit, but it’s a cost savings. We are running an election when the regular gubernatorial, presidential, senatorial elections are being held. When we hold our own election in March, it does cost us some money for election judges, and it does cost a little money for the ballot counters.”

If residents approve the change when they vote in March 2019, the township will no longer have supervisor elections every year like they do now, Steen explained. He added they can always revert back to the March election date if it doesn’t work out.


Danelski explained they will have to choose to start on either an even-numbered year to coincide with presidential elections or odd-numbered year to coincide with midterm elections. Terms of office would be lengthened to four years, and two supervisors will be elected within the same election every four years.

For example, the supervisor position that expires in March 2019 would be extended so the position is up for election in November of 2022. This also applies to the clerk and treasurer positions.

The resolution itself and more information about the process and consequences of moving the election to November can be found on the official Windemere Township website, http://windemeretownship.com/.

Personnel matter reviewed

Resident Dave Arneson presented the board with a letter explaining now that the lawsuit between the township and Road Maintenance Supervisor Mike Buetow and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Local 49, has been settled, he would like to request two things.

This included “a certified letter to Abe Mach and to Dale Kirkeby requesting that they attend the September Board meeting to explain the reasons for pursuing legal action against Mike Buetow and the Union” as well as all related written and audio material.

“I do believe that both Mr. Mach and Mr. Kirkeby need to appear before the electorate to discuss this particular issue because both of those individuals were very much into the weeds on this issue. There’s no excuse that we don’t have a reason for all the stuff that’s happened,” explained Arneson.


His second request was that the board authorize Danelski and Treasurer Ron Mossberg to meet with him and residents Tom Albrecht and Paul Horgen “for the purpose of reviewing any correspondence and costs related to the matter of Mike Buetow and the Union. This meeting should take place no later than two weeks prior to the September Board meeting.” Arneson and Albrecht would ideally like to prepare a report to be presented to residents at the October board meeting.

“The excuses used before — ‘Well, I can’t discuss it because the attorney won’t allow it’ — now that’s over with; there’s no such thing as that as an excuse, so now we need to get to the bottom of everything and put it to bed — permanently — for the health of this township, for the future, and also for our employees, because I will make the comment, they were not treated appropriately,” stated Arneson.

Steen agreed to the second request. “I’m OK with number two because Dave’s right. They (residents) certainly have a right to see the costs and the correspondences.” He added that he would need to speak with the township attorney before considering the first request.

Steen made a motion that the board authorize the township treasurer and clerk to meet with Albrecht, Arneson and Horgen for the purpose of reviewing the correspondence and costs related to the matter of Mike Buetow and the union no later than two weeks prior to the regular September meeting. The motion passed.

Road projects updated

Steen gave a brief update on the Palon Road project. He explained that at a pre-construction meeting on July 25 with the contractor, utility companies and engineering firm, he was told the start date for construction was moved to some time this September instead of mid-August.

The board approved a motion to have Erikson Engineering complete a hydraulics analysis for $800 as part of a grant application to replace the culverts on Balsam Road. Steen explained the current culverts were not installed at the right level; they were supposed to be placed at 18 inches but instead were placed at 9 inches. If the township can show the existing culverts are hydraulically deficient, the culvert project may qualify for funding.

The grant is for a box culvert, and the application will need to be submitted to Pine County and Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to obtain funding. Once that is completed, they will wait to hear from MnDOT to see if the project is authorized for funding.

If the project is authorized, MnDOT will reimburse the township all fees in excess of $10,000, including any engineering fees they already spent for surveying. In addition, all construction costs in excess of $10,000 will also be reimbursed to Windemere Township. The total out-of-pocket cost to the township would be $20,000 for both engineering and construction.

A representative from Fahrner Asphalt Sealers LLC, an asphalt maintenance contractor, gave a presentation to the township board. He was asked to take a look at some of the township’s roads and presented a proposal for flex-patching some of the roads, a type of surface treatment using a rubberized crack sealant. He explained the best way to protect the roads is to keep the water out of the base. The flex-patching will help level out the cracks and keep out the moisture.

“The sooner you can protect the pavement from weathering and oxidation, the better off you are,” said the representative.

Roads slated for the surface treatment include Island Lake Road, Sturgeon Island Loop, Majestic Pines and Sunny Beach Road. Supervisors agreed this needs to be done as soon as possible and approved the surface treatment for a total cost of $17,110 for those roads. The patching should last about four years before it needs to be touched up. The representative estimated the work could be completed by the end of September or the beginning of October of this year.

Photos requested

Mossberg gave a brief update on the progress of the city’s new website. He stated the new site is in the process of being customized; the website hosting company gives them one, basic template to work with and much of the content still has to be added. Mossberg and Danelski will have to undergo online training on how to manage the site.

Mossberg asked if residents have good pictures of the Windemere Township area, such as wildlife, lakes or anything else that highlights what is unique about Windemere that they want to have featured on the new website, to email the photos to the city clerk.

 

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