Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Update on Windemere road project, flood plain ordinance changes


February 21, 2019

A report about the Palon Road project was presented by Thomas Wilson of Erickson Engineering at the Windemere Township Board meeting on Thursday, Feb. 14.

The rebuilding and paving project was started last year but is closed down for the winter, Wilson explained.

“Casper Construction is doing the project,” he said. “Seven center line steel culverts were replaced with reinforced concrete.”

Wilson explained that the contractor has misinterpreted the project and cut down nine inches of the roadbed for the first mile of the road.

“That created more dirt,” he explained. “The end result is that there will be a savings of $11,000 on the project. That dirt will be set aside to be used later. You are the one benefitting from our error.”

It was said that the township staff had removed the soft spots in the road before the project to rebuild the road got underway. That saved on the cost of the project, which was quoted at $784,500.

Township resident Dave Arneson asked if there were any township employees involved in the reconstruction project other than removing the soft spots.

The answer was no.

Township Supervisor Peter Steen reported that there are changes coming to the flood plain ordinance that would affect lakeshore property owners.

“That would affect you when you sell your property,” he said. “We still have feelers out there to see what we can do with the Pine County flood plain regulations. The board has not made any decisions; we are still exploring. I don’t know how many people will be impacted.”

Surveyor Ben Anderson of Straightline Surveying explained that flood inventory maps are available. Those could be used to see where a house is located compared to a flood area. For houses that are in the flood areas, flood insurance is mandatory, he added.

Phil White, the new zoning administrator, said that the old maps are worthless to use to determine the high-water mark.

Anderson replied the flood zone maps are still useful when constructing a new house.

“New houses would have to be built extremely high or haul in a lot of dirt first,” he said. “I can help you with that. We can get you pretty close.”

Jim Kaffer presented a problem on Dago Lake and Dobosenski Road. An easement to property had been closed off by a property owner.

“A neighbor cut off 911 access to his own property and put up No Trespassing signs,” he said. “I need the township to say that it is a township road and give access to the property. Since the township road has never been abandoned, there should be access to the property.”

Steen said that the issue would be researched.

In other business, the board passed a motion to transfer $5,000 to the U. S. Bank Money Center for the Capital Improvement Fund. Treasurer Ron Mossberg explained that that bank raised the minimum investment amount to $100,000 so there is more flexibility in investing those funds.

He also said that it will be recommended to the township residents at the annual meeting in March that the 2020 levy remain the same as the 2018 levy at $400,000.

Supervisor Jon Wesely reported that it was all part of a plan to spend down some of the township’s funds.

Mossberg spoke about the five-year spending plan.

“We are still projecting that we will have $1 million in the bank,” he said. “We are going to be the envy of 99 percent of the townships. We are heavily weighted in the General Fund but we are going to run out of money in the Road and Bridge Fund. The board has the authority to move money into the Road and Bridge Fund.”

It was said that the people set the levy.

In a related matter, the board approved transferring the remaining $23,500 in one fund to the Road and Bridge Fund. Mossberg said that would eliminate one fund and reduce the number of funds from four to three.

The annual meeting is Tuesday, March 12. An election will be held for the treasurer and one supervisor position. Mossberg has filed for the treasurer position and Steen has filed for the supervisor position.

In other business, the board approved supporting the Moose Lake Area Historical Society’s request for $600,000 in bonding from the legislature for a building expansion project.

The board also approved a right-of-way permission form that would be filled out by a landowner for removing trees over six inches in diameter on private property along a ditch when brushing is taking place by mechanical equipment.

Clair Strandlie was appointed to the Moose Lake-Windemere Sanitary Sewer Board once again. A vacancy on the Planning Commission will be posted and ask for letters of interest. The letters are due in before 5 p.m. on March 7.

A public hearing will be held on Feb. 28 about replacing the bridge to Sturgeon Island.

The next monthly meeting of the board will be held on Thursday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the township hall.


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