Watab Town Board Meeting Minutes

April 1, 2008


The regular monthly meeting of the Watab Town Board was called to order on Tuesday, April 1, 2008. Following the Pledge to the Flag, the Chair Craig Gondeck asked for a moment of silence in memory of Carl Yilek, past Watab Town Board member. Board members present were Supervisors Craig Gondeck, Lloyd Erdmann and Ed Kacures Jr., Treasurer Eileen Saldana, and Clerk Pat Spence. Those present in the audience were: Marlen and Marcy Johnson, Bob Erickson, Linda Brown, Matt Mohs, Paul and Shelly Jacobs, Rosie Johnson, Douglas J. Boser, Ray Thompson, John Thompson, John Saldana Jr., Allen P. Saldana, George & Taunya Mastey, Lori Schlien, Maureen Graber, Ron Hommerding, Jim Hovda, Brian Erdmann and Patrick Virnig. 


This was the reorganizational meeting of the board, so Chair Gondeck called for nominations for Board Chair. Supervisor Erdmann made a motion, seconded by Supervisor Kacures to elect Craig Gondeck for another term as Board Chair. Motion passed. Motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck, seconded by Supervisor Kacures to elect Supervisor Erdmann as Vice-Chair. Motion passed.


Resolution 2008-3 was introduced to set board meetings and meeting time for the next year. Supervisor Erdmann moved to change May through September meetings to 8pm. Supervisor Gondeck thought changing times during the year would cause confusion; Supervisor Kacures thought the meetings would end too late. The motion died for a lack of second. A motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Kacures approving the meeting dates contained in the resolution with a 7pm starting time. The motion passed with Supervisor Erdmann opposed. A motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Erdmann designating the Sauk Rapids Herald as the township’s official newspaper. Motion passed. A motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Erdmann to continue with the same board compensation. Motion passed. A motion was made by Supervisor Erdmann and seconded by Supervisor Kacures to name Supervisor Kacures the official member of the Rice Fire Board. Motion passed. A motion was made by Supervisor Erdmann and seconded by Supervisor Kacures naming Supervisor Gondeck to the Benton County Economic Development Committee. Motion passed. Supervisor Erdmann wants to be taken out of the role of managing snowplowing and moved to table appointment to a future meeting. Supervisor Erdmann made a motion to keep our same posting places (Channel 3, website, and town hall). Motion was seconded by Supervisor Gondeck and passed. Motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Kacures to have Bremer Bank, Edward Jones, and Pine Country Bank as official depositories of town funds. Motion passed. Motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Erdmann to charge 25 cents per copy for photocopies when they are requested. Motion passed.


A motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Erdmann to approve the agenda as printed. Motion passed. A motion was made by Supervisor Gondeck and seconded by Supervisor Erdmann to approve the minutes including the March 11th Board of Canvass Minutes. The Clerk noted the name Keith Motl should be changed to Kiev Motl. Motion passed. The Treasurer’s report was given by Eileen Saldana including a status on investments. Motion was made by Supervisor Erdmann and seconded by Supervisor Gondeck to accept her report; motion passed.


Citizen’s Issues:  Shelly & Paul Jacobs, Indigo Road complained about safety concerns related to a fire of the next door home. It is not fenced, and Chelle Benson, Benton County Development Office, said it is the township’s responsibility to clean up the burnt property. She stated that Chelle has not returned her phone calls during the past 1 ½ weeks about possible contamination of their property. The fire is under investigation with the state and the insurance companies. The septic permit is through the county. The neighbor’s septic electrical system wasn’t connected and is seeping. The county is saying it’s not their responsibility. Supervisor Gondeck will talk with the county official in charge of issuing septic system permits and will try to find out who insured the neighbor’s property and see about fencing it. Supervisor Gondeck stated that all homes in the development should be connected to their community sewer system. Ray Thompson told the board that the Plaziak Road signs have been defaced. Supervisor Gondeck offered to replace them. Clerk Pat Spence read citizen complaints received by e-mail and turned them over to the chair.


All bills except the snow plowing bill were presented for payment, which the Clerk and Treasurer withheld for review. The Clerk noted that 85 tons of salt/sand were used in the past month. Supervisor Erdmann said that George Mastey has talked to him throughout the month to get direction, and he wants to trust George’s judgment. Paul Schwinghammer proposed that we get a subcommittee of people to review the policy. Supervisor Gondeck said the snowplowing contract is up in June.  Supervisor Kacures told the board that after the March 18th snowplowing there was damage to the blacktop on six different locations in his neighborhood. It caught the asphalt and tore it off.  He had pictures on his laptop. George reviewed the pictures and asked Supervisor Kacures to take him out to the locations. Supervisor Gondeck said that mail was laying on the road by Rice Auto Sales because the mailbox was knocked down and George hasn’t replaced the mailbox. He added that on October 2007 he passed the bill on to George for damage at Don Girtz property. The bill has still not been paid, and the township continues to receive a bill for the damage to the retaining wall and garden. The contract calls for the contractor to pay the bill. George will talk to Don Girtz. Supervisor Erdmann made a motion that this gets settled before the next meeting. The motion died for lack of a second. Supervisor Kacures said all we can hope for is no more snow this year. Supervisor Gondeck moved and Supervisor Kacures seconded a motion to pay all bills including the snow plowing bill. Motion passed.


Doug Boser said that he wanted to be involved with the township and he won’t come back to a meeting if this continues to go on. He gave a report on the town hall stating that it will cost about $2,600 to spray the ceiling with acoustical finish; $500 to change the water heater to a boiler; to go to a gas boiler will be about $3,600. We should address the hot water heater this year. An iron filter is recommended to be installed according to Supervisor Gondeck.  That would double the life of the water softener. Doug will do more follow-up before we decide to put one in. Doug recommends changing the water heater at this time. Supervisor Gondeck made a motion to authorize Doug Boser to change the water heater. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Erdmann and passed. Paul Schwinghammer suggested an in-line canister. Current water heater will be offered for sale.  Doug will find out what it’s worth. Ron Hommerding suggested having an energy audit to see if everything is running correctly; Xcel Energy won’t do that if we haven’t been operating for more than one year. Doug does not recommend that at this time.


Supervisor Gondeck announced that the county approved our SCORE grant for $7,500 for September township clean up day. The Board of Equalization Meeting is April 30 at 2:30pm.


Maureen Graber asked if she could update the board on MS4 and requested that the Clerk give her a copy of the annual meeting minutes. She said that Pat Spence has advertised the annual report for the May 6th meeting. Maureen will give the information to the board before the meeting.  If we develop a township flier, she recommends that MS4 should be included. The Clerk will tell the website manager that Maureen can add MS4 to the website. Paul Schwinghammer will be part of that meeting getting public input. Mulch will need to go on the pond over the seed; it can be straw. Maureen thinks we should plant more native prairie grass; we need to comply with regulations on our own property. Seeding should be after Memorial Day; we can possibly a grant from Soil and Water Conversation—through Annie Felix.  Supervisor Kacures gave Maureen a copy of a letter from the Dept of the Interior which might provide some funding.  Maureen was authorized to contact them, the Little Rock Lake Association and the Initiative Foundation to partner and look for funds. Paul asked for direction about getting information on the land use permits. Paul Schwinghammer is hired to do the inspections on MS4 in the township. The Clerk suggested that Maureen contact the Dept of Development to get weekly copies of the land use permits in the township. Maureen was thanked. She invited questions. George Mastey asked about the pond. Paul Schwinghammer said that we are required to stabilize the pond now. Supervisor Erdmann made a motion for George to provide two large round bales of straw by Monday; Supervisor Erdmann will talk to someone about blowing it on. Supervisor Gondeck seconded the motion; motion passed.  


A report was given by board members who attended the Minnesota Association of Township’s Spring Short Course. Supervisor Erdmann reported on the county board meeting discussion of the proposed used car lot. He and Supervisor Gondeck presented a summary of the March 18th meeting, and the county board made a motion to be opposed to the rezoning for the following reasons: future overpass, rezoning increases property value which would impact cost to taxpayers; safety for the neighborhood. The commissioners were unanimous and listened to the township and the citizens. The board, especially Butch Bukowski, commended the township for their involvement. Supervisor Gondeck gave a report on the annual meeting and was grateful for the excellent turnout of residents.


Frontage Road Update by Bob Erickson: There are some unresolved issues that the board and Bob are working on—property acquisition. There will be another special meeting after Supervisor Gondeck meets with Golf Haven. He moved to table it for now until we have all the figures in front of us. There are still many questions.


Linda Brown, land surveyor from Bonestroo & Matthew E. Mohs, Professional Engineer, gave a presentation on their services. They are strong in municipal engineering. They also work with private developers, so they can provide balance. They also have a strong environmental department. They do wetland delineations, mitigation, and have worked with several plats in Watab Township. Matt said they have experience with street project, sewer & water, septic, drainage, and grading. They have experience with MS4 and SWPPP plans. They pride themselves on rain garden design.  They also advise on assessment policies. The board thanked them for their presentation.


Supervisor Erdmann explained that some people complained that snow wasn’t plowed during the recent snowfall, but because of warming temperatures it was not plowed.


The month’s correspondence was reviewed with mailings from two advertisers and a fire call on railroad tracks with a tie burning. Rice Recreation is asking for township funding to replace what the school district will not be paying. They did not request a specific amount or let us know how many township residents participate. We also require that the request be made in person.  Supervisor Gondeck made a motion to deny the request until there is a personal request; Supervisor Erdmann seconded the motion; motion passed.


The annual road tour was set for April 19th at 7am; meet at the town hall. Bob Erickson will go with the Supervisors. Supervisor Kacures recommended that the board look for items placed in the road right of way because of the township liability.


Snow Plowing Contract:  look at right of way requirements, Maureen Graber said that we have a good contract—she thinks we should stick to it. Put in some minimum requirements for when to plow and how; put in responsibility. Clerk Spence was asked to get copies for the board of current contract and samples. Work with Bob to get contracts that other surrounding townships use. Brian Erdmann suggested bidding on a per mile basis. Doug Boser added that the township could put a performance bond on it to keep the contractor honest. Bob Erickson will confer with Brockway Township. We could do a trial one-year contract. We have 38 miles of road in the township. Ray Thompson said that in the specs it should say that when a truck goes by the wing should be down and they should wing in and out around the mail boxes and use the wing all the time. Bob Erickson will meet with Pat Spence and Craig Gondeck to set up some specs; he suggests getting all the bidding contractors together to clarify the bid process; they will also discuss it during the road tour.  Doug Boser advised that we send out a request for written ideas from contractors; then the board decides what to do. This will be on the May agenda.


Supervisor issues included discussion on the measurements for the frontage road by the golf course.  The Clerk was asked to send the legal notice for the meeting to Joan Spiczka. The board will determine how many miles of town road we currently plow during the road tour. Ed Kacures will attend the Benton Telephone Annual Meeting on the township’s behalf.  He also inquired about Sky Warn training. Currently Supervisor Gondeck is trained.


Supervisor Gondeck moved to adjourn at 9:50pm, seconded by Supervisor Kacures and motion passed.


Respectfully submitted by Pat Spence, Clerk