In appreciation for 24 years of service on the Board of Supervisors, April 1 was proclaimed Bill Voedisch Day in May Township. John Adams now fills the role Voedisch held for 23 years as Board Chair.
2020 Audit Report
The Supervisors received an audit report for 2020. Despite concerns throughout the year about the impact of COVID-19 on tax collection, 99.6% of levied taxes were collected. The General Fund balance at the end of 2020 was $191,683, a decrease of $63,313, largely due to a $52,629 reduction in the tax levy. The Road and Bridge Fund showed an increase of $154,772 due to allocation of the tax levy to that fund and $72,463 from FEMA. The auditor reported that the Unassigned Fund balance, as a percent of expenditures, was a healthy 70.4%, which is less than in prior years but still well above guidelines.
Road Maintenance Costs Rise
The Supervisors reviewed and approved bids for road maintenance. Township engineer Katie Koscielak reported that the cost for calcium chloride for dust suppression on the township’s dirt roads increased by 17%, not the expected 5%. Material and trucking costs have skyrocketed, according to the vendors.
Supervisors discussed the option of switching to cheaper magnesium chloride, but past poor performance and shortened effectiveness meant twice as many applications were needed, reducing any cost savings. Skipping the fall application was also discussed and rejected as both unsafe and damaging to the roads. Eliminating the fall application was also discussed but with fall extending into November, that leaves roads dustier for longer and in worse condition in the spring.
Resident Tony Frattalone reminded the Supervisors of past problems with calcium chloride applications leaving the roads slimy and pooled with water. The slime damages yards, sidewalks, driveways and garage floors. He said there were other options the Township should consider next year.
Supervisor John Pazlar said the township’s calcium chloride application rate is lower than what is used by most communities, but the timing of the application – too soon after a rain – has sometimes been a problem.
The supervisors approved the Northern Salt bid for $155,120 for two applications. Also approved was a bid for street sweeping by Allied Blacktop ($6,890), gravel application by Miller Excavating ($11.65-$12.65/ton), storm sewer cleaning by American Vacuum Excavating ($1,950), and road striping by Washington County on Lynch Road, for a cost not to exceed $1,100.
Subdivision on Arcola Trail North
Blume Properties LLC requested to subdivide a 12-acre property on Arcola Trail North into two properties. Because of its location within the Lower St. Croix River Bluffland & Shoreland District, the request required review by Washington County, May Township, and the National Park Service, as well as the Carnelian Marine St. Croix Watershed District for grading and erosion control plans.
Washington County required that any trees removed be replaced 2:1 in diameter, that a tree replacement plan be submitted to the Township and the County, and that all exterior building materials use earth tone colors.
At the March planning commission meeting, a citizen asked whether the developer had inquired about Indian burial grounds or artifacts on the property. Township planner Nate Sparks reported that they had spoken with the state archeological group and there were no known, recorded, or documented burial grounds or artifacts on the site, although such things have been found in the vicinity. The state keeps records of all such findings, which, although not available to the general public, are available to surveyors.
The subdivision was approved.
Conditional Use Permit Amendment
The Board approved the request by Northern National Gas (NNG) to install a protective canopy over an existing compressor lube oil cooler unit located at 180th St. N. The Board asked NNG to replace the dead and dying trees used as a screen along the perimeter of the property.