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March 28, 2020

3/19/2020 2:44:00 PM
Chisago Lake Township annual meeting lightly-attended

There were a couple dozen folks attending the Chisago Lake Township annual meeting last week. With no contest for the supervisor seat election, retained by incumbent Sherry Stirling, things are pretty quiet. And, Clerk Jeanette Peterson won every vote of the 23 ballots cast.

The township plans on keeping its 2021 levy the same as this year-- $1,119,000, which residents in the audience supported. Moderator Jim Froberg navigated the annual meeting agenda starting with a recap by the clerk of what the supervisors handled, and maintenance and financial reports and the ever-popular gopher bounty was upheld by the residents.  The township paid out $980 in bounty last year.  The reward stays at $2 per critter.

In other highlights:  Matt Wikelius, road supervisor, said the township was hit with $160,000 in frost boil damages last year and he’s hoping for a softer spring this year.  

There were 2,000 standardized blue address signs posted last year.

The green street signs and poles are in the process of being replaced over four years. The new lettered part is six inches tall now, versus the old signs at four inches.

He explained the paving work done near Moody Lake and that the 40 or so homeowners in the neighborhood off the half-mile stretch of formerly gravel road-- paid to have their access road tarred.

In finances:  Chisago Lake Township has contracts with four fire departments and its line item for fire/rescue services is the second largest at $225,000.  The largest fund is Road & Bridge, proposed to be finalized at $362,000. Blacktop repair is at $200,000.

Chisago Lake Township puts $50,000 into its Equipment Fund and debt service for the new buildings is running $72,000 annually.

General Fund for township operations, Town Board expenses and personnel is $82,000. Judy Straub, Treasurer, reported the balance is healthy at $949,970 end of 2019, and is held in various area banks and investment instruments.

A speaker for the Chisago Lakes Tourism Board-- Jill Behnke-- explained how the group oversees marketing and works with the Chisago Lakes Area Chamber on boosting tourism.  The budget comes from the lodging tax of three percent.

She talked about extending the lodging tax beyond the city borders where it has been adopted.  The township needs to be brought in to benefit from the marketing efforts that are funded by the lodging tax, Behnke said.  Right now three percent tax is only being collected from lodging businesses in the five urban areas of the Chisago Lakes School District.

The township residents approved a motion to direct the supervisors to enact the tax in the township.

There were a few community organizations seeking funding for services. The residents gave town supervisors authority to divide funding of up to $10,000 among these groups. Actual dispersements are decided by the town supervisors.  State law sets a maximum for taxpayer charitable contributions for townships at this $10,000 total amount.  

Family Pathways, County Agricultural Society/County Fair, county Historical Society and Chisago County Recreation were requests mentioned.  There were no representatives for any of the groups at the meeting.

County Commissioner Chris DuBose gave the county update. He mentioned recent retirements and job changes the county is affected by.  He  added that healthcare providers, long term care facilities and others involved in public health have met and will continue to coordinate response to the COVID-19 virus threat.

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