April 10, 2023
The regular meeting of the Palmer Township Board was called to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Palmer Township Hall, with Supervisors Ganz, Demeules, and Wipper present. Also present was, Amy Bragelman Township Clerk. Roger Johnson Treasurer, was present via Zoom. The meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Treasurer’s Report: Roger Johnson read the balances from the Treasurer's report. Supervisor Demeules made a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report. Supervisor Wipper seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.
Sheriff’s Report: Capitan Ben Zawacki read the Sheriff’s for the month of March. 92 Total calls for service as compared to 107 calls for service in 2022. 1 narcotics arrest, 1 theft, 1 motor vehicle accident with injury, 5 medicals, 23 total traffic stops, and 23 security checks.
Road Maintenance/Signs: Chairman Ganz stated that as he said back in January this will be a bad year for potholes, and explained how a pothole is created through freezing and cracking. Supervisor Mitch Wipper did fill a few potholes on the North side of town. Knife River confirmed that they will not have the hot mix ready until the first part of May. You may see the County patching but that is what they call a cold patch. Supervisor Wipper stated that they are trying to be proactive by filling the big Potholes with milling he is aware that it is just a Band-Aid for now. Chairman Ganz stated that we are waiting to hear back from Scoot Dahlke, on pricing. The road tour will be held after the Truth and Taxation meeting next Tuesday at 9 am. This year Supervisor Demeules will prioritize each road. Sweeping and potholing will start as soon as the roads dry out. Shelly Alger – Peyton asked if, at the next meeting, we would discuss the results of the road tour. Chairman Ganz said that they would, after categorizing and listing problem areas. Signs will start to pick up again. James Langowski inquired about speed bumps. The thought amongst the board is that we need more enforcement.
Fire Department: Chief Koren gave the monthly call report for the period of 2/13/23-3/13/23 for Palmer Township. There was a total of 16 calls for the Clear Lake Fire Department. 6 of those calls were for Palmer Township, 5 being medical, 0 fires, and 1 auto accident. Chief Koren also reported for the monthly call report for the period of 3/13/23-4/10/23 for Palmer Township. There was a total of 22 calls for the Clear Lake Fire Department. 9 of those calls were for Palmer Township, 8 being medical, 0 fires, and 1 auto accident. There is also a fire board meeting on Wednesday. There was no ice training this year due to the weather. James Langowski inquired about what the Fire department’s thoughts were on purchasing something like a Banana Boat for Ice rescues. Chief Koren stated that all of their money is already allocated for other purchases at this time.
P.E.C: Chairman Ganz stated that Palmer Clean-up Day will be held on May 20th. Jim’s Disposal out of Milaca will be our main hauler, Midway will do the iron, Liberty out of St.Martin will do the tires and rims, and Veit. Roger confirmed that we do not get reimbursed, through score grants, for construction materials or anything that will go to the landfill. Mike
made a motion to host Palmer Clean–up Day on May 20th at the Town Hall from 7 am to noon, Supervisor Demeules second and the motion was carried.
Park Report: Supervisor Demeules reported on the Elk Lake Park Committee. The last meet was held March 15th and every other meeting will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. There has been no decision made on the park name Tribal leaders are discussing it. The survey is not complete monuments have been found and they have been in contact with the surveyor. No decision has been made on security but they are looking at signage for tampering which would be a misdemeanor. Clean-up areas have gone out for bids, and they have also been in contact with Northland Reliability Project as they are in the process of putting new poles out. There are about 25 buildings on the property most will be removed and others may be sold. Everything will have to go through Tribal Leaders prior to any activity building removal or land disturbance. Chairman Ganz mentioned that Northland Reliability will be meeting at the Town hall the first part of May to discuss pole placement with landowners that may be affected. Stacy Strang gave a presentation for the Newly formed Palmer Park Committee which is made up of Stacy Strang, Albert and Laura Kangas, Shelly and Rick Peyton, Mitch Hoefer, Brandon Weis, and Dennis Weis, and serving as an advisor Bob Wipper. The Committee asked for $20,000 to update the Tennis Courts and add Pickle Ball, the County will put $10,000 toward the Courts. They proposed that Surface Pro would resurface the Courts, and put out new posts. The committee would lean on volunteers to clean out cracks and install new posts. The Committee proposed that one court would be dedicated to pickleball and the other to tennis. Clint Schendzielos mentioned that they may want to reach out to clubs like the Lions for donations, as they have helped towns in the past. Albert stated that he spoke with Pat Arnold and he mentioned that they may want to talk to the club for donations for ongoing maintenance. Harry Ernzer inquired if we could use ARPA funds for this. Supervisor Demeules stated that we do have ARPA funds allocated for other projects but then more than likely the rest would go to roads. $10,000 would come out of the park fund and $10,000 would come out of ARPA. Supervisor Demeules made a motion to go with the Park Committee’s bid to resurface the tennis courts at a cost for the Township of $20,000 with all in favor and the motion was carried. The Committee thanked the board. Roger mentioned that we also have money from the Palmer Day Committee to donate to the parks for a total of $4,000. There was a lot of discussion on the DNR Grant that Supervisor Demeules applied for last year and that we may in the future want to hire a grant writer due to the amount of information needed and the long process. Chairman Ganz mentioned that we probably won’t be dropping any trees this spring at the park. We should also think about resealing the parking lot at the park. Chairman Ganz Mentioned that the Mower for the park will be coming from Texas. Clint Schendzielos asked what the status of the new door at the park is. Chairman Ganz stated that it was installed last week.
Lake Association: Supervisor Demeules reported that BLCA hasn’t met this Month yet, however, they do have a new Instagram account. Healthy Lakes was held at Langowskis house. Char reported that they spoke about no mow May and slow mow summer.
Legal Comments: Chairman Ganz mentioned that we have an updated rental application.
Approval of Minutes: Supervisor Wipper made a motion to approve the March minutes as written. Supervisor Demeules seconded it and the motion carried.
ARPA FUND: Supervisor Demeules reported that we have 235 thousand dollars plus. We approved the low area of 109th and the low area of 42nd to come out of the ARPA plus if we update the Security locks that will bring us down to 124 thousand left in ARPA. That does not include the 10,000 that was approved for the park today. We have until 2026 to spend what is left. Demeules reported that even though we have moved the ARPA funds to the general fund we will still be keeping track of where all of this money is going.
OLD BUSINESS: Chairman Ganz hasn’t heard anything back on the proposed lease agreement
NEW BUSINESS: Reorganization. The Board approved the Gopher Bounty at 3 dollars. Chairman Ganz made a motion Supervisor Wipper Seconded and the motion was carried. Ganz made a motion to continue water testing the dumpsters and pay for the porter potties in the winter, Supervisor Demeules seconded and the motion was carried. Chairman Ganz made a motion to approve the levy at 4 percent Supervisor Demeules seconded and the motion was carried. Chairman Ganz made a motion to donate 500 dollars to the historical society and keep the Patriot as Palmer Townships’ official newspaper and Supervisor Wipper Seconded. Treasurer Roger Johnson recommended that the township stays with Sherburne State Bank. Chairman Ganz made that into the form of a motion and Supervisor Demeules seconded. Steve Demeules made a motion to keep Ganz as Chairman, Supervisor Wipper seconded and the motion was carried. Chairman Ganz went over wages. Chairman Ganz stated that the Supervisors will stay at 22 dollars an hour, and Treasure’s hourly rate should go to 18.50 an hour and the Clerk, The Election Judges would stay at 16 dollars an hour, and Maintenance will go to 18.00 dollars an hour, Cleaning will stay at 16 dollars an hour, and meeting rates will stay the same Chairman Ganz made a motion to approve new wages Supervisor Wipper seconded and the motion was carried. Supervisor Demeules went over the Joint Powers Agreement which states that Clear Lake Township will monitor and enforce the No Wake on Elk Lake. Denmeules made a motion to approve Joint Powers Agreement, Supervisor Demueles seconded and the motion was carried. Supervisor Demeules made a motion to go with Write Hennepin to upgrade the Locking system at the Town Hall at a cost of Thirty-Three hundred and Four dollars plus Two thousand and Sixty dollars for a locksmith and a recurring monthly fee of twenty-three dollars, Supervisor Wipper seconded and the Motion was carried. Chairman Ganz mentioned that we will have a monthly workshop on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, at one in the afternoon, which will be open to the public so that the Supervisors can go over tasks that need to be done throughout the Township. A list of what was discussed will be taken, but it is open to the public. Supervisor Demeules stated that this will be a directional meeting and no motions will be made at said meeting. Supervisor Demeules made a motion to have an open meeting, and Supervisor Wipper Seconded the motion was carried. Patty Zimmerman spoke on behalf of the Shed church she started by reading the Constitution and read the definition of the separation of church and state. Patty stated that a lot has happened since January 17th. The Shed Church received a letter given to them by the board and drafted by the Township Lawyer. She stated that they were dumbfounded by the letter and then she proceeded to read the letter. She stated that last Thursday when a meeting was held at the township pertaining to a new rental policy the Shed Church asked if they would be able to worship in the Town Hall under the new policy and the lawyer stated that they could. She stated that they were given permission to store items in the back room and in a locked closet, and stated that they have text to support that claim. She mentioned that they never wanted to take advantage of the Town Hall. She mentioned that the cameras were covered to protect missionaries that may be persecuted for their religious beliefs, and also for the protection of personal prayer requests. She stated that the communication from the board to the Shed Church should have been better. She also stated that she personally knows an FBI agent and knows that they cannot be videotaped Therefore an FBI agent ever wanted to come to the Town Hall they would not be able to. She was also concerned about the fact that people have said that they did not secure a damage deposit and stated that they tried and were told they didn’t need to, also she stated that they took great pride in making sure that the hall was left better than the way they found it. She was upset that others have used the hall without paying and were never called out for it. Also stated that there were times the doors were unlocked when they arrived and made sure that they were never unlocked when they left. She stated that the rumors and allocation that they were harboring fugitives and asked that if anyone here made those allegations would stop and make it right. She stated that the Shed church brought God to Palmer and when they received the letter it was not taken lightly because it fringes on religious freedoms. So, after prayer and consulting other members of the public, they hired a lawyer. She stated that if they hadn’t responded via a lawyer the Township would have been free to take away Their rights and anyone else. The Shed Church offered to clean the carpets but they were never taken up on that. She hopes that any misinformation will be cleared up due and that no more misinformation will be spread. Chairman Ganz then spoke and stated that the Town Hall was not left in pristine condition as she stated. Someone had colored on the wall in the backroom and the whiteboard was broken. Ganz also mentioned that he didn’t appreciate being told last Thursday by a member of the Shed church that he must not believe or care about God when in fact he attends church regularly. He also stated that if they had gotten permission to use a closet and not pay for a damage deposit it was not from the board. Chris Cotton stated that he got permission from Amy the Clerk and has proof of that. Ganz stated that he and Chris had many conversations leading up to the lawyer’s letter in regard to how much longer the Shed Church would be using the Town Hall. The board was under the assumption that this would not be a permit thing and the Church had been using the hall for 17 months rent-free. The letter that the Township received from the Shed Church was demanding and stated that the Church needed to be reinstated rent-free with storage or they would be under litigation. Both letters can be found at the Town Hall from the Clerk during normal business hours. A member of the committee asked the Shed Church what they wanted and if they were still planning on suing. They stated that they wanted people to know the truth but would comment on possible litigation. Another member of the community stated that they thought that things could have been handled better on both sides and that all of this needs to end.
Supervisor Demeules made a motion to approve claims #23064- #23090, plus payroll, and Conexus for a total of 28,776.98 Supervisor Wipper second
Supervisor Demeules made a motion to adjourn. Supervisor Wipper seconded and the motion was carried. The meeting adjourned at 9:07 p.m.
Amy Bragelman, Palmer Township Clerk Approved as reviewed May 8th, 2023