3/22/2013 10:41:00 AM Dave Pederson new to Stanton Town Board
by Paul Martin
Dave Pederson - "Ranger Dave" of the Phillippo Scout Reservation - was elected to the Stanton Town Board on March 12 on a write-in vote. He succeeds Vince Cockriel, who did not file for re-election. Jennifer Ritzman was overwhelmingly elected to a fresh term as treasurer. The election was followed by the annual town meeting. Former supervisor, Dave Garner, acted as moderator.
2014 Levy increased
by Floor Vote
Cockriel introduced a proposed 2014 levy, as retiring board chair. The board proposed a levy of $215,000, the same as 2013. For reporting to Goodhue County, who only recognized a three-way split, the breakdown is $58,000 for the general fund, $125,000 for roads and bridges, and $32,000 for fire service. $5,000 of the general fund levy would be set aside for replacing heavy equipment, and $13,000 for the building fund. The latter is earmarked for badly needed replacement of the maintenance and storage shed, and currently stands at $53,280, against an estimated cost of $150,000.
Voices from the floor urged a faster rate of set-aside. Supervisor John Miller said, "It's no good having a shed with no equipment to put in it!" An amendment from the floor to add $20,000 to the levy, for a total of $235,000, was passed on a voice vote. The extra will be added to the two reserve funds. Another amendment, to add a further $5,000 to fund clearing of brushy growth along township roads, did not find a second.
Cockriel noted that fire department charges will be rising at 3% per year for five years from 2014. There was agreement that the Randolph/Hampton Department charges are excessive, but also that nothing can be done. Distances from the Cannon Falls Fire Department to properties on the west side of the township are such that homeowners' insurance would present a big problem if they were to provide coverage instead.
Roads in Good Shape
after June Floods
Cockriel also gave the road report. The floods in June caused almost $50,000 in damage to township roads. All repairs are done, and all but $1,200 has been paid by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The last $1,200 should also be repaid.
The township has paid $30,760 toward the 330th St. bridge replacement project, but the final cost to Stanton will be $10,000. When the $20,000-plus refund is received, Cockriel recommended it also be put into the building and equipment funds. The work will be done this fall, or more likely spring 2014. Local recommendations were accepted and the construction will be open span, not culvert as first planned.
The Federal mandate to replace all road signs by 2014 to meet new standards has been relaxed. Signs will only placed as needed. Residents should call the township clerk if they see faded, damaged or non-reflective signs.
Lastly, a section of County 24 will be turned back to the township on completion of the new Hwy. 52 intersection. This will need a Joint Powers Agreement with Cannon Falls Township, and agreement for this has been reached.
Ken Ebert asked if residents can be informed of construction schedules once these are known. Residents on the e-mail list will be kept informed, and the clerk will add names if contacted. Garner suggested the information could also be posted in a dedicated spot on the town website.
Treasurer's Annual Report
Ritzman reported a total balance in all funds of $370,101.46 at December 31, 2012. This is an increase of almost $120,000 from the end of 2011. Almost all of the increase is in the road and bridge fund, following a less expensive year. Snow and ice this winter will spell more spending in 2013.
Cockriel was asked about the state of the development planned for the land between Hwy. 24 and the Little Cannon River, west of Peterson's Turkey Farm.
"The contractor has come back with plans adjusted to the land's present zoning, showing 40 houses on 208 acres," he replied. "The town board does not oppose this plan, as it is preferable to anything else that might be done with the land, or to annexation. The City of Cannon Falls has opposed the plan. It is on the agenda for the County Planning Advisory Committee meeting on March 18. New board chair, Bob Benson, will attend to represent the township's interests."