The Clear Lake Twp. Board met Tuesday evening with several agenda items requiring attention, including setting the process for appointing a new Twp. Clerk.
Deputy Clerk Gary Anderson has been handling most of the duties since former clerk Peggy Berger left her position in March, but the board felt it was the right time to seek a permanent replacement.
Chairman Gary Gray outlined a tentative process, which will include both a job description and application form that are in the works and should be ready perhaps within a month. Once that behind the scenes work is done, the supervisors agreed that it would be best to advertise the position on the township website as well as in the Patriot newspaper to gauge any local interest in the job, which is expected to entail 10-15 hours a week. In addition to the usual clerk duties, the individual selected will also have to be the point person for elections and would be expected to maintain a presence at the Township Hall.
Sgt. Tim Jeanetta introduced himself to the board and indicated that moving forward, he would be the person providing the monthly updates for the township. Jeanetta, who has 28 years of experience with the SCSO, recently took over as a Patrol Sergeant after spending 20 years as an investigator.
He detailed 119 total calls for service for the month of June, which included 49 traffic stops. Three thefts were detailed in the report, as well as 3 grass fires, 2 personal injury accidents and 10 extra patrol requests.
Jeanetta also explained that he had received several inquiries into irrigation systems spraying water onto roadways so he took the time to research the issue. After looking further into the law and even calling the State of MN, he reported to the board that there is nothing illegal about the situation.
Stimmler asked the board to consider three possible solutions to the issue of the Chinese elm trees that are taking over portions of the Twp. Park. After meeting on site with representatives of the Sherburne SWCD, it was determined that the western portion of the park is progressing as planed with the natural prairie restorations, while the eastern portion has a section that is being overrun with the nuisance tree.
Stimmler presented the three options, all of which will include a prescribed burn this fall. The plans differed in how to deal with the removal of existing trees, including taking them out with a brush hog and chainsaw, letting them take over approximately a third of the park or letting them populate freely, which would eventually mean they would ruin all of the native prairie that had been established.
Imholte and Gray both favored the approach that Stimmler recommended, which was to remove the trees and then apply herbicide to the stumps to kill off the roots. This approach will protect the native prairie and allow more desirable trees to prosper on the property. Stimmler will work on a plan and was given permission to make application for the parkland dedication fees from the county to fund the work.
Township Engineer T. Vander Eyk updated the board on the Sherwood Shores road project, reporting that it is essentially complete except for a few punchlist items that he is working on solidifying.
Chairman Gray noted the efforts of both Eyk and Stimmler, both of whom were instrumental in being on site and helping to ensure a smooth project.
While the project reportedly went extremely well overall, there were four resident concerns that stemmed from the work and Gray invited each to the board meeting to talk about their issue.
One issue involved a tree that was inadvertently removed from the right-of-way near Justin Anderson’s residence, while the other involved resident Alan Stowe wanting to keep a cemented wooded pole as his mailbox support. Neither of these citizens were present at the meeting to discuss the issue, so the supervisors acted anyway, agreeing that a tree would not be re-planted within the right-of-way, while all mailbox supports needed to be the swing-away style structures, as these are outlined in state statute.
Gray noted another issue, received via email from resident Josh Hagemeister, that alleged damage to a tree and some sod in his yard. Several emails and phone calls were exchanged between he and Gray, and Eyk personally went to the residence the morning after the township was notified of the issue.
Gray told the board of some colorful language that he was subjected to during the exchange and that he had wished the matter could have been addressed in a more civil manner.
Stimmler noted that the paving contractors had indeed taken a tree limb down in order to keep the project moving, so the township showed up the next day with a chainsaw and removed the branch.
However, both he and Eyk looked into the sod complaint and determined that it was not related to the project.
“It wasn’t anywhere near the project,” Stimmler said.
Gray noted that Hagemeister had provided a letter to the board, asking that it be read aloud at the meeting. However, since the resident was not in attendance at the meeting, the supervisors felt that it would not lead to a productive discussion and instead declared the matter settled.
Residents Duane and Karin Schumacher were present at the meeting to discuss an issue with the shouldering width of a section of the roadway near their house. Duane started off by praising the overall scope of the project, as well as the township’s efforts during construction. He then presented several photos that showed a discrepancy between the standard 2 to 3 foot width of the compacted shoulder and one area on a steeper bank that appeared to approach 6 feet across. The Schumacher’s worried that the wide section could become a de-facto parking area along the roadway.
After looking at alternatives, the board agreed that for the one small segment affected, the homeowners could remedy the situation since it is not legally part of the roadway and therefore not subject to the laws prohibiting removal of roadway materials. Both sides exchanged pleasantries and credited the other for the rational, civil discourse that led to the acceptable conclusion.
Gray concluded the meeting with his chairman’s report, which included a letter from resident Dennis Munson praising the township for the Sherwood Shores project and the many meetings and proactive communication.