Saturday, June 22nd, 2024 Church Directory
ORROCK TOWN CLERK CHRIS WEBER donated these two canvas prints to the township, depicting the new and old town hall buildings. (Photo by Katherine Cantin.)

Orrock makes decision on speed signage

Once again, speed signage was the hot topic of the evening at the Orrock Town Hall meeting. 

Ten years ago, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a law that would raise the speed limits on township roads around the state, with certain areas being 35 mph and other being 55 mph, depending on how many driveways were on each particular road. This would impact many township roads, raising limits on any road originally posted under 35 mph. After the law was passed, the Minnesota Legislature gave the townships ten years to replace their speed signs with the appropriate, updated speeds. Speed signs are required to be replaced every 10 years, so it was thought that as the townships needed to order new signs they would update them to the correct speeds. 

Orrock, along with other townships, did not do so over time, and now that the 10 years are up, Orrock and the other townships that didn’t update along the way are having to update several of their roads to, usually, higher speeds. 

Many residents over the past year have expressed concern to the town board about increasing speed, and being against the speed limits being raised. 

The town board, in response, spoke to lawyers, law enforcement, and local politicians to try and find a way to accommodate the wishes of the residents. Orrock and other townships petitioned the Minnesota Legislature to change back the ruling from 10 years ago during their latest session, but the legislatures voted against the change. The town board heard about the decision of the state legislature not long before their May meeting. With the information coming in so soon before the meeting, the topic was not published ahead of time on the agenda, but it was added at the last minute for discussion. 

Because the agenda item was added so late, Supervisor Anne Felber voiced her opinion that the topic should be tabled until the June meeting, in order to allow the public an opportunity to come and give comment before the board made any action. However, Supervisor Bryan Adams maintained that, as the county attorney had recently advised the board that they needed to adhere to state law, the opinions of the public were moot on this matter: regardless of whether the residents of Orrock approved or disapproved of a speed increase, it was state law and the board needed to comply with it. Clerk Chris Weber also noted that, when the county attorney found out the township was not in compliance with the state law, she contacted the township attorney, who took another look at the legislation and advised that the township comply with the law, despite the fact that there is penalty to the township for disobedience. 

Felber still wished to table the motion for a month, but her motion failed to pass. The rest of the town board voted to adopt the speeds the state required and further moved to purchase road signs and have them installed. 

Later in the meeting, there was a motion to adjourn on the table, and at this time Supervisor Felber wished to give a final comment. She read off a Minnesota statute that she found online that noted that no matter should be voted upon unless it was posted ahead of time on the agenda for the public to see, and she asked the board to backtrack their previous decisions on the matter. However, a new motion, in this case a motion to redact a previous motion, cannot be made until the motion on the floor was already resolved. With the motion on the floor already to adjourn the meeting, the board decided to go ahead and adjourn. 

Clerk Weber did reach out to this reporter the following day and noted that the legislation Supervisor Felber quoted is for an environmental quality board operation and not for a town board. The statue referenced can be found here:

(Note... this information was given outside of the regular meeting).

Sheriff’s Report

For the month of April, the leading calls of concern were fraud complaints. A few residents were affected by scam calls tricking the residents into giving away money to the scammers. One resident was asked to convert money into cryptocurrency, which cannot by tracked. The sergeant reporting noted that “If it doesn’t sound right, it isn’t” and encouraged residents to be careful with scam callers.

Open Forum

Steve Machinaw spoke on behalf of the Lakes Association to express appreciation for all the recent work the board did at Ann Lake Boat Landing.

Gambling Permit

Eric Waldoch of the Sherburne County Swamp Bucks approached the board to request a gambling permit for a firearm raffle. The raffle will take place September 7 at the Getaway Bar.

Art Donation

Town Clerk Chris Weber donated two canvas prints to be displayed in Town Hall. One is a photo of the new Town Hall building, and one is a photo of the old Town Hall and former school house. 

In Other Business, the Board:

• Approved tobacco licenses for area businesses;

• Commented on a successful Recycle Day, noting a slow start to the day but ending up matched with previous years;

• Noted that a summons was sent out to certain residents regarding a property dispute, and neighbors of the property were given an opportunity to research and comment on the sale of a property (those involved were sent a summons in the mail);

• Noted the sinkhole that was discussed at the April meeting has been fixed and the road has been repaired;

• Approved spending up to $4,000 on patching potholes around the township;

• Noted that road improvement projects were wrapping up with only minor issues involving sprinkler heads being covered up (an easy fix).