During the recent Orrock Twp. meeting, the supervisors discussed some recent metal thefts from around the township.
Sgt. Luke McLean from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) gave his monthly report to the board.
Speeding complaints are still up around the county.
McLean also noted that there has been a rash of metal thefts, mostly near the St. Cloud area. However, the TV tower in Big Lake Twp. had been targeted, with suspects ripping wiring out to sell. The supervisors noted that there were some street signs missing from around Orrock Twp.
There was some suspicious activity at the Sand Dunes campground, with individuals that were suspected of using drugs. Officers also found some property damage at the campground.
Before leaving, McLean told the board that this may be the last monthly report he gives, as he is changing positions in the county and moving back into investigations. Dep. Turner will likely take over for McLean in the future.
The board directed town clerk Chris Weber to purchase more road signs, as signs from around the township have been stolen. Weber was given leave to make a purchase of up to $4,000 on 25 signs.
Speeding in Neighborhoods
The township received some complaints about excessive speeds in neighborhoods, with some residents requesting that “Slow: Children at Play” signs be put up. It currently is not township policy to put up these signs, the reason being that, in studies, the signs have not been shown to be effective in getting motorists to slow down.
Supervisor Gregg Felber voiced his desire to implement the signs in spite of the study results, as he had personal experience with accidents involving children.
McLean informed the board of some tactics that were found to be successful in other areas where residents complained about excessive speeds in neighborhoods. Signs put out by the residents (for example, the small green signs that look like a person holding a flag) were more effective than road signs in making motorists slow down. A more effective tactic than this was having the residents who were complaining about the speeding issues write down the license plate numbers of the repeat offenders, who were then visited by SCSO officers.
In the end, the supervisors requested that the SCSO perform a speed study in the area.
Ashley Meagher, CPA, gave the audit presentation on behalf of Schlenner Wenner. The auditors were giving an unmodified (clean) opinion of the township’s finances. She had mostly positive notes for the board of supervisors, saying that the auditors had a good working relationship with staff and that finances were in order.
She did have two notes she was required to make, by law. Firstly, the township has opted not to report capital assets. This would involve determining the value of all township-owned roads and real estate, which the treasurer and supervisors seemed to think would be more trouble than it was worth. The township is not required by law to report this.
Secondly, Meagher noted the lack of segregation of duties, which is incredibly common among townships. Small townships lack the resources to hire lots of staff members, and so the clerk and the treasurer have more access to township finances than a single staff member might in a larger city. This is unavoidable, however, without hiring more staff, and is almost prerequisite for townships.
Next, Meagher noted that deposits had been made in excess of FDIC limits. This means that, should something happen to the bank, any finances the township had in excess of $250,000 would not be insured. This only happened once and the treasurer was able to fix the issue, and it will not likely happen again.
Finally, Meagher suggested the board consider upgrading their accounting system. The treasurer and the clerk seemed to dislike the idea, as the system the township currently uses, CTAS, works just fine for them, is free, and has excellent customer support. Treasurer Gary Goldsmith did not feel the upgrade was urgent by any means, and Meagher confirmed that the company would be able to work with CTAS without issue, only that CTAS did not have quite the same functionality as other programs.
This year has seen a surge in the number of election judges who will be working at the primary and general elections this year. This is largely due to the voting integrity controversy happening at the county level.
Supervisor Paul Ellinger asked Weber whether it was a good use of town funds to hire so many more election judges for the election than were strictly necessary. Weber countered that, while the primaries don’t need many judges on hand, it would be important to let anyone wanting to be an election judge have the opportunity to try it out before the general elections come around. The rest of the board agreed.
In Other Business, the Board:
• Discussed repairing hail damage to township buildings;
• Addressed a letter sent in by an unhappy resident who believed the township was responsible for some damage to his property;
• Considered, again, how to move forward with creating a new town hall building.