The second Tuesday in March is enshrined in Minnesota statute as the date when townships across the state hold their annual meetings, at which time residents vote on recommendations setting operating budgets for the subsequent year. In addition, the law requires that the attendees at the meeting also set the date and location for the following year’s annual meeting.
Many townships also hold their annual elections, where supervisors, and sometimes treasurers and clerks, vie for their positions. Unofficial results are announced to those in attendance at the meeting, and the final tallies are then verified after the annual meeting when most townships hold the Board of Canvass.
Tuesday night in Santiago, ten residents gathered to vote on the recommendations for the 2024 budget and also heard results of this year’s elections.
Supervisor Stuart Nelson was re-elected for another three year term, while Treasurer Patty Simonsmeier also won re-election. Both candidates received 16 votes in the election.
In Palmer, voter turnout was much higher, with 178 ballots cast. Mitch Wipper received 168 votes and will succeed the retiring supervisor, Richard Larson.
Meanwhile in Becker Twp., four residents gathered with township officials and approved the recommendations for all four budget areas: General Fund, Road and Bridge Fund, Town Hall Fund and the Fire Fund.
Updates were also given on upcoming road projects, as well as the township’s efforts to purchase the property and building of the old Fire Hall, which is currently home to the Becker American Legion. A strange property line currently means that the township owns most of the office portion of the building but technically not the land that it sits on. With the pending sale from the City of Becker, the township will assume ownership of the land and the entire building area, including the old truck bays.
Supervisor Brad Wilkening shared some interesting statistics that showed 984 building permits issued in 2022, compared to just 263 the previous year (many being hail damage repair). Nineteen permits were issued for new home construction and the average value of the buildings (not including the price of the land) was $427,000.
Election updates were also shared, showing Robin Boros receiving 43 votes and Luke Babler netting 45. Both men retained their supervisor positions for another term, with Boros expected to draw “gopher feet” duty for the upcoming year.
Resident Bryan Olson spoke during the open forum, extending a thank you to the public servants on behalf of the township’s constituents.
From there, the meeting was adjourned until next year, when residents will once again gather at 8:01 to participate in the grassroots demonstration of democracy that is a hallmark of Minnesota township government.