Questions raised over food shelf’s move to East Bethel

Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

Questions about the relocation of the North Anoka County Emergency food shelf to a site near the East Bethel Theater were raised at the Linwood Town Board meeting on March 27.

NACE had been administering the food shelf which had been at the Linwood Senior Center. There were also concerns about its accessibility for Linwood residents. The Linwood Food Shelf was originally set up to help those in need of assistance in the township.

Supervisor Mike Halliday liaison to NACE, was able to provide some history about the decision to move from the Linwood site. The main reason is that the Linwood Food Shelf did not have a federal designation as a 501-3C, non-profit organization.

Because of this, Second Harvest would no longer allow the Linwood Food Shelf to purchase from the warehouse, Halliday said.

A state non-profit is not the same as a federal non-profit. According to Attorney Gerald Randall, it can take 18-24 months to qualify, and often there is no guarantee that an application will be granted. If an organization is recognized as a federal non-profit, contributions can be used as tax deductions.

There still was concern about local families. It once served an average of 13 families a month, but now about 50-60 families are seeking help at the food shelf a month. Some clients need transportation to the more distant location.

One reason for the request for expanded space at the Linwood site was to help maintain client privacy. This happened about a month before NACE announced its decision to move to East Bethel.

Administration could be located in one location. Investment in technical upgrades could be made at one site. NACE continues to serve Linwood residents.  Linwood vans will provide rides for residents to the food shelf.

Job Description

Joe Dolphy, a former supervisor, asked for clarification about the job description for Town Clerk Judy Hanna. She is an incumbent running for reelection in November.

She also has responsibilities as senior coordinator and office manager. Dolphy said a break-down of duties would help anyone who might choose to run.

Hanna explained that the clerk’s duties are set by state statute. The Minnesota Association of Townships lists a clerk’s primary duties.

These include keeping record of board proceedings; maintain custody of record, books, and papers of the township; record minutes of every town meeting; file and preserve all accounts audited by the town board; record every request for special vote, special town meeting, and post requisite notices; post fair copies of all bylaws; furnish to the annual meeting of the town board of audit every statement from the county treasurer of money paid to the town treasurer and all other fiscal information about the town.

These are the beginnings of responsibilities. The clerk has a major role in conducting elections and is urged to seek training for this responsibility.

Tom Searing made a request that at any meet the candidates event, residents be allowed to ask questions from the floor.  In the past, the written questions have been screened and or selected so much that he believes discussion was stifled and that information residents were seeking was not available. The board voted unanimously to allow questions from the floor at upcoming events.

Kevin Tramm, building inspector, is continuing to monitor status of a property on 226th Ave. until June to see if clean-up of the lot is maintained.

In response to a complaint, staff members were directed to write a letter to an address in a Fawn Lake neighborhood regarding car sales on the property.

The board approved the purchase of a fork attachment for the township tractor. Estimated cost of the equipment is $1100, with the cost to be split between the road and bridge and parks Department.

The board also authorized the purchase of a time-clock for use of township employees.