Town board approves missed raises for four employees
Nate Kubat made an appeal May 14 to the Linwood Town Board on behalf of a group of residents requesting the pavement of an extension of Typo Creek Drive Northeast. The segment in question extends north from Fawn Lake Drive to connect with Given’s Addition at the intersection of 242nd Lane and Amazon Street.
When the development was platted, the streets within it were paved, but not the segment of the road connecting it to other paved surfaces. Since that time, ordinances have changed and now call for streets to be paved from a development to the nearest paved street.
Township policy is to assess for street improvements. Following the direction of the board, Kubat had contacted the 19 households in the development and an additional six along the graveled Typo Creek Drive.
The township would prepare the road to specifications with gravel. The estimated cost to pave the road is $74,000. If all residents agreed to the paving, the per-household assessment would be $2,960. According to Kubat, 19 residents in the development are willing to chip in, while four are not.
If 75 percent of the residents would agree to the assessment, a 3-2 vote by the board could approve the project. If 60 percent of affected residents agree, at least four board members would need to approve it.
Action on the decision was tabled until both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Road and Bridge Committee have reviewed the information again.
“We’ve already talked about it,” said Road and Bridge Committee Chair Bob Beckman.
Attorney Mike Haag discussed items in the employee handbook related to longevity raises. Employees are eligible for these if they work 31 hours a week or more. Employee Rudi McCurdy, who had raised the topic at the previous meeting, does not qualify.
Board member Carol Searing believes that all employees should be eligible.
McCurdy plans to request a “comparable worth” study regarding his compensation for technological work for the township.
Board member Phil Osterhus found that there were missed longevity raises for four employees, including one due to Chris Herring in the amount of $1,644.35. Smaller oversights regarding three other employees totaled $662.15. The board approved payments to the four employees.
Fire Department updates
Fire Chief Darryl Ballman announced that Linwood Fire Department will take delivery of its new truck in June or July. Ken Minske, former chief, is retiring after 25 years of service with the department. Brian Meyer has been promoted to medical training officer with the rank of lieutenant.
Fire Marshal Scott Smith presented an ordinance proposal to increase fines for residents burning without permits, particularly when there is a burning ban in effect. There have been repeat offenders. The proposal is for a $1,000 fine, which more accurately reflects the actual cost of responding to a fire than the current fine of $25. The department’s rental of equipment costs about $300 an hour with a two-hour minimum. Haag will review language and report back at the next board meeting.
Jaime Schurbon of the Sunrise River Water Management Organization is pursuing a $50,000 grant to install a carp barrier this year, most likely at the south end of Martin Lake. Supervisor Bob Millerbernd explained that obtaining the grant would potentially help in applying for larger grants for other barriers.
Linwood Community and School Forest celebrated its 20th birthday May 21. The property was acquired through tax forfeiture. To celebrate, a free digital scavenger hunt has been organized through May 31. Participants take pictures in the forest of 10 items from a list. The first 200 participants can obtain a certificate of completion and a reusable lunch bag prize at Linwood Town Hall or the Linwood Elementary office.
Construction of the planned gazebo/picnic shelter at the north end of Linwood Elementary will begin soon. Kramer Mechanical will make heavy equipment available to move some materials.
The board unanimously approved the bid from Knife River to complete the 2013 road projects. The company’s bid was $296,810. The estimate from Engineer Craig Jochum was $338,000. The balance will be used for small projects this year or go into reserve for 2014.
The board approved renewal of the recycling contract with Anoka County. To increase participation, recycling services will be expanded on Saturdays to include free recycling of some appliances, tires and TVs. A valid ID will be required, and commercial quantities will not be accepted. One hope is that the annual recycling day can be eliminated.
There has been discussion about recording town meetings. Haag told the board that there is no specific requirement. One small set-up – a microphone for each person, plus one camera – has been researched. More information will be presented at the next meeting.