2019.06.11 Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors Meeting

Greenwood Town Board deadlocked on broadband grant application

A shorthanded Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors gathered on June 11 to conduct its regular meeting. Supervisor Paul Skubic was absent.

Following the town board’s housekeeping work it tackled the first item of old business on its agenda. The town board discussed accepting quotes to repair and reseal the town hall parking lot. The township had received only one quote, from Mesabi Bituminous, and it arrived after deadline.
Supervisor Mike Ralston reported that the quote from Mesabi Bituminous went “well beyond the scope“ which the township outlined in its request for quotes, and came in at a number much higher than the town board anticipated the project would cost.
Ralston moved to table any action on maintenance and repair of the town hall parking lot and seek guidance from the township’s attorney on how to handle a process, again seeking competitive bids. His motion was approved, 4-0.
Local Lake Vermilion area communities have formed a steering committee, cooperating with the Blandin Foundation, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in exploring opportunities to bring broadband to the Lake Vermilion area.
Town Board Chairman Carmen DeLuca was quick to voice the opinion that the township did not need to establish a computer public access point within the town hall. The township already provides wireless access outside the hall so people can park in the lot and connect with the internet on their own “smart” devices.
DeLuca proposed to forgo the township’s participation in a multi-community grant application to Blandin and moved to decline to participate in the area wide application. His motion found support from Supervisor Byron Beihoffer, who attends broadband steering committee meetings as a town board representative. The motion failed in a 2-2 tie.
“It would be nice to have the white paper on the grant … I think the township could benefit from the grant,” Supervisor Mike Ralston, said noting that benefit might be additional garnering additional security at the town hall.
“I believe that a public computer would, likely, soon be gathering dust,’ Ralston said.
He went on to explain, however, that the public space for the public computer need be locked and the township could garner some additional security for the town hall and its computer systems by utilizing the grant.
Ralston asked Treasurer Pam Rodgers to present a grant application proposal they had worked to prepare. Rodgers cited a list of equipment and infrastructure improvements which they propose will increase internet and building security.
Supervisor Ralston moved to have the town board submit a Blandin Foundation grant application, including wiring the township offices with fiber cable adequate to utilize broadband internet and create additional security, including a three-camera system, and other hardware necessary to protect the township’s data and offices.,
During discussion Chairman DeLuca noted that the township would need to guarantee 20 hours access per month and asked how supervision of the town hall would be staffed?
Deluca reminded the town board that the clerk can keep her own hours, and a deputy clerk often spends time, incurring extra payroll expense for the township, manning town hall offices. He cited a recent cost of $500 paid to the deputy clerk.
Dr. Joanne Bassing said that the grant she prepared was different and she was opposed to changing her application.
The proposal laid on the table by Rodgers and proposed by Ralston totaled $9,345. Supervisor Tahija gave support to the motion, but it too, failed in a tied, 2-2 vote.
Bassing then told the town board that she would return seeking donations to have the co-operative local government steering committee help fund a regional—White township and Aurora though Greenwood, Tower-Soudan and continuing through Eagles Nest Township—study on broadband internet. Homeowners would see a three percent increase in their home’s value, Bassing claimed.
The town board unanimously approved spending under $500 to increase the township’s wireless internet capabilities.

In other action, the Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors:

• Approved minutes of the May 14 meeting, 4-0
• Approved the minutes of the special meeting held in May, 4-0
• Approved the Treasurer’s Report as read into the record by Treasurer Pam Rodgers, 4-0
• Approved paying the balance of May bills, totaling $19,561.14, which were received following the township’s May 14 meeting,  4-0
• Paid June claims, to-date, payroll and taxes totaling $31,986.62, 4-0
• Listened to concerns that the township attorney failed to receive information regarding an upcoming road vacation application being considered by St. Louis County
• Approved a motion Approved to send the Greenwood Clerk, but not a Deputy Clerk to attend an upcoming training event, 4-0
• Approved having the clerk open town hall bathrooms when she is in the office
• Approved by motion, to permit Tahija and DeLuca investigate water treatment systems for the town hall, 4-0
• Learned of recent Greenwood Fire Department training events and that 6 fire calls 10 EMS calls in addition to the drills, maintenance and routine meeting activities of township firefighters
• Approved a reimbursable purchase of “Incident Command” training $1,835, 4-0
• Acknowledged Ed Borchard’s retirement from the Greenwood Fire Department and the excellent service he provided the department as training officer and as a valued firefighter
• Acknowledged the resignation of Mary Richard as Deputy Township Clerk and approved Clerk Drobac’s appointment of John Bassing as her Deputy Clerk, 4-0.
• Learned, in a presentation by Noreen Butala that efforts are underway to organize summer Bocchi Ball games
• Approved a request by the Greenwood Recreation Board to plant trees and clean up forest waste at the town hall, but asked it to bring additional information on its proposal to place a “bouncy” toy at the recreation complex.