Greenwood Chairman challenges hospital on tax district claims
Thursday, March 24, 2017 — Following Greenwood Township’s routine reorganization Town Board Chairman Dr. John Bassing called out the Cook Hospital on what he said was an attempt at hostile annexation of the township into the hospital district. Bassing reminded the town board that in 1999 Greenwood Township rejected the hospital’s request to join the Cook-Orr Healthcare District. According to Bassing, in 1989, the State passed legislation allowing the district and in 1990 it was formed. Now an effort is underway to have Greenwood included in the district and the hospital has encouraged Cook, Orr and member townships to lobby Arrowhead legislators Senator Tom Bakk, Representative Jayson Metsa and Rob Eckland to amend the state legislation permitting the hospital district to have it include Greenwood Township, Vermilion Lake Township and three additional townships below the district’s southwestern corner. According to written material the hospital has circulated these townships were a part of the original district and claims that they are not being assessed their fair share.
“It’s a falsehood— I’d call it a lie,” Chairman Bassing stated. He accused the hospital of seeking support for the district expansion without informing Greenwood Township of its intent. He provided copies of the township’s 1999 minutes discussing the hospital district, a copy of a document outlining the district’s history which clearly shows the actual member cities and townships and proves that Greenwood and the other targeted townships have never been a part of the hospital district. Bassing also documented the cost impacts to Greenwood residents should the hospital be successful in convincing state legislators to act in its favor.
The 2015 hospital district tax capacity was $9,400,000 and would rise to 14 million dollars should Greenwood be included. Owners of properties valued at $100,000 would experience a tax increase of nearly $100 and owners of $300,000 properties would see an increase of nearly $300 according to documentation from County Auditor Donald Dicklich.
The entire town board was unanimous in its opposition to any political action to bring the township into the hospital district. It remains likely this will not be the last time Greenwood discusses what it considers a hostile and disingenuous move by the Cook Hospital.
The new board of supervisors set its regular meetings for the second Tuesday of the month accepting the following exceptions: 2018 reorganization meeting to be held on the 4th Tuesday in March and moving the regular meeting on August 8 until August 9, 2017 meeting because of the conflict with the state primary election.
Supervisor John Bassing was appointed Chairman and Supervisor Carmen DeLuca was appointed Vice Chairman.
The Timberjay was selected as the township’s official newspaper. When new Township Supervisor Larry Tahija asked if the town board should seek quotes on publishing rates Clerk Sue Drobac announced that the Timberjay was the only newspaper which sent in a quote for publishing the township’s legal publications. Bassing then said that he should, perhaps, withdraw his motion appointing the Timberjay but the issue was already voted upon. Drobac again assured the board that there was only one quote received and the issue remained settled. In prior years the Greenwood Clerk has always formally called for newspaper publication rate quotes but this year that was not done.
No changes were made to the township’s depositories and the chairman, vice chairman, treasurer, clerk and deputy clerk and deputy treasurer were authorized to sign checks on the township’s accounts.
Approval was given to transfer $7,293.65 for a new fire department pump from the capital equipment fund to the general fund and $19,250.42 was transferred from the building fund to the general fund to have a fire alarm system installed at the town hall, offices and fire department.
Mike Couri was appointed to serve as the township’s attorney.
Supervisor Tahija was appointed to serve as the township’s representative to the ambulance commission.
Supervisor Mike Ralston was appointed as the road supervisor.
Supervisor Paul Skubic was appointed as the township’s lodging tax board representative.
Treasurer Pam Rodgers was appointed to the Tower-Soudan joint powers recreation board.
Supervisor DeLuca was appointed to serve as employee supervisor and grounds and maintenance supervisor.
Chairman Bassing was appointed to serve as the Vermilion Trail liaison, Tower-Breitung fire department liaison and serve in the 911 position.
The board also discussed and amended basic board policies and capped donations to civic organizations at $1,000 for the year, total.
The board tabled a decision on setting funds for funeral flowers, scholarships and the 40th anniversary picnic until a future meeting. Establishing log books for all township vehicles was also tabled.
Blanket approval was given to bear costs for all township officers to attend trainings and authorized training pay for the deputy clerk and deputy treasurer at $25 per hour. Authorization was made to subscribe to the Timberjay.
The town board discussed its need to find a new webmaster and decided that it would authorize the township clerk to seek quotes from internet developers.
Completing the township reorganization the board of supervisors set May 4, 2017 as the date for the annual Local Board of Appeal and Equalization. No specific time was established.