Greenwood to request county land for Lake Vermilion Penguins Snowmobile Club maintenance facility

TUESDAY, JANUARY 9, 2018 — Greenwood Township will request the transfer of 10 acres of tax forfeited land from St. Louis County to the township as a site on which the Vermilion Penguins Snowmobile Club can build a new maintenance garage and storage building for the club’s equipment. The Greenwood Town Board of supervisors decided to make the land request at its regular Tuesday, January 9 meeting.

Supervisor Mike Ralston told the board of supervisors that he has met with 4th district County Commissioner Tom Rukavina, as well as county personnel in the county land and mineral and planning and community development departments. Ralston explained that his research on the potential land transfer presented three options which the township can pursue in obtaining the land. The first option is to request the land by resolution and present the resolution to Rukavina who will carry the request to the county board for its approval. It is expected that the county will willingly convey the land to the township, at no cost, providing the township holds the land for a minimum 30 years. The township can then, in turn, lease the land to the Penguins. Another option which can be pursued is a direct lease of the land by Greenwood Township from St. Louis County. A third option would be for the township, or snowmobile club, to make a direct purchase of the land from the county.

“A soon as the township passes a resolution requesting the land, Tom Rukavina will carry it to the county board,” Ralston said as he offered a resolution for the town board’s consideration. Supervisor Paul Skubic expressed his support to have Greenwood request the land from the county and Ralston moved to adopt the resolution he drafted. Skubic supported the motion.

Town Board Chairman John Bassing voiced his concerns. He reported that he received a telephone call from St. Louis County Assessor Dave Sippola, who contacted him following reading a newspaper account about the township’s interest in county land, to make sure the township understands that the land will generate property taxes. “I’m not committed to having the township pay taxes,” Bassing said as he explained that he would rather wait until the township could better understand all the costs, including the scope of the building the Penguins hope to build, and the annual tax costs which will be incurred.

“Let’s move forward on this,” Supervisor Skubic encouraged, as he explained that this was just a “first step” and the township would have future opportunities to assure that the land transfer works for all parties before it is finalized.  The resolution to request county land, when the question was called, passed with a 4-1 vote with Bassing providing the dissenting vote.

In Other action, the Greenwood Board of Supervisors:

• Approved the December minutes, amended to reflect that the payment to Heisel Brothers, for plumbing work, was for services  provided over two months and did not surpass the $1,000 limit authorized for expenditures without board approval.

• Approved the Treasurer’s report documenting 2017 year-end balances: Checking: $$292,710.65; Long term Investments: $251,499.47; Savings: $226,698.26; totaling: $770,908.38

• Approved paying claims against the township in the amount of: $$8,865.76

• Made a $100 donation to the Cook, Minn. public library

• Made a $100 donation to the W.C. Heiam Medical Foundation, Cook, Minn.

• Learned that work on the 2019 budget would commence next week

• Discussed budgeting for repairs to the town hall parking lot in the 2019 budget

• Approved meeting with the township attorney to clarify issues relating to a firefighter’s employment with the township

• Emphasised the need to inventory all township and fire department equipment and supplies

• Set the Board of Audit to follow the February 13 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, which will commence at 6:30 p.m.

• Accepted the retirement of Pete Makowski from the Greenwood township fire Department

• Appointed election judges for the 2018 township election to be held in March

• Approved posting a sample ballot for the March 2018 township election rather than paying to publish in the newspaper

• Heard, and discussed at length,  a request, from Fire Chief Dave Fazio, to have the town board provide documentation which he can report to the Public Employees Retirement Association of Minnesota regarding the increase in service time for retired firefighter Scott Kregness.