Greenwood Township learns future playground details

TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017 — The Greenwood Town Board of Supervisors learned all the details about the upcoming installation of playground equipment at the town hall campus at its regular Tuesday, June 13 meeting. The Greenwood Community Recreation Board invited Stacy Strand of Flagship Recreation to provide details about the equipment for the community and town board. The project is expected to cost nearly $28,000 and is largely being paid for by the non-profit recreation board. The Greenwood Community Recreation Board installed the township pavilion and bocce ball courts last summer and is now working on creating a play area for children. In May the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board announced that it was awarding a $15,000 grant towards the playground project. The community recreation board has been fundraising and the new installation will not cost Greenwood taxpayers anything, although the board discussed the possibility of managing the purchase, with the donated money, to minimize expenses on the project. The town board determined that additional insurance would not be required by the township to accommodate the new equipment.

According to Mr. Strand the playground has been designed to accommodate five to 12-year-olds. The equipment will feature four swings, suitable for different ages and handicapped children and the always popular slide, climbing and play area.

Most accidents around playground equipment occur through falls and Flagship Recreation is recommending that the community recreation board install a wood-chip based ground surface around the playground. The equipment will meet all safety standards and Flagship Recreation, a St. Louis Park, Minnesota company, is a leader in playground equipment manufacturing and sales. Annual maintenance costs are expected to be around $400, and the community recreation board is prepared to cover this cost. The equipment will be installed by local volunteers with a representative from Flagship Recreation directing the build. Dave Fazio, Jack Williams and Loren Turner have already volunteered to work on the project.

The Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors approved $16,744.09 in claims including $2,091 to purchase a new computer and software for township clerk Sue Drobac. One of the routine hazards of the interconnected computer epoch is computer hacking and the Greenwood Town Clerk became one of the most recent victims of this nefarious practice at the township’s offices recently. The clerk reported that while she was conducting township business she received an email and upon opening it soon realized she was the victim of a phishing hack. Because township data might be compromised it was decided that the best solution would be to purchase a new computer system and update the township’s banking records as well as ordering new township bank checks, debit and credit cards. The township authorized the treasurer to close the township’s existing checking account and open a new one to prevent any attempts of fraud because of the hack.

The township was slated to purchase a new computer system this year and that agenda was advanced as the most cost effective solution to eliminate any potential damage to the township from the hack. Because the purchase was made without full town board approval Township Chairman Dr. John Bassing reported that he consulted Township Attorney Mike Couri and that his recommendation was to simply approve the expenditure retroactively. The town board was unanimous in its approval. The board also approved the May treasurer’s report noting that the township ended the month with a checking account balance of $351,970.38; long term investments balance of $251,424.84 and savings balances totaling $254,922.29.

The town board again tabled any final decision on the township’s fire department Paid On Call guidelines. The town board has been wrestling with finalizing Paid On Call details for several months. The board has had representatives meet with the fire department and agreements were reached on establishing  a two call standard, one during each half of the year, and 50 percent attendance at drills and meetings to qualify for pay. Supervisor Mike Ralston objected. He voiced concerns about the low standard of two calls to qualify. Ed Borchardt told the town board that some years the fire department only responded to three fire calls. Chairman Bassing called for tabling any decision until the township and fire department could again meet and moved to restrict that discussion to “only the number of calls.” The motion failed as the majority of board members wanted to allow other discussion at that meeting. It is expected that township and fire department will meet again before Paid On Call appears on the township’s agenda in July.

Chairman Bassing reported that the town board was not ready to discuss the Standard Operational Guidelines as old business on the agenda. “ I don’t think we are ready for those,” Bassing said. The town board also tabled discussion of the employee personnel policy as all three township concerns are intertwined.

The town board agreed to adopt a policy of not commenting on land use issues as St. Louis County is now handling those concerns. Each time a land use issue has been brought before the town board it has declined to comment since turning over planning and zoning to St. Louis County. Chairman Bassing objected to approving Supervisor Carmen DeLuca’s motion to automatically refrain from commenting. He said that an egregious situation could present itself and the township might want to make comments.  The motion passed 4-1 with Chaiman Bassing voting against it.

In other action, the Greenwood Township board of Supervisors:

• Approved hiring Cold Snap Technology to update and maintain the township’s website

• Determined that it needed to update job descriptions

• Learned that the Minnesota State Demographer determined that the township’s 2016 population was 906 people living in 418 households

• Listened to the reading of an anonymous letter critical of the township’s promoting a fire department member to an officer position. Following the reading of the letter the town board unanimously voted to discontinue the practice of reading anonymous correspondence into the record

• Approved hiring Hartway Painting LLC, Cook, Minnesota, to paint the town hall and firehall exterior at the quoted price of $6,025. Two other quotes were received, one for $8,400 and one at $14,323

• Voted to retain the airboat the township maintains as borrowed property. The airboat is federal property but Greenwood utilizes it during freeze-up and ice-off seasons on a Department of Natural Resources equipment loan program

• Approved the solicitation of propane quotes for the 2017-2018 heating season

• Approved the transfer of $1,691.75 from the building fund to the general fund to pay for the fire alarm system

• Approved replacing the missing plaque honoring former firefighters

• Learned that the town hall and fire hall security system was fully installed and operational

• Approved placing a handicapped accessible portable bathroom at the township recreation area

• Were updated on the continuing plans for the township’s 40th anniversary celebration slated for later this year

• Determined that the township-fire department liaison committee will be subject to the open meeting laws

• Approved Supervisor Ralston’s motion to donate $100 to Northwoods Partners, a regional senior services non-profit headquartered in Ely.