Crane Lake Township

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3/8/22 Annual Meeting Minutes



March 8, 2022


The March 8, 2022, Annual Meeting was called to order by Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman at 5:33PM, at the Crane Lake Chapel Fellowship Hall with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those in attendance including:  Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman and 17 members of the community.  Gary Cerkvenik of the Costin Group arrived a little later.


Clerk Jo Ann explained the purpose of the Annual Meeting and asked for nominations for a Moderator.  Butch Eggen nominated Jeff Sanborn, with a second by Mark Anderson. There being no other nominations, the nominations were closed.  All voted in favor of Jeff Sanborn being nominated as Moderator.


Moderator Jeff stated the order of business by reading the Agenda.


Additions to the Agenda:  There were none.  A motion was made by Traci Bak, supported by Mark Anderson, to accept the Agenda as read.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.



Minutes Approval – All attendees of the Annual Meeting received copies of the minutes for approval. Jeff asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes.  There were none. A motion was made by Traci Bak, supported by Shirley Sanborn, to approve the 3/9/21 Annual Meeting Minutes and the 2/8/22 Board of Audit Meeting Minutes.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report – Clerk Jo Ann read the following Treasurer’s Report for fiscal year 2021:


Opening Balance            $      183,777.52

Receipts                           +   284,521.15

Disbursements                   –   273,253.50

Ending Balance             $       195,045.17


A motion was made by Traci Bak, supported by Butch Eggen, to approve the Treasurer’s Report as read.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Moderator Jeff asked if there was any other Old Business from the floor.  There was none.



2022 & 2023 Election Day Times & Location – A motion was made by Butch Eggen, supported by Mark Anderson, that the polls would be open from 10AM – 8PM for all elections in 2022 and 2023 at the Fellowship Hall.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


2023 Annual Meeting Date, Time, & Location – A motion was made by Butch Eggen, supported by Lisa Anderson, to set the 2023 Annual Meeting date and time for March 14, 2023, at 5:30PM at the Fellowship Hall.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Annual Summary Reports:


CLVTB: Lori Sanborn provided the following report:  The board of directors consists of:  Administrative Secretary-Jessa Quam; Treasurer-Dee Kuder; and Board Members Lori Sanborn-acting chair, Rob Scott-acting vice chair, Brenda Pohlman, Mark Anderson, Jeff Erickson, Gina Odel, and Drake Dill.

Highlights of the year:  Redesigned new Crane Lake Brochure, Kiosk signs printed and awaiting pick up and installation, Hiking trail kiosk sign is still in the very beginning stages and put on the back burner to finish brochure and other 2 kiosk signs, New fish rulers and the flags and flag poles have been ordered and waiting to be installed this spring, Re-enrolled in Explore MN lead program and have had 2,235 leads to date (since April of last year), Added 2 new billboard signs along HWY 53 N in WI. (Rice Lake & Spooner before split to Hayward.), Letter sent to USFS about adding a bathroom facility at water access trail head for Vermilion Gorge, Will reconnect this spring to hopefully have a trail crew assess the soil depth along the trail for possible wilderness latrine, Fixed our Facebook account, with a lot of help from Resonate – We are now the owners of our page and all our content, Moved CLVTB Office back to groomer garage, and Worked through lodging tax report to get everyone current.  Explore MN grant funding awarded to date – $28,375.  Total income for 2021 from Lodging taxes, grants, associate members, contributions, brochure ads and membership dues-$127,205.55.  Total expenditures-Digital & Internet, Explore MN Travel Guide and other Print Ads, Billboards, Brochures, Community Partnerships, Administration $155, 217.13.


Town of Crane Lake Annual Meeting Minutes 3/8/22 – Page 2



CLWSD:  Chairman Rob Scott provided the following report:  The following 2022 Annual Report is submitted to provide an update on the past and current activities going on within the CLWSD:  1. The CLWSD 2021 annual revenues were $268,600 (operating, special assessment, and tax levy funds) and total expenses were $274,200 (operating, administrative, and debt service). The net loss reflects in the board reducing the tax levy fund and minimizing the amount of the 2021 tax levy. The 5-year budget forecast and projections estimate approximately a $20,000 net gain each year. These funds will be used to build up our reserve accounts and start a building fund. For 2022 the user rates will remain the same.  2. The CLWSD has a $1.3 million debt load with an annual payment of $60,000. The debt was originated by the district to cover unexpected costs to the installation of the collection system. At that time there were no grants funds available, only the low interest loan option. In 2009 we worked a re-amortization of the loan and reduced our debt service down from $80,000 to $60,000 per year. We continue to work reducing the debt service and I will be testifying before the Minnesota House Industrial Education Committee. The objective is to garner support for a House bill going through the Legislature requesting $1.3 million debt relief for the CLWSD.  3. The treatment plant processed over 1.7 million gallons of sewage. We have finalized an upgrade to the plant that has been in the works for over two years. The plant upgrade and design have been approved and are out for bid. It is estimated that the overall cost will be around $800,000. We are working the funding through a various mix of grant funds. The upgrade is designed to compensate for the challenges we are experiencing in the treatment process. This is primarily caused by the large differences in the amounts of sewage that is processed over a short period of time. This amount can vary from under 5,000 to over 25,000 gallons per day. 4. The CLWSD Kicker Boulevard annexation is currently on hold. Also, the original collection system and the two extensions down CSAH 24 and Handberg Road is anticipated to be the extent of our collection system. We are working two major additions to our collection system. One at the new Visitor Center and the other at Norway Lodge. The treatment plant is currently processing anywhere from 30-50 percent of the plant’s capacity.  5. The District continues to work on ISTS installations (decentralized collection systems) under our Management Program. We currently have 42 systems operational and plan to install 3-4 ISTS systems during the 2022 construction season. The County approved our request to install ISTS systems outside the sewer district. The restroom facility at the Voyageur Statue has been completed and we are working with the ATV Club to install a restroom facility at the ATV bridge over the Vermilion River. 6. We currently have a balance of around $175,000 in Legacy grant funds available for around 6 ISTS installations. During the previous Legislative session, we obtained $600,00 in Legacy funds to be used for the plant upgrade. 7. This is the second year that I have provided this little think piece for the Township. State statute requires that sewer districts have 5 sewer board managers. They must be full time residents. Over the last few years, it has been challenging to get volunteers to become a board manager. We continue to cancel monthly meetings due to a lack of a quorum. If the CLWSD cannot meet the board membership requirements there are two possible alternatives. Change the sewer district to a sub-ordinate sewer district. Then it would fall under Township oversight. If it remains a sewer district than it goes to St Louis County for management and oversite. Either option would be costly to the users or bring up a whole bag of challenges for the Township. With 20 years working on the board my sunset is on the horizon.


IJC/Water Boards Report:  There was no report.


CLVSC:  Mike Cherrywell provided the following report:  Good afternoon from the crane lake snow mobile club.  As most know, we had a lot of trail clearing this year with the rain that we had. We as a club have put in time and effort in getting the trails cleared and open. We did hire Myles Mankus and Jason Long to do a lot of brushing for us. Our year for snowmobiling is starting to wind down with the Crane Lake Challenge just this past weekend being held. Grooming was on time with a lot of hours being put in, thanks again to all.


CL Chapel:  Gretchen Janssen provided the following report:  The Crane Lake Chapel had a 2021 very similar to 2020 regarding attendance and the budget.  The students from ACMNP (A Christian Ministry in the National Parks) led services on Wednesday nights during the summer and helped Pastor Brenda host a successful Vacation Bible School in July.  The Chapel Bazaar was profitable and well attended.  New last year was a community dinner in December and an event called “A National Night Out”, the first Tuesday in August, which had great participation and raised $2000 which was split between the Crane Lake and Buyck Fire Departments. The Chapel exists to give glory to God and to proclaim the transforming love and grace of God through Jesus Christ.  We appreciate the opportunity to lead worship in this community and hope to take on more service-oriented projects in Buyck and Crane Lake going forward.


Cook-Orr Healthcare District:  Town Representative Shirley Sanborn reported that it had been a very different year for the board with meetings being held by phone and Zoom.  Administrator Theresa Martinson reported that Covid is subsiding in the area and that they are still combating it.  The 2021 Annual Report will be provided when available.


Town of Crane Lake Annual Meeting Minutes 3/8/22 – Page 3



CLVFD: Fire Chief Jeff Sanborn reported the following:  The year 2021 has been a challenge for many with the ups and downs of the pandemic.  Our area has seen an increase in visitors as people want to be outside and away for being cooped up in the metro areas.  Our department definitely can confirm that.  As I don’t have all the history, I can’t say for sure, but I think 2021 will go in record books for the most fire runs we have ever had.  We had 18 confirmed calls, 9 were mutual aid calls with most cancelled enroute.  We had one fully involved structure fire, 2 significant wildland fires and several calls for smoke and small fires.  In all cases we are going to claim success.  No buildings were lost or damaged in the wildland fires and the structure fire was contained to structure of origin and no other buildings were damaged.  We received mutual aid from, Buyck VFD, Orr VFD, MN DNR and VNP during the course of the year.  Team work with our surrounding departments is of great value.  On the EMS side we ran 21 calls which I don’t think is a record but is very close.  We have a great group of EMR’s and EMT’s that provide first class service to our community.  I am happy to report that by the end of the summer we have completed the helipad project including sod around the landing pad.  It saw use by medical helicopters and several times it was used by helicopters from the USFS, MN DNR and VNP for wildland fire fighting.  It is a great addition to the infrastructure or our community.  Thank you to everyone who made it possible.  As for future projects we are considering adding a side by side UTV for response to off road calls, finishing our back garage’s interior and adding heat to it, replacement of our brush truck and adding on to our main hall to better accommodate our equipment.  Stay tuned to see what happens first.  As always, the average age of our members continues to increase with many near or eligible to retire.  Thankfully everyone is hanging in there.  That being said, we are always on the look out for new people.  Contact us if you have interest or ideas.  Lastly a big thank you to our community for their support through the year.  We value your continued support.


ATV Report:  There was no report.

Visitor Center/Campground Report:  Gretchen Janssen & Deena Congdon provided the following report:  For many years the residents of Crane Lake have included “Build a Community Visitor Center” as a top priority in future planning.  Finally, this goal has become a reality.  In January a contract was officially executed between Crane Lake, St Louis County, and the State of MN to spend $5.7 million dollars to build a Community Campground and Visitor Center.  Thanks to our lobbyist, the Town Board, and the hard work of many volunteers, this project is moving along swiftly and smoothly.  To date, an engineering firm has been vetted and hired to manage both projects and subcontract out with a qualified architect.  Plans have been drawn and discussed, and the budgetary limits are now being evaluated.  Next in the process will be applying for building permits and selecting a construction company.  The anticipated goal is to break ground this fall with hopes of opening both the campground and the Visitor Center in 2023.  Voyageurs National Park has agreed to lease space within the Visitor Center and provide exhibits throughout.  The Crane Lake Sewer District, Town Board, and Tourism Bureau will all be community partners in this project for the benefit of both Crane Lake visitors and residents alike.

Broadband Report:  Drake Dill provided the following report:  We began working towards a broadband solution for Crane Lake Township this Spring. Mark Anderson and I were appointed to the committee to investigate.  The project moves quickly and then comes to a standstill as it is currently. Whitney Ridlon from the IRRB and Ida Rukavina from RAMS have provided their assistance and how the project could be financially funded if feasible.  At a recent meeting Whitney and Ida pulled together a larger group of experts consisting of Bradley Gustafson of Saint Louis County and Joe Butweiler from CTC. CTC is the main player as they are one of the companies that would support the fiber optic network around Crane Lake. CTC does not think the project is feasible based on the number of connections. The questions was posed to CTC, “What if Crane Lake came up with the money for the project”. CTC did say they would build out the network in that instance but wouldn’t be thrilled about it.  There are several different options for funding the project. Typically this is done with grant funds and then the township needs to find matching money. The estimated cost of the project today is around $3MM. Currently we are investigating the possibility of receiving a federal earmark for the matching money.  For residents in the Crane Lake area looking for the fastest solution for a “broadband alternative” – Starlink (Elon Musk) is available at a reasonable cost in our zip code.  The project is moving along, albeit slowly.

Bayside Drive Upgrade – There was much discussion on the concept of upgrading Bayside Drive from Handberg Road to the DNR Public Water Access.  Gary Cerkvenik of the Costin Group spoke to the group about the advantages of the upgrade.  A motion was made by Mark Anderson, supported by Lisa Anderson, to advise the Board of Supervisors of the wishes of those present for the Bayside Drive Upgrade.  14 voted in favor, 3 voted against, and the motion carried.


Town of Crane Lake Annual Meeting Minutes 3/8/22 – Page 4



Review Proposed Revenue & Expenditures – Clerk and Budget Committee member Jo Ann reviewed the proposed 2023 budget revenues and expenditures.  Copies of the 2023 budget were distributed to everyone in attendance prior to the meeting.  Jo Ann reviewed the proposed revenues of $253,350.00 and the proposed Township disbursements of $218,190.00 plus Fire Protection for $55,000.00. The Project Fund balances were also presented.  Jo Ann asked if there were any questions. There was discussion of removing Bayside Drive Acquisition expenses of $15,000 from the budget.


Other New Business from the Floor:  There was none.


Set Levy for 2022 (Payable in 2023) – A motion was made by Lori Sanborn, supported by Lisa Anderson, to approve the Township portion of the levy request as follows:   General Fund – $40,000, Community Property Project Fund – $5,900, Bond for Community Property Project Fund – $9,100, and Visitor Center Fund – $15,000 for a total of $70,000. All voted in favor and the motion carried.  A motion was made by Butch Eggen, supported by Mark Anderson, to approve the Fire Department portion of the 2023 levy request of $55,000.00.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.  Total levy request is $125,000.00.



The meeting was adjourned at 6:50PM





Jo Ann Pohlman, Clerk                                                              Jeff Sanborn, Moderator
























This draft of the Crane Lake Township minutes has been posted solely for preliminary informational purposes.  Minutes are unofficial and subject to change until they have been approved.