Crane Lake Township

Current Topics

3/14/17 Annual Meeting Minutes



March 14, 2017


The March 14, 2017 Annual Meeting was called to order by Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman at 7:30PM, at the Crane Lake Chapel Fellowship Hall with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those in attendance including:  Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman and 12 members of the community.


Clerk Jo Ann explained the purpose of the Annual Meeting and that voting was to be done by voice or show of hands.


Clerk Jo Ann asked for nominations for a Moderator.  Bill Congdon nominated Jeff Sanborn, with a second by Mark Anderson. Jo Ann asked for any other nominations three times.  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:  Street Lighting and Township Hospital District Support were added to New Business.





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 Mark Anderson, supported by Bill Congdon, to approve the minutes of the 3/8/16 Annual Meeting and the 2/21/17 Board of Audit Meeting.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report – Clerk Jo Ann read the following Treasurer’s Report for fiscal year 2016:


Opening Balance            $   144,016.54

Receipts                           +239,066.38

Disbursements                   -251,443.67

Ending Balance             $    131,639.25


A motion was made by Butch Eggen, supported by Lori Sanborn, 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.  Speed Humps were added.


Speed Humps – Re-installation of the speed humps has been requested by some residents on Gold Coast Road.  A motion was made by Bill Congdon, supported by Bruce Beste, that signage be installed as a means of controlling traffic, rather than speed humps. 12 voted in favor, 1 abstained and the motion carried.




2017 Election Day Times & Location – A motion was made by Bill Congdon, supported by Jerry Pohlman, that the polls would be open from 10AM – 8PM for all elections in 2017 at the Fellowship Hall.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


2018 Annual Meeting Date, Time, & Location – A motion was made by Butch Eggen, supported by Mark Anderson, to set the 2018 Annual Meeting date and time for March 13, 2018 at 7:30PM at the Fellowship Hall.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.

CLVTB Annual Summary Report: Vice-Chairperson Lori Sanborn read Chairperson Cathy Erickson’s report that the mission statement of the CLVTB is to generate economic growth through tourism in the Crane Lake area.  We have a 9-member volunteer board of directors and are a private non-profit MN Corporation.  Our board members are Cathy Erickson, Chair, Lori Sanborn Vice-Chair, Jim Janssen, Treasurer, Darrell Scott, Rob Scott, Mark Anderson, Dave Beckman, Bruce Beste, and Paul Tufte.  Traci Bak is our Administrative Secretary. Our annual budget is approximately $70,000.  About 80% of revenue is generated thru CL Town ordinance calling for a 3% tax on lodging. The remaining funding comes from donations and grants. A 5% administrative fee is retained by the Town. Approximately 12 businesses in our taxing area, 2 businesses outside our area, and 14 associate businesses are on our membership rolls.


Town of Crane Lake Annual Meeting Minutes 3/14/17 – Page 2


CLVTB Annual Summary Report (Cont.):

Promotional Activities Include:  Our Website: received 116,200 page views in 2016, up 3% from the previous year;  Social media on Facebook page currently has 884 likes, up 50.6% from the previous year of 587;  Area Brochure with annual updates;  Advertising in eight tourism interest publications; TV advertising;  Bill board on HWY 53 south of Orr;  Participation in regional and state programs, Destinations Voyageurs National Park and Explore      Minnesota Tourism; Participation at Voyageurs National Park and Orr Area Tourism Information Center.  Accomplishments for 2016 and thus far:  Hired a new secretary/treasurer; Added a quarterly newsletter to the social media campaign; Working on the Voyageur Statue Area; Working on new signage to replace the old county signs as you come into Crane Lake – Including work on the back side of the Welcome to Crane Lake sign; Working with individuals and supporting the new ATV trail system; Continue to redesign and update as needed; Continue to redesign and reprint our area tourism brochure as needed; Continue to form committees to streamline projects and measure them with a matrix; Continue revising bylaws to reflect current changes within the bureau; Continue to align our promotional program with membership guidelines and on three different levels to enable all area businesses an opportunity to advertise on a level they choose; Celebrated our one year anniversary with our new Tourism Office location; Continue to revise our strategic plan and use this plan to guide our advertising and marketing program.  The Bureau Continues to explore marketing opportunities and new venues for our members.  Monthly meetings are held the second Monday of each month in which the public are invited to attend.


CLWSD & JPB Annual Summary Report:   The 2016 CLWSD annual report was submitted to the Crane Lake Township as requested, by Chairman Rob Scott. The purpose of the report is to provide an overview of the significant actions and activates over the past year involving wastewater management within the sewer district:  1) 2015 annual revenues were $293,740.00 (operating, special assessment, and tax levy funds) and total expenses were $341,761.00 (operating, administrative, debt service, and depreciation). Without depreciation our actual expenses were $231,361.00. For 2016 we did not increase our sewer rates and reduced the tax levy from $55,000.00 to $40,000.00. This is down from $85,000.00 in 2012. Not increasing rates and the reduction in the tax levy are primarily due to the increased revenue generated by our sewer expansion efforts, cost efficient plant operations, and increases in our reserve funds.  2) The district has implemented Phase I of a sewer management program and has started working on Phase II. The three phases to our Management Program are:  ISTS installations (volunteer); Management of existing ISTS systems (volunteer); and Management of all ISTS systems (mandatory).  We currently are the only MPCA permitted sewer district in the state of Minnesota that has a combined centralized (collection and treatment) and decentralized (ISTS-individual sewer treatment systems) sewer treatment program. We currently have over 20 applicants that we are working through our management program. We have installed 4 ISTS systems, 4 are under contract to build, and the remaining in the initial administrative process. 3) The treatment plant processed over 2.0 million gallons of sewage while maintaining all standards. The operational components of the plant continue to be updated for sustainability. The district received a MPCA 2015 operational award at the annual MPCA Wastewater Conference. Terry Jackson, our plant licensed operator received the award.  4) The Joint Powers Board (JPB) continues to support our ongoing sewer district efforts. We are working with the US Forest Service on Recreational Residential properties (Federal leased properties) and our sewer management program. The JPB has expanded the area to be worked in the VNP Comprehensive Plan to include the Kicker Boulevard properties. They have tasked the CLWSD to work the annexation process. Additionally, we have $60,000.00 MPCA grant funds targeted to support the effort.  5) The Handberg Road expansion project Phase II is being finalized. There is a public meeting scheduled for April 5th. At the meeting S.E.H. Engineering will present the recommended approach to complete phase II. The presentation will include how to incorporate centralized and decentralized options. Additionally, the presentation will include cost data and a timeline to complete the project. 6) The CLWSD expansion process is primarily due to the State Bonding and the Legacy grant funds we have received. The original amount totaled $3,000,000.00. To date approximately one third has been used on the Handberg Road expansion phase I ($1.0 million). We are estimating that the remaining grant funds are to be split between Handberg Road phase II and the Management Program ($2.0 million).  7) We still face numerous challenges as we continue to provide waste water treatment within the area. Our goal is to continue the protection of the water shed and create viable options for community development.


IJC/Water Board Report:  Jerry Pohlman reported that he attended the IJC Draft Decision Workshop held March 7th in International Falls. This was the third workshop I have attended. The first two where practice decision workshops. Along with the conference calls and webinars over the last 18 months this process is nearing the end. We started with over 10 rule curves, some of which could not be considered; but they gave us a baseline to work from. We are now down to three different rule curves that are being considered for recommendation to the IJC. The first is the 2000 rule curve as is, with no changes, as it has performed as expected and for the most part is well received. Although there has been some flooding with this curve, it is important to know that the models show that with the 1970 rule we would have flooded almost as bad and we also would have had the low waters in the spring. Also the state of nature models show that we would have flooded even without the dams.



Town of Crane Lake Annual Meeting Minutes 3/14/17 – Page 3



IJC/Water Board Report (Cont):

The second is the 2000 rule curve with flood forecast.   This curve leaves the Namakan basin alone and only has adjustments for the Rainy Lake basin but allows for the Water Levels Committee (WTC) to adjust the rule curve when the ENSO forecast predicts a flood. The change to the curve would only be for the early part of the season and would return, to the 2000 rule curve after the spring runoff. This does have a risk as the forecasting is not exact and a flood may not develop in which case the walleyes will have less spawning area and result in a bad year class, and it would affect navigation as well. The third is Ecological and Flood Forecast and Damage Reduction Curve. This curve has three variations on inter-annual variation curves. Natural water levels would vary much more than these lakes have under rule curve regulations. More natural variation would be beneficial for the surrounding ecosystem. Simulations were done using two sets of three rule curves applied either randomly or using ENSO to forces at whether the inflows would be high or low that year. In two of the three options the target levels would cause severe navigation problems for the Namakan basin for most of the summer tourist season making travel to and from Loon and LaCroix almost impossible. I brought this up at the workshop and was backed up by other upper lake representatives. I am also confident that this alternative will not make the cut as it also makes navigation in the Rainy Lake basin difficult for two of the three curves as well. We will be having a conference call in April and a final decision workshop in early May with the final report due to the IJC May 15th.

CLVSC Annual Summary Report:  President Mike Cherrywell reported that the Crane Lake Voyageurs Snowmobile Club got off to a good start early in January with trail clearing and packing, extensive brushing was in order due to the November snow and thaw.  Some beaver ponds were dealt with during this time.  Grooming was halted due to the early thaw in February.  A new groomer is in the plans for next season.

CL Chapel Annual Summary Report:  There was no report.


Cook-Orr Healthcare District Annual Report:  Town Representative Shirley Sanborn handed out the 2016 Annual Report and reported the following:  2016 has been a busy year for the Cook Hospital and Care Center.  We had voted to begin an addition and complete remodel for the Care Center the year before, so last year was working with professionals to design the project.  A plan was approved and work began.  As with any project delays happened, weather and late delivery of materials added several months to the project.  As of the last meeting late in February, it was hoped that they could start installing dry wall soon.  It was thought they could move in this fall.  It is going to be a first class facility.  Some other happenings at the hospital that are significant are:  A new website was developed along with a new logo and tag line. We were re-certified as a Trauma Level IV Hospital and a Stroke Ready Designation was received.  Please read the Annual Reports that I’ve brought along.  I can get more if they are needed.  There are more events that have happened this year to learn about.  Check out the new website at


CLVFD Annual Summary Report:  Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Sanborn reported that 2016 and the beginning of 2017 have been eventful for our department.  In 2016 we were called out for 2 fire runs, 13 medical calls and 2 calls for wilderness searches.  Crane Lake as a community had another very safe year on the fire side of things.  Our 2 page outs for fire were both mutual aid calls to Portage Township.  One working car fire and one call came in as a structure fire, which we responded to and were cancelled in route.  As is traditional, medical calls make up the bulk of our call outs.  This year we were called out to assist the St. Louis County Sheriffs Rescue Squad on 2 different occasions to help locate and rescue persons that were lost.  Both calls had successful outcomes.  We continued our relationship with Advanced Minnesota Fire Training (formerly Mesabi Range Technical College) to supply us with Fire and Medical Training through the winter months.  This year was an off year for our EMS people.  2017 will find them completing the EMR refresher training.  The big news for the end of 2016 and early 2017 is the replacement of two major apparatus.  In early June we will take delivery of a new Rosenbauer 2000 gal tender which will replace the last of the old City of Minneapolis 1973 pumpers.  The next big news is that we will be taking delivery in late June of a new 22 ft. Alumaweld boat to replace our existing fire/rescue boat.  This project has thus far been made possible by saving monies that have been donated to the department.  It was brought to a point where we could move forward by a significant donation from an individual.  It is a work in progress at this time.  We have nearly enough money to pay for the boat and trailer at this time and we will be starting a fund raising drive this spring to bring in the monies needed to purchase the engine and other related equipment to make it all come together.  We ask for the community’s continued support with this project and welcome any ideas or help that you may have to offer. The department continues to be challenged by an aging population and lack of participation.  We welcome anyone who is interested in serving the community.  Please feel free to contact us at any time.

Our pension plan in the State Wide Volunteer Fire Fighters Plan continues to be successful.  For 2017 we are able to raise our benefit level without any additional cost to the department or the tax payers.  We hope that it will help with recruitment and retention of members. Our fire hall got a new metal roof in 2016 and our next project with the hall will be the replacement of siding and a couple of entry doors when funds allow.  We are cramped for space but we make due.


Town of Crane Lake Annual Meeting Minutes 3/14/17 – Page 4



CLVFD Annual Summary Report (Cont.):

The Department would like to thank the community and its many visitors for their continued trust and support.  Please feel free to contact us with any concerns, questions or suggestions.


ATV Trails Committee Report:  In 2016/2017 three members of the community served on the Board for Voyageur Country ATV.  Three members of the community served on the Trails Committee.  Several other members of the community helped the club in tasks like brushing roads and trails, installing signs, planning outings, selling club apparel, and attending public hearings.  Last year’s accomplishments that help our community are these:  St Louis County Roads opened to ATV travel – May 2016;  Section of Arrowhead Snowmobile Trail opened to ATV travel – July 2016;  8 US Forest Service Roads, including 491 and 495 Vermilion Falls Road, opened  for ATV travel – Oct 2016;  $35,000 IRRRB Grant for Trail Planning, Mapping, Signing, and PR Relations – August 2016;  All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota (ATVAM) #2 priority for MN legislative session 2017- request for $150,000 from the Dedicated Fund to be used for Trail Master Plan, Engineering of Master Plan, Wetlands Delineation, Engineering a bridge to cross the Vermilion River at the old RR trestle site; Testified in front of the Minnesota Senate Environmental Committee – February 2107; Approval from St Louis County Land and Minerals Department, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forestry, and Potlatch to install ATV Trail marker signs with GPS coordinates (for emergency) on local trails – February 2017;

The Committee and Voyageurs Country ATV are currently working on these tasks or projects:  Continuing legislation on the Dedicated Fund request with the  Minnesota House of Representatives;  Developing an ATV Trail map for spring distribution;  Continued brushing along US Forest Service 203 Road;  Request of US Forest Service to open the trail between Gold Coast Road and Vermilion Falls and construct a bridge over a creek for ATV travel;  Enhancement to the Arrowhead Trail requested by St Louis County as appropriate;  Planning and hosting a Spring Ride with Prospectors ATV Club and Quad Cities ATV Club April 29.


Street Lighting:  Mark Anderson spoke of Art Driggs’ efforts with Lake Country Power to install posts for lighting on Gold Coast Road.  Hanging flower pots would be added to the posts during the summer.  A motion was made by Mark Anderson, supported by Bruce Beste, approving the Board to pursue lighting along Gold Coast Road with costs to be considered.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Township Hospital District Support:  Shirley Sanborn read a letter composed by the Cook-Orr Hospital District  Board addressed to Senator Tom Bakk, and Representatives Jason Metsa and Rob Ecklund requesting that the Minnesota State Legislature amend the enabling legislation to require all residents of the original Hospital District be assessed their fair share of the Hospital District’s annual levy.  The letter will be circulated around the community for signatures of support.  The Town Board will also address the issue at their Board Meeting.


Review Proposed Revenue & Expenditures – Clerk and Budget Committee member Jo Ann reviewed the proposed 2018 budget revenues and expenditures.  Copies of the 2018 budget were distributed to everyone in attendance prior to the meeting.  Jo Ann reviewed the proposed revenues of $204,106.00 and the proposed Township disbursements of $147,975.00 plus Fire Protection for $65,000.00; totaling $212,975.00. Jo Ann asked if there were any questions.


Moderator Jeff asked if there was any other New Business from the floor.  Jeff wanted to say that there is money in the Community Property Project Fund to be used for projects related to the newly acquired Township land through the Land Exchange.  A plan needs to be formulated for the land that has been acquired.


Moderator Jeff asked for a motion to either approve the 2018 levy request or recess the meeting.  A motion was made by Bill Congdon, supported by Mark Anderson, to approve the Township portion of the 2018 levy request of $55,000.00.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.  A motion was make by Bruce Beste, supported by Butch Eggen, to approve the Fire Department portion of the 2018 levy request of $65,000.00.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


A motion was made by Deena Congdon, supported by Lori Sanborn, to adjourn the meeting.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:55PM




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.