Baldwin changes hall hours second time in a week

The Baldwin Township Board once again changed its office hours. In a lively discussion, township clerk and treasurer Cathy Stevens was understandably upset that the office hours were changed so abruptly and without notice. At the January 7 meeting, the board directed to have the township office open daily (including Fridays) until 5:30 p.m. and Thursday evening being open one hour later.

The township has authorized up to 65 man-hours each week between Stevens and deputy clerk Cheryl Dobson.

The topic came up again at the board’s January 15 meeting.

“I usually do whatever this board says, but I cannot change my entire after-work life in three days,” Stevens said.

“We mean no disrespect to your schedule,” Supervisor Kim Good said, “but the people pay to keep the building open.”

The board then approved the following schedule for the township office to be open starting Monday, February 4. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office will remain open until 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. The office will close for lunch daily from 12-12:30 p.m.


Road sign management

The board heard a presentation from Anderson, Passe & Associates of Cambridge, regarding road sign management. A representative from the company outlined what the company could do for the township to get them compliant with the Federal Highway Administration’s road sign policy.

Using GPS and other technologies, Anderson, Passe & Associates would make one trip around the township and get all the information they would need to provide a detailed report and make recommendations.

The process takes about six weeks from start to finish. The bid for the full inventory evaluation came in around $4,000.

The goal is not to make all the changes at one time, but to be consistent and uniform throughout the whole township, said Kyle Roddy of Anderson, Passe & Associates.

Warning signs like “children playing” and “stop ahead” are deemed unnecessary, according to the new FHA policy.

Townships that are in compliance with the FHA guidelines will likely get a better rate on their liability insurance than townships not in compliance.


112th Street project update

Township Engineer John Bogart said plans and specs are ready to be sent out for the 112th Street project. Bogart and board chairman Jay Swanson are still working on securing the easements for the Baldwin side of the project.

Bogart recommended an amendment to the joint powers agreement between Baldwin and Livonia townships for the 112th Street project. A three-year warranty period that the contractor has to guarantee his work is at issue.

“We recommend going back to the industry standard of a one-year warranty for the road work,” Bogart said. The township board approved the recommended amendment to the joint powers agreement, allowing for a one-year warranty.


Dust control for

township gravel roads

The board discussed the application of calcium chloride or magnesium chloride to gravel roads in the township. Over time and after several applications, a crust is formed over the road, creating a nearly impermeable surface. This would provide dust control and also save the township in road grading costs.

Bogart says he prefers magnesium chloride over calcium chloride because it is not as caustic and won’t rust out the vehicles.

Supervisor Tom Rush said he would like to see a cost analysis for the project.

“This could cost us $20,000 before we would even see any benefits,” Rush said.

The discussion was tabled until the February 19 meeting. In the meantime, Clear Lake and Becker townships would be contacted to find out how they liked the outcome of the calcium chloride applications for their gravel roads.


Speed on gravel roads

The town board reviewed a letter from the Minnesota Department of Transportation district traffic engineer Thomas Dumont.

Dumont was asked by the town board to do a speed study for a gravel road near Elk Lake. It was hoped that the speed limit could be reduced to 25 mph for the area.

“I regret that this notice does not reflect your desires,” Dumont wrote. “We feel it is best to allow drivers to select the appropriate speed based on the current conditions of the road,” he wrote.

MnDot does not recommend posted speed limits on gravel roadways as the road surfaces are subject to change.

“A recommended speed today may not be the safe speed tomorrow,” Dumont wrote.


Farm animal restrictions

In a Sherburne County planning and zoning report, Bryan Lawrence talked about feedlot issues.

One proposal would prevent residents from having farm animals. Platted lots of five acres or less in Sherburne County would not be allowed to have any animals except a dog or a cat. Residents who have five acres or less of land would not be allowed to have a chicken, goat or horse.

Lawrence said he opposed the measure at the planning commission meeting because he thought residents should have options.

“Five acres is adequate for two or three horses but not for 20 horses,” he said. Lawrence also opposed the proposal because the townships were not involved and there was no public hearing on the matter.

The issue came up because some county residents claimed the value of their five-acre lot was reduced by having a neighbor’s rooster crowing in the morning. Somehow that destroyed the tranquility and peace of the neighborhood.

Lawrence was careful to point out that this proposal came from the planning commission, not from the county office staff.

The county will be voting on this issue on March 28 and before that time it will need to have a public hearing.


Planning commission moving forward

There is a lot of excitement in the planning commission, Swanson said.

They are trying to get as many people involved as possible to figure out the comprehensive plan. The committee is very motivated; Swanson said “We are moving forward in a phenomenal way.”

Elk Point channel project

The board approved a channel agreement between property owners and Twin Pines Excavating. Also approved was the township hold harmless agreement for the removal of debris from the Elk Point project.