ACT Board of Supervisors Meeting

07/06/2021, 7PM

Apple Creek Township

 

Regular Meeting Agenda

 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 7 p.m.

 

 

 

1.            Call to Order- Meeting called to order by Chairman Springer

 

a.            In attendance: Mark Springer, Dusty Hasper, Eric Richard, Jamie Vetsch, Mark Splonkowski, Roy Kuil, Terry Mauch, Jerry Kunz, Greg Hillig.

 

 

 

2.            Resignation of Clerk/Appoint of Clerk- Resignation letter from Clerk Cyndy Meidinger was presented to the board by Mark Springer. He received Cyndy’s resignation effective June 25, 2021.

 

a.            Eric Richard made a motion to appoint Jamie Vetsch as the interim clerk this motion was 2nd by Dusty Hasper.

 

i.              Vote- All voted in favor

 

3.            Area Report – Review of minutes from 06/2021 meeting

 

a.            Change in School board report- Greg Kuil’s position on the school board ends with the July meeting not December

 

b.            Change under Discussion on civil actions: original minutes- Chairman Springer said he had not heard much about the Lincoln ETA:

 

c.             Corrections: This conversation was not in regards to the ETA but in fact about a letter Chairman Mark Springer had received in regards to the City of Lincoln looking into annexation of S 40. The board agreed to send a letter to the City of Lincoln that we did not agree with the annexation of S 40.

 

d.            Change under Commercial business on residential property @ 8800 Sunrise Ave: Original minutes- Supervisor Richard had a conversation with Mr. Schmidt and was told by Mr. Schmidt:

 

e.            Corrections: Supervisor Richard had a conversation with Mr. Hilmoe and was told by Mr. Hilmoe.

 

i.              Dusty Hasper made a motion to approve the minutes noting corrections need to be made. Mark Springer 2nd this motion

 

1.            Vote- All in favor

 

A.            School Board Report:

 

a.            Report of last months meeting: Last meeting was a short meeting to update policies based on State Law. Discussion of purchasing School property back from the Township.

 

b.            Next School Board meeting July 12th, 2021 at 5:30pm Apple Creek Elementary.

 

1.            Mark Springer presented to the board a Quick Claim deed. He read the contents of the deed to all in attendance. The deed was drawn up by the Township’s Attorney with the intentions of selling the property owned by the Township back to the school district. The Attorney included a clause that the Township would still have use of space for all Township meeting needs.

 

a.            Opened the floor for Discussion: Questions asked by the floor; What about Loans/Liens taken out by the school if the Township were to take ownership back? Would this debt be incurred by the Township?

 

i.              Response from Roy Kuil- School cannot take loans out without further approval by district and would likely lead to a vote by the people of the district.

 

2.            There is a board looking into the prospect of building and addition on to the existing school as a multi-purpose room and possible classrooms- the discussion on the floor was redirected towards this topic:

 

a.            Board member Eric wanted to know if the people get a vote in the matter.

 

i.              Response- Only School District residents will get a say if it were to come to that. Township residents are welcome to come to all public school board meetings on the topic to have their voices heard. There are zero intentions of increasing taxes on the members of the district/Township. At this time no public vote will be needed. It was made clear that all discussions on the new building are being made with no intentions of raising taxes to cover the cost. The school and the board researching the project are looking into grants to cover the costs.

 

ii.             The age and life expectancy of the portables that the school is currently using as classrooms was addressed. Portables are getting to be 40 years old and not meant to last, this is one of the factors that is leading the research into the new build. Supervisor Eric addressed the age of the school and asked if price would be necessary to build a new school versus maintain. Response- The new building would be a kitchen for lunch so hiring a caterer would no longer be necessary. This would ensure that lunch would be on time and the kids would get the time to eat that is set aside for lunch. Question from the floor was asked about hiring other caterers. This was answered with the school has asked for bids from other places no one wants to take on the school. They have the only option they have found available and willing. In addition to kitchen the multi-use building would hope to include a space for physical education especially in the winter and possible basketball games. Floor question: how much are lunches and who pays- Repones the parents pay and the cost keeps changing.

 

iii.            Board that is researching the project is at a stand still because they cannot get estimates on available grants or estimate costs because the school does not own the school. They are looking into purchasing 5 acres from a neighboring land owner and this is also at a standstill. Question from the floor to Assessor Mark Splonkowski on estimate of land value per acre. Mark estimates it could be 5-7K per acre.

 

iv.           It was reiterated that this building would be a multipurpose building to help cut costs of renting space from Bismarck Public Schools for gym use. The price has been increasing and getting harder to rent out. This would be used for concerts, physical education, counseling, arts, teacher lounge, offices, and possible classrooms. Treasurer Jamie noted that this entire building is still in discovery phase with the committee and nothing has been decided on what size the building will be or what the final space will be able to be used for. Chairman Mark Springer notes that the discovery committee has not met because of the financial ownership. The school not owning the property has made it hard to see what grants they would be eligible for because they do not own the school. The dream building would have everything under one roof and keep the original school building, and no longer have a need for portables. Whether this building can be built within the budget is not something that has been evaluated as a full budget has not been able to be made due to the ownership of the school problem.

 

v.            No taxes are going to be raised to pay for this building if they were a public vote would need to take place

 

vi.           Questions from the floor if money is not coming from taxes where is the money coming from; response- plans to apply for grants from both federal and state entities to cover the expenses. The school has also been setting aside money in a building fund.

 

vii.          The discovery committee is open to the public and if any members of the community would like to be a part of the board/committee to please reach out.

 

viii.         The School board has looked at the finances and have been looking at cost of new building while looking at expenses and weighing costs of having some amenities in house verses hiring it out. Where this would help the bottom line. If having all these amenities under one roof could lead to more funding for the school. Dottie was a driving force with the budget meetings for the school board. They would look at items line by line and make decisions based on each line item.

 

ix.           2021-2022 School year projected attendance 75 or 76 students this is within the 5-year plan as projected. Question from the floor- how may are open enrolled students- estimate of possibly 20 students. Floor question- Is it cost effective to take open enrolled students or cut costs and only take kids from district to meet the needs of the students in the district. Response- Students being open enrolled is a benefit to the district it not only helps coffers and funding it also offsets costs of other expenses.

 

x.            Floor Question: What if Lincoln or Bismarck ETA move into our township: Response: At this time based on discussions with both cities and districts they are not looking to take over Apple Creek Elementary as the expense would be high to take on the Apple Creek District.

 

 

 

3.            Conversation was directed back to the Quick deed that was presented to be reviewed.

 

a.            Treasurer Jamie Addressed the floor and noted that concerns on the building are valid the topic of previous conversation was the Quick Deed and whether the township was willing to sign over the ownership to the school. It was noted that at this time the Township pays 50/50 for all expenses for the entire school. If the ownership were to reverted back to the school the township would np longer need to cover 50% of the costs incurred in maintenance, insurance, up-keep. The school had once owned the property but the township bought ownership at a time when the district had fear of closing the school. The ownership of the school insured that the Township would have a place to continue having their meetings. 

 

4.            Floor discussion continued with questions on the potential building the school is looking into building. Floor question: what is projected size? Response- a little bigger than Menoken School. A presentation was given to the discovery committee with buildings that have been done recently. It presented the “dream” building and other buildings that would meet the needs for the district. Due to financials not being able to be addressed because of the ownership issue no farther research ahs been made by the committee. The building will be looked at for what is best for the growing township now and in the future. Floor Question: If Bismarck, Lincoln, and Apple Creek keep growing will we run out of room for our own students? Roy Kuil states that the school can purchase additional land and not use the existing area the school is presently on to build but that is not the preferred method. Question brought to the floor by Treasurer Jamie- If that were to happen would we as a township want to own empty buildings that we would be financially responsible for 100% for insurance and maintenance. It was noted by a member on the floor that the building has been presented to the Township many years ago and was voted down. That building would have had an increase in taxes and the township residents did not want an increase in taxes.

 

5.            Treasurer Jamie brought to the floor that the quick claim deed is not about the building or the projected building but a separate issue. The quick claim deed would allow the school to own the buildings and land outright and have 100% financial responsibility for all expenses. At this time the township has 50% of financial responsibility for maintenance and insurance. Asked for clarification from the board that the quick claim deed is only to give ownership back to school and to allow them to take ownership and release township from financial responsibility while allowing the township to still use the school as a meeting place for the township. This was confirmed by the board on the intentions of the quick claim deed.

 

a.            Discussion from floor went back to the potential building and Chairman Mark and treasurer Jamie noted to the floor that their concerns will be brought up to the discovery committee for the building as both Jamie and Mark are also members of that committee. Chairman Mark also reminded those in attendance that the committee is open to all residents. The committee would welcome more perspectives to join. At this time the committee is at a stand still as the ownership of the school has led to many obstacles of being able to look for available grants and other sources of financial assistance to build. The floor presented many concerns about the future expenses of the new building that could potentially be put on members of the township to cover. The members of the township on the floor had asked that there be more open communication from the building discovery committee and the people of the township. It was stated by Mark and Jamie that the plan is to have open communication when the committee can work towards a plan and outline. With the ownership of the building putting the committee at a standstill there has been nothing more to report.

 

b.            Question from floor- Can quick claim deed be reversed? Why do we need a quick claim deed in the first place. Answers- back in the 80’s rural schools were closing the township bought the school to ensure that if the school were to ever close that they could still have a meeting hall for the township. The township bought the school to keep it open for township use. The school would go back to township if school would no longer own.

 

c.             Supervisor Dusty brought up discussion on if a public vote would be needed for the quick claim deed. Chairman Mark had stated that these decisions had been made by the board in the past. There have been several public meetings for input in the past at township meetings in regards to the building. It was noted that very few members of the township had attended those public meetings. Reiteration by Jamie that the quick claim deed would be to let the school own the property (land and buildings) instead of township owning 50%. It was presented that the school could proceed without the current land and buildings if they wanted. The deed would allow township to relinquish financial responsibility while maintain a meeting space.

 

d.            Public concern is about the building cost. Costs of building keeps going up the longer this is put off the more expensive it could be. Nothing can be decided on the build without more entities. The discovery committee does not have complete control over the build they were just formed to look at options and costs than present their findings. The committee was made so the school does not have complete control this is where members of the community have a say in the direction the build goes. Questions from the floor- Does the school board vote on final decision or does the public get a vote. Supervisor Eric asked the floor opinion of the room by show of hands if they were in favor of the quick claim deed for the school. Jamie asked for clarification on the question at hand was this for the quick claim only or public opinion on the building. Supervisor Eric was only looking for input on quick claim deed. Majority attending were in favor of the quick claim deed. Comments from the floor stated that misinformation could happen if this were to go to a public vote. Would the clarification that the vote would be on deed only or would the public be under the impression the vote would be about the building. The question at hand tonight is the deed not the building yet most discussion has been mixed in with the building. Supervisor Eric asked Chairman Mark if any liens or loans were to be left on the school and the township were to take ownership would the township be responsible for that debt? Mark answer yes. Mark and Roy states that if the project were to go forward the committee has been looking to add no cost to tax payers and no talk of loans have even been considered to build. Loans, bonds, and any other form of income for build beyond grants that would incur expense to the tax payers would need to be voted on by the public.

 

e.            Supervisor Dusty motioned to have a public vote for the quick claim deed. Supervisor Eric 2nd the motion. Opened the floor for discussion.

 

i.              Supervisor Eric stated that he wants the public to reach out to him with their thoughts on the building project.

 

ii.             Treasurer Jamie asked the floor to look at the deed and building as separate issues. Also asked for clarification from Supervisor Dusty and Eric: If the public vote is about the deed only or about the deed and the building combined. As she was under the understanding that the deed and the building were completely separate issues. This went into more floor discussion and questions. Floor question- if school has the deed and were to purchase additional land would the area need to be re-zoned to include new land in the property. The answer was yes. Would that new land also revert to the township if it were to take ownership back. Answer yes if it all zoned together. Floor statements- if any money would be borrowed for the building it would be a bond issue and would need to be voted on by the public.

 

f.             Dusty retracted his motion for public vote.

 

g.            Separation of quick claim deed and building had been established.

 

h.            Supervisor Dusty motioned to accept the quick claim deed. Mark 2nd

 

i.              Vote- Eric: no, Mark: Yes, Dusty: Yes

 

1.            Motion passes

 

6.            Reminder that next school board meeting is July 12th at 5:30pm at the school and Chairman Mark is on the agenda. It was mentioned that an email will need to be sent to school board to add township as agenda so other board members could present as well. As agenda noted at time of Township meeting only Mark could present to the school board.

 

 

 

B.            Treasurer’s Report: Checking- $133,940.77 Savings: $251,212.86

 

a.            Payroll- $5352.00 Mileage: $586.55

 

b.            Treasurer Jamie asked for Boards recommendation on payment schedule to move forward with the 66th St project.

 

i.              Supervisor Eric suggested 4 payments, 1st payment to be made at ground breaking. Additional payments made every 12 months. If project completes early we will make final and complete payment at time of early completion.

 

ii.             Treasurer Jamie stated she would move the funds into the dedicated account now that payment plan has been established. 

 

iii.            Motions to pay bills and move funds made by Eric, 2nd by Dusty

 

1.            Vote- unanimous yes

 

C, Assessor’s Report: Assessor Mark Splonkowski stated that things have been quiet.

 

1.            A building on Kittie lane is being worked on to adjust it to residential zoning.

 

2.            Chairman Mark requests a list of where Assessor Splonkowski goes to asses.

 

a.            Chairman Mark asked Assessor Splonkowski if he still has stickers or cards to leave on the homes if goes to? Response by Assessor Splonkowski: Yes and I have been leaving them.

 

D. Building Inspector’s Report: 6 calls, 10 inspections, 2 permits

 

E. Road Supervisor’s Report- Starting at 119th  St.  from Apple Creek Road to 22nd the gravel road will be worked on to last longer. It is the only road that will be able to be re-worked this way this year.

 

                                1. Was given advise to look into a process Morton County uses- It is a chemical process with a high upfront cost but could save in the long term. Will be gathering information and costs to see if this is an option that may work for us. Will report back any information. 

 

F. Weed Board Report- Things are going good, County sprayed but missed a few spots will need to follow up and have those spots taken care of. Fertilawn took care of most of the spots but some ditches will need to be re-addressed.

 

                                1. Pretty clear in the township this year. Trees and Bushes on road will need to be looked into as they are creeping into roads. Will follow up with county.

 

4. Zoning Board – Opened by Chairman Mark

 

- Adam Schmidt, 624 Brome Ave – Commercial use complaint: Supervisor Eric stated Adam Schmidt the renter was getting stuff off of the property. Prior to the meeting Eric drove by the property in question and says that more needs to be removed. Eric will follow up with Adam. Chairman Mark said that he will have the attorney draw up a 30-day notice as the follow up instead.

 

                - Neither Adam nor the resident appeared at the meeting.

 

- Update on Terry Hoerer property 9005 Lincoln Rd- Was sent a 15-day letter, it is past the 15 days as of July 3rd, 2021. Township nor the attorney have received any contact from the property owner.

 

                - Chairman Mark will follow up with attorney based on boards decision to seek advise from attorney on next steps and taking property owner to civil court to have the issue resolved.

 

- Update on trees and property lines (Jessica Helmenstein discussion)- Neighbors to the East of Jessica’s property on Tiffany Dr planted trees on their property line and 9 1/2 on their property. Pins were located by property owner and picture evidence supplied to board. Property is in the Copper Ridge development and they are seeking board guidance. Supervisor Eric stated to Jessica that is trees are on their property they can do with them as they choose as they would now be considered the land owners property. The trees that are planted on easement & drainage are not on set back. Roy asked property owners if Copper Ridge had an active convenance. The property owners stated they did have a copy but were unsure if they were still active. Zoning board asked the property owners if any covenant meetings have been has as that is the only way to keep the covenant active. Property owners stated that either way there was nothing specific in the convenance on planting. Property owners asked what can be done? Answers by board- Anything on their property they can do as they choose with. Chairman Mark asked for the property owner to hold off as he would like to talk with the township attorney to get documents sent to Tanner Dosch the person that planted the trees. Chairman Mark would like to give the person 15days to remove the trees with the permission of the property owner. Tanner would also be required to put the land back to condition prior to planting trees if he removes them.

 

- Update on City of Lincoln planning (meetings on last Tuesday of month for Planning and Zoning, 1st Thursday and 2 days after P&Z for council?) – Chairman Mark has been working on communication about zoning and jurisdiction. S 40 was not in our township so we had no jurisdiction. Mark has established a communication with Lincoln and Bismarck on zoning and ETA communication.  

 

5. Adjourn – next meeting, August 2, 2021 7 p.m.

 

 

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