Crane Lake, Minnesota Water & Sanitary District  
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September 2, 2020 – 4:00 P.M.


The meeting was called to order by CLWSD Chairman Rob Scott at 4:07P.M.

CLWSD Members present:  Managers Mark Anderson, Bruce Beste, Bonnie Caughey and Rob Scott.

CLWSD Members absent: Manager Darrell Scott.

CL Township Members present:  Jim Janssen (via Zoom), Kara Knutson and Jerry Pohlman

Also present: St. Louis County Commissioner Paul McDonald, CLWSD Legal Counsel Mia Thibodeau, CLWSD Clerk/Treasurer & Township Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman, 15 members of the community and numerous community members attending via ZOOM.

Chairman Rob Scott opened the Hearing by asking everyone in the room to introduce themselves. Rob reviewed the history of the District from its inception and explained the VNP Clean Water Project Joint Powers Board (JPB) and Crane Lake’s involvement with that Board.  Rob pointed out that the CLWSD began the Kicker Blvd. Annexation process at the request of the JPB.  Funding for the annexation process was provided by the MPCA Legacy Funds.  Rob asked Comm. Paul McDonald to speak.

Comm. McDonald stated that the JPB has been very successful in obtaining funding for the project within the area of Kabetogama, Ash River, Island View and Crane Lake to improve the water quality of the area.  Two Counties, St. Louis and Koochiching, are involved.  The Board is composed of commissioners from both counties.  Representatives from each of the areas attend the meetings to provide input, without voting privileges. Comm. McDonald indicated that the CLWSD septic system program is considered a successful model that is being used as a model for other districts all over the state.

It was explained that both the CLWSD and the Township Boards would pass resolutions following the meeting to be sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings for the annexation to be considered.

The meeting was opened up to comments and questions from the public present and those on ZOOM.  Some of the topics of interest were:

Have all parcels in Crane Lake been evaluated?  –  District cannot do so by St. Louis County rule.

Are there funds available? – Yes, there are grant funds.

If the property owner pays $7,500 to have a new system, who pays the rest?  -The grant funds.

If a property has no existing system, must one be put in upon transfer of title?  – Question should be directed to County.

Disagreement with St. Louis County’s process for determining the amount of administrative levy assessed to properties. – Again, a County issue.

If a property owner decides to participate in the District’s program, what does the $7,500 cover?  – The $7,500 is considered a buy-in to the District.  The cost of an ISTS installation is covered by the grant (additional owner costs include electrical or plumbing to building or in the building).

Why try to annex all of Kicker Blvd.?  Why not just those that wish to participate? – Cost prohibitive to do individually.

Is there a copy of the Environmental Impact Study precipitating the decision to annex Kicker Blvd.? – There is no study.

The process to determine the administrative levy on properties is not equitable. – It is a St. Louis County process.

How many variances are there in the District? – Currently 1.

Why is this happening?  What is driving this? – The VNP Clean Water Project Comprehensive Plan – Kicker Blvd. is densely populated.

When was testing done to determine water quality in the proposed annexation area?  – Unknown.

If the annexation goes through, can the District require participation?  – No.

Was there a survey of Kicker Blvd. to determine how many properties are compliant/non-compliant? – The JPB and County have evaluated several areas within the comprehensive plan. See Exhibit A (link below) for the current Kicker Blvd. survey.  Comm. McDonald indicated he will request an updated survey ASAP.

Will we ever have Special Assessments or other expenses added in addition to the Administrative Levy? – Not planned.

Is there a way for the property owners on Kicker Blvd. to avoid annexation? – Property Owners who wish to prevent annexation were directed to seek outside counsel.

Kicker Blvd. Annexation Hearing

September 2, 2020

Page 2

Does the District have the option to stop the annexation process as it appears most property owners are against it? – Yes, the resolution to annex Kicker Blvd could be dropped.

If you know of anyone with a faulty system, you can alert St. Louis County; they are then required to look into.

If you crunch the numbers, it becomes a very expensive system over time. – It is a personal decision whether or not to utilize the District programs. Many decisions are involved, without annexation; property owners foot the entire bill, upfront, on their own.

It was noted that per Ordinance 61, it is illegal to put gray water on the ground or in the lake. The link to the County website that explains Ordinance 61 to property owners was mentioned as a great starting resource.  Additionally, the County has a grant program to help low and moderate income people install systems. See the following link.

Is the meeting being recorded. – Yes, via ZOOM

Who is the administrative law judge and where are they located? – The OAH judge will be located in St. Paul, the specific judge will be determined later.

A survey is a good idea.

A letter provided by a property owner was read to the people present.

Notes provided by a Zoom participant:

It was not clear how residents might vote.

Only the County can inspect for compliance.

If a resident wishes to object, they are entitled to council.

Kicker Blvd. may be part of the tax levy, even if nobody participates.  If annexed, they are taxed regardless of participation.

Generally, see land value increases as result of participating.

Changes in property may require an update according to MN guidelines.

There is a $7,500 buy in and an $80 monthly fee.

Is running water a trigger for a septic system?  It has to do with waste water.  Waste water must be dealt with.  County Ordinance 61 determines what is needed.  The District does not regulate this.  If annexation goes ahead, you may ask them to maintain and own your system.

Levy is for administrative costs.

All people benefit from cleaner water.

Recommend a spokesperson from Kicker Blvd. to present to the JPB.

CLWSD Chairman Rob Scott said that the District would table the resolution calling for the annexation until all information can be reviewed by the JPB.  He also recommended that the Kicker Blvd. residents form a group and select a spokesperson to represent them to the CLWSD.

Go to the Map page of the Website to view Kicker Blvd. area maps.

The hearing was adjourned at 5:30PM

Jo Ann Pohlman, Clerk

This draft of the CLWSD & Township Minutes has been posted solely for preliminary informational purposes.  Minutes are unofficial and subject to change until they have been approved by the Boards.

Crane Lake Water & Sanitary District
P.O. Box 306 · Crane Lake, Minnesota 55725
© 2001 CLWSD