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MORSE TOWNSHIP- In a repeat from last year, the Morse Township meeting on March 14 was thinly attended, with just the clerk, treasurer, two supervisors, one reporter and three township residents. …
MORSE TOWNSHIP- In a repeat from last year, the Morse Township meeting on March 14 was thinly attended, with just the clerk, treasurer, two supervisors, one reporter and three township residents. Last year’s meeting had a total attendance of seven, including township officers.
Supervisors Len Cersine and Bob Berrini were present, and Terry Soderberg was absent.
The annual meeting was preceded by the reelection of Bob Berrini, who was running unopposed for his current supervisor position. A total of 49 residents cast ballots this year, an increase from the 38 cast in last year’s election.
The meeting started with the announcement of Berrini’s reelection followed by a vote for the township clerk, Nick Wognum, as the meeting moderator.
Township treasurer Mary Ann Lekatz gave the financial report, noting that the township’s beginning balance for the 2022 fiscal year was $467,822. Incoming receipts were $780,153 and disbursements were $918,167, leaving a year-end balance of $329,808.
“The difference is about $150,000,” remarked Berrini. “That $150,000 actually went to that (Ely area) ambulance building – otherwise we would have the same as we had last year.”
Responding to a question from an attendee about the poor 0.01-percent interest rate earned on Morse’s reserve of $45,594, Lekatz responded that higher rate short-term equities are not made available to a township government: “You have to remember, this is government, and we can’t go in and get certificates of deposit (at higher rates of interest). I will admit we do have three of them … For a whole year, we got $21.36 (in interest on them). That has changed because there are new figures coming in in January. And yes, we have switched them all to different certificates that are making more money.”
The 2024 general budget passed unanimously. Lekatz noted that the budget for wages and benefits, “went up quite a bit,” from $1,500 budgeted in 2023 to $4,500 for 2024. Lekatz explained that the added expense is to cover running four elections during the fiscal year. The elections are the presidential nominating party election, the township election, the primary election, and the general election.
Other items that increased were the ambulance budget, which went from $25,000 in 2023 to $30,000 in 2024. The fire budget also increased, from $60,000 to $65,000.
The 2024 road and bridge budget was also approved at $114,300, which is $17,500 less than 2023. The reduced expenses were for snowplowing, brushing, chloride and crack seal.
In other matters of business, the annual meeting:
• Approved a 2024 levy of $365,730, which is the same amount as both 2023 and 2022. The revenues from the levy will be split, with 49.5 percent going to the general fund and 50.5 percent going to the road and bridge fund.
• Voted to set the polling hours for next year’s township election to be from noon to 8 p.m., the same as this year.
• Approved the date of the next annual meeting to be March 12, which is the usual second Tuesday of March mandated by Minnesota statute Sec. 365.51
• Discussed brushing, snowplowing and the width of road right of ways, in a foray initiated by Bill Erzar.
Discussed the trials of trying to get better broadband service for the township. The meeting adjourned 61 minutes after it began.
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