Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Town board hires Gorsma as new maintenance head

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 11/25/19

SOUDAN- Breitung Township has found the near-perfect candidate to replace retiring Maintenance Director Dale Swanson.The Breitung Town Board, on Nov. 19, offered the soon-to-be-open maintenance …

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Town board hires Gorsma as new maintenance head

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SOUDAN- Breitung Township has found the near-perfect candidate to replace retiring Maintenance Director Dale Swanson.
The Breitung Town Board, on Nov. 19, offered the soon-to-be-open maintenance director position to Tom Gorsma. Gorsma, who lives in Soudan, is currently serving in the same position in the city of Tower. The board selected Gorsma from among four finalists, who board members all agreed were well-qualified.
Chairman Tim Tomsich said Gorsma, with his experience as a maintenance director, instructor, and a water/sewer background, was a step above the rest. Supervisor Greg Dostert argued in favor of another candidate and expressed his hesitancy to hire the director from their neighbor, but he ultimately seconded the motion to offer the position to Gorsma.
Pending his acceptance of the job and a background check, Gorsma will be replacing Dale Swanson who has served the township for 14 years and is set to retire this spring. The board previously planned to start the new hire in November or December, but because Gorsma was so qualified, the board decided the extensive training period would not be necessary and will have him start March 1, with 90-percent pay for three months before receiving full wages, and a 60-day probation period before the township pays for health insurance.
McKinley Park
McKinley Park Campground rates will remain the same in the 2020 camping season. New next year will be a 3.99-percent fee on credit card users, and a new $5/day fee for campers who use excessive amounts of electricity. Campground Manager Susie Chiabotti estimates the park will be able to recoup $1,500 in credit card fees by passing this charge along to users. As for the electricity surcharge, Chiabotti said it will mostly apply to campers who leave their air conditioning running while they are away. The township also renewed the contract with the Chiabottis for another year.
In other news, the board:
 Heard from a local parent who asked the township’s fire department to look into having one of its members certified to install and check children’s car seats. Fire departments commonly have a member who has been trained to do this, but no one in Tower or Soudan is currently certified.
 Approved the sale of some of their used office equipment.
 Heard the police department sold an impounded truck for $5,220.
 Heard that Ben Johnson of Heavy Metal Sports in Ely donated 25 pairs of skates and 30 sticks to the Breitung board to give away to kids in need of the equipment. Interested parties should call Dostert at 218-248-0648.
 Paid an invoice to JPJ Engineering for $3,556.
 Will pay an invoice to Lenci Enterprises for $50,345 after CDBG grant money comes in.
 Indicated the township will make an application for an IRRR grant for $250,000 on behalf of the Tower Breitung Wastewater Board.
 Thanked Water Plant Supervisor Matt Tuchel for putting in many extra hours after the water tower and water treatment plant were damaged by lightning and had to be run manually for several weeks while repairs were completed. “You went above and beyond, Matt,” said Supervisor Chuck Tekautz. “We are very fortunate to have an employee that cares.” 
 Approved the purchase of a desk for a public computer with broadband grant money from Blandin Foundation. Free public wifi is now available at the town hall for those who want to bring their own devices. Speed is 20 mbps upload and 20 mbps download and service is available in the building and parking lot.
 Heard Tower Mayor Orlyn Kringstad answer questions the board had concerning the ambulance subsidy. “We’ve been working through issues,” Kringstad said. “The ambulance director has been instructed to work with the city clerk-treasurer on a cash flow and budget sheet.” Kringstad said that they are now putting together a financial forecast spreadsheet that would cover from now through 2020 and he is confident that there won’t be any lapse in ambulance coverage for the area.
 Next meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 1:30 p.m.

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