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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Matt Tuchel takes a seat on the Breitung Board

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 3/30/23

BREITUNG- The Breitung Town Board said goodbye to a longtime supervisor and hello to a somewhat new face at their regular meeting on March 23. Supervisor Greg Dostert received many thanks for his …

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Matt Tuchel takes a seat on the Breitung Board


BREITUNG- The Breitung Town Board said goodbye to a longtime supervisor and hello to a somewhat new face at their regular meeting on March 23.
Supervisor Greg Dostert received many thanks for his service to the township. Dostert has been serving on the board on and off since 1991. He’s worked on many projects throughout the years including the McKinley Park facility, the baseball field, rink renovations and town hall renovations.
Dostert has always been a fierce and effective advocate for area youth, heading up local recreation programs, most notably baseball. Dostert plans on continuing his many jobs in the community as a school bus driver for Vermilion Country School, coaching youth baseball, his gravel and construction business, and most recently he stepped in to teach a shop class at the Vermilion Country School.
“It’s been a pleasure serving the community and working with you guys,” Greg said, “we did a lot of good.”
Matt Tuchel was finally able to take the oath of office and sat in his new seat on the Breitung Town Board after a hiccup last year. Tuchel ran for office last year, but after winning the election, the township attorney Robert Pearson advised that Tuchel not take the supervisor seat. Pearson cautioned that there may be a conflict of interest because of Tuchel’s many community-centered positions as assistant fire chief, an EMT for the Tower Ambulance Service, and the full-time wastewater supervisor for the Tower-Breitung Wastewater Board. So, Tuchel did not take the seat, and the board appointed Tim Tomsich, who had intended to retire from the board, to fill in.
After working with the township and the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, the township cleared up the questions of any potential conflicts and it was determined that Tuchel could still serve on the town board while keeping all his positions, so long as he doesn’t represent the township on the wastewater board, and that he abstain from voting on certain topics that would create a conflict of interest.

Chief of Police Dan Reing said that the police department had its slowest month so far in February. He spent his extra time looking for equipment grants, visiting with school children, and organizing the office and evidence storage room.
Reing advised the board that he is looking into a grant from the federal government called the COPS Hiring Program which would allow the department to hire another full-time officer and would pay up to 75-percent of the officer’s salary for three years. Reing said that it’s getting harder and harder to hire police officers. “People leave (the profession) and they don’t come back,” he said.
The board passed a motion to accept a quote from Axon Enterprises for taser supply and training for the next five years for $10,800, broken into yearly increments.

The board, as part of their reorganization:
• Selected the Tower News as the legal publication, Tower News had the low bid of $0.65 and $2.50, the only other bid was the Timberjay with $1.99 and $3.75. The Timberjay also puts all its legal notices online, available to all at no charge, so residents can view any legal notices. The Tower News has not had a functioning website for well over a year.
•  Set labor/rink attendant wage at the minimum required by the state, $10.59 for adults, $8.63 for youth.
• Set rider mower operator wage at $11.59.
• Voted to give a raise to 16- and 17-year-old youth workers by $1 after two years of service.
• Raised the wage for office cleaning by $1, to $17.
• Raised the wage for part-time police officers by $1, to $24.
• Raised the clerk wage $1,000 per year to $26,0000.
•  Raised the treasurer wage $2,000 per year to $25,000.
• Designated the official posting locations as outside the community center, at the Soudan Store, and at the Post Office. Residents can also request to be put on an email list to receive important notices by contacting the clerk’s office.
• Elected TimTomsich as chairman and Chuck Tekautz as vice chair. Tekautz and Tomsich will represent the township on the wastewater board since Tuchel is ineligible, Tomsich will be McKinley Park liaison, Tuchel will be on the ambulance board, Tuchel will be on the Joint Powers Recreation Board and Greg Dostert will still represent the township on the lodging tax board. The supervisors acknowledged that they all are noxious weed inspectors and designated Tomsich to sign noxious weed reports.
• Set the regular board meetings for the fourth Thursday of the month at noon.
In other business, the board:
• Heard that new supervisor Matt Tuchel will attend a new supervisor training provided by the MN Association of Townships.
• Heard that a grant application was denied by Lake Country Power Operation Round Up for renovations to the playground at McKinley Park Campground.
• Received a thank you from the Embarrass Fair Board for the township’s contribution of $300 that residents voted on at the annual meeting.
• Heard that the skating rink was averaging 13 skaters a day up from 8 or 9 a day last year and that the rink is closed for the season, 10 days earlier than last year.
• Heard that a water leak on 4th Ave. was found and repaired.
• Heard that the wastewater project was currently on the senate bonding bill for $2.25 million and that Tuchel testified before state senate bonding bill committee on behalf of water treatment facility.
• Heard that the wastewater board put in a congressional direct spending request for $3.75 million for an additional wastewater pond to Pete Stauber. It was picked to be forwarded to a federal subcommittee for agriculture.
• Heard that the grant request from IRRR for the cost overrun on the bike trail project was approved.
• Heard that an anonymous cash donation of $500, marked for the ambulance replacement fund, was received. The township will make a resolution to formally accept the funds at next month’s meeting and then write a check for the amount to the city.

• A citation was given to a resident renter who had excessive amounts of trash in both the front and back yard, after a warning a month previous. The township will also send a courtesy notice to the homeowner with a copy of the citation.
• Heard that Tuchel met with CTC to get a quote for broadband at McKinley Park Campground. CTC can run broadband to the store, but that there wasn’t an easy way to provide WIFI to the rest of the campground because of the concrete block construction of the store building.

February Police Report
February was the quietest month the department has seen in a long time. A highlight of the month was spending a morning at North Woods School during their annual Bagels and Books event. Chief Reing also spent time visiting Tower-Soudan Elementary and Vermilion Country School at various times throughout the month. Many office projects and paperwork were completed this month. We are taking the time to get projects done that we will not have time for later this year. The weather is going to warm up eventually and our area will be busy once again. Be safe.
Calls for service: 49
Investigations: 3
Community engagement: 1
Assist other agencies: 2