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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

New faces at the table in Breitung Township

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 4/3/24

SOUDAN- Breitung Township continued its transition to a younger generation at the town board’s reorganization meeting held March 28. Longtime supervisor Chuck Tekautz, who served on the town …

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New faces at the table in Breitung Township


SOUDAN- Breitung Township continued its transition to a younger generation at the town board’s reorganization meeting held March 28. Longtime supervisor Chuck Tekautz, who served on the town board for the past 18 years, left the board table to make way for Erin Peitso, who filed for the seat after Tekautz had indicated his intention to retire.
During his career in public service, Tekautz had previously served as a Tower City Council member, a Tower-Breitung Waste Water Board member, and on the Tower Ambulance Commission. Tekautz said he would like to be remembered for his responsible handling of township funds. “Everything I did I tried to get the best bang for the buck,” he said. Tekautz said he plans to enjoy his retirement and time with family.
Outgoing clerk Dianna Sunsdahl, who opted not to seek re-election after serving one four-year term, made way for Amber Zak, who won as a write-in candidate.
Town board chair Tim Tomsich thanked both Tekautz and Sunsdahl for their service to the township. “For keeping our township open and honest you will be missed,” he said.
In other business, the town board:
• Passed a resolution to apply for funding from the Firehouse Subs Foundation grant program for up to $35,000 for an all-terrain vehicle for police to use for trail incidents. “It’s our biggest need right now,” said Matt Tuchel. Police Chief Dan Reing and Tuchel spoke of how the fire department and police departments could use the vehicle, especially with the increase in area trails and trail traffic.
• Passed a motion to not apply for funding for the recreation area this year.
• Will send a letter of completion on the bike trail project for reimbursement of $150,000 from the DNR.
• Accepted a donation from Corrine Hill to the police department of $216.
• Heard that in the month of February, the fire department responded to one personal injury accident, two structure fires, and a chimney fire.
• Determined that the township has no public need for a tax-forfeit four-acre parcel on Four Mile Rd. The parcel will go up for auction on the county tax-forfeit site.

Township reorganization
• Chose the Tower News as the legal publication for the township. The Tower News bid $0.65 for legal notices and $2.50 for display ads. The Timberjay bid $1.99 for legal notices and $3.75 for display ads, but the Timberjay also posts all legal notices online, and they are archived week to week without needing a subscription.
• Chose Robert Pearson Law Office, the Fryberger Law Firm, and the MN Association of Townships as legal advisors.
• Raised part-time police officer pay from $24 per hour to $24.50.
• Raised the clerk’s pay from $26,000 yearly to $27,000.
vRaised the deputy clerk’s pay from $20/hour to $21/hour.
• Raised the deputy treasurer’s pay from $20 to $21/hour.
• Raised election judge pay from $16 to $17 per hour.
• Named Peitso to the wastewater board in place of Tekautz.
• Changed the McKinley Park liaison from Tomsich to Peitso.
• Changed lodging tax board representative from Greg Dostert to Tomsich.
• Passed a resolution to appoint Tuchel as vice chair .
• Passed a resolution for treasurer Jorgine Gornick to work as an election judge at $17/hour.
• Changed project inspector, a paid position, to project liaison, an unpaid position, and designated Tuchel to the new position.
• Made recreation liaison a shared position between Peitso and Tuchel, based on availability. The position doesn’t grant any extra pay.
• Set monthly town board meetings for the third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m.

Police report
In February, the Breitung Police had 65 calls for service, 1 adult female citation for speed (62 in a 40), and 1 adult cited for no proof of insurance.
A week-long investigation resulted in felony charges of issuance of a dishonored check. 

Chief Reing reported that February always moves along so fast. Officer Karolczak continues to learn the job and is gaining valuable experience. As he has become aware, you never stop learning the job. G.R.E.A.T. educational programs are in full swing. There are currently three classes in progress: a fourth-grade section at North Woods School, and two sections for upper elementary students at Tower-Soudan. The students enjoy the program, Reing said, and the feedback has been positive.
It was a much busier month for calls as compared to last February, with 18 more calls.
"We are currently well above last year’s call volume as well," Reing said. "The department wants remind everyone to make sure your vehicles are off the street for our plows. It has been a mild winter, but you never know when we could get a pile of snow. It is northern Minnesota after all, even a mild winter is unpredictable. Spring is coming soon; it will be very busy in our area in a short time. With spring comes much more traffic and people to our area. Please watch your speed, especially on Hwy. 169 between Tower and Soudan. There is a 50-mile speed limit between Jasper St. in Soudan to Alder St. in Tower. Please slow down and be safe."