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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

New water treatment system removed all traces of arsenic

Jodi Summit
Posted 5/11/22

GREENWOOD TWP- The Greenwood Town Board, Tuesday, got good news about the township water supply. The newly-installed filtration system has eliminated all traces of arsenic in the township’s …

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New water treatment system removed all traces of arsenic

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GREENWOOD TWP- The Greenwood Town Board, Tuesday, got good news about the township water supply. The newly-installed filtration system has eliminated all traces of arsenic in the township’s water supply.
The filtration system is currently only set up to filter the water for the outdoor spigot that is used by area residents who do not have potable drinking water at their cabins.
The board decided to have the water supply to the town hall kitchen and drinking fountain added into the filtration system at a cost of approximately $1,000.
The filtration system also has greatly reduced the manganese levels in the water, that gave the water an odor.
The township will no longer allow commercial use of the spigot. For example, for bait dealers who were using the water for transporting minnows, since the system can only treat a certain amount of water each day.

Interim treasurer
Newly-appointed interim treasurer Jeff Maus told the board he was off to a “rocky start” due to incomplete records left by the previous treasurer Belinda Fazio.
He noted that the checkbook had not been balanced for the previous two months, bank balances hadn’t been checked, and that some financial reporting from 2021 still had not been completed. The township also had to pay a $500 IRS penalty for not filing the 941 payroll tax forms on time. He also said a lot of payments were recorded under miscellaneous, and he was trying to track down what the payments were actually used for. In addition, he said, many documents had been signed by the deputy treasurer, not the treasurer, and that none of the donations approved by the board in 2021 had been made.
Maus noted he had payroll requests for extra pay for Tammy Mortaloni for work done on township grants, and a request for payment for 80.5 hours of election-related work from Debby Spicer, and that he didn’t know the procedure for approval and payment, so he had not yet processed them.
The board passed a motion that any request for extra pay must be approved first by the town board. They said this doesn’t apply to regular salary and hourly payroll for fire department members and other regular hourly workers, such as cleaners.
Maus also said there were questions now on Fire Chief Dave Fazio was recording members’ hours. “Some reports are duplicates,” he said.
The board, on a 3-2 vote with Mike Ralston and Paul Skubic voting against, adopted the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s seven minute rule for calculating hours worked by employees, including fire department members. “I am just happy they are showing up,” Skubic said.
Other business
In other business, the board:
 Received a more detailed look at the township budget and spending, prepared by John Bassing. The board will use it at the annual meeting set for Thursday, June 23 at 6 p.m. The board voted 4-1, with Ralston voting against, to ask voters to approve a $150,000 levy.
 Declined to approve a claim for mileage submitted by Chair Sue Drobac, for a meeting she had attended with Supervisor Rick Stoehr and Lee Peterson in Buhl about ambulance issues. The three discussed changes that had recently been made with Essentia Health taking over the Buhl Ambulance Service and converting it to Advanced Life Support staffed with paramedics.
 Approved, pending receipt of documents, a liquor license for the new Tavern in the Bay at Bayview. St. Louis County has approved their on-sale and off-sale licenses also. Ralston noted the owner had tried to call the clerk’s office, but no one was there to take the information.
 Appoint Mitch Brunfelt, from Colosimo, Patchin, Kearney & Brunfelt, Ltd. of Virginia, as township attorney. The vote was 3-1, with Skubic voting against and Ralston abstaining because he has a contractual connection to the law firm. The town board had some questions about whether there might be a conflict, since the city of Tower also uses the firm, but was told this would not be an issue.
• Updated the town board policy on what township officials and employees are able to contact the township attorney and what procedures should be followed. This motion passed on a 3-2 vote with Skubic and Ralston voting against.
• Approved spending up to $1,000 a year for donations, with a maximum donation amount of $100 per organization.
• Approved $100 donations to the Tower-Soudan Historical Society, W.C. Heiam Foundation, Cook Timber Days, and Tower’s Lakeview Cemetery (Skubic and Ralston voted against this donation).
• Accepted the resignation of long-time fire department member Rod Politano, who has served on the department for 42 years. He will remain as a First Responder. They also approved the resignation of Belinda Fazio, who also will remain as a First Responder.
• A request by Lofquist to reinstall the regular metal door to the clerk’s office, instead of the recently-installed dutch door, failed.
• Approved hiring Fairview Range JobCare to conduct annual physicals for fire department members. These would be more comprehensive than the current physicals.
“The current testing we do is mostly a self-reported questionnaire,” said Lofquist. “If you can’t do the job safely, you shouldn’t be on the department.”
Rick Stoehr told the board the cost would be $102 per physical plus $35 for the FIT test, plus mileage costs for the member to travel to Hibbing.
“If someone doesn’t pass the physical, they can go to their personal doctor, to say if they are fit for service.”
The board had not yet discussed this issue with the fire chief, who was not present at the meeting because of a scheduled fire department training that evening.
“We are responsible for our employees,” said Stoehr.
• Approved spending $40 per month to back up the clerk and treasurer’s computers to a cloud backup service. This had been approved by the board several years ago, but never was followed through on.
• Voted 3-2, with Ralston and Skubic voting against, to move the surveillance cameras from the clerk’s office to the fire hall, and to look into options like a Ring security system for the clerk’s office.
• Discussed the need to get the township website updated.

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