HJ/EDJuly 31, 2006

A look at Camden Township

By Jenni Sebora

It has been business as usual for Camden Township board, and that’s how Camden Township supervisor and 10-year board member Virgil Stender likes it.

“It’s been very quiet, and I like it that way,” Stender said.

It’s been so quiet, in fact, that the township did not warrant extra police services through Carver County sheriff’s department this year.

Recently, the township put out one call for police services, and that was made by a new township resident, who recently moved to the township from the metro area, and had a squirrel in her garage, Stender explained.

Stender also added that the board has had no recent feedlot issues to deal with either.

Business as usual for the township board usually means approving or denying conditional use permits and variances before they go to the county level for review, and granting or denying building permits.

Annexations seem to be a part of regular township board business also, and that’s no exception for Camden Township. To help the process run more smoothly, the Camden Township board is presently in the initial stages of working with the city of New Germany on an orderly annexation process.

Another issue that townships, including Camden Township, are dealing with is finding gravel – “good” gravel, as Stender put it, for road maintenance and upkeep.

“Good gravel is hard to find. We have enough on hand for a couple of years, but it’s an issue,” Stender said.

Besides police service contracting, township boards also have to attain fire contracts for the township with the respective cities, and the boards have to review those contracts regularly.

Camden Township has fire contracts with the cities of New Germany, Mayer, and Norwood-Young America. All of the cities have different rates depending on how many calls are made.

Township boards usually consist of the supervisors, including a chairperson and a vice-chair, who are the voting members; and a clerk and treasurer, who are non-voting members. Some townships may even have back-up members for the non-voting positions, as Camden Township board has for the treasurer and clerk positions.

Filling township board positions can be difficult for some townships, but Camden Township usually doesn’t have this problem.

“We don’t have to twist arms (to fill positions),” Stender said.

In fact, most recently the board had to fill the position of treasurer, as Marlene Jopp announced that she would be moving out of the township. Darlene Zellmann was appointed and accepted the position and began her duties this July.

To help her learn the ropes and duties of the position, Zellmann recently attended a new treasurer’s short course in Mankato.

Stender noted that short course all-day sessions were offered in July at different locations throughout the state.

The township board is also looking at finding a back-up person for its road maintenance position, as well. The township currently has one full-time road maintenance employee, Jerry Goede.

A grader, pay loader, tractor, and trucks are among the equipment Camden Township owns.

To stay abreast of issues and happenings in the county, township board members attend Carver County elected officials leadership meetings, which occur about three to four times a year.

The meetings consist of members from such entities as school boards, county, city, and township boards. A design team made up of one or two members from each entity lead the meetings and determine the topics to be discussed at each meeting.

Topics may vary from road maintenance to school-related topics to fire contracts, etc., – topics pertinent to Carver County, Stender explained.

The meetings were initiated three or four years ago to promote discussion among the various boards and entities in the county and to keep everyone informed and abreast of what’s happening among the various entities.

“Everybody knows what everybody’s problems are. We’re talking, and talking is better than sitting in a corner. It helps others realize that we’re (New Germany and Camden Township) here,” Stender said of participation in the meetings.

Elections are also a part of township board business, as well. And beginning in the fall of 2008, all Camden Township elections will occur at the New Germany City Hall.

The board has recently elected to change its March elections to the fall. Thus, all elections, primary and township, will be conducted at the city hall. The township annual meeting will remain in March at the Camden Township Hall.

“It works good with the city,” Stender said of the elections. Together always works better. It saves money. Every little bit helps.”

Staying abreast of what’s happening, being prepared, and working together seem to be “business as usual” for Camden Township board.

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