Sept. 11, 2006

Keeping busy in Victor Township

By Jenni Sebora

Victor Township is busy making improvements to its township and township hall.

A “freshening up” of its township hall buildings is part of the plan. The hall will see an approximate 34-by-40-foot addition, as well as new bathrooms, exit door, and door handles that are handicap accessible, which were mandated by state and federal regulations.

Both Victor Township 18-year supervisor Burton Horsch and current clerk Sharon Glessing agreed that these updates are due.

“The present township hall was built in 1974, is 32 years old, and needs to be freshened up,” Horsch said.

As part of this freshening up, both township buildings, the meeting building and the storage building, will receive new tin, Horsch noted.

When all is said and done, the township meeting hall will be the only building heated. The other building will strictly be utilized for cold storage.

To help make the new addition possible, the township is purchasing approximately three-fourths of an acre from the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District, which will soon be building a new high school just north of the township hall.

Horsch noted that the township wants to purchase the parcel from the school district before it gets annexed into the city.

Annexation is becoming commonplace business for township boards. To help regulate the process, Victor Township has a 10-year annexation agreement with the City of Howard Lake, Glessing noted.

Aside from the new exit door, bathrooms, and door handle changes to the hall, the township also recently received a new voting machine for people with disabilities. The AutoMARK is a machine that ensures that all voters have privacy and independence when voting.

“The AutoMARK helps people with disabilities mark their ballots,” Glessing explained.

The Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) requires that all voting precincts have an AutoMARK before the next election.

A tractor for mowing roadside ditches is also a new addition to the township’s equipment. Previously, the township leased a tractor for these mowing jobs.

Mowing and other road maintenance jobs are major tasks for townships. Horsch noted that the roads are an issue. And supervisor Greg Bakeberg noted that there are no straight roads in Victor Township because of all the lakes and marshes, which number more than 10.

“Travel on roads is increasing even though population isn’t really growing,” Horsch said, which certainly affects the roads and upkeep.

Victor Township employs a full-time maintenance person to perform such duties and keep up with the maintenance tasks.

As far as the lakes and marshes, Horsch noted that there are always people asking about developing on the various lakes. Horsch added that Lake Mary is the most developed in the township. The Dutch Lake development is in the village – Howard Lake.

Lake Ann’s new housing development will have a blacktop area. “It’s under control. It looks nice,” Horsch said.

“Distance isn’t an issue when people want to build by lakes,” Horsch said.

One issue that Victor Township has been lucky enough to not have to deal with thus far, is scrambling to fill township board positions when a seat comes up for election or it is vacated.

Horsch noted that sometimes there has been competition for positions and sometimes not.

And if there isn’t competition for a position, Horsch said, “Up to this point, someone has stepped forward to fill it.”

Not only has the township been lucky enough to fill its township board seats, it gets quality people to do the jobs, Horsch noted.

“We’ve had four clerks in 18 years (Horsch’s years of service) – and all very good, and at least that many treasurers. We’ve been fortunate to get a good person,” Horsch said.

Although the people serving in the clerk and treasurer positions, which are the non-voting members on the board, have rotated some, the supervisors have remained stable over the years, Horsch added.

And when there has been competition for an open township board position, the election has drawn over 100 voters, Horsch noted.

So it seems, Victor Township is busy keeping up with the times.

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