BY GABE LICHT
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN As Cedar Lake Estates, a six-lot residential development located off of Wright County Road 13, nears approval at the county level, developers Linda Splettstoeszer and Dale Dingman approached the Franklin Township Board Monday to discuss a road for the development.
“We are at the final stages with approvals with the county,” Splettstoeszer said. “We wanted to make sure we have everything from you we need regarding the subdivision and making sure you’re comfortable with the road.”
“There are about 100 steps or hoops they have to jump through; 98 with the county, and a couple with the township,” Supervisor Bill McMullen said. “The main area the township has direct responsibility for is the road.”
The township is requiring a 9-ton road measuring 24 feet wide, with a 2-foot-wide grass shoulder, similar to the road in the Boulder Woods development. McMullen mentioned the possibility of a 10-ton road measuring 22-feet wide, but Splettstoeszer said they would move forward with the initial plan.
The road will be secured by a letter of credit for three years. Much of the letter of credit funds will be released once the road is completed. Following the three years, the township will take over ownership and maintenance of the road.
Before then, developers can opt to hire a private company for maintenance or pay the township for maintenance.
“That’s a concern,” Splettstoeszer said. “It could be cost-prohibitive for us to do that. We weren’t aware of that.”
“I don’t think it will be cost-prohibitive,” McMullen said. “That’s just an opinion. Let us research that and find out what the charge is. The marginal cost to run an extra 2,000 feet isn’t that much.”
Township Clerk Stephanie Russek will research more about the letter of credit and who is responsible for snow plowing.
Initially, the township’s plan was to require driveways to be established before lots are sold and homes are built.
“I’m flexible on it because I understand if someone comes in and wants their driveway wherever,” Supervisor Mike Barfknecht said.
Regardless of where driveways are placed, culverts must be placed beneath them.
Deferred assessment interest formula
When Farmington Avenue was paved in the 1990s, benefiting property owners were assessed for the improvements.
They were given the option to defer the assessment with 7 percent interest that would be compounded annually.
“One of the residents who has one deferred assessment called and wanted to pay it off,” Deputy Clerk Renee Olson said. “It was the first one I dealt with. I found a letter the previous clerk wrote in 2015. By extrapolating the numbers, I found out she was not compounding the interest. She figured out the interest on the initial assessment, saving her thousands. If she paid it now, compounded annually, they would owe $26,000. If I did it the way (former Clerk) Denise (Olson) had done it, it’d be $12,000.”
McMullen clarified that no clerk had ever compounded the interest.
Five property owners have yet to pay the assessment, while one has paid non-compounded interest each year.
“I think we’re going to have to fix it, and go back and say it isn’t compounded,” McMullen said. “ . . . In the future, we need to clarify what it will be. In the meantime, we can send out letters to affected parties and say ‘This is the original amount; this is the amount you owe.’ This was a mistake. It’s one reason why I don’t like the concept of assessments for roads.”
McMullen will consult township attorney Pat Neaton, who he said was involved with the initial assessment arrangement.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• discussed providing health savings accounts for township employees. Barfknecht asked why the township could not provide insurance, potentially by partnering with the county or other townships. McMullen said the township had not previously found an insurance plan that would work well for its employees, but that he would broach the subject with county officials. McMullen and Barfknecht opted to not vote on establishing an HSA until fellow Supervisor John Czanstkowski could join them at a meeting.
• discussed the cap on payments related to unused paid time off. No decision was made.
• announced that the county had received a $5,000 Operational Research Assistance grant to help cover costs associated with the township’s Otta Seal road.
• approved motions to solicit for dust control, granite, and granite hauling.
• approved the Delano Herald Journal as the township’s official publication.
• approved a quote from Greater MN Communications to print, one-hole punch, and mail recycling calendars at a price of 75 cents each, for a total of $825.