BY GABE LICHT
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN Franklin Township is slated to spend almost the exact same amount in 2019 as it did in 2018, according to the budget approved by residents Tuesday.
The budget calls for $954,250 in total spending, down slightly from the $954,315 spent in 2018, including $124,250 in reserve spending. That plan keeps the levy at $830,000.
It includes $164,650 in general-fund spending, $423,600 in spending for roads and bridges, $100,000 for dust control, $106,000 for sealcoating and bituminous, $110,000 for Farmington Avenue debt service, and $50,000 set aside for a future vehicle purchase.
In 2018, the township spent $154,585 from the general fund, $527,426 for roads and bridges, $96,830 for dust control, $64,185 for sealcoating and bituminous, and $111,289 for Farmington Avenue debt service.
Before approving the 2019 budget and levy, residents looked back at what was spent in 2018, compared to the budget.
The biggest discrepancy was in the road and bridge fund, where the township spent $527,426, compared to the budget of $394,750.
“When we’re setting the budget in January, we’re putting the carriage before the horse because we don’t know what the season has done to the roads,” Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Russek said. “That, along with fixing equipment in the shop, were the drivers of the overage.”
Offsetting that overage was the fact that sealcoating and bituminous came in $55,615 under budget, coupled with the fact that the township did not need to spend the $50,000 on a vehicle.
Over the past three years, the township’s bank balance has remained steady, from $1,630,947 at the end of 2016, to $1,627,525 at the end of 2017, to $1,617,463 in 2018.
Russek provided a couple updates on happenings within the township.
Regarding the Ottaseal the township applied to a road, she said, “As far as we can tell, it’s in really good shape. After this season, we’ll see.”
One-third of the cost was paid for by residents, with another $5,000 coming in the form of a University of Minnesota grant.
Russek touched on the development of Cedar Lake Estates.
“I think we’ll see a lot more excitement with that in the spring,” she said.
She relayed that internet provider Xtratyme has received an administrative permit from the county. The company will be erecting a 130-foot tower on the property where Franklin Township Hall is located.
“It will hopefully provide better and faster internet services,” Supervisor Bill McMullen said. He added that the township will receive 4 percent of the net revenue generated by that tower.
Odds and ends
In other business, the residents:
• learned that McMullen was re-elected with 25 of 27 votes, according to unofficial results. It was noted that turnout was down notably from 2018, when more than 100 voted.
• approved a donation of $7,600 in 2019, and $7,600 in 2020 for the Delano Senior Center. This is a 3 percent increase, but less than the $8,000 the township had budgeted for. Delano Senior Center Director Nick Neaton said about 200 Franklin Township residents utilized the center in 2018, the second largest group of users behind Delano residents.
• heard from resident Mark Bauman regarding clearing of the roads. “I think they did a super job snowplowing this year,” Bauman said, and other residents agreed with him.
• set the 2020 annual meeting for Tuesday, March 10, at about 8:15 p.m., following the election, at Franklin Township Hall.
Adam Duske moderated the meeting after being nominated by Bauman.