BY GABE LICHT
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, MN Franklin Township residents approved the 2020 levy and budget, and elected Scott Neumann to join supervisors John Czanstkowski Sr. and Bill McMullen in overseeing that budget.
Unofficial results showed Neumann receiving 43 votes, followed by DeWayne Bauman with 15, and Mike Barfknecht and Allan Czanstkowski with one each.
Following the election, the township held its annual meeting, during which the residents approved a levy of $966,950, up 16.5 percent over the 2019 levy of $830,000.
Total spending is projected to be $1,091,950, with $125,000 of reserve spending resulting in the final levy number.
The 2019 budget had called for $954,250 in total spending, with $124,250 in reserve spending bringing the total down to $830,000.
However, actual spending came in at $1,023,053, fueled largely by $458,186 spent on roads and bridges, compared to a budget of $423,600; and $278,867 from the general fund, compared to a budget of $164,650.
Spending on roads and bridges is estimated to increase $108,214, or 23.6 percent, to $566,400.
“We’ve spent the last seven or eight years graniting the whole township,” Township Clerk Stephanie Russek said. “We’ve covered everything, but don’t want to go backwards. We budgeted $90,000 for granite and $90,000 for hauling. This year, we are budgeting $145,000 for granite and $145,000 for trucking. We have a culvert project. We are replacing a lot of culverts. We had some variables we weren’t confident in: fuel and a couple other areas.”
The budget also includes $180,800 in general fund spending, $107,750 for Farmington Avenue debt service, $100,000 for dust control, $87,000 for seal coating and bituminous, and $50,000 set aside for the future purchase of a vehicle.
Russek offered estimates from the county that showed how the proposed levy would affect township property taxes. On a homestead valued at $300,000, estimates show an increase of $73 to $548 for the year.
Russek also noted that the township’s bank balance decreased by less than $25,000 since Dec. 31, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2019; from $1,630,947 to $1,606,175.
Sue Roskowiak suggested using more of that amount to keep the levy lower.
Mark Bauman made a motion to accept the proposed levy as it was written.
“There is always going to be other spending coming along that we’ll need to pull out of reserves anyway,” Bauman said. “That’s what I’m concerned about.”
Roskowiak was the lone “no” vote on the motion.
Odds and ends
In other business, the township
• approved donating $2,000 to Delano Community Education over two years
• authorized CorTrust as the official bank depository
• authorized the town hall as the official place for posting notices
• announced the Delano Herald Journal as the official newspaper for legal publications
• set the 2021 annual meeting for 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 9.