Morse township residents approve no increase in property tax rates

Finishing business in under a half hour, Morse residents at the annual meeting Tuesday again approved a property tax levy with no increase.
Prior to the meeting Bob Berrini was re-elected to the board of supervisors, receiving 31 of 32 votes cast. There was one write-in for Jon Prijatel.
Treasurer Mary Ann Lekatz went through the 2016 Board of Audit report, noting good fiscal management by the board will result in a net increase in township funds.
Morse finished the year with $304,025.98, just over $2,000 less that it started. However, the township paid out $100,000 that will be reimbursed by the IRRRB for work done at the joint public safety facility on Hwy. 88.
Berrini noted the project included burying a 4,000 gallon tank to store water that was donated by Barb Berglund.
Supervisor Terry Soderberg, who again served as moderator, said the township was able to pave Maple Street in 2016 using gas tax plus some road and bridge funds.
The residents approved a total budget of $340,400 for 2018. This included funds to make improvements to the town hall which is now over 40 years old and will likely need a new roof.
Supervisor Len Cersine said there is a need for new culverts and the township would like to look at blacktopping some township roads this year depending on prices. He said a lot of maintenance has been done on the township grader and front end loader.
By unanimous vote of the dozen or so townships residents present, the levy was set the same as it was for the past six years, $272,730.16. The $57,500 debt payment on the public safety facility will be added to that number.
Emily Brown thanked the board for the support of the Ely Public Library and noted 22 percent of the library usage comes from the Town of Morse. The township will contribute $15,000 this year and next year.
Berrini updated the board on the Ely Area Ambulance Service. He said there will be one person on call 12 hours a day, seven days a week to assist with response times.
“When you call the ambulance, you do want the ambulance to come,” Soderberg said.
Berrini added that a new $220,000 four wheel drive ambulance will arrive in May.
In other business:
• The town election will be from noon to 8 p.m. on March 13, 2018.
• The annual meeting will be on March 13, 2018 following the election.
• A brochure on the township joint fire department was distributed to those present at the meeting. The brochure showed each piece of equipment with a brief description.
• Tim Reilly said the Burntside Property Owners Association holds its annual meeting the first Saturday in August and that would be a good opportunity to provide information on the township fire department.