Town meetings set for Tuesday

Elections are uncontested, but grassroots sessions will follow

by Tom Coombe -

Want to liven up an otherwise quiet late-winter evening?
How about taking part in local government at the grassroots level?
That’s the opportunity available Tuesday evening to residents of area townships, who can set their own local property tax levies and decide numerous other matters associated with township government.
Annual meetings take place in Morse, Fall Lake, Eagles Nest and Stony River townships, and all but Eagles Nest also have elections that day.
Eagles Nest residents will gather at their town hall at 7 p.m. while those in the remaining townships must wait until 8 p.m., when polls close in elections at Morse, Fall Lake and Stony River.
The elections, as per tradition, figure to be sleepy affairs.
Contested races have become exceedingly rare in Ely area townships, and that’s the case again in 2018 as town board members and other officials are running without opposition.
The annual meetings, however, hinge on participation by township citizenry.
Every year, residents in townships in the area gather and make decisions on an array of issues - with the township property tax levy at the top of the list.
A tax levy for 2019 is decided at each annual meeting, and residents will also set a township budget for the following year.
Locally, township residents have voted on various matters including donations to the Ely Library and the selection of an official newspaper, as well as any other item of business brought forward by a participating resident.
The annual meetings are unique to township government. Cities have no similar event and decisions related to tax levies, budgets and other governmental matters are left exclusively to elected officials.
This week’s meetings figure to be more noteworthy than the elections,
Morse Supervisor Terry Soderberg and Fall Lake’s Mary Tome have clear paths to re-election, as both have filed for re-election and will be the only candidates on the ballot.
Neighboring Stony River Township also has its elections in March, and three people are running unopposed.
Ryan Breden and Chad Shober are the only candidates for seats on the town board while clerk Patricia Thoms has no opposition.
No candidates entered the race for township treasurer.
Eagles Nest holds its township elections in the fall to coincide with general elections.