Last Tuesday, Spring Grove Township held its annual meeting and election as part of the statewide township day on March 13.

Polls were open from 5 to 8 p.m., and eight votes were cast total with no absentee ballots. Mike Wiste was re-elected as clerk/ treasurer for another two-year term while supervisor Bruce Johnson was also unanimously re-elected to a three-year term.

Other board members include Richard Gulbranson and Mike Patterson.

The annual meeting commenced at 8:10 p.m., and Al Hagen was named moderator for the evening. Only two residents were in attendance.

Levy remains the same

After the Pledge of Allegiance and approval of the previous year's minutes, the township's finances were reviewed.

The township saw its overall cash reserves increase from $120,049.48 to $138,375.74. Part of the increase was from the extremely mild winter that the area has observed.

"We tend to pile up money during barer winters," Wiste explained. "We were drained down last year with the last few tough winters we had."

The township spent $155,446,50 last year compared to $200,691.94 the year before. Revenue in 2011 was $173,474.55 with the bulk of that ($144,198.25) coming from real estate taxes. The town's 2010 income was $169,404.62.

One new source of revenue was $166.93 from the last quarter of the year for the SGTV franchise fee for cable TV in the township provided by Spring Grove Communications.

Wiste explained that the amount should be more in 2012 since it should for the entire 12 months.

This year was off to a good start also with the lack of snowfall. "We have saved another $20,000 - 25,000 this year so far," Wiste pointed out.

The township received $14,433.01 in state aid, which supervisors said used to be much more. The township receives nothing specific from the county.

The county did pick up the bulk of the expenses (along with state aid) last year for the Riceford bridge replacement. The township spent approximately $10,000 for an easement purchase and approach upgrades.

The county used to split $30,000 between the 17 townships based on road mileage, a supervisor explained. The monies are no longer divvied out.

The board and residents agreed to keep the 2013 levy the same at $177,945. It includes:

General Levy $30,000

Road & Bridges $129,000

Ambulance $2,945

Solid Waste $5,300

Rural Fire $10,700

It was noted that no major bridge or road projects were planned for 2012, although "several smaller culverts will probably be replaced," Johnson noted; along with the regular maintenance and upkeep.

The gopher bounty was kept at $2.00 per animal with $507 paid out last year.

Two donations approved

The board approved a donation of $1,000 to the Houston County Ag Society (Fair) for repairs on some of the buildings on the fairgrounds.

"We make sure that your (township) monies stay on the grounds (building improvements/ up keep)," society president, Eldon Pohlman, explained.

Last year's project of finishing upgrades to Floral Hall were not completed but are expected to be this year, Pohlman noted.

The ag society has written a grant to help with the lighting, overhead doors and other repairs. So the townships' monies (most of the 17 townships provide some sort of financial assistance) will be used for matching funds if the grant is received.

Other projects being considered by the ag society include a cement floor in the bingo barn (with donations from the area Legion clubs) and beef barn upgrades. An Eagle Scout will be working on the chicken barn as part of his badge requirement.

Pohlman thanked the group for its generosity.

Resident, election judge and Houston County Historical Society board member Georgia Rosendahl appeared before the group, asking for a donation for the historical society's building project.

"We are putting in the heating and air conditioning right now. We will have zoned heating and have the $100,000 raised for that," she explained.

"We are now raising money to finish off and furnish the upstairs portion of the new building, so we can start using it," Rosendahl added.

"We want to have the building open to the public during the Houston County Fair," she said. "It's kind of exciting to eventually get everything in one location, as we have stuff stored in lots of locations. It will also be nice to have the space to display it."

The board agreed to donate $1,000 to this organization also.

Next year's meeting

Next year's meeting will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the Spring Grove Town Hall with voting from 5 to 8 p.m. and the annual meeting commencing at 8:10 p.m.