Thomson Township Board supports reinstating tax levy cap

The board held a discussion over a variety of topics including its involvement with the Cloquet Area Fire District, but settled on passing a resolution of supporting a levy cap on the district's ambulance-only levy.

The Thomson Township Hall Izabel Johnson / 2021 File / Pine Journal

ESKO – The Thomson Township Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to state their support of a cap in the ambulance-only tax levy of the Cloquet Area Fire District, during its meeting Thursday, March 17.

The board promoted interim Fire Chief Jesse Buhs to the chief position.

The board decided to pass the resolution as a response to the Cloquet Area Fire District's letter last month to state legislators against reinstating a levy cap.

Board Supervisor Terry Hill said Thomson Township is a special case when it comes to a tax levy from the fire district, because it only receives the ambulance service.

"We are an example of what can happen without a cap," he said.

The resolution comes one day after the fire district board approved a contract with a consultant for $29,000 to precisely account for ambulance costs in the district.


Hill said he spoke to newly appointed fire chief Jesse Buhs after the fire district's meeting on Wednesday, March 16, to let him know the township was planning on having these discussions.

The board members were also in agreement that the decision of the fire district to hire a consultant to better account for ambulance costs is a good one.

The separation agreement between former Cloquet Area Fire District Chief Matthew Ashmore and the district shows he was paid $43,362 after his resignation.

Board members spoke about a wide range of topics regarding the CAFD, but settled on the resolution to stay ahead of planning.

Board Supervisor Tony Compo said there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to how the levy will shape out at the end of this year, as the new accounting the district approved will likely be finished in August.

"The sooner we can get it out the better," he said.

In other township business, the board discussed setting up a meeting so stakeholders could voice their thoughts on a road reconstruction project being headed by the county.

According to township documents, the proposed project involves the reconstruction of Carlton County 61 from a four-lane road to a two-lane road.

The proposal was given to the township to provide a letter of support to help the county as it applies for grant funding.


Board Supervisor Bill Gerard said there are too many unknowns as the township does not have details of the project.

"It is not that we are not in support, but we need to know," he said.

Hill added there are other stakeholders that want to have a conversation with the county before the project gets approved.

"If that is the case, then why not give them that opportunity?" he asked.

Esko School Board Chair Jerry Frederick attended the meeting and said more details are needed to determine if the project is safe for students, as the school is located on the road.

The township plans to have a joint meeting with the county and school district to go over the proposal and for community members to voice any concerns.

A date and time for the meeting has not yet been set.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
What To Read Next
As reported by Carlton County District Court.
Read the latest news in the Carlton County, Dontcha Know newsletter published every Friday.
You might see the great-great-granddaughter of John Beargrease collecting banners at Billy’s or at the big finish in Grand Portage.
The Forum Communications newspapers received accolades in the 2022 Better Newspaper Contest.