Thomson Township schedules next private driveway ordinance hearing for March

The second public hearing on the topic is scheduled for March 9, and is being held after residents provided comments and concerns during the first hearing on Jan. 26.

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

ESKO — After hearing concerns from residents during a public hearing Jan. 26, the Thomson Township Board of Supervisors scheduled the next public hearing for its proposed private road and shared driveway ordinances for March 9.

During the township meeting Thursday, Feb. 2, board chair Ruth Janke said she appreciated the positive comments from community members and the township will work to incorporate them into the next proposal.

Some of the residents during the public hearing voiced confusion over wording in the ordinances, the need for the ordinances and some of the repercussions if they are not followed.

After an hour of comments and discussion with over 40 residents, Board Chair Ruth Janke said the township will take the ordinance back to the drawing board.

David Pritchett, the township's attorney, pushed for the township to schedule a public hearing so that they could have a date ready when the ordinances have been reworked.

Pritchett initially suggested Feb. 28, however, township clerk Rhonda Peleski said that would be too soon for the township staff to turn it around as they work on preparations for the township's annual meeting.


On Thursday, the board also had an opportunity to look over the proposed figures for the Carlton Ambulance Service.

It was determined at a Jan. 25 meeting that the ambulance service needs to change in order to be sustainable and reliable for the future.

The proposal given during the meeting by Carlton Fire Chief Derek Wolf would see an increase from the current $87,000 to $250,000 from the municipalities it serves — with 2024 estimates sent to the municipalities the day after the meeting.

The figures provided to the township included two options, one based off of net tax capacity and the other based off of the percentage of service calls in the township.

The net tax capacity number for 2024 would be $17,213.65, whereas the percentage of calls number would be $19,782.15

The township only receives Carlton Ambulance Service coverage for southern parts of the township, with the Cloquet Area Fire District covering the rest of the township.

In previous years the township has contributed $3,000 to the service, which is what was requested by Carlton.

The issue that was brought up during the ambulance meeting was that not all municipalities covered by the service pay what is requested of them, as it is a voluntary payment.


This question was brought up by a resident at the township meeting: How would it impact the township if the new model is adopted, increasing costs, and other municipalities did not pay what was requested of them?

It was discussed during the ambulance meeting that the service requests $87,000 from the communities it serves, but only received $37,570 in 2022.

Another question the township is going to look into is how to pay for the new charges.

Since some residents in the township are already paying taxes for the CAFD, residents want to make sure they are not being taxed for two services if they are only receiving services for one.

While the township did not have answers during the meeting, Supervisor Terry Hill said he would work with Carlton and the ambulance service to keep the discussion moving.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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