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Ballot calls for appointment of township posts

By Staff | Aug 20, 2008

If voters approve a resolution in November’s general election, township trustees and clerks will be appointed by the Emmet County Board of Supervisors instead of being elected.

At their regular meeting Tuesday, the supervisors approved the resolution for the Nov. 4 ballot because of a lack of candidates in previous elections.

Some townships do have candidates to fill the three township trustee positions and the township clerk, but the remainder are filled by board appointment or selected by write-in ballots.

The three main functions of Iowa townships are fire protection, cemetery management and fence maintenance and boundary dispute resolution within the township.

Of Emmet County’s 12 townships, Iowa Lake and Denmark townships do not have a township cemetery and are both within a benefited fire district. Unless there is a boundary dispute, the township trustees in those townships don’t meet.

Other township trustees meet twice a year-once to set a budget and then to hold a public hearing on the budget.

The supervisors currently appoint the offices of trustee and clerk for Denmark, Estherville and Twelve Mile Lake townships.

Residents in the townships of Armstrong Grove, Center, Ellsworth, Emmet, High Lake, Iowa Lake, Jack Creek, Lincoln and Swan Lake will vote on the Nov. 4 resolution. It must pass each township separately.

In other business Tuesday, Emmet County mental health coordinator Dorothy Christensen gave a follow-up report on assessments for mental health commitments in the emergency room at Avera Holy Family.

The supervisors came to a consensus to look at a written contract with the hospital.

As for costs, Christensen said Clay County pays $150 for committal assessments.

In a previous meeting, Christensen listed a number of northwest Iowa counties that do not pay for hospital committal assessments. Those counties included Kossuth and Palo Alto.

The supervisors received a petition from residents in Emmet/Palo Alto Drainage District No. 21 requesting to hire an engineer and review drainage of the area.

The board plans to set up a future joint meeting with Palo Alto County supervisors to discuss the issue.

In other action, the supervisors:

n Approved a utility permit for Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, which plans to put underground lines in High lake Township.

n Approved a contract for case management under a children’s mental health waiver with the Iowa Department of Human Services. Christensen said the waiver currently serves just one child in Emmet County.

“The legislature put more money into this program so we have no costs associated with it,” she said.

n Reviewed a plan with the courthouse security committee to install a ramp in the courtroom to accommodate a judge.