In the Open Forum on Tuesday, Nov. 24 it said that Oak Lawn township would not save any money by contracting Oak Lawn Township road work out. What Judy Zettervall's report showed was that if Oak Lawn would pay a contractor for the same amount of hours it has paid for a full-time maintenance worker then it would be more money. But a contractor would not put in as many hours, we would not pay a contractor for repairing equipment, fuel, parts. vacation or holidays or retirement, sick time and medical insurance. We would pay for hours worked.
It also said that 300 people signed the petition to keep the road maintenance position and save close to $10,000 dollar. Were they told the whole picture on how much it costs to have our maintenance worker? What I heard they were told was to sign or they would not get their roads plowed if we do not have a full-time person. Well that was a lie cause no matter what, we always will get our roads plowed and graded if we have a full-time maintenance worker or if we contract the work out.
I talked and e-mailed to many townships and also talked to companies that contract with many townships in Crow Wing County. If it is not a savings of having a contractor working for the townships then why do many townships contract for snow removal, mowing, road grading, etc. I'm sure they do it to keep their taxes down.
Supervisors Haglin and Olson are just trying to save the township money, I for one don't like to see my property taxes keep going up. With that money Oak lawn township could save on contracting they could pave more roads and cut road costs.
A tough decision for Oak Lawn
For quite some time, Oak Lawn Township supervisors have compared the cost of a full-time maintenance employee against the cost of contracting for services. As presented at the last meeting, the substantially high number of hours worked during the past several years were very misleading. Nobody can say it would absolutely take another individual/contractor the same number of hours to complete the same work.
In 2008, approximate cost for township maintenance completed by our employee was $84,000 (including payroll with benefits, taxes, insurances, vehicle fuels, equipment upkeep/repair, and excluding road materials).
In 2008, there were 1,947 hours worked (including 120 hours overtime) and 253 hours holiday, sick, vacation. Of hours worked, 1,151 were for snowplowing, sanding, grading (including equipment repair). That number is 59 percent of total hours worked. Fifty-nine percent of $84,000 is $49,560 - township's cost for snowplowing, sanding, grading.
A neighboring township with similar miles (we have 7 miles more) paid a total of $16,641 in 2008, contracting for that same work. That's a difference of $32,919.
Remaining 41 percent of hours worked consists of general road maintenance, brushing/trees, mowing (including equipment repair) (564 hours), and hall/grounds maintenance (232 hours). Forty-one percent of $84,000 is $34,440. Contractor bids presented for this work: $22,193.
This is a tough decision for our supervisors. Our last meeting was very out of control, with Chairperson Carol Cloud not calling for order. Supervisors Mark Haglin and Joan Olsen were targets of yelling, screaming, insults and blaming statements from the audience - but yet they conducted themselves in a respectful and professional manner. They're sharply criticized for spending money - and for trying to save money. We support saving a few thousand dollars on fuels and road materials - but backs are turned on the possibility of saving $30,000 or more a year.
Oak Lawn Township
A team with heart
The Brainerd Warriors were certainly underdogs at the 5A State semi-finals. In fact, if the Warriors had defeated Cretin-Derham Hall, many would view this as the football equivalent of Miracle on Ice.
Before the playoffs, Coach Stolski had an important talk with his players after they were badly beaten by Sartell in the last regular season game. As a result, these young men found the heart to overwhelm Cambridge-Isanti 38-3 in their first playoff game. The team that could then soundly defeated Buffalo.
A bigger test came when they were 14 points down with 6 minutes remaining in the Section 8 championship game against heavily-favored Centennial. When most thought they had no chance of winning, the Warriors rallied. Not only did they score two touchdowns in the short time remaining, but they achieved a stunning overtime win. As the final seconds ticked by, the Centennial team simply milled about. In stark contrast, our Brainerd Warriors formed a line, eyes intense, muscles poised, and many with prayers in their hearts - they stood holding hands as one. When the Warriors won, there were few dry eyes, and fans found themselves able to speak in only hoarse whispers of wonderment. It wouldn't matter in the whole scope of things whether they won or lost against Cretin-Derham Hall, because the Warriors showed what having heart means.
You cannot teach this sort of thing. It comes from the human spirit God put in all of us. Some of these men will become our future leaders. All of these men will pass on this heart to their children, and their children's children.
Thank you, Brainerd Warriors and coaches, for showing us what having heart is really about!
Steven D. Lastovich
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