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Monday, October 8, 2007

BIRCH LAKE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT(BLID)
Board of Directors Meeting
September 20, 2007


The meeting was called to order by Chair Fred Downing at 7:08 P.M. at the White Bear Lake City Hall. The following members were present: Dick Brink, Fred Downing, Jim Grisim, Rod Kreuser, and John Reinhart. Also present, representing the newsletter, Ron Auger.

Motion by Grisim, seconded by Kreuser, to approve the minutes of the June 20, 2007 meeting. On vote, all ayes.

Quarterly Newsletter
Auger reported that Patty Kuppe had agreed to help with future issues of the newsletter. He stated that there should be better communication between the Board and him, especially since he does not own a computer. Copies of future meeting minutes will be mailed to him. In his capacity of coordinating the scheduling of weed harvester operations, he stated that some 80-85 loads of weeds had been removed and transported to the White Bear Township site for temporary storage A number of volunteers have contributed time and expertise in connection with this operation, notably Dick Gillitzer, Gordy Berg, A.J. Kuhlmann, Gary Norman, and Mitch Jensen. (It was observed by the Board than Auger had also contributed a great deal of time.).

The BLID BLOG, set up by BLID member Steve Laliberte can be accessed at http://birchlake-id.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html. BLID residents with internet access will be able to see what is going on in the District, read the minutes of all meetings, and read BLID newsletters. The Board will be working with Steve on the contents of the BLID BLOG.

VLAWMO Partnership
While not contributing to the BLID’s $6,000 contract with Steve McComas, VLAWMO is cooperating with the BLID and McComas in establishing a sus-tainable lake management plan and maintaining water quality and lake level. It appears that VLAWMO will focus most of its in-depth research on the water coming into the lake. A formal report from McComas is pending, but he has stated informally that the predominant vegetation is fern pond weed.

Treasurer's Report
Grisim presented a formal report showing each check written and categorized the reason for each expenditure. Downing presented an informal summary of activities. Grisim will harmonize the two and present a revised report. Grisim’s report was approved, pending revision.


Board Officer Appointments
The following officers were agreed upon and elected for the 2007-2008 year:

Chair -- Jim Grisim
Vice-chair -- Rod Kreuser
Secretary -- Dick Brink
Treasurer -- John Reinhart.

Check writing
Motion by Downing, seconded by Grisim to amend the current procedure for check writing to provide that two signatures on checks would be required only for checks of $100 or more, one signature sufficing for smaller amounts. On vote: Downing, Grisim, Brink, aye; Kreuser, Reinhart, nay. Motion carried.

Administrative Assistant
Grisim and Brink reported on their interview and favorable impression of Julie Yoho and her exceptional work-relatbed experience, expressing their belief that she could provide some stabilizing help to Board activities. After a review of finances, it was concluded that the Board could afford to have up to 100 hours of work performed by her at the rate of $15 per hour. Motion by Downing, seconded by Kreuser to authorize an expenditure of up to $1500 and to discuss with her the type of work that would be most useful. On vote, all ayes. A special meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, September 25, at 5:15 P.M., and the secretary was asked to see if Ms. Yoho could attend.

Truck Purchase and insurance:
Rather than getting our bank balance too low by paying off the $1,000 remaining on the purchase of Downing’s truck, the secretary was asked to prepare an appropriate conditional sales contract covering the period of July 1, 2007 to August 1, 2008. Grisim reported that for a premium of $425, the truck can be insured for 6 months, with comprehensive coverage extending for 12 months.

Harvesting
Auger recommended that the Board consider hiring one operator to run the weed harvesting equipment in the future. Some volunteer operators have set the cutter too low and damaged the machinery by dipping into the muddy lake bottom near the shore. Some combination of harvesting and weed spraying may be appropriate. McComas will be consulted.

Annual Report
The draft annual report, required by the Board’s Rules of Governance, was approved. Kreuser will make copies for distribution, and Brink will see that they are mailed to the appropriate persons.

Volunteer Recognition
Grisim raised the question of whether the Board should present especially meritorious volunteers with certificates thanking them for their service. While applauding the idea, there was some concern that the feelings of volunteers not receiving such a certificate might be injured.

A form containing a number of survey questions and a request for a permit to operate the aerator was given to Downing to handle.

Meeting adjourned at 10:00 P.M.


Richard E. Brink
Secretary

Monday, September 3, 2007

BLID Annual Meeting 6-21-2007 Minutes

BIRCH LAKE IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BLID)

Annual Meeting

June 21, 2007

The second annual meeting of the BLID was held in the White Bear Lake City Hall on June 21, 2007, with Chairman Fred Downing presiding. The meeting was called to order at 7:06 P.M. with 25 persons present, representing 18 of the 64 units in the BLID (counting the Cloisters representative as 3 units).

The minutes of the July 20, 2006 annual meeting were approved. After a discussion of ways to distribute minutes by e-mail, Steve Laliberte volunteered to establish a BLID “blog” to which interested persons could subscribe free of charge. This idea met with general approval and will be put into practice. Meeting minutes and perhaps newsletters could be stored on this blog, allowing people who have internet access to read such information at any time. More details will appear in future newsletters.

Jim Grisim distributed copies of the treasurer’s report (attached). He pointed out that since no tax revenue will be available till mid-July of this year, operating funds were provided by (1) transfer from the former Birch Lake Area Improvement Association (BLAIA) and (2) a $5,000 advance from the City of White Bear Lake. The report was approved.

Downing reported on the activities of the BLID board for the past year, mentioning opening a bank account, establishing a permanent business address, holding quarterly meetings and several special meetings, cooperating with VLAWMO, hiring Steve McComas of Blue Water Science as a lake expert, purchasing a weed harvester and trailer, improving the ramp access to the lake, leasing a truck, conducting weed harvesting, adopting Rules of Governance, publishing a newsletter, and stocking the lake with 300 walleye and 700 bass fingerlings. In 2006 100 loads of weeds were temporarily stored on a nearby site owned by White Bear Township. By this spring the pile of weeds had shrunk to 24 loads, which were transported to the composting site on County Road J. Since this Township property is currently for sale, we may lose it as a future temporary dump site

It was pointed out that the ramp access to the lake is intended solely for the ingress and egress of weed harvesting and related equipment, all in accordance with an easement obtained for that purpose. A chain barring the entrance of boats via the ramp has been cut on at least one occasion; a stronger chain and a sign forbidding such action may be required. More details will be presented in a future newsletter.

Steve McComas has made a preliminary investigation of the lake, using a GPS grid to identify locations, where he has charted types of weeds to determine where weed cutting should take place and measured depth and lake bed conditions. Weed harvesting is carried out by volunteers, with Ron Auger coordinating schedules. Because most of the volunteers have full time jobs, harvesting is carried out mostly on evenings and weekends. A recommendation was made that the Board consider hiring someone to run the harvester in the future. It was also suggested that the length of the harvesting schedule should be determined either by date or by number of loads of weeds. A motion was made, seconded and carried to hold a meeting of interested members at the harvester ramp on the first Saturday in August each year to decide when harvesting will stop. The effect of herbicides is uncertain, but in any event, the DNR will permit treating only 15% of the lake in any given year.

Downing stated his desire to find three volunteer supervisors to handle the details of (1) aeration, (2) newsletter, and (3) weed harvester and related equipment. He believes Ryan Hoops would be willing to handle aeration and will confirm this possibility with him. Ron Auger agreed to take charge of the newsletter with the help of Patty Kuppe and Carol Abbott. All persons present liked the idea of a newsletter, feeling that such a publication effectively communicates BLID activities. It is planned to have newsletter volunteers attend the first half hour of future board meetings for a discussion of current projects and events, together with all volunteers involved, for inclusion in the newsletter.

There being no applicants for the two open Board positions other than the two incumbents -- Rod Kreuser and Jim Grisim --, Downing moved their unanimous election. Motion seconded by Patty Kuppe and carried.

The proposed 2007-2008 budget was presented. Motion by Steve Laliberte, seconded by Rod Kreuser, to increase the sum allocated to Special Projects from $500 to $2,500, covering projects that might result from the McComas lake study, etc. Motion carried, making the amended budget read as follows:

Fixed costs

Aerator $ 750.00

Admin. ( postage, copies, 2,500.00

secretarial help)

Insurance 1,000.00

Easement 300.00 $ 4,550.00

Lake improvement

Steve McComas $ 2,000.00 $ 2,000.00

Weed harvesting

Weed eq’pt. payment 10,535.00

Repairs 2,000.00

Fuel 750.00

2d weed removal 1,500.00

Miscellaneous 1,000.00 $15,785.00

Special projects $2,500.00 $ 2.500.00

Grand total $24,835.00

Cost/unit $388.05 (64 units)

Motion by Patty Kuppe, seconded by Ron Auger, to approve the amended budget. Motion carried.

The dates of the regularly scheduled quarterly Board meetings for 2007-2008 were announced as follows:

September 20, 2007

November 1, 2007

March 20, 2008

June 5, 2008

Motion by Patty Kuppe, seconded by Mike Lennon, to approve the Rules of Governance, which had previously been approved by the Board. Motion carried. The Board was asked to consider amending the Rules of Governance to change the annual meeting date from Thursday to Wednesday to accommodate persons leaving for vacation on Thursday.

Downing announced that a training meeting for prospective volunteers for the weed cutting operation would be held at the entrance ramp at 9:00 A.M. on Saturday, June 23

The secretary was asked to check with the City of White Bear Lake to find out whether we could contract with the City (or, alternatively, someone suggested by he City) for such secretarial services as scheduling meeting dates, taking notes at Board meetings, and keeping track of dates when action should be taken.

Meeting adjourned at 8:55 P.M.

Richard E. Brink

Secretary

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Welcome to the Birch Lake Improvement District Blog

My name is Steve Laliberte. I live on Birch Lake in White Bear Lake.

Birch Lake is a 120 acre lake that is very clean and very shallow. It is also weedy.

When I was president of our lake association, we were alway raising money to control the weeds on the lake. After years of fund raising, I got interested in forming an lake improvement district.

If a majority of the land owners support the idea, you can create a tax district to fund lake projects. The lake association liked the idea so we set out to create one. The state of MN has a procedure for creating one. We drafted the needed documents and set out one last time around the lake. Instead of fund raising, we were getting support for the BLID.

We got a majority, presented it to the City of White Bear Lake. They approved it.

We now have a board, a set of projects, and a budget.

We have purchased a harvestor and are cutting weeds. We have hired a consultant to study the lake and advise us on how to manage it.

The following posts record our organization and minutes of meetings.

Thanks,

Stephen Laliberte