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Discussion Forum 

     If you have an idea, problem that needs to be solved, or are wondering if anyone else has encountered a similar situation, e-mail it to: forum@ndtoa.com .  The messages presented on this webpage are all strictly matters of question and opinion expressed by individuals who do not recommend that you take any course of action based upon their writings or opinions.  Any action that you take or cause to be taken is strictly up to you and the authors of any of the information presented on this webpage have presented it as a question or matter of personal opinion only.  The information on these web page is not  presented as being factual, but merely a discussion of the matters presented. 

Many of the comments and replies on this page are probably not written by an attorney and should not in any way be interpreted or used by anyone as legal advice or legal counsel.  The material presented on this page and this website are personal opinions only.  If you are seeking legal advice, you should engage the services of a competent legal professional.

     Your questions, messages, and answers will be posted on this page.  Thank you for your participation.

 
 

 

 
Minute Books

Where can I find minute book for our township? The one we have now is full.
It is called a Faultless SO-1203 4-ring binder with 7 tabbed divisions.

Thanks for any information.

A. G.

*********

Allen,

I have the same binder with about 16 divisions. I believe they are not available anymore.

I kept a master copy of the pages I use and copy more as needed, my scanner will copy and print legal size documents. I found pre-punched legal size paper at an office supply store, not sure which one, to make new copies. I then pull out some of the pages from older years and put them in a vinyl/clasped folder for storing.

forum@ndtoa.com


Qualifications of electors, snowbirds

We have several township members who go south during the winter months, so they are gone for 3-4 months.  Being as their permanent residence, section 54-01-26, is in our township are they eligible to vote at a meeting if they do not return to their permanent residence until a couple days before the meeting.  Do they have to be back living at the permanent residence a full 30 days before any meeting to be able to vote?

Thank you for helping clear up any misunderstandings. 

N.B.
**********
Hello N.B.,

If someone is only temporarily away, they don’t necessarily lose their residency and have to gain it back again by living in the precinct for 30 days when they return.  If they voted in an election in another precinct while they were away, they then gave up their original residency and would then have to live in the original precinct for 30 days again to be able to vote.  This is where item 7 in NDCC 54-01-26 may come into play.

Being temporarily away does not affect residency. Being away from home for vacationing, school, hospitalization, work or military service are temporary, provided the individual does not vote as a resident in some other locale. 

Thanks for your interest in township government.
And, thanks for furthering the discussion on the township forum

forum@ndtoa.com


1099 IRS requirement
March, 2017


I have a township that has hired someone to do their assessing for them.  They paid him $525.00 for the 2016 year.  They are asking if the township needs to issue him a 1099 since it is under the $600.00 threshold or do they still because they are a government entity and are required by IRS Regulations?

K.K.
************


Hello K.K.,

Go to irs.gov and search for inst 1099.  We are of the opinion that government entities have the same minimum requirements as the private sector.  Therefore, no 1099 needed for amounts less than $600 in total payments per year per person or unincorporated entity for contract work.

Thanks for your interest in township government.
And, thanks for furthering the discussion on the township forum

forum@ndtoa.com



Closing of township section line
March, 2017

A landowner’s farm and grain bin site is adjacent to and on both sides of an unimproved section line. If he expands his building site it would be in the legal section line. He would like to vacate a portion of that unimproved section line - it is pasture and very rough and steep. He owns the land on both sides and to close it wouldn’t affect anyone accessing land beyond it.

Can the Township Supervisors vacate that small portion of section line – by going through the legal procedures or must it also get approval from the County Commissioners also?

Thanks,   

R.D.
**********


Hello R.D.,

See NDCC 24-07-03 on page 84 of the 2016 version of Township Officers Handbook.  You will see that the adjoining property owner actually petitions directly to the County Commission for closing a section line or portion thereof.

If the intent is to merely vacate a highway or portion thereof, that power is granted to the board of township supervisors of organized townships in NDCC 24-07-04 and 24-07-05.  There appears to be no definition of "vacate" or any indication that this would be a permanent move.  This action could leave the door open for a future township board to re-open the vacated highway and possibly allow them to require removal of any obstructions/structures within the right of way (33’ each side of the section line).

Thanks for your interest in township government.
And, thanks for furthering the discussion on the township fo
rum

forum@ndtoa.com 


Annual meeting notice
March, 2017

I think it would be a good idea to have an example or two of what an annual meeting notice for the newspaper should look like for townships.

A lot of townships are confused about the change in the law and the wording and ballots needed for budget things with the information in the NDTOA handbook page 199 – 202.  Regarding publication of notice that is talked about and the ballot for voting on such things.    Reference 57-15-20 second paragraph.  Thank you for your response.

Thanks

S.H.
************
Hello S.H.

Please find at the end of this paragraph, a link to an Annual Meeting Notice most townships in Pembina County have been using for at least as long as I’ve been clerk, 38 years.  The format isn’t as important as making sure all info required by NDCC is included.  Click here for a PDF of meeting notice.

As to 57-15-20:  Paragraph one refers to initial general fund mill levy of "up to" 18 mills that qualified voters at the annual meeting can levy with no special notice requirements.  Paragraph two refers to an additional levy of "up to" 18 mills, over and above the initial 18 mills for a total of "up to" 36 mills.  There is a special notice requirement for the additional levy, which can be included with or on the annual meeting notice.  Paragraph two of the mill levy increase on page 258 of the 2016 version of Township Officers Handbook has wording that can be used.

Thanks your suggestion.

forum@ndtoa.com


Township won't remove snow
January 2017

I  received a call from an individual in ****  township in **** county saying that his township supervisors were no longer going to remove snow in this township this winter.  The caller was quite sure that funds were not depleted. He was wondering if this was in contradiction to any century codes in our manual or what the members of the township could do if anything

D.M.
*******
Hello D.M.

We know of no directive in Century Code requiring a particular level of maintenance.  We are of the opinion that the township board has the authority to do as little or as much maintenance on township roads as they so choose or can afford.  See NDCC 24-06-01, 24-06-19, and 57-15-19.   As to the question of what the township residents can do:  They can attend meetings of the board of supervisors or the annual meeting of the township to plead their case or get new board members elected at the annual meeting of the township.

forum@ndtoa.com


Conflict of Interest - township work by entities associated with township officials
December 2016

Is it legal for Township Board Presidents, and other entities involved in townships to give their companies the township work?

T.H.
***************

Hello T.H.,

Thanks for the conflict of interest question.

See NDCC 58-05-12 on page 225 of the 2016 version of the Township Officers Handbook.

We got this section reworded a couple legislative sessions ago to make it clearer on how a township officer can have an interest in an entity contracting with the township.

forum@ndtoa.com


Assessor Eligibility
September 2016

"Our township does not have a certified assessor yet. Therefore, in the
meantime, we have made an arrangement, to have a certified assessor from our
county assessor's office, to perform the duties of assessor. We would like
to have someone within the township to complete the required training and
perform the assessor duties, but really no one has really expressed
interest. Would it be permissible, to have someone already on our township
board (supervisor, clerk/treasurer (we have a combined clerk/treasurer
position), etc.) complete the training and be elected/appointed to the
assessor position, even though they already hold another township office
(supervisor, clerk/treasurer. etc.)?"

Since the township board acts as the
equalization board, would any member of the township board, be also
prohibited from holding the assessor position at the same time?

S.C. 
**********
Hello S.C.,

Thanks for the assessor question.

There is no prohibition against another office holder completing the training and becoming the assessor.  It is not the best situation, as it is better to have more people involved in local government.  But, what are you going to do if there is nobody else?

Actions by the Board of Equalization are not for the benefit of the assessor, nor for their gain.  There is no conflict of interest if a board member is also the assessor.  Nearly all board members are property owners in the township.  They are not disqualified from voting from those positions either, even if they own the parcel in question.

Where there is a conflict, is, if the assessor is also a supervisor, then, that supervisor cannot vote on the assessor compensation.

Some townships have enlisted an assessor from a neighboring township that has qualified. You might want to check around in your neighboring townships to see if they have any qualified assessors that would want to take on an additional township. Also, if someone from your township gets the training, they might want to hire out to another township.  It makes good sense to recover the cost of the training by working for more townships.

forum@ndtoa.com


Trees growing in township right-of-way
September, 2016

We have a situation where several large trees have been allowed to grow for many years
in the area of the outside edge of the road right of way. Let's assume for discussion purposes
that some are in the farmer's field and some in the right-of-way. The landowner has had them
removed and is now asking for restitution for part of the tree work that was contained in the
area of the right of way. The landowner has stated that they were asked to remove them by the
township, but that would have to have been prior to 1990 before I was on the board. To my
knowledge, there was never a formal written request by the township to have the trees removed.

The green book is not definitive as it only speaks in terms of obstructions and I could not find
where trees where mentioned specifically.

The first question is: Who is responsible for the cost of tree removal within the road right-of-way?

Second question: If it is the landowners responsibility, would the township supervisors have any
ability to contribute monies to the removal or would this be an unlawful use of township funds?

Thanks,  C.M.
********

Hello C.M.

The obstruction statute 24-06-28 and the obstruction removal in 24-06-29 do not specify any particular objects because they include any obstruction to the right-of-way. That would include rocks, trees, piles of dirt or other material, it is purposely left undefined to include what ever might be in the right-of-way. The Township may (and should) require the landowner, or person responsible for causing the obstruction, to remove any/all obstructions from the right-of-way at his expense. Should the landowner not comply with the order the Township may cause the removal to be done and have the cost charged against the taxes. 

There is a problem with trees; they did not get to be 50 ft. tall and 2 ft. in diameter in one season. So where was the Township Board 50 years ago when this person didn't mow this right-of-way as required by law? How about for the 49 years since then when the trees were smaller? Why didn't the board follow up on their demand that the trees be removed before the 1990's? So, in fairness, there might be some shared responsibility after the Township allowed the trees to get so big.

In these cases it might be advisable to work something out, in advance of the work being done. A contribution to a project might be put in the budget, notify the landowner that he has to remove the trees and if they are removed in a satisfactory manner by the end of this year the township will contribute so many dollars to the cost.

That being said, the Township is not obligated to pay this fellow's bill for doing what is required by law, those were his trees in the Township right-of-way. It would not be good practice to allow people to run up bills against the Township without prior approval, it is up to the electors and board to set the budget priorities not the landowners or other individuals.

forum@ndtoa.com


Section Line Road Maintenance
Monday, August 22, 2016

We have had a couple of requests to perform repairs/maintenance of section line roads ( one to run the blade over the road and one to fill in a low/wet spot with rock so haying equipment can get over it). In the past the township has avoided spending any money on these projects. 24-07-03.1 would appear that any work would be done at the expense of the landowner requesting it. Is the township required to spend money on section line roads, or required to keep them passable at the townships expense? No residences are on these roads, only land that the section line is the only access to.

Thanks, B.D.
********

Hi B.D.,

We are of the opinion that the township board has discretion on how much maintenance the township will perform on section lines. The township should act in a manner so that the funds are spent “most expedient to the public interests”. Most townships are pretty good at providing safe travel conditions for the general public, especially on roads that are most likely to be used by emergency vehicles, school buses, or mail carriers. Beyond that, it becomes a matter of affordability on how much more can be done. You apparently have history on your side as to not spending money on projects that may not be for the good of the general public as a whole.

As you indicated, NDCC 24-07-03.1 allows for an adjacent landowner to improve the section line for his/her benefit and at his/her expense with the approval of the controlling authority. The township board still has final say on what may or may not be done-see NDCC 24-06-01. Also keep in mind that anyone doing work or making alterations on a section line- individual, contractor, or township employee (officer) can be held liable for any claim resulting from negligence or wrongdoing related to the work being done.

forum@ndtoa.com


Who can make motions and vote at a township's annual meeting?
March 2016

There has been differences in opinion on who can make motions at a
township's annual meeting, and who gets to vote on the motions.  Just
supervisors, or the electorate?

Thanks,
J.F.

********

Hi J.F.,

The township annual meeting is not a board of supervisors meeting.  The annual meeting is a meeting of the people.  In fact at the annual meeting the board members are residents just like everyone else.  Any resident of the township can make or second a motion and vote on its passage at the annual meeting.  The board doesn't even have to be there.  The people can hold the meeting and conduct official township business without any board members in attendance.  It is the day that the people rule!  Find all about it in your green township handbook.  (If your township township doesn't have a handbook, call us and we'll get you one.  All townships should have at least one handbook!)

Who can not make motions, second, vote or be elected to the board of supervisors?  Answer: Anyone who is not a resident of the township can not make motions, second, vote or be elected to the board of supervisors.  Landowners that don't live in the township are not eligible!  Any resident who is a qualified voter can do all of these things at a township annual meeting. Owning property in the township does not entitle a property owner to make motions or vote at an annual meeting.  Only residents of the township can make or second a motion and vote on its passage at a  township annual meeting. 

See the question from R.G. below for additional information.

Thank you for asking, hope this clears up the issue.

ps.  Please try to attend one of the township workshops in your area.  Or, attend the annual township officers convention which is in Bismarck this year. It will help you perform your duties as a North Dakota public official.

forum@ndtoa.com


Who can vote and hold office in a Township?
March  2016


I understand that Township officers must live in the township. Where in ND Century Code or Officers Handbook does it say officers must actually reside in township?

Thanks
R.G.


****************

Hello R.G.

( *Pages referenced are in the 2016 Edition of the NDTOA Township Officers Handbook )

A Township is a precinct just like any city or ward of any city in the country. Eligibility for both is tied to residence. A person must be a resident of the precinct (Township) to be eligible to vote in the Township and a person must be eligible to vote in the Township to be eligible for office.

On page 61*

16.1-01-04. Qualifications of electors – Voting requirements.

1. Every citizen of the United States who is eighteen years or older; a resident of this state; and has resided in the precinct at least thirty days next preceding any election, except as otherwise provided in regard to residency in chapter 16.1-14, is a qualified elector.

On page 221*

58-04-08. Who are voters at township meetings. A person may not vote at any township meeting unless that person is qualified to vote at general elections therein.

On page 223*

58-05-01. Voter is eligible to office. Every person qualified to vote at a township meeting is eligible to any township office.

*Pages referenced are in the 2016 Edition of the NDTOA Township Officers Handbook

Thank you for your interest in township government,
forum@ndtoa.com


Can the Township Board of Equalization reduce the assessments done by the county assessor?

Dear Forum,

Due to the changes in requirements for the assessor we are having the county assessor handle our assessing in the township for now.  If the township board disagrees with the assessed value of a property do we have the right to decrease the assessed value and if so is it done by a vote of the township board at our equalization meeting? Century code seems to simply state that we can "make any adjustments as we see just. "

B.D.
***********

B.D.

There have been changes in this section please be sure you have a current (2016 Edition) copy of the NDTOA Handbook or find the current statute online.

On page 186 you will find the statutes for the Township Board of Equalization. (Ch. 57-09)

57-09-04. Duties of board – Limitation of increase – Notice. The township board of equalization shall ascertain whether all taxable property in its township has been properly placed upon the assessment list and duly valued by the assessor. In case any real property has been omitted by inadvertence or otherwise, the board shall place the same upon the list with the true value thereof. The board shall proceed to correct the assessment so that each tract or lot of real property is entered on the assessment list at the true value thereof.

On page 187 you will find the County Board of Equalization. (Ch. 57-12):

On page 188:

57-12-05. Requirements to be followed in equalization of individual assessments. The county board of equalization, when equalizing individual assessments, shall observe the following rules:

1. The valuation of each tract or lot of real property which is returned below its true and full value must be raised to the sum believed by such board to be the true and full value thereof.

2. The valuation of each tract or lot of real property which, in the opinion of the board, is returned above its true and full value must be reduced to such sum as is believed to be the true and full value thereof.

So, yes the Township Board of Equalization might reduce the valuations set by the county assessor. However unless that new valuation can be supported by a competent appraisal the County Board of Equalization will most likely follow the recommendation of the county assessor and raise them back up.

A township does not have to employ the county assessor, your current assessor can do the work but it would have to be reviewed by a certified assessor.

Perhaps one or two of the assessors in your county, or the next county, might take the training and become certified, these people have 2 years to get certified.

Thank you for your interest in township government,
forum@ndtoa.com


Tree and Brush removal within Right of Way
March 2016

At our annual township meeting, we voted to require landowners adjacent to section line township roads, to have trees and brush cleared back 33 feet on each side of the township road. The reason being, is that trees and brush have grown too close to the township roads, which hamper the movement of farm machinery and impede snow removal during the winter time. Obviously, some of the landowners have not mowed their ditches, causing brush and trees to grow in the ditches. What type of formal notice do we need to do, to inform the adjacent landowners, that they need to cut back brush and trees within the 66 feet of section line roads? We want to give formal notice to the landowners, to ensure adequate notice is presented. The Supervisors may have to hire a contractor to clear non-compliant adjacent roadsides, resulting in a bill for the adjacent landowner.
Would a Certified Letter have to be sent to all landowners with land along the section line roads? Could a notice in the legal section of the county newspaper suffice, as providing notice to the landowners?

Signed,
Overgrown Township

**************
Overgrown

Thanks for the question concerning township right of ways.

A couple areas of NDCC probably apply to this problem. Chapter 63-05 on page 247 of the 2016 version of township officers handbook provides direction on how this problem could have been avoided in the first place.

Most counties publish a notice every year about mowing the right of way(33'
each side of the section line) and the consequences for not doing so.

NDCC 24-06-28 thru 24-06-31 beginning on page 82 of the 2016 version of township officers handbook may also apply in this case, giving direction on how to deal with obstructions in the right of way. We are of the opinion that townships, landowners, and operators may have to work together to clear up some of these problems that have been festering for a long time from the lack of due diligence on the part of all involved.

forum@ndtoa.com


Zoning procedure
2015, March

The township zoning board and the township board denied a zoning request and that upset the residents of the township enough to remove two of the township board members at the annual election. Could the new township board reverse the decision and approve the zoning request without a hearing?

B.M.

************

B.M..

Thanks for your inquiry about township zoning procedures.

Unless there is something in your township zoning ordinance that precludes resubmitting a zoning request,
someone could re-submit the original request to the zoning board following proper procedures. 
The process that was needed for the initial request would have to be repeated for the new request. 
 
As always, all of your township zoning ordinance procedures, notifications, etc,
as well as the North Dakota Century Code would need to be adhered to.

Thank you for your interest and participation in township government.

 forum@ndtoa.com


Annual Meeting - Can we reschedule?
2015, March

Hello,
If several board members will be absent for the Annual Meeting on the third Tuesday, can it be scheduled for the following Tuesday when all will be present?
Thank you.
MH

**************

M.H.

According to NDCC Chapter 58-04 beginning on page 222 of the 2014 version of Township Officers Handbook the annual meeting must be held on the third Tuesday of March.  There is no provision in the law for scheduling on a different day.  It is not a requirement for the board members to be present as they hold no particular title or authority that day even if they are present.  If they are present they are merely another resident (elector) of the township unless elected to be clerk of the meeting (if the township clerk is not present) or judge of the election or moderator of the meeting.

We are of the opinion that if there are not enough qualified electors at the meeting on the third Tuesday to conduct the meeting properly, those present could call the meeting to order and declare a recess, due to not enough in attendance, until a date and time in the future.  It is usually preferable to hold the meeting on the scheduled date as quite often attendance at a postponed meeting goes down.

forum@ndtoa.com


Township can't fill clerk/treasure position
2015, February

If a township cannot find a person to run for township clerk/treasurer within the boundaries of their township, what other options do they have to fill the position?  

I read in the green book that a township clerk can be compensated up to two thousand dollars a year. Is that correct?

Also what are the wage limits on supervisors?

**********************

S.H.

If you absolutely, positively, no way can get a resident of the township to serve as clerk/treasurer(keep trying, you have another whole month yet), you can elect a qualified person to the position and then they can appoint a deputy clerk/treas to do the actual work-see 58-07-02 on page 232 of the 2014 version of the handbook.  It is our understanding that the deputy does not have to be a resident of the township as the regular clerk/treas does.  If it helps to recruit a new(younger) person, there is available a computer software program that makes the job a lot easier than having to use the old forms that need the same information entered manually in several locations.  We are getting much favorable feedback on this program.

Please reread the compensation of clerk section.  It says up to sixty dollars a day, not to exceed two thousand dollars in a calendar year.  This applies to supervisors and treasurers as well, but a merged clerk/treas position can only receive compensation for one position.

forum@ndtoa.com


Township Meetings and Roadwork
2014, April

I have several questions:

  1. What business can be discussed and voted on at the annual meeting?
  2. Can bids be discussed and voted on at the annual meeting or is a bid discussion and vote to be handled at a regular meeting?
  3. Does the township board have to accept the lowest gravel bid or blading bid?
  4. If we hire a township resident to do some road work in conjunction with our blade operator, does the resident need a contractor license or can he work under the blade operators bond and license?

Thank you for your input.
T.F.
Homestead Township

************************

  1. Any matters pertaining to the affairs or operation of the township may be discussed and voted on at the annual meeting-see NDCC 58-03-07. Some topics such as special or excess tax levies may need proper advance notice.
  2. Can be done either way. Discussion at the annual meeting shows more transparency.
  3. No-see NDCC 24-06-19. Lowest bid is not necessarily most expedient for the public interests. For example, the lowest bidder may be notorious for not performing the work in a timely manner.
  4. This answer assumes “our blade operator” means blading contractor and not a township blade operator. If a township hires anyone, township resident or not, they don’t necessarily need a contractors license but it is up to the township to ensure that the person being hired has proper liability coverage for this arrangement, whether it be under the township’s coverage or by the person being hired having this coverage. In order to work under the blading contractor’s bond and license they would need to be hired by the blading contractor as a sub-contractor or employee.

R.O. NDTOA


Township Minutes
2014, April


Hello, I was asked at a recent gathering of township supervisors the appropriate way to approve annual and equalization minutes.
Some stated that the minutes are taken at the annual and equalization meeting and are draft minutes until approved at the next annual or equalization board meeting one year later. When is the correct time to approve your annual and equalization meeting minutes so they are approved and in effect?

I am a Twp Clerk in Sargent County

                             ***************************
Hello S.H.,

Thanks for the inquiry about township minutes.

The correct time to approve the minutes are at the next meeting. So, the 2014 annual meeting minutes would be approved at the 2015 annual meeting etc.
The minutes taken at a meeting are draft minutes until approved (amended if necessary) at the next meeting.

Technically there are no minutes of an equalization meeting, there is instead a Record of the Proceedings of the Township Board of Equalization(see page 265 thru 267 of the 2014 version of township officers handbook). The clerk needs to record any actions by the board whether it be adjustments recommended to the assessor’s records or action on a request by a taxpayer. At the close of the meeting the clerk signs the record and immediately turns it over to the assessor for proper filing. The assessor should provide a booklet similar to the forms mentioned above. Thus there would be no approval needed at the next meeting.

As a side note, there should be no other township business done at the equalization meeting. The board can have a meeting the same day as the equalization meeting but at a different time and with proper notice.

forum@ndtoa.com 

Park Board    
March, 2014


Our township would like to set up a park board to manage a recreation area within our township. Can we? And what steps must we take to do it?

Thank you

SR, Township Supervisor
           **************************

Scott,

See NDCC Chapter 58-17, page 241 of 2014 NDTOA township officers handbook .

forum@ndtoa.com



Annual Meeting notification and date
March, 2014

We have found that very few residents in our township receive our official newspaper so we feel it is more effective to mail postcards stating the information pertaining to our annual meeting. Is it possible to have our residents vote on whether we publish the notice in our official newspaper?  We also have an advisor that cannot make it to our annual meeting on the third Tuesday but will be able to attend the fourth Tuesday.  Can we change the date?

T.F.
                ****************************

T.F.,

There certainly is nothing wrong with sending postcards, making phone calls, etc.(be sure to include all residents).  However, NDCC 58-04-01 on page 222 of the 2014 version of the township officers handbook clearly states the requirement of a newspaper publication.  Therefore it is not possible for the residents to change this.

I’m not sure what you mean by an advisor but NDCC 58-04-01 is also quite clear that the annual meeting must be held on the third Tuesday. 

forum@ndtoa.com


Township voting and election eligibility
March, 2014

If a township supervisor purchased a home in town yet still owns his farmyard and is still actively farming is he still eligible to be re-elected?

Thanks for the info....

jc - township clerk

                                ***********************************

J.C.

If someone from a township purchases a home in an incorporated city and lives there when not on the job they are considered a resident of the city and no longer eligible to vote or hold office in the township. See North Dakota NDCC 54-01-26 There is a fair amount of disagreement of how this works, but that’s the way it is.

If the town is an unincorporated village within the township then residents of that town are also considered residents of the township.

forum@ndtoa.com


Minutes requirements for annual meeting

To whom it may concern,

In regards to the minutes of a annual and election meeting of township do the minutes have to hand written into the Township  official book of information that has specific official page for meeting minutes? Or can the minutes be typed out and then attached to the page that indentifies the Township information of the official page for meeting minutes? I hope that this the correct place to ask the questions I have asked

D.Z.  Clerk of township
                                                           
 ***************************

Hello DZ

Thanks for the inquiry about township minutes.

Here is what your township officers manual has to say: 
http://ndtoa.com/images/2012/Township%20Officers%20Handbook%202012%20E.pdf

58-07-03. Duties of township clerk. The township clerk shall perform the following duties:

1. Act as clerk of the board of township supervisors and keep in the township clerk's office a true record of all of its proceedings.

I can find nothing in ND century code that makes a requirement about the form that minutes must be kept in.  So, yes, it appears that the minutes can be typed and attached to your township official book.  It would be a good idea for the clerk to sign and date each page of the typed minutes.

forum@ndtoa.com
                                                              
 ***************************

Kerry/Dan: I agree with Kerry here--especially in these days when most have word processors, etc., it is much easier to bring a laptop along to the meeting and take minutes that way, and then print them out later. Or, type from the handwritte notes taken at the meeting, Signing and dating is of course, most important as well.

Don't however, leave everything solely electronic without printing, in case computers crash, etc.!

TRM

                                           


Payroll withholding and unauthorized oil field roads

The township officers are not employees of the township so the need for a w-2 seems strange. Typically when someone receives a payments as a non-employee a 1099 Misc is issued if it is over a set limit. (used to be $600) Why the W-2's and why a 1099 for a $75 payment?

Living in the recent oil boom area oil companies are constantly developing trails and making them roads; typically along an undeveloped section line. I have not been contacted concerning road construction yet there are several roads that have been developed. Strangely enough one company requested an easement for boring under a road that another company developed. I do not know if we as a township should be getting more involved in the approval process or if we even can? Furthermore with the exception of a couple of companies there are no stop signs at crossings, no speed limit signs, no curve signs, etc. If we as a township install them for safety reasons it is felt that we then take responsibility for the road as well which we do not want. I think the legislature needs to address this issue and set guidelines for the companies that are developing section lines for access into well locations.

Terry
     
                                                       **********************
From Roger:

IRS Publication 15 has a chart on page 33 on how to handle payments to local elected officials.  Item # 1 on that chart should apply in the case of township officers.

                                                  *********************

Hi Terry,

Thanks for the email.

Actually, I believe that the township officers are salaried employees of the township, so, the W-2 is the correct form to use. 

We'll try to answer your questions about the unauthorized township roads.

As township officers, we are charged with the responsibility to make sure that the township section lines are open for public use.  As you note in your email, most of the roads start out as trails and then turn into roads.  Your township should get more involved in the approval process for the roads.  If your township doesn't get involved in the road construction process, then, the township residents have to accept the results.  The legislature has already granted townships the right of approval for any roads built on their section lines.  I suggest that when you learn of a "road" being built, that you go to the site and ask the "road builder" if they have permission from the township to build their road.  If they don't have permission from the township, tell them to stop and get the appropriate approval.  Your county sheriff, commissioners and state's attorney should back you up on this.

In the approval process for the new road, you can require that the new road be built to certain specifications.  After the road is built to your specifications, then, the road becomes the township's for future upkeep.  The legislature has given you the power to take control of your situation.  You just need to exercise your authority and develop your own set of guidelines for the road development.  And of course exercise your authority in an appropriate manner.  It will be in everyone's best interest if the oil companies in your area build good, safe roads.  And, I would like to believe that in most cases, if the township notifies the oil field company in writing, you will recieve a favorable response from the oil company.  If you notify the oil company in your letter that they need to obtain township approval before building any section line roads, you will have greatly enhanced your ability to obtain damages from the oil company.  And, the oil company doesn't wasn't to have to pay damages to you, they just want a road to their site.  It is your job to make sure they know what kind of road you expect them to build.  If the oil companies don't respect your authority, drop the hammer on them and gain some respect.  The word will get out that the rules need to be followed.

If you start putting signs on these unauthorized roads, or allowing others to post signs, you are probably right - you have assumed responsibility and liability for those roads.
You really should not allow unauthorized signs on your township roads.  If you do, I really think you are opening yourself up to some unnecessary liability consequences.  You need to get in on the front end of the road building process instead of trying to play "catch up" after the construction has been completed.

My suggestion to you is to have a meeting of the township supervisors or your township zoning board to establish a process for authorizing road construction on your section lines.  In that process, you could establish fees that will need to be paid, which in turn can be used to compensate the township for the time that is spent in the road authorization process.  If your township doesn't already have it's own zoning ordinance, it may be time to take that step.

It may be possible for the legislature to develop a set of guidelines for road construction, however, I don't know if we want the legislature to do that for us.  That may be taking the authority away from the townships.

I want to thank you for doing this work for your township.  Maybe somebody else has some thoughts on this?

forum@ndtoa.com


Zoning Ordinance Establishment

Hi Kerry. I have a couple questions. I've looked through the handbook and have not found requirements for voting on a zoning plan - could have missed it ! Do we need a special published meeting or can it be done at annual township meeting? I supposed the notice would have to include zoning to be discussed and/or voted on. Would you recommend just discussion at annual meeting and then voting at a later date to give everyone more time?           Thanks, Larry

Hello Larry,
 
Thanks for the inquiry about establishing
a township zoning ordinance.
 
What I suggest is that when you publish your annual township meeting notice, you mention that "Implementation of a township zoning ordinance will be discussed and voted upon."
 
At the annual meeting you could have a motion something to the effect:
 
"I move that xxxx township develop a township zoning ordinance". 
 
If that motion is approved, then you can proceed with all of the steps outlined
in the township manual and the North Dakota Century Code beginning with
58-03-11.
http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t58c03.pdf.
 
Good luck with the zoning ordinance.
You can contact me, or your District Director, Floyd Miller if you have any more questions or concerns.
 


Meeting Notice Publication

I read in the Century Code that a Public Meeting Notice needs to be published a given number of days in advance of the meeting.  Does the township have the right to declare an “Official Paper?”  Are there requirements to the extent that the official county paper must be used?    G. W.

Hello GW,
 
Thanks for the inquiry about newspaper requirements for publishing township notices.  .
 
As we discussed on the phone, the Century Code is very specific on where
township notices must be published.

From the Century Code:
58-04-01. Annual township meeting - When held - Change in meeting place -Notice.
The electors of each township annually shall assemble and hold a township meeting on
the third Tuesday in March at such place in the township or in an adjacent township as the board of township supervisors thereof shall designate. Notice of the time and place of holding the meeting must be given by the township clerk at least ten days prior to the meeting by publication in a legal newspaper published in the township or, if there is no such newspaper, then in the county's official newspaper.

Also:

58-04-03. Clerk to give notice of special meeting.
Each township clerk with whom a statement provided for in section 58-04-02 is filed shall record the same and shall cause notice of the special meeting to be published at least ten days before the meeting in a legal newspaper
published in the township or, if there is no such newspaper, then in the county's official newspaper.

Click here for the Century Code page:  http://ndtoa.com/centurycode.htm
Click here to see the section on newspaper notice requirements for townships: 
http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t58c04.pdf.


Thanks for your work on behalf of your township
.
What you do is important.

Email your thoughts and comments on this or other matters to myself, any of the officer or directors, or  forum@ndtoa.com .
 
Sincerely,

Kerry Schorsch
President, North Dakota Township Officers Assn.
701-579-4298
kerry@ndtoa.com

                                              *****************************************                
 We live in a county without a township board, so we have been dealing with the county commissioners on our matter.  We own 160 acres and do not have access to it.  We would like to develop a road approximately 1/4mile long, and the board gave an opinion that the section line was impassable and would be a "taxpayer burden" in discussion.  A petition was not submitted.   We have talked with all neighboring landowners and none are willing to provide access.  We are wondering what, if any, options do we have?

 
If we were to build the road down the section line under our own expense, what actions do we take to have the section line opened up for the 33 feet on each side of the section line?
 
Hello Levi,
 
Thank you for the inquiry.

If you lived in an organized township,
you could get permission from the township board
to build your road.  Since you do not live
in an organized township, I believe that you will have to get permission from your county to build a road.
 
The 66 foot right of way along the section line
is open for public use by you and anyone else unless the section line has been "closed" by action of the county commissioners.
 
Yours case is a pretty classic example of why it is important to have grassroots township government.
What county are you in?

I am sorry we can't be of more assistance.
Maybe one of the users of this forum will have
some other suggestion for you. 

Thank you Levi for taking the time to email your question to us.
kerry@ndtoa.com

Email your thoughts on this or other matters to forum@ndtoa.com .


Open Meetings Guidelines -
Feb 13, 2008

There has been some question among our township board whether emailing each other information is legal or not.  No decisions or voting is made over email.  Is this legal?

As far as I know, it is not illegal to email information between township board members.  To be safe, I think that you should refrain from emailing any accompanying discussion or comments concerning the information being sent between board members.
 
We also have a question regarding calling a quorum.  Our situation was, the main city outside of our township was hosting an public meeting.  Two of our supervisors and our chairman were present in the audience.  Do we have to call a quorum in this instance?
 
As far as I know, you do not have to call a quorum in this instance.  Your board may have been attending the meeting to obtain information pertaining to a matter that may or may not concern your township.  The board members may certainly discuss the information presented at the meeting.  However, as long as no Stanley township matters are discussed or decided by the board at such a meeting, you should not be in violation of the state's open meetings policy.
 
You can find more specific information regarding the state's open records
and meetings law at this link:  http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t44c04.pdf.

Thank you Renee for taking the time to email your question to us.
kerry@ndtoa.com

Email your thoughts on this or other matters to forum@ndtoa.com .


Safety and Dust on Township Roads - Feb 3, 2008

Kerry,

When it comes to gravel roads and farmsteads being right on the road, the occupants safety as well as the dust created by semi trucks and trailers is coming into issue. There are dust solutions such as calcium chloride but for most this is becoming cost prohibitive. With such heavy usage year around and the added need to grade more frequently which then adds to the dust and speed problem as well the grading cost to my township, are there any solutions for these people other than moving. Just mentioning reducing the speed for trucks under the 55mph on the gravel roads in front of these farmsteads met with great resistance from the big farmers and county commissioners. There are concerns for school bus stops on these roads as well as they are school bus routes.
If your school bus stops are not signed, they should be and that in itself, may also cause the traffic to slow down, at least during the school year.

I see this becoming a bigger issue as I see these same trucks now pulling two trailers. Has this issue been addressed amicably in other townships?

Safety and dust for people living along township roads has long been a problem.  As your question reveals, the issue has still not been adequately addressed.  If anyone has any answers, please let us know at forum@ndtoa.com

Is there any help for these farmsteads such as getting better prices or suppliers for calcium chloride?   Can you work with your county to get better pricing?  I am not aware of any "volume" pricing opportunities available through the state association.  Also, maybe you could work with adjoining townships in that regard. 

What can my township do? 
Some suggestions. 

Many times the solution to township problems can be solved with adequate funding.  At your next annual meeting could you authorize spending some additional money dedicated to dust suppression in your township?  You may have to raise your annual levy to take care of the problem if the residents think it is a serious enough problem to address. 

Also, the state of North Dakota, Upper Great Plains Institute is sponsoring a series of statewide meetings this spring concerning the future funding of transportation needs in our state.  If township road needs are going to be considered, we need your presence and your testimony at the meeting in your area.  As an elected official, you will be given the opportunity to voice your opinion concerning current and future system and program needs and funding options.  We encourage and need your township's participation as well participation of lots of other townships around the state to make sure that township residents needs are addressed.  Click here for information on the dates and times of the Transportation Needs and Funding Workshops:  http://ndtoa.com/calendar.htm


If you want to help your township, get involved.  Get involved in your county and state township officers association.  Funding needs for townships are met through the legislative process.  Both of those organizations are aggressively pursuing an agenda of getting townships the tools needed to solve their problems.  Whenever you get the opportunity, let your state senators and representatives know that you appreciate their efforts to provide funds for safe and efficient township roads.  Let representatives know that most of the of the state's grain, livestock and oil products begin their route to market on a township road. 

Thanks, 

dfite@fitedev.com

Thank you David for taking the time to email your question to us.

Email your thoughts on this or other matters to forum@ndtoa.com .


State Park Boundary Fence

The Turtle River State Park, in Grand Forks  County, has a fence around the park.  The south fence is on the section line between

Hegton township and Arvilla Township.  The current Park Manger claims that the park actually owns 33 feet outside  of the fence line.

This fence has been there for many years and I question that. 

1. Why would the fence be installed 33 feet off the section line?
Answer:  There should be no fences installed in a township section line, unless the section line in question has been declared closed by action of the County Commissioners. The 33 feet on each side of the section line should remain clear of obstructions so that the section line can be used for public right of way.  You can find reference to section lines through the link on the township website:  at http://ndtoa.com/centurycode.htm 

and then here:

 Section 24-07 of the ND Century Code:  http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t24c07.pdf.
 

2. I believe that this 33feet is actually property of Arvilla Township.  And, if the fence is on the section line, as I suspect, the Township actually owns 33 feet inside the fence line. 
Answer:  It would be unusual for the township to own any land on a section line.  In nearly all cases, the adjoining land owner actually owns the land right up to the middle of the section line, including the 33 feet of public right of way.  While the landowner owns the land up the middle of the section line, the landowner must allow public access and cannot restrict public access on the section line unless the landowner completes the "Section line closing" procedure found in Section 24-07 of the ND Century Code. 

There is no road on the section line because U.S. Highway #2 is located parallel to the section line at about 400 feet south, due to a deep coulee  and slough on the section line. 

3. Is there any place we can find the record of the location of the fence line without the cost of having it surveyed?
Answer:  The Park Manager should be able to show you the Park Service plans for construction of the fence.  That plan should show the location of the fence in relation to the
section line.  The Park Manager is required to show you those plans, upon your request, as directed by the North Dakota Open Records laws.

 A.L.
 


I am the new president of the Stutsman County Township Officers and was looking for some ideas to try and have a good informative fall meeting.  What are some of the things or topics that should be on the agenda?  Or who are some guest speakers that would be informative?
 ranchn@daktel.com 


 December, 12, 2003

Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2003 7:31 PM
Subject: roads
 
I am a member of the Scott township board in Adams County,ND. and I have a question about roads.
  If  a non farmer builds a house on a small plot of land out in the country and that house is located along side of a unimproved section line, does the township have to build a road up to his new home? 
I do not believe that the township is required to build a road to this new home.
 
If so, is the township also responsible for putting gravel on this new road? We have gravel
 on all of the other majour roads in the township.
 
   In a  letter from the ndtoa last spring it was stated that the N.D. attorney general ruled that the townships had to build a road right up to the house no matter where it was built but this ruling was going to be appealed. Is there anything new on that ruling?
 
Yes, Bill, I believe this matter was addressed in the 2003 legislature with introduction and passage of House Bill 1278.  This bill was introduced on behalf of the North Dakota Townships and returned to the townships the authority to decide as to whether or not to build these roads.  http://www.state.nd.us/lr/assembly/58-2003/bill-text/DRCL0400.pdf.   You can read a little about this bill on page 2 in our May 2003 newsletter by clicking on this link:  http://www.ndtoa.com/Newsletter%205_03%20copy.pdf.
 
I believe this is how the new law appears in the updated Century Code:  http://www.state.nd.us/lr/cencode/T24C07.pdf
(Look for 24-07-06).
 
You can access some of our past issues of the Grassroots Report on your website, http://www.ndtoa.com/grassrootsreport.htm
Also the North Dakota Century Code at:  http://www.ndtoa.com/centurycode.htm
 
                                      Sincerely,
                                      Bill
 
You are welcome Bill.  Please feel free to call or email me anytime and we will look forward to seeing you at one of the workshops this spring that will be addressing the new IRS rulings  http://www.ndtoa.com/workshops.htm.
 
 Sincerely,
 
Kerry Schorsch
701-579-4298

www.ndtoa.com 


Tax Question: 

December 22, 2003

Hello Eugene,
 
Thanks for the inquiry at:  http://www.ndtoa.com/discussionforum.htm
 
Sorry you didn't make it to the convention,
hope you can make it to one of our spring workshops:
 
In answer to your question, you can't take this to the bank,
and I am not a tax lawyer, so this is not legal advice, but,
it is my opinion that the township must
furnish to each of the township officers the following forms that
can be found by clicking on the accompanying links to the IRS website
or the forms can be mailed to you by calling  800-829-3676:
 
Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (filed one time for all officers employed after Nov 6, 1986)
    Printable form: http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/files/i-9.pdf
    Call 800-870-3676 to order.
   
Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (one time) 
    Call 800-829-3676 to order.
   
Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement (yearly) 
    To order forms call 800-829-3676 
 
Also, every year, the township must also file with the IRS:
Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements (This is basically a summary of W-2's)
    To order forms call 800-829-3676
 
I hope this has answered your questions.
If not, please feel free to call me or any of the other township officers at:
 
In an effort to assist all of the township officers, this correspondence
will also be posted at:  http://www.ndtoa.com/discussionforum.htm
 
If anyone out there has any comment this correspondence, please submit to:
 
Thanks again for the inquiry and
please feel free to contact me anytime at kerry@globaladvertiZing.com .
 
Sincerely,
 
Kerry Schorsch
701-579-4298
 
 
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2003 1:16 PM
Subject: IRS ruling on W-2's for Township Officers

> I was unable to be at the state conv where this topic was discussed.  I
> was wondering if someone who was there could give a little help on what
> was discussed.   Does a township has to file a W-2 for each of the
> officers on the board?
>
> Clerk
> Amundsville Township
> McLean County
>

 

 

 

 

 
               

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