STATE OF THE TOWNSHIP – February, 2022

Bill Schuster, Chairman, Town of French Board of Supervisors

It has been my privilege to serve as a Township Supervisor for over 25 years. I have decided to retire
and my replacement will be elected on March 8 th . Please plan to vote, the polls are open from 10:00
am-8:00 pm at the French Town Hall.

The “Township Year” begins at the Annual Meeting where local voting citizens, or electors, who attend
the meeting, have the opportunity to provide input on Township issues and to set the levy for the
coming year. The Supervisors have no delegated power at this meeting and it is their opportunity to
listen and get non-binding direction from the electors. The Annual Meeting is Tuesday, March 8 th at
8:15, after ballots are counted.

The Board of Supervisors prepares a proposed levy a few weeks before the Annual Meeting and the
proposal is introduced, discussed, modified as needed, and approved at the Annual Meeting. After the
levy is set and all business is completed at the Annual Meeting, Supervisors and Officers are delegated
the authority to conduct all Township business at regular and special meetings throughout the year.
Town Board business is limited to activities authorized by State Statute. Township Government is
grassroots government but powers and actions are limited.

We have four separate accounts that are used to conduct Township business; General, Road & Bridge,
Fire and Recreation. The General Fund can be used for any approved expenditure, while funds in the
other three accounts are dedicated to their specific purpose.

With that introduction, here is a summary of the State of the Township:

Years ago, we adopted the practice of creating an escrow in the Fire and Road & Bridge Accounts and to
operate with a balance that would cover two years of expenses. This enables us to replace our
emergency vehicles every 30 years and to crush and stockpile gravel every 5-7 years without the need to
raise levies to cover these anticipated, but long-term expenditures. Our levy has remained the same for
several years.

Town Hall / Recreation Site: We are proud of the facilities located at the Recreation Site. The Town
Hall, Community Center, Pavilion, Ice Rink, Playground, Ballfield, Bocce Ball, Tennis, Volleyball and Disc
Golf Courses are all well maintained and are used by many. We have historically sponsored a Summer
Recreation Program for kids, but due to lack of volunteers, have had to cancel this program for the past
two years. We have the funding, site and the kids but we need a few volunteers for a committee to get
this program started again.

Fire / EMS: Our Fire / EMS Department is operating well with both entities fully staffed. That said, we
are always looking for interested members. We have provided members with excellent training,
equipment, vehicles and gear. We are lucky to have such a dedicated bunch of community members
who take care of us when we need them most.

Roads: The Township owns and maintains about 10 miles of roads. All roads are gravel, except for the
Belschner Road. Roads are well maintained and are inspected annually to determine needs. We schedule gravel hauling, culvert replacement and special projects on an annual basis. Gravel roads are treated to reduce dust and roadsides are mowed annually. We own a grader and hire the operator. Thanks to Rick Seopa who graded our roads for 25 years, but retired last year.

Columbarium: Janice Johnson donated property to the Township and this site has been developed for
those who would like to make Side Lake their final resting place. The Township budgets funds and
maintains this site.

Web Site: The Township sponsors as our official site to learn more about facilities,
events and meetings. Rachel Bjur does a great job of maintaining this site!

The Township would not function without dedicated community members. We have a Beautification
who plant and maintain several flower beds in the community. The Site Review Committee
meets as needed to provide input to the Town Board whenever there is a Conditional Use Permit
Application submitted to St. Louis County.

Side Lake Events: The Township supports local activities that commemorate the local community,
including the 4 th of July Parade, Firecracker 5K, Celebrate Side Lake, Winter and Fall Festivals. Many
volunteers work together to make these events happen and their dedication and efforts are much

Water Quality: The Township has supported long-term health of our lakes through education,
monitoring and creating a template for cluster septic systems. Community planning is a function of
government and the information on shared septic systems is readily available should a neighborhood be
interested. Volunteers take water readings periodically throughout the summer and the Township
receives updated reports on lake water quality periodically. These reports are posted on the web site.

Our Buildings and Grounds staff, PJ and Tim Bjur, do an outstanding job of maintaining all of our
facilities, including the Recreation Site, Town Hall, Post Office, Fire / EMS Hall, Grader Building, removing
trees and brush for Township Roads and maintaining equipment.

We work closely with other government agencies, State, County and other Townships, to provide
efficient and effective government. We have a great working relationship with County Commissioner
Paul McDonald.

I am pleased that there is a very qualified, community-minded and competent candidate who has filed
for the position of Township Supervisor. Please vote so the high standards that we have set are

I have worked alongside several neighbors who dedicated themselves to the Township since I was
elected; Supervisors – Gene Capitani, Bruce Sandberg, Jerry Boone, Jim Kaim, Steve Johnson, Ronn
Campbell, Treasurers – Larry Olson and Lisa Samsa, but only one Clerk – Jeff Schanche. Many thanks to
them for their service.

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