Voters in each of Rice County’s townships will have the chance to make their views on local government known on Tuesday, March 9, when annual elections will be held and levies reviewed at annual town meetings.

At a minimum, each township will select its treasurer along with one member of the Board of Supervisors. A handful of townships will also have special elections to fill a vacancy or vacancies on their board. Elected in even years, clerks serve two-year terms, while supervisors serve staggered three -ear terms.

Located just southwest of Northfield and Dundas, Bridgewater Township is a special case. Voters there will choose to fill four of the five seats on the Township Board, which was expanded last year by a referendum, as well as the treasurer’s position.

Treasurer Debbie Salba and incumbent Supervisor Glen Castore, currently the board chair, are both running unopposed. However, the other three races on the ballot will be contested by both a challenger and incumbent.

For “seat B,” which will expire in 2022, incumbent Andy Ebeling is running against Nathan Menge, who unsuccessfully ran for a spot on the Board last year. Andy Ebling was appointed to fill the seat previously occupied by his father Gary, who died last July.

For “seat E,” which expires in 2023, incumbent Tom Hart is running against Roger Helgeson, and for seat D, which expires in 2024, incumbent Tracy Jonkman will try to fend off Mike Little. Both seats were created by the voters last year when they expanded the town board from three to five members.

Races in other townships will be less hotly contested, though a write-in option is always available.

Warsaw Township will have to hold its election and annual meeting at the Morristown Community Center instead of its own town hall. That’s because several weeks ago a vehicle smashed into the town hall and did significant damage. Board Chair Ryan Witte said that at this point, the Board is leaning towards building an entirely new Town Hall instead of repairing the old one, based on information from its insurance company as well as a history of crashes which have damaged the building.

However, no formal decision has been made and there are plenty of factors to consider. As for the crash itself, Rice County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jesse Thomas said that alcohol and speed both appeared to have been possible factors.

Webster Township will have a referendum on whether or not to make the clerk’s position an appointed one. Current clerk Roger VanVeldhuizen said that the measure makes sense because it would enable the board to choose a well qualified candidate.

Unlike state-run elections, which mandate that every polling place be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., each township sets its own election day schedule. Absentee voting is available at the Rice County Government Center during normal business hours, as during federal and state elections.

Below is a list of candidates for each Lonsdale area race, poll hours and annual meeting times.

Bridgewater Township

Location: 500 Railway St. S, Dundas,

Township Treasurer: Debbie Salba is unopposed.

Supervisor Seat A: Glen Castore is unopposed.

Supervisor Seat B (special election, one-year term): Incumbent Andy Ebeling is being challenged by Nathan Menge.

Supervisor Seat D: Incumbent Tracy Jonkman is being challenged by Mike Little.

Supervisor Seat E (special election, two-year term): Tom Hart is being challenged by Roger Helgeson.

Polling hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., annual meeting: 8:15 p.m.

Erin Township

Location: 12378 Independence Ave., Lonsdale

Township Treasurer: Elgin Trcka is unopposed.

Supervisor: Jim Cihak is unopposed.

Polling hours: 3-8 p.m., annual meeting: 8:15 p.m.

Forest Township

Location: 3625 Millersburg Boulevard, Faribault

Township Treasurer: Elaine Trnka is unopposed.

Supervisor: William Malecha is unopposed.

Polling hours: 2-8 p.m., annual meeting: 1 p.m.

Webster Township

Location: 4175 Delano Avenue Webster, MN, 55088

Township Treasurer: Bob Michel is unopposed.

Supervisor: Charles Rud is unopposed.

Special Question: Shall Option B, providing for the appointment of the clerk by the township board, be adopted for the government of the township?

Polling hours: 3-8 p.m., annual meeting: 1:30 p.m.

Wheatland Township

Location: 9641 50th Street West Veseli,

Township Treasurer: Gary Bruggenthies is unopposed.

Supervisor: Diane Johnson is unopposed.

Polling hours: 11 a.m-8 p.m., annual meeting: 8:15 p.m.

Reach Reporter Andrew Deziel at 507-333-3129 or follow him on Twitter @FDNandrew. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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