County supports UPCAP energy proposal

Katrice Perkins/Daily Mining Gazette Baraga County Board Commissioner William Menge addresses questions about the UPCAP energy rate proposal Monday at a County Board meeting.

L’ANSE — The Baraga County Board voted to support an energy rate proposal from the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP) to the Michigan Energy Office at the meeting on Monday evening.

“We’re trying to get energy in the UP stabilized, price-wise and everything else,” Commissioner William Menge said. “Plus, we’re trying to eliminate the federal energy commission coming in here and setting the rate at such a high rate that we can’t afford to pay the light bill,” said William Menge.

He said a few years ago the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “was on the verge of granting an 85 percent increase in our electric bills. We formed this group of commissioners and took on the task of trying to keep the increase from going into effect. We succeeded in doing that, but we’d like to be involved so this doesn’t happen again.”

Menge was contacted to get further details about the proposal that was submitted and referred to County Clerk Wendy Goodreau, who said she didn’t know much about the proposal. She referred questions to Jonathan Mead at UPCAP. Calls to Mead were not returned as of Thursday morning.

The board also decided to remove their Health Care Savings Program with MERS because “not everyone is going to want to put their post-employment benefit into this,” Goodreau said.

They will be looking into the details and amending the policy.

Lastly, the board will be putting in bids for front step replacements at the courthouse. The bids are due by the next meeting.