Waldrop: Village getting ‘ripped off’ with state’s revenue sharing

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette The Ontonagon Village Council, including from left Council President Ken Waldrop, Vllage Manager Joe Erickson and Trustee Don Chastan, raised concerns about reduced revenue sharing from the state at its Monday meeting.

ONTONAGON — Village Council members expressed concerns over insufficient state support at the Monday meeting.

With current budget recommendations from Gov. Rick Snyder, municipal revenue sharing is expected to increase by 3.1 percent for the constitutional portion, but statutory revenue sharing is expected to decrease by 2.5 percent, said Village Manager Joe Erickson.

Additionally, a $4.75 per ton increase is proposed for solid waste disposal and a $5 increase for municipal water customers are proposed, Erickson explained.

Comparing Ontonagon to other area villages he sees an issue.

“We receive less statutory revenue sharing than Calumet does, and they’re half our size,” Erickson said.

Revenue sharing is determined using a funding formula which changed in the early 2000s. Erickson feels the formula is unfair to Ontonagon. In 2017 Calumet received $58.83 per person, and Crystal Falls received $40.24 per person, while Ontonagon received $20.18 per person.

“There is a discrepancy there that’s not fair,” Erickson said.

“We are 50th in the country as far as receiving local support in our state of Michigan and have been for some time. … (The) 3.1 percent (increase) has been given, which sounds actually not bad, but when they ask for 2.5 percent back through other means and also…pretty much promise a solid waste raise in price, as well as water bills, going up,” said Village Council President Ken Waldrop. “It’s not going to hurt for individuals to voice their opinions on this and to get out and call your local representatives, call your local government and let them know that you’re not happy with it. Let them know that we’re being ripped off.”

Erickson stated Michigan also fell behind Puerto Rico.

Later in the meeting, Trustee Tony Smydra expressed concerns over the lack of urgency in looking into Village Housing Commission purchasing procedures.

“On Oct. 23, 2017, the council appointed an ad hoc committee to work with the Village Housing Board regarding the concerns the council had. That was 120 days ago or 16 weeks ago,” Smydra said.

Waldrop said more information was needed, and there was no time frame in the matter.

“There’s specific information we’re waiting for (and) in search of and…we are not going to…proceed forward until I know that information, and we are also going by the advice of our own lawyer,” Waldrop said.