Keweenaw County approves capital spending program

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Keweenaw County Zoning Administrator Ann Gasperich presented the County Board with the new Capital Improvement Plan at the Feb. 21 meeting. The plan was unanimously approved.

EAGLE RIVER — The Keweenaw County Board voted unanimously to accept the 2018 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) as presented by Zoning Administrator Ann Gasperich. The plan was discussed at the Feb. 21 regular monthly board meeting.

The CIP is the county’s community plan for matching the cost of large-scale improvements — such as fixing roads, water and sewer mains — to anticipated revenues, such as taxes and bonds.

“The information that’s contained within the document,” Gasperich told the board, “currently comes from two years of research while we were doing the land use plan, and working on the recreation plan, trying to pull together ideas and information.”

Commissioner Jim Vivian asked if the matter should be tabled until the board members had a chance to study it more in-depth, but Commissioner Sandra Gayk said the CIP is updated frequently throughout the year. Gasperich concurred.

“As Sandy said, the document needs to be reviewed annually because it is on a five-year and out plan, so as things go through and they’re approved, we’ll need to bring to new items into it,” Gasperich told the board. “This is a document that is ready to be approved by the Board of Commissioners.”

Gayk said that she would also add that it is one of the requirements of the DNR for the Gratiot River park improvement grant proposal.

The CIP is an important planning document, because it covers issues of economic development by aiding the county in keeping existing businesses, while attracting new ones. Planning information can help insure that economic growth matches the needs and resources of the community. Planning can also assist existing local businesses to locate proper facilities and prevent non-compatible land uses near existing businesses. The CIP also helps protect private property rights and minimizes the negative impacts of new development.