Treasurer resigns: Leaving office with praise for land bank

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette Kathleen Beattie (left) is resigning as Houghton County’s treasurer midway through her term. Next to her replacement, Lisa Mattila.

HOUGHTON — Almost everyone in the room thanked Kathleen Beattie, who is resigning as Houghton County treasurer and wished her well during Tuesday’s County Board meeting.

She was particularly praised for her role in creating the Houghton County Land Bank.

John Haeussler from Hancock said the bank has helped reduce blight, which has increased affordable housing and put properties back on tax rolls for all county tax authorities.

“We’ve done this all with no appropriations ever,” Haeussler said. “Under the initiative and the leadership of Kathy Beattie over the last nine-and-a-half years, that’s what the Houghton County Land Bank Authority has done.”

Beattie has been in the treasurer’s role for 14 years. She said she is leaving before the end of her current term so that her appointed replacement, Lisa Mattila, has a chance to “get her feet wet” in the position before having to run for election.

“Please make her feel welcome,” Beattie said.

Mattila has served in county government positions for the last 31 years.

“I’m looking forward to serving,” she said.

The board unanimously approved a $1,000 bonus for Beattie for her outstanding service to the county through the Land Bank Authority.

This was also the last board meeting for commissioners Tim Palosaari and Anton Pintar. They were thanked by several people, including Sheriff Brian McLean, for their service.

Kevin Harju, engineer for the Houghton County Road Commission (HCRC), reported to the board that while the state had promised the 25-percent-match funds needed to qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency relief funding, the more than $4.5 million needed for Federal Highway Administration match funding might get lost in the flurry of state legislation occurring now during the lame-duck session.

“That’s a lot of money for any of our agencies,” Harju said.

The $3 million constituting HCRC’s portion of the match funding would be at least half of its yearly budget, making it difficult for them to achieve without outside assistance.

He said only three roads in HCRC jurisdiction remained closed. He is hoping construction on Houghton Canal Road will finish this week.

“But there’s a lot to go, if everyone can be patient,” Harju said. “We probably have at least all of next summer of construction and possibly into the next summer before everything’s back to pre-flood condition.”

The board also appointed Horst Schmidt and Timothy Sears to the Planning Commission, Glenn Ekdahl to the Houghton County Veterans Affairs Board and reappointed Kenneth Rowe to the Road Commission unanimously.

Commissioner Tim Palosaari commented that the commission position wasn’t advertised but still voted for the reappointment.