EAGLE RIVER - At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners voted to loan money from the Economic Development Committee fund to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge for the deficit elimination plan.
The loan will now be sent to the state for approval. At October's meeting, the commissioners mulled over the idea to eliminate the deficit plan by appropriating several thousands of dollars from the EDC fund to the park fund to eliminate some of that deficit, however, three commissioners believed the wording should have been changed to "loan" rather than "appropriation."
"There was a lot of conversation on whether that should be a loan or an appropriation," Chairman Joe Langdon said. "I brought you information from our accountant who said, 'You can't do this as a loan. If you do, the state won't accept it.'"
Gazette file photo
The Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to loan money from the Economic Development Fund to the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge as part of the debt elimination plan.
Commissioner Frank Stubenrauch said it was his feeling all transactions should be treated as loans.
"Why should the general fund money be treated as a loan and EDC money be treated as an appropriation?" Stubenrauch asked. "Appropriation is to 'take.' You're just taking that money with no hopes of giving it back."
Langdon, however, said the word "loan" is thrown around.
"When you go to the state, if you called it a loan, they say, 'How are you paying that loan back,'" Langdon said.
Langdon told the board he put a motion together asking the board take $180,000 from the county's EDC fund and appropriate it to the Keweenaw park fund and at the end of the year, the remaining money would come out as a loan from the general fund to eliminate the mountain lodge debt. However, after much debate, Langdon changed the wording to "loan."
During the meeting Wednesday, Ray Chase of the EDC told the board the EDC does not support the use of EDC fundings or money to pay revenue bonds at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.
Chase said a major concern is limiting what the EDC can do for the county.
"We'd like it in the record that economic development in this county is not limited to what's available in the EDC fund," Chase said.
Chase suggested transferring money from the general fund to the EDC so there is always money available to move forward with viable projects to assist the county, create jobs and help the tax flow in the county.
In other news, the board:
heard from Sheriff Ron Lahti, who asked for a public hearing concerning a new police car.
set a public hearing for the budget.
discussed a draft for the Keweenaw County Recreation Plan available for review for 30 days.
Stacey Kukkonen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.