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Houghton Cty. approves $8.4M budget

Equity fund to offset $117K projected deficit

September 14, 2011
By GARRETT NEESE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - The Houghton County Board of Commissioners approved a budget with about $8.4 million of expenses for the 2011-12 fiscal year at its meeting Tuesday.

Expenses are up 1.3 percent over last year. Much of that comes from increased benefit costs, particularly health insurance, which went up 27 percent.

Revenues are projected at $8.29 million, a decline of 0.8 percent from this year's estimated total. One of the main drivers is a $160,000 cut in revenue from the state.

Article Photos

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Houghton County Commissioners Anton Pintar, Tim Palosaari and Dennis Barrette review an issue at Tuesday’s monthly meeting at the Houghton County Courthouse.

The county's $117,000 budget deficit will be made up with a transfer from the county's equity fund, which is projected to be at $1,675,563 at the end of the next fiscal year.

Along with the budget, the board approved a motion to form a group to look at ways to bring down retirement costs.

Commissioner Scott Ala, who proposed it, noted that the county had more than $7 million in unfunded retirement responsibilities.

"When it keeps going the way it's going, it's possible it'll never be fully funded," he said.

While the county had budgeted for a $13,000 loss last year, it wound up with an estimated surplus of nearly $86,000. That came through unbudgeted items such as $44,000 from the Houghton Downtown Development Association, $36,000 in mental health transport funds and a significant increase in jail reimbursements.

In other action, the board:

authorized an application for a Michigan State Housing and Development Authority grant. The $200,000 grant runs from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2013.

approved a bid from Signature Ford of $21,482 for a Sheriff's Department patrol car.

heard from Commissioner Ala that the owner of Keweenaw Scrap Metal had taken steps to remedy the issues brought up by Painesdale residents, who have complained about flat tires and other problems caused by debris from the site.

heard from Commissioner Dennis Barrette that enplanements at the Houghton County Memorial Airport were at 2,265 in July, up from 2,023 at the same point last year, an 11 percent increase.

heard from Chairman Ed Jenich that more than 350 people had attended the county's Heritage Celebration at the Houghton County Arena Tuesday.

heard from Duncan Township Supervisor Frank Pentti about the township.

approved payments for construction at the Houghton County Transfer station. Work is estimated at about 25 percent completion.

approved budget amendments for 2010-11.

approved allowing U.P. Engineers & Architects to award work on the new DHS boiler system to the low bidder prior to the county board's October meeting.

reappointed DHS Board Chairman Gerald Erva to a three-year term on the DHS board.

approved awarding janitorial services to D&L Janitorial for $15,960 for DHS janitorial services.



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