L'ANSE - The Baraga County Board of Commissioners approved the appointment of a new county medical examiner during its regular meeting Tuesday afternoon, capping off a search lasting several months.
On May 1, Dr. Todd Ingram, head of the Baraga County Memorial Hospital emergency department, will replace outgoing medical examiner Dr. Cary Gottlieb, who announced his resignation Feb. 13. The board also authorized as a budget amendment Ingram's request for a $3,000 per year stipend.
"We budgeted $9,000 every year. We've never gotten over $9,000 except for last year," Treasurer Anne Koski informed the board. "The suggestion I would make is to leave the budget at this point at the $9,000, which would cover the ($3,000 stipend), the additional payment to the medical examiner. If at some point in time we go over that $9,000 due to more autopsies then we can amend the budget then."
Also Tuesday the board approved giving $3,000 to the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team. Det. Lt. and Team Commander Tim Sholander first requested funding help from the board during a Jan. 7 presentation to the board.
"It was recommended we give $3,000 for drug prevention in Baraga County, which is very much needed," said Mike Koskinen, county board chair.
Baraga County Equalization Director Lora Osterman also presented equalization rates for the year, which the board unanimously approved.
"We have come out at a 1 percent decrease in assessed value for our county," she said. "Taxable value, on the other hand, which is where taxes are generated, taxable value times millage rates, looks like it has a 2 percent growth, but that is not finalized until June."
In other business Tuesday, the board:
tabled a decision on a requested 50-cent-per-hour wage increase for Baraga County Emergency Preparedness Director Daune Smith, who works 20 hours per week. All other county employees recently received an increase, but budget concerns were discussed.
approved a Homeland Security Grant Interlocal Agreement with Houghton County, which acts as the fiduciary agent for the grant.
approved a transfer of ownership of equipment, including a weapons simulator, from Houghton County to Baraga County.
approved an amendment to the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department's 2011 Intergovernmental Agreement, acknowledging the change in name in 2011 from the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department.
approved purchasing a $125 half page advertisement in the 119th annual Firefighters Tournament, which will be held in L'Anse and Baraga this summer. The amount is covered under an advertising budget line item.
approved a resolution in favor of preserving the Second Amendment.
took no action on a resolution encouraging Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature to fund road maintenance. Concern was expressed about where the money would come from.
heard a complaint, which included a petition, from county resident Fred Ojala about an impassable road, but one in which the county road commission does not cover.
"For what it's worth, Fred, I talked to the road commission before you came over here today and they said if you come over here and come up with stuff you want, they said to tell you it's a dead issue, they ain't doing nothing," Koskinen said.
Ojala has brought the matter before the board several times, but Koskinen referred Ojala directly to the road commission to work the matter out.