Ontonagon Council wants plan before surrendering deed

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette From left to right: Ontonagon Village Council President Pro-Tem Elmer Marks and Trustee Mike Mogan.

ONTONAGON — The question of transferring the deed for the village’s Housing Commission property to the commission remains on the table after Monday’s Village Council meeting.

Since 2017 the commission has been requesting a deed transfer of land to get funding for natural gas system conversions. The deed currently is under the Village Council’s authority.

In a letter to the council discussed Monday, Pamela Coey, president of the Ontonagon Village Housing Commission (OVHC), requested the transfer of “all deeds that have been mistakenly put into the name of village of Ontonagon.”

In response, the council unanimously directed then-village attorney Ted Baird to prepare the deeds for review.

Baird retired last year, but his familiarity with the background and deeds themselves make him best-suited to do the job, according to some council members, who also expressed a desire to see further development on the energy conversion plans from the Housing Commission.

“I would like, before these deeds are filled with the courthouse, that we get an update on the project…because that was the original intent of turning these deeds over,” said Trustee Mike Mogan. “… What I’d like to see more than anything else is a project schedule that has key bullets in this project, so we know what they are, when they are going to occur… what they are going to cost, where they’re going to be funded from and how much capital money was set aside in the last two years, and what’s going to be in the budget for this year?”

Mogan stated his concerns arose from the commission meeting minutes’ lack of discussion on the project.

OVHC secretary Sue Lockheart said without control of the deed, it was not possible to apply for funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Council members felt making a plan did not require the funding, which could come later.

“We are tasking people to get this done,” Mogan said. “You need to put a committee together. You need to solicit bids from engineering companies, and when you know what your costs are, you can put your application in. Until you have your engineering bids, you can’t do anything,” Mogan said.

The council unanimously passed a motion requesting the commission president prepare a summary of the plan for the project.