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Ontonagon Village on spending spree

ONTONAGON — To the untrained eye, it would appear that the Ontonagon Village Council has money to burn. The village continues to get extensions on money owed to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The Treasury has not only given the village another extension, according to Village Manager Joe Erickson. The Treasury is also going to help the village find funds to help them cover some of the fees and expenses it owes.

The Treasury and the village’s CPA agreed that the village needs to reduce the number of accounts from 50 down to a more manageable bank account list. Thus the village is in negotiations with the accounting firm of Plante and Moran.

With hourly fees in excess of $100/hour, Councilor Sarah Hopper made the motion and the council agreed to cap the expenses of Plante and Moran to $13,000. One of the areas the council looked at to keep that firms fees down was to have the village’s staff take over some of the accounting and bookkeeping work.

The council agreed to give Tanya Weisinger a raise from just under $17.00/hr to $20.14/hour.  Weisinger would handle utility/payroll clerk position, and be eligible for overtime and billable (non-general) fund hours.

While Kori Weisinger handed her resignation in this past October, the council agreed to all the terms she wanted. This included helping with the accounting, bookkeeping, and training Willie DuPont. Wording on the agreement read, “Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, and continuing to Feb. 28, 2021, Ms. Weisinger shall provide assistance, training, and guidance to the newly appointed clerk/treasurer.”

DuPont was hired to take over Kori Weisinger’s job. DuPont was the bank president at Citizen’s State Bank.

The terms Kori Weisinger put in front of the council included where the maximum amount of hours she would work would be 40 hours over a two-week period, pay her health insurance and the health insurance for her son from January to the end of her time filling in, which is the end of February.

The agreement gave Kori Weisinger the rate of $30.00/hour. Before she resigned, her pay was under $20.00.

In addition to the pay raise for Tanya Weisinger and bringing Kori Weisinger back, the council agreed to pay Tanya Weisinger at her current rate for 148.5 hours of accrued time and 42 hours of accrued time to Kori Weisinger.

Erickson stated that the village’s auditors, Gabridge & Company, requested a filing extension submitted to the Michigan Department of Treasury. 

“The auditor is close to being wrapped up, there are a few accounts that need to be reconciled,” he said. “Treasury’s Local Audit and Finance Division has issued many extensions this year for local audits.”

Erickson did not state as to how many extensions the village has received so far from the department.

The meeting was once again ‘billed’ as a tele-conference, however a majority of the council members were present, along with one media representative that was given the option of attending. With it being very difficult to hear the discussion and motions over the telephone, the Gazette inquired as to how they could be allowed to attend the meetings.

“Mr. Johannson asked to attend, and while we kept the numbers under the governor’s orders of 10, he is allowed,” said Village President Tony Smydra. 

Johannson represents the local paper, of which the owner, Maureen Guzek is on the council.

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