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KBIC raises wages, updates benefits

BARAGA – Keweenaw Bay Indian Community raised wages and updated two policies to provide members with benefits.

The Tribal Council gave governmental and enterprise employees a two-percent, across-the-board annual pay raise.

“This is some of the good things the council does here,” said President Chris Swartz Thursday at the KBIC Tribal Council meeting. “This is a good day.”

In addition to the raise, the council clarified two existing benefits available to its members.

Established with $3 million in 1996, the Tribal Elders and Disability Pension Trust stands at $10 million today, Vice-President Jennifer Misegan said.

“That’s our investment in what we pay out to the elders and disabled,” Misegan explained.

The fund provides benefits tribal elders and disabled members with ongoing financial assistance so they can “live full and productive lives to the best of their ability.”

The benefits are available to members 62 years or older and to those receiving long-term monthly disability benefits who live in Baraga County or on the Marquette Trust Lands. Elders receive $3,600 annually and disabled members get $2,700.

KBIC also set $2,000 as the amount of the General Welfare Support Program formerly known as the Christmas check or Sovereignty check. It comes from this year’s $2.4 million in net profits from tobacco sales that the tribe pays out to an estimated 1.200 adult tribal members in Baraga and Marquette counties.

Both policies clarify the benefits are not subject to federal taxes.

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