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L’Anse approves budget, millage rates

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette L’Anse Village Manager Bob LaFave and Council President Ron Ervast discuss the village budget during Monday’s council meeting.

L’ANSE — The L’Anse Village Council approved the budget and millage rates for the coming year Monday night.

General fund expenditures for the coming year are $1,548,589, versus revenues of $1,675,683.

Projects for the year will include finishing up work connected to a Department of Natural Resources grant to install boards and glass at Meadowbrook Ice Arena. This year the village is also finishing a new farmer’s market location near Meadowbrook thanks to a Copper Shores Community Health Foundation grant.

Village Manager Bob LaFave said concrete is being poured for the farmer’s market project this week, after the project had been delayed by the need to add additional drainage. The council approved a second payment on the work of $23,577.30 Monday.

“We’re just going to be trying to move forward this year, because we’re planning on some larger projects in an upcoming year, save money for road funding,” LaFave said.

L’Anse is applying for Category B funding which provides money for road projects in smaller communities. The village is hoping to do those upgrades in conjunction with water projects.

“We’re trying to save some money to help so we can make sure we can hit those match requirements should we get that extra funding,” LaFave said.

The millage rates are unchanged from 1997, when the village decreased them: 10.015 mills for the general fund, 0.455 for cemetery; 2.731 for street fund, 1 mill for the Fire Hall bond and 1.6883 special assessment mills for the Downtown Development Authority.

Industrial Facilities Tax millages were also set at 5.0075 general fund mills, 0.2275 cemetery mills, 1.3655 street fund mills and 0.53 fire hall bond mills.

The council also authorized LaFave to make any necessary budget adjustments and transfers for the fiscal year ending this month.

In other action, the council:

• Authorized LaFave to sign documents to complete the sale of 18055 Dynamite Hill to Camp Aura LLC. The building had formerly housed the Eagles Club.

• Approved an energy optimization rate ordinance lowering the fee for residential and commercial service for electric customers in the village.

• Heard from LaFave work is beginning on the dredging of the L’Anse marina after permits had been acquired. An April storm had deposited a large amount of sand at the mouth of the harbor.

• Heard from Fire Chief Cory Frisk the department had received a $2,000 donation from Koppers. The donation was one of several the company made after receiving a Presidential Safety Award.

• Approved opting out of Public Act 95, as the village has done since its passage in 2013. Because the village does not cut off electricity for nonpayment between November and April, it does not have to pay into the state’s Energy Assistance Program, LaFave said.

• Opted out of Public Act 152, which limits how much public employers pay toward employee medical benefit plans.

“We always felt that we’re able to work out better deals with our labor unions without the hand of Lansing at the table, and because of that, we’ve been able to work on contracts that made sense for both parties,” LaFave said.

• Heard from council members and members of the Lake Trout Festival committee that the festival had had good turnout.

“Very rarely do we see that more people in our home for basically eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours … it was wonderful,” said Village President Ron Ervast.

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