CRYSTAL FALLS—A $9.1 million renovation and expansion project proposed by the Iron County Medical Care Facility received the approval of the Iron County Board of Commissioners at its Jan. 24 meeting.
The board tabled approval of allowing the financing of the project last June. At that time, the county was involved in litigation with two municipalities over the disbursement of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds, and was advised not to enter into any bonding arrangements while the litigation was pending. Since that time, ICMCF Administrator Chester Pintarelli revised the project’s cost as well as the facility’s ability to pay.
The facility’s ability to contribute changed as the result of additional money due the facility from the state of Michigan. The project’s cost decrease was due primarily to internal design changes, he explained.
“By waiting five months,” said County Board Chairman Wayne Wales, “it was beneficial by making the project more economical.”
Pintarelli added that with the board’s approval of the certificate of need, the project was still within the proposed bidding window.
Civil Counsel Steve Tinti recommended the motion as allowing “the Iron County Board to authorize financing of up to $1.5 million, to go forward with the Iron County Medical Care Facility project, subject to favorable financing.”
The current interest rate is 3.5 percent, as noted in the project proposal. Commissioner Rosalie King made the motion, Commissioner Fran Wills supported, and the motion passed unanimously.
“These changes will bring better stability to Iron County,” Pintarelli said. “It’s good news.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
--Iron County Sheriff Mark Valesano reported to the board that the department made a $1,000 contribution to UPSET, using drug forfeiture money.
“UPSET now has some federal assistance,” he added.
“It’s important we have this here. Prescription drugs and meth use are a major problem here and elsewhere We welcome UPSET in Iron County.”
--Mike Erdeman, district coordinator for Michigan State University Extension, told the board all nine counties in District 1 had signed memorandums of agreement with MSUE for educational services. Iron County will receive a half-time 4-H coordinator and educator services. Erdeman said a position for a district educator, based in Baraga, was posted.
--Iron County Clerk Joan Luhtanen presented the 2011 statistical report of records.
Iron County reported 254 total court cases; 189 deaths and two births; 55 marriages and 42 divorces; 35 passport applications and 133 pistol permits issued. The county has 9,419 registered voters.
--Don Diller, chairman of veterans’ services, reported to the board about the office’s activity in 2011. Sixty-nine compensation claims were handled; 18 pension issues; three death pensions; two dependency and indemnity compensation claims; seven burial benefits; 28 burial markers and 85 miscellaneous issues were handled.
Diller said Shirley Rentschler was retiring from the Veterans Trust Fund and Veterans Counselor Joy DeNicola was taking over the service.
--The board approved allowing Wales to pursue a land trade with the state. Using a parcel recently traded with Blaise Andreski, Wales said he thought the state would trade that parcel for one on Fortune Lake, or another parcel for the county’s benefit, he said.
--The board approved appointing Steve Gagnea to the 911 Authority Board for a three-year term.
--The board approved allowing a snowmobile race to take place at the Iron County Airport, contingent on all parties submitting insurance forms.
--The board approved a request for $3,000 from the Iron Conservation District. Programs offered by the district include the annual tree sale, recycling and work on invasive species.
--The board approved a 2012 general obligation on unlimited tax refinancing bonds, which could secure savings of over $1 million dollars.