CRYSTAL FALLS—At its regular July 11 meeting, the County Board voted unanimously to combine the offices of clerk and register of seeds into one office. This will take place after Dec. 31, 2016, when both of the current terms expire.
The board was able to take action on combining the two offices within the time constraints allowed. Once the public hearing was held, commissioners had 30 days to make a decision or hold another hearing.
After listening to a presentation by Lt. Tim Sholander from UPSET, the commissioners voted to donate $5,000 to the anti-drug enforcement team. During a roll-call vote, all commissioners except Patti Peretto voted yes. Peretto said she supports the donation but believes budget time is a better time to make the decision. The motion passed.
During the presentation, Sholander explained the popular drugs in Iron County are heroin, methamphetamine and prescription pills.
According to Sholander, 86 per cent of all heroin use in the 12 counties that UPSET serves is found in Menominee County, with the rest in Dickinson and Iron counties.
Due to the recent meth activity in Iron County, Sholander explained that UPSET is not finding meth production in big labs. Its main concern is “pop bottle labs,” which are dangerous to anyone who comes near them.
Of the 20 labs found in the U.P. counties served by UPSET, four were found in Iron County. Sholander asked the board for financial support due to high operating costs.
The board also agreed to receive and file the audit report after considering a presentation by Kevin Pascoe of Anderson, Tackman & Co.
According to Pascoe’s presentation, Iron County was given an unqualified opinion, which is the highest opinion to be given in an audit. The report valued Iron County at $2.6 million with $14.3 million in assets and $11.6 million in liabilities.
He discussed two material weaknesses found in the audit, which were repeated from the previous audit. The adjustments that had to be made by the auditor were significant enough for it to be considered a material weakness. Due to the switch to new software, he said these adjustments may not need to be made in the upcoming years.
The other material weakness was deficiencies in safeguarding cash, which he said could be fixed easily and not found as a repeat in the upcoming year.
The audit report also showed one significant deficiency, but Pascoe said it is very common for the county not to prepare its own financial documents, having the company do it as part of the audit.
During public comment, Dave Sankey of K&D Service Inc. of Iron River asked the board to consider implementing a rotation system for dispatching wreckers.
With no rotation system in place now, Sankey said it is unfair to other local shops providing tow service when only a few shops are being called by dispatch after an accident. If a rotation was used, dispatch would call based on a list of local companies providing the service.
He said the State Police used a rotation system in the past and it had worked well.
Chairman Carl Lind asked the administrator to look into the issue, and they will go from there. He assured Sankey that he would have an answer in 30 days.
Although no action was taken, the board discussed a possible no-smoking or designated smoking area on Courthouse grounds.
According to Sue Clisch, it doesn’t look good to taxpayers when people smoke in front of the Courthouse.
The board discussed having a designated area in the back with ash trays for smokers instead of letting them smoke anywhere on the grounds.
The approval of Merit Network’s service agreement Schedule, which had been tabled at the June 13 meeting, was tabled again for three months after board discussion.
While it could save the county money, it was recommended to table it so county officials could work through the contracts. Further discussion and possible approval will be placed on the October agenda.
In other business:
--Discussion and approval of health care costs for the county was tabled until the August meeting, to give the new committee time to provide information to the board.
--The board was introduced to Celie Brodnal, Iron County’s new conservation forester.
--The board approved a credit card with a $3,000 limit for John Lortie to use in ordering parts.
--The board agreed to increase the Youth Camp’s credit card limit to $6,000.
--Resolution 2013 for the bike route in southern Upper Peninsula counties put on by the Dickinson Bike Path Committee was approved.
--A resolution directing Iron County’s deficit reduction plan for 2012, which is a yearly resolution sent to the state, was approved.