County board approves 2019 budget

CRYSTAL FALLS—At the end of the regular monthly meeting of the Iron County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 16, the board celebrated a victory lap with the passage of the 2019 general budget, adopting it a month or two earlier than in previous years.
    The nearly 100-page document was released for public display and comment on Sept. 12 and the public could comment on the budget at the start of the meeting. The document, which can be found on the county’s website and on-site, states that the county expects a general net revenue of around $4.29 million for 2019. With other funds and appropriations factored in, the ending balance is estimated at nearly $12.6 million. The ending balance is close to the revised 2018 balance of roughly $12.8 million, and it is up by $2 million overall since 2016.
    In addition to the budget, the resolution approving LTGO bonds for the Iron County Medical Care Facility was voted on. In August, ICMCF asked for the bonds to help pay for liabilities in employee pensions. Commissioner Jim Brennan inquired as to long-term risks with the bond just prior to the vote. Robin Caron of the ICMCF discussed the situation with him, mentioning that the risk of approving the bonds now is lower than waiting as the state is planning to go to a different reimbursement system. With the funds approved by the end of the year, future changes wouldn’t affect the loan going forward.
    The response was enough to secure unanimous agreement from the board, but it’s not the end of the approval process, with the ICMCF having to go to the state as one of the next steps.
    While there were a number of budgetary items passed at the meeting, there were some issues that did not come to an immediate resolution. One area that remained up in the air was a vacancy in the Housing Commission. As of the time of the meeting, no one had expressed an interest in the position. Chairman Tim Aho expressed concern that the empty spot might develop into a quorum bottleneck where too few officials showing up would prevent the commission from conducting business.

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