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County discusses public housing changes

CRYSTAL FALLS — The Iron County Board of Commissioners met on Feb. 11 for its monthly meeting, which received lighter traffic than the room had become accustomed to in the fall and early winter months of last year. However, the meeting was quite active, even more so than many of the finance meetings, lasting 2 1/4 hours. Two issues in particular took up the bulk of this time, a full hour’s worth between the two of them: a presentation by the Iron County Housing Commission and a final decision on full and elected pay bonuses.
    The first of the two featured words delivered by IC Housing Commission Executive Director Steve Gagne, in his first in-regular meeting address with the board after 40 years of service. He asked the board to assist the commission with its requisition program. He said that if the county did not, it would end up having to ask the board for “a lot of money.” Gagne said that if current funding projections hold true, the Housing Commission would be in “deep trouble.”
    At the moment, Gagne said that things were stable due to current spending priorities by the Trump administration, an increase in its budget in excess of 40 percent. However, the funding is not expected to last forever, and even the increases that the Housing Commission has seen over the past few years would not be able to ameliorate issues that have been building since the turn of the century. More recently, since the sequester during the Obama administration, Gagne said that the Housing Commission has had to lay off half of its maintenance staff, and a third of the office staff to deal with current budget realities.

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