Iron Mountain might seek to have law enforcement officer in school

IRON MOUNTAIN — City voters might be asked later this year to restore funding for a police officer at Iron Mountain Public Schools.

There has been no school liaison officer in Iron Mountain since voters in November 2014 rejected a millage increase to save the program. At Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Dale Alessandrini suggested it was time to revive the concept.

“I think we need to have some kind of protection in our school,” he said. “It was a great thing for the kids when we had it.”

Other council members, including Amanda List, Nathan Zemar and retired police officer Bill Revord, agreed the program is beneficial.

A liaison officer had been assigned for about 12 years when the school decided it could no longer split the cost. Previously, the city had levied up to .25 mill, or 25 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, for the position.

When voters were asked to approve a five-year levy of .5 mill, or 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, they turned it down, with a vote of 1,125 no to 986 yes.

Given that 2014 result, Revord said, “The public needs to be partner in it from the beginning.”

Discussions will continue, with the city facing a May 15 deadline to have the issue on the Aug. 7 primary ballot or an Aug. 15 deadline for the Nov. 6 general election.

In other action Monday, the council:

• Heard City Manager Jordan Stanchina report that Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad plans to replace signals and infrastructure at its 13 crossings in Iron Mountain. Through a state program, the city could be reimbursed $100,000 if it closed a crossing to motorists, plus $125,000 for each additional closure. “In my mind, there might be one or two that we could look at,” Stanchina said. Any decision would be up to the council.

• Approved an easement for We Energies to supply additional power to a Charter Communications facility just off of Park Avenue, north of East A Street. The proposed route was revised, at the council’s request, to follow an established right-of-way. The city will be paid $1,800, which is the land value determined by assessor Patti Roell.

• Opened two-year city audit proposals from Anderson-Tackman & Co. and Schenck. The lowest offer was from Schenck, at $16,850 for the first year and $17,150 for the second. The proposals will be reviewed by staff for a recommendation.

• Opened bids for the purchase of a drum wood chipper capable of handling branches up to 12 inches in diameter. Morbark LLC, based in Winn, Mich., offered a Beever M12-R at a base price of $33,759. Three vendors offered a Vermeer BC1200XL. A dealer in Little Chute, Wisconsin, presented the lowest price for that model at $39,317, which includes a $3,500 credit for trading in the city’s 1990 equipment. The bids will be reviewed for a recommendation.

• Approved parking lot and street closures requested by the Downtown Development Authority for Brew Fest on June 9, Italian Fest on Aug. 18 and Oktoberfest on Sept. 29. Each Saturday event uses the parking lot at Iron Mountain and Hughitt streets from 7 a.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Sunday. Also, Italian Fest and Oktoberfest will close Iron Mountain Street from Hughitt to East A streets from 7 a.m. to midnight Aug. 18 and Sept. 29. The city will waive the noise ordinance until midnight for both Italian Fest and Oktoberfest.

• Agreed, as in the past, to partially waive a City Park pavilion fee for Art for All. The city will waive the Friday fee to allow the group to set up for the June 23, show. Art for All will pay the Saturday fee.