Funding approved for Dickinson County senior centers

County board meets

IRON MOUNTAIN — Senior citizen centers in Dickinson County will receive property tax appropriations in 2023 that are either the same or higher than this year.

The county board Monday approved a plan to distribute $464,000 in revenues from a county-wide levy of 0.3995 mills, or 40 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. The board met Nov. 14 to hear requests from center representatives before drafting the senior millage budget, which is up by $27,000.

The Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency will receive $288,000, an increase of $7,000. DICSA’s share helps provide home-delivered meals and other programs, including support for the Family Ties adult day care center.

Kristin Sommerfeld, DICSA executive director, said the millage revenues have a substantial impact on the agency’s programs “both in quantity and quality.”

Allocations for the five senior centers are:

≤ $60,000 for Norway-Vulcan, an increase of $10,000.

≤ $50,000 for Crystal Lake in Iron Mountain, an increase of $6,300.

≤ $28,000 for Sagola Township, an increase of $3,000.

≤ $28,000 for Breen Township in Kingsford, no change.

≤ $10,000 for Felch Township, no change.

Norway-Vulcan also gets support from a levy of 0.5 mills, or 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, which generates about $85,000 from the city of Norway and Norway and Waucedah townships. The Norway center partially separated from DICSA in 2016.

In other action Monday, the county board:

≤ Approved minutes from a Nov. 21 special meeting at which Prosecutor Lisa Richards was authorized to advertise for an assistant prosecutor to specialize in drug cases. During a discussion at a Nov. 17 finance meeting, Richards and Circuit Court Judge Christopher Ninomiya reviewed drug case statistics to support the position, which would carry an estimated annual salary and benefits cost of $90,000 to $100,000. Richards currently has an assistant prosecutor and a chief assistant. At the Nov. 21 session, a salary increase of $4,000 for the chief assistant, Kristin Kass, was also approved.

≤ Scheduled a meeting for 9 a.m. Thursday to address the presence of a sewage drain field at Pine Mountain Resort that extends onto county property. According to Controller Brian Bousley, there is no record of an easement being granted for the system, which dates to 1973 or earlier. Storie Co. of Indianapolis expects to acquire and expand the resort, but the sale has not yet closed.

≤ Agreed to provide $1,500 for milfoil control to each of the four associations that represent lakefront property owners in the county. That would include Lake Antoine, Sawyer Lake, Carney Lake and the Hamilton Lakes chain. In recent years, the county has contributed occasionally to Lake Antoine herbicide treatments, but not for any others. Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. noted the funding is contingent on the associations following lake board procedures as defined by state law.

≤ Heard Eric Wickman of Vulcan urge further study into the power grid implications of Circle Power’s proposed solar farm at the former Groveland Mine site. While the county has no direct say in the project under consideration in Sagola, Felch and Norway townships, Wickman said it should help investigate whether additional transmission line costs may be passed on to customers. Circle Power has said the solar farm’s connection to the electric grid will be controlled by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which sets requirements for accepting new generation capacity.

≤ Met in a closed session for 25 minutes regarding trial or settlement strategy in pending litigation. No action was taken when the board returned to open session, but Bousley said that may happen at the Dec. 12 regular meeting. The case wasn’t identified, though Bousley said it’s not unique to Dickinson County.


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