Marquette County Board approves pipeline reroute

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting unanimously approved a reroute of the Marquette Connector Pipeline, a project underway by Semco Energy Gas Co.

Following staff recommendation, the board approved a request for an easement from Semco to reroute a portion of the pipeline due to a “large rock obstruction,” county officials said.

The total length of the reroute is about 1,300 feet, or 1.33 acres of temporary work space and 1.31 acres of permanent easement, according to county officials. The board also requested a partial release of the permanent easement to Marquette County from Semco upon completion of the pipeline project.

The proposal “uses the same fee structure agreed upon for the original temporary easement, permanent easement and timber consideration,” board documents state, with the permanent easement fee paid to the state of Michigan, as the area is in Public Act 217 lands. The county will receive around $4,650 for the pipeline reroute.

The board also approved a payment of around $4,900 to Michigamme Township to help the township “defray legal expenses” related to a recent Michigan Tax Tribunal case between the township and the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy, officials said.

The township had challenged a tax tribunal matter brought by the UPLC about designating around 635 acres encompassing much of Indian Lake as a land conservancy.

It was challenged by the township because the township “disagrees that the land meets the definition of what would allow it to become a conservancy” and if the land was approved to become a designated land conservancy, the ad valorem property tax would be eliminated, county officials said.

Marquette County will receive about 15.67% of the 2018 taxes paid in Michigamme Township and staff had recommended that the board authorize a payment of roughly $4,960 to the township, which is about 15.67% of the total bill.

In other business, the board also unanimously ratified the appointment of Felicia Savola as a magistrate for the Marquette County court system; approved an option to purchase property for the Marquette County Land Bank Authority; approved a resolution regarding funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; and a resolution regarding revolving loan fund compliance and policies.

In addition to these items, the board heard the county’s annual audit review from Anderson, Tackman and Co. PLC, which indicated that while county revenues and expenses have remained flat, the county is in good standing.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is cbrown@miningjournal.net.