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2020 county budget approved

Gerald Corkin, chairman, Marquette County Board of Commissioners

MARQUETTE — At its annual meeting Tuesday evening, the Marquette County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved its Fiscal Year 2020 budget and the property tax millage rate as proposed after holding a public hearing.

The board approved the general fund budget in the amount of roughly $25.35 million, the capital improvement budget in the amount of $530,800 and other county budgets totaling about $36.96 million.

The budget was approved, but may need to be revised before the first of the year because the county budget may be affected by the items vetoed in the state’s budget by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The details of the state budget as it stands could impact the Marquette County budget by about $800,000, said board Chairman Gerald Corkin.

“We’ll have to amend any place where revenues are taken away that aren’t restored with the supplemental budget,” Corkin said. “It’s the feeling of many that a lot of it will be put back in through the supplementals, but one of the big items that was cut out of ours was $600,000 PILT (Property In Lieu of Taxes) swamp tax in this issue, and that is extremely important to the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula.”

Corkin noted that he had received advice from legislators and the Michigan Association of Counties and other U.P. commissioners to proceed with the 2020 budget as proposed and reconvene before Jan. 1 if necessary.

“I just wanted to go over that because we can’t make a lot of final decisions on negotiating contracts or setting salaries for elected officials or anybody else until we can find out what the result from all these vetoed dollars are for Marquette County,” Corkin said.

Though the budget may once again have to be reviewed by the board, officials said the one proposed and adopted at Tuesday’s meeting is “sound.”

“We meet all our mandated things with the budget and 75% of what we do is mandated, we have to do it. Twenty-five percent are local options and two of the bigger ones are the airport and road patrol, so there isn’t a lot of extra money to debate how to spend it, but at least we meet all our obligations,” Corkin said. “Everyone continues to work and provide good services in the county.”

The property tax millage rate approved was 7.6207 mills, the same operating tax millage rate levied in 2018. This will increase operating revenues from ad valorem property taxes by about 1.5%.

The board also approved a resolution that established the salaries of elected county officials for fiscal year 2020. The resolution reflected no increase from the previous year and was unanimously passed with the addition of a motion by Commissioner Joe Derocha to adjust the approved salaries in January if the board does face the $800,000 deficit.

Caroline Bridges was also appointed to the Department of Human Services Board by the commissioners during the meeting.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.