The allocation is part of a $10.79 million budget the county board adopted Tuesday after a public hearing. Details of the 4-H spending, a late addition to the budget, will be worked out, Controller Brian Bousley said.
IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County will contribute $25,000 to 4-H in 2022, its first commitment to the youth development organization since 2015.
The board approved the lesser amount Tuesday by a unanimous vote, with Commissioner Ann Martin absent and Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. participating remotely. No one from the public attended.
Paul Putnam, Michigan State University-Extension District 1 director in the Upper Peninsula, had approached the board in November to seek up to $70,000 for 4-H and other Extension education programs.
Degenaer has recommended a $20,000 contribution for 4-H in the past but never gained majority support. Some youth programs have continued in the meantime.
The county in 2014 provided about $71,000 for the Extension, which at that time helped sustain an office and support staff. The allocation was cut to $20,000 for 2015, then eliminated in 2016 after voters rejected millages in May 2015 and again in August 2016.
Overall, the general fund is up by $973,000, or 9.9% from a year ago, but much of the increase is uncommitted as the budget anticipates a 2022 fund balance of $5.21 million, an increase of $909,000. The board expects to dedicate a portion of the surplus to unfunded pension liabilities and capital improvements.
Bousley noted the county will again receive about $1 million in pandemic aid for Ford Airport, which will lessen the need for tax money to support airport operations.
The property tax rate for the general fund is 6.1323 mills, or $6.13 per $1,000 of taxable value. That’s down by about 0.1% from the previous 6.1403 mills, a fractional rollback required under the state’s Headlee Amendment. General fund property tax revenues are projected at $5.7 million in 2022, an increase of about 1.5%. With employee contracts expiring at the end of the year, the county has reached new four-year agreements with three of the four collective bargaining units. The most recent settlement is with governmental employees at the courthouse, providing annual wage increases of 2%, Bousley said. Negotiations continue with the union for dispatch/corrections workers.
In other action Tuesday, the county board: — Learned from Chairman Henry Wender that Dickinson County Healthcare System’s planned affiliation agreement with Marshfield Clinic Health System in moving toward closure but may not be finished until the end of January, a month later than first hoped. Once the deal is finalized, facility operations will be turned over to the Marshfield, Wis.-based health care system with input and oversight from a local advisory board.
— Heard Sheriff Scott Rutter praise 911 dispatch employees for persevering through staff shortages. “I want to acknowledge the dispatch center and how hard they’ve worked,” he said. Employees have gone above and beyond to allow the center “to continue to function,” he told the board. Staffing in all areas of law enforcement and emergency services continues to be difficult, but there is progress, he said. — Appointed Chuck Parker to a partial term on the Dickinson County Fair Board expiring March 2, 2024, and Ashley Edwards to a partial term expiring March 1, 2023. The vacancies were created by the resignations of Dean Larson and Joe Larson. In a note to the board, Joe Larson cited health reasons and expressed “his great pleasure” in serving with fellow members.
— Heard Bousley report that, due to pandemic delays for the contractor, an online reservation system for the Lake Antoine campground likely won’t be up and running until mid-January. — Heard Wender thank employees at the courthouse complex for their work this past year through the complications and challenges of the pandemic.
— Recognized the success of the Lake Antoine Park Partners’ Lights at the Lake event. LAPP’s next activity is the Kites Over Awesome Lake Antoine Fest, a professional kite-flying show scheduled for Feb. 26, Commissioner Barbara Kramer said. — Approved buying a hangar at Ford Airport from Joseph O’Brien for $130,000, plus reimbursement of a ground lease and taxes totaling $6,618. The county anticipates leasing the hangar to recoup its costs.