Dickinson looks to install new 911 system in summer


News Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN – Dickinson County hopes to have funding in place by mid-June to upgrade its 911 emergency dispatch system.

The county is selling up to $500,000 in revenue bonds to finance the new equipment, with payment guaranteed through a millage approved in February.

County Controller Kay Pascoe reported that the county’s financial counsel expects the bonds to be sold by the end of May.

The county board, meanwhile, approved a request Monday from Sheriff Scott Celello to send Deputy 911 Director Pete Schlitt to Motorola headquarters in Schaumberg, Ill., to attend a technology review on the type of equipment that will be used. The $450 cost of this week’s trip will come out of the Emergency Services travel fund.

The visit will help the county determine the best technology for its needs, Celello said.

According to Pascoe, the 911 equipment will likely be acquired through a state purchasing program. Other aspects of the installation, such as electrical work, should be available to local bidders, she said.

County voters on Feb. 26 authorized a new levy of 0.4 mills for three years to improve and operate the 911 system, including the replacement of console equipment purchased in 1991. The millage will generate an estimated $375,000 in its first year (2013).

In other action Monday, the county board:

– Approved amendments to its commercial operating agreement with Kubick Aviation Services Inc. whereby a charter flight service will be offered beginning May 1 at Ford Airport. Kubick plans to offer nine-passenger charter flights as needed to Lansing and will reimburse the county for associated airport costs. “I’m really pleased,” said Commissioner Joe Stevens, adding the new service will be “good for the county.”

– Received the 2013 equalization report from Larry Swartout, equalization director, and assistant Sid Bray, who is taking over Swartout’s position effective April 29. The county’s total equalized valuation is up about $20 million from a year ago, an increase of about 1.8 percent, Swartout said. The total taxable value of all properties in the county is up about 2 percent, he said.

– Presented a resolution to Swartout, congratulating him on his retirement, and commending him for 23 years of exemplary work as equalization director.

– Approved, in a 4-1 vote, a request from Menominee River Habitat for Humanity to allow a 50 percent camping rate reduction at Lake Antoine Park for Care-A-Vanners who will assist a Habitat home building project July 7-19. Up to 10 recreational vehicles will be accommodated. The county has traditionally granted such requests, but only for camping that has taken place later in the summer. Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. voted no, saying this year’s request reduces revenue for the financially squeezed parks system at the busiest time of the season. Besides providing two weeks of labor on a new home for a local family, the Care-A-Vanners support local businesses, according to Dian Miller, Habitat volunteer coordinator.

– Reappointed Allan L. Bilski and James R. Carey to the Dickinson County Road Commission for three-year terms. There were no other applicants.

– Reappointed Dennis Baldinelli and Henry McRoberts to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority for one-year terms. Four vacancies for three-year terms remain.

– With no applications received for two vacancies on the Dickinson County Planning Commission, heard Chairman Henry Wender say the county should consider reducing the commission from the current nine members to seven.

– Heard Pascoe report that a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency grant to help acquire two new patrol cars has been reduced from $9,000 per vehicle to $4,000 per vehicle.

– Learned that its application to the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Competitive Grant Assistance Program to fully fund a Dickinson County Unified Tax Assessment and Equalization System was unsuccessful. The two-year project would have provided $522,795 to update tax assessments county-wide, utilizing aerial photography and digital building sketches. The program was one of six proposed by AIS Marketing Inc. in the U.P. , and all were denied, Pascoe said.

– Authorized the purchase of four six-drawer locked file cabinets from U.P. Office Furnishing of Iron Mountain at a cost of $2,968. Funds will come from the 911 Fund.

– Approved an agreement with Burnham & Flower Group Inc. to perform an actuarial study for post-employment benefits for county employees at a cost of $3,200. Such a study is required every three years under generally accepted accounting principles and becomes part of the county’s audit, Pascoe noted.

Jim Anderson’s email address is janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.