Dickinson accepts Ford Airport grant


News Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN – Dickinson County is accepting a grant of $113,850 from the Federal Aviation Administration for improvements at Ford Airport.

The money will be used to rehabilitate parts of the runway and taxiway pavement, rehabilitate part of the terminal and acquire new firefighting safety suits and snow removal equipment.

The county board on Monday formally accepted the competitive grant, which was announced last week.

In other action Monday, the county board:

– Rejected the concept of turning over the Crystal Lake Senior Center to the Northern Lights YMCA, which had proposed acquiring the building (and parking lot) as part of a facility upgrade. Representatives of the senior center objected to the idea last month and again last week at a county board committee meeting. In November 2010, the YMCA signed a five-year lease with the county to take over operations of the former Crystal Lake Community Center, which neighbors the senior center. The county entered the lease with the understanding that the YMCA could eventually assume ownership of the community center, but the senior center was not part of that plan. The YMCA lease will remain status quo, but the county intends to meet with the YMCA to discuss the parking lot boundary.

– Adopted a resolution in support of state legislation that would better define the methods used to assess commercial properties. State Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, has joined in drafting a bill that seeks to stop the trend of “big box” stores lowering their assessments through appeals to the Michigan Tax Tribunal by comparing them to stores that are closed or abandoned.

– Approved a request from the Dickinson County Library Board to levy 0.9 mills for 2014, the full amount authorized by county voters and the same as the current rate.

– Heard Commissioner Barbara Kramer report that a proposed southern Upper Peninsula route for a Michigan biking and hiking trail has so far received 51 endorsements from various groups and local governments. The southern U.P. trail was also the subject of a recent presentation to Michigan Department of Natural Resources representatives who will be conferring with Gov. Rick Snyder. The governor plans to offer a detailed state trail proposal next month, Kramer said. Last November, Snyder offered a vision for a 924-mile signature trail that would stitch together existing trails and new routes to connect the entire state. Under that plan, a northern U.P. route along Lake Superior was proposed.

– Accepted a proposal from Chicago-based Integrys Energy Services to be the county’s natural gas supplier. The current supplier is Glacial Energy. Under a variable rate proposed by Integrys, there is a projected 16 percent savings (or about $10,000 annually) from DTE Energy’s fixed rate (as regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission), according to Integrys representative Julie Cowling.

– Awarded a bid to Solutions Telecommunications of Escanaba to provide a ShoreTel phone system for the county’s E-911 dispatch upgrade at a cost of $32,354.

– Authorized payment of a pending invoice of $10,245 from Bruce Municipal Equipment of Menomonee Falls, Wis., for repairs to the airport fire truck.

– Authorized advertising for applicants for the following: one term on the library board; two terms on the planning commission; one term on the solid waste planning committee (representing solid waste industry); six terms on the Brownfield authority; one term on the Department of Human Services board; one term on the Fumee Lake Commission; and one term on the Western U.P. Substance Abuse Services panel.

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