Dickinson to replace airport water line

IRON MOUNTAIN – Dickinson County will use a federal grant to replace a water main that froze last winter at Ford Airport.

The $125,000 project will require a county share of five percent, or $6,250.

A Federal Aviation Administration block grant of $112,500 will cover 90 percent of the cost and the Michigan Department of Transportation will provide $6,250.

A contract with MDOT was approved Monday by the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners, who have encountered a host of water problems at the airport in recent months.

Troubles began in early March when the water line to the Fontana Terminal building froze. After some $6,700 was spent on excavation without resolving the issue, the board decided to wait until spring to proceed with a fix. A water storage unit and pump were acquired to keep toilets operating.

Then, on April 10, the building’s mechanical room was flooded when the frozen line let loose, streaming water from an uncapped outlet and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. An assessment of the loss, which was covered by property insurance, is ongoing.

During excavation, it was discovered that the water line includes some 90-degree turns, which will be eliminated in the replacement project, said County Controller Nicole Frost.

In other action Monday, the county board:

– Adopted a 2014 county operating millage rate of 6.1203 mills, the same as the current rate. There were no comments during a public hearing on the millage.

– Approved a request from District Court Judge Christopher Ninomiya to purchase bullet resistant service windows for the District Court Clerk’s Office at a cost of up to $7,300. The purchase will come from the court budget and requires no special allocation from the county. Also, the court is pursuing a grant through the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority that would cover half the cost.

– Authorized, as budgeted for 2014, the release of $2,500 to the Hamilton Lakes Lake Board for aquatic nuisance treatment. The lake board expects to spend more than $17,000 this year for eurasian milfoil control in Lake Mary, Lake Louise and Hamilton Lake, according to William Stewart, lake board chairman.

– Heard Equalization Director Sid Bray report that Waucedah Township and Breen Township will begin processing some property tax records on their own, rather than through the county. In past years, Waucedah Township has paid $2,400 annually and Breen Township $2,200 for work done by the county equalization office.

– Approved a contract with NorthCare Network of Marquette to establish a Substance Abuse Disorder Policy Board and appointed Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. as the county’s representative. NorthCare has been designated by the Michigan Department of Community Health to coordinate the provision of substance abuse disorder services throughout the Upper Peninsula.

Jim Anderson’s email address is