Dickinson gets good news on fair

Theresa Proudfit/Daily News Photo.
Crowd shots taken from on top of the Ferris Wheel at The 2017 Dickinson County Fair.

Theresa Proudfit/Daily News Photo. Crowd shots taken from on top of the Ferris Wheel at The 2017 Dickinson County Fair.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Attendance at this year’s Dickinson County Fair in Norway was “very comparable” to last year’s attendance, which topped 30,000 admissions, Fair Board President John Degenaer Jr. reported Monday.

Degenaer, a Dickinson County Board member, said revenues were up an estimated $14,000 from a year ago. Last year’s overall revenues approached $200,000.

The 2016 fair had been described by Degenaer as “all in all … a record fair.”

About the only snags in this year’s five-day Labor Day weekend event were the cancelation of Friday’s demolition derby due to a lack of participants and rain Saturday.

“Our grandstands were full,” Degenaer told the county board. “We made enough to make our payments.”

Daily gate fees were raised to $5, up from $4, but all grandstand entertainment was free with the price of admission.

Earlier this year, the county board allowed the fair to borrow up to $250,000 to add a multipurpose building to the fairgrounds. The fair is responsible for all annual payments but has the county’s support should it fall delinquent.

Under the agreement, the fair should always have on hand an amount equal to, or greater than, one annual payment. Should the fair fail to make a payment, it will be required to reimburse the county, plus pay a $1,000 fee.

Degenaer praised and congratulated his fellow fair board members, saying much has been accomplished in the past year.

In other action Monday, the county board:

— Heard Commissioner Joe Stevens remark that Dickinson County Healthcare System has faced numerous financial challenges but continues to look for ways to overcome it. Stevens is liaison to the DCHS Board.

— Adopted a resolution opposing Michigan Senate Bill 386, legislation the county claims would undermine the process for collecting delinquent property taxes. The county fears it would increase litigation against the county treasurer, allowing anyone to challenge a court-ordered property tax foreclosure for eight new reasons, even a person with no legal interest in the property. The legislation is mainly the result of an isolated incident in Isabella County in which a property foreclosure resulted from nonpayment of taxes that should not have been owed, according to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis.

— Authorized applying for a $15,000 Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency county incentive grant that would include $10,000 for an additional Dickinson County veterans service officer, Larry Pascador, as well as technical support, said County Controller Brian Bousley. The county earlier received a $30,000 incentive grant when James Brown was hired as a veterans service officer. A property tax for the office of 0.1 mills, or 10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, that county voters approved Nov. 8 to support the office can’t be levied until December of this year. The millage, if fully levied, will generate about $90,000 to $95,000 annually.

— Heard Bousley report he will soon draft an agreement that Dickinson County could present to Iron County on a restructuring of Friend of the Court services. Circuit court judges have proposed that Dickinson County Friend of the Court Heidi Van Slooten take on similar duties in Iron County. The Friend of the Court Office assists the circuit court in domestic relations cases that involve minor children, such as child support, custody and parenting time.

— Held a moment of silence for former Dickinson County Equalization Department employee Sam Gerber, who died Thursday. Gerber had been hired earlier this year as Chocolay Township assessor in Marquette County.

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