Dickinson board denies Pinecrest vote

Commissioners favor going on November, not August, ballot

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Dickinson County Board on Monday rejected a request from Pinecrest Medical Care Facility in Powers to place a millage proposal on the Aug. 7 ballot, with the majority of commissioners saying they’d rather see a vote in November.

“I really think we ought to wait on this,” said Commissioner Joe Stevens, who was joined by Chairman Henry Wender and commissioners Ann Martin and Barbara Kramer in denying the resolution.

Commissioners said there are four other county-wide millage proposals to be decided in August’s primary election.

“In November, I think there’s a better chance for it to be approved,” Stevens said.

Commissioner John Degenaer Jr., who voted in favor, said it’s “a little disturbing” the county would deny Pinecrest’s plan. “The voting public … knows if they want to support it or not,” he said.

Pinecrest, which serves Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties, is proposing a new Dickinson levy of 0.57 mills, or 57 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, for five years. This would raise an estimated $507,700 when first levied in 2019. Voters in all three counties would have to approve.

Both Menominee and Delta counties were ready to vote in August, but those ballot measures now apparently are void.

Pinecrest is a 140-bed facility with about 350 employees, providing medical care, Alzheimer’s care, and physical, occupational and speech therapy. The facility has building, transportation and information technology needs, administrator Darlene Smith said. About 75 to 79 percent of its revenues come from Medicaid reimbursements, and there are additional operational needs, including staffing, she said.

“Our backup plan is to do the best we can with what we have,” Smith told the board before its vote.

Iron Mountain resident Lucy Shampo said it would be a shame to see Pinecrest falter or Dickinson County lose its ownership share. “I know folks who have had their loved ones there and appreciated it very much,” she said.

Gerald McCole of Channing told the board he questions the legal status of a Pinecrest millage.

The four county-wide millages on the Aug. 7 ballot — all renewals — are as follows:

— 0.4 mills, or 40 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, for three years to operate and equip the county’s enhanced 911 system.

— 0.9 mills, or 90 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, for five years to operate and maintain the Dickinson County Library.

— 0.25 mills, or 25 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, for five years to operate and maintain senior centers and programs; and 0.15 mills, or 15 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, for five years, also to operate and maintain senior centers and programs.

For election purposes, the two senior millages are kept separate, even though both are renewals. The total levy was first increased from 0.25 mills to 0.4 mills in 2004.

Additional millages are slated in individual municipalities, commissioners noted.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-3500, ext. 26, or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.