By JIM ANDERSON
IRON MOUNTAIN - Dickinson County will increase the rent charged to tenants at the Crystal Lake (YMCA) center by 2 percent effective Jan. 1.
With the rate increase, the county will receive a total of $136,407 in rent from the building's nine tenants, an increase of $2,642.
County Controller Kay Pascoe said the increase will help cover rising utility costs.
The YMCA moved into the county-owned community center under a five-year operating agreement in November 2010 and may eventually take over ownership. Current tenants are the Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency (DICSA), Family Ties Adult Day Care, UPCAP Services, UPCAP/Community Corrections, Teck Marital Arts, Medical Care Access Coalition (MCAC), Michigan State University Extension Service and the Dickinson County Office of Veterans Affairs.
The rent increase was approved the county board Monday.
In a related matter, the board met in a closed session and discussed a possible lease for a new Dickinson County location for the MSU-Extension office. No immediate action was taken. Current rental cost for the Extension is about $30,000 annually and moving the Extension could free up space for an additional center tenant.
In other action, the board:
- Authorized Sheriff Scott Celello to advertise and post a courthouse security position. Court security officer Bill Carlson is retiring.
- In a 3-2 vote, offered a favorable comment on the Upper Peninsula Economic Development Alliance's application for federal assistance to undertake the U.P. Link Project. The project would provide 13 video conferencing sites in the Upper Peninsula to decrease the cost of business travel for both the public and private sectors. Total cost is nearly $1.3 million. Commissioners Ann Martin and Frank Smith voted no, with Smith saying there are already enough sites.
- Conducted a controller's evaluation in closed session. Afterwards, Smith reported the board is happy with Pascoe's performance.
- Reappointed Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. to a three-year term as the county's representative on the U.P. State Fair Authority.
- Heard Channing resident Gerald McCole say that, despite dismissive comments from Degenaer at an earlier meeting, he stands by his formal complaint that the county board is violating Michigan Compiled Laws. In papers filed with the Michigan Department of Attorney General, McCole argues that the board has no rules, guidelines or operating manuals to follow when performing county actions. Degenaer, at a Sept. 24 meeting, described McCole's grievances as ludicrous.
- Approved sending a letter to the Michigan House Appropriations Committee opposing House Bill 5725. The proposed legislation would allow municipalities to leave the Municipal Employees' Retirement System of Michigan (MERS) by a simple vote of the governing body. Current law requires a public referendum. MERS, an independent non-profit public organization, is actively protesting the legislation, saying it threatens the strength of the statewide retirement plan.
Jim Anderson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.