By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - Iron County officials will continue to fine tune the county's 2013 budget before it goes up for final approval at the end of the month.
The proposed budget currently stands at $5,307,873.
The largest expenses include insurance at $912,420, Iron County Trial Court at $632,529, the Iron County Jail at $617,669, and the sheriff's department at $579,289.
At least one change will have to be made. During the Iron County Board of Commissioners' Tuesday meeting, the board approved to increase the county's contribution to the Northwoods Animal Shelter by $150 per month. The action will give the shelter $18,300 annually.
Back in June, the shelter asked for a contribution increase in order to pay rising utility bills. The board agreed in August to raise the contribution by $250 per month for the remainder of 2012, and to revisit the issue for another possible increase of $150 per month during the 2013 budget process.
Board Chair Wayne Wales noted that the additional $150 per month increase was not included in the proposed budget.
"We've gone over this many times, that at the end of the year, we would move it up," he said. "$150 per month is very minor compared to what it would cost if the county took on all shelter responsibilities."
"They're only asking to keep their heads above water," he added.
Commissioners Fran Wills and Bev Camp agreed, while commissioners Carl Lind and Rosalie King voted against raising the contribution.
In addition, commissioners directed County Administrator Sue Clisch to gather information on the total cost of a two percent raise for elected officials and appointed employees.
In other business, the board:
- Heard a presentation from Detective/Lt. Tim Sholander of the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET).
Sholander said that drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine are on the rise across the Upper Peninsula.
Since UPSET is bringing in less revenue through forfeitures, as cars and houses seized in methamphetamine cases cannot be resold due to safety reasons, the team needs funding.
Sholander asked that the board consider making a contribution to UPSET.
- Heard a presentation from Iron County Drain Commissioner Tom Clark about a proposal to eliminate the Iron County Drain Commissioner position in 2016 and direct the duties to the Iron County Road Commission.
The presentation was informational only, and the board took no action.
- Approved the Michigan Works Interlocal Agreement.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.