By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - At the request of Iron County Chamber of Commerce Director Bob Black, the Iron County Board of Commissioners stands ready to file an appeal with the U.S. Forest Service over plans to bypass Iron River in a new off-road vehicle (ORV) route.
Black made a presentation to board members at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
The forest service had previously asked for comments about adding ORV routes to Iron County.
Options included: one-no action, two-using a route to the northwest of Iron River, or three-using a route that would come within two miles of Iron River businesses. Option two would utilize Forest Highway 3270 and County Road 657, while option three would utilize Ponozzo Road.
Although the board, the chamber of commerce, and the Chippewa Sno-Kats Trail Club had all asked the forest service to go with option three, the forest service chose option two.
Black believed that the forest service decided on option two in part because it would be about 10 miles shorter than option three for trail users traveling from Watersmeet to Kenton.
However, Black added that option two would divert trail users from traveling to Iron River and patronizing the city's businesses.
"It's great to have another connection route, but we don't need any more loss of business in Iron County," he said.
According to Black, the interested parties still have an opportunity to file an appeal over the plan. He has already filed an appeal on behalf of the chamber of commerce.
Commissioners also seemed agreeable to filing an appeal.
They decided to prepare paperwork for final approval at their next meeting on Jan. 21.
In other business, the board:
- Changed the date and time of regular board meetings. Starting in February, the board will meet only once per month on the second Tuesday at 6 p.m. Previously, the board met twice per month on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. Meetings will still be held in the commissioners' room in the Iron County Courthouse.
- Approved to continue holding finance meetings weekly at 1 p.m. through Feb. 14. After that date, finance meetings will be held every other week.
- Considered some recommendations from retired Michigan State University professor Lynn Harvey, an expert in county government. Besides the change in number of finance meetings, Harvey suggested that the board keep appointments even among commissioners, only have one public comment session at the beginning of each meeting, and to follow Robert's Rules of Order. The recommendations will be up for approval at the next meeting.
- Designated attorney Steve Tinti as civil counsel.
- Tabled action on releasing accumulated benefits to Melanie Camps and Joetta Grieg. Camps and Grieg are former employees of the county treasurer's office who moved into elected positions in the new year: Camps as treasurer and Grieg as register of deeds.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.