By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - Iron County has offered its support to local municipalities that are hoping to start a scrap tire collection program in the county.
Crystal Falls City Manager Dorothea Olson brought the issue to members of the Iron County Board of Commissioners during their monthly meeting on Tuesday.
According to Olson, there are several areas of her city where tires are piling up.
"We have all seen them alongside the roadways in our county," she said. "Scrap tires are an environmental and health hazard."
Olson informed the board that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) offers scrap tire clean up grants that will pay $1.25 toward each passenger tire equivalent collected.
Although the Crystal Falls City Council has already approved to apply for the grant, Olson felt that there is a greater chance of receiving it if more municipalities and the county also apply.
Commissioners voiced some concerns about costs, since a scrap tire hauler would likely charge more than $1.25 to take each tire away.
Olson suggested that people who drop off tires could pay a fee of 50 cents per tire to make up the difference. Furthermore, she proposed that volunteers could staff the collection site or sites.
Ideally, there would be two collection sites, one on each side of the county, that would only accept tires during a one-day event. Olson said that the Bristol Mine could serve as the site for the east side of the county.
Commissioners agreed that they would help by applying for the DEQ grant as well.
"Thanks for taking the initiative on this," Commissioner Patti Peretto told Olson.
The deadline to apply for the grant is Oct. 25. If the county or municipalities receive the grant, they will have until August 2014 to use it.
In other business, the board:
- Approved a plan to reduce staff in the prosecutor and Friend of the Court offices by .6. The reduction will involve the retirement of one person in the Friend of the Court office, moving one person from the prosecutor's office to the Friend of the Court office, and increasing one position in the prosecutor's office to full-time. Before the plan takes effect, it must go through the union and the state agencies that fund the positions.
- Appointed Don Powell to the Iron County Human Services Board. Commissioners Carl Lind, Jim Brennan, and Ray Coates voted for Powell, while Commissioners Peretto and Tim Aho voted for John Archocosky.
- Appointed Margee Brennan and Patricia Ashcraft to the Iron County Board of Canvassers.
- Supported a resolution from Kim Stoker of the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) regarding the Regional Prosperity Initiative. Stoker said that the plan is to collaborate and consolidate with other planning regions in the Upper Peninsula.
- Heard a presentation by Gary Burk, the county's representative to the U.P. Fair Authority. He said that attendance was up this year, and that next year's fair is set for Aug. 11 through 17.
- Approved the 2013 apportionment report.
- Held a moment of silence for former commissioner Leo Remondini, who recently passed away.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.