Breitung Township also backs DCHS borrowing plan

QUINNESEC — The Breitung Township Board will send a letter of support to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency backing the Dickinson County Healthcare System’s plan to pursue a $25 million federal loan.

The board made the commitment Monday in response to an appeal from former northern Michigan congressman Bart Stupak of Venable LLP, a Washington D.C. firm hired by DCHS after it appeared close to bankruptcy.

Stupak, in a letter written on behalf of the DCHS Board of Trustees, stated the money would be used to stabilize and restructure DCHS’s long-term financial obligations, plus help purchase and upgrade medical equipment.

“Think they’ll be able to pay it back?” Treasurer Carol Taylor said.

“As long as we don’t have to,” Trustee Rich Wales joked.

But Taylor was not satisfied with Stupak’s description of how the money would be used.

“They’re not explaining what they want to do with the money in enough detail — $25 million is a lot of money,” Taylor said.

The board voted to support the loan application, with only Taylor opposed.

In other business, the board:

— Approved $1,000 for a six-month agreement with the City of Norway for access to their geographic information system.

— Amended a township policy that sets employee mileage rates to reflect a change made by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS raised its standard rate from 53 cents per mile to 58 cents per mile.

— Authorized Fire Chief Jeff Iverson to purchase three portable radios from Elcom Communications in Marquette for a total cost of $1,700.40.

— Accepted a final draft of the administrative policy and procedures manual, which removed redundancies from the previous version.

— Appointed Superintendent Steve Mulka to the Construction Code Commission, Dickinson County Road Commission, Dickinson Solid Waste Authority, Economic Development Alliance, Highway Access Management Coalition and Central Landfill Authority.