IC board considers layoffs to adjust to budget vetoes

CRYSTAL FALLS — The Iron County Board has decided for now not to issue layoff notices for some Iron County general staff, road patrol and child care services.

The vote Tuesday came as the county considers moves in response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 147 line-item budget vetoes that may affect grant monies that fund salaries for some county employees.

If the grants are terminated, the board is not required to supplement the monies from the general fund, board vice-chairman Mike Stafford said.

Further complicating matters, the county — which prepares its annual budget using a calendar year — may face a $70,000 fourth-quarter deficit if the state fails to fund its Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, program. PILT replaces revenue lost on tax-exempt land owned by the state.

Commissioners Tim Aho, Ray Coates and Sharon Leonoff voted no on the layoff notices, while Stafford and board chairwoman Patti Peretto voted in favor.

A budget meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Oct. 22.

“Hopefully, the state finalizes the budget and we know what we have and what we don’t have,” Stafford said.

In other business, the board:

— Adopted the 2019 apportionment plan, authorizing the spread of millages against the 2019 taxable valuation. The total taxable value in Iron County is $519,181,044, an increase of $10,956,766 — or 2.16 percent — compared with the 2018 taxable value. The total taxes collected amount to $20,777,436, an increase of $272,694. The total county-allocated millage rose by $70,452, for a total of $3,338,334.

— Granted Iron County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell’s request to display crosses on the Iron County Courthouse lawn for the remainder of October to recognize National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

— Appointed Esther Hooper and Pam Kritz to the Iron County Board of Canvassers, and Joe Shubat to a third term on the Iron County Department of Health and Human Services Board.

— Continued the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan health insurance plan at 80 percent employer, 20 percent employee total annual cost.

— Chose 44North of Marquette as a third-party administrator for employee benefits and EyeMed Vision Care LLC as a vision benefits provider for county employees.