March 28, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 73

Gogebic County Board renews $1 911 surcharge

BESSEMER — The Gogebic County Board of Commissioners renewed the $1 per month 911 surcharge on all communications service providers for another year on Wednesday.

On May 15, 2009, county voters approved a surcharge of up to $1.65 per month, but only $1 has been collected, noted Jim Loeper, county emergency services director.

The surcharge was voted in 1,449-1,052.

The $1 renewal begins on July 1.

Loeper noted the surcharge collected by the county will be in effect through December of 2014, and it will then be placed before the voters again. “I would predict (the renewal request) will drop to $1 then,” he said.

Loeper had some good news for commissioners. He said the city of Wakefield, through the efforts of city manager John Siira, has received a $77,000 grant for Sunday Lake dam repairs after 10 years of applying for the money.

Loeper said the county is prepared with thousands of sandbags should they be needed for potential flooding caused by sudden run-off this spring.

Commissioner Bob Orlich, of Wakefield, said the last time the sand bags were needed, they were filled by prisoners from the Ojibway prison in Marenisco.

In other business Wednesday, on a 4-2 vote commissioners agreed to advertise for a part-time deputy treasurer position.

County treasurer Sue Pertile said she could use a full-time employee, as in the past, but she agreed to try to get along with a part-timer. She said she feared in advertising for a part-time employee, she might not receive as qualified a candidate as if the position were full-time.

Board chairman Dan Siirila, of Ironwood, noted the county is facing the loss of $77,000 in revenue sharing funds, or about a 22 percent cutback, as reported earlier in the meeting by commissioner Leroy Kangas, of Ironwood Township. Siirila said employee layoffs are possible.

“We can come back and look at it,” Siirila said of the part-time job.

Jim Oliver, and Tom Gerovac, both of Ironwood, voted against seeking a part-time deputy clerk, favoring a full-time position.

George Peterson, of Watersmeet; Orlich, Siirila and Kangas supported seeking a part-time employee. Dennis Jacobson, of Bessemer, was absent.

In other business, the board:

—Appointed Robert Berg to a vacancy on the Gogebic-Iron Airport Board.

—Adopted a 2013-’18 county recreation plan.

—Granted Holly Johnson, an employee in the prosecutor’s office, a two-year wage increase, as specified in the union contract.

—Agreed to amend the sheriff’s department budget to reflect a transfer of $25,325 to the vehicle lien item. The money is the insurance pay-off for a squad car that was wrecked in an accident. The transfer was needed to make a payment to Smethkamp Dodge to replace the damaged vehicle, according to sheriff Peter Matonich.