Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County board sworn in, elects chair


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Hurley — With the entirety of its membership either elected or re-elected in the April 7 election, the 15 supervisors on the Iron County Board of Supervisors were sworn in for their new terms Tuesday evening at the Iron County Memorial Building.

Following the swearing-in, Joe Pinardi, of Hurley, was re-elected as board chairman and took over running the meeting — which was held at the Memorial Building as the extra space allowed for participants to practice social distancing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Tom Thompson, of Mercer, was elected as the board’s vice chairman.

The board members also elected five members to the county’s highway and agriculture and extension committees.

The highway committee consists of Thompson, Karl Krall, Bill Thomas, Larry Youngs and Scott Erickson. Thomas, Opal Roberts, Ken Saari, Jamey Francis and Youngs make up the agriculture and extension committee.

The board also voted to continue to use Robert’s Rules of Order, kept Chippewa Valley Bank as the official depository and voted to continue using the Iron County Miner as the official county newspaper.

In other action, the board:

—Approved renewing the $11 million loan with Chippewa Valley Bank that has been used to fund the rebuilding of Saxon Harbor following the July 2016 storm. The county has already borrowed roughly $9.7 million for the project, according to Iron County Clerk Mike Saari, and is expected to need an additional $1 million to finish construction of the campground. The county has to cover the costs of the project upfront and then is expected to be reimbursed for 87.5% of eligible costs through state and federal agencies. Although the loan is for up to $11 million, Saari said an expected $1.3 million payment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursable dredging work at the harbor should bring the loan amount to below $10 million.

—Approved adopting an easement agreement with the town of Mercer for repairs on the Shay Dam.

—Passed a resolution designating certain county staff as emergency responders and health care providers that are exempt from the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act during the pandemic. According to information presented at the meeting, the resolution designates those county employees needed on the frontline of the county’s response to coronavirus, meaning they would be excluded from provisions in the act that allow employees to take leave during the pandemic.

—Adopted additions and revisions to the floodway maps in the county ordinance.

—Passed a resolution authorizing the county to apply for grants for the Land and Water Conservation Department.

—Reappointed Dan Soine and Tom Salzmann to the county board of adjustments. It also appointed Christine Paulik to the board, to replace the late Jeff Stenberg.

—Approved the Land Conservation Committee’s annual 2019 report and the 2019 Forestry Department’s annual report.