Christmas comes early for Delta County

ESCANABA — Delta County has once again received significant tax reimbursements from the state of Michigan this year. County Administrator Ryan Bergman spoke about the funding during the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting Tuesday.

“We received the additional personal property tax dollars again this year,” Bergman said.

Last year, Delta County received about $1.2 million in reimbursements from the state to offset personal property tax exemptions for manufacturing businesses. As these reimbursements were funded by a percentage of the state’s use tax dollars, and since the amount of use tax dollars set aside for this purpose ended up being more than was needed, the state was required to give the excess funding to counties.

“The current formula overwhelmingly supports communities like us and like Dickinson (County) who had a lot of manufacturing personal property tax exemptions in the past,” Bergman said. Delta County received about $1.3 million in personal property tax reimbursements from the state this year.

Bergman also spoke about what Delta County could do with the $800,000 in surplus dollars they received from the state this year. While the county’s pension stabilization fund has been maxed out, the surplus could be used to make a direct payment to the Michigan Municipal Employees Retirement System.

“We need to shore up the pension system before we really do anything else,” Bergman said, noting this is important so the county can offset its unfunded liability for its pension system.

Bergman said while the funding has been useful for Delta County, he does not expect the county to receive as much in personal property tax reimbursements from the state in 2018 than it did in 2017 and 2016.

“I would be shocked if we’re able to get it again next year,” he said.