Jail completion a priority in 2018

ESCANABA — Delta County Administrator Ryan Bergman spoke about what he hopes to accomplish in the county this year during the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ reorganizational meeting Tuesday.

Bergman began his presentation with a look back at a similar presentation he gave at the beginning of 2017. Goals the county completed last year included securing a USDA Rural Development loan for the Delta County Correctional Facility project, starting construction on the project, maxing out the county’s pension stabilization funds, and upgrading circuit court security.

The board also heard about goals from 2017 Bergman hopes to carry into the new year. These goals include developing properties at the Delta County Airport and working on the county’s website.

Later, Bergman shared his new goals for the county in 2018. One of his biggest goals for the new year is finishing construction of the new correctional facility late in 2018.

“Then, we should be able to get into there shortly after,” Bergman said. The county will also work on finalizing a staffing plan for the facility and lining up funding for correctional programs there in 2018.

Another major priority for Bergman in 2018 is increasing the county’s pension funded status.

“We’re at about 71 percent funded, but we also have a maxed-out pension stabilization fund — which is fantastic — and we also have another really good surplus coming this year, which is only going to add to that,” Bergman said.

Bergman’s other goals for the county this year include assisting in the establishment of a child advocacy center in Escanaba, helping with the emergency address sign project, working with the city of Escanaba on various initiatives, and extending collective bargaining agreements.

In other business, the board:

– voted to re-elect David Rivard as board chair for 2018. The board also re-elected Patrick Johnson as board vice-chair, accepted a list of board assignments for 2018, and adopted rules and procedures for the board during the meeting.

– approved a $40,000 budget amendment to fund the hiring of an additional corrections officer.

– allowed the Delta County Sheriff’s Department to release a request for proposal for jail management software.

– voted to accept a policy on veteran grave markers.

– heard an update on recent happenings at MSU Extension from David Radloff.

– voted to provide up to $3,500 in non-restricted funding to Cornell Township to ease lost tax revenue created by the county’s purchase of township land.

– officially set its meeting dates for 2018. As has historically been the case, almost all of the board’s meetings (except for its first meeting of July) will take place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month this year.