Pioneer Trail Park to see improvements

ESCANABA — The Delta County Board of Commissioners approved the allocation of funds — not to exceed $33,500 — to the Delta Conservation District (DCD) for the installation of a sewer system at Pioneer Trail Park. The decision was made during the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.

According to DCD Executive Director Rory Mattson, the district is aiming to complete a variety of capital outlay projects in the coming years.

“We have projects that we really feel need to be done in the next five years,” he said. Along with the sewer system project, these projects include the installation of electric and water hookups for 20 rustic sites at Pioneer Trail Park and meters for Pioneer Trail Park sites with electricity.

Mattson noted plans for the sewer system are somewhat limited in scope.

“We’re only looking at Pioneer (Trail Park), and we’re only requesting the 28 sites, because … we believe there may be some kind of a sewer mainline going through Wells Township in the future,” he said.

The addition of a sewer system would likely boost campground usage at Pioneer Trail Park and improve the services offered there, Mattson said.

“I’ve heard comments where more people will come and stay, which I believe they will, especially … our seasonals and monthly or more,” he said.

In response to a question from Board Chair David Rivard, Mattson said the installation of the sewers would not raise issues from an environmental standpoint.

“(As a) matter of fact, it’s encouraged, because … you don’t have people cranking their things with hoses, and you pull the hose off, and it drips on the ground and all that kind of stuff,” he said.

Delta County Administrator Philip Strom asked Mattson if camping rates at Pioneer Trail Park would change as a result of the sewer system’s installation. Mattson said that, while these rates will increase, they will also remain competitive.

“We can’t go crazy on the rates, but it will go up because I think people will pay it — it’s a heck of a convenience,” Mattson said.

While discussing the sewer project, the board agreed to not provide funding for this project to the DCD as a loan.

“This is an investment in ourselves, as far as I’m concerned,” Board Vice-Chair Patrick Johnson said.

Instead, the board agreed to allocate funds to the DCD for the sewer project.

“I can find the money to build into the (2018-19) budget for this particular project,” Strom said. These funds will be included as a line item in the county’s capital outlay fund in the 2018-19 budget.

In other business, the board:

– held a public hearing on Delta County’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year. No members of the public commented during this hearing.

Strom is set to deliver a presentation on the county’s 2018-19 budget at the board’s Sept. 18 meeting. The board will also vote on whether or not to accept the budget during this meeting.

– approved a new contract with corrections employees who are members of the Teamsters. This contract includes a 3 percent salary increase for 2019 and 2.5 percent increases for the following two years for these employees.

– heard an update on recent happenings in the Delta County District Court from Court Administrator/Magistrate Emily DeSalvo-Bougie. DeSalvo-Bougie spoke about changes in district court staffing, efforts to bring Delta County’s courts into compliance with new indigent defense standards, and a special event for the sale and auction of surplus items created by criminal defendants who were ordered to participate in community service. This event will take place on Sept. 22 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Bonifas Arts Center.

– voted in favor of supporting land policies and regulations set by the DCD for the Delta County Forest. These policies and regulations include rules on access to roads, hunting blinds, parking violations, and more.

– accepted the Fiscal Year 2018 Emergency Management Performance Grant.

– heard an update from Strom on its approval of a recommendation from the personnel committee to select Chestnut Global Partners as the county’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider last month. While Chestnut Global Partners has been acquired by Morneau Shepell, this is not expected to change the EAP services provided to the county.