County increases budget for park project

ESCANABA — The Delta County Board of Commissioners OK’d a potential $5,000 increase in funding for a previously-approved Pioneer Trail Park sewer project Tuesday.

Delta Conservation District Executive Director Rory Mattson spoke about the project at the board’s meeting Tuesday night. He said the original plan for the project, which called for the installation of full sewer hook-ups for either 21 or 28 campsites at Pioneer Trail Park, was found to be unworkable. This was due to the fact that groundwater levels at the park were too high for these sewers — which were designed to utilize a gravity flow system — to function properly throughout the year.

Under the revised plan, efforts to install full sewer hook-ups at Pioneer Trail Park will begin with 21 campsites.

“We just want to start it — we don’t want to do the entire park,” Mattson said.

Although the elimination of seven campsites from the plan is expected to cut down on costs, a new tank and pump system will have to be installed for the remaining sewer hook-ups. Because of this, Mattson requested an increase in funding of up to $5,000 for the project at the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ May 21 meeting. The county had already allocated $33,500 for the project.

“If it was ($4,000) or $5,000 more, I didn’t want to come to you after the fact. I wanted to come to you beforehand,” he said.

During the May 21 meeting, the board asked Mattson to provide information about his request in writing. Mattson e-mailed the information to the board, and a motion to put an additional $5,000 towards the project if needed was approved Tuesday.

In other business, the board:

– heard a brief overview of the county’s taxable value for 2019. Equalization Director Juli Kolbe said the county’s taxable value for the year was roughly $1,181,000,000, an increase of 1.5 percent over last year.

– set the county’s 2019 summer general fund millage rate at 5.0317 mills. This is unchanged from 2018.

– approved a revised version of the county’s emergency homeowner assistance program guidelines.

– accepted a proposal to allow Joseph Walker, who has been job shadowing with Delta County Administrator Philip Strom, to serve as a paid intern in the county administrator’s office through the rest of the summer. Walker will serve in the position for about 20 hours a week and will be paid $12 per hour.

– authorized the district court to fill the vacant, grant-funded position of court services liaison.

– adopted a change to its agreement with the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System that will allow county employees to take out loans against their retirement savings.

– agreed to send a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in support of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Line 5 tunnel and a letter to the Michigan Department of Transportation requesting the paving of the truck apron at the entrance to Fuller Park.

– approved wording changes to its investment policy.

– accepted a foreclosure history report presented by County Treasurer Sherry Godfrey.

– agreed to hold a joint committee of the whole meeting with the Delta Conservation District. The board indicated it would aim to hold the meeting before Independence Day.

– approved a request from Michigan Works! to modify its lease with the county so it can host an adult education program at its office in the Delta County Service Center.