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Delta County hikes funds for remonumentation project

ESCANABA — The Delta County Board of Commissioners approved the first funding increase for local remonumentation work since the statewide project started decades ago.

During the board’s reorganizational meeting Tuesday, Delta County Surveyor Mel Davis — who also founded Davis Wanic Land Surveyors, P.C., the contracting surveyor for the project in Delta County — shared an update on his work related to the remonumentation project. The project focuses on remonumenting and restoring public land survey corners missing from Michigan’s land surveys while preserving existing corners.

According to Davis, recent remonumentation efforts in the county have gone smoothly.

“The 2019 program went off without a hitch this year, other than a little blunder on my part when I left off a few corners of the contract,” he said.

He noted the corners in question have been addressed.

Currently, Davis said there are about 1,055 corners left to address in Delta County.

“At the present rate of funding, I’m estimating 12-15 years to complete the program,” he said.

When the remonumentation program began in 1993, Davis said Delta County agreed to put $12,000 per year towards remonumentation work. He had not asked for any additional funding for the work since then.

However, as expenses have increased over the years while state funding has declined, Davis requested an annual funding increase of $2,000 Tuesday.

“For 2020, we’re looking at about $14,000,” he said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the request. Funds for the increase will likely come from the county’s general fund.

Davis, who has served as Delta County’s surveyor since 1972, said he is entering his last year in the position. He has no plans to run for office in November.

“When I finish this, I’ll be pushing 83, and I think it’s time to get out,” he said.

Along with the funding increase, a contract between the county and Davis Wanic for 2020 was approved.

In other business, the board:

– re-elected Patrick Johnson to the position of board chair for 2020. The board also elected David Rivard to the position of vice-chair, accepted a list of board assignments for 2020 and adopted rules and procedures for the board during the meeting.

– was notified of a pending lawsuit against the county in closed session. No decisions related to the lawsuit were made after the board left closed session.

– granted a 2 percent cost of living adjustment to eligible full-time non-union employees. The county’s benefit package for non-union employees was updated to bring it in line with benefits for union employees, as well.

– authorized requests to fill a part-time automation position and a second building trades technician position.

– approved a request to provide Court Administrator Jean Healy with a county credit card. The card will have a limit of $3,000.

– voted to support a resolution asking the state legislature to place the Office of School Safety in the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

– officially set its meeting dates for 2020. Regular board meetings will continue to be held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

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