HOUGHTON – Houghton and Baraga counties approved budgets for the upcoming fiscal year at special meetings this week.
Houghton County approved its budget for fiscal year 2023 Thursday morning. The general fund budget includes $10,888,132 in expenses versus $10,905,431 in revenue.
Administrator Elizabeth Bjorn said that outside of one-time cash injections like funding for the American Rescue Plan Act, state and federal revenues have been declining since 2013.
“It’s a tight budget” said administrator Elizabeth Bjorn. “There’s not a lot of wiggle room for extra urgency, for mistakes. But we just have to make do with what we have. »
Council approved the budget with an amendment from Commissioner Glenn Anderson to increase the money for the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance from $10,000 to $20,000, the amount that was approved last year.
Commissioner Kevin Codere said he thinks the county should increase fees at the transfer station to make the facility self-sustaining. He noted that the county had invested $150,000 in ARPA money in the facility. He should be able to have at least $100,000 a year in a sinking fund for capital expenditures, he said.
“I don’t think taxpayers should support something users should support,” he said. “Obviously users are taxpayers, but not all taxpayers are users.”
Chairman Tom Tikkanen agreed with Codere that ideally the county should not compete with private enterprise. However, he said, rate increases that are too high could lead to a return of widespread illegal dumping in the woods.
“I’m just a little concerned about the potential impact on the environment,” he said. “I feel like the majority of people in Polk County probably want us to keep moving forward to keep our environment safe and clean.”
On Wednesday night, Baraga County approved a general fund budget of $4,181,766, up 3.4% from the amended year-end budget also approved Wednesday.
Aside from increases and increases to Medicare, the budget looked similar to last year, Clerk Wendy Goodreau said.
Wage increases were also approved on Wednesday. The county clerk and treasurer received raises of $3,000 a year. The district attorney, sheriff, juvenile social worker and director of equalization received raises of $1,200.
Increases have also been added for hourly staff. The part-time Level II Evaluator received an increase of $2 per hour. The Circuit Court Clerk, Deputy Registry of Deeds, and Deputy Director of Equalization received $1.50 per hour. Increases of 50 cents an hour went to employees in the office of the clerk and treasurer, the district court and the probate court, as well as the administrative assistant to the district attorney.