Commissioners approve purchase of new patrol car

by Angie AsamStaff Writer

Friday morning the Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a new patrol car for the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Department in the amount of $23,872. Just under $10,000 of the cost will be reimbursed by the state of Michigan.

Board chairman Carl Altman had already signed the agreement to purchase the new car prior to the meeting Friday and the board simply ratified his signature and added $21,485 to the bottom line of the secondary road patrol budget and $2,387 to the bottom line of the sheriff’s department budget to make the purchase. If the board needs to transfer money into the budget at a later date it will do so.

Each year the state provides about $40,000 for secondary road patrol in the county. This year the county’s secondary road patrolman had to have some time off for knee surgery, leaving about $10,000 unspent that would be lost if it wasn’t used by the end of September.

The money has to be spent on materials related to secondary road patrols and a new patrol car seemed to be a good fit. The union contract for secondary road patrol states that when a car reaches 125,000 miles the county is expected to begin looking for a replacement vehicle.

Another Dodge Charger will be added to the sheriff’s department fleet and it is likely the new car will sit until it needs to be put into the rotation as another car reaches the high mileage mark. The cost is for the car only, sirens, lights and other police officer equipment will need to be added to the car.

IN OTHER COUNTY BOARD NEWS:

• The board approved a contract with Persons Incorporated (Bayport) to provide fuel for county vehicles this year. The bid states that the county will be charged three cents more than the cost to the company for fuel, which as of Sept. 19 would have been $2.73 per gallon. Bayport also provides a 24-hour card fueling system.

Only one other bid was received, from Basel Oil, who has been the fuel provider for the past several years. It quoted a price of $2.77 per gallon as of Sept. 29 and indicated that the price would fluctuate as fuel prices rose and fall.

The board unanimously approved going with the low bidder.

• A voucher for $2,500 to Trident, an insurance company was approved. The voucher came as a result of a civil case the county is involved with and this was the deductible part of the payment that cannot be covered by the insurance company.

• A quote for painting the fire escape from the third floor of the courthouse in the amount of $2,300 was approved by a four to one vote. After an inspection of the building it was suggested that some welding be done to the fire escape and that it be painted. The quote came from Sunrise Construction and will be time consuming as it needs to scrape off the lead paint on the escape and repaint it.

Altman voted no on the quote. “I think we’re spending our money on a dead horse over there,” he said. “We said the same thing Mr. Chairman but we have a liablility here. I know it is a dead horse. We are doing constant maintenance on the building,” said commissioner Mike Darga.

• Dana Carver appeared before the board during citizens presentation time to discuss the outdoor wood burning stove ordinance. Carver asked the board to look at the ordinance and make sure it did not violate any constitutional rights. Commissioner Stephen Lang, who also serves on the planning commission where a public hearing was held on the matter a couple weeks ago, asked prosecuting attorney Rick Steiger to look into the matter and make sure that the ordinance was constitutional.

• Steiger’s prosecutor’s report included that his office was scheduled for three trials this month but all three were worked out at the last minute. “Status quo. Everything’s been going really well in the office. We do have some major cases coming up with the drive-by shooting and infant death,” said Steiger. Steiger felt that both matters would likely go to trial in November and that he will try to keep the expenses of those trials down.

• As a part of the personnel committee report Lang told the board that he received an e-mail to let him know that an arbitration case the county was involved with regarding an employee was dropped by the union.

• Altman reported on the lawsuit the county is named in by William Toth involving the road commission to ensure the board was aware of the matter. Clerk Ann Marie Main told the board that attorney Dan White is representing them in the matter and told her he felt the case would be dismissed as the plaintiff made some mistakes in filing the complaint. Steiger indicated that he looked over the lawsuit and felt it would be a fairly easy motion of dismissal of the case but because he is not licensed in federal court he could not handle the matter for the county.

• As a part of his report on public health and safety Darga informed the board of a discrimination complaint made by Jim Gibson, the former Onaway police chief. Darga also said, “they are hiring a new deputy but with everything going on with the Hanson case and everything it is pretty hard to get a hold on hiring because they don’t know what is going to happen with the Hanson case.”