TAWAS CITY – The Iosco County Board of Commissioners passed Resolution 2023-030, to send a letter to Gregory Gangnuss, chief, BRAC Program Management Division, requesting that the Air Force take Interim Remedial Actions (IRAs) at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base to clean up PFAS contamination.
The request for the letter came from Need Our Water (NOW) Co-Founder Cathy Wusterbarth. The action took place at the regular meeting on March 1. The Board of Commissioners had originally passed a resolution about PFAS contamination in April 2017.
As previously reported, NOW recently sent letters to Michigan legislators requesting that they assist NOW in working with the Air Force to implement Interim Remedial Actions (IRAs) to address ongoing contamination issues at the former base. Wusterbarth attended the meeting to give the commissioners an update on NOW’s recent advocacy activities including a rally, press conference and writing letters to legislators prior to the most recent Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) meeting. Motion by Commissioner Terry Dutcher to pass Resolution 2023-030, support from Commissioner Brian Loeffler, passed unanimously.
Dutcher asked Wusterbarth about whether or not the state supported the four remedial actions. Wusterbarth responded that EGLE (the Department of Energy, Great Lakes and the Environment), is the regulatory agency and that EGLE had written a letter supporting the IRAs.
Commissioner Rob Huebel said that he was very comfortable with everything that Wusterbarth provided to the board. Dutcher said the Air Force had dragged its feet as much as they can, in his opinion. Chair Jay O’Farrell said he agreed and that when dealing with the federal government “you have to stay with it.” O’Farrell added that the local area should be first in line.
The board also took the following actions:
• Passed Resolution 2023-31 that approves providing a letter of support for Consumers Energy regarding a proposal entitled “Sectionalization and Circuit Improvements to Mitigate Outage Impacts for Disadvantaged Communities.” The proposal is designed to help ensure that all communities are prepared for the adverse impacts of severe storms. Motion by Dutcher, support from Commissioner Charles Finley, passed unanimously. According to Jamie Carruthers-Soboleski, county controller and finance director, the request for support came from Rich Castle with Consumers Energy. If funded the grant would strengthen the power grid and cut down on power outages. Motion by Dutcher, support from Finley, passed unanimously.
• Passed Resolution 2023-32 adding the option of contributing to a Roth IRA as part of the retirement plan for county employees. Motion by Dutcher, support from Huebel, passed unanimously.
• Passed Resolution 2023-33 to allow participants in the county retirement plan the ability to take a distribution for a qualified birth or adoption of a child and the ability to begin taking distributions at the age of 59 1/2. Motion by Dutcher, support from Loeffler, passed unanimously.
• Passed Resolution 2023-034 that solidifies the action that was taken in 2020 to allow county employees to remove up to $100,000 from their retirement plan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Motion by Dutcher, support from Huebel, passed unanimously.
• Passed Resolution 2023-35 approving the upgrade of the Barracuda Spam Filter in the amount of $7,650. Motion by Dutcher, support from Finley, passed unanimously. The service will be purchased from Precision Data Products in Grand Rapids.
• Passed Resolution 2023-36 approving the purchase of a 2022 Ram 1500 Truck from Zubek Motor Sales of Tawas for $46,015. The truck will be equipped with an animal control box from Wolverine Coach Inc. at a cost of $5,060, a vehicle mounted laptop from Patrol PC at a cost of $7,433.82 and emergency lighting and computer install from Anderson Radio at a cost of $1,356.95. Motion by Finley, support from Dutcher, passed unanimously. The costs will come out of the Animal Control Millage budget line item.
• Passed Resolution 2023-37 increasing the membership on the Veterans’ Affairs board from five to seven. The resolution also appoints James Miner, Dennis Browne and James Miller to the board. The remaining opening on the board will be advertised. Motion by Dutcher, support from Finley, passed unanimously.
• Passed Resolution 2023-38 approving the service agreement and lease agreement between the county and the Iosco County Humane Society. The four-year agreement includes payment of $35,000 in year one and payment in an amount equal to 18.93% of the Animal Control and Shelter Millage during years two through four. Motion by Dutcher, support from Huebel, passed unanimously.
• Passed Resolution 2023-39 approving the Statutory Finance minutes of the meeting held on Feb 15 in the amount of $219,193.43. Motion by Finley, support from Dutcher, passed unanimously.