County board renews survey contract

ESCANABA – More Public Land Survey corners will be remonumented in Delta County in 2014 thanks to increased funding for the next fiscal year.

The Delta County Board of Commissioners approved a $99,795 contract renewal with survey firm Davis/Wanic-Land Surveyors P.C., for the county’s remonumentation project – which marks boundaries in the county – during Tuesday’s board meeting.

“In 2013, we had contracted with Davis/Wanic to complete the remonumentation of 121 survey corners, which they did in a timely fashion,” said Delta County surveyor Mel Davis at the meeting.

Nine additional common corners shared by Delta and Menominee County were also submitted for completion by Menominee County.

Davis/Wanic maintains a $700-800 cost per corner rate, one of the lowest costs per corner in the state, said Davis.

However, the 2013 remonumentation completion report indicates mutual co-operation between counties which share a common line has significantly reduced the cost per corner.

Delta County has 70 common corners with Schoolcraft County, 62 with Menominee County, 57 with Alger County, and 37 with Marquette County.

Of these 226 common corners, 161 have been completed.

The 2014 grant application submitted to the Office Land Survey & Remonumentation shows an increase in money for the project this year.

“In 2014, we got a substantial bump in our money,” said Davis. “We’re going to have close to $128,000 in our budget for this year and we’ve scheduled 167 corners for remonumentation. That’s going to take us down to be about a 70 percent completion rate for the county.”

Davis believes the increase in funding can be attributed to an uptick in the real estate market.

The board also voted to ratify the state payment amount for National Forest revenues the county receives.

Historically the United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service has made annual payments to states based on 25 percent of revenues received from national forests, primarily revenues from timber sales.

Under previous federal law, these funds were to be used solely for the benefit of public schools and public roads in the counties where national forests are located.

A federal law passed in 2000, the Secure Rural Schools and Self-Determination Act of 2000 gave counties additional options for using the funds. The law has since been extended through fiscal year 2013 and now requires each county where a national forest is located to make one of two choices regarding how it will receive its National Forest revenue payments.

Under the state payment option ratified by the board, 20 percent of funds go toward Title III projects with the remaining money split as such: 75 percent toward schools and 25 percent toward roads in the Forest Service area.

In other business, the board:

– re-elected Commissioner Tom Elegeert as board chairman and Commissioner Mary Harrington as board vice-chair, while adopting rules and procedures and approving 2014 board assignments during the reorganizational portion of the meeting.

– set aside the board’s meeting dates and time for 2014 – the first and third Tuesday of the month at 5:15 p.m.

– reappointed Gary Bjorkquist to the Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Relief Commission.

– reappointed John Myers as the Democratic delegate to the Board of Election Canvassers.

– approved county employees Brandon Couvillion and Hope Rudden to attend the Delta Force Leadership Program. The county will pay the full $400 amount for Couvillion’s and $200 for Rudden’s participation.

– was introduced to the county’s new equalization director, Julie Kolbe, who has contracted with the county through the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress (UPCAP).

– approved out-of-county travel expenses for commissioners to attend the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) Conference March 24-26 in Lansing.