Baraga approves ‘13-’14 budget

BARAGA – The Baraga village council approved its 2013-14 budget, highlighting a few upcoming projects within the village, and passed some amendments to its 2012-13 budget Tuesday evening.

The conservative budget is broken down by activities rather than individual line items, and total projected 2013-14 expenditures across its 11 funds equal $5,066,100, much less than the $6,102,600 in projected revenues. The council held a public hearing prior to Tuesday’s regular meeting, but no members of the public shared feedback.

“After the public hearing closed, we did approve that budget as presented. It’s pretty much the same as last year,” Baraga Village Manager Roy Kemppainen said in a phone interview this morning.

Anticipated projects for the upcoming fiscal year include several village building improvements, $24,000 for Geographic Information System data and equipment, $60,000 for street paving, $15,000 for cemetery expansion, a $16,000 electrical upgrade at the ice rink and $35,000 for vehicle upgrades.

The GIS system has been a work in progress for some time, and it will allow village workers to digitally map Baraga’s utilities.

“That is the first step in getting the system installed in our computers as far as the utilities,” Kemppainen said. “We also talked to L’Anse about that and it’s possible that we might share cost as far as equipment.”

The street paving would took place on either First or Fifth streets and be a substantially smaller project than the work done on South Superior and McGillan streets this past year.

The Superior and McGillan projects required more money than anticipated, with a total of $214,000, which is $24,000 more than originally budgeted. That was the major item in 2012-13 amendments, which also included $30,000 in drain and ditch work, $19,000 more than originally budgeted. The council handled the shortfall in part in those two areas by transferring some of the $44,000 budgeted for snow removal in the major street fund over. Only $15,000 had been spent on snow removal from that fund through Jan. 1.

The cemetery expansion will be the village’s highest priority once spring rolls around.

In other business Tuesday night, the council approved appointments for the village’s 11 committees, and accepted officer recommendations for the fire department. Dale Sauvola will continue as fire chief.