Clean audit for Houghton Cty.

HOUGHTON – The Houghton County Board of Commissioners heard updates on the county’s land value and financial status at its meeting Tuesday.

Auditor Bruce Rukkila and Equalization Director John Partanen presented their annual reports to the board.

Rukkila said the county maintained a good financial position compared with recent years. The general fund balance was at about $2.3 million.

“I would say that overall the county is in fairly healthy condition financially, given the times,” he said. “You’ve done a great job maintaining your fund balance, you’ve done a great job maintaining your solvency.”

The county’s overall net assets in cash are around $11.8 million, up from last year’s $10.8 million. Total net assets are around $48 million in value, an increase from $47.7 million last year.

County debt increased to $3.5 million versus last year’s $2.2 million. Rukkila said the change is largely attributable to the construction of the new solid-waste facility in Atlantic Mine.

The county’s assessed value is $1,068,175,344, up 0.6 percent from last year, Partanen said. The county’s taxable value went up even more, rising to $798,049,072, up 3.4 percent.

Assuming all residents paid their taxes, property tax income would go up by $162,286 to $5,027,709, Partanen said.

There is a 33.8 percent spread between taxable and assessed value in Houghton County.

The city of Houghton accounts for the largest percentage of assessed value (13.8 percent) and taxable value (15.9).

In other action, the board:

declined a $27,000 offer on lots 3, 4 and 5 of block 26. The land was appraised at $37,500.

appointed Russell Gronevelt to the Houghton County Road Commission.

appointed Houghton-Keweenaw Recreational Authority representatives: Lori Hauswirth for summer non-motorized, Glen Tolksdorf for winter non-motorized, Dean Woodbeck for winter non-motorized and Larry Butala for winter motorized.

approved $15,800 for work at the Houghton County Probate Court office. The work will include installing partitions for greater privacy due to the number of sensitive documents handled by the court.

appointed Barry Fink to the Copper Country Mental Health board.

rejected a U.P. Engineers & Architects proposal to study a jail expansion in order to bid it out to multiple companies.

approved an updated contract with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department.