By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - Offices in the Iron County Courthouse will now be open for business through the lunch hour.
Currently, the courthouse is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
During its monthly meeting on Thursday, the Iron County Board of Commissioners elected to change the hours to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
However, commissioners noted that there may still be some circumstances, such as an employee illness or vacation, in which offices would have to close between noon and 12:30 p.m.
Residents should call ahead if they plan to visit a courthouse office between those hours.
Commissioner Ray Coates said that he was pleased with the new hours.
"We're here to serve the public, the people of Iron County," he said. "We should be available to them."
Other commissioners had concerns.
Commissioner Tim Aho pointed out that the board did not have a firm plan about how the different departments would staff the lunch hour. He also noted that some departments have as few as two employees.
"If we advertise we're open, then certain offices aren't open, we're not serving the public," said Aho.
Commissioner Patti Peretto added that the county may end up paying overtime if employees have to work through their lunch hours.
Board Chair Carl Lind suggested that the board give the mandate and let the department heads do the managing.
The new hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. gained unanimous approval.
In other business, the board:
- Held a moment of silence for former commissioner Bev Camp, who recently passed away. Camp resigned her position as district five commissioner on Jan. 1, due to illness.
- Approved a resolution to increase the Iron County 911 surcharge from $2.17 to $2.70 per device. This action will bring in an additional $89,778.18 each year.
- Approved the contract for services with Dino Giannola, who will be operating the Cooks Run fish hatchery this year. Electrical service will be upgraded to 200 amps by May 17, and Giannola hopes to start operations by early June. Besides stocking fish in county lakes, Giannola will keep the hatchery open to the public.
- Tabled action on the lease with Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency (DICSA) for space at the Iron River Senior Center. DICSA currently pays, and would like to keep paying, $500 per month for office space at the center. Commissioners wanted more time to research the issue.
- Tabled action on making the courthouse maintenance position into a department head position with a salary. Commissioners Peretto, Aho, and Jim Brennan thought that the issue would be more appropriate to discuss during budget time. The current hourly pay rate of the position comes out to $29,757 per year, and the salary rate would be $37,050 per year.
- Approved the appointment of Sonne Stowell to the Authority on Aging board.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is email@example.com.