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Supervisors sharpen pencils

By Staff | Feb 13, 2008

So how do you make a mile of copper wire?

Give a penny to two supervisors and let them fight over it.

That’s what the Emmet County Board of Supervisors did Tuesday when they continued an austere view toward budget requests and a policy of no additional money. Emmet County Fair Board members found that out when they asked the county fathers for $35,475, a $600 increase over last year. While the request for more money was denied, that didn’t mean there wasn’t a bit of a tussle before a final decision was made.

Steve Jensen, Cami Paulson, and Dave Kaltved came before the board, saying money on hand was pretty much obligated for this year’s fair. One area where the board will spend more is entertainment. Paulson said that in addition to inflatables, a climbing wall, obstacle course, and mechanical bull, there will be a band performing a free concert. The board is opting away from bringing a traditional carnival to the fair this year, considering that carnivals are upping their costs 15-40 percent, according to Jensen.

“I’m glad to see you trying new and different things,” said Board Chair Alan Madden.

Fair highlights this year will again include the Emmet County Cattlemen’s supper which will be held Saturday night to help draw numbers for the band. The tractor pull will again be held Thursday night. The board is still looking for a one-day car show.

Supervisor Jim Jenson asked if the fair board could do what it wanted without another $600. “Is there a way this could be trimmed back so the county’s share is the same as last year,” Jenson asked. He said the supervisors had already committed to keeping the local health and conservation budgets to the same amount of money they budgeted this year.

Madden said he did not have a problem with giving the fair board more money considering utility increases. “I think you’re just splitting hairs here,” he told Jenson.

“I would love to give more to this one but I don’t think it’s fair to the other boards that come in here,” Jenson said.

Kaltved said the fair board will have to put up sanitation stations in every barn, part of a program toward preventing the spread of e coli.

The fair board said the rest of its money will go for pouring cement and upgrading the sound system to make general announcements possible.

Supervisor Ron Smith said the amount of the increase the fair board was asking for wasn’t the issue but rather principle.

Jenson agreed, saying the extra $600 represented just a 1.5 percent increase but that the supervisors needed to take the same approach to all requests for money.

Roger Anderson and Madden said they favored the extra $600, but Randy Beaver, Jenson, and Smith said they wanted to keep money the county is giving the fair board the same.

The supervisors will hold their formal county budget hearing 8:45 a.m. March 11.