New Ontonagon village council president offers update on village debt

The newly elected Ontonagon village council president, Pamela Coey, offered some updates about...
The newly elected Ontonagon village council president, Pamela Coey, offered some updates about some of her goals for time as president, including some updates on the Municipal Employment Retirement System of Michigan pension debt that the village owes.(WLUC)
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 9:46 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 2:33 PM EST
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ONTONAGON, Mich. (WLUC) - The Village of Ontonagon’s new council president, Pamela Coey, provided a series of updates after a meeting with the council Monday evening.

According to Coey, she ran for the position in November in order to bring some change to the council. This has reportedly put her at odds with fellow council members.

“I am trying to get along with everybody,” said Coey in response to being questioned about this. “And hopefully we can work together to make some change and make the village a better place to live. We have to learn to work together.”

She also says she aims to bring new business to the area and address other concerns from fellow residents.

Her main goal is to tackle the village’s Municipal Employment Retirement System of Michigan (MERS) pension obligation, which stems from the sale of Ontonagon Memorial Hospital in 2007.

A two-mill proposal aiming to handle the debt was voted on during the Aug. 2 election but failed to pass.

The village is expected to be receiving a Michigan Enhancement Grant of $3.1 million dollars within the next three months.

According to Coey, the village is aiming for an additional grant. Both would substantially reduce what is owed.

“We’re going to get a grant from the state government for $3.1 million,” continued Coey. “And then I believe there’s a second grant out here that will be available in 2023 that should bring it up to around $5 million.”

Coey will be leaving Ontonagon this week until the end of January and will be unavailable for further comment until her return.

“I will be gone for the next month and a half,” added Coey. “And when I come back in January, we’ll work harder on things and see what we can fix.”

Council President Pro-Tem Sarah Hopper will assume Coey’s responsibilities until she returns.