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      County and state battle over tax revenue

      Negotiations over a mining severance tax continue between Marquette County and the State of Michigan.

      The state believes, based on the value of the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine, Marquette County should receive $6 million per year over seven years, the expected life of the mine. However, the county believes the facility is being undervalued and they should receive $7.2 million tax revenue per year for seven years.

      The new state Department of Natural Resources Director says they'll keep negotiating with the county, who believes they're getting closer.

      "But we're not there yet, we need to protect our local tax dollars, because that is our tax base," said Marquette County Board Chair Debbie Pellow. "We're the ones that provided all the services to these companies and to our constituents."

      "As we deal and as we work with the local county officials, it really is to sort through very technical tax policy to come up with an agreed upon starting point," added DNR Director Keith Creagh.

      Pellow says the current difference creates about a million dollar loss in tax revenue for the county each year for seven years.