Payroll Tax Deferral Program Regarding President Donald Trump’s Executive Memorandum on Aug. 8, the County has decided not to implement on September 1 the deferral through December 31 of the employee portion of social security tax, meant to provide relief for individuals financially affected by COVID-19. According to U.S. Treasury Guidance, this is only a deferral and not a tax cut, meaning the deferred taxes from 2020 will be required to be withheld from our employees’ paychecks starting in January 2021. Unless there is Congressional action or more information received to make sure this program doesn’t unfairly burden County employees, we are opting out at this time. All employees received notice about this on Tuesday, and it is important to note that we’ve put measures in place to protect County employees from work-related COVID-19 financial hardships.Here is what else is going on in Calhoun County: On Aug. 24, I watched a live stream of the State’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference.
At this event, Treasury officials shared their reasoning for revising the state’s revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, increasing revenues from the May estimates, mainly attributable to consumer spending and withholding tax of federal assistance in unemployment and CARES Act dollars. CARES Act programs added nearly $43.3B to the state’s economy during the last quarter. The State is still projecting a shortfall in its General Fund for FY2020-21 and FY2021-22, which will likely affect local government budgets. We’ve built in conservative estimates of reduced state funding into the County’s FY2021 budgets accordingly.
The Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MAEDA) Board met on Aug. 25, and this was the first meeting with our new CEO Jim Durian. At this meeting, we discussed plans for the downtown alley marketplace, and heard updates from Mr. Durian on his efforts to strategically review various economic development projects, service agreements and grant opportunities. The City of Marshall also presented on their upcoming road millage ballot proposal, for which MAEDA will help support educational efforts.
The Summit Pointe Board met Tuesday, Sept. 1. We heard education presentations regarding the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic and progress on strategic goals. There was a public hearing about the 2021 budget, which was then approved. The meeting ended with an update from CEO Jeannie Goodrich, and a closed session to discuss collective bargaining.
On Sept. 2, I was a guest speaker at the Battle Creek AMBUCS Meeting, providing an update about COVID-19 response in our community. In that presentation, I shared the history of our response, where we are now in reopening, and what is different after this response. Several among our County elected officials, judiciary and department heads contributed to my presentation. I believe our community will be stronger as a result of our organized Joint Operations Center, as many community organizations worked together to provide leadership during the pandemic, and these relationships will remain intact even beyond COVID-19. Click here to see my presentation.
At the weekly Elected Officials and Department Head Meeting on Sept. 3, representatives from Southwest Michigan Second Wave Media, including local reporter Jane Simons, joined the meeting to learn more about Calhoun County departments. From Prosecutor David Gilbert to Juvenile Home Director Tori Benden to Public Defender David Makled to Community Development Director Jen Bomba, each department shared what their office does and what they’re dealing with right now amidst the pandemic. With our renewed agreement with Second Wave, our residents will see more County-related stories in local media.Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
At the Thursday, Sept. 3 Board of Commissioners meeting, which was held virtually, Calhoun County’s 4-H Program Coordinator Kathy Fischer presented to commissioners about MSU Extension and 4-H Programming, and how it’s adapted during COVID-19. On the consent agenda, Commissioners approved an update to bylaws and the intergovernmental agreement of the Michigan Works! southwest Workforce Development Board, as well as approval of a remonumentation peer group contract for Ryan Miller.In new business, the Board,
- Approved the FY21 budget for the Calhoun County Public Health Department
- Approved a request to accept the annual Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for the Sheriff’s Office
- Approved a secondary road patrol grant application for the Sheriff’s Office
- Approved a sexual assault investigator contract with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
- Approved a construction contract for the Juanita Hydrology Project
- Approved a pledge of full faith and credit for the Gang of Lakes Intercounty Drain Bonds
Around the CountyUpdate from the Road DepartmentOperations update:
- The countywide chip seal program is over half complete
- Durapatchers are working in Burlington and Bedford Townships
- Boom mowing has taken place in Emmett, Convis, and Lee Townships, as well as on M60
- County crews are nearly halfway through their second round of Brine application
- Union City Road is being paved this week, pictured below
- Final project items are being completed on Partello and Bellevue Roads
- Overhead flashing beacons will be installed in four locations, funded by federal safety grants
- Work continues on the Emmett Township Local Road Program. Check out this week’s project update on the Road Department website
Pictured is Union City Road, north of M-60, where paving took place this week on top of a cold-in-place recycled base, which was recently demonstrated as a new technique for local, Michigan road departments. The recycled base is much stronger than a traditional gravel base material.