County Extends Local State of EmergencyThe Calhoun County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the countywide local state of emergency originally declared on March 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This vote will allow Chairman Steve Frisbie to sign and submit the declaration, effective immediately and until rescinded by the Board, under Michigan’s Emergency Management Act.
Calhoun County and other local governments within the county have not needed to previously extend our local emergency declarations while there existed a Statewide Emergency Declaration, no longer in place since the Supreme Court struck down Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers used to make the declaration this past Spring.
Renewing the local state of emergency will help ensure all local governments and school districts within Calhoun County remain eligible for various state and federal COVID-19 funding sources. This declaration will also allow for continued remote public meetings if needed past January 1, 2021, when the Open Meetings Act, as amended this week, requires a statewide or local state of emergency in order for such virtual meetings to qualify as valid public meetings.COVID-19 case surge explained in more detailThis week the County’s Public Health Department provided a more detailed analysis of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Calhoun County over the past three weeks. They determined that 12.2% of cases are associated with a known cluster or outbreak, nearly 20% of cases are from a household contact, and 37% have an unknown source of infection, which is indicative of community spread. Among symptomatic cases in Calhoun, the top five symptoms experienced are cough, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and fever. These symptoms can be mistaken for fall allergies or cold symptoms, and Public Health Officer encourages anyone feeling these things get tested immediately.
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the Calhoun County Joint Information Center Briefing was live-streamed to Facebook, covering this information and more about the latest surge. In addition to invaluable updates from Health Director Eric Pessell and Medical Director Dr. William Nettleton, the briefing included updates from Sheriff Steve Hinkley, information about the latest health and executive orders, updates on the County’s Court operations and specifically plans to restart jury trials, and an update about the homeless shelter in Battle Creek. Watch the briefing on the City of Battle Creek’s Facebook page.
Countywide leadership team consisting of our Chief Judge and court administrators, all elected officials and department heads, continues to meet weekly to review the County’s COVID-19 internal response efforts and discuss updates on how our employees and the public are doing during this time of continued limited operations and remote work. We met last on Oct.15 and discussed needed updates to our COVID-19 response and preparedness plan and related policies to match the latest orders by MDHHS and MIOSHA, and also updates to our employee self-screening process to match the latest CDC guidance on symptoms that should be focused on.Here is what else is going on in Calhoun County:On Oct. 5, the County’s HR/Labor Relations Director Kim Archambault and I convened a Union Leadership Roundtable Meeting, the first since the County reduced operations in March. This meeting included updates on COVID-19 in the county and the Joint Operations Center, the 2021 employee benefits renewal and the 2021 budget process. Related, at tonight’s Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioners approved a bargaining agreement with nonsupervisory employees within the Road Department, represented by the local Teamsters union, for the next 12 months.
The Summit Pointe Board of Directors met on Oct. 6, on which I serve as Treasurer with Commissioner Kathy-Sue Vette who serves as Chair. At this meeting, we heard an educational presentation about assisted outpatient treatment, and on behalf of the Audit/Finance Committee, I provided information about the July 2020 financial statements and a policy regarding procurement. We also approved amendments to the collective bargaining agreement with the IUOE and amendments to the retirement savings plan.
On Oct. 9, the Calhoun County Safety Information Alliance Board met, currently chaired by Battle Creek City Police Chief Jim Blocker. The Board includes me as the County’s representatives, along with two representatives from Calhoun County’s Sheriff Office. Sheriff Steve Hinkley attended the meeting and will be recommended in November for appointment by the County Board of Commissioners. We set 2021 partner agency annual dues, which help pay for the law enforcement Records Management System (RMS) software that is shared with law enforcement agencies at the City of Battle Creek, Emmett Township, the City of Marshall and Kellogg Community College..
The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau (CVB) Board welcomed a new member at its meeting on Oct. 13, Joe Sobieralski from Battle Creek Unlimited. At this meeting we received an update on the Battle Creek Hotel Ordinance, which was recently approved by the Battle Creek City Commission, and discussed the CCVB’s marketing and sales activity.Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
At the Thursday, Oct. 15 Board of Commissioners meeting, special orders of business included a presentation of the 2020 Apportionment Report by Matthew Hansen, Equalization Director and Tom Scott, Deputy Equalization Director. The Board also approved an extension of the local emergency declaration, as noted earlier in this report. On the consent agenda, the Board approved a judicial salaries resolution, which is provided by the Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Office, as well as a revised lake level capital project fund deficit elimination plan.In new business, the Board,
- Approved funding for this year’s Senior Strategic Projects
- Approved the Teamsters Collective Bargaining Agreement
- Approved the City of Marshall South Neighborhood Improvement Authority Plan
- Approved a contract extension for inmate food service
- Approved an asset management plan from the Road Department, per Public Act 325
- Approved a bid for organic additive (beet juice) which is used in winter road maintenance
- Approved the selection of an Enterprise Resource Planning consultant
- Approved a bid for mineral aggregate for the Road Department
- Approved September 2020 financials
Around the CountyUpdate from Recycling and Solid WasteThere will be a Household Hazardous Waste Collection in Battle Creek from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24. This event is held in the Toeller Building Parking Lot, which is located at 190 E Michigan Ave.
Items accepted include, old gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil (must be in approved container), brake fluid, pesticides, old prescriptions, anti-freeze, solvents, cleaners, stain and oil based paint, acids, pool chemicals, aerosol cans, household batteries (includes button), mercury, fluorescent light bulbs, CFL bulbs, sharps sealed in a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle. Latex paint will not be accepted. Click here for the Facebook Event.Update from the Road DepartmentEngineering
- Emmett Township Local Road Project Phase 1 is wrapping up and final items are being completed.
- Overhead Flashing Beacons installation as part of Federal Safety Grants are ongoing and should be completed in the next few weeks.
- 2020 Safety Grant Tree Removals are ongoing in Convis and Athens Townships.
- A countywide culvert survey has begun by CCRD engineering to assess condition of all existing culverts.
- Tree trimming is taking place on Union City Road south of K Drive South.
- Shoulder maintenance has taken place countywide.
- Durapatchers are working in Albion and Tekonsha Townships.
- Pothole patching has taken place in Homer, Burlington, and Leroy Townships.
- The Chip Seal Program is complete for 2020.
- The second round of state mowing is expected to be completed next week.
Information from Public Health DepartmentThe Calhoun County Public Health Department announced additional flu clinics for individuals in other parts of Calhoun County. Flu shots are critically important this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, find the Public Health Department on Facebook, visit its website, or call the Public Health Department hotline at 269-969-6990.
Upcoming Flu ClinicsHomer Community HouseThursday, Oct. 22 from 2:30-4 p.m.112 W. Adams Street, Homer Albion CollegeMonday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.Friday, Oct. 30 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.Ferguson Parking Lot (Corner of Erie and Hannah Streets), Albion MI Tekonsha Fire DepartmentFriday, Nov. 6 from 1-4 p.m.166 Spires Parkway, Tekonsha
The flu shot is also available by appointment at both Health Department locations (Albion and Battle Creek) during normal business hours.
Albion Clinic: 214 E. Michigan Ave., 517-629-9434
Latest from CommunicationsA lot of information has been shared recently from Calhoun County, on behalf of the Clerk and Register of Deeds, as well as the Calhoun County Joint Operations Center. Here’s a list of the latest information that was sent:
- Joint Information Center: Latest Surge in Calhoun County, recorded Wednesday, Oct. 14
- Getting to Know Your Ballot, sent Wednesday, Oct. 14
- Joint Information Center: Halloween Activities Countywide, sent Wednesday, Oct. 7
- Opportunities to Serve on Election Day, sent Tuesday, Oct. 6