2021 Budget AdoptedAt tonight’s Board meeting, the Board of Commissioners adopted 2021 budgets, with no changes from what was presented at the November 17 public hearing. The budget adoption also includes approval of department level user fee schedules, authorized staffing levels and the annual appropriations resolution. The appropriations resolution sets forth budgetary controls, salaries for elected officials and nonunion employee pay scale levels, and property tax millage rates planned to be levied. The County is not recommending increases in user fees, pending the results of an independent cost study started this year and delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are also no recommended increases in millage rates for County taxpayers to bear, except for the addition of the new voter-approved 0.2 mills for countywide parks enhancements. And, despite revenue constraints, a significant reduction in the portion of the County’s $46 Million General Fund budget needed to cover employee benefits costs allowed for the continuation of our long-term strategy to grant inflation-level pay increases for employees.
This year’s budget planning process was the most challenging in a decade due to diminished local revenue sources and many unknowns about the upcoming year. To balance the General Fund and Road Department budgets, many departments have agreed to keep recently vacated positions unfilled into next year, including 8 in the Sheriff’s Office, 6 in the Courts, 7 in the Road Department, one part-time in the Clerk’s Office and several others within administrative departments.. Thankfully no immediate layoffs were required within the budget process. But, these ongoing vacancies may not be sustainable depending on how services to the public continue to return to full capacity, and so ongoing budget monitoring will be crucial.
Thanks again to our Board of Commissioners Budget Committee, Commissioners Frisbie, King and Smith, our internal budget committee, our judiciary and countywide department heads and elected officials who remain committed to serving the public in a fiscally responsible way. I also especially want to thank Deputy Controller Megan Banning who successfully facilitates the budget process every year with high levels of trust, transparency, critical data analyses, and essential organization and assistance to departments.Click here for the 2021 BudgetHighlights from a few other boards and committees:The Native American Heritage Fund Board held its 2020 grant award ceremony on Friday, Nov. 20 via Zoom. This fund provides close to $500,000 in annual grants to local governments, including school districts and colleges and universities, to promote education and understanding of Native American issues. This year, Petoskey Public Schools, Clinton Community Schools, and Paw Paw Public Schools received funds to remove unacceptable Native America imagery from its brand and replace with a new logo. Click here to see all six 2020 recipients.
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MAEDA) Board held its final meeting of the year. We heard from CEO James Durian updates on various economic development, chamber services and tourism activities, including the Merry Mile, mentioned below, and on plans to review and update MAEDA’s sponsorship policy.
Today, before the Board of Commissioners meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission met. The Commission approved its 2021 meeting schedule and discussed ongoing projects related to Kimball Pines, the Albion trailhead, and planning for next year. Today the County was awarded a development grant of nearly $200,000 from the MDNR Trust Fund toward the larger planned project to reinvigorate Kimball Pines Park, which was decimated in 2011 by a straight line wind storm.Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
At the Thursday, Dec. 3 Board of Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners approved renewals and new appointments to the Workforce Development Board for Michigan Works! Southwest, as well as approved dissolution documents for Senior Health Partners Realignment and a License Agreement to use a Right of Way Encroachment.In new business, the Board,
- Approved a grant agreement for $440,000 in COVID-19 Response CARES CDGB Grant Funding, a portion of which will help fund the acquisition and equipping of the new Battle Creek Homeless Shelter.
- Approved the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget and Appropriations Resolution
- Approved a contact with Matt Hansen, who will continue in the role of Equalization Director in 2021
- Approved a contract with CSZ Assessing for countywide appraisals within 2021
- Approved a Worker’s Compensation Excess contract coverage renewal
Around the CountyUpdate from the Road DepartmentEngineering
- The overhead flashing beacons funded by a federal aid safety grant were installed and are now being connected by Consumers Energy. Two of these flashing beacons are operational (Partello & 20 Mile and H Dr. S & 2 ½ Mile) and the other two should be operational within the next couple of weeks (D Dr. N & 9 Mile Rd. and D Dr. S & 4 Mile Rd.)
- Countywide culvert inventory is ongoing
- We are currently meeting with townships to discuss 2021 local roadwork.
- Pothole patching is ongoing countywide.
- Boom Mowing is complete in Athens and Sheridan Townships.
- Ongoing grading of gravel roads has taken place across the county.
- Tree trimming is ongoing in Eckford and Marshall Townships.
Reminder about Holiday Happenings in DecemberGive to the Juvenile Home’s Angel Tree: Every year, the Angel Tree provides gifts for children who reside in the Juvenile Home over Christmas, and donations from the community make this possible. Click here for a list of requested items, such as socks, hair ties, shampoo, conditioner, soft pillows, winter apparel, small stuffed animals, and more. Due to the pandemic, collection locations are not available in the community this year, but items can be dropped off to the Juvenile Home directly, to the front door, at
Enjoy the Merry Mile, which is Free for Seniors! The Senior Millage is sponsoring older adults, age 60 and over, to drive through the Christmas light show at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. Free coupons are available by calling 269-781-0846 or emailing your mailing address to email@example.com. Coupons are available on a first come, first served basis, and 300 are available.
The Merry Mile is a light display that runs from Thursday, Dec. 3-Saturday, Dec. 27, from 6-9 p.m., and the fairgrounds are located in Marshall at 720 Fair Street. Regular rates for this event are $10 per car and $20 per bus. Senior Services is sponsoring this activity for seniors to get out of the house and enjoy holiday cheer this year safely.