Equity Challenge During Black History MonthThis month, in addition to group diversity and equity training from Battle Creek’s Truth & Titus consultants with the Marshall Community Credit Union Board, I am participating in the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region’s 21-day Racial Equity Challenge. This daily email campaign has provided interesting and new education for me on topics like Housing Discrimination and Environmental Justice, and it includes lots of information specific to our local area. The emails from United Way provide an introduction to the topic and then a plethora of resources to dive deeper, learning how these topics impact our country, region, and neighbors directly. There are still days left in this equity challenge, so it’s not too late to sign up to receive upcoming topics to consider. Regardless, check out the United Way website to see past emails and additional resource. Leading with Equity
Highlights from a few boards and committees:On Feb. 9, the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau Board met. County Commissioner Katy-Sue Vette continues to serve as Chair of the CVB Board. We received updates from our CEO, Linda Freybler, about new items including the second round of federal Paycheck Protection Program Loans and Employee Retention Tax Credits. We also discussed the current year’s budget status and the potential to adjust the budget upward depending on first quarter results through March. The Board also heard a review of 2020 accomplishments for the Visitors Bureau, including a new website, an updated strategic plan, and a redesigned Welcome Center, and many more remarkable successes considering how drastically the pandemic affected our tourism industry. To learn more about COVID-19 response efforts statewide, I attended an administrative briefing hosted by the Michigan Association of Counties on Feb. 10, featuring Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, Chief Medical Executive of MDHHS Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and Special Adviser to the Protect Michigan Commission Kerry Ebersole Singh. At this presentation, we learned more about the Protect Michigan Commission, on which multiple community leaders serve, including Battle Creek Mayor Mark Behnke and CareWell Services CEO Karla Fales. The Calhoun County Veterans Affairs Committee met on Wednesday, Feb. 10 via Zoom. The Board examined the year-to-date budget, heard an update about digitization of files, and reviewed applications to the Veterans Relief fund. On Feb. 11, the Michigan Association of Counties County Administrator monthly meeting took place virtually. These meetings are an exchange of information and thoughts on the most pressing issues in county government, and a chance for Administrators to discuss solutions that have worked for others. MAC staff also gave legislative updates and asked for our feedback so that they can help encourage legislation that helps county governments and our budgets. The Marshall Community Credit Union Boardmet on Feb. 15, virtually. A pretty standard meeting, agenda items included presentations on IT security initiatives and potential growth strategies, and updates on the Credit Union’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts. The Michigan Association of Counties held a live recording of its Podcast 83 on Feb. 16, featuring an interview with Elizabeth Hertel, the new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. I attended this live session to hear state MDHHS updates from the newly-appointed director. On Feb. 18, I joined a webinar hosted by International City/County Management Association (ICMA) called COVID-19 Cost Recovery: Ways to Maximize Federal Funding for Response, Recovery and Vaccination. This helpful webinar provided information about funding possibilities, many of which Calhoun County is participating in, to maximize our COVID-19 response and what we’re able to do.
Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
At the Thursday, Feb. 18 Board of Commissioners meeting, the consent agenda included board appointments, including individuals named to the County’s Jury Board, the Southwest Michigan Solid Waste Consortium, Calhoun County Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Calhoun County Community Mental Health Authority (Summit Pointe) Board. There was also a lease purchase agreement for four plow trucks for the Calhoun County Road Department.In new business, the Board,
- Approved a resolution to authorize Delinquent Tax Anticipation Notes, on behalf of the Treasurer’s Office
- Approved a 2021 Staffing Allocation Change for Administrative Services
- Approved the Medical Director Contract for 2021, which includes an amendment to accommodate more time spent on public health during the pandemic
Around the CountyUpdate from the Road DepartmentThank you to the road workers who have performed winter maintenance during the last few weeks of heavy snowfall. Their dedication keeps Calhoun County roads safe for those of us with commutes to work or school.
- Road Department employees are performing winter maintenance as needed
- Tree work is ongoing in Marshall and Albion Townships
- Pothole patching has been completed countywide
- Boom mowing is ongoing in Clarendon and Newton Townships
Update from the Treasurer’s OfficeEspecially if you’re behind on paying property taxes, it’s important to know the differences between forfeiture and foreclosure, as well as the consequences of forfeiture. Check out this video by Treasurer’s Office staff about the differences, and contact our office as soon as possible to look at the best solutions for you. Properties with unpaid 2019 property taxes will go into forfeiture on March 1, 2021.