Update from Administrator/Controller Kelli Scott Thursday, July 15, 2021

Update from Administrator/Controller Kelli Scott Thursday, July 15, 2021

July 15, 2021 | Albion, MI | AMN – Broadband Task Force Launches Internet Survey. This week the Calhoun County Broadband Task Force made major steps on its path toward the goal of ensuring high-speed internet for all residents and businesses in Calhoun County. The County is urging residents to complete this survey, hosted by the Michigan Merit Network, starting next Monday, July 19, The survey is only way for us to accurately understand what level of internet access is in place in every part of Calhoun County. The data will be used for next steps, including a feasibility and cost/benefit study, and seeking state and federal grants. Those with internet access and those without internet access will be able to fill out the survey in different formats, and everyone’s input is requested.  The survey will run through September and we will be working with community partners to share information about the survey and its results. Privacy policies are described on the survey’s website, emphasizing that the data will only be used for the specific purpose of improving internet access within our County.

Help the Calhoun County Broadband Task Force increase broadband internet access in our area. Take a brief 5-minute survey and broadband speed test that will help create an accurate map of internet connectivity in Calhoun.
Take the survey and learn more at MichiganMoonshot.org/Calhoun.
Celebrating Our CentenariansTypically, Calhoun County’s Senior Services Office hosts an annual lunch for seniors who are over 99 years old, but that event was put on hold for two years due to the pandemic. This year, the Senior Services Office decided to tell these residents’ stories in a different and creative way. An unveiling of this new storytelling project will take place next week, and we invite residents to attend! The Centenarians of Calhoun County Storytelling Project will be unveiled at the Marshall United Methodist Church in Marshall on Friday, July 23. The event will be held in an open house format between 2-4 p.m. and will features photos and wisdom of 24 centenarians from Calhoun County. Read the press release.
Highlights from a few boards and committees: On June 18, the Native American Heritage Fund Board met virtually to consider 18 grant applications that were submitted for funding from the annual $500,000 state revenue payment. The total request was for over $2 million. Of those, 11 were selected including three public school districts that will rebrand their mascot to be more culturally sensitive. Click here for the press release from this meeting, which details all successful grantees. The NAHF Board meets for its final time this year on July 16, for a virtual grant award ceremony and to approve the disbursement of all of the checks.

The Marshall Community Credit Union Board met virtually on June 21. We attended the required annual Board of Directors Bank Secrecy Act Training and heard pandemic reopening plans, in addition to normal monthly business. ‘
On July 8, the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) County Administrator meeting took place virtually, a new monthly meeting started by MAC to help keep administrators/ controllers across the state connected during the pandemic. At this meeting, Deena Bosworth, MAC’s Director of Governmental Affairs, provided information about the American Rescue Plan Act dollars and best practices for investing the funds. Most counties are making preliminary plans, calculating revenue losses and waiting for US Treasury to release the final guidance for the funds within the next month or so. The Calhoun County Planning Commission met in person on July 12. During this meeting, the Commission discussed planning and zoning items for Fredonia and Clarendon Townships, including zoning amendments in the vicinity of I-69 and F Drive South in Fredonia and a PA 116 application in Clarendon. I serve on the Planning Commission as a county representative, along with Commissioner Rochelle Hatcher. On behalf of the County, Communications Manager Lucy Blair attended Marshall’s South Neighborhood Improvement Authority meeting on Monday, July 12. An informational update was provided by city officials about the infrastructure built this year and that three single family homes will start construction in the next few weeks and will be followed by 16 duplexes (32 units) in the first phase, and a representative from Norfolk Homes, who owns the property within the NIA– currently called Alwyn Downs–provided information about the upcoming renovation and rebranding that will take place. More information will be released by the City of Marshall in the coming weeks, but it was announced at that meeting that the golf course and surrounding area will be called Emerald Hills.
Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
The July 14 Board of Commissioners Meeting for the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners was held in person for the first time since March 2020, the start of the pandemic. There were numerous items on the consent agenda. The Board approved CCRD local and primary road improvement agreements with Leroy, Albion, and Bedford Townships; MERS Service Credit purchases for two employees; an extension of the election period for the county’s early retirement incentive program; and a grant application for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s County Veterans Service Fund. In new business, the Board approved,
Renewal of a lease agreement with Alternative Choices, LLC within the County-owned human services building in Albion. Renewal of an agreement with the City of Livonia for Prisoner Transport and Lodging Renewal of the Homer Village Law Enforcement Contract with the County Sheriff. A Road Department construction bid award with Lakeland Asphalt for improvements to 2 1/2 Mile Road in Leroy Township. A new reduced fee and condensed format option for food safety manager recertification by the Public Health Department Financial statements for June 2021
Around the County
Update from the Road Department
Engineering update: Emmett Township LRP: currently ongoing (see weekly update for latest news) Partello Rd. Phase II (from 20 Mile Rd. to just past Mar-Lee Schools) in Marengo Twp. – pulverization has been completed and paving is scheduled for this week, weather permitting Division Dr. (from Clark St. to east county line) in Albion Twp. – paving has been completed; waiting on signing and pavement markings Capital Ave. SW (from B Dr. S to City of Battle Creek) in Leroy Twp. – waiting on cold in place base to cure, then paving will take place Morgan Rd. Phase I (from M-37 to North Ave.) in Bedford Twp. – base course has been paved; anticipating top course paving next week, weather permitting J Dr. S Improvement Project in Albion Twp – ditching and culvert work are ongoing Local road paving is ongoing around the county.

Operations Update: Durapatchers are prepping roads in Athens, Leroy, and Bedford Townships for chip seal. Dust Control is complete in Athens, Leroy, Newton, Burlington, Fredonia, Tekonsha, and Clarendon Townships, with work now taking place in in Homer Township. The 2021 Chip Seal program has begun in Convis and Marshall Townships2021 Contractor Pothole patching is in full swing. They are finished patching in Athens, Burlington, Bedford, Leroy, Emmett, Convis, Marshall, Fredonia, Tekonsha, and Clarendon Township. They are currently working in Eckford and Marengo Townships Roadside mowing is complete countywide
This week, the Calhoun County Broadband Task Force held two meetings that signify the start of efforts to bring high-speed internet to all residents. On Monday, July 12, community partners joined a webinar hosted by Merit Network, the County’s chosen contractor, to learn more about the countywide survey that launches Monday, July 19, which will measure broadband access in the county. Information about the survey and a link to take it can be found at MichiganMoonshot.org/calhoun

Then, on Wednesday, July 14, the Task Force met virtually for a strategic planning session that lasted two and a half hours. Led by County Administration, Communications Manager Lucy Blair and our Task Force Chair Mac McCullough, and facilitated by consultant Peter Dams, the group discussed its mission and vision, and explored milestones for four primary strategy areas– access, affordability, literacy, and adoption. This demonstrates the breadth of access the task force is interested in pursuing: Not only should internet be available and affordable, but there should be resources in place to assist residents with accessing it and improving digital literacy, ideally 24-hours a day. This goal-setting will influence the efforts of the task force in the upcoming years. General information about the task force can be found at calhouncountymi.gov/broadband, and questions about this effort can be sent to Communications Manager Lucy Blair.