Calhoun County’s United Way Campaign Begins SoonCalhoun County’s workplace United Way campaign will begin with a proclamation at the next Board of Commissioners meeting, on Thursday, Oct. 17. Calhoun County is unique because there are three United Way organizations in our county. This year I’m happy to report that the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo Region United Way, the Marshal United Way and Albion/Homer United Ways are working together and have agreed on a revenue sharing formula to create a simplified one-pledge process for our employees. Each of these organizations has played an important role in emergency relief countywide during the Covid, and I urge employees who are able and willing to give to do so , using the convenient payroll deduction method. More communication will continue as the campaign is conducted through Nov. 5.Highlights from a few boards and committees:On Monday, Sept. 20, the Marshall Community Credit Union Board met virtually for our normal monthly business, which included this month updates on cybersecurity plans and tests. On Thursday, Sept. 30, the MCCU Board participated in our annual all-day strategic planning with the Credit Union’s management and a planning consultant. This meeting included industry and economic updates, member giveback and branch strategy conversations, a discussion of board and management survey results, and brainstorming for strategic direction for the organization. The Marshall Area Economic Development Authority (MAEDA) Board met on Tuesday, Sept. 21. At this meeting, Board members approved the addition of Sara Jeffrey from Oaklawn to the MAEDA Board of Directors, and agreed to engage Gabridge & Co for the fiscal year 2021 financial audit. For the Battle Creek AMBUCS service club, which met on Sept. 22, I gave a presentation of the County’s American Rescue Plan Act Funding and updates on our plans to invest this one-time $26.5 Million federal allocation. I shared information about the County’s guiding principles for these funds and gave examples of the more than $50M in proposals the County has already received for internal and external projects. Click here for a PDF of my presentation.
Also on Wednesday, Sept. 22, the Battle Creek Executive Airport Advisory Board met virtually. In addition to approving revisions to the meeting schedule, the Board discussed the ongoing governance review, which is being conducted by airport leadership. Specifically we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of airport governance models in Michigan.
The County’s two budget committees, the internal team that includes department leaders and elected officials, as well as the Board of Commissioners Budget Committee, which includes Commissioners Gary Tompkins, Steve Frisbie, and Rochelle Hatcher, met on Sept. 22 and 23. These meetings took place after departments submitted budget requests for FY 2022, so that the committees could review the resulting status of our $46 million General Fund budget, which has seen some progress but is still showing a significant $3.5 million deficit that needs to be resolved before December. The main challenge is the continued reduction of locally generated revenues, mainly in Charges for Services within Public Safety, which have declined from 2018 to 2021 by $4 million. Next steps include departmental budget hearings, which will take place next Friday. At these meetings, departmental budget requests will be reviewed with the elected officials and judges there to explain their funding needs to committee members. It is my responsibility as Administrator/Controller to present a balanced budget to the Board of Commissioners in November for the Public Hearing. It will be important to explain the County’s ongoing long-term structural funding gap in our General Fund, and the ways that our American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation will be utilized to help stabilize this budget but only in the short-term. I attended the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) Annual Conference with Commissioner Kathy-Sue Vette on Mackinac Island from Sept. 26-28. At this conference, I listened to the deputy state budget director present a summary of the state’s 2022 budget process, attended workshops on broadband and ARPA, and discussed present-day challenges with county administrators from across the state.
On Wednesday, Sept. 29, I attended a Community Health Needs Assessment Prioritization Session, hosted by community agencies who are managing the CHNA data-gathering process for Calhoun County. The CHNA is something that the Public Health Department plays a large role in administering because the data is key to providing critical services in our community.
On Oct. 5, the Summit Pointe Board of Directors met for our normal monthly meeting, and then held the second part of our annual strategic planning process. At the regular meeting, the Board approved a recommendation to move banking services to Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, a year-end performance incentive payment for the CEO and non-union staff and the CEO’s proposed goals for FY22. A closed session was held for the CEO’s annual review. After the Board Meeting, a Strategic Plan Work Session was held which included a discussion of a recent employee survey, review of 2021-2026 strategic goals, and next steps.
On Oct. 3-6 I attended the digital version of the 2021 International City/County Managers Association (ICMA) Annual Conference. These live-streamed workshops covered key issues in local government management, including building a crisis-proof team; navigating the legal process of creating a safe workplace environment including issues around masks and vaccines specifically; succession planning; law enforcement best practices including social work; and improving the workplace culture.. The morning of Thursday, Oct. 7, the Calhoun County Broadband Task Force held its October meeting virtually. Communications Manager Lucy Blair gave updates on the County’s community internet survey hosted by Merit Network, noting that it has been extended through the end of October to allow for additional data collection. Chair Mac McCullough also shared information about a community broadband model in Ammon, Idaho that has been recognized as a very successful and unique model that allows for excellent internet service from a menu of providers at very affordable rates. This month, the Task Force will break into smaller workgroups to discuss industry-specific obstacles our community faces without reliable, affordable, and accessible high-speed internet.
Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
At the Sept. 16 Board of Commissioners meeting, the first special order of business was the biennial election of members of the Calhoun County Board of Canvassers. Commissioners voted for one member of each of the political parties to sit on the Board of Canvassers. Then, the Board of Commissioners approved a resolution supporting Battle Creek Unlimited’s grant application for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge. On the consent agenda, Commissioners approved a renewal of the BCNA retiree health care plan, renewal of the 2022 medicare advantage PPO retiree health care plan, an agreement for the Child Care Fund Annual Plan and Budget, and a cooperative reimbursement/child support enforcement grant agreement for FY 2022 and 2023.In new business, the Board approved,
- a new telecommuting policy that allows employees to work from home if appropriate and approved by their supervisor
- a provision to the purchasing policy for contract extensions related to jail medical, medical examiner, and inmate phone services
- a road department (CCRD) lease agreement for the purchase of a vortex patcher
- the CCRD establishment of a policy for developing public roads
- a resolution to propose the dissolution of the Southwest Michigan Solid Waste Consortium
- August 2021 financials
Around the CountyUpdate from the Road DepartmentOperations update:
- Boom mowing is ongoing in Marengo and Pennfield Townships.
- Shoulder work is ongoing countywide.
- Durapatchers are working in Burlington, Newton, and Leroy Townships.
- Tree cleanup is ongoing countywide.
- The second round of dust control is nearing completion.
- Contractor patching is nearly wrapped up for the year.
- Wrapping up all Emmett Township Local Road Project work, local road work, and federal aid projects.
- Work will begins on G Dr N between Old 27 and 18 Mile Rd in Marshall Townshipnext week.
Update from the 10th District CourtThe District Court Clerk’s Office Lobby will be open limited hours beginning Oct. 8 through Oct. 20. The lobby will be open from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. during this time. Normal lobby hours will resume on Thursday, Oct. 21.Questions or comments? Please contact our Communications Manager. If you were forwarded this email, sign up to receive future emails.