State plans upgrades for Wilson State Park
By Genine Hopkins
According to Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt, who spoke with State Senator Darwin Booher, the State of Michigan will maintain Wilson State Park and invest money to upgrade and improve. The park is a huge draw, especially during the County Fair, so the news was received positively.
Kleinhardt also informed the board that much of the county now provides 4G service for cell phones under Verizon, and he reported that the State of Michigan is experiencing a significant drop overall in the number of students enrolled in the public school system, although he was not aware of the Clare County numbers.
Chair Jim Gelios informed the board about planned improvements the City of Harrison intends to move forward on for US Business 127 and M-61, including talk about providing center islands to the road within the City limits.
Commissioner Karen Lipovsky noted that the date for the Open House event at the Clare County Transit Corporation will be July 16, beginning at 10 a.m. The CCTC will be showcasing both the building and the solar panels that are slated to go online in the near future.
Lipovsky also reported that she was contacted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The department reached out to her, hoping to improve their image and partner with local municipalities on promoting outdoor recreation with the Pure Michigan campaign. Lipovsky hopes that the lines of communication will allow the townships to discuss road maintenance for areas affected by the state’s initiative to allow clear cutting on state lands, which can cause expedited wear on roads due to large equipment movement.
Commissioner Dale Majewski noted that Senior Services received a grant from Trans-Canada, although it was not noted how that grant would be applied. The grant amount was $1,500. He also indicated that MSU would be addressing the Eurasian invasion into local lakes, and requested the board open dialogue with the County’s Road Commission in regard to future construction plans.
Commissioner Lynn Grim brought a request from the Central Michigan District Health Department (CMHDC) for a three percent raise to cover IT and Administration expenses. The CMDHD informed Grim that they would be offering a buyout and incentives for early retirement and would not be replacing some personnel members if the offer were accepted. Still, the board felt that deciding on an increase prior to the budget meetings would be inappropriate and did not move forward at the meeting to decide if the measure would be approved. The CMHDC did conduct interviews for the 11 applicants who applied to replace Health Officer Mary Kushion, who will be retiring in the near future.
It was reported that there would be cuts to budgets for several local agencies due to the Federal Sequester. Those cuts will be made over the course of ten years to minimize the effects on the community. Listening Ear will be cutting approximately $400,000 statewide; Listening Ear provides numerous services including assistance to runaways.
Pam Mayfield, Clare County’s Clerk/Register of Deeds, reported that there will be two county wide proposals for an August ballot/election; one is the five (5) year renewal Senior Services millage at up to .48 mills, from 2014 to 2018 and the five (5) year renewal for 911 Central Dispatch, 2014 to 2018, for up to .350 mills. Greenwood and Hamilton Townships each have a road millage while Redding and Winterfield have Marion Schools millage and Winterfield also has McBain School District millage renewal. The election will be held on Tuesday, August 6, 2013.
Jenny Beemer-Fritzinger, the Clare County Treasurer, reported that they are currently processing information on tax foreclosures for the coming auction. Currently, 121 properties are in tax foreclosure although the Judge might release some of those. The Auction will take place on August 8, at the Beaverton Bowling Alley, beginning at noon. Additionally, properties going into forfeiture will have notices sent out by July 12, 2013; there are approximately 800 parcels affected by this. Property owners will have a year to redeem their land/homes.
Tracy Byard, the county’s Administrator, reported that department budgets are beginning to be turned in and all budgets are requested to be submitted by July 10, 2013, so Tracy can present the FY 2014 Budget to the board. Additionally, there will be Special Budget meetings held on July 23 through July 25.
The Board approved a motion to place a motion for the approval of the purchasing software from N. HarrisComputer Corporation on the next full board meeting agenda. The software price is in the sum of $4,770, includes the first year’s maintenance and support, software and training/professional services. The motion was made by Commissioner Grim, supported by Commissioner Lipovsky and carried unanimously.
A motion to approve the purchase of 30 baton holders and ASP batons by the Clare County Sheriff’s Department was made by Commissioner Lipovsky and supported by Commissioner Majewski. The purchase price of $3,019.50 will be taken out of the drug forfeiture fund.
Commissioner Majewski made a motion, which was supported by Commissioner Grim, to allow the CCSD to enter into a cross deputization agreement with the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, for events at Harmony Hill concert venue in Surrey Township.
The approval for the CCSD 911 Division to enter into a maintenance agreement for its radio towers, with funding to come out of existing budgetary funds, was made after Commissioner Grim made the motion, which was supported by Commissioner Lipovsky, and carried by the full board.
CCSD requested permission to fill a vacant road deputy position after the opening was created by that deputy’s assignment to the BAYANET Drug Team. The motion to approve this request was made by Commissioner Kleinhardt, supported by Vice Chair Rick Laboda, and carried by the board.
A Resolution to ask the State of Michigan to restore full funding of its Revenue Sharing payments to Michigan Counties was made by Commissioner Kleinhardt, supported by Commissioner Grim, and passed by the board.
Bill Mulrin was reappointed to the Veteran’s Relief Board, with his new term expiring on April 30, 2017, on a motion by Vice Chair Laboda, supported by Commissioner Lipovsky and carried by the board.
Roger Carey and Jenny Page were appointed to the County Planning Commission, with terms expiring July 31, 2016.
Mary Ann Shurlow and Mike Duggan were appointed to the Small Business Revolving Loan Project, with terms expiring on July 31, 2016.
Commissioner Rick Laboda and Michelle Bott were appointed to the Clare County Land Bank Authority, with terms expiring on September 31, 2015.