Three Rivers city officials are in the midst of working out a potential ordinance regulating collection boxes.
The matter was most recently discussed at the commission’s Feb. 4 meeting, when Mayor Tom Lowry indicated his preference for the boxes to be banned within the city limits. Lowry said the boxes take resources away from the community and do not provide a direct financial benefit to the city.
A preliminary draft ordinance was presented by attorney Pat O’Malley. His draft calls for regulating the boxes, as opposed to an outright ban.
The majority of commissioners indicated they would prefer to see local, non-profit agencies have preference to the placement of collection boxes in Three Rivers. Some of the current boxes are sponsored by for-profit organizations with no local roots.
For-profit organizations Better World Books and USAgain, and non-profit Planet Aid all have boxes in Three Rivers.
Two budget amendments were made at last week’s St. Joseph County Board of Commissioner’s meeting.
Commissioners agreed to a $4,030 adjustment from the county’s general fund for an animal-control shelter study. The study will focus on a needs assessment to be performed in coming months.
In addition, more than $11,200 was amended from the information technology improvement fund for the purchase of Ultra Books for the prosecutor’s office.
State Rep. Matt Lori has offered his compliments to Rick Snyder for the governor’s budget proposal to invest more money in the state’s mental-health programs.
In a statement Wednesday after the release of the governor’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget, Lori said Michigan continues its comeback by investing in priorities to boost education, expand job creation, build stronger communities, improve mental and community health, and improve public safety.
Lori, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Health, said the budget recommendation is a starting point to continue the work of the past three years to produce a responsible, balanced spending plan well ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.
Only four members of the Michigan Senate have so far said they’re in support of a new proposal to make the Michigan lawmakers part-time workers. In the meantime, the petition drive to put the part-time legislature question on the statewide ballot is getting underway. Thirty of the 38 members of the Senate have been contacted so far. Of the thirty, 17 are clearly against it and seven are undecided. The four yes votes are Republicans David Hildenbrand of Lowell, Joe Hune of Hamburg, Patrick Colbeck of Canton, and John Proos of St. Joseph. Proos has been a leader in the part-time effort. He argues that currently, 36 other states have some form of part time legislature. But critics say it will create an imbalance among the three branches of government, since the Governor and the Supreme Court will remain full time jobs. They say it simply limits the voice of the people who elect legislators (MRN)
Road commission boards in St. Joseph and Cass counties have agreed to a restructuring that will involve each entity being governed by their own manager.
During a joint meeting Jan. 29, current manager Christopher Bolt recommended each agency continue to collaborate on sharing services in accordance with an agreement reached in 2010. Bolt, however, said in the face of numerous and compelling issues, each agency demands attention and focus of a full-time manager.
A revised joint endeavor agreement was signed last month and the new structure was approved by both boards.
The Cass County Board has started a search for a new manager; Bolt will continue to lead both organizations as long as necessary, he said.
Three Rivers Mayor Tom Lowry said he has been informed the municipality has received three grants.
During last week’s city commission meeting, Lowry said the grants are in the combined amount of almost $7,500.
The first, a $750 award from the Dr. Pepper/Snapple group, will be used for expenses related to clean-up projects during the city’s Community Pride Day coming up in May.
A grant in the amount of $2,800 will allow for the hiring of additional help at Scidmore Park Petting Zoo. The funds will allow the zoo to extend its summer hours. The money, which requires a 25 percent match, was provided by the Three Rivers Area Community Foundation.
The Conservation Fund, through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will be earmarked toward the Three Rivers Farmers’ Market.
Lowry said the money will allow the market to help create a sustainable market, market training, state certification and equipment to accept payments other than cash.