St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners has agreed to renew its funding to continue its partnership with MSU Extension for 2014.
During last week’s county commission meeting, commissioners agreed to allocate nearly $133,000 for the service.
The funding covers salaries and services provided by one full-time and three part-time employees.
In addition, the county will continue to provide telephone services and other basic utilities, including high-speed Internet.
Members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners wished their constituents a Merry Christmas and offered thanks to county workers for a job well done in 2013.
During the close of Tuesday’s meeting – the final commission meeting of the calendar and fiscal year – commission chairman John Dobberteen also thanked Pat Yoder for staying on as the county’s permanent administrator in 2014. Yoder had been serving in an interim capacity since April 1.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Rick Shaffer said it has been a good year for the county, and he appreciates the hard work of Yoder and county staff.
Finance director Joni Smith added a footnote of good news for the county. Smith said a revenues and expenditures report through Nov. 30 shows county revenues were in excess of $13.5 million, while expenditures for the first 11 months of the year were more than $13.1 million. In short, Smith said revenue to date was more than expenditures by more than $383,000.
At the end of November, the county’s fund balance was $6.3 million.
The county commission will stage its organizational meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 7.
As lawmakers have ended their work in Lansing for the year, Governor Rick Snyder admits he didn’t get everything he wanted in 2013, but he still appears satisfied. He had asked that the Legislature fund repairs to Michigan’s ailing roads this year, and while that never happened, the governor says he feels they had a very positive, constructive year. He says they accomplished a lot and if you look over the past three years, he thinks this has been one of the most productive Legislature’s in history. One of the big items on the governor’s agenda that the legislature did accomplish in 2013 was the expansion of Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, which will extend Medicaid to an estimated 470,000 residents. However, the bill did not get immediate effect, meaning the law cannot be implemented until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die. Now that lawmakers have wrapped things up for the year… that clock has begun ticking. (MRN)
The St. Joseph County Conservation District has announced a forestry workshop it is sponsoring this week.
The event is 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday and features two keynote speakers: Ben Schram, forestry assistance program coordinator with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Jeff Steinkraus, consulting forester.
The focus of the workshop will center on qualified forestry, conservation forestry planning and a new component on what is called the reLEAF program.
Prospective participants are asked to RSVP by phoning 467-6336, ext. 6
The program takes place at the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District.
Three Rivers Community Schools Superintendent Roger Rathburn has announced he plans to run for state representative next year.
The 51-year-old Rathburn, who is retiring in June following a 13-year tenure as superintendent in Three Rivers, will seek the 59th District State House seat currently held by Matt Lori. Lori, who will begin his sixth and final year as state rep in January, is term-limited and unable to run again.
Rathburn said he planned to retire to seek other opportunities, preferably in the arena of education. But after being approached by a number of county residents, Rathburn said his interest in the state representative’s position grew in its appeal.
To date, John Bippus is the only other candidate to declare his plans to run for the seat.
The 59th District covers St. Joseph County and all but a small pocket of Cass County.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners made a number of appointments and reappointments during Tuesday’s twice-a-month meeting.
Commissioners appointed Kathy Humphreys as chief deputy treasurer. She replaces Vicky Anders, who is retiring next month.
Eric Shafer was reappointed to another term on the St. Joseph County Road Commission. Shaffer’s new term starts Jan. 1 and concludes at the end of 2019.
One-year terms of service to the county’s Community Corrections Board were approved for members Jeff Middleton, Tony Callaway, John McDonough, Dave Griffin, Paul Stutesman, David Tomlinson, Rob Pattison, Gina Wagner, Tim Schuler, Robin Baker Thomas Miles, Howard Bush, and Eddie MacKay.
Also, the board approved renewing an independent contractor agreement with Indiana resident Charles Eckenstahler for consulting services related to zoning matters for the St. Joseph County Planning Commission.
Eckenstahler’s services call for $250 for each desk review and $150 per meeting attendance.