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Grant awarded

June 20, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

A grant awarded the past two decades to St. Joseph County through the Michigan Department of Corrections is being renewed for a three-year period.

At the request of District Court Judge Jeff Middleton, the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday authorized Middleton submitting the Community Corrections Grant application.

Programs and administrative costs covered by the grant equal $103,000. Middleton said one-third of the grant covers the salary for Community Corrections administrator Nancy Pick. The balance is used toward a cognitive, group-based program as well as partial funding for the Day Reporting Center.

Middleton has sought renewal of the grant for 25 years.

Revised date and time

June 19, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners has agreed to revise the date and time of its once-a-month executive committee meeting.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, commissioners settled on 8 a.m. the Wednesday before the second commission meeting of the month. The executive committee, which acts as a committee of the whole and discusses in detail items to appear on the subsequent county commission meeting agenda, had been meeting at 3 p.m. the Thursday before the second commission meeting of the month

To accommodate a commissioner who has a conflict with Thursday afternoons, the motion to move the executive committee meeting to Wednesdays was approved unanimously.

In other action Tuesday, the commission met in executive session for about 20 minutes to discuss property acquisition. No action on the subject was taken, however.

Developing river trail

June 18, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

A step toward development of a county-owned river trail was taken Tuesday.

Members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday agreed to fund $89,000 for services provided by Edgewater Resources.

Based in the city of St. Joseph, Edgewater Resources will work with the county in developing a riverfront master plan. An outline and scope Edgewater comprised for county officials shows a series of steps necessary to enhance for recreational purposes publicly owned lands along the St. Joseph, Rocky, Portage, Prairie, Fawn and Pigeon rivers.

In addition, the proposal calls for engaging private landowners in the development of integrated strategy for linking a future network of river way trails to existing regional trail networks, and connecting them to significant natural, cultural and historic resources throughout the county.

According to documents from Edgewater, development of the plan will require collaboration with the cities, villages and townships throughout the county, as well as coordination with the state to identify potential grant-funding sources.

Commission approves travel request

June 6, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners has approved an out-of-state travel request for a circuit court employee.

At the request of Judge Paul Stutesman, commissioners agreed to the plan for court administrator Kathryn Griffin to attend the National Association for Court Management’s annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. The six-day event takes place next month.

As president of Michigan’s NACM, a portion of her conference dues will be covered by the association. The balance will be funded by the Michigan Association for Circuit Court Administrators.

Commissioners approved expenses for airfare, airport transportation and meals. Stutesman estimated the county’s cost will amount to about $1,500.

Commission approves funds

June 4, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to cover a six-digit dollar amount request from Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

The commission unanimously approved an allocation in excess of $168,000 to the agency.

What was labeled a one-time request for the funds from CMH sparked a lengthy discussion by commissioners. The five-member panel criticized state legislators for the inadequate funding of the county’s CMHSAS agency.

The shortfall was requested by CMHSAS executive director Liz O’Dell.

Though she was not present Tuesday, O’Dell afterward said the state is simply giving the agency less money than what it takes to service its clients.

She said the agency has a $15 million budget. Its budget, however, is categorical, and the funding for Medicaid Extension – more casually known as Healthy Michigan – has taken a financial toll on the county’s CMHSAS.

Commissioners agreed that she should attend the commission’s June 17 meeting for additional discussions.

Finding money for roads

May 30, 2014 by Administrator · Comments Off 

Action by the state’s elected leaders and money are key solutions to improving the condition of roads in St. Joseph County and the rest of the state.

The solution was detailed Thursday by Christopher Bolt, engineer-manager of the St. Joseph County Road Commission. The Centreville-based agency staged a first-of-its-kind “road summit” that drew more than 60 people to Centreville.

Bolt said the local road commission is in a state of crisis, but without funding to supplement its $6 million annual budget, it will have to continue to do the best it can  with the money it has. Gas and vehicle registration taxes generate about $4.5 million to the department, more than two-thirds of its annual budget.

Another 1.2 million comes from a countywide millage, which is up for renewal in August. In a separate vote also in August, the commission is asking whether residents support a 2-mill increase for road maintenance and improvements.

State Sen. Bruce Caswell, who spoke during the 2 1/2-hour program at the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District, called the gas-tax formula a dinosaur.

Caswell said he supports a 1-cent increase in sales tax, which would generate $1.3 billion annually.

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