Officials from the city of Sturgis have approved a letter of intent with St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners regarding the development of a senior center.
The proposed center is slated to be built on property adjacent to the Doyle Community Center and would be leased to the county for a token $1 annually.
County Commission members over the past year have eyed a senior center in Sturgis to complement the Commission on Aging senior center already in place in Three Rivers.
The letter of intent was OK’d by Sturgis officials at a city commission meeting last week
A proposal to market St. Joseph County as an attractive retirement option for residents in Chicago and its suburban communities was explained during a presentation Thursday.
Addressing a crowd of about 40 people – comprised primarily of city, village and township leaders from throughout the county – St. Joseph County Commissioner Don Eaton explained details of a potential marketing agreement with Holland-based 2 Fish Company LLC.
He said the area’s appeal of its lakes, rivers, golf courses and small towns would be highlighted in promotional materials prepared by 2 Fish.
Though the potential cost to partner with 2 Fish has not yet been established, it’s likely the funds to support what would be a three-year marketing campaign are to come from the county’s Delinquent Tax-Collection Fund, Eaton said.
Eaton said the purpose of Thursday’s meeting at the St. Joseph County Intermediate School District was to keep local elected officials abreast of the proposal and seek their backing of the concept.
The county stands to gain from the tax dollars and commerce generated as a result of Baby Boomers who may choose to retire in St. Joseph County, Eaton said.
A quarterly report from the Economic Development Corporation board chairman of Southwest Michigan First provided St. Joseph County’s Board of Commissioners detailed information about the three-month period that concluded at the end of December.
Ken Jones, who attended the county’s executive committee meeting last week, said 28 consultations resulted in three company announcements, 202 new jobs created, 801 jobs retained and $5.3 million in new investment in the county. Jones said the agency is managing 18 projects in various stages throughout the county.
In addition, two companies – Sturgis Molded Products and Vaupell – are receiving Incumbent Worker Training grants, Jones said.
St. Joseph County Administrator J. Patrick Yoder will start work April 1 with a nine-month contract and $85,000 salary.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the employment agreement with Yoder, who will resign at the end of March from his post as village manager of Three Oaks and return to St. Joseph County’s highest, non-elected position.
Yoder held the St. Joseph County administrator’s job from its inception in 1990 until 1994.
His employment beyond the end of the year will be reviewed by commissioner later in 2013.
Other terms of the employment agreement with the 63-year-old Yoder include insurance benefits, a car allowance of $400 per month and $2,000 relocation expenses. Yoder will also receive 18 full days of vacation, which can be carried over annually. He will receive payment for unused vacation days upon the termination of his employment.
Yoder will replace Judy West-Wing, who retired last month after a 30-year career with the county.
The St. Joseph County MSU Extension is inviting elected officials and area farmers to an overnight agriculture and water tour of Central Wisconsin.
Jon Zirkle, MSU Extension program director, told members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday the tour offers stops at several locations to view vegetable, field crop and cranberry farms in an irrigated, sandy part of Wisconsin.
In addition, participants will visit with University of Wisconsin faculty, researchers and extension educators about crop research and water-management practices.
Zirkle said the trip is a good information-gathering and sharing opportunity.
Participants will leave March 11 and return late the following night. Cost is $260 for a single room, or $240 for a shared room, and includes travel, hotel and food.
Zirkle may be reached at 467-5510.
St. Joseph County is expected to share an equalization director with Cass County.
What will likely be the third position shared by the neighboring counties is expected to be approved Thursday by the Cass County Board of Commissioners. The five-member St. Joseph County Board unanimously endorsed the proposal Tuesday.
Cass County administrator Louis Csokasy told St. Joseph County leaders the position will likely be filled by early May. A salary for the new position will be established by officials from both counties in April.
Csokasy said Cass County has contracted its equalization director services with a Kalamazoo-based company since 1998. The likely deal with St. Joseph County will facilitate the county’s goal to bring the job back in-house, a measure for which Cass County officials have allocated $147,000.
St. Joseph County Board chairman John Dobberteen said current equalization director Judy Nelson is welcome to apply for the post. Nelson, a 30-year county employee, has spent the last 17 years as equalization director.
Nelson, 66, is paid more than $69,000 a year.