St. Joseph County’s 2014 fiscal-year budget was approved by the five-member St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.
More than $16.7 million was set aside for county operations in 2014, an increase of more than $1.6 million from the amended 2013 fiscal year budget of $15.1 million.
Joni Smith, St. Joseph County’s director of finance, said in addition, the county has budgeted a transfer from the general-fund fund balance of $2 million to the county’s Building Improvement and Replacement fund.
The transfer, she said, is to set up a reserve to address the future facility needs in the county.
A review of the 2014 financial allocations show almost $2.3 million to the sheriff’s department, $2.2 million to the jail and turnkey, and $1 million to District Court. The allocations are increases from 2013 in all three cases.
The County’s appropriation to the road commission has increased from $70,000 to $191,000 for 2014. Smith said that is the only significant change in appropriations to outside agencies or organizations.
St. Joseph County administrator Pat Yoder will shed his “interim” label at the start of the year.
Yoder, a 65-year-old Sturgis resident, was given a one-year contract Tuesday to serve as the full-fledged county administrator. He has been serving in an interim basis since April, following the January retirement of Judy West-Wing.
Yoder will receive a $105,000 base salary for the year. In addition, terms of his employment starting Jan. 1 include full benefits, a $500-per-month car allowance and five weeks of vacation. Unused vacation days can be rolled over into the following year or paid out upon the end of his employment.
Commissioner Allen Balog said he and board chairman John Dobberteen met with Yoder last week and reviewed feedback yielded by the five-member board regarding Yoder’s nine-month performance. With everyone’s input, Balog said, the commission agreed to extend an offer to stay on as administrator in a permanent capacity.
Adams Excavating will provide snow-removal and plowing services for St. Joseph County again this winter.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners last week renewed a contract for the winter services at the courthouse parking lot, the parks building and animal-control parking lot, and the sheriff’s department/central dispatch parking lot.
Scott Adams, a Centreville resident, will provide his services when accumulation has reached two inches or more, according to terms of the independent-contractor agreement. The contract is in effect through April 15.
Adams will be required to have lots cleared by 7:30 a.m. in the event of overnight snow.
Adams will be paid $375 per snow-clearing/plowing incident.
The contract was awarded to Adams, as no other bids for the job were submitted.
Appointments and re-appointments were made by members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners last week.
Constantine-area resident David Miars was reappointed to another three-year term on the county’s Board of Public Works. His current term expires at the end of the year.
Deb Leyes of Sturgis was tapped to serve a one-year term as a general-public representative on the Central Dispatch Policy Board. Her appointment fills a vacancy on the board.
Four members on the St. Joseph County Planning Commission Board were reappointed to three-year terms. They are: James Griffith of Flowerfield Township, Mark Ripplinger of Mottville Township, Doug Pagels of Fawn River Township, and Warren Atkins of White Pigeon Township.
St. Joseph County animal control director Tom Miller said the department saw a revenue increase from 2011 to 2012.
In addition, Miller said fewer dogs were euthanized in 2012 compared to 2011.
Miller addressed the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioner Tuesday, presenting to the five-member panel his annual report.
The department euthanized 111 dogs last year, 77 fewer than it did in 2011. As far as revenue, Miller said the department took in more than $132,000 last year. That marked an increase from $117,000 in 2011.
About $20,000 was secured through donations; more than $88,000 from dog kennel and license fees.
A Florence Township official will have to look for an alternative source of financial help to address a crumbling roadway in his jurisdiction, as he was turned down for assistance by county officials Tuesday.
For the second time in two months, Florence Township Supervisor Gordon Evilsizor asked the commission for consideration to help replace Constantine Road from Dickinson north to Fairchild roads. A cost estimate he shared was $718,000 for rebuilding the roadway through Florence Township.
Evilsizor said the condition of the roadway is dangerous and motorists are forced to drive in the middle to avoid potholes and blemishes along the edges of the road.
Commission Chairman John Dobberten acknowledged the deteriorating condition of county roads in general. For local units to come in and expect the county to pick up the cost of repairs, however, is “unimaginable,” he said, as the county has hundreds of miles of roadways under its jurisdiction.
Dobberteen said he would encourage the county road commission to increase its annual assessment when it is up for renewal next year, or urge local units of government to follow the lead of the city of Sturgis and offer a millage specifically for road repairs.