Calhoun County Updates – March 2016

Calhoun County CommissionersThe County is demonstrating strong fiscal stewardship. Last week Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Rating Services affirmed the County’s bond credit rating of ‘AA’, with a stable outlook. S&P cited in their rating report factors including our diverse employer base, strong financial policies and management, positive budget performance, liquidity and flexibility, and rapid debt repayment.

The County’s Public Health Department, led by Health Officer Jim Rutherford, has been involved with many recent conversations about water quality and lead levels, in response to the Flint water crisis. We are fortunate that all communities within Calhoun County report safe drinking water, but there is work to be done to address lead-based materials found primarily in older homes throughout the County.

This Thursday, the County Board of Commissioners, led by Chair Derek King, will approve an amendment to the staffing agreement within the lease for the Marshall Regional Law Enforcement Center. One of the shared positions within the building—the property room manager—is now employed by the City of Marshall and reports to the Michigan State Police for oversight. This shared position is just one example of how this collaborative arrangement is reducing operating costs and fostering better communication between public safety officials to solve crimes.

The County is offering security training next week for all employees within the County Building in Marshall. As such, the County Building will be closed to the public on Tuesday, March 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., and on Friday, March 25, from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

Calhoun County continues to value our seniors and veterans through designated voter-approved millages. On April 7 our Senior Services Office, along with many community partners and sponsors, will host our annual Senior Fair at Marshall Middle School. And last week our Veterans Affairs Committee approved revisions to the County’s Veterans Relief Fund, removing the “wartime service” eligibility requirement so that more veterans who experience one-time hardships can apply for emergency funds.

This Friday the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board (FLRSB) will meet to hear requests for Tier 2 allocations, designed to reimburse local governments for cost increases due to the operations of the casino and the Tribal reservation. The FLRSB, chaired by Marshall City Mayor Jack Reed, will distribute this year nearly $5.3 million in net win from the casino’s 2015 operations. This year’s Tribal payment is up 5% over last year’s , and is the highest ever for the FLRSB since its inception in 2010.

Upcoming County facility improvement projects include the demolition of the old jail building in Marshall, scheduled for May and June. The County will expand parking and add a storage/maintenance building as part of this project. Through a Phase III guaranteed energy savings contract with Honeywell, the County will also invest approximately $2 million in water conservation equipment and upgrades to building controls and lighting, generating positive cash flow over 20 years from operating cost avoidance and utility savings.

The County’s Road Department has greatly increased its capacity over the past year, with new management, $6.5 million in new equipment in the works, and a recently signed agreement with Enbridge to repair more than 35 stretches of roads that were damaged from the company’s Line 6B pipeline replacement project. These repairs are slated for this summer and possibly into next summer.

Finally, leadership matters! We are entering a very busy election season for County officials, with all 7 County Commissioners, all 5 County elected officials and 7 of our 9 judges on the ballot this year.