The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, September 13, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Chippewa County Courthouse
Present: Commissioners Ted Postula, Don Cooper, Rita Dale, Richard Timmer, Aaron Hopper, Jim Moore and Chairman Earl Kay
Also Present: Dave Carpenter, Finance Director, Jeff Moran, Sheriff, Kelly Beaune, Administrative Assistant, Marilyn McDonald, Treasurer, Christine Lundquist, CC Health Department, Don and Chris McLean, Jeri Wolski, Eunice McKay, Sharon Kennedy, Register of Deeds, Wayne Fortin, Barbara Fortin, Tina Ojala, Holly Zaborowski, Arthur Cooper, Mary Piralli, Lowell Ulrich, Family Court Judge, Debbie Sirk, Scott Brand, Sue Short, Probate Court Administrator, Cynthia Ojala, Richard Rathke, Elmer Harris, Jim Sheppard, Tim Hall, Richard McCartney, Shelly Brosco, Cheryl Brosco, Tim Dolehanty, Controller, and Diane Cork, County Clerk
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Postula, to acknowledge the correspondence received in the Clerk’s Office and if necessary, forward to the appropriate committee. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve the County Board minutes of August 9, 2004 with a correction on page 4, paragraph 2. The paragraph should state that Commissioner Hopper was advised, via the MAC staff, a conversation was held with Representative Johnson, Leader of the House, saying there is no more money, this is the deal. Commissioner Hopper believes that senior citizens and farmers will be exempt and pay taxes in December. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Postula, to approve the Work Session minutes of August 23, 2004 as presented by the Clerk. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Marilyn McDonald, County Treasurer, stated she had received a letter from Governor Granholm concerning the State delinquent taxes. Although the State does not have any money, they will fulfill their obligation by transferring funds to honor their delinquent taxes including the interest and penalties.
Richard Rathke, local motel owner, addressed the Board with his concerns of the recently passed Clean Indoor Air Ordinance in Chippewa County. A letter was read by a representative for the Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau along with the results of a recent survey conducted within Chippewa County as to the number of smoking rooms per hotel/motel establishments. All owners in attendance agreed that by limiting the number of smoking rooms a devastating effect would be placed on their business and tourism in this area. This item will be sent to the Legislative and Natural Resource Committee for further consideration.
Sharon Kennedy, Register of Deeds, implemented an address application fee and has brought revenue into her of about $1,000 since July. She believes that she will meet her revenue projections as stated in the 2004 budget process.
Christine McLean read the following statement:
We are here again tonight, as we have been for the past 42 months, asking this board to work toward improving services at Hiawatha Behaviors Health.
In the last month, we have learned of three new families who have had difficulty in trying to obtain services from HBH. We advised all families to contact the HBH board members and are hoping they will have strength to do so. None of the families have any health care insurance. All persons needing help are adult Chippewa County residents.
One family member said their loved one had been in the Emergency Room twice in one week due to suicide attempts, but the HBH worker didn’t feel any concern was necessary as the client was only looking for attention.
Another family has had a disabled loved on placed in independent housing. They believe he is in danger living alone with no supervision of his life sustaining medications.
The third family was told in a phone conversation with an HBH crisis worker to take their relative to Marquette General Hospital as they couldn’t help them here. When asked if they could go the Petoskey for hospitalization, because it is so much closer than Marquette, the crisis worker informed them that HBH wasn’t in the Petoskey service area. After three days at Marquette, the person is home and only seeing their family medical physician.
Since October of 2003, I have been asking to be able to attend HBH Finance Committee monthly meetings. I have been told I cannot attend as the meetings are “closed meeting”. I have written to the Attorney General’s Office and after many months have been notified that this is a local issue.
In July, a questionable HBH bonus policy was rejected by Board vote, then rediscussed, tabled and sent to another committee. The bonus plan resurfaced at the August meeting and was not compared to longevity compensation paid by some other employers. The policy was verbally played around with until it was finally accepted in an 8-3 Board vote. HBH management led the board to believe this bonus was equivalent to a necessary longevity pay increase for employees. I don’t see why longevity increases or bonuses are necessary at HBH when the Board negotiates good pay raises each year, allows cost of living increases and pays college tuition, retirement and other liberal fringe benefits. The only three HBH board members who voted against the previously defeated bonus policy were Chippewa member Earl Kay, Richard Beadle and Bernard LaJoie.
I believe the issues I have mentioned (services, secret finance meetings, and bonuses) are all related since the way HBH management has funds available to provide for employee bonuses is because they are not spending it on client services. The state claims it is a local issue, the local claims they have to work under state restrictions and the residents under HBH service area still coming up short.
Over 2 years ago, 1260 Chippewa County residents asked this board to work toward changes to improve HBH. There has been some improvement thru the selection of responsible HBH board members, but there is still a long way to go. I believe all Chippewa County Commissioners need to exercise their responsibilities to the taxpayers and put forth the effort to consult, question and work with other county commissions so there will be no need for people like myself to keep coming before this board about mental health issues that should be resolved in the regular course of business at HBH
CONTROLLER’S REPORT – Tim Dolehanty
Correspondence was received from AFSCME President, Barbara Fortin, requesting that Tina Ojala, employee representative, attend the annual MERS Conference in September.
It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, that Tina Ojala be appointed the employee representative to attend the MERS annual conference. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to recommend adoption of Resolution 04-18 as follows:
RESOLUTION TO DECLARE SEPTEMBER
NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH
WHEREAS, problems with drugs and alcohol continue to be prevalent in every state in the nation, but there is hope that the tide can turn if more people with alcohol and drug use disorders are given access to treatment. We now know that alcohol and drug disorders are chronic but treatable diseases that involve brain chemistry, just as diabetes and heart disease are chronic but treatable medical conditions.
WHEREAS, recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is possible and treatment is effective. People in recovery can and do become gainfully employed, own homes, and rejoin their families and their communities. Our community salutes those in our neighborhoods who are in recovery and the counseling and program staff who brought them out of the darkness.
WHEREAS, saluting people who are in recovery from alcohol and drug use disorders, as well as, those who have helped them obtain treatment, helps to overcome such barriers by educating the community about the benefits of treatment, and affirming the goal that all people with alcohol and drug use disorders should have access to treatment services.
WHEREAS, to help achieve this goal, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and Anishnabek Community and Family Services; American Indian Substance Abuse Services, the County of Chippewa invite all residents of Chippewa County to participate in National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Chair, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the month of September 2004 as NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH in Chippewa County and encourage all residents to promote the benefits of drug and alcohol treatment and recovery and to support community treatment programs.
On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Controller Dolehanty reviewed a handout on the revenue projections through August 31, 2004 showing an anticipated shortfall of $224,386.
Commissioner Timmer stated the revenue projections won’t be complete until after the November General Election to see if the proposed millage request is passed or defeated.
OLD BUSINESS: None
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Personnel – Rita Dale – August 18, 2004
Controller Dolehanty presented a situation where an employee wished to be considered for a position at a lesser pay grade, but would like to maintain an hourly wage above the maximum for that grade. (Note: that this was not the request, but a question asked by the employee as to what the pay grade would be)
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend retention of the assigned pay grade when an employee accepts a new position at a lesser pay grade. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Dale asked Judge Lambros to address the full Board.
Judge Nicholas Lambros, Circuit Court Judge, addressed the County Board requesting that the salary of the Circuit Court Administrator be set at $42,301.43. Judge Lambros realized that he signed a wage agreement for the 50th Circuit Court dealing with transfers and assignment of wages but also stated this agreement made mention of exceptions to the policy.
With the years of service, longevity and knowledge of the position, if an exception were to be made, he stated, this was it. Comparing the District Court Administrator’s position with only eight years experience and a larger salary, Judge Lambros was requesting an exception to the signed agreement.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend compensating the newly promoted Circuit Court Administrator at the 90-day rate for grade 11. On a voice vote, the motion failed 7-0.
Commissioner Kay said the Board should set a policy to establish consistent hours of work for all employees.
At this time, Judge Lowell Ulrich, Family Court, addressed the full Board.
Judge Ulrich stated that if hours were cut, the Intensive Probation Program would have to be eliminated along with a Probation Officer position. He said that his budget was already cut more than the 8.5% requested and felt that reducing his employees to a 35 hour work week was not cost effective.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to establish a 35-hour workweek for all county employees. On a voice vote, the motion failed 7-0.
The continuation of the Personnel Committee report was for informational purposes only.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commission Hopper, to accept the report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Personnel Committee – Rita Dale – August 30, 2004
Commissioner Kay read the letter of resignation submitted by County Controller Tim Dolehanty.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend that the letter of resignation be accepted. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
AFSCME Local 1552 President Barb Fortin said the Union would be satisfied if the Committee would agree to apply furlough days to all unit employees, including the grant-position employees assigned to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Treasurer Marilyn McDonald told the Committee that the Prosecuting Attorney is technically the support coordinator and the work for the grant would have to have a percentage of hours included in the grant for other employees to do the work.
Brian Peppler, County Prosecutor, thought that there had been some misguided grievances filed concerning his office. In reviewing the positions in his office, the Crime Victims Advocate had been off 6 weeks on medical leave which was a savings to this cost center and the Enforcement Officer is a State funded program and the money received cannot be diverted to anything else.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to declare that all employees of the AFSCME Local 1552 General County Employee Unit are subject to five furlough days to be taken before December 31, 2004. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
It was noted that the District Court and Circuit Court had opted out of the furlough days.
This concluded the Personnel report of August 30, 2004.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to accept the report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
The Audit Committee meeting minutes were presented to the Board. No action items were necessary.
Commissioner Cooper mentioned the committee discussed issues concerning the fixed assets inventory report. This item was a weakness from last year’s audit report and still hasn’t been resolved.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to assign the fixed assets inventory to the Finance Director. On a voice vote, the motion failed 4-3.
Commissioner Dale reported on her meeting with the Friend of the Court, Thelma Bosbous re: outstanding audit issues. It was noted that $12,000 was outstanding on the old system. A new system has begun by zeroing out every day and the figure is slowly going down. At this time the figure was around $9,000.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore, to accept the Audit Committee report as given. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Equalization – Jim Moore – No meeting
Health & Social Services – Ted Postula – No meeting
Building, Grounds and Jail – Earl Kay – No meeting
Transportation – Ted Postula – No meeting
Legislative & Natural Resources – Richard Timmer – No meeting
Computer Committee – Don Cooper – No meeting
Finance, Claims & Accounts – Rita Dale – September 9, 2004
Richard Rathke, owner of the LaFrance Terrace, stated the requirements of the recently adopted Clean Indoor Air Ordinance would impose a hardship on local hotel/motel owners. He said he was particularly concerned about the requirement that no more than 20% of available rooms could be designated as smoking rooms. Mr. Rathke claimed this requirement would cause a loss in revenue and force hotel/motel owners to cover the expense of converting rooms to non-smoking quarters.
Commissioner Timmer said he agreed with Mr. Rathke’s position, but he would like to hear from other hotel/motel owners as well. Commissioner Kay suggested assigning the matter to the Legislative and Natural Resources Committee.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to forward the request to amend the Clean Indoor Air Ordinance to the Legislative and Natural Resources Committee for further deliberation, and to schedule a public hearing on the amendment for October 11, 2004. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. James Terrian, Health Officer/Medical Director distributed and reviewed supplemental material related to Sunset Manor. The previously submitted pro forma and operational suggestions were also discussed. Dr. Terrian reported that the owners of Sunset Manor were willing to transfer the facility to the County in exchange for payment of back taxes.
Commissioner Kay said the Health Department considered the proposal in response to sanitary conditions at the facility and concerns for patient medical care. He said moving forward with the proposal to construct a new facility was a separate issue, and that the proposal before the Committee only concerned acquisition of the Sunset Manor property.
Addressing the full Board, Commissioner Cooper stated that added responsibility was being taken on, but there was no plan as to employees and management of the facility.
It was moved by Commissioner Cooper to have a plan drawn up previous to acquisition of Sunset Manor. The motion died for lack of support.
Commissioner Dale was worried about added financial responsibility to the County.
Rosemary Blashill, Chippewa County Health Department, addressed the Board. She asked that the County Board accept the one time offer of securing Sunset Manor for back taxes and assured the Board that there is a plan and it will be shared with the Health Department Board and at the appropriate time will be brought before the County Board. Ms. Blashill commented that the citizens of Chippewa County deserved better care than what is presently being offered.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to proceed with the Sunset Manor purchase. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Dale and Cooper voting no.
County Clerk Diane Cork reported that an employee of her office recently transferred to another department. She said she was seeking guidance from the Committee about filling the position. As an alternative, Ms. Cork proposed allowing two other employees in her office to work 40 hours per week, which would save approximately $8,800 if carried thru the end of the year.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend increasing the hours of the County Clerk’s office to 40 hours per week until a permanent solution if found. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
OES Director Tim McKee proposed that the County join with other U.P. Counties to form the Upper Peninsula Interoperable Communications Commission. The purpose of the new commission would be to purchase communications equipment for public safety agencies in order to enhance current systems, and enable and enhance interoperability and date sharing between jurisdictions.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend approval of Resolution number 04-17 to participate in the Interoperable Communications Consortium as follows:
RESOLUTION TO APPROVE PARTICIAPATION IN
THE UPPER PENINSULA INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
WHEREAS, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners recognized the importance of providing Interoperable Communications between all Public Safety Agencies within the County for the safety and well being of its residents; and
WHEREAS, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners also recognizes the need to extend those Interoperable Communications capabilities between Chippewa County and its neighboring Counties; and
WHEREAS, the Upper Peninsula Interoperable Communications Consortium has been established to obtain grants, earmarks, or other funding opportunities towards the purchase of communications equipment.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners supports the purpose and intent of the Upper Peninsula Interoperable Communications Consortium; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Chippewa County shall be a Participating County in the Upper Peninsula Interoperable Communications Consortium Agreement; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board Chairman shall be authorized to sign the Upper Peninsula Interoperable Communications Consortium Agreement; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board Chairman shall be authorized to designate the County’s Representative to the Consortium’s Oversight Committee.
On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. McKee then discussed the upcoming deadline imposed by the State for all entities to upgrade their access to the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN). He reported that the Sault Tribe proposed using the County server to access the LEIN system, and that the OES/9-1-1 Board approved of the concept. Hardware Operations Analyst Brian Bartlett explained it would be necessary to define the County’s responsibilities in the form of a contractual agreement.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to allow the Sault Tribe and other police agencies to access the LEIN system through the County server. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. McKee discussed a previously approved Homeland Security Grant Application. He stated the grant application was approved by the State and needed to be accepted by the County.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to accept the Michigan 2004 Homeland Security Grant as presented in the amount of $526,739. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Prosecuting Attorney Brian Peppler asked that his budget be increased by $4,800 to cover the cost of the Maximus, Inc. contract approved late last year. He explained that the 2004 budget request for the department was submitted before the contract was approved, and the request was not amended to reflect the new contract. Mr. Peppler stated Maximus worked to increase revenue brought into the county from $59,000 to $71,000 in the first year of the contract.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve the budget amendment as requested with the funds to be taken from the General Fund. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Peppler stated he recently authorized overtime in his department because of employee absences. He stated this was necessary in order for his office to keep up with existing workload.
Commissioner Kay stated the budget should have excess funds in light of staffing reductions. Controller Dolehanty noted that the overtime line item in the Prosecuting Attorney’s budget had no funds allocated, and that the budget resolution required Board approval for amendments to any salary or wage line item.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend that funds be transferred from the salary line item to the overtime line item to cover overtime hours worked by employees in the Prosecuting attorney’s office. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
The Committee received a request from the Prosecuting to renew the Title IV-D Cooperative Reimbursement Contract for the Support Coordinator program.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to recommend renewal of the Title IV-D Cooperative Reimbursement Contract, as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Controller Dolehanty stated he recently received a request from a part time employee to be included in the County’s health insurance benefit, with the full cost to be paid by the employee. He said there is currently no policy in place that addresses the health insurance benefit, and that he was not authorized to make the decision on behalf of the County.
Commissioner Postula noted that the action would present added liability to the County because the insurance pool is self-funded. Commissioner Hopper suggested that the matter be referred to the Personnel Committee.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Cooper, to table the part-time employee health insurance benefit proposal. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
The Committee reviewed a letter from Pathways Substance Abuse Services requesting that the County release P.A. 2 Liquor Tax funds as required by statute.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend that P.A. 2 Liquor Tax funds be released to Pathways Substance Abuse Services as required by statute. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Controller Dolehanty noted the copy machine maintenance agreements covered repairs to all of the County’s copy machines and had to be renewed each year.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend approval of the annual copy machine maintenance agreements as presented. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Finance Director Dave Carpenter reviewed the monthly claims and accounts report.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Postula, to recommend the approval of general fund claims totaling $233,760.72, other fund claims of $217,695.73, payroll of $522,746.77 and health department claims of $426,076.30, total claims of $1,400,279.52, vouchers 36587 through 36787 and I-1 through I-181. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.
Commissioner Hopper suggested that the resolution regarding the summer tax collection be discussed at the September 13 Board of Commissioners meeting.
It was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to place the summer tax collection resolution on the September 13 Board of Commissioners meeting agenda. On a voice vote the motion carried.
It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend approval of Resolution 04-16 as follows:
RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT THE PROPOSAL TO COLLECT
COUNTY GENERAL FUND TAXES IN JULY AND
TO CONTINUE COUNTY REVENUE SHARING
WHEREAS, Governor Granholm, in her proposed FY 2004/2005 budget for the state of Michigan, completely eliminated $183.5 million in revenue sharing payments to counties, and proposed that the county general fund millage be collected in July instead of December, with the funds collected twice within the counties’ fiscal year to be reserved so that counties may withdraw down an amount each ensuing year equal to the eliminated revenue sharing payment plus inflation, and
WHEREAS, many counties and legislators voiced opposition to the July tax collection due to concern about the effect it would have on taxpayer’s escrow accounts, and many counties were skeptical that the state would actually restore revenue sharing when the reserve accounts were depleted, and
WHEREAS, counties worked closely with the Michigan Department of Treasury to modify the proposal to have the summer tax collection phased in over a three year period, thereby lessening the impact upon taxpayers, and
WHEREAS, the elimination of county revenue sharing without any method of replacement would create a shortfall of $1.1 million in the county’s 2004 Budget and $1.7 million in the 2005 Budget, and would be financially devastating to county programs and services, and
WHEREAS, if the amount eliminated from the state budget was spread equally among local units that receive statutory revenue sharing, Chippewa County would receive a 17% reduction, and if that amount was spread among local units according to the revenue sharing formula, Chippewa County would receive a 35.6% reduction, and
WHEREAS, any one of these other alternatives would threaten Chippewa County’s ability to provide many of its current non-mandated services to the residents, and the revised proposal establishes a revenue sharing reserve fund that will replace the loss of state revenue sharing dollars until approximately 2011 for Chippewa County, and
WHEREAS, the revised proposal to move the collection date of the county general fund millage to July would result in no annual tax increase for residents, other than that which occurs through inflation, but would require that residents pay one-third of the county general fund millage amount in July over a three year period, which would result in the early payment of $84 on $100,000 home with a taxable value of $50,000, and
WHEREAS, farmers and senior citizens are allowed to defer paying summer taxes until the normal December tax collection because of existing provisions in current law, and
WHEREAS, the Governor’s office has made assurance that counties will continue to be included in the statutory revenue sharing formula and the appropriation for county revenue sharing will continue to be included in the general appropriations act, with the understanding that the payment will not be made to a county until the funds in its reserve account are depleted.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, as follows:
1. That the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners hereby supports the revised proposal for a summer tax collection of county general fund millages, which is to be phased-in over a period of three years beginning in July 2005, and will allow counties to withdraw amounts equal to the suspended state revenue sharing payments from a Revenue Sharing Reserve Fund beginning in December, 2004.
2. That this support is given contingent upon the inclusion of counties in the revenue sharing formula and the inclusion of an unreduced appropriation for county revenue sharing in the general appropriations act, with the understanding that it will not be paid to a county until the funds in its reserve account are depleted.
3. That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to Governor Jennifer Granholm, Senator Jason Allen, Representative Scott Shackleton, and the Michigan Association of Counties.
On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper and Chairman Kay voting no.
NEW BUSINESS: None
Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to adjourn. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously and the Board did adjourn at 9:50 p.m.
Diane S. Cork, Clerk
Earl Kay, Chairman