The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners met in special session on Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 5:00 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: Brian Pepper, Prosecutor, Mary Piralli, Elizabeth Church, Chief Public Defender, Scott Brand, Evening News, Tina Ojala, Kelly Beaune, Assistant to the Controller, Marilyn McDonald, Treasurer, Susan Short, Probate Court, Jim Lucas, MSU Extension and Diane Cork, County Clerk

New Business: 2005 Budget

All Commissioners were presented with the proposed 2005 Budget for their consideration.

Chairman Kay explained that the figures presented were a computation of what was put together that will effectively put the County in compliance with the Balanced Budget Act. It was noted that a small surplus was available and amendments could be made if necessary to satisfy the departments.

Commissioner Dale noted that any amendments made should be prioritized and only given when the fund balance is gone and a need is shown.

Commissioner Cooper felt that the Finance position should be placed back in the budget as a priority.

Commissioner Moore stated that $678,000 was included in the budget and with the cuts from the State, the County could not be sure the money was going to be there when needed.

Commissioner Hopper pointed out that the County should make every effort for those entities that were cut to try to reestablish their budgets because the money is needed to match state and federal dollars.

It was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Moore, to accept the 2005 budget as proposed and pass the Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Resolution and General Appropriations Act as follows:

FISCAL YEAR 2005 BUDGET RESOLUTION

AND GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT

WHEREAS, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners (“Board”) has examined the fiscal requests for 2005 of the various departments, agencies, courts, offices and activities (“Activity Centers”) that is must legally finance or assist in financing: and

WHEREAS, the Board has taken into consideration the fact that there are required functions of county government or operations which must be budgeted at a serviceable level in order to provide statutory and constitutionally required services and programs; and

WHEREAS, the County Controller , on behalf of the Board, has interviewed officials responsible for providing such mandated services to determined serviceable levels and the funds to sustain such levels; and

WHEREAS, the Board has determined the amount of money to be raised by taxation necessary for expenditures and liabilities for the 2005 fiscal year and has ordered that money to be raised by taxation within statutory and constitutional limitations: and

WHEREAS, the Uniform Budgeting and Accounting Act (Act 2, P.A. 1968, as amended, being MCL 141.421 through MCL 141,440a) requires that the Board enact a general appropriations act designed to meet county funded expenditures.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED as follows:

1. That the 2005 Chippewa County Budget for the General Fund which is incorporated by reference herein, is hereby adopted on a basis consistent with the Chippewa County Annual Budget Development Policy, subject to all County policies regarding the expenditure of funds as well as the conditions set forth in this resolution.

2. That the County Treasurer is hereby directed to collect millage for the County’s operations as follows

a. Allocated Operating Millage 6.0373 mills
b. Voted Operating Millage for Roads 0.9779 mills
c. Voted Operating Millage for Fire and Ambulance 0.4213 mills
d. Voted Operating Millage for Recycling 0.4908 mills
e. Voted Operating Millage for Jail Renovation and     Maintenance 0.6000 mills

3. That this budget reflects a reasonable allocation of available resources to the various County departments, boards and agencies, and allows for all mandated services, programs, and activities, including the courts and the constitutional and statutory offices, to be performed at reasonable, necessary, and serviceable levels or at even more than adequate levels of performance.

4. That the amounts indicated in the “Budgetary Detail” are hereby appropriated from the General Fund and other funds of Chippewa County according to the Activity centers (Departments) contained in that detail which is incorporated herein by reference, and that such appropriations shall be restricted to the functioning of those Activity Centers (Departments) and by the provisions of this Act.

On a roll call vote: Commissioners Cooper, Dale, Hopper, Moore, Postula, Timmer, Kay voted yes. The motion carried 7-0.

CONTROLLER’S REPORT – Kelly Beaune

Ms. Beaune stated that 2 appointments were pending, one to the Road Commission and one to the War Memorial Hospital Board.

Chairman Kay explained that he had misspoke at the last meeting concerning the appointments to the above mentioned boards. Since the last meeting, he reviewed the polices and procedures of the County Board and section 9.74 reads: “Should after advertising a vacancy on a board or commission, a nominee who has submitted an application of interest does not receive the required four votes, the Chair will open nominations from the floor and an individual may be elected to the board or commission or the board may vote to re-advertise the position.”

Chairman Kay stated what the Board needed to do was decide whether or not to take nominations from the floor for the Road Commission and War Memorial Hospital Board or re-advertise.

It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to accept nominations from the floor for a position on the Road Commission and War Memorial Hospital Board. On a voice vote, the motion carried with Commissioner Cooper voting no.

It was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Moore, to nominate Cliff Carr to the Road Commission. Chairman Kay asked for nominations three more times.

Hearing none, it was moved by Commissioner Dale, supported by Commissioner Moore, to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot to appoint Cliff Carr to the Road Commission Board. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

It was moved by Commissioner Moore, supported by Commissioner Dale, to nominate Ted Postula to the War Memorial Hospital Board. Chairman Kay asked for nominations three more times.

Hearing none, it was moved by Commissioner Cooper, supported by Commissioner Hopper, to close nominations and cast a unanimous ballot to appoint Ted Postula to the War Memorial Hospital Board. On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

County Treasurer , Marilyn McDonald, addressed the Board stating that under the provisions of Act 206 of the Michigan Public Acts of 1893, as amended, the procedure for collecting delinquent property taxes in our county has been to have the State of Michigan handle all foreclosure activities after the property is forfeited with the second year of delinquency.

The law gives the county treasurer and the Board of Commissioners the option of reversing this procedure so that all foreclosure actions are handled locally by the county treasurer. To reverse the procedure, the Board of Commissioners must rescind its actions taken in 1999 to have the State handle these foreclosure procedures.

Ms. McDonald stated the following reasons for her request:

1. In the past four years the State has, because of budget cuts, had a reduced staff available to assist the delinquent taxpayers. The entire procedure has been uneven and detrimental to the local taxpayers, some of whom have lost their property.

2. The New Law shortens BY THREE YEARS the process whereby our home, farm and business owners may lose their property. To avoid any chance that these properties will be lost to our County residents in the future, I wish to handle the ENTIRE FORECLOSURE PROCESS.

3. By keeping this process local, our taxpayers, if their taxes are delinquent, will be dealing with this office, not the State of Michigan.

4. As County Treasurer, if I keep control of the foreclosure process locally, I have the ability to withhold a property from the court proceeding in the even of a hard- ship on the part of the taxpayers. Otherwise, the taxpayer is at the mercy of the State of Michigan, who will end up with the property. The hearing will be in my office, not Lansing.

5. In the event property does become foreclosed, I will conduct the sale of the property rather than leaving it to the State

6. Potential problems thought to exist with respect to contaminated properties have either been resolved already, or do not exist.

Treasurer McDonald added that there are only 35 parcels to sell and if the DNR doesn’t inspect the property it can’t be sold. The work is already being done by the Treasurer’s Office and the State only conducts the sale. Counties made money on the fees alone.

Commissioner Dale questioned the need for additional staff in the Treasurer’s Office to accomplish handling the tax sale and all the paperwork that goes along with it.

Ms. McDonald stated that no monies would be taken out of the General Fund. If additional staff was needed, the cost would come out of monies collected from the sale.

It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend adopting the RESOLUTION RESCINDING THE RESOLUTION ELECTING TO HAVE THE STATE OF MICHIGAN FORECLOSE PROPERTY FORFEITED TO THE COUNTY TREASURER PURSUANT TO SECTION 78(3) OF PUBLIC ACT. NO 206 OF THE MCIHGIAN PUBLIC ACTS OF 1893, AS AMENDED.

On a roll call vote, Commissioners: Postula, Cooper, Dale, Timmer, Hopper, Moore and Kay voted yes. The motion carried 7-0.

It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to recommend adopting the RESOLUTION OF CONSENT OF THE COUNTY TREASURER TO HAVE THE COUNTY RESCIND ITS RESOLUTION ADOPTED IN 1999 TO HAVE THE STATE OF MICHIGAN FORECLOSE PROPERTY FOREITED TO THE COUNTY TREASUREER PURSUANT TO SECITON 78(3) OF PUBLIC ACT. NO. 206 OF THE MICHIGAN PUBLIC ACT OF 1893, AS AMENDED.

On a roll call vote, Commissioners: Postula, Cooper, Dale, Timmer, Hopper, Moore and Kay voted yes. The motion carried 7-0.

Commissioner Cooper inquired about the law suit filed by Prosecutor Peppler against the County.

Chairman Kay replied that a law suit had been filed by Mr. Peppler for the furlough days that the County Board mandated the Prosecutors Office employees take along with other employees and didn’t think his employees should. Judge Johnson heard the case Tuesday in Petoskey and ruled in favor of the County Board. Now, Mr. Peppler has filed a motion for reconsideration.

With budgetary constraints, Commissioner Cooper didn’t think that legal fees should be running up by suing each other. He stated the tax payers pick up the fees on both sides.

Mr. Peppler said he has always been willing to sit down with the Commission to talk.

Diane Cork, County Clerk, thanked Kelly Beaune, Marilyn McDonald and Tina Ojala for taking the bull by the horns after the departure of the County Controller and working so diligently on the 2005 budget. She felt is showed the caliber of employees that the County has working for them.

It was moved by Commissioner Hopper, supported by Commissioner Timmer, to approve the following claims of the County:

General Funds Claims $43,885.53
Other Funds Claims $57,424.17
Payroll $329,368.28
Health Dept. Claims $110,000.00
Total
$540,677.98

On a voice vote, the motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner Hopper thanked everybody involved in the farewell luncheon for Commissioner Dale and himself that was held today. Commissioner Dale seconded that.

Having no further business, it was moved by Commissioner Timmer, supported by Commissioner Hopper to adjourn. The motion carried unanimously and thereupon the Board did adjourn at 5:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Diane S. Cork, Clerk

Earl Kay, Chairman