Thursday, March 18, 2010

County Credit Gets Boost, Census and other Committee Info

I serve on two of the five committees on the Ingham County Commission – the County Services committee and the Finance Committee. So if you read this blog, you will get information mostly on those two committees when I talk about committee action. Luckily, most things go through Finance (in addition to another committee) so I should cover most relevant issues to the Board.

First, the good news. Yes, the good news. Haven’t had a lot of that in the past! Ingham County’s credit rating was upgraded from AA to AA+! Now that doesn’t sound exciting, but it is. It says that the credit bureau’s recognize that we have good management and are fiscally sound. It also means savings for the county. When we issues bonds (which means people buy our bonds and we get money for those bonds that we repay over a number of years), we will save $10,000 per $1 million issued. Most other governmental entities (including the State of Michigan) have been downgraded recently due to budget problems. But Ingham County was upgraded. YAY!

On to issues…in Finance yesterday we passed a resolution that will create a contract with a company called Luminosity Solutions. They will review our criminal justice system and provide recommendations to better manage the jail population, while maintaining the integrity of the judicial process. As most people know, Ingham County has had budget shortfalls in the past…and we expect to have them in the future. We have recommended a long-term budget fix of closing a post in the jail, and we have eliminated several deputy spots (in the out-county road commission). If we are going to have less jail beds available and less deputies in the out-county, we want to be sure we are maximizing our alternative sentencing (things like tethering). This company will help us to identify areas that we can reform and save, as they have done in other counties.

In County Services, we approved a resolution that would increase fees for the Clerk to marry people. The fee will be $50 for a marriage ceremony. We also set the fee of an expedited vital record to $20. The Clerk has been allowed to marry people since 2006 (when Michigan law changed), and this is the first increase in the fee. The vital records increase is reflective of an increase in post office fees (these records are usually mailed).

We also approved a resolution designating April 1st as Census Day in Ingham County. Filling out the Census form is one of the most important things that can be done. It will ensure that state, county and community you live in receives the appropriate dollars from the federal government. Lansing needs the money, as does Ingham County. Please fill out the form and send it back!

Otherwise, we approved several contracts and other items. You can see agendas for all committees at:

On the right side are the five committees: Law Enforcement, Judiciary, County Services, Human Services and Finance. The agendas for all the committee meetings are available. As are the agendas for all the full Board meetings.

As always, feel free to contact me at any time at!


Andy Schor, Ingham County Commissioner (D-SE Lansing, District 5)

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