Friday, July 2, 2010

County Advertising, Health Department Restructuring, Land Bank Update, and Campaign Update

This week was relatively quiet in terms of issues for the Commission. There was some controversy on whether or not we should spend about $10,000 on yellow pages advertisements. While several of us were very uncomfortable with this expenditure, we were told that four departments (Health, Animal Control, Parks, and Clerk) advertise in the yellow pages. It seems that the Health Department advertises for their clinics, which is a public service and also brings in revenues to the county. The Clerk also advertises under "Passports" for passport photos and application processing. The Clerk collects over $60,000 per year in Passport photos and processing fees as compared to their advertising costs of $1740, so this may be a worthwhile expense.This expense will be approved this year, and we plan to look into all of these expenditures to ensure that there are efficiencies.

Another issue that is worth reporting on is the reorganization in the County Health Department. There have been some questions, so it is worth explaining what is going on. First, let me point out that our Health Department is nationally recognized as one of the best in the country. We are the model for other counties. The recent retirement of a Deputy Health Officer triggered a look into a realignment by our Health Department Director. The Director and the retiring Deputy Health Director both thought the county could save money if we didn't fill her position. In looking into a reorganization, the priorities for the Director (who is one of the best in the nation!) were to be sure that the Health Department is positioned for the future, to continue to work well with county labor, and to ensure any change is budget negative. The world of health care, and especially of Federally Qualified Health Center operations, is changing dramatically, and the Health Department Director believes we will be better positioned with this realignment. While the county could have hired someone to fill the deputy Health Officer position and no one would have complained, the County Health Director and the Board of Commissioners decided instead to be dynamic and flexible in this changing health care world. Instead of filling the position, it was eliminated and current employees received more responsibility and more pay to compensate for the added responsibilities. All unions were informed and supported the changes. Human resources vetted the positions and recommended the re-classifications. This saved the county close to $70,000 in General Fund.

Finally, an here is update on what the Land Bank has accomplished for Ingham County. Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing and the Land Bank Board have done a great job revitalizing properties in Ingham County. I previously served on this Board and saw first-hand the tremendous impact that the Land Bank has for the county. Ingham County is truly a leader in the Land Bank movement. Here are the highlights:

  • The Ingham County Land Bank Board accepted a proposal from Kincaid Henry to redevelop a commercial property at 934 Clark. The due diligence process will take place over the next few months. This is the 2nd major commercial redevelopment proposal in discussion this year.They have also updated their listing of high quality, energy efficient homes can be found at Click on the featured property link for pictures.
  • The 5th Annual Land Bank Conference in early June brought over 200 folks from around Michigan to learn more about Land Banks and see our beautiful Capital City.
  • The Land Bank is sponsoring a 2 week window restoration training with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. Selected applicants will finish the class with the training and tools to start a business in mid-Michigan.
  • The 2010 tax foreclosure auction will take place on July 23rd at 10 a.m. in the Board of Commissioners Chamber in Mason. Registration begins at 9 a.m. A Land Bank auction will follow at approximately 11 a.m. The auction list and rules will be posted on the treasurer's web sit after the holiday.

If you are interested in receiving monthly updates about Land Bank activities, you can email County Treasurer Eric Schertzing at

On the campaign trail, all is going VERY well. Response at doors has been exceptional with people supporting my record and agenda moving forward. People are not buying into the negative attacks of my opponent and are carefully reviewing the specifics of the materials provided to them from both candidates. Voters cast votes on the issues, and I have presented them with a past record and proactive agenda that they agree with. With 30 days to go, I am more and more optimistic that the voters won't be fooled by negative attacks and will vote based on the important Ingham County issues of today and the future. Thanks to all who have helped by contributing, knocking doors with me, putting up lawn signs, and everything else! We are in the home stretch!

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