Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dog Park Fees, Clerk Reorganization, Health Department Services

Another busy week at the county. Long meetings Tuesday and Wednesday night for me.

First, an update on an old issue…the Soldan Dog Park. As you may recall, the Friends of the Dog Park came to the county and the city and asked for a gate to be installed. People would have to pay yearly fees for fobs or cards to get into the gate. This would ensure that (1) there is better security, (2) dogs are licensed, (3) attacks by dogs on other dogs or on people can be investigated, and has a variety of other benefits. Currently, there is no way to police these things because nether the county or the city (which owns the park) provides security, and there is no way to determine who is there and when.

The original proposal would have set the yearly pass rate at $40. After talking to several dog park users, I realized a few things – this fee is supported by people but is too high, and people do not know that the dog park can be accessed on the north side without having to pay for the Hawk Island parking. In County Services committee, I supported an amendment preventing Ingham County from contributing to the Dog Park gate unless the fee is set at $30 instead of $40. This would match the fee of the dog park to the fee of Hawk Island (both are $30). The amendment passed and was retained in the Finance Committee. I also asked the Parks Director to have the signage announcing the new fee to also include language alerting people that they can park in the Ingham Regional Medical lot for free and not have to pay the Hawk Island charge just to use the dog park. So, anyone using only the dog park will not have to may a new fee next year. Instead of paying the $30 for the Hawk Island yearly pass, they can pay $30 for the Soldan Dog Park yearly pass and park at Ingham Regional. Of course, anyone who wants to use Hawk Island Park as well as the Soldan Dog Park will have to pay for both. Users of the dog park can expect the gate to be up in January, assuming the full Board passes the resolution on Tuesday, and the City of Lansing and the Friends of the Dog Park agree with the reduced rate.

We also approved a reorganization of the County Clerk’s office this week. This resolution, submitted to us by Clerk Bryanton, reclassifies a Chief Deputy /Interdepartmental Relations position to a Clerical Services Supervisor position. It also eliminates a Deputy Clerk position. The move would increase office efficiency and saves the county approximately $75,000 per year through decreased salaries and fringe benefits. This will not result in a layoff because it will become effective on the date of retirement of the current Chief Deputy /Interdepartmental Relations.

Finally, I will report on a resolution that we passed dealing with health services for county residents. It is very common for people to ask me what a County Commissioner does. One of things I tell people is that we set policy for various departments, including the Health Department. Our Health Department is one of the best in the country. The resolution that we passed this week outlines many of the activities of the Health Department.

Under the Public Health Code, the State of Michigan and the 83 counties share responsibility for the protection of the public health of the citizens of Michigan. Ingham County has a Comprehensive Planning, Budgeting and Contracting (CPBC) process, and every year we authorize the Health Department to enter into an agreement with the Michigan Department of Community Health for the delivery of public health services under this process. The agreement serves as the vehicle for the county accepting almost $5 million in state and federal grant and formula funding to support a number of public
health services.

This year, the agreement includes the following local public health operations, community health assessment activities and categorical programs:
- AIDS/HIV Prevention and Care
- Lead Safe Homes
- Bioterrorism Emergency Preparedness
- Breast and Cervical Cancer Control
- Building Healthy Communities
- Children’s Special Health Care Services
- Family Planning Vision and Hearing Screening
- Food Vendor and Restaurant Inspection
- Immunizations
- Local Tobacco Reduction
- Maternal and Child Health Programs
- Tuberculosis Control
- Sexually Transmitted Disease Control
- Well and Septic Inspection
- The Women, Infant, Children (WIC) Program

The resolution also authorizes subcontracts in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. Additionally, it creates a new full-time Breast Feeding Consultant in the Health Department. These all consist of state and federal funds.

Service contracts are also authorized in the resolution, with the following list of providers to support outreach activities to potential and current Medicaid beneficiaries in the following categories:
- Medicaid Outreach and Public Awareness
- Facilitating Medicaid Eligibility Determination
- Program Planning, Policy Development and Interagency Coordination Related to Medicaid Services
- Referral, Coordination and Monitoring of Medicaid Services
- Medicaid-Specific Training on Outreach Eligibility and Services
- Arranging for Medicaid-related Transportation and Provision of Medicaid-related Translation

These service contracts braid together requirements and funds from multiple sources including the County, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Medicaid Administration (Federal Share). The braided service contracts are authorized for the next year up to the amounts listed:
• Allen Neighborhood Center $115,487 ($102,987 for outreach; $12,500 for Planning/Coordination to strengthen social safety net in the community)
• NorthWest Initiative $115,487 ($102,987 for outreach; $12,500 for Planning/Coordination to strengthen social safety net in the community)
• Carefree Medical Clinic $10,800
• South Lansing Community Development Association $24,952
• South Side Community Coalition $103,086
• Capital Area Community Services $4,000
• Child Abuse Prevention Services $52,250
• Catholic Charities St. Vincent Home $128,250
• Cristo Rey $61,750
• Family and Community Development Services $105,000
• Greater Lansing African American Health Institute $77,904
• School Community Health Alliance of Michigan $539,006

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