In County Services and Finance, we considered funding for LEAP, Inc. (Lansing Economic Area Partnership), the regional private-public economic development organization for the greater Lansing area (Eaton, Clinton, Ingham counties). We considered a resolution for funding of $35,000 for the 2010 year. We have already approved funding of $15,000 for 2011 (the dues were reduced starting in 2011). Denyse Ferguson and Ray DeWinkle provided us with a presentation and wealth of information. LEAP has focus areas of business growth & development, strategic regional collaboration and place marketing for growth. They coordinate strategic regional growth efforts, conduct proactive business attractions, manage regionally coordinated and nationally connected entrepreneurial efforts, and proactively market the Greater Lansing Region as a destination for businesses and talent. We asked several questions, including asking for specifics on results and actual numbers to go with the concepts. The LEAP folks provided excellent information in the packets and in their responses. I was a little skeptical at first because I had not seen any specifics...but was much happier after hearing the presentation. They also talked about how they work with local municipalities and the State (MEDC) to use all available tools to attract the businesses to the region, and they assess the needs of the companies such as resources, grants, labor force, building and so on. This is in addition to their marketing and sales of the greater Lansing area. The resolution to pay the $35,000 for 2010 passed in County Services on a 4-2 vote and in Finance on a 3-2 vote.
In Finance, we spent significant time working out the details of how to give Williamstown Township money to assist them in transitioning to road patrol funded by their new assessment. As you may recall, the county ended funding for road patrol unless the rural townships agreed to pay into this service. All 13 put assessments or millages on their ballots, and the County Board reserved money in our budget to assist any township that passed the assessment/millage. Williamstown Township was the only township to do so, and we now have limited time to work out with them how to get them the transition money (until January 1st).
Commissioner Mark Grebner drafted a resolution which would give Williamstown $100,000 in 2011 for them to contract with the county, form their own township police department, contract with another township, or however they want to create police services. It also said that any new deputies hired have to be county deputies or former county deputies if available. We had lengthy discussion and passed several amendments to this resolution. First, we changed the amount to be allocated. We created a formula that allocates money based half on taxable value using 2010 numbers and half on the estimated 2009 population. Both of these are the most recent numbers that we have to use. I assume this will increase the allocation to about $130,000, but I don’t know the exact number. We next amended the resolution to require that the township has to contract with the Sheriff to get the incentive dollars. Four of us on the committee agreed with the Sheriff that the township should have to contract with the county for service rather than being able to contract with another municipality or create their own police force when using the dollars given to them by the county. Of couse, they can do whatever they want with the dollars that they collect from their own assessment. Our resolution is only for the transition/incentive dollars that we committed. We added to the resolution that the township must provide an adequate level of police service in order to receive the dollars (as determined by the sheriff). This will provide any attempt to only collect a small portion of the assessment, then use county dollars for police. Finally, we allowed the township to utilize the total allotment over two years if they want.
This resolution will be a model for other townships that may want to contract with the county for police services. Others townships could do so from their general fund balances (Commissioner Grebner says that they have healthy fund balances to do this), or other townships could go back to the ballot with a new assessment/millage proposal for their voters. We have $800,000 in total reserved for 2011, and are open to allocating that to any township that wants police services and is willing to put up the funds and request incentive/transition dollars from the County. We have heard that there is one other township interested at this point, but I won’t speculate until we receive an actual request.
In County Services, we also had a short discussion and vote on a resolution regarding the tubing hill at Hawk Island. As you may recall (as I have reported in the past), in 2007 the County was awarded a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE) for the construction of a snow tubing hill at Hawk Island County Park. One of the requirements of the grant is that the County utilizes a Prime Professional to complete various aspects of the project. As such, the Purchasing Department solicited proposals from professional firms qualified and experienced in engineering, architectural and/or surveying for the purpose of entering into a contract to provide surveying, permitting, and site design services for the construction of the hill in compliance with the grant. We had taken bids previously, but re-bid this year and received a bid from excellent Lansing company for a maximum disbursement of $6,650. This was a savings of about $3,000 after it was. County funds will be expended from the matching amount that was put aside for this grant and project.
As always, please feel free to email or call with questions! I have heard from several people, which tells me that my blog is being read. Yay!