Monday, April 11, 2011

PLA's, farmland preservation, WIC, elder abuse, foreclosure and Land Bank forums

This week was a less contentious week for the Ingham County Board of Commissioners. We had only one controversial resolution.

As you probably remember, if you are a faithful reader of my blog, that a few years ago the Ingham County Commission passed a new policy that would require county staff to utilize Project Labor Agreements. These are certain agreements that require a general contractor or manager to negotiate with the bidders to ensure certain conditions are met when county facilities of $100,000 or more are under construction. To date, we have only had three of these. The County Board this week passed a resolution in opposition to HB 4287 and SB 165, which are state laws that would prohibit local units of government from entering into PLA's. Ironically, though, private entities would still be free to use them (such as Sparrow hospital, who has used these for years).

Commissioner Deb Nolan spoke in support of the resolution, saying that the locals should be allowed to govern how they choose. She said that the Legislature was not respecting local control and that we should be able to create our own contracting policies how we want. Commissioner Vickers disagreed, saying that the local control shouldn't infringe on personal rights. Honestly, I have no idea what he is talking about. PLA's don't infringe on personal rights. But oh well. The resolution passed 10-4-1 (one commissioner abstained due to being an advocate against the bill in the Legislature for a client).

Otherwise, we passed several non-controversial resolutions. One would approve selection criteria for ranking landowner applications to the Ingham County Farmland and Open Space Preservation Board. This would be a scoring system. We will be looking at another resolution this week on the same concept, but that will ensure that taxpayer dollars are considered first and foremost in negotiations. We also passed a resolution to create a Women, Infant, Children (WIC) satellite office at the Grand River head start site of the Capital Area Community Services. Another resolution we passed would authorize a grant subcontract between the City of Lansing and Ingham County Prescuting Attorney's Office for the training and prosecution of elder abuse.

In other news, the Ingham County Treasurer has announced a series of Community Forums designed to provide information on the tax foreclosure process, the Ingham County Land Bank and property taxes. A short program on the work of the Treasurer’s office and the Ingham County Land Bank will feature City of Lansing Maps showing foreclosure activity and Land Bank projects as well as discussion of the current status and future of Community Gardening. The goal of the forum is to provide information and solicit public feedback. Light refreshments are provided.

Forums will be held from 7-9 p.m. on the following dates:
Wednesday, April 13th at Gone Wired 2021 East Michigan Avenue, Lansing 48912
(yes, we are a bit late for this one!)
Wednesday, April 27th at the Human Services Building “B” 5303 S. Cedar, Lansing
Wednesday, May 11th at South Side Community Center 5815 Wise Road, Lansing 48911

Have a great week!

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