Thursday, May 26, 2011

Snowboarding Hill, Point-of-Sale Fees, New Commissioner Maps and Districts

At the County Board meeting this week, we went through the same issues that I reported on last week. We had two resolutions pulled from the consent agenda and debated.

The first issue was the snowboarding hill. As a refresher, we considered a resolution returning money from the Parks Department to the county general fund. In that resolution, we allowed for $35,000 to be spent on a snowboarding hill. We are already building a sledding hill, and had a bunch of dirt donated. We were approached by a conglomerate that wanted Ingham County to create the second public snowboarding hill in the nation. We will have user fees that will generate significant revenue and expect to recoup the dollars in two years or so. We also will have much of the equipment donated. There will be a snow making machine so that there will always be snow, and security and parks staff to assist users. Because of the concern that we were putting money into this instead of police or health department or employees, we added language to the resolution that require the Controller to ensure that the county is repaid this money. That amendment, offered by Commissioner DeLeon, was passed unanimously as was the final resolution.

We also considered the point-of-sale portion of the fees resolution. We created a program a few years ago that requires septic fields to be inspected when a house on a septic field (mostly in the out-county) is sold. I voted for that at the time because the fee is way less than what we in Lansing pay for municipal sewer and water. The folks on private septic systems should also be paying to ensure that those fields are not leaking (which many were) and contaminating the county water supply. Because we keep most fees at 100% of the cost of that fee (to ensure that county taxpayers are not paying for these things), this fee was raised. The fee resolution passed on a 10-5 vote. Commissioner Dianne Holman spoke against it saying that it was still a relatively new fee and should not go up.

Finally, we learned what the new county commission districts would look like. The Ingham County Apportionment Committee considers maps submitted to them and votes on those maps. The Committee is made up of the County Prosecutor, County Clerk, County Treasurer, and Democratic and Republican Party Chairs. Prosecutor Dunnings submitted a map that follows election law. It was one of three maps submitted and received enough votes to pass. The map creates 14 County Commission districts (reduced from the current 16). If you want to see the new maps, click here.

Due to the the fact that there is a fifth week in May, we do not have any meetings next week. So, I will probably skip next week for the blog (unless I find a guest blogger).

I hope everyone has a happy and health Memorial Day weekend, and spends some time remembering all of those who sacrificed so that we can all live free lives in our Democracy!


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