Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hotel/Motel Money to Fair, Road Commission, Public Health Programs, Neighborhood Meeting on Saturday for Campaign

This week was relatively quiet in terms of action at the full Board of Commissioners meeting. We had just one item pulled from the consent agenda, and it was to transfer $110,000 from hotel/motel fund balance to the Fair capital improvement account for maintenance and exhibits. Commissioner Nolan mentioned that we do not have a fair director and wanted to know where this money would go. She wants the incoming interim fair director to make the decisions and indicated this could be \premature. She also indicated an interest in Commissioners having a strategic plan on facility upgrades. Commissioner Koenig, who serves on the Fair Board, said that the original amount was three times the $110,000 and that the Fair Board reduced it in order to only deal with the necessities. She said that she doesn’t want to prevent the money from going to the fair because the money is needed August is coming up quickly. Commissioner Grenbner pointed out that the new interim fair director will be able to veto this as needed. Commissioner Bahar-Cook said that we need to approve the transfer to ensure time for competitive bids. I asked if this money will affect the hotel/motel fund, and was assured that we have significant dollars in that fund. During public comment, a member of the Fair Board indicated that this money is needed for rabbit cages and sheep pens and other things need to be fixed, and said that this is about animal safety and youth safety (petting zoos). We approved the movement of the money unanimously.

We also held our second public comment period on the Road Commission Board transfer of powers. Our Controller first went through the proposed summary of transition plan, which can be viewed at She explained that existing contracts and benefits stay intact until expiration; the County Commission would create a budget and make employees and assets part of the county (they are on the financial statement currently); central services, finance, and purchasing would become part of the county; nothing would change for the public and the day to day operations would stay the same; federal dollars would continue through tri-county planning; staff would work with the townships for priorities and with citizens for complaints; and strategic planning would either happen through an independent board or by the County Commission.

Labor testified opposed to the dissolution of the road commission, including OPEIU 512 which has 2 road commission units and the AFL-CIO (and the UAW by proxy). They said that the knowledge and experience of the road commissions would go away. They asked for one year for the Road Commission to show that it has fixed the internal problems and to implement their new plan. A few employees upset about the firing of the former operations manager continued to complain about what they said was corruption on the existing board and asked to get rid of the existing board. The new Chair of the Road Commission, Jim Dravenstatt-Moceri, explained his new plan. He said that the Road Commission this year has passed resolutions asking the county to take over the HR, Finance, and IT functions of the road commission. They also passed a resolution to empower the managing director to do hiring and firing of employees. That leaves the roads up to the Road Commission Board. He asked for a year to implement this and see how it is going, and said he wants to work collaboratively for the future for the benefit of the county residents. Delhi Township testified that if there is a new consulting Board regarding roads, they want representation on the advisory board to reflect their population size and the number of roads. Another employee mentioned that a positive to elimination of the Road Commission Board would be that drain assessments, which have gone to litigation in the past to the chagrin of the County Commission, would no longer be a problem because the County Commission will be in charge. Finally, the County Road Association of Michigan testified and offered to be a resource for the County Commission either way. They pointed out that Ingham County will be a member regardless. They also said that we may want to delay a decision until July, when the liability pool will change its policies to allow for road agencies to participate. We will now start taking up the resolutions for this in County Services, which should be interesting!

On the Consent Agenda, we passed a resolution to amend our 2011-2012 Comprehensive
Planning, Budgeting and Contracting (CPBC) Agreement with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). The CPBC Agreement is the annual process whereby MDCH transmits State and Federal funds to Ingham County to support public health programs. The Amendment makes the following specific changes in the budget:
1. Increases support for Highly Targeted HIV Prevention by $52,968 - increasing the total amount to
2. Increases funding for HIV/AIDS Care by $137,500 – increasing the total amount to $275,000.
3. Raises funding for HIV Prevention by $87,190 – increasing the total amount to $174,380.
4. Increases funding for STD Control by $20,342 - increasing the total amount to $44,998.
5. Increases support for TB Control by $2,111 – increasing the total amount to $21,973.
6. Raises funding for WIC Resident Services by $21,300 – increasing the total amount to $1,195,132.
7. Adds new funding for the Nurse Family Partnership Services in the amount of $245,000.
8. Adds new funding for the Michigan Climate and Health Adaptation Program in the amount of $15,000.
9. Adds new funding for the PRIME Local Learning Collaborative in the amount of $5,200.
10. Adds new funding for the Asthma Control through Education and Environment project in the amount of $12,495.

On the campaign trail, things are going very well! Fundraising donations continue to come in, I am having great response at doors and neighborhood meetings, and I am happy to announce my first Neighborhood Meeting this Saturday at the home of Monica Zuchowski in downtown Lansing (320 North Walnut Road in Lansing) from 10-12. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts about the important issues facing our area and all of Michigan, and I want to hear from Lansing and Lansing Township residents about priorities for moving us forward! I hope to see you there, and ask you to please RSVP at so we can have an approximate count for food.

Have a great week!

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