The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners discussed the possibility of returning to in-person meetings after Tuesday’s virtual meeting was interrupted by internet trolls in a practice called “Zoombombing” or “Zoom raiding.” Unidentified persons briefly hurled racist and homophobic epithets at commissioners and those in attendance before Chairperson Dennis Allen temporarily stopped the meeting.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners approved a budget amendment Tuesday to set aside $10,000 to fund additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics, should the need arise in the coming weeks and months. The allocation of funds would support Covered Bridge Healthcare in COVID-19 vaccine distributions for first and second round dosing.
County Commissioners honored Al Balog Tuesday, whose term officially ends later this month. Balog decided to forgo a reelection campaign this year, opting instead to run for 59th District State Representative in 2020, ultimately falling to Steve Carra.
Jack Coleman, who recently ran for the seat of 59th District Representative in the Michigan legislature, has a new position in St. Joseph County. At a regular meeting Tuesday evening, the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners (BOC) appointed Coleman to an upcoming vacancy on the St. Joseph County Road Commission (SJCRC). Coleman will replace John Bippus in the position, which turns over after January 31.
Following an Executive Committee meeting Tuesday, members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners held their second workshop to plan the 2021 Fiscal Year budget. At the previous workshop, held two weeks prior, commissioners sought to address a significant potential shortfall, and directed County Administrator Teresa Doehring and Finance Director Angie Steinman to ask each of the county’s various department heads to submit their own savings proposals.
At a regular meeting of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, commissioners approved an expenditure of $53,000 toward planning and design services for the proposed renovation of the county’s Courts Building. The design work will be performed by Tower Pinkster Design Services. The Courts Building is an annex to the county courthouse.
Following an Executive Committee meeting Wednesday morning, the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners held a workshop to start planning the 2021 fiscal year budget. For the last several years, the county has operated under a balanced budget, but only by making up shortfalls through drawdowns from the Delinquent Tax Fund (DTF). This year, possible revenue impacts from the ongoing pandemic and a slowed economy brought the imbalance to the front of many of the commission’s conversations about money.
White Pigeon Township Supervisor Don Gloy appeared at a St. Joseph County Road Commission (SJCRC) work session Wednesday to ask commissioners to consider compensating some of the township’s residents for recent damage that occurred during a subdivision paving project.
St. Joseph County Administrator Teresa Doehring said the bargaining unit representing the county’s largest group of clerical employees has rejected a proposed agreement under which employees would work a reduced, 35-hour workweek for the remainder of the year. The hours reduction was a measure to attempt to mitigate ongoing revenue losses in the county.
At a regular meeting of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, commissioners approved the hire of two new employees for the Sheriff’s Department, making an exception to a current hiring freeze. They include a position in road patrol and one in the corrections department that is responsible for courthouse security.
At a County Executive Committee meeting Wednesday, Covered Bridge Healthcare Director Rick Shaffer requested a new arrangement for a recent land purchase. Shaffer proposed converting a three-year land contract for the agency’s building into an outright purchase, which would resolve zoning issues related to proposed expansion work.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners weighed Wednesday whether to send a letter to Governor Gretchen Whitmer regarding Prosecutor John McDonough’s status. McDonough has been on paid leave since being arrested in a May drunk driving incident for which he will soon stand trial.
The Board of Directors of Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County (CMH) approved a budget for the coming fiscal year at a regular meeting Tuesday.
The St. Joseph County Commission voted Tuesday to approve union agreements that reduce staff time to 35 hours a week amid anticipated budget shortfalls.
The Board of Directors for County Community Mental and Substance Abuse Services of St. Joseph County (CMH) tabled a proposal by Chief Executive Officer Kristine Kirsch to provide the agency’s employees a one-time bonus. Kirsch raised the proposal at CMH’s regular monthly board meeting on Tuesday evening in which each employee would receive $2,000 in recognition of their service and hard work during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners tabled a request by County Clerk Lindsay Oswald to fill a vacant deputy clerk position at an Executive Committee meeting Wednesday morning. It also reviewed two grant opportunities presented by Grant Administrator James Hissong.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners responded to remarks by Tim Carls in a public comment period early in the meeting concerning the county budget.
During an Executive Committee meeting Wednesday morning, members of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners discussed ways to address likely budget shortfalls for the remainder of 2020, as well as for the next two fiscal years.