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.

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.

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.

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.