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.
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.
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.
At an Executive Committee meeting Wednesday morning, St. Joseph County Commissioners decided to defer conversations about hiring and pay decisions until planning talks begin over the 2021 Fiscal Year budget.
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 Commission voted Tuesday to approve union agreements that reduce staff time to 35 hours a week amid anticipated budget shortfalls.
The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday that permits the county to establish contract details for the sale of a building to Covered Bridge Healthcare.
Emergency Management Coordinator Erin Goff provided an update to the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday on COVID-19 statistics, and ongoing emergency management efforts within the county.