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2021 Budget Adopted
At tonight's Board meeting, the Board of Commissioners adopted 2021 budgets, with no changes from what was presented at the November 17 public hearing. The budget adoption also includes approval of department level user fee schedules, authorized staffing levels and the annual appropriations resolution. The appropriations resolution sets forth budgetary controls, salaries for elected officials and nonunion employee pay scale levels, and property tax millage rates planned to be levied. The County is not recommending increases in user fees, pending the results of an independent cost study started this year and delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are also no recommended increases in millage rates for County taxpayers to bear, except for the addition of the new voter-approved 0.2 mills for countywide parks enhancements. And, despite revenue constraints, a significant reduction in the portion of the County's $46 Million General Fund budget needed to cover employee benefits costs allowed for the continuation of our long-term strategy to grant inflation-level pay increases for employees.
This year's budget planning process was the most challenging in a decade due to diminished local revenue sources and many unknowns about the upcoming year. To balance the General Fund and Road Department budgets, many departments have agreed to keep recently vacated positions unfilled into next year, including 8 in the Sheriff's Office, 6 in the Courts, 7 in the Road Department, one part-time in the Clerk's Office and several others within administrative departments.. Thankfully no immediate layoffs were required within the budget process. But, these ongoing vacancies may not be sustainable depending on how services to the public continue to return to full capacity, and so ongoing budget monitoring will be crucial.
Thanks again to our Board of Commissioners Budget Committee, Commissioners Frisbie, King and Smith, our internal budget committee, our judiciary and countywide department heads and elected officials who remain committed to serving the public in a fiscally responsible way. I also especially want to thank Deputy Controller Megan Banning who successfully facilitates the budget process every year with high levels of trust, transparency, critical data analyses, and essential organization and assistance to departments.

Highlights from a few other boards and committees:
The Native American Heritage Fund Board held its 2020 grant award ceremony on Friday, Nov. 20 via Zoom. This fund provides close to $500,000 in annual grants to local governments, including school districts and colleges and universities, to promote education and understanding of Native American issues. This year, Petoskey Public Schools, Clinton Community Schools, and Paw Paw Public Schools received funds to remove unacceptable Native America imagery from its brand and replace with a new logo. Click here to see all six 2020 recipients.
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MAEDA) Board held its final meeting of the year. We heard from CEO James Durian updates on various economic development, chamber services and tourism activities, including the Merry Mile, mentioned below, and on plans to review and update MAEDA's sponsorship policy.
Today, before the Board of Commissioners meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission met. The Commission approved its 2021 meeting schedule and discussed ongoing projects related to Kimball Pines, the Albion trailhead, and planning for next year. Today the County was awarded a development grant of nearly $200,000 from the MDNR Trust Fund toward the larger planned project to reinvigorate Kimball Pines Park, which was decimated in 2011 by a straight line wind storm.

Click here to read the rest of the Administrator's Update

The Calhoun County Board of Commissioners will meet at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 3 via Zoom video conference. The Board of Commissioners will meet electronically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision is also in accordance with the Epidemic Order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Oct. 9, 2020, which limits in-person gatherings to 10 people.

To watch the meeting, visit our Youtube Channel. Information about where to call for public comment will be provided during the Youtube stream and is posted below.
Citizens Time for Dec. 3

If you'd like to submit a written comment to be added to the record for this meeting, submit that via the Contact Us form on the website and please state that your message is for the Dec. 3 Board of Commissioners meeting.