Update from Administrator/Controller Kelli Scott
Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019
Seeing the benefits of Treatment Courts

For the December 2019 edition of our local Scene Magazine, Communications Manager Lucy Blair interviewed the judges who manage men’s and women's Drug Treatment Courts to help the County share why these programs are beneficial to the community as a whole.

Attending recent graduations from both Judge Jaconette’s Mental Health Court and Judge Lincoln’s Women’s Drug Court gave me the opportunity to see just how they impact participants. At the graduation for Women's Drug Treatment Court on Tuesday, Nov. 19, numerous participants, including the graduates and those that were struggling in the program, expressed gratitude to the judge and the Drug Court team for their support and patience with them. Several commented that Drug Court was the most positive event in their lives because people care, and also hold them accountable to stay clean and make life improvements. Those without high school educations or GEDs are required to attain them, and the program also helps with goals of steady employment and stable housing. The County's Treatment Courts are a valuable way reduce recidivism by addressing some of the factors that contribute to a person entering the criminal justice system in the first place. And, I'm convinced they save lives.
Here are highlights from recent board and committee meetings:

The Calhoun County Public Safety Information Alliance Board met Nov. 22, attended by public safety officials countywide including Sheriff Matt Saxton. At this meeting the County provided E-Citation and other system updates and the quarterly financial report for the financing and operation of this collaborative law enforcement records system.
 
The County's Planning Commission met Nov. 25 and recommended for approval township planning and zoning items from Lee and Newton Townships, as well as Marengo Township's Master Plan draft. Marengo Township's Master Plan will be voted on by the township's trustees soon, and includes maps made by the County's GIS Department.
 
Calhoun County Department Heads and Elected Officials met Tuesday, Nov. 26 and received updates on the 2020 budget, as well as the county's pension programs. In updates from each department, we learned
  • The Land Bank is wrapping up a $4M grant that was executed over the last three years, and has funding to partner with the City of Albion to demolish the blighted former Union Steel Building
  • Treasurer Brian Wensauer discussed recent interaction with the Fredonia Township officials, related to naming a trustee to the township board.
  • The Juvenile Home has placed "Angel Tree" tags around the community, an annual donation of common items for youth in the home
  • Sheriff Matt Saxton encouraged department leaders to contact state representatives about ongoing budget discussions that direct affect County operations, particularly in law enforcement
  • Jen Bomba, who oversees the Community Development Office, reported that her office is working on multiple grants countywide, and the parks division recently completed the grant-funded purchase of a 65-acre piece of property in Albion to be used as a trailhead.

The  Calhoun County Parks and Recreation Commission  met on Thursday, Dec. 5. County Board Chair Steve Frisbie chairs the Commission, which recommended for Board of Commissioners approval the 2020-2024 master plan, subject to minor changes following the public input period. They also approved the 2020 meeting schedule, and heard updates from Parks Program Manager Doug Ferrall on various projects and grants. As a follow up to the County Board of Commissioners’ approval of language for a new parks millage to be voted on next year, the Commission chose the August 4, 2020 primary election as the best date.
Calhoun County Board of Commissioners
Update from the Road Department
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, Managing Director John Midgley spoke at Calhoun County's Michigan Township Association meeting. He shared what was accomplished by the Road Department in 2019 and discussed the revised local road improvement funding policy (Board Policy 509), which was approved at the Board of Commissioners meeting last month. 

To reduce the Road Department's inventory of unused equipment, an auction was held to sell 20 pieces of equipment, plus miscellaneous items like old plow blades. The online auction was a success: All items were sold and the Road Department will see $75,000 in revenue. 

Engineering updates:
  • The D Drive N culvert installation continues
  • Safety grant tree removals have begun on Condit Rd

Operations updates:
  • Gravel road maintenance continues countywide as weather allows
  • Guardrail repair and replacement is taking place countywide; current installation is taking place on V Dr N in Lee Township
  • Culvert replacement has taken place in Tekonsha Township
  • Tree cleanup is ongoing after last week's wind storm. Tree trimming and removal is taking place on 13 Mile Rd for next year's Federal Aid projects in Convis Township
  • Sign maintenance is taking place countywide
  • Pothole patching is taking place countywide as weather allows
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