News Summary - October 16, 2019 Edition
Rain gardens being developed in Albert Township
Albert Township is working with Huron Pines, the Twin Lakes Property Owners’ Association and the road commission to develop rain gardens. In a recent interview, Mike Dombrowski, township supervisor, told the Tribune the rain gardens would help divert water that ultimately ends up in the retention pond for East Twin Lake.
The water leaving the retention pond and entering the lake has tested high in nutrients like phosphorus. Dombrowski said the township supports the concept of developing an ordinance for septic tanks and drain fields that would pertain to lake residents. Tanks, he said, should be drained every 3-5 years to help manage nutrients.
“We don’t have a policy, right now,” Dombrowski said. “We’re working on that with the health department.”
County childcare costs lower than anticipated
County commissioners are knocking on wood after a year of relatively low childcare costs. Of the total childcare budget for the coming year of $351,290 approved at the Oct. 9 county board meeting, Montmorency County is paying only $15,000.
The county budgeted $100,000 for foster care for 2019 and only spent $810. Of the $200,000 budgeted for institutional car, the county spent $16,000. The county budgeted $2,500 for independent living and spent nothing.
“So, we’re doing pretty good, I think,” said Commissioner Bert LaFleche.
State budget vetoes will have local impact
Local entities will feel the impact of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s line-item vetoes in the state budget if they are not reversed. At a recent county board meeting, Brian Crane, undersheriff, said his department would lose 40 percent of the funding for a secondary road patrol officer, lodging reimbursement from the Michigan Department of Corrections and funding for training.
Jean Klein, county treasurer, estimated the county would lose $174,000 for payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) for state-owned land. Kevin Keller, equalization director, told county board members more than 62 percent of the property in Montmorency County is owned by the state.
Gov. Whitmer beat the state budget deadline of Oct. 1 but issued 147 line-item vetoes totaling $947 million on Sept. 30. The Governor has indicated she made the cuts to restart budget talks, saying the budget submitted by the legislature threatens public health and safety by underfunding state prisons and state cybersecurity efforts.
If the vetoes are not reversed, the cuts will impact road and bridge funding, the Pure Michigan campaign, K-12 schools, higher education, health care, rural issues and miscellaneous items like $15 million in grants to municipal airports, $14.8 million to the County Jail Reimbursement Program, $4 million to the County Veteran Services Fund, $1 million for property tax assessor training, $300,000 to a program for runaway and homeless youths and the PILT funding for state-owned land.
On Oct. 8, Republican lawmakers introduced about two dozen bills to reverse many of Gov. Whitmer’s budget vetoes. The bills would not restore a $375 million cut for road and bridge repairs or a $37 million cut to the Pure Michigan campaign.
The bills recently introduced have new numbers and only need a simple majority to pass. However, the Governor has the power to veto them. Veto overrides using the same numbers as the bills with vetoes are also being prepared. Those override bills would require supermajority votes to pass, and Gov. Whitmer would not be able to veto them a second time.
Gov. Whitmer aims to continue negotiating the state budget but wants some funding cut by Republicans restored, including money for monitoring electronic tethers of sex offenders and drunk drivers as well as funding to protect Social Security numbers from computer hackers.
“All we can do is sit and wait,” said Commissioner David Wagner, county board chair.
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