At the October 10th meeting, the Board of Commissioners held the public hearing for the 2019 General Fund budget. The total amount published for hearing was $30,653,047. The board has not yet adopted a 2019 budget as they wait for detail on some final numbers, but after holding the public hearing, they may approve a budget as long as it does not exceed the published total. One of the details outstanding is the expected cost of health insurance and there is good news on that front, as the cost of health insurance will not change for 2019. The budget before the commission is based on a levy of 5.4 mills and that millage will be set when the budget is approved.
Also at the October board meeting Lenawee County Drain Commissioner, Jennifer L. Escott, presented the 2018 Drain Assessment Roll totaling $1,336,602.22. The Drain Assessment Roll spreads the cost of drain maintenance and improvement work to ensure proper drainage throughout the county. Work was performed by the Drain Commission on 221 drains and two lake levels. Costs are being levied in all 22 townships, in five villages and three cities for the 2018 roll.
We have received word that we will again partner with the City of Adrian and have a tree on the front lawn of the old courthouse. The date for setting the tree is November 15th. It is fun to watch them set the tree and we can all hope for calm weather to make it easier for all involved!
There has been a good deal of misinformation circulating about the County Board of Commissioners and bonds to finance construction of ProMedica’s new hospital. Comments have been made that the county board has reversed their decision on bonds for ProMedica. However, the facts in the public record do not support such a claim. The Lenawee County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing and approved the use of tax exempt bonds for construction of the new hospital last year. Regardless of what anyone has said, the public record of county commission meetings makes it clear that there has been no subsequent action by the commission regarding tax exempt bonds for ProMedica. There has been no subsequent public hearing on this issue and no vote by the board of commissioners to withdraw the approval that was passed unanimously last year.
The scary and cute visitors from Halloween are behind us and Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. We will soon be into the holiday season. However, I do not want to jump so quickly through November that we forget an important November day. November 11th is Veterans Day and we should all take the time to recognize and thank the veterans in our county and in our families that have served this country and made it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms available to us. Thank you Lenawee County veterans!
Next Tuesday, November 6th, is election day. We will be casting ballots for statewide positions as well as state senate and representative offices. There are statewide proposals to amend the constitution that will affect the state for years to come. And we have county and local positions and questions on the ballot as well. Please take time to perform your civic duty and exercise your right to vote.
The next steps in Lenawee’s future
The support shown by the voters who participated in the November 7th election and approved the tax limitation proposal was tremendous. With a 70% yes vote the proposal was supported in every precinct in the county. The day after the election the Board of Commissioners moved the budget forward and at their December board meeting will approve a general appropriation act that includes funding for important county services. Many County employees contributed to the educational campaign to allow voters to make an informed decision and I want to thank all of you for your efforts.
Also included in the budget for next year and in coming years are projects to improve County facilities. Some of the projects are part of the Capital Improvement Plan and others will address work that goes beyond maintenance and includes major rebuilds of some buildings. The commission will soon be making decisions on the Sheriff’s building and other buildings in the downtown complex to provide offices that meet the needs of our employees as they provide excellent service to county residents.
We have also laid a stable foundation for our employees and for County finances by completing three year agreements with the bargaining units and laying out a three year financial package for non-union employees. Employees will have the stability of knowing what to expect for the next three years and the County will have that same stability in the budgeting process. I appreciate the work that went into this year’s negotiations and the respectful and cooperative manner in which negotiations were conducted.
With the election behind us and with a full schedule of work ahead of us I know that there will be challenges to be addressed and surprises that we cannot anticipate. At the same time, I know that we have the solid support of a caring community, a supportive commission and dedicated co-workers that will turn our plans into action and goals into success.
Thank you again for the tremendous effort and support over the last few months. A team effort really makes a difference.