August 31, 2018
The dog days of summer are behind us and now we move into the busy fall season. Schools and colleges are back in session and there are festivals and other seasonal events to look forward to in Lenawee County. There are many things to do in Lenawee County and you can find most of them on the Visit Lenawee website; www.visitlenawee.com. Visit Lenawee, under the direction of Executive Director Justin Gifford, promotes Lenawee County as a destination letting others know about all of the exciting activities going on in the county.
Some activities going on are less exciting but no less important. The State of Michigan has been testing water supply systems in Lenawee County and across the state for PFAS contamination. This is a relatively recently identified contamination source and it has been found in several Michigan communities. To date, no sites have been identified in Lenawee County. You may find more information about PFAS testing and identified sites on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality website at www.michigan.gov/deq and search for PFAS.
We are making good progress on our capital improvement projects and have started work on the main focus of Phase I, the old Jail and Sheriff’s Office. Work on remediating hazardous materials has begun and demolition of the building at the corner of Winter and Maple Streets will start the middle of September. The project is expected to be completed by next fall. We will provide updates on the progress periodically in this newsletter.
The demolition of the building at the southeast corner of Winter and Maumee Streets in downtown Adrian has been completed and the east wall of the building has been repaired to protect the adjacent building. This was a property that came to the County by tax foreclosure and in a very deteriorated condition. All of the material from the old building was removed, the hole has been filled and the site has been seeded. The lot will now be available for redevelopment.
On the financial front, the 2019 draft budget will be presented in detail at the September 11th Personnel/Ways and Means Committee meeting. The draft provides funding to continue all of the services that the County has delivered in the past and also funds the capital improvement projects that are currently underway. The 2019 draft revenue is based on a millage rate of 5.40 mills, the same rate as was levied for 2018. The County remains committed to using taxpayer funds in an efficient and effective manner.
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.