Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners meeting coverage

county board web

By Benjamin Gohs

News Editor

The Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners dealt with numerous topics during its regular Wednesday Aug. 27 meeting including scheduling of a budget hearing, a change to the Boyne City Road trail schedule, a report by the Area Agency on Aging and much more.

Following are highlights of various items of interest discussed and decided at the meeting.

Trail project extension

A resolution to amend the Boyne City to US-31 non-motorized trail project time-line was considered.

The purpose was to extend the end date of the project period from Aug. 1, 2014 to Feb. 1, 2015.

“If the trail had not been started yet, the grant is null and void, according to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund,” said audience member Roger Conaway.

Charlevoix County Commissioner Rich Gillespie (R-District 5) said the request for extension on the trail project is due to the state, not the county.

“This is their mess up,” said Gillespie. “They didn’t get their house in order in time.”

Gillespie asked why the project’s new end date occurred in the middle of the winter.

“I would share that concern because … if nothing is going to happen yet this fall, we know it’s not going to happen by Feb. 1,” said Charlevoix County Commissioner Larry Sullivan (R-District 6).

Discussion then ensued over whether the date was correct. Ultimately, the resolution was approved. Gillespie was the lone “no” vote.

Agency on Aging report

Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Robert Schlueter gave his annual report to the county board.

Primarily a healthcare organization, the agency on aging helps the area’s elderly with home delivered meals, personal care, transportation, nursing and much more.

“Our main job is to keep people in their home as long as possible,” said Schlueter. “There’s two main reasons I believe we do that… Number one: it’s the right thing to do—most people want to stay at home as long as possible; and number two: it’s cheaper to keep people at home than it is to put them in a long-term care setting.”

He added that his group works closely with nursing homes in order to place people when that setting becomes necessary and appropriate.

“In order to be good at helping keep people in their homes, we need to have people who know how to do that out in the public,” Schlueter said. “So, in the last six to eight years, we have been training our staff in our caregiver program.”

In recent years it has cost just over $6,000 per month to keep someone in a nursing home; the cost to keep someone in their own home is closer to $1,800 per month.

Agency on Aging

financial summary

Community services – $933,919

MI Choice waiver – $6,165,840

Home delivered meals – $840,675

Congregate meals – $431,191

Care management support – $551,641

Administration/Support/Planning – $250,828

Other in-house programs – $412,238

Senior employment – $115,392

Program development – $59,645

Shared housing – $9,510

Creating Confident Caregivers – $4,452

Total – $9,775,331

Budget hearing

The Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners will hold their annual county budget hearing at the 9:30 a.m. Wednesday Sept. 10 meeting in the commissioner’s meeting room located in the Charlevoix County Building at 203 Antrim St. in Charlevoix. The property tax millage rate proposed to be levied to support the proposed budget will be a subject of the hearing. Look for a detailed story on the county’s proposed budget in the Wednesday Sept. 10 edition of the Boyne City Gazette. (The story will be posted online by noon on Monday Sept. 8.)

Unanimously approved

Child care budget

The Charlevoix County Personnel/Internal Government Committee recommended that the county board of commissioners approve a request to allow various line item balance transfers within the county child care budget for 2013-2014. The request does not entail receiving any additional funds but merely moves money from one internal line item to another.

Unanimously approved

Civil counsel agreement

Consideration to continue to use the law firm of Young, Graham, Elsenheimer & Wendling as the county’s civil counsel.

Sullivan asked if hiring one specific attorney instead of the entire firm could save the county money.

Gillespie told Sullivan the firm charged the same rate regardless of which attorney they used.

“There’s an advantage to hiring the firm as opposed to an individual attorney because we have individualized specialties,” said Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners civil counsel Bryan Graham.

The firm was approved unanimously