In Brief – Muskegon County Commission Meeting, 11/9/2010

Andrew Trzaska | November 11, 2010

Community Mental Health Leases Renewed

Two resolutions passed authorizing the renewal of leases by Community Mental Health for two group homes for the next ten years.  Both Riverwood Home and Ruddiman Home, which were built for the purpose of being group homes, will be leased for five years at one monthly rate, followed by five years at a second rate.

Outgoing 8th Ward Commissioner Bill Gill expressed concern with authorizing the Riverwood lease renewal, which should not take effect until July 10, 2011.  He noted that the new incoming commissioners may want to review the measure, and indicated that they had plenty of time to do so before the July date. John North, Director of Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) of Muskegon County, responded to the concern at the meeting, saying that CMHS was simply trying to secure the leases as soon as possible ahead of the current end dates.  Gill was the only abstaining vote on an otherwise unanimous approval of both lease proposals.

Incoming Commissioner Asks Board to Hold Off On Road Commission Hires

A second voice was heard at Tuesday’s meeting that referenced lame duck votes by the board.  Alan Jager, commissioner-elect of the county’s 2nd district, made a statement concerning the upcoming hiring process for two open jobs with the county road commission. He asked the current commissioners to continue to accept résumés for the positions, but to hold off on hiring until the new board is seated next year. After Tuesday’s meeting Jager stated that since the incoming commissioners will fill a two year term and the two new road commission hires are expected to hold their positions for those same two years, the new board members should have a say in the hiring.

Jager campaigned heavily this year on improving road conditions in the  2nd district, which includes Dalton, Blue Lake, Cedar Creek, and Holton townships.   In his campaign statements he said that roads north of M-46 are not getting the attention they deserve. After Tuesday’s meeting, Jager indicated that being part of the hiring process would help his district. “[The second district] wants more say in what happens in Muskegon County.”

No comment was immediately available from county officials in regards to Jager’s statement.

Summer Celebration Not Present At Meeting

The financially troubled Muskegon Summer Celebration said last week that they intend to ask Muskegon County for an extended payment plan for the festival’s 2010 Heritage Landing usage fees. No representative of the festival was present at the meeting to present the request, and no decision has therefore been made at this time.

Muskegon Summer Celebration did clear one hurdle Tuesday when the Muskegon City Commission chose to approve a three-year payment plan for 2010 city services fees totaling approximately $70,000.  The festival had one of its worst financial years in 2010, due in part to low pass sales, the loss of two major corporate sponsors, and low attendance at its first-ever Air Show.  A decision on the future of the festival is expected within the next month.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst