Page 26 - Scene Magazine 45-10 October 2020
P. 26

  CalCo Admin Update
BY KELLI SCOTT
Calhoun County Administrator/Controller
   The Election – COVID-19 – Road Construction
Calhoun County Elections Coordi- nator, Teri Loew,
is gearing up for what promises to
be a major and dramatic Presiden- tial Election on Tuesday, Nov. 3 – if
only because the pandemic has substan- tially increased the number of absentee ballot requests. In addition to the candi- date choices ranging from President of
the United States to members of our local school boards, there are three proposals on the ballot in Calhoun County. One is for all of Calhoun County and two are for specific municipalities. The countywide proposal is being put forth by the Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Author- ity, requesting a 9-1-1 surcharge on all devices; Marshall City residents will vote on a street improvement bond proposal millage; and Tekonsha Township residents
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will vote on a fire department operating millage renewal. See a sample ballot at www.michigan.gov/vote.
Joint Operations Center, regular county operations continue as well, although some of it virtual. Committee and board meetings will continue to meet virtually in October, via Zoom. Visit the county web- site for information about joining those meetings. Additionally, October will be marked with department budget hearings and serious conversations to balance the 2021 budget for county government.
Calhoun County’s General Fund has seen relatively stable yet flat levels of revenue for several years, and that remains our primary challenge in building the 2021 budget. We have asked departments to ex- amine ways to reduce their required Gen- eral Fund appropriation, such as keeping current vacancies unfilled, and in fact our judiciary, elected officials and department heads have done a phenomenal job in recognizing the need for such reductions. However, we still see what could be a $5M shortfall, exceeding 10% of our total revenues, that we will have to figure out how to fill in order to present a required balanced budget by December. County administration, finance, and our budget committees will spend the next month revisiting key budget assumptions and factors, including employee health insur- ance and pension costs, potential opportu- nities for increased revenues, technology solutions, and personnel efficiencies. One hope is that changing normal operations during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has given the County many opportunities to deliver exceptional services to our res- idents in new ways, some of which could cost less to taxpayers.
Entering the Fall season, Calhoun County will wind down road construction projects and prepare for winter mainte- nance and other seasonal transitions. Our commissioners, who are all working on getting reelected for another two-year term, remain supportive of our front-line workers who continue to provide services to residents and respond effectively to the challenges we face, due to COVID-19 or any major emergency. The County’s Joint Operations Center Unified Commanders are meeting twice weekly to discuss the spread of the virus in our community and helping to make decisions collaboratively so that we’re all working together instead of separately.
 Anyone who is not already registered to vote can register in person with their local clerk before Monday, Oct. 19. Absentee voting is an option for voters who do not wish to vote in person, and it is a two-step process. First, an application for the absentee ballot must be completed and filed with the local clerk. Then, the ballot is sent to the elector and must be submitted before Election Day in a sealed absentee return envelope. All absentee ballots must be returned to their local clerk no later than 8pm election night. Visit calhouncountymi.gov/elections for all of this information and much more about voting locally.
Like the Clerk’s Office, departments countywide continue to provide crucial services for residents amidst the pandem- ic. While COVID-19 emergency response continues with weekly briefings by the
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