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Montmorency County Tribune
Atlanta, Michigan
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January 2, 2013     Montmorency County Tribune
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January 2, 2013
 

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MONTMORENCY COUNTY Some county employees to receive three percent raises I ll Swqor Some county employees and officials will be getting a three percent raise as of the first of the newyear. The raise for non-union, part-time, salaried and elected personnel was granted via a split vote at the regular county board meeting on Dec. 26. Cheryl Neilsen, county clerk, appealed to the board regarding the raises during discussion about the budget for the coming year. She said union employees have been granted raises throughout the new three-year contract, and she estimated the cost of the additional raises, not including benefits, at $25,000. Neilsen pointed out the contingency fund contains $229,000. "Raises were given in other areas for other people. These people are loyal people, and there&apos;s money to be had to do it now," she said. Commissioner Daryl Peterson said the cost of budget- ing for the union contract has to be considered, but Terrie Case, prosecutor, took offense and said using the cost of the union contract as an excuse to not grant raises is insulting to the other employees. "The people of this courthouse should not be told they can't get a raise because the union is getting one," Case reasoned. "If there's not enough money, say there's not enough money." The matter was put to a vote instead of being post- poned, because elected officials can't receive raises ret- roactively. Raises were granted for the non-union, part- time, salaried and elected employees with the exceptions of the county board members and the county board secretary. Voting in opposition were Peterson and Com- missioner Bert LaFleche, who both indicated_the budget should have been approved as presented before the deci- sion was made to grant raises. In another matter, the county is still attempting to re- solve an issue in which Blue Cross / Blue Shield took $7,700 from an account for inmate medical care without verify- ing why the money was spent. Julie Ann Morton, who oversees the account on behalf of the county, said the issue concerns inmates who were not iacarcerated at the time medical care was given and whose bills were not approved by the county for pay- ment. Morton said BCBS took the money anyway. "It's a very good program, but they used our pot of money and they won't submit a bill to prove why they used it," Morton explained. The countyboardpreviouslypassed amotionin favor of capping the amount kept in the BCBS account at $1,000. According to Morton, that account has nearly been de- pleted without accounting for the conference call she participated in with underwriters from BCBS. She said an attorney for the county has recommended another conference call with the attorney present as well as filing a complaint with the insurance commission in lansing. The county board passed a motion in favor of increasing the amount in the BCBS account by another $1,000 to cover the costs of pursuing the issue. In other business: • A motion passed in favor of starting the night sergeant as the sheriffdepartment at the four-year level because of 16 years of experience. • Approval was given for a budget with a general fund balance of $4,272,462. Peterson voted in opposition and said some of the budget matters should have been brought to light prior to the last meeting of the year. • The board voted to transfer $92,000 from the contin- gency fund to cover child care costs. The board originally voted to pay the money from the 2008 foreclosure fund, but that money is not yet available. Peterson voted in opposition and indicated the budget should have been adjusted to reflect the new contingency fund figure. • Brenda South was appointed to serve on the library board for another five-year term. • Employees who should have been workirg on the recent snow day called at the courthouse will rSceive pay for that day. - T <::) ........ 00WlN: I ,IIII!!I!IU!IIIIJ!!IJ!IIII, To subscribe to the Tribune, call (989) 785-4214 or stop by our office, next to the post office in Atlanta. BENJAMIN T. BOLSER, left, is sworn in as the new probate judge for Montmorency CountY byJudee.John E. Fitzgerald. Also pictured is Bolser's wife, Patty. tltl /m "' ' " '"iiiip ii-''iqililh' Judge Benjamin T. Bolser sworn in as new probate judge by   "I know, from personal observation, that you have the Judge Benjamin T. Bolser has been sworn in as the new probate judge for Montmorency County. His investiture on Dec. 27 was well-attded by m'ea judgcs, MLnbers --bffftebar s6eiation, e iiegion  s/t 6ti_rt-" istrator for the Supreme Cmn-t, and friends and family. JudgelolmE.FitZgerald deliverrdtthe oath ofoffieeand explained Bolser would be se not only as:the pro- bate judge but as a judge for district court amt for faintly court. Bolser will be inheriting the dudes of the district and family courts once the district court judgeship is eliminated after 2014, FitZgerald said he has known Bolser professionally for 15 years, both as aprosecutingattorn and as a praY-tie- hag attorney. background and experience to perform all the functions of a probate judge, district court judge and family court judge,' Fitzgerald assured. ,, : f-,. -:" -Hsaid Bolr has demonstratedeeza;m-profio, nal tr,ai that will serve him well as a judge. ":- • You are always prepared, you always have a eon - mand ofthe facts of a case and the 1 issues presented and the applicable or relevant law, Fitzgerald com- mended. "You can't ask for ahything more in a judge." He advised Bolser to develop m insatiable appetite for the law, that it's okay to not know an answer or to make a mistake, and to be gracious, attentive, patieat, under- standing and fair. He told him not to expect a lot of pats on the back, because much of what a judge decides is misunderstood. Continued on ae 4 Governor signs bill to eliminate personal property tax by Yvmm Swager The new Personal Property Tax laws, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 20, eliminate the tax on small taxpayers and phase out the tax for manufacturing personal property. Under the laws, a phase-out of the tax on manufacturing personal property begins in 2016, and all manufacturing personal property will be exempt starting 2023. Small tax- payers will be exempt from the tax starting in 2014. According to Snyder, the changes recognize the vital role that strong communities and schools play in Michigan's future by providing reimbursement rates to local units of 100 percent for police, fire, jail and ambulance revenue losses and a minimum of 80 percent to reliant local units. They also hold schools harmless and fully cover school debt. Aportion of the state use tax currently going to the general fund will be dedicated to reimburse impacted local units. The use tax will continue to be capped at six percent. The change in use tax will be revenue-neutral and will not increase the total state and local taxes levied in Michigan. The levy will require statewide voter approval in August of 2014 before taking effect. "Michigan is the nation's comeback state, but our work isn't done," Snyder said in a press release. "We must con- tinually eliminate barriers to job growth by bringing greater fairness to our tax system and efficiencies to government regulations. These latest reforms will enhance Michigan's competitiveness, which means success for our workers and bright futures for our children..." On the horizon, SB 1328 would encourage the cleanup and closure of more contaminated sites, returning them to productive use more quickly. It provides the Department of Environmental Quality flexibility in its cleanup approval ATLANTA NEWS 4-5 I HILLbIAN NEWS 6-7 l OBITUARIES 11 I FN PE9 I LEGALS 12 /vtvlvtvlvtvllkvi[llUiVl[ll-'l=ll'&l-'ll-'|lll=l[It]d =' 7 ] , process and offers tools to help property owners finance redevelopment of contaminated properties through DEQ approval site documentation required by lenders. In addition, Snyder intends to sign a series of bills de- signed to make Michigan more attractive to the insurance and finance industries. He said the bills remove obsolete statutes, eliminate significant government-mandated costs, and remove barriers to innovation so Michigan can better compete for these jobs with other states. Underwood enters not guilty pleas on two counts Earl Underwood entered pleas of not guilty to one count of assault and battery, a $500 misdemeanor, and one count of personal property destruction of less than $200 at a district court hearing on Dec. 28. The charges allegedly stem from incidents that took place on Sept. 15 of 2012. A pretrial for the personal property destruction charge is being scheduled in conjunction with a preliminary hearing for the assault and battery charge. Underwood waived his right to have two charges of felo- nious assault with a pistol, four-year felonies, examined within 14 days. Those charges developed after alleged inci- dents on Sept. 8 and Sept. 24 o2012. The defense indicated those matters should be resolved within the next couple of weeks, and Terrie Case, prosecu- tor, agreed. "I believe that they're all going to get resolved at this level, so I'm not opposed to that," Case said. I LEWISTON NEWS 8 ' CASSIFiEDS 14-15 llo],, • • m m : = +[-'-- u :q-i-piil,, 4t MONTMORENCY COUNTY Some county employees to receive three percent raises I ll Swqor Some county employees and officials will be getting a three percent raise as of the first of the newyear. The raise for non-union, part-time, salaried and elected personnel was granted via a split vote at the regular county board meeting on Dec. 26. Cheryl Neilsen, county clerk, appealed to the board regarding the raises during discussion about the budget for the coming year. She said union employees have been granted raises throughout the new three-year contract, and she estimated the cost of the additional raises, not including benefits, at $25,000. Neilsen pointed out the contingency fund contains $229,000. "Raises were given in other areas for other people. These people are loyal people, and there's money to be had to do it now," she said. Commissioner Daryl Peterson said the cost of budget- ing for the union contract has to be considered, but Terrie Case, prosecutor, took offense and said using the cost of the union contract as an excuse to not grant raises is insulting to the other employees. "The people of this courthouse should not be told they can't get a raise because the union is getting one," Case reasoned. "If there's not enough money, say there's not enough money." The matter was put to a vote instead of being post- poned, because elected officials can't receive raises ret- roactively. Raises were granted for the non-union, part- time, salaried and elected employees with the exceptions of the county board members and the county board secretary. Voting in opposition were Peterson and Com- missioner Bert LaFleche, who both indicated_the budget should have been approved as presented before the deci- sion was made to grant raises. In another matter, the county is still attempting to re- solve an issue in which Blue Cross / Blue Shield took $7,700 from an account for inmate medical care without verify- ing why the money was spent. Julie Ann Morton, who oversees the account on behalf of the county, said the issue concerns inmates who were not iacarcerated at the time medical care was given and whose bills were not approved by the county for pay- ment. Morton said BCBS took the money anyway. "It's a very good program, but they used our pot of money and they won't submit a bill to prove why they used it," Morton explained. The countyboardpreviouslypassed amotionin favor of capping the amount kept in the BCBS account at $1,000. According to Morton, that account has nearly been de- pleted without accounting for the conference call she participated in with underwriters from BCBS. She said an attorney for the county has recommended another conference call with the attorney present as well as filing a complaint with the insurance commission in lansing. The county board passed a motion in favor of increasing the amount in the BCBS account by another $1,000 to cover the costs of pursuing the issue. In other business: • A motion passed in favor of starting the night sergeant as the sheriffdepartment at the four-year level because of 16 years of experience. • Approval was given for a budget with a general fund balance of $4,272,462. Peterson voted in opposition and said some of the budget matters should have been brought to light prior to the last meeting of the year. • The board voted to transfer $92,000 from the contin- gency fund to cover child care costs. The board originally voted to pay the money from the 2008 foreclosure fund, but that money is not yet available. Peterson voted in opposition and indicated the budget should have been adjusted to reflect the new contingency fund figure. • Brenda South was appointed to serve on the library board for another five-year term. • Employees who should have been workirg on the recent snow day called at the courthouse will rSceive pay for that day. - T <::) ........ 00WlN: I ,IIII!!I!IU!IIIIJ!!IJ!IIII, To subscribe to the Tribune, call (989) 785-4214 or stop by our office, next to the post office in Atlanta. BENJAMIN T. BOLSER, left, is sworn in as the new probate judge for Montmorency CountY byJudee.John E. Fitzgerald. Also pictured is Bolser's wife, Patty. tltl /m "' ' " '"iiiip ii-''iqililh' Judge Benjamin T. Bolser sworn in as new probate judge by   "I know, from personal observation, that you have the Judge Benjamin T. Bolser has been sworn in as the new probate judge for Montmorency County. His investiture on Dec. 27 was well-attded by m'ea judgcs, MLnbers --bffftebar s6eiation, e iiegion  s/t 6ti_rt-" istrator for the Supreme Cmn-t, and friends and family. JudgelolmE.FitZgerald deliverrdtthe oath ofoffieeand explained Bolser would be se not only as:the pro- bate judge but as a judge for district court amt for faintly court. Bolser will be inheriting the dudes of the district and family courts once the district court judgeship is eliminated after 2014, FitZgerald said he has known Bolser professionally for 15 years, both as aprosecutingattorn and as a praY-tie- hag attorney. background and experience to perform all the functions of a probate judge, district court judge and family court judge,' Fitzgerald assured. ,, : f-,. -:" -Hsaid Bolr has demonstratedeeza;m-profio, nal tr,ai that will serve him well as a judge. ":- • You are always prepared, you always have a eon - mand ofthe facts of a case and the 1 issues presented and the applicable or relevant law, Fitzgerald com- mended. "You can't ask for ahything more in a judge." He advised Bolser to develop m insatiable appetite for the law, that it's okay to not know an answer or to make a mistake, and to be gracious, attentive, patieat, under- standing and fair. He told him not to expect a lot of pats on the back, because much of what a judge decides is misunderstood. Continued on ae 4 Governor signs bill to eliminate personal property tax by Yvmm Swager The new Personal Property Tax laws, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 20, eliminate the tax on small taxpayers and phase out the tax for manufacturing personal property. Under the laws, a phase-out of the tax on manufacturing personal property begins in 2016, and all manufacturing personal property will be exempt starting 2023. Small tax- payers will be exempt from the tax starting in 2014. According to Snyder, the changes recognize the vital role that strong communities and schools play in Michigan's future by providing reimbursement rates to local units of 100 percent for police, fire, jail and ambulance revenue losses and a minimum of 80 percent to reliant local units. They also hold schools harmless and fully cover school debt. Aportion of the state use tax currently going to the general fund will be dedicated to reimburse impacted local units. The use tax will continue to be capped at six percent. The change in use tax will be revenue-neutral and will not increase the total state and local taxes levied in Michigan. The levy will require statewide voter approval in August of 2014 before taking effect. "Michigan is the nation's comeback state, but our work isn't done," Snyder said in a press release. "We must con- tinually eliminate barriers to job growth by bringing greater fairness to our tax system and efficiencies to government regulations. These latest reforms will enhance Michigan's competitiveness, which means success for our workers and bright futures for our children..." On the horizon, SB 1328 would encourage the cleanup and closure of more contaminated sites, returning them to productive use more quickly. It provides the Department of Environmental Quality flexibility in its cleanup approval ATLANTA NEWS 4-5 I HILLbIAN NEWS 6-7 l OBITUARIES 11 I FN PE9 I LEGALS 12 /vtvlvtvlvtvllkvi[llUiVl[ll-'l=ll'&l-'ll-'|lll=l[It]d =' 7 ] , process and offers tools to help property owners finance redevelopment of contaminated properties through DEQ approval site documentation required by lenders. In addition, Snyder intends to sign a series of bills de- signed to make Michigan more attractive to the insurance and finance industries. He said the bills remove obsolete statutes, eliminate significant government-mandated costs, and remove barriers to innovation so Michigan can better compete for these jobs with other states. Underwood enters not guilty pleas on two counts Earl Underwood entered pleas of not guilty to one count of assault and battery, a $500 misdemeanor, and one count of personal property destruction of less than $200 at a district court hearing on Dec. 28. The charges allegedly stem from incidents that took place on Sept. 15 of 2012. A pretrial for the personal property destruction charge is being scheduled in conjunction with a preliminary hearing for the assault and battery charge. Underwood waived his right to have two charges of felo- nious assault with a pistol, four-year felonies, examined within 14 days. Those charges developed after alleged inci- dents on Sept. 8 and Sept. 24 o2012. The defense indicated those matters should be resolved within the next couple of weeks, and Terrie Case, prosecu- tor, agreed. "I believe that they're all going to get resolved at this level, so I'm not opposed to that," Case said. I LEWISTON NEWS 8 ' CASSIFiEDS 14-15 llo],, • • m m : = +[-'-- u :q-i-piil,, 4t