Stories indexed with the term ‘community corrections’

Board Gets Advice from County Electeds

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (June 4, 2014): The board’s meeting featured a discussion of how to allocate a budget surplus – prompted by recommendations from the five countywide “electeds.” The elected officials hope to partner with the county board as it sets priorities for the $3.9 million surplus from 2013. The county’s fiscal year is the same as the calendar year.

Kent Martinez-Kratz, Bob Tetens, Catherine McClary, Brian Mackie, Washtenaw County, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Commissioner Kent Martinez-Kratz (D-District 1); Bob Tetens, director of parks & recreation; county prosecuting attorney Brian Mackie; and county treasurer Catherine McClary. (Photos by the writer.)

The board, comprised of elected officials representing nine districts, is responsible for budget decisions. The five positions that are elected by voters countywide – the sheriff, prosecuting attorney, treasurer, clerk/register of deeds and water resources commissioner – head up county departments but must have their budgets approved by the board.

The board is developing a process that will guide budget decisions regarding how to manage budget surpluses or shortfalls, including $3.9 million surplus from 2013 and about $600,000 in higher-than-budgeted property tax revenues in 2014. The county administrator, Verna McDaniel, is recommending that the $3.9 million be kept as general fund reserves. Some county commissioners would rather spend at least a portion of the surplus.

The recommendation from the electeds is to allocate a to-be-determined percentage of any surplus to these five areas: (1) unfunded liabilities for the pension fund; (2) unfunded liabilities for the retiree health care fund; (3) the county’s housing fund, which was eliminated in 2012; (4) the delinquent tax fund reserves, specifically for internal advances on county projects to save bonding costs; and (5) the capital reserve fund or unearmarked reserve fund.

Commissioners made no decision on these recommendations, other than to thank the electeds for their input.

In other budget-related action, the board gave final approval to put a 10-year parks & recreation millage renewal on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot. Commissioners also set public hearings for two millages that are levied annually in December without voter approval – for support of indigent veterans and their families; and to fund economic development and agricultural activities. Those hearings, to solicit public input, will be held at the board’s July 9 meeting.

The board also gave final approval to set the county’s general operating millage rate at 4.5493 mills – unchanged from the current rate. This is an annual process that includes a public hearing, which was also held on June 4. One person spoke.

A final vote was also taken to create a new committee that will explore funding options for road repair. This follows the board’s rejection – at its meeting on May 21, 2014 – of a proposal to levy a countywide tax for this purpose. No committee members have been appointed yet.

The board was also briefed on work by the community corrections unit, which is part of the sheriff’s department. It provides services that include jail diversion and alternative sentencing options to the Washtenaw County Trial Court, pre-trial services, drug testing, and electronic monitoring. The use of electronic monitoring has increased dramatically, from an average number of cases between 25-30 at any given time in FY 2012-2013, to between 85-115 cases in FY 2013-14.

During public commentary, commissioners heard from David Schonberger, an Ann Arbor resident who thanked the board for passing a resolution last month to oppose oil exploration and drilling in the county. He urged them to use it as a starting point for more action. Specifically, he advocated that the board fund a robust public education campaign and establish an advisory committee to work with Scio Township and the city of Ann Arbor on this issue. [Full Story]

Community Corrections Grant Approved

Application for a $421,900 state community corrections grant was approved by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners at its June 4, 2014 meeting.

The grant from the Michigan Dept. of Corrections is for the period from Oct. 1, 2014 through Sept. 30, 2015. This is part of a regular, annual grant process to fund services that include diversion and alternative sentencing options to the Washtenaw County Trial Court, pre-trial services, drug testing, electronic monitoring and “social education,” according to a staff memo. The total program of $1.18 million also includes $240,983 in county matching funds, $280,584 in estimated program revenue, and $239,554 in the use of fund balance. The community corrections program is part of the county sheriff’s office. [.pdf of staff ... [Full Story]

County Approves Community Corrections Plan

At its June 5, 2013 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners approved an annual community corrections plan with a $1,042,468 budget for FY 2013-14 – from Oct. 1, 2013 through Sept. 30, 2014. [.pdf of community corrections plan]

The community corrections division is a unit of the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office, with an emphasis on programs and services aimed at keeping people out of jail by providing sentencing options for the Washtenaw County Trial Court – including pre-trial services, drug testing, electronic monitoring, and social education. The funding comes from several sources: (1) $421,900 in state revenue; (2) $260,890 in program-generated fees; (3) $240,983 in appropriations from the county’s general fund; and (4) $118,703 from fund balance.

According to … [Full Story]

County’s Community Corrections Plan OK’d

The annual plan and application for funding of Washtenaw County’s community corrections program was approved at the July 11, 2012 meeting of the county board of commissioners. The plan covers the period from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013 with a $1,037,788 budget.

Community corrections is operated by the sheriff’s office and includes a variety of programs. Goals include: (1) reducing prison sentences for eligible offenders; (2) reducing jail crowding so that priority for jail beds will be reserved for dangerous offenders; and (3) reducing recidivism by providing credible alternatives to incarceration. Services range from pre-trial intervention to jail-based programs and treatment initiatives for probationers and parolees.

Of the $1.037 million budget, $430,719 is expected to be funded by the Michigan Dept. of Corrections, with an additional $260,890 … [Full Story]

Council Approves Corrections Grant App

At its July 18, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved a $421,801 grant application to the Michigan Dept. of Corrections for the Ann Arbor/Washtenaw community corrections advisory board. The state grant will be supplemented by $295,890 in fees, and a $292,369 general fund match from Washtenaw County, bringing the total program budget to $1,010,060.

The advisory board was established in August 1989 through resolutions approved by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners and the Ann Arbor city council. The purpose of the advisory board is to formulate a comprehensive plan for the development, implementation, and operation of the community correctional services in Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor, and to develop a plan for the administration, monitoring, and control of the community correctional services under the comprehensive plan.

Mike Anglin (Ward 5) is the city council’s representative to that board, which includes the county sheriff, Ann Arbor chief of police, a circuit court judge, a probate court judge, a district court judge, a county commissioner, a councilmember, a prosecuting attorney, a criminal defense attorney, and a circuit court probation agent or district court probation officer. The board also includes representatives from the fields of mental health, public health, substance abuse, employment and training or community alternative programs, the business community, communications media, and the general public.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Washtenaw OKs Corrections Grant

At its June 1, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners gave final approval to a grant application for the county’s community corrections program, operated by the sheriff’s office. The grant of $421,801 – for the period from Oct. 1, 2011 through Sept. 30, 2012 – is only a portion of the program’s $1.01 million budget.

Other revenues include $215,983 from the county’s general fund, $76,386 from the program’s fund balance, and an estimated $295,890 in program-generated revenues, including fees from tethering and drug testing.

Programs run by community corrections are designed in part to provide sentencing alternatives to the Washtenaw County Trial Court. Programs include pre-trial screening, drug testing, electronic tethering, supervised release, and educational efforts, such as the “Thinking Matters” program offered in partnership with the nonprofit Dawn Farm.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Loan Request Pulled for Packard Square

Washtenaw County board of commissioners chair’s briefing (May 24, 2011): Developers for the Packard Square project in Ann Arbor have decided not to apply for a state loan that had spurred debate among county commissioners. The board was told of the decision at a May 24 agenda briefing.

At their meeting last week on May 18, Washtenaw County commissioners had postponed action on a request to approve a $1 million loan application to the state Dept. of Environmental Quality for brownfield cleanup at the former Georgetown Mall site. Developers were asking to use the county’s full faith and credit as a guarantee for the loan – a request that caused concern over entering into a relationship with a private developer that might pose a financial risk for the county.

The board was expected to take up the request again at their June 1 meeting, along with consideration of a broader public-private investment policy they’re developing, which was also postponed from the May 18 meeting. But now that there’s no loan in play, commissioners seemed inclined to defer action on the policy as well, giving the county’s attorney more time to analyze the issue.

Other items previewed from the June 1 agenda include: (1) five drain projects in the city of Ann Arbor that require bonds backed by the county’s full faith and credit, totaling $6.54 million; (2) acceptance of $455,000 in federal stimulus funds for the county’s weatherization program, which has already received over $4 million in grants over the past three years, and (3) approval of a new public health medical director. The current director, Diana Torres-Burgos, recently announced her resignation – she’ll be leaving her job at the end of June. [Full Story]