Washtenaw County board of commissioners (Aug. 4, 2010): A day after the primary election – one that brought victories to all commissioners who were running for office – the board faced a full agenda, but dispatched most of its business with minimal discussion.
Donald Staebler, who'll turn 100 later this month, was honored at Wednesday's county board meeting. He has lived on Staebler Farm, which is now owned by the county, for 98 years.
One item, however, yielded lengthy debate: A resolution that would remove the “felony box” from county job applications, and eliminate background checks for all jobs except those deemed sensitive. Several commissioners were uneasy with even partial elimination of background checks. The resolution was ultimately amended to deal with only the felony box, which asks applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony. Commissioners ended up unanimously approving the removal of that question from job applications.
The board also agreed to put a 10-year millage renewal on the November ballot for the county’s natural areas preservation program, and approved brownfield plans for the Near North housing project and an expansion of Zingerman’s Deli. Both of the brownfield projects are located in Ann Arbor – brownfield status enables them to seek Michigan business tax credits and, in the case of Zingerman’s, to use tax increment financing (TIF) to get reimbursed for project-related expenses.
Commissioners got a second-quarter budget update, which revealed few surprises. However, projections indicate that the budget surplus they need to carry over into 2011 will fall short of their goal by about $987,000. Next year will be a challenging one.
The board had been expected to act on re-establishing a land bank for the county, but ended up tabling resolutions related to that effort until next month, citing the need to gather additional information.
The meeting also included time to honor two people from the community: Joseph N. Cousin Sr., pastor of Bethel AME Church in Ann Arbor, and Donald Staebler, a local farmer whose land is being turned into a county park – and who’ll turn 100 later this month. Both men received standing ovations for their work. [Full Story]