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Tag Archive | "Kent County Board of Commissioners"

Board approves funding for Mental Health Court 


 

This morning the Kent County Board of Commissioners accepted a $193,000 grant to institute a Mental Health Court in the County. This specialized court docket was created for certain defendants with mental illness, an approach that substitutes a problem-solving model for traditional criminal court processing. The grant comes after spending the past several months completing a planning study, which was funded by a grant from the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) in March of 2017. 

Staff from 17th Circuit Court, Circuit Court Judge Joseph Rossi, Network180, the Sheriff’s Office, Prosecutor’s Office, Michigan Department of Corrections and the Public Defender’s Office reviewed the potential of a mental health court for the County and developed the policies, procedures and an implementation strategy. Earlier this month, the SCAO awarded $193,410 for implementation of a mental health court within the County. Grant dollars will be used for program coordination, clinical support, incentives, data entry, program involvement, drug tests and legal defense. 

The goals of the program include a reduction in recidivism for defendants, and a corresponding reduction in jail bed days. When fully operational, the court will have a caseload of 45 clients. It is anticipated that most, if not all, clients in the mental health court will be managed in the community while being engaged in treatment. The Kent County mental health court will focus on serving individuals who have a severe mental illness and are charged with a felony. “Mental health issues are perhaps one of the largest contributing factors to recidivism,” said Judge Rossi. “Merely putting offenders suffering from mental illness in jail will not resolve the problem. Providing much-needed treatment could help people recover and stay out of the justice system, while alleviating the strain on the courts and jails.” 

The State Legislature created the mental health court statute in 2013, enabling trial courts in Michigan to develop and operate mental health courts. The SCAO makes funds available for planning and implementation of mental health courts. “Approximately 10 percent of our jail population is severely mentally ill; that is more than 100 people on any given day,” according to Kent County Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. “Although in some cases jail will still be necessary, our hopes are that the right treatment at the right time in these cases can allow residents to remain in the community in a safe manner.” 

“Treatment is a much more cost-effective way to deal with mental health issues, and it is also a more holistic course of action,” said Scott Gilman, Executive Director of Network180. “I believe we can positively impact lives through this specialized docket.” The grant runs through September 30, 2018. It is expected that the grant will be renewable. 

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KDL board and Fire commission needs volunteers


 

Are you a citizen in northern Kent County that is interested in the Kent District Library? Or an elected township official interested in serving on the county Fire Commission?

The Kent County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens who are interested in serving the community through appointment to the following Boards and Committees:

Kent District Library Board Region 1 – to fill an unexpired four-year term ending December 31, 2018. Applicants must live in Nelson, Oakfield, Spencer or Tyrone Township. The Kent District Library Board meets monthly at the District Headquarters, 814 W. River Center, Comstock Park, as well as at other participating libraries.

Fire Commission – to fill an unexpired two-year term ending December 31, 2018. Applicants must be a township elected official from a unit of government that participate in the Fire Commission. The Fire Commission meets monthly on the second Friday of the month (does not meet in April, July and October) at 8:30 a.m. at the Kent County Road Commission, 1500 Scribner, Grand Rapids (with the exception of the October meeting).

Applicants must complete an online application form via the County’s website at www.accesskent.com/boardappointments. Resumes and cover letters are encouraged and may be attached. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 28, 2017.

Please call the Board of Commissioners Office at 616.632.7580 if you have any questions.

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Vacancies on Kent citizen boards and committees 


 

N-Kent-County-logoThe Kent County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens who are interested in serving the community through appointment to the following Boards and Committees:

Community Mental Health Authority Board – to fill an unexpired three-year term ending March 31, 2019. This board meets the first Monday of each month at 5:15 pm at 790 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids.

Fire Commission – to fill an unexpired two-year term ending December 31, 2018. Applicant must be a township elected official from a unit of government that participates in the Fire Commission. The Fire Commission meets monthly on the second Friday of the month (does not meet in April, July and October) at 8:30 am at the Kent County Road Commission, 1500 Scribner, Grand Rapids (with the exception of the October meeting).

Kent District Library Board Region 1 – to fill an unexpired four-year term ending December 31, 2018. Applicants must live in Nelson, Oakfield, Spencer or Tyrone Township. The Kent District Library Board meets monthly at the District Headquarters, 814 W. River Center, Comstock Park, as well as at other participating libraries.

Land Bank Authority – to fill an unexpired two-year term ending December 31, 2017. Applicant must be a township elected official. The Land Bank meets bi-monthly on Thursday at 8:00 am at 347 S. Division, Grand Rapids.

Applicants must complete an online application form via the County’s website at www.accesskent.com/boardappointments. Resumes and cover letters are encouraged and may be attached. The deadline to apply is Friday, March 10, 2017.

Please call the Board of Commissioners Office at 616.632.7580 if you have any questions.

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Kent County Board of Commissioners looks back, ahead 


 

KENT COUNTY – The Kent County Board of Commissioners accomplished a great deal during the last year. Board Chair Jim Saalfeld and County Administrator/Controller Daryl Delabbio recently took time to reflect on the major tasks achieved by the Board and County Staff during 2016. These include:

1. Dispatch: Approved an agreement with the City of Wyoming to contract for police and fire dispatch services, which started on July 1. The Board also approved a ballot question requesting a 70 cent per month increase in the dispatch surcharge (overwhelmingly approved by the voters in November).

2. Museum/Zoo Millage: The Grand Rapids Public Museum and the John Ball Zoo requested that the County place a 0.44 mill property tax increase on the November 2016 ballot. The Board approved placing the question on the ballot and the voters overwhelming approved it.

3. Implementation of the Space Needs Study: In response to Study findings, work on the Juvenile Detention facility, Correctional Facility (kitchen and intake), and new Circuit Court courtrooms is in process.

4. Lakeshore Regional Partnership: The County has been monitoring this process.

5. Collective Bargaining: Successfully negotiated the Corrections Officers and Court employee contracts in a timely manner.

6. 2017 Budget: Submitted, approved, and structurally balanced.

7. Land Bank: The Land Bank Authority Subcommittee has been meeting and expects to have a report and recommendations to the Board of Commissioners by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

8. Credit Rating: The County’s Triple-A credit rating and highest short-term credit ratings were affirmed by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s for the 18th consecutive year.

9. Airport: The transition from a County department to an Airport Authority was officially approved by the Federal Aviation Administration on July 1.

10. Agri-Business Work Group: Completed its work and submitted a report and recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.

11. Switch: Created the first Renaissance Zone in the County to enable the Switch development to take place in Gaines Charter Township.

12. Management Pay Plan Review: A MPP Review Subcommittee was formed which presented its final report and recommendations. Implementation of recommendations were completed by year end.

13. Lead Task Force: A community-wide Lead Task Force was created and has been reappointed to complete its work.

14. FOC Engagement Task Force: A Friend of the Court Engagement Task Force was created near the end of the year and was reappointed to continue its work into 2017.

Members can expect to tackle the additional issues outlined below in 2017:

1) Appointment of an Administrator/Controller: Daryl Delabbio will be retiring on July 1. This will be the first time since 1998 that the Board of Commissioners will be faced with the selection of a County Administrator/Controller. Chair Saalfeld has appointed a Subcommittee to determine the process to recruit and recommend the appointment of a new County Administrator/Controller.

2) Continued Space Needs Study Implementation: This will be an ongoing process and series of projects to ensure that (i) the County’s facilities are being maintained, and (ii) the most efficient and effective means are being used to enable our employees to deliver quality services to our community. We will be issuing an RFP for 82 Ionia and planning for the impact this potential sale would have on our facilities.

3) Collective Bargaining: Four Collective Bargaining agreements will be expiring at the end of 2017.

4) CAA/CDBG: A work session has been scheduled in February to discuss the potential merger of the Area Community Service and Employment Training (ACSET) Community Action Agency with the County’s Department of Community Development and Housing.

5) Standing Rules: Each odd-numbered year, the Board of Commissioners’ Standing Rules are reviewed and updated. Vice-Chair Mandy Bolter will be establishing a Subcommittee of the Legislative & Human Resources Committee to review the Rules and make recommendations for Board consideration. The Board must approve changes to the Rules by its second meeting in April.

6) 2018 Budget: The 2018 Budget will be a challenging one, including:

a. continued monitoring of State shared revenues and impact on the County’s revenue stream;

b. slow growth in the County’s State taxable value due to very modest increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI); and

c. balancing operational and capital needs.

“While there will certainly be other issues that we face during the course of a year, as you can see, it is already shaping up to be a very busy 2017,” said Board Chair James Saalfeld. “This Board remains committed to providing effective services to our residents while operating transparently and with a balanced budget. We look forward to great results in 2017.”

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Kent County Sheriff Deputies to get lifesaving equipment


 

When seconds count, it is critical for first responders to have the equipment that can save lives. Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can make a difference. And soon, Kent County Sheriff  Deputies will have them in their patrol vehicles.

Earlier this month, The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved accepting a grant that makes the purchase of the AED’s possible. The grant was an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. More than $63,000 was awarded to the Kent County Sheriff Department’s Special Project Fund for the AED’s.

Cardiac arrest—when a person’s heart stops beating and he or she stops breathing—can happen to anyone at any age. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can keep blood flowing and oxygen going to the brain, but it is critical to get the heart beating normally again as quickly as possible. AEDs are small, portable devices that deliver an electric shock to a person’s heart, which can stop abnormal impulses in the heart and return it to a normal rhythm.

The Edward Byrne Memorial JAG grant will be used by the Sheriff Department to equip patrol vehicles with AEDs. This allows patrol staff to respond to calls related to drug overdoses and other emergency assistance situations and provide defibrillation faster, potentially saving lives. Sheriff Department patrol staff are certified to use AEDs, but do not currently have the equipment available in patrol cruisers.

“There are times when the first responder on a medical emergency call is a Sheriff Deputy, and it could be several minutes before Emergency Medical Services arrive on the scene,” said Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young of the Kent County Sheriff Department. “Our Deputies are trained in several life-saving techniques and this gives them another tool that is far more effective in cardiac arrest cases.”

Without the early use of CPR and AED during cardiac arrest, chances of survival are about 2.5 percent. An AED increases chances of survival to 75 percent; AED combined with CPR increases that to 80 percent. “We’ve heard time and again that AEDs can be used even by an untrained person,” said Jim Saalfeld, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “This fully automated, lightweight equipment has saved countless lives. We are grateful to receive this grant which will help our first responders react quickly and efficiently to cardiac arrest incidents.”

The Edward Byrne Memorial JAG supports local activities that prevent and control crime, including law enforcement programs, prosecution and court programs, prevention and education programs, corrections and community corrections programs, drug treatment programs, and planning, evaluation, and technology programs.

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City of Wyoming to join Kent County Dispatch Center


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GRAND RAPIDS—The Kent County Board of Commissioners voted this week to enter into an agreement for 911 Dispatch for emergency services for the City of Wyoming. The City of Wyoming will now fall under the same agreement with the Kent County Sheriff Department, which provides fire and police dispatch services to other local units of government throughout Kent County.

Currently the Kent County Sheriff Department provides fire and police dispatch services for all local units of government in Kent County, except the cities of Grand Rapids and Wyoming, which are dispatched by the City of Grand Rapids. Wyoming reported just over 28,000 police calls and 5,370 fire calls last year.

Starting July 1, 2016, calls to 911 in the City of Wyoming will be directed to Kent County Dispatch Center.

Dispatchers also monitor the location and time-on-scene for police and fire crews responding to emergencies.

“We are pleased to join so many other public safety organizations in the County that are part of a highly effective dispatch system,” said Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt. “We believe this move will lead to a more integrated and collaborative emergency communication system countywide. We look forward to working with the very talented Kent County staff over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.”

The agreement benefits residents by ensuring a larger number of employees in one location, which means more options for scheduling and the ability to shift resources as needed (instead of calling additional employees in on overtime). This partnership will create a “deeper bench” of on-duty employees to assist when one area of the call center experiences higher call volumes.

“Once fully staffed, Kent County Dispatch center will be one of the largest in the State of Michigan, serving over 400,000 people,” said Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma. “We take pride in our dedicated dispatch staff, who are second-to-none. We look forward to a great partnership with Wyoming.”

The Board will vote later this month on a proposal to add 11 new full-time positions and upgrade three part-time positions to full-time to service the additional workload.

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Pilot program could save court time, reduce jail overcrowding


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The Kent County Board of Commissioners accepted $33,730 from the State of Michigan last week to fund a pilot program to determine if earlier involvement by court-appointed attorneys will help speed cases through the system, and enhance their services.

Funded by the Michigan Supreme Court State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), the grant funding will be used by the 63rd District Court to increase the use of court appointed attorneys for “indigent” (low income) misdemeanor defendants at their first court appearance or bond hearing. The Court hopes the program will reduce the number of court appearances necessary in misdemeanor cases.

“Currently, the Court provides court appointed counsel to indigent misdemeanor defendants only after the first pre-trial conference,” said Kevin McKay, 63rd District Court Administrator. “The opportunity to meet with a Public Defender before arraignments or bond hearings could help eliminate additional hearings, which would save staff time and taxpayer money.”

Currently, the Court is working with the Kent County Office of the Defender, the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office and the Kent County Office of the Sheriff, with a goal of starting the program by March 1, 2014. Some of the grant funds will be used to have an attorney available for an additional one-half day per week for weekly misdemeanor arraignments at the Court, as well as providing counsel for eligible indigent defendants being arraigned by video on any day of the week.

The pilot funding expires on September 30, 2014, at which time the Court will evaluate the program.

Evaluation will include tracking the time these misdemeanor cases take to move through the system before and after the pilot, and the number of pleas that are completed at first arraignment, as well as the point when defendants first meet with court-appointed counsel.

“We’re appreciative that the SCAO selected 63rd District Court to pilot this program,” McKay added.

“As one of the busiest two-judge district courts in the state, we are always looking for ways to be more efficient.”

If the pilot is successful, the Court will evaluate if the program can be continued within its operating budget and/or identify and apply for additional grant funding.

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