Board of Commissioners Breakdown
October 2023
Commissioner Jen Strebs with a group of Hispanic Americans who spoke in support of the "Drive Safe" resolution at the Oct. 3 meeting.
Commissioner Jen Strebs with a group who spoke in support of the "Drive Safe" resolution.

CELEBRATING A TRANSFORMATIONAL 2024 BUDGET

 

After careful consideration and extensive deliberations, the Board of Commissioners has officially approved the 2024 Budget and Capital Improvement Plan, and it comes with some exciting developments that will positively impact our employees and our community. 

 

The 2024 budget includes funding for several transformational projects. These initiatives demonstrate our commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of our employees and the community we serve. Some of these projects include:

Child Care Assistance Fund (Pilot Project for Eligible Employees):
We understand the challenges many of our employees face in balancing work and family life. As part of the 2024 budget, we are piloting a Child Care Assistance Fund through the Michigan Tri-Share Childcare Program to help eligible employees access affordable child care services. 
Relief from Medical Debt: 
We are launching an initiative to relieve Kalamazoo County residents of an estimated $89 million in medical debt, supporting our community members during challenging times.
Emergency Fund for Employees: 
Life can be unpredictable, and we want to provide a safety net for our team members. The 2024 budget also includes piloting an Emergency Fund for Employees to assist in times of unexpected financial difficulties. The program is in development, so eligible expenses have not been determined yet.
We are excited about the positive impact these changes will have in Kalamazoo County. We highly encourage everyone to review the 2024 budget book online to see all the New Initiatives funded and Capital Improvement Projects funded. We look forward to a bright and prosperous 2024 as we work together to achieve our goals and make a positive impact on the lives of our employees and the community.

OCT. 3 MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Moved the annual public hearing for the proposed 2024 budget to Oct. 17 at the regular Board of Commissioners meeting.
  • Approved a proclamation declaring the third week of October as YWCA Week Without Violence in recognition of the nearly 1,800 people – 68% of whom were women – in Kalamazoo County who suffered from domestic violence in 2022 as the community works to end the epidemic of gender-based violence.
    • Received a presentation from the Parks Director on the now approved Arthur E. & Mildred H. Woollam Nature Preserve Master Plan, that is projected to open in late spring 2024.
    • Approved a resolution supporting the expansion of access to driver’s licenses in the State of Michigan, urging the legislature to pass the “Drive Safe” legislation before December 2023.

    OCT. 17 MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

    • Unanimously approved the 2024 Capital Improvement Plan and a resolution to adopt the 2024 budget for Kalamazoo County. 
    • Approved a proclamation declaring Oct. 26 as Keeping the Lights on Afterschool Day, the national celebration of afterschool programs that promotes the importance of quality afterschool programs in the lives of youth, families and communities.
      • Approved a proclamation declaring Nov. 13-19 as National Apprenticeship Week, as celebrated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College to raise awareness of the vital role Registered Apprenticeships (RA) play as a proven workforce and industry-driven training model and as a key strategy to improving job quality, and creating access to good-paying, family-sustaining jobs for all, including with youth and young adults.
      • Approved a contract with West Michigan Convention Ventures LLC to host the Grand Rapids Comic Con at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center April 11-14, 2024.
      A Message From the Administrator
      Administrator/Controller Kevin Catlin in a gray suit smiling for the camera in front of a professional photographer's blue backdrop.

      As we close out October, I am honored to reflect on my second budget season with Kalamazoo County and the overwhelmingly positive experience it has been. One of the key highlights of this year's budget is our resolute commitment to our employees. Kalamazoo County recognizes the invaluable role our workforce plays in delivering essential services to our residents. To show our support, we are proud to announce the creation of 27 new positions across various departments. These positions will help us better meet the growing demands of our community, enhance our service delivery, and ensure that our employees are well-equipped to thrive in their roles.

       

      As we embrace these new opportunities for growth and development, we remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency and accountability. We are dedicated to ensuring that the taxpayer's trust is well-placed and that every dollar is spent wisely to benefit our residents. This commitment is at the heart of the budget process, and we are continually working to find innovative ways to achieve the best outcomes for Kalamazoo County. 

       

      In just a few short weeks, on Nov. 7, we have an opportunity to exercise our civic duty and participate in our democracy. I encourage each and every one of you to cast your vote in the upcoming election. Voting is a fundamental right and a cornerstone of our democracy. It is a chance to have your voice heard and to shape the future of our county and our nation. Your vote matters, and your participation is crucial in building a stronger, more vibrant community. 

      Around the County
      November General Election

      Kalamazoo County voters have an election coming up on Nov. 7. Absentee ballots are available and can be requested online, by mail, or at your city or township clerk's office. Your signed and completed absentee ballot must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day to be tabulated. There are three ways to do so:

      1. Designated drop box: Return your absentee ballot to a secured absentee ballot drop box in your city, township, or village by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
      2. At your local clerk’s office: Return your absentee ballot by hand to your local clerk’s office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Check your clerk’s office website for their office hours.
      3. By mail: To avoid potential mailing delays, it is strongly recommended that you mail your absentee ballot no later than 14 days prior to Election Day.

      If you requested an absentee ballot but decide to vote in person instead, you can surrender your incomplete absentee ballot at your designed polling place on Election Day and request a new ballot.

       

      Polls open from 7 AM–8 PM. You have the right to vote if you are in line by 8 PM.

      What's on the Ballot?
      –––
      City of Portage: Mayor and City Council
      Kalamazoo County: Veterans Millage
      Richland Township: Fire Millage
      City of Kalamazoo: Mayor, City Commission, and Ranked Choice Voting Proposal
      Kalamazoo Charter Township: Proposal to Establish Authorized Charter Millage
      City of Parchment: City Commission and Operating Millage Proposal

       

      Do I need an ID?

      You will be asked to show ID when you check in to vote. If you don’t have one, you can still vote.

       

      If this happens, expect a poll worker to ask you to sign a form before you vote that explains you didn’t have an ID. Your ballot will be included with all others and counted on Election Day.

       

      ID types you can use to check in are:

      • Michigan driver's license or state ID
      • Driver's license or personal identification card issued by another state
      • Federal or state government-issued photo identification - this includes the Kalamazoo County ID card
      • U.S. passport
      • Military ID with photo
      • Student identification with photo from a high school or accredited institution of higher learning
      • Tribal identification card with photo
      Advisory Boards & Committees
       
      We want to thank our residents for engaging with us as we continue our work on behalf of everyone who lives in this great community! This month, we:
      • Reappointed Gil Colvert and Keith Hearit to the Kalamazoo County Aeronautics Board of Trustees. 
      • Reappointed Chris Burns to the Central County Transportation Authority.
      • Reappointed Vice Chair Tami Rey to the Land Bank Authority.
      We're grateful to have such an engaged community of residents as we continue working toward a brighter future. If you're interested in serving on an Advisory Board or Committee, view our current open positions here.
      Want to get involved with your local government in another way? Check out our current openings and apply today.
      Questions or comments? Please contact our Public Information Officer. If you were forwarded this email, sign up to receive future emails.
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      Kalamazoo County Government | 201 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007


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