County Government News Roundup (April 20)
County government news this week includes major progress on the new county courthouse plan, a significant grant to expand pregnancy health resources, a decision about testing county employees for cannabis, and a new way to receive the weekly water quality report.
County moves forward on new court building
Having finally acquired a parcel of land adjacent the existing county administration building from the West Michigan Cancer Center, the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted to move forward on plans for a new justice facility. The board selected the option that includes only criminal justice space, such as courts and the prosecutor’s office. The plan is to build the facility on West Kalamazoo Avenue, on the block directly west of the current county administration building at 201 W. Kalamazoo Avenue. The unanimous board action authorizes county administration to “facilitate the design scope of a justice facility on the block directly west of the administration building with a budget not to exceed $90 million.”
- MLIVE: https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2019/04/commissioners-plan-90m-kalamazoo-county-justice-building.html
Kalamazoo County to expand pregnancy health resources with over $5 million grant
Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department received a five-year continuation grant to expand on resources aimed to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy. Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted April 16, 2019, to accept the $5,350,000 grant from Health Resources Service Administration that would be used to fund the Healthy Babies Healthy Start program. In addition to health outcomes for pregnancy, the program focuses on reducing racial or ethnic differences in rates of infant death and adverse perinatal outcomes.
- WWMT: https://wwmt.com/news/local/kalamazoo-county-to-expand-pregnancy-health-resources-with-5-million-grant
County says no to drug tests for employees suspected to be high on marijuana
The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted down a proposal to add the word “marijuana” to its drug testing policy, that would have allowed drug testing of employees suspected of being high on the plant, which recently became legal in Michigan. After discussion on April 16, commissioners voted against the measure recommended by county staff. It would have updated a policy to test non-union employees for the presence of marijuana if they are suspected of being under the influence, in some cases. Commissioners were concerned about the subjectivity of "under the influence," the situations of those who are legally prescribed medical cannabis, the reliability of tests to indicate impairment, and other ambiguities.
- MLIVE: https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2019/04/county-says-no-to-drug-tests-for-employees-suspected-to-be-high-on-marijuana.html
County creates listserv to aid in distribution of weekly water quality report
Individuals can now sign up to automatically receive the Weekly Update on Kalamazoo Water Quality via email. If you would like to subscribe to this listserv, please go to: