Sanailac Commissioners work on budget; hear 4-H update

(SANDUSKY) – With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the Sanilac County Board of Commissioners and County staff continue to hammer out the details of next year’s budget. Although Board Chairman Dan Dean said he would like a full board present to make final decisions, it did not prevent spirited conversation from some departments, the Sheriff Department in particular.

Sheriff Garry Biniecki wasted little time in pointing out to Commissioners they are the ones that appropriate the money and his department determines how and where it is spent.

The comments sparked a pointed give-and-take between Dean and Biniecki, who has objected to the Board micro-managing each line item.

The sheriff assured the board there would be further comments before the final vote is taken on the 2020 budget.

In other Commission news, Drain Commissioner Greg Alexander, whose office operations has been under the microscope of some including Commissioner Joe O’Mara, gave the board an update on the Worth Township sewer project that is in it’s final stages.

Alexander said the DPW board was scheduled to meet this week to approve payments of $710,000 to contractors while retainage money is still being held back.

He also said 117 of the more than 1,700 residents required to, have connected to the new system.

The MSU Extension and Sanilac Count 4-H programs gave an update to the Sanilac County Board of Commissioners Tuesday afternoon, sharing details of a successful 2019 year.

4-H Program Director Colleen Wallace told Commissioners of a new state-required program where all volunteers have to have a National background check down now, a requirement that has been met with some confusion and left some volunteers reconsidering their involvement.

Wallace, who has been in her position for four years, said over 50 children were involved in the 4-H Ambassador Program.

Extension Director Jerry Johnson reported that of the approximate 8,000 children in Sanilac County, there are nearly 1,500 kids involved with 4-H and Extension programs.

There are 60 County 4-H clubs with just under 1,000 children involved with 4-H projects.

Johnson, who has been the Sanilac County Director for the past 18 months, said nearly $150,000 is invested in Sanilac County on 4-H and Extension activities.