County approves grant for patrols
MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department has been granted permission to accept a secondary road patrol grant. The $27,993 grant was approved during a recent meeting of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners.
The secondary road patrol grant has had a checkered past within the county. In recent years, the county board has refused to accept the grant, provided by the Department of State Police Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, due to overruns during the administration of the funds, which led to out-of-pocket costs for the county.
However, the commissioners noted Thursday that the current sheriff, W. John Norrington, will be given a chance to prove the program’s effectiveness.
“I’m just pleased with our new sheriff and how he’s handling things,” said Commissioner Craig Reiter.
Norrington was voted into office less than a year ago, and officially took the helm in January.
According to the Secondary Road Patrol Program webpage, the sheriff’s department is the primary agency responsible for providing certain services on primary county roads and local roads outside the boundaries of cities and villages, as well as on any portion of any other highway or road within the boundaries of a county park.
The SRP grant will allow for: patrolling and monitoring traffic violations, enforcing criminal laws, investigating accidents involving motor vehicles, providing emergency assistance to persons on or near a highway or road patrolled.
The funds may be spent to employ additional personnel, purchase additional equipment, enforce laws in state and county parks, provide selective motor vehicle inspection programs, and provide traffic safety information and education programs.
In other business, commissioners also adopted the 2013-14 county budget. The budget includes raises for department heads, as well as for all salaried employees.
“We’ve improved our position as a county,” said Commissioner Dan LaFoille. “We’ve all sacrificed to get to that point … and I hope that the employees would understand that we appreciate them; this is what we feel we can do at this time.”
LaFoille noted the county is not in as much financial trouble as anticipated at the beginning and throughout the 2012-13 fiscal year.
“It’s probably the best position we’ve been in in quite some time,” he said. “I’m glad for that.”
The board also unanimously approved the appointment of area resident Charles Richey to the Schoolcraft County Medical Care Facility Board. Richey will fill the position of Gary Demers, who recently resigned.