CORUNNA — The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners Thursday approved several grants covering such things as site readiness for development, court programs and health department funding.
n The first grants the board voted on were applications for Community Development Block Grants, one of which is potentially associated with “Project Tim.”
The Board of Commissioners Committee of the Whole conducted a pair of public hearings for the grant applications Wednesday.
The grants, which were already approved at the state level, are intended to facilitate site readiness not development of any projects.
“The Michigan Economic Development Corporation has created a program called Site Readiness to try to support the development of land sites in Michigan,” said Justin Horvath, president and CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership. “They realize that we do not have enough properties to pitch to business prospects. That is the issue in Shiawassee County as well. We basically don’t have any industrial sites available. This program helps municipalities across the state get sites ready for development.”
The grants are for two separate sites in Vernon Township and the city of Durand.
The first grant considered is worth $100,000 and is for a site potentially associated with Project Tim. The proposed $5- to $7-billion steel mill would employ up to 800 people on a roughly 2,000-acre parcel of land northeast of Durand, near the New Lothrop Road/Lansing Road intersection in Vernon Township.
“We’re waiting like pelicans to see what they’re going to do. This is just to get that location ready for development,” Horvath said.
Officials and developers of Project Tim have been tight-lipped about the plans for the project and its timeline.
The second grant is for a 40-acre parcel owned by Great Lakes Fusion at 7505 M-71 in Vernon Township.The grant is for $42,600.
Community Development Block Grants are cash grants and do not require matching local dollars.
Great Lakes Fusion has owned the parcel under consideration since 2014 and is still unsure what to do with it. They may sell it or develop it.
The company that previously operated on the site made cement products, including cement pipes and the property was littered with old cement and other things that need to be removed for it to be viable.
Both grant applications passed unanimously.
n The board unanimously authorized the 35th Circuit Court to receive grant funding for four court programs.
The Shiawassee County Swift and Sure Probation program will receive $60,000 in grant funding. The program helps supervise people on probation and helps them avoid future violations. The program supervises about 12 probationers.
The Shiawassee County Adult Drug and Sobriety Court will receive $92,000 in grant funding. If someone is diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder, they are eligible for this program. The program has 15 participants and all of them are employed.
The drug program launched this year and currently has seven participants.
The Shiawassee County Mental Health Court will receive $48,500 in grant funding.
“This program makes it so we’re not criminalizing mental illness,” Krissi Lab, Circuit Court administrator/ Friend of the Court said. She oversees all three of the programs.
The grant funding is a mix of federal and state dollars.
According to Judge Mathew Stewart, the two programs that were around last year, the Swift and Sure Probation program and the Adult Drug and Sobriety Court were awarded slightly more in funding this year.
n Finally, the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the Health Department to accept Michigan Department of Health and Human Services funding totaling $976,548.
“It funds our main core programs which are food protection, onsite sewage, infectious disease control, STD control and prevention, hearing and vision screening, immunizations, and the protection of public and private groundwater supplies. A number of different programs that are funded through this,” said Larry Johnson, Shiawassee County Health Department director.
Johnson said the funding provides about 40 percent of his department’s annual budget. Johnson said this year the amount was a slight increase.
He said other sources of funding for his department include Medicaid reimbursements and fees collected from things such as environmental health services.
The county provides about $217,000 a year, about 7 percent of the budget, Johnson estimated.