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Bonus rumor denied at Eastwood
Written by Press Staff Writer   
Thursday, 18 March 2010 15:25

The Eastwood School District’s allocation of stimulus money is being used to help meet the costs of special education services and not for bonuses for administrators, Brent Welker, district superintendent, said.

He said a school board member received a phone call from a district resident who asked if administrators were paid bonuses through stimulus funding.

“You never know how some rumors get started,” Welker said. “This one is false and I felt the need to address it because as we head to the ballot in May to renew an existing levy, we do not want falsehoods and misstatements to hurt those efforts.”

The district has received about $350,000 in Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part-B stimulus funding.

The funding is meant for assisting children with disabilities through special education and related services.

Eastwood has until September, 2011 to spend its share, Welker said, adding that the district can use half of its funds to cover costs of special education services not covered by current state and federal revenues.

 
Ottawa County sales tax to increase
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 18 March 2010 15:23

Falling local revenues and doubts that reimbursements from the state will be sufficient to meet the costs of required programs and services prompted the Ottawa County commissioners to approve an emergency resolution that raises the sales/use tax by 0.25 percent.

With the increase, the total tax rate will be 6.75 percent, with the county share at 1.25 percent and the state portion at 5.5 percent.

The 0.25 percent increase will be in effect for three years and then automatically end, said commissioner Steve Arndt.

“State funding for many services has been dropping,” he said. “Unfortunately we are the delivery point for those services and it really puts a bind on us. We’re at the point it’s going to reach core services.”

Commissioners have cut the county’s operating budget by about $2.6 million over the past two years, he said, and the state is about six months in arrears in reimbursements to the county for service programs.

County officials said they expect the increase to go into effect in July. State law mandates a delay in the start of collections to allow for possible referendum challenges to an increase.

 
Sheriff recommends special investigator
Written by Cynthia L. Jacoby   
Thursday, 11 March 2010 15:08

Genoa officers claim hostile work environment

The Ottawa County sheriff is recommending Genoa village officials hire a special investigator immediately to look into allegations of a hostile work environment leveled by three village police officers against Chief Randy Hill.

The officers – Sgt. Todd Mocniak, Kevin Miller, and Mike Woods - recently gave several pages of written complaints and issues regarding Chief Hill to councilman Eric Hise.

The councilman then asked Sheriff Robert Bratton for his opinion on the seriousness of the complaints, Bratton said.

“They need a special investigator to review all their issues to be fair,” Bratton said after turning over his response to Hise on March 3. “They need to act immediately. We don’t know what the chief’s response will be to this.”

Chief Hill said he hasn’t seen the documents and declined to comment.

Sheriff Bratton emphasized he is not stating a hostile environment exists in the village department. However, once “these words are used,” action needs to be taken quickly, the sheriff said.

“There needs to be an investigation immediately conducted to find out the validity and if there is or is not this type of situation,” Bratton wrote in his response.

 
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