St. Joseph County Council

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The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners vetoed the county’s 2022 budget Tuesday. That’s after the county council approved it in a 6-3 party-line vote last week.

 

The issue? Raises for county employees – the budget raises the minimum yearly salary to $32,000 a year, or about $16.41 an hour. Other county officials – including members of the county council and board of commissioners – would also receive raises.

 

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Both Elkhart and St. Joseph County recently passed their budgets for the 2022 fiscal year. 

The St. Joseph County Council passed a roughly $192 million budget Tuesday evening, putting the county at a $2.4 million deficit.

 

The spending will be used to boost salaries for county employees – the minimum salary is now $32,000 a year, or about $16.41 an hour. 

 

St. Joseph County Democrats Facebook

St. Joseph County Council member Diana Hess has been elected as the next chair of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party.

In a Facebook post, the party announced Hess was chosen as chair in a Thursday night party caucus. She’s the first woman to serve as chair in more than 40 years.

Screenshot captured via Zoom


The St. Joseph County Council approved a new funding plan Tuesday night for the county's 911 dispatch center. The center will now be funded by county income tax revenue, which means big cuts for other public entities.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

 


After hours of debate Tuesday night, the St. Joseph County Council voted 6-3 to extend the Motels4Now homeless shelter program through March at a cost of $829,000. The funding is coming from the county’s share of federal COVID relief dollars through the American Rescue Plan.

St. Joseph County logo

The St. Joseph County Council is set to discuss its first round of spending from the American Rescue Plan Act Tuesday evening. About $10.5 million of the county’s nearly $53-million allotment is on the table. 

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

UPDATE: 

The St. Joseph County Council voted 8-0 on Wednesdsay to rescind the county's mask fine ordinance. Councilman Richard Pfeil was absent from the meeting.

ORIGINAL POST (May 18):   

It took months of negotiation between the health department and the St. Joseph County Council last year to establish fines for face mask violations. Now, those fines may end as early as Wednesday.

A St. Joseph County measure that allows the health department to fine businesses for failing to enforce mask-wearing will officially stay in place until May 27. 

That’s after the County Council voted to override the Board of Commissioners’ veto on the measure Friday morning.

 

The fines only affect businesses, not individuals, and can only be levied for improper masking among employees, customers.

 

Photo courtesy of Regina Scott

Businesses in St. Joseph County can still be fined up to $250 dollars for failing to enforce mask-wearing among employees. The County Council voted to keep the enforcement measure in place until the health department’s mask order expires on May 27. 

St. Joseph County logo

At its regular meeting on Dec. 1, the St. Joseph County Council approved just over $59,000 in hazard pay for some county employees who faced exposure to the coronavirus. 

In the spring, the County Council moved $850,000 originally intended for the leaf pickup program to hazard pay for county employees.

The Sheriff’s Department was awarded about half of that in July, and 13 departments made requests for the remaining $434,000.

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

After months of back and forth, the St. Joseph County Council finally passed an ordinance Tuesday night that will allow the county health department to enforce its face mask order.

Under the ordinance, businesses – not individuals – can be fined up to $250 for failing to require face masks when six feet of physical distance can’t be maintained. 

County Health Officer Bob Einterz has been trying to pass this measure since July. Though it’s been a long road, he said he’s glad to see elected officials reach a compromise. 

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

On Oct. 14, Governor Eric Holcomb extended the statewide mask order through Nov. 14, but he did not add any measures to enforce that order. The day before, the St. Joseph County Council decided to table an ordinance that would allow local enforcement of mask orders.

 

The ordinance that is in limbo would allow the St. Joseph County Health Department to fine businesses for violating its mask mandate. The Council tabled it for a month in order to question its legality.