Health Department details septic replacement loan program for homeowners | Ludington Daily News

The Lake County Board of Commissioners met May 8 to hear some 2023 reports from District Health Department 10 and Michigan State University Extension. The DHD10 described a septic tank replacement loan program from Michigan Saves.

Additionally, the board approved the appointment and retention of Kristen Baiardi and Dawda Mann as the county's general legal counsel. In addition, further approvals were granted.

Septic Tank Loan Program

Health Officer Kevin Hughes described the MS program to the board and said the program is in partnership with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

It offers low-interest financing to Michigan homeowners to replace broken or nearly broken septic systems. The report states that EGLE hired MS to develop and manage the program.

“There are two stages. Tier two is a market-based lending approach that is now available and tier one is an income-based loan,” Hughes said.

Single-family homes, owner-occupied or rented properties are eligible. And to qualify, properties must have proven faulty, near-failure, non-existent or inadequate septic systems. These can be documented by the local health department as described in the program literature.

Loans will range from $1,000 to $50,000 per project.

District Health Report

According to the report, DHD10 serves 10 counties and covers an area of ​​5,796 square miles, serves a population of 266,951 people and employs 272 people. Of these, 190 are full-time employees and 39 are new.

Bird flu has been reported. Hughes explained, “This is what you typically hear with ranges, commercial ranges or backyard ranges. Now you hear about it with dairy cows.”

He said there are five species of birds affected by the disease in Michigan, adding that a commercial flock has been affected within DHD10's jurisdiction and is continuing to be monitored.

“It doesn't necessarily pose a major threat to humans, but to a poultry flock it can be quite damaging and requires the destruction of the entire flock to prevent spread,” he said.

He continued that there are five cases of measles in Michigan, although not in the 10-county jurisdiction. Hughes expects a fourth version of the statewide sanitation law to be announced soon. This has not yet been voted on and is in legal form.

Even more numbers: In 2023, 311 radon kits were distributed, 3,392 drilling and septic tank permits were issued, and 5,409 flu vaccines were administered.

Expenses for 2023 were $24,423,205 while revenue was $25,440,724. Of the expenses, 48.96% went to wages and 7.15% to operating resources. Of the revenue, 48.77% was state and federal funds and 17.06% was billing and fee revenue, while grants and contracts accounted for 14.53%.

Data for the county shows heart disease is the leading cause of death, with 796 deaths. This is followed by cancer at 744, then chronic lower respiratory disease at 244 and accidents at 218. Strokes were responsible for 184 deaths, Alzheimer's disease was responsible for 148 and COVID-19 was responsible for 159 deaths. All of these deaths relate to the county, not Lake County.

Lake County had one communicable disease report in 2023, with COVID-19 leading the way with 324 outbreaks, while chlamydia followed with 20 outbreaks.

MSU Extension Report

There is an educator in Lake County representing MSUE. The largest program in the county was at Little Bass Lake, a 50-person lake conservation program.

The district implemented 45 programs that were delivered by one educator and 1.5 program educators. These programs vary in person and online.

“Compared to other districts, the staffing levels here are quite low, but I feel like they are doing a good job and making the most of their time,” said District Director James Kelly.

Some educational programs include agriculture, environment, health and nutrition, and family and youth.

“And again, 4H is a peer mentoring program. It is designed to engage every adult in the community who is interested in a topic to educate youth about that topic. So if you're a fan of remote controls or a master at splitting wood, you could start a club to pass this skill on to the next generation. I think disconnecting from electronic devices is such an important part these days,” Kelly said.

Additionally, MSUE is in the process of hiring a temporary, 20-hour-per-week on-call employee to work in STEM and robotics in Lake County. Apple gave them a subsidy and supplies of products such as iPads for programming with devices.

“In some ways you have to meet the youth where they are, right?” Kelly said.

Board approvals

The Lake County administrator conducted a few interviews with two law firms about possibly appointing them as general legal counsel for the county. The firms included Cohl, Stoker & Toskey, PC and Dawda, Mann, Mulcahy & Sadler, PLC.

However, the board agreed to instead retain and appoint Kristen Baiardi and also retain and appoint Dawda, Mann, PLC, both of whom are already familiar with the county. Lake said they charge $180 an hour each.

Material management plan

Another approval was the signing of an intergovernmental agreement with other counties to develop the Materials Management Plan, a project of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission.

The MMP requires each county in the WMSRDC to undertake a number of activities, including the designation of a Designated Planning Agency. And the MMP requires management of recycling, composting and disposal.

His plan will establish a goal aimed at diverting recyclables and organics from disposal while improving access and education. This was in the MMP project description.

The project budget includes an annual grant of $60,000 for each county dedicated to the preparation, implementation and maintenance of the MMP. Lake explained how much the county would receive annually.

“We would get $6,000 a year per capita, we would also get $66,000 a year, and then we get an additional $10,000,” Lake said.

The additional $10,000 is due to Lake County participating in a multi-county MMP.

Sheriff's Secretary position

The Lake County Sheriff requested the creation of a new part-time sheriff's secretary position in the office, but it was approved. And Undersheriff Mark Pietras explained the purpose of the position.

“With the increase in new registration laws and the increase in sex offender registries. On top of that, there are some schedules that haven't been met in a very long time, so there's a lot of work going on right now to help sort those things out,” Pietras said.

The amendment takes effect immediately and is temporary until January 1, 2025.

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