County approves contracts with EMS staff, MSU Extension


REED CITY — Emergency Medical Services personnel in Osceola County will receive 2 percent pay raises in 2017 and 2018.

The pay raises are part of a new, two-year contract with Governmental Employees Labor Council EMS employees approved by the Osceola County Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

EMS Director Jeremy Beebe provided county commissioners with an overview of the new contract and changes made following labor negotiations and ratification by union members including recognizing Christmas Eve as a holiday instead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; reimbursement of personal property loss or damaged during working hours; and converting vacation time that normally would be used when employees are out of sick or personal time to be paid out at the employee's anniversary date.

County officials also approved a renewal of an Occupational Health Services Agreement between EMS and Spectrum Health. Beebe explained the agreement is for blood work for blood-born pathogens from needle sticks and other incidents.

Officials also approved a one-year contract with Michigan State University Extension for services it provides. MSU Extension District Coordinator Shari Spoelman shared the changes to the agreement, following the end of a five-year agreement between the two entities.

"Conceptually, this agreement is similar to the last one," she told the committee. "We're just going to be coming back annually to have this approved.

"The agreement lays out what MSU Extension will provide and what the county will provide."

The county's price tag on MSU Extension services in 2017 will be $71,525, a 1 percent increase from the 2016 agreement, Spoelman pointed out.

"We're pleased with the program MSU Extension provides here in Osceola County," Larry Emig said. "We're very pleased with Jake (Steig) and the program is nice for our area."

Committee members also approved providing $1,000 to the Marion Fair, strictly to be used for judges during the annual fair.

Ron Sikkema, appearing on behalf of the Marion Fair Board, told officials he was grateful for what they could provide, as the county already has allotted $2,000 to the fair.

"We need just a little bit more," he said. "It will be designated just for the judges."

While the board is currently operating on a deficit of about $2,000, Sikkema said the five new board members are moving the fair in the right direction.

"The deficit is better than the $11,000 or $12,000 it was when the board was trying to move forward," he said. "They're doing a good job right now to keep the fair going."

County Coordinator Sue Vander Pol said the $1,000 for the fair would come from contingency funds or different funds where revenue has come in, and can be amended at the appropriate time.

In other action from Tuesday's committee meeting, members approved the following:

  • The sheriff's office to hire an office manager effective Dec. 19 in order to train with the current manager is who retiring;
  • An application for a Brownfield Redevelopment Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, in order to do environmental assessments on properties, with a focus being in the City of Evart, according to Community Developer Dan Massy;
  • Letter of support for a Cops and Donuts precinct in Reed City.
  • Items approved by Committee of the Whole members were approved later by the Board of Commissioners.

The next Osceola County Committee of the Whole meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 20, at the courthouse.