County nets $323,100

Published 4:59 am Friday, April 7, 2006

By By NORMA LERNER / Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS - It's a possibility that laid off Cass County Road Commission workers might be called back sooner than anticipated, since additional money will be going into road commission coffers from the sale of properties.
From the March 27 auction sale of 12 lots, $323,100 was generated.
During Thursday's meeting of the road commission, it was discussed that the sale money would probably go into the general fund.
Engineer-Manager Joseph Bellina III said originally layoffs would be extended up to four months. But now, they could end as soon as the end of April. “Once the money (from the sale) comes in, we will go from there,” he said. In February, 13 road workers were laid off because of a shortfall in state funds.
The commissioners approved to have its attorney draft warranty deeds from the auction sale for the 12 parcels the road commission were not using. The highest sale was for lot 81 for $82,000 at Donnell Lake in Penn Township.
Road Commission Chairman Robert Powers said the properties have been a “bug-a-boo” for 15 years.
The road commission also has two homes to sell at 20420 and 20252 Fox Street. Each home is on five acres. The two houses came with 176 acres the road commission purchased last year for $1 million to be used for a gravel pit.
Commissioner Gordon Bickel Sr. questioned insurance costs for the three road commissioners for their health, life and dental insurance they receive while serving on the road commission. Their total cost per month is $2,150.93.
A check with nearby road commissions shows that St. Joseph County Road Commission and Berrien County Road Commission do not pay insurance to their commissioners. Van Buren County Road Commission does pay insurance for its three commissioners.
The commissioners also drew names out of a jar for quarterly safety awards of a $50 savings bond each. Winners were Bellina, Charles Richer, Grace Chester and Raldo McKee.