Cass County commissioners look back on a successful year

CASS COUNTY — According to Cass County Board of Commissioners Chair Roseann Marchetti, in spite of the many challenges brought on by COVID 19, Cass County has made progress and has achieved numerous successes in 2020.

Recently, Marchetti detailed what she believes is a worthy testament to the staff, elected officials, employees and the board of commissioners:

  • In January, a first ever art show in the county building gave many artists from all over the Michiana area space and time to display their varied works.
  • The art show was soon followed by the news that Dr. T.K. Lawless Park was designated an International Dark Sky Park and then from the state of Michigan, a Dark Sky Preserve designation.
  • Cass County Parks saw record numbers enjoying the recreational opportunities the parks have to offer, with over 1500 dark skies viewings and a 15 percent increase in visitations and annual pass purchase.
  • The County IT Department initiated new and resourceful ways to host meetings by Zoom, TEAMS, and Intranet was created for county employees, as well as the first live YouTube broadcast of a Board of Commissioners meeting. County court proceedings were also held via ZOOM.
  • Extensive health and safety procedures were implemented for all county buildings.
  • COVID-19 created an opportunity to complete thousands of transactions remotely for the Treasurer’s Office, Clerk/Register office and the Cass County Courts.
  • After a year and a half effort, a jail management system and a records management system were procured for the county jail.
  • The Sheriff’s Office, the 911 Center, and Emergency Management continued to maintain all first responder responsibilities, duties and updates.
  • The three year $540,000 HVAC project at the county jail was completed at the end of March.
  • A partnership was formed with Market Van Buren to provide economic development for the county, and in its first 90 days contacted local businesses and assisted in locating grant money for more than 40 county businesses.
  • The Veteran’s Service office acquired a grant to provide dental work, SMC tuition, mental health services and included funding a part time outreach assistant to Veterans Services Officer.
  • Cass County Courts applied for and received grants totaling more than $2.5 million.
  • The office of Clerk/Register successfully administered two elections with record setting voter turnout; the Register of Deeds processed over 2,000 documents more than in 2019, and the circuit file room accepted and processed 863 court files. Additionally, the Clerk’s office processed 1340 concealed Pistol Licenses.
  • The Treasurer’s Office assisted a large number of residents in avoiding foreclosure reducing the 2019 foreclosure number by 53%, and was able to provide remote services, accept on line payments and utilize an outdoor drop box.
  • A successful used tire and hazardous waste collection was hosted in cooperation with the Cass County Road Commission.
  • Finally, the county finance director assisted in bond refinancing for the Cass County Road Commission, several townships and two villages saving many thousands of dollars.

Commissioner Marchetti said all of the 2020 accomplishments happened because of the hard work, dedication and teamwork that abide in Cass County government.

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