Ottawa County Administrator's Digest - March 2, 2016

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Alan G. Vanderberg, County Administrator
March 2, 2016

Ottawa County Honors Court Employee for Customer Service

Ryan Gamby

Ottawa County extends its congratulations to Ryan Gamby who was selected to receive the Outstanding Customer Service Award for the fourth quarter of 2015. Gamby has been with Ottawa County for four years and serves in 58th District Court Probation and Community Corrections. Meet Ryan Gamby at

The individual who nominated Gamby wrote:
“Ryan CONSTANTLY goes above and beyond what is expected in his job. I think almost daily that I request something of him and he cheerfully acts on it. One example: An out-of-town attorney came in for arraignment, had a pre-trial and then the defendant was sentenced. Judge ordered that the defendant be put on a Soberlink unit. Ryan was the only one available this day… he had another person coming in to be put on the only Soberlink unit left in the office, so he put this defendant on the only Soberlink he had, as she was from out-of-town. He then made a run to the jail to get another unit so he could put the original person on that unit. The defendant that was scheduled to come in was on probation and without a license, so he didn’t want to make it any harder for that person to be placed on the Soberlink as was ordered. She had already made arrangements for a ride to the courthouse. That is just AWESOME customer service. Ryan did all this even though he was swamped with extra work (he was covering for a Probation Officer out on medical leave). Ryan is just so easy to work with and truly cares about the customer and has the intuition to see how it would affect the other person. I could go on and on because this is a daily occurrence. Ryan is a GREAT team player with a huge heart and smile to go with it.”

Gamby’s supervisor agreed. “Courteous treatment makes the client, even in the worst of circumstances, walk away feeling respected and valued. Ryan provides an excellent customer experience to everyone he comes in contact with. This recognition is well deserved,” commented Alma Valenzuela, Assistant Director of Probation and Community Corrections.

Gamby is the eighth recipient of the County’s Outstanding Customer Service Award. Ottawa County employees are trained to present a friendly, professional demeanor treating customers with integrity and respect. The Outstanding Customer Service Award is presented quarterly to an Ottawa County employee who exemplifies this to both internal and external customers. Customers can nominate an Ottawa County employee for an Outstanding Customer Service award at

Third Annual Ottawa County Innovation and Technology Forum Scheduled for April 29, 2016 (Dave Hulst)

IT Forum

We’re excited to invite you to this year’s forum.  Each year we try to bring you information of some of the hottest and most impactful topics.  This year, we are bringing in nationally known expert, Kevin DeSouza to talk about The Promise and Challenge of Big Data.  To supplement Kevin’s presentation, there will be a panel discussion to answer your questions about this topic.  The Innovation component of our forum will be presented by Seth Starner, President of New North Center for Design in Business.  Seth will not only talk about implementing an innovation culture in your organization, but will also lead participants through an exercise to enhance the experience.  The day will wrap up with a presentation by Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Administrator/CIO for Oakland County returns.  Phil is a dynamic speaker who promises to deliver an entertaining and thought provoking perspective on Technology in government.  Throughout the day, Sponsors and Exhibitors will be available to present, demonstrate and explain the latest products and services that can assist your organization in achieving its goals.  We hope you’ll consider joining us on April 29.  The schedule is being finalized and more information will be available soon.  If you have questions you can contact Dave Hulst at 616-738-4831 or  Registration is open at:

Citizen Thank You
Submitted by Tim Smith: We received a call in Coopersville yesterday of a 3 year old child having a seizure. This was posted on our Facebook page by the child`s mother today. A great job by all involved from the dispatcher to all of the first responders. Sheriff Deputies were able to clear the child’s airway.

Families Against Narcotics Information Meeting (Kevin Bowling)

Families Against Narcotics

Phil Pavona of Families Against Narcotics (FAN) Okemos Chapter will present about FAN and its mission.

Families Against Narcotics (FAN) is a non-profit, 501c(3) organization that was formed to reach out to those whose lives are affected by drugs: the addict, the recovering addict, families of addicts, concerned parents and community members. FAN is a vehicle for delivering important messages concerning the dangers and destruction of drugs.

For more information about FAN go to  This evening will also discuss the current heroin problem in Ottawa County and efforts to address this issue.  

WHEN: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 

TIME: 6:00-8:00 PM 

WHERE:  Ottawa County Fillmore Complex  –  Board Room - 12220 Fillmore Street - West Olive

Please register at the link below: 

This meeting is made possible with the partnerships of:


Information About Lead Contamination

Is my water safe?

  • Every municipal provider of water is required to periodically test their water for presence of various elements, including lead, and provide an annual water quality report. Lead is reported as parts per billion. Federal regulations require less than 15 parts per billion.  MLive compiled a list in a January 2016 article.

         »      Holland BPW

         »      Holland Charter Township

         »      Allendale (Hard copy available from township upon request)

         »      Zeeland BPW

         »      Grand Haven City

         »      Grand Haven Charter Township

         »      Spring Lake

         »      Hudsonville

         »      Wyoming

  • Drinking water wells serving groups of the same 25 people or more daily for six months or more annually, such as schools, factories, office buildings, long-term care facilities, require water testing for lead. (These wells are called type 2 non-transient wells) The frequency of the testing depends on test history and age of well. Initially, these types of wells are sampled every six months; then annually; then every three years. The testing is completed by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.
  • Residents wishing to test their water for contaminants can do so. Water testing bottles are available from Ottawa County’s Environmental Health Department. The bottles are provided free of charge however, the state lab charges an $18 (plus shipping) fee for water testing.

Should my children be tested for lead?

  • As part of well-child visits with health care providers, children are screened and tested (as indicated based upon risk factors) for lead. A recent Bridge article and a Detroit News article mentioned Holland City as an area of concern for lead poisoning. The increase in children with elevated blood-lead levels living in Holland City is likely because of exposure to the lead based paint found in housing constructed prior to 1970. Residents should contact their child’s doctor who can determine whether or not their child should be tested. Families without a primary health care provider or insurance can contact the health department at (616)393-5266.
  • Several years ago case management, environmental lead testing and home visits for children with elevated blood lead levels shifted from county health departments to the state health department. Families who have children who test high for lead are directed to resources which assist with lead investigation and mitigation.  
  • The City of Holland and Holland Public Schools convened its first Lead Technical Committee meeting on February 1, 2016. The purpose of this committee is to study the presenting issue of elevated blood levels of lead impacting children in the city of Holland (49423) ages 0-6. The focus of this committee includes an audit of data, processes, protocols and contributing factors. Once this audit is complete, a report describing the current conditions will be shared outlining the present conditions and recommendations for future action. The committee is comprised of individuals from the City of Holland, Holland Public Schools, Ready for School, Holland Hospital, Ottawa County Health Department, Lakewood Family Medicine, and the Lakeshore Housing Alliance. A date of May 1, 2016, has been targeted for the completion of this report.

Places of Worship Emergency Management Workshop (Gary Rosema)

Sheriff's Church Event

In the month of February the Sheriff’s Office provided a Places of Worship Emergency Management Workshop for Ottawa County Churches. Grace Community church hosted the workshop in Hudsonville. The training was in two phases, Phase I was a two hour training to explain why churches need to think about security issues and what type of responsibilities would be required of a Building Emergency Response Team. Phase II was on February 20, 2016. The church Building Emergency Response Teams (B.E.R.T.) attended as well as church leadership.

We had over 400 in attendance and almost 100 churches at both Phases from all over West Michigan.

The topics that were covered were; Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, Verbal Influence/ identifying suspicious persons, Crime Prevention/Environmental Design, Security preparedness and Emergency Planning/Roles of BERT. All presented by Sheriff’s Office personnel; including Captain Val Weiss, Captain John Wolffis, Sgt. Chris Koster, Sgt. Derek ChristensenSgt. Mike Bagladi and Leah DeLano, Emergency Management. The Legal Aspects portion was presented by APA Karen Miedema.

Click the link below to view the Fox 17 News Story:

Authorities offer emergency training for local churches

Sheriff's Office Coordinates Open House and Meeting with Local Trucking Companies (Gary Rosema)

After two years of receiving complaints/inquiries from local truckers (excavators, construction equipment haulers) regarding ever evolving DOT trucking laws, truck routes, frost laws etc. Deputy Sarah Flick, Jamestown Township Community Policing Deputy, organized an open house at the request of several company owners that was held at a local business in Jamestown. The open house was February 23rd @ 10 am and featured topics covering all related trucking laws, routes and safety as well as a Q&A session including volunteer inspections. Approximately 70 individuals made up of independent truckers and some trucking companies were in attendance and were well informed on the various topics with good discussions.  Deputy Flick did an excellent job at pulling this together.

Featured speakers were Trooper Rodriguez from the MSP motor carrier division,  Jodi Carter from Ottawa County R/C Weigh Master, Rep. from Michigan Center for Truck Safety, Kirk Sharphorn Jamestown Ordinance Inspector and Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Traffic Unit, Sgt. Steve Austin. 

Ottawa County Community Action Community Development Block Grant Home Rehabilitation Funding in Ottawa County (Bill Raymond)


Over at least the past 20 years Ottawa County has utilized federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding via a grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for housing rehabilitation for Ottawa County residents.

We estimate that over that 20 year period that almost $2.5 million has been utilized to assist approximately 175 low income Ottawa County homeowners in making improvements to their homes. These improvements were required to meet MSHDA Housing Quality Standards (HQS) for issues related to roofing, heating, plumbing and other critical areas that impact health and safety for the families involved. To be eligible for the program, household annual income could not exceed 80% of area median income.

Loss of Grant Funding

Unfortunately, due to changes in policy and approach at MSHDA, Ottawa County Community Action (OCCA) received word recently that we will not receive a grant for this funding cycle (2016/17). We had applied for 2 years of funding, which meant that there would be about $250,000 available over the two year period to assist low income homeowners.

Future Options: Program Income

Despite the loss of funding, we still have some options to continue to assist Ottawa County homeowners with critical housing needs. Due to how the CDBG program is structured we will continue to receive “program income” to use for housing rehabilitation.

We realize program income under the following conditions. If a homeowner refinances or sells their house and makes a profit then the amount of their original CDBG home rehabilitation loan comes out of the proceeds of the sale and “pays off” the amount of the lien that was placed on their property at the time of the loan, thus coming back to CAA as “program income”. CAA can then use that Program Income for other home rehabilitation projects for other homeowners. Even though we don’t have a current active grant, we can still utilize program income for projects.

Over the next year or so we will have access to about $100,000 in program income to utilize for projects. We also estimate that over the next 10 – 20 years, we have additional program income due to the number of outstanding liens. This depends on many interacting variables, so it is difficult to predict exactly how much program income we will realize. We currently have 112 active liens, which mean these homes have not been refinanced or sold since utilizing the CDBG rehabilitation funds.

Future Options: Other Grants

We have the option of applying for CDBG funds again in two years and we will be researching the feasibility of doing so. In addition, we can apply for other funding similar to the CDBG funding. This is called HOME funding and we will be applying this spring for these funds.

Regardless of the exact amount of program income or the status of specific grants, we anticipate being able to continue to assist low income homeowners with both larger rehabilitation projects and emergency needs. If you know of families in your area who could utilize these services please contact OCCA at 393.5607.

Quarterly Road Commission Meeting (Keith Van Beek)

Attendees: Tom Elhart, Brett Laughlin, Joe Baumann, Don Disselkoen, Al Vanderberg and Keith Van Beek

  • 120th Street corridor: noticed more traffic on 120th after opening of M-231, maybe some increase in truck traffic but seems most trucks use M-45.  MDOT plans to do a traffic count later in 2016.
  • Brett Laughlin handout and review of reports (attachments can be found at under the link to the March 2 Digest):

»   Michigan Transportation Fund

»   Salt Purchase

»   Primary, Countywide Millage, Local Road, Bridge, Drainage and Gravel Road Programming

  • Brett Laughlin will come to February 25 Board work session to provide information and projections on the Road Funding.
  • Ottawa Beach Road - plan to complete resurfacing from the State Park to 160th Avenue prior to Memorial Day.  Park Township is planning to coordinate their beautification projects with the work of the road commission.
  • County is gathering information and will have a work session on February 25 to provide Commissioners and the community information about lead following recent coverage and concern in Flint.
  • M - 231 Next Phase - Ottawa County is in process to hire a planning position that will partially be responsible to look at the probable M-231 corridor.  Will look to work with Road Commission and local units to plan corridor and begin by scheduling meetings to begin those discussions.
  • Talk of the Town - some discussion about questions and issues regarding roads that were brought up to County Commissioners.  Suggested perhaps that the Road Commission could be on the show more often. 


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