January 3, 2022
By Mike Kruzman / [email protected]
Senior Livingston County officials and staff delivered the 2021 County State Address.
The Chairman of the Council of Commissioners, Wes Nakagiri, opened and moderated the annual speech which can be found on the home page of the county’s website.
Nakagiri began by welcoming the 5 new Commissioners who joined the team in 2021, commenting on their “deep commitment” to remain engaged and bidding farewell to former Commissioner Kate Lawrence. Elected officials, including Clerk Betsy Hundley, Sheriff Mike Murphy, Deeds Register Brandon Denby, Treasurer Jennifer Nash and Drain Commissioner Brian Jonckheere, were recognized for their leadership both locally and at the state level. .
Nakagiri then turned his attention to the county budget. He says they have established a reputation for responsible budgets and sound tax policy. Nakagiri said the rating of its AAA bonds, which only 3% of counties nationwide can claim, was reaffirmed in 2021. In addition, Livingston County already had the lowest tax rate of state, and that rate dropped slightly last year.
County administrator Nathan Burd spoke of the efforts of the Livingston County Health Department, calling their tireless efforts to protect the community during the pandemic while providing their usual public health services “extraordinary”. In 2021, the Ministry of Health organized more than 20 mass vaccination clinics and administered more than 44,000 doses of the vaccine. Even during the pandemic, Burd says that according to the 2021 county health rankings, Livingston County remains the 3rd healthiest county in the state.
EMS Director David Feldpausch called last year the busiest year of all time, with almost 25,000 calls. EMS has also submitted an ambulance accreditation renewal, which they are currently only 1 of 2 in the state.
Emergency Management Director Therese Cremonte discussed the update to the county’s emergency operations plan along with nine other local plans. She praised her team’s efforts to help ensure the smooth running and success of two unique events that occurred in the county in 2021: the Luke Bryan concert and the visit of President Joe Biden.
Animal shelter manager Christy Peterson said she was able to update the kennel this year, providing a more comfortable, safe and fun space for the dogs. They received 1,500 animals in 2021, placed 200 underage kittens and adopted 500 new pets while bringing together many owners.
Mary Durst, Director of the Veterans Services Department, spoke about the move to their new location in the Canton of Genoa and her vision for the new office. In 2021, Durst said he held 2,500 appointments to help veterans get their pay and benefits, completed 800 medical appointment transports and helped 165 families with financial assistance.
Nakagiri closed the speech, thanking everyone for their dedication to making a positive impact on the community. He said it would always remain their top priority to serve residents well, be resilient in the face of challenges and ensure the county continues to thrive.