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The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will vote to approve the fiscal year 2017 budget on Monday, including $1.7 million in budget cuts. — File photo

Loss of jobs, services hit home hard amid Montcalm County budget cuts

Montcalm County is in the red, and pink slips went out this week as a result.

Last Monday, the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to make budget cuts totaling 22.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Those cuts, along with other budget adjustments, will equate to more than $1.7 million in cuts.

Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel, left, and Montcalm County Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr consider the task before them during a special budget meeting Monday. Commissioners voted to move forward with a recommended $1.7 million in budget cuts. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County moves forward with $1.7 million in budget cuts

Montcalm County residents should prepare for a “new normal.” The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to accept a budgetary investigation analysis by Clark Hill, Rehmann Robson and Municipal Financial Consults Inc. (MFCI), and to make budget cuts totaling 22.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs). Those cuts, along with other budget adjustments, will equate to more than $1.7 million in cuts.

The pomes on the Bradford pear trees along Camburn Street in Stanton are starting to mature. The trees have been discussed at the last three Stanton City Commission meetings, including the meeting Tuesday night. — Daily News/Meghan Koglin

Conversation on Stanton tree removal remains controversial

Trees across Montcalm County are beginning to change, with apples maturing and leaves on the tips of trees starting to transform to their fall colors.

Stephen Blann of accounting firm Rehmann Robson reports Monday afternoon on how Montcalm County arrived at its current financial situation and what needs to be done in coming years to balance the budget. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County commissioners hear the latest on budget investigation

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners heard the initial findings of three financial, legal and consulting firms Monday regarding the county’s concerning budget situation.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners will hear an update about the county’s budget situation from three financial, legal and consulting firms during a special board meeting at 1 p.m. Monday at the Montcalm County Administrative Building in Stanton. — File photo

Montcalm County commissioners haven’t heard audit report since 2006

Miley Cyrus debuted in “Hannah Montana” on the Disney Channel; the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in five games in the World Series; Vice President Dick Cheney shot and wounded an attorney in a hunting accident; and Sen. Barack Obama announced he was considering a run for president of the United States.

That was 2006 … the last time until this summer that the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners actually heard a report from the county’s auditing firm.

Montcalm County is now contracting with Republic Services of Pierson to pick up corrugated cardboard at county recycling sites, like this one in Lakeview, after Recycle World of Greenville discontinued the service. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County has new cardboard recycling service

Recycle World may have discontinued its cardboard recycling service at Montcalm County recycling sites, but residents won’t notice much of a difference. Recycle World, located at M-91 and Sidney Road just north of Greenville, ended its program of picking up corrugated cardboard at Montcalm County’s six recycling sites effective today. Recycle World owner Kevin Willemstein said he made the decision as he was running out of space to store cardboard at his facility; plus his contract is for residential use, yet many commercial businesses use the cardboard recycling service, which he says has added to the issue of overflowing bins.

Trees along Camburn Street, south of Main Street, would be included in a proposed removal in the cit of Stanton. City commissioners, Stanton resident and former Judge Charles Miel and the audience discussed the removal again during Tuesday night’s Stanton City Commission meeting. — Daily News/Meghan Koglin

Pear trees leave Stanton residents divided

The suggested removal of Bradford pear trees along Camburn Street has branched out into a larger conversation.

The topic was brought up again during Tuesday’s Stanton City Commission meeting when Stanton resident and former Judge Charles Miel presented several reasons why he believed the trees should remain.

Megan Ayres, third from left, is pictured with her Polish classmates in Ostromecko, Poland. Ayres visited several places in Poland during her nearly yearlong exchange student program through Rotary Club. — Courtesy photo

Greenville graduate reflects on her 10 months in Poland

After Megan Ayres’s high school graduation in 2015, she decided to take a year to participate in Rotary Club’s exchange student program. During Tuesday’s Greenville Rotary Club meeting, she presented a movie she made about her experience and gushed about the memories she had made.

Auctioneer Marty Spaulding, left, points to a woman holding her bidding card high in the air during Tuesday’s Montcalm/Ionia county public land auction at the Sheridan Community Center. — Daily News/Cory Smith

Ionia and Montcalm counties recoup unpaid taxes through land auction

On the surface, a piece of vacant, foreclosed property in Edmore would attract little to no attention to anyone driving past it. But at Tuesday’s Montcalm/Ionia county public land auction, nearly every piece of property up for grabs, including small empty parcels such as that rural roadside lot on North Cedar Lake Road, commanded attention.

Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel and the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners, all at left, listen Monday afternoon to a recommendation from Louis Schimmel of Municipal Financial Consultants Inc., John Axe of Clark Hill PLC and Montcalm County Treasurer JoAnne Vukin, all at right, to retain services for a legal investigation and emergency audit into the county’s financial situation. — Daily News/Elisabeth Waldon

Montcalm County contracts with legal, financial firms to fix ‘alarming’ budget

Montcalm County is contracting with a legal firm, a financial firm and a consulting firm in an effort to stop the bleeding of $2 million in savings per year over at least the last four years. The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday, in three separate motions, to contract with Clark Hill PLC in Detroit for legal services, to contract with Municipal Financial Consultants Inc. (MFCI) in Detroit to assist Clark Hill and to contract with Rehmann Robson of Troy for accounting services as an emergency audit of the county gets underway.