County officials approve MIDC compliance application

BIG RAPIDS — County officials have submitted a grant application to the state to comply with new set standards for appointing attorneys for defendants unable to afford one.

The Mecosta County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s compliance plan grant application to meet standards of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) during their meeting Thursday

BULLOCK

afternoon.

The MIDC sought counties to formulate proposed, estimated or actual expenditures for the costs of the individual indigent defense systems under the new standards.

Under the new standards and formula provided by the state, County Administrator Paul Bullock explained the local indigent defense commission calculated the total cost to the county would be $449,896. However, Bullock explained the perimeters of the grant asked the county to use the net amount of what it spent from Fiscal Year 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“We have been spending about $300,000 a year on indigent defense in Mecosta County, including both district and circuit courts,” he said. “In those three years, we received about $140,000 of reimbursements. What we are responsible for is $163,317.”

The local indigent defense commission for compliance, comprised of Bullock, County Commissioner Ray Steinke, 77th District Court Judge Peter Jaklevic, Magistrate Thomas Lyons, defense counsel Jim Samuels and Dennis Duvall and Prosecutor Brian Thiede, indicated in the application there would be some changes to go along with the standards.

Bullock said those changes would include having an attorney present to do initial arraignments in district court, Sunday arraignments and an indigent defense administrator.

Commissioners thanked Bullock for the time and effort to complete the application, noting much of what was presented and funding was still contingent upon funding from the state.

In other action from Thursday’s meeting, commissioners approved:

• Closing the Youth Attention Center’s county fund and turning the $17,311.59 over to the Youth Attention Center; and

• Spending $156 annually for insurance for the Parks Department’s new photographic drone, contingent upon following all Federal Aviation Administration regulations and rules.

The next Mecosta County Board of Commissioners meeting is set for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Mecosta County Building, 400 Elm St., Big Rapids.

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Posted by Brandon Fountain

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