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Asks: More COA aides, soccer complex toilets, civic center sign, trucks | News


TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County Commission on Aging is asking for funding for four aides to deliver in-home services.

Lana Payne, director of the COA, said a licensed practical nurse was hired to replace one that retired, and a registered nurse was hired to do assessments. She fills one of two RN positions approved last year.

But the agency has five of 13 universal aid positions unfilled, as well as an unfilled homemaker aid and outdoor services worker.


That means a waiting list of 200 people needing homemakers or nursing services, Payne said.

“We’re short staffed and so our waitlist, we haven’t really been able to address that because we’re still dealing with the ability to hire,” Payne said.

Another 200 people are on the list for lawn care, and 175 for snow removal, though that is a different issue because of the size of the agency’s equipment storage facility, she said.

The shortage of aides is a problem seen nationwide, mostly because of the low pay. The Grand Traverse COA is also competing with other agencies that pay a higher wage.

Payne said the COA, which serves about 1,800 seniors, lost aides last year to higher-paying jobs in the region.

The agency is also back to square one in hiring a nursing supervisor, Payne said.

“We offered that position to a great candidate this week and she declined … because she got a higher offer from the Veterans Administration in Cadillac,” Payne said. “It was disappointing, it’s been about 16 months now.”

The position is being covered by Payne and another employee, she said.


The COA request is part of a list of positions made by county department heads as part of the 2023 budget process. County Administrator Nate Alger said meetings are being set to go over the requests and make recommendations to the county board to approve or deny them. The board has the final say-so.

Several equipment requests include vault toilets at the Keystone Soccer Complex and Maple Bay Park at a cost of $150,000 each, an electronic roadway sign for the Civic Center at a cost of $100,000 and a generator for the East Bay Township water system.

Bott is back


Finance Director Dean Bott said the list is typical when compared with past years.

“It’s one of the hardest components of the budget, to decide what we really need,” Bott said.

The budget itself will be up for approval at the July 6 commission meeting at 8 am at the county government center.

Alger said the COA positions will likely be approved as they are covered by a .4739-mill, voter-approved tax up for renewal this year and do not affect the general fund.

Also on the list of requests are four positions for the sheriff’s department — a detective, marine sergeant and two school resource deputies.

Alger, who was a school resource officer for four years at Traverse City West Senior High School, said the positions are very valuable, but the state of Michigan is looking at providing direct funding for them.

If state funding falls through, Alger said he would support the new positions.

Bryce Hundley


Commissioner Bryce Hundley said it seems pointless to add the positions when the departments can’t fill the ones they have open.

Payne said that addressing the waitlist is a separate issue from the ability to fill the positions. With the increased number of aid positions the COA can take care of its waitlist if people can be found to fill them, she said.

In other business the county board approved the purchase of two used Ford F-150s from Fox Grand Traverse at a cost of $38,278 and $34,727 for the construction codes department. The trucks are 2019s and have low mileage, Bott said.

The purchase of four new vehicles for the department was approved for the 2022 budget, but those trucks will not be received until October because of a backlog of orders for most vehicle manufacturers that is being seen nationwide.

The used trucks are needed right away because one of the department’s vehicles was totaled in a crash and another was taken out of commission because the frame is rusted out, Bott said.

“We don’t often buy used vehicles, but times are challenging and Bruce (Remai, director) has demonstrated the need,” Alger said.




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