BAD AXE – Huron County officials discussed the impact right-to-work legislation will have on county operations at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioner and Personnel Chair David Peruski said that he did not expect the legislation to take effect until April 1, and union contracts signed before that date would not be subject to change until expiration.
“The way I understand it, is that they’re not going to go for an immediate effect,” Peruski said. “Since that’s the case, generally there is a 90-day period. … April 1 would be the end of that 90-day period. Anything that’s in effect on that day will be allowed to go (on) as closed, the way I understand it. That’s the way they’ve done it previously as well.”
The county currently has 80 union employees under contract, all of whom have been represented in recent negotiations. At Tuesday’s meeting, The Board of Commissioners came to a five-year agreement with the Police Officer’s Labor Council’s (POLC) Sheriff Department Bargaining Unit and the Police Officer’s Association of Michigan’s (POAM) Central Dispatch Bargaining Unit. They are currently in negotiations with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and three other groups within POAM.
Jan. 1 is the target date for the county to finish negotiations.
While Peruski said the legislation was not likely to have an immediate impact on county personnel, Commissioner Ron Wruble said it would likely lead to less immediate answers on the question of what the value of wind turbines are.
“With what’s all going on in Lansing with this right-to-work legislation, some of the items that would affect this county got put on the back burner, one being PPT (personal property tax),” Wruble said. There has been talk in Lansing of phasing out PPT, which is the county’s one source of tax revenue from wind turbines.
In September, the county joined the Michigan Renewable Energy Collaborative (MREC), a multiple-county organization that shares legal costs related to wind turbines.
Wruble said MREC sources told him they thought the county would still get taxes from turbines, even if legislation eliminating PPT passed today – although, currently, there is no specific language saying so.
He noted it was unlikely that any PPT legislation would get out of committee before Jan. 1
He also didn’t see anyone from the county going to the capital any time soon to lobby for wind turbine tax dollars.
“You wouldn’t even be able to see the people you wanted to see, and talk to them because they’re all tied up,” Wruble said.
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