Administrator details his on-the job priorities
LAPEER — More than a year into his job as county administrator, Quentin Bishop laid out his vision for moving forward in his State of the County address last month. The event was hosted by the Economic Development Corporation at the Lapeer Country Club.
Despite challenges on many fronts, Bishop believes “our future is bright.”
During his speech, he detailed four key priorities he believes Lapeer County needs to be focused. They include attracting and retaining talent, investing in the future, improving quality of life and growing the county’s economic base.
It’s essential, he believes, that the county invest in the facilities they utilize and thanks to American Rescue Plan Act dollars, they’ve been able to make improvements to those buildings and direct funds towards the parks system, noting that parks are a quality of life factor.
Bishop joked that he’s “drinking the Kool Aid of fiberoptics” and sees the value in making sure Lapeer County businesses and residents can access this important technology, referring to broadband access as the “last frontier.”
He praised the county’s department heads for being dedicated to their jobs and said that the county is fortunate to have great employees across the board but it’s hard to retain those workers with lower wages.
“We last studied wages 20 years ago and use the same wage scale today,” he said. Recently the county contracted with a company to conduct a wage study and offer a plan to update their policies.
Despite those challenges, Bishop is optimistic due in large part to the people who call Lapeer County home.
“Those who live in the Thumb, they are the most practical people in Michigan. We know that to get something you have to work for it,” he said.
County commissioners in attendance also spoke to the assembled crowd, many praising the work that Bishop has accomplished and the positive energy he brings to the job. Brenden Miller said he appreciates Bishop’s willingness to try new things and Dyle Henning admitted that “sometimes (Bishop) is pulling us along,” referring to the seven-member board. Henning said much of Lapeer County’s success, particularly the fact that is has the fifth lowest millage rate in the state, should be attributed to Bishop’s predecessor, John Biscoe.
“He took us through many struggles to get here,” Henning said.
They and others praised Bishop for presenting his State of the County address and said they hope it becomes Lapeer County’s newest tradition.
Prosecutor John Miller and Sheriff Scott McKenna also took time during the State of the County event to detail a law enforcement proposal due to go on the August ballot. The 1.45 mill levy would direct 87 percent of funds to the sheriff’s department and the remaining 13 percent to the prosecutor’s office for new and existing services. McKenna said the majority of funds his department received would go towards additional school resource officers and the creation of a bureau to address fraud and cyber crimes most often targeted toward senior citizens.