Local News

Barry County Commissioners has approved a second request from Drain Commissioner Jim Dull to purchase a mini-excavator for up to $43,000. With several of their concerns answered after his first request on Aug. 1, commissioners Tuesday approved his plan to use a mini-excavator to remove trees and branches from county drains to improve drain efficiency and save costs .


A major objection was that a drain commissioner is elected to administer work by others on county drains, not to take time from administration to do the work themselves.


Dull said when talking to other county drain commissioners, he found many counties have mini-excavators, and one drain commissioner is doing the work. He and Deputy Drain Commissioner Tammy Berdecia would remove debris from drains for about four hours every other week.


The work will not affect administration of the drain commission, he said. “We have four hour blocks of time to do other things; we can use that…people like to see you out and doing things.”//


Dull, who has experience with heavy equipment as a contractor, will be the only operator of the machine. In his first request, Dull told commissioners that it is not profitable for independent contractors to do such small projects, and renting equipment and hiring an operator is time consuming and almost as expensive a general contractor.


An outside contractor charges $110 an hour for the machine, $35 an hour for labor, plus $300 or $400 mobilization costs. Renting would cost about $550 for the first hour. Cost to the county would be $290 an hour, if they had the equipment and they did the work, he said,estimating his plan would save $12,000 a year. The savings would go to pay for the machine.


Policies will be developed to clarify who will operate the excavator and rental and transporting of the unit. The only entity that might want to use the machine is the Barry County Road Commission, Dull said.


In other business Tuesday, the committee of the whole recommended the full board:

* approve Form L-4229, to allow collection of winter taxes requested by Equalization Director Timothy Vandermark. The State Tax Commission requires the form be approved by Sept. 31.


*approve a budget amendment from Barry County Courts Special Revenue Accounts to accurately reflect expenses  and income of it’s specialty programs, and line item changes to the Child Care Fund.


* approve moving a 2009 Dodge Caravan from Family Court to Building and Grounds and sell three surplus vehicles. A 1986 Chevrolet bus, and 2006 and 2007 Chevy Tahoes will be sold by sealed bid and can be seen at the Barry County Sheriff’s Office.


* approve a request from MSU Extension to pay $40,982 from the Cooperative Extension Grant Fund to fund a quarter-time 4-H program coordinator for three years. Extension now has one full-time and one three quarter-time program coordinators.


* approve renewal of a three year contract between the Southwest Behavioral Health Regional Entity and Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and VanBuren counties to establish a Substance Use Disorder Oversight Policy Board to administer state block grants and local funding for the eight county region.












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