This is the third of three articles on why officials in Barry and Eaton County voted the way they did to repeal, or keep, the Barry Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) time of sale or transfer (TOST) regulation.
The district health department is controlled by the Board of Health (BOH), made up of three commissioners from both Eaton and Barry counties. Barry County is represented by Commissioners Ben Geiger, David Jackson and Dan Parker; in Eaton County by Commissioners Blake Mulder, Jane Whitacre and Joseph Brehler.
The vote by the BOH Feb. 28 to end TOST passed with Geiger, Jackson, Parker and Mulder voting yes, Whitacre and Brehler voting no. This is Brehler’s perspective:
“We live in difficult times, despite macro-economic success; many people still face hardship and uncertainty. Michigan’s standard of living has eroded over the years with the income gap steadily growing between the very rich and the rest of us.
“People are uncertain of the future both for themselves and their children. Cynical political groups have played on those fears in several different ways, including asserting that government is the enemy.
“I believe that TOST is caught up in that struggle. We live in a community that is interconnected, all of us can benefit or be harmed be the decisions which we as a community make through our governmental bodies.
“All of us must be willing to make compromise between our own self interests and that of the whole for all of us to be successful. Water is a precious and limited resource, which all of us need to survive. Even in this country, there all areas of drought and in some places in the world, worse.
“One of the futures national security concerns will be about those nations and peoples who have access to clean and drinkable water and those who do not.
“We as a people have not appreciated and protected this valuable resource as we should have over the years but we are better than we were even 50 years ago. TOST is one of those efforts.
“It is a ‘light touch’ program to protect our local ground water, rivers and lakes. It is not the 'answer' but it is an important piece.
"The program has been successful and has improved our water, here locally, benefitting not only the people of Eaton County but our surrounding neighbors as well. No program like TOST will be successful if left only to voluntary compliance. That is unfortunate but reality.
"TOST is a successful and necessary program which should be continued.”