Barry County Commissioners negotiating revisions to the TOST regulation with their Eaton County counterparts and Barry Eaton District Health Department officials, said Tuesday they were not making much progress but were on the right track.
Others were not as patient.
At issue is the Barry Eaton District Health Department regulation TOST, which mandates inspection of all on-site water and septic systems by certified evaluators and, if deemed failing, repaired or replaced before a property can be sold or transferred. It has been roundly condemned by Barry County residents since its inception 10 years ago.
The Health Board had a three-hour meeting last Thursday, Commissioner Howard “Hoot” Gibson said. “We’re not happy with this. They still have too much involvement in the process. There will probably be a motion to rescind TOST before the end of the year,” he predicted. “We’ve been screwing around with this long enough.”
Commissioner Vivian Conner said Barry County Commissioners sent the Health Board its consensus that they wanted to repeal TOST so county taxpayers and residents with property could get some relief from the regulation.
“Do away entirely with TOST. Then, the county could come up with a new completely voluntary program to go with the laws already in effect,” she said.
Citizen Larry Bass questioned what happens if the talks making TOST voluntary fail. “The counties demographics and priorities are so different, it’s time to separate (the BEDHD) and pay more attention to Barry County citizens,” he said.
“In my opinion, we’re not getting much input from Eaton County,” Commissioner David Jackson said. “We're moving in the right direction, but getting it done, we need to hammer out the details. I’m not completely happy.”
Commissioner Dan Parker said they were getting push back from one Eaton County commissioner, “but I got the impression that things were going our way…we have some work to do. We’re not there,” he said.
Commissioner and chair Ben Geiger said they offered voluntary or rescinding the regulation at the first meeting, but the other side was “warmer” to repealing sections of the regulation.
The Board of Health, made up of Geiger, Parker and Jackson and Eaton County commissioners Blake Mulder, Jane Whitacre and Joe Brehler, have met twice with the BDHD officials to discuss changes. The BEDHD is represented by Health Officer Colette Scrimger and Environmental Health Director Regina Young.