First on the long list of items on the Barry County Commission’s committee of the whole agenda Tuesday was a resolution to rescind the TOST regulation by the end of 2017. After thorough discussion, the board voted to move consideration of the resolution to the committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 6.
The Barry Eaton District Health Department’s TOST regulation mandates inspection and, if deemed failing, repairs or replacement before the sale or transfer of property can be completed in Barry and Eaton counties.
Commissioner Vivian Conner explained her resolution to repeal, saying the commission voted in October to make the program voluntary and despite two months of negotiating by Barry and Eaton county and BEDHD officials, she saw little or no progress in changing the mandatory rule to voluntary.
She pointed to requests for repeal from individuals for years and more recently, in a town hall meeting, an on-line survey and resolutions offered by several groups.
Commissioner Jon Smelker made the motion to delay consideration on the matter to give the negotiators more time to work out a replacement program that would protect the environment and still allow county residents to freely buy or sell their homes.
The vote to delay the resolution was unanimous, however, Commissioner Heather Wing said there should be a tentative agreement by the February meeting, and Commissioner Howard “Hoot” Gibson said he was at the latest negotiating meeting and he didn’t see any progress.
In public comment, 11 (10 speakers and one in a letter) gave their opinions; nine wanted to repeal TOST, two spoke in favor of keeping it.
Commissioners Ben Geiger, Dan Parker and David Jackson and three Eaton County commissioners, Jane Whitacre, Blake Mulder and Joseph Brehler, make up the Health Board; they are talking to BEDHD officials, trying to reach agreement on changes to TOST.
Geiger, Parker and Jackson all asked for more time.
“A goal delayed, is not a goal denied,” Jackson said. Geiger likened the talks to a football game. “Progress is being made…we’re moving the ball down the field.”
“We’re still working on it; we need some time,” Parker said.