The Barry County Board of Commissioners is ready to take the next step in the planning for two major projects. Next Tuesday at 1 p.m. after the regular board meeting, Commissioners will meet at the Barry Central Dispatch community room to interview five consulting firms with experience in building jails and senior service type buildings, and possibly select one as a facilitator to advise them with all the aspects of planning for a new jail and COA.
In the week between, commissioner will decide specific questions they want to ask the firms and get them to Administrator Michael Brown.
Also, Brown will check with people who have employed the firms for their opinions on their work. Brown emphasized that all of the companies were highly qualified and reputable, and “all can do what you want,” so the commissioners need to look closely at the strengths of each firm and decide which best fits their needs.
One important item is how the plan to communicate with the community, “citizen engagement is critical,” Commissioner Ben Geiger said, and also what experience and ideas they have in local government financing of projects.
A tentative set of questions includes a firm’s experience with law enforcement and senior service facilities, local millage elections, its communication style with constituents, experience with moving departments around a campus or community and relevant construction experience.
In other business Tuesday, the commissioners recommended approval of:
*an amendment of a Barry County ordinance that allows Adult Care Foster Facilities in Rural Residential zones by special use permit. The change will allow Boulters Adult Foster Care Home on Kingsbury Road to grow from a specialized small family home of six to a specialized medium group home of 10. The planning commission has recommended approval.
*approval of a State of Michigan 2018 Emergency Management Performance Grant.
*entry into PA 116, by Richard and Pamela Palmer in section 29 of Irving Township.