The Barry County Commission committee of the whole recommended several citizens who volunteered to serve on county committees and commissions Tuesday.
Citizen Joe Sancimino was selected to serve on both the Agriculture Promotion Board as well as the Parks & Recreation Board for partial terms ending Dec. 31, 2019.
Sarah Nelson, representing the Conservation District, will sit on the Parks & Recreation Board for a partial term ending Dec. 31, 2020.
Jerry Czarnecki, from the City of Hastings, and Steve Essling (reappointed), from the recycling industry, will serve on the Solid Waste Oversight Committee until Oct. 31, 2021. Jack Miner will serve on the Planning Commission for a partial term until March 31, 2021.
In other business, the commission recommended the full board:
*approve the Fiscal Year 2019 grant contracts for the court’s specialty programs; Adult Drug Court, 56B District Sobriety Court, Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, Office of Community Corrections and Juvenile Drug Court.
* appprove a Farmland and Open Spaces Preservation (PA 116) application for Boyd and Lydia Endsley for property in section 18 of Castletown Township.
* approve the Barry County 2018 Apportionment report with the local tax rates, to allow collection of taxes.
In the final public comment time, several spoke on the earlier discussion and action by the commission on the Barry Eaton District Health Department.
Cathy Young-Gramze said a visit to the BEDHD website showed of the last seven events, three were for Eaton Rapids, three were with Lansing-Tri County and one for Barry County, the emergency Hep A inoculation program.
Young-Gramze said 50 years ago, even 20 years ago, Eaton and Barry counties were similar. Eaton County is now a bedroom community for Lansing, Barry is mostly rural.
“The interests of Barry County have diverged from Eaton; we really do need to investigate the feasibility of having our own health department,” she said.
Jim Enrietti said he had heard the insinuation that there were a handful of people “stirring the pot” about the health department. “If you think there are only seven people, get out into the townships.”
Commenting in the previous discussion, he said: “Maybe some of us are glad we haven’t marked our ballots yet.” The health department is not on the front burner yet, but it’s on the back burner and its bubbling, he said.
Larry Bass said in his experience, it’s like pulling teeth to get information from the department about the department. Freedom of Information Act requests are, “flat out denied,” or have exorbitant fees attached; one that comes to mind is $3,273, he said.
Demographics are vastly different; Eaton is 70 percent urban, and dominated by Delta Township, Barry is 78 percent rural, Bass said. The three Barry County Commissioners were advised to look at it more objectively and stop looking at the department as if it is a “sacred cow.”
“All we want from the health department is answers; we want to get answers, otherwise, it will continue on the front burner.”
Citizen Jack Miner echoed Bass, saying “All we want is good solid answers with number attached.” He predicted if they get answers, “it will not be on the back burner, it will put it in the back yard.”