The Barry County Board of Commissioners Tuesday slowed down the process of approving a contract with TowerPinkster to facilitate the building of a new County Jail and COA.
Starting with Commissioner Jon Smelker, each commissioner agreed that holding up the process for a time was worth it to assure what they wanted was clear to TowerPinkster and written in any contract before they approve it.
Commissioners want the firm to examine the feasibility of using space in other county facilities before committing to new buildings for both the jail and COA.
Commissioner Howard “Hoot” Gibson said 14 people work in the Friend of the Court’s office; Smelker said 16 people work in the Barry Eaton District Health Department building, and things like that are things that should be considered.
Tower Pinkster Senior Project Manager Eric Hackman was at the meeting to answer questions and said the present contract does not call for an in-depth look at the county facilities, rather, an update to a 2015 facilities study to look at the assessments in the recent past and see what is still of value to them.
Commissioner and Chairman Ben Geiger’s assurance that they could approve the contract and it would be taken care of was not enough to convince other commissioners.
County Administrator Michael Brown advised, “delaying this until we get it right. We want discussion and debate now and not later. TowerPinkster is in the same boat; they want to make sure everybody is clear on where we’re headed…we all want to be as clear as possible.”
Smelker summed up his feelings. “I really don’t care if it goes into next year...we need to do it right.”
Several suggestions were brought up, but after discussion of each, commissioners tabled the issue until the next regular board meeting.