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Barry County Jail, COA project agreement decision delayed until late February

Barry County commissioners Tuesday again delayed a decision on a Professional Services Agreement with consulting firm TowerPinkster. It will not be taken up again until the committee of the whole meeting on the third Tuesday in February.


TowerPinkster was selected to facilitate the new Barry County Jail and Commission on Aging projects but commissioners balked last week on having no specific language saying the firm would not only look at building both a new jail and COA building, but committed to reviewing county facilities to see if it would be feasible to move some departments into other spaces and provide room for expanded COA services without building new.


The Friend of the Court and Barry Eaton District Health Department offices were given as prime examples of buildings being under used.


Commissioner/Chair Ben Geiger agreed with the delay. He said he talked to TowerPinkster and was given a new figure of $70,000 for their services, up from $50,000, to include the expanded review. “We’re still negotiating with TowerPinkster,” he said. “They’re still the best for the job; we just want to make sure there’s not something (we’re asking them to do) that we could do for ourselves.”


An ad-hoc committee, made up of commissioners Dan Parker, Jon Smelker and Heather Wing, is assessing Barry Eaton District Health Department operations to determine the feasibility of a separate Barry County Health Department. The study is to be completed by the end of the year.

Parker said he wasn’t sure the results of the study would make any difference in the issue at hand.

“It may not,” Smelker said, but I don’t want to enter a contract without knowing about it.”//


Commissioners also approved numerous applicants to Barry County committees and boards recommended by the committee of the whole last week.


They are:

*Frank Fiala, road commission-six year term

*Craig Stolsonburg, transit-three year term

*Shannon Szukala, Veterans Affairs-four year term

*Tim McKay, Veterans Affairs-four year term

*Paul Wing, Agricultural Promotion-three year term

*Larry Neil, Agricultural Promotion-three year term

*Tim McGavin, Animal Shelter Advisory-two year term

*David Tripp, Building Authority-three year term

*Kristin Cove, Central Dispatch Admin Board-four year term

*Don Bowers, Commission on Aging-three year term

*Sally Shuster Shoff, Commision on Aging-three year term

*Michelle Newton, Community Corrections Advisory-two year term.


In other business, the commission also approved:

*an Audit Engagement Agreement between the Barry County Road Commission and Walker, Fluke & Sheldon for the auditing firm to perform the 2018 road commission audit for $9,000.

*buying two new boilers for the Courts & Law Building for $90,000 by DHE Climate Solutions. *Agriculture Farmland and Open Space Preservation (PA116) applications for Brandon and Derik Schantz in Section 3 of Maple Grove Township and Larry and Tammy Kuperus in section 11 in Irving Township.

*a 2019 agreement between the county and Michigan State University Extension for access to MSUE’s programming.




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