A letter to County Commissioners from Sandy Kozan, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Barry County Commission On Aging, said that at their February 20th meeting the COA Directors approved a motion requesting the Board of Commissioners find a way to fund a new COA building without putting a millage vote on the ballot.
The letter indicated that although there has been widespread support for a new COA facility and a new Jail, the COA Board has also heard the reluctance from taxpayers to pay for additional millage.
At Barry County community discussion forums hosted by the Board of Commissioners, options were presented by Tower Pinkster, the project management firm, ranging from renovating and adding on to the current COA facility for an estimated $3.78 million, to building a new, larger facility on a new site for an estimated $8.33 million that likely would be funded through the sale of bonds with a millage request that could appear on the ballot in August.
Now, Commissioners will be looking for solutions to replace the current COA facility without asking for more taxes, if possible.
Taxpayers will still have to decide whether they will fund a new Jail and Sheriff’s Office. Tower Pinkster presented project options and estimates at the community forums ranging from $21.8 to $28.5 million depending on the location and number of beds.
At the Tuesday, Feb. 25th Board of Commissioners meeting, approval was given to creating an Ad Hoc Committee to “study the COA services, funding, and facilities in other counties as compared to the Barry County COA and report back to the Board of Commissioners within six months.”