Commissioners express reservations about road commission takeover

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich.— Could dissolving the Berrien County Road Commission resolve longstanding issues?

County Administrator Bill Wolf presented a resolution Thursday night, calling for its takeover.

If passed, the powers of the Road Commission would be transferred to the County Board of Commissioners.

It would also establish a Berrien County Road Department in its place.

Many on the board think that solution might not be so simple.

Thursday, they held a meeting at the county’s administration building to discuss its fate.

But current road commissioners believe rumors spread by former employees led to this public hearing.

“[Disgruntled employees] have found a way to bring their dissatisfied feelings over here and put the pressure on us, instead of having them come to us. They went around us,” said Jess Minks, Berrien County Road Commissioner. “I want to know now what all these problems they heard about are, because we’ve never heard a word of it.”

One of the problems many county commissioners expressed with this process is the lack of communication with road commissioners.

The board decided before moving forward with a resolution to dissolve the commission it will do more research and plan to meet with current road commissioners.

“I think that in their hearts they want to make sure that they are providing as much taxpayer value as they can and so in as much they’re trying to get all the information that they need to make that decision,” said Jon Hinkelman, Chair of the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.

There are only four road commissioners left.

Minks and a few others showed up and spoke out at Thursday’s meeting.

Minks implored the board to allow the road commission to do its job and not to listen to the rumors.

“So this will give the road commission board a chance to move forward,” said Minks. “Once we find what the problems are we can start addressing those if they leave us a place to do so, and we can do it.”

Read the full resolution below:

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