10-05-2017 Berrien County Road Department established; Road Commission is no more

COLOMA HIGH SCHOOL HOMECOMING 2017 CANDIDATES… are (from the left): Blake Cartwright, son of David Cartwright and Rhonda Kling; Samantha Fischer, daughter of Jason and Jennifer Fischer; Edwyn Rodriguez, son of Javier and Noemi Rodriguez; Gabby Ezell, daughter of Bar-bara and Donald Ezell; Jordan Pierce, son of Ricky and Teresa Pierce; Skylar Crisenbery, daughter of Brenda and Jason Crisenbery; Willie Donald II, son of Charles and Mary Do-nald; Mallory Spaulding, daughter of Tracy and Jason Spaulding. The Coloma Com-et’s homecoming game is this Friday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. against the Schoolcraft Eagles.

Coloma Comets Homecoming Oct. 6

 Coloma High School celebrates Homecoming this week. The varsity football game against Schoolcraft Eagles kicks off at 7:00 p.m.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m. there will be the Homecoming Parade that runs along S. West Street, ending at the high school football field.

Prior to the game and following the parade, the Coloma Athletic Boosters sponsor food and fun for the community. There will be free hot dogs, chips and water for the first 600 fans, courtesy of Chartwells, providing food service for Coloma Community Schools. Also, Jumping Jack Inflatables is providing inflatable fun for the kids.

Go Comets!

Berrien County Road Department established; Road Commission is no more

By Annette Christie

Action taken during the September 28, 2017 Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting finalized, once and for all, that the Berrien County Road Commission is now dissolved and the business of maintaining miles of county roads, bridges and culverts will fall under the responsibility of the Berrien County Road Department.  While many citizens may have thought that road maintenance and construction of county roads has always been the responsibility of Berrien County, the fact is that it was actually administered by a separate appointed body known as the Berrien County Board of Road Commissioners.  This board was appointed by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners but aside from that, Berrien County government had no direct control or oversight for this public service. The action taken at last week’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting follows months of information gathering and discussion.

The Board of Commissioners held three public hearings on the subject of the Road Commission.  While a resolution was presented that outlined the many actions that would occur with a “yes” vote, there was some disagreement amongst the commissioners regarding those actions and/or details.  One of which was the hiring of a Road Department Director on an interim basis.  The original resolution presented to the Commissioners had no timeline for the interim person; however, in a presentation to the Board of Commissioners, Administrator Bill Wolf speculated that the person could be in the position from five – 15 months.

The person who Wolf selected for that interim road department director position was Louis Csokasy, the former Managing Director.  Csokasy became Managing Director in October of 2013 and remained in that position until the spring of this year. Some of the commissioners saw that as a stumbling block.  Some of the commissioners wanted to be included in the decision for the interim road department director.

As discussions on this continued, action was stalled until the September 28 meeting.

Commissioner Mac Elliott, Chairman of the Administration Committee, offered a resolution, for the commissioners to vote on, that was different than the one that was drafted by staff.  The commissioners held a lengthy discussion on the subject until the meeting took a short recess at 1:00 p.m. (the meeting began at 10:30 a.m.).

Commissioner Jim Curran, Chairman of the Finance Committee offered another revised resolution very similar to the one drafted by staff but with the following changes: The search and recruitment for the hiring of a permanent Road Department Director shall begin immediately and the County Administrator may select an interim road department director for a period not t