Watson told changes are coming for County Board

Scott Corbin
Gale Dugan

Allegan County Commissioner Gale Dugan Thursday evening told the Watson Township Board the County Board will see some interesting changes over the next two years.

Dugan said commissioners from now on will be paid on a salary and mileage basis, no longer being compensated for pier diems.

Dugan, who voted against the change, said, “This means if you don’t attend a meeting you still get paid.”

He also opposed the move because he believes commissioners should have voted on it before rather than after the November general election.

Dugan added that commissioners starting in 2024 will be able to serve four- rather than two-year terms, which had been the norm for more than 50 years since the old County Board of Supervisors was changed to the commissioner system.

This, in addition to the County Board being reduced from seven members to five.

Dugan also announced that Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the past 10 years is leaving to take a post of deputy director of emergency management in Kent County.

Watson Township Supervisor Kevin Travis, responding to Dugan’s request for any questions, reiterated the board’s opposition to a plan to move the offices of treasurer and drain commissioner to the Dumont Lake complex to make room for the new Circuit Court. Dugan insisted, “That building (downtown) will remain for the courts at least until 2040,” so somebody has to move out because of a lack of space in the county building.

In other business Thursday, the Watson board:

  • Adopted a resolution increasing cemetery fees for infant openings (to $250), monuments ($100) and foundations (to 75 cents per square inch, but stopped short on a $20 fee fee for mandatory markers. The latter proposal was the result of a mixup with Gordon Funeral Residence on the location of the burials in Miner Cemetery for Earl and Lillian Berens, which was adjusted in township records. Sexton Mark Simpson objected, saying the location is too close to a large tree.
  • Learned that Kevin Meyer has been chosen new director for the Hopkins District Library.
  • Approved the appointments of Rod Zeinstra, Jack Eveland and Brad Stoker to the Board of Review and Jay Eveland and Stoker to seats on the Planning Commission.

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