IONIA — Ionia and Montcalm counties currently share two circuit court judges, and county officials have been in talks regarding possibly sharing a building department director in the future.
Montcalm County Building Department Director Scott Minard updated commissioners about the idea during an Economic Development & Physical Resources Committee meeting April 10. He said Ionia County officials contacted him last summer for his advice on the matter.
“What they would like to do, and I pretty much agree with them, they would like me to run their department also; not combining the two departments, but running their department also,” he said. “It’s something that I can think can be quite beneficial for us and for them. (Ionia County Administrator Stephanie Fox) said, ‘All I get is complaints about ours (Building Department) and praise about yours.’”
Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Robert Clingenpeel said the initial concept would be for Ionia County to contract with Montcalm County. Minard, who plans to retire in about four years, would likely make some changes to his office if the proposal went through. Minard said working in conjunction with Ionia County would allow him to pay for another much-needed building inspector.
However, Fox told The Daily News on Wednesday the proposal remains very much up in the air.
“This was discussed again last week with Montcalm County and at this point, we aren’t sure this would work,” she said. “Ionia County currently contracts with Associated Government Services and I have discussed with our Board (of Commissioners) that I would like to bring a proposal to them to bring this service in-house. I’m continuing to explore our options for our Building Department and possibly bring a proposal to the Board very soon.”