“It means that all road and bridge matters would be the county commissioners' (responsibility) than of the Road Commission,” said County Commissioner Jane Ruiter of Spring Lake.
On Tuesday, the County Board of Commissioners launched a study of whether or not the county should take on the responsibilities of the road commissioners. The study follows a 2010 decision by the commissioners to expand the Road Commission from three to five members.
"We have not taken a position on the issue,” County Administrator Al Vanderberg said. “Our first step is a thorough study of the pros and cons of such a change — and to determine what is in the best interests of the residents, county, local units of governments and the motoring public."
Two new Michigan public acts last year gives state county board of commissioners the authority to dissolve appointed road commissions, or to ask voters for dissolution of elected road commissions.
Michigan is the only state that still has county road commissions. There are 81 such commissions in the state.
The study will be conducted over the next year by an eight-member committee appointed by the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners. It will include two county commissioners, two road commissioners, two township government representatives and two representatives from the business community.
“They will look at the advantages and disadvantages, and whether it would work or not,” Ruiter said.
Road Commission Managing Director Brett Laughlin said the Road Commission will be presented with a similar resolution Aug. 9 to study its structure.
The county commissioners have asked that the study be done by next July.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.