Barry County Presiding Commissioner questionnaire: Cherry Warren
1. Do you believe the county road districts need to be consolidated? If not, why not? If so, how would you facilitate the change?
We had road districts that wanted to consolidate and couldn’t. State law prevented it. We instigated a bill in the State Legislature and got the law passed to enable local road districts to decide for themselves whether or not it was in the best interest of the taxpayers and road districts to consolidate. I testified on behalf of that bill in the Senate hearing which passed. I fully support the ability of road districts to determine whether or not to consolidate.
2. Do you see the county jail as adequate for the long term? If so, why? If not, what do you plan to do about it?
When I first became Presiding Commissioner our jail housed 12 male and 2 female prisoners and, along with a temporary holding cell, a total of 15 inmates. Since then we have expanded our capacity twice to a total of 81 inmates. Both expansions were paid for without incurring any indebtedness. As Presiding Commissioner, I have started discussions with the Sheriff as to what is needed to bring the Barry County Jail up to a level that will serve the citizens for the foreseeable future. As a Commission we have looked at those areas that must be upgraded and how as a county we can pay for the upgrades. To totally construct a new jail is a multi-million dollar undertaking for which the county would have to vote bonds and incur debt. Under my leadership the county is currently debt free. This planning is ongoing and I believe that this fall the Commission and the Sheriff will have a plan to meet the jail needs of the County with no need for additional funding. I believe we need to continue to save our tax dollars and pay as we go.