May 2017 millage proposal to fund county building construction fails

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UPDATE: The millage proposal failed big time.

Van Buren County offered public tours of its courthouse and jail in Paw Paw in March and April, 2017 to no avail.

With these tours the county wanted to increase the public’s awareness of what these facilities need to continue to be useful.

Richard Godfrey, Chairman of the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners, told me, “Basically all of the structures are old and they are outdated and they need major renovation.”

The May, 2017 election included a jail and court millage proposal that, county commissioners agree, will bring these facilities up to today’s standards. The millage proposal can be read online at
At the website, select Van Buren County followed by your community and precinct.

It proposed to increase property taxes up to .7 mills for a court upgrade addition and the renovation of the jail and of the administration building. See the Courier-Leader to read more.

The construction project discussion isn’t new. A Courier-Leader story from December, 2016 provides some background. In the article, past-Commissioner John Henry says too that the facility is outdated.

Godfrey also pointed to a problem in the county court house design that needs to be fixed. “The historic court house, you know, it was fine when it was built in 1902 and served the population well at that time,” Godfrey said,” but we have ten times as many people and the times have changed so that we don’t like to co-mingle our population with the prisoners as they go into the court room and situations like that need to be remedied so that we don’t have any potential problems — any disasters, actually — occur when we have prisoners and the public intersecting in our hallways.”

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