After almost a year of discussing and planning, the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners, last Tuesday, decided to move forward with expanding the current jail and build a new juvenile transition center.
The county board meeting began with multiple citizens expressing their concern with the various aspects of the project.
Andy Fink, a Whitehall resident, spoke on his concern for moving forward with the project with the current prevailing wage rules. Prevailing wage was set up at the Civil War and is defined as the hourly wage, usual benefits and overtime, paid to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics within a particular area. The prevailing wage laws are set up to help prevent public construction projects from destabilizing a local construction industry and to advance other priorities such as workforce development.
Fink was concerned that with the county spending an estimated $35-$41 million on a new jail and juvenile transition center, it should try to save as much money as possible by changing the prevailing wage rules.
“It is irresponsible for you to approve a jail as long as you have prevailing wage rules,” Fink said.
Muskegon County’s policy on prevailing wages states that “prevailing wages shall be paid on all construction projects of $100,000 or more.”
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