By Mike Kruzman /

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners has passed a resolution in support of changing the county’s classification within the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan.

The effort began with State Representatives Hank Vaupel and Ann Bollin formally petitioning the governor, and then area Chambers of Commerce and the Visitor’s Bureau writing a letter. Now the County Board has shown their support for reclassifying Livingston County out of the Detroit Region and into the Lansing Region. The resolution recognizes the coronavirus as “highly communicable and dangerous” to a certain population, but also declares that “the curve has been flattened and our health care system is capable of receiving and treating patients.” It states that the current level of lockdown is unnatural and the source of numerous other community problems. The resolution additionally declares that it is undisputed that many individuals and businesses are suffering significant economic harm from it.

During public comment period, Bill and Lori Cowan of Unadilla Township spoke over Zoom, saying that the restrictions put in place by Governor Whitmer have helped. While they say this has been difficult for everyone - and that they have lost jobs themselves - they asked that Livingston County not separate itself from the rest of the state. Commissioner Kate Lawrence pointed out that that’s not what was happening, and that this would put Livingston County in with the counties west of us. Commissioner Bob Bezotte said that Livingston County has traditionally been in the region with Lansing, Shiawassee County, and Eaton County for emergency responses, but in this Plan were put in with Oakland and Macomb counties. He said there was no rhyme or reason why Livingston County was taken out and put into another region.

The MI Safe Start Plan is being used as a guideline for re-engaging the state’s economy. Region 1 contains the hardest hit counties, and by the Plan, would likely be the last region to re-open. Of the 8 counties and the City of Detroit that make-up Region 1, only Lapeer County has fewer confirmed cases than Livingston County.