Alcona eyes next step as fiduciary agent

HARRISVILLE -When the Alcona County Board of Commissioners meets at 10 a.m. today, it will narrow its search for professionals to manage $2.2 million in Homeland Security grant funds for Region 3. The area covers 14 counties along the shores of Lake Huron, from Alcona County across the Thumb and southward.

The commissioners will look at a stack of qualifications that have been sent by “solution area planners,” Buffy Carr, emergency management coordinator for Alcona and Oscoda counties, said. “These are people who oversee grant paperwork.”

Now that the county has been named the region’s fiduciary agent, grant money from 2011 and 2012 can be used to reimburse local governments when they upgrade or replace outdated equipment and technology, she said. The funds also can be used for training.

Some $80,000 eventually will go to Alcona County.

Carr said it can take a long time to get through the approval process. Homeland funds become available as reimbursements once appropriate approvals, purchase order numbers, forms and permits work their way through layers of government at the local, county, state and federal levels.

On the county’s current to-do list is:

  • a warning siren for Greenbush
  • 800-megahertz antenna system for the Alcona County communications trailer
  • a quarter-mile marker system for Alcona’s portion of the Au Sable River, which runs through undeveloped areas.

“We want them so people in emergencies, a kayaker or somebody in a canoe, can tell rescuers where to find them,” Carr said.

The cost for these and other improvements is $26,713, she said.

The group also hopes to contribute to upgrades for Alcona County’s 911 and computer-aided dispatch systems, speeding response and providing better data to law enforcement and emergency personnel.

Securing the grant is a happy situation that almost didn’t happen, Commissioner Carolyn Brummund said. The first hurdle was to find one of the 14 counties in Region 3 willing to act as fiduciary agent for the grant.

“Alcona County couldn’t let almost $100,000 walk out the door, and be given to another region,” Brummund said.

When Saginaw County declined the duty, Brummund and Carr scrambled during the Christmas holidays to get the paperwork in for Alcona County. They also scrambled to complete other details, including a request for qualifications from professional grant handlers.

“We made it a priority,” Carr said. “If all the ‘T’s weren’t crossed and the ‘I’s weren’t dotted by Feb. 15, this money would have been gone.”

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693.