Despite setback, fair board financially solid

ALPENA – The Alpena County Fair Board presented its year end financial report and updated the Alpena County Board of Commissioners on how projects at the fairgrounds have done. Although the fair board held one event that lost money, overall the events and fundraisers were successful and the fairgrounds is in solid shape financially heading into 2014.

Although the Georgia Satellites concert at the end of July lost about $12,000, the success of the 2013 Alpena County Fair and the events during it made up for some of the loss. Fair board member Karie Bleau said the bills are paid and the board should have enough money to get it through the end of the year and into 2014.

“Our revenue is up about 20 percent, but unfortunately it is not reflective in our bottom line because we held a concert that was not financially beneficial,” Bleau said. “Nevertheless we are still solvent and I estimate our bills until the 2014 fair to be about $3,000, so we have enough to cover that, plus we have some fundraising activities and a few more events before the end of the year and that should generate some additional funds.”

Bleau said there have been a number of improvements made at the fairgrounds. There is a new sign, new fences, as well as flower or vegetable planters near the grandstand. Commissioner Mark Hall, who was critical of how the fairgrounds were being handled under the former board, said the work the new board has done has been impressive.

“I can’t say enough about the job the fair board, the horsemen’s club, 4-H and our staff has done there. I think the facility looks good and is in good shape,” Hall said. “Is there still work to be done? Yes. There absolutely needs to be more work done to bring the facility up to the standards everyone expects. We’re going in the right direction. Were there some missteps? Sure. I think they learned from them and you can’t blame them for trying something new.”

Chairman Cam Habermehl said the improvements at the fairgrounds make it more appealing and inviting to people from inside and outside of the community.

“I think the fairgrounds look better than it ever has,” Habermehl said. “They have done work on the buildings, painting, laid new concrete, added fencing, the place looks great. I think the fair board has done an excellent job at running the fair and bringing in the acts they did during it. There were a few glitches along the way, but I think in the future things are only going to get even better there.”

In other business:

the commissioners approved spending $518 from the Northern Lights Arena surcharge fund for some repairs that were discovered while Ameresco was doing the new energy efficient upgrades to the building. The surcharge funds can be used only on equipment that is original to the arena.

the commissioners approved a resolution of retirement to Dennis Partlo after he retired from serving the county for 12 years.

the board voted to change Tammy Bates’ position from executive secretary to executive manager. She also has been given authority to manage the payroll and time system, as well as other duties.

Commissioner Bob Adrian was excused from the meeting.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at