County to amend policy

ALPENA -The Alpena County Finance Committee votes to amend a policy related to its annual budget, as well as approved an exception on another. The 2014 budget will be put on display no later than Dec. 1 and will begin with an almost $400,000 deficit.

The committee voted to recommend to the board of commissioners that a change in a policy on how access funds at the end of each budget year should be utilized was needed. Currently any funds over 24.97 percent of the budget is deposited into restricted funds. On the recommendation of Treasurer Kim Ludlow and the county’s auditor, the county could amend the policy to boost the minimum percentage to 30 percent. Anything over 30 percent would be designated restricted funds.

Ludlow said having a little more usable money will benefit the county early in the budget year, when money is tight until tax revenue is received in the summer.

“The auditors have indicated we should probably have a larger unreserved amount and recommended 40 percent,” Ludlow said. “I’m asking for 30 percent. When the 24.97 percent was set up we were getting a majority of our operating revenue in February and March after the winter taxes came out. Now we don’t see a majority of that money until July or August. This would give us a little more unrestricted funds to help get us through the first half of the year.”

Ludlow’s second request was for a waiver on a policy that states the county cannot begin a budget if the expended revenues are less than the expected expenses. The committee voted to recommend the exemption for 2014 to the full board of commissioners which meets on Tuesday.

In other business:

* the committee voted to accept 34 youth and recreation contracts for 2014 allocation of the local millage and to carry over money for a pair of projects that were slated for 2013. Due to weather and other hurdles the projects will be completed next year. Overall the millage will provide $467,612 for youth and recreation projects in 2014.

* the committee voted to allow a pair of Older Persons agreements to be carried over until 2014.

* the committee accepted a proposal from the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments to help the county update its recreational plan. The plan is required to be updated one every five years. NEMCOG submitted a quote for $4,033, which would provide copies of the updated plan to the county, the DNR and NEMCOG.

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