Alcona close to lease deal with Forest Service

HARRISVILLE The Alcona County Board of Commissioners is working through the details of an agreement that will allow it to lease the U.S. Forest Service on US-23 south of Harrisville for 20 years.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Commissioner Bill Thompson said there were a few issues remaining about liability insurance, but he hopes the commissioners will be able to sign the agreement soon. The amount of the lease is expected to be minimal.

The building provides offices for Michigan State University Extension, which also is negotiating its contract with the county for 2014.

MSUE officials wanted to make improvements to their space in the building, but at an earlier meeting the commissioners told them to hold off until the lease is complete.

Commissioner Carolyn Brummund brought up the county’s pending $17,000 contract with its auditing company, Anderson Tackman & Co. The contract governs the Kinross company’s audit of 2013 financial records.

Brummund said she wanted to revise a section extending the company’s statute of limitations clause from one year to two years as specified by state law. She said the county needs more than a full year to detect errors in an audit if necessary.

In other business, Thompson brought the commissioners up to speed about progress with the county’s website. Under construction, the site contains 101 pages, but most of them are blank, and information needs to be filled in about each department and county services that are available.

Commissioner Kevin Boyat scheduled a department head meeting for Feb. 4, and said he will remind staff to provide information then.

Thompson also updated the commission on the county building department’s efforts to upgrade its offices, which are attached to the sheriff’s office. The space previously was occupied by the district court system.

Thompson said the building department will reconfigure the old courtroom into cubes of offices. A doorway will be transformed into an arch, and the improvements will give the department a more professional appearance.

The unisex bathroom also will be enlarged and upgraded for handicapped accessibility, he said. The bathroom will cost between $3,000 and $4,000 and some asbestos flooring will be removed at an additional cost of $1,000.

In other business:

* the commissioners met in executive session for 80 minutes with Prosecutor Tom Weichel and two attorneys.

* held off approving a contract with the extension service until other details can be worked out.

* approved payment of $496,134 in bills for Jan. 3-15.

* the next regular meeting of the commissioners will be 10 a.m. Feb. 5.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at blehndorff@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.