County hit with unexpected expenses

ALPENA – The Alpena Finance Committee approved spending up to $20,000 to replace a water heater tank at the pool. The broken tank held 500 gallons, and will need to be cut into pieces to be removed from the building.

Maintenance Superintendent Wes Wilder found out the insulation on the tank was made of asbestos, and an asbestos abatement company would have to come in and take care of the issue at a cost of around $4,100.

“We will have to put two new tanks in,” Wilder said. “The cost is for the largest tanks that we can fit though a 36-inch door.”

Commissioner Lyle VanWormer said the money will have to come from the fund equity for the pool, and said it was a good thing the county had money available for the unexpected repairs.

Another issue with contamination occured at Alpena County Regional Airport when around 15 to 20 gallons of diesel fuel used for equipment spilled.

“We had to address the issue immediately and called in Hazmat,” VanWormer said. “We have a cement containment area, but it leaked out. The spill was a culmination of human error. There was a leaky O-ring in the pump that should have been reported and fixed.”

Cleanup costs for the county will be around $4,000, not including a follow-up sampling analysis and repairs, which will be around $5,000.

“The issue was taken care of immediately,” VanWormer said. “The spill didn’t go very far in, around four or five inches off the top.”

VanWormer said there were a few things they found that will need to be improved upon and fixed, but he was glad the spill was caught and stopped quickly.

In other business:

* the committee approved ballot language for the veterans affairs millage renewal.

* bids for 911 computers were reviewed and Chowen & Associates was picked with a low bid of $3,074.61.

* the purchase of BS&A software for data conversion for the Equalization Department was purchased for $5,680, with equilization paying $3,095, and the county paying $2,585.

* the committee approved spending $750 to do testing for ground contamination remnants at the jail in order to see if the old contamination has disipated.

* the committee approved the first quarter budget adjustments and decreased the deficit by about $2,500.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.