By SEAN HARKINS
News Staff Writer
Two more year-end reports were made, and the news continues to be positive for Alpena County.
On Tuesday, the Alpena County Board of Commissioners received year-end reports from Home Improvement Director Christine Skiba and Clerk Bonnie Friedrichs.
The county distributes state and federal grant money to low-income homeowners in need of essential home repairs.
In 2008, 14 home improvement projects in the county totalled $204,916.75. The largest chunk came from eight projects in the City of Alpena totaling over $127,000.
Skiba said applications for the improvements are processed as they come in, so the location of the projects can vary. Next year, she said, there could be more projects in the townships than the city.
Commissioner Gerald Fournier said the low-interest loans given to the homeowners are often the only way some of those in need will receive vital home improvements.
Fournier also said the program is beneficial to the construction industry because the state and federal money is spent locally.
"This is money injected into the community," Fournier said.
Friedrichs gave a statistical breakdown of activity in her office last year. Increasing her staff by making a part-time position to full-time helped the office keep up, she said.
"I don't think we would have survived, truly survived, without extra help," Friedrichs said.
She reported 5,208 payroll checks went through the office last year, along with 9,291 receipts - an average of 35 per day.
Combining the circuit court and juvenile court, the office scanned and filed over 40,000 pleadings, which can range from one page to 50.
She said although the office was busy, the overall workload was about normal. Some things, such as birth and death certificates and marriage licenses, were about the same, while passports were down and concealed weapons permits were up.
The workload remaining constant while individual responsibilities vary is expected.
"It kind of goes in cycles," Friedrichs said.
Fournier said he was pleased with the work the office did and the decision to expand the staff.
"You can see by the report it all came out good," he said.
In other business, the board met briefly in a closed session to discuss pending litigation.
Sean Harkins can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.