ALPENA - Last year the City of Alpena was forced by the state of Michigan to implement a transparency dashboard in order to receive a larger portion of revenue sharing from the state. The detailed report is a general outline of finance and operations to be made easily available to residents.
Now Alpena County is waiting to hear if it must do the same.
If proposed legislation in Lansing is passed, it would require the county to draft a dashboard, which would need to be completed by Nov. 1. Alpena County Treasurer Joelyn McCallum said during Wednesday's finance committee meeting that if the law is passed, it leaves the county very little time to get the data gathered and the dashboard completed.
"Like cities, townships and villages, counties around the state would have to follow suit and have the dashboard as well, and it is a lengthy process," McCallum said. "I've been hearing it is not a done deal, and then I've heard it is pretty much a done deal, so I'm getting mixed information. (Gov. Rick Snyer) is really pushing for us to do this. If this passes, and we don't have this done by Nov. 1, we won't be getting our revenue sharing. Either way I think we have to be realistic that at some point in time, revenue sharing is on its way out."
The news of the dashboard came after McCallum gave her report on the 2012 budget, which is lagging behind 2011 in terms of revenue, but up on the expense side of the ledger. McCallum told the commissioners through the end of February, 16.66 percent of the budget has been extinguished. She said revenues this year are at $774,000, which is down from $908,000 in 2011. McCallum said the decline in taxable values and the fact people are waiting for their income taxes to come in are the main reasons the dollar figure is down.
"A lot of people are still waiting to get their taxes in and a lot of people use them to take care of their tax obligations to us," McCallum said. "I'm confident we can catch back up."
At an earlier meeting McCallum projected there would be about $200,000 from last year's carried over from last year. She warned that there were still some bills and payroll expenses that were accounted for, however, and the number could change. Monday she said the final balance saw an increase of $80,000 after all the 2011 financial obligations were met. Commissioner Lyle VanWormer said any time you can end the fiscal year in the black it is positive, especially in these challenging economic times.
"We tried all year and hoped there would be more, but any time you end up to the good sure beats being the other way around," Van Wormer said. "To be able to carry $80,000 over in this day and age, I think that shows the board and the department heads did a good job."
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Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.