Readers learned this week that through the first half of 2012, the Alpena County Road Commission is almost $1 million in the red.
Should we be concerned? Yes.
Should we rush to enact emergency contingencies? Probably not.
Financial Director Julia Patterson did a good job of explaining to commission members that over the next several months, large reimbursements are expected to be received that will substantially reduce the red ink on the ledgers. The reimbursements are expected from a variety of sources, including state and township governments.
"...I'm confident this number will drop significantly," she said at this week's meeting, regarding the $904,000 deficit.
County taxpayers certainly should remain vigilant and monitor the road commission's finances carefully in the months ahead.
At the same time, however, they also need to understand that such financial fluctuations are normal, and understood, as budgets are prepared and adopted each year.
One million dollars sounds like a lot of money, and it is, especially when it shows up in a deficit category.
In this instance we're confident, along with Patterson, the amount of the deficit doesn't really tell the whole story and before long, the number will be much closer to where it should be, had the reimbursements arrived as services were rendered.