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Budget OK so far; deficit looming

October 17, 2012
Steve Schulwitz - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - The Alpena County commissioners are already hard at work putting together the 2013 budget, but during Wednesday's finance committee meeting they received an update on how this years budget is fairing. Treasurer Joelyn McCallum explained that through three quarters, the county's revenues are ahead of its expenses, but because the county waits until the end of the fiscal year to make a great deal of its purchases when the taxes are all collected.

McCallum said the percentages appear really good at the moment, but the gap between the revenue and expenses will narrow before the end of the year, due to the expenditures expected.

"The revenue is at 84 percent and your expenses are at 72.56 percent which is a 2 1/2 percent savings on a $10 million budget," McCallum said. "You're doing pretty well on expenses. The problem is the board has taken the position over the last few years to spend in the last three months of the year. I don't see any large expenses through the end of the year, so I think you're in pretty good shape."

Even with the revenues outweighing the expenses, the county is still staring at a $388,252 budget deficit entering 2013. McCallum said the county is going to have to make up the difference via money from its fund balance, which currently sits at about 40 percent of the general fund total. She said at this point the commissioners have shaved $10,252 from the deficit, but because not a lot of revenue is expected to be brought in she doesn't think much more headway can be made in terms of lowering the deficit further.

Commission Lyle Van Wormer said keeping the revenues ahead of expenses is key and is only made possible by the work done putting together and making the quarterly adjustments when needed. He said the commissioners already have held several workshops to plan the 2013 budget and many more are scheduled.

"It is so important to get our budget right and the work we put into it is showing right now. We were only able to drop the deficit a little, but the budget it is on the plus side and that is huge," VanWormer said. "We scheduled 15 workshops for the new budget scheduled and we have already had two so far. We still have 12 full-day workshops left. Right now though we haven't done a whole lot, because we are still waiting on numbers from the department and we still need to get an idea of what we are going to get from the state through revenue sharing, so it is starting to come together, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done and numbers we are waiting for."

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Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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