ALPENA - The Alpena County Youth & Recreation already is getting ready for the fourth and final round of allocations from the four-year millage that was passed to bolster the area's recreation activities and facilities.
Youth and recreation committee Chairman Tony Suszek said a special workshop is scheduled for March 27 at 6 p.m. that will allow organizations the opportunity to learn more about what the committee needs in order to approve a proposed project. The deadline for applications for funding are due on June 3.
"It is really for people who want ideas or want to find out what needs to be on the application or to find out more about the process. It is a chance to get any questions answered," Suszek said. "The applications and proposals we have gotten the last few years have been much better than the first ones and I expect that to be the same for 2014."
Suszek said last year the committee allocated about $600,000 to help support local recreation, sports and the infrastructure where the events are held. He said the 2014 amount won't be as large because of certain circumstances last year. Suszek said this year there will be between $450,000 and $500,000 to allocate. Suszek said this is the final round of funding from the millage, but some extra money may be available for 2015.
"We had some allocations that weren't used, so we were able to carry it over," Suszek said. "This will be the fourth and final round, but there is always some sort of money leftover in the fund balance. Sometimes we approve a grant and it isn't used, so we could distribute it toward projects after this current round ends. It will really be up to the commissioners and maybe they will choose to have a renewal millage."
Suszek said the money from the millage has been handled responsibly and it has helped improve recreation in the county. He said he believes the money has impacted everyone in the county to some degree.
"I really think the taxpayers got a big bang for their buck. There are some organizations that might not even be around if it wasn't for it, or they might not have the activities they have now," Suszek said. "It literally has affected every single sport and activity in the county and I think the citizen's got value on the investment, because the organizations had to provide matches and help in other ways. In my opinion the millage has done a lot, as it was intended."
Suszek said the committee will make a recommendation to the commissioners as to whether or not to renew the millage. He said if the committee sees there still are viable projects that need funding, it will be presented to that county. If it sees a decline in the requests and it appears the need for money isn't as bad as it was when the millage passed, then the committee could recommend the millage not be put on the ballot.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com