Dan Ludlow appointed to Alpena County Board of Commissioners

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Dan Ludlow answers a question from the Alpena County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Ludlow was appointed to be the commissioner for District No. 2 until the end of the year.

ALPENA — The Alpena County Board of Commissioners appointed Dan Ludlow to serve as the commissioner for District No. 2 until the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the board interviewed Ludlow and former commissioner Bob Adrian, and Ludlow was appointed after a 4-3 vote.

Ludlow said he doesn’t intend to run for the seat during the August or November election, but Adrian said he intends to run as a write-in candidate in August and if he prevails, his name will be on the November ballot.

Adrian served on the board from 2013 until the end of 2022 when he was defeated by Jesse Osmer. Earlier this year, Osmer stepped down as commissioner to accept the County Administrator position, which led to the appointment.

The commissioners asked both men about their experience with county government, what they think needs to be done to lower the county’s budget shortfall, and other issues.

Ludlow, whose wife is Alpena County treasurer Kim Ludlow, said he was appointed to the board of commissioners in 2008 and enjoyed the experience. He said he was filing to become a commissioner until someone is elected into it and if nobody files to fill the seat, he may seek reappointment for a longer period of time.

“I’m glad I will be able once again to step up and help the public and to help make decisions for the citizens of Alpena County,” he said. “I will work hard. I will listen to the people. I will do the best I can.”

Ludlow said he knows there are a lot of hard decisions looming in the coming months, especially pertaining to the budget and the county’s projected shortfall that exceeds $1 million. He said he is prepared to make the tough decisions, even if they may not be received favorably by all the residents in the county.

Alpena County is seeking a Headlee roundup tax increase on property owners during the August election that will make up for the loss of tax revenue due to the Headlee rollback.

A provision in the state constitution known as the Headlee Amendment automatically lowers local governments’ property tax rates — in what’s known as a Headlee rollback — if property values climb too fast, making it so property tax revenue growth cannot exceed the rate of inflation.

Governments can ask voters to override that automatic rollback so they can levy their full property tax rate.

The county is seeking a 0.7-mill increase, which would help the county recapture about $800,000 a year.

Ludlow said if the tax proposal fails, large cuts will be needed. He added that if it is approved, it will help greatly, but some cuts will still be needed and some of them may be uncomfortable.

“No matter which way it goes, there are going to be hard choices to make,” he said.

As is the norm, the commissioners were divided on which of the two candidates was the best fit. Commissioners Bert Francisco, Bill Peterson, and Bill LaHaie voted to appoint Adrian, while commissioners Robin LaLonde, Travis Konarzewski, John Kozlowski, and Brenda Fournier voted for Ludlow.

Fournier did have a slight conflict of interest, as she is related to Ludlow through marriage. She said the two are not close and see each other little. Fournier said she believed she could put the relationship aside and vote fairly and didn’t seek to have herself recused from the vote. The balance of the commissioners, who could have voted to force Fournier to be recused, did not take any action to do so.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 or sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.


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