ALPENA - On Tuesday, the Alpena County Youth & Recreation Committee will decide how much of the $1,271,429 collected from a local millage will be allocated and what the money will be used for.
Committee Chairman Tony Suszek said last year the committee received 26 proposals, of which 20 received a portion of the $421,941 that was invested toward area recreation. He said this year the amount may increase, but it will be more difficult for the committee to decide who receives money and how much.
Suszek said there were 46 proposals submitted for 2013 funding, many of which were compelling. He said the committee has spent a great deal of time studying the facts in the proposals and is now ready to make their decisions.
"The amount of requests are up significantly and the committee has been doing its homework reviewing the information provided to them by the applicants," Suszek said. "They will rate each project from zero to 10 and then they are averaged. The top rated scores are easy to accept, but as the scores get lower there is more discussion about the merits. There is a lot that goes into the decision-making process."
Before committing funds to groups and organizations for projects, the committee members take many things into consideration, including how worthwhile the investment is.
"There are a list of criteria we have in place and they are looked at closely," Suszek said. "We look to see if there are any matches, is it something that is needed in the community, is it something everyone in the county will benefit from, and will it be a around long term or just for a year and then more money for the same thing will be requested? There are a lot of different things we consider before making our decisions."
Once the committee completes the list of those to receive money, the list will be presented to the Alpena County Board of Commissioners, which has final approval or veto power on any of the requests. Last year the commissioners voted to approve all of the allotments recommended by the committee.
Suszek said this is the third time money has been distributed from the four-year millage. The money awarded at next month's board meeting will be for the 2013 calendar year. Suszek said there has been talk about asking the voters to renew the millage because of the great things the money has done for the area's youth. He said he hopes more people take the time to go online and see what the tax money has been used for.
"I encourage everyone to go onto the county's website and click on the youth and recreation link," Suszek said. "It will have a list of everything we have approved, how much money was spent, as well as before and after photos of some of the things which were done. It is a great way for people to see where their tax money has gone. The list for next year will also be posted as soon as the commissioners approve the recommendation for 2013."
The youth and recreation meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Tuesday in the Howard Male Conference Room inside the county building. To access the county's website and get the latest youth and recreation news go to www.alpenacounty.org.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.