Over $152,000 for libraries held in escrow by state

Clare County Treasurer Jenny Beemer-Fritzinger presented her report to the Clare County Board of Commissioners during their meeting Wednesday and showed that the area has some money coming to its libraries in the future.

According to Beemer-Fritzinger money from penal fines collected in Clare County are held in escrow by the state for eventual release to be used by local libraries. During her presentation she passed out  a sheet to members of the board and the media showing the totals of these penal fines.

According to the figures she presented the amount totals $152,454.68 collected between seven townships. The largest amount is held in Sheridan Township with $56,338.51 with the smallest amount being $6,734.03 in Hatton Township. Beemer-Fritzinger added on the sheet that $15,645.04 had already been released from escrow for the libraries from Frost Township in May 2010.

“Nothing will change on this until the state gives us the changes next year,” Beemer-Fritzinger said. “We’ll keep (the amounts) updated in these sheets until you ask for it.”

After discussing the money from fines Beemer-Fritzinger continued by discussing funding available from county revenue sharing. While she said a certain amount of funding is guaranteed she added the amount could increase to as much as $497,592 if Clare County meets certain criteria set as part of the program.

Beemer-Fritzinger said the criteria each have a purpose and a deadline. She added the first is accountability and transparency with a deadline in October followed by one on the consolidation of services in January and one on employee compensation, including compliance with the new national healthcare law, scheduled for May.

“If we want this money we have to comply,” Beemer-Fritzinger said.

The board agreed with Beemer-Fritzinger and as part of the goal of consolidation of services took the initial steps in forming a ‘Collaboration Committee’ during the meeting of the Committee of the Whole that followed the Board of Commissioners meeting. According to the board and Beemer-Fritzinger the Collaboration Committee is going to look at ways they can increase their interaction with both with other counties and private businesses as a way of reducing costs.

Beemer-Fritzinger’s report also included discussion of funding from the DNR and the potential to start paying Gladwin-based Endless Journey Internet (ejourney.com) for services provided. According to both Beemer-Fritzinger and the board Endless Journey had never billed them before for their services.