REPORT

Frances Whitney, communications and outreach for the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency, hands out the agency’s annual report for 2018 to the Iosco County Board of Commissioners Sept. 4.

TAWAS CITY – The Iosco County Board of Commissioners received highlights on the yearly activities of the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency (NEMCSA) during its regular meeting held Sept. 4.

Frances Whitney, communications and outreach for the agency, gave the annual report to commissioners. She said that as a resident of Iosco County, and presenting to the county where NEMCSA was created, it was always exciting to give the annual report to Iosco commissioners.

Whitney said the service agency, which provides programs for Headstart, social and behavior development, income and asset building, and senior services – among other activities – has an 11-county core area and is one of the largest service agencies in the state. 

In Whitney’s report she said that more than half of the agency’s nearly $55 million budget was derived from federal sources. She said 38 percent of the fund was from the state and 11 percent was derived from local and in-kind services. 

“And that is pretty similar from year-to-year,” Whitney explained.

Of those revenues, Whitney highlighted what is spent on what services. In the report early childhood accounts for 47 percent of the agency’s budget or just over $27 million dollars. The second highest program expenditure is community based care, which takes up 24.5 percent of the annual budget, or $13.4 million. The third highest expenditure on their budget is for aging, which is 9 percent of the budget or $5 million.

Whitney said that with the early childhood services, it actually extends out into more than just the 11-county core service area into 22 counties in Michigan.

“That makes us the largest community action in the state,” she said. 

One of the highlights of the report, which can be viewed by visiting www.nemcsa.org, that is new this year, explained Whitney, was a timeline of what the agency has done over the decades since it was founded in 1968. 

Some of those highlights included the creation of the Region 9 Area Agency on Aging in 1973 and the establishment of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program in 1981.

One timeline event that Whitney highlighted during her presentation was the Wurtsmith Housing Project that was approved in 1996. That program relocated some of the unused housing from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base after its closure in 1993.

“That year the first house was moved in the Wurtsmith Housing Project,” Whitney said. “We were trying to get funding so we could relocate some of that base housing; the first house was actually moved and placed into Arenac County right before Christmas.”

Whitney said those residents are still in the house, and there are houses that have been moved into different areas of Iosco and Alcona counties.

One of the things that Whitney said NEMSCA is working on for next year’s report is better data collection to show what benefits from NEMCSA go to what county. 

“We are trying to get the county information on a more localized level so we can get the impact on Iosco County,” she said.

Whitney also told commissioners about an upcoming poverty education workshop that will take place in October for community member partners

“What we do is we provide poverty education to community partner members and do a two-hour minimum education workshop to what it is like when we’re working with people in generational poverty,” she said. “It will be a half a day training, I wanted to invite the board to see the event.”

Commissioner Charles Finley said that he had learned about the program through his experience on the NEMCSA board and said it was dynamic.

Other business of the board included: 

• Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to appoint Jame McArdle to the a vacancy on the Iosco County Parks and Recreation Commission for a term that will expire Dec. 31, 2020. The board also made an appointment to the county’s Economic Development Commission to fill a vacancy and appointed Richard Castle Jr., from Consumers Energy to the commission. The vote was unanimous. Finally, Commissioner Terry Dutcher was unanimously appointed to the county’s Medical Control Board. 

• The board also unanimously approved a motion to place Democrat Patti Casey and Republican Susan Flora on the Iosco County Board of Canvassers. Both are incumbents on the board and will fill out new terms, according to Iosco County Clerk Nancy Huebel.