Road Commission unveils $29.9 million budget for 2012
The Washtenaw County Road Commission unveiled a proposed 2012 operating budget of about $29.9 million, which shows expenses exceeding revenues by $1.5 million.
The proposed budget will be balanced by using a projected fund balance of $7.4 million.
With expected stagnant state funding and reduced federal funding as well as inflationary costs, the Road Commission staff is projecting additional $1 million deficits in both 2013 and 2014.
“We are on an unsustainable path,” said Steve Puuri, managing director, who recently announced he will retire in December.
With aging equipment and greatly reduced staffing levels, the condition of the county’s roads are not expected to get substantially better anytime soon.
Currently, he said, there are eight vacancies on staff and 15 more are expected by the end of the year and the Road Commission is currently negotiating contracts with its employees. The Teamsters contract expired in June and the union has “requested fact finding,” Puuri said.
“We’ve gone from 156 employees to 110 employees, which is back to 1960’s levels,” he said.
Ten people are expected to retire from the operations’ staff, three from engineering and two from administration.
Noticeably absent from the proposed budget is funding earmarked for the Road Commission’s annual overlay program and sealcoat/crack sealing programs in 2012.
These two maintenance programs have “been eliminated this year,” due to budget constraints in this proposed budget.
“Michigan Transportation Funds are expected to be flat this year,” said Dan Ackerman, finance director. The projection is $16.1 million, about the same as is anticipated for 2011.
The Road Commission’s trunkline maintenance agreement for snowplowing, mowing and patching with the Michigan Department of Transportation is budgeted for about $2.328 million in 2012. Anticipated revenues for 2011 are $2.95 million, but those final figures won’t be available until year-end.
“This is 4 percent below the budget from the previous year,” Ackerman said. Township contributions for 2012 are being estimated at $1.77 million, down from the $2.72 million this year. “Township contributions were robust this year,” Ackerman said.
“Other contributions,” from sources other than the state, federal government or townships, are expected to increase in 2012, Ackerman said.
He expects about $793,000 this year from those other sources and $1.58 million next year with includes $800, 000 from Washtenaw County Parks joint project with Dexter Village and the Metroparks’ for a border to border trail project.
Among the other planned projects for 2012 are:
- Safety improvements for Waters Road, a gravel road that sees about 1,500 vehicles daily, in Lodi Township. The work will take place from Wagner Road to the township line at an estimated cost of $500,000.
- Safety improvements for Arkona Road in Saline Township west of Jordan at a cost of $30,000.
- Safety improvements for Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township at the Packard Road intersection at a cost of $60,000.
- Safety improvements on North Territorial Road at Whitmore Lake Road, which include a turn lane, in Northfield Township at a cost of $135,000.
- An environmental assessment on State Road in Pittsfield Township from Ellsworth to Textile Road at a cost of $100,000.
- Resurfacing of Werkner Road in Lyndon Township from M-52 to north of Waterloo Road at a cost of $175,000.
- Resurfacing of Golfside Road in Pittsfield and Ypsilanti townships from Packard to Clark at a cost of $436,000.
- Resurfacing of Ford Boulevard Phase II in Ypsilanti Township from Ecorse to Michigan Avenue at a cost of $282,000.
- Bridge work on the Willis Road Bridge over Paint Creek in Augusta Township at a cost of $400,000.
- Resurfacing of Plymouth Road in Superior Township from Dixboro Road to M-153 at a cost of $1.376 million.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.