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Posted on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:10 p.m.

Washtenaw County Road Commission to be 'broke' by end of 2012, official says

By Juliana Keeping

Washtenaw County Road Commission officials painted a doomsday financial scenario today, saying a countywide millage is one option to solve the funding crunch and make needed repairs to roads and bridges.

“By the end of 2012, we will be broke,” commissioner Fred Veigel said at today's semimonthly board meeting.

The road commission, operated by a three-member board and 140 employees, will spend $35.5 million this year.


The Washtenaw County Road Commission's financial future appears bleak.

By 2013, the commission could find itself in a $7.5 million deficit, assuming state funding continues to fall by 2.5 percent a year, according to the road commission’s head accountant.

While the financial future looks bleak, residents want their bridges fixed now.

About eight incensed Lima Township residents attended the board meeting and a discussion that followed it to complain about the bridge closures over Mill Creek.

The four closures are in a small area near Chelsea, including the South Dancer Road bridge between Liberty and Jerusalem roads, which has been closed for a year.

“We’re not safe because the bridges are not done,” Lima Township resident Ron Ruth said.

The commission closed bridges on South Lima Center and Liberty roads in May, while the Klinger Road bridge has been closed for four years to the ire of local farmers who use the remote one-mile stretch that cuts into their fields.

An unexpected event, like a fallen tree, could easily block the limited routes and trap residents in the area as they wait for a county crew to clear it, Ruth said.

But the bridges aren’t safe to cross, said county highway engineer Roy Townsend, who gave a presentation showing pictures of cracks and erosion found during recent inspections on the 111 bridges under the commission’s care.

The three-member panel kicked around ideas to generate cash today, including a countywide millage that could cost residents $100 per $100,000 of assessed property and generate $15 million to help maintain 1,650 miles of roads, as well as hundreds of bridges and enclosed drains.

Lima Township officials would need to come up with matching funds for their bridge projects, per state law, officials said. For instance, to fix the bridge over Mill Creek on Lima Center Road - the cheapest bridge project - the township would need to pay $75,000, and the commission would do the same for a total cost of $150,000.

If the state raised the per-gallon gas tax by one cent to 20 cents, the commission would receive $300,000 to $400,000 of that revenue per year. The gas tax has been raised by 4 cents since 1984, officials said.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money has helped the commission’s bottom line - but not much, officials said. The biggest chunk of the commission’s funding comes from the state, and those revenues are expected to continue declining.

Some in attendance today questioned the board’s priorities, scoffing and groaning after the panel voted to purchase a new pickup truck and make equipment repairs, moves that cost $56,000.

Veigel voted against the measures, noting the road commission has more than 35 pickup trucks. “I’d rather spend it fixing that bridge,” he said.

Countered commission chair David Rutledge, who is seeking the 54th District seat being vacated by Alma Wheeler Smith: “This is not a truck versus bridge repair issue.”

How and when the bridges may be fixed isn't yet known. Officials said they have only a fraction of the cash they need to make bridge repairs, not to mention patch crumbling county roads.

Juliana Keeping is a reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


Ben Jammin

Wed, Feb 8, 2012 : 2:49 a.m.

Let's not get our knickers in a twist here. I know that everyone involved with the WCRC knows that the roads need some attention and they will do everything they can to perform the repairs. As far as the budget and the thought of WCRC being broke by 2013 is crazy. It seems as if Ms. Keeping is just creating a buzz by listing a bunch of hypothetical situations and even daring to say "could" and "assuming". If the state funding is decreased by 2.5% each year, then the professionals running the budget for WCRC will watch each and every expenditure to make sure they stay well within that budget. It all makes sense, when you don't over think it. It does help to look at the Financials and actually know what you are looking at to see that they have made necessary cuts for 2012 - If we're gonna assume anything, lets assume that they made those necessary cuts to put more cash into road repair. On another note, one thing WCRC should pay attention to is the safety and diligence of the road workers. It seems that there has been a substantial increase in insurance coverage + workman's comp + drug testing. Bottom line: Do your homework before you post your opinion, especially if you are a reporter, don't take other peoples word for it.


Mon, Oct 11, 2010 : 7:14 p.m.

After 5 years of leadership by Rutledge and the WCRC is going broke and looking to the taxpayers for a bailout.


Sat, Jul 31, 2010 : 6:44 p.m.

All - Bottom line first: Our WCRC employees are very overpaid, almost as much as A2 employees. Average 2010 total compensation for WCRC employees: $91,182. Adjusting their pay to the US average of ~$58K would save over $4.5 million per year. (How many bridges would that buy?) According to the 2010 WCRC budget (link above), compensation is distributed like this: First: 137 WCRC folks share $4,635,000 in benefit compensation averaging $33,832 per worker. In addition: 89 Operations folks share $4,761,000 = $53,494 each + $33,832 extra = $87,327 total 2010 compensation 39 Engineers share $2,330,000 = $59,744 each + $33,832 = $93,578 total 9 Administrators share $766,000 = $85,111 + $33,832 = $118,943 total. The county's method of sharing budget numbers is substantially more lucid than A2's; there is little room for misinterpretation or miscalculation of their numbers. A few smaller line entries were omitted for clarity and brevity; their inclusion would result in compensation levels marginally higher than those shown above. Commissioner token compensation was excluded as well. If anyone can run the numbers better than what is shown here, please do so and post your results. Especially John Q; your efforts in showing that A2 workers are paid way above national averages were helpful. To summarize: asserting WCRC may soon be 'broke' is grandstanding at best, deceit at worst. Normalizing compensation would save the county ~ $4,500,000 each year, which is enough to pay for many overdue projects. All that is needed is political will to deliver competitive wages.

scooter dog

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

Can do a follow up on why the county road commission is taking so long to replace the bridge at the south end of portage lake?. There is very little progress being made on this vital link around the lake. I have heard that when they ordered all the material to do the job they forgot to order major componets to complete the job and it will be september before they start back working on it again. Maybe with all their resources can check this out and let us know,as calling the road commission on zeeb rd and trying to get a honest answer is like talking to the wall.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 6:13 p.m.

For KJMClark and John Q, who are seeking documentation for claims that city workers (and, by inference, WCRC workers) are substantially overpaid, the following link provides excellent background, and is quite rich with supporting documentation: Thank you for asking. Here's a quote from the article: "According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, the average per-capita income in Ann Arbor is $30,410 - less than half that of a city worker."

Sam Adems

Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.

@clownfish: Youre "academic research paper study" isnt worth the paper its printed on. The Mackinac Center published research in 2009 that indicates that public sector workers in the state of Michigan are paid salary and benefits at rates far above the private sector. @AlphaAlpha has published research on City of Ann Arbor employees that clearly indicates this and the anecdotal information Ive seen about co-pay and deductible rates that state and school employees pay in Michigan clearly indicate to me that @AlphaAlpha and The Mackinac Center are correct and your MSU guy is a BFL. If a constitutional amendment were adopted that mandated that state workers werent paid more than private sector workers, it would save $5.7 billion per year (see The savings would be enough to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, plug the state's budget deficit and eliminate the deficits at the local level of government, which would be a game changer for the state. Governor candidate Mike Bouchard announced and published last month the actual text of a Constitutional amendment he proposes to do exactly this. It would prohibit the state and all local units of government from paying any public service employees benefits that are more or less than 3 percent of those comparable jobs in the private sector. You can read the text of the proposed constitutional amendment at: Mike Bouchard has also outlined a very specific economic plan that is rather interesting, available at


Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

@Rasputin I did simplify it. But my point is that the state has a surplus of housing and is unlikely to change that in the next decade. This will naturally keep property values low, and therefore property tax income. Increasing sales or gasoline taxes will make Michigan less attractive to business and less likely to grow the job base. ALL taxes are supported by the people with jobs. The quality of Mayor Bing's plan to deal with his shrinking population base can be debated but at least there is a plan. Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County will not get the same matching funds or grants for the state for the forseeable future. There must be a plan.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jul 22, 2010 : 4:51 a.m.

I've noticed that the only response to every issue these days seems to be "It's complicated". Transportation funding certainly falls into that. A good summary is the report from the state transportation task force (on which Pam Byrnes served),1607,7-151-9623_31969_49303---,00.html. To recap a couple of points: The county Road Commission draws its funding from the gas tax. The Board of Commissioners has no jurisdiction over any part of it except appointing the road commissioners, and county taxes do not go to the Road Commission. The other source of funding for the Road Commission is Federal transportation grants. These are awarded in part through decisions made by the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) Federal program money and state matching funds are allocated according to long-term planning and consensus by this group, which includes representatives from all local governments. Presumably federal earmarked grants are outside of this system. I don't know how WATS figures in to transportation line items inserted by our congresspersons. Ann Arbor city is not served by the Road Commission, but has its own transportation department. We get state gas tax money too, sit on WATS, receive Federal and state funds as part of that allocation scheme. We also continue to vote in an additional road repair millage. One ongoing controversy or policy discussion has been to what extent transportation funding should be directed to non-motorized transportation (aka bicycle and pedestrian) and mass transit. Those are in competition with roads. Ann Arbor has raised the percentage of the transportation money going to non-road items. If a countywide road maintenance millage were passed, would Ann Arbor residents be taxed to maintain rural roads? And how would that figure in to efforts to have a millage to fund a countywide transit system? If the gas tax could be increased, both the Road Commission and Ann Arbor would have more money both for road maintenance and for non-road transportation. It's complicated.

scooter dog

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 5:25 p.m.

I still see all their foreman driving home pick-up trucks each and every night at taxpayer expense.Total B/S Broke by 2012 my Butt


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

The government preferred solution is always "we need to raise taxes." It's never "let's see how we can spend what we have more effectively." Enough! Maybe if they stopped paying five guys to stand around and watch one guy work in every "work area" they could get the job done with the money that they currently have.

Henry Ruger

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

So the Road Commission asks $43 million to take care of our roads through 2012 ($35.5 million budget plus $7.5 million deficit). What are the payments asked by private contractors to do the same work?


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 10:19 a.m.

@clownfish: "Much work paid for by the county is done by contractors, do you want those private contractors to take pay cuts as well, including the owners of the cement and asphalt plants? Even if the work is done by the county, are you calling for those plants to take pay cuts as well, as they supply the materials? What about the car dealership that sold us the truck, should all employees take a pay cut? Why only attack govt workers? " Speaking from someone who has had several pay cuts totaling 22% in the last year the difference between those in public and the private sector is that in the private sector you don't hear about pay cuts in the paper nor does it have to be approved by anyone. The owner declares paycut and it happens, live with it or leave.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

Well at least the Road Commission is giving us ample warning that we will be sliding around for the Winter of 2013! Hopefully, by then our wonderful rail commuter mass transit system with a fantastic Plymouth Road and Fuller Road corridor connection with the enhanced Countywide AATA system will be up and running!


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

@ Awakened, I strongly disagree with your viewpoint and I think you've simplified a very complex set of issues. Ideology is at the heart of the issue in terms of which road Michigan takes. I fail to see how lowering our collective expectations is going to in any way help Michigan? As for Detroit, mayor Bing is planning on shrinking the city by about 1/3, so no wonder it looks bad, but things always get worse before they get better! Check out your American history books for more information. Michigan needs to stop living in the past regarding Manufacturing and think globally and attract and diversify businesses coming to Michigan. We need to raise taxes, renovate infrastructure, put in place high speed rail lines, and continue to give tax incentives to profitable and sustaining businesses coming to Michigan. It would also help if folks considered education a priority instead of nice to have. A good education is a requirement, not an option.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

@clownfish, "much work paid for by the county is done by private contractors,do you want those private contractors to take paycuts as well, including the owners of the cement and asphalt plants". Give the guy who owns Doan Concrete a call, he can tell you about paycuts and bidding jobs at prices similar to what he was charging 10 years ago. That is the magic about the private sector clownfish. When supply exceeds demand, prices drop. It also causes these private companies to be more cost efficient and find ways to save money. That has not and does not happen in the public sector because the employers ( taxpayers) have not yet demanded that. That is starting to change. The recent cuts taken by a very small portion of public sector employees is a good start, but only that.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

Time for the unions to take paycuts and benefit cuts to their "Cadillac" pensions and healthcare. Till that happens I will vote down any millage that comes along. Amusing, you don't want to pay an extra $100/$100,000 millage, but you do want someone else to take a pay cut. Lets' see: A2 teachers took an 8% cut, police and fire took cuts. Ypsi approved a 17% pay cut for bus drivers. Much work paid for by the county is done by contractors, do you want those private contractors to take pay cuts as well, including the owners of the cement and asphalt plants? Even if the work is done by the county, are you calling for those plants to take pay cuts as well, as they supply the materials? What about the car dealership that sold us the truck, should all employees take a pay cut? Why only attack govt workers? Here is a link to a report on a study that kind of blows a hole in some of the myths floating about the airwaves and blogoshperes: The idea that Michigan's state employees earn more pay and benefits than their public-sector counterparts is nothing more than an urban legend, according to a study released today by Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard. Ballard looked at the changes that state employees have seen in their level of employment, benefits, work hours and compensation from 2001-08, and concluded that state workers earn less money and pay more for their benefits than non-government employees. State employees saw a 2.4 percent cut in wages in 2008-09, and health benefits co-pays also went up, with the monthly cost for family coverage more than doubling. The increase meant state employees paid higher-than-average costs. So many wanted to drown Michigan's government in a bathtub, you got what you want, now you complain about the condition of the roads and bridges!! Next: Camp Grayling is really a FEMA concentration Camp! (and other myths you may have heard on the Glenn Beck Show)

John Q

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

"The analogy is quite relevant to the road commission issue; if road commission workers are as highly compensated as A2 workers are; their excessive payroll represents a huge source of potential cost savings." The usual claims unsupported by any data. The Road Commission budgets are online. It's easy to run the numbers and see whether the employees are overpaid or not. I'm sure you'll provide us with public/private sector comparisons for the engineers and other skilled positions at the Road Commission.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

@Awakened - So we've reached "third world country" status?


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:22 a.m.

The raise taxes/cut expenses debate is a pointless debate for idealoges. Michigan has lost nearly 1.5 million jobs in the last decade. Likely there will be less population in 2010 than in 2000. It has the highest percentage of abandoned and untaxed property in the country. One third of residences in Detroit are abandoned. Worse, Michigan has almost the lowest birth rate in the country and is in the top half (and climbing) in death rates. This indicates that the child-bearing age population is leaving and the population is increasingly elderly and on fixed incomes. And they are an increasing strain on the state budget due to medicare. All the high tech jobs that have been brought in during the last decade do not equal the employment or tax base of even one of the closed auto plants. Michiganders need to lower their expectations.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

I smell a tax millage proposal coming. Why can't politicians, instead of trying to scare voters into supporting the obvious, why not just be up front, lay out their case and support it with viable data so that voters can make an informed decision. I am tired of politicians thinking they are smarter than the rest of us and can manipulate us by using fear.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 8:09 a.m.

AlphaAlpha is overstating his case. It has been shown that public workers are now paid more than private workers, on average. I found the BLS data that agree with him on that point. It's not as clear that Ann Arbor or Washtenaw County public employees are paid more, though he may well be right. I haven't seen anyone demonstrate that. So, AlphaAlpha, please point to some analysis that says that. I really doubt that an additional county millage would pass or that the legislature is going to raise gas taxes soon. Frankly, they should go for per-axle weight taxes first. Sounds like the WCRC needs to figure out some fast cuts they could make. I would recommend that they stop widening bridges every time they replace them, for starters. Unfortunately, they've already spent most of that money. Until things pick up, maybe the road commission/county commissioners can do some things to help people help themselves. The change allowing people to hire private companies to remove dead roadside trees was a step in that direction. Next they should make it easier for local residents to pay for local road grading and patch work. Or maybe they should convert some bombed-out paved roads back to gravel as in this WSJ article from a few days ago,


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

Raise taxes!!!


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:48 a.m.

well, everyone wanted smaller government right? This is what smaller government is. Soon the roads will crumble and our cars will get beat up from hitting pothole after pothole. The sad part is, reading the comments here people are still complaining about high taxes and blaming unions. "Those evil commie unions are the reason everything is failing!"


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

I agree with Mr. Piziks comments. There is NO way we can fix the roads in this county with the puny budget the Road Commission has now - that's a fact. And mind you, the roads in this county are very bad relative to other counties and neighboring states to begin with. The money that is needed here is a bare minimum just to keep them from getting worse. Yes, some amount of cuts could be made in the current road commission budget. But not nearly enough to make a dent in the backlog of unfunded projects. This whole problem is endemic of the state government underfunding the roads in Michigan for years. Politicians in Lansing have been ignoring the problem in large part, AND funneling money from the roads into other pet projects. THAT is why the condition of Michigan's roads (including Washtenaw) are rated near the bottom of the nation's states. The reality is that our gas tax in this state is too low relative to what it needs to be to fund a reasonable road budget. It has not kept up with the increases in construction costs and gas prices, and politicians in Lansing refuse to take action on it. Instead, years of indecision and inactivity have caused the roads to get worse and worse. People complain about our high taxes in Michigan, but there are other states that charge a lot more (like Wisconsin). And states that have no taxes like Texas get huge revenues from other sources like the oil industry. We don't have that luxury in Michigan. And asking workers to lower their standard of living to find the money is NOT the answer for this state. If you don't want to pay any higher taxes (gas taxes or millages), my advice is to either move out of the state or stop complaining about the condition of the roads. And get used to a lot more damage to your car or truck. The roads are not going to fix themselves and we're not going to get a big gift from Washington that will pay for the work either. The only thing that will help is to pressure the politicians in Lansing to start doing their jobs and make fixing Michigan's roads a major priority. Otherwise, our efforts to turn around the state economy will be a waste of time.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 7:01 a.m.

What we have is a fundamental clash in ideology between Governor Grahnolms tax incentives to lure companies to Michigan and the Republican legislature that (falsely) believes in continuing to cut taxes across the board to stimulate job growth. It appears that this duality is making things worse, not better. We need a deliberate and consistent path if we are to rebuild this state and a crumbling infrastructure is NOT the route!!! Taxes need to be raised, interest rates at the Federal level need to be raised if Michigan is to rebound. Yes, many unemployed and under employed citizens will suffer, but that is bound to happen now or later anyway. I say rip the band-aid off quickly and lets move forward!


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

I too, see that many people want to have everything fixed, but at the expense of others. Sure that's wasteful spending, but there will always be waste in human endeavors. We just need to do the best we can to keep them under control, but at the same time, not expect them to go away altogether. We've been living off the spending of days past as far as our roads and bridges go. These were built during times of higher taxes (boo!) and greater government spending. If we want to get things back in shape, we need to pay for it. It won't come from the pittance of money that would be realized by pulling money from unionized workers or reducing benefits contractually given. WE have to pony up. We are not overtaxed, just greedy. Let's quit pointing fingers and get this done.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 6:46 a.m.

While I agree the employees need to take a cut like the rest of the private sector I think the most important issue is smarter spending. The state and feds contribute to dumb spending with all of their grants and funding earmarked for specific projects not in the local goverments most needed areas. For example, drive down the Jackson Road boulevard extension. It's a beautiful road but over built for what we need right now. If the funding is there they build it whether warranted or not. How about Obama-dollars wasted on resurfacing roads (Miller and Dexter-Ann Arbor) while not perfect, far better than many others like some with bridges falling down. Lower State and Fed taxes by the amount returned for local projects and let the local agencies propose their own millages for local projects. Bigger government = Dumber decisions.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 5:35 a.m.

What are the qualifications to nab seat on the County Road Commission? Aren't these folks political appointees? That makes them answer to politicians, not taxpayers. Thus, taxpayers have no say in what happens to the roads in Washtenaw County. It really doesn't matter what we think. We pay.... with no say. These should be elected positions, not positions awarded as political favors. The decisions made by the Road Commission board in this era may have more impact on most of us than the decisions made by the County Board of Commissioners. Yet politicians control the Road Commission. Is that really what we want?


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 5:26 a.m.

"The only source of cash is some form of tax." As haulin donkey alludes, many believe existing funding is not being appropriately allocated. It's time for greater efficiency in civil spending matters.


Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 5:18 a.m.

"I don't know that AA workers are overpaid," Well, now you do. There has been much documentation of this, in numerous articles here and elsewhere, attesting to that fact. The analogy is quite relevant to the road commission issue; if road commission workers are as highly compensated as A2 workers are; their excessive payroll represents a huge source of potential cost savings. Tax increases are problematic when civil employees out-earn their customers.

haulin donkey

Wed, Jul 21, 2010 : 12:03 a.m.

If you want to fix this problem, start with cutting overhead. there are too many supervisors and managers and not enough workers that know witch end of the shovel goes in the dirt. Your leaders let you down. No more taxes. Fire the so called leaders that created this mess.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:36 p.m.

I saw this shortfall coming over one year ago as did others. The Road Commission was the last ones to figure this out when they should have been the first. Listen to Roy Townsend, the engineer - he's telling the absolute godawful truth. Wasn't it an embarrassment to government officials when the President recently had to travel over crumbling roads and even the Stadium Bridge? - ahhh the Stadium Bridge, that ode to dilapidation. I support reasonably diligent road maintenance and repair as well as fiscal responsibility. Its a topic right up my alley. Proper funding should come from the Board of Commissioners. And David Rutledge wants a State House seat? Bwa-ha-ha-ah! I'd rather vote for John Q.

The Picker

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

John Q, Your comment on Ponies from Conservatives is a hoot! Only someone who derives their income from the Public trough would make such a statement. Use the funds you have wisely and don't make long term contracts that are unsustainable.

Steven Harper Piziks

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 10:22 p.m.

I don't know that AA workers are overpaid, frankly, though that's really a discussion for elsewhere. The fact is, if we want the roads and bridges to be repaired, we (the public) have to come up with the money to pay for them. They won't fix themselves, and there's no magic fairy who will wave her wand and magic up the money out of nothing. The only source of cash is some form of tax. They are no fun, no one enjoys paying them, and everyone has a reason why someone else should have to fork over, but we ALL use the roads, and we ALL should have to pay for them.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:53 p.m.

Mr. Piziks - If you look, you'll see some significant taxes being paid. What is harder to see (better hidden?) is that, as a rule, the portion of government revenue spent on labor has risen very out of proportion to other classes of spending. I.e., too many big raises and pension increases. The cuts have been to nearly everything else except labor. Many believe it's time to revert to the budgetary mean. If county workers are as overpaid as AA city workers, lowering county wages to the national average wage would save ~ $45,000 per worker X 140 workers = $6.3 million per year. That's likely enough to fix all the closed bridges, just the first year.

John Q

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:45 p.m.

"Tax cuts! That is what makes the economy better." The usual conservative mantra - Cut taxes, the economy grows and the government gets more revenue than it would otherwise. If that's true, there's no need to cut spending. We'll cut taxes and spend more and all the economic growth will cover both! I love conservatives and their "ponies for everyone" way of thinking.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:42 p.m.

Thank you very much, NorthMaple. Any idea where to get the next couple proposed budgets? If not, the trends are easy enough to spot. Thanks again.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:38 p.m.

"By the end of 2012, we will be broke," An unfortunate and inaccurate choice of words; grandstanding perhaps. Ditto with the story headline... What is 'broke'? Definitions vary widely; 'broke' isn't a FASB term. Check this statement: "The county may run a deficit in 2012 if the budget isn't revised a bit." That statement is correct, but it's not very exciting... Perhaps we can help the county balance it's books? A new era of budget austerity is here. An interview with the commission's accountant could be very interesting...

Steven Harper Piziks

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:37 p.m.

We aren't taxed in Michigan! Our taxes are the lowest they've been in thirty years, thanks to cuts and cuts and more cuts. Now we're paying the price in crappy roads and non-existent services.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:35 p.m.

Ill spent money when there was money now leads to crisis when there isn't any. We need new leaders to prevent this sort of foolishness in the future. No easy solutions but more taxes is not the answer.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:34 p.m.

We are taxed, taxed, taxed in Michigan...the boards, legislators and politicians need to get it through their heads that an increase in taxes only hurts the bottom line of the economy which puts people out of their homes, which lowers tax revenues anyway. Tax cuts! That is what makes the economy better. So, please, lets stop all this millage. Use the money wisely that is there. And lastly, I hurt for the few farming families that are inconvenienced by these bridges being out, but it isn't worth a county-wide millage.

Steven Harper Piziks

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:33 p.m.

Everyone wants good bridges and roads, but no one wants to pay for them. They ain't free!


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:33 p.m.

Here we go again folks, this is getting to be a broken record with local government. First solution is to raise taxes on us taxpayers that are TAXED out and have empty pockets. Time for the unions to take paycuts and benefit cuts to their "Cadillac" pensions and healthcare. Till that happens I will vote down any millage that comes along.


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:29 p.m.

WCRC Budgets:


Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 9:14 p.m.

Ms. Keeping - Where are the budget documents?

Fat Bill

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

Fix my road, but please use somebody else's money... These roads serve a very limited population; in times of scarce resources, the resources that remain must be applied where they have the most positive impact on the largest number of people. If the road commission goes broke in 2012, after identifying the revenue problem now, then the commissioners would have to be fools. I don't believe that is the case.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Jul 20, 2010 : 8:28 p.m.

better then than being 'broke' at the end of 2010.