The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will present its proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget at a public hearing Thursday, Aug. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium, 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac.
The public is invited to attend the hearing and offer input on the proposed budget. RCOC’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Adoption of the budget is expected to take place at the regular RCOC Board meeting on Sept. 22.
The proposed $178 million budget represents a slight decrease from the current year’s budget of $180.2 million adopted in September of last year. The 2023 proposed budget decreased primarily due to a decrease in federal road funds, which fluctuate from year to year and are awarded on a project-by-project basis.
RCOC anticipates receiving just over $122 million in state road funding in fiscal year 2023, compared to almost $115 million received in the current year. State road funding is derived primarily from state-collected fuel taxes, vehicle-registration fees and state General Fund dollars.
The state dollars continue to represent RCOC’s largest source of funding and its main funding source for operations.
The remaining revenue making up the budget comes from local community contributions ($13.2 million) federal funds ($27.1 million), the contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to maintain state highways in the county ($12.5 million) and fees and other revenues ($3.1 million).
The proposed 2023 budget includes nearly $51.4 million in annual contributions toward safety-focused road-improvement projects planned to be under construction in 2023 and future years (this is not the total cost for these projects -- some costs were included in the current year’s budget or will be included in the 2024 budget where projects are carried over from last year or expected to be carried over into 2024); $40.8 million for road maintenance efforts such as pothole patching, gravel road grading and salting and plowing in the winter; and $16.8 million for maintaining traffic signs, signals, pavement markings and guardrails among other activities.
The remainder of the budget is dedicated to operating expenses including customer services, vehicle maintenance, staff wages, buildings and grounds and administration.
“The Road Commission remains in a strong financial position,” reports RCOC Board Chair Andrea LaLonde. “We remain very careful about how we use the revenue we receive, making sure that we can do the most to improve the road system most cost effectively and efficiently,” LaLonde added.
RCOC Vice Chair Nancy Quarles concurred. “We have always operated in a fiscally responsible manner,” she explained. “But, like everyone else, we are dealing with the impacts of inflation,” she stated. “Unfortunately, our dollars simply are not going as far as they used to, with road project prices jumping as much as 50 percent in the last year and the cost of everything rising dramatically.”
Board Member Ron Fowkes added the Board is hopeful that RCOC will receive some of the federal relief dollars the state has received related to the COVID pandemic to help make up for the bite supply chain issues have taken out of the agency’s buying power. “Our revenues simply have not kept pace,” he explained. “The federal government provided Michigan with a lot of money for restoring services impacted by the pandemic. Unfortunately, we did not receive any of that money, so it would be great if some of those dollars were directed our way.”
Managing Director Dennis Kolar agreed. “In addition to inflation, we lost approximately $15 million during 2020 and 2021 as a result of reduced fuel-tax revenue during the early stages of the pandemic. That money would have helped to repair a lot of roads,” Kolar said. “If we could get reimbursed for some of that loss, we would certainly put the money to good use restoring our roads.”
During the public hearing, RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz will provide an overview of the proposed 2023 Road Improvement Program (RIP) which includes next year’s road-construction projects. Among the planned projects are:
- Construction of a roundabout at the Greenfield Road/Normandy Road intersection in Beverly Hills/Royal Oak
- Major resurfacing of Walton Blvd., Clintonville to the Pontiac city limits in Waterford Twp.
- Construction of a roundabout at the Orion Road/Stoney Creek Road intersection in Orion Twp.
- Replacement of the Dutton Road bridge over the Paint Creek in Oakland Twp./Rochester Hills
A complete list of projects expected to be constructed in 2023 is attached. Projects are typically selected based on a detailed, computerized road-assessment program combined with engineers’ analysis and a review of safety data. The decisions are often made years before construction begins because of funding requirements.
“RCOC continues to improve the safety and condition of our roads throughout Oakland County,” Managing Director Kolar said. “We know that many roads still need improvement and appreciate the patience of our citizens and businesses as we continue to work through a very long needs list.”
The proposed budget is posted on the RCOC Website, www.rcocweb.org (click on the “Financials” button on the home page, select “Budget Summary” and click on “Proposed 2022-23 Budget”).
Editor’s Note: The list of anticipated projects to be constructed in 2023 and a summary of proposed revenues and expenses are attached.
PROPOSED 2023 BUDGET
October 1, 2022 - September 30, 2023
- State fuel tax, vehicle-registration fees and state General Fund $122,268,889
- State highway-maintenance contract $ 12,500,000
- Michigan Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) $ 0
- Federal funding-Road Improvement Program (RIP) $ 19,997,500
- Federal funding-signal projects $ 560,000
- Federal funding-Traffic Operations Center operations $ 6,300,000
- Federal funding-Medicare Part D $ 200,000
- Contributions from local governments $ 13,152,500
- Fees and other revenues $ 3,140,020
- Appropriation from fund balance $ 0
Total Revenues $178,118,909
- Road Improvement Program (RIP) $ 51,360,000
- Operating expenditures $123,558,909
- Traffic-signal projects $ 700,000
- Special Assessment District projects (contractor payments) $ 2,500,000
Total expenses $178,118,909