County road budget includes major Hills projects

The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will present its proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget, which includes road and bridge projects in Farmington Hills, during an August 25 public hearing.

The meeting, which will include time for public comment, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium, 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac.

According to a press release, the proposed $129 million budget represents an increase of about $25 million compared to the $104 million 2016 budget adopted in September of last year. The 2017 proposed budget increased primarily due to an anticipated increase in state and federal road funding.

Federal funds are awarded on a project-by-project basis, and the amount RCOC receives tends to fluctuate from year to year. These funds can be used only for heavy construction projects and not for routine maintenance activities such as pothole patching, grading gravel roads, plowing, etc.

RCOC anticipates slightly more than $78 million in state road funding, compared to just over $63 million received in the current year. State road funding is derived primarily from state-collected fuel taxes and vehicle-registration fees.

These state dollars represent RCOC’s largest source of funding and its main funding source for operations. The anticipated increase is the result of the increased road funding package enacted by the state Legislature in late 2015, but which will begin to take effect in January 2017.

Local projects include bridge maintenance on Middlebelt Road over the Rouge River (between 8 Mile & Grand River), and concrete slab replacement on 12 Mile Road, from Haggerty to Farmington Road.

RCOC’s fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. Final adoption of the budget will take place in September.