Alcona road commission to budget $6 million for road improvements

LINCOLN – The Alcona County Road Commission is budgeting $6 million next year to maintain 744 miles of roads and make improvements. This is an increase of about $250,000 compared to the 2013 budget, which was set at $5.75 million, road commission account clerk Pat Kollien said Friday.

An additional $50,000 has been designated for snow removal in 2014, she said. The remaining $200,000 is in place as the county rebuilds its maintenance garage, which was destroyed by fire in late September.

“We had the fire loss, so we had some proceeds from our insurance company for equipment and contents,” Kollien said.

Figuring out the budget was more complicated this year because of the fire and insurance reimbursements, Kollien said. So she started work on the document earlier than normal. It has been reviewed by county officials.

On Monday, the road commissioners will hold a public hearing at 4:15 p.m. at 301 Lake St., in Lincoln so residents can give their input. The multi-page document has been available for examination during regular office hours.

The commissioners also are scheduled to vote Monday on adopting the budget after the hearing.

Most of the county road revenue comes from the Michigan Transportation Fund, which is expected to contribute $2.4 million in 2014, Kollien said.

Federal and state grants will equal another $683,000, and local townships will contribute an estimated $700,000 toward specific projects within their boundaries. Township funds are generated through property tax millage levies, Kollien said.

As for winter, salt already has been purchased for the entire season, Kollien said. If snow plowing costs go over budget, though, road commissioners will consider a reduction in capital spending for new equipment.

Kollien also budgeted increases for fuel, oil, gravel and seal-coating materials crews will need to maintain county roads.

Kollien budgeted $515,000 for lease-purchase agreements, which will allow the county to add two new graders to its fleet. Another $360,000 is being budgeted for two new trucks.

One of the new trucks will replace a fully equipped tandem truck that was delivered to the garage about a week before it burned down.

Some other items in the 2014 budget:

$0 for traffic fines. Kollien said that in her 16 years at the road commission office, only one member of the crew has ever received a ticket. He was stopped for driving a truck that was overweight.

$1,200 for funeral leaves

$1,200 to heat the road commission office

$1,500 for random drug and alcohol tests done quarterly. In 2013, those tests were budgeted at the same amount and cost $1,046.

$4,000 for road signs

$350,000 for fuel, up $50,000 from 2013.

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693.

Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.