The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) expects to realize a savings of roughly $1.5 million as a result of the mild winter.
“With the unseasonably warm temperatures we have experienced lately, and the reduced amount and frequency of snow we saw for the last five months, we are now comfortable with the conclusion that we will, in fact, see a savings this year due to the mild winter,” said RCOC Board of Road Commissioners Vice Chairman Greg Jamian.
The savings is a direct result of the reduced amount of both salt and employee overtime pay the agency used throughout the winter.
As of Sunday, March 18, the RCOC had used 42,297 tons of salt for the winter season, which is just over half of the 83,143 tons of salt used by the same date last year. The RCOC has also used only about half as much of its overtime budget compared to the previous winter.
“This savings could not have come at a better time,” Jamian said. “Despite cutting our costs, improving our efficiency and reducing our staff by nearly 25 percent, the road commission has been challenged by continually falling revenues for the last five years. While this additional money is just a drop in the bucket compared to what we need, every little bit helps, and this will certainly make a difference.”
The dollars can now be used to purchase needed equipment, like trucks. However, at a price tag of about $200,000 apiece, only two trucks will be purchased along with five specialized salt truck insert units that provide improved efficiency for salting and brine operations.
The savings will also be levied to purchase some additional gravel to help stabilize some of the 770-plus miles of gravel roads under the RCOC’s jurisdiction.
“Due to the ongoing road funding crisis, we have not been able to add new gravel to many of the unpaved roads as we would have liked to,” said RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. “While this won’t solve the problem, it will help us to stabilize several roads.”
Dollars will also help to minimize previously planned staff reductions. The RCOC has reduced its workforce by 132 people since 2007, and an RCOC three-year financial plan calls for 21 additional vacancies by the end of the current fiscal year.
So far, the staff reductions have occurred through attrition.