EagleHerald Staff Writer

MENOMINEE — The Menominee County Road Commission expects to pull in $12.8 million and spend $12.9 million in the upcoming fiscal year to keep the county roads in good shape, a 14.5% increase in revenue from the current estimated budget.

The bulk of the Road Commission’s revenue comes from Michigan Transportation Funds, collected at the gas pump and through vehicle registrations. In fiscal 2021-22, which starts Oct. 1, the road commission has recommended a budget with $6.4 million in Michigan Transportation Funds, up from $6.2 million in the current estimated budget.

These funds are used for general operating expenditures, said Road Commission Finance Director and Clerk Sue Savord.

“That’s the general operating fund. That’s how we keep our operations going and keep our employees going,” she said.

Revenue from Special State Funds is expected to rise 140% to $2.7 million from $1.1 million in the current estimated budget. A line item for “Local Bridge Funds” boosted revenue in this category by $2.3 million in 2021-2022. The increase is on top of a 393% hike in 2020-21 from $229,500 in 2019-2020.

The new budget includes an increase in expected federal revenue to $1.3 million in the current fiscal year from about $457,000 in 2019-2020, and federal revenue is expected to climb again to $1.6 million in 2021-2022. Surface Transportation Program funds from the Federal Highway Administration are expected to increase by $1.6 million in the upcoming fiscal year, while federal Bureau of Indian Affairs funds are expected to decrease by $1.3 million in the upcoming year from fiscal 2020-1021.

Savord said she was unclear on exactly why the federal funds fluctuated. She said County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Darrell Cass manages those areas but was out of the county and unavailable. County Road Commission chair Anthony Kakuk of Daggett also was unavailable for comment about the fiscal 2021-2022 budget.

The County Road budget also includes about $4 million in a projected surplus at the end of the upcoming fiscal year, down from $4.2 million at the end of the current fiscal year.

The County Road budget is separate from the Menominee County budget, Savord said. “We do the township roads,” she said. Individual cities and villages, such as Menominee, Stephenson, Powers and  Daggett manage their own road systems, she said.

Savord said the amount of money the county road commission actually spends varies from year to year, depending on road conditions and factors like the weather. Special projects, such as a new bridge, also can affect the budget.

“Unfortunately I can’t predict winter. I take a five-year average and that’s what we put in the budget. If we have a real hard winter, we could spend more,” she said.