The question that gets asked most at the Road Commission is: I pay all these property taxes, why can't I get my road fixed? Actually, to the surprise of most people, we do not receive any property tax. Not directly anyway. Some property tax does get back to the roads in the form of township participation on Local Road upgrades. No property tax comes to us for maintenance of the roads. On the average, 79% of your property tax goes to our education system, 18% goes to the County (Not the Road Commission) and 3% goes to the township. A road millage would be voted on by the taxpayers.
Public Act 51 of 1951 set up the funding for State Trunklines, County Road Commissions, cities and villages. This act has been modified 63 times in the past 46 years and is quite complex, but basically this is how it works. When you buy a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel in Michigan, you are paying approximately 31 cents State tax. This breaks down to 12 or 13 cents State Sales Tax (6% of the price) and 19 cents State Highway Tax. This State Highway Tax and the cost of license plates make up most of the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). Sixteen percent off the top of these MTF monies goes to various State needs such as; Comprehensive Transportation, The Secretary of State, DNR and other administrative costs. Of the remaining monies, 20.5% goes to cities and villages, 41% goes to the State Trunkline Fund and 38.5% goes to the County Road Commissions. This money goes to each county road commission based on where vehicles are registered, population and miles of roads in the county. Of the Road Commissions' share, 1% is held back as Snow Funds and distributed in November of each year to Counties that averaged over 80 inches of snow in a 10 year period. No sales tax goes to roads.
We received $3,405,732 of MTF funds 2003. We also received $133,424 from the townships as matching money for construction of Local roads in 2003. Other revenues are generated each year by interest on deposits, sale of surplus equipment, permits, mineral leases and gas wells. The gas wells are from property that we own in deed (like gravel pits) and our garage land. In 2003 we received $39,250 from these gas wells. Our total budget for 2004 is just over 6.3 million dollars. One revenue we are required to put in our budget that we never actually see the money for is Federal and State grants.
In addition to the State tax, there is a Federal Tax in the amount of 18.3 cents a gallon. Some of this money does get back to our County. This money is administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation and can have several forms or categories. You may have heard of TEA21, "Category A", "Category D", or STP funds. Most of these funds are restrictive, must be applied for and give us 77% to 80% matching money. Some roads we have used Federal Money on in recent years are Old 27, Parmater Road, West Otsego Lake Drive and Old State Road. Federal Money goes directly to a contractor and is not a part of our cash revenues.
We have 30 employees, 834 miles of road to maintain, over 30 trucks plus loaders, graders and a dozer. To prepare the average road for paving costs about $30,000 a mile, sealcoat is $20,000 a mile and blacktop is $50,000 a mile. The cost for a tandem axle Road Commission truck fully equipped has gone up to almost $110,000. We spent over $1,057,122 in 2003 on snow removal alone. In a normal winter we put down over 3,000 tons of salt on County roads and 9,000 tons on State highways. In addition, we put down over 12,000 yards of sand on both County and State roads.