FLINT TWP. — A report on the record-breaking impact of Winter Storm ION last year is included in the “2014 Genesee County Road Commission Performance Dashboard”, being presented to increase transparency and accountability in government.
Approved at the January, 2015 meeting of the Board of Genesee County Road Commissioners, the report provides a snapshot of road commission performance last year.
Winter Storm ION hit Genesee County on Jan.4-5, dumping the third largest snowfall in local history. It took 4.5 days and cost the road commission $912,016 to clear the roads, according to the report.
This storm came on the heels of a significant ice event the previous week complicated by snow squalls, record low temperatures and brutal wind chills.
Reportedly, the National Weather Service estimated wind chills at -30 to -40 on the morning of Monday, January 6 with hard-packed ice covering the roads.
The severity of winter pushed the cost of salting up to over $1.2 million last year compared to costs of about $822,915 in 2013 and $626,480 in 2012. But still less than about $1.4 million spent in 2011. Dashboard data goes all the way back to 2010 and includes a breakdown of cost by local, primary and state trunk line roads.
The 26-page dashboard report details many other road commission costs including pothole patching ($2.1 million in 2014); mowing, sweeping, chloride for dirt roads and fuel use for equipment.
The Road Commission has a 2015 budget of $59,091,829 including about $6,936 million from its fund balance, according to financial reports. Reportedly, most funding comes from the Michigan Transportation Fund (gas tax) which has not increased since 1997 and has necessitated dipping into a fund balance for at least the past five years to meet expenses and maintain service levels. The county road system is made up of 430 miles of county primary roads and 1,139 miles of county local roads. That includes all public roads that are not state trunk lines and are outside of incorporated cities. The performance report also provides multi-year information about employee safety and injuries; road crashes by type and injuries; permits issued; purchasing (grass, mulch, fuel, fertilizer etc.); road surface conditions of subdivision (poor), local and primary roads. The dashboard also includes a report on web site visits and unique page views, which understandably spiked during the January 2014 ION event. Local township road plans and other information about road commission activities are included in the report which can viewed in its entirety on the road commission website at www.gcrc.org/index.php.