Patterson presents budget to Board of Commissioners

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Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced that Oakland County employees may see a 1% general salary increase in 2014 with no salary changes for 2012 and 2013 in his budget recommendation to the Board of Commissioners Wednesday evening. He also revealed two programmatic changes: the reduction of one judge and subsequent staff in 52-4 District Court mandated by the State Court Administrative Office (a county savings of $155,000) and the potential for the Oakland County Sheriff to house short-term medium security prisoners for the Michigan Department of Corrections with an estimated net financial benefit of $1 million.

The General Fund budget is balanced at $412,030,613 for Fiscal Year 2012; $413,929,349 for Fiscal Year 2013; and $421,175,394 for Fiscal Year 2014. Total budget for all funds amounts to $795,193,397 for Fiscal Year 2012; $784,066,992 for Fiscal Year 2013; and $791,342,225 for Fiscal Year 2014.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank the Oakland County employees for their dedication and hard work," Patterson said. "An overwhelming majority of them understand the financial challenges imposed by the economy, and they have accepted bearing some of the burden to reduce costs."

Patterson also addressed how changes in Lansing may impact future budgets. One significant change in estimated revenue for 2015 and beyond is an assumed 1/3 reduction in state revenue sharing payments or $8.2 million. But Oakland County's long-term financial planning and management helps to mitigate the loss of that revenue.

"Oakland County has and will continue to operate within its limited resources," Patterson said. "This will be accomplished by continuation of our financial planning practices which include long-term financial forecasting, monitoring of the economic conditions and their impact on the budget, identifying opportunities for increased efficiencies, and continuous efforts toward reducing expenditures."

Michigan's 2012 budget contains revenue sharing funding incentives to encourage collaboration and shared service agreements among independent governmental entities in the state. Patterson outlined the many ways in which Oakland County leads in collaboration including the Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System (aka CLEMIS); providing contract services to many cities, villages and townships such as animal control, real property assessing, Information Technology and water and sewer services; a contract for the sheriff to provide police and dispatch services on behalf of Pontiac as it already does in other communities; and the Economic Growth Alliance, just to name a few.

"Oakland County has long been a leader in collaborative initiatives, not just among CVTs within our county's borders but also regionally beyond our borders," Patterson said.

The county executive outlined the economic outlook for Oakland County. Patterson said, "There are initial signs that an economic recovery has begun here in Michigan. Similar to the national recovery, Michigan's economic recovery is also forecasted to be a slow one which will take many years to restore lost jobs and property values."

Among the highlights of the economic outlook are:

* The average annual unemployment rate decreased in 2010 for both Oakland County and Michigan while the national unemployment rate continued to increase.

* University of Michigan economists George Fulton and Donald Grimes report that Oakland County will experience job growth this year which is expected to continue through 2013. They credit Oakland County's job growth and retention strategies such as Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street and Automation Alley.

* The U.S. auto industry is seeing a resurgence. In Oakland County, General Motors reopened its Lake Orion plant for their next-generation small car assembly.

* The number of foreclosures appears to be dropping below the levels experienced over the past three years, but still in excess of "normal" levels, continuing to impact property values and property tax revenues. After 2014, it is expected that county-wide assessed values will stabilize.

Patterson thanked the Board of Commissioners and other countywide elected officials for their cooperation in producing a balanced rolling three-year, line-item budget.

"In the design and execution of an effective long term budget, it is essential to have the commitment and cooperation of all elected officials. Oakland County enjoys that commitment and cooperation," Patterson said.

To view the budget message, go to www.oakgov.com/exec. To view the budget documents, go to www.oakgov.com/fiscal.

Published: Fri, Jul 8, 2011

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