Will Brooks Use His Veto Power on the New Budget?

Oakland County has adopted its budget.  Unfortunately, Republican Kim Capello, a sour grapes Republican Primary looser (you know, the guy caught nude in Novi last year) was the swing vote for the Democrats allowing over $580,000 to be added to the budget.  Rochester Hills Democratic commissioner Tim Greimel brought all of the amendments to the floor. 

One addition was a half million dollars for the tri-party road fund – sounds good and looks good on campaign literature. Oakland is the only county in the State to utilize this program to assist communities accomplish road projects.  The tri-party fund requires the local community, the county and the Road Commission for Oakland County to each provide a 1/3 match for a project.  Unfortunately, the road commission and many of the communities don’t have sufficient funds to provide their 1/3 match for a project.  Oh well, it passed and will probably just sit in a fund unused and not be available for other necessary expenses during this time of declining revenue for government. 

An additional housing councilor was added for $80,000 plus – but we did get those funds taken out of the County Commissioners project account rather than the fund balance which is dedicated to balancing the budget over the next few years.

Then there were policies brought directly to the floor.  One mandates that if an Oakland County business bids and is within 2.5% of the lowest bid – they will get the preference.  Again, sounds great but think about the real impact.  Why bother to bid in Oakland County if the lowest and best qualified bidder may not count? Most companies that we do business with are located in Michigan.  The policy really is isolationist and if every county did this, businesses would be forced to set up satellite locations in neighboring counties to participate in their bid process.  Detroit and Wayne County have been doing this for decades and they’re both head over heels in debt.  It doesn’t look like a winner for businesses or taxpayers to me.  Hopefully, Brooks will come to the rescue on this one.  Commissioner John Scott questioned why the Democrats were deviating from their traditional ‘regionalism’ stance. Good observation, John.

Ethics policies are great and Oakland County has operated under one since around 1990 and there are many State laws that address appropriate public servant behavior.  But today that wasn’t enough and a policy passed calling for new language with an appointed board to hear and judge complaints.  I can only begin to imagine the partisan games that will be played if Brooks doesn’t come to the rescue on this one. 

by Sue Ann Douglas, Oakland County Commissioner

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