Near the middle of each month, commissioner districts are notified about how much they will receive from the Tax Commission for the following month. We never know exactly what that amount will be or how it will vary from month to month. In fact, when reviewing a line chart of income to District 2 over the years, it becomes apparent just how much of a roller coaster ride county operations can be. (http://bit.ly/165sv0d) This funding uncertainty makes it difficult to plan for expensive maintenance projects.
In order to get the most benefit from the money we receive, it is paramount to balance our three major expense accounts. These include accounts for workers’ salaries, equipment lease/purchase and maintenance and operations (M&O).
Workers’ Salaries—It is important to hire skillful individuals to run the equipment and enable the accomplishment of several projects at a time. Employees must be paid enough to enable the county to maintain a stable workforce with professionals capable of making things run smoothly. However, if too much is expended on salaries, it will not leave enough for Equipment Leases and M&O.
Equipment Lease/Purchase—Having reliable equipment for workers is critical. It is detrimental to have workers without dependable machinery to do what is required in maintaining roads. Rundown equipment requires repairs which deplete the M&O account. It also means employees spend time repairing equipment rather than working on roads. At present, we have bids out for new tractor trucks. We believe we can get new trucks at a lower interest rate than what we are currently paying. This will result in lower monthly payments while still retaining a good amount of equity in the trucks. Having new equipment under warranty means costs for repairing older vehicles can go instead into the M&O account.
M&O—After salaries and equipment leases are funded, remaining monies are deposited into the M&O account. From this account we purchase gravel, asphalt, shale, fuel, parts to repair equipment and other items needed for daily operation. While this amount varies in proportion to the amount of Highway Funds we receive for any given month, we try to appropriate as much as possible into M&O so that even when this account is at its lowest, we can still purchase enough material to keep both employees and equipment busy.
These are considerations we keep in mind when balancing the three major expense accounts. You can view these at http://bit.ly/12JNHXIIItt