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Bipartisan budget agreement secures investment in school breakfast program, county election infrastructure and voter education initiative

County Commission unanimously adopts budget at September 27 meeting


September 27, 2018, Pontiac, Mich. – At their board meeting this morning, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the triennial County budget resolution for fiscal years 2019 through 2021. Adoption of the FY 2019 balanced budget was the result of an extensive, collaborative and bi-partisan effort. Leadership in both caucuses worked together to come to an agreement to fund county-wide programs and services for Oakland County residents and businesses.

“I am pleased that the Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted the three-year budget,” said Board Chairman Michael J. Gingell. “Today’s vote is the result of a significant amount of work and it demonstrates the bipartisan nature of the Board. The 2019 budget continues to invest in roads, provides assistance to the children in the County who need it most, and ensures that Oakland County runs in an efficient and responsible manner.”

“This adopted budget invests in people, our communities, and our future,” said Commissioner Dave Woodward (D-Royal Oak). “Oakland County does better when our children, families, and seniors do better, and I’m very proud this budget puts this belief into practice.”

The bipartisan, unanimous vote was the result of a budget agreement that included:

  • $500,000 investment towards a partnership with United Way of Southeastern Michigan and Oakland Schools to improve access to school breakfast for county students. Better nutrition will support better academic performance for our future leaders.
  • Funds to cover the cost of printing up to 100% of ballots for registered voters as recommended by the bipartisan Ad Hoc Committee on Election Infrastructure after their review of ballot shortage issues during the 2018 primary election in August.
  • $50,000 for anti-bullying programming in partnership with Oakland Schools.
  • $50,000 towards partnership with Oakland Hope to provide food, clothing and household goods for low-income Oakland County residents.
  • $25,000 as requested by the Oakland County Clerk for a voter education initiative aimed at minimizing ballot spoilage in advance of the next federal primary election
  • $10,000 for adult literacy programs through the Oakland Literacy Council
The above amendments finalized the adoption of the balanced, three-year budget first proposed by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson to the Board of Commissioners on July 19, 2018. The Finance Committee conducted an in-depth review of the plan and held hearings with department heads in early August. At the Finance Committee meeting on August 30, 2018, the committee recommended approval of the proposed budget by a unanimous, bi-partisan vote.

“The adoption of this budget demonstrates that Oakland County is still a model of bipartisan cooperation when it comes to funding programs and services for our residents,” said Commissioner Thomas F. Middleton (R-Clarkston/Waterford), chair of the Finance Committee. “I am very proud of my colleagues on the Board for working across the aisle to adopt this responsible budget.”

“It is wonderful that we are able to provide funding for school breakfasts, Oakland Hope and antibullying efforts, among other important programs,” said Commissioner Helaine Zack (D-Ferndale), minority vice chair of the Finance Committee. “I strongly support these initiatives, which will serve families and students in our communities.”

“Putting county dollars towards ensuring that we never again face a ballot shortage on Election Day in Oakland County is money well spent,” said Commissioner Tom J. Berman (R-Keego Harbor), co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Election Infrastructure. “Our review of the challenges voters faced on August 7th clearly indicated that we need to be better prepared for future elections. Providing adequate funds to print ballots for up to 100% of registered voters is an important step in the right direction.”

“Voters in our communities shared their experiences and insights with us and we listened,” said Commissioner Nancy Quarles (D-Southfield), who also co-chaired the ad hoc committee. “The funding for printing more ballots and helping to educate voters so they are better informed about the process when they go to the ballot box is incredibly important.”

Other highlights of the budget include an increase of $10.2 million in property tax revenue from 2018, which is an indication of healthy property values in Oakland County. The plan invests in the County’s employees, providing a two percent salary increase, and its technology, which will result in improved customer service for residents and increased efficiency in local government.

The general fund budgets for fiscals 2019, 2020 and 2021 are $466,382,128; $467,444,492 and $476,224,907, respectively. The total budget funds for those years are $893,513,720; $893,953,685 and $901,630,539, respectively.

Live video of the full board meetings can be viewed by visiting www.oakgov.com/boc and clicking on “Watch the Board.” For more information, contact Board Chairman Michael J. Gingell at 248-858-0100 or gingellm@oakgov.com. Commissioner Thomas F. Middleton, chair of the Finance Committee, can be reached at 248-620-6551 or middletont@oakgov.com. Full details of the Oakland County budget and all County financial operations are available on the Fiscal Services website at www.oakgov.com/fiscal.