Road commission has enough funds for 'an average winter'

The Isabella County Road Commission is prepared for the winter season despite the late start to snow this year.

Tony Casali, manager for the Isabella County Road Commissionsaid they are in good shape and, prior to the first snow, the commission was busy preparing and prepping the roads.

Gravel roads were graded to keep them in good conditions, and potholes were also patched, Casali said.

The road commission establishes its budget, which starts on Nov. 1, once a year. A 3-year average fund balance is used to reference what the last three winters have been like.

Casali said they have enough in the budget to handle a normal winter.

“We do have a fund balance, and we have enough funds in snow accounts to handle an average winter,” Casali said.

Bill Albagh, street maintenance specialist for Mount Pleasant, said money spent has been cut back because of the lack of snow.

Albagh has a snowplowing business and also works for the city. He said snowplow drivers haven't been getting as much overtime in the city as they usually do in the winters.

“We’ve been watching our money the last couple of years, because the recession really slowed things down, (and) we go with what we have to work with,” Albagh said.

This year, the road commission will monitor weekend plowing and will respond depending on the amount of snow that comes.

Primary concerns are blacktop surfaces, local roads and then subdivisions, Casali said.

“Depending on the amount of snow that comes down on a weekend, or if it is early in the weekend, we may take a look at that,” Casali said. “ If it comes in midday Sunday, we may look at the snow event, keep our primary’s safe, and resume plowing in the early hours of Monday to try and get everyone safe travels.”

Albagh said many store owners have to pay to get their parking lot plowed. Last year there was a lot of snow, and they didn’t budget the money enough to get it down, while this year they should be way ahead of the budget, he said.

Though the commission appears to be set financially for the winter, the road commission is looking at other funding mechanisms to possibly reconstruct Deerfield Road, including taking open measures with grants and state and federal funding to reconstruct the portion of the road between Mission Road and Crawford Road.

This fall, Isabella County Road Commission and Union Township split the $30,000 cost to temporarily fix the road.

Casali said it is difficult to pinpoint how long Deerfield Road is anticipated to last, but some roads in similar condition have lasted three to five years.

It is in much better condition than it was during last winter, Casali said.

"Hopefully we won’t see as many potholes and incidents like that, that occurred throughout the winter,” he said.



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