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Oakland County Board of Commission ers Commissioners

2010 Annual Report

2009 – A YEAR OF TURMOIL: WILL THINGS BE BETTER THIS YEAR? There is no denying that 2009 was a tough year for residents of Oakland County. It is of little consolation that things were far worse in many other counties in Michigan. Unfortunately, it looks like 2010 is going to be another difficult year, as home foreclosures rise, property values continue to fall and businesses are forced to lay off hard working and dedicated employees. Many employees who have managed to keep their jobs have been forced to accept pay cuts, including Oakland County employees, who have taken a 2.5% pay cut in fiscal year 2010, and will take another cut in fiscal year 2011. As employees leave, they are not being replaced. Reduction in personnel will save the county an estimated $5½ million in 2010, and $10.9 million in 2011. Commissioners approved an $819.6 million general operating budget for fiscal year 2010, up only 3.6%, or $2.97 million, from fiscal 2009. Property taxes make up 53.2% of annual Oakland County revenues. But taxable property values are declining, and property tax revenue this year was down from fiscal 2009 by almost $10 million. The capital improvement program is being trimmed by $2 million. These cuts are necessary because the county expects an estimated 29% decline in property tax revenues over the next three years. The county will spend almost $45 million less in three years than it does today. And those are real dollars — no accounting gimmicks. By 2013, however, officials believe the financial crisis may begin to ease, with more people working and property values beginning to rise. County residents are strong and resilient, and we believe with patience, planning and perseverance, we will together make it through these difficult financial times. Oakland County is proud of its record of fiscal responsibility and forward thinking which has enabled the county to weather the current financial storm better than most counties in Michigan. We acknowledge that it is becoming more difficult to keep our heads above water. So far, however, we have succeeded in preserving essential services without raising any taxes. While it’s becoming more difficult, we intend to try and keep it that way. In addition to budget cutting, County Officials have worked hard to expand revenues by diversifying and expanding our business base in order to replace lost manufacturing jobs. We are happy to report that a strong December put Oakland County’s Emerging Sectors® program over $191 million in new investment in 2009, which will result in Message from Bill Bullard Jr., Chairman of the Board creating or saving 3,200 jobs and increasing the tax base. Since its inception, Emerging Sectors has secured more than $1 billion in Dear Friends, private sector investments, and thousands of new jobs. Wall Street With the highest unemployment rate in the noticed, and has reaffirmed the County’s AAA bond rating, which country, Michigan is struggling with the most means the county can borrow money at the lowest rate possible. depressed economy it has experienced since the While no one can predict what new obstacles we may encounter Great Depression of the 1930s. in 2010, one thing is certain: Oakland County is the only Your County Commissioners want to do our part to balance Oakland County’s budget, so we have agreed to pay governmental entity in America that has adopted a balanced threecuts in each of the next two years. year budget. That gives us plenty of time to make corrections before All 25 County Commissioners have voluntarily taken a 2.5% pay a new problem becomes insurmountable. It reflects thoughtful and cut in fiscal year 2010, and will take an additional 2.5% pay cut careful planning versus crisis management. in fiscal year 2011, as part of Oakland County’s ongoing effort to As we balance the budget, we also are doing all we can to create maintain a balanced budget without raising taxes or diminishing more private sector jobs. As government jobs grow and private essential services. These pay cuts match the sacrifice which county employees have sector jobs decline in much of America, we’re working to be sure been asked to make. As of today, all of the County’s non-represented the exact opposite continues to happen here in Oakland County. employees, and eight (8) of the bargaining units have accepted the 2.5% pay cuts this fiscal year. The other two (2) are still negotiating for year 2010, and all ten are in negotiations about cuts in fiscal year 2011. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and the other five countywide elected officials are taking 2.5% pay cuts this year and 1.5 % next year. State Law prohibits Board Members from voting to change the amount of their pay during their current terms. Because of that, your 25 Commissioners agreed unanimously to give back 2.5% of their pay this year and approved a salary reduction of 2.5% for 2011. So when we say “We feel your pain,” we really do. Best Wishes for a better 2010,

Bill Bullard Jr., Chairman

2009-2010 Oakland County Board of Commissioners



ne of the great joys of living in Oakland County is the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that nature offers. We are surrounded by lakes big and small, and 13 county parks. Oakland County Parks started welcoming guests in 1966, and began expanding almost immediately...evolving into the wonderful park system we enjoy today year round. Oakland County Parks value what you value – family relationships, good health, community connections, environmental stewardship, economic stability, and a better quality of life.

New this summer, an off-leash dog park will open at Red Oaks in Madison Heights, and a universally accessible playscape will premiere at Waterford Oaks. With the millage renewal, the Parks and Recreation Commission plans to expand walking, hiking, mountain biking, equestrian, and ski trails. Ongoing conservation initiatives protect natural resources. Natural resources stewardship and education programs will be expanded. Improvements totalling $1½ million will be made to park infrastructures and facilities, and to increase universal accessibility. The Park and Recreation Commission also intends to enhance its collaborative recreation planning assistance for communities, to offer web-based reservation and registration systems, and initiate recycling programs at all parks and facilities. With the renewed millage, the owner of a $175,000 house would contribute about $22/year for a park system that offers year round outdoor activities. Our parks enhance the quality of life in Oakland County. With a better quality of life, housing prices go up; businesses are more eager to relocate or expand here, thus creating more jobs; the quality of our schools can be maintained; and we will continue to be recognized as one of the best counties in the country in which to live.

On August 3, 2010, Oakland County voters will be asked to vote on the renewal of a ten-year millage of .2415 for the purpose of operating, maintaining and improving parks and recreation areas and facilities in Oakland County. This renewal (it’s not a new tax or an increase in the existing tax) will enable the Parks and Recreation Department to continue serving the 1.5 million people who visit the parks annually. Since 1966, county residents have valued their parks–and passed the tradition of getting outdoors with family and friends. Over the last 44 years, the park system has grown to 13 parks, featuring everything from swimming and boating to winter sports, hiking and bicycle trails, golf courses and greenhouses.



n today’s world, all government agencies appear to many people to be abstract faceless bureaucracies that don’t care about citizens’ problems and seem to be oblivious to the financial chaos wreaking havoc in the private sector. People who care enough to read, listen to, or watch balanced news accounts know that much of the job growth taking place is in the public sector. Job growth in the private sector is virtually stagnant. Seeing government create new jobs, and give workers raises, while employees in private industry take pay cuts or lose their jobs entirely, doesn’t sit well with many citizens. In Oakland County, those who work in government are not faceless entities, but are residents who feel the same pain as everyone else while our economy struggles to regain its footing. Those of us who have been elected to run county government are also your neighbors, and also feel the pain. Oakland County Commissioners have made a commitment to do our part and avoid raising taxes while continuing to provide necessary services. One of the most significant ways we are accomplishing this is by reducing the county’s work force with vitually no layoffs while implementing a three-year hiring freeze. In 2008, we offered voluntary retirement packages to qualified county employees, 152 of whom took advantage of the offer. Over the next two years, 160 positions vacated by retirements

and other voluntary departures were eliminated. This has minimized layoffs to only eight people since 2008. Finally, some positions that were full-time became part-time. In fiscal year 2009, the county government saved more than $3 million by filling 56 vacant full-time jobs with part-time employees. Between 2008 and 2009, full-time eligible employee numbers went down by 227 and part-time employee numbers went up by 175. Take a look at the chart below. Total Employee Count by Year (as of each January) YEAR

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

FULL-TIME 3,767 3,734 3,726 3,499 3,428

PART-TIME 1,011 1,010 957 1,132 1,168


61 58 68 57 46


4,839 4,802 4,751 4,688 4,642

This year, the vast majority of Oakland County employees took a pay decrease of 2.5%, and will take another 1.5% cut next year. Elected officials voluntarily gave back 2.5% of their pay in 2010. Oakland County Commissioners approved an $819.6 million dollar budget for fiscal year 2010, an increase of $2.97 million from the fiscal year 2009 budget – an increase of only 3.2%. Graphs on the next page show where county revenue comes from and how it is spent. A close look shows we are doing our best to keep the level of services high, while revenues continue to decline.

Oakland County, Michigan Revenue by Source Investment Income

Oakland County, Michigan 2010 Expenditures by Source

Miscellaneous Revenue


Community Development 2% Board of Commis sioners 1% Water Resources Commis sioner 1% Treasurer 1% S heriff 28%

Executive Administration/ Facilities 2% County Clerk / Register of Deeds 3% Transfer to Other Funds 2% Public S ervices 4% Prosecuting Attorney 5%


Charges for Services

(Patrols, Jail, etc.)

Finance, Human Resources 6%

22.6% Intergovernmental Revenue


Property Taxes

Non-Departmental 12%


Health & Human S ervices 15%

Courts (Circuit, District, Probate) 18%



ith the changing housing market and more homeowners dealing with underwater mortgages, in addition to high home foreclosure rates presenting unprecedented challenges for residents and communities across the county – the Oakland County Community Home and Improvement Division has many services available to help housing consumers who face difficulties. If you are confronted with housing issues and have questions, the Oakland County Housing Counseling program may have the

answers. Residents seeking solutions to landlord-tenant matters, or who are facing foreclosure, considering a loan modification, home improvement work or desiring to buy a home, should contact the Oakland County Home and Improvement Division to see if one of their many consumer-oriented programs can help. Each year, the Oakland County Home and Improvement Division assists residents by administering millions of federal dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through various housing programs and services. Last year, close to 40,000 residents used the Oakland County Home and Improvement Division’s services. To learn more about the many federally-funded programs and services, call the Oakland County Community and Home Improvement Division at 248-858-0493 or go online and visit



he Oakland County Workforce Development program provides many services for job seekers, employers and individuals. Programs provided by Work Force Development consist of Information Technology Training; career testing and assessment, job training funds, interviewing, and resume writing for people trying to find work. Job seekers have access to a team of professionals dedicated to helping them in their employment search. Job seekers and employers will also have statewide access to Michigan’s Job and Talent Banks. Last year, more than 340,000 people in Oakland County utilized these services. Getting county residents working again is a priority of the Board of Commissioners. We join with the county administration and the state in helping prepare our labor force for new employment opportunities by offering job retraining through Oakland County’s Workforce Development programs. For information on how these programs might help you, call 248-858-5520 go to



n October 25, 2009, the Oakland County Flea Market closed when it was discovered that state law did not permit county governments to operate flea markets. Oakland County Commissioners unanimously voted to lobby Lansing for a new state law allowing counties to operate flea markets. The Board and the county administration convinced the Michigan State Legislature to change the law and let county commissioners establish such markets, and to give county administrations the right to operate these markets. On December 26, 2009, the county’s flea and farmers markets were reopened, thus keeping alive this county tradition. The farmers market operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The county flea market is open Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The County Market is located at 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. For more information, visit or call 248-858-5495.

Bradford C. Jacobsen District 1 (248) 933-2507

Bill Bullard Jr. Chairman District 2 (248) 684-1444

Michael J. Gingell Vice Chairman District 3 (248) 377-0231

Thomas F. Middleton District 4 (248) 620-6551

John A. Scott District 5 (248) 891-9067

Jim Runestad District 6 (248) 802-5500

Christine Long District 7 (248) 366-2666

Jeff Potter District 8 (248) 437-7597

Kim T. Capello District 9 (248) 380-5159

Commission Districts Ă Mattie M. Hatchett District 10 (248) 802-0980

Tim Greimel District 11 (248) 425-7525

Sue Ann Douglas District 12 (248) 651-1255

Robert Gosselin District 13 (248) 250-3822

Steven H. Schwartz District 14 (248) 626-7500

Jim Nash District 15 (248) 471-3759

Shelley Goodman Taub District 16 (248) 858-8870

Marcia Gershenson District 17 (248) 808-1032

Dave Woodward District 18 (248) 894-6650

Tim Burns District 19 (248) 275-1826

David W. Potts District 20 (248) 258-1438

Janet Jackson District 21 (248) 910-6035

Helaine Zack District 22 (248) 546-7392

Eric Coleman District 23 (248) 569-4599

Gary R. McGillivray District 24 (248) 589-9207

David Coulter District 25 (248) 543-8984


2009-2010 Oakland County Board of Commissioners Bill Bullard Jr., Chairman Message from Bill Bullard Jr., Chairman of the Board Dear Friends...