PONTIAC – Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter presented his balanced three-year budget recommendation to the Board of Commissioners Thursday evening at the Board of Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac. His message focused on key initiatives that will move Oakland County forward such as improving access to healthcare, building a post-pandemic workforce, criminal justice reform, and cyber security. Click this link for details on these initiatives.
“While we’re still dealing with the impact of COVID-19, with some remote work continuing and vaccination campaigns ongoing, it’s also time to look to the future, dealing with both the lingering acute needs of our businesses and residents as well as addressing the chronic problems that we knew were there before the pandemic, but have been exacerbated in the past 16 months,” Coulter said.
Coulter’s budget recommendation is transparent, fiscally responsible, and realistic and provides a stable spending plan for the county. Coulter’s fiscal goals include a structurally balanced budget that will no longer require the use of the county’s $242 million fund balance to balance the budget in the coming years.
“Despite the impression that we’re flush with revenue from federal COVID-19 relief money and a healthy fund balance, this is an austere and realistic budget that represents a true spending plan based only on the level of revenue that can be expected to come into the county in the long-term,” Coulter said.
Oakland County’s economy is on the road to recovery from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The county’s economy is rebounding, too, with Oakland recovering about 60 percent of the roughly 150,000 jobs lost due to COVID. And some businesses have emerged from COVID-19 stronger and more nimble,” Coulter said.
While optimistic about the direction Oakland County is headed from the height of the pandemic, the county executive said that the county is not in the clear yet.
“We’re so close to getting 70 percent of our residents vaccinated… and there’s a palpable sense that things are going to be okay and back to the new normal, soon. But the Delta variant, which has caused case numbers to rise in recent weeks, makes it clear that we’re not done with COVID yet,” he said.
Coulter also commended the Board of Commissioners for their unity throughout the pandemic. “Finally, this board has shown remarkable unity when it comes to dealing with this pandemic. You unanimously approved our spending plan for the CARES money we got from the federal government last year. And right before the Fourth of July, you again unanimously approved our first batch of $27.5 million in funding proposals for the American Rescue Plan dollars we got this summer.” Budget hearings begin Wednesday, July 28 and continue through Wednesday, Aug. 25. The full board is scheduled to vote on the budget on Sept. 29. Click here to view the recommended budget.