The question that gets asked most at the Road Commission is: "I pay all these property taxes; why can't I get my road fixed?" Actually, to the surprise of most people, we do not receive any property tax. Some property tax does get back to the roads in the form of township participation on Local Road upgrades. No property tax comes to us for maintenance of the roads. A road millage would be voted on by the taxpayers.
Public Act 51 of 1951 set up the funding for State Trunk lines, County Road Commissions, cities and villages. This act has been modified 63 times in the past 46 years and is quite complex, but basically, this is how it works:
When you buy a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel in Michigan, you are paying approximately 31 cents State Tax. This breaks down to 12 or 13 cents State Sales Tax (6% of the price) and 19 cents State Highway Tax. This State Highway Tax and the cost of license plates make up most of the Michigan Transportation Fund (MTF). Sixteen percent off the top of these MTF monies goes to various State needs such as Comprehensive Transportation, The Secretary of State, DNR and other administrative costs. Of the remaining monies, 20.5% goes to cities and villages, 41% goes to the State Trunk Line Fund and 38.5% goes to the County Road Commissions. This money goes to each county road commission based on where vehicles are registered, population and miles of roads in the county. Of the Road Commissions' shares, 1% is held back as Snow Funds and distributed in November of each year to Counties that averaged over 80 inches of snow in a ten-year period. No sales tax goes to roads.
Montmorency County Road Commission received $2,303,285 of MTF funds in 2005. We also received $ 211,721 from the townships as matching money for construction of Local Roads in 2005.
Other revenues are generated each year by interest on deposits, sale of surplus equipment, permits, mineral leases and gas wells.
In addition to the State Tax, there is a Federal Tax in the amount of 18.3 cents a gallon. Some of this money does get back to our county. This money is administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation and can have several forms or categories. You may have heard of TEA21, "Category A", "Category D" or STP funds. Most of these funds are restrictive, must be applied for and give us 77% to 80% matching money.
We have twenty-three employees, 646 miles of road to maintain, over eighteen trucks plus loaders, graders and a dozer. The cost for a tandem axle Road Commission truck fully equipped has gone up to almost $ 130,000. In a normal winter, we put down over 1,500 tons of salt on County Roads.
The Montmorency County Road Commission does not have jurisdiction over the state roads in the county; they are M-32 and M-33. These state highways are under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of State Highways, located at 13490 M32/M33 East of Atlanta. Their telephone number is (989) 785-3514.