Oakland County’s budget is balanced through the next three fiscal years, with the total budget averaging nearly $805 million annually based on Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s recommendations for 2015-17, it was announced today.
The general fund/general purpose estimated revenue and appropriations average $422 million for each year. The budget is also balanced for fiscal 2018 based on the county’s five-year outlook.
“It is long-range planning coupled with action that separates Oakland County from other counties in Michigan and the nation,” says Patterson. “We believe in thoughtful management, not crisis management.”
As part of Patterson’s budget recommendations, which he will present today to the county’s Board of Commissioners, the salary of county employees would increase 3 percent in 2015, 2 percent in 2016, and 1 percent in 2017.
“During the past 10 years, Oakland County’s general salary increase has clearly been conservative and has lagged behind labor market increases and the consumer price index,” Patterson says. “With the need to recruit and retain, it is imperative that our ‘total compensation’ package be competitively positioned.”
The recommended general salary increase for fiscal 2015 combined with the 2 percent general salary increase in fiscal 2014 will return employees’ salaries to just 1 percent above their 2009 salary levels.
Patterson will also recommend that employee annual tuition reimbursements rise from $2,400 to $4,200. “As the baby boomers retire from the county, more and more promotional opportunities become available and the tuition reimbursement program offers one way for employees to be ready to advance their careers,” he says.
The recommended budget also includes an annual increase of 6 percent for employee health care in each of the next three fiscal years. According to Patterson, the county kept those costs flat from fiscal 2006 through 2013, thanks to the OakFit employee wellness program along with an increase in employee health care contributions in 2008 and 2009 and competitive bids with vendors in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Other budget recommendations will include capital and technology improvements to enhance security at county buildings and restoration of the 19th judgeship at the Sixth Circuit Court. The state of Michigan provides funds for the judge, but the county provides support staff.