The true facts about county’s road budget

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Cuts in Road and Bridge are not being used to accommodate other departments. All departments took a cut as the trajectory of our spending over the last 8 or so years was unsustainable. Every single department saw cuts in their budget, even our smallest department with only one person was able to find about $25,000 to cut out of their budget. So no, cuts to Road and Bridge are not supporting other departments.

Cuts in Road and Bridge for the most part were to budget line items that were consistently over budgeted to begin with. These over budgeted line items then would be spent toward the end of the fiscal year as surplus which is also not a sustainable position.

The issue with the manure at the fairgrounds surrounds an agreement we have with an adjacent land owner to not allow the manure to build up during the fair and 4-H events. The total impact of events encompasses two days in July and five days in August, that’s it.

The fair was looking to buy both a dump truck and water truck which could have cost the taxpayers $100,000 or more for what was four days of some additional overtime. Factor in the cost for maintenance of the equipment, operation, licensing, insurance, etc. and the cost adds up. Since we are bound by the agreement to properly deal with the manure, adding a little overtime to the tune of about $1,100 made for better financial sense.

With regard to the airport, Road and Bridge did not build the road required to service the AWS, it was done by an outside contractor and was taken out of the airport budget.

As far as FEMA funds go, they have to be used for the projects submitted and there is accounting required for that. All grant source funding from state and feds fall under the same requirement.

What we are halting is the favors. For years Road and Bridge was performing work they really shouldn’t have been performing not allowing them to stick to their core mission which is maintenance and repair of roads, ditches, right of ways and snow plowing.

And I can confirm, as a commissioner, you are misinformed if you believe that we believe we can do whatever we want. What we can do is become more efficient, perform the work by department that they are tasked to perform and to stop the drain on the taxpayer from the good old boy mentality that offered special favors for some while neglecting others.

It appears you chose not to come to the commissioners for clarification but instead chose rumors and innuendo for your letter.

I would challenge you to come see one of the commissioners as we are happy to go over every item in the budget, to talk about how we took $8 million off of last year’s actual of $65 million and lowered it to $57 million. This will help get the county back to a sustainable fiscal position for this next fiscal year and years to come while pushing for efficiency in local government.

I look forward to meeting with you to further discuss your concerns and thanks again for allowing me the opportunity to correct the record.

Dan McDonald serves on the Bonner County Commission for District 3.

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