Letter from Butler County Engineer, Gregory J. Wilkens, P.E., P.S.
To the Citizens and Board of County Commissioners of Butler County, Ohio:
I respectfully present the Butler County Engineer’s 2020 Annual Report for your review.
Vital capital improvements completed in 2021, such as roundabout installations at Millikin Road and Lesourdsville West Chester Road, Butler Warren Road and West Chester Road, Wayne Madison Road at Trenton Road, and the bridge replacement on Scott Road, are a testament to the BCEO’s diligent efforts to maximize funding with a small local match. Our expertise in procuring federal funds and collaborating with neighboring agencies has been the key to bringing the necessary safety upgrades to Butler County’s road system.
Equally important, and without grants, paving, bridge and culvert repairs, snow and ice control, and other maintenance costs must be paid with flat revenues solely from gas taxes and license plate fees. What about the 2019 gas tax increase? The additional gas tax generates about $1.3 million annually, but this increase has been lost due to the recent inflation. Compounding our revenue problem, the higher the price of fuel, the fewer motorists travel, or alternative fuels are used. So as a result, gas use has decreased, lowering revenues.
Last year, we experienced material shortages from manufacturers causing longer lead times, delayed projects, and inflated costs for construction materials. As an example, asphalt, a critical component in our projects and road maintenance, is now 25 percent more expensive to produce and ship. As material and labor costs continue to rise, the domino effect may weaken our purchasing power when it comes to sustaining our successful 17 to 18-year paving program and letting project contracts.
The solution to efficiently maintain and improve safety for our citizens becomes more complex when construction costs escalate and revenues stay the same. However, you can be sure that our staff is working on your behalf to return as many of your state and federal tax dollars to Butler County as possible.
As always, thank you for your continued trust and support as your County Engineer. Remember to keep up to date with the latest project information via the BCEO website and our social media platforms. Feel free to contact us with your concerns and suggestions for how we can improve our service. Please read on for a review of 2021.