The simple definition is the county’s ability to construct or improve county roads with county employees in Washington State.
Why do counties use their own crews? The rationale is often based on most efficient use of maintenance crews: the need to maintain a properly staffed winter maintenance crew, and still keep them gainfully employed in the summer. Other reasons may be the best use of county talent and skills for certain construction activities or possibly as a matching contribution for a state grant.
The County Road Administration Board is authorized by the Legislature, through RCW 36.78, to oversee County Forces Construction compliance and CRAB has developed the
WAC 136-18 to clarify the intention of the legislation only to the extent necessary to carry out the words contained in the RCW:
For projects that are accomplished through use of county forces, the “total project costs” include work of all subcontractors and materials, regardless of whether subcontractor work or material supply is acquired through competitive bidding. In this type of situation, the county would be considered the “prime contractor” since it could not separate its role in all work being performed.
The Annual Limits for County Forces Construction, as prescribed in RCW 36.77.065, are calculated as follows:
|County Population ≥ 400,000||$3,250,000 + [previous year’s MVFT factor x $3,250,000]|
|County Population < 400,000 but ≥ 150,000||$1,750,000 + [previous year’s MVFT factor x $1,750,000]|
|County Population < 150,000 but ≥ 30,000||$1,250,000 + [previous year’s MVFT factor x $1,250,000]|
|County Population < 30,000||$800,000 + [previous year’s MVFT factor x $800,000]|
Sanctions for the violation of the County Forces Construction statutes are also found in RCW 36.78.090 and WAC 136-18-090 and include, but are not limited to: issuance of a conditional certificate of good practice for the county, withholding of all or portions of the motor vehicle fuel tax and a “show cause” hearing at the next regular or special meeting of the board.