County applies for grant to market ORV tourism

Posted by Kyle Leppek on March 5th, 2014

If awarded, $99,000 grant would use digital marketing

LAKE CO. — Next month, county officials hope to hear that they have be awarded a nearly $100,000 grant to market Lake County as an off-road vehicle tourist destination.

On Feb. 28 a grant application was submitted by the Lake County Board of Commissioners to the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development seeking a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant. If the county is awarded the grant in April, the money will be used to brand the county as an ORV tourist destination through mostly digital media.

The approximately 400 page application included assistance from the Michigan Association of Counties, county prosecutor and his staff, county clerk and her staff, county treasurer and her staff, local businesses and board of commissioners. It even involved finding the public act that formed Lake County in 1871 from the state archives.

HISTORY: Pictured is part of the original public act that formed Lake County in 1871. It was included in the county’s grant application and had to be retrieved from the state archives. (Courtesy photo)

“It was a real team effort in terms of everybody that helped kick in to get this done,” said Commissioner Dan Sloan.

Originally, the county was seeking a $100,000 grant, but that changed after the applicants realized they would score higher on the application if the amount requested was less than $100,000. Lake County’s application also is expected to score higher because of some of the challenges residents face.

“The fact that we are a county that has a lot of challenges in terms of a high poverty rate and high unemployment rate, and those are chronic, those give us greater scores than other counties,” Sloan said. “They enhance our chances of getting assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.”

If the county is awarded the grant, implementing its proposal would be a two year process. The county would use the money to establish a website, for video and photography production, create digital and print ads and other Internet related marketing. The first year would likely be spent getting everything up and running, while the following year would be a fully operational marketing campaign.

While the county would be the fiduciary, a committee consisting of county government officials and business owners would be formed to oversee the program. The hope is if residents like the program that they will continue to support it after the grant period.

Included in the application we letters from more than 30 Lake County businesses which employ more than 200 people supporting the grant. While the grant is specifically aimed toward ORV tourism, Sloan sees it helping a broad range of businesses throughout the county.

“If we can get more people in the county, we know that it is going to help our businesses; they will stop and spend some dollars,” Sloan said.

National Association of County Veterans Service Officers Conference Hosted in Michigan this June!

The Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors (MACVC) will be the host organization for the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers (NACVSO) conference in Grand Rapids. The conference will take place June 8th-June 13th 2014at the Amway Grand Hotel and Conference Center. Approximately 400 county veterans’ benefits counselors from across the nation will attend the event.

Accreditation training and testing from NACVSO will be available at this conference for those county veterans benefits counselors who are paid county employees who work at least 1000 hours per year.  An appropriation from the Michigan Legislature will cover most of the cost of attendance for county veteran’s benefits counselors in Michigan. If a county veterans benefits counselor would like information on attending the conference, please contact MACVC President, Garth Wootten as soon as possible. Mr. Wootten can be contacted by e-mail at wootteng@oakgov.com or by phone at (248) 858-0785

MAC and NACO Meet with Federal Delegation in D.C.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) legislative conference was held this week in Washington D.C..  As part of this annual conference, MAC meets with our congressional delegation to talk about federal issues affecting counties.  This year the major topics for discussion included:

  • The Farm Bill and PILT Payments
  • Tax Exempt Municipal Bonds
  • Waters of the U.S. Guidance Proposal – Federal Overreach to Control Michigan Waters
  • Medicaid Expansion and Medicaid Coverage for Pre-Trial Detainees
  • Federal MAP-21 Transportation Funding and;
  • Marketplace Fairness (sales tax on e-commerce)
MAC would especially like to thank Senators Levin and Stabenow for their consistent dedication to meeting with all of our conference attendees each year to discuss issues of importance to counties.  This annual tradition affords our commissioners quality time to have questions answered and to relay upcoming issues of concern to Michigan counties.  If you would like more information about the issues MAC members discussed with their congressmen, please follow this link to our federal briefing sheet: 2014 MAC Federal Briefing Sheet