Report: Petroleum industry backs 47,000 jobs in Michigan counties

michigan-oil-rigThe oil and gas industry is credited with more than $47,000 jobs and more than $13 billion in economic activity in Michigan, according to a recent report by a Lansing research firm.

Michigan’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry: Economic Contribution,” released by Public Sector Consultants, Inc. in May, found that oil and/or natural gas were produced in 62 of Michigan’s 83 counties, and that the industry had economic effects in 82 counties.

“Employment  in  the  Michigan oil  and natural  gas  industry  has  doubled  since  2005,  from  11,089 jobs  to 22,781 jobs. Jobs are forecast to increase an additional 46 percent over the next ten years, although the outlook for employment will be weaker if the recent drop in oil prices is sustained,” the report stated.

To see the economic effects on your county, click here.

Taxes, Medicaid, immigration on NACo’s 2015 agenda

NACoLogoR_colorTax reform, protecting Medicaid and immigration reform are just three of several 2015 legislative priorities for the National Association of Counties.

As NACo recently reported, “The 2015 legislative priorities are tax reform, protecting the federal-state-local partnership for Medicaid, transportation reauthorization, approval of the Marketplace Fairness Act, funding for Payment In Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools, rejection of the ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposal rule and immigration reform that addresses issues impacting county government.”

MAC members may recall coverage of the “Waters of the U.S.” issue in the October 2014 edition of Michigan Counties (see page 6).

You win some, lose some at Capitol

DSC_0139.jpgWhile 2014 has been an outstanding year for MAC legislative initiatives (full revenue sharing funding, Cunningham court funding crisis averted), there always are debates that don’t play out so well. Which, of course, means a redoubling of our efforts in the coming legislative term.

This week, legislation to extend county authority to merge road commissions (House Bills 5117-18) was put on the shelf, meaning that the authority will expire on Dec. 31. We are disappointed in this result, but will look to address the issue again in the new legislative term.

Legislation altering the rules on tax increment financing, or “tax capture,” districts also stalled this fall.

We have been working throughout this legislative session on revisions to the TIF law, principally to ensure that counties always have the option on whether to have millage dollars captured by TIF districts, the length of time of that capture and the ability to partner with the authorities by having a seat at the table. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-Oakland), however, eventually was written in such a way that no real reform would result.

We expect to have new legislation filed early next year to incorporate the provisions for county authority and more reforms.

As always, the best way to stay on top of county issues at the Capitol is by being a subscriber to MAC’s weekly Legislative Update. If you are not receiving the updates, send a request and your email address to melot@micounties.org.

Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities Letters to the Editor

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Writing a letter to the local newspaper is an excellent way to show your support for Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities.

Letters to the editor attract a significant reading audience, particularly if the letters are timely and informative. Letters can be submitted to the editor via email or by using your local newspaper’s online submission form.

Writing a letter to the editor

Generally, letters to the editor should not exceed 150 words. Given the brevity of a letter to the editor, it’s wise to keep it tightly focused. Letters should be written to reach a broad cross-section of the community. Be emphatic in making your point – but be civil!

How to submit a letter

  1. Pick up a copy of your local newspaper or go to your local newspaper’s website and look for the “Opinion” or “Op-Ed” section, where letters are typically printed.
  2. Look for other letters to the editor – typically, there will be an email address (in the print edition) or a link to an online form (on a newspaper website) to submit a letter to the editor. Make sure to look for any special guidelines the newspaper you’re submitting to might have (e.g. a special word count).
  3. If you have any questions, call your local newspaper and ask for the opinion editor – or contact the campaign communications team at Truscott Rossman at info@strongandsafecommunities.com.

NOTE: Please make sure to include a working phone number (preferably a cell phone) with your submitted letter. Most newspapers will call you just to confirm you actually submitted a letter prior to publication.

Here are a few sample letters for your use: Sample Letters to the Editor

BUILDING MICHIGAN’S MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE THROUGH P3S

http://www.ncppp.org/events/p3-insights-building-michigans-municipal-infrastructure-through-p3s/

Municipalities in Michigan and across the country are faced with a growing portfolio of municipal infrastructure, such as courthouses, schools, hospitals, parking garages and streetlights, that need to be built or renovated. Last year, for example, it was estimated that Michigan had $8.9 billion in unmet school construction needs. Unfortunately, most municipalities have competing priorities and cannot always address these needs.

Enter public-private partnerships. Michigan has a unique legislative and regulatory framework that has been used for some P3s but has not been widely used for buildings or other municipal needs. P3s are a valuable tool for communities and states to obtain necessary infrastructure improvements, while maintaining public ownership of the building or structure.

The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships’ P3 Insights Forum: Building Michigan’s Municipal Infrastructure Through P3s, on June 12, 2014 in Southfield, MI, will offer an advanced and in-depth look at how P3s can be more widely used in Michigan, with an emphasis on buildings, and other municipal infrastructure, also known as social infrastructure.

Event Partners:

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  • DBIA Michigan

In conjunction with:

MAC logo blueyt

Why You Should Attend:

  • One-day session, organized by the nation’s leading organization on P3s
  • Nationally recognized and local experts discussing P3s
  • In-depth and advanced look at all aspects of P3s for social infrastructure

What You Will Learn:

  • The current state of P3s in Michigan
  • The structure of P3s to support buildings and other infrastructure needs such as street lights, parking garages, dormitories and water facilities
  • Financing of projects
  • Risks and mitigation
  • Case studies of successful P3s for buildings
  • Hands-on charette to develop a P3 project in a Michigan community

Who Should Attend:

  • Municipal and Township managers, elected officials, township officials and planners
  • P3 and municipal consultants
  • Construction firms
  • Operators
  • Concessionaires
  • Architecture and engineering firms
  • Financial leaders
  • Legal experts
  • Subcontractors and suppliers

Locals Would Only Follow State Mandates That Come With Money-From MIRS

Local governments and school districts would not be required to follow any state-imposed mandate until state dollars are put toward covering the cost of that mandate, under a legislative package that received its first hearing today in a Senate committee.
County officials told the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee today that Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0495Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0496Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0497 and Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0498 end years of unfunded mandates passed down from the state on a “go forward basis.”

It would not apply to the many past unfunded mandates locals and school districts feel they’ve been hit with through the years that they don’t have the money to fight in court.

Ottawa County Administrator Alan VANDERBERG called the legislation a “great compromise” in the sense that the state has imposed $1 billion in new mandates on county governments since the Headlee Amendment allegedly ended the practice in 1978.

The legislation would end the new mandates, which on its own is a “huge win for local governments,” he said.

The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) has been leading the charge on a bill package that follows a 2009 recommendation from the Legislative Commission on Statutory Mandates on ways to end unfunded mandates from the state to local governments.

A 2010 report from this group found that local governments are on the hook for up to $2.6 billion in unfunded mandates for that year alone (See “Report: Locals Slapped With $2.6B In Unfunded Mandates,” 2/24/10).

http://www.mirsnews.com/capsule.php?gid=3269#22841

“We believe that unfunded mandates are just as inappropriate when the federal government does it to the state as when the state does it to local government,” said Sen. Tom CASPERSON (R-Escanaba), the sponsor of the lead bill in the package, Click to add MIRS Bill Hound SB 0495.

Marquette County Administrator Scott ERBISCH spoke of the hardships of declining state dollars at a time when a majority of their revenues go to services — like the courts, health and the jail — continue to go up.

In 2011, 22 percent of the county’s general fund came from state sources. In 2013, that was down to 13 percent. From 2001 to 2013, the direct cost to operate the courts rose 23 percent while state funding to operate the courts has decreased by 20 percent.

“We ask for your consideration. We support them. We’re looking forward and not backwards.”

The unfunded mandates can be as small as an EMS bill that requires further training for those personnel who deal with opiate overdoses or that counties only purchase U.S. flags that are made in the United States, said Deena BOSWORTH of the Michigan Association of Counties.

They can also be as large as the increase in costs for public health department to implement a “fantastic public policy” change as the smoking ban.

Alger County is a small county that is struggling to get by with its population of less than 10,000 people, said Alger County Commissioner Jerry DOUCETTE. The state is forcing their inmates on the counties for longer periods of time.

Meanwhile townships are running so many millages, it’s not advantage for the county to try one its own.

“Remember, our state is made up of a lot of small counties,” Doucette said.

-From MIRS Capitol Capsule, Wednesday, April 30,2014 http://www.mirsnews.com/capsule.php?gid=4322#39316

​​NACo Achievement Awards

​Does your county have an innovative program that modernizes county government and increase services to county residents? Obtain national recognition for your program by applying for a NACo Achievement Award.

Started in 1970, the annual Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program that recognizes innovative county government programs. Each application is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received. Awards are given in 21 different categories including children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, health, and many more. For a full list of categories and more information on the application procedures, please visit the NACo website!

M.A.C. Awards Sen. Warren and Rep. Schmidt as County Advocates

The Michigan Association of Counties (M.A.C.) presented Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Washtenaw County) and Representative Wayne Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse County) with the M.A.C. County Advocate Award at the 2014 M.A.C. Legislative Conference in Lansing. This award is given annually to legislators who have shown strong support for county interests.

Senator Warren was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2006 where she served for four years representing the 53rd District. Now in her first term as State Senator, Warren was recognized as a county advocate for her participation on the Michigan Mental Health Commission and her recent sponsorship of the Personal Property Tax legislation.

“M.A.C. is an important voice for our local communities. I am honored to have been named a M.A.C. Advocate for my work in the Legislature, as I firmly believe that strengthening our local communities is integral to moving our state forward,” said Warren.

Representative Schmidt was elected to the House in 2008 and is now in his third term representing District 104. Having previously served as a Grand Traverse County commissioner for five terms, Schmidt was recognized for his work to resolve the infrastructure funding crisis, and his consistency in working to help county government.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by M.A.C. with this award for the work I’ve done on behalf of northern Michigan,” said Representative Wayne Schmidt. “My experience with local government as both a Grand Traverse County commissioner and small businessman offered firsthand knowledge of what it takes to run an effective and efficient county, and I have been proud to work with M.A.C. as a state legislator to solve the issues that our counties face.”

“M.A.C. thanks Senator Warren and Representative Schmidt for their continued support,” said M.A.C. Board of Directors President Shelly Pinkelman. “A continued partnership between local and state government is essential for the success of Michigan.”

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.