Archive for March, 2020

NACo applauds county leaders’ help on federal aid bill

US Capitol

Much still must be clarified about the latest federal relief package awaiting House action before its full effects on counties are known, said officials with the National Association of Counties via a briefing call on Thursday, March 26.

NACo leaders, however, were pleased with the inclusion of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund included in the $2 trillion Senate-approved package that’s aimed at state, local and tribal governments.

Deborah Cox of NACo was able to state that:

  • 45 percent of the $150 billion is eligible for direct payments to local units with populations above 500,000; and
  • Such funds were meant for recent expenditures due to the public health emergency and unanticipated costs to local budgets that occurred on March 1 or after.

In Michigan, though, only four counties (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Kent) exceed the population threshold.

Cox and the NACo briefers said clarity was needed about aid to smaller counties and that there already were “100 different interpretations” of what the relief fund language actually meant.

Cox praised the calls from local county officials during the drafting process for helping to ensure counties would be specifically included in the relief fund.

Also critical is that under the economic stabilization sections of the bill, the U.S. Treasury can purchase debt from state and local units, while the Federal Reserve can participate in the secondary bond market for municipal debt, thereby reducing borrowing costs for counties.

Other key elements to the “CARES” Act identified in the call:

  • $1.32 billion is allotted to community health centers for COVID response – “a definite win for counties,” NACo said
  • Previously planned cuts to hospitals serving the uninsured and underinsured were pushed back to Nov. 30
  • $1 billion for agencies for aging to help them deliver meals, provide home-based services, support care-givers and provide equipment nursing homes to protect residents
  • $400 million for election assistance in the 2020 cycle
  • $56 million for airports in the Essential Air Service program
  • $5 billion for CDBG
  • $45 billion for FEMA disaster relief fund

NACo’s comprehensive analysis of the bill can be found here. As for eventual timing of the funds, the House passed the bill on Friday afternoon, President Trump is expected to sign it later today.


Damage from rising water levels will mount, state warns

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) hosted an hour-long seminar Thursday evening to highlight the vulnerability of our natural resources and infrastructure due to record high water levels across Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Presentations by the Army Corp of Engineers and EGLE provided viewers with charts and graphs reporting record levels during 2019 and 2020 for all of the Great Lakes, and the current trajectory for water levels in the coming spring and summer months. The trend is calling for significantly higher water levels and the potential for greater and more costly damage to Michigan’s shorelines, farmland, parks, roads and other critical infrastructure.

The Michigan Department of Transportation estimates it has spent more than $5 million mitigating damage and anticipates that number to reach near $100 million before it’s all over. The Michigan Department of Agriculture reported that more than million acres of farmland could not be planted due to flooding last year, and its projections for the 2020 growing season are just as stark. 

What is most concerning is damages inflicted on municipal infrastructure. These high water levels have affected stormwater systems and sewer systems and caused discharges from combined stormwater and sewer systems. EGLE sent a letter to each entity in possession of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit asking that they submit a vulnerability analysis to minimize the impact this anticipated rise in water levels will have on existing infrastructure.

The city of Detroit is spending $2 million on temporary dams to help prevent an overload of their combined stormwater and sewer systems. Work is under way to map the potential effects of a one-foot rise in Great Lakes levels, analyze where all of that water is going to go and figure out how best to notify residents of the potential for flooding.

A copy of the presentations will soon be up on EGLS website.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Urge your county to reply to census today

By now, you’ve probably received the 2020 Census in your mailbox. While national attention is properly focused on COVID-19, it is important to encourage your county residents to count themselves. The census determines congressional representation, as well as federal funding for public health and disease prevention, Medicaid and Medicare, health care centers statewide and other essential services.  

So far, Michigan ranks sixth in the country for census responses at 30.6 percent, compared to 26.2 percent nationwide (you can find an interactive map that includes all 50 states’ response rates here.) In 2010, Michigan had a response rate of 68 percent and our goal this year is 82 percent.

To date, more than 25 percent of census responses in Michigan have been done online, an option available for the first time this year. It is important to underscore that the census only has 9 questions and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to fill out to completion.

Census takers were scheduled to begin canvassing households that hadn’t yet responded in early April, but COVID-19 has, of course, disrupted that timeline. In the interim, please urge your constituents to fill out the census at their earliest convenience. This can be done online at, over the phone at 844-330-2020 or through the physical form that comes in the mail.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder why it’s never been more critical that all Michigan residents fill out their census form in order to get our fair share of funding for emergency services, police and fire funding, senior programs and more. Help us keep Michigan near the best in the nation!  

For more information on this issue, contact Michael Ruddock at


Maintenance is essential activity; counties must facilitate utility work, etc.

MAC is issuing another advisory to all counties regarding your code and permit operations that affect businesses such as utilities doing maintenance work.

Here is what the Governor’s Office says on this issue under her EO:

“Q: Is construction allowed under the executive order?

“A: Some limited forms of construction are permissible, including construction to maintain and improve essential public works like roads, bridges, the telecommunications infrastructure, and public health infrastructure. Construction workers may also undertake such projects as necessary to maintain and improve the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences. In addition, businesses may designate construction firms to provide necessary support to the work of the businesses’ critical infrastructure workers. All construction work that is carried out while the order is in effect must be done in accordance with the mitigation measures required under section 5(c) of the order.”

We have received reports of county offices telling callers that they are blocked by the EO from operating the normal coordination process on maintenance work. One example: “Point of call (to MAC) is to discuss some issues the telecom and energy issues are having as local units of government are limiting workforce hours and availability. This has impacted critical projects and emergency repairs around the state when permits are sought or 811 staking is required.”

Please review with your teams to ensure operational/staff support to these activities.

If you have questions on this, contact Deena Bosworth at


County leaders, look for survey info in email, mailboxes

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak placing tremendous stress on so many of our communities, we’re hoping you might find time to share your experiences through the upcoming round of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program is coming soon to your mailbox.

The MPPS is an annual statewide survey of local government officials conducted by the University of Michigan in collaboration with the Michigan Townships Association (MTA), Michigan Municipal League (MML), and Michigan Association of Counties (MAC).

On March 30, you’ll receive an email link to the new MPPS questionnaire, which asks about the public health and economic challenges your county may be facing because of COVID-19. It also continues the annual tracking of counties’ fiscal health.

The U-M survey team plans to quickly share responses to the COVID-19 questions with other leaders to help the state respond to the crisis, all while carefully protecting your anonymity and confidentiality. Your participation is crucial to the success of the MPPS program.

If you have questions about this research study, you can contact Dr. Debra Horner, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, University of Michigan, 5309 Weill Hall, 735 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-647-4091,

Please keep an eye out for your email invitation to take the survey next week. Thank you so much for supporting this effort.


State adjutant general details crisis response

On Thursday, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs released a letter from Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, the state adujant general, on efforts by the National Guard to assist communities during the coronavirus crisis.
Rogers noted, “The Michigan National Guard has approximately 300 personnel already supporting the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 response. Since March 18th, guard members have supported relief activities across the state, with missions including relief planning, assembling and loading critical personal protective gear, and staffing at distribution centers across Michigan.”


DTE outlines actions taken in coronavirus crisis

DTE has taken the following actions to aid customers and keep employees safe during this challenging, unprecedented time:

  • DTE has all employees who can work remotely doing so, and we’ve kept those essential employees needed at facilities in their roles to maintain both gas and electric service for our customers
  • We are also suspending shutoffs and extend senior programs in response to the coronavirus through April 30
  • DTE has suspended all non-essential work as of March 23 – news release with details below
  • Updates for customers, including Q&A, can be found by visiting


MAC is collecting reports from our 83 members about their initial and going responses to the coronavirus crisis:

Menominee County: Organizing a community supply drive

Menominee County announced a community campaign on March 25 to collect personal protective equipment to be redistributed to emergency responders and healthcare personnel in our community.

“Our first responders and health care personnel are on the front lines of this battle — they can’t help the rest of us if they get sick. As a community we can help by donating any extra personal protective equipment we may have in our homes or businesses to help keep our first responders and healthcare personnel safe and healthy as they work relentlessly to do the same for us,” said Jason Carviou, Menominee County administrator.

The drive is focusing on medical/surgical masks, N-95 respirators, gloves, gowns, aprons and hand sanitizer. “If you have any extra of these items in your home or business, please consider donating them to help our community fight the COVID-19 outbreak,” Carviou said.


Oakland County: ‘Town hall’ calls draw 12,000 participants

Oakland County Executive David Coulter has taken bold and aggressive steps to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak in the county while keeping residents informed and safe.

Through Coulter’s leadership, the county’s Department of Health and Human Services issued three public health orders on March 21 to reduce transmission of the disease:

  • All shopping malls were closed.
  • Indoor and outdoor playground equipment was closed. Playground equipment in childcare centers and areas without playground equipment such as walking trails and grassy areas are exempt from the order.
  • All childcare centers were required to develop and implement a daily screening protocol for children, staff, parents and visitors to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.
  • Required essential businesses to develop and implement daily screening protocol for all employees to reduce the transmission of the disease and institute social distancing to protect employees and customers.
  • Created a map searchable down to the Zip code level on case data in the county.

“The steps we take today – as individuals, businesses and government – will save lives,” Coulter said. “We have to protect our hospital systems so they stay equipped to help the very sickest. We can get through this together, but we have to act together.”

The orders are effective until April 17.

Coulter, assisted by Kathy Forzley, health and human services director, conducted a series of telephone town hall meetings with Oakland County residents, answering questions about any concerns they may have about the disease and how it might affect the individually.

Among the questions:

  • My husband and I are both 70. Should I go to a birthday party for one of my grandchildren? (No.)
  • I have a routine appointment with my doctor scheduled. Should I keep it? (Call your doctor.)
  • I have the flu, with a temperature of 101.9. Should I be tested? (Call your doctor.)

During the three sessions, more than 12,000 county residents took part in the town hall calls.

Coulter dedicated and staffed two telephone lines to answer questions from residents: Nurse on Call for health-related questions and the Oakland County Hotline for questions not related to health. Nurse on Call staff took more than 1,000 calls in a three-day period.

Coulter offered residents the option of receiving text messages from the county with the latest updates on the outbreak. More than 18,000 residents texted oakgov to 28748 to receive daily updates.

Finally, the county is collaborating with area restaurants and caterers to supply meals for some shelters, food pantries and a community food program. We are also working with local caterer to provide meals for the inevitable frontline first responders and hospital workers that will need to be quarantined, likely in hotels, and fed.


Grand Traverse County: Daily calls with community stakeholders

On March 13, Grand Traverse County stood up our own Joint Operations Center (or community task force if you would prefer) to address issues surrounding COVID-19. We have approximately 100 community stakeholders in the group. We hold daily meetings at 10 a.m. with this group that is geared towards receiving updates, addressing issues and pushing out unified information. To that end, Grand Traverse County engaged a web provider and stood up our own COVID-19 response website that you can see HERE and our own Facebook page that you can see HERE.


Allegan County: Collaboration with neighboring counties

Like many counties, we have set up web resources off our home page ( for both organizational information and COVID-19. We always appreciate regional efforts. We have been in contact with our surrounding neighbors. We have been sharing ideas with Ottawa and Kent regularly. We thank them both and our other neighbors for their collaboration.


Livingston County: The 1/3 principle

About 1/3 of the workforce were mandated to stay home and about 1/3 are working remotely or rotating so there is at least one person in the office. The other 1/3 are our first responders, and they are working business as usual. We are doing our best to keep people at home and getting our most essential work done. Our Health Officer and Emergency Manager are providing daily updates to the Board Chair and county administrator.


Branch County: Virtual tools keep county engaged

Branch County in south-central Michigan has taken the following actions:

  • Implemented Physical Distancing and Enhanced Sanitation measures effective beginning of March 2020.
  • Canceled and-or instituted virtual meetings effective March 12, 2020.
  • Closed to public effective March 17, 2020.
  • Stood up virtual EOC effective March 18, 2020.
  • Reinstated Working and Board Meeting using Zoom on March 19, 2020.
  • Transitioned to “Essential Services” on March 23, 2020.


Osceola County: County buildings closed to public through April 21

Osceola County has information and a link on our website. We have activated our Emergency Management Department and have updates issued through Nixle. The Board of Commissioners closed the county buildings to the public March 18-April 21. Offices are holding limited work hours for staff in order to maintain functions but limit person-to-person contact. Information is being processed through emails, phone conversations and over online services.


Macomb County: Coordinating with businesses on economic issues

Macomb County began formulating a community response to Coronavirus during the second week of March by activating its Emergency Operations Center. When the first COVID-19 case in Michigan was announced, the Joint Information Center was as prepared as possible to begin communicating with the public and our employees. One of the first activities to keep our community safe and informed was to activate a special Health Department helpline which is answered seven days a week by public health professionals. Other activities to date have included:

  • Created a COVID-19 resource page which is easily found from the county’s website featuring information for individuals, businesses and communities.
  • Activated a warning banner on the county website to advise residents about COVID-19 testing and to reduce the number of people visiting the Health Department to request a test.
  • Created and shared daily videos featuring the County Executive via social and traditional media. The videos provide updates on the situation in Macomb County along with helpful information to keep the public safe.
  • Developed and sent several emails to all employees to keep them informed.
  • Hosted twice-weekly virtual department leaders meeting to share pertinent information about COVID-19 and ask that each review and update their Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) to ensure that the county continues to provide vital services as needed.
  • Created a dedicated email address for employees with questions or comments about COVID-19 and their role as an employee. Each is reviewed by a team comprised of Health, Emergency Management, Human Resources and IT employees to ensure that an appropriate and accurate answer was provided as quickly as possible.
  • Created a dedicated page on the employee Intranet to convey information about the county’s response to COVID-19. The page is updated regularly and features a FAQ section where commonly asked questions are sent to the dedicated email address to share the most commonly asked questions received through the dedicated email address.
  • While many departments have modified their hours and reduced access to services by asking residents to call first and make an appointment, idled staff are being redeployed to assist in providing critical services.
  • The County’s economic development team continues to share relevant information to businesses via email and social media. We are currently collecting information from Macomb County manufacturers that are stepping up to produce desperately needed medical supplies for our health care providers and first responders.

Kent County: Daily videos, surveys of needs to nonprofits

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent County has worked with our community and has:

  • Produced and distributed daily videos via social media channels about COVID-19 from the Kent County Health Department offices
  • Coordinated communitywide COVID-19 testing protocols with the three major hospital systems via the Kent County Population Health Consortium
  • Coordinated countywide law enforcement guidance regarding social distancing practices
  • Established a process whereby local manufacturers begin making necessary health supplies like face shields, gowns, swabs, and ventilators
  • Conducted surveys of nonprofit organizations seeking feedback on necessary supplies and finances
  • Identified grocery bags to deliver food throughout the Essential Needs Task Force food pantry network
  • Distributed 2,000 food boxes to senior residents and at-risk families through the Kent County Community Action program

Today (March 25), the State Court Administrative Office, the Michigan Association of County Clerks and the Michigan Association of Counties announced steps they are taking to coordinate their response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. All three organizations are working together to make sure that plans to protect the public, safeguard employees, and provide essential services are consistent across jurisdictions. Leaders from the judiciary, county boards of commissioners, and County Clerks also announced they are creating a task force with the help of the State Bar of Michigan to enhance virtual services by identifying and sharing best practices.  

“Judges and court staff statewide are grateful for the dedicated service of County Clerks and the support of county government,” said State Court Administrator and former District Court Judge Tom Boyd. “Working together in response to this crisis can put us on a path to building the courtroom of the future – one that is more transparent, more accessible, and more efficient.”

“Consistent policies statewide help staff in every county know that their work in difficult conditions is supported and appreciated,” said Laura Brandon-Maveal, Gladwin County Clerk and President of the Michigan Association of County Clerks. “The end result is that the public is better served and the safety of all can remain our top priority.”

“Public employees at the local level play a critical role in responding to this unprecedented crisis,” said Stephan Currie, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Counties. “Strengthening our cooperation now will set the stage to improve how we provide services and take advantage of technology to serve more people.”

Essential services provided by courts include functions involving the health and safety of children and vulnerable adults and meeting due process rights of individuals accused of crimes. For example, judges must be available to arraign criminal defendants and hear bond motions, to grant personal protection orders, or appoint a guardian when someone’s health or safety is in jeopardy, to protect children who are being abused, to incarcerate those who threaten public safety, and to issue emergency orders to address this public health crisis. Court clerks must be present to record these proceedings.

County Clerks are on the front line in dealing with parties when filing.  This could be as simple as opening a new case or filing a motion, or as a complex as dealing with a victim of assault that is filing a personal protection order or preparing themselves to face their alleged attacker in the courtroom.  The Clerks and their staff need to define their assistance to the public as fair and equitable regardless of their feelings of the case and be careful not to overstep their boundaries in giving legal advice.  County Clerks must have a solid working relationship with their judges to ensure that communication is easy, rules are clearly identified and that both groups have a core practice in providing the best and equitable results for any case.


LANSING, MICH.  – County leaders welcomed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order today to bolster public health efforts to disrupt the transmission of COVID-19 via a new Executive Order.

Whitmer’s EO 2020-21 to direct Michigan residents to “stay at home” unless involved in essential work or conducting essential trips to acquire food or medical supplies.

“As the governor said this morning, Michigan could face widespread infection if more isn’t done to disrupt transmission,” said Veronica Klinefelt, president of the Michigan Association of Counties’ Board of Directors and a Macomb County commissioner. “We have to get ahead of this and previous efforts have, sadly, not been enough to disrupt the spread. All of our members will be working closely with our local health departments and the state to keep operations to essential ones only.”

MAC COVID-19 Resources Page

MAC Q&A Document for State Leaders

Special note from MAC

To all leaders and employees of Michigan’s 83 county governments, we at MAC, your association, extend our deepest appreciation and thanks for your service in this unprecedented crisis for our nation and world. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time for assistance. We will do everything in our power to help you keep your communities and families safe.

Stephan Currie
Executive Director


MAC convenes countywide elected officials to discuss COVID response and challenges

Earlier this week, MAC Executive Director Steve Currie and MAC President Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County hosted a conference call with representatives from the organizations representing sheriffs, prosecutors, treasurers, clerks, register of deeds, administrators and local public health departments.

Megan Swain from the Michigan Association of Local Public Health gave an update on their response to the virus, the number of private labs online now and on the number of cases in the state. She also informed the group that she has daily calls between her organization, her members and the various state departments that interact with local public health departments. Her members are working to trace the spread of the virus, notifying people of potential exposure and the need for quarantine. They are still responsible for investigating other diseases and food borne illnesses.

MAC shared with the group our communication channel with the governor’s office and their request to have MAC field all county questions to minimize the number of individual calls to their office. Rest assured, MAC is in constant communication with the governor’s office and will get information out to the entire county family as soon as we get it.  MAC also alerted the participants of our resources on our website that can be found here

Many county departments have gone to a reduced staff, rotating work schedules and services by appointment only. The sheriffs have stopped all in-person visits to the jails, although most court operations are still functioning, excepting those hearings that can easily be postponed. 

As far as elections are concerned, local governments are being asked to defer any May elections to August. If that is not possible, then absentee ballots will likely be the only way to vote in a May election. 

The governor has issued Executive Order 2020-14 to provide a temporary extension of the deadline to redeem property for nonpayment of delinquent taxes from March 31 to May 29, 2020. Local units and counties will still face challenges when it comes to handling challenges to property assessments since a local board of review will likely be suspending their hearings.

MAC stands ready to assist our members and our entire county family during this state of emergency. For more information, contact Deena Bosworth at


Navigating the new world of remote meetings

MAC is consulting with a variety of experts on resources that counties can use to operate public board sessions that comply with the governor’s Executive Order modifying the Open Meetings Act.

We are aiming to provide lists, best practices and tips to members early next week.

Key legal points

  • The EO expires on April 15 unless the Legislature votes to extend it.
  • Compliance with the EO must include general public participation.
  • Public participation must be 2-way – the public must be able to hear the public and officials.
  • You can allow typed and read comments IN ADDITION to verbal comments, not in place of them.
  • Closed sessions still allowed under OMA rules; it is recommended that you have a separate secure conference call line for those.
  • Give advance notice – a recommended minimum of 18 hours.
  • Place such notice on your homepage or via a prominent link on your homepage.
  • Notices should list the reasons for electronic sessions and all details on how public can participate, including the disabled.
  • Taping is allowed for the public for any reason; you can set rules on disruptions, but you can’t exclude people except for a breach of the peace.
  • You are advised to do roll call votes on everything.
  • You are advised to share agenda and board packets on website in advance.
  • Be sure you do not use texts or emails among board members for sidebar communications.
  • The EO prevails over any charter, ordinance or local rule.
  • All recordkeeping provisions stay in effect under OMA.

Key technical points

Any solution must provide for:

  • 2-way communication with public
  • Access without registration
  • Disabled participation (closed captioning, etc.)
  • Toll-free or local phone lines if using calls

Zoom and GotoMeeting are seen as good options that would help local boards comply with the EO.

For more information, contact MAC at 517-372-5374.


Update on federal appropriations on coronavirus

During a briefing call Thursday evening, NACo staff detailed the current activity in Washington on local funding on the coronavirus crisis:

Third supplemental (CARES ACT)

A package possibly could be to president’s desk for signature by Sunday night (March 22).

A Senate plan released Thursday evening includes direct cash payments to certain individuals, small business loan relief and additional health care spending. More information to be found at this link.

NACo advised that all counties need to be pushing the message for continuing funding for our public health departments. Cost estimates are coming in regularly but keep sending them to NACo. We must have resources now AND be thinking about this fall and the fall of 2021.

NACo has provided a downloadable letter you can customize and send to congressional leadership.

First supplemental

The first supplemental included $8.2 billion and a focus of $950 million for Local Public Health, which will go to the states and then to counties. Encourage your Local Public Health team to communicate with their counterparts.

Second supplemental

The second supplemental was signed on Wednesday (Family First Coronavirus Act). It includes:

  • Free COVID testing, regardless of insurance status
  • Nutrition assistance for food banks
  • Unemployment assistance
  • Medicaid contribution increase
  • FMAP increase by 6.2%

NACo advised that members should be sure to read the second passed version since there were substantial changes from the first draft. NACo is asking HR directors and consultants to review because a patchwork of state laws and regulations related to this. The law mandates 10 weeks of paid leave, but that is limited only to workers caring for a child where schools and child care have shut down.

For updated information on national events, visit NACo’s page.


Communicating during a long crisis

As the current situation with coronavirus points toward a longer disruption of normal activities, county leaders are advised to consider their terminology in reporting on changes to county services.
Suspension > closure
As counties work through how they will operate going forward, we advise the use of “suspension” over “closure” when referring to public access to offices and buildings. For example, “Public access to the office is suspended, but citizens can contact county staff at 123-4567 for assistance.”
The federal government has issued initial guidance regarding a “critical infrastructure workforce”:
“We recognize that state, local, tribal and territorial governments are ultimately in charge of implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction,” the guidance states, “while the Federal Government is in a supporting role. As State and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions.”


FEMA details resources in call with county leaders

FEMA held a call with county leaders this week to detail resources now becoming available for COVID-19 responses.

Among the key points:

  • Local governments are eligible to submit reimbursements under Category B, emergency protective measures
  • FEMA cannot duplicate assistance of other federal agencies (HHS/CDC)
  • FEMA is working to streamline and expedite funding
  • FEMA is working with its regional arms and states to process funds quickly (it had 223 requests in at the time of the call, with 55 from counties and 81 from cities/townships)
  • States can assist counties to work in the FEMA grant system, if a county has not entered the portal before
  • FEMA is working to provide grants training through the states (not through regional FEMA managers)
  • FEMA also looking to implement direct processing for counties/cities but no timeline provided
  • States are submitting questions and FEMA responding as soon as possible and putting info on

The call was recorded and is available online


State approves two bills with supplemental funds for COVID response

The Legislature has passed two measures to provide funds to combat the coronavirus:

Senate Bill 151:

  • Authorizes up to $50 million in Federal revenues for combating the respiratory virus COVID-19 to be appropriated to departments for State and Local preparedness and response activities.
  • Requires a report on funding and activities to the appropriations committees, relevant subcommittees, the fiscal agencies, and the State Budget Office by June 30 and Sept. 30 of 2020.
  • Directs $10 million to the Coronavirus public health emergency line be allocated to departments for critical State and local preparedness and response activities for the respiratory virus COVID-19.
  • Directs that the activities may include monitoring, laboratory testing, contact tracing, infection control, and continuation of critical State government functions. Requires a report by departments receiving funding to the Legislature and State Budget Office by June 30 and Sept. 30, 2020, on activities and expenditures.
  • Creates the Coronavirus Response Fund in the Department of Treasury.
  • Allocates $15 million into the Fund.
  • Allows funds to be spent upon appropriation or legislative transfer.
  • Requires interest and earnings from the Fund be deposited in the General Fund.
  • Directs that funds in the Coronavirus Response Fund not lapse to the General Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

House Bill 4729:

  • Includes $50 million GF/GP to expand capacity of critical health care providers for responding to the Coronavirus public health emergency.
  • Authorizes $40 million GF/GP to be allocated to departments for preparedness and response activities for the Coronavirus public health emergency. Activities may include monitoring, laboratory testing, contact tracing, infection control, and continuation of critical state government functions. (This is in addition to the $10 million under SB 151.)
  • Authorizes $35 million GF/GP to be deposited into the Coronavirus Response Fund to be available for subsequent appropriation as needs related to the coronavirus are identified. (This is in addition to the $15 million GF/GP authorized in SB 151 for the same purpose.)


Virtual town hall set for March 26 on high-water issues

On March 26, state leaders will hold a virtual town hall on high-water issues in Michigan, the first in what is planned as a series.

The event will start at 6 p.m.; is designed for a public audience; and  will cover water level basics and current forecasts, statewide high water impacts and resources for residents.

To register, click here.


March 23 webinar will focus on rural effects of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold a webinar for rural stakeholders on March 23 at 1 p.m. Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Dr. Jay Butler will share guidance with partners, public health practitioners, health care providers and others working to protect the health of rural communities. He will describe what the CDC knows at this point and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. 

To register, click here.


Tips offered on using GIS to respond to COVID-19

ESRI will host a webinar on March 23 in which experts will show how counties can quickly deploy free GIS resources to prepare, mitigate and actively respond to COVID-19.

For free registration, click here.

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