Interested in leadership training? Read on.

courtesy/Macomb County

“Applications are available now for Michigan State University’s Michigan Political Leadership Program, considered the nation’s premier training opportunity for rising leaders,” the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research announced this week.

“MPLP is distinguished as one of only a handful of multi-partisan leadership training programs in the nation.

“The fellowship program trains 24 people from all corners of the state and from diverse professional and occupational backgrounds for 10 months of weekend training.

“Applications for the MPLP Class of 2015 are due Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. They are sought from individuals seeking new leadership and political skills to serve communities, constituencies, or causes. Applicants must be 18 years of age. …

“Each MPLP fellowship is valued at $12,000. Fellows accepted into the program are asked to pay a $1,000 administrative fee to participate plus some incidental costs like parking and travel. “

For more information, visit the MPLP website.

Road conference will focus on innovation

tunnelLearn about cutting-edge techniques in chip sealing, remote sensing and more at the 2014 Asset Management Conference on Oct. 23 at the Holiday Inn in Marquette.

“The Leading Edge of Asset Management” is the theme for conference. The goal is to provide “each attendee with examples of state of the art technology fused with practical techniques related to the application of asset management at the national, state and local levels.” It is sponsored by the Transportation Asset Management Council, of which MAC is a member.

With the road funding debate ongoing, and the upcoming winter expected to be tough,  public officials in charge of roads need all the tips and innovations they can get.

Deadline to register is Oct. 8. See the brochure for full details.

Lake County lands federal grant with MAC’s help

Lake County Commissioner Dan Sloan was all over Northern Michigan media last week to talk about a $45,000 federal grant the county landed, with the assistance of MAC.



In a Friday report from Channel 9&10 News, Sloan said, “We have over 300 miles of ORV trails in the county. If we can get that out, we know we are going to draw a lot of tourists. That’s going to protect our existing jobs and lead to more employment to the county.”

Sloan also was interviewed by the Lake County Star (see below) about the grant, which the county won through a competitive process with the aid of MAC’s grant service assistant, Gabriel Zawadzki.

County awarded grant to promote tourism industry

By Brendan Losinski

LAKE COUNTY — A $45,000 grant was awarded to Lake County from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development division. The grant will be used to promote the tourism industry in order to increase jobs and grow local businesses. While dozens of counties applied for this grant, only a handful, including Lake County, were chosen.

With the awarding of the grant, a new committee, headed by county commissioner Dan Sloan, has been formed to oversee the distribution of the funds and organize a marketing and advertising campaign for the county. It will be comprised of several local business owners and members of business promoting county groups.

The grant money will be focused on re-branding Lake County as the premiere off-road vehicle destination in the Midwest. This will be done through targeted online advertising, using online analytics and focused ads that will specifically be aimed at ORV enthusiasts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Ontario, and, of course, Michigan. This marketing campaign is planned to last a year and a half before further steps are to be implemented.

“If this is successful,” explained third district county commissioner, and committee overseer Dan Sloan, “after the first year and a half we can move to a full year, four season promotion of Lake County’s tourist industry. This means moving beyond ORV promotion, and advertising fishing, cross country skiing, Blessing of the Bikes, everything.”

The grant will also go towards designing and implementing a new phone app that will aid tourists and ORV enthusiasts. The app will map all of the county’s trails, provide GPS coordinates, and highlight restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and other points of interest within the county.

“I’ve been a business owner here since 1980, and it’s pretty evident that tourism is really important to the local economy,” said committee member Jim Faiella. “We’ve got a great resource here with our trails… Any money we spend on advertising the county will be money well-spent.”

Sloan notes that the commission has contracted with the Michigan Association of Counties to help administer the grant, citing concerns about distribution after a low-income resident grant from 2013 was inadvertently mishandled and resulted in complications for the county. He states that every precaution is being taken to ensure that this grant is dealt with appropriately.

The county has over 800 miles of trails, 300 of which are designated for ORV use. The marketing campaign is slated to begin in early 2015, the planning of which has already begun.


Lapeer, Saginaw land $$ to use scrap tires on roads

scrap tire picLapeer and Saginaw counties are among nine recipients of grants from the State of Michigan to support the re-use of scrap tires in road surfacing projects.

Lapeer will receive $232,712 and Saginaw County $128,063 from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, out of the total allotment of $2.5 million.

Americans generate about 300 million scrap tires every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on the state’s Scrap Tire program, click here.

MAC continues push for 1-cent sales tax for roads

pothole picA 1-cent sales tax increase is the best way to address Michigan’s “embarrassing” roads, MAC Deputy Director Steve Currie told the audience of “The Big Show” on Wednesday.

Currie, continuing MAC’s push to get action on the state’s crumbling road network, explained that MAC’s Board of Directors had reviewed the situation nearly a year ago and determined that a 1-cent sales tax – a penny for a road, if you will – is the best available option.

Unlike other proposed fixes, the sales tax increase will consistently generate the substantial sums Michigan needs – and it requires a statewide vote of the people.

“Let the people decide,” Currie told guest host Kyle Melinn of MIRS News Service.

Currie also noted that the state is working at cross purposes if it continues to attract visitors via the highly successful Pure Michigan ad campaign, but then confronts said guests with crummy roads to travel on.


MAC’s Currie: Give voters chance on 1-cent sales tax

In an extensive interview with Gongwer News Service Monday, MAC Deputy Director Steve Currie said that recent events boost the idea of having voters approve a 1-cent sales tax increase to rescue Michigan’s crumbling roads.

Steve Currie

Steve Currie

“Mr. Currie said following the severe winter that wreaked massive damage to the roads, the flooding that struck the Detroit area and the approval of the local tax proposals, the public seems ready to accept a tax increase to deal with roads,” Gongwer reported.

“Increasing taxes on fuel seems a long-term losing proposition since drivers are trying to use less fuel, Mr. Currie said.

“He said the group’s members support the proposed increase and the time seems opportune to encourage public support for a proposed sales tax increase.”

MAC made increased road funding via a sales-tax increase as one of its 2014 legislative priorities and the MAC Legislative Team is readying for a strong push for action in September.

MAC members can review the 2014 priorities and stay up-to-date on all legislative events in Lansing by accessing the members-only section of the MAC website.

Community service linked to happiness

diverse-handsDemographer Richard Florida notes new research on the relationship between serving your community and personal well-being:

“Older Americans (65 and above) who reported engaging in community service had the highest levels of well-being. This is also not surprising, since older people in general have higher levels of happiness overall. But, interestingly, younger Americans ages 18 to 29 who reported community service recognition had the second highest levels of overall well-being (70.3), beating both those in the 30 to 45 and 46 to 64 age groups, who reported slightly lower levels.”

Across Michigan county governments always are in need of citizen volunteers to serve on boards, commissions or in a variety of other roles. For example, here’s Kent County’s information on volunteer opportunities.

Check with your county to see what’s available and get involved.


100+ commissioner slots will have new faces in 2015

michigan-county-mapMore than 100 of Michigan’s county commissioners will be leaving their offices at the end of the year, either by choice or through decisions made by voters in this week’s primary, a MAC analysis of county election results has found.

While most of the 106 departing commissioners either chose not to run for re-election or pursued a different office, 16 of them lost party nomination bids on Aug. 5.

Some county boards already assured of a bevy of new faces in 2015 include:

  • Kalamazoo (6 departing out of 11 seats)
  • Kent (5 departing out of 19 seats)
  • Gogebic (3 departing out of 7 seats)
  • Grand Traverse (3 departing out of 7 seats)
  • Kalkaska (3 departing out of 7 seats)
  • Alpena (3 departing out of 8 seats)

The MAC election results database (Excel download) is searchable by commissioner or county name. Names in red denote commissioners who are departing. Commissioners who lost primary elections are designated by an asterisk and note.

Bay City teen wins national scholarship from Nationwide and NACo

Ashton Tacey of Bay City has been awarded a $2,000 college scholarship courtesy of Nationwide and the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Ashton Tacey

Ashton Tacey

The annual scholarship contest is open to graduating high school seniors, and applicants must be sponsored by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian participating in a NACo 457 Deferred Compensation Plan.

Tacey was one of only four students selected from across the nation. She will be attending Saginaw Valley State University in the fall to pursue studies in occupational therapy. She was sponsored by her mother, Sharon Tacey, who works for the Friend of the Court in Bay County.

Tacey has a long background in service, including participation in ThinkFirst for Teens, a global injury prevention program, the Buckle Your Brain program from the Field Neuroscience Institute and the Bay City Players Youtheater.

Don’t miss Regional Summit in Delta County

MAC members in the Upper Peninsula have an excellent opportunity this month to be briefed on a number of key issues affecting county resources and development, from the future of transportation funding to the growing crisis of tax capture districts to disaster relief.

MAC logo blueA MAC Regional Summit will be held Aug. 26 in Escanaba at the UPCAP Headquarters, 2501 14th Ave. South. Among the speakers scheduled are MAC President Shelly Pinkelman of Crawford County and MAC Second Vice President Jerry Doucette of Alger County.

Click here to register for the summit by Aug. 22. (Note that walk-in registration will be available the day of the summit.)


MAC Regional Summit – Delta County
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
10 a.m.
UPCAP Headquarters
2501 14th Ave. South, Escanaba

10 a.m.                       Welcome
10:05 a.m.                  Tax Capture Districts and Their Impact on Counties
11 a.m.                        Disaster Relief Procedures
Noon                           Lunch/MAC Legislative Update
1 p.m.                          Local Regional Prosperity Plans
2 p.m.                          The Future of Transportation Funding in Michigan