Six counties win grants from state for cooperative work

Six counties — Eaton, Mecosta, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa and St. Clair — are among local governments landing funds via the “Competitive Grant Assistance Program” for work they are doing on “mergers, consolidations, interlocal agreements and cooperative efforts,” the Treasury Department announced Tuesday.

All together, the six counties will receive about $4.5 million.

Oakland will receive the lion’s share of that sum, $3.8 million for “collaboration by three counties to form the Great Lakes Water Authority” to fix and upgrade the Detroit water system.

The amounts and purposes for the other awards are:

  • Eaton, $10,0001, for collaboration by area communities to determine the feasibility of shared recycling services.
  • Mecosta, $601,641, for consolidation of morgue services with Newaygo County.
  • Oceana, $13,750, for collaboration by area communities to determine the feasibility of shared fire services.
  • Ottawa, $31,588, for consolidation of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office with the Village of Spring Lake/City of Ferrysburg Police Department.
  • St. Clair, $10,500, for collaboration with Sanilac County to determine the feasibility of shared public health services.

For more information on the program, visit its official Web page.


State needs citizens for 200-plus state panels, boards

The Michigan Cherry Commission is just one of the more than 200 panels and boards of the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Cherry Commission is just one of the more than 200 panels and boards of the State of Michigan.

The State of Michigan has more than 200 panels and boards that advise and help lead efforts ranging from accountancy and architecture to soybeans and historic preservation.

With so many initiatives, it’s no surprise then that the state always is on the hunt for able, civic-minded individuals to serve. The governor’s Appointments Division maintains a handy website with an application link for interested citizens.

In the online application form, you may select up to three panels of interest, and the application process will require a resume and basic background information.

Help Michigan and apply today.

Relatively flat: A tale of Michigan roads and tires

transport funds 10-17-14The conventional wisdom in political circles is that a significant increase in transportation funding will be a heavy lift in the upcoming “lame duck” session of the Legislature after the November elections.

That CW might explain why, in the words of this slide in August from the House Fiscal Agency, transportation funding has been “relatively flat” since the late 1990s.

Meanwhile … “The average Michigander pays $357 annually in unnecessary repairs to their vehicles due to poor roads.”

MAC’s position: An additional penny on the state sales tax, dedicated to transportation, is the best way to improve roads.

PILT feature shows impact of public land payments on counties

PILT (payments in lieu of taxes) is a perpetual issue for Michigan’s northern counties, where ownership of land by the state and federal governments is common. The National Association of Counties has created an interactive feature that allows you to see exactly what the federal PILT program can do to a county’s primary source of revenue.

As seen in the example below, the federal government paid Crawford County less than $2 per acre — far, far below the “market” tax result. For 2014, Michigan counties received about $4.6 million for approximately 2.2 million acres.(For a table showing all of the FY14 federal PILT to Michigan counties, click here.)

Crawford PILT image October 2014

And in the “going from bad to worse” category, the future of PILT in the 2015 federal budget remains in doubt. The authorization for PILT actually expired on Sept. 30 with the end of the 2014 fiscal year. PILT was not included in the continuing resolution that is keeping the federal government going in lieu of an enacted budget. That resolution expires at the end of December and NACo is planning a big push in November and December to get PILT back into the federal spending plan.

National PILT map October 2014

Stay connected to MAC’s communications channels for updates on this topic.


Comment period on Clean Water Act extended to Nov. 14

stream imageIn the October edition of Michigan Counties, the “Ask the Expert” feature focused on the definition of “Waters of the United States” and how it is important for counties to give their views during the comment period on the federal Clean Water Act by Oct. 20, 2014.

Good news. As just reported here by the National Association of Counties, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to extend the comment period to Nov. 14, 2014.

State offers workplace safety grants of up to $5,000

MIOSHA logo 10-6-14The State of Michigan is offering workplace safety grants of up to $5,000. Read on for details from MIOSHA:

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s program for workplace safety and health, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is offering matching grant awards of up to $5,000 to improve workplace safety and health. The grants are open to qualifying employers to purchase safety and health-related equipment. The goal of this special grant program is to create a safer and healthier work environment and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan.

“We are encouraging employers to step up workplace safety and health during MIOSHA’s 40-year anniversary,” said Martha Yoder, MIOSHA Director.  “We are pleased to partner with small employers by offering matching grants of up to $5,000 to make improvements in workplace safety and health.  With a total of $500,000 available from MIOSHA, that’s a $1 million investment in keeping Michigan’s workers safe and healthy.”

To qualify for the MIOSHA Safety and Health Improvement Program (MiSHIP) Grant, an employer must meet the following conditions:

  • Have 250 employees or less.
  • Come under the jurisdiction of MIOSHA.
  • A qualified safety professional or a safety committee must have conducted a site-specific evaluation and there must be a written report with recommendations based on the evaluation unless the project is for lifting equipment in residential care facilities, or fall protection equipment in residential construction.
  • The grant project must be consistent with the recommendations of the safety and/or health evaluation and must directly relate to improvements that will lead to a reduction in the risk of injury or disease to employees.
  • The employer must have the knowledge and experience to complete the project, and must be committed to its implementation.
  • The employer must be able to match the grant money awarded and all estimated project costs must be covered.

The MiSHIP Grant requires that an eligible project is one designed to reduce the risk of injury to employees as identified in a site-specific safety and/or health evaluation conducted at the site.  The site-specific evaluation must identify the injury and illness risks associated with a work task or area, and the recommended actions of the grant project must directly relate to eliminating or minimizing the risks.

For the MiSHIP purposes, the recommended actions must be in the form of equipment to be used to reduce workplace hazards.  Only items referenced in the hazard evaluation report can be considered eligible, within the proposed project.

The hazard evaluation cannot simply be a letter of endorsement for the grant application.  The hazard evaluation is the technical basis for a grant project; therefore, it must provide sufficient supporting documentation for the proposed grant project.

In addition to the hazard evaluation, the MiSHIP places priority on those projects that impact employment sites which provide goods, manufacturing or processing jobs for the majority of workers; businesses within the current MIOSHA strategic plan ( and other high-hazard workplaces. 

Priority will be given to small employers (250 or less) for the projects listed below.

No Hazard Evaluation Needed for the Following:

  • Residential Fall Protection Systems
  • Lifting Equipment or Portable Lifting Equipment for In-home Care or Small Nursing/Residential Care Facilities

Hazard Evaluation Needed for the Following:

  • Monitoring Equipment for Confined Space Entry
  • Noise Reduction Engineering Controls
  • Lock Out/Tag Out Systems
  • Cooling Systems for Agriculture-based Worksites
  • Eyewash Stations for the Accommodations Industry

A limited number of MiSHIP Grants will be available to training organizations.  To be eligible, the training organization must make the equipment available to its members for use.

Grant Application
An online MiSHIP application has been developed. It is available as a printable PDF file or Word document at

The online application allows applicants to submit information electronically, with the exception of the endorsement page of the application, which must be printed, signed and submitted to MIOSHA’s grant administrator.

All applicants must submit an application to MIOSHA for evaluation.  MIOSHA will review the application and either approve or deny the project.  The applicant will be notified of approval or denial.  If the grant project is approved, project completion date will be identified.  After the project has been completed, the recipient will submit cost and implementation documentation.  Upon receipt of adequate documentation and implementation, MIOSHA will forward reimbursement of 50 percent of the project up to the maximum reimbursement of $5,000.

More Information
For more information, contact the CET Grant Administrator at (517) 322-1865 or visit

Michigan counties gain national notice for digital prowess

Ottawa Co screen grabSix Michigan counties were honored recently in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the Center for Digital Government.

Oakland County was Michigan’s highest finisher after achieving 4th Place in the categories of counties with 500,000 residents or more. Also honored were Allegan, Berrien, Eaton, Jackson and Ottawa counties.

“Counties across the country are using technology to enhance services, maximize efficiency and save money,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew D. Chase in statement announcing the awards. “The Digital Counties Survey recognizes counties’ best practices and effective uses of technology to better serve their communities.”

500,000 or more residents
Oakland County, 4th

250,000 to 499,999
Ottawa County, 7th

150,000 to 249,999
Berrien County, 6th
Jackson County, 8th

Up to 150,000
Eaton County, 8th
Allegan County, 9th