ARP Coalition Announces MI Prosperity Roadmap

Executive Director Steve Currie participated in a press conference this morning unveiling the work and funding plan created by the Coalition for a Strong and Prosperous Michigan. This coalition is comprised of over 40 members including the Michigan Association of Counties. The proposal sent to legislative leaders and Governor Whitmer’s administration this week is a comprehensive approach to utilizing the State’s remaining $5.7 B in American Rescue Plan dollars by focusing on 5 key areas that will have a transformational impact on Michigan. These funding and match programs will support individuals, families, education, small business, infrastructure, and local governments.  
 
The five key areas are:
 

Infrastructure: Resilient and Sustainable Water Systems ($2.5B) and High-Speed Broadband Access ($500M)

• Water infrastructure across Michigan is in desperate need of repair and replacement. The American Rescue Plan provides an opportunity to repair and replace aging water infrastructure, resolve public health problems, reduce environmental contamination, and provide current and future generations with resilient and sustainable systems. This roadmap leverages American Rescue Plan funds to make capital improvements, replace lead service lines, improve planning at the local level, and address issues of sustainability and resiliency related to water. Key Investments: Capital Improvements, Lead Line Replacement, Drinking Water Assistance, PFAS Mitigation, Dam Repair and Retro Fit, Planning
 
• High-speed broadband should be accessible to homes and businesses across Michigan to enhance economic development, provide access to education and life-long learning opportunities, and support remote work demands. Utilizing the American Rescue Plan, Michigan can support the buildout of high-speed broadband and help modernize the way we work and learn. Key Investments: Connecting Michigan Communities Grant Program, Digital Literacy, Access to Devices, Mapping, and Planning 
Infrastructure: Resilient and Sustainable Water Systems ($2.5B) and High-Speed Broadband Access ($500M)
 
Fiscal Health: Smart Investments that Provide Stability for State and Local Government ($800M)
 
• Supporting the long-term fiscal health of the state and local governments of all sizes is key to stabilizing Michigan’s economic landscape. State economic policy sets the stage for business growth and personal wealth creation. Local government complements state policy by balancing and tailoring quality of life, infrastructure, and economic initiatives for a community’s specific needs. Utilizing the American Rescue Plan to enhance Michigan’s prosperity is strengthened by providing stability at the state and local level. Key Investments: Revenue Sharing, Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, Technical Assistance 
 
Thriving Communities: Attainable Housing and Community Development ($805M)
 
• Access to attainable housing and thriving communities have a significant impact on education, health, employment, economic, and equity outcomes, while providing greater opportunities for wealth creation. Michigan can utilize American Rescue Plan resources to address the state’s housing needs, invest in great places, and layer in wrap-around services to improve outcomes for all Michigan families. Key Investments: Housing and Community Development Fund, Building Trades Training, Placemaking, Non-Profit Assistance, Regional Resiliency 
 
Strong Economy: Economic Development, Business Assistance, Skilled Workforce, and Talent ($910M)
 
• Recovering from the pandemic will require more than just a return to normal. To propel Michigan’s future success, it is critical to learn from the experiences of the last year and a half and capitalize on the changing environment to make the state a model for recovery, innovation, and growth. The American Rescue Plan can help streamline Michigan’s recovery, better connect talent to the state’s growing job market, accelerate entrepreneurship, and increase community wealth. Key Investments: Office Conversion, Brownfield Redevelopment, Strategic and Large Site Development, Job Training and Direct Business Support Grants, EV Readiness 
 
Public Health and Safety: Healthy and Safe People, Families, and Communities ($500M)
 
• Strengthening Michigan’s health and safety infrastructure is critical to improving the quality of life for residents while protecting their ability to fully participate in their economy and community. Through the American Rescue Plan, the state can make targeted investments necessary to support a safer, healthier, and more stable population. Key Investments: Mental Health and Addiction Services in Rural and Underserved Areas, Facility Improvements, Cybersecurity, Restaurant Licensing.
 
For more detailed information, please see the detailed plan here and watch the recording of the press conference this morning. 

County Infirmary structure simplified under proposal

Michigan has two county infirmaries, Monroe and Midland, that have multiple layers of administrative oversight, of which is unnecessary and removed under Senate Bill 569. Senator Dale Zorn (R-Monroe) worked with Monroe County, home of Fairview- the Monroe County Home, to ensure a simplified organization structure in which the county board governs and provides administration for the facility.

Monroe County’s Administrator/Chief Financial Officer Michael Bosanac provided testimony in support of the legislation to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The full testimony can be found  here beginning at the 20 minute mark.

MAC supports Senate Bill 569. The committee voted out the bill unanimously this week and it now awaits action of the full Senate.

For further questions, please contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness hosting a one-day virtual state conference via zoom

This year’s conference is for everyone! Specific focus on Law Enforcement Crisis Response Models, the Intersection of Faith and Mental Healthcare, the future of integrated healthcare in Michigan, Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT) Behavioral Health Crisis – Training for First Responders, First Episode Psychosis (FEP), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s), suicide prevention resources in our schools, and more!

For more information, please see here.

Staff picks (10/15)

Public Notice bills no help to locals

A two-bill package “modernizing” public notice postings passed out of the Senate this week. SB 258 sponsored by Sen. Vanderwall (R-Mason) and SB 259 sponsored by Sen. Santana (D-Wayne) would modify the definition of a newspaper to mean a newspaper in an adjoining jurisdiction if one was not available in the county. 

The bill would also require the posting of the notice on a website hosted by the newspaper.  Neither of those modifications help to curb the cost of the postings, alleviate the unnecessary details of many of the posting requirements, nor do they assist locals in meeting the publicized notice timeline should a newspaper fail to print the notice in a timely manner. 

MAC offered several amendments to the legislation that were rejected.  The intent of the amendments was to limit the cost of the public notices to a government rate, to allow for partial posting of information with a link to more information, and to allow the posting online to count toward the deadline needed to meet notice posting timelines. The bills have been referred to the House committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance. MAC will continue to advocate for amendments to make this legislation beneficial to counties. 

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Mental health transport option moved by committee

Under Senate Bill 101, sponsored by Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), a county board of commissioners would be allowed to contract with a private security company to transport individuals for involuntary hospitalization or screening. The opportunity under the bill will allow county boards to address the many logistical issues that law enforcement officers have to work through when they must transport an individual.

The board would have to establish a county mental health transportation panel, which must include certain members, before entering into a contract. The purpose of the panel would be to recommend a transportation mechanism to serve as an alternative to a peace officer’s transporting an individual to the board. The panel would make sure the company meets the criteria as set forth under the statute, if passed.

The substitute bill that passed the Senate Health Policy and Human Services committee included additional language to protect counties from liability and ensure a private security company would have to maintain insurance coverage. The bill now awaits further action by the full Senate.

For more information on this issue please contact, please contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

NACo hosting webinar featuring Michigan’s jail reforms

County jails are a major local expense and jail populations across the country have tripled since the 1970s. While state lawmakers may think of jails as the county’s responsibility, many of the laws and policies that determine who goes to jail and for how long are made at the state level. Everything from determining what’s a crime, when to arrest someone, how to make pretrial release and sentencing decisions, and how to handle probation violations and unpaid fees, to things like funding for mental health services in the community. County officials often have broad discretion, but they’re not solely responsible for the growth in our jails.
 
Safely reducing jail populations has taken on even more importance during the pandemic as congregate care settings have fueled the spread of COVID-19.
 
Join us on Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. (noon central time) for a half hour webinar featuring the work of the Michigan Association of Counties, which formed a county-state partnership to safely reduce jail populations, and read more about their work here!

FY22 budget includes County Incentive Program requirements

The state’s County Incentive Program (CIP) will continue through FY 2022 after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the state budget into law last week. The Michigan Department of Treasury has released guidance for qualifying counties to begin their application process to receive their full CIP payments.

The program’s document requirements include:

  • City, village, and township revenue sharing and County Incentive Program certification
  • Citizens’ guide  
  • Performance dashboard
  • Debt service report
  • Projected budget report

All required documents must be available for public viewing in the county clerk’s office or posted on a public website. The due date to receive full CIP payments is Dec. 1, 2021. Detailed information can be found on the Michigan Department of Treasury’s CIP website.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

Conference draws more than 300 to Mackinac Island; President Kuyers urges unity

More than 300 county leaders from across Michigan converged on Mackinac Island this week for the 2021 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, which culminated with the swearing in of Ottawa Commissioner Phil Kuyers as MAC Board president.

The conference, which was held at the Grand Hotel Sept. 26-28, featured plenary sessions, policy breakouts and the MAC Annual Business Meeting, where commissioners approved policy platforms for the 2021-22 year.

Kuyers, who is starting his third term on the MAC Board, is the 113th person to hold the president’s position.

In his speech after taking the oath on Monday, Sept. 27, Kuyers pledged to “raise up MAC as an example of unity, of bipartisanship, of civility and of common sense” in a time of controversy and high passions.

“You are here tonight and at this conference because you believe in the value of MAC. I urge you to lean on this organization like you never have before. Our comfort zone is gone, another victim of the pandemic. Expectations of county government are rising on new fronts from broadband service to affordable housing,” Kuyers continued. “MAC stands ready to help each of you, and your colleagues who are not here tonight, with navigating these new issues. But we must work together.”

Keynote addresses at the event included presentations by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall and Dave Lorenz, who leads the highly popular Pure Michigan travel campaign.

Kuyers will lead a board that gained one new member via elections held at the conference: Melissa Daub of Wayne County. She will fill one of the three at-large seats on the MAC Board of Directors.

As the conference closed, the MAC Board confirmed officers for the 2021-22 term. Joining Kuyers are Stan Ponstein of Kent County (first vice president) and Eileen Kowall of Oakland County (second vice president). Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County moves to the role of immediate past president.

“We were pleased with the attendance at our first in-person conference in two years,” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “It speaks to the quality of the policy breakouts and keynote presentations that more than 300 county leaders set aside the time to join us.”

 

Governor calls mask-budget links unconstitutional in budget message

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the FY22 state budget this week, but only after a few line-item vetoes and deeming certain boilerplate provisions unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The budget presented to the governor included language that “unappropriated” funding of local public health departments if a heath officer has an emergency order in place authorized under the Public Health Code- unless a county board of commission votes to support the order.

In a letter to lawmakers, the governor stated that penalizing local health departments for using their power given to them by the Public Health Code violates the Michigan Constitution. The letter cites both Article 3, section 2 and Article 4, section 25, which provide for separation of powers and no act is to be amended by reference, respectively.  

For more information on this issue, please see the text of the transmittal letter or contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

U.S. Treasury resets key deadline on ARP reporting

The U.S. Treasury has revised its timeline for counties to submit their Project and Expenditure Reports for the Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Treasury has set aside the original deadline of Oct. 31, 2021, citing comments and feedback gathered during the Interim Report and Recovery Plan Performance Report process.

The Project and Expenditure Reports will now be due on Jan. 31, 2022, and will cover the period between award date and Dec. 31, 2021. Further instructions will be provided at a later date, including updates to existing guidance as well as a user guide to assist recipients to gather and submit the information through Treasury’s Portal. 

Please visit the Treasury’s website at www.Treasury.gov/SLFRPReporting for the latest information.

 

Presentations from 2021 Annual Conference now available

Presentation slides from all of the plenary sessions and MAC policy breakouts at the 2021 Annual Conference are now available on the MAC website.

Among the highlights are:

  • A breakdown of the state budget process by Deputy State Budget Director Bethany Wicksall
  • The MAC Legislative Update
  • A primer on Michigan’s voting process by Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck
  • Research studies on the problems with, and potential solutions for, Michigan’s local taxation system

Also on the conference page, you will find Facebook videos of three of the breakout sessions.

 

During regional caucuses held at the Michigan Counties Annual Conference Sept. 26-28, MAC members re-elected four incumbents and selected a new at-large director for the MAC Board of Directors.

Daub

Melissa Daub of Wayne County fills the vacancy created when Kalamazoo Commissioner Julie Rogers was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2020.

“Upon taking office, I immediately became involved with the Michigan Association of Counties to share ideas with my colleagues across the state, as well as the work we’re doing in Wayne County,” said Daub. “Today, I’m proud to be named an at-large member for the MAC Board of Directors and to be continuing my focus on transportation needs in my home county and across the state, as well as tackling the many other shared issues we see at the county level.”

Kuyers

Daub was first elected to the Wayne County Commission in 2018. She represents District 10, which includes Canton Township, Plymouth Township and the City of Plymouth. A proud graduate of Plymouth-Canton High School, Commissioner Daub holds a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University.

Incumbent board members were returned to the Board from MAC’s Regions 1, 2, 3 and 5.

President Phil Kuyers of Ottawa County will be starting his third term on the board from Region 2 (Southwest Michigan).

After taking the oath as president at the Annual Conference Banquet on Sept. 27, Kuyers pledged to “raise up MAC as an example of unity, of bipartisanship, of civility and of common sense” in a time of controversy and high passions. Kuyers is the 113th person to serve as president of MAC, which was first organized in 1898.

Joe Stevens of Dickinson (Region 1 – Upper Peninsula) and Christian Marcus of Antrim (Region 2 – Northwest Michigan) also were elected to third terms. Eileen Kowall of Oakland (Region 5, Southeast Michigan) was elected to her second term and to serve as second vice president of the Board.

Board members can serve a maximum of three 3-year terms.

County revenue sharing increase highlights FY22 budget

Lawmakers and the governor reached a deal on the FY22 budget this week, just days before the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year. The budget allocates $10.4 billion in General Fund dollars.

The budget includes a 2 percent increase in the base for county revenue sharing, but retained the language requiring the increase in revenue sharing in counties that have been deemed to be in an underfunded status with their pension system to go toward those pension obligations.

Other items of note include:

  • $148.9M in Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Grants, which includes implementation of standard 5
  • $14.5M for PFAS Remediation Grants
  • $13M to fund a Dam Safety Grant Program, with an additional $6M for the Emergency Dam Safety Action Fund
  • $14.3M in High Water Infrastructure Grants
  • $16M in a one-time appropriation to the state 911 fund for NextGen Infrastructure
    • This appropriation allows the Legislature to eliminate a fee increase in House Bill 5026 for postpaid phones and reduce the fee increase for prepaid
  • $29.1M to the Raise the Age Fund, which is to cover cost outside of Child Care Fund eligible expenses for 17-year-olds
  • EMS Medicaid fee schedule would be set at 100 percent of Medicare, which is an increase of $54.3M
  • $51.4M for essential local public health services, with strings attached depending on local health orders: “If a local health officer has an emergency order under section 2453 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.2453, in effect as of October 1, 2021, the funds appropriated in part 1 for essential local public health services are unappropriated. This subsection does not apply if a county board of commissioners passes a nonbinding resolution by a record roll call vote to support any emergency orders the local health officer has in effect on October 1 of the current fiscal year.”

According to news sources, “Language in the budget that would strip local health departments of their state funding if they have an emergency health order in place to protect against COVID-19 without the assent of their county board of commissioners will likely be deemed unenforceable by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.” MAC expects more legal information to be released soon.

In other county-related details:

  • $5.2B transportation budget includes an additional $52.8M for local road agencies for a total to local road agencies of $1.8B.
  • $414.5M gross ($146.1M GF) for a $2.35 per hour direct care worker wage increase.
  • $26.5M gross, ($5M GF) (6 FTEs) to support a two-year implementation for the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Demonstration program
  • $5.1M for the second year of a five-year phase-out of the use of Local CMH Local Match funding to support the Medicaid Restricted Mental Health Services line
  • $4.25M to the county veteran service fund, $200,000 of which can be used by the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency to fund administration and technical assistance to counties
  • $2M in one-time money for the secondary road patrol grant program is to compensate for lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing total support to the program at $15M
  • $14.8M in the county jail reimbursement program, and agreement to remove language that bars reimbursement for any county that enacts or enforces any law or ordinance concerning the immigration status of an individual
  • $2M for local conservation district operational support with an additional $1M one-time funding for FY22
  • $45M in Federal funds for Water Infrastructure Improvement Grants for the City of Flint
  • $2.1M increase to fully fund PILT payments
  • $3M increase for the Michigan Infrastructure Council

Of the $6.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds allocated to the state of Michigan, the FY22 budget and supplemental for FY21 utilizes just more than $770 million, including $150 million for the Unemployment Trust Fund. The remaining $5.76 billion will be allocated through a series of supplemental budget bills expected to begin negotiations this fall.

For more information about the budget, please contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org or Meghann Keit-Corrion at Keit@micounties.org.

 

U.S. Treasury provides guidance on Capital Projects Fund

This week, U.S. Treasury released new guidance for the $10 billion Capital Projects Fund that was authorized under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). It is important to note that these are grants for states, which can then be awarded to subrecipients (i.e., counties).

Key points from the guidance include:

  • Provides $10 billion to U.S. Treasury to provide payments to states, territories, freely associated states and tribal governments to carry out critical capital projects directly enabling work, education and health monitoring, including remote options, in response to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19
  • All funds must be spent by Dec. 31, 2026. Recipients must return to Treasury any grant funds that are not used by the end of the period of performance on Dec. 31, 2026 (Treasury has the authority to provide grant extensions to the period of performance if a recipient requests one).
  • For a Capital Project to be an eligible use of funds, it must meet all of the following three criteria (additional information on eligible projects below):
    • The Capital Project invests in capital assets designed to directly enable work, education, and health monitoring
    • The Capital Project is designed to address a critical need that resulted from or was made apparent or exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency
    • The Capital Project is designed to address a critical need of the community to be served by it

Ineligible projects include:

  • General infrastructure projects, such as highways, bridges, transit systems and ports
  • General construction and improvement of hospitals and traditional schools are not presumed to be eligible projects
  • Neither the Davis-Bacon Act nor Davis-Bacon Act-related provisions requirements apply to projects funded solely with award funds from the Capital Projects Fund. However, similar to the Recovery Fund, recipients may be subject to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act, when Capital Projects Fund grant funds are used on a construction project in conjunction with funds from another federal program that requires enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act.

Additional information:

 

MAC voices opposition to mental health bills in Senate

MAC testified in opposition this week to Senate Bills 597-98, by Sens. Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) and John Bizon (R-Calhoun) respectively. The bills would financially integrate physical and mental health through private health plan administration.

MAC’s Meghann Keit-Corrion explained to the Senate Government Operations Committee members that, “MAC members feel strongly that the CMH system and its natural connection to county elected officials provides necessary accountability to quality care and coordination. A financial administrative shift to private health plans would significantly hinder the ability for local partners to provide important community treatment.”

MAC has heard from members who are very concerned with the shifting to private interests, whose priorities could be profit-driven and may not have the shared initiatives or partnerships within the county. Additionally, focus should be turned toward expanding on the true integration model at the service level, such as with Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and Behavioral Health Homes.

During testimony, Keit-Corrion urged legislators to collaborate with counties to focus on solutions addressing critical staffing shortages and the lack of inpatient care. See Keit-Corrion’s full testimony (beginning at 47:10 mark of video).

For questions, please contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Currie participates in Mackinac panel on ARP and equity

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie discussed how county governments can work with the nonprofit sector to propel an equitable recovery with of American Rescue Plan funds at the 2021 Detroit Chamber of Commerce’s Mackinac Policy Conference this week.

Currie was invited to the panel addressing for “Opportunities for Transformative Partnerships to Advance Equitable Recovery” on Wednesday. The session explored the challenges and opportunities this influx of federal funding presents and how collaborative partnerships are critical to effectively leveraging federal funding to best serve communities.

During the panel, Currie also discussed MAC’s engagement with the Council of Michigan Foundations and the state’s community foundations for presentations in MAC’s 2021 Regional Summit series over the summer.

MAC also hosted CMF’s Kyle Caldwell on Podcast 83 to discuss how counties and community foundations can work in tandem to boost public amenities and quality of life.

In addition to Caldwell, Currie was joined on the panel by Alize Asberry Payne, racial equity officer for Washtenaw County.

 

What is the ‘deadline’ for county apportionment work?

MAC has received questions from members on deadlines involving county apportionment as they relate to the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of data from Census 2020. Justin Roebuck, clerk of Ottawa County, provided some background from his research:

“Apparently, there are two different definitions of the date when the Census Bureau (CB) will release (or has released) ‘official data.’

“On Aug. 12, the CB released the bulk of the data, which included block data on population, and which they called “official.”  However, they had scheduled for Sept. 30 a final release of all data, which would include some of the demographic data not yet available. (The Sept. 30 date has subsequently been moved up to Sept. 16.)

“Guidance for map submittal from the Secretary of State and Bureau of Elections from the beginning has been based on the September release of all data, but a number of county clerks, as well as other County Apportionment Commission members, have raised concerns citing MCL 46.401, which indicates we must submit our final county maps no later than 60 days after the release of ‘official’ data from the CB. The Michigan Association of County Clerks obtained a legal opinion stating that the 60-day clock began on Aug. 12, and that Oct. 11 was actually the date that final maps should be submitted. Subsequently, the Bureau of Elections asked for an Attorney General’s Office opinion on the matter, and they received a memo from the AG’s Office indicating that the clock should start on the September 16 release date, meaning Nov. 15 would be the final date for map submittal.”

“In addition to that, a few counties have now asked the Court of Appeals for an extension of the October date, just to be sure and give themselves enough time. Branch County received an extension from the court.

MAC will continue to collect and share information on this issue as it becomes available.

 

Treasury’s ‘Chart Chat’ webinar set for Sept. 30

The Michigan Department of Treasury will host its next “Chart Chat” webinar on Sept. 30 at 2 p.m.

The Chart Chat series provides updates to local government officials on accounting-related topics, updates from the Michigan Department of Treasury and information on sound fiscal management.

This session will cover:

  • Accounting for marijuana revenues
  • Fund balance designations
  • Using taxable value as a fiscal indicator
  • Navigating Treasury’s online resources

To register, click here.

The department also maintains a webpage with numbered letters, memorandums, webinars, and resources regarding COVID-19 updates for local governments and school districts. This webpage was created to ensure Michigan communities have access to the most up-to-date guidance.

 

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