County leaders gather in St. Clair County next week

The installation of Kent County’s Stan Ponstein as MAC’s 114th Board President is one of many highlights planned for the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, which begins Sunday, Sept. 18 in St. Clair County.

MAC, along with partner Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC), will set up shop in the county’s Blue Water Convention Center along the shores of the St. Clair River, just south of Lake Huron. On Monday, Sept. 19, attendees will be welcomed by former St. Clair commissioner Howard Heidemann, who was tireless in his efforts to convince MAC to visit his county and use the facility.

Serving as master of ceremonies for the event will be current MAC Board President Phil Kuyers of Ottawa County.

Plenary events include panels on the current challenges in broadband expansion, the energy industry’s impact on and future in Michigan and the biennial MAC Legislative Update from Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth and State of MAC report from Executive Director Stephan Currie.

Conference attendees will enjoy this view of the St. Clair River and the Blue Water Bridge at the 2022 Annual Conference next week.

The conference also will provide 12 policy breakouts designed for MAC attendees and specialized workshops for MCMCFC members, who can earn Continuing Education credits.

“The past two weeks have been a bit of blur, of course, as all of the numerous details for the conferences are worked out,” said Currie. “We think we are ready. We are excited to have St. Clair County host us. And we hope everyone has a good time.”

County leaders who have not registered can do so at the conference site beginning on Sunday at noon. MAC is advising that hotel space remains available, too (though not at the special conference rates).

Commissioners attending the full conference also will perform their duties in choosing MAC Board directors for five seats (1 at-large, 1 in Region 5, 1 in Region 4 and 2 in Region 6) and review and approve MAC’s policy platforms for 2022-23.

The culminating event for the conference will be the President’s Banquet on Tuesday, Sept. 20, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, where Ponstein will give his inaugural address.

For information on conference activities, click here or email conference@micounties.org.

 

MAC recognizes Lenawee on its bicentennial

MAC’s Stephan Currie below the dome of Lenawee’s refurbished courthouse.

Executive Director Stephan Currie had extra duties this week as he arrived at the Lenawee County Courthouse in Adrian.

In addition to making one of his regular “County Visits” to brief members on MAC’s advocacy, educational and business services, Currie also delivered a Proclamation of Tribute from MAC to the county on its 200th anniversary.

“On Sept. 10, 1822 by order of Michigan Territory Governor Lewis Cass, and five years after Monroe County was divided from Wayne County, the expansive state border land was split further to the west to form Lenawee County,” states the county’s bicentennial webpage. “The county had rolling hills and deciduous woods to the north, the Great Black Swamp to the south and east. Lake after lake dotted the northern boundaries of Lenawee County, a name derived from the local indigenous word for ‘man.’”

After his appearance before the Lenawee Board, Currie also had time to tour the county’s old courthouse, refurbished at the cost of about $8.8 million earlier this year.

 

MAC offices will close for conference

MAC offices in Lansing will be closed Sept. 19-21 and Sept. 23 due to 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference. The MAC offices will be open on Thursday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

Juvenile justice reform bills would boost funds for counties

Earlier this summer, the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform released its report and recommendations, including a higher reimbursement rate for counties on certain juvenile justice services. New legislation filed this week in Lansing would bring that recommendation into law.

Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson) has introduced a set of bills to raise reimbursement rates and adopt the task force recommendation for a statewide juvenile public defense system. Her House Bills 634445 would expand the state’s indigent defense system to include juveniles, ensuring juveniles are eligible to receive these legal services. HB 6345 would expand the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission to include representatives that are experienced and knowledgeable of the juvenile justice system, making certain that the best interests of youth within the juvenile justice system are accurately and adequately represented on the commission.

MAC supports the task force’s recommendations and efforts to better care for youth in the juvenile justice system. MAC has not yet taken a position on HBs 6344-6345, as we need to ensure adequate funding is provided to counties by the state to implement the juvenile indigent defense system. Conversations between MAC, the Legislature and other stakeholders regarding these bills are expected to take place in the coming months. 

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at Gibson@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83 unveils expanded MAC advocacy team; details need for immediate action on court fees

MAC’s Podcast 83 returned from its summer hiatus with an expanded team this week as newly hired Governmental Affairs Associates Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson joined the broadcast with Executive Director Stephan Currie and Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth.

The team discussed a looming Oct. 1 deadline to renew the authority for trial courts to impose fees, a key funding source, and the upcoming 2022 Annual Conference in Port Huron, Sept. 18-21.

Watch a video of the session here.

Previous episodes in 2022 can be seen at MAC’s YouTube Channel.

And you always can find details about Podcast 83 on the MAC website.

 

NACo sets webinar on opioids settlement for Aug. 31

Join the National Association of Counties (NACo) on Aug. 31, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern), for a webinar updating the latest news on the national opioid settlement.

Click here to register.

“Counties across the nation are on the front lines of the opioid and stimulant crisis providing essential public services. To enhance these efforts, refine approaches, fill gaps and help counties achieve their goals, NACo has partnered with the Opioid Response Network (ORN). ORN is a coalition of over 40 national organizations working to address the opioid crisis and stimulant use across all U.S. states and territories. ORN, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), provides free, localized education and training in evidence-based practices for the prevention, treatment and recovery of all substance use disorders. If you are in need of on-demand technical assistance, education, or training, ORN can help.

“In this webinar you will learn how ORN works and case examples of ways in which ORN has supported communities to explore, plan and implement locally designed strategies. Not sure where to begin? ORN can help. Participants will leave this webinar with an understanding of how counties can utilize this resource to support their work.”

Visit the event page for the most up-to-date information. Questions? Contact ahurley@naco.org.

 

Ottawa County teams up with local historian to commemorate original West Michigan highway

Local historian Blaine Knoll (left) and Ottawa County Land Use Specialist Andrew Roszkowski install a new West Michigan Pike sign in Holland earlier this month. (photo: Rich Lakeberg)

The West Michigan Pike was once the premier way to travel along Michigan’s western shores. This highway running along Lake Michigan was conceived of and built during the second decade of the 20th century to accommodate the “horseless carriage,” opening up the region to tourism and the development it would bring.

Eventually, the Pike was replaced by state and U.S. highway systems and was mostly forgotten. But now, thanks to local historian Blaine Knoll, the Ottawa County Department of Strategic Impact, and Grand Haven Area Community Foundation funds, the West Michigan Pike lives again. New signs commemorating this key piece of West Michigan tourism and automotive history are being installed along the original route.

“Beginning at the Ottawa-Allegan County line, the newly marked route stays as true to the original route as possible,” said Knoll. “It winds through the southwest side of Holland, follows a series of secondary roads, part of U.S.-31, then heads through Grand Haven and into Ferrysburg.”

The effort to recognize the original historic route doesn’t end with signs. Knoll and County staff are also developing a commemorative plaque to be placed where an original Pike marker from 1916 still stands along 152nd Avenue in Olive Township.

“The plaque recognizes the last known standing marker of the West Michigan Pike Historical Route. The installation of all the concrete pikes along the route was never completed due to the everchanging roadways. Witnessing this pike’s original location is significant to the route, and we are proud to highlight it,” said Ottawa County Land Use Specialist Andrew Roszkowski. …

READ MORE

 

Don’t lose out on early-bird registration rate for Annual Conference

County officials have just five days left to take advantage of the early-bird registration rate of $395 for the upcoming 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, Sept. 18-21 in Port Huron.

The conference will be headquartered at St. Clair County’s Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron at the southern end of Lake Huron.

The early-bird rate for members and spouses is set to expire Aug. 10.

Expiring even sooner is the special conference room rate of $129 per night at the Comfort Inn in Port Huron. (A free shuttle service will run between the Comfort Inn and the conference center and there is plenty of free parking at the conference center as well.)

The Annual Conference will feature:

  • Four plenary sessions featuring key issues now before Michigan and a MAC Legislative Update (Speakers will be announced soon.)
  • 12 breakout sessions for MAC members and 6 workshops for MCMCFC members (Speakers will be announced soon.)
  • A Welcome Reception and Strolling Dinner on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 18.
  • A reception sponsored by MAC’s CoPro+ subsidiary on Monday evening, before attendees are shuttled into downtown Port Huron for a “dinner on your own” night.
  • A lavish President’s Banquet on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Members of MCMCFC will enjoy specialized breakouts designed for its members to earn Nursing and NAB Continuing Education credits. And MAC members attending the conference will receive credits in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

The early-bird conference fee of $395 provides members full access to all conference activities. (The spouse fee also provides access to any conference event, including the President’s Banquet on the evening of Sept 20.) This fee includes two dinners, two receptions, two breakfasts and two lunches. On Aug. 11, the member fee will increase to $425, while the spouse rate will rise to $175.

NOTE: The member rate is open to all county commissioners, administrators, countywide elected officials and county employees of MAC member counties, plus employees and board members of MCMCFC facilities.

Hotel details

Rooms at the Comfort Inn are $129 per night. The Comfort Inn is located at 1720 Hancock St., Port Huron, MI 48060. To book your room reservations, call 810-987-5999. Group Name: MAC.

As of Thursday, the Comfort Inn had 34 rooms still available in the conference block with the special pricing of $129 per night.

Please direct any conference registration questions or issues to conference@micounties.org.

 

Vast majority of county millage requests approved by voters

Voters in the Aug. 2 primary election gave broad approval to county millage requests, both renewals and increases, an analysis by the Gongwer News Service found.

In fact, only seven out of the more than 100 such requests were denied by the approximately 2.1 million voters who participated statewide in the primary.

Voters in Benzie County approved six different millage questions, while voters in Midland and Sanilac each approved five.

For summary details on all of the county requests from Gongwer, click here.

 

Policy Summit presentations, videos now available

Presentations and videos from MAC’s 2022 Policy Summit are now available to members with 24/7 access.

The Policy Summit, which replaced MAC’s Regional Summits, featured four major policy briefings on:

  • Challenges in workforce housing
  • Michigan’s trails system and its benefits
  • Michigan’s political dynamics in 2022
  • Ideas to maximize infrastructure dollars

For links to presentations and videos, visit the Policy Summit page on the MAC website.

 

Summit to brief community leaders on broadband developments

Join community leaders, federal representatives and staff from the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office on Aug. 18 at this free event to learn about critical programs to expand broadband infrastructure and digital equity throughout the state. During this day-long summit, discussions will include local government and community needs, legislative and program updates, working with industry, data collection and mapping, and supply chain and talent needs, among others.

You may attend in-person or via a digital option for the event, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Connecting all Michiganders to affordable, reliable high-speed internet is critical to our economic stability and this event will provide an opportunity for us to discuss ways we can work together to efficiently and effectively utilize broadband funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other federal broadband dollars to the maximum extent.

Broadband policy and how counties can connect their residents also will be the focus of a Plenary Session at the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, Sept. 18-21. Registration remains open. Click here to register.

 

MAC includes county settlement projections on new opioids page

A new digital resource for county leaders now includes estimated county-by-county payments coming from the national opioid settlement.

In figures provided by the State Attorney General’s Office, an estimated $78 million will be assigned to Michigan counties. To see your county’s estimate, first visit MAC’s Opioid Settlement Resource Center.

Among the features of the new page are:

  • An overview of the opioid crisis and the national settlement
  • Numerous general resources on how counties could deploy their funds to maximize public health
  • Links to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services webinar recordings

MAC will continue to add news, links and resources to the center as the distribution of the settlement advances.

 

Registration opens for 2022 Annual Conference on Sunrise Side

Join us on the sunrise side of the state for the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, put on by the Michigan Association of Counties in coordination with the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC).

This year, we are in Port Huron in St. Clair County. The venue is the Bluewater Convention Center, located along the St. Clair River, with views of freighter traffic entering and exiting Lake Huron and the Blue Water Bridge to Canada.

Running from the afternoon of Sept. 18 through the morning of Sept. 21, the 2022 Annual Conference will feature:

  • Four plenary sessions featuring key issues now before Michigan and a MAC Legislative Update (Speakers will be announced soon.)
  • 12 breakout sessions for MAC members and 6 workshops for MCMCFC members (Speakers will be announced soon.)
  • A Welcome Reception and Strolling Dinner on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 18.
  • A lavish President’s Banquet on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 20.
  • Plenty of free time in the afternoons for attendees to enjoy sights and sounds of Port Huron, including the St. Clair River.

Members of MCMCFC will enjoy specialized breakouts designed for its members to earn Nursing and NAB Continuing Education credits.

MAC members attending the conference will receive credits in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

Conference Rates

The conference fee provides you access to all conference activities. (The spouse fee also provides access to any conference event, including the President’s Banquet on the evening of Sept 20.) This fee includes two dinners, two receptions, two breakfasts and two lunches.

 

 

Early bird
(register by Aug. 10)

Full rate
(after Aug. 10)

Member

Full conference

$395

$425

 

Single day

$275

$325

 

Spouse/guest

$150

$175

Non-Member

Full conference

$525

$575

NOTE: The member rate is open to all county commissioners, administrators, countywide elected officials and county employees of MAC member counties, plus employees and board members of MCMCFC facilities.

Hotel Information

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is attached to the Blue Water Convention Center (conference headquarters). You can expect a DoubleTree famous chocolate chip/oatmeal cookie, served warm upon arrival. After you’ve settled in, take a stroll along the St. Clair River, view watercraft/freighter traffic on the river or see the big Blue Water Bridge to Canada!

To make your reservations, you can call the DoubleTree Hotel directly at 810/984.8000 or go online at www.porthuron.doubletree.com

As always, MAC and MCMCFC have secured highly competitive room rates that begin at $149 per night for single/double occupancy. Breakfast is not included with your hotel pricing. Join us in the conference center instead!  GROUP CODE: MIA

The room block deadline is Aug. 17, 2022.

In anticipation of another popular conference, we have also reserved a block of rooms at the Comfort Inn at $129 per night. The Comfort Inn is located at 1720 Hancock St., Port Huron, MI 48060. To book your room reservations, contact 810-987-5999. Group Name: Michigan Association of Counties.

We expect a large gathering this year, so members are strongly encouraged to book their rooms immediately to ensure access to the conference room block and best room rates.

Getting around: For those staying at the Comfort Inn, we will provide complimentary shuttle service via Blue Water Transit during the conference schedule. There also is plenty of free parking at the convention center.

Please direct any conference registration questions or issues to conference@micounties.org.

MAC will be releasing information on plenary sessions, speakers and breakout descriptions in coming weeks.

 

MAC working to improve bill on remote participation in meetings

A bill to allow remote participation during an open meeting, with a quorum present, was introduced last week by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia).

House Bill 6283 would require written notice to all board members of an impending remote participation at least 18 hours before the meeting begins. However, remote participation could be denied if a member of the public body motions for a vote and a majority disapproves. In addition, remote participation would be limited to the lesser of 10 percent of the public body’s meetings per year or three in total.

Although this bill is a step in the right direction, according to MAC’s platforms, much work still needs to be done to ensure that the restrictions are not too onerous, and that gamesmanship can be avoided. Rep. Calley has assured MAC that she is open to changes to the bill.

MAC anticipates House committee action on the bill in the fall.

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

 

Solar PILT bills designed to eliminate uncertainty on taxation

After years of workgroups, Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason) and Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lapeer) have introduced legislation to create a process for establishing solar energy districts, allowing for a personal property tax exemption for solar energy equipment and replacing it with a payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) system. 

Senate Bill 1106, by VanderWall, and SB 1107, by Daley (R-Lapeer), would establish the PILT payment at a rate of $7,000 per megawatt (MW) of capacity for 20 years. These bills were developed to give local governments a stable funding source for the equipment and to avoid litigation on the assessed value of the equipment.

For context, many counties are still fighting in court over the disputed assessment amounts for wind turbines in their jurisdiction. These bills will provide a financial incentive to the solar developers to move toward more green energy, while at the same time eliminating the uncertainty of the value of the property.

Senate action on the bills is anticipated in the fall. MAC is neutral on the bills at this time (and opposed similar legislation last session that pegged payments at $4,000 per MW).

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

 

County input sought on project to streamline financial reporting

A pilot project involving MAC, the University of Michigan and others is exploring whether a new fiscal reporting mechanism for governmental entities can help create transparency — and prevent future financial crises.

The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), in partnership with the nonprofit standards setting organization XBRL US, seeks input from county leaders about its proposed digital financial data standards for local governments.

Ogemaw County volunteered to serve as the county pilot for the effort. “I am convinced this project will result in an affordable tool that will categorically improve efficiency and accuracy of municipal financial reporting,” said Timothy Dolehanty, Ogemaw County administrator.  “Elimination of multiple, redundant keystrokes will certainly save time.  But public administrators will also gain the ability to compare and contrast financial trends in real time, which provides an early opportunity to take necessary corrective actions.”

The most important and reliable information for understanding local fiscal health is found in audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACFRs). ACFRs are currently provided as PDF documents, which severely limits their accessibility, comparability, and usefulness for many stakeholders. The proposed open standards, based on XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), create a fully digital human- and machine-readable version of ACFRs in order to better share the information with the public, state and others.

The digital standards, called a taxonomy, also incorporate all concepts needed for the Michigan Form F-65 (Local Unit Fiscal Report), Form 5572 (Retirement System Annual Report), and the Uniform Chart of Accounts. Digitizing this information will allow these reports to be generated automatically from the underlying data rather than manually entered into separate forms. 

During the 60-day public review period set to end on Aug. 15, participants are encouraged to review and provide feedback on the proposed taxonomy, which is available online in a downloadable Excel format or in an online viewer. Detailed instructions, FAQs, and examples of XBRL-formatted financial statements are also available on the website.   

To learn more about the project, please visit https://closup.umich.edu/research-projects/modernizing-michigan-local-government-fiscal-transparency.

 

Legislative Update takes brief mid-summer hiatus

MAC’s weekly Legislative Update will take a one-week break for the week of July 11-15.

The email will resume its regular schedule on Friday, July 22.

 

FY23 state budget includes 6% boost for county revenue sharing

In the wee hours on Friday, the Legislature finished the FY 2023 budget, which is set to begin on Oct. 1 of this year. Below are the major highlights, including a 6 percent (5% in the base and 1% one-time) increase in County Revenue Sharing. In addition, they passed a supplemental budget for FY22, included in which are items of importance to counties. 

FY22 Supplemental

  • ARP – community policing grants for Wayne ($3M), Saginaw ($1M) and Genesee ($500,000) counties
  • ARP – community policing competitive grants – $11 million
  • Communication Radios and Tower – $1 million for radios in Midland County, $3 million for towers in Barry County and $4.8 million for towers in Isabella County
  • Requires that grants be used for the construction of new towers or the augmentation of existing towers and associated equipment to support the integration of the county into the Michigan Public Safety Communication System (MPSCS) or to expand the interoperability of all local public safety entities within the county
  • EMS scholarship and grant program – $30 million
  • Raise the Age Fund Increase – $4 million
  • Broadband equity, access and deployment – $5 million

FY23 Budget (by state department)

Agriculture

  • Local conservation districts – $3 million
  • Office of Rural Development Grants – $3 million for grants to rural communities, related to economic development, workforce development, affordable housing, infrastructure, education and high-speed internet access
  • County fairs – $500,000 for fair capital grant program (a reduction of almost $2 million from current year)
  • Economic development for food and agriculture industries – $50 million, of which $12 million is set aside for improvements to the Eastern Market in Detroit

Corrections

  • Jail reimbursement – $1 million to reimburse counties who housed felons in their jails due to the department’s closed intake of prisoners during COVID. (rate is $80 per offender per day; inmates paid for through the county jail reimbursement program are not eligible for this payment)

Energy, Great Lakes and Environment

  • Contaminated site cleanups – $10 million
  • Watershed Council grants – $600,000
  • Environmental health – $7.9 million for water supply oversight and support for local health departments in monitoring and testing drinking water
  • Municipal Assistance for FTEs to increase loan processing staff and access to federal water infrastructure loans for local communities – $5.1 million
  • Water State Revolving Funds – $120 million gross to continue funding the state’s water state revolving fund program
  • Private well testing – $5 million in one-time funding for grants to local health departments to provide free or low-cost water testing to private well owners

Labor and Economic Development

  • Michigan Infrastructure Grants – $212,800 for grants for infrastructure
  • Economic Development and Workforce Grants – $251.5 million
  • Blight Elimination Program – $75 million to address blighted properties across the State
  • Going Pro – $15 million
  • Pure Michigan – $40 million
  • Nonprofit Relief Grants to nonprofit community service organizations – $50 million

Treasury (General Government)

  • Revenue Sharing to Counties – $245.8 million, which is a 6 percent increase (1% is one-time increase, while 5 percent is designated as ongoing)
  • Pensions – $750 million for grants for local retirement systems that are less than 60 percent funded
  • ARP relief grants – $50 million 

Health and Human Services

  • Medicaid primary care rates – $56.1 million to increase them
  • Behavioral health capacity and access initiatives – $47.3 million
  • Medicaid reimbursement for Community Health Workers – $28.3 million
  • Child and adolescent health centers – $25 million to increase funding
  • Child care – $10.5 million to provide a 5 percent reimbursement increase for residential child caring institutions and a 12 percent increase to private residential juvenile justice providers
  • Guardian and conservator reimbursement rates – $5 million to increase them
  • Medicaid Mental Health Local Match – $5.1 million to replace a like amount of local funding used for Medicaid mental health supports and services (amount would reflect the third year of phasing out the local match portion over a 5-year period)
  • Behavioral Health Inpatient Capacity and Operations – $41 million and authorizes 87 FTE positions to increase capacity at Hawthorn and to reimburse private providers of intensive psychiatric treatments
  • Jail Diversion Fund – $10 million
  • Student loan repayment for behavioral health professionals – $10 million
  • Non-State Behavioral Health Facility Capacity – $178.6 million
  • Clinical and CMHSP Integration Readiness Initiatives – $50 million for grants to facilities and providers that wish to clinically integrate physical and behavioral health services and providers and to CMHSPs for system, IT, staffing, and administrative improvements for integration readiness (funds are not available for expenditure until legislatively transferred)
  • State Nursing Home Surveyors – $1.6 million and 10 FTEs for education and consultation activities to improve care at skilled nursing facilities

Judiciary

  • Statewide Judicial Case Management System – $150 million for the cost of developing a single, statewide judicial case management system (Currently, there are 242 trial courts using and funding more than 16 case management systems and 150 computer systems. The Trial Court Funding Commission recommended that the state provide all court technology needs for trial courts, including case and document management services, and the Supreme Court recently ordered that local trial courts submit all case data in a uniform manner. Funding would support data management efforts and consistent implementation of newer technologies among trial courts; prohibits funds from being used to supplant the current user fee system and administrative purposes unrelated to the system; requires the system to comply with all security measures and restrictions and to be hosted in a secure cloud by an experienced vendor; requires implementation status report.)

Veterans Affairs

  • Grand Rapids Home for Veterans – $6.5 million
  • Veterans Suicide Prevention Outreach – $1.2 million for an outreach campaign targeting current and former servicemembers and their families on reducing suicide incidents

Natural Resources

  • Off-road Vehicle Trail Improvement Grants – $6.4 million to increase funding for the off-road vehicle trail improvements initiative

State Police

  • Secondary Road Patrol Grant Program – $15 million

Transportation

  • County Road Commissions Restricted Fund – $56.3 million
  • Airport Safety Improvement Program – $33.9 million
  • Local Federal Aid Road and Bridge Construction – $15.2 million
  • IIJA Airport Infrastructure Grants – $2.2 million
  • Technical Assistance, Planning, and IIJA Match Grants – $25 million to help local units to plan and match resources for IIJA grants
  • Electric Vehicle Study – requires the department to study the impact on revenue resulting from the integration of electric vehicles on Michigan roadways

For more information on the state budget, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Governor signs another investment in water infrastructure

A second water infrastructure bill package using federal infrastructure dollars was signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week.

House Bill 5890, by Rep. Beth Griffin (R-Van Buren), HB 5891, by Rep. David Martin (R-Genesee), and HB 5892 by Rep. Sara Cambensy (D-Marquette), will update Michigan’s State Revolving Fund to ensure dollars go to modern infrastructure needs of communities. Specifically, the legislation will ensure financing is equally distributed and communities will be able to easily access state financing for water infrastructure projects.

MAC applauds the bill sponsors and the governor for their continued investments in water infrastructure.

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

 

Flurry of county-related bills filed in hectic legislative week

Several pieces of legislation impacting local government were introduced this week during the Legislature’s marathon work days this week.

Senate Bill 1106, by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason), and SB 1107, by Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lapeer), are solar payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) measures that would establish solar energy districts in local units of government and provide for an exemption of certain taxes.

House Bill 6283, by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia), would bring changes to the current Open Meetings Act rules. The legislation will create procedures for conducting electronic meetings.

House Bill 6296, by Rep. Jeff Yaroch (R-Macomb), is legislation to create an early warning system for local units of government that are at risk for fiscal stress.

MAC has been working with lawmakers and staffers on these issues. A more in-depth analysis of these bills will appear in the July 8 Legislative Update.

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

 

Brush up on key county issues at July 27 Policy Summit

County leaders are cordially invited to attend, in person or via Zoom, the 2022 MAC Policy Summit on July 27 in downtown Lansing.

The Policy Summit replaces MAC’s Regional Summits, which were held at locations across Michigan in June, July and August.

Follow the link below to register. The fee is $50 for either in-person or digital registration.

The summit will include presentations on such issues as:

  • Addressing the workforce housing challenge
  • Understanding Michigan’s political landscape in 2022
  • The value of expanding Michigan’s trail network
  • Maximizing your infrastructure dollars

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with check-in and a continental breakfast. Policy presentations will continue until 3 p.m., with lunch provided and compliments of Enbridge. MAC also has arranged a discount rate of $139 at the Courtyard for members who wish to arrive on the evening of July 26. (To get this rate, make your reservation by July 19.)

Those who register to attend digitally will be provided a link and access codes on the day prior to the summit. In-person attendees will be provided parking information in the week prior to the event.

Register Now!

 

Feds announce $1B pilot program on transportation

The U.S. Department of Transportation is now accepting applications for the first-of-its-kind Reconnecting Communities pilot program. The $1 billion program will help reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure.

Reconnecting a community could mean adapting existing infrastructure — such as building a pedestrian walkway over or under an existing highway — to better connect neighborhoods to opportunities or better means of access such as crosswalks and redesigned intersections. 

Eligible applicants for the Reconnecting Communities competitive grant pilot program include: 

  • States 
  • Local and Tribal governments 
  • Metropolitan planning organizations 
  • Nonprofit organizations 
  • Other transportation facility owners 

Preference will be given to applications from economically disadvantaged communities, especially those with projects that are focused on equity and environmental justice, have strong community engagement and stewardship, and a commitment to shared prosperity and equitable development. Of the $195 million available from the grant program this year, $50 million is dedicated to planning activities for communities that may be earlier in the process.

The Reconnecting Communities Notice of Funding Opportunity can be found here. Information on Reconnecting Communities technical assistance and other resources can be found here. Applications are due Oct. 13, 2022. Awards are expected to be announced in early 2023. The new DOT Navigator can be accessed here  and information on the Thriving Communities program can be found here.

The department will convene a series of stakeholder webinars to help potential applicants learn about the RCP grant program and what they need to know to prepare an application. The first one will be held Thursday, July 14 at noon EST.

 

Draft policy platforms now available for review prior to September vote

MAC’s Annual Business Meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Blue Water Convention Center during the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference.

County commissioners who are registered for the conference may participate as voting members in the business meeting, which includes review and approval of MAC’s 2022-2023 policy platforms.

The platform process begins with MAC’s policy committees, which meet during the year to address key issues. Their drafts are then submitted to the MAC Board of Directors for review. The MAC Board then advances the drafts to the membership for final approval.

Those Board-vetted drafts are now available on the MAC website here. (Please note that this is a password-protected page. Each member county has a set of access credentials, which are shared each year with your county administrator. If you do not have your credentials, contact Hannah Sweeney at sweeney@micounties.org for them.)

According to MAC’s By-laws (Article III, Section 6):

“A member wishing to submit an amendment to the MAC Platform shall submit the amendment to MAC at least five (5) days prior to the opening day of the MAC Annual Conference. Such amendment will require a majority vote at the annual meeting to be adopted.

“An amendment to the MAC Platform may be presented from the floor during the annual meeting. Such amendment will require a 2/3 majority vote of the members at the meeting at which a quorum is initially established to be adopted.”

To submit a platform amendment in advance, draft your preferred language and email to sweeney@micounties.org no later than Sept. 13, 2022.

 

MAC offices closed on July 4

MAC’s Lansing offices will be closed on Monday, July 4 to observe the Independence Day holiday.

Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, July 5 at 8 a.m.

See a full transcription of the Declaration of Independence, issued on July 4, 1776, by clicking here.

 

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