Deal reached, adopted to avoid federal debt default

“After several rounds of negotiations, the White House and House Republican Leadership reached an agreement to address the debt limit and cap spending,” the  National Association of Counties (NACo) reported. “The deal, titled the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA) (H.R. 3746), would suspend the debt ceiling through January 1, 2025, effectively increasing the amount of money that the federal government can borrow to fund federal programs. On January 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that the federal government had hit its $34.1 trillion debt limit. This agreement comes less than a week ahead of the deadline after which the federal government would no longer have the capacity to pay its obligations.

“After quickly passing the House, the legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 63-36 on June 1, ensuring the federal government will not run out of money to pay its bills on Monday, June 5, the day the government would default on its debt.

“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its assessment of the bill’s impact on federal debt and deficits. CBO estimated that if the legislation were enacted, budget deficits would be reduced by about $1.5 trillion over the next decade and interest on the public debt would be reduced by an estimated $188 billion.

“NACo applauds our federal partners for reaching a bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling. While this is a significant move that will provide much-needed certainty to counties, there are a handful of provisions of relevance to local leaders including spending cuts, permitting reform, implementing new work requirements for certain federal public assistance programs and reinstating federal student loan payments.

“A comprehensive analysis of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and its impact on county governments can be found here.”


Podcast 83 takes look at much-needed juvenile justice package

In a special episode of Podcast 83, MAC Governmental Affairs Associate Samantha Gibson provides a detailed overview of a 20-bill package to reform Michigan’s juvenile justice system.

Juvenile justice reform has long been a priority for MAC and the issue gained momentum with the release of recommendations from a state task force formed in 2021. The new legislative package is largely built on the task force’s ideas and is strongly supported by MAC.

Increasing the Child Care Fund reimbursement rate for counties to 75 percent, from the current 50 percent, is the no. 1 priority for MAC in this package, Gibson explained.

Also, the package will reform juvenile justice services by using mental health and risk screening tools to benefit youth in the system and allow counties to better serve court-involved youth. The best practices that would be implemented within this policy, Gibson said, will allow for rehabilitation and reintroduction into society, as well as lead to reduced recidivism rates for court-involved youth.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on May 23, by clicking here.

For links to all the bill texts in the package, see MAC’s May 26, 2023, Legislative Update.

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

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


New state council to study population issue

A new state body will analyze the factors affecting Michigan’s population and what steps can be taken to spur growth, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced at a Mackinac Island event this week.

Via Executive Order, Whitmer is forming the “Growing Michigan Together Council,” which will have 21 voting members and seven non-voting members.

The council is charged with four tasks:

  • “Identify concrete, data-driven and evidence-based goals to grow the state’s population, improve educational outcomes from preschool through postsecondary education, attract and retain talent and build long-term, sustainable infrastructure that meets the needs of the population;
  • “Define the gap between Michigan and the best-performing states on the goals identified by the council;
  • “Identify specific short-term, medium-term and long-term policies needed to close these gaps and meet the goals identified by the council; and
  • “Analyze the effectiveness of existing programs and spending dedicated to achieving the goals identified by the council and make recommendations on how to address any gaps between projected revenues and recommended expenditures.”

MAC will be monitoring appointments to the council and its work and will report to membership as needed.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Land tax proposal highlighted at Mackinac Policy Conference

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is calling on the Legislature to enact a land value tax system to tackle the obstacles cities face in revitalization efforts. Duggan made a presentation at this week’s Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island.

Although MAC does not have legislative language to review at this time, the idea is to increase taxes paid on vacant land and blighted properties and decrease the tax on occupied residential buildings. The intent is to offset the revenue and prevent absent property owners from sitting on property that could otherwise be developed or repurposed.

MAC will watch this proposal closely and work within our committee process to evaluate it.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Check out videos from 2023 Legislative Conference

MAC’s Deena Bosworth leads the legislative leadership panel at the 2023 Legislative Conference on April 26.

For those unable to attend the recent 2023 Legislative Conference, or if your notes taken are not as comprehensive as you wish, MAC has created a series of videos of state leaders speaking on key issues during the conference. All the links below will take you to MAC’s YouTube channel, where you also can find videos of our Podcast 83.

For all the presentations from the three-day conference, visit MAC’s website.


June 8 fiscal webinar to focus on internal controls

The Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) are hosting the next “Fiscally Ready” webinar on June 8, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET. This FREE training is designed to assist both appointed and elected officials.

Managing Internal Controls – Register Now

This training will include a deep dive into internal controls. It will cover what internal controls are, why you need them, how they help your community, how to implement them, and where to start.

What will be covered:

  • Building a culture of fiscal sustainability
  • The role of internal controls in fiscal sustainability
  • Understanding internal controls and their importance
  • How internal controls help strengthen your community
  • Best practices for internal controls implementation

Register Now

For more information about Fiscally Ready Communities, please check out the Treasury Fiscally Ready Communities webpage. This webpage includes Treasury’s 32-page Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practices document, which we encourage all local officials to review.

If you have any questions, please email with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”


Five Michigan counties receive NACo awards

The work of five Michigan counties was honored recently by the National Association of Counties (NACo) via its 2023 Achievement Awards.

The Achievement Awards Program is a non-competitive awards program which seeks to recognize innovative county government programs.

Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Midland and Wayne were honored in at least one of 18 different categories in the award program. Macomb alone was cited a whopping 10 times across the categories, with Oakland claiming 5 citations, Wayne 3 and Midland and Washtenaw 1 each.

Midland was honored for its Communities of Excellence program, which “is designed to bring together businesses, nonprofits and government agencies to work collaboratively towards common goals, using the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program’s framework for organizational excellence. … It provides participating organizations with training, resources and support to help them achieve their goals and become recognized as models of excellence.”


MAC-backed juvenile justice package begins legislative journey

A package of 20 bills to reform the state’s juvenile justice system, supported by MAC, was introduced in the House this week and referred to the chamber’s Criminal Justice Committee.

The package, House Bills 46244643, is a result of the Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform’s recommendations provided last July.

The Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform was established by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2021. The bipartisan task force was chaired by Lt. Governor Gilchrist and included members from all three branches of government, as well as state and local level juvenile justice leaders and advocates. Two county commissioners served on the Task Force, each nominated by MAC. Alisha Bell of Wayne represented a county commissioner from a county with a population over 100,000, and Marlene Webster of Shiawassee represented a county commissioner from a county under 100,000 in population. Rep. Sarah Lightner, a former county commissioner, also served on the Task Force.

The Task Force discovered several challenges to strengthening public safety and improving outcomes for youth. Those challenges, however, led to the set of 32 recommendations last year. Six priority areas have been identified and translated into this 20-bill package.

HB 4624, by Rep. Christine Morse (D-Kalamazoo), enhances the Child Care Fund (CCF) by establishing a minimum framework of juvenile justice best practices statewide, including the use of risk screening and assessment tools. The best practices will be supported by an increase in the reimbursement rate for community-based services from 50 percent to 75 percent. These changes are essential to ensure counties have the resources to implement and utilize these approaches.

HBs 46254629 require the consistent use of validated screening and assessment tools to enable more objective decision-making and allow agencies to better match youth to appropriate supervision and services, reducing their likelihood to recidivate. The bills also expand the Diversion Act so that all offenses, with an exception for youth committing a specified juvenile violation, are eligible for pre-court diversion, based on the use of a risk-screening tool and other factors and limit the time that a youth can be placed on pre-court diversion, unless the court determines that a longer period is needed. While diversion eligibility would be expanded, judicial discretion remains.

HBs 4630 and 4631, by Rep. Lightner (R-Jackson), would expand the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission to include development, oversight, and compliance with youth defense standards in local county defense systems, and expands the State Appellate Defender Office to include appellate services for juveniles.

HBs 46344637 eliminate most non-restitution fees and costs associated with juvenile justice system involvement. The bills do not include the elimination of restitution or fees related to the Crime Victims Fund. For restitution and fees related to the Crime Victims Fund, the bills establish a standard procedure for ability to pay, determination of payment schedule, and total to be assessed.

HBs 46384642 would strengthen and expand the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman for handling, investigating, and reporting incidents in juvenile facilities.

A committee hearing is expected in the coming weeks, as well as the introduction of this bill package in the Senate.

MAC supports this package and has shared a letter of support with members of the House Criminal Justice Committee.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


MAC releases Opioid Settlement Dashboard

MAC has officially released an Opioid Settlement Dashboard on the Opioid Settlement Resource Center webpage. The dashboard includes six pages of information about current funds and county readiness for spending.

The home page looks at settlement funds, highlighting the maximum number of payments per company, state and local shares, reporting requirements and, most importantly, allows counties to use a dropdown menu to see their estimated total amounts of funds per settlement.

The technical assistance page provides a map of counties that are engaged with MAC specifically for technical assistance related to settlements and highlights when these requests occurred.

Four additional pages utilize data from the Opioid Settlement Baseline Assessment to illustrate county plans for stakeholder engagement, county planning, management of funds and monitoring of funds and activities.

Since many counties are still in the planning phases, the dashboard points to three areas where additional information will be added in the future: areas of investment, links to public-facing plans and reports as well as additional monitoring.

For more information on MAC’s opioid settlement resources, contact Amy Dolinky at


Podcast 83 episode reviews budget, juvenile justice news

Legislators have enough money to pass a fiscal 2024 budget that includes significant increases in county revenue sharing and in reimbursements from the Child Care Fund, among other county priorities, MAC’s Podcast 83 team reported this week.

Host Stephan Currie and Deena Bosworth, Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson of MAC’s Governmental Affairs Team reviewed a variety of positive developments for counties in recent days:

  • State budget: The Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, held May 19, showed that legislators have the resources to spend at least $14 billion in the General Fund, which is good news for revenue sharing, among other items.
  • Revenue sharing: Bosworth reported great process on MAC’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund project, a joint effort with local governments, to create a dedicated fund, backed by a percentage of sales tax revenues, for revenue sharing.
  • Juvenile justice: Gibson reported on a 20-bill package filed in Lansing to enact a wide variety of MAC-supported recommendations from a state task force that studied improvements for the juvenile justice system.
  • Statewide septic code: Fata reported on the expected filing of legislation to enact a statewide septic code and MAC’s ongoing review of that legislation.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on May 22, by clicking here.

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

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


Webinar will focus on Opioid Settlement Exhibit E and allowable uses

On June 8, the second webinar in the Opioid Settlement Technical Assistance Learning Series will be held from 2:30 p.m. to  3:30 p.m. (EST), providing a discussion on Exhibit E. The series is hosted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University as part of their Technical Assistance Collaborative.

The webinars are intended to provide information from experts for officials and representatives from counties, municipalities and townships, including community members, to aid in their opioid settlement investment processes. This webinar, titled “Overview of the Opioid Settlement and Discussion on Exhibit E,” will focus on allowable uses of funding. See the flier and register by clicking “Register Today.”

For more information on opioid settlements are technical assistance, contact Amy Dolinky at


MAC offices closed on Memorial Day

MAC’s offices in Lansing will be closed on Monday, May 29 in observance of Memorial Day.

Normal office hours will resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30.


FY24 budget remains on track after revenue conference

State legislators now in the final phases of preparation for the fiscal 2024 budget still have the resources to cover General Fund spending in the $14 billion range, state experts told the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference today.

While the conference finalized headline revenue figures to use for FY24 at levels substantially below their January 2023 estimates, the actual resources available to state budgeters are largely unchanged from earlier in this year, MAC is told.

This is due to the impact and timing of various tax policy changes implemented in recent months, such as the elimination of the “pension tax,” the increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit and a cut in the personal income tax rate.

In the vote Friday morning, the conference adopted a net General Fund revenue total of $13.24 billion, an apparent huge decrease from January estimates.

However, resources for FY24 and carrying over from prior budget years allow for both the House and Senate appropriations bills to be funded as they presently stand. The chambers, though, still have to reconcile differences in their budgets before the Legislature’s mandated deadline of June 30 to complete budget work.

The FY24 budget would take effect on Oct. 1, 2023.

For FY24, the state would be $12 billion underneath the constitutional revenue limit imposed by the Headlee Amendment approved by voters in 1978.

For more information on MAC’s budget advocacy, contact Deena Bosworth at


MAC continues to monitor solar taxation bills

Legislation to create an optional structure for the taxes levied on solar facilities was discussed this week in the House Committee on Tax Policy. 

After years of participation in workgroups to ensure local options, a stable funding source, appropriate zoning considerations and adequate local reimbursements, MAC has taken a neutral position on the legislation.

House Bills 4317 and 4318, by Reps. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason) and Cynthia Neeley (D-Genesee) respectively, would allow for the creation of solar energy districts by local municipalities after a mandatory public hearing. Subsequently, solar energy developers could apply for an exemption from local property taxes and instead pay a flat rate of $7,000 per megawatt of nameplate capacity for the proposed solar energy facility, instead of ad valorem property taxes. The payment would be locked in for 20 years and distributed based on the proportions of normal taxes that would have been paid to each taxing unit. 

An additional financial incentive would be offered for developers that choose to site their facilities on brownfield properties, in opportunity zones, as a secondary use on already improved real property (i.e., rooftops) or on state-owned property. In such cases, the reimbursement rate would be $2,000 per megawatt of nameplate capacity. 

The impetus behind the legislation is twofold. First, this methodology for compensating locals for lost taxes will provide financial predictability for the developers and the locals, hopefully avoiding the same problems we have had with the legal challenges to the valuation of wind turbines.  Second, the rate and process should serve as incentives for developers to build more renewable energy facilities in the state.  

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Bills introduced to create a statewide septic code

Legislation establishing a statewide septic code has been introduced in both the House and Senate. House Bills 447980, by Reps. Phil Skaggs (D-Kent) and Carrie Rheingans (D-Washtenaw) respectively, and Senate Bills 299300, by Sen. Sam Singh (D-Ingham), would require homeowners with onsite wastewater treatment systems to have them inspected every five years.

As of 2020, about 30 percent of state households relied on septic systems, but many are aging and facing failure. The intent of the legislation is to protect waterways from contamination and combat illness caused by increased levels of E. coli and algae blooms. While Michigan remains the only state in the nation without a statewide septic code, the proposed policy changes may be overly burdensome.

Local public health departments will be authorized to conduct inspections, issue permits and respond to complaints of failure under the bills. A permit would be required for any installation, alteration or repair of a septic system. Additionally, a building permit may not be issued for any construction on a premises served by a septic system unless a permit by the health department is first issued.

Further, homeowners would be liable for the cost of the inspection and any repairs or replacements deemed necessary. It remains unclear how much an inspection would cost, but a $25 administrative fee will be added to each inspection to be placed in a fund used to help local health departments complete their duties. The fund also will provide some grants to homeowners who are below a certain poverty threshold.

At present, a county can adopt a point-of-sale ordinance on septic systems. Should this legislation pass, however, they would lose that ability. There are 11 counties who have such an ordinance on the books, and they would be given seven years after the bills’ effective date to phase them out.

A technical advisory committee would be created and would include representatives from various regional health departments, engineers, septic manufacturers and installers, among others. The committee will be responsible for writing the septic code and promulgating rules. They will be required to consider local soil conditions during this process, so while it may be a uniform code, it will be crafted to the needs of local ecosystems.

MAC does not yet have a position on the legislation but has many concerns. We anticipate a workgroup will be created to allow stakeholders and bill sponsors to work through the details in the coming months.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Federal legislation introduced to revisit Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy

Two bipartisan bills have been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to address the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy (MEIP). The Due Process Continuity of Care Act and the Reentry Act were introduced in March, which would amend the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy.

The Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy is a federal statute that terminates access to federal health benefits at the time of arrest. These bills would allow continuity of care via access to critical health services for incarcerated individuals. The Due Process Continuity of Care Act would “allow pretrial detainees to receive Medicaid benefits at the option of the state and provide $50 million in planning grant dollars to states and localities for implementing the MIEP repeal, improving the quality of care provided in jails and enhancing the number of available providers to treat this population.”

The Reentry Act would “allow Medicaid payment for medical services furnished to an eligible incarcerated individual during the 30-day period preceding the individual’s release.” MAC, along with other stakeholders, has requested the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services apply for a Section 1115 waiver relating to the MIEP, allowing for Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated individuals prior to release.

MAC supports these bills and access to better care for incarcerated individuals in county jails. Should these bills pass, counties will have a streamlined process to provide effective behavioral health care and services for transitions to community care, while recidivism rates and risk for post-release overdoses should fall.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Podcast 83 discusses state budget, ongoing gravel control battle

Progress on the state’s fiscal 2024 budget continues to look promising for Michigan counties, and MAC and its allies are having success in fending off ill-considered mining legislation in the Michigan House, MAC’s Podcast 83 team said in its most recent episode.

Host Stephan Currie and guests Madeline Fata and Samantha Gibson of MAC’s Governmental Affairs staff reviewed the last week’s activity in Lansing in this episode, focusing on:

  • The state budget and the May 19 Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, which may show state resources are not as high as were once expected;
  • The ongoing battle over gravel and sand mining regulation, with MAC and its allies battling against an attack on local control;
  • The latest on juvenile justice reform legislation, one of MAC’s key priorities for 2023; and
  • The arrival of legislation for a statewide septic code.

View the full video of the episode, recorded on May 15, by clicking here.

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

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


Next ‘Fiscally Ready’ session set for May 23

The Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension will co-host the next Fiscally Ready Communities training webinar, titled, “Financial Best Practices,” at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23.

This FREE, 90-minute training, updated for 2023, discusses the fundamental best practices for fiscal and operational planning and provides an overview of best practices in financial policies and good governance.

Training topics include:

  • Budgets
  • Multi-Year Budget Forecasting Tool
  • Cash controls
  • Debt
  • Grants
  • Internal controls
  • Purchasing policies
  • Receipting

Please register for webinar at

For more information about Fiscally Ready Communities, please check out the Treasury Fiscally Ready Communities webpage. This webpage includes Treasury’s 32-page Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practices document, which we encourage all local officials to review.

If you have any questions, please email with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”


County revenue sharing in line for big boost under budget plans

County revenue sharing could grow by as much as 17 percent in fiscal 2024 under decisions made this week by key subcommittees in the Michigan House and Senate.

In the House, the Appropriations Subcommittee on the General Government approved House Bill 4292, by Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Washtenaw), which follows Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan for a 17 percent hike in revenue sharing.

This increase is divided into several segments:

  • 5 percentage points would be ongoing and for general use
  • 5 percentage points would be a one-time appropriation for general use
  • 2 percentage points would be ongoing and restricted to public safety uses
  • 5 percentage points would be a one-time appropriation restricted to public safety uses

In all, these changes would place FY24 revenue sharing at more than $285 million.

The Senate’s boost is smaller than the House’s but still large. Senate Bill 189, by Sen. John Cherry (D-Genesee), includes the same ongoing and one-time boosts for general use as the House (see bullets 1 and 2 above), but it does not include the additional funds for public safety. 

Overall, the Senate’s plan would have revenue sharing at $269 million for FY24.

In another positive note, and based on a MAC request, the Senate subcommittee plan would end the County Incentive Program and its requirements for the annual submission of verification of the posting of budgets online and the publication of citizen guides.

The Senate proposal also allows access to any unallocated funds from a $750 million appropriation for municipal pension assistance for use as grants for those local governments with OPEB obligations funded at 7 percent or less. An exact allocation for this will not be known until pension grants have been allocated.

Finally, on the Senate side, Sen. Cherry recommended a new program in the Department of Attorney General to assist communities with high crime by allocating $10 million and 45 full-time positions. 

To be clear, these amounts are far from final. The next huge budget step is the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) on May 19 to set final resource numbers for FY24.  Following CREC, committee chairs will be given more specific budget targets and will amend the bills accordingly.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Five commissioners elected to MAC Board; Wayne’s Daub appointed as second vice president

New Board members (l-r) Sarah Lucido, Rick Shaffer, Dwight Washington and Bryan Kolk take their oaths on April 26. Not pictured: Donald O’Farrell.

During special elections held April 25 at the Michigan Counties Legislative Conference, county commissioners elected five new members to the Michigan Association of Counties Board of Directors.

The newest members of the 16-member governing body are:

  • Dwight Washington of Clinton County
  • Donald O’Farrell of Iosco County
  • Sarah Lucido of Macomb County
  • Bryan Kolk of Newaygo County
  • Rick Shaffer of St. Joseph County

After they were sworn in on April 26, the five participated in a vote to name Melissa Daub of Wayne County as the MAC Second Vice President. Daub joined the MAC Board in 2021.

Also serving as officers for the Board in MAC’s 125th Anniversary year are President Stan Ponstein of Kent County and First Vice President Jim Storey of Allegan County.

For more information on the MAC Board, click here.


Association may be oldest in U.S., NACo leader tells 2023 conference

Matthew Chase addresses the 2023 Legislative Conference.

MAC and its members were treated to two anniversary presents at the 2023 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference.

Prior to his remarks on April 25 to a plenary session of the event, which drew approximately 300 to Lansing, Matthew Chase, CEO of the National Association of Counties, presented President Stan Ponstein and other MAC leaders a crystal trophy for the MAC display case.

More importantly, and surprisingly, Chase shared a bit of news: MAC just may be the oldest counties association in the entire country!

“I can say we were equal parts surprised and pleased to hear Matt’s nugget of news about our historic position,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director. “He did tell us his research isn’t quite complete, but, as of now, there’s no information that any association is older than MAC. If that holds, we will have even more to celebrate at the Anniversary Gala we are planning for the Annual Conference in October.”

The conference also included:

  • State of MAC and Legislative Update reports
  • A briefing on the state budget from State Budget Director Chris Harkins
  • A discussion on legislative priorities with the leaders of the Michigan House and Senate
  • 12 policy breakout sessions

Presentations and other documents from the conference can be found here.

Photos from the conference can be found here.

MAC’s next major event is the Annual Conference, planned for Oct. 1-3 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. Registration for that event should open in early August.

For the latest information on MAC events, click here.


Child Care Fund boost highlights DHHS budget plans

A MAC-supported increase in the reimbursement rate for the Child Care Fund is included in both legislative versions of the fiscal 2024 budget for the Department of Health and Human Services that cleared key subcommittees this week.

In line with a recommendation of the Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform, the budget plans boost the county Child Care Fund reimbursement rate from 50 percent to 75 percent, a $31.5 million increase. This conforms with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s FY24 budget plan.

The House subcommittee also recommended:

  • $1.3 million to provide services at Bay Pines and Shawono juvenile justices facilities (another recommendation from the Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform)
  • $19.3 million to fund an 8 percent increase to daily maintenance payments to foster parents, adoptive parents and juvenile guardians (a MAC legislative priority)
  • Placing Michigan’s foster care per diem rate above the national average
  • $25 million to build a juvenile justice facility in Northern Michigan (another MAC priority)
  • $14 million for the state share towards local public health departments
  • $5 million to replace local funding used for Medicaid mental health supports and services (this reflects the fourth year of phasing out the local match portion over a five-year period)

The Senate recommendation includes $30 million to support the state share for increases to local public health departments, which aligns with the governor’s budget plan. When compared to the House recommendation, you will see the House has only recommended funding for approximately 50 percent of the costs of local public health services.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Legislative panels add dollars to governor’s transportation plans

Road dollars in fiscal 2024 would be more plentiful than Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had proposed in February under spending plans approved by House and Senate subcommittees this week.

Both chambers appropriated more than Whitmer recommended; the House version is $222.6 million over, while the Senate’s is $240 million over. 

The largest addition by the House is $400 million for local road preservation, which would be distributed to local road agencies based on population. The House left a $100 placeholder for the bridge bundling program, so the $200 million the governor had recommended was not included in the House plan.

The House also included:

  • $75 million in local bus operating investments
  • $33 million for rail grade separations

The Senate also cut the governor’s bridge bundling program, reducing it from $200 million to $150 million. They also cut the Intermodal Capital Investment Grant Program from $160 million to $100 million.

Notably, the Senate added $150 million for local road funding projects for the six most populous counties (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent, Genesee, Washtenaw), distributed by population. Subcommittee Chair Sen. Veronica Klinefelt (D-Macomb) explained that while the larger counties pay more into the Michigan Transportation Fund, they don’t always see the return on investment.

The Senate also included:

  • $100 million for critical infrastructure projects
  • $100 million for high-speed rail
  • $50 million for a single rail grade separation project in Trenton

The budget process will continue in May. MAC will provide updates as necessary.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Pay boosts for medical workers advance in Legislature

Employees at medical care facilities would be looking at pay boosts under budget plans approved by Health and Human Services Appropriations subcommittees for fiscal 2024 this week.

The Senate recommendation includes a 65-cent boost per hour for direct care workers and a $3 per hour wage increase for non-direct care staff at long-term care facilities. The House recommendation includes $90 million to increase non-clinical nursing facility staff hourly wages by $3.85 per hour. This amount would reflect the current $2.35 direct care wage increase, plus the additional $1.50 proposed for the current cohort of direct care workers. The House budget recommendation also included a $1.50 per hour direct care worker wage increase.

The FY24 budget is anticipated to be finalized in June.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Bid to expand binding arbitration resumes in Legislature

County correctional officers would qualify for binding arbitration under a bill filed in Lansing on April 20.

House Bill 4438, by Rep. Kelly Breen (D-Oakland), would expand binding arbitration beyond police and fire labor bargaining units to county correctional officers. The bill is likely to advance in the Legislature this year.

HB 4438 is a reintroduction from last term, which MAC fought against. MAC has long opposed any expansion of binding arbitration to other bargaining units due to the cost of the process, the long-term liabilities associated with third-party decisions and the unequal treatment such a system provides to those bargaining units. The Michigan Public Employment Relations Act already provides for bargaining rights without tying the hands of the county in binding arbitration.

MAC plans to continue opposition to the bill.

However, in light of the legislative majority’s strong support for unions and collective bargaining units, it will certainly be more difficult to shut it down this time around. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Boat wrap recycling program now under way

The Michigan Recycling Coalition (MRC), a statewide recycling advocate and association, is currently organizing another year of “Recycle Run,” a boat shrink-wrap recycling program. Last year alone, the program helped recycle 90,000 pounds of plastic.

The program is open and accepting new participants until June 1, 2023. Recycle Run is accessible to boaters across the state and allows for shrink-wrap boat covers to be diverted from landfills.

To participate, boaters purchase the Recycle Run bags from Dr. Shrink’s website for $7. A bag holds approximately one large boat cover or two small boat covers. Interested participants will also sign up on the Michigan Recycling Coalition’s website to officially register for the collection program. Participants with more than 15 bags of material qualify for a free direct pick-up by the MRC’s program partners. Participants with less material can participate by dropping their bags off at one of the many volunteer locations around the state. These boat covers are otherwise not accepted in curbside recycling programs.

Michigan has more than 800,000 registered boats. For every bag of covers that is recycled, we save:

  • 115 KWH of energy
  • 5 gallons of oil
  • 20 cubic feet of landfill space

The MRC is a nonprofit that fosters sustainability by leading, educating and mobilizing businesses, governments, nonprofits and individuals to advance their own and collective resource use and recovery initiatives in Michigan.


NACo: Highlight the county role in mental health in May

Join the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors in recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month, May 2023, to highlight the county role in behavioral health.

Earlier this year, NACo launched a Commission on Mental Health and Wellbeing to address the ever-growing mental health crisis. Next month, NACo will release research on essential county perspectives on high-quality, accessible mental health services.

Mental Health Awareness Month is your opportunity to shine a light on mental health awareness, services, and innovation, and advance behavioral health policy priorities.

Explore NACo’s toolkit of resources to help you participate, including a resolution template, sample letters to Congress, press release and social media templates, and more. We encourage counties to pursue any effort – large or small.

We look forward to featuring county efforts – submit your plan for Mental Health Awareness Month here.


Legislative Conference begins 3-day run on Monday

Nearly 300 county leaders, policy experts and others will converge on Lansing on Monday for the start of the 2023 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference, the first major conference of MAC’s 125th Anniversary year.

Attendees may check in for the conference starting at noon at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing. Light snacks will be available in the registration area.

Policy breakouts get under way for MAC members at 2 p.m., with sessions on Michigan’s trails system, the trial court funding crisis and the impact of electric vehicles on road funding in our state.

Plenary sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday will feature:

  • Matthew Chase, CEO of the National Association of Counties
  • Chris Harkins, Michigan’s state budget director
  • A legislative leadership panel

Commissioners attending the conference also will participate in MAC caucus elections on Tuesday to fill five seats on the MAC Board of Directors.

A Legislative Reception on Tuesday evening will feature the presentation of MAC’s County Advocate Awards to Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) and Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Muskegon).

See conference agenda.
See full conference program.

For more information on the conference, visit MAC’s website.


MAC-backed public notices bill filed in House

Legislation creating the framework to allow public bodies to post their notices digitally to save time and money is back before the Legislature.

Under House Bill 4428, by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D-Wayne), local units would no longer be required to post their notices in a newspaper but only share them online. This would modernize public notices law, save counties time and money and create more avenues for our citizens to receive public notices.

HB 4428 is identical to a bill he sponsored last term that was not enacted. MAC supported this legislation the last time around, with MAC’s Deena Bosworth testifying before the House Oversight Committee on its behalf.

The Michigan Press Association has long opposed this concept because its members rely on the fees they charge locals for publishing such notices.

This bill is just the first of more than 100 bills that will be necessary to implement the change. HB 4428 will serve as the framework, while the trailer bills will amend each statute requiring the notice to be published in a newspaper.

HB 4428 has been referred to the House Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance. MAC plans to support the bill.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Legislative panels cut governor’s request on indigent defense

There would be fewer dollars for the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) in fiscal 2024 than the governor has requested under spending plans approved by House and Senate subcommittees this week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Budget included a $72 million increase to MIDC grant funding as a response to the state’s approval of Standard 8, the Attorney Compensation Standard. However, the subcommittees rejected this approach.

House Bill 4280 includes a $57.2 million increase, totaling their MIDC budget to $206 million. Senate Bill 195 includes a $59 million increase, totaling the Senate version of the MIDC budget to $208.7 million. The governor’s recommended full funding for MIDC is $220 million.

The MIDC grant funding that is allocated to counties, so long as they comply with the state-approved Standards 1-8.

MAC is continuously working to ensure the state provides full funding to counties via MIDC grant dollars, as they are mandated to do. While it is still early in the budget process, and there is potential for the MIDC appropriation to increase, it is important to note that without full funding provided by the state, counties are not mandated to comply with Standard 8.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Financial strains on legal staffing are subject of special podcast episode

In a special episode, Podcast 83 delves into the growing financial strain on counties imposed by directives of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.

Host Stephan Currie and MAC staffers Deena Bosworth and Samantha Gibson discussed the state panel’s work and its impacts with two of its members:

  • Margaret McAvoy, former Isabella County administrator
  • Andrew DeLeeuw, interim deputy county administrator for Washtenaw County

The pair talked about their experience on the commission, which “was created by legislation in 2013 after an advisory commission recommended improvements to the state’s legal system. The MIDC works to ensure the state’s public defense system is fair, cost-effective and constitutional while simultaneously protecting public safety and accountability,” and the importance of its work.

Gibson reviewed the of MIDC’s new standard 8 on prosecuting attorney offices and staffing.

See the full video of the session, taped on April 12, 2023.

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

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


Additional templates posted to assist with opioid settlement planning

MAC has released additional supplemental documents to the Michigan Opioid Settlements Funds Toolkit: A Guide for Local Spending. The new templates include:

  • Request for Proposals and Associated Budget Template (PDF)(Word) (Excel)
    • Files created to assist counties with looking to solicit proposals for funding from community-based organizations, entities and groups.
  • Vendor/Contractor Agreement (PDF)(Word)
    • Modeled after Monroe County contract; created to accompany the funds that would be allocated to entities outside the County and govern the terms and conditions and requirements. This serves as financial management practice to ensure funds disbursed are utilized in alignment with the settlements and county constraints.
  • Pass Through Entity Agreement (PDF)(Word)
    • File created to aid with contracting with pass-through entities, whether utilizing the external organization to subcontract all or a percentage of the settlement funds.
  • Public-facing Planning Process Document (PDF)(Word)
    • Document created to share publicly for counties looking to inform community members of the planning process undertaken by the county. This document is also intended to inform the community of anticipated stakeholder engagement and request for proposals processes.

If you have specific templates that you would like created, or questions, contact Amy Dolinky at


Environmental spending plans head in different directions

Subcommittees in the Michigan House and Senate this week took notably different avenues on plans for water infrastructure and other items advanced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in her fiscal 2024 budget.

The House Appropriations Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Subcommittee got creative, recommending $100 million more than the governor did by replacing hundreds of millions in state General Fund dollars with federal funding.

Most notably, the governor proposed $225.8 million in General Fund for replacing lead service lines and providing technical assistance to communities, but the House reduced that amount to $110 million, supplemented by $100 million in federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars.

Also from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, the House EGLE subcommittee recommended new line items for drinking water asset management, drinking water filtration devices in schools and child-care centers and infrastructure improvement projects for drinking water, storm water and wastewater.

By contrast, the Senate Appropriations Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Subcommittee reduced the governor’s original proposal from $1.3 billion to $1.08 billion. The main reductions came from her recommendations for regional renewable energy facilities, groundwater data collection and contaminated site clean-up.

The subcommittee chairs will meet shortly to concur on one version. The budget must be finalized before the end of June, though legislators can finish earlier.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Senate Democrats introduce renewable power bills

Michigan utilities would have to produce 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources under legislation introduced in Lansing this week.

To achieve this, the seven-bill package, Senate Bills 271-277, would also eliminate coal-fired electricity-generating plants by 2030. Sens. Sam Singh (D-Ingham) and Sue Shink (D-Washtenaw) are leading the efforts to eradicate all greenhouse gas emissions from power generation as part of the Clean Energy Future Plan.

The bills also make the Michigan Public Service Commission will be responsible for evaluating the utility’s integrated resources plan. Their plans must demonstrate progress toward phasing out greenhouse gases, eliminating adverse effects on human health and reducing harm to the health, safety, and welfare of communities subject to environmental injustice.

Other provisions in the package include:

  • reducing carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 25 percent by 2035;
  • creating a Michigan Construction Decarbonization Strategic Plan to reduce emissions from heating homes and businesses by 17 percent by 2030; and
  • allowing farmers in the state’s PA 116 program to preserve farmland to rent their properties for solar operations and stay in the preservation program.

While this may appear a massive undertaking, Consumers Energy already has announced a plan to eliminate coal in its operations by 2025.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment. MAC has not taken a position on the legislation.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Bill would restore local control over plastic bag regulations

Local control over the retail use of plastic bags would be restored under a bill introduced in March.

Senate Bill 228, by Sen. Sue Shink (D-Washtenaw), would allow local governments to determine whether to allow plastic bags in their communities. The legislation stems from concerns over the impact plastic bags can have on our environment, as they tend to end up as litter or non-recycled waste. SB 228 will grant locals the authority to weigh the environmental impacts and regulate their use as they see fit.

Banning plastic bags outright is not the only option permitted in this bill; locals could impose a fee or tax for using them.

SB 228 would reverse the state restrictions on local action adopted in Public Act PA 389 of 2016 signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Several states currently allow municipalities to regulate bag use, and major cities such as Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles have plastic bag bans on the books. Eight states have statewide bans: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

The bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment. MAC has not yet taken a position on this legislation.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


State offers grants for town halls on mental health, substance use issues

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about substance use and mental health conditions have grown.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) Substance Use, Gambling and Epidemiology Section (SUGE) is seeking applications from organizations to conduct Community Town Hall meetings that:

  • Address the impact of this public health crisis on populations, especially disparate or underserved populations.
  • Help raise awareness about coping with COVID-19 by sharing informational materials based on the latest research.
  • Determine community concerns and disseminate relevant resources to address priority areas: underage drinking, marijuana, prescription drugs/opioids, tobacco and mental health.

Apply now to conduct a Community Town Hall Event!                                                        

The Community Town Hall must occur on or before Aug. 31, 2023.

  • Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023, on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Limited to 75 organizations.
  • $1,500 per Community Town Hall. You will be reimbursed for actual costs up to $1,500 through a contract with our training logistics contractor: Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHAM).
  • MDHHS has the ability to deny an organization’s application.

Funding can be used for expenses such as:

  • Speakers
  • Panel discussions
  • Venues
  • Evaluation efforts
  • Technology (if applicable)

Funding cannot be used for:

  • Promotional items, including but not limited to clothing, commemorative items such as pens, mugs/cups, folders/folios, lanyards, and conference bags.
  • Direct payments to individuals to participate in prevention services. Note: Prevention provider may provide up to $30 non-cash incentive to participate in data collection follow-up.
  • Meals are generally unallowable.

Community Needs Assessment resources for your reference:

If there are any questions or if you are experiencing technical issues with the application, please contact Lisa Coleman at and Jamie Meister at


Capital assets are focus of April 24 Treasury webinar

The Michigan Department of Treasury and Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) are hosting the next Fiscally Ready Communities training opportunity on April 24. This FREE training is a 90-minute webinar that’s designed to assist appointed and elected officials.

Capital Asset Management and Planning

Recurring annual expenses are simple to budget, but repair and replacement of big-ticket items can be much more difficult. A Capital Improvement Program (CIP) will help your local government organize those major projects and forecast the expenses to make long-term planning simpler. This session will cover the basics of a CIP, best practices, and give participants a chance to share techniques that have worked for their community, as well as policies, procedures, and accounting for capital asset management and plan.

The webinar runs on Monday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (EST).

Register now.

For more information about Fiscally Ready Communities, please check out the Treasury Fiscally Ready Communities webpage. This webpage includes Treasury’s 32-page Fiscally Ready Communities Best Practices document, which we encourage all local officials to review.

If you have any questions, email with the subject line “Fiscally Ready.”


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