House approves extension for trial court funding

Michigan trial courts would continue to have the authority to impose fees, a critical funding element, until May 1, 2024, under House Bill 5956, a MAC-backed bill approved in the House on Wednesday.

The bill is expected to be approved by the Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and it must be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prior to Oct. 1 to avoid a disruption in fee authority.

HB 5956, by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), was designed to address the crisis caused by the looming expiration of fee authority on Oct. 1. Courts have long relied on fees to help fund operations. In 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court said, however, that courts could levy only fees specifically designated by the Legislature. MAC led a coalition to enact a legislative fix that was adopted in the fall. That legislation, to place “reasonably related” costs, has been extended twice already.

MAC thanks members who have reached out to their legislators, either directly or via MAC’s digital advocacy tool, in support of court funding.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Permanent fund for road patrol clears Legislature

A permanent funding source for Secondary Road Patrol needs only the governor’s signature to become reality after the Senate approved enabling legislation this week.

House Bills 5732 and 5772, by Reps. Tommy Brann (R-Kent) and David Martin (R-Genesee), would allocate $15 million annually for the program from the excise tax on liquor. HB 5773, by Rep. Mike Mueller (R-Genesee), was introduced to eliminate the $10 fee on traffic tickets that has funded Secondary Road Patrol, but the bill did not receive support in the Senate. We anticipate the fee will remain in place and revenue will be redirected to another source.

The changes brought by these bills will eliminate the fluctuations in funding based on the number of tickets issued in a given year, which created uncertainty for law enforcement and rural communities.

HBs 5732 and 5772 will now be presented to the governor for signature. This stable annual funding is a big win for county sheriffs that will allow them to better patrol secondary roads and protect rural communities.

For more information on this issue, contact Madeline Fata at


Commissioners from Clinton, Macomb and Oakland counties elected to MAC Board of Directors; Kent’s Ponstein becomes 114th Board president

Stan Ponstein of Kent County gives his inaugural address during the President’s Banquet on Sept. 20 at the 2022 Annual Conference.

During regional caucuses held at the Michigan Counties Annual Conference Sept. 18-20 in Port Huron, MAC members elected three new members to the MAC Board of Directors and re-elected two incumbents.

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

  • Ken Mitchell of Clinton County
  • Antoinette Wallace of Macomb County
  • William Miller of Oakland County

Returning to the MAC Board for another three-year term are incumbent directors Vaughn Begick of Bay County and Scott Noesen of Midland County. Board members can serve a maximum of three 3-year terms.

Leading the Board will be Stan Ponstein of Kent County, who was sworn in as MAC’s 114th Board president during a ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Blue Water Convention Center in St. Clair County.

Joining Ponstein as Board officers for the 2022-23 term are Eileen Kowall of Oakland County (first vice president) and Jim Storey of Allegan County (second vice president).

On Sept. 20, during their Annual Business Meeting, MAC members approved policy platforms developed by MAC’s policy committees overseeing issue areas ranging from finance to agriculture and tourism.

“St. Clair County and Port Huron were excellent hosts for us” said Stephan W. Currie, MAC’s executive director. “It is important as a statewide organization to visit and support all sections of the state, so we were pleased to be able to convene in the Thumb.”

MAC will be posting the presentations from the sessions and photos from the event to during the week of Sept. 26.

MAC’s 2023 Annual Conference will be Oct. 1-4 in Kalamazoo County.


House approves County Veteran Service Fund requirement changes

The County Veteran Service Fund, established by the Legislature in 2018, was created to encourage counties to establish and maintain County Veteran Service Offices. The fund ensures that counties are eligible for a $50,000 grant annually, plus additional funding based on the number of veterans living within the county.

House Bill 6377, by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Isabella), was approved in the House on Wednesday, to modify the distribution structure of the County Veteran Service Fund.

Under HB 6377, counties must maintain a minimum county veteran service funding level of 70 percent of the funding level from FY 2017 in order to receive the $50,000 grant from the County Veteran Service Fund. The 70 percent funding level requirement was previously only for FYs 2021 and 2022, however, HB 6377 extends the requirement to FY 2023 and beyond.

The bill now moves to the Senate. MAC is neutral on the bill.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Join NACo on Sept. 23 for broadband mapping update

Join NACo staff and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadband Data Task Force (BDTF) on a webinar on Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. (Eastern) for an overview of the ongoing Broadband Data Collection process, which will be used to create an updated national broadband availability map.

The forthcoming broadband availability maps will be instrumental in determining the flow of funds for over $42 billion in funds for broadband deployment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

On Sept. 15, the FCC announced the process for state, local and Tribal governments to file bulk challenges to the data in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (the “Fabric”), which serves as the foundation for the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) fixed availability maps. Counties will be able to challenge broadband availability data within the FCC’s national maps, if necessary, following their release this November.

To register for the webinar, click here.


Staff picks

Massive reform of county revenue sharing introduced

Sen. Wayne Schmidt finalizes paperwork to file legislation for a massive reform of county revenue sharing in Michigan.

Legislation to increase county revenue sharing and protect it from the annual appropriations process is now before the Michigan Legislature.

Introduced by Sen. Wayne Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse), Senate Bills 1160 and 1161 earmark 10 percent of the state’s sales tax for deposit each year into a new “Revenue Sharing Trust Fund.” Money in the fund has to be sent out each year, so the state can’t divert the dollars into its General Fund for other uses.

In addition, the bills require that 50 percent of that 10 percent be distributed to counties, with the other half going to cities, villages and townships in accordance with the distribution methodology in the FY23 budget (except for Emmet County, the last county back in the state revenue sharing formula, which would be treated as if it was a full year).

If enacted, counties could see an increase of at least 43 percent on their current revenue sharing dollars in the first year.  Additional increases would be based on the growth of the state’s sales tax.

The bills, developed by MAC in consultation with Schmidt and others, have been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In the coming weeks, MAC will be sending out a digital advocacy campaign link and additional talking points for counties to use when reaching out to their legislators in support of these bills.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at


Opioids payment notice is out; review your document carefully

Counties will soon receive their first payment from the national Opioid Distributor Settlement. On Sept. 7, the notice regarding Payment 1 of the Opioid Distributor settlement was sent to local governments.

Please note, however, that this notice reflects only Payment 1 of the Opioid Distributor Settlement and does not include any funds from the Janssen Distributor Settlement. A separate notice will be sent regarding the Janssen funds.

Once counties have received the notice for Payment 1, they must take action as provided in the notice to receive payment as soon as possible.

BrownGreer, the national settlement administrator for both settlements, is responsible for providing notice to counties for settlement payments. This notice is crucial to receiving payment and outlines the Michigan State-Subdivision Agreement, how to receive payment, how to reallocate payment and information regarding the Special Circumstance Fund.

The Special Circumstance Fund provides additional opioid abatement funding to address a special circumstance of the opioid epidemic that was not addressed by the original calculations for local government’s allocation percentage. Counties are eligible to apply to the Special Circumstance Fund by Oct. 28. In addition to applying to the Special Circumstance Fund, counties have the right to dispute the calculation of the payment they will receive within 21 calendar days of receiving their settlement payment notice.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Solar PILT bills receive Senate hearing

Legislation to create an optional structure for the taxes levied on solar facilities in Michigan received a hearing this week before the Senate Committee on Energy and Technology.

After years of participation on 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.

Senate Bills 1106 and 1107, by Sens. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason) and Kevin Daley (R-Lapeer), 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., roof tops) 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 challenges to the evaluation 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


Counties can again apply for rural broadband funds

Applications are now open for another round of funding for rural broadband through U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utility Service program, ReConnect. 

Eligible applicants can apply through the Rural Utilities Service portal by clicking here.  The application deadline is Nov. 2.

The ReConnect Loan and Grant Program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

Award funds may be used to pay for the following costs:

  • To fund the construction or improvement of facilities required to provide fixed terrestrial broadband service.
  • To fund reasonable pre-application expenses.
  • To fund the acquisition of an existing system that does not currently provide sufficient access to broadband (eligible for 100 percent loan requests only).

Only projects that USDA determines to be financially feasible and sustainable will be eligible for an award. An eligible project must demonstrate a positive ending cash balance as reflected in the cash flow statement for each year of the forecast period and demonstrate positive cash flow from operations by the end of the forecast period. Eligible projects must also meet at least two of the following requirements: a minimum Times Interest Earned Ratio (TIER) requirement of 1.2, a minimum Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) requirement of 1.2, and a minimum Current Ratio of 1.2.

For more details on the program, visit


House committee approves extension for trial court funding

Michigan trial courts would continue to have the authority to impose fees, a critical funding element, until May 1, 2024, under a new version of a MAC-backed bill adopted by the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

House Bill 5956, by Rep. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson), was designed to address the crisis caused by the looming expiration of fee authority on Oct. 1, 2022.

Courts have long relied on fees to help fund operations. In 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court said, however, that courts could levy only fees specifically designated by the Legislature. MAC led a coalition to enact a legislative fix that was adopted in the fall. That legislation, to place “reasonably related” costs, has been extended twice already.

With the Oct. 1 deadline looming, MAC urges quick action on HB 5956 when the House returns to Lansing in late September. The bill must pass through both chambers and be signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer prior to Oct. 1 to avoid a disruption in fee authority.

MAC will be asking for member outreach to legislators in late September as the final push for the bill begins.

For more information on this issue, contact Samantha Gibson at


Five candidates file for five seats on MAC Board

Commissioners attending the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference (Sept. 18-21 in Port Huron) will vote in caucuses to fill five seats on the MAC Board of Directors after the candidate filing period closed on Thursday.

Five candidates filed for six available seats, with no one filing for the final year of an unexpired term for Seat B in Region 4. That seat will remain vacant until the next election opportunity at the 2023 Legislative Conference in April.

The five candidates for September each filed for election or re-election in different seats, as listed below:

  • At-large Seat B – William MIller of Oakland
  • Region 4 Seat A – Ken Mitchell of Clinton
  • Region 5 Seat A – Antoinette Wallace of Macomb (to fill 1 year of unexpired term; winner is still eligible to serve 3 full 3-year terms after first year)
  • Region 6 Seat A – Vaughn Begick of Bay
  • Region 6 Seat B – Scott Noesen of Midland

Seats representing regions are filled by a vote in regional caucuses at the conference. At-large seats are filled by the candidate that wins a majority of the six regional caucuses. The MAC Board of Directors is the key body in guiding the legislative and organizational strategies of MAC. Board terms are three years in length and individuals may serve up to three terms.

For more information on MAC Board elections, contact Executive Director Stephan Currie at


Two new staffers join MAC advocacy team


Looking to build on recent success in Lansing capped by the enactment of 4-year terms for county commissioners in 2021, MAC expanded its Governmental Affairs Team today with the addition of two governmental affairs associates.

Madeline Fata comes to MAC from the offices of Rep. Ken Borton (R-Otsego), who is himself a former MAC Board president.

Fata ( also worked in the offices of state Sens. Wayne Schmidt (R-Grand Traverse) and Dale Zorn (R-Monroe) and for Michigan Legislative Consultants, a Lansing-based lobbying firm.

She has a bachelor’s degree in social science from Michigan State University, with a secondary degree in anthropology. Between Fata and Governmental Affairs Director Deena Bosworth (anthropology, Western Michigan University), MAC may have the largest anthropology contingent of any advocacy office in the United States!


Samantha Gibson has even deeper ties to MAC, having served as an intern on our Governmental Affairs Team in 2019-20.

Gibson ( was most recently the legislative director for Rep. Rodney Wakeman (R-Saginaw), where she focused on policy work for the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee. Gibson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University.

Madeline will staff MAC’s policy committees on Transportation and on Environmental, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs.

Sam will staff MAC’s policy committees on Health and Human Services and on Judiciary and Public Safety.

“I am very excited to bring on both of these up-and-coming women to our staff,” said Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs. “Each brings a level of expertise, personality and advocacy skills that will help shape and define the future of our organization.”


MAC on broadband: Counties have big role to play

Deena Bosworth, center, emphasized importance of counties in the buildout of broadband services at a policy workshop on Thursday, Aug. 18.

Counties are uniquely positioned as regional governments to play an essential role in the buildout of broadband services in Michigan, a MAC staffer told a workshop audience on broadband policy on Thursday.

Deena Bosworth, director of governmental affairs, also emphasized the need for  counties to be eligible to receive federal BEAD funding and to have the option of owning the fiber that is put in the ground at the event, “Internet for All: Michigan Local Coordination Workshop, put on by Michigan’s new High-Speed Internet Office. She was joined on a panel by representatives from the Michigan Association of Townships and Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

The panel focused on upcoming federal and state funding opportunities and emphasized the need for local units of government to be included in conversations about distributing those funds. Each panelist expressed interest in working closely with private providers to expedite the planning process.

The common themes of the day were a need for rapid broadband expansion, a desire for collaboration between entities and a vision for affordable and easily accessible internet throughout Michigan.

MAC will continue its focus on this critical issue with a plenary session at the 2022 Annual Conference, Sept. 18-21 in Port Huron. For details on conference events, click here.


Public employees may be eligible for federal student loan relief

The state is encouraging Michiganders working in public service to review the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program to see if they qualify for federal student loan relief no later than October 31, 2022. Thousands have already utilized the program to pay off their debt, and over 148,000 more Michiganders may be eligible due to the recent PSLF waiver, says Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

More than 4,700 Michiganders have successfully applied for debt relief and have had $260 million in loans forgiven. On average, that is $55,000 per borrower.

Until Oct. 31, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education is offering public servants working in government and eligible non-profits a second chance to qualify for student loan forgiveness. An estimated 154,000 public service workers in Michigan could be eligible for student loan debt relief under the PSLF waiver. According to the Office of Federal Student Aid’s June report, over 6,000 Michiganders have taken advantage of the PSLF waiver and have had $358 million in loans forgiven.

The recent changes to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program allow previously ineligible borrowers — those with a non-Direct loan, who are not enrolled in an income driven repayment plan, who have missed a repayment, or made a partial repayment in the past — to receive credit toward loan forgiveness for the years they worked in government or a qualifying non-profit.  

To apply for the PSLF waiver, borrowers should: 

  • Visit to verify their employer qualifies for PSLF.   
  • Submit a certified copy of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification form to the U.S. Department of Education before Oct. 31.   

If borrowers have questions regarding their individual situation, they can visit or call FedLoan Servicing at 1-855-265-4038.  

Congress created Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) to recruit and retain top talent in the public sector workforce. If an individual works for federal, state, local, or tribal government or a qualifying non-profit for 10 years, makes 120 full, on-time loan payments, and submits all required paperwork, the federal government forgives all of their remaining student loan debt. 


Comedian to entertain at 2022 President’s Banquet; early-bird pricing continues through Sept. 2

Chris Young, a comedian who has performed across Michigan and was a finalist in Dave Coulier’s “Clean Guys of Comedy/Unbleepable Contest,” will be the after-dinner entertainer at the 2022 President’s Banquet on Sept. 20.

The banquet is the final event of the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, to be held Sept. 18-21 at the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron. Registration continues for the event, which will include:

  • Four plenary sessions featuring key issues now before Michigan and a MAC Legislative Update
  • 12 breakout sessions for MAC members and 6 workshops for MCMCFC members
  • 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

Meanwhile, early-bird pricing of $395 for members has been extended through Sept. 2, so act fast.

To register and for complete conference details, click here.


Hotel Update: There are some rooms left at the Comfort Inn (1720 Hancock St. in Port Huron) for the special room rate of $129 per night (rate is good through Sept. 4). To make a reservation, call 810-987-5999.

To meet demand, we’ve added a third hotel option for conference-goers, the Holiday Inn Express (2021 Water St. in Port Huron). Twenty-five (25) rooms are now available there for the conference rate of $129 per night (rate is good through Aug. 19). To reserve a room, click here or call 810-662-3400 and use the group name of “Michigan Association of Counties.” 

A special shuttle will operate between the conference headquarters at the Blue Water Convention Center and the Comfort Inn and HI Express. Also, plenty of free and convenient parking is available outside the convention center.


FY23 county-by-county revenue sharing estimates


Eight Michigan officials graduate from national leadership academy

Join the 1,710 county leaders already benefiting from the effectiveness of the NACo Leadership Academy, the 12-week, online leadership program led by General Colin Powell.

The academy is now accepting registrations through Sept. 9 for its upcoming cohort.

MAC would like to acknowledge and congratulate the Michigan county officials who graduated in April from the academy:

  • Aaron Edlefson, VA Director, Calhoun County
  • TJ Fields, Chief Information Security Officer, Oakland County
  • Jennifer Laymon, Infrastructure Manager, Macomb County
  • Matthew Pence, IT Security Specialist, Oakland County
  • Joyson Peters, Security Administrator, Macomb County
  • Megan Smith, Junior Business System Analyst, Macomb County
  • Jako van Blerk, Chief Information Officer, Macomb County
  • Sandy Wilson, Deputy Director, Macomb County


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


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.


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