Tax cut legislation includes property tax reimbursements for counties

In swift action this week, the House and Senate put forth and passed an income tax cut bill that would also allocate funding to local governments for their losses due to the veterans property tax exemption. Such reimbursements are a key MAC policy priority in 2022.

Under House Bill 4568, by Rep. Matt Hall (R-Kalamazoo), the state’s income tax rate would fall from 4.25 percent to 4 percent in 2023. The legislation also increases deductions for seniors, tax credits for dependent 19-year-olds and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

As far as the reimbursements for veterans property tax exemptions, the plan is consistent with and tie-barred to Sen. Jon Bumstead’s plan in Senate Bill 784, a plan which is supported by MAC, other local government associations and the veterans group. See previous coverage on the legislation by clicking here. To send a message of support for Bumstead’s legislation, click here.

The tax proposal passed both chambers and will be sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a matter of days for her consideration. However, a vote on Senate Bill 784 has not taken place in the House yet due to the constitutional rule for a five-day layover in a chamber before lawmakers can take action on it. 

From all indications, the Whitmer administration and the legislative Democrats would prefer a very different tax relief option. So, this legislation will likely be struck by the governor’s veto pen.

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

 

Newest estimate shows billions more for state coffers

Tax dollars continue to flow into state coffers at unexpected high rates, the May session of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference reported Friday. These trends will provide the state with an extra $1.7 billion in General Fund revenue for the current budget year (FY22) and an extra $1.1 billion for the upcoming budget (FY23), as compared to the consensus estimates at the last conference in January 2022.

State lawmakers now will work from final consensus totals for the FY23 General Fund of just under $14 billion. As recently as FY14, the General Fund was barely $9 billion. Still, adjusting for inflation, the General Fund is well below where it was at the turn of the century.

Forecasters from the Treasury Department and the fiscal agencies of the House and Senate also see continued growth in General Fund revenues in fiscal years 2024, 2025 and 2026.

It remains to be seen in coming weeks whether these increased state resources will be deployed in investments in public services at the state and local levels or converted to tax cuts or one-time cash rebates to taxpayers.

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

 

MAC testifies in favor of new public notices bill

MAC’s Deena Bosworth testifying for HB 6062 during House committee meeting on Thursday.

After a decade of working on the issue, MAC is pleased to announce the introduction of legislation to modernize public notices law, save counties time and money and create more avenues for our citizens to receive public notices. 

MAC’s Deena Bosworth was among those testifying Thursday in support of House Bill 6062 before the House Oversight Committee. The bill, by Rep. Kevin Coleman (D-Wayne), is the first bill in what will be more than 100 dealing with the modernization of public notices for public bodies. The bill sets up the framework, while other pieces of legislation will amend each state statute requiring the notice to be published in a newspaper.

HB 6602 would allow local units to put public notices on their websites, but not require them to be published in a newspaper. In addition, and to ease the concerns about transparency, the bill requires the public body to send a copy of the notice to the newspaper, to post the notice in a conspicuous place and to create an annual mailing list for those residents wishing to have notices mailed to them via first class mail.

Even with these stipulations, the Michigan Press Association, whose members have long relied on fees charged to counties and others for publishing such notices, opposes the bill. 

MAC’s Bosworth, however, detailed the extensive protections for public transparency with the new system. “We are not trying to hide our public notices from the public,” she noted.

The bill makes it beneficial for counties to navigate our new media landscape in a way that is fair to local government and gives options to community members on how they choose to receive information on public notices.

HB 6062 is a welcome contrast to two other public notice measures that were recently signed into law. Senate Bill 258, by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason), and SB 259, by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D-Wayne), unfortunately did not curb the cost of the postings on local taxpayers or alleviate any unnecessary details of many of the posting requirements.

MAC will continue to support a fair and transparent process of reporting public notices and will continue to monitor HB 6062’s progress through the Legislature.

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

 

State Supreme Court still studying court costs case

The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) is still considering a case that challenges the authority of trial courts to impose costs on defendants.

On April 6, 2022, the MSC heard oral arguments on the application for leave to appeal in People v Travis Michael Johnson, which challenges state law by which a judge can impose “any costs reasonably related to the actual costs incurred by the trial court.”

On May 13, the court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs within 21 days, addressing three discrete issues:

(1) whether MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) violates the separation of powers by assigning the judicial branch “‘tasks that are more properly accomplished by the Legislature,“

(2) whether MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) violates due process by creating a “potential for bias” or an “objective risk of actual bias,” and

(3) if the Court finds MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii) to be facially unconstitutional under either theory, what remedy should follow.

Thus, the court is still considering whether to grant leave to appeal and has requested additional briefing on the constitutionality of the statutory subsection on two broad constitutional grounds, i.e., separation of powers and due process, focusing more particularly on certain narrowly described reasons as to why the statute may violate those constitutional principles, i.e., improper assignment of legislative tasks to the judiciary and judicial bias concerns. 

As part of its consideration of whether to grant leave to appeal, the court would also consider the proposed remedies that may be ordered if it were to ultimately determine that the statute is unconstitutional on its face, i.e., invalid under any circumstances.  Based on the framing of the issues in its latest order, it would appear the potential remedies for a finding of facial unconstitutionality could include the Legislature establishing more objective criteria for the imposition of costs in a criminal case.

If the application is granted, the case would likely continue with further briefing on the specific issues to be defined by the court in its order granting leave to appeal, followed by oral argument and the court’s final determination of the issue.

MAC will continue to closely monitor this case and the huge potential for it to disrupt local court financing.

 

Counties among recipients of first responder grants

Thirteen counties are among recipients of the First Responder Training and Recruitment Grant Program, the Michigan Treasury announced this week. The program was launched by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in January to assist local governments in addressing critical needs in recruitment and retention of first responders.

Among the 400 applicants seeking a portion of the $5 million allocated by the Legislature last December, the requests exceeded $29 million. The 13 counties will be among those receiving a total of $1.4 million. As instructed through budget boilerplate language, Treasury reviewed and ranked all applications according to intended use of the funds and those communities most in need.

Congratulations to the county recipients:   

  • Alger – $46,651
  • Allegan – $100,000
  • Chippewa – $78,939
  • Clare – $54,035
  • Delta – $170,000
  • Iron – $17,583
  • Keweenaw – $82,172
  • Marquette – $98,784
  • Menominee – $143,908.40
  • Montcalm – $170,000
  • Ontonagon – $100,000
  • Otsego – $100,000
  • Roscommon – $67,500

The counties must submit a letter of acceptance through the state of Michigan E-Signature process and include the amount awarded and signed by the recipient’s chief executive officer. The grant will be distributed on a reimbursement basis after adequate documentation has been provided to the department. Counties awarded the grant will receive further instructions via email. Procedures and information on documentation can be found on the First Responder Training and Recruitment Grants webpage.

MAC supports efforts to enhance first responder training, retention and development and will continue to provide resources to counties to address important public safety needs.

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

 

Senate advances bill on transporting mental health patients

A MAC-supported bill to allow county mental health transportation panels received unanimous support in the Senate this week and has moved to the House.

Senate Bill 101, by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), would allow the panels for the purpose of alternative transportation services for individuals needing involuntary psychiatric hospitalization. The bill awaits a hearing in the House Health Policy Committee.

The bill would set forth a description and responsibilities of the panel, should a county choose to establish one, and outline contract and liability requirements. Any private security company considered to provide the transport services must meet certain requirements in order to enter into contract, including maintaining certain insurance coverage and providing to security transport officers a specialized training program for best practices when working with an individual with severe mental illness.

The bill also creates the Mental Health Transportation Fund, which, if funded by the Legislature, could help counties carry out functions of these mental health transportation services.

MAC supports the bill as an important tool for counties to secure alternative transportation services, so county law enforcement staff and resources are not tied up in long transport times.

A full analysis of the bill can be found here.

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

 

Podcast 83 goes live again on May 23

MAC’s Podcast 83 team will again be live to discuss all the news and events out of Lansing on Monday, May 23 at 4 p.m.

Among the burning questions that will be addressed are: Who has been hanging out with polar bears? And who is MAC going to miss soon?

Some policy issues will be reviewed, too, and the team will answer audience questions live.

The update will begin at 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

In this week’s episode, on May 16, MAC’s Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit-Corrion discussed a huge broadband funding opportunity on the horizon, the latest on the legislation to reimburse counties for veteran property tax exemptions and what’s coming up on the FY23 state budget.

 

DNR seeks county input on outdoor recreation plan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is updating the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). This plan, which is updated every five years, supports and directs Michigan’s use of its federal Land and Water Conservation Fund apportionment, among other things.

As one aspect of the SCORP update, the state is surveying land managers throughout the state who have information about publicly available outdoor recreation resources and facilities, and insights into key issues facing those resources.

The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your help in this important effort.

Contact Dustin Isenhoff, Michigan DNR, at 517-275-1468 or IsenhoffD@Michigan.gov with questions about this survey.

 

Michigan voters to rule on changes to legislative term limits

The Michigan Legislature approved a ballot proposal this week that would let voters decide on term limit changes to House and Senate members in November. The House voted in favor, 76-28, of the proposal and the Senate voted in favor the same day, 26-6. Both chambers gave approval without debate or discussion.

Advocates would have needed to collect 425,000 signatures to move to the ballot had the Legislature not acted. The proposal also includes changes to financial disclosure requirements of the Legislature; however, language passed by both Legislature requires far fewer financial details than what has been called for by activists. 

Under the existing constitutional term limits approved by voters in the 1990s, an individual can serve a total of 14 years at the State Capitol, with a maximum of three 2-year terms in the House and two 4-year terms in the Senate.

Under the ballot proposal this fall, the total years would be reduced to 12; however, an individual could serve all of those years in a single chamber.

The proposal does not have any effects on the number of terms a person may serve as a county commissioner.

MAC is reviewing the approved language and has not taken a position on it.

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

 

Medical care facilities win another round on key funding measure

The Senate Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason), unanimously approved this week a three-year extension to the county maintenance of effort (MOE) rate for county medical care facilities (MCFs), a key legislative priority for the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC).

House Bill 5875, by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee), provides an extension to the MOE freeze until 2025, or until the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) implements a new reimbursement model, whichever is sooner.

MDHHS has been studying and contemplating a new reimbursement model and policies for long-term care facilities. Should a new approach be implemented prior to Dec. 31, 2025, MCFs would transition to the new system under the bill.

Other organizations supporting the bill alongside MCMCFC include MAC, the Health Care Association of Michigan and Leading Age Michigan.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor to await a vote by the full body.

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

 

Clare, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne claim NACo Achievement Awards

Five Michigan counties were among those honored recently by the National Association of Counties in its 2022 Achievement Awards. The Achievement Awards program is a non-competitive awards program that seeks to recognize innovative county government programs. One outstanding program from each category will be selected as the “Best of Category.”

Macomb County led with 12 citations, including seven in the criminal justice field alone.

Oakland County received 11 citations in six different categories for work that included vaccination promotional efforts, a school nurse program and a “Blueprint for Successful Aging.”

Clare and Wayne counties were honored for their work in community and economic development, while Washtenaw County was cited for financial management via its “sustainable investments to preserve natural areas.”

To see descriptions of Best of Category winners nationally and a searchable database of this year’s winners, click here.

 

Treasury to announce awards for first responder recruitment grants

Counties should learn early next week if they are among recipients of first responder recruitment grants issued by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

MAC has learned that awards will reach 44 of our 83 counties. The list of recipients should be available within the next two business days and follow-up letters will be sent out to all communities that applied for the funding.

Treasury received more than 400 applications from local units of government seeking a portion of the $5 million allocated by the Legislature in December 2021 for first responder recruitment and training grants. In total, applications requested more than $29 million, so the program is highly competitive.

Per legislative directive, the department reviewed and ranked all applications according to intended use of the funds and those communities most in need. Funding for recruitment and training was given the highest priority, then the applications were ranked based on those with the lowest taxable value per capita across the state. 

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

 

Seven Michigan county staffers finish leadership academy

Seven Michigan county staff members recently finished their course work in the NACo Leadership Academy, a 12-week online program that empowers front-line county government employees with fundamental leadership skills. Across the country more than 4,600 county employees have participated; this includes 75 from Michigan.

Michigan county staff to complete the Academy this April are:

  • Rebecca Johns, county veteran service officer, Alger County
  • Patrick Mellon, jail administrator / sergeant, Alger County
  • Matthew Newton, deputy county administrator, Cass County
  • Michael Turisk, director of planning and zoning, Cheboygan County
  • Elizabeth Zabik, equalization director, Cheboygan County
  • Chris Roberts, system administrator-network/security, Grand Traverse County
  • Amber Weber, building official, Leelanau County

“At the beginning of the course I was actually struggling with the direction of my future,” said one course participant. “This course provided me with some very valuable insight and thought processes to empower me to be a better leader. The best part was today at lunch, a colleague mentioned that I was somber, and she didn’t like it. I simply told her that I do not see a need to get worked up over some things. This course has helped me to mature as leader.”

Congratulations to all these individuals who completed the program. To learn more about the Academy, click here. Registration for the next cohort is now open.

 

MAC interns end year with ‘modeling gig’

We said goodbye this month to our 2021-22 interns, Noah Peterson and Will Hansen, but not before assigning them one final task: modeling our new “83” brand T-shirt that soon will be on sale at MAC’s Lansing offices and MAC conferences.

If you are interested in an “83” shirt, send an email to dozier@micounties.org.

 

Free MDHHS webinar to focus on crisis response

A May 24 webinar, part of the Interdisciplinary Partnership Series led by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), will focus on crisis response collaboration efforts within the state of Michigan. Representatives from MCOLES, MDHHS, the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, CIT International and The Cardinal Group II will share information related to crisis response partnerships, associated data and information and training opportunities for first responders, law enforcement and behavioral health staff.

The webinar, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., is free through MDHHS.

To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1479027180761863696.

For information, contact J. Eric Waddell at jericwaddell@thecardinalgroup2.com.

 

FOIA bills threaten integrity of public bodies

Legislation that alters the Freedom of Information Act in ways detrimental to county government will be up before the House Committee on Oversight (Chair Steve Johnson) next week and MAC needs your voice to urge the House to set aside this ill-advised package.

Among the problems in the package are provisions to impose penalties on public bodies when mistakes are made, an inevitable increase in costs for compliance with the act and the removal of the anonymity of volunteer task force members when serving their communities. 

House Bill 5921, by Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Kent), limits the reason for FOIA request denial to only the ones(s) stated in the beginning. This amendment could have the unintended consequences of releasing protected records if someone didn’t catch the right exemption the first time and could potentially force a local agency to violate other laws. MAC anticipates an amendment that will also require a $500 penalty payable to the requestor should a public body deny a request for the wrong reason. 

House Bill 5923, by Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R-Muskegon), requires the public body to acknowledge that exempt records exist and provide a description of the record. These amendments will likely require public bodies to consult legal counsel in each record request denial. In addition, this change has the potential of exposing private information that the law was originally intended to protect, especially in cases of mental health allegations, sexual assault allegations, legal opinions and law enforcement investigations, these disclosure requirements undermine the intent of the privacy exemptions. 

House Bill 5924, by Rep. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale), requires that a record in the possession of outside legal counsel be considered to be in the possession of the public body. This amendment blurs the line over what is FOIA-able in an outside legal practice.

House Bill 5925, by Rep. Bryan Posthumus (R-Kent), allows for civil actions regarding the determination of whether the record is considered primarily for the public benefit and therefore should not be subject to fees for compiling the record. Again, these amendments would open the floodgates of litigation against public bodies, especially by the press who would claim public benefit for every request. Then the public body would likely have to absorb the entire cost of fulfilling these requests to avoid litigation.

MAC is opposed to these bills as written and urges county leaders to use our advocacy platform to send a pre-drafted message of opposition to your House member before next week’s hearings.

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

 

Veterans property tax reimbursement bills stalled in Senate; your voice needed now

Long-sought legislation to properly reimburse local governments for losses due to the state’s property tax exemption for disabled veterans remain stalled in the Senate.      

Senate Bills 783-84, by Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-Newaygo), are the culmination of years of negotiations between counties, other local government organizations, veterans organizations and the Legislature. These bills signify the first time we have all been able to rally around a method for reimbursing local units for their losses due to the veterans exemption. 

The bills provide a reimbursable income tax credit, payable to the local unit, in the amount of the exemption granted to eligible veterans. Nothing in this legislation alters the benefit, nor does it require any additional steps for the disabled veteran. It is a win-win for veterans and locals. 

Nevertheless, although the bills passed out of committee in early March, no action has been taken on the Senate floor on them due to opposition from the Whitmer administration, which is not too keen on the state paying for the consequences of state policy.   

The annual loss to local revenues is estimated at nearly $100 million each year, and that amount is expected to increase as property values rise and veterans trade up for more expensive homes. 

Your voice as a county leader is urgently needed to push the Senate into a vote on these bills before the Legislature reduces its meeting schedule for the summer.

To assist you, MAC has created a message of support which you can email directly to your senator with just a couple of clicks. If each county commissioner across the state contacted their senator in support of reimbursement, we would surely see the legislation move forward in Lansing.

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

 

Podcast 83 resumes live episodes on May 16

The Podcast 83 team will be live on Monday, May 16 to discuss what’s coming up for action in Lansing.

The update will begin at 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will be able to ask questions of the team as well.

In their most recent episode, on May 2, the team discussed state budget news, veterans property tax exemption legislation and the ongoing work of MAC’s six policy committees. Click here to view the video.

If you can’t catch any episode live, a recording will be posted later next week to MAC’s YouTube channel.

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

 

Report: Quarter of ‘federal aid’ roads in ‘good’ condition

Michigan made some progress in addressing road conditions in 2021, says a new report from the Transportation Asset Management Council.

In its 2021 Annual Report, the council says Michigan has “… the highest percent of roads rated in good condition since 2005.

“The 2021 condition data for Michigan’s federal-aid eligible paved roads has made progress with

  • 25% Good
  • 42% Fair, and
  • 33% in Poor condition.

In 2020, estimated breakdown was

  • 22% Good,
  • 36% Fair, and
  • 42% were in Poor condition.

“This improvement in road surface condition,” the report says, “may be due in part to several factors including a mix of fixes of road surface treatments and increased revenue.  The reasons for this improvement will be analyzed further and better understood as the 2021 project data becomes available.”

By contrast, conditions with Michigan’s bridges declined in 2021, with 4 percent of them falling into the “severe” category, which “measures the criticality and is a warning that these structures are in jeopardy for closure due to structural concerns that could pose a threat to traffic.”

The council is an appointed group that advises state officials on infrastructure. Kelly Jones, Ingham County Road Department managing director, is the MAC representative on the council.

 

Treasury launches improved document search site

The Michigan Department of Treasury is launching a new and improved Document Search site to provide greater access to local unit audit reports and other related financial information, the department announced this week.

“The Document Search site is a public online repository of document submissions and determinations for local units of government. For example, individuals can view a local unit’s audit or the determination of a local unit’s prior-approval application for borrowing.

“The new Document Search site retains all the previous features while adding new ways to search. New features include:

  • “Search Bar: Type the name of the desired municipality instead of selecting from several cascading dropdowns
  • “Document Groups: Related documents are grouped together into categories, like audit, finance and retirement
  • “Improved Interface: Visual modernization and accessibility improvements

“Effective June 3, 2022, access to the old Document Search site will cease. Individuals are encouraged to add the new site to their browser’s favorites and replace any favorites directing to the old site by June 3, 2022.

“To access the Document Search site via our website, visit www.michigan.gov/localfinancialreporting. Afterward, click on the ‘Document Search’ button.”

 

Behavioral health effort expands to more Michigan counties

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)  has expanded the Behavioral Health Home (BHH) initiative to more Michigan counties to provide intensive care management and coordination services for Medicaid beneficiaries with a serious mental illness (SMI) or serious emotional disturbance (SED).

“The expansion of the BHH will help address the complexity of physical and behavioral health conditions in Michigan and improve access to essential services,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of MDHHS. “For enrolled beneficiaries, the Health Home will function as the central point of contact for directing patient-centered care across the broader health care system.”

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved Michigan’s State Plan Amendment (SPA) to expand its BHH initiative into five counties within two Prepaid Inpatient Health Plan regions (PIHP): CMH Partnership of Southeast Michigan and Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network. The expanded SPA will allow thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries meeting the eligibility criteria to receive BHH services.

The Behavioral Health Home is a benefit offered to Medicaid beneficiaries who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness or a serious emotional disturbance and reside within one of the following PIHP regions/counties:

  • NorthCare Network (counties in the Upper Peninsula)
  • Northern Michigan Regional Entity (21 northernmost counties of the Lower Peninsula)
  • CMH Partnership of Southeast Michigan (Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Washtenaw)
  • Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (Wayne)
  • Oakland Community Health Network (Oakland)

Individuals who meet the criteria can work with a team of providers who will attend to the beneficiary’s complete health and social needs. Participation is voluntary and enrolled beneficiaries may opt out at any time.

According to a 2019 report, half of Michigan Medicaid beneficiaries with a mental illness do not receive needed treatment in a given year. Behavioral Health Homes are a proven model to increase access to coordinated and integrated care, which is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For BHH information, including eligibility and available resources, visit Michigan.gov/BHH

 

 

MAC corrects list of 10 longest-serving current commissioners

Due to an editing error, Alcona’s Carolyn Brummund was left off the list of longest-serving commissioners published in the April 2022 edition of Michigan Counties. MAC regrets the error.

 

MAC applauds Senate work on revenue sharing; House plan disappoints

A 10 percent boost in county revenue sharing took another step to enactment this week when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed out the fiscal 2023 General Government budget.

Senate Bill 831, by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), calls for a 5 percent ongoing increase in revenue sharing and a 5 percent one-time bump. The budget bill mirrors the governor’s recommendation on county revenue sharing of $243 million for FY23.

The House Appropriations Committee also passed out its General Government FY23 budget this week. House Bill 5783, by Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R-Muskegon), however, does not support the governor’s recommendation. Instead, it calls for a one-time increase of 1 percent in revenue sharing and a 1 percent ongoing increase.

Although MAC appreciates any increase in revenue sharing for counties, the House recommendation is a disappointment and does not help rectify decades of underinvestment. MAC applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for supporting the governor’s recommendation to include an unprecedented increase in revenue sharing for counties.

Both bills sit on their respective chamber floors, with votes expected next week. According to statute, the state budget must be finalized by July 1 each year for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

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

 

House panel moves $33 billion budget for health, human services

Michigan would spend $33 billion in state and federal funds for health and human services in fiscal 2023 under a budget bill approved this week by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Allegan), recommended the sum for the state’s largest agency. Notably, the amount includes $85 million for constructing a new intensive inpatient psychiatric services center for children and adolescents, down considerably from the governor’s recommendation to spend $325 million for a replacement and expansion of current facilities at the Hawthorn Center and Walter Reuther Hospital.

The budget plan includes a variety of one-time expenditures using the state’s allocation from the American Rescue Plan, including:

  • $50 million to Pine Rest pediatric behavioral health center
  • $45 million to Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network psychiatric campus  
  • $5 million for a Northern Michigan psychiatric inpatient facility
  • $30 million for establishing crisis stabilization units

A large investment of $101 million, in line with the governor’s recommendation, would go to certified community behavioral health clinics that would improve vital services by increasing access to evidence-based substance use and mental health treatment services, including 24/7 crisis care.

Additionally, the subcommittee recommended $5 million in state General Fund dollars to replace a like amount of county funding used for Medicaid mental health supports and services, which brings the state to year 3 of a 5-year phaseout plan.

The budget also includes $279 million for the Child Care Fund, with an additional $3.5 million for indirect costs, and $17 million for the Raise the Age Fund, which also is line with the governor’s recommendation.

The bill has been sent by the full Appropriations Committee to the House floor for action next week.

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

 

Legislature sends flawed public notice bills to governor

A two-bill package to “modernize” public notice postings is headed to the governor after it gained final approval by the Michigan House of Representatives this week.

Senate Bills 258, by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R- Mason), and 259, by Sen. Sylvia Santana (D- Wayne) would modify the definition of a newspaper to mean a newspaper in an adjoining jurisdiction if one was not available in the county. The bills would also require the posting of the notice on a website hosted by the newspaper.  Although neither of the bills increase costs to counties or create additional burdens, they also don’t do anything to alleviate our current challenges with public notices.  Neither of those modifications help to curb the cost of the postings, scale-back the unnecessary details of many of the posting requirements, nor do they assist locals in meeting the publicized notice timeline should a newspaper fail to print the notice in a timely manner.

MAC offered several amendments that were rejected. Those amendments were to limit the cost of the public notices to a government rate; to allow for partial posting of information with a link to more information; and to allow the posting online to count toward the deadline needed to meet notice posting timelines.

MAC will continue to advocate for statutory changes that will address our concerns.

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

 

NACo shares updates on April 30 ARP reporting deadline

Counties are reminded that April 30 is the deadline for the U.S. Treasury’s ARP Recovery Fund Project and Expenditure (P&E) Reports.

Additionally, earlier today, Treasury released new FAQs for the ARPA Recovery Fund Final Rule. NACo will provide a more in-depth analysis in the coming days but is able to share the following about the looming report deadline:

“Treasury has stated that it is experiencing a very high volume of messages about problems that recipients are having with submitting their P&E Reports, which has caused a delay in addressing these issues. Treasury has stated that if your county has sent an email to Treasury outlining why you are unable to submit your P&E Report, you will not be penalized if you submit AFTER April 30, 2022, if your problem is not addressed prior to that date. Please save a date stamped email and/or screen shot of your messages to Treasury!  

If you are having an issue or are unable to submit your P&E Report, email both SLFRF@treasury.gov and covidreliefitsupport@treasury.gov and CC questions@naco.org with a description and screenshot of what the problem is.

If you are trying to submit your county’s P&E Report as the Authorized Representative, but the portal is stating it does not recognize your name/contact information, please watch the step-by-step walkthrough video released by Treasury. If the problem persists, email SLFRF@treasury.gov and covidreliefitsupport@treasury.gov and CC: questions@naco.org with a description and screenshot of what the problem is.

Counties are required to make a one-time, irrevocable election to either take the $10 million revenue loss standard allowance or calculate revenue loss. Counties must indicate this choice in this April P&E Report.

If your county is claiming the $10 million revenue loss standard allowance, please follow the below steps. Please note that there are streamlined reporting requirements for revenue replacement funds.

Steps for claiming $10 million standard allowance and reporting requirements

    1. Go to the “Project Overview” section
    2. Choose 6 – Revenue Replacement – under the “Project Expenditure Category Group”
    3. Choose EC 6.1 – Provision of Government Services – under the “Project Expenditure Category”
    4. Enter in Project Name
  1. If your county has not yet signed a contract, obligated or expended funds, select “My jurisdiction has no projects”
    1. Enter Recipient Project ID#
    2. Enter Total Cumulative Obligations
    3. Enter Total Cumulative Expenditures
    4. Enter Program Description
    5. SKIP the following modules:
  1. Subrecipients/beneficiaries/contractors
  2. Subawards/direct payments

                                                           iii.      Expenditures

    1. Go to the “Recipient Specific” module 
    2. Choose “Yes” under “Is your jurisdiction electing to use the standard allowance of up to $10 million, not to exceed your total allocation, for identifying revenue loss?”
    3. Enter in the amount you would like to claim in the field below “Revenue Loss Due to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency”
  1. For counties that receive less than $10 million in ARPA Recovery Funds and want to allocate the entirety of your allocation towards revenue loss, enter in your total allocation (total of first and second tranche) into this field
    1. Provide a description of how revenue replacement funds were allocated to government services

NACo has released a number of resources that walk counties through the P&E Report submission process, including:

 

Join Podcast 83 team live at 4 p.m. on May 2

MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie and the Podcast 83 team of Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit will be live on Monday, May 2 to discuss what’s coming up for action in Lansing.

The update will begin at 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will be able to ask questions of the team as well.

If you can’t catch the episode live, a recording will be posted later next week to MAC’s YouTube channel.

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

 

House votes out treasurer fee bill backed by Zillow

A bill to alter fees that county treasurers charge on parcel records is headed to the Senate after the full House approved it this week.

House Bill 4730, by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia), was amended on the House floor to require county treasurers to provide property records in their possession, regardless of how many of the entire list of records they maintain.  Originally the bill was tie-barred to other sections of law affected register of deeds offices and clerk offices but has since been scaled back to include just records held by county treasurers.

This bill appears to limit the revenue county treasurers collect for the dissemination of records for parcels of property. The bill was originally introduced as part of a package that would have carried the same limitations on fees for other county electronic records but has since been scaled back to just fees charged by treasurers. 

Currently, a county treasurer can charge 25 cents per parcel record, which is not easily separated from the entirety of the parcel records, so it comes in a batch. Zillow is the primary advocate for this bill and the firm is seeking to make the process less costly and easier for it to use.

MAC continues to work with other organizations representing countywide elected officials as the bill begins consideration in the Senate.

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

 

Opioid settlement webinars set for May 3, 17

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with MAC, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and others will be hosting a webinar series on the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements.

The next two webinars are:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

State, county and local governments are slated to receive funds from the Distributor/Janssen Opioid Settlements in the coming months, and this webinar series will provide an opportunity for local elected officials, public health officials and other relevant parties to learn about best practices for spending these funds. This upcoming webinar will focus on opportunities to support treatment services.

You can post questions prior to each webinar by sending a note to MDHHS-OpioidsTaskForce@michigan.gov.

 

May 10 webinar will cover grant management, budgeting, more

The Michigan Department of Treasury is pleased to announce our next Chart Chat webinar at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.

Topics covered will include:

  • Grants Management Best Practices
  • Treasury Updates American Rescue Plan Act – Alternative to Single Audit
  • Qualifying Statements
  • Budgeting

Participants can register and submit questions on the webinar’s registration page.

Presentations and recordings from this webinar, along with previous webinars, can be found at TREASURY – BLGSS Learning Center. Utilize TREASURY – Contact Information for support related to Treasury’s local government services. 

 

Senate panel signs off on 10% boost for revenue sharing

A 10 percent increase for county revenue sharing for fiscal 2023 took another step toward enactment this week when the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government, chaired by Sen. Roger Victory (R-Ottawa), passed out its FY23 recommendations.

Included in this budget is a recommendation to support the governor’s proposed increase for county revenue sharing. The plan would give counties a one-time 5 percent increase in revenue sharing and an additional 5 percent increase in the base funding amount going forward. For FY23, this would mean $243 million for counties.

The House has yet to put forth its recommendations for FY23 revenue sharing. According to statute, the state budget must be finalized by July 1 each year for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

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

 

Senate subcommittees advance FY23 budget bills

Subcommittees of the Senate Appropriations Committee continued their fiscal 2023 budget work this week.

For the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the state’s largest budget, the Senate panel voted out $32.5 billion, 2 percent less than for FY22 but with significant investments in mental health. This includes $101 million for certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHC) and $61 million to expand behavioral and substance use disorder health homes. The recommendation also calls for $10 million for the jail diversion fund, which provides grants to local units of government to establish or expand behavioral health jail diversion programs in coordination between community agencies and law enforcement agencies.

Other items to note in the DHHS budget are:

  • $5 million for a crisis stabilization unit in Northern Michigan
  • Continuation of a $2.35 per hour direct care worker wage boost
  • $279 million for the Child Care Fund, with an additional $3.5 million for indirect costs
  • $9.1 million for the Raise the Age Fund
  • $2.4 million to increase the juvenile justice basic grant to counties with fewer than 75,000 residents (58 counties) from $15,000 to $56,520
  • $15 million to fully phase out the local match drawn down for Medicaid

The House DHHS budget is expected to move next week.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Licensing and Regulatory Affairs gave support to full funding of MIDC grants at $149 million.

The Senate Subcommittee on State Police added $1 million to the governor’s plan for county road patrol grants, bringing the total to $5 million from the General Fund. This is a point of difference with the House, which is working on a plan to shift road patrol’s funding source to the state liquor tax.

The Senate Corrections Subcommittee backed $14.8 million for the county jail reimbursement program, unchanged from the previous year.

The County Veteran Service Fund would sit at $4.2million, which aligns with the governor’s and House recommendations.

The Senate Appropriations Judiciary Subcommittee supported many of the governor’s recommendations, with one notable difference: leaving out the $175 million for a statewide judicial case management system.

For more information on these issues, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Senate committee takes up key bills for medical care facilities

A bill to extend the county maintenance of effort (MOE) rate for county medical care facilities (MCFs) for three years continues to move swiftly through the legislative process. After House passage last week and acting on requests from the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC) and MAC to keep the momentum, the Senate Health Policy Committee held a hearing on the bill this week.

House Bill 5875, by Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Lenawee), provides an extension to the MOE freeze until 2025, or until the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) implements a new reimbursement model, whichever is sooner.

Renee Beniak, MCMCFC’s executive director, outlined for the committee the history of the MOE and the importance of this legislation to maintain higher Medicaid reimbursements rates for services for some of the most vulnerable citizens. Other organizations supporting the bill alongside MCMCFC are MAC, the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) and LeadingAge Michigan.

The bill awaits a vote from the Senate Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason). A committee vote could come as soon as next week, and MCMCFC has hopes for quick action then on the Senate floor.

The same committee did unanimously vote out an important long-term care staffing bill that would allow temporary nurse aides who met training requirements during the COVID-19 emergency to count their experience for training requirements to become a certified nurse aide (CNA). House Bill 5089, by Rep. Ann Bollin (R-Livingston), would also ensure the state allows nurse aide training and testing to be done remotely, online and in a nursing facility. Allowing for these options will remove many of the barriers for these temporary aides to receive registration as a CNA. MCMCFC, HCAM and LeadingAge Michigan all supported the bill. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs submitted a neutral position.

For more information on these issues, contact Meghann Keit-Corrion at keit@micounties.org.

 

Live Podcast 83 episodes return on Monday, May 2

How soon will Michigan have a fiscal 2023 budget? Will it include the 10 percent boost in county revenue sharing first proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer? What’s going to happen with the $3 billion in the still unassigned state American Rescue Plan funds?

These and other questions are likely to be tackled in the next LIVE episode of Podcast 83 on Monday, May 2.

The update will begin at 4 p.m. To join the session, just use this Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82867692853.

Viewers will be able to ask questions of Podcast 83 team as well.

Last Monday, MAC Director of Governmental Affairs Deena Bosworth and Governmental Affairs Associate Meghann Keit-Corrion discussed the latest action on the FY23 state budget and some troubling legislation that would make major changes to the state’s Freedom of Information Act in a Podcast 83 episode recorded on Monday.

Watch a video of the session on-demand here.

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

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

 

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