NACo applauds county leaders’ help on federal aid bill

US Capitol

Much still must be clarified about the latest federal relief package awaiting House action before its full effects on counties are known, said officials with the National Association of Counties via a briefing call on Thursday, March 26.

NACo leaders, however, were pleased with the inclusion of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund included in the $2 trillion Senate-approved package that’s aimed at state, local and tribal governments.

Deborah Cox of NACo was able to state that:

  • 45 percent of the $150 billion is eligible for direct payments to local units with populations above 500,000; and
  • Such funds were meant for recent expenditures due to the public health emergency and unanticipated costs to local budgets that occurred on March 1 or after.

In Michigan, though, only four counties (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Kent) exceed the population threshold.

Cox and the NACo briefers said clarity was needed about aid to smaller counties and that there already were “100 different interpretations” of what the relief fund language actually meant.

Cox praised the calls from local county officials during the drafting process for helping to ensure counties would be specifically included in the relief fund.

Also critical is that under the economic stabilization sections of the bill, the U.S. Treasury can purchase debt from state and local units, while the Federal Reserve can participate in the secondary bond market for municipal debt, thereby reducing borrowing costs for counties.

Other key elements to the “CARES” Act identified in the call:

  • $1.32 billion is allotted to community health centers for COVID response – “a definite win for counties,” NACo said
  • Previously planned cuts to hospitals serving the uninsured and underinsured were pushed back to Nov. 30
  • $1 billion for agencies for aging to help them deliver meals, provide home-based services, support care-givers and provide equipment nursing homes to protect residents
  • $400 million for election assistance in the 2020 cycle
  • $56 million for airports in the Essential Air Service program
  • $5 billion for CDBG
  • $45 billion for FEMA disaster relief fund

NACo’s comprehensive analysis of the bill can be found here. As for eventual timing of the funds, the House passed the bill on Friday afternoon, President Trump is expected to sign it later today.

 

Damage from rising water levels will mount, state warns

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) hosted an hour-long seminar Thursday evening to highlight the vulnerability of our natural resources and infrastructure due to record high water levels across Michigan and the Great Lakes.

Presentations by the Army Corp of Engineers and EGLE provided viewers with charts and graphs reporting record levels during 2019 and 2020 for all of the Great Lakes, and the current trajectory for water levels in the coming spring and summer months. The trend is calling for significantly higher water levels and the potential for greater and more costly damage to Michigan’s shorelines, farmland, parks, roads and other critical infrastructure.

The Michigan Department of Transportation estimates it has spent more than $5 million mitigating damage and anticipates that number to reach near $100 million before it’s all over. The Michigan Department of Agriculture reported that more than million acres of farmland could not be planted due to flooding last year, and its projections for the 2020 growing season are just as stark. 

What is most concerning is damages inflicted on municipal infrastructure. These high water levels have affected stormwater systems and sewer systems and caused discharges from combined stormwater and sewer systems. EGLE sent a letter to each entity in possession of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit asking that they submit a vulnerability analysis to minimize the impact this anticipated rise in water levels will have on existing infrastructure.

The city of Detroit is spending $2 million on temporary dams to help prevent an overload of their combined stormwater and sewer systems. Work is under way to map the potential effects of a one-foot rise in Great Lakes levels, analyze where all of that water is going to go and figure out how best to notify residents of the potential for flooding.

A copy of the presentations will soon be up on EGLS website.

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

 

Urge your county to reply to census today

By now, you’ve probably received the 2020 Census in your mailbox. While national attention is properly focused on COVID-19, it is important to encourage your county residents to count themselves. The census determines congressional representation, as well as federal funding for public health and disease prevention, Medicaid and Medicare, health care centers statewide and other essential services.  

So far, Michigan ranks sixth in the country for census responses at 30.6 percent, compared to 26.2 percent nationwide (you can find an interactive map that includes all 50 states’ response rates here.) In 2010, Michigan had a response rate of 68 percent and our goal this year is 82 percent.

To date, more than 25 percent of census responses in Michigan have been done online, an option available for the first time this year. It is important to underscore that the census only has 9 questions and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to fill out to completion.

Census takers were scheduled to begin canvassing households that hadn’t yet responded in early April, but COVID-19 has, of course, disrupted that timeline. In the interim, please urge your constituents to fill out the census at their earliest convenience. This can be done online at www.my2020census.gov, over the phone at 844-330-2020 or through the physical form that comes in the mail.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder why it’s never been more critical that all Michigan residents fill out their census form in order to get our fair share of funding for emergency services, police and fire funding, senior programs and more. Help us keep Michigan near the best in the nation!  

For more information on this issue, contact Michael Ruddock at ruddock@micounties.org.

 

Maintenance is essential activity; counties must facilitate utility work, etc.

MAC is issuing another advisory to all counties regarding your code and permit operations that affect businesses such as utilities doing maintenance work.

Here is what the Governor’s Office says on this issue under her EO:

“Q: Is construction allowed under the executive order?

“A: Some limited forms of construction are permissible, including construction to maintain and improve essential public works like roads, bridges, the telecommunications infrastructure, and public health infrastructure. Construction workers may also undertake such projects as necessary to maintain and improve the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences. In addition, businesses may designate construction firms to provide necessary support to the work of the businesses’ critical infrastructure workers. All construction work that is carried out while the order is in effect must be done in accordance with the mitigation measures required under section 5(c) of the order.”

We have received reports of county offices telling callers that they are blocked by the EO from operating the normal coordination process on maintenance work. One example: “Point of call (to MAC) is to discuss some issues the telecom and energy issues are having as local units of government are limiting workforce hours and availability. This has impacted critical projects and emergency repairs around the state when permits are sought or 811 staking is required.”

Please review with your teams to ensure operational/staff support to these activities.

If you have questions on this, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

County leaders, look for survey info in email, mailboxes

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak placing tremendous stress on so many of our communities, we’re hoping you might find time to share your experiences through the upcoming round of the Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) program is coming soon to your mailbox.

The MPPS is an annual statewide survey of local government officials conducted by the University of Michigan in collaboration with the Michigan Townships Association (MTA), Michigan Municipal League (MML), and Michigan Association of Counties (MAC).

On March 30, you’ll receive an email link to the new MPPS questionnaire, which asks about the public health and economic challenges your county may be facing because of COVID-19. It also continues the annual tracking of counties’ fiscal health.

The U-M survey team plans to quickly share responses to the COVID-19 questions with other leaders to help the state respond to the crisis, all while carefully protecting your anonymity and confidentiality. Your participation is crucial to the success of the MPPS program.

If you have questions about this research study, you can contact Dr. Debra Horner, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, University of Michigan, 5309 Weill Hall, 735 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-647-4091, closup-mpps@umich.edu.

Please keep an eye out for your email invitation to take the survey next week. Thank you so much for supporting this effort.

 

State adjutant general details crisis response

On Thursday, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs released a letter from Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, the state adujant general, on efforts by the National Guard to assist communities during the coronavirus crisis.
 
Rogers noted, “The Michigan National Guard has approximately 300 personnel already supporting the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 response. Since March 18th, guard members have supported relief activities across the state, with missions including relief planning, assembling and loading critical personal protective gear, and staffing at distribution centers across Michigan.”
 

 

DTE outlines actions taken in coronavirus crisis

DTE has taken the following actions to aid customers and keep employees safe during this challenging, unprecedented time:

  • DTE has all employees who can work remotely doing so, and we’ve kept those essential employees needed at facilities in their roles to maintain both gas and electric service for our customers
  • We are also suspending shutoffs and extend senior programs in response to the coronavirus through April 30
  • DTE has suspended all non-essential work as of March 23 – news release with details below
  • Updates for customers, including Q&A, can be found by visiting dteenergy.com/covid19.

 

MAC COVID-19 Resources Page

MAC Q&A Document for State Leaders

Special note from MAC

To all leaders and employees of Michigan’s 83 county governments, we at MAC, your association, extend our deepest appreciation and thanks for your service in this unprecedented crisis for our nation and world. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time for assistance. We will do everything in our power to help you keep your communities and families safe.

Stephan Currie
Executive Director

 

MAC convenes countywide elected officials to discuss COVID response and challenges

Earlier this week, MAC Executive Director Steve Currie and MAC President Veronica Klinefelt of Macomb County hosted a conference call with representatives from the organizations representing sheriffs, prosecutors, treasurers, clerks, register of deeds, administrators and local public health departments.

Megan Swain from the Michigan Association of Local Public Health gave an update on their response to the virus, the number of private labs online now and on the number of cases in the state. She also informed the group that she has daily calls between her organization, her members and the various state departments that interact with local public health departments. Her members are working to trace the spread of the virus, notifying people of potential exposure and the need for quarantine. They are still responsible for investigating other diseases and food borne illnesses.

MAC shared with the group our communication channel with the governor’s office and their request to have MAC field all county questions to minimize the number of individual calls to their office. Rest assured, MAC is in constant communication with the governor’s office and will get information out to the entire county family as soon as we get it.  MAC also alerted the participants of our resources on our website that can be found here

Many county departments have gone to a reduced staff, rotating work schedules and services by appointment only. The sheriffs have stopped all in-person visits to the jails, although most court operations are still functioning, excepting those hearings that can easily be postponed. 

As far as elections are concerned, local governments are being asked to defer any May elections to August. If that is not possible, then absentee ballots will likely be the only way to vote in a May election. 

The governor has issued Executive Order 2020-14 to provide a temporary extension of the deadline to redeem property for nonpayment of delinquent taxes from March 31 to May 29, 2020. Local units and counties will still face challenges when it comes to handling challenges to property assessments since a local board of review will likely be suspending their hearings.

MAC stands ready to assist our members and our entire county family during this state of emergency. For more information, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Navigating the new world of remote meetings

MAC is consulting with a variety of experts on resources that counties can use to operate public board sessions that comply with the governor’s Executive Order modifying the Open Meetings Act.

We are aiming to provide lists, best practices and tips to members early next week.

Key legal points

  • The EO expires on April 15 unless the Legislature votes to extend it.
  • Compliance with the EO must include general public participation.
  • Public participation must be 2-way – the public must be able to hear the public and officials.
  • You can allow typed and read comments IN ADDITION to verbal comments, not in place of them.
  • Closed sessions still allowed under OMA rules; it is recommended that you have a separate secure conference call line for those.
  • Give advance notice – a recommended minimum of 18 hours.
  • Place such notice on your homepage or via a prominent link on your homepage.
  • Notices should list the reasons for electronic sessions and all details on how public can participate, including the disabled.
  • Taping is allowed for the public for any reason; you can set rules on disruptions, but you can’t exclude people except for a breach of the peace.
  • You are advised to do roll call votes on everything.
  • You are advised to share agenda and board packets on website in advance.
  • Be sure you do not use texts or emails among board members for sidebar communications.
  • The EO prevails over any charter, ordinance or local rule.
  • All recordkeeping provisions stay in effect under OMA.

Key technical points

Any solution must provide for:

  • 2-way communication with public
  • Access without registration
  • Disabled participation (closed captioning, etc.)
  • Toll-free or local phone lines if using calls

Zoom and GotoMeeting are seen as good options that would help local boards comply with the EO.

For more information, contact MAC at 517-372-5374.

 

Update on federal appropriations on coronavirus

During a briefing call Thursday evening, NACo staff detailed the current activity in Washington on local funding on the coronavirus crisis:

Third supplemental (CARES ACT)

A package possibly could be to president’s desk for signature by Sunday night (March 22).

A Senate plan released Thursday evening includes direct cash payments to certain individuals, small business loan relief and additional health care spending. More information to be found at this link.

NACo advised that all counties need to be pushing the message for continuing funding for our public health departments. Cost estimates are coming in regularly but keep sending them to NACo. We must have resources now AND be thinking about this fall and the fall of 2021.

NACo has provided a downloadable letter  https://naco.sharefile.com/share/view/s6c093fe3fa14a47a you can customize and send to congressional leadership.

First supplemental

The first supplemental included $8.2 billion and a focus of $950 million for Local Public Health, which will go to the states and then to counties. Encourage your Local Public Health team to communicate with their counterparts.

Second supplemental

The second supplemental was signed on Wednesday (Family First Coronavirus Act). It includes:

  • Free COVID testing, regardless of insurance status
  • Nutrition assistance for food banks
  • Unemployment assistance
  • Medicaid contribution increase
  • FMAP increase by 6.2%

NACo advised that members should be sure to read the second passed version since there were substantial changes from the first draft. NACo is asking HR directors and consultants to review because a patchwork of state laws and regulations related to this. The law mandates 10 weeks of paid leave, but that is limited only to workers caring for a child where schools and child care have shut down.

For updated information on national events, visit NACo’s page.

 

Communicating during a long crisis

As the current situation with coronavirus points toward a longer disruption of normal activities, county leaders are advised to consider their terminology in reporting on changes to county services.
 
Suspension > closure
 
As counties work through how they will operate going forward, we advise the use of “suspension” over “closure” when referring to public access to offices and buildings. For example, “Public access to the office is suspended, but citizens can contact county staff at 123-4567 for assistance.”
 
The federal government has issued initial guidance regarding a “critical infrastructure workforce”:
 
“We recognize that state, local, tribal and territorial governments are ultimately in charge of implementing and executing response activities in communities under their jurisdiction,” the guidance states, “while the Federal Government is in a supporting role. As State and local communities consider COVID-19-related restrictions, CISA is offering this list to assist prioritizing activities related to continuity of operations and incident response, including the appropriate movement of critical infrastructure workers within and between jurisdictions.”

 

FEMA details resources in call with county leaders

FEMA held a call with county leaders this week to detail resources now becoming available for COVID-19 responses.

Among the key points:

  • Local governments are eligible to submit reimbursements under Category B, emergency protective measures
  • FEMA cannot duplicate assistance of other federal agencies (HHS/CDC)
  • FEMA is working to streamline and expedite funding
  • FEMA is working with its regional arms and states to process funds quickly (it had 223 requests in at the time of the call, with 55 from counties and 81 from cities/townships)
  • States can assist counties to work in the FEMA grant system, if a county has not entered the portal before
  • FEMA is working to provide grants training through the states (not through regional FEMA managers)
  • FEMA also looking to implement direct processing for counties/cities but no timeline provided
  • States are submitting questions and FEMA responding as soon as possible and putting info on FEMA.gov.

The call was recorded and is available online

 

State approves two bills with supplemental funds for COVID response

The Legislature has passed two measures to provide funds to combat the coronavirus:

Senate Bill 151:

  • Authorizes up to $50 million in Federal revenues for combating the respiratory virus COVID-19 to be appropriated to departments for State and Local preparedness and response activities.
  • Requires a report on funding and activities to the appropriations committees, relevant subcommittees, the fiscal agencies, and the State Budget Office by June 30 and Sept. 30 of 2020.
  • Directs $10 million to the Coronavirus public health emergency line be allocated to departments for critical State and local preparedness and response activities for the respiratory virus COVID-19.
  • Directs that the activities may include monitoring, laboratory testing, contact tracing, infection control, and continuation of critical State government functions. Requires a report by departments receiving funding to the Legislature and State Budget Office by June 30 and Sept. 30, 2020, on activities and expenditures.
  • Creates the Coronavirus Response Fund in the Department of Treasury.
  • Allocates $15 million into the Fund.
  • Allows funds to be spent upon appropriation or legislative transfer.
  • Requires interest and earnings from the Fund be deposited in the General Fund.
  • Directs that funds in the Coronavirus Response Fund not lapse to the General Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

House Bill 4729:

  • Includes $50 million GF/GP to expand capacity of critical health care providers for responding to the Coronavirus public health emergency.
  • Authorizes $40 million GF/GP to be allocated to departments for preparedness and response activities for the Coronavirus public health emergency. Activities may include monitoring, laboratory testing, contact tracing, infection control, and continuation of critical state government functions. (This is in addition to the $10 million under SB 151.)
  • Authorizes $35 million GF/GP to be deposited into the Coronavirus Response Fund to be available for subsequent appropriation as needs related to the coronavirus are identified. (This is in addition to the $15 million GF/GP authorized in SB 151 for the same purpose.)

 

Virtual town hall set for March 26 on high-water issues

On March 26, state leaders will hold a virtual town hall on high-water issues in Michigan, the first in what is planned as a series.

The event will start at 6 p.m.; is designed for a public audience; and  will cover water level basics and current forecasts, statewide high water impacts and resources for residents.

To register, click here.

 

March 23 webinar will focus on rural effects of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold a webinar for rural stakeholders on March 23 at 1 p.m. Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases Dr. Jay Butler will share guidance with partners, public health practitioners, health care providers and others working to protect the health of rural communities. He will describe what the CDC knows at this point and what CDC is doing in response to this outbreak. 

To register, click here.

 

Tips offered on using GIS to respond to COVID-19

ESRI will host a webinar on March 23 in which experts will show how counties can quickly deploy free GIS resources to prepare, mitigate and actively respond to COVID-19.

For free registration, click here.

On March 3, MAC led delegations of county commissioners and other leaders on visits to Michigan’s members of Congress on Capitol Hill. MAC delivered a list of federal priorities to congressional offices for 2020

MAC members meet with Congressman Fred Upton in his Capitol Hill office on March 3.

MAC President Veronica Klinefelt (left) and Executive Director Stephan Currie (second from left) talk with Congressman Dan Kildee on Capitol on March 3.

MAC members and staff pose with Congressman John Moolenaar after their discussion on March 3.

MAC President Veronica Klinefelt introduces U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow at a special MAC briefing on March 3.

MAC members pose with Congressman Bill Huizenga in his Washington, D.C., office on March 3.

County leaders pose with U.S. Sen. Gary Peters after he made remarks at a MAC Reception on March 3 in Washington, D.C.

Michigan county leaders pose with U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow after she briefed them on March 3 in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

 

 

 

 

The 2020 MAC Membership Directory is the ultimate guide to county elected officials across Michigan.

Each of Michigan’s 83 counties has a full listing with names, addresses, phone numbers and emails for all county elected officials. The directory also carries a list of board chairs and vice chairs; full administrator listings; and contact information for human resources and purchasing.

Readers also will find background materials on MAC’s services, full listings for Michigan legislators, both state and federal, and Michigan legislative committee assignments.

Members also can access a digital version of the directory here. Your password information is found on the Table of Contents page of your directory.

MAC appreciates the support of our advertisers for helping make complimentary copies available to all county commissioners and county board offices: 44North; BS&A Software; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Clark Schaefer Hackett; CompOne Administrators; CSI – Computer-Systems, Inc.; Delta Dental; Enbridge; Farner Asphalt Sealers; Foster Swift; Grand Hotel; Granger Construction; Great Lakes Communications Sales Inc.; Ibex Insurance Agency; Kitch, Drutchas, Wagner Valtutti & Sherbrook; Kofile Technologies; M3 Group; Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council; Michigan State Industries; Michigan Works! Association; Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC; Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone; MMRMA; My Community Dental Centers; Nationwide Retirement Solutions; PFM Financial Advisors, LLC; and Spalding DeDecker.

If you see an issue with any of your county’s listings or have updated information, please contact MAC Communications Director Derek Melot at melot@micounties.org to allow for updates to the digital version of the directory.

DHHS budget receives mixed response in committee session

DHHS Director Robert Gordon

As Appropriations subcommittees began work this week on the FY21 budget, Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon presented on his department’s plans in the areas of education and skills; health and families; and climate and water.

While the DHHS budget, overall, is $26 billion, Gordon said the agency consistently has to do more with less. The Legislature has been concerned with spending in the past few budget cycles, specifically as it relates to the management of IT systems and significantly reined in the spending. Gordon discussed the number of freezes initiated on the IT development and increased financial oversight through a DHHS/DTMB governance board.

Deputy Director George Mellos also presented on the departments behavioral health system transformation project that would include new specialty integrated Medicaid plans. The department wants SIPs to manage physical and behavioral health for those with significant needs and allow the community mental health providers to provide safety net services.

Additionally, the director highlighted the governor’s recommendation to increase psychiatric staffing. Northern Michigan legislators reiterated their view of a need for a facility located in Northern Michigan. Rep. Sue Allor (R-Cheboygan) noted that patient transportation from northern counties to the Caro Center in Tuscola County can keep deputies away from other duties for several days.

Lastly, the department highlighted the $5.1 million (General Fund) increase in non-Medicaid funding to community mental health providers. This, however, is coming at the expense of a $5 million increase in the local match rate for counties. In FY20, the Legislature included $5 million to start phasing out the $25 million local match amount required under section 928. The governor reversed this trend in her FY21 budget and moved it to the non-Medicaid line. MAC supports the legislative initiative to phase out the local match requirement and will advocate to have it restored as the departmental budget moves through the Legislature.

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

 

MAC meets with leaders for clerks, treasurers, RDs

MAC Board President Veronica Klinefelt and Executive Director Stephan Currie met this week with leaders of groups for Michigan clerks, treasurers and registers of deeds to discuss legislative priorities for 2020.

MAC’s Deena Bosworth and Meghann Keit briefed on a variety of MAC priorities, ranging from extending the sunset on trial court fee authority to revenue sharing.

Also discussed were bills on the tax foreclosure process; legislation to allow pre-processing of absentee ballots in the wake of Proposal 3’s liberalization of absentee voting; legislation to waive renewal fees for concealed carry permits; and proposed changes to the Open Meetings Act.

“This was an excellent discussion on the numerous issues where our organizations’ members can collaborate for everyone’s benefit,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director.

MAC appreciates the county leaders who were able to attend in person or by teleconference:

  • Michael Hanley, Saginaw County clerk
  • Laura Brandon-Maveal, Gladwin County clerk and president of the Michigan Association of County Clerks
  • Catherine McClary, Washtenaw County treasurer
  • Patty Niepoth, Antrim County register of deeds
  • Bob Robinson, Eaton County treasurer and second vice president of the Michigan Association of County Treasurers
  • Stewart Sanders, Newaygo County register of deeds and president of the Michigan Association of Registers of Deeds

MAC launched these “county summits” in early 2019 to foster communication and cooperation among the various groups representing county government offices in Michigan. Next week, MAC will host leaders from the groups representing sheriffs and prosecutors.

 

Time to register for 2020 Legislative Conference

The 2020 Michigan Counties Legislative Conference will feature a variety of speakers and events to enhance county officials’ learning and leadership skills.

Please note that this year’s conference runs Wednesday through Friday, April 15-17.

Among the highlights:

  • Plenary sessions on legislative priorities, jail reform proposals and county revenue trends
  • Remarks from senior state officials (Chief Justice Bridget McCormack will headline the panel)
  • 12 workshops designed for MAC members and affiliates over three days.
  • A Legislative Reception on Wednesday evening
  • An Exhibitor Show Reception featuring complimentary beverages and snacks

The conference’s early-bird fee is just $350 for county members, which includes all commissioners, county administrators, medical care facility administrators, treasurers, prosecutors, sheriffs, clerks and registers of deeds. Please note: The early-bird rate ends on March 20, so register soon.

The conference hotel, the Radisson, is offering a special room rate of $135.95 for the event, and is connected to the main conference venue, the Lansing Center, by an enclosed pedestrian ramp.

Complete details are available in our handy Registration Packet.

Or you can begin your registration process by clicking this link. Please remember: All registrations are online only.

 

Fiscal training schedule stretches from Iron River to Lapeer

Training sessions designed to help county leaders on capital project planning and general financial oversight will begin March 4 and continue through the summer.

The Fiscally Ready Communities team, a joint project of the state Treasury Department and MSU Extension, will lead the sessions on capital asset management and planning and general financial oversight!

Please note: These sessions are eligible for credit in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy program. 

Each training is half-day and is FREE. The material is designed for basic to intermediate knowledge or a refresher course for those with advanced knowledge.

Dates and locations for capital planning sessions are:

  • March 4 – Ann Arbor
  • April 2 – Lapeer
  • April 28 – Madison Heights
  • May 14 – Kalamazoo
  • June 11 – Grayling
  • July 8 – Iron River
  • July 9 – St. Ignace
  • Sept. 9 – Saginaw

Plans also are being finalized for sessions in Big Rapids in August. Check the website for updates.

For times and venues, see the registration page. To register for the capital trainings, visit https://events.anr.msu.edu/FRC2020/

Additionally, the team will be leading one Financial Best Practices Overview training on Thursday, May 7 in Grayling, plus a webinar planned for the fall. This training was created in 2019 to provide local governments with information on best practices and policies and procedures.

To register for the high-level overview on May 7 in Grayling, visit https://events.anr.msu.edu/FRC2020/

Please check  Michigan.gov/FiscallyReady for additional information.

 

State offers $250,000 in anti-blight grants to small counties

The State Land Bank Authority has launched a second round of Michigan Rural Community Demolition Grants. Smaller communities in Michigan can apply for a $50,000 grant to help eliminate blight and revitalize their communities.

The funds, available to Michigan county land banks and local units of government in counties with populations under 50,000, are designed to help communities remove vacant and abandoned structures from their neighborhoods and prepare for future developments that spark business investment and provide good jobs for residents. Applications are due Friday, March 13 at 5 p.m.

The maximum award per proposal is $50,000 and can be used toward vacant and abandoned, blighted commercial or residential structures. Proposals will be evaluated based on their anticipated impact in promoting public safety, enhancing economic development, public and private investment in the project and alignment with the community vision or other placemaking efforts.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/LandBank.

 

Listening sessions on opioid crisis continue March 12

The Michigan Opioids Task Force and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are hosting a town hall Thursday, March 12, 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the Sterling Heights Community Center, 40250 Dodge Park Road. 

MDHHS and the Michigan Opioids Task Force will share its strategy to address the opioids crisis, seek information about how the opioid epidemic has impacted those in attendance and host a Q&A about the crisis response.

“Information gathered during this event and other town halls will help the state develop a crisis response that is flexible; effective to fit the needs of communities from Detroit to Grand Rapids to Marquette; and informed by the experiences of Michiganders affected by the crisis. About 150 people attended a similar town hall in Detroit in January,” said MDHHS in a statement.

Future sessions will be in:

  • Gaylord on Friday, July 24
  • Escanaba on Wednesday, July 29
  • Flint on Friday, Sept. 25
  • Grand Rapids on Friday, Nov. 6

For more information about the state’s opioids response and available resources, visit Michigan.gov/opioids.

 

Animal welfare grants issued to county shelters

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is issuing $127,240 to 23 recipients of the 2020 Animal Welfare Fund grants. The grants help support the spaying and neutering of shelter dogs and cats to help them be more adoptable. Grants also help support many anti-cruelty and proper care programs and training around the state. Registered shelters also can receive assistance through the grant program for the unrecovered costs of care for animals involved in legal investigations.

“The Animal Welfare Fund is supported by generous Michiganders during tax season when they check the fund’s box on Form 4642, Voluntary Contributions Schedule, with their state tax returns. Since 2010, MDARD has distributed more than $1.3 million to more than 185 local animal shelters. One hundred percent of the contributions made to this fund are used for Michigan animal welfare programs,” MDARD said in a statement.

Among county facilities receiving grants were:

  • Cass County Animal Shelter – $10,000
  • Gratiot County Animal Shelter – $5,000 
  • Kalkaska County Animal Shelter – $2,940
  • Macomb County Animal Shelter – $1,490
  • Newaygo County Animal Shelter – $874
  • Roscommon County Animal Shelter – $10,000
  • Saginaw County Animal Care Center – $8,000
  • St. Clair County Animal Control Shelter – $6,000
  • St. Joseph County Animal Shelter – $7,520

Please note that best practices for animal shelters will be the topic of a workshop at this year’s Legislative Conference in Lansing, April 15-17. For details on the workshop and registering for the conference, check out our Attendee Registration Packet.

For more information on the program, click here.

 

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