Legislative Update 1-26-24

Counties: Importance of local governments missing from governor’s speech

A vital tune was noticeably missing from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State “playlist” on Wednesday night: the importance and needs of local governments and the services they provide to Michigan.

That was the assessment of MAC leaders following the governor’s concert-style speech in Lansing on Jan. 24, her sixth assessment of the state’s progress since taking office.

While Stephan Currie, executive director of MAC, praised Whitmer’s comments on the need to build on the state’s economic momentum, he said counties were disappointed at what was not said.

“The governor spoke about bringing people to Michigan, yet she said nothing about the communities they will live in and the quality of life that counties provide,” Currie said. “The strength and attractiveness of Michigan are built upon our assets, our outdoors, our quality of life and our community spirit.

“From traditional responsibilities such as infrastructure and public safety, to newer challenges such as housing availability, public services are essential to thriving communities,” Currie added. “The governor noted how the four largest counties — Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent — supercharged the permitting process to get moving on thousands of new housing units. That’s just one example of how counties are the ‘governments on the ground’ bringing positive change. Now the challenge is to ensure those governments have the support and resources to maintain the momentum.”

In support of that momentum, MAC’s 2024 legislative priorities focus on:

  • A secure source of revenue sharing from the state to counties, thereby fulfilling a promise made by state leaders some 60 years ago;
  • Legislative action to ensure our local trial courts and juvenile services have the resources to fulfill their role in protecting the public;
  • Proper reimbursement for losses incurred by local governments due to tax cuts adopted by state leaders; and
  • Addressing a rapidly changing transportation grid by reforming fuel taxes.

“After many years of economic struggle and limited state support, Michigan counties are on a roll,” Currie said. “But to continue this progress, we must now use the moment to address longstanding needs for public services.”

For questions on MAC’s 2024 legislative priorities, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.

 

Podcast 83 team did not rock out to Whitmer’s SOS ‘concert’

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ’80s-style concert of a State of the State address did not impress, said members of MAC’s Podcast 83 team in their latest episode.

“There was no recognition (in the speech) of the contribution that locals have toward making Michigan a great place,” said Deena Bosworth.

“Well, and it’s not flashy, right?” noted Steve Currie. “What counties do isn’t the flashy stuff; we do the stuff people don’t always think about. So, it’s not always going to be talked about as quickly as some other areas of government that are more flashy economic development. You know those sorts of things, but still important.”

Other parts of the governor’s comments drew a more positive response.

“(The governor) wants to put some money towards affordable housing as well,” Currie said. “We’ve talked in our committees internally, and even at our conference level we’ve had presentations on housing. So, it’s something we’ve long supported is getting affordable housing. It’s an issue everywhere from Wayne County up into the UP.”

“We haven’t seen a full fiscal impact on what the $5,000 care-giver tax credit would be and what exactly the eligibility requirements are. But I will say the Population Growth Council provided data that suggested the portion of our aging population is drastically increasing,” noted Samantha Gibson. “The 65 and up population in Michigan is a pretty staggering portion of our entire population, and we’re already seeing shortages (in care workers).”

View the full video of the episode, recorded on Jan. 25, by clicking here

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

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

 

Learn about Materials Management Plans at Feb. 13-14 conference

Major changes in state law on handling solid waste, adopted in December 2022, will be the focus of the Virtual Michigan Materials Management Conference on Feb. 13-14.

The event will focus on the law changes and will provide regional, county, and municipal planners; landfill, compost, and recycling facility operators; and consultants alike with valuable information and tools to foster compliance, advance a circular economy, reduce our carbon footprint and address climate change.

The conference gives those and others the opportunity to learn about what the law changes mean and how they benefit everyone across Michigan. Check out the conference’s agenda and the list of speakers.

How to participate

This virtual Michigan Materials Management Conference will use an online platform called Whova to facilitate networking opportunities and information sharing. Participants will access the conference sessions through the Whova Web App. Don’t worry if you can’t attend all sessions. Recordings of all sessions will be posted in Whova and be available to everyone who registers for the event.

Register today to take part in the conference and network directly with EGLE staff and professionals from around the state. The conference provides up to 8 Continuing Education/Professional Development hours and the cost is only $20.

Click here to begin your registration process.

 

Webinar series focuses on running better meetings

A new webinar series focused on principles and practices of local government meetings will launch in March, MSU Extension has announced.

The Governing Essentials Series is designed for local elected and appointed officials looking to sharpen their skills and promote good governance practices. The webinars can be taken individually or as a three-part series.

This series qualifies for MAC’s County Commissioner Academy. Commissioners can earn two “credits” for the academy by completing all three parts of the series:

  • Open Meetings Act: The Michigan Open Meetings Act (OMA) furthers government transparency by requiring elected and appointed boards to provide notice and make decisions in an open public meeting. Participants will learn the requirements of the Act as well as answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure: Parliamentary procedure based on Robert’s Rules of Order is the most widely used parliamentary authority. This session will focus on parliamentary principles, motions and debate and decorum during meetings. Participants will explore scenarios and practice skills.
  • Components of Extraordinary Governance: This session draws the best ideas together for a thorough overview of board governance. Better board governance, leading to more effective organizations, can improve our communities. That’s a goal we can all share!

All sessions will be delivered via Zoom. All webinars will be recorded and sent to registrants. Cost: $20 per session, $50 for the 3-course series. The webinars can be taken individually or as a three-part series. For the $50 series rate, applicants must register for either the spring, summer or winter series.

To learn more or register, click here.

For questions, contact MSUE’s Eric Walcott at walcott3@msu.edu.

 

Treasury seeks feedback on Uniform Budget Manual

The Michigan Department of Treasury’s Local Audit and Finance Division is soliciting feedback on January 2024 revisions to the Uniform Budget Manual, which was originally issued in August 2001.

The Exposure Draft for the revised Uniform Budget Manual assists local units of government in applying legal requirements and establishing a sound budgeting process. Recommended practices that would enhance the budgeting process are also included.

Any individual or organization that would like to submit comments should provide those comments in writing by Feb. 23, 2024.

Comments may be submitted by email to LAFD_Audits@michigan.gov with the subject line entitled “Exposure Draft – Budget Manual.”

Alternatively, responses may also be submitted via U.S Postal Service to:

Michigan Department of Treasury
Local Audit and Finance Division
PO Box 30728
Lansing, MI 48909-8228

If you have any questions, call 517-335-7469.

 

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