Legislative Update 5-29-20

MAC opens ‘Camp Counties’ for summer webinars

With in-person gatherings still discouraged, but the need to share information and best practices never more acute, MAC has responded with a new educational series for summer 2020: Camp Counties.

Replacing our traditional in-person Regional Summits, the webinars of Camp Counties are free to all employees of MAC member counties and designed to provide practical information and tips that can be put to immediate use. All webinars will start at 11 a.m. on their scheduled dates. The webinars will be recorded for post-event, on-demand viewing on our website.

“The five topics are designed to both provide something of an interest to members across the state and deliver practical information that can be put to immediate use as we all continue to navigate the COVID crisis,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director. “I’m also pleased that we are able to deliver so much to members at no additional costs to them or their counties.”

Major support for Camp Counties comes from Enbridge and Envirologic, with additional support from three of MAC’s sponsored programs: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Nationwide Retirement Solutions and Abilita.

For all the latest camp happenings, visit the Camp Counties page on the MAC website.

June 10: Benzie’s Broadband Journey and Funding Challenges Looking Forward

Click to register.

June 17: Planning and Winning Millage Elections in a COVID World

Click to register.

June 24: Using Uniform Fees to Boost Appeals in Criminal Cases

Click to register

July 8: How Will COVID Affect Community and Work Life in the Months Ahead?

Click to register

July 15: Basic Steps for Counties to Enhance Election Cybersecurity

Click to register

For additional details on each webinar, review the camp agenda flier.


Legislators look to delay summer property tax payments

A two-bill package intended to provide taxpayers extra time to pay their summer 2020 tax bill without penalty was discussed before the House Committee on Local Government and Municipal Finance this week.

House Bills 5761 and 5810, by Rep. James Lower (R-Gratiot), are meant to assist businesses and property owners with cash flow concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Executive Orders. Similar bills, Senate Bills 933-934, have been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Kent). 

The bills aim to waive late charges and penalties for taxpayers who do not make their summer 2020 tax bill payments by Sept. 30, 2020. For 2020 only, the local tax collecting unit will be required to turn over those unpaid taxes (if they have not already agreed to accept partial payments) to the county for collection.

The county treasurer is then instructed to pay the tax collecting unit the amount of the unpaid taxes out of the delinquent tax revolving fund, as they normally would for delinquent taxes not paid by March 1 of the following year. This acceleration of payment to the local unit would apply to just the summer 2020 taxes.

Under the bills, the county treasurer is further instructed to not charge the taxpayer for the late fees and interest normally charged for late payment of taxes. Instead, the county treasurer is instructed to apply to the State for reimbursement of those fees and interest for only those taxpayers that have submitted an affidavit of economic hardship and met the criteria for such hardship.

MAC remains concerned about some of the criteria used to qualify for the hardship exemption and the unlikely scenario that the state will reimburse counties for their lost revenue from fees and interest used to finance sufficient borrowing to meet the needs of the local units. More work will be done on the bills before they are voted out of committee next week.

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


Bill would extend property tax appeal deadline to Aug. 31

Under Executive Order 87, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the deadline for commercial and industrial real and personal property tax owners and utility personal property and developmental real property owners to file property tax appeals with the Michigan Tax Tribunal to July 31, 2020. This was in response to the inability of business owners to work with their legal counsel and formulate an appeal during Michigan’s Stay at Home order.

House Bill 5766, by Rep. Roger Hauck (R-Isabella), which would extend this deadline to Aug. 31, 2020, moved unanimously through the House last week and through the Senate this week. It will be presented to the governor next week for her signature.

MAC did not take a position on the legislation.

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


MMRMA updates its model response plan for COVID-19

To stay abreast of the ever-changing situation posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (MMRMA) has updated its model preparedness and response plan.

Among the 11 significant changes to the plan, MMRMA’s Cindy King, director of membership services, encouraged counties to pay special attention to these three:

  • “Executive Order 2020-97 sets forth specific safeguards to protect employees and provides that any business or operation that violates the rules in the order ‘has failed to provide a place of employment that is free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to an employee, within the meaning of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act, MCL 408.1011.’”
  • “Many counties and local governments are issuing their own executive orders or public health orders; members should check to see if any of those have application for their specific operations.”
  • “As orders and directives get more specific and complex, members are encouraged to consult with your in-house counsel, as compliance has regulatory and legal implications.”

Questions regarding the plan or other coronavirus-related matters may be sent to cking@mmrma.org or spogorzelski@mmrma.org.

MAC members also have access to a webinar led by MMRMA on its original plan version in early May. 


Midland’s Gransden presents artwork to governor

During a recent visit to Midland County’s Law Enforcement Center as part of her tour of the flooding response there, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accepted an artwork from Midland County Administrator Bridgette Gransden. The piece was created by Linda Byrne Pingot from Pinconning. 


Eaton official headlines opioid ‘lunch and learn’ program

Bill Jenkins, health care administrator for the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, will detail his county’s anti-opioid practices during a June 4 “Lunch and Learn” webinar sponsored by Wayne State University’s Center for Behavioral Health and Justice.

To register for the free webinar from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 4, click here

“In 2017, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office received a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant to implement medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) for inmates with opioid use disorder (OUD) housed in the Eaton County Jail. This webinar will inform how Eaton County developed this program, the mechanisms for referral and treatment engagement, as well as how they have sustained the program over several years.”


Nationwide presents ‘Peyton Manning: Positioned to Win’

Nationwide Retirement Solutions, a MAC sponsored program, invites county officials to a special event featuring Peyton Manning.

The Super Bowl champion will discuss how he’s dealt with adversity on and off the field on June 2 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The event is free to county leaders. To register and for more information, click here


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