Legislative Update 7-8-22

Registration opens for 2022 Annual Conference on Sunrise Side

Join us on the sunrise side of the state for the 2022 Michigan Counties Annual Conference, put on by the Michigan Association of Counties in coordination with the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council (MCMCFC).

This year, we are in Port Huron in St. Clair County. The venue is the Bluewater Convention Center, located along the St. Clair River, with views of freighter traffic entering and exiting Lake Huron and the Blue Water Bridge to Canada.

Running from the afternoon of Sept. 18 through the morning of Sept. 21, the 2022 Annual Conference will feature:

  • Four plenary sessions featuring key issues now before Michigan and a MAC Legislative Update (Speakers will be announced soon.)
  • 12 breakout sessions for MAC members and 6 workshops for MCMCFC members (Speakers will be announced soon.)
  • A Welcome Reception and Strolling Dinner on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 18.
  • A lavish President’s Banquet on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 20.
  • Plenty of free time in the afternoons for attendees to enjoy sights and sounds of Port Huron, including the St. Clair River.

Members of MCMCFC will enjoy specialized breakouts designed for its members to earn Nursing and NAB Continuing Education credits.

MAC members attending the conference will receive credits in MAC’s County Commissioner Academy.

Conference Rates

The conference fee provides you access to all conference activities. (The spouse fee also provides access to any conference event, including the President’s Banquet on the evening of Sept 20.) This fee includes two dinners, two receptions, two breakfasts and two lunches.

 

 

Early bird
(register by Aug. 10)

Full rate
(after Aug. 10)

Member

Full conference

$395

$425

 

Single day

$275

$325

 

Spouse/guest

$150

$175

Non-Member

Full conference

$525

$575

NOTE: The member rate is open to all county commissioners, administrators, countywide elected officials and county employees of MAC member counties, plus employees and board members of MCMCFC facilities.

Hotel Information

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is attached to the Blue Water Convention Center (conference headquarters). You can expect a DoubleTree famous chocolate chip/oatmeal cookie, served warm upon arrival. After you’ve settled in, take a stroll along the St. Clair River, view watercraft/freighter traffic on the river or see the big Blue Water Bridge to Canada!

To make your reservations, you can call the DoubleTree Hotel directly at 810/984.8000 or go online at www.porthuron.doubletree.com

As always, MAC and MCMCFC have secured highly competitive room rates that begin at $149 per night for single/double occupancy. Breakfast is not included with your hotel pricing. Join us in the conference center instead!  GROUP CODE: MIA

The room block deadline is Aug. 17, 2022.

In anticipation of another popular conference, we have also reserved a block of rooms at the Comfort Inn at $129 per night. The Comfort Inn is located at 1720 Hancock St., Port Huron, MI 48060. To book your room reservations, contact 810-987-5999. Group Name: Michigan Association of Counties.

We expect a large gathering this year, so members are strongly encouraged to book their rooms immediately to ensure access to the conference room block and best room rates.

Getting around: For those staying at the Comfort Inn, we will provide complimentary shuttle service via Blue Water Transit during the conference schedule. There also is plenty of free parking at the convention center.

Please direct any conference registration questions or issues to conference@micounties.org.

MAC will be releasing information on plenary sessions, speakers and breakout descriptions in coming weeks.

 

MAC working to improve bill on remote participation in meetings

A bill to allow remote participation during an open meeting, with a quorum present, was introduced last week by Rep. Julie Calley (R-Ionia).

House Bill 6283 would require written notice to all board members of an impending remote participation at least 18 hours before the meeting begins. However, remote participation could be denied if a member of the public body motions for a vote and a majority disapproves. In addition, remote participation would be limited to the lesser of 10 percent of the public body’s meetings per year or three in total.

Although this bill is a step in the right direction, according to MAC’s platforms, much work still needs to be done to ensure that the restrictions are not too onerous, and that gamesmanship can be avoided. Rep. Calley has assured MAC that she is open to changes to the bill.

MAC anticipates House committee action on the bill in the fall.

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

 

Solar PILT bills designed to eliminate uncertainty on taxation

After years of workgroups, Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Mason) and Sen. Kevin Daley (R-Lapeer) have introduced legislation to create a process for establishing solar energy districts, allowing for a personal property tax exemption for solar energy equipment and replacing it with a payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) system. 

Senate Bill 1106, by VanderWall, and SB 1107, by Daley (R-Lapeer), would establish the PILT payment at a rate of $7,000 per megawatt (MW) of capacity for 20 years. These bills were developed to give local governments a stable funding source for the equipment and to avoid litigation on the assessed value of the equipment.

For context, many counties are still fighting in court over the disputed assessment amounts for wind turbines in their jurisdiction. These bills will provide a financial incentive to the solar developers to move toward more green energy, while at the same time eliminating the uncertainty of the value of the property.

Senate action on the bills is anticipated in the fall. MAC is neutral on the bills at this time (and opposed similar legislation last session that pegged payments at $4,000 per MW).

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

 

County input sought on project to streamline financial reporting

A pilot project involving MAC, the University of Michigan and others is exploring whether a new fiscal reporting mechanism for governmental entities can help create transparency — and prevent future financial crises.

The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), in partnership with the nonprofit standards setting organization XBRL US, seeks input from county leaders about its proposed digital financial data standards for local governments.

Ogemaw County volunteered to serve as the county pilot for the effort. “I am convinced this project will result in an affordable tool that will categorically improve efficiency and accuracy of municipal financial reporting,” said Timothy Dolehanty, Ogemaw County administrator.  “Elimination of multiple, redundant keystrokes will certainly save time.  But public administrators will also gain the ability to compare and contrast financial trends in real time, which provides an early opportunity to take necessary corrective actions.”

The most important and reliable information for understanding local fiscal health is found in audited Annual Comprehensive Financial Reports (ACFRs). ACFRs are currently provided as PDF documents, which severely limits their accessibility, comparability, and usefulness for many stakeholders. The proposed open standards, based on XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language), create a fully digital human- and machine-readable version of ACFRs in order to better share the information with the public, state and others.

The digital standards, called a taxonomy, also incorporate all concepts needed for the Michigan Form F-65 (Local Unit Fiscal Report), Form 5572 (Retirement System Annual Report), and the Uniform Chart of Accounts. Digitizing this information will allow these reports to be generated automatically from the underlying data rather than manually entered into separate forms. 

During the 60-day public review period set to end on Aug. 15, participants are encouraged to review and provide feedback on the proposed taxonomy, which is available online in a downloadable Excel format or in an online viewer. Detailed instructions, FAQs, and examples of XBRL-formatted financial statements are also available on the website.   

To learn more about the project, please visit https://closup.umich.edu/research-projects/modernizing-michigan-local-government-fiscal-transparency.

 

Legislative Update takes brief mid-summer hiatus

MAC’s weekly Legislative Update will take a one-week break for the week of July 11-15.

The email will resume its regular schedule on Friday, July 22.

 

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