Ottawa Co screen grabSix Michigan counties were honored recently in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey sponsored by the National Association of Counties and the Center for Digital Government. Oakland County was Michigan’s highest finisher after achieving 4th Place in the categories of counties with 500,000 residents or more. Also honored were Allegan, Berrien, Eaton, Jackson and Ottawa counties. “Counties across the country are using technology to enhance services, maximize efficiency and save money,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew D. Chase in statement announcing the awards. “The Digital Counties Survey recognizes counties’ best practices and effective uses of technology to better serve their communities.” 500,000 or more residents Oakland County, 4th Site: http://www.oakgov.com/Pages/home.aspx 250,000 to 499,999 Ottawa County, 7th Site: https://www.miottawa.org/ 150,000 to 249,999 Berrien County, 6th Site: http://www.berriencounty.org/ Jackson County, 8th Site: http://www.mygovhelp.org/JACKSONCOUNTYMI/_cs/SupportHome.aspx Up to 150,000 Eaton County, 8th Site: http://www.eatoncounty.org/ Allegan County, 9th Site: http://www.allegancounty.org/  
The House Commerce Committee took testimony Wednesday on House Bill 5856 that would revamp state law on downtown development authorities — revamp, but not reform, argued MAC’s Deena Bosworth to committee members. According to the MIRS News Service (paywall protected) Bosworth “… said the bill ‘falls far short of what we consider real reform.’ “Bosworth argued the continued idea that TIF districts can capture county tax dollars without any say from the counties is ‘fundamentally unfair.’
Bosworth

Bosworth

“‘The proponents of downtown development authorities anywhere and everywhere across the state will tell you that that increased revenue would not be there if wasn’t for their efforts,’ Bosworth told the committee. ‘I happen to disagree.’ “Bosworth used the example of a Home Depot being built outside a true downtown through a DDA. Westland apparently used its DDA dollars to build a city hall, she said. “‘County revenue for municipal infrastructure projects, I don’t think that was the intention,’ Bosworth said. “Over the last 10 years, Oakland County has had $70 million in tax revenue captured. “‘Oakland County wants to have a say in how long they’re there, what projects are done and what county revenue is being captured for what purposes,’ Bosworth said. “Bosworth also told the committee that MAC had been promised ‘significant reforms.'”

calculator imageThe Legislature’s refusal to fund new investments in infrastructure has cost Michigan taxpayers more than $270 million since June 12 of this year, says a coalition committed to road funding reform.

The Just Fix the Roads Coalition unveiled a calculator widget that shows how much inaction has cost residents.

“’As each day passes, that figure climbs by $2.7 million, or $1 billion per year. Faced with that cost of delay, Michigan’s legislators must find a way to invest at least $2 billion more annually on roads, or the public will continue to bear the brunt of their inaction. As legislators continue to put off road funding, the cost of repairs will escalate even further. It is a major funding dilemma that will only get worse over time,” said Mike Nystrom, executive vice president of Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, a member of the coalition, along with MAC and many others.

After a full day of workshops and policy discussions on Monday, MAC members were able to unwind a bit on the famous Front Porch of the Grand Hotel. The views and the people were potent reminders of how great a place Michigan is.

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Mlive continues its series on the use of tax increment financing in Michigan by telling the story of voters’ will thwarted in Ingham County: “Ingham County voters have approved countywide millages for things like the Potter Park Zoo, 911 operation and health care services. What those voters may not know is that 5.5 percent of the money they approved was actually captured for other purposes.”
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