Director of Governmental Affairs Deena Bosworth told the House Local Government Committee on Feb. 6 that financial trends continue to run against county governments that are trying to deliver vital local services.

During her presentation, Bosworth noted that counties have not recovered from the Great Recession of the last decade due to the constraints on growth in taxable values on property. Counties rely heavily on the property tax to fund local services, unlike the state government, which has a much more diversified revenue base, Bosworth noted.

Bosworth was among representatives of local government groups to testify before the House panel on the current situation in local services and what the state can and should do to aid their local counterparts.

See Bosworth’s testimony here, starting at the 55:30 mark.

For a complete look at MAC’s 2019 legislative priorities, click here.

The upcoming MAC Legislative Conference in Lansing March 25-27 will include elections to fill two vacancies on the MAC Board of Directors, plus a membership vote on by-laws revisions put forward by the MAC Board. At a special Business Meeting on Wednesday March 27, attending commissioners will vote on a new by-laws proposal developed after last year’s proposal was rejected at the Annual Conference. The proposed language will be posted to MAC’s website and mailed to all commissioners in early February for their review. The day prior, on Tuesday, March 26, commissioners in counties in MAC’s Region 4 (Clinton, Genesee, Ingham, Jackson, Hillsdale, Huron, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Huron, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Tuscola) will vote to fill seat vacated by Matthew Bierlein of Tuscola. And all commissioners attending will vote to fill a seat vacated by At-large Director Hugh Crawford of Oakland County. Candidates for either the Region 4 or at-large seat are requested to send a letter of intent to MAC at melot@micounties.org, along with biographical and policy position information they wish to share with voters via MAC’s website. Deadline to ensure proper posting of this material is Feb. 25, 2019. To vote in the elections, you must be a commissioner of a MAC member county who is registered for the conference. For questions, contact Communications Director Derek Melot at melot@micounties.org or 517-372-5374.
The 2019 MAC Membership Directory is now available for sale to the public! The directory includes county-by-county listings for all county elected officials, plus key appointed officials, including administrators and purchasing officers. Orders received prior to Jan. 30, 2019, can receive a copy for the price of $30, including shipping. After Jan. 30, the price moves to $40. Directories will become available in early February. There are limited quantities of the directory, so reserve your copy now! For the fee, you receive a hard copy of the directory and a password to access the digital version of it, complete with a search function. Just think: Every county leader in Michigan listed in one single spot. Begin your purchase today by accessing our order form.
Podcast 83 is a regular look at the news, stories and trends related to Michigan’s 83 counties from Keweenaw to Monroe, Chippewa to Berrien. Hosted by MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie, the podcast features:
  • Regular reports from MAC staff on legislative activities
  • Updates and opportunities through MAC services
  • Newsmaker interviews
  • Happenings from across Michigan’s 83 counties

2018 Episodes

Episode 1 – released 8/24/18

Host: Stephan Currie Guests: Deena Bosworth, MAC; Meghann Keit, MAC Topics: Raise the Age legislation (1:00 mark); Indigent Defense (5:40); Personal Property Tax (7:05); Property Assessment Rules (14:42)

Michigan counties will receive $221.4 million in revenue sharing payments from the state via a fiscal 2019 budget bill approved by a legislative conference committee this week. The full Legislature is expected to approve the plan next week and send to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The fiscal 2019 figure will be $1.3 million higher than the FY18 number.

“These figures have been unsettled for weeks,” said Deena Bosworth, MAC’s director of governmental affairs. “It’s important to remember the debate started in Lansing this year with the governor proposing a 1 percent cut from FY18 levels. We are now leaving the Legislature with a 0.5 percent increase, relative to FY18.

“On behalf of our members, we extend our appreciation to the members of the Appropriations Committees in both chambers for making this the fourth consecutive budget year with an increase in revenue sharing payments,” Bpsworth added.

Built into the revenue sharing figures is a $1 million in one-time appropriation that counties are directed to use toward pension or OPEB obligations or debt.

See county-by-county estimates for fiscal 2019.

Antrim, Keweenaw and Mackinac counties return to the formula in FY19 with partial-year payments. That leaves only Emmet and Leelanau still drawing from their Revenue Sharing Reserve Funds that began in 2004 as counties pulled ahead local property tax revenue in an agreement with the state to provide significant state budget relief by temporarily ending revenue sharing payments.

“We are pleased, obviously, that the Legislature has again increased the amount,” said Stephan Currie, MAC’s executive director. “However, as our members know all too well, the money committed is not nearly enough to cover the mandates the state has placed on counties for local public services. MAC will continue to educate legislators on that point and build on the momentum we have gained in recent years.”

In additional budget news:

Health, Human Services, Courts

  • County hold harmless on foster care agency per diem is retained, which is an $8 million savings for counties. The budget implementation bill (SB 988) that is likely to pass next week will eliminate the sunset on the county hold harmless.
  • $5.5 million for administrative rate payments and $9.9 million in per diem payments for unlicensed relative foster care providers per the Glisson federal court decision.
  • Boilerplate language to require the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to maintain the federal foster care appeals process in place as of Sept. 30, 2017, rather than the DHHS proposed policy to remove ability for locals to formally appeal.
  • $4.5 million General Fund (GF) increase for essential local public health services and $4.4 million from the General Fund for emerging public health threats.
  • $5.5 million GFT for non-Medicaid mental health services to hold harmless Community Mental Health agencies (CMHs) that may be hurt by the new FY19 GF funding formula.
  • $11 million GF increase for growth in caseload for Healthy Michigan plan mental health services and substance use disorder services.
  • Section 298 language was removed that would have allowed Medicaid Health Plans in the pilot regions to receive all the Medicaid funds without contracting with the CMH in that pilot community.
  • $750,000 in a one-time increase specialty court grants.
  • $700,000 retained to comply with the juvenile lifer without parole court decision. The executive budget removed this, which would have shifted cost to counties. Legislators later revised the recommendation to include the funds.

Transportation

  • Additional $121.3 million to local road agencies, bringing total local road agency funding to $1.37 billion for fiscal 2019. County road agencies will receive $77.9 million of the increase.
  • $300 million in one-time GF distributions to road agencies, of which counties will receive $117.3 million. This yields a combined increase of $195.2 million year-over-year for county roads.
  • Additional $2.5 million for local transit operating costs to the 81 local public transit agencies.

Agriculture

  • Additional $525,700 for grants to eligible county fairs, shows and expositions.