stream imageIn the October edition of Michigan Counties, the “Ask the Expert” feature focused on the definition of “Waters of the United States” and how it is important for counties to give their views during the comment period on the federal Clean Water Act by Oct. 20, 2014.

Good news. As just reported here by the National Association of Counties, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to extend the comment period to Nov. 14, 2014.

MIOSHA logo 10-6-14The State of Michigan is offering workplace safety grants of up to $5,000. Read on for details from MIOSHA: In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Michigan’s program for workplace safety and health, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) is offering matching grant awards of up to $5,000 to improve workplace safety and health. The grants are open to qualifying employers to purchase safety and health-related equipment. The goal of this special grant program is to create a safer and healthier work environment and reduce the risk of injury and illness to workers in Michigan. “We are encouraging employers to step up workplace safety and health during MIOSHA’s 40-year anniversary,” said Martha Yoder, MIOSHA Director.  “We are pleased to partner with small employers by offering matching grants of up to $5,000 to make improvements in workplace safety and health.  With a total of $500,000 available from MIOSHA, that’s a $1 million investment in keeping Michigan’s workers safe and healthy.” Qualify To qualify for the MIOSHA Safety and Health Improvement Program (MiSHIP) Grant, an employer must meet the following conditions:
  • Have 250 employees or less.
  • Come under the jurisdiction of MIOSHA.
  • A qualified safety professional or a safety committee must have conducted a site-specific evaluation and there must be a written report with recommendations based on the evaluation unless the project is for lifting equipment in residential care facilities, or fall protection equipment in residential construction.
  • The grant project must be consistent with the recommendations of the safety and/or health evaluation and must directly relate to improvements that will lead to a reduction in the risk of injury or disease to employees.
  • The employer must have the knowledge and experience to complete the project, and must be committed to its implementation.
  • The employer must be able to match the grant money awarded and all estimated project costs must be covered.
Requirements The MiSHIP Grant requires that an eligible project is one designed to reduce the risk of injury to employees as identified in a site-specific safety and/or health evaluation conducted at the site.  The site-specific evaluation must identify the injury and illness risks associated with a work task or area, and the recommended actions of the grant project must directly relate to eliminating or minimizing the risks. For the MiSHIP purposes, the recommended actions must be in the form of equipment to be used to reduce workplace hazards.  Only items referenced in the hazard evaluation report can be considered eligible, within the proposed project. The hazard evaluation cannot simply be a letter of endorsement for the grant application.  The hazard evaluation is the technical basis for a grant project; therefore, it must provide sufficient supporting documentation for the proposed grant project. In addition to the hazard evaluation, the MiSHIP places priority on those projects that impact employment sites which provide goods, manufacturing or processing jobs for the majority of workers; businesses within the current MIOSHA strategic plan ( and other high-hazard workplaces.  Priority will be given to small employers (250 or less) for the projects listed below. No Hazard Evaluation Needed for the Following:
  • Residential Fall Protection Systems
  • Lifting Equipment or Portable Lifting Equipment for In-home Care or Small Nursing/Residential Care Facilities
Hazard Evaluation Needed for the Following:
  • Monitoring Equipment for Confined Space Entry
  • Noise Reduction Engineering Controls
  • Lock Out/Tag Out Systems
  • Cooling Systems for Agriculture-based Worksites
  • Eyewash Stations for the Accommodations Industry
A limited number of MiSHIP Grants will be available to training organizations.  To be eligible, the training organization must make the equipment available to its members for use. Grant Application An online MiSHIP application has been developed. It is available as a printable PDF file or Word document at The online application allows applicants to submit information electronically, with the exception of the endorsement page of the application, which must be printed, signed and submitted to MIOSHA’s grant administrator. Process All applicants must submit an application to MIOSHA for evaluation.  MIOSHA will review the application and either approve or deny the project.  The applicant will be notified of approval or denial.  If the grant project is approved, project completion date will be identified.  After the project has been completed, the recipient will submit cost and implementation documentation.  Upon receipt of adequate documentation and implementation, MIOSHA will forward reimbursement of 50 percent of the project up to the maximum reimbursement of $5,000. More Information For more information, contact the CET Grant Administrator at (517) 322-1865 or visit
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: 250,000 to 499,999 Ottawa County, 7th Site: 150,000 to 249,999 Berrien County, 6th Site: Jackson County, 8th Site: Up to 150,000 Eaton County, 8th Site: Allegan County, 9th Site:  
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.’


“‘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.

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