While 2014 has been an outstanding year for MAC legislative initiatives (full revenue sharing funding, Cunningham court funding crisis averted), there always are debates that don’t play out so well. Which, of course, means a redoubling of our efforts in the coming legislative term.
This week, legislation to extend county authority to merge road commissions (House Bills 5117-18) was put on the shelf, meaning that the authority will expire on Dec. 31. We are disappointed in this result, but will look to address the issue again in the new legislative term.
Legislation altering the rules on tax increment financing, or “tax capture,” districts also stalled this fall.
We have been working throughout this legislative session on revisions to the TIF law, principally to ensure that counties always have the option on whether to have millage dollars captured by TIF districts, the length of time of that capture and the ability to partner with the authorities by having a seat at the table. The legislation sponsored by Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-Oakland), however, eventually was written in such a way that no real reform would result.
We expect to have new legislation filed early next year to incorporate the provisions for county authority and more reforms.
As always, the best way to stay on top of county issues at the Capitol is by being a subscriber to MAC’s weekly Legislative Update. If you are not receiving the updates, send a request and your email address to email@example.com.
(Updated 12-19-14): In addition to retaining statewide elective offices and majorities in the Michigan Legislature, the Republican Party gained a small number of seats in the ranks of county commissioners, a MAC review of election results finds.
Based on unofficial election results, the Republicans now hold 396 of the 622 seats, a gain of 3 seats. Democrats hold 217 seats, a drop of 5, and candidates labeled as unaffiliated hold 9 seats, a gain of 2.
Republicans also hold a wide margin in control of county boards of commissioners:
- 59 boards have GOP majorities
- 23 boards have Democratic majorities
- 1 board is tied (Alpena Co.)
Partisan control shifted in five counties due to election results: Clare (D to R); Kalamazoo (R to D); Manistee (D to R); Monroe (D to R); and Schoolcraft (D to R).
Of the 622 commissioners in 2015, 136 will be new to the office, MAC found. This turnover rate of 22 percent is consistent with historical results.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently presented a certificate of appreciation to MAC for work in support of the LUCA program. “The Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program provided an opportunity for designated representatives of local, state and tribal governments to review addresses contained in the Census Bureau’s MAF/TIGER database.” LUCA was made possible by an act of Congress in 1994. In the photo above, David Schuler of the bureau’s Chicago Regional Office presents the certificate to Tim McGuire, executive director of MAC.
For more information about the LUCA program, visit https://www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/luca_overview.html.
In 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.