Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Association of Counties’

Lake County Commissioner Dan Sloan was all over Northern Michigan media last week to talk about a $45,000 federal grant the county landed, with the assistance of MAC.

Sloan

Sloan

In a Friday report from Channel 9&10 News, Sloan said, “We have over 300 miles of ORV trails in the county. If we can get that out, we know we are going to draw a lot of tourists. That’s going to protect our existing jobs and lead to more employment to the county.”

Sloan also was interviewed by the Lake County Star (see below) about the grant, which the county won through a competitive process with the aid of MAC’s grant service assistant, Gabriel Zawadzki.

County awarded grant to promote tourism industry

By Brendan Losinski

LAKE COUNTY — A $45,000 grant was awarded to Lake County from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development division. The grant will be used to promote the tourism industry in order to increase jobs and grow local businesses. While dozens of counties applied for this grant, only a handful, including Lake County, were chosen.

With the awarding of the grant, a new committee, headed by county commissioner Dan Sloan, has been formed to oversee the distribution of the funds and organize a marketing and advertising campaign for the county. It will be comprised of several local business owners and members of business promoting county groups.

The grant money will be focused on re-branding Lake County as the premiere off-road vehicle destination in the Midwest. This will be done through targeted online advertising, using online analytics and focused ads that will specifically be aimed at ORV enthusiasts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Ontario, and, of course, Michigan. This marketing campaign is planned to last a year and a half before further steps are to be implemented.

“If this is successful,” explained third district county commissioner, and committee overseer Dan Sloan, “after the first year and a half we can move to a full year, four season promotion of Lake County’s tourist industry. This means moving beyond ORV promotion, and advertising fishing, cross country skiing, Blessing of the Bikes, everything.”

The grant will also go towards designing and implementing a new phone app that will aid tourists and ORV enthusiasts. The app will map all of the county’s trails, provide GPS coordinates, and highlight restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, and other points of interest within the county.

“I’ve been a business owner here since 1980, and it’s pretty evident that tourism is really important to the local economy,” said committee member Jim Faiella. “We’ve got a great resource here with our trails… Any money we spend on advertising the county will be money well-spent.”

Sloan notes that the commission has contracted with the Michigan Association of Counties to help administer the grant, citing concerns about distribution after a low-income resident grant from 2013 was inadvertently mishandled and resulted in complications for the county. He states that every precaution is being taken to ensure that this grant is dealt with appropriately.

The county has over 800 miles of trails, 300 of which are designated for ORV use. The marketing campaign is slated to begin in early 2015, the planning of which has already begun.

 

Courts imageVoters in Michigan’s Aug. 5 primary soundly endorsed a proposal to replace the Personal Property Tax now imposed on business equipment across the state. Proposal 1, a statutory change backed by the Michigan Association of Counties and others to replace the PPT with a formula-based system of state funding, was winning 69 percent of the statewide vote in unofficial results, as of Aug. 6. “Obviously, we are pleased by Tuesday’s results,” said Steve Currie, MAC deputy director. “Proposal 1 reflected a carefully designed compromise to protect vital funding for county services, while allowing the Legislature to lift the burden of the PPT off Michigan’s small businesses. The voters, aided by a consistent and strong campaign that MAC supported, saw the need to protect funding for the local services they rely on each day.” Deena Bosworth, MAC director of governmental affairs, sees Proposal 1’s success not as a stopping point, but a springboard to additional reforms this fall. “Now with the PPT issue completed, legislative attention can, and must, turn to a variety of other issues of highly pressing importance to county government,” she explained. “This fall, for example, we will be pushing for the Legislature to enact a fix to the Cunningham case ruling that stripped our local courts of vital revenues produced by fees in convictions. We have forged another impressive coalition of interests to advance this fix and have received a highly favorable initial response from key legislators. “In addition, we will be doing a major educational push for legislators on the growing problem of tax increment financing, or ‘tax capture,’ districts redirecting property taxes from basic local services to special projects that are often quite speculative,” she added. For more on MAC’s legislative strategy for the fall and 2015, be sure to review MAC’s weekly Legislative Updates and keep coming back to our website for all manner of county news, events and tips.
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