House Local Government Committee Begins Discussion on TIFs

This week the House Local Government Committee chaired by Rep. Lee Chatifield (R – Levering) began taking testimony on Tax Increment Financing authorities. The goal of each presentation, as requested by the chair, is to provide input as to what each stakeholder organization feels needs to be changed through legislation as well as what would be problematic.

This week, the Department of Treasury as well as the Department of Talent and Economic Growth provided testimony on what TIFs are, lack of reporting concerns, concern regarding the duration of some authorities, and reform efforts last session.  The Michigan Association of Counties testified regarding some of misuses and concerns they have including opt out of pre-1994 DDAs and resetting of baselines after so many years among others.

The League will be testifying next week along with a few other stakeholder organizations.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use, and municipal services.  She can be reached at or 517-908-0305.

Medical Marihuana Legislation Passes House Committee

Three bills creating a medical marihuana regulatory framework passed out of the House Judiciary committee this week, HB 4209, HB 4210 and HB 4827.  HB 4209 (Rep. Callton) provides for state and local regulations of medical marihuana provisioning centers/dispensaries.  HB 4210 (Rep. Lyons) allows for and regulates marihuana infused products.  HB 4827 provides for a seed-to-sale tracking system within the state.

There are still outstanding issues that need to be addressed as this legislation continues through the process but this week’s action is one step in the process of moving the legislation forward.

The League has been active on this issue with the bill sponsors in addressing local concerns such as keeping local control intact, addressing the funding mechanism as well as others.  We appreciate the ability to be involved in the process and look forward to continuing that work in the next few months.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues.  She can be reached at or 517-908-0305.

Congress Making Strides to Avert Shutdown This Week

The United States Senate appears to be making the first move in avoiding a federal government shutdown this Friday, with Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss) introducing a Continuing Resolution that would fund the government through December 11, 2015. This is being done, allegedly, to provide time for Republican leaders to negotiate a larger budget deal which might include trade-offs on the debt ceiling, long term transportation funding and other issues by the end of the year. This week, Republican leaders in both the House and the Senate stated they hope to negotiate directly with President Obama, rather than Democratic leaders in Congress over the course of the next few weeks to come to a resolution on these significant looming issues.

Summer Minnick is the Director of External Relations and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301.

Apply Now for National League of Cities Advocacy Committees

Get more involved in shaping federal advocacy efforts by applying to serve on one of the National League of Cities’ advocacy committees! There are seven federal advocacy committees and you must be from an NLC member city to serve. In addition, the Chairs of the Committees will serve as a member of the Board of Trustees for the NLC during their term (this is different from prior years). The applications are online and can be found here. They are due by October 14th so apply today! If you have any questions about this process, please don’t hesitate to contact Summer Minnick at 517-908-0301 or

Summer Minnick is the Director of External Relations and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or


Act 51 Compliance Requirements Due September 30th

Act 51 compliance requirements are due September 30th as a result of changes that were made to the compliance requirements of Public Act 51 of 1951, Section 18j, MCL 247.668j related to funding from the Michigan Department of Transportation for roadways within local units of government.

To comply, by September 30, 2015, a certificate regarding the compensation plans for your local transportation employees must be completed, signed, submitted to the State Department of Transportation and posted on your municipal website. MDOT has summarized the compliance requirements in FAQ form.

If this form is not submitted by September 30th MDOT may withhold Act 51 funding for non-compliance.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at or 517-908-0303.

After Serious Negotiations It Is Back To The Drawing Board On Transportation Funding

Legislators spent the majority of the week once again trying to find a way to invest more money in Michigan’s roads. Talks began with the most serious negotiations of the summer and at one point there was some belief that a deal was close. At the end of the day though a final compromise was unable to be reached and the Governor and legislative leaders are back to the drawing board.

The potential deal was a plan based around increasing road funding by $1.2 billion, with $600 million coming from new revenue and $600 coming from existing revenue. The new revenue would come from a combination of gas taxes and registration fee increases. The $600 million in cuts to existing revenue remained undefined and was one of the major sticking points with many legislators.

Talks have already begun on finding a way to solve this problem but further action will not take place until after Labor Day at the earliest. The League has continued to voice our concerns over the use of a significant amount of unidentified existing revenue, the need to invest in transit, and that any solution should not put an unnecessary amount of new reporting requirements on our members

The League will be working hard to ensure our voice is heard as we move closer to a deal. We will continue to update you on any new details and how you can engage members of the Legislature in the coming weeks.

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at or 517-908-0303.

Save the Date: Transportation Asset Management Conference

The Transportation Asset Management Council will we holding there Fall Conference on October 15, in Marquette. The theme of this years conference will be investing in our future with data driven solutions.

For more information, contact Frank Kelley, Asset Management Coordinator at 517-373-2111 or, or visit us on the Web at:

To register, contact the Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) at the Center for Technology & Training at 906-487-2102 or

For a copy of the Save the Date flyer please click on the following link. 2015 FALL TAMC Save the Date

John LaMacchia is a Legislative Associate for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, and energy issues. He can be reached at or 517-908-0303.

Recent Attorney General Opinion Potentially Limits Building Official Options

In many communities around the state it has been common practice for years to have either privatized some function of the building department or shared those duties with neighboring municipalities. Last month, the Attorney General released an opinion stating the building official must be directly employed by a municipality so as to keep the policing powers within the local unit of government (opinion here:  After a meeting with the Attorney General’s office, it is clear their interpretation of the law is building inspectors can be employed by a third party but the building official themselves must be directly employed by the municipality and not by contract or arrangement with a third party or other unit of government.

This calls into question not only third party contracts but also arrangements between municipalities where the building official is not the direct employee of each entity. In many situations the building official is shared amongst multiple jurisdictions but employed by only 1 of those municipalities.

We are heavily involved in this issue and have requested the following feedback from each community to provide as much data as possible as we look for possible solutions to this problem:

  1. How is your building official employed (through the community directly, through a third party, through an authority, shared with a neighboring municipality)?
  2. If through an authority, what is the name of that authority and who operates the authority?
  3. If through a third party, which company?
  4. If shared among municipalities, with whom and which municipality employs that building official?

If your community is negatively impacted by this opinion, I would encourage you to reach out to your legislator and convey to them the impact this would have on your building department operations and the potential to increase costs in your budget.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or feedback on this issue.

Nikki Brown is a legislative associate with the League handling economic development and land use issues.  She can be reached at or 517-908-0305.

Congress Passes Another Transportation Extension Hours Before Deadline

Despite the Senate working many days to iron out various amendments before passing a six year transportation authorization bill (three years of which were funded under the plan), in the end, local communities are handed another short term extension. The House essentially refused to consider a long term bill and argued that there was not enough time to negotiate differences. Part of this included a non-transportation issue: the Export-Import bank reauthorization which the Senate supported and attached to the transportation bill. So the House sent the Senate a short term extension, funding transportation through October 29th, 2015. This means the debate will begin again within a few weeks. One very positive note in this effort is that both Senators Peters and Stabenow signed on to the Wicker-Booker amendment, which would have sent more money directly to locals. We’re hopeful the significant support that was displayed on that amendment will translate into inclusion during the next round of bill drafting. And we are thankful to our Senators for their support of local governments!

Summer Minnick is the Director of External Relations and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or

Senate Nears Passage of Long Term Federal Highway Bill

The United States Senate worked through the weekend on the six year authorization bill that would be the longest federal transportation bill the nation has seen in decades. But as it nears completion by the upper chamber, the House leadership has stated that they will not take up the Senate bill, and are encouraging the Senate to instead, take up the House passed extension. The House sent over a temporary extension this month which funds federal highway programs through December 18th. The current authorization expired this Friday, July 31st.

Summer Minnick is the Director of External Relations and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or