During Convention, you will have the opportunity to choose from the list of topics shown below. Each session is designed to enhance your knowledge and provide you with ideas that you can take home and apply in your own community.

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Legislative Update

Park Place Hotel, West Bay Ballroom Dome
Sponsored by ROWE Professional Services

The League’s State and Federal Affairs team will discuss current issues and what’s on the horizon for the Legislature’s fall agenda including hot topics like trans­portation, municipal finance and federal issues.

Moderator

Jack Wheatley, ROWE Professional Services

Speakers

Nikole Brown, Legislative Associate, Michigan Municipal League
Chris Hackbarth, Director, State Affairs, Michigan Municipal League
John LaMacchia, Legislative Associate, Michigan Municipal League


Artistic Expression in Communities

Opera House, 106 E. Front Street

Art in its many and varied forms is an essential component of the sense of place in every community. In this session, you will learn about the benefits of public art as well as some statewide initiatives to promote further artistic expression. You’ll also hear from two local communities with a serious commitment to investing in the arts, and the creative ways they have found to fund such projects. 

Moderator
Daniel Reszka, President, Elk Rapids

Speakers
Michael Brown, Community Development Director, City of Ironwood
Nathan Triplett, East Lansing Mayor & V.P., Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees
Sarah Triplett, Director of Public Policy, Creative Many


Crowdfunding Gains Traction

The Corner Loft, 201 E. Front Street

Crowdfunding as a means of investing in both public spaces and entrepreneurial ventures has been gaining ground in Michigan. In this session, we’ll examine the League’s efforts to promote crowdfunding, and introduce you to two entrepreneurs whose focus is helping other entrepreneurs and small business owners realize their dreams through investment crowdfunding. You’ll also get an up-to-date review of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s successful Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative.

Speakers

Angela Barbash, Founder, ReConsider
Katharine Czarnecki, Director, Community Development, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Summer Minnick, Director, External Relations & Federal Affairs, Michigan Municipal League


Stretching Your Road Budget

Park Place Hotel, Torch Room
Presented by Fleis, VandenBrink

Michigan roads are rated some of the worst in the country. Local roads in most communities are no better. In this session, we’ll discuss ways to fund local roads, the correct way to to prioritize to avoid public ridicule, and some preventive maintenance that will save your community money in the long run.

Speakers

Don DeVries, PE
David Johnson, CHMM, CP
John DeVol, PE


Plan Early, Plan Often, Plan to Reform

Park Place Hotel, Leelanau Lake Room
Presented by Michigan Planners

If there is anything more unpredictable than Michigan weather and how to plan accordingly, it’s Health Care Reform. Take a break from flower planting and walkable downtown tutorials as Kurt Swartz of Michigan Planners provides you with the latest and greatest changes with the Affordable Care Act ruling, and how best to maintain compliance for both small the large employers. In addition to the latest changes, you will also get an introduction to private exchange platforms, self-funding options, and the new healthcare cost transparency tools now available from most insurance carriers. Dig in with us as we plant the seeds for a successful Health Care Reform plan.

Speaker

Kurt Swartz, Retention Manager, Michigan Planners

 

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Ask Siri: Technology as a Tool to Improve our Communities

The Corner Loft, 201 E. Front Street

Making government more accountable and open are among the top concerns of American citizens. Technology can be a valuable tool to connect municipalities to their citizens, but too few are using this resource to its greatest potential. This session focuses on how technology can be used to streamline operations, facilitate civic engagement, and create an environment that fosters placemaking and entrepreneurial activities.

Moderator

Steve Baker, Councilmember, City of Berkley and IT Strategy Innovation Lead, DTE Energy

Speakers

Rich Blachford, Consultant, Newaygo Economic Development – The Stream
Terry Croad, Planning Director, City of Southfield
Scott TenBrink, Community Project Manager of Citizen Interaction Design, University of Michigan


Public Safety Special Assessments

State Theatre, 233 E. Front Street

A legacy of the great recession is that many communities are struggling to provide necessary funding for core services. One little known option for cities under 15,000 people is a public safety special assessment. This session will explore the legal requirements and considerations surrounding this revenue option.

Moderator

Anthony Minghine, Associate Executive Director & COO, Michigan Municipal League

Speakers

Steve Duchane, City Manager, Eastpointe
Dave Helisek, Audit Partner, Plante Moran
Edward Klobucher, City Manager, Hazel Park


Municipal Hot Topics

City Hall Training Room, 400 Boardman Ave.

Legislation and court rulings often impact a variety of policies and procedures in Michigan communities. In this session, we’ll examine the implications of two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings: one that prohibits sign ordinances from regulating signs based on content, and another that legalizes same-sex marriage. Other hot topics will include Freedom of Information Act changes (effective July 1, 2015) and Open Meetings Act updates that affect municipal compliance.

Moderator

William Mathewson, General Counsel, Michigan Municipal League

Speaker

Audrey Forbush, Partner, Plunkett Cooney
Megan Norris, Employment and Labor Group Leader, Miller Canfield
Lauren Trible-Laucht, City Attorney, Traverse City


What You Want to Know About the Design & Construction Process, But are too Afraid to Ask

Park Place Hotel, Torch Room
Presented by Granger Construction and Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber

Investing the time to attend this unique workshop will provide insight to understand and effectively navigate the processes and decisions essential to meeting and exceeding your expectations for a project. Whether you have a project on the horizon or are still considering one to fit your needs, you’ll gain valuable information from our experts. Some topics we’ll cover include: Formulating the Parameters of a Project; How to Select Qualified Professional Team Members; Keys to Determining, Planning and Meeting Established Goals, What to Expect/Demand from Your Professional Team; Reporting and Communication Musts.

Speakers

Glenn Simon, Granger Construction
Daniel Durkee, Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber


Making Clean Energy Work in Your Community: Insights and Opportunities from Six Michigan Communities

Park Place Hotel, Leelanau Lake Room
Presented by Michigan Saves

Are you interested in how clean energy efforts can benefit your community, but just can’t find the time to sort through all the available information to determine your course of action? Sorting through a variety of resources is cumbersome. Attend this session to hear about a recent report that paints a picture of where the state of Michigan is with four clean energy technologies and highlights the experiences of six Michigan communities in making clean energy work. The statewide profile is designed to serve as a reference for communities looking for information about the current energy landscape. The community profile paints a picture of how medium-sized cities of various geographies, levels of capacity and economic positions are moving forward on clean energy efforts, and evaluates the cities’ policies, plans, and deployment of four clean energy technologies: energy efficiency, distributed renewable energy, smart grid/micro-grid, and electric vehicles. Come join us to learn from the case studies and identify areas where your community can make improvements in clean energy, no matter where you are in the process.

Speakers

Shanna Draheim, Public Sector Consultants
Todd O’Grady, Michigan Saves

 

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General Session: Focus Forward

Park Place Hotel, West Bay Ballroom Dome

Moderator

Kim Corcoran, Mayor, Ironwood, and Board Member, Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees

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James Freed, a 30-something, already has a decade of public and private leadership experience under his belt. With a long career ahead of him, he has a unique perspective on the next 30 years of municipal government.

Speaker

James Freed, City Manager, Port Huron

The City Shaped

Hear from Joe Minicozzi, who has led pioneering studies on economic productivity in cities, which have affected the reevaluation of public policy and a broader understanding of market dynamics created by tax policy.

Speaker

Joe Minicozzi, Principal, Urban 3

The Urban Consulate

Claire Nelson, founder of the Urban Consulate, will discuss a new project to foster civic and cultural exchange between cities, starting with Detroit, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.

Speaker

Claire Nelson, Founder, Urban Consulate

General Session: Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) Colloquium

Order More Jerseys – Our Community Team is Getting Bigger!

The tech geeks, budding entrepreneurs, teachers, and artists living and working in your neighborhoods are just as integral to the community’s success as everyone at city hall. So how do you get them involved? How can you create a culture of openness and teamwork that will encourage them to join you in your community-building efforts? In this session, you’ll learn some techniques to get your citizens on board to not only address problems, but celebrate victories, and move your city forward

Moderator

Michael Young, City Manager, Rockford, and President, MLGMA

Speaker

Frank Peterson, City Manager, Muskegon

 

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Mobile Workshops

The League wants you to see all the amazing things happening in Traverse City. So this year, included with the cost of your full registration, we are offering a number of mobile workshops.However, you must sign up to participate in one of them. If you did not pre-register and wish to attend of these workshops, please visit the Convention registration desk for availability. All tours will depart from the main entrance of the Park Place Hotel, and will take place rain or shine. Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Buses will transport you back to hotels after the mobile workshops.

 

Downtown Traverse City

Discover Downtown Traverse City FULL

Downtown Traverse City has grown from a sleepy tourist town to a vibrant regional center and national destination. Learn how simply focusing on the needs and wants of residents and businesses provided the basis for a progressive downtown vision. On this walking tour, you will experience downtown’s three districts, its evolving waterfront, and end up in the heart of fantastic shopping and dining! Lunch will be at the Top of the Park Place Hotel.

Tour Guide

Rob Bacigalupi, AICP, Executive Director, Downtown Development Authority, Traverse City

 

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Revitalizing a Downtown District FULL

Traverse City, like most cities, has a section of the downtown that has been somewhat forgotten. On this walking tour of the city, you’ll get a first-hand look at the active steps the city is taking to revitalize this district and make it relevant to residents and visitors alike. You’ll also get the details on the League’s exciting Traverse City PlacePlans project, a joint effort of the League and MSU, funded through the MIPlace Initiative. Stops include Space, Traverse City’s cool coworking spot, the Traverse City Bumpout project, and new commercial and residential developments. The last stop is Workshop Brewing Co., where you can enjoy a fresh craft beer for just a few bucks. Lunch is at The Corner Loft.

Tour Guides

Nathan Elkins, Studio Director, Influence Design Forum
Russ Soyring, Planning Director, Traverse City

Speaker

Luke Forrest, Program Manager, Michigan Municipal League

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Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park

On a guided tour, you’ll experience the natural wonders along the 7-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, with spectacular overlooks of Lake Michigan, Glen Lake, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes. There will be several stops along the way so you can get out and take pictures of the breathtaking scenery. A fabulous boxed lunch will be provided for the ride to the park.

Tour Guides

Representatives from the National Park Service

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Grand Traverse Commons Preservation & Reuse

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is one of the largest historic preservation and adaptive reuse redevelopments in the country currently underway. The Village is the unique renovation of dozens of historic buildings formerly known as the Traverse City State Hospital. Presenters will fill you in on the history and redevelopment of the buildings, followed by a tour. You’ll even have time to visit some of the village’s new shops. Lunch will be in Kirkbride Hall at The Commons.

Tour Guide

Joe Kilpatrick, Lead Guide, Guided Historic Tours
Raymond Minervini, The Minervini Group

Speaker

Raymond Minervini, The Minervini Group

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Theaters at the Heart of the Community

On this bus/walking tour, you’ll get a behind-the-curtains look at the historic State Theater, beautifully restored in 2007 and now home to the Traverse City Film Festival. You’ll also get an up-close look at the Inside Out Gallery, one of the venues for the Film Festival, with a cool, lounge feel to their theater space. Along the way, you’ll hear how civic engagement and volunteerism have helped keep these theaters a vital part of Traverse City’s cultural scene. Lunch will be at InsideOut Gallery.

Speaker

Deb Lake, Executive Director, Traverse City Film Festival

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Bike the Traverse City Trails (includes a non-biker option)

A recent study found that bicycling contributes $668 million to Michigan’s economy each year. If you have a trail system in your community – or would like to develop one – you’ll learn how communities all across Michigan are using the “Trail Town” approach to support new opportunities for community and economic development. You’ll also learn about recently passed legislation aimed at helping communities become more trail friendly. Along the ride, you’ll see first-hand how Traverse City has become a premier trail-friendly community with impressive economic results.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their own bikes, but bikes will be provided.  Lunch will be at North Peak Brewing Company.

Tour Guides

Julie Clark, Executive Director, TART Trails, Inc.
Lee Kurt, Trail Planning and Management Director, TART Trails, Inc.

Speaker

Harry Burkholder, Program Coordinator, Land Information Access Association

Lunch & Learn – The Traverse City Trails (non-biker option)

12:30 – 2:00 pm

Join the biking group for lunch and the presentation portion of the session.

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Works in Progress: How to Size up Your Placemaking Opportunities FULL

Take a walk with Richard Murphy, a League staffer and accomplished planner, to view Traverse City’s 8th Street corridor at the edge of downtown. Murph will help you view this area–a work in progress–though a planner’s eyes. Participants will learn how small details can have a big impact on how space is perceived, used, and ultimately valued. This will be a fun, unstructured conversation aimed at helping you think critically (in the most constructive way!) about how physical design can improve the human experience, including practical solutions to common design challenges. After this walk with Murph, you won’t ever view a sidewalk the same! Lunch will be at the Park Place Hotel in the Leelanau Room.

Tour Guide

Richard Murphy, Program Coordinator, Michigan Municipal League

Municipal Hot Topics (NOT mobile)

Park Place Hotel, Torch Room

Lunch: 12:30 pm
Session: 1:00 – 2:15 pm

Legislation and court rulings often impact a variety of policies and procedures in Michigan communities. In this session, we’ll examine the implications of two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings: one that prohibits sign ordinances from regulating signs based on content, and another that legalizes same-sex marriage. Other hot topics will include Freedom of Information Act changes (effective July 1, 2015) and Open Meetings Act updates that affect municipal compliance.

Moderator

William Mathewson, General Counsel, Michigan Municipal League

Speaker

Audrey Forbush, Partner, Plunkett Cooney
Megan Norris, Employment and Labor Group Leader, Miller Canfield
Lauren Trible-Laucht, City Attorney, Traverse City

 

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30 x 30 Session Follow-up

West Bay Beach Resort, Leelanau 1 & 2

Join James Freed and Natasha Henderson for a follow-up discussion of Freed’s presentation on Thursday on the next 30 years of local government.

Moderator

Jeff Mueller, Executive Recruiter, Michigan Municipal League

Speaker

James Freed, City Manager, Port Huron
Natasha Henderson, City Administrator, Flint


The City Shaped Session Follow-up

The Corner Loft, 201 E. Front Street

Join Joe Minicozzi and Mark Nickita as they take a deeper dive into Joe’s presentation from Thursday.

Moderator

Melanie Piana, Councilmember, Ferndale

Speaker

Joe Minicozzi, Principal, Urban3
Mark Nickita, Commissioner, Birmingham


The Urban Consulate Session Follow-up

Park Place Hotel, Torch & Leelanau Lake Rooms

Join Claire Nelson, along with Jeff Aronoff and Brian Boyle, as they share their ideas and experiences in community-based engagement and how this can lead to transformation and growth in our communities.

Speakers

Claire Nelson, Founder, Urban Consulate
Jeff Aronoff, Founder, Sidewalk Ventures
Brian Boyle, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Issue Media Group


Navigating the Changing Seas of Retiree Finance

City Hall Training Room, 400 Boardman Ave.

Fulfilling financial obligations to retired employees is a challenged faced by communities across the state. In this session, you’ll learn about some of the research and finding related to pensions and other post-employment benefits uncovered by the UM Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy’s Michigan Public Policy Survey. Well also share with you the League’s work to build a comprehensive statewide pension-related database and the municipal impact of recent changes by the Governmental Accounting Standard Board.

Moderator

Chris Hackbarth, Director, State Affairs, Michigan Municipal League

Speakers

Dan Antosik, Research Intern, Michigan Municipal League
Debra Horner, Research Project Manager, UM Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP)
Jessica Reed, Program Coordinator, Michigan Municipal League
Michelle Watterworth, Senior Manager, Plante Moran


Coffee & Doughnuts for All! Strengthen Your Community through Equity

Bijou by the Bay, 181 E. Grandview Parkway

A welcoming and inclusive environment is a key ingredient in people’s love for their communities. It also has a corresponding positive effect on the community’s economic vitality. This session features experts on equity, immigration, human rights, and inclusion. They will share specific projects that local leaders can replicate to make their communities more welcoming. Oh, and there really will be doughnuts!

Moderator

Nathan Triplett, Mayor, East Lansing, & Vice President, Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees

Speakers

Christine Sauvé, Southeast Michigan Communities Coordinator, Welcoming Michigan
Alfredo Hernandez, Associate Program Director, Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance
Sonya Hughes, Vice President of Inclusion, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

 

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Closing General Session

Towards the City (and Village) We Need

State Theatre, 233 E. Front Street

The new millennium has brought significant economic, technological, and social changes that are influencing people’s expectations of where they live. Those changes will also affect the operation of local government in the next 10 years and beyond. How can local leaders adapt to preserve their community’s unique character while embracing the changing needs of their residents?

Moderator

Summer Minnick, Director, External Relations & Federal Affairs, Michigan Municipal League

Speaker

Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor-Elect, Grand Rapids & Board Member, Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees
Claire Nelson, Founder, Urban Consulate
Deirdre Waterman, Mayor, City of Pontiac