MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Due Sptember 30th

Beginning September 30, 2014, and annually each September 30 thereafter, certification must be made for compliance to Section 18j of Public Act 51 of 1951, MCL 247.668j. A local road agency must certify that it has developed an employee compensation plan for its transportation employees as described OR the local road agency must certify that medical benefits are offered to its transportation employees or elected public officials in compliance with the publicly funded health insurance contribution act, 2011 PA 152, MCL 15.561 to 15.569, OR, that it does not offer medical benefits to its transportation employees or elected public officials. For a copy of the annual certification form please click here.

In addition, a local road agency shall maintain a searchable website accessible by the public at no cost, or the local road agency may reference this state’s central transparency website as the source for the information required. The information required includes all of the following, current fiscal year budget, the number of active transportation employees of the local road agency by job classification and wage rate, a financial performance dashboard that contains information on revenues, expenditures, and unfunded liabilities, the names and contact information for the governing body of the local road agency, and a copy of the annual certification form. If you elect to reference the state’s central transparency website the email to send a searchable pdf of the information to is MDOT-Outreach@michigan.gov. The website that should be used as a link the central transparency website on your webpage is www.michigan.gov/act51 and it will be part of the Legislative Reports under the Resources heading.

If a local road agency does not have a website, you may send a searchable pdf of your information to jlamacchia@mml.org at the Michigan Municipal League and it will be posted to their web page.

For more information please read Section 18j Frequently Asked Questions provided by MDOT.

The League continues to advocate that certifying to MDOT that we are in compliance with PA 152, which by law we are required to be in compliance with, is redundant, unnecessary, and an inefficient use of time. We have also advocated that the creation of another dashboard is unnecessary because of the public access to our current dashboards, F65 Forms, audits, and our comprehensive annual financial reports. SB 882 that would repeal these requirements has passed the Senate and awaits a hearing in the House. We are still hopeful that this legislation will pass before September 30th but there is no guarantee. We encourage you to prepare as if this requirements will continue to be due on September 30, 2014.

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

The House Passes Legislation Allowing Golf Carts on Local Roads

This week House passed HB 5045 by vote of 103-5. This bill would allow a local unit of government to pass an ordinance that would allow golf carts on roads under their jurisdiction. The following requirements must be met.

  • Must have a population less that 30,000
  • The operator must be at least 16 years of age and have a valid drivers license
  • The golf cart must be operated on the far right side of the roadway
  • You can only operate the golf cart between a half hour after sunrise and a half hour before sunset
  • Drivers must use hand signals to indicate turning and stopping
  • The golf cart cannot exceed 15 mph and can not operate on a road with a speed limit of more than 30 mph

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

Please Contact U.S. Sens Levin and Stabenow TODAY to Support Marketplace & Internet Tax Act

shutterstock_us-capitol-washington-small-for-web-croppedThe Michigan Municipal League encourages you to contact U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow TODAY to urge their support of the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act. At stake is more than a half billion dollars that could have a significant impact on Michigan communities.

Here are details from the National League of Cities: The NLC asks Michigan municipal officials to contact Senators Levin and Stabenow TODAY to urge their support of S. 2609. Without this bill, Michigan is expected to lose $650 million in remote sales (mainly internet sales) in fiscal year 2014, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury. But if this bill is approved, even with likely exemptions for small sellers, the Michigan treasury department estimates that our state would gain $450 million to $500 million. This amount would presumably increase each year. This additional revenue could have a profound impact on state revenue sharing to local units and other programs that impact municipalities.

Please contact Senators Levin and Stabenow today. A quick phone call from you would be most effective. Senator Levin’s number is (202) 224-6221; Senator Stabenow’s is (202) 224-4822. After reaching out to them, please contact NLC at advocacy@nlc.org to let them know how the conversation went.

Here is some additional information from NLC about this issue:

Tell Your Senators: Support the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act

Before Congress adjourned for its August recess, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act (MITFA), S. 2609. MITFA combines a major priority for NLC – leveling the playing field for online and brick-and-mortar retailers – with a temporary extension of the current moratorium on internet access taxes.

According to reports, the Senate may consider this legislation as early as September, so we need you to contact your Senators now to ask them to co-sponsor and support passage of MITFA.

With most Senators returning to their home states this month, and the potential for a vote on MITFA in September, now is the time to meet with your Senators. If your Senator is not already a co-sponsor of the legislation, contact them and urge them to co-sponsor and support passage of the legislation. If your Senator is already a sponsor, please call and thank them for their support.

Call or visit your Senators, and ask them to co-sponsor and support passage of MITFA. Let them know the legislation:

  • Is good for local retailers and creates a level playing field. Main Street retailers currently operate at a 5-10 percent disadvantage because they are required to collect sales taxes while remote sellers are not.
  • Is not a new tax. The Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act simply allows states and local governments to enforce existing sales tax laws. The bill does not create new taxes or increase existing ones.
  • Is good for our residents and communities. By allowing local governments to collect an estimated $23 billion in uncollected sales taxes on remote sales that are already owed, cities can better provide services to residents at no cost to the federal government.
  • Allows Congress the flexibility to respond to the changing communications services industry by recognizing the moratorium on Internet access taxes should not be made permanent in the midst of enormous technological changes.

Please, call your Senators now or schedule a meeting. Click here to tell us how the conversation went, or email advocacy@nlc.org.

For more information, contact Julia Pulidindi, Principal Associate for Federal Advocacy, at pulidindi@nlc.org or 202.626.3176, or Priya Ghosh, Principal Associate for Federal Advocacy, at ghosh@nlc.org or 202.626.3015.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

MI Energy Office Offering Grants for Street Light Upgrades

The Michigan Strategic Fund through the Michigan Energy Office is offering grants for Michigan communities and Downtown Development Authorities that owns and operates its own public street lighting to upgrade their street lights with light emitting diode (LED) lights.

Grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 are available with a 100% match requirement. For more details, you can visit the MEDC public notice and RFP page for the LED Street Lighting Project website.

The full RFP including the details on how to apply can be found online as well. Applicant questions are due via email by August 25, 2014. In addition a Q&A form will be posted to the MEDC website by August 29. The deadline to submit proposals is September 15, 2014.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org

Pneumatic Gun Legislation Passes Senate Committee

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary committee met and passed out SB 979 (Sen. Hildenbrand), a bill to include pneumatic guns (i.e. paint ball guns) in the list of pistols or other firearms that local units of government currently cannot tax, regulate ownership of, registration of, sale/transfer/possession and transportation of (PA 319 of 1990).

The legislation does allow a local unit to regulate the possession of a pneumatic gun in someone under the age of 16 unless it is their private property as well as allow a local unit to prohibit discharging of a pneumatic gun in heavily populated areas.

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

 

 

Proposal One Passed – Check Out League Website for Additional Information

The passage of Proposal 1 last week means personal property tax will being phasing out in 2016 (in addition to the small parcel exemption that went into effect this year.)  League members have had a lot of questions regarding the passage of the proposal.

One main question has been the amount of reimbursement for local units. The Department of Treasury has put together a reimbursement sheet to help members calculate reimbursement. It’s available here: ppt reimbursement worksheet

We also have an updated “one-pager plus” fact sheet on our website that includes answers to some frequently asked questions. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about the legislation as well.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org

Michigan Cities, Villages Highly Successful in Getting Voter Approval on New Local Tax Proposals, Renewals

i voted logoMichigan voters continued to show their support for cities and villages on election day. There were nearly 40 tax-related requests on Tuesday’s primary election ballot from Michigan cities and villages and all but two were successful, according to a report by MIRS News Service.

This is consistent with other recent election results and the trend that people will overwhelming support tax increases for services they value, such as roads, libraries, senior services, police and fire protection and public transit, said Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin.

“These results show that voters will support tax increases for services they want and expect in making their communities desirable places to live, work, and enjoy,” Gilmartin said. “However, there is an underlying trend that is concerning: These results also show that the state’s system for funding municipalities is broken and that local communities and local taxpayers must continually counter the disinvestment in cities and villages that state leaders continue to demonstrate.”

Specifically, Gilmartin points to a League study from earlier this year that showed between 2003 and 2013 Michigan governors and legislators diverted $6.2 billion in statutory revenue sharing from local communities to plug holes in the state budget. This, along with a dramatic decline in property tax revenues, has forced communities cut and streamline local services and to look at alternative funding sources, including, but not limited to, millage increases.

Due to this disinvestment in local communities, it was not surprising to learn from MIRS that there were 786 local ballot proposals before voters on Tuesday and 267 of those proposals asked for new money. About 80 percent of the proposals MIRS classified as new tax increases passed, while 99 percent of all proposals classified as tax renewals passed. You can view the full MIRS list here.

A large majority of the requests were from townships, schools, and counties. There were about 38 tax-related requests on the ballot specific to Michigan cities and villages, plus at least four non-tax related charter amendments (all passed). Of those 38 requests, 36 passed and just two failed, according a League review of the MIRS report and in looking at other news articles about the unofficial election results.

Many of the new asks were road related and passed with nearly a 90 percent success rate. This is not surprising given the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and lack of consensus on a long-term road funding solution in Lansing. The Michigan Municipal League, in its Partnership for Place Agenda initiative, has suggested a variety of possible solutions to address the state’s transportation needs and other municipal funding concerns. You can view this agenda here.

“While voters have constantly shown support for local taxes that provide value and improve quality of life, there remains an underlying belief in Lansing that the citizens of Michigan will not support such efforts statewide,” Gilmartin said. “This election further proves that individuals care about their local communities and expanding investment in Michigan’s transportation network would be a great place for the Legislature to follow the lead of the constituents they represent.”

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Proposal 1; HUGE Victory for Michigan Communities!

The League was part of the coalition for Michigan Strong & Safe Communities, which actively supported Proposal 1.

The League was part of the coalition for Michigan Citizens for Strong & Safe Communities, which actively supported Proposal 1.

A huge thank you goes out to all the Michigan Municipal League member communities and supporters backing Proposal 1 on Tuesday’s primary ballot. The measure, which completes the plan to phase out personal property taxes that businesses pay, passed with 69 percent of the voters in support, according to preliminary results reported by mlive.com and the Detroit News with 99 percent of the precincts reporting.

Proposal 1 represented a considerable amount of negotiations and work by League staff and our members. We thank our many members who have publicly supported this proposal by passing resolutions encouraging a YES vote, doing media interviews, participating in news events and writing letters to their local newspapers. Read this article by the League’s Samantha Harkins about this history of this issue and why the League supported this measure.

“What this really means for us is stability,” Harkins, the League’s director of state affairs, told reporter Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press for an article about Proposal 1′s passage.

Here’s an excerpt from a Michigan Public Radio piece by Jake Neher about voters approving Proposal 1. This report also includes comments by Harkins:

Communities depend on revenue from the tax to pay for things like police, fire, and roads. (Governor) Snyder says the proposal ensures they will be fully compensated for any lost revenue.

Local government groups say they agree. “I think, from the local government level, it really provides certainty for us in a way that the failure of Proposal 1 certainly would not have created that certainty,” said (Harkins). “And we’ve had a lot of uncertainty in the last decade.”

Also in the “good news for communities” category, MIRS News is reporting that 80 percent of the “new money asks” in local ballot proposals were approved by voters. That 80 percent passage rate is consistent with the results from the past several elections. Here’s a chart by MIRS that shows the local ballot proposal results by community.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.

Please VOTE YES on Proposal 1 in the August 5, 2014 Primary Election

Please vote in Tuesday’s Aug. 5, 2014, primary election. On your ballot you may have a lot of things or just a few things to consider, but one of the most important issues for Michigan’s communities is Proposal 1. The League is in support of Proposal 1 and encourages our members to vote YES on Proposal 1.

This proposal represents a considerable amount of negotiations and work by League staff and our members. We thank our many members who have publicly supported this proposal by passing resolutions encouraging a YES vote, doing media interviews, participating in news events and writing letters to their local newspapers. Read this article by the League’s Samantha Harkins about this history of this issue and why the League is in support of Proposal 1.

So what happens if Proposal 1 fails?

A new community impact calculator by the Strong and Safe Communities YESon1 shows the potential losses communities could sustain if Proposal 1 is defeated and the Legislature decides to eliminate the personal property tax without any funding replacement for local municipalities. All you need to do is go to the calculator and follow the step by step instructions to see the impact on your community. For example, in Flint, if Proposal 1 fails and the PPT is eliminated without replacement that is the equivalent funding of 54 police officers, or 71 firefighters, or 464,746 meals on wheels for seniors.

Here are some details from the Strong and Safe Communities coalition about this:

A “NO” Vote on Proposal 1 and failure to pass Proposal 1 would hurt Michigan communities and Michigan small businesses. It would mean:

  • Michigan communities lose by having to go back to depending on an unreliable revenue stream for essential services like fire, police, ambulances, jails, and schools – plus other valuable local community services, including senior centers, parks and libraries.
  • Michigan businesses lose by having to go back to paying the antiquated unfair double tax that keeps them from investing and creating jobs.
  • Many community leaders across the state fear that if Proposal 1 fails in August, the legislature could still eliminate the PPT, but not reimburse local communities for that lost revenue.

Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org.

 

Congress Passes Temporary Transportation Spending Bill

Hours before adjourning for their August recess, the US Senate passed the House version of the temporary spending bill to prevent the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund and the continued authorization of MAP-21 through May 2015. The Senate had tried to shorten the time frame, hoping to force the discussion on long term solutions sooner rather than later, but had to concede at the end of the day. The bill, which passed on a 81-13 vote, inserts $11 Billion into the fund from a variety of sources, including pension smoothing. The League supports a long term solution to transportation funding, and is hopeful that after years of extensions, a serious discussion on the ongoing funding of our nation’s infrastructure will be had in the coming months.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy Initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnicki@mml.org.