Revenue Sharing Budget Activity

The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees began working in earnest this week to send their recommendations to the full Appropriations committees.  As they work to get initial budget activity completed in each chamber prior to the Spring Recess, the House and Senate General Government subcommittees each reported their budget versions, including revenue sharing, this week.  Both subcommittee chairs stayed close to the Governor’s original recommendation…Constitutional revenue sharing payments are set to experience a $23.8 million increase, based upon estimated sales tax growth, while Statutory payments are recommended to remain flat with the current year at $243 million.

In a twist on the Governor’s proposal though, the House chose to retain one-time funding from the current budget to continue statutory payments to 100 additional townships that had not received funding in the prior budget.  To come up with the $5+ million necessary to keep these townships, the House inexplicably reduced the City of Detroit’s statutory payment.  The Senate also maintained these additional 100 townships, but only to the extent that they held them harmless from experiencing an overall reduction when factoring in their increased Constitutional payment.  This proposal required an additional $424,000 be added to the statutory revenue sharing line in the Senate’s version of the budget.  The Senate version also includes $10 million towards a statewide purchase of new election/voting equipment to be purchased for local communities in conjunction with the Secretary of State.  They came up with the revenue for these increases by shifting dollar from different fund sources at MI Economic Development Corporation and reducing IT spending increases that the Governor had recommended for the state Dept of Technology, Management and Budget.

Senate Bill 122 and House Bill 4090 will likely be considered before their respective Appropriations committees next week, with floor action to follow.  We expect the two chambers to try and position all of the budgets for final negotiation following the May 15th revenue estimating conference.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and chackbarth@mml.org

Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets

Secretary Foxx

Secretary Foxx

Anthony Foxx, U.S.Transportation Secretary, is challenging mayors and local elected officials to take significant action to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities over the next year. Mayors’ Challenge participants will be invited to attend the Mayors’ Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets in March, and their cities will spend a year helping their communities undertake seven activities to improve safety. The challenge is based on the 2010 USDOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation.

For more information and to sign up for the challenge please click here. Michigan communities already signed up include Ann Arbor, Flint, Jackson, Traverse City and Westland.

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

Changes to 2015 METRO Act Payments

The Michigan Municipal League has been asked to inform eligible municipalities that the 2015 METRO Act payments may be delayed by approximately 15 to 30 days, due to a change in state law transitioning the functions and responsibilities of the Metropolitan Extension Telecommunications Rights-of-Way Oversight (METRO) Authority to the new Local Community Stabilization Authority (LCSA).

The transition process will have minimal impact on municipalities as all the provisions of the METRO Act, except for the administration of functions and responsibilities of the former METRO Authority, remain unchanged. The primary changes under the LCSA include:

1. Maintenance fee payments from telecommunication providers will be paid to the LCSA and deposited into an LCSA account maintained by Comerica Bank. Payments will not be deposited with the State of Michigan.

2. Comerica Bank will distribute METRO Act payments to municipalities on behalf of the LCSA.

3. Please Note: You will no longer receive METRO Act payments via State of Michigan warrants or electronic transfer. Payments by check or electronic transfer will be processed by Comerica Bank on behalf of the LCSA with a notation that payment is a METRO Act payment.

For more information and FAQ’s about the METRO Act functions of the LCSA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lcsa or e-mail LCSA at metroinfo@michigan.gov. The LCSA expects to create its own new website in the near future. Please click on the following link for a copy of the letter provided by LCSA. Changes to 2015 Metro Act Payments

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

Michigan Entrepreneurship Scorecard Report Released

The eleventh annual Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card – 2015 Edition was released this week and reports continued positive growth in the state’s entrepreneurial economy. The Entrepreneurial Change Index which measures the direction and momentum of growth ranks Michigan 12 out of the 50 states, up from 42 ten years ago.

Officials from MiQuest and the Small Business Association of Michigan were invited to present the report’s findings to members of the House and Senate Commerce committees.

Among the insights from the Score Card:

– Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate has experienced exceptional gains since 2009, when Michigan ranked among the bottom states for key metrics such as Growth in Establishments Gaining Jobs and Export Growth. Michigan now ranks in the top 10 states for several growth-related metrics, with especially notable improvements in export-related metrics. Michigan’s top rankings include:

  • Growth in New Business Owners – #2
  • Increase in High Performance Firms − #5
  • Private Lending to Small Business − #2
  • Export Intensity Growth − #7
  • Export-Related Jobs − #6

– Michigan’s Quality of Life metrics point to several strengths conducive to economic mobility and tech growth, including ranking #5 in Home Ownership.

The Michigan Entrepreneurship Score Card, analyzing data from 2003 to 2013, was released by MiQuest, a Lansing-based nonprofit organization serving more than 13,000 members of Michigan’s entrepreneurial community and more than 5,000 second-stage businesses.

MiQuest’s President Diane Durance said, “The Score Card rankings mirror what we’ve been hearing from entrepreneurs – businesses are growing and hitting new levels of sales, there’s a high demand for technical talent, and there’s increasing enthusiasm about the quality of life and opportunities in Michigan’s urban centers.”

The scorecard is sponsored by Clark Hill, Consumers Energy, Crain’s Detroit Business, DTE Energy Foundation, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Presidents Council – State Universities of Michigan, Small Business Association of Michigan, and Varnum LLP.

For more information, or copies of the complete Michigan Entrepreneurial Score Card – 2015 Edition, go to www.MiQuest.org.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and chackbarth@mml.org

Urban Livestock Workgroup Recommendations Released

Last year, the Michigan Commission of Agriculture changed the siting Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs) to provide for a more clear distinction of local control for urban/suburban settings.  That created a lot of concern in the “urban farming” community and because of that Sen. Joe Hune asked the Michigan Department of Agriculture to pull together a stakeholder work group to come up with recommendations that could be either changed within the department or acted on by the legislature.  That workgroup was pulled together and began meeting in September of last year.  The workgroup has concluded and has released its recommendations document. There were 5 recommendations:

  1. The ULW (Urban Livestock Workgroup) recommends the development of an Urban Agriculture Act to address, stimulate, and support local efforts and interest in raising livestock in urban/suburban areas.
  1. The ULW acknowledges the interconnection of raising livestock and plants. The ULW recommends that the Urban Agriculture Act require the development of guidelines for urban/suburban agriculture.
  1. The ULW recommends that the Urban Agriculture Act give authority to develop, and approve guidelines for urban/suburban agriculture to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development.
    1. Through the appointment of a group with diverse representation of race, gender, age, and geographic location across Michigan and at least one member from each of: local government, state government, academia and urban/suburban producers to develop, review, and recommend guidelines.
    2. The guidelines would be approved on annual basis for the first five years and at least on a biennial basis in the years that follow.
    3. And the Commission is also empowered to review and approve guidelines on an “as needed” basis.
  1. The ULW recommends that the Urban Agriculture Act provide for local zoning authority over agriculture in urban/suburban areas.
  1. The majority of the ULW recommends that the bill to establish the Urban Agriculture Act be introduced during the 2015/2016 Legislative session.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture, MSU Extension, and city of Muskegon will be presenting on this topic during the League’s Capital Conference session so be sure to attend to learn more.

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.

House Committee Reports Out Online Notice Legislation

Last week the House Local Government Committee voted out HB 4183, legislation that would phase out the newspaper publication requirement for public notices and transition the notices to the Internet.  This is a re-introduction from last session.

HB 4183 creates a tiered system for legal notices and phases them out over time. The legislation is vague, but the least “serious” notices would be considered Tier C. Tier A would include those notices that deal with property and finances.  Because these tiers are not defined in law, there is confusion as to what constitutes Tier A, B or C.  We are working to put together a document to explain each one and will push that out as soon as it is available.

There is a 10 year phase out of print publication notices and phases in online notices over that same period of time.  Tier A’s are posted in the newspapers the longest as they deal with property loss, taxes, etc.  Each 5 years the tiers are stepped down to the next level, removing one print publication notice, until they are all online by 2025.

The legislation allows local electors to hold a referendum to require continued publication in a newspaper. It allows local units to enter into contracts with media outlets for publication on their websites. The bill also requires archiving of public notices for five years.

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

Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Fenton Approve Resolutions in Support of Safe Roads, Proposal 1

A plethora of potholes on a Michigan road.

A plethora of potholes on a Michigan road.

The cities of Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo are the latest Michigan communities to approve resolutions in support of the Proposal 1 road funding plan heading to voters May 5.

The councils for both cities approved the resolutions at their meetings Monday (March 16) night. Fenton city council also approved a Vote Yes on Proposal 1 resolution last night. The City of Kentwood approved a resolution in support on March 17. There are now more than a dozen Michigan communities that have approved these resolutions and more on the way. Other communities that have approved resolutions are Wakefield, Clare, Elk Rapids, Lapeer, Norton Shores, Bessemer, Whitehall and Pleasant Ridge.

Passing resolutions is just one of several ways Michigan Municipal League member communities continue to step up in support of Proposal 1. You can view the resolutions here. The League continues to actively encourage all Michigan communities to pass resolutions in support of Proposal 1. You can get a sample resolution here.

Other Proposal 1-related news from Michigan’s communities:

– Multiple Michigan communities will host news conferences in support of Proposal 1 this month and next.

Open invitation to Proposal 1 symposium in Sterling Heights March 31.

Open invitation to Proposal 1 symposium in Sterling Heights March 31.

– The Michigan Municipal League will host a Safe Roads Symposium on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Velocity Collaboration Center, 6633 18 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48314, and will be open to the public. A panel of experts will break down the details and impacts of Proposal 1. Please click the following link to view the invite. MML_Symposium_Invite. For more information please contact the Velocity Collaboration Center at 586-884-9322.

– About 100 Michigan mayors, council members and municipal managers had a conference call with Governor Snyder Friday afternoon. Governor Snyder is an active support of Proposal 1 and he answered questions from the local municipal officials about the ballot initiative. He also encouraged them to pass resolutions in support and write letters and opinion pieces to their local media.

– A letter in support of Proposal 1 by League Vice President Nathan Triplett, mayor of East Lansing, was published in the Lansing State Journal Saturday. You can read it here.

– Under the headline, “For Safety’s Sake: Vote Yes on Proposal 1,” The Detroit Free Press did an in-depth editorial Sunday about why people should support Proposal 1.

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

Proposal 1 Road Funding Resolutions Continue to Get Approval by Michigan Communities

Warmer weather in Michigan means pothole season.

Warmer weather in Michigan means pothole season.

Michigan Municipal League members communities continue to step up in support of Proposal 1 in a variety of ways.

Recently a few more communities have passed resolutions in support of the road funding plan heading to voters May 5.

There are now at least eight communities that have passed resolutions – Wakefield, Clare, Elk Rapids, Lapeer, Norton Shores, Bessemer, Whitehall and Pleasant Ridge.

More resolutions are expected to be approved in the upcoming days and weeks. You can view the resolutions here. The League continues to actively encourage all Michigan communities to pass resolutions in support of Proposal 1. You can get a sample resolution here.

In addition, the city of Kalamazoo had a special meeting to discuss Proposal 1 and the League’s John LaMacchia attended and answered questions about it. A resolution vote from the city is expected later this month.

Other Proposal 1-related news from Michigan’s communities:

– Multiple Michigan communities will host news conferences in support of Proposal 1 this month and next.

Open invitation to Proposal 1 symposium in Sterling Heights March 31.

Open invitation to Proposal 1 symposium in Sterling Heights March 31.

– The Michigan Municipal League will host a Safe Roads Symposium on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Velocity Collaboration Center, 6633 18 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48314, and will be open to the public. A panel of experts will break down the details and impacts of Proposal 1. Please click the following link to view the invite. MML_Symposium_Invite. For more information please contact the Velocity Collaboration Center at 586-884-9322.

– About 100 Michigan mayors, council members and municipal managers had a conference call with Governor Snyder Friday afternoon. Governor Snyder is an active support of Proposal 1 and he answered questions from the local municipal officials about the ballot initiative. He also encouraged them to pass resolutions in support and write letters and opinion pieces to their local media.

– A letter in support of Proposal 1 by League Vice President Nathan Triplett, mayor of East Lansing, was published in the Lansing State Journal Saturday. You can read it here.

– Under the headline, “For Safety’s Sake: Vote Yes on Proposal 1,” The Detroit Free Press did an in-depth editorial Sunday about why people should support Proposal 1.

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

Michigan Municipal League to Host Safe Roads Symposium in Sterling Heights About Proposal 1

Open invitation to Proposal 1 symposium in Sterling Heights March 31.

Open invitation to Proposal 1 symposium in Sterling Heights March 31.

The Michigan Municipal League will host a Safe Roads Symposium on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The event will take place at the Velocity Collaboration Center, 6633 18 Mile Rd, Sterling Heights, MI 48314, and will be open to the public.

A panel of experts will break down the details and impacts of Proposal 1.

To view the official invitation, click here.

For more information please contact the Velocity Collaboration Center at 586-884-9322.

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

Pneumatic Gun Legislation Passes Senate Committee

This week the Senate Judiciary committee passed  SB 85 (sponsored by Sen. Hildenbrand, R-Lowell), 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 on their private property as well as allow a local unit to prohibit discharging of a pneumatic gun in heavily populated areas.

The League is opposed to this legislation.

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