President Releases Budget Proposal for FY 2019

On February 12th the president release his budget proposal for FY 2019. The proposal includes $3 trillion in domestic cuts over ten years, many of which Congress has already rejected twice. Together, these cuts represent a historic disinvestment from cities and local governments, including the elimination of or reductions to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), TIGER grants and brownfields redevelopment funds, among others. To read the President’s budget please click here.

For the second year in a row, this administration has released a budget proposal that would seriously damage the well-being of America’s cities, towns and villages. Programs that invest in cities — including CDBG, TIGER, LIHEAP, and 21st Century Community Learning Centers — are essential to the prosperity, health and safety of our residents. Rather than honor Congress’ bipartisan funding agreement, the White House has only offered a roadmap for disinvestment and disengagement with cities and local governments.

We will be tracking this issue closely and working with the National League of Cities to provide you with updates as the budget moves through Congress. We will also be reaching out to the Michigan delegation and asking them for their support of these domestic programs that are critical to the success of our communities.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

President Releases Plan To Spur At Least $1.5 Trillion In Infrastructure Investments

On February 12th the President released his plan to invest at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure over the next 10 years. The plan includes no new revenue and instead would utilize $200 billion in existing federal fund to leverage over $1 billion in funds from state, local and private sources. For a copy of the President’s plan please click here.

The League is committed to advocating for greater investment in infrastructure and has partnered with the National League of Cites to make this a top priority at the federal level. We are calling on Congress to frame an infrastructure plan that works collaboratively with cities and reflects five guiding principles:

  • SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT: Together, cities and our federal partners must address the existing core infrastructure backlog, reestablish long-term funding and use new technologies that will serve America’s cities for the next 100 years.
  • LOCALLY-DRIVEN PROJECTS: Local leaders, from cities large and small, are best positioned to identify where infrastructure needs are greatest and should be given a stronger voice in how limited federal dollars are invested.
  • FEDERAL-LOCAL PARTNERSHIP: Cities are already paying their fair share and need a steady federal partner to fund existing national programs and make significant capital investments for the long-term benefit of the economy.
  • EXPAND REVENUE TOOLS: Cities should be given more flexibility to raise revenues and use innovative financing techniques while protecting existing tools, such as tax-exempt bonds, to drive regional investments that tie into the national network.
  • REBUILD AND REIMAGINE: Cities are leading the way in building intermodal, sustainable and interconnected infrastructure networks that support a modern economy. Congress must invest in cities’ vision to rebuild and reimagine America’s infrastructure.

While there are things within the President’s proposal that build upon these five guiding principles, we must ensure that any future investment is sustainable and does not unreasonably burden local government. We will be attending the National League of Cities Congressional Cities Conference in March to deliver this message directly to our congressional delegation.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Draft Lead and Copper Rules Released, Public Comments Due March 7th

The Michigan Municipal League participated on the Lead and Copper Rule Stakeholder Workgroup that is assisting MDEQ with recommendations to address modifications to the Administrative Rules promulgated pursuant to Michigan’s Safe Drinking Water Act, 1976 PA 399, as amended. We believe the discussion and any changes to the rule or other policy needs to be focused on how to best protect the public from lead exposure. Unfortunately the draft rule add additional burdens to community water supply systems that run counter to the principals of asset management and may ultimately hinder the protection of public health.

The key highlights from the draft rule that was released last week include…

  • Reduce the action level from 15 parts per billion down to 10 parts per billion beginning January 1st 2024
  • Require suppliers to to a materials inventory by 2020 and a detailed inventory by 2024 with verification methods.
  • For a water supply that exceeds the lead action level after installing corrosion control shall annually replace not less than 7% of the initial number of lead service lines in the distribution system at the water supply’s expense.
  • For supplies that doesn’t use corrosion control and exceeds 5 parts per billion they shall annually replace not less than 5% of the initial number of lead service lines in the distribution system at the water supply’s expense.
  • All water suppliers that are under 5 pars per billion shall replace lead services lines based on an asset management plan. There is no specific schedule for replacement but it shall be done at the water supply’s expense.
  • Creates a household action level of 40 parts per billion
  • Adjusts sampling requirements
  • Creates a statewide drinking water advisory council that would assist DEQ in developing ways to educate the public about lead exposure

The League has taken a stance that we are not opposed to determining how much lead is in our systems or the need to systematically begin removing the lead from our systems, but it cannot be done in such a way that reduces our ability to improve the overall performance of the system, causes a financial hardship or conflicts with specific constitutional provisions, the Headlee Amendment or the Bolt decision.

For a copy of the draft rule and the regulatory impact statement please click the following links.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division (DWMAD), will hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan in Ballrooms 5-8 from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The hearing will be held to receive public comments on proposed changes to the Supplying Water to the Public rules. For more detail please click the following link. LCR Public Hearing Notice

Anyone unable to attend may submit comments in writing to the following email address by 5:00 p.m. on March 7, 2018. DEQ-LCR-Comments@michigan.gov.

The League has partnered with the Michigan Townships Association, American Water Works Association, SEMCOG, Oakland Co., Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewer System, to develop a coordinated response with our specific concerns on the draft rule and specific suggestions on an alternative approach. That will be completed in the coming days and we will share that with our members once it is finished. We also encourage you to send in your comments on the rule and request that you be as specific as possible with your concerns.

In summary, we urge that Michigan’s finalized program be bench-marked against the overall outcome we all seek to achieve: reducing blood lead levels.  This requires a commitment to methodically addressing the multiple pathways to exposure.  Shorter-term investments in possible exposures from drinking water should be targeted to where needed as precisely as possible. Longer-term investments should be as aligned as possible with all the other investments needed to protect public health.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

 

FHWA Center for Local Aid Support Seeks Input from Local Agencies

The Federal Highway Administration, Center for Local Aid Support (FHWA-CLAS), invites you to participate in a Local Agency Training and Technical Assistance Needs Assessment.  Local agencies own seventy-six percent of the U.S. road network.  In this ownership role, many face challenges in maintaining and operating their network, including the need to find and retain a skilled workforce. For agencies with limited budgets, looming retirements, and the need to stay current and embrace new construction technologies, it may be difficult to maintain a skilled workforce.

Over 35 years ago, Congress recognized the challenges of Local Public Agencies (LPA) and the need to provide access to surface transportation technology, technical assistance and training.  As a result, Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) centers have been established in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.   FHWA is currently revisiting our strategic plan for this program.  The strategic plan describes general and long-term goals the program aims to achieve, what actions FHWA and the LTAP Centers will take to realize those goals, and how we will deal with challenges and risks that may hinder achieving results. Also in concert with members from the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA), AASHTO, APWA and NACE, we are exploring ways to partner with other organizations that have services – training and technical assistance – that are relevant to the local community and to integrate information, training, or technical assistance on innovations (technology and practice) into the services the LTAP Centers provide.

Key to setting goals in the new strategic plan, will be your input on your workforce needs. We appreciate your taking the time to complete the following survey. The survey results will be a foundational document that informs the new strategic plan.  It will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete the needs assessment. Your responses are voluntary and will be confidential. Responses will not be identified by individual.  If you have questions at any time about the survey or the procedures, you may contact Andy Byra (Andy.Byra@dot.gov) or by phone at (720) 963-3522.

Thank you very much for your time and support. Please start the survey now by clicking on the following link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LANA1

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Local Bridge Program: Deadline for Applications – May 1, 2018

The Michigan Department of Transportation is pleased to announce the solicitation of applications for candidate projects for the Local Bridge Program. Selected projects will be funded during the 2021 fiscal year (FY). Do not submit projects which cannot be committed to construction within FY 2021. The applications can be submitted by the local agency owner or their consultant. All bridge applications submitted in previous years that have not been selected for funding have been discarded. The total number of applications from any one local agency is limited to five.

The FY 2021 Local Bridge Program budget is estimated at $48 million. This amount may be subject to revisions. We are asking the County Road Association of Michigan and the Michigan Municipal League to distribute this notice to their member agencies.

Applications are to be electronically submitted or postmarked by Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

Refer to the following Exhibits for information regarding eligibility and submitting candidate Local Bridge Project Applications. MDOT Exhibits 1-4

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Keith Cooper, Bridge Program Manager, at 517-373-2346 or at cooperk@michigan.gov.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

23rd Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit: MDOT Offering Local Agency Scholarships

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is pleased to announce the availability of funds for local agency use to attend the 23rd Annual Michigan Traffic Safety Summit. The Summit will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan, from March 20 to 22, 2018.

MDOT will provide reimbursement for local agencies to send one employee to the Summit. Expenses eligible for reimbursement include registration, lodging, meals, and mileage costs associated with attending the Summit. There is a maximum of 50 scholarships available to all municipalities, county road commissions and tribal agencies in the State of Michigan. 10 of the Scholarships will be saved for Traffic Incident Management participants from Public Agencies.

The Summit is designed to bring together representatives from all areas of traffic safety Enforcement, Engineering, Education, and Emergency Medical Services (the 4 E’s). The Summit presents a mix of general session speakers and breakout sessions aimed at the many areas of traffic and safety and traffic incident management. Along with the engineering breakout sessions on The Innovation of Roundabouts: Thinking Outside the Circle, Local Agency Safety Program Info, Traffic Safety Sampler, Traffic Incident Management Sampler, Traffic Incident Management and Development of Pedestrian and Bicycle Risk Models for Statewide Use in Reducing Fatal and Serious Injuries, this year’s summit will also include topics such as:

  • Re-engaging Law Enforcement;
  • The Future of Crashes in Michigan;
  • Drugged Driving;
  • No Excuse! Incorporating Core Values, Accountability, and Balance Into Your Life and Career;
  • Operation Ghost Rider;
  • Safe Routes and Safe Schools;
  • The Human Missile: Why Seat Belts Matter in the Back Seat

For more information on how to apply for the scholarship please click here.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

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Governor’s Infrastructure & Environment Week Recap

Last week Governor Snyder followed up his January State of the State address with daily, detailed announcements on each of the proposals from his speech.

Each day featured one of the Governor’s priority areas of infrastructure and the environment.  See the attached documents to learn more about what was announced.

Monday’s topic was Ubiquitous Broadband Access and Adoption.  You can read more about this here: Monday.Broadband

Tuesday’s topic was Renewing our Environment.  This proposal was announced as a replacement for the former Clean MI Initiative bonds and would replace the former bond proceeds with an increase in solid waste tipping fees, up to $4.75/ton.  More information regarding this initiative can be found here:

Renew Michigan’s Environment;

Tuesday.Renew.Michigans.Environment_

CMI_Bond_OneSheeter,

3000 Sites to be Addressed 1 31 18

Wednesday covered Protecting our Waterways, along with this web site to help bolster this initiative (www.BlockAsianCarp.org).

Thursday’s topic was Rebuilding Michigan’s Water Infrastructure.  This proposal is centered around a $5/resident user fee on public water systems.  Find out more details about this here:

Thursday.Water.Infrastructure;

Rebuild MI Water Infrastructure;

CommunityWaterSupplies_FINAL

Friday covered Protecting our Environment and Achieving our Recycling Rate Goals. Find out more here: Friday.Recycling

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

 

 

 

Governor Presents Final Budget Recommendation

Governor Snyder presented the FY2019 state budget to a joint hearing of the House and Senate Appropriations committees Wednesday morning.  Matching his tone following January’s consensus revenue estimating conference and his comments about spending restraint during the recent State of the State address, the budget didn’t offer many surprises.

The key announcement for League members centered on his proposal for revenue sharing.

Constitutional revenue sharing payments are expected to grow, based upon sales tax growth, to the tune of 3.1% ($24.7 M) in the coming budget.

The Governor did not recommend a continuation of the 2.5% statutory revenue sharing increase that we were able to secure in the current budget, taking this $243 million appropriation back down to a level that has been flat over the previous four years.

Instead of increasing statutory revenue sharing through the traditional budget process, the Governor is building off of his comments from last year’s budget on the distribution of excess Personal Property Tax reimbursements.  The Governor has called for a simpler and fairer approach to the distribution of those excess reimbursements and emphasized the need to continue providing that support to local units of government.

His recommendation would maintain the apportion of PPT reimbursement revenue going to each type of local unit of government and have that revenue instead distributed by the Local Community Stabilization Authority to communities as an additional revenue sharing payment.  This would amount to a $73 million revenue sharing distribution to cities and villages.

Additionally, the Governor is proposing to use the excess reimbursement dollars that had gone to libraries and miscellaneous authorities to preserve and increase fire protection grant funding to local units with qualifying state or higher education facilities.

Other line items or programs of interest to local units of government included:

Adding $175M of one-time General Fund to go with the $150M already scheduled to go into roads as part of the previous road funding pkg

Adding $2M to continue and expand Project Rising Tide

Building in the $79M from his previously proposed solid waste tipping fee increase to support brownfield site contamination cleanups, water and beach monitoring and other environmental programs that had previously been supported by the former Clean MI Initiative bond proceeds.

The budget will now be reviewed by each chamber over the coming weeks, with initial action expected prior to the Spring/Easter Break.

For more details on today’s budget announcement –

PowerPoint Presentation – (slide 24 relates to revenue sharing/PPT excess)

Issue Papers –  pages 31-32 detail the revenue sharing/PPT proposal

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

House Could Vote on HB 5098 This Week, We Need You to Voice Your Opposition

The House could vote on HB 5098 as soon as this week. This bill would require that notification be provided one year in advance to a telecommunications provider for any project that would require the relocation of their facilities. Please reach out to your State Representative to express your concerns and opposition to this legislation.

Over the past several years the telecommunication industry has attempted to have legislation passed that would require local municipalities to cover the cost of relocating their lines, waive permit fees and provide one year a notice on any project that would require relocation. A similar bill was introduced this year, HB 5098, but it did not include the requirement that a municipality cover the cost of relocation.

This bill was voted out of committee just prior to the legislature leaving for their holiday break in December, but stalled on the House floor. The League, along with the Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of Counties, the Country Road Association and the Michigan Association of Country Drain Commissioners all spoke in opposition to the legislation. We also submitted a joint letter opposing the bill which can be viewed at the flowing link. HB 5098 Assoc Opposition Letter Final Version

The key concerns we have with the bill are as follows:

  • Would not allow city or village to charge a permit fee for relocation possibly resulting in local governments subsidizing for-profit industry.
  • Requires a one-year advance notification of any project that requires a relocation, but does not require any action by the provider after they receive notice to communicate with the municipality. We could still find ourselves in situations where a new road is being cut only weeks after it is finished.
  • There are no penalties for a provider that does not follow the terms of the permit or causes construction delays.
  • The proponents of the legislation say that it will help expand broadband services but the bill does nothing to guarantee that will happen.
  • The bill is in direct conflict with the coordinated planning pilots and asset management efforts of the Governor and instead singles out one select industry within the right-of-way.

Since this bill could see floor action as soon as tomorrow, we need you to call your State Representative immediately and let them know you are opposed to HB 5098.

John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at jlamacchia@mml.org or 517-908-0303.

Next Generation 911 Legislation Could See Vote This Week in House

Senate Bill 400 is anticipated to see a floor vote in the House this week. The League is supportive of the legislation as it was passed out of committee. Please contact your state Representative and encourage them to pass SB 400 without amendments.  Below are talking points for the legislation.

Why does Michigan need Next Generation 911?

The existing analog copper 911 network is antiquated, using 55-year-old technology riddled with technical limitations that cannot support modern communications technology.

What does Next Generation 911 do?

Next Generation 911 is an IP network that is more reliable, redundant, resilient, and has the capacity and capability to send more data with the voice call to the appropriate 911 Center.

The Next Generation 911 network allows for the delivery of improved wireless location accuracy which provides for more accurate and efficient delivery to the appropriate 911 Center and a more efficient response from first responders to an emergency.   This is critical with wireless 911 calls being more than 80% of 911 callers today.

The Next Generation 911 network improves access to 911 for all citizens including the deaf and hard of hearing community through direct access utilizing text to 911, and the opportunity to transmit other multi-media such as photos and videos.

The Next Generation 911 network allows for seamless transfers of 911 calls between geographically diverse 911 Centers in all situations such as a wireless caller on the move or call overload from a major incident.

How much will it cost?

The bill dedicates the following additional amounts to NG 911 network service delivery and other costs:

NG 911 Network Delivery:     roughly $19.0 million

County 911 Operations:         roughly $0.5 million

MSP Regional Dispatch:        roughly $0.1 million

State 911 Administration:       roughly $0.4 million

911 Training:                          roughly $0.3 million

Total:                                      roughly $20.2 million

Where do we get the money?

The existing funding mechanisms are inadequate to fund the new network and related IP routing and delivery of 911 calls while supporting the legacy network during the transition. The fund will be depleted by this summer.

The legislative framework of SB 400 outlines an adjustment in the state 911 fee from 19 to 25 cents, generating approximately an additional $6.4 million annually. This recommended adjustment is in line with the current statute Sec.401a.(2)(4) which states “the state 911 charge shall not be more than 25 cents or less than 15 cents” and “shall reflect the actual costs of operating, maintaining, upgrading, and other reasonable and necessary expenditures for the 911 system in this state”.

The legislative amendments of SB 400 also outline an adjustment to the amount collected from prepay wireless phone retailers from 1.92% to 5%.  This new rate establishes equitable contributions from prepay customers and is calculated using the latest weighted average of local and state 911 charges. It is estimated that this change will generate approximately an additional $13.8 million dollars.

What else is in the bill?

  • Creation of a definition for IP-based 911 service providers.
  • Retains the current $.42 cap on the amount that a county board of commissioners can levy by board resolution for local 911 operations and dispatch.
  • Allows a county or service district to change its 911 service provider in its 911 plan by board resolution.
  • Makes the wireline companies’ technical surcharge consistent across the state rather than county by county.
  • Provides the MPSC with standing to take action if fees are not reported, charged, collected, or remitted to the fund. It also requires reporting on such actions.
  • Changes auditing requirements to require counties, not just PSAPs, to ascertain that the auditing of 911 funds is conducted. It also changes the state 911 fund audit, by the auditor general, to a biennial, rather than annual, process.
  • Requires the MPSC to hear a case to establish the process for NG 911 reimbursements for network costs for providers that meet NENA i3 standards for NG 911. Requires that the MPSC  only approve reimbursement invoices from the U14000 fund for “costs related to the transport, routing, or delivery to PSAPs of IP based 911.” Finally, it requires contracts entered into after the effective date of the act to be competitively bid.
  • Requires a report from the MPSC to the governor and legislature on NG 911 costs and projected future expenses (the entire act sunsets in 2021).

 

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