Governor Signs Redevelopment Liquor License Legislation

Governor Snyder has signed SB 846 (Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R – Lowell), a bill that amends the Michigan liquor control code dealing with redevelopment liquor licenses and is identical to HB 4257 (Rep. Cindy Denby, R – Fowlerville) that passed the House late last year. It is now PA 270 of 2014.  

According to a recent determination by the Liquor Control Commission, only businesses in cities are eligible for redevelopment liquor licenses. This determination is counter to the last six years, where the Liquor Control Commission has allowed the redevelopment licenses in redevelopment districts to be for cities, villages, or townships. This bill is an attempt to rectify this issue and clarifies eligibility for the redevelopment liquor licenses in the development districts to cities, villages, and townships. We have heard from multiple villages worried about this because their redevelopment efforts are coming to a halt without being eligible for these redevelopment licenses.

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

Senate Committee Passes Medical Marijuana Legislation

This afternoon the Senate Government Operations committee passed House Bill 4271, a bill that would allow local units of government to regulate (or ban) provisioning centers (i.e. dispensaries), and HB 5104, a bill to allow for medical marijuana infused products.  There has been some discussion on HB 4271 regarding removing the local control aspect of it but that remained intact as it passed committee today.

Majority Leader Richardville (chair of the committee) stated there is still work to be done on the legislation before a vote on the Senate floor takes place but he wanted to send the message the Senate is interested in moving the process forward.

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

What is Proposal 1 on Michigan’s Aug. 5, 2014 ballot?

Personal Property Tax Reform

Reporter Tim Skubick interviews Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly about the effort to reform Michigan’s personal property tax

In just over two weeks voters will decide the fate of Proposal 1 that, if approved, would complete the reform effort to Michigan’s personal property tax.

Many Michigan communities are getting questions from their residents about Proposal 1 that appears on the Aug. 5, 2014, statewide primary ballot. It is the only statewide ballot question going before voters in August. The Michigan Municipal League is supporting Proposal 1 and encouraging our members to pass resolutions in support (view the communities that have passed the resolutions here).

Although many communities have passed resolutions in support others are more interested in providing information to their residents that takes a neutral position. Below is an example of an information-based statement that Michigan communities can share with their residents. (A special thanks goes out to Farmington Hills City Manager Steve Brock, a member of the League Board of Trustees, for putting this together for his community – we’ve broadened his statement a bit to make it applicable to any community.)

Facts of Proposal 1 Aug. 5, 2014, ballot question (to make it more applicable to your community fill in the portions in italics:

  • It is NOT a tax increase for any individual
  • It eliminates the current Personal Property Tax liability for businesses that own equipment, machines and furnishings
  • It replaces 100 percent of this revenue ($X.X million for YOUR COMMUNITY’s NAME) with expiring state tax credits, a small tax on certain manufacturing concerns and part of the use tax paid by out-of-state suppliers
  • There is no formally organized opposition to this proposal
  • So far, all of the media outlets/sources that have made endorsements on this ballot question have supported the passage of Proposal 1
  • The Michigan Municipal League, the Michigan Townships Association and Michigan Association of Counties (as well as dozens of other organizations and groups), have all supported the proposal. View complete list of supporters here.
  • f you have any questions about this proposal, please contact me at (YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION).
  • VOTE on the August 5 Primary Ballot.

Here are some links to additional information about Proposal 1:

1. Review magazine article by the League’s Samantha Harkins detailing the history of the personal property tax reform effort. Click here and go to page 18.

2. Michigan Municipal League One-Pager Plus fact sheet about the 2014 personal property tax reform package.

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

New MEDC Grant – Public Spaces Community Places – Application Process Open

Applications are now live for the new crowdfunding place-based grant program! The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the League have teamed up with Patronicity, a locally-based crowdfunding platform, to develop Public Spaces Community Places, a new matching grant program for place-based initiatives that utilize crowdfnding. Through Patronicity, communities and non-profits can raise donations to revitalize or create public spaces, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match funds raised dollar for dollar, up to $100,000, if they can reach their goal. Crowdfunding is an easy and innovative way for community projects to gain public interest and raise money by being able to leverage donations of all sizes.

This is the first program of its kind in the country, where local residents can be part of the development of transformational projects in their communities and be backed with matching dollars by the State. The grant program is available to municipalities and non-profits for projects that focus on activation of public spaces such as an outdoor plaza or park enhancements, alley activation, etc.

You can find the application guide on For the online application, click here.

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

Treasury Releases PPT Reimbursement Calculator

The Department of Treasury has released a personal property tax reimbursement spreadsheet to help members calculate their reimbursement amounts under the legislation the Governor signed in March. You can view the spreadsheet and determine your community’s reimbursement amount here: ppt reimbursement worksheet

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at or 517-908-0306

PPT Reimbursement for TIF Authorities Forms Available, Due Aug. 29

The first piece of the personal property tax reimbursement package is upon us. It involves reimbursement of TIF plans for small parcel exemption losses.

There are two forms created by Treasury: Form 5176 –Non-Brownfield Authorities and Form 5176BR –Brownfield Authorities . These forms are also available on Treasury’s website: Local Government Officials Forms. One form is for brownfield authorities, and the other form is for all other authorities—DDAs, LDFAs, CIAs, etc.  Small taxpayer exemption loss (as that term is defined here in subsection ‘y’) will be reimbursed to the extent they actually cause revenue loss. If an authority has “negative capture” overall and would not have any tax increment revenue regardless of the small parcel exemption loss, there is no reimbursement. To that end, estimated 2014 tax increment revenue for all property by class is one step in the form. Since brownfield authorities cannot have “negative capture” they do not have to complete that step and it does not appear on the brownfield form.

The instruction pages give step-by-step detail of what data are needed to accurately complete the form. Some is provided via links in the forms, and some must be provided by the authorities.

The process will certainly raise questions from many applicants as they complete it for the first time. In recognition of that, and the delay in the availability of the forms, Treasury is exercising its statutory discretion to extend the June 15 due date. The due date is August 29, 2014.

Should you have any questions while filling this out, please contact Jim Mills in Treasury (Manager, Accounting and Auditing Section, Local Audit and Finance Division) at or 517-335-4669.

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


EPA extends Comment Period for Proposed “Waters of the U.S.” Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced they are extending the deadline for comments regarding their proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule until October 20th. The proposed rule would change the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” in the Clean Water Act, which determines jurisdiction of water bodies under the CWA, impacting permitting and other CWA requirements.

Under the proposed rule, all tributaries and adjacent waters would  be considered jurisdictional, as well as “other waters” that would have to meet a “significant nexus” threshold in order to fall into that category as well.  There are other changes that you can find by going to the National League of Cities resource page here and scrolling down to the Clean Water Act portion.

Communities can submit comments for this rule, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 online by clicking here or by emailing and including EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 in the subject line of the message.

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

MI Legislature Adjourned Until Mid-Summer, Earliest

The Michigan Legislature is out of session until July 16 at the earliest.  They are in district campaigning so it is a perfect time for you to set up meetings with them in your own communities.

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

GRS-IBS Showcase Event

This event provides an opportunity to discuss the geosynthetic reinforced soil integrated bridge system (GRS-IBS) and showcase a GRS-IBS project in Ionia County. GRS-IBS is an engineered fill of closely spaced, alternating layers of compacted granular fill material and geosynthetic reinforcement. It’s a fast, cost effective method of bridge support that blends the roadway into the superstructure.

There is no cost to attend this showcase. Morning refreshments and lunch will be
provided. For more information please click on the following link. 2014GRS_IBS_Showcase

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

Senate Passes Detrimental Public Safety Exception to PA 54, Tell Your Lawmakers to Oppose this Plan

This afternoon the Senate passed Senate Bill 850, a bill that would exempt police and fire from PA 54 so they can have retroactive pay increases after a contract expires. The bill passed by a vote of 27-10.

In 2011 the legislature passed a number of reforms to help employers control costs and be better stewards of taxpayer resources. One of the, if not the, most significant reform was to prohibit retroactive pay increases after a contract has expired. This game changing statute, PA 54 of 2011, has helped communities settle contracts more quickly and provides more certainty in municipal budgets. Passage of SB 850 would be detrimental to our ability to settle contracts quickly and efficiently.

The Michigan Municipal League has been strongly opposed to this bill and we continue to urge you to contact your legislators to let them know how detrimental this carve out would be. The arguments the public safety groups use for supporting this bill are that the number of PA 312 filings would proliferate and the legislature only intended this bill to impact teachers.

According to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission there were only 43 PA 312 filings in 2013 as opposed to 69 in 2011. PA 312 filings are significantly lower than they were before enactment of PA 54.

In addition, even if the legislature only intended this for teachers, it has been a game changer for municipal budgets, and it’s critical that we keep this tool to allow local units the opportunity to settle contracts expeditiously and save taxpayers money.

We appreciate all the members who have already contacted their lawmakers on this issue and we hope others follow their lead. It is critical that you please contact your legislators and ask them to OPPOSE Senate Bill 850. You can find the contact information for your Legislators here. We’ve also prepared a letter you can email directly to your lawmakers. Go here to do that today.

The legislation now goes to the House for consideration. A House version, House Bill 5097, is on the House floor.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the League handling municipal finance issues.  She can be reached at or 517-908-0306.