MDOT Makes Significant Upgrades to Act 51 Reporting Portal and the Investment Reporting Tool

The Michigan Municipal League would like to inform you that the Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) has made some significant updates to Michigan’s Act 51 Reporting Portal (MITRP) specific to completed project reporting requirements within both the Investment Reporting Tool (IRT) and Act 51 Distribution andReporting System (ADARS). Both systems can be accessed via this link: www.mcgi.state.mi.us/MITRP/.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and each local road agency has a responsibility to annually submit a report to the TAMC that includes, road and bridge projects anticipated to be contracted within the next three years and completed projects (open to traffic) for the fiscal year being reported. In 2006, the TAMC developed the Web-based IRT to facilitate the collection of project location information related to planned and completed projects for local agencies. In 2011, in an effort to gather meaningful cost information from local agencies, the TAMC partnered with MDOT to add an asset management page to the Web-based ADARS system. Unfortunately, this had an unintended consequence that caused many local agencies to have to manually re-enter duplicate project information into both systems.

This situation has been corrected and as of September 3, 2014, both the IRT and ADARS Asset Management page will be fully integrated to allow for the completed project information reported within the IRT to be automatically “synced” to the reporting categories within the ADARS page.

Initially, there will be a “soft” roll-out of this update for agencies with fiscal years ending on/after October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015. During the roll-out MDOT will focus on training and educating local agencies on the project reporting process and you will still be able to submit Act 51 reports by clicking the “No Treatments to Report” button. However, on/after October 1, 2015, the TAMC will expect the project information requested in both the IRT and ADARS to be complete. Failure to report this information could result in non-compliance with Act 51 reporting requirements and funds withheld until such a time that compliance can be determined.

If you have any questions, please contact Brian Sanada, TAMC Coordinator, at 517-373-2220 or sanadab@michigan.gov.

The following is a link to the letter that was sent out by the Transportation Asset Management Council regarding these changes. TAMC Letter to IRT-ADARS Users 9 3 14

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.

Reminder: Forms Due for Small Parcel Debt Reimbursement for Personal Property Tax

Just a reminder that Treasury Form 5192 to claim reimbursement for millage levied in July 2014 for the debt loss/school debt loss from the personal property 2014 small taxpayer exemption loss is due by September 5. Forms returned by September 5 should be processed for October 2014 reimbursement.

To be eligible for reimbursement a local unit must have levied debt millage in 2013. Form 5192 is posted under Reimbursement Forms on the Treasury web page.

The reimbursement form for debt millage levied in December 2014 will be available next month.

Please contact Treasury with any form related questions at TreasORTA@michigan.gov.

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

Grant Applications Available for Financially Distressed Communities Program

The State’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget includes grants for financially distressed cities, villages and townships. Applications for that program are now posted on the Department of Treasury’s website.

Any city or village currently experiencing at least one condition of “probable financial distress,” as enumerated in the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act passed in 2012 is eligible to apply for funding.

There is $8 million has been appropriated for the grant program this fiscal year, with a $2 million limit for each local unit of government. Applications must be submitted to Treasury by the close of business on Friday, October 31, 2014. For more information visit www.michigan.gov/revenuesharing.

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

MDOT Annual Certification of Employee-Related Conditions Due September 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.