Personal Property Tax Ballot Campaign Kicks Off

This week the campaign to pass the August 5, 2014 ballot proposal, the last step in personal property tax (PPT) reform, kicked off with a series of press conferences. The Michigan Citizens for Strong and Safe Communities coalition is seeking to pass a ballot referendum that would allow for use of a portion of the currently collected statewide use tax to fully reimburse communities for PPT loss.

League members attended and led press conferences in Dearborn, Flint, Saginaw and Traverse City.

The coalition has launched a website and you can also follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

We encourage members to support the full replacement of PPT dollars with a significantly more stable reimbursement mechanism by voting “yes” on August 5.

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

Legislature In District Until Late April

The legislature is on spring break until late April. The House is scheduled to be in next on Thursday, April 17. The Senate is scheduled to be back the week of April 22.

In the interim the lobbying team is still hard at work with legislative and administration staff on various issues including (but not even close to limited to) EVIP, transportation funding and tax capture district reform. Happy Spring!

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

Speaker Bolger Unveils New Michigan Transportation Funding Plan

A new plan from House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) would increase the state’s annual investment in its roadways by at least $500 million annually.

Unveiled today, the plan would do that, in part, by converting the state’s flat gas tax to a tax based on a percentage of the wholesale price and by dedicating some current sales tax and use tax revenue to transportation needs.

The plan focused on four specific subject areas: increasing efficiencies, improving quality, improving fairness and investing current resources. That’s different from other plans that have focused on tax increases to improve the state’s roads.

The proposal includes ending the 19 cents per gallon tax on gasoline and 15 cents per gallon tax on diesel fuel and replacing them with a 6 percent tax on the price of fuel at the wholesale level. This would be a revenue neutral change for gasoline and raise $47 million in new revenue from those buying diesel fuel.

The proposal also includes efficiency measures such as more competitive bidding for local road agencies and the Department of Transportation and requiring all projects more than $5 million to have a minimum five-year warranty.

The plan would also increase fees on permits for overweight and oversize trucks, a move that would raise $4.5 million.

The Michigan Municipal League believes that one of the most important aspects of creating a vibrant state is to have a quality transportation system. Unfortunately an additional $500 million annually falls far short of solving this problem long term. We hope to work with the Speaker and others on this issue to provide a long term funding solution that meets the infrastructure needs of this state without potentially putting local funds in jeopardy.

The following links are two documents made available by the House Republicans to help illustrate their plan.

Building Roads 4-14          Road Funding board

The League will continue to update our members on the specifics of this plan as more details become available.

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.

Asset Management Guide for Local Agency Bridges Training Workshop

REMINDER: there is still one more opportunity for you to participate in the free Asset Management Guide for Local Agency Bridges training workshop scheduled for: Thursday, April 24, 2014, 9:00AM – 4:00PM at the Holiday Inn, Marquette, MI. In an effort to accommodate participants, the training session in Marquette will be offered via Webinar in addition to on-site participation.

For more information on how to sign up please click on the following link. Local Bridge Owner Invite Reminder.

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.

Michigan Traffic Incident Management Effort Train the Trainer Launch

Michigan is looking for high qualified trainers to be trained to teach Traffic Incident Management to First Responders and supporting operations. A new coordinated, multi-disciplinary training program developed through the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) will be deployed in Michigan and available for all first responders supporting Traffic Incident Management operations. The training puts firefighters, police, state and local departments of transportation, towing, medical personnel and other incident responders on the same page, leading to a safer, faster, integrated responder team. In Michigan the program will be known as Mi-TIME – Michigan Traffic Incident Management Effort.

Six injury crashes occur approximately every hour in Michigan, putting first responders potentially in harm’s way every day. Congestion from these incidents often generates secondary crashes, further increasing traveler delay and frustration. The longer incident responders remain at the scene, the greater the risk they, and the traveling public, face. Minimizing the time and resources required for incident clearance is essential to meeting our goals for safety and reliability.

This training can be taught in many different ways; participants can attend a 10 hour intensive course, a four-hour modified version and single-lesson modules. Most states that have deployed this training are doing the 4 hours modified versions. This training has been deployed to over 33 states.

Michigan will be having three train the trainer session, the first being held in Lansing on May 28 &29 for a day and half. Once the trainers are certified they will be responsible to teach in their region(s). Please apply to be a trainer by filling out the application(two different formats posted below) and returning to Angie Kremer at KremerA@michigan.gov. To be considered for the Lansing Trainer the Trainer Session please have applications in by April 15, 2014 for the Lansing Train the Trainer.

Mi TIME – Application-Commitment     Mi TIME – Application-Commitment

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.

Updated Local Agency Program Application Made Available by MDOT

Effective April 1, 2014, the updated MDOT Local Agency Program Application Forms 0258, 0259, and 0260 were activated and made available on the MDOT Local Agency Program (LAP) website here as well as at the MDOT Forms page here.

The forms were updated mainly to:

• request information from the local agency regarding whether its project includes work in any MDOT right of way, or whether the proposed work affects any existing traffic signals or pedestrian signals. This information will allow MDOT LAP staff engineers to determine whether other MDOT units need to be involved in the project.

• revise ROW Attachments A and B, defining “property acquisition” as “permanent fee, permanent easements, temporary consents to construct, and grading permits”, hopefully resulting in a less confusing definition

• include space for the local agencies to list their designated Certified Computerized Office Technician (page 10 of each form), in accordance with current Bureau Of Highway Informational Memoranda (BOHIM)

• provide consistency in fonts and type faces

• changed references to the Transportation Alternative funding program

• correct several fields which were auto-filling incorrectly

Local agencies should begin using these forms as soon as possible, so that they can identify their certified computerized office technician and comply with the BOHIM.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Bruce Kadzban, MDOT LAP Rural and Enhancement Program Manager, at 517-335-2229 or at kadzbanb@michigan.gov.

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.

 

Personal Property Tax Bills Signed by Governor Snyder

Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra was among the dignitaries who attended the personal property tax bill signing ceremony Friday (March 28, 2014) with Governor Rick Snyder.

On Friday Governor Rick Snyder signed a ten bill package that represents months of negotiations on personal property tax (PPT) reform. The Michigan Municipal League’s message on PPT has consistently been 100 percent, guaranteed replacement. The bills do represent 100 percent replacement and a more stable reimbursement mechanism.

The legislation, Senate Bills 821-830, begins fading out PPT in 2016.  The exception is the small parcel exemption for personal property of less than $80,000 true cash value which went into effect December 31, 2013.

The League will be holding a webinar on PPT reform in the coming weeks.

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

Annexation Legislation Receives Hearing in House

The House Local Government committee took testimony this week on HB 4024 (Rep. Heise, R – Plymouth).  This would lock borders of charter townships of 20,000 or less by not allowing annexations.  This piece of legislation has been introduced for the past few sessions.  It stems from an annexation issue between Northville Twp and the city of Livonia (although the city of Livonia didn’t play an active role in the annexation).  The annexation was ultimately turned down by the voters but the goal of the sponsor is to prevent this type of “hostile annexation” to happen again between a more urbanized township and a city.  We testified in opposition to this as did the Michigan Association of Realtors.  The Michigan Association of Home Builders is opposed as well.  There will be workgroups on this starting next week and continuing through the summer months.

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.

Senate Transportation Committee Take Testimony on Michigan’s Cold Weather Crisis

Today the Senate Transportation Committee took testimony on the affects this year’s harsh winter has had on water and sewer infrastructure in the state of Michigan. Communities all across this state have been dealing with frozen service leads, frozen water and sewer mains, let run orders, and many other strains on their water and sewer systems because of the extreme cold. The committee hearing helped shine some light on the on this problem and raised the attention of legislators in attendance.

There are very serious and real implications. Municipal budgets, residents, and workers are all feeling the affects. The Municipal League is fully committed to working with our communities, the Legislature, and the Governor to help those who are affected. Thank you to all of the communities who helped further explain the severity of this crisis by participated in today’s hearing.

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.

House and Senate Transportation Budgets Include More Money For Locals

Both the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittee’s on Transportation reported out their budgets with additional money for local road agencies. Each of these budgets included an additional $115 million in a one-time general fund appropriation that will be distributed through the formula. As a result cities and villages across this state will see an increase of $25 million in the next fiscal year.

These budget recommendations will now go before the full appropriations committee for a vote. The League is supportive of these changes and would like to thank Chairman Papageorge and Chairman VerHeulen for their leadership on this issue.

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.