HAM Radio Legislation Sent to the Governor

The legislature has sent Senate Bill 493 to the Governor for his signature. This legislation dealing with amateur radio operations.  As it was introduced, it had a significant impact on local control and zoning.  However, through a work group process, the bill was made significantly better in the Senate-passed version and now mirrors the Federal regulations that our local communities are already required to adhere to.

It also discusses an advisory council made up of amateur radio industry folks and local government folks so anyone with a question can seek feedback and research from this group either at the industry level or the community level.

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

Cemetery Perpetual Care Bill Sent to the Governor

Senate Bill 1125, has been sent to the governor. This legislation that would Public Act 215 of 1937, which authorizes municipalities to own or control cemetery or burial grounds.

The bill would allow a municipality to establish an endowment and perpetual care fund for a municipally owned cemetery as part of an agreement with a community foundation.

It would also require the community foundation to authorize the disbursement of earnings
from the fund to the municipality for care and maintenance of the cemetery. The bill would also require the cemetery to maintain records regarding the use of earnings from
the fund.

In addition the bill would allow the community foundation’s fees and costs associated with the agreement to be paid from the principal of the fund and specify information that the community foundation would have to include in an annual audit.

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

Legislation Allowing Golf Carts on Local Roads Sent to the Governor

HB 5045 which allows golf carts on local roads sent to the Governor. 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

Governor Snyder Announces Bipartisan Deal on Transportation Funding

The League supports a transportation funding solution that covers all forms of transportation, not just roads.

The League supports a transportation funding solution that covers all forms of transportation, not just roads.

Governor Snyder announced today (Dec. 18, 2014) that he and legislative leaders have come to an agreement on transportation funding. All votes from the House and Senate are expected today.

The plan calls for several statutory changes and is heavily reliant on a 1% increase in sales tax that will be put on the ballot May 2015. If all is approved, it will raise about $1.3 billion annually for roads and transit. The package also includes additional funding for local governments outside of the road funding formula.

The League and its partners are still combing through the details of the plan and we will have a full analysis to the members as soon as possible.

Here are some of the details that have emerged: This is a comprehensive proposal to address the dramatic shortfall that exists in Michigan’s transportation system. The announced plan is contingent upon voter approval, but provides significant new money do address our deteriorating transportation system.  Some key funding components of the plan include:

  • $1.2 billion annually of new money for roads
  • $94 million of new money for local government
  • $112 million for transit
  • $300 million for schools

Click here for a decent breakdown of the transportation funding plan, with additional details, by the Associated Press.

League members with additional questions about the plan can contact the League’s John LaMacchia II a jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

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

 

Bill Creating a Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act Sent to the Governor

This afternoon House Bill 5397 was sent to the governor after unanimously passing the Senate. This bill creating the Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act and would enable municipalities that own electric utilities to establish a program to help provide financing to residential property owners for energy efficiency projects. This is modeled after the PACE Act.

This legislation passed the full House prior to the legislative recess in June on a 108 to 2 vote.

This is an idea that was brought to Rep. Joe Haveman’s attention by the city of Holland who would like the opportunity to create a program such as this. The League has been supportive of this bill throughout the process and is very pleased that it has been sent to the Governor.

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

Congress Passes $1.1 Trillion Budget Extension – Doesn’t Include Marketplace Fairness

Congress passed a $1.1 Trillion budget bill, which is a combination of an omnibus budget and continuing resolution, funding most of the federal government through Sept 30, 2015. However, the Department of Homeland Security only received funding through February 27th, 2015. Overall, the bill increases federal spending for the year by $1.1 Billion; 1.8% for non-defense spending, which is still negative growth when adjusted for inflation. The budget held a mixed bag of results for local leaders. First, the biggest disappointment was that Marketplace Fairness did not get included in the mix. Marketplace Fairness would have leveled the playing field for brick and mortar businesses with online retailers, which don’t have to remit sales taxes.

Specifically, in the budget, TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grants were reduced by 16%, but transit programs saw an increase in $141 million. Federal highway programs maintained their level of funding. CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) funding was reduced by $30 million and a provision was included which bans locals from selling CDBG grants to other communities. There was also a reduction in HOME (Home Investment Partnerships Program) funds of $100 million, bringing that down to $900 million.

Summer Minnick is the Director of Policy initiatives and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at 517-908-0301 or sminnick@mml.org.

 

Transportation Funding Talks Ongoing: Stay Tuned, We May Need You

The League supports a comprehensive transportation funding solution that services all modes of transportation, including roads, rails, trails, and ports.

The League supports a comprehensive transportation funding solution that services all modes of transportation, including roads, rails, trails, and ports.

Usually the term is “hurry up and wait,” but this week when it comes to transportation funding in Lansing it’s more like “wait and possibly hurry up.”

That’s the situation currently at the state Capitol. Michigan legislators have been meeting behind closed doors to come up with a transportation funding package. The Michigan Municipal League is anxiously waiting to see what they’ll come up with. Once the League learns what the proposal is we could very well be asking our members to do a “hurry up and do XYZ” scenario. So we’re asking our members to be in stand-by mode and ready to make phone calls and send emails if necessary.

Of course, we’re hoping the lawmakers come up with a transportation funding solution that does not negatively impact communities. If that happens, we may ask you to contact your lawmakers in support of the plan.

Here are some links to recent blogs we’ve written on the issue that explain what’s happened up to this point:

Dec. 12: Transportation Funding Bills Sent to Conference

Dec. 9: League Needs Your Help on Transportation Issue

Dec. 8: Ask Michigan Senators to Pass Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan

Related: Bills Requiring Regulation of Transportation Network Companies Dead This Session!

For questions regarding the transportation funding issue, contact the League’s John LaMacchia II at jlamacchia@mml.org and 517-908-0303.

Michigan Water Environment Association to Host Seminar on Infrastructure Project Funding

Utility systems are continually being challenged to provide quality services while budgets are being decreased. This seminar has been developed to provide relevant information to Utility Owners, Managers, Superintendents, and Consultants associated with infrastructure systems. Attendees will be informed of current funding programs and what other utilities are doing to stay ahead of today’s challenges with infrastructure systems.

For more information on this helpful seminar being hosted by the Michigan Water Environment Association please click on the following link. 2015 Infrastructure Postcard

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.

Call for Projects: Federal Land Access Program

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Eastern Federal Lands (EFL) Division will be accepting applications for Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) funding, in order to develop a four year program of projects for Fiscal Years (FY) 2015 through FY 2018. EFL will accept applications via electronic submittal only, from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015.

Projects eligible for FLAP funding include transportation facilities such as a public highway, road, bridge, trail, or transit system that is located on, adjacent to, or provides access to Federal lands for which title or maintenance responsibility is vested in a State, county, town, township, tribal, municipal, or local government. Generally, a 20% matching share of the project total is required for this program.

Examples of projects that are eligible for funding include transportation planning, research, engineering, preventive maintenance, rehabilitation, restoration, construction, and reconstruction of Federal Lands located on or adjacent to, or that provide access to a Federal land (adjacent vehicular parking areas; acquisition of necessary scenic easements and scenic or historic sites; provisions for pedestrians and bicycles; environmental mitigation in or adjacent to Federal land to improve public safety and reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality while maintaining habitat connectivity; construction and reconstruction of roadside rest areas, including sanitary and water facilities); Operation and maintenance of transit facilities. However, Michigan projects should focus on construction or preventative maintenance of the existing eligible transportation facilities.

For more information please click here.

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

Governor Snyder Approves Financial Assistance to Local Governments Affected by Spring Flooding, Deep Freeze

Governor Rick Snyder has approved more than $2.7 million from the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to provide financial assistance to Michigan counties and communities impacted by last spring’s flooding disaster and deep freeze emergency.

Eligible local governments affected by the flooding or deep freeze were allowed to apply for assistance grants for up to $100,000 or 10 percent of the previous year’s operating budget, whichever is less.

The Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund is used when communities demonstrate an exhaustion of local resources during a disaster or emergency. The money can be applied toward the immediate prevention, response and recovery of a disaster or emergency, as well as cover overtime for public employees, contracts used during the response, shelter supplies, gasoline used during the response and repair of public buildings and infrastructure.

Under extraordinary circumstances, the governor may authorize reimbursement from the fund to provide state assistance to counties and municipalities when federal assistance is not available.

Snyder declared a “state of disaster” on April 17 for Newaygo and Osceola counties due to severe weather and widespread flooding. On May 7, the disaster declaration was amended to include Isabella, Mecosta, Missaukee, Muskegon, Roscommon and Wexford counties.

Snyder declared a “state of emergency” for Marquette County on April 17 due to the damage caused by last winter’s extremely cold temperatures and deep frost levels. On May 7, the emergency declaration was amended to include Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Delta, Emmet, Gogebic, Luce and Mackinac counties.

In July, the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division was notified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that northern Michigan communities affected by the deep freeze did not meet the required statewide federal threshold for consideration for a presidential disaster declaration.

In October, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved more than $7.6 million in aid to communities in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula through the Community Development Block Grant program to assist in repairing critical infrastructure damaged by last winter’s deep freeze.

The state of Michigan continues to monitor the situation and is looking at all options to ensure communities recover and rebuild after these incidents.

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