Treasury Posts PPT Reimbursement Calculators

Following the recent distribution of Personal Property Tax reimbursement payments to municipalities, the Local Community Stabilization Authority sent the letter linked below to the League explaining the basis of these payments and providing a link to the Michigan Department of Treasury’s web page where Treasury has now provided access to reimbursement calculators to help municipalities understand the basis for these payments. treasury-lcsa-distrubution-letter

For communities with questions about last month’s payment, please review these calculators for additional detail:

Personal Property Tax Reimbursements

Beginning for calendar year 2016, the Local Community Stabilization Authority (LCSA) Act, 2014 Public Act 86, (MCL 123.1341 to 123.1362) requires personal property tax reimbursement for all operating and debt millages.

Personal Property Tax 2016 Reimbursement Presentation

Other Municipalities

Tax Increment Finance Authorities

Reimbursement Priority

The Local Community Stabilization Authority shall distribute reimbursements in the following order of priority:

  1. 100% reimbursement for:
    1. Local school district and intermediate school district (ISD) school debt loss in the current year and local school district sinking funding millage and public recreation and playground millage;
    2. ISD operating millage;
    3. School operating loss not reimbursed by the school aid fund;
    4. Millages used to fund essential services (police, fire, ambulance, and jails);
    5. Decline in the tax increment finance (TIF) plan captured value of commercial and industrial personal property; and
    6. 2015 small taxpayer exemption loss.
  2. Reimbursement for other millages are prorated and may be less than or more than 100%, depending on total calculated losses compared to available Local Community Stabilization Share (LCSS) revenue. The LCSS revenue is derived from the State Use Tax.

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

Urgent, Contact Your State Representative Today Opposing Senate Bills 579 and 619-624. TIF Library Opt Out Package

A seven-bill package, SB 579 and 619-624,  is on the House agenda for second reading tomorrow when they return to session. This legislation is one vote away from heading to the Governor’s desk. The package of bills allows separate millages for library purposes to opt-out of tax capture. The League is opposed to this legislation as it is (1) retroactive and (2) does not have a mechanism to address authorities with bonded indebtedness or other obligations using this capture for repayment.

This legislation is a slippery slope and ripe for amendments that could be offered tomorrow which would exclude capture of County millages, or even all special millages. This is also a piecemeal approach after all the time and effort put in to broader TIF reform work the League and a comprehensive set of stakeholders have worked on over the past year.

Contact your State Representative TODAY and urge them to oppose this package of bills. Encourage your municipal colleagues, community groups and business owners in your DDA or other TIF districts to do the same.

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.

 

 

Legislation Prevents Local Ordinances Regulating Drone Use

SB 992 was passed out of House Committee this week and action is expected on the House floor early next week. This legislation provides a regulatory framework for individuals to legally operate drones in Michigan. It also sets forth provisions that an individual operator must follow or be subject to criminal penalties. Finally the bill sets up a task-force to put forward additional policy recommendations on the use of drones in Michigan.

Unfortunately though this bill removes the ability for local units of government to adopt their own ordinances regulating drone usage within their community. We have had conversations with the sponsor and as a result were able to secure direct representation on the task-force to address usage at the local level, but could not come to an agreement on striking the preemption language.

Should you have concerns about local preemption of drones please reach out to your Representative to share those concerns.

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.

Bill Requiring Communities To Use Qualifications-Based Selection Put On Hold Until Next Year

House Local Government Committee took testimony on HB 5238 but no vote was taken and the bill will need to be reintroduced next year. This bill would have required all cities and villages to use a Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) procurement process when acquiring architectural and engineering services.

UBS is a competitive procurement process in which engineering firms submit qualifications to the community. The Community would then assess the expertise of the competing firms and select the most qualified firm. Once selected the community would negotiate the project scope and associated fee. If the community and the most qualified firm cannot reach an agreement on project scope, schedule and budget, the community then negotiates with the next most qualified firm.

While there are many communities in Michigan that utilize a QBS process, The League feels that mandating this process on communities is not appropriate. While saving are possible the use of this process cannot guarantee those savings will actually occur. We oppose this legislation and are pleased it will not see action during lame-duck this year.

The League firmly believes that communities should have local control when procuring architectural and engineering services and should not be mandated to follow any one specific process.

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 Snyder Signs Recreational Authorities Bill with Support from Big Rapids and League

The League's Chris Hackbarth and League Member and Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba (green tie) joined Governor Rick Snyder in signing HB 4578.

The League’s Chris Hackbarth and League Member and Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba (green tie) joined Governor Rick Snyder in signing HB 4578.

Today, the Michigan Municipal League’s Chris Hackbarth and League Member and Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba joined Governor Rick Snyder in signing House Bill 4578.

The new law clarifies the use of tax proceeds by a recreational authority and is expanded to include school districts. Working in conjunction with officials from the City of Big Rapids, the League was successful in getting the legislation approved with support from bill sponsors Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart; and Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac. View a previous blog about the legislation here.

The legislation, modeled on similar legislation from previous sessions, expands the definition of an eligible municipality to include a school district. This change also allows a city, village, or township to partner with a school district to form a recreation authority allowing broader access to recreation programming and facilities throughout a region.

Thank you to Mayor Warba and other Big Rapids area officials for their support on this bill! We also like to thank bill sponsors Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart; and Rep. Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac.

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

House Shelves Plans for OPEB Reform During Lame Duck

During an early morning hearing today, the House Local Government committee deferred action on comprehensive retiree health care reform (OPEB) until next term.  The only bill in the original 13-bill package to see any further debate was House Bill 6075, a bill focused on reporting/transparency of retiree pension and health liabilities. This bill was reported from the committee and awaits action on the House floor.

The Michigan Municipal League has long cited the need to address the high cost of retirement health insurance while maintaining options for health care for municipal retirees. Although the League offered conceptual support for this proposal, the complexity of the issue makes it difficult to thoroughly consider during the lame duck environment.  For that reason, the League requested the House delay action on this proposal and allow for the opportunity to work with Gov. Rick Snyder, the incoming Legislature, and all of the relevant interest groups in the next term.

Over the course of the current legislative term, the League has pursued a comprehensive policy agenda aimed at reforming Michigan’s broken municipal finance system.  The agenda involves reform to cost drivers, restoration and diversity of revenue options, and the reviewing the structure of local government. Thoughtful OPEB reform remains an important component of the League’s municipal finance initiative, which we will continue to pursue in the new year.

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

21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report Released

Today the 21st Century Infrastructure Commission released a 188-page report on improving Michigan’s infrastructure and strengthening our economy. The reports Vision Statement is as follows: Michigan will lead the nation in creating a 21st Century infrastructure system that will include innovative technology, sustainable funding solutions, sound economic principals and integrated asset management and investment approach that will enhance Michiganders’ quality of life and build strong communities for the future.

The report highlights that a 21st Century Michigan is one where the state’s infrastructure system supports economic prosperity, promotes a healthy environment, provides reliable and high quality services and ensure we get the most value from limited financial resources. To maintain Michigan’s status as a global leader the report suggest that we must look at infrastructure in an integrated and holistic way. This means further promoting asset management, coordinated planning, sustainable funding and emerging technologies.

Recommendations within the report are focused in four key areas: Water, Transportation, Energy and Communications. In each of these categories there are many issue that impact our communities. A few key recommendations within this reports are continued investment in green infrastructure, rightsizing our roadways with a focus on placemaking, offering more robust nonmotorized transportation options and investment in transit across Michigan.

The bottom line is that this will cost money. The report indicates that Michigan will need an additional $4 billion per year, and $60 billion over the next 20 years, to meets the needs of our transportation, water, energy and communication infrastructure. A mix of sources will be relied on for these funding increases including federal, state and local funding, user fees and private investment. An important takeaway is that the report suggests giving more authority to locals to raise the funds necessary to maintain their infrastructure. Some of the suggestions offered are a local gas tax, local registration fee, local sales tax or impact fees from land developments that burden road systems.

The 21st Century Infrastructure Reports was designed to identify the scope of the problem and offer a menu of options to solve that problem. There is no question that the need for further investment exists, and the desire of the Governor and the Commissioners that put this report together is to begin working on those solutions immediately.

For the Executive Summary click here, for the full report 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.

Lame Duck Legislative Work Underway; Sign up for Inside 208 Updates!

subscribe-here-arrowThe Lame Duck session of the state Legislature is in full swing and there are a number of key issues potentially impacting your communities that the Michigan Municipal League is working on and watching. WE MAY NEED YOUR HELP over the next several days as the Legislature currently has session scheduled through Dec. 15.

For regular updates on what is happening, the League strongly encourages you to sign up to receive email alerts from our Legislative blog, Inside 208. Please go here and sign up in the “subscribe” box on the right side of the page by typing in your email address. This is a free service provided to League members and you will receive emails each time a new Inside 208 blog is posted about the latest Legislative activity happening in Lansing. As issues arise, the League will be posting regularly on Inside 208 and we may be asking you to contact your Legislators on various bills.

Currently, there are multiple pieces of legislation the League is following that could have both a positive and/or a negative impact on your communities.

Some of major issues we have blogged about so far include bills to reform Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) or retirement health care, changes to Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Authorities, a bill that limits local control on transportation network companies and taxis (think Uber and Lyft), new economic development tools, and potential energy reform.

Please help us by signing up to receive our Inside 208 blog emails during this quickly-moving, ever-changing Lame Duck legislative sessions.

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

House Passes Six Bill TIF Reform Package Yesterday

House bills 5851-5856 are headed to the Senate for consideration. The six bill package which severely hinders a Downtown Development Authority and other TIF authorities ability to capture special millages was voted out of the House yesterday afternoon.

Language in this package defining what a new special millage is considered is vague. As the language is currently written, it will be easy to qualify existing special millages as new to avoid TIF authorities from capturing dollars needed to cover existing debt and other obligations. The League will continue to work to have the language amended and post updates as we have information to report.

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.

Local Rail Grade Crossing Surface Funds

A new funding source, sought by Michigan railroads, is available beginning winter 2017 to local road agencies for improving rail grade crossing surfaces on roads under the jurisdiction of the county road agency/department, cities or villages. Projects utilizing
the Local Grade Crossing Surface Account will be 60 percent covered by the account, with the remaining 40 percent being funded by the railroad company.

The legislative intent of this Act 51 carve-out is to provide financial assistance for railroads to improve crossings on active rail lines.In 2017, $3 million will be made available for local rail grade crossing projects.

Eligibility: Eligible projects are limited to crossing repair work that is normally the responsibility of the railroad in accordance with PA 354 of 1993.

How to Prepare:  Get an estimate for improving the crossing from the railroad company responsible for it. Be sure they agree to pay 40 percent of the overall project. Make sure ADTs (average daily traffic) are accurate and up to date.

How to Submit: MDOT’s new application will be available in December 2016. The form will look similar to the application used on the warning device safety improvement program. It will be a simple one-page form, and will be released with submission instructions.

Timeframe: Once the estimated one-month submission window closes, local road agencies can expect to hear about applications within a month. MDOT expects to
authorize projects 4-8 weeks after project selections are made.

Projects are Prioritized Based on:

  1. Validated vehicular traffic volume (ADT);
  2. Relative surface condition (RSC);
  3. Ability of local agency and railroad to coordinate repairs with adjacent road work: and
  4. The availability of funding

Projects will be ranked by ADT and RSC. After the top candidate in both categories within each MDOT Region has been selected, the next-in-line projects statewide will be funded until applications or annual budget is exhausted.

Please click on the following link for the Michigan Railroads Association Surface Grade Crossing Railroad Contact list. 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.