Oct. 18, 2019
Top News
Budget talks continue at Capitol
Bills for 4-year terms clear House committee
Legislature adopts 'Raise the Age' standards for 17-year-olds

MAC holds 'summit' with clerks, treasurers, RDs
MAC met with representatives of the association for county clerks, treasurers and registers of deeds on Monday to discuss legislative action in Lansing. Among the key issues identified were four-year terms for commissioners, pending litigation over tax foreclosures, the effects on vote-counting procedures from Michigan’s liberalized absentee ballot rules and the property tax exemption for veterans. MAC began these “summit” sessions earlier this year to enhance collaboration among county groups and boost counties’ voices in Lansing. On Wednesday, the House Elections Committee discussed several pieces of legislation involving four-year terms and absentee ballots.
STATE BUDGET
Budget talks continue at Capitol; 45 counties have listed losses
While no progress was made this week in restoring funding for a variety of county programs that were blocked by line item vetoes by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, legislative leaders and the governor are now trying to find a path forward.

A key sticking point is the governor’s recent use of the State Administrative Board to move funds within departments in ways that were not approved by the Legislature. Legislative leaders are hesitant to send to the governor the funding bills which would compensate for the vetoes without some assurance from the governor that the funding shifts won’t happen again.

On the flip side, the governor used her powers to send a strong message to the Legislature that she has priorities that were not adequately reflected in the budget bills they sent to her in September.

So, the stalemate continues in Lansing -- and which means county leaders are left to make plans to compensate for millions in lost funding. As of Thursday evening, MAC had gathered reports from 45 counties with losses totaling about $21 million.

Both sides in Lansing are talking, though, and MAC remains hopeful that the vetoed funding will be restored in the next few weeks.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.
COUNTY ELECTIONS
Bills for 4-year terms clear House committee
Bills that would lengthen a county commissioner term to four years passed their first hurdle this week, with the House Committee on Elections unanimously approving House Bills 4937-38.

The bills, by Reps. Sarah Lightner (R-Jackson) and Ann Bollin (R-Livingston), are strongly supported by MAC and would adopt four-year terms starting with the elections of 2022.

The House bills now move to the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Brandt Iden (R-Kalamazoo), which must approve them before they go to the House floor.

Similar legislation in the Senate, Senate Bills 504-505 by Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Dickinson), is still in the Senate Local Government Committee, but expected to be voted out to the Senate floor in October.

MAC will continue to work on behalf of these bills and encourages counties to consider passing resolutions of support ( see template here) and commissioners to send a pre-drafted message to legislators via our digital advocacy center.

For more information on this issue, please contact Deena Bosworth at bosworth@micounties.org.
JUVENILE JUSTICE
Legislature adopts 'Raise the Age' standards on 17-year-olds
Legislation that ends Michigan practice of automatically charging 17-year-old defendants as adults cleared the Capitol this week and was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The governor is expected to sign the bills.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Michigan law will handle most 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system. MAC had long expressed concerns to legislators about the financial and service implications of this shift.

However, after much negotiation, changes to the bills addressed those concerns, allowing MAC to support the final versions. (See at right.)

Under the tweaked package, counties will be reimbursed 100 percent by the state for 17-year-olds through the Child Care Fund beginning Oct. 1, 2021. After three years of actual cost data is collected, the state will calculate that cost and spread it over the entire population, so all youths are funded at the same rate.

Additionally, SB102 creates a “Raise the Age” fund to address costs not eligible through the Child Care Fund, such as judicial costs. Any increased costs to the judicial process by moving 17-year-olds to the juvenile courts can be submitted for reimbursement through the new fund.

For more information on this topic, contact Meghann Keit at keit@micounties.org.
INDIGENT DEFENSE
Indigent Defense Commission approves FY20 contract
Contract language between the state and counties/courts for fiscal 2020 was approved this week by the Michigan Indigent Commission this week.

MAC appreciates the hard work of member counties to make recommended changes to the originally proposed contract language. 

The final agreement retains a disbursement structure in which a 50 percent initial advance will be provided within 15 days of executing the contract. A subsequent disbursement of 25 percent will be sent on May 15 and again on Aug. 14. As required this year, the disbursements are contingent upon quarterly reporting on MIDC-created financial status reports, along with substantiating documentation. The reporting schedule is outlined in the agreement.

The FY20 appropriation for MIDC grants of $81 million was not one of the items vetoed by the governor.

Counties also should remember that, per statute, “Identified unexpended grant funds must be reported by indigent criminal defense systems on or before Oct. 31 of each year.” If you need additional information on reporting, please contact your regional manager or you can view a webinar and information here.

For more information on this issue, contact Meghann Keit at keit@micounties.org.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
MSUE seminar will review budget processes
MSU Extension’s next seminar, “Building a Better Budget Process in Local Government,” will focus on how local governments put together their budgets.

“Financial sustainability for local governments depends on a broad array of people in the decision-making process. In this workshop, participants will discuss and learn strategies to help those with a stake in the ongoing financial health of their government encourage better, more sustainable decision-making. Local governments will have the opportunity to consider their own budget process and examine how the process could be improved to encourage sustainability throughout the decision-making process and consider specific tools to help encourage a collaborative budget process.”

Please note: The workshop will be offered in East Lansing on Nov. 4 and Gaylord on Nov. 7, both from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. See the event flier for additional details.

Registration costs $20 and is available at https://events.anr.msu.edu/BetterBudgets/.

For more information on MSUE events, contact Eric Walcott at walcott3@msu.edu.
NATIONAL NEWS FROM NACo
TRANSPORTATION
TAMC releases PA 325 update; attend Oct. 30 event in Marquette
The Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) has released a letter to update local road agencies on progress on issues and schedules related to Public Act 325.


TAMC also is holding a Fall Transportation Asset Management Conference at the Holiday Inn of Marquette on Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Registration costs for public agencies are $65. To register, please call the Center for Technology & Training at 906-487-2102 or go to http://ctt.nonprofitsoapbox.com/2019tamconference-fall.

To make hotel reservations, call the Holiday Inn at 906-225-1351 and use the Code TAM for reserving rooms at the State of Michigan Rate of $85.

Among the sessions planned are:

  • Reporting on and forecast of Michigan road conditions
  • Reporting on and forecast of Michigan bridge conditions
  • TAMC’s response to Public Act 325 of 2018
  • Treatment costs and life cycle performance using IRT data

MAC is a co-sponsor of the event on behalf of Michigan’s counties. MAC is represented on TAMC by Christopher Bolt, managing director of the Jackson County Department of Transportation.
MAC SERVICES
Download MAC app
MAC's full-service association app, MICounties, is available for FREE at the App Store and Google Play. It provides information about MAC conferences, legislative resources (committees, schedules, bill tracking) and MAC services.

Tips for your new app:

  • The app is FREE for download.
  • Be sure to search for "MI Counties" (Apple) or "MICounties" (Google) to ease the downloading process.
  • Registering for the app gives you access to all of its features
  • The menu button, see it highlighted in image below, is your navigation tool through each of the three sections of the app.
For more information on the app, contact Derek Melot at 517-372-5374 or melot@micounties.org .

MAC SERVICES
Have a job to fill? MAC can help
Need to fill a key position in your county team? MAC can help. Our Jobs Hub page is the go-to source for county leaders looking to find the best employees. A $75 fee covers a posting of up to 30 days, along with promotion via MAC's social media channels

Jobs now to be found at the hub:

  • Administrator, Iron County Medical Care Facility
  • Financial Services Director, Ingham County
  • County Clerk, Emmet County
  • Central Dispatch Director, Newaygo County

For more information, visit the MAC Jobs Hub or contact Derek Melot, melot@micounties.org or 517-372-5374.
MAC SERVICES
Have you joined MAC's Commissioners Forum?
MAC's online message board allows county commissioners to share challenges, solutions and ideas with their colleagues. You must register to use the message board. Easy-to-follow instructions for registration can be found here.

For more information on the Forum, contact Derek Melot, melot@micounties.org or 517-372-5374.
The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC), founded on February 1, 1898, is the only statewide organization dedicated to the representation of all county commissioners in Michigan.
MAC is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization which advances education, communication and cooperation among county government officials in Michigan. MAC is the counties' voice at the State Capitol, providing legislative support on key issues affecting counties.
Michigan Association of Counties
110 W. Michigan Ave. Suite 200,
Lansing, MI 48933
Tel: (800) 258-1152 or (517) 372-5374
Fax: (517)482-4599