MAC COVID-19 Update
MAC ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to back direct aid to counties via 'COVID 3.5' proposal

Michigan county leaders are urged to contact their members of Congress to endorse a new funding proposal that would direct $29.5 billion directly to counties to maintain fiscal stability during the corona crisis.
The proposal would:
  • Direct the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to directly distribute $29.5 billion to counties across the country.

  • Allow the funds to be used both to replace lost revenue due to the crisis and cover expenses generated by it.
“The reports we are receiving from members have two themes – rising costs, falling revenues,” said MAC Executive Director Stephan Currie. “Public health, public safety and key business support services must be maintained in this crisis, yet our members see funds dropping.”
NACo advises this is the best possible deal for counties right now, and leverage to enact it cannot be higher. Any delay puts vital rescue funds at risk for most Michigan counties, north and south, east and west.
Click on the link below to connect to our digital advocacy center to send your pre-drafted message of support.
Gov. Whitmer addresses MAC Board in virtual meeting

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer met with the MAC Board of Directors today via virtual conferencing to update county leaders on the state’s work against the COVID-19 pandemic and planning for reopening segments of Michigan’s economy.

Whitmer opened by noting the unprecedented times the state, nation and planet are facing and the complexity and stakes involved in each decision, saying that the order to stop in-person K-12 classes meant “three-quarters of a million children” would not be receiving the free/subsidized meals they typically would in their cafeterias.

On re-opening the economy, the governor emphasized the need to be extremely cautious and that Michigan faces a long process ahead. She added that a resurgence of infections would be devastating to our residents and our economy.

Following her remarks, she took questions submitted by Board members on:

  • Plan/timing for easing restrictions – The governor is pleased with the results of the aggressive actions taken in Michigan but is not ready yet “to spike the football.” She will work on phasing out the Stay at Home order. She said consultations with other governors in region are going well and that the biggest obstacle right now is the lack of swabs and reagents for testing kits. She said Michigan could double or triple the daily testing with such supplies.

  • Sharing money from the federal CARES Act with locals – Whitmer said many local expenses should be covered by FEMA disaster relief funds and that she’s asked for a waiver to the current 75/25 cost share so that the federal government would pay 100 percent of the expenses.
  • The governor also said she is seeking flexibility in CARES Act funds, which are now limited to cost reimbursements.

  • Why did the state proceed with May 5 election? – The governor said it’s critically important to maintain our democracy and elections are essential to that, noting that even during the Civil War elections were held. She is encouraging everyone to vote by mail.

In closing, she said that closer as May 1 approaches, she will look at loosening current restrictions, looking at questions of outdoor work vs. indoor work, the nature of the work, how much the activities require interaction with the public, etc., but wanted to see a 14-day period of steady declines cases.

After hearing from the governor, the Board received reports from Executive Director Stephan Currie and staff on MAC’s financial, legislative and communication activities.

In response to the extraordinary circumstances of recent weeks, the Board decided to extend the terms of current Board officers for an additional year, so President Veronica Klinefelt, First Vice President Phil Kuyers and Second Vice President Stan Ponstein will continue to their roles until the MAC Annual Conference in September 2021.
White house sends out summary of support for Michigan

Michigan has received $171 million via the federal Department of Health and Human Services alone to combat the coronavirus, noted a statement issued by the White House this week.

The document also reported:

  • “As a result of the CARES Act, the SBA created four additional loan/funding programs to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19. As of April 16, the SBA issued over $10.3 B in loans to over 43,000 Michigan small businesses.”
  • “On April 9, USDA approved Michigan as the first State to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT), a new program authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.”
  • Almost 2 million masks of all varieties and 60 million surgical/exam gloves have been provided via Project Air Bridge.
Army Corps expert: Water has ‘few places to go right now’

Michigan’s soils are saturated, and water has “few places to go right now,” said a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expert during a MAC Virtual Conference webinar workshop today.

Deanna Apps of the Corps also noted that the Great Lakes Basin has seen an extended period of extraordinary precipitation and that this past December and January were well above average for water, though February was below average. She said forecasts now see Great Lakes levels reaching back to record high marks seen during the summer of 2019.

The webinar was the first of three events planned this week for the Virtual Conference.

On Wednesday, a webinar will focus on the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act, while on Thursday, the MAC team will broadcast a live edition of Podcast 83.

To pre-register for an upcoming event or view a video of a prior event, visit our conference page.

Shirkey added for April 29 discussion

While COVID-19 will be with us for months to come, state leaders are offering plans to bring more businesses back online. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey will join MAC on April 29 to present the Senate GOP plan and take questions from county leaders on the details and challenges ahead.

Workshop: Comments on Reopening Michigan
April 29, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Furloughs, layoffs still rare among Michigan counties
The vast majority of counties in Michigan are still not engaged in employee furloughs or layoffs due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to results from MAC’s latest survey.

With about 2/3 of counties reporting as of Monday afternoon, fewer than 10 counties had furloughs or layoffs in operation; and in most of those, the number of employees affected was small.

Responding to new questions in the survey on hazard pay, only Clare and Wexford counties said they were engaged in the practice, though others said it was under consideration. Most counties said they would be interested in a hazard pay plan if they were reimbursed for costs, presumably by the state or federal governments.

To see full results, click here .
House Republicans release economic ‘roadmap’

The concept is based on a tier system of counties, though only Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are specifically mentioned in the current document.

Other counties would be assigned a status based on several criteria.
NACo continues push for 'COVID 3.5' plan; burdens on counties growing

The National Association of Counties (NACo), with backing from state associations like MAC and individual county leaders, continues to urge enactment of the “COVID 3.5” proposal, which would mean billions in direct payments to counties on the front lines of the crisis.

While Michigan does not rely on direct sales or income taxes, as do counties in some other states, MAC has received reports from members that substantial losses are expected in property taxes, the key to all county services.

As of mid-afternoon, more than 90 county leaders had sent messages to Congress via MAC’s Advocacy Center.

If you have not sent your message, please follow the link above or the one at the top of today’s Daily Update. Your congressional leaders need to hear from you.
Critical infrastructure group gets report on cases

Overall, Michigan is trending down on coronavirus, but the state is seeing increases in counties that have not seen large numbers of cases, officials with a “critical infrastructure and essential worker” study group were told this morning.

For example*:

  • Kent County on Monday had its largest number of new cases yet at 47
  • Benzie County, the last county without a case, now has 4

 In other news, the group, in which MAC participates, was told:

  • All critical infrastructure workers can get a test regardless if they have symptoms -- so long as the tests are available.
  • Local public health departments now have an additional tool to assist in tracking COVID cases throughout the state that incorporates digital input of contacts.    
  • Miss Dig is getting more requests to flag for projects starting after May 1, evidence that more people are really planning on getting back to semi-normal after April 30. These requests are mostly from contractors, not homeowners.

For more information on this group’s work, contact Deena Bosworth at

*As of 10 a.m. on Tuesday.