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Officials from Birmingham, Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Hazel Park Elected to Statewide Municipal Leaders Association

clock September 18, 2013 18:31 by author Matt Bach

League CEO Dan Gilmartin swears in newly elected and re-elected board members Jack B. O'Reilly Jr., Mayor of Dearborn; Edward Klobucher, Hazel Park City Manager; Dan Greer, Jackson City Council member; Robert Brunner, Birmingham City Manager; and Debra Greene, Rogers City Mayor Pro Tem. Not pictured is Grand Rapids Councilmember Rosalynn Bliss.

DETROIT, Michigan - Today, the members of Michigan Municipal League elected four new members to the statewide MML Board of Trustees and re-elected two other board members.

During the League’s Annual Meeting at its 2013 Convention Sept. 18 in Detroit, the League membership elected as new board members Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids Commissioner; Robert Bruner, Birmingham City Manager; Edward Klobucher, Hazel Park City Manager; and Jack B. O’Reilly, Jr., Dearborn Mayor. Also re-elected to the 19-person board were Debra Greene, Rogers City Mayor Pro Tem, and Daniel Greer, Jackson Councilmember.

The League board also selected its 2013-14 officers. Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan was named League President and Wakefield Mayor Dick Bolen was selected as vice president. As vice president, Bolen is in line to become the League president next year.

The six newly elected trustees join Executive Director & CEO Dan Gilmartin and the other volunteers who remain on the 2013-14 Board: Lois Allen-Richardson, Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem; Steve Baker, Berkley City Councilmember; Susan Baldwin, Battle Creek Mayor; Ricci Bandkau, Brighton City Councilmember; Dick Bolen, Wakefield Mayor; Steve Brock, Farmington Hills City Manager; Scott Erickson, Ironwood City Manager; Kathie Grinzinger, Mt. Pleasant City Manager; Rebecca Hopp, Ferrysburg Councilmember; Pauline Repp, Port Huron Mayor; Nathan Triplett, East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem; and Adam Umbrasas, Three Oaks Village Manager.

The board also thanked Linden Mayor David Lossing, Saginaw City Councilmember Amos O’Neal, and Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley for their years of service on the board.

For photos of the League board members go to this Michigan Municipal League “Award Winners and Appointments” set on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/michigancommunities/sets/72157635396981216/. Photos can be downloaded from the League’s flickr page for free. We just ask that the following photo credit be given: Photo Courtesy of the Michigan Municipal League/mml.org.

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League Convention 2013 Opens with Community Excellence Presentations, Parade of Flags

clock September 18, 2013 14:24 by author Elizabeth Shaw

Welcome to the Michigan Municipal League 2013 Convention in Detroit!
The first day officially began with the Welcome General Session on Wednesday morning, featuring the ever-popular Parade of Flags and the welcoming words of League President David Lossing and Detroit City Council President Saunteel Jenkins, who described the Convention as “an opportunity to learn from each other, exchange ideas and build resources” that will hopefully continue on long after the Convention as we all work together for a better Michigan. The week is also a great chance to “see Detroit as it is, not as it’s reported to be,” said Jenkins.
Today’s food truck lunch at Milliken Park on the riverfront was a perfect example, as municipal officials from around the state got to sample the wares of this exciting new entrepreneurial placemaking trend that is sweeping the nation.
And of course, the best part of the Welcome General Session every year is the long-awaited presentations of the Community Excellence Award nominees. You would have to have been here to get the full impact of these incredible showstoppers but here’s what they were about:
Region 1
Fenton, Holly, & Linden—Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail
The Shiawassee River Heritage Water has seen increased recreational activity on the Shiawassee River over the last decade through intergovernmental and public partnership efforts including promotional signs in Holly, Fenton, Linden, and Argentine and Holly Townships; mile markers along the river to inform paddlers of their location, promotional brochures, annual cleanups, canoe and kayak races from Holly to Fenton, and moonlight paddle events.
Region 2
St. Joseph—Silver Beach Development
For many decades vacant property and antiquated industrial buildings dotted the city's lakefront. In 2006, the Silver Beach Committee was formed to acquire the property. After seven years of planning and over $8,200,000 in fundraising, the community christened Silver Beach in 2010,  which includes the Silver Beach Carousel, the Curious Kids' Discovery Zone, and Michigan's largest interactive water fountain.
Region 3
Belding—Community Garden
The Community Garden Group, in affiliation with Belding Area Schools and the city of Belding, built the Belding Community Garden in the spring of 2012. The garden is accessible to all residents of Belding and surrounding areas. It provides social, educational, and nutritional opportunities to those who may not otherwise have access
Region 4
DeWitt—Community Showcase
The 1st Annual 2012 DeWitt Community Showcase was held in April of 2012 at the DeWitt High School, a collaboration of the city of DeWitt, DeWitt Township, and DeWitt Public Schools. The free event included a “Taste of DeWitt,” student art pieces, student performances, and exhibits by over 100 area businesses and civic groups. The event was attended by well over 2,000 residents.
Region 5
Imlay City—SEED Economic Gardening
In 2010, Imlay City began developing a strategy to foster economic development. The city came up with the SEED Group to foster economic gardening a plan focused on small businesses, entrepreneurs, and overall economic development. Imlay City supports business growth and entrepreneurship through continuous networking events, entrepreneur meet ups, educational workshops, and more.
Region 6
Rogers City—Placemaking: Dancin’ Downtown
In 2012,  Rogers City upgraded its streetscape with sophisticated new LED lighting, new ADA ramps, new flower baskets, way-finding signage, and other amenities including a new Museum Annex, new recreational trails and pocket parks, several new library programs, and two new public art projects. As many as 100 new jobs in a city of 2,782 people are being created via new cooperative economic development efforts between city and county governments and private businesses.
Region 7
Ironwood—Depot Park Revitalization
The city of Ironwood’s placemaking effort is centered on the revitalization of a railroad depot into a park. The plan is to merge city blocks, add a pavilion, playground equipment, landscaping, volleyball courts, and other amenities in an effort to promote health, history, and recreation. The park will also serve as a trail head for non-motorized trails crossing the region.




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Gary Brown, Saunteel Jenkins, National Experts to Participate in Municipal Bankruptcy Panel in Detroit

clock September 5, 2013 10:33 by author Matt Bach

From top left, bankruptcy panelists Brown, Jenkins, Scorsone, Bernstein, Shafroth, Hudson Ridley, and Walling.

DETROIT, Michigan - National experts on municipal bankruptcy and public bond ratings will participate in a highly anticipated panel discussion during the Michigan Municipal League’s 2013 Convention in downtown Detroit, Sept. 17-20, 2013.

The panel discussion, which is part of the Convention closing session 8:30-11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, will feature national municipal bankruptcy expert Frank Shafroth, of George Mason University; Douglas Bernstein, managing partner of Plunkett Cooney's Banking, Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights Practice Group; and Jane Hudson Ridley, senior director in U.S. Public Finance for Standard & Poor’s Rating Services; as well as Dr. Eric Scorsone, advisor to Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Detroit City Council President Saunteel Jenkins. The panel discussion will be moderated by Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.

Just this week the League received confirmation that Gary A. Brown will also participate in the panel. Brown, former Detroit City Council President Pro Tem, was appointed by Orr July 1 as chief operations officer to the City of Detroit. His duties and responsibilities include the oversight, management and restructuring of multiple city agencies.

This bankruptcy session was added to the Convention lineup earlier this summer immediately following news of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

The session will emphasize that the bankruptcy is of a concern to all communities across Michigan and the nation. They will also discuss the impact on the state itself, any long-term financial and governmental ramifications that might result, and if this could be the start of a serious discussion to fix a broken municipal finance system. News articles this week about additional Michigan communities of Royal Oak Township and Highland Park possibly needing emergency managers, adds to the building evidence that the state’s municipal finance system needs an overhaul.

Hundreds of city and village leaders from throughout Michigan are expected to attend the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Convention at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. The League’s annual conference dates back to 1899 and draws municipal leaders from Ironwood to Monroe and every place in between.

Media are welcome to attend any portion of the League’s 2013 Convention in Detroit. Click here to view the full Convention schedule. Go here to view the speakers scheduled to attend. Those interested are asked to contact the League's Matt Bach, director of media relations, at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.


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Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley to Speak at League Convention About Personal Property Tax issue

clock August 28, 2013 12:31 by author Matt Bach

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley speaks to the League Board in January 2012. He'll be speacking aboiut the personal property tax issue at the League's Convention on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. For details go here.

DETROIT, Michigan - Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is schedule to speak to Michigan Municipal League members in Detroit next month about the Personal Property Tax (PPT) issue. Calley will participate in an education session on the PPT topic during the League's annual Convention taking place Sept. 17-20 in Detroit. The PPT session is in the afternoon on Sept. 19.

Calley will speak along with the Michigan Municipal League's Samantha Harkins and other League staff. On the Last day of the 2012 lame duck sessions, the Michigan Legislature passed extensive changes to the PPT. While there are still many months before these changes go into effect, the work behind the scenes continues. Calley and League staff will update attendees on the progress made and the work that's still needed. This discussion will give attendees insight into how this issue could impact their communities for years to come.

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

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Bike-Share Programs Rolling to a City Near You, League Hosts Bike Tour Next Month at Convention

clock August 20, 2013 14:05 by author Matt Bach

Bike-share programs like this one in Chicago are very popular in major metro areas, but are quickly being found in smaller communities like Battle Creek, Lansing and other Michigan cities. The League is hosting a bike-tour in Detroit next month.

It’s great to see so many Michigan communities starting various forms of bicycle-sharing programs. Plus, those who are starting them up are really excited about it. Under the subject line “Newest Cool Thing in Battle Creek,” Battle Creek Mayor Susan Baldwin recently sent an email to the Michigan Municipal League staff letting us know about the bike-share program that just started in her community this week.

"Thought the MML might be interested in the new cool thing we have in Battle Creek – a bike-share station!” Baldwin wrote.

And the League is excited as well. If you don't know, there are a variety of types of bike-share programs but in simplest terms it's a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis.

Having walkable, bike-able and overall pedestrian friendly-communities is one of the key placemaking assets the League has identified for making vibrant communities in the 21st Century. Practicing what we preach, the League is having a “Bike the DeQuindre Cut” mobile workshop for those who attend our 2013 Convention in Detroit next month (Sept 17-20). Learn more about our Convention and the mobile workshops here.

John Lindenmayer, advocacy policy director for the League of Michigan Bicyclists, said Battle Creek joins a growing number of Michigan communities to start bicycle-sharing type programs. So far, in addition to Battle Creek, there are various forms of bike-sharing programs under way or getting started in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ypsilanti and Escanaba/Gladstone, Lindenmayer said.

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

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