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New Michigan Emergency Management Law Discussed at Michigan Municipal League Region 4 Seminar

clock June 1, 2011 10:43 by author Matt Bach

Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley opens the Region 4 Education Seminar in Saginaw Wednesday, June 1, 2011.

SAGINAW, Michigan - Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley says the new emergency manager law is “good public policy and there are cases where it’s definitely needed.” He should know - he worked in Flint when that city was under the former emergency financial management law. He also was part of the financial management review team in Benton Harbor. Earley was part of the conversation about the new Michigan emergency manager law discussed during the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 4 Education Seminar that took place in Saginaw, June 1, 2011.

The discussion was led by the League’s Anthony Minghine, Associate Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Michigan Municipal League. Minghine was among several speakers during the session for nearly 20 municipal leaders from the central part of the state. Other planned speakers are League President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto, League CEO Dan Gilmartin, Terence Moore, president and CEO of the Great lakes Bay Regional Alliance, and Andy Schor, of the League. The League’s Region 4 covers the counties of Arenac, Bay, Clare, Clinton, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw, Shiawassee.

Later today during the regional meeting, the attendees will select the Region 4 Community Excellence Award so stay tuned.

The regional meetings are part of the League’s 2011 MML Tour that culminates in October with the 2011 League Convention. Follow the tour on Twitter at #mmltour. The Regional Meetings give Michigan Municipal League members a chance to hear from League staff and state officials about the latest municipal-related legislation in Lansing and ways communities are becoming the types of areas where people want to live, work and play. Other tour stops have been in Houghton, East Lansing, Kalkaska, Hamtramck and Ludington. View blog posts from every regional meeting here. View the full regional schedule here.

Thanks again to all those attended the regional meetings. We hope to see you —as well as those who weren’t able to attend their Region Seminar — at the League’s 2011 Convention Oct. 4-7 in Grand Rapids. Find out more about the MML Tour here: http://www.mml.org/events/regional/index.html.

Matt Bach is director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 6696317 or mbach@mml.org.

MML's Anthony Minghine discusses emergency financial management.

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Vassar's Chill on the Hill Wins Region 5 Community Excellence Award

clock May 18, 2011 14:22 by author Matt Bach

MARINE City, Michigan - A sledding event in Vassar, Michigan, dubbed as “1,000 feet of fear” won the Michigan Municipal League’s Region 5 Community Excellence Award Wednesday (May 18, 2011) and now Vassar has a chance to win the statewide CEA honor.

Vassar’s “Chill on the Hill” event that included a 1,000-foot-long sledding hill down the city’s main street took home the Region 5 CEA honor in a spirited, peer-selected competition Wednesday, May 18, 2011 during an MML education seminar in Marine City. The first-time Chill on the Hill event took place in February and exceeded expectations drawing 830 sledders and upward of 2,500 spectators. Even local businesses ran out of food for the large crowds. Read a news story about it.

Also competing for the CEA honor was the City of Algonac Pool Project, which was presented by Algonac City Councilmember Gary Tuzinowski and supporters Bill Gratopp and Beth Engel. The $355,000 project included rebuilding the 50-plus year old pool house and giving the pool universal access to those with disabilities. It took about a year to raising the funds for the work from a variety of sources, Tuzinowski said.

The League’s Region 5 covers the state's Thumb area and the counties of Huron, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac, and Saint Clair.

In a 5-minute presentation, Vassar City Manager Julius Suchy detailed the huge undertaking involved in winter Chill on the Hill festival, including bringing in and out truck loads of snow, arranging with MDOT to have the road temporarily closed for the event and working with the insurance company to address liability concerns.

“If you came into Vassar from the south side you would go through downtown and there is a huge hill on M15,” Suchy said. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat to have people slide through downtown?’ Of course, at first they thought I was crazy. But it ended up being a fun way to get some recognition for the city and it didn’t cost the city a dime. In fact, in the first year we made $1,400.”

Suchy said he was honored to get the CEA for his community and region.

"It's a reflection of all the people and groups who were involved to make this happen," Suchy said of the CEA honor. "Despite all the cuts in our communities and financial struggles going on there are things we can do to make people proud."

League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto said both projects were excellent and showed the unique efforts being done in Michigan’s rural communities.

“There is no question our communities big and small throughout Michigan are facing some tremendous financial challenges, but it’s nice to see communities like Vassar and Algonac still doing some clever and impressive projects for the betterment of their residents,” Shafto said. “It’s inspiring, it really is.”

As the Region 5 winner, Vassar now has a chance to win the statewide CEA honor in the Michigan Municipal League’s “Race for the Cup” competition. Read more about this peer-selected “Race for the Cup” contest that recognizes outstanding community services, projects and programs. Vassar will next compete against the winners of the other 6 regions during the League’s annual Convention Oct. 4-7, 2011 in Grand Rapids. Register online for the 2011 Convention starting June 1. Other Regional winners so far are Ludington (Region 3); West Branch (Region 6) and Southfield (Region 1).

Matt Bach is director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at mbach@mml.org and (734) 669-6317.
Vassar City Manager Julius Suchy receives the Region 5 Community Excellence Award from Michigan Municipal League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto.

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Anything is Possible Currently in Lansing - MML CEO Dan Gilmartin

clock May 18, 2011 11:07 by author Matt Bach

MARINE CITY, Michigan - Michigan Municipal League CEO Dan Gilmartin explained that nothing is impossible with the current Michigan Legislature as shown in the recent agreement to tax pensions. “No one saw that one coming,” Gilmartin told about 30 League members during the Region 5 Education Seminar in Michigan’s eastcoast port city, Marine City, Wednesday, May 18 2011.

Gilmartin explained that things are chaotic in Lansing right now, but he sees this time as an opportunity for change in ways that can benefit Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships.

“The state is chaotic, local government is good and the future is bright. Despite all the chaos in Lansing I do feel we are moving ourselves forward.”

Gilmartin was the first of several speakers planned for the day-long regional meeting that is part of the League’s 2011 “MML Tour”.

Other planned speakers were Keith Creagh, director of agriculture for Michigan; League Board President and Alpena Mayor Carol Shafto; Marine City Manager John Gabor; Tony Minghine, associate executive director for the League; and Summer Minnick, director of state affairs for the League. The event is among seven regional meeting the League is doing throughout the state as part of our 2011 MML Tour: tour.mml.org. Also later today the meeting attendees will select the Region 5 Community Excellence Award winner, so stay tuned.

The MML Tour culminates in October with the 2011 League Convention. Follow the tour on Twitter at #mmltour. The Regional Meetings give Michigan Municipal League members a chance to hear from League staff and state officials about the latest municipal-related legislation in Lansing and ways communities are becoming the types of areas where people want to live, work and play. Other tour stops have been in Kalkaska, Hamtramck and Ludington. View blog posts from every regional meeting here. The League is still accepting registrations from members for upcoming regional meetings: East Lansing (May 20), Houghton (May 26-27) and Saginaw (June 1). View the full regional schedule here.

Thanks again to all those who have attended so far and for those of you planning to attend! We hope to see you—as well as those who weren’t able to attend the Region Seminar—at Convention Oct. 4-7 in Grand Rapids. Find out more about the MML Tour here: http://www.mml.org/events/regional/index.html.

Matt Bach is director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 6696317 or mbach@mml.org.

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Michigan Municipal League Fights for Communities, explain officials at Region 3 Seminar in Ludington

clock May 11, 2011 12:53 by author Matt Bach

LUDINGTON, Michigan - The Michigan Municipal League continues to fight for funding and programs that Michigan’s communities most care about, such as revenue sharing, Brownfield Tax Credits and other issues. This was the main message of League CEO Dan Gilmartin during the Region 3 Education Seminar Wednesday (May 11, 2011) as part of the 2011 MML Tour  (on Twitter at #mmltour).

Gilmartin briefed the 30-plus attendees about the latest news out of Lansing and said there is a long ways to go before Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget plan is finalized. Gilmartin’s sentiments were echoed by League staff Anthony Minghine and Summer Minnick, who gave additional details and behind-the-scenes insight into the League’s continuing work in Lansing.

“How many of you in here today have used the Brownfield Tax Credit to help revive portions of your communities,” said Gilmartin to the crowd where nearly everyone raised their hand to answer “yes.” “It just doesn’t make any sense to remove the Brownfield Tax Credit. These are tools our members use to make the types of places that people want.”

Others speaking at the event were Alpena Mayor and League Board President Carol Shafto; Ludington Mayor John Henderson; Ludington Council Member Kaye Holman; Becky Anderson, president of Becky Anderson Consulting; William Anderson, former director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts & Libraries and Chair of the Ludington Economic Development Task Force; and Cheryl Hargrove, president of Hargrove International Inc. and League staff Anthony Minghine and Summer Minnick. Read more about the Region 3 event here. For more about the MML tour go to tour.mml.org.

Also during the regional meeting three communities presented projects in the League’s annual Community Excellence Award program. Kentwood officials showed a humorous video about the city’s new library; Ludington discussed it’s “Ball Drop” celebration that takes place to bring in the New Year and Reed City Manager Ron Marek reviewed his community’s effort to collaborate in economic development initiatives with the surrounding township. The winner will be announced later today so stay tuned here http://www.mml.org/events/blog/.

The event in Ludington Wednesday is part of the League’s 2011 MML Tour.  The tour will conclude with the League’s annual Convention that began in Kalkaska with the Region 6 seminar.  The Regional Meetings give Michigan Municipal League members a chance to hear from League staff and state officials about the latest municipal-related legislation in Lansing and ways communities are becoming the types of areas where people want to live, work and play. The League is still accepting registrations from members for upcoming regional meetings are in Marine City (May 18), East Lansing (May 20), Houghton (May 26-27) and Saginaw (June 1). View the full regional schedule here. Cost for League members is just $25 and includes lunch - a great deal!

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

Dan Gilmartin speaks during Region 3 Seminar in Ludington May 11, 2011.

Alpena Mayor and League President Carol Shafto speaks during Region 3 meeting May 11, 2011.

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Alpena Mayor and League President Carol Shafto Kicks Off 'MML Tour' at Region 6 Seminar in Kalkaska

clock May 4, 2011 12:15 by author Matt Bach

Michigan Municipal League Board President Carol Shafto kicked off the League’s “2011Tour” (#mmltour on Twitter) in Kalkaska discussing the state budget situation and the impact it’s having on Michigan communities. Shafto criticized Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to have Michigan communities compete for a share of what was formerly called revenue sharing dollars and are now called Economic Vitality Incentive Program.

“The acronym for this new program would be EVIP, but I say it should be EZIP because we’re getting next to nothing,” Shafto told the 25-plus attendees at the Region 6 seminar in Kalkaska Wednesday, May 4, 2011. “I am angry and I do have my rant on that we’re having to be put in a position where our communities - the backbone of this state - are at risk. You can’t have strong Michigan without having strong cities. How can you undermine cities and have a strong Michigan. I don't like how cities are having to compete against each other for this funding. We should be helping each other, not competing. That really does a disservice to our citizens. I know our communities will somehow survive, I don’t know how yet, but we’ll survive.”

Others speaking at the seminar were League CEO Dan Gilmartin; League COO Anthony Minghine; League's Director of State Affairs Summer Minnick; Penny Hill, Kalkaska Village Manager; and Eric Grandstaff, Merit Member Relations Manager.

The Region 6 seminar (encompassing the northern half of Michigan’s lower peninsula) was the first of seven in a series of “Regional Meetings” the League is having throughout the state as part of it’s “2011 Tour”. The Tour culminates Oct. 4-7 with the League’s annual Convention, taking place this year in Grand Rapids during one of Michigan’s premiere events – ArtPrize. The Regional Meetings give Michigan Municipal League members a chance to hear from League staff and state officials about the latest municipal-related legislation in Lansing and ways communities are becoming the types of areas where people want to live, work and play. The next Regional meeting is Friday, May 4, in Hamtramck. The League is still accepting registrations from members for upcoming regional meetings Ludington (May 11), Marine City (May 18), East Lansing (May 20), Houghton (May 26-27) and Saginaw (June 1). View the full regional schedule here. Follow the tour on Twitter at #mmltour.

It is during these regional meetings, where attendees select the regional Community Excellence Award Winner. Each regional winner will have a chance to win the statewide 2011 CEA Trophy. Read more about this “Race for the Cup” here. Four communities competed for the Region 6 CEA honor. They are West Branch’s “Fabulous Fridays” program; Hillman’s “Extreme Makeover” bridge and street reconstruction project; Rogers City’s $7.6 million water and sewer project; and Petoskey’s Bear River Recreation Area and Whitewater Kayaking and Canoeing Adventure Course. The Region 6 winner will be announced later today.

The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington D.C. and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. For more information, visit www.mml.org.

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

Alpena Mayor and MML Board President Carol Shafto speaks at Region 6 meeting in Kalkaska May 4, 2011.

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