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Governor Rick Snyder speaks at the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference.
LANSING, Michigan - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder opened the 2013 MML Capital Conference discussing the differences he has discovered in running state government as compared to private business.Noting that unlike a business, whose bottom line is about profit, government is about service and carries with it a much broader array of issues to be addressed than any private sector entity. In a usual refrain however, the governor also noted that while government is not a business, neither is it a funding mechansim.From there the governor settled into familiar themes about how government needs to be closer to its customers. As he has previously stated, the governor told the crowd that they need to be continue to be more efficient, that he wants to do more together to provide more value to our mutual customers and that points of difference shouldn't get in the way.As is his custom, the governor took questions. Regarding a question about language in appropriations bills penalizing local governments for settling contracts prior to the effective date of the new right to work law, the governor said that while he didn't advocate for the language, he said he needs to be cognizant of the fact that such language was a priority of House Republicans, with whom he must negoitate a final bill.The governor was also asked about the lack of an increase in revenue sharing given the state has a $500 million surplus. To that, the governor said the constitutional portion has increased. Regarding legality of the essential services assessment of the new personal property tax legislation, he would be willing to look at it but has take into consideration other opinions he might seek from the Supreme Court. In regards to the EVIP program, he said that the goal is not to make locals lives more difficult.The governor also said that he isn't interested in taking credit or blame and just wants to address problems together. He reiterated his mantra of "relentless positive action" but one has to wonder if the governor really understands that no amount of "rpa" can diminish the fact that the ability of local offiicials to serve their customers continues to be negatively impacted by a broken municipal finance system.Without such recognition and a renewed state/local partnership to address this important issue, the governor just might find a growing number of well-run communities with urgent budget issues sooner rather than later.Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.
Paul Hillegonds, former Speaker of the Michigan House and current Senior Vice-President for Corporate Affairs at DTE Energy, was the featured speaker at the Michigan Local Government Management Association Patriarche Colloquium and Lunch today at the Michigan Municipal League Convention.
Mr. Hillegonds focused on the strategies necessary to rebuild Michigan's economy referencing heavily from a report issued by the non-profit think tank, Michigan Future, titled "A New Agenda for Michigan." The report, issued four years ago, has become a often quoted document by many including the MML in support of our public policy initiatives, such as the Center for 21st Century Communities (21c3) program.
Stating that the history of Michigan has always depended on innovators and risk takers, Mr. Hillegonds spoke of the need for all to understand that in a knowledge driven economy what matters most is talent and that the old Michigan economy is a barrier to future success.
Noting that for too long we have focused on city vs. township, sprawl, and our racial divides, he noted that the fastest growing regions have vital core cities drawing educated talent to help drive economic growth.
Read more about the strategies he spoke of in the Michigan Future report, "A New Agenda for Michigan" and for more about the Michigan Municipal League and what we do go to www.mml.org and for details about our 2011 Convention go to tour.mml.org
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.
On Thursday morning, Governor Rick Snyder addressed several hundred local officials from across the state at the League annual convention in Grand Rapids. The theme of the Governor's talk was straightforward...we are all facing challenges but the challenges present us with a unique opportuninty to build Michigan's future.
Governor Snyder recognized the lack of finanical resources at the local level coupled with ever increasing demand for services. He noted that the crisis is the same at the state level and he is not asking local officials to do anything he isn't already asking his own administration to do. The point he said is that we need to work as partners and have a open dialogue on the challanges we face and what we can do to get better.
In discussing the new EVIP program for those receiving state shared revenue, the governor noted that its all about transparency and focusing on results. The measures are not meant to be negative but rather to celebrate successes and show how we're getting better.
As has been typical since he first took office the governor preached his message of "positive relentless action" and that we need to all spend time on the common ground in order to find solutions.
The Governor spent several minutes taking questions on a number of issues including personal property tax reform, and his upcoming transportation message. On personal property tax reform noted that he has put forth no proposal but is engaged with stakeholder groups like the MML and that the goal is not to harm locals but to have a discussion together and come up with a joint solution.
For more about the Michigan Municipal League and what we do go to www.mml.org and for details about our 2011 Convention, go to tour.mml.org
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 of by e-mail
Hamtramck was the location for the Region 1 meeting held on Friday May 6th. Local officials from across Southeast Michigan gathered on what was to be the start of a beautiful spring weekend.
The meeting was opened with a welcome by Hamtramck Mayor and League Vice-President Karen Majewski. who welcomed all the participants to what is surely one of the most diverse communities in Michigan. That was followed by a presentation by League CEO and Exeuctive Director, Dan Gilmartin on the political climate in Lansing. That issue was also addressed by Alpena Mayor and League President Carol Shafto during the lunch. League Associate Executive Director and COO, Tony Minghine, followed the luncheon with a disucssion on current trends and issues in municipal finance. And League Legislative Associate, Samantha Harkins finished the day with a legislative update that featured a question and answer session with former League President's and now state representatives, Vicki Barnett of Farmington Hills and Woodrow Stanley of Flint.
The afternoon was also highlighted by presentations from Lathrup Village and Ypsilanti, both of who are pilot project partiicpants under the League's "Center for 21st Century Communities" program. Lathrup Village is working on a complete streets ordinance, buoyed by a walkability study done by internationally walkability expert, Dan Burden. Lathrup Village has also put in place a form based code. All of this is in anticipation of one day fufilling the "city center" concept originally designed when the city of Lathrup Village was incorporated. Ypsilanti, which lost four of its largest industries over a 10 year period has seen a number of small businesses open in the downtown area. This has prompted the city to concentrate on economic gardening and working with organizations such as Ann Arbor Spark to place a business incuabator in the downtown area. The city continues to work on developing entrepreneurs, now building capcity with its local farmers market.
Of course, a region meeting wouldn't be complete with presentations for the League's Community Excellence Award. And, after a initial three-way tie, Southfield's Field Zone won the day. See the related story on this and the other entries at Region 1.
And be sure to catch this year's "MML Tour" at regional meetings across the state this spring. . For more on the MML Tour go here: http://www.mml.org/events/mmltour/; and 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. 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.
After a initial three-way tie (a first in CEA history), Southfield's 'field Zone Youth Center came away the winner of the Region 1 Community Excellence Award. The Region 1 meeting was held in Hamtramck on Friday, May 6th.
Given the competition, it wasn't too hard to understand why a run-off was needed. Four total projects were presented. The City of Brighton showcased a downtown development project where decisions on converting a former bank led to $4 million in investment including a new park and mixed-use development. Farmington Hills show how sustainability efforts in construction of a new city hall has led to a Gold LEED certification and $27 monthly electric bills. And Sterling Heights proved how collaboration between local, and regional business and civic leaders, and the state, led to keeping the doors open on a assembly plant that was a major economic driver.
But it was Southfield's 'field Zone Youth Center that won the day. The Center is a collaborative effort that provides a place for youth, after school, to showcase their talent in leadership, recreation, creativity, community involvement, academics, technology, arts, and music. This center is quickly becoming the 'hub' of community activity, and is open to middle school and high school students, who reside in or attend the City of Southfield and Lathrup Village schools.
Congratulations to Southfield and 'field Zone as they compete for the CEA Cup at the League's annual convention this October 4-7 in Grand Rapids! Register for convention on-line beginning June 1.
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