Michigan Budget Director John Nixon Speaks at the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference.
By Samantha HarkinsIn the last session of the 2013 Capital Conference the League focused on the critical issue of the state budget and its impact on our own local budgets. The League’s Vice President and Mayor of Utica Jacqueline Noonan kicked off the final session with good news announcing that the Senate General Government Appropriations Subcommittee just recommended a 4.8 percent increase to EVIP funding. Mayor Noonan also discussed how our communities have responded to Michigan’s tough economic times.State Budget Director John Nixon followed Mayor Noonan and discussed how the state has turned its budget around. He focused on the many changes they have made including retirement reforms for state employees, tax changes and ending the “gimmicks” of previous budgets. The state’s economic forecast has improved, and this year there is a surplus. Director Nixon also pointed out that the State’s bond rating has improved as well as a result of these changes.Following his remarks there was a panel including former House Fiscal Agency Director Mitch Bean and Eric Luphur from Citizens Research Council. Both Mitch and Eric are extremely familiar with the state’s budget and changes made over the last few decades. They discussed how the state’s budgeting over the last decade has pushed the problem onto local units of government (as we all know too well). In Mitch’s words: “I guess it’s better to starve someone else’s beast instead of your own, because that’s when the problem started to be shifted to local governments in a big way through revenue sharing cuts.”Samantha Harkins is Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at (517) 908-0306 and email@example.com.
Samantha Harkins talks about the PPT at the 2013 MML Capital Conference in a packed room.
By Samantha HarkinsPersonal property tax reform was one of the hottest topics of the 2011-12 legislative session, and with lots of work to be done on the new proposal is a top priority of the League in this session as well. State Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills), also a former League Board of Trustees President, kicked off the session by describing her take on PPT as a legislator during the lame duck session in December. Rep. Barnett displayed her usual passion in describing the speed with which the legislature handled such a complex issue with little time to digest a new proposal introduced in legislation with only a few weeks left in the session. Rep. Barnett walked legislators through the process and gave a broad overview of the reform.Following Rep. Barnett’s remarks I presented a detailed presentation of the PPT reform. The League was involved in work groups for the first few months of the year, and we expect draft legislation in the coming weeks. At this time there are still a number of questions that remain unanswered including how the reform will deal with tax capture districts (LDFAs, TIFs, etc) and the legality of the essential services assessment.The session was standing room only, and there were a number of insightful and thought provoking questions. The League will continue to monitor the changes to this new legislation as a key priority.Samantha Harkins is Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. She can be reached at 517-908-6383 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a quick peek at the seven CEA winners from the Regional Roundtables:
Region 1- Linden/Holly/Fenton's Shiawassee River Heritage Water TrailRegion 2 - St. Joseph's Silver Beach DevelopmentRegion 3 - Belding's Community GardenRegion 4 - DeWitt's Community ShowcaseRegion 5 - Imlay City's Economic GardeningRegion 6 - Rogers City's Dancin' DowntownRegion 7 - Ironwood's Depot Park. More details coming soon! Congrats to ALL our fantastic entries!
Every region had outstanding projects to offer, each one of them worthy of a win. Here are the other entries, which you'll hear more about next week on the League's new Placemaking blog:
Rochester - Main Street Makeover
Eastpointe - Service line Affordable Protection Program (SLAPP)New Baltimore - "Make New Baltimore Your Destination"Plymouth - Northville Plymouth Fire Agreement
Grosse Pointe - Wellness Center and Patient Facility
Westland - Core Shopping/Dining District
South Haven - Kal Haven Trail Extension and Williams Street Reconstruction
Albion - Crowell School
Bridgman, Baroda, Berrien Springs - 3B's Agri-tourism Ignition Effort
Whitehall - Bioswales and Trails
Mt Pleasant - Access Adventure Trail
Ithaca - Ithaca Unit of the Graiot Co Sheriff's Office
Harbor Beach - Interpretive Sign Project
Ontonagon - Complete Streets
Sault Ste Marie - Historic Water Street
Representatives from the seven region finalists for the 2013 Community Excellence Awards. From left: Linden Mayor David Lossing (Region 1); Rogers City Manager Mark Slown (Region 6); Belding Councilmember Andrea Belding (Region 3); DeWitt City Manager Daniel Coss (Region 4); Imlay City Mayor Margaret Guerrero (Region 5); St. Joseph Mayor Robert Judd (Region 2); and Ironwood Mayor Kim Corcoran (Region 7).
President David Lossing is sponsoring a Bone Marrow Drive at Capital Conference! Any healthy person between the ages of 18 and 44 can become a prospective marrow donor. Joining the registry is as simple as filling out some paperwork and having your cheek swabbed.
Michigan Blood fundraises throughout the year to help off-set the testing cost of $100 per person. The cost comes from the HLA typing done from the cheek swab collected at registration. While we are currently asking each new registry member to contribute $25 of that testing cost, President Lossing has generously offered to cover the first ten people to register at no cost.
To read about President Lossing’s recent bone marrow donation visit my-bonemarrowdonation-adventure.blogspot.com
The registry table will be located near the League registration desk.www.miblood.org
Clarence Anthony speaks at the 2012 Michigan Municipal League Convention.
MACKINAC ISLAND, Michigan - Clarence Anthony, Mayor for the lakeside city of South Bay, Florida, is President, Anthony Government Solutions, Inc. Despite being mayor for a relatively small community, he has also emerged as a city leader of national and international standing. Mayor Anthony's accolades include the Ebony Magazine Future Leader, Outstanding Young Men in America and Outstanding Community Leaders in America awards, as well as the Florida Junior Chamber of Commerce Mayor of the Year. However, it was with his election as 75th president of the National League of Cities for 1999 (only the second from a small city) that his arrival as a city leader on the national stage arrived. This was later augmented with his 2007 election as treasurer and first vice president of the United Cities and Local Governments organization.Anthony talked about growing up in a small town in Florida, opening his speech with an inspiring poem about "being told it can't be done--and I did it." That starting point led Anthony's audience through a powerful, inspiring and often humorous narrative of how Anthony became a strong leader with an awareness of the world around him and what could and should be learned from it."The easy part is getting elected. Being educated to govern properly: that's the hard part," Anthony told his audience as he explained how first the Florida League of Cities and then the National League of Cities provided him with resources, educational opportunities and lobbying advocacy to accomplish goals at home in his own small town. He has gone on to visit over 30 countries in the last 10 years, learning from their best practices and sharing his own knowledge to enrich both. Many in the audience chuckled with recognition when he talked of city officials who might be opening their agenda packet for the first time when they walk into the council chambers for a meeting, instead of being prepared withthe knowledge and information to get things done.There are four pillars to learning global and leading local, he said: a willingness to learn, self-cultural awareness, inclusiveness and the ability to share and work together.Anthony's speech was an uplifting and inspiring start to the TED-style speeches that followed on civic engagement, arts and culture as an economic driver, and sustainable community design.
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