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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenville Councilmember Jeanne Cunliffe attends the 2013 League Capital Conference. View more photos here. Get all Capital Conference resources, including press releases and presentation powerpoints, here.
The 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference is over, but the education received, information learned and networking opportunities gained live on. Check out presentations from the Conference here and view all the images from the two-day conference here in this collection on the League's flickr page. Event highlights included general sessions and breakout sessions with Governor Rick Snyder; Polly Trottenberg, U.S. Under Secretary for the Department of Transportation Policy; Michigan Budget Director John Nixon; Michigan Sen. Roger Kahn; Michigan Sen. Gretchen Whitmer; Michigan Rep. Wayne Schmidt; and League staff members Samantha Harkins, Nikki Brown, John LaMacchia and Summer Minnick.There were sessions on numerous topics including the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP); the personal property tax; term limits; the state budget; liquor control rules; the environment; town-gown partnerships; and many other issues. In addition, League President David Lossing told his personal story of donating his bone marrow to a stranger with luekemia and multiple League members signed up for the Michigan Blood Be The Match bone marrow donor program.Also numerous awards were given including four outstanding service awards to Brian Donovan, East Grand Rapids city manager; Jaymes Vettraino, Rochester city manager; Patrick Sullivan, Northville city manager; and Kara Wood, Grand Rapids economic development director. The regional winners of the 2013 Community Excellent Awards were selected at regional roundtable meetings during the conference. The seven regional winners are Linden/Fenton/Holly from Region 1; St. Joseph in Region 2; Belding in Region 3; DeWitt in Region 4; Imlay City in Region 5; Rogers City in Region 6; and Ironwood in Region 7.Did you get your photo taken at the 2013 MML Capital Conference? Find out in this collection on the League's flickr page. Get all Capital Conference resources, including press releases and presentation powerpoints, here.Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317 and email@example.com.
Outstanding Service Award Winners Brian Donovan, Jaymes Vettraino, Patrick Sullivan and Kara Wood. View more photos here and here.LANSING, Michigan – The Michigan Municipal League honored four state officials during the League's annual Capital Conference held April 9-10 in Lansing.Officials from Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Northville, and Rochester received the League's Outstanding Service Award on Wednesday (April 10, 2013). The honor recognizes those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the League's legislative efforts in Lansing on behalf of Michigan communities.Here is a look at the recipients:Brian Donovan, City Manager, East Grand Rapids; Pat Sullivan, City Manager, Northville; and Jaymes Vettraino, City Manager, Rochester: In their roles of city managers in their respective communities, Donovan, Sullivan and Vettraino have been instrumental in working on legislation to give communities additional pension flexibility. In the last session, they worked with the League on a package of legislation designed to maximize resources and allow communities to make more cost-effective pension decisions. Last fall the governor signed a bill that allows communities with an AA bond rating to bond for the cost of switching from defined benefit to defined contribution plans. The League continues to work on legislation allowing communities to switch from DB to DC more easily, as well as remove barriers to more cost-effective pensions. The three have come to Lansing to testify on multiple occasions, as well as worked regularly with the League reviewing legislative language and talking to legislators. They have been instrumental in working on this legislation, and the League is grateful for their invaluable counsel.Kara Wood, Economic Development Director, Grand Rapids: In her role as Grand Rapids Economic Development Director, Kara Wood is a major voice in the League’s Land Use and Economic Development committee. Her knowledge and insight in many areas surrounding the economic development arena make her a strong advocate for the revitalization of not only Grand Rapids but Michigan as a whole. Wood has partaken in stakeholder workgroups at the state level, most recently a workgroup on a bill to make changes to the Brownfield program that was passed into law last year. Her expertise has been utilized to help many communities across Michigan by her participation in panel discussions on various economic development issues during concurrent sessions at both past and present League Capital Conferences. Wood’s assistance at the committee level and at an advocacy level is invaluable.For additional photos of the Outstanding Service Awards go here. For more photos from the 2013 Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference go here.Matt Bach is director of media relations for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at (734) 669-6317.
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.
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.
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