Michigan Municipal League - Better Communities. Better Michigan.



Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan Rallies Communities at Michigan Municipal League Capital Conference

clock March 18, 2014 18:58 by author Matt Bach

Michigan Municipal League President Jacqueline Noonan kicked off the League’s 2014 Capital Conference Tuesday by highlighting some of the positive news being experienced by Michigan’s communities. Noonan, the long-time mayor of Utica in Macomb County, explained that in past conferences have left her somewhat discouraged because so much of the news was negative, such as lawmakers cutting revenue sharing to communities year after year.

But this year, just feels different, Noonan said during her opening remarks at the Capital Conference taking place today and Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at the Lansing Center.

“We all need to keep talking, keep calling our lawmakers and keep fighting for our communities,” Noonan said. “We need to keep saying our cities, villages and urban townships matter, placemaking matters and better communities will result in a better Michigan. We must be insistent, consistent and persistent!”

Following Noonan’s opening remarks was an update on the latest news in Lansing from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and a general session by the League's advocacy team - Samantha Harkins, John LaMacchia, Nicole Brown and Summer Minnick.

View and download photos of the 2014 Capital Conference from the League’s flickr page here: flickr.com/michigancommunities. Follow the Capital Conference on Twitter at @mmleague and #mmlconf.



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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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League Capital Conference Photos, Presentations Now Available

clock April 16, 2013 08:29 by author Matt Bach

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 mbach@mml.org.

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League Honors Leaders from Grand Rapids, Northville, East Grand Rapids and Rochester

clock April 12, 2013 13:13 by author Matt Bach

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.

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Former League President and State Rep. Vicki Barnett kicks off personal property tax session

clock April 11, 2013 09:16 by author Elizabeth Shaw

Samantha Harkins talks about the PPT at the 2013 MML Capital Conference in a packed room.

By Samantha Harkins

Personal 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 sharkins@mml.org.

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