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Michigan Municipal League

Michigan Townships Association

Michigan Association of Counties

Press Release


Contact:

Matt Bach
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317; C: (810) 874-1073
mbach@mml.org; www.mml.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2020

Michigan Local Governments Seek Local Relief and Recovery Funding to Address Impacts of Coronavirus

MML, MAC and MTA Ask Governor for Assistance

LANSING, Michigan – The more than 1,800 Michigan local governments that are on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic are calling for the state to share a portion of CARES Act funding with local communities.

The Michigan Municipal League (MML), the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) and the Michigan Townships Associations (MTA) sent a joint letter to Governor Whitmer and state leaders Friday thanking them for their leadership during this crisis and seeking their continued support. Specifically, local governments are urging the state to use some of the nearly $4 billion Michigan is receiving from the CARES Act to support local governments of all sizes affected by this pandemic.

Local officials and their employees are on the front lines responding to this pandemic by providing public health and mental health assistance and enforcing the many executive orders enacted while continuing to do all the other essential services our citizens need – fire and police protection, water, sewer and waste collection services, and elections.

“It’s vital that the state share this CARES Act revenue because the response on the ground is being coordinated by local governments who are devoting every available resource to this pandemic while our revenue is vanishing,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “Finding more efficiencies and further cuts to essential services will not solve the impact of the coronavirus on local governments. We need the state’s partnership and support in this time of crisis.”

The letter sent by the three organizations to the Governor on Friday urges state leaders to set aside an equitable amount of money for local units of government to draw down upon to reimburse their eligible, COVID-related expenses. Based on the amount the CARES Act made available to the state’s five largest municipalities, with populations of 500,000 or more, the three organizations asked that an equitable per capita amount, equal to approximately $1.1 billion, be made available to all other local units of government in Michigan to cover these expenses.

“Assistance to local governments is vital at this time as Michigan’s local governments bore the brunt of the last recession and many are ill-positioned to face another economic downturn without significant support from the state and federal government,” said Stephan Currie, executive director of MAC. “With that fact in mind, our three organizations respectfully request that the Governor designate a significant portion of the current CARES Act funding the state is set to receive to cover local government reimbursements and recovery expenses resulting from the current pandemic.”

The pivotal role local governments have in fighting this pandemic is a fact reflected in the provisions of the CARES Act to support state and local governments. However, there is a disconnect in the federal stimulus act’s provisions between the largest local governments and all other local units. The federal legislation relies upon the states to distribute reimbursements to smaller local entities, which the state of Michigan can do from its remaining $3.1 billion allocation.

“We are deeply appreciative of the CARES Act federal funding for our state as Michigan weathers unforeseeable impacts due to this crisis,” said Neil Sheridan, MTA executive director. “However, it is imperative that our local governments are not left behind. An equitable distribution of the state’s CARES Act funding is crucial to the ability of our local governments to serve their communities, both now and as we emerge into the new unknown ‘normal’ following the crisis.” 

Once federal guidance is issued for the Coronavirus Relief Fund and Michigan receives its expected $3.87 billion total allocation, the League, MAC and MTA stand ready to participate in defining what local expenses will qualify for reimbursement and the timeframe for drawing down those funds.

For additional information contact Matt Bach, director of communications, Michigan Municipal League,, 810-874-1073, mbach@mml.org; Derek Melot, director of communications and marketing,  Michigan Association of Counties, 517-375-0833, melot@micounties.org; and Jenn Fiedler, director of communications, Michigan Townships Association, 517-492-9229, jenn@michigantownships.org.

About the League: Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The 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. Learn more at mml.org.

 

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