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December 2018

Podcast Zooms in on State Rep's Perspective on Auto Insurance, More
On this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, the League's Matt Bach sits down with State Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Twp, at a coffee shop in downtown Allegan. They cover everything from revenue sharing to auto insurance - even drag racing and the flute! Tune in now.

November 2018

Is Michigan Prepared to Handle Growth if We Actually Get it?
In light of the extreme weather conditions continually hitting other parts of the U.S., Popular Science predicts that Michigan will be one of the best places to live in the year 2100. What economic development and community investment strategies can we employ to prepare for a potential new wave of residents? Read more.

Podcast Shares Great Reasons to Support Women in Local Government
This week's Limelight podcast focuses on the Michigan Municipal League Foundation's #GivingTuesday campaign, which is raising funds for the League's 16/50 Project. Hear from the Foundation president and the Ann Arbor finance director on the value of the project in helping women become successful managers.Tune in now!

Contact House Tax Policy Committee NOW to Support HB 4986
The League needs your support NOW to support HB 4986, a bill that would move the payment of a property tax credit for disabled veterans from local governments to the state. Please contact members of the House Tax Policy committee to encourage them to support HB 4986. Read more.

#GivingTuesday Campaign Raises Over $4,000 for Women Leaders!
THANK YOU to everyone who donated to the Michigan Municipal League Foundation's #GivingTuesday campaign! With your generous support, the campaign raised $4,015 for the League's 16/50 Project. The project is now much more able to provide the training needed to increase the number of women serving at the very top level of city and township governnment in Michigan - like Elizabeth King of Detroit and Frances McMullan of Ypsilanti. #GivingTuesday may be over, but donations are always welcome. Consider supporting this worthy cause.

TODAY is the Deadline for John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship
Five yearly one-time scholarships of up to $1,000 for training of local elected or appointed officials will soon be awarded by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation. The training must have a leadership component and practical application to your role as a public official in municipal governnment. Get the details and apply by Nov. 30!

League Staff Talk Recreational Marijuana on Michigan Public Radio
The Michiganb Municipal League's Jennifer Rigterink was on Michigan Public Radio this week talking about the state's new recreational marijuana law and the many questions that surround it. View an online post about the news segment..

Proposal 1 - Recreational Marijuana - Has Passed. What Happens Now?
Proposal 1 passed and will create the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act. The Act will require each community to decide if it's going to allow or prohibit state-licensed recreational marijuana establishments. Find a You Need to Know! session. More information is on our Marihuana in Michigan page.

New Video Shows Impact of Revenue Sharing Cuts on Communities
What have revenue sharing cuts done to your community? "We've had to do less with less," is what Pontiac Mayor Dr. Deirdre Waterman said. In a new SaveMICity video, Waterman and local leaders from all over Michigan told us about the essential services they've had to cut back. Read more.

Podcast Focuses on League Partnerships with MEDC
The League partners with Michigan Economic Development Corporation on a variety of projects. In the newest Review Deja vu podcast, MEDC'S Katharine Czarnecki highlights two of them: Public Spaces Community Places crowdgranting and Redevelopment Ready Communities®. Tune in now.

League CEO Dan Gilmartin Selected for NLC Housing Crisis Task Force
League CEO Dan Gilmartin has been appointed to a new National League of Cities task force to address how communities can better respond to the growing challenge of housing availability, affordability, investment and quality. Read more.

Help Close the Gender Gap in Local Government
Women represent just 16 percent of Michigan's local chief administrative officers despite making up more than half the population. You can help increase that number by providing women executives with content, tools, and opportunities. Our #GivingTuesday campaign for the 16/50 Project launches Nov. 27. Please make a gift then - or now!

NEW! Top 13 Consequential Legal Defense Fund Cases
A new publication from the League's Legal Defense Fund - Top 13 Consequential Legal Defense Fund Cases - highlights cases of statewide impact to municipalities, including PA 269 "gag order," on dark stores, annexation, medical marihuana, and governmental immunity. More.

New League Program Helps Prep Development Sites
The League has created a new program - Developing Great Places - to help prepare individual sites and connect them to private developers to move public sector efforts forward. Read more in The Review magazine, and check out resources, success stories, and more on our new Developing Great Places web page.

Podcast Shares the Philosophy Behind The Center for Michigan
After a long career in Michigan's newspaper industry, Phil Power still wanted to make a difference. On the latest Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, learn how he started and fostered The Center for Michigan based on sensible, rational, common sense political discussion. Tune in now.

Training Scholarships Available for Municipal Officials
Are you a newly elected official interested in attending the League's Core Weekender in February? Apply for Tim Doyle Scholarship by Dec. 14. If you're a local elected or appointed official interested in leadership training, apply for John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship by Nov. 30.

October 2018

Open Appeal to State Lawmakers: It's Time to Invest in Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie City manager Oliver Turner stressed how Michigan's municipal finance system is fundamentally broken. We need new ideas, innovative approaches, and bold action if we hope to create the kind of communities we all want and deserve. To learn more, visit SaveMICity. More

League CEO Talks About OPEB and Pensions at NLC City Summit
League CEO Dan Gilmartin is speaking at the National League of Cities City Summit on health care and pension issues. Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) reform has been a vital issue for the SaveMICity initiative. OPEB costs have hampered many Michigan communities' ability to provide services to their residents. More.

Michigan Municipal League's 16/50 Project is In Full Swing
The League's 16/50 Project has been advancing its mission of tackling gender diversity. We partnered with UM Ford School for Public Policy to present a panel session on Women Leading Local Government. Also, we're well into the first term of our Women's Municipal Leadership Program. Read more.

CityLab Detroit Gets Nerdy in Talk About How Data Can Help Cities
At the recent CityLab Detroit conference, cities were portrayed as the front line and last defense of advancement in the world by Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor. "Cities are now driving the agenda in this country ... leading in the way Washington will not. Read more..

Podcast Explores Reasons Michigan Didn't Get Amazon HQ2
Michigan made a valiant effort to lure Amazon's second headquarters to our state, but we fell short. On the SaveMICity podcast, Khalil Rahal of Wayne County Economic Development Corporation shares why, particularly our poor municipal finance structure. Tune in now.

Dan Gilmartin Discusses SaveMICity, MML Work in New Magazine Article
League CEO Dan Gilmartin talks about the SaveMICity initiative and other Michigan Municipal League work in serving communities throughout the state in the most recent edition of The "Ville magazine. Gilmartin is the focus of a two-page article in the magazine that focuses on the Northville area - his hometown. Read more

Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials Opposes SB 0924
Lois Allen-Richardson, president of the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, issued a statement regarding Senate Bill 0924. It reads in part: "The Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials adamantly opposes Senate Bill 0924 and its attempt to legalize the creation of private police forces." Read more.

Politicians Must See Importance of Michigan's Major Cities
Mayors of three Michigan urban centers - Grand Rapids, Dearborn, and Kalamazoo - jointly authored an op-ed in the Detroit News,They say it's vital for candidates for state office to realize the importance of our major cities and their value in attracting talent, jobs, and prosperity. More.

House Energy Committee Passes Small Cell Legislation
The League wants to make sure that deployment of small cell technology is done in a fair and balanced way. Since the introduction of SB 637, the League's advocacy team has been negotiating with the industry and the sponsor to protect municipal interests. Read more

Consumers Energy Seeks Personal Property Tax Cut, Faces Opposition
Consumers Energy proposes to curtail the $200 million in personal property taxes it pays annually to municipalities and schools for gas and electric transmission lines. Curtailing taxable growth in the PPT will further deteriorate city services and infrastructure. Read more

Podcast Shares European Secrets for Unlocking Public Wealth
Bruce Katz has long wondered why American cities can't fund services like infrastructure and early childhood education. On this episide of the Economics of Place podcast - and in his new book - Katz shares lessons from European countries about unlocking public wealth.Tune in now.

Podcast Shares Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado
Colorado was the first state to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. In this episode of Michigan Politics, Huh?, Denver City Attorney Charles Mitchell shares some of the benefits and challenges that have arisen. Tune in now. Also view Mitchell's 2018 Convention presentation.

Dan Gilmartin Speaks at Engaging Local Government Leaders' Event
League CEO Dan Gilmartin spoke at the Engaging Local Government Leaders' Milwaukee Pop Up Conference in Wisconsin on Oct. 12. He and Jerry Deschane, executive director of League of Wisconsin Municipalities, spoke on "Building Strong Communities, Inside & Out." Read more.

Podcast Shares Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado
Colorado was the first state to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. In this episode of Michigan Politics, Huh?, Denver City Attorney Charles Mitchell shares some of the benefits and challenges that have arisen. Tune in now. Also view Mitchell's 2018 Convention presentation.

Leaders Praise Late Rockford City Manager at Ceremony
On Sept. 28, a dedication ceremony was held in Rockford for the Michael F. Young Waterfront. Current City Manager Thad Beard said Young was the example of a dedicated public servant who made a tremendous impact on the community of Rockford. Read more.

Dan Gilmartin Delivers SaveMICity Message in Oklahoma
League CEO Dan Gilmartin will be taking the ongoing SaveMICity message national this week in Oklahoma. He'll be the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Water & Pollution Control Conference. This is one of three national speaking engagements he'll be doing this month. Read more.

Outgoing League Board President Shares Experiences on Podcast
Catherine Bostick-Tullius wrapped up her term as Board president at the League's 2018 Convention in Grand Rapids. On the latest Limelight podcast, Catherine reflects on her experience as president and her hopes for the League moving forward. Tune in now.

MML Foundation Announces Oct. 19 Scholarship Deadline
The Michigan Municipal League Foundation is relaunching the George and Judith Goodman Scholarship Fund to encourage Michigan high school and college students to pursue careers in local government. One scholarship of up to $1,000 will be awarded each year to a Michigan high school or college student pursuing a career in local government. Application deadline is Oct. 19. Read more.

Michigan Municipal League Board Endorses Proposal 2
The League Board supports the Proposal 2 Voters Not Politicians ballot initiative. Proposal 2 will amend the Michigan Constitution to establish an independent redistricting commission and eliminate the current process of having the Legislature draw district boundaries. More.

Everything You Need to Know About the New Lead & Copper Rule
Michigan municipalities and water suppliers participated in the stakeholder process during the rule revision. Join us for a free You Need to Know! event to find out about the changes and the potential impact on your community. Find a session near you.

Dan Gilmartin on Building Great Communities at Vermont League
This week, League CEO Dan Gilmartin will be the keynote speaker for the Vermont League of Cities & Towns annual Town Fair conference. He was asked to speak because event organizers were looking for a keynote address that combines placemaking with innovation and retaining and attracting young talent. Read more.

Michigan Women in Municipal Government Elects New Officials
Michigan Women in Municipal Government elected new officials: President Valerie Kindle, mayor pro tem of Harper Woods; VP Theresa Rich, Farmington Hills councilmember; secretary Jennifer Shuster, mayor of Leslie; and board members Monica Galloway, Flint councilmember, and Maria Willett, special assistant to Rochester Hills mayor. More.

October is Michigan College Month - Show Your Support
Michigan College Month is part of a national initiative to provide every graduating high school senior the opportunity to apply for college and financial aid. We are joining the Michigan College Access Network to encourage community leaders to volunteer at their local high school. Read more.

September 2018

Catch the Highlights of the League's Convention in Grand Rapids
More than 1,000 attendees from across Michigan converged on Grand Rapids for the first joint Michigan Municipal League and Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) Convention. Check out highlights on the Convention website and view lots of photos on Flickr.

Podcast Highlights 2018 Community Excellence Award Winner - Fraser!
The city of Fraser won the League's 2018 Community Excellence Award for McKinley Barrier-Free Park & Playground. On the Review Déjà vu podcast, hear how a 12-year volunteer effort transformed an underused park into a place that children and adults of all abilities can enjoy. More.

Michigan Municipal League Board Names Six New Members
At Convention, the membership elected six new board members: Midland Councilmember Diane Brown Wilhelm; Michael Cain, City Manager of Boyne City; Vassar City Manager Brian Chapman; Holland Mayor Nancy De Boer; Menominee Mayor Jean Stegeman; and Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman. Read more.

Expanded SaveMICity Initiative Launched at Convention
The League and its partners introduced a new branding effort for the SaveMICity initiative at Convention. The enhanced effort includes animated videos, storytelling efforts on behalf of individual communities, and an improved website and social media presence. Read more.

30 Michigan Communities Recognized for Sustainability
Thirty Michigan communities were honored in the statewide Michigan Green Communities Challenge for taking on a wide range of sustainability projects - everything from preparing for autonomous vehicles to using electric lawn mowers. Read more.

Michigan Municipal Executives Honor Retired Midland Assistant City Mgr.
Retired Midland Assistant City Manager Jack Duso received the 2018 John M. Patriarche Distinguished Service Award for his service to Michigan communities over many decades. The award was given to him during the MME Colloquium session at the League's Convention. More.

Congressman Kildee Shares Ideas to Strengthen Communities on Podcast
On the latest SaveMICity podcast, the League's Tony Minghine talks with Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) about his ideas for promoting a national agenda around strengthening communities. From the federal standpoint, he believes there should be more investment in communities to ensure less volatility as the economy goes through up and down cycles. Read more.

New State of the Cities Report Shows Economic Development Key Issue
The League just released its second annual State of the Cities report, which summarizes key themes and priorities presented in 28 state of the city speeches. Economic development was the top issue, followed by infrastructure and budget/management. Read more.

Kellogg Foundation Seeks Applicants for Community Leadership Network
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is seeking applicants for it's Community Leadership Network. This is an 18-month fellowship program offering hands-on training, personalized coaching, and community-based support. Applications are due by Sept. 30. Read more.

Guidelines for Responding to Emily FOIA Requests
The League recently created a new Fact Sheet regarding Emily FOIA requests. This Fact Sheet contains suggestions and legal sources to help guide FOIA coordinators and clerks in fulfilling FOIA requests for large amounts of election records. Read more.

New $550M Initiative to Create Economic Opportunity in Cities
JPMorgan Chase just launched Advancing Cities, a new $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the world. AdvancingCities will deploy investments and encourage creative, forward-looking solutions. Read more.

Convention Offers a Unique Event - A Live, Interactive Town Hall!
Watch and join in as your fellow attendees participate in a live town hall meeting on Convention's main stage to discuss and debate key issues facing local government leaders and community planners. The audience will use their mobile devices to actively participate. Read more.

Three Lessons From Muskegon, America's Strongest Town
Muskegon was the winner of the 2018 Strongest Town contest. StrongTowns founder Charles Marohn found three things worth noting: Muskegon solves problems incrementally; they have great, home-grown leadership; and they have great community participation and initiative. More.

Michigan Legislature Passes Wage Hike, Paid Sick Leave
State lawmakers voted to pass two ballot proposals that would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and require employers to provide paid sick leave for employees. Republicans intended to approve the proposals to keep them off the Nov. 6 ballot, and amend the laws later. More

Join us for League Affiliate Events at Convention
At Convention, three League affiliates are offering a chance to get together for breakfast, conversation, and their annual meetings. Join Michigan Association of Mayors, Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and Michigan Women in Municipal Government on Sept. 21. Get the details and register today!

The Latest Issue of The Review Magazine is Hot off the Presses!
The League and our partners recently expanded our SaveMICity initiative. Read all about it in the Sept/Oct issue of The Review magazine, along with stories on the business side of placemaking in Grand Rapids, governor candidate Q&As, and much more. Read it now.

August 2018

Grand Rapids and Lansing Selected for NLC Cities of Opportunity Project
The National League of Cities has selected Grand Rapids and Lansing as part of their Cities of Opportunity: Healthy People, Thriving Communities pilot technical assistance cohort. This program is designed to help cities improve residents' health and wellbeing. Read more.

Podcast Features State Senator's Insights on Municipal Challenges
State Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) is familiar with the challenges facing Michigan communities. On this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, he opens up about affordable housing, road funding, revenue sharing, and legislators' view of our SaveMiCity message. More.

Online Sales Tax Revenue Must Benefit Communities
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has leveled the playing field for Michigan's business community, taking away the unfair advantage online businesses had over brick and mortar businesses that had invested in our local communities. Read more.

USDA Seeks Applications for Rural Economic Development Funding
The USDA is seeking applications to provide cooperative agreement funding for eligible partners to expand capacity for small and rural towns. The funding is to harness regional assets, create economic develolpment plans, and implement those plans. Read more.

Podcast Highlights Mott Foundation's Support of SaveMICity Initiative
Ridgway White, president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, understands that educating residents and business leaders is key to improving Michigan's broken municipal finance system. On this week's SaveMiCity podcast, he shares why the Foundation is supporting the SaveMICity effort. Tune in now.

Cutting State Taxes is not the Path to Prosperity
How should Michigan regain its status as THE economic powerhouse in the U.S.? Some folks in Lansing would lower taxes. But Michigan has disinvested in public schools, higher education, roads, and water infrastructure. Our state needs to invest for the future. Read more.

TODAY IS Convention Early Bird Deadline - Register Now!
The League's exciting 2018 Convention is almost here! For the first time, we're partnering with Michigan Association of Planning to bring you MORE of what you want. To get in on the action—and save $75—register by the early bird deadline TODAY. Get the details and register now!

Michigan Sales Tax to be Collected from Out of State Online Retailers
The State Treasurer announced a change to the state's sales tax administration that will require many online and out of state retailers to pay Michigan's 6 percent sales tax. That could amount to more than $200 million in additional state revenues annually. Read more.

Local Ballot Proposal Success a Sign of Broken Municipal Finance System
Thank you voters! But to the State of Michigan: There is a lot of work that needs to be done to fix Michigan's broken municipal finance system. That's the best way SaveMICity can summarize the election results from Tuesday regarding the overwhelming success of the hundreds of proposals on local ballots. Read more.

Enjoy the Lighter Side of this Year's Convention!
Unwinding and chatting with new and old friends is an important part of Convention. This year, we've planned three social events for you to enjoy: Pre-Conference Meet and Greet Mixer, Host Cities Reception at Grand Rapids' exciting Downtown Market, and the MML Foundation Reception featuring Midwest Dueling Pianos. Tickets to the Foundation Reception can be purchased when you register for Convention. Get the details and register today!

Podcast Shares a Retrospective with Recently Retired General Counsel
On this week's Economics of Place podcast, League CEO Dan Gilmartin talks with Bill Mathewson, the League's recently retired general counsel. Bill shares his thoughts on the changes he has seen in local, state, and federal government over the past 40 years. Read more.

Thanks for Showcasing Your Civic Pride on #CityHallSelfie Day!
Yesterday's annual #CityHallSelfie Day, sponsored by ELGL, was a chance to showcase local gov love. Many communities across the U.S. - including some here in Michigan - took creative pictures of themselves in front of their local government building. Read more.

Rebuild America's Communities Week Webinar Features Lansing Mayor
Hear from Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and other local leaders about Rebuild America's Communities Week, Sept. 15-22. Learn what several U.S. communities are doing to show Congress how important federal programs and funding are to their prosperity. Aug. 15. Read more.

Christopher J. Johnson Named New General Counsel for League
The League has selected long-time municipal attorney and former Northville Mayor Christopher J. Johnson as the organization's new general counsel. "Chris's vast experience in municipal law as well as having served as a mayor made him an ideal choice for the League and our membership," said League CEO Dan Gilmartin. Johnson's new position is in the Detroit Legal News. Read more.

Assessing Reform Forum Scheduled in Gaylord
State Treasurer Nick Khouri and the legislative sponsors for SB 1025 and HB 6049 are planning a series of "listening tour" forums to hear from local officials about ways to improve administration of Michigan's property tax laws. The first will be in Gaylord, Aug. 14. Read more.

Convention Mobile Tours Offer Unique, Interactive Experiences
Grab your walking shoes or bike and get ready for an up-close exploration of the Grand Rapids area! Convention mobile tours include ArtPrize, Hudsonville's Terra Square, Vital Streets in Action Bike Tour, Restoring the Rapids. and much more! Get the details and register today!

Where Michigan Governor Candidates Stand on City Problems
From joblessness to crime and bank-breaking auto insurance rates, Michigan's cities suffer the state's most intractable challenges. Many are considered to be financially distressed due in part fo underfunded pensions and decreasing revenue sharing payments from the state. Learn about the candidates' stance on city issues. Read more.

July 2018

$5 Billion in USDA Rural Development Loans and Grants
USDA Rural Development has two programs to help communities build critical infrastructure. Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program provides funding for schools, infrastructure improvements, etc. Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program finances drinking water, stormwater drainage, and waste disposal. Read more.

League Hosts Webinar on New OPEB/Pension Reporting Guidance
After recent action by Treasury’s Municipal Stability Board, new guidance is now available for communities when developing any necessary Corrective Action Plans. The League hosted a webinar this week with Treasury staff to provide an overview of their implementation of PA 202 of 2017. View the full webinar.

Podcast Shines a Light on Ypsilanti's Solar Power Accomplishments
Dave Strenski, founder of SolarYpsi, and his volunteer team have amped up Ypsilanti's sustainability and turned the city into a "solar destination" where people can learn about solar power and tour solar installations. Learn more on this week's Review Déjà vu podcast. Tune in now.

Electric Scooters Have Arrived - Don't Panic!
Electric scooter sharing has arrived in Michigan. Last week, Bird Rides Inc. deployed e-scooters in downtown Detroit. These scooters are "dockless," so they could create problems. Before e-scooters hit your downtown, think about how to manage them. Read more

Convention Keynote Speaker to Highlight Value of Inclusivity
As the first female to lead the city of Gary, Indiana—and Indiana's first African-American female mayor—Karen Freeman-Wilson brings a unique perspective to the profession. At Convention, you'll get a chance to hear Freeman-Wilson in the General Session Civic Engagement Strategy: Inclusivity for the Win. Get the details and register today!

League Signs Letter Supporting Civility in Public Discourse
League CEO Dan Gilmartin and more than 220 individuals and groups signed on to a letter supporting civility in public discourse, spearheaded by Gov. Rick Snyder. "We ... do hereby commit to standing up for civility in public debate and discussions of policy." Read more

How Much in Additional Road Funding is Your Community Receiving?
More money for roads is coming your way. We’ve broken it down for you by community in a chart on our SaveMICity website. League CEO Dan Gilmartin sent a personal letter to more than 800 League members last week explaining the increased road funding money. Read more.

CMU Offers Tuition Discount to League Members and Families
A new agreement between Central Michigan University and the League gives League members and employees, their spouses and qualified dependents a 15 percent tuition discount to online programs and classes taken at CMU's satellite locations. Read more.

Huge Selection of Breakout Sessions at 2018 Convention!
At this year's Convention, our partnership with Michigan Association of Planning gives us double the power! One of the benefits is a wider array of breakout sessions than ever before. Attendees will be able choose from over 40 sessions, including Amazon: Michigan's Wakeup Call or the Beginning of the End?; HR Up in Smoke: The Intersection between Marijuana Legalization and Employment Law; and Game of Floods. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel is filling up quickly - and you must be registered for Convention to book your hotel room. Get the details and register today!

Voting Closed for 2018 Community Excellence Awards Projects
Voting is now closed for this year's Community Excellence Awards projects. We're tallying the total votes and compiling the judges' rankings. Stay tuned for the announcement of the top four finalists that will go on to compete at Convention in Grand Rapids.

MAMA Publishes New Guide on Freedom of Information Act
The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys just published Michigan's Freedom of Information Act: A Guide to Statutory Exemptions. It's meant to assist municipal attorneys in determining whether certain public records may be exempt from disclosure under FOIA. More.

Mobile Home Taxes Trashed as 'Unfair' by Property Owners
The Tyrone Township Board approved special assessment rates in wihch mobile homes will pay $20/year for police and fire services, while homes will pay $150/year. "We need to ask, is that tax fairness?" says the League's Chis Hackbarth. Read more.

Hear First-Hand from Renowned Urbanization Expert at Convention!
Would you like to have lunch with a famous author? Join us at this year's Convention, where you can dine with author Bruce Katz and get a first-hand account of his latest book, The New Localism: How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism. Get the details and register today!

Podcast Shares Insights from Communiy Builder Award Winner
Deb Stuart, Mason city administrator, was the recipient of the League's 2018 Community Builder Award. On this week's Limelight podcast, she talks about the transition to municipal management, advice for women in government, and Mason's unique characteristics.Tune in now.

Webinar - Community Crowdfunding: Learn from the Experts
Have you thought about running a crowdfunding campaign for a community project with MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places program? Learn from experts who have already run successful campaigns with the help of Patronicity. Webinar, Aug. 8. Read more

June 2018

NEW Career Search Site Available to League Members
The new Michigan Career Hub site aims to help match Michigan job seekers and employers find their best fit, faster. As an added bonus, the site is available at no extra cost to League members who submit an ad through the League's classified ads system. Read more.

Registration Now Open for Unique 2018 Convention!
For the first time ever, the League and Michigan Association of Planning are joining forces to hold our annual fall conventions - together! This event combines the best of both organizations to present a stellar education and networking event. With double the power, we'll bring you more of what you want: MORE breakout sessions, topics, and mobile tours. Sessions will cover everything from establishing traditional neghborhoods to marijuana legalization. Plus, the famous ArtPrize international art competiiton will be in full swing! Get the details and register today!

Fixing Michigan's Roads Can Be a Political Hot Potato
It's easy for candidates and lawmakers to express support for fixing the roads. But League CEO Dan Gilmartin has seen local governments stretch their wallets. "They're tapped out, and we need real leadership at the state level, real leadership at the federal level, to truly step up and be a partner in infrastructure." he said. Read more.

Podcast Explores Legislative Issues with League Lobbyist Team
On this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, we talk with the League's Lansing team about upcoming legislative issues of importance to Michigan communities, the impact of term limits, revenue sharing, what to expect during the Lame Duck session, and more. Tune in now.

Free Webinar on Michigan’s New Lead and Copper Rule July 10
Register now for a free webinar at 10 a.m. July 10 to get familiar with Michigan’s new Lead and Copper Rule. Municipalities and water supplies across Michigan participated in the stakeholder process during the Rule revision. Find out what changes made it into the final rule. Get the details here.

DEADLINE TODAY for Women's Municipal Leadership Program
The 16/50 Project seeks to grow the pool of dedicated, professional women with the skills to become strong local managers. To help women reach those heights, we have developed the Women's Municipal Leadership Program. Get details and apply by July 9.

U.S. Supreme Court Hands Down Major Victory for Local Government
The League is excited about the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the ability of states to collect sales tax on Internet purchases. The League has long advocated for this as the current system penalizes businesses that provide critical local funding. Read more

Bill Ford Shares Vision for Detroit's Train Station, Corktown
Ford Motor Company's purchase of the Michigan Central Station in Detroit brings to life Bill Ford's vision. He views the site as a place to re-create what mobility means for modern times, test autonomous vehicles, and build business models around them. Read more.

Michigan Set to Adopt Strictest Lead Water Rules in Country
The new lead drinking water rules from the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality will lower the lead action level to 12 parts per billion starting in 2025 and require communities to remove all lead service lines, including those on private property. Read more.

Podcast Reports on MIRS Newsletter and Changing Role of the Media
So just what is MIRS Newsletter? In this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, the League's Matt Bach talks with Kyle Melinn, editor, v.p., and co-owner of MIRS, about what MIRS is, what it's like to cover Lansing politics, and the changing role of the media. Tune in now.

Podcast Explores Municipal Impact of PA 202 OPEB/Pension Reforms
What is OPEB and why is it important to local government? Learn more as the League's Tony Minghine talks with attorney Brandon Fournier, a leader in labor relations and OPEB issues, on the latest SaveMICity podcast. Read more.

Michigan Legislature Wraps Up Action on State Budget
Both chambers completed action on the state's omnibus budget bill for the coming fiscal year. Senate Bill 848 includes many items of interest to municipalities related to general government/revenue sharing and the budgets for MDOT, LARA, DEQ, and DNR. Read more.

View New Video of SaveMICity Panel at Mackinac Policy Conference
At the recent Mackinac Policy Conference, SaveMICity's panel discussion— "Not Open for Business: Why Disinvestment in Michigan Cities is Hampering Economic Opportunity"—was a huge hit! A video of the session is now available of this great discussion. Watch the video now.

Community Excellence Awards Online Voting Starts June 29!
Thank you to everyone who submitted projects for the League's annual Community Excellence Awards competition. We received some really creative entries and can't wait to share them with you. Get ready to view them and vote for your favorite starting June 29. Read more..

Podcast Shares Approaches to Tackle Opioid Crisis in Michigan
Families, communities, and local governments are falling victim to the opioid crisis in America. On this week's Review Déjà vu podcast, guest Marci Scalera advocates for a multi-faceted approach: prevention, treatment, and stopping drug trafficking. Tune in now.

Community Excellence Awards Projects due TODAY!

We love hearing about all the creative projects going on in our communities and sharing that news with the world. But first, you need to enter this year's Community Excellence Awards. Entering is easy - just give us a description of your project, add a couple photos or a video, and hit "Submit Your Entry" by TODAY. Enter today.

16/50 Project Debuts New Women's Municipal Leadership Program
Growing the pool of dedicated, professional women with the skills to become strong local managers is the goal of the 16/50 Project. To help women reach those heights, we've developed the Women's Municipal Leadership Program. Get details and apply by July 9.

Podcast Explores Municipal Impact of PA 202 OPEB/Pension Reforms
Brandon Fournier, a leader in labor relations and OPEB issues, has worked with the League on OPEB reforms. On this week's SaveMICity podcast, Fournier shares his insights on the complexities of PA 202 for municipalities and the OPEB reform efforts that still need to occur. Tune in now.

Funds Available to Promote Positive Relations with State's Indian Tribes
The Native American Heritage Fund is providing funding for local governments and other entities for projects that promote positive relationships and accurate information about the history and role of Michigan's Indian tribes. Apply by July 6. Read more.

Next Big Corporate Tax Cut? It Could Hurt Local Government Funding
A bill reported out of a Senate Committee would exempt Michigan utilities from personal property taxes on their transmission lines and pipelines–a change that could cost local governments $576.3 million annually within 10 years. "There's no way local governments can absorb this," said the League's Chris Hackbarth. More.

MME Summer Workshop Focuses on Building Better Communities
This year's Michigan Municipal Executives Summer Workshop will offer education and enjoyable networking. Sessions will focus on creating sustainable, vibrant, and engaging public spaces. Charlevoix, July 17-20. Register and reserve your hotel room now.

Free Technical Assistance for Small-Scale Manufacturing, Neighborhoods
Small-scale manufacturing can be a powerful tool to revitalize downtowns of all sizes. Smart Growth America is offering free technical assistance for communities interested in using this strategy to create economic opportunity and build great places. Apply now.

SaveMICity Panel a Huge Hit at 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference
The League had a fantastic panel discussion at the recent Mackinac Policy Conference The session and enhanced education campaign are generously sponsored by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. We did extensive Facebook and Twitter posts during the session, and we've already gotten tremendous media coverage. More

SaveMiCity 2.0 Launched at Mackinac Policy Conference
The League launched the newly expanded SaveMiCity effort at the Mackinac Policy Conference. We've updated our savemicity.org website with fresh content, created a new, informative animated video, and launched new SaveMiCity Facebook, and Twitter pages. Read more.

MAMA Summer Conference Offers Education, Networking, and Fun
At this year's Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys/GLS Summer Conference, attendees will enjoy a special presentation from Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman. There will also be lots of other opportunities for education and fun networking with colleagues. Crystal Mountain, June 22-23. Register now.

Port Huron Officials to Visit Holland for Mayor's Exchange
Holland Mayor Nancy DeBoer will host Port Huron Mayor Pauline Repp and several other Port Huron officials for the Michigan Mayor's exchange. The visiting officials will tour sites such as the Holland Museum and Hope College. Holland officials will then visit Port Huron July 30. More.

May 2018

The Municipal Finance Dilemma: Cities Must Be the Engine
As Michigan continually ranks dead last in the country for funding infrastructure and services that improve citizens' overall quality of life, investing in cities must remain a top priority, panelists said in the Mackinac Policy Conference session Not Open for Business: Why Disinvestment in Michigan Cities is Hampering Economic Opportunity, hosted by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Read more.

After Flint, Michigan Pushes Toughest Lead Water Rules in the Country
Four years after the Flint water crisis began, Michigan state regulators are on the verge of approving some of the strictest rules in the country. But local governments warn that the rules are needlessly expensive, likely unconstitutional, and won't necessarily improve public health. Read more.

Podcast Delves into Ferndale's Welcoming, Collaborative Nature
Fourteen years ago, Ferndale's openness to diversity and collaborative spirit drew Melanie Piana to move to the city. Now, as city councilmember and vice president of the League board, she's an active part of the city's success. Learn more on this week's Economics of Place podcast. Tune in now.

Many Metro Area Cities Paralyzed by Inability to Raise Revenues
Analysts say the downward spiral in local tax and other revenues started when Michigan voters approved the Headlee Amendment and Proposal A. Both severely limit local governments' ability to levy property taxes. The League's Tony Minghine says the two measures crippled local governments financially. Read more.

NLC Webinar: Parent-Centered Employment Strategies
NLC is launching a new initiative to strengthen economic stability for families in cities through a parent-centered approach to employment strategies. This webinar will share information about how cities can help families succeed by targeting parents in their workforce development efforts. June 6, 3:00 p.m. Register today.

Communities with Pension/OPEB "Underfunded Status" Identified
The final OPEB-pension "underfunded status" list is out now. The large number of communities on the list representing all corners of the state further demonstrates how Michigan's system for funding municipalities is broken and needs fixing. Read more.

Panel to Focus on Michigan's Broken Municipal Financing System
As Michigan looks to create greater economic opportunities, the state needs to assess how the system of municipal financing affects communities. A panel sponsored by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation at this week's Mackinac Policy Conference will provide context on how—and why—Michigan got to this point and how change can create stronger, more vibrant communities moving foward. The panel discussion—entitled Not Open for Business: Why Disinvestment in Michigan Cities is Hampering Economic Opportunity—will feature the League, local government leaders, and business officials. Read more. Learn more from the League and the Detroit Free Press.

Michigan May Soon be Forced to Pay Cities Under Headlee
The Michigan Court of Appeals is poised to decide the case known as Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government v. State of Michigan, brought in Sept, 2016, which claims that the state is shorting local governments billions of dollars annually in state revenue required to be paid under the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution. More.

Strongest Town 2018 Winner Muskegon Showcased on Podcast
The City of Muskegon won this year's Strongest Town Contest! Learn how they earned that honor with enthusiastic citizen spirit, a wildly successful farmers market, a commitment to rebuilding downtown, and much more on this week's Limelight podcast. Tune in now.

Early Bird Deadline Approaching for MAMA/GLS Summer Conference
This year's Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys/GLS Summer Conference will be held at Crystal Mountain.Get updates on emergent legal issues, hear from Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman, and more. For best rates, register and reserve hotel by June 1.

Local Governments are the Big Losers Under Michigan's Term Limits
Under Michigan's term limits, legislators lack the experience and the institutional knowledge they used to have. The result: "In the decade from 2002 to 2012, Michigan was the only state that decreased its spending on municipal governments and the services they provide, making local governments the big losers under term limits." Read more.

You Need to Know! Event Shares Strategies to Battle the Opioid Crisis
America's opioid crisis has decimated communities and families, and become a financial crisis for local governments. Join us for The Opioid Crisis in Michigan Communities, an educational and networking event where you'll learn how local governments are battling the crisis. Fenton, June 12. More sessions in August. Read more.

Step Forward Michigan Provides Financial Assistance to Homeowners
Since 2010, MSHDA's Step Forward Michigan program has been helping Michiganders recover from the recession and foreclosure crisis. Assistance with interest-free loans to help with mortgage payments, condo fees, or property taxes is still available. Read more.

Podcast Shares Insights from Michigan Political Reporters
Journalism has changed a lot in recent years due to the Internet and social media. On this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, get tips on how to get local government stories covered from Michigan political reporters Emily Lawler and Jonathan Oosting. Tune in now.

Michigan Property Values Roar Back, but Many Communities Left Behind
Property values are rising in Michigan, which helps owners but has been less helpful to many older municipalities. That's been true since Proposal A and the Headlee Amendment went into effect. "It's a horribly designed system," said the League's Tony Minghine. More.

Community Excellence Awards Deadline Approaching!
We love hearing about all the creative projects going on in our communities and sharing that news with everyone in Michigan and beyond. But first, you need to enter this year's Community Excellence Awards. Want to be the next winner in the Race for the Cup? Enter by June 15!

MBC-LEO Presents Fourth Race & Law Enforcement Forum
Building Community Trust is the theme for this year's Race & Law Enforcement Forum, presented by the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. Topics include race, equity, and leadership, racial profiling, hiring minorities, and much more. Hamtramck, June 9. Register today

League Partners with Mich. Dept. of Treasury for U.P. Education Summit
Join your fellow local government officials from Northern Michigan for two days of training. The League has partnered with the Michigan Dept. of Treasury for sessions on brownfield authorities and land banks, rural development grants, and more. Houghton, June 6-7. Register now.

Podcast Highlights Exemplary Spring Lake Village/Township Collaboration
Spring Lake Village and Spring Lake Township have found myriad ways to collaborate that greatly benefit both entities. Learn more from each community's manager—Christine Burns and Gordon Gallagher—on this week's Review Déjà vu podcast. Tune in now.

SaveMICity Message Heads to Mackinac Policy Conference
The League's SaveMICity message will be featured in a session at the Mackinac Policy Conference. The session is titled Not Open for Business: Why Disinvestment in Michigan Cities is Hampering Economic Opportunity. It will take place May 30 at the Grand Hotel. Read more.

The Town of West Branch Waves as I-75 Drivers Barrel Past
West Branch has familiar challenges: Not enough skilled, high-paying jobs, not enough housing, including middle- to upper-income apartments. The state's Rising Tide program could be a turning point for them. But attracting new employers requires infrastructure and the city doesn't have enough money to fix "nearly failed " water mains. Read more

Foundation Donor Story: It's an Investment in Michigan Communities
A photo of a Welcome to Pure Michigan sign with the words "pavement ends" gives Geoff Crosbie pause. That's why he supports the MML Foundation. He sees his gift as an investment in educating decision-makers on the need for a better way fo fund Michigan communities. More.

New Updates to League's Medical Marihuana Facilities Report
To keep you up-to-date on Michigan's Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, the League has updated our Medical Marihuana Facilities - Opt In/Opt Out report to include LARA's Emergency Rules and information on November's recreational marihuana ballot proposal. More.

Sterling Heights Plants the Seed for a Future Boosted by Recreation
The Seed's installation last year was part of Sterling Heights' renewed push for public art, a branch of the city's "2030 Visioning" plan. As they celebrate the city's 50th anniversary, officials are looking to the long-term future with a three-year, $45 million "Recreating Recreation" project to bring new energy into the area. Read more.

League Magazine Salutes Bill Mathewson's Distinguished Career
As General Counsel Bill Mathewson winds down his long career at the League, he will leave a legacy of which he can be proud. Learn more about Bill in the current issue of the League's magazine, along with stories on the state's disinvestment in communities, why Michigan failed to get the new Amazon headquarters, and much more. Read more.

Podcast Takes a Deeper Dive into the Headlee/Prop A Lawsuit
The state is being sued for Headlee violations by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government. Get a deeper understanding of the issues on this week's Episode 5—and Episode 2—of our SaveMICity podcast. Available on iTunes, Google Play, SaveMICity Podcasts.

League Fund Announces Loss Control Achievement Awards
The League Workers' Compensation Fund has issued its annual Loss Control Achievement Awards for 2017-2018 to 32 communities. "These awards represent the best of the best when it comes to communities being safe places for their employees and citizens," said Michael Forster, director of risk management services. More.

April 2018

Michigan Approves Marijuana Legalization Vote for Nov. Ballot
The Board of Canvassers has ruled that a proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use got enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot. But getting the proposal passed is not a foregone conclusion, despite recent polls showing more than 60% support. Read more.

Podcast Shines a Light on Muskegon Heights Mayor Kimberley Sims
Kimberley Sims, one of the League's newest board members, has served as mayor of Muskegon Heights since 2015. Learn how she's re-framing mindsets, community actions, and advocacy on this week's Limelight podcast. Available on iTunes, Google Play, and our Podcasts page.

Kaleva and Oxford Officials Awarded MML Foundation Scholarships
Joseph Frost, Village of Oxford, and Kim Somsel, Village of Kaleva, have been awarded the Tim Doyle Scholarship by the MML Foundation. The scholarship will cover the costs to participate in an upcoming League training for recently elected local officials. Read more.

Enter the Michigan Green Communities Challenge Now!
The Michigan Green Communities Challenge measures communities' progress toward meeting their current and future energy needs. Participation is free and open to any local government. To show off your community's sustainability projects, enter by May 31. More.

Gov. Snyder Appoints Daryl Delabbio to Municipal Stability Board
Gov. Snyder has appointed Daryl Delabbio, retired former Kent Co. administrator, to the Municipal Stability Board. Pursuant to PA 202 of 2017, also known as the Protecting Local Government Retirement and Benefits Act, the board is housed within the Michigan Dept. of Treasury. Read more.

Jobs Alone Won't Reverse Michigan's Youth Exodus
Enhancing the job readiness of Michigan residents won't be enough to grow the state's economy unless they choose to stay in (or move to) Michigan. So it makes sense to reinvigorate revenue sharing for cities, reallocate state transportation funds to urban areas, and adopt other policies consistent with millennial attitudes. Read more

Grand Rapids' Rosalynn Bliss: Social Worker First, Mayor Second
Before she entered politics, Rosalynn Bliss was a social worker for child welfare and domestic violence cases. At some point, she shifted her strategy for making a difference. She spent a decade on the Grand Rapids City Commission and is now the city's first female mayor. More.

Revenue Sharing Cuts Outlined in Initial House/Senate Budget Plans
The Senate General Government subcomittee's budget report, drafted into Senate Bill 855, removes the 2.5% increase that cities, villages, and townships received this year. League members are urged to contact their legislators and ask them to retain the current statutory revenue sharing funding. More.

Podcast Highlights Karen Majewski, Life Membership Award Winner
Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski has long been an integral part of her community and the League, earning her the 2018 Life Membership Award. Learn more about her illustrious career on this week's Review Déjà vu podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, and our Podcasts page.

League CEO to Guest on WDET Education Policy Twitter Chat
Dan Gilmartin, League CEO, will be a guest panelist on WDET's Education Policy Twitter Chat with state education leaders. Panelists will share what their organizations are working on and respond to listeners' questions and ideas. April 25, 10-11 am.

Water Infrastructure Bill Would Undermine Local Pros, Control
Most of Michigan's water infrastructure needs to be repaired or replaced. But communities don't need constraints on materials. Proposed legislation will alter the procurement process and eliminate collaborative designing between utilities and their engineers. Read more

Detroit City FC Crowdfunding Brings New Life to Hamtramck Stadium
League CEO Dan Gilmartin is featured in a new video that shares the inspiring story of the popular Detroit City FC. Through crowdfunding, the soccer club was able to restore Hamtramck's 80-year old Keyworth Stadium as well as create a great new home for the club. View video.

Keeping Harmony Between Local Officials and City Managers
Capital Conference's Council-Manager Relations workshop focused on the dynamic between elected and appointed officials. "Poor relationships lead to mixed messages and chaos ... and none of us want to be known for that," said the League's Kathie Grinzinger. Read more.

Podcasts: New Ways to Listen and 2018 Legislators of the Year
League podcasts are now available on iTunes and Google Play. Check out this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast with guests House Democratic Leader Sam Singh and Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth) - winners of MML's 2018 Legislator of the Year awards! Tune in now.

SaveMICity Campaign Looks at Lessons from Amazon Loss
Other states have been increasing their investment in communities, while Michigan has been decreasing it. Detroit was recently passed over by Amazon to be home to their second North American HQ for the same reasons other companies choose to locate elsewhere. Read more.

Can 'Localism" Restore Sanity to U.S. Politics?
Localism is a bottom-up, practically oriented way of looking at today's biggest policy dilemnas. Instead of always seeking to fix municipal issues through national policy, localism suggests that communities can and should find solutions to their own problems. It hands power back to those who feel powerless in the face of federal stasis. More.

Cities, Counties Still Losing Out on Revenue Sharing Money
Since 2002, the Legislature has withheld more than $8 billion in funding earmarked for local governments. This means they've had to make cuts across the board, from services like public safety and public health to institutions like parks, says the League's Chris Hackbarth. Read more.

TODAY is the Application Deadline for Tim Doyle Scholarship
The Tim Doyle Scholarship helps provide access to the most critical information for newly elected officials through the League's Elected Officials Academy Core Weekender seminar. To take advantage of this great opportunity, apply by April 13. Read more.

EPA Region 5 Presenting a Water Finance Forum
The EPA Region 5 Water Finance Forum will bring participants together to discuss ways to manage water system improvements. Particplants will learn to plan, finance, build, and operate improvements made to water infrastructure, Findlay, Ohio, June 7. Read more.

Podcast Explores State Treasurer's Views on Investing in Local Govt.
What's the State Treasurer's take on investing in Michigan's local governments? On this week's SaveMICity podcast, the League's Tony Minghine sits down with State Treasurer Nick Khouri to get his thoughts on that and the future of our state's economy. Tune in now.

The Future of Parking Lots and Commercial Real Estate
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is investing millions in a real estate company that focuses on distressed real estate assets that will need to be repurposed for the digital era. Community leaders should start to consider what happens if large chunks of land in their downtowns and commercial districts become available. Read more.

The League's William Mathewson Receives Honorary Life Membership
The League awarded long-time employee and current General Counsel William Mathewson with our highest individual honor - the Honorary Life Membership Award - at the Capital Conference Awards Gala. He's planning to retire at the end of June. Read more.

DNR Seeks U.P. Input on Use of Off-Road Vehicles on State Forest Roads
DNR is working to implement PA 288, which requires an inventory of thousands of miles of state forest roads and regulates the use of Off-Road Vehicles on those roads. A stakeholder meeting will be held to provide opportunity for input, Marquette, April 18. Read more.

Muskegon Wins Third Annual Strongest Town Contest!
Congratulations to Muskegon, winner of the 2018 Strongest Town Contest! The city shone in the competition as it touted the community's enthusiastic citizen spirit, wildly successful farmers market, commitment to rebuiliding its downtown, and active Lake Michigan waterfront. More.

MDOT Category F Call for Projects Now Open
MDOT is now accepting Transportation Economic Development Fund Category F applications for fiscal year 2020. Eligible applicants include cities, villages, and road commissions. Proposed projects must be on federal-aid designated routes within federal aid urban areas. More.

March 2018

Dan Gilmartin Featured in Reports on Infrastructure and Municipal Funding
League CEO Dan Gilmartin and the League have been featured in multiple news articles recently about the funding crisis facing Michigan communities, Michigan's infrastructrure, and the nation's infrastructure woes in general. The coverage was sparked by Gilmartin's recent testimony before Congress. Read more.

Podcast Highlights NLC's Efforts on Behalf of Cities on Capitol Hill
Irma Esparza Diggs fights for cities!.On this week's Economics of Place podcast,. learn how the National League of Cities' director of federal advocacy - a speaker at our recent Capital Conference - gets the job done and the important issues on her radar. Tune in now

League Board VP Melanie Piana Gets Summer Fellowship to Harvard
Melanie Piana, League Board VP and Ferndale councilmember, will go to Harvard this summer as a Taubman fellow. The program gives local public officials with demonstrated leadership a chance to attend the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. More.

Federal Budget Deal Protects Critical Local Government Programs
President Trump signed a budget deal that reverses many of the spending cuts he had originally proposed. A $1.3 trillion spending proposal maintains or increases funding for key programs used to fund infrastructure, economic development, public safety, and more. Read more.

Capital Conference was a Huge Success in Lansing Last Week
Almost 500 municpal officials attended this year's Capital Conference in Lansing - the largest group in years! That led to many packed sessions, lively discussions, and plenty of enjoyable networking. Check out all the action on the League's Conference site, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr

League Launched New 16/50 Project at Capital Conference
At Capital Conference, the League launched the 16/50 Project - developed to highlight and bridge the gap between the percentage of women in the state of Michigan (50.8%) and the percentage of women that hold positions as municipal managers (16%). Read more.

Raise Your Voice for the Arts on Michigan Arts Advocacy Day April 18
The League is a proud partner of Michigan Arts Advocacy Day. Join Creative Many on April 18 to stand with our creative community in Lansing. We'll connect with other advocates, learn about challenges facing the creative community, and meet with our state lawmakers. Read more

Treasury Releases Raw Data Behind Latest PPT Reimbursements
Many communities were confused by their Personal Property Tax loss reimbursement check in November 2017. 167 cities and villages received less in 2017 than in 2016, and several received zero. The complex formula of recalculation of prior years is the main culprit. Read more.

Podcast Shares Insights into Colorado's Marijuana Legalization
On this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast, 2017 Convention speaker Chelsey Clarke of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area shares Colorado's experience since becoming one of the first states to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. Tune in now.

Airbnb Rental Explosion Splits Traverse City
Traverse City is in a quandary on how to manage demand for short-term vacation rentals. The League's Jennifer Rigterink has expressed our opposition to bills in the House and Senate that would prevent local governments from enacting zoning ordinances that ban or restrict owners from renting out homes for short-term stays. Read more.

Okemos is One of the Best Places to Live in the United States
According to Niche, a website that ranks the best places to live and go to school, Okemos is the fifth best place to live in the United States. And it's the best place to live in Michigan. Okemos received A+ ratings for its public schools and housing, as well as being family friendly.More.

Dan Gilmartin Gave Washington, D.C. an Earful on Michigan's Lousy Roads
A congressional subcommittee got an earful March 13 about the poor state of Michigan's roads as League CEO Dan Gilmartin pleaded for help in fixing them. He said that many local governments are already at their limits on taxing authority and cannot raise millages. Read more.

Dan Gilmartin Gave Washington, D.C. an Earful on Michigan's Lousy Roads
A congressional subcommittee got an earful March 13 about the poor state of Michigan's roads as League CEO Dan Gilmartin pleaded for help in fixing them. He said that many local governments are already at their limits on taxing authority and cannot raise millages. Read more.

"Michigan Divided" Special Film Screening at Capital Conference
On Tuesday afternoon before Capital Conference's opening General Session, the League will present a special screening of "Michigan Divided," a documentary film that follows six families through a tumultuous year of politics to see if they can find common ground. Read more.

Podcast Shares the Story of Milan's Downtown Redevelopment
This week's Review Deja vu podcast features a finalist for our 2017 Community Excellence Awards - Milan's Downtown Redevelopment & Revitalization. Guests Jade Smith and Jill Tewsley share how one redevelopment project is jumpstarting a rejuvenation of downtown. More.

Michigan's Economy is Improving, Suburbs May Face Next Fiscal Crisis
Michigan's economy is mostly recovered from the Great Recession, but more than 150 communities still face serious long-term financial challenges. Deputy Treasurer Eric Scorsone says the next wave of fiscal problems will be in the surburbs - the problems are moving. Read more.

Governor Snyder Signs Bills Consolidating TIF Authorities
Legislation consolidating tax increment finance districts into one section of law has been signed by Gov. Snyder. According to Senate Bill 393 (now PA 57), all of the authorities would be subject to the same reporting requirements and have to hold information meetings. More.

Cease & Desist Letters Going to Illegal Marihuana Businesses
On March 15, the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation and the Michigan State Police began serving cease and desist letters to open marihuana businesses that didn't meet the Feb. 15 deadline to apply, as well as those operating without municipal approval. More

SE Michigan Voters Could See New Mass Transit Plan on Nov. Ballot
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has proposed a new $5 billion mass transit plan for southeast Michigan that seeks to address the concerns that killed the regional transportation initiative two years ago. The proposal would make several major changes to the 2016 plan. More.

2018 Michigan Green Communities Challenge Now Open!
Is your community working on projects to move sustainability forward? If so, share your innovative solutions through the Michigan Green Communities Challenge! It's open to all Michigan local governments. Sign up and you could be on your way to certification and other benefits.More

Broken Municipal Finance System Highlighted In Traverse City Column
After hearing the League's Anthony Minghine speak to business officials in Traverse City, the Traverse City Record-Eagle ran a column on the topic. They pointed out that Michgan local governments have lost ground on funding related to sales tax as only the state can collect sales tax. Read more.

Podcast Focuses on the Business Case for Municipal Finance Reform
Strategic investments in "place" add tremendous value to communities. Learn how Traverse City has invested in amenities that draw in businesses and people from guest Kent Wood, Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce, on this week's SaveMiCity podcast. Tune in.

Hurry! Capital Conference Online Registration Ends March 14!
It only takes a couple minutes to register online for Capital Conference. In exchange, you'll get access to enlightening and sessions; time to talk with lawmakers; network with colleagues; and make connections with Expo vendors. After March 14, only on site registration will be available. Get the details and register today!

We Appreciate Our Female Leaders Every Day!
Yesterday, on International Women's Day, the League saluted all the outstanding women leaders who serve on a variety of League-related boards, as well as our staff. Their hard work and dedication on behalf of the League and all our members is inspiring. When you get a chance, thank them! For more information on these amazing women, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages.

LAST DAY to Vote in Marshall vs Muskegon Strongest Town Match-Up
Two Michigan cities - Marshall and Muskegon - have been matched up in the third annual Strongest Town Competiiton! They need your votes to advance to the next segment of the contest. Check out their entries and vote for your favorite. Good luck to both communities! Read more.

Localities Want More Affordable Retiree Bills, States Won't Let Them
Michigan communities asked the state to give them tools to address looming retirement benefit costs. "There are innovative ways to reduce costs, and put some of the responsibility for paying a share of those costs onto the individuals who are benefiting - just as happens at most companies," said League CEO Dan Gilmartin. More.

Michigan Legislature Gives Final OK to Extra $175M in Road Funding
Despite concerns that not enough money is being allocated for Michigan's pothole-pocked roads, the Michigan Legislature voted to pump $175 million more into road improvements. The bill is being sent to Gov. Snyder for his signature. Read more.

New Podcast Illuminates the Gender Balance Challenge in Government
Women fill over 50 percent of state and local government positions, but less than 20 percent are in chief executive roles. On this week's Limelight podcast, learn about the value of gender diversity from guest Pam Antil, president of League of Women in Government. Tune in now.

Detroit on Forbes' List of '10 Coolest U.S. Cities to Visit in 2018'
The Motor City is on Forbe's list of "10 Coolest U.S. Cities To Visit in 2018" along with cities like Savannah, Ga., Portland, Maine, Baltimore, and San Antonio. Projects such as The Heidelberg Project, Micihgan Central Station, and the Inn on Ferry Street are all mentioned. Read more.

Time is Running Out to Register for Capital Conference!
Capital Conference is only a few weeks away - March 20-21 in Lansing. Register now to have access to enlightening workshops and sessions as well as a chance to talk with legislators at the Legislative Breakfast, network with colleagues at a variety of events, and make connections with over 50 Expo vendors. Get the details and register today!

It's Time to Give Michigan Local Governments More Tax Options
Michigan's over-reliance on the property tax and the growth limitations we have placed in our state constitution means that tax revenues for most municipalities only grow at the rate of inflation. A new Citizens Research Council of Michigan study shows that local governments in other states have far more diverse tax options. Read more.

February 2018

New Podcast Tackles the Intricacies of Ethical Public Leadership
Ethics is more than following the law, it's a way of conducting yourself in all your affairs. Tune in to this week's Michigan Politics, Huh? podcast to hear Scott Paine of the Florida League of Cities talk about the ethical challenges that surprise even the best-intentioned local officials. More.

What Michigan Will Do With $175 Million More in Road Funding
The Michigan Legislature is poised to pass an additional $175 million in road funding for the upcoming construction season. Under the plan, $38.1 million would be distributed to cities and villages, the remainder to counties as well as state trunkline projects. Read more

TODAY Deadline to Save $75 on Capital Conference Registration!
Early bird registration for Capital Conference ends TODAY. Register now to save $75 and have access to enlightening workshops and sessions as well as a chance to talk with legislators at the Legislative Breakfast, network with colleagues at a variety of events, and make connections with over 50 Expo vendors.Get the details and register today!

LAST DAY to Order Cool League Shirts, Support Scholarships!
In our recent poll to select a design for League shirts, the results were a virtual tie! So we've decided to offer both designs for sale. Your purchase of one - or both - designs will help provide scholarships to local officials through the MML Foundation. Order by tomorrow!.

New Fact Sheet: PA 51 - MI Transportation Fund
PA 51 defines the formula the state uses to distribute money for road maintenance to cities and villages for major and minor streets. Learn more about Act 51 in our new Fact Sheet by Prein&Newhof. Read more.

Get to Know Colleagues and Vendors at Capital Conference
At Capital Conference, there's plenty of time for fun networking with peers and vendors. Head to the League's Liability and Property Pool Welcome Reception to mingle with colleagues, vendors, and League staff as you enjoy appetizers and beverages. And explore our annual Expo with more than 50 vendors! Get the details and register today.

Federal FY 2019 Budget Disinvests in Cities and Local Governments
President Trump's FY2019 budget proposal includes $3 trillion in domestic cuts over 10 years. They are a historic disinvestment from cities and local governments, including elimination or reductions to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Community Development Block Grants, and more. Read more

Michigan Metros Need to be Competitive Talent Magnets
Amazon's HQ2 wanted to be in a community with high talent concentrations. Neither metro Detroit nor Grand Rapids is a competitive talent magnet. Michigan must develop a culture and make key public investments aimed at preparing, retaining and attracting talent. Read more.

Talent Attraction Ideas Fill New Review Deja vu Podcast
Talent attraction is vital to Michigan's economic success. Tune in to this week's Review Deja vu podcast to hear Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future, Inc., lay out his placemaking recommendations to help Michigan compete for talent nationallly and globally. Listen now.

Traffic Fine Decline Saps Local Coffers in Michigan
Cops are writing less traffic tickets - bad news for courts and municipalities that depend on that revenue. Experts attribute the decline to staffing shortages. The League' believes it's a symptom of a much larger issue - Michigan's consistent disinvestment in its communites. More.

Infrastructure Issues a Key Topic at Capital Conference
Dangerous potholes, collapsing water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure crises abound in Michigan. At Capital Conference, our League legislative team will cover the federal and state infrastructure plans in depth. We also have two breakout sessions dedicated to infrastructure issues: the Lead and Copper rule and smart technology. Get the details and register now.

Is Regional Transit in Southeast Michigan Dead?
In 2016, a regional transit ballot initiative narrowly failed to pass. It looks increasingly unlikely that the system will be funded anytime soon. Many transit advocates believe that a lack of regional transit is one reason SE Michigan won't get to host Amazon's new HQ. Read more.

Help Oppose Telecommunications Bill Detrimental to Communities
The House may soon vote on HB 5098, a bill that would require that notification be provided one year in advance to a telecommunications provider for any project that would require the relocation of their facilities. Please let your State Representative know you oppose HB 5098. More

Headlee/Proposal A Lawsuit is the Focus of New SaveMICity Podcast
For years, Michigan's Headlee Amendment and Proposal A have been taking a huge bite out of local government budgets. On this week's SaveMICity podcast, the League's Tony Minghine talks with Steve Duchane, founder of Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government, about their lawsuit against the State on this issue. Listen in now.

Governor Snyder Presents Final Budget Recommendation
In Gov. Snyder's FY2019 state budget, the key announcement for League members concerns revenue sharing. Constitutional revenue sharing payments are expected to grow, but the Governor did not recommend a continuation of the 2.5% statutory revenue sharing increase. Read more.

Northville City Manager to Lead Michigan Municipal Executives
Patrick Sullivan, Northville's city manager, is the new president of Michigan Municipal Executives. He was selected during the organization's annual Winter Institute. MME also elected Fenton City Manager Lynn Markland as president-elect and Ludington City Manager John Shay as vice president. Read more.

Help Us Choose the Coolest League-Branded Gear!
The League is making some swag and we need your help. Before we go to print, let us know which design you like better. Once you help us choose, we'll share a link so you can order your items as part of an MML Foundation fundraiser for scholarships for local officials. Take the poll. (Poll is now closed.)

Column: Invest in Talent that Drives Economic Growth
Michigan lacks a very valuable resource - college-educated talent. For 20 years we have focused our attention on retaining and attracting capital with a strategy of cutting taxes, rather than preparing, attracting and retaining college graduates, which requires investment by the state. More.

Great Opportunities to Connect with Affiliate Organizations at Cap Con
Several Capital Conference events are designed with our affiliate organizations in mind. The Michigan Association of Mayors, Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and Michigan Women in Government will all hold luncheon meetings where attendees can learn more about their activities and officers. Get the details and register today!

NEW Economics of Place Podcast Explores Trends in City-Making
League CEO Dan Gilmartin interviews Mark Nickita - renowned urban designer, architect, and Birmingham city comissioner - on this week's Economics of Place podcast. They discuss the transformation of Detroit's Campus Martius and trends in city-making. Listen in now.

Boyne City Adding Inclusivity and Fun to Annual Goal-Setting
Seeking to get more input from a broader cross-section of its citizens, the Boyne City Commission will be using a revised and expanded process for its regular goal-setting effort. It will include fun and festive events for input from the community as well as the "public reveal." More

January 2018

Nominations Open for 3rd Annual Strongest Town Contest
Is your town on track to become strong? Then consider entering Strong Town's 3rd Annual Strongest Town Contest. Show them the best your town has to offer and what you're doing to become even stronger. Applications are due by Feb. 25. Read more.

Get to the Heart of Legislative Issues at Capital Conference
The heart of the League's Capital Conference revolves around the state and federal legislative issues that affect Michigan communities. At this year's General Sessions, we'll show you today's political landscape through the eyes of our lobbyists. They'll cover everything from the federal budget to OPEB reform and infrastructure. Capital pundits will offer a different, behind-the-scenes look at the happenings in Lansing. And the National League of Cities will share their recent efforts on behalf of communities in Washington, D.C. Get the details and register today!

Apply Now: Better Streets, Better Michigan Award
The League and the Michigan Department of Transportation are excited to announce the 2018 Better Streets, Better Michigan Award. This award recognizes Michigan cities and villages that have undertaken creative road projects. Application deadline is Feb. 16. Read more.

TODAY Pension and Retiree Health Care Reports Due to Mich. Treasury
In accordance with PA 202 of 2017, pension and retiree health care reports for retirement systems must be filed with the Mich. Dept. of Treasury. If your fiscal year ended on or before June 30, 2017, your Form 5572 is due by Jan. 31. To get the form and instructions, click here.

House Considering Bill Limiting Millage Elections
The House Elections committee held a hearing Jan. 25 on House Bill 4814 (Albert). This bill would limit all local governments to only being able to offer a millage question on the November General Election date. Please call your State Representative and members of the House Elections committee to express your opposition. Read more.

NEW We Love Where You Live Podcast Episode Now Airing!
Tune in to this week's We Love Where You Live podcast - Michigan Politics, Huh? - with host Matt Bach. He talks about the U.S. Supreme Court and cities with one of the League's Convention keynoters - Lisa Soronen, executive director of the State and Local Legal Center. Listen in now.

Exciting Array of Workshops Planned for Capital Conference!
Would you like a chance to dive deeper into a subject of interest and ask more questions? Try one of our Capital Conference Workshops: Council-Manager Relations, Michigan Kids in Prison, Medical Marijuana and Cyber Security. Get the details and register today!

Great Media Coverage for SaveMICity Presentation in Traverse City
The League's SaveMICity initiative received excellent media coverage on our presentation in Traverse City about the state's broken system for funding municipalities. The League's Anthony Minghine talked about the broken system and possible solutions. Read more.

Call for Nominations for Community Storytelling Award
Is your local government sharing clear, compelling, engaging stories about your community? Are they moving the needle in measurable, actionable ways? Nominate your local government for the Clarity Awards, offered by Engaging Local Government Leaders, by Feb. 9. Read more

NEW We Love Where You Live Podcast Episode Now Airing
Tune in to this week's We Love Where You Live Review Deja vu podcast with host Lisa Donovan. You'll get a fresh take on the League's 2017 Community Excellence Awards winner - the City of Hudsonville's Terra Square project! Listen in now.

League PlacePlans Projects: Where Are They Now?
Throughout 2017, the League's Review magazine featured updates on the successes, failures, and lessons learned from the 20+ local community engagement and redevelopment initiatives that were part of the PlacePlans pilot program. Read more.

Sign Up Today for the League's 2018 Capital Conference!
For this year's Capital Conference, we've brought together a great roster of speakers to share their insights on a wide variety of topics: legislative update, municipal finance, medical marihuana, retiree health insurance, and much more. Register today.

Cool Heads Keep Local Govt. Open, Hot Heads Shutdown U.S. Govt.
With the federal government budget shutdown still ongoing, the League would like to remind everyone that local government remains open for business. In the words of Ithaca, NY Mayor Svante Myrick, "Due to staggering competence, your local government will remain open today." Read more.

Walled Lake and Sterling Heights Officials Receive Scholarships
Michael Radtke, Jr. (Sterling Heights) and Gabriel Constanzo (Walled Lake) have been awarded the Tim Doyle Scholarship by the MML Foundation. The scholarship will cover the costs for them to attend an Elected Officials Academy Core Weekender training. Read more.

Head to Washington, D.C. for NLC Congressional City Conference
Join city leaders from across the country at the National League of Cities 2018 Congressional City Conference as we advocate together for the priorities of cities in the nation's capitol. The conference will take place in Washington, D.C., March 11-14. Read more.

League Insurance Boards Announce 2018 Member Dividends
The board of directors of the League Liability & Property Pool voted to return $2.1 million in equity to members who renew coverage in 2018. The trustees of the MML Workers’ Compensation Fund authorized an equity return of $8.6 million as part of members’ July 1, 2018 renewal. More

You Won! Now What? Newly Elected Officials Training
The League has two more trainings for newly elected officials to help educate them on their roles as public leaders. Topics include an overiew of basic local government; roles and responsibilities; and more. Jan. 17 (Ann Arbor) and Jan. 23 (Coldwater).

New Report Highlights Plan to Create New Jobs and Business in Michigan
Michigan has the assets it needs to grow hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of jobs in fast growing sectors like energy, water, and transportation, says the Michigan Economic Center's new report, Jobs, Michigan, and Leadership in the Economy of Tomorrow. Read more.

What's Happening Inside MDOT's Local Agency Program Webinar
The League invites you to the first installment of a free webinar series with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). We'll give you the latest information on everything from requests for information and important deadlines to streamlined communications. Register today.

New Pension/OPEB Reporting Requirement Released
Following the year-end passage of pension/OPEB legislation that implements the recommendations of Gov. Snyder's Responsible Retirement Reform task force report, Treasury released the reporting requirement documentation which ended up as the main component of Public Act 202 of 2017. Read more.

Michigan Dept. of Treasury Announces Regional Training Opportunities
The Michigan Dept. of Treasury is pleased to announce the development and implementation of a one-day course titled Understanding the Basics of Assessing for Local Unit Officials. This free course will be offered in locations across the state from April 27 - Aug. 6. Read more

League's Shanna Draheim Talks About State of the Cities on Radio
The League's Shanna Draheim had a great interview on WILS radio about our State of the Cities report and specifically the types of things Michigan's locally elected leaders are talking about. Listen to Shanna's interview and read the Michigan: State of the Cities 2017 report. Read more

Robots Don't Have to Win: Michigan Has What it Takes to Create Jobs
Today's economic transformation centers on solving the world's problems around living sustainably: How to meet the needs for energy, clean water, transportation, food, and more. As detailed in the new Michigan Economic Center report: Jobs, Michigan, and Leadership in the Economy of Tomorrow, in each of these sectors Michigan is one of the few places that has innovation assets which can create new jobs and businesses as part of this revolution. Read more.

The League's Kelly Warren Takes on a New Role
Long-time League employee Kelly Warren has recently taken on a new role as the League's director of membership and affiliate engagement. In this new role, she strategically engages members and connects them to the League's innovative programs and services. Read more

Check out the League's Brand New Podcast Series!
The League is now airing our exciting new podcast series, We Love Where You Live. We'll bring you insightful interviews on city innovations, politics, local government finance, and members' amazing accomplishments, and take a fresh look at stories in the League's magazine. Check out the first episode now.

New Session - Understanding the General Law Village Act
Back by popular demand! Atter the success of the Understanding the General Law Village Act session at last year's Convention, we've scheduled a new session for Jan. 27 at our Lansing office.Get the details and register today.

New League E-Newsletter Shares News at Lamborghini Speed!
What do a Lamborghini and the League's new e-newsletter - Leading Edge - have in common? They both get you to your destination in record time! For the Leading Edge, the destination is a quick source of information on League news and events. The LINK and The LOOP are being combined into one, easy-to-read publication. The first issue hit email boxes on Jan. 4.

League Study Highlights Priorities in Annual State of the City Addresses
Across Michigan in the upcoming days, dozens of locally elected mayors and council presidents will be delivering "state of the city" and "state of the village" presentations. A new League study, Michigan: State of the Cities 2017, analyzes these presentat6ions and shows some interesting themes and priorities of top concern to local leaders. More.

Add Tools to the Local Government Toolbox, Don't Remove Them
Bay City is debating a proposal to sell a bridge to a private company, which would rebuild it and charge a toll. Why? Michigan cities can't do tolls, and state law limits how much they can tax. That's how you bankrupt a city - take away all their tools and then watch while they fail to thrive. More.

Escanaba Rejects Offer in Menards 'Dark Store' Dispute
Recently, the Escanaba City Council rejected an offer from Menards to settle a tax battle that began in 2014 when the retailer won a state appeal that significantly lowered its property value. Negotiations have been ongoing between the city and Menards with no real progress. More.

December 2017

League CEO Guest Column: How to Tackle Retirement Costs
The League and other local government organizations in the state are sorely disappointed in the failure of the Michigan Legislature to help us address looming retirement benefits costs that threaten the ability to provide vital community services. Read more.

Michigan Legislature Finalizes Action on OPEB Bills
Following the initial action on the stripped down OPEB proposal on Dec. 7, the League identified a number of items and requested changes. On Dec. 12 we were provided an H-2 version of SB 686 that did include a few of our requested changes. Read more

The League Wishes Everyone a Very Happy Holiday Season
League offices will be closed for the holiday season from 3:00 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22 until 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2. We will be home enjoying the holidays with our families and friends, and we hope you will be doing the same. In the meantime, catch up on some of the League's latest news and happenings on our main website as well as these League sites: Inside 208 legislative blog, saveMIcity (municipal finance reform), placemaking, crowdfundingmi, and Michigan Municipal League Foundation. We have lots of exciting plans ahead for 2018, so stay tuned!.

League Members Appointed to Trial Court Funding Commission
Gov. Snyder has appointed two League members to the Trial Court Funding Commission. Todd Drysdale, Wyandotte city administrator, is the League's nominee. Eric DeLong, deputy city manager and COO for Grand Rapids, is the nominee of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Read more.

Local Officials Say They Can Rein in Retiree Benefits Costs
With the state's failure to win more control over how local governments fund their retirement systems, the focus turns to what cities will do to fix the problem. Saginaw and other cities insist the steps they have have taken will be enough to safisfy the Legislature's concerns. Read more.

Governor Snyder Signs Medical Marijuana Emergency Rules
A 2016 overhaul to the state's 2008 voter-approved Medical Marihuana Act allowed the licensing department to craft new rules as Michigan tries to transition to a fully legal medical marijuana business.Marijuana enterprises can begin applying for licenses on Dec. 15. Read more.

Important 2020 Census Information for Municipalities
Accurate data collection in the U.S. Census is vital for communities.The Local Update of Census Addresses Operation (LUCA) is the only opportunity for local governments to review and update the Census Master Address File for the 2020 Census. Deadline to register is Dec. 15, 2017. More.

New Medical Marihuana Report Aims to Help Communities Choose
Should your community opt in on medical marijuana licensing? The League, in conjunction with our Legal Defense Fund, has issued a new, insightful report that aims to help communities make that decision. Check out the report here. View a press release about it here.

Report Outlines Financial Challenges Ahead for Michigan Municipalities
The Citizens Research Council has issued a new report about the implications of state budget issues on local governments. This report is very much in line with the League's saveMIcity messaging about the state's broken system for funding municipalities. Read more.

OPEB Reform Efforts Scuttled, Represent Missed Opportunity
Efforts to provide comprehensive reform tools for communities to better manage rising retiree health insurance costs were derailed and a stripped down proposal was adopted on Dec. 7. House Bill 5298 and its identical counterpart, Senate Bill 686, served as the main vehicle of the revised package, which was scaled back to only address the few areas of concensus agreed to in the July release of the Governor's Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government Task Force report. Read Chris Hackbarth's blog here. Read a statement from League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin here.

Series Breaks Down State's Broken System for Funding Municipalities
An excellent series in the St. Joseph Herald-Palladium details revenue sharing and how the state's system for funding municipalities is broken. "Having reviewed the data, it is difficult not to say the current revenue sharing model in the state of Michigan is broken," stated State Rep. Kim LaSata, R-Bainbridge Twp. Read more.

State House Considering Revenue Sharing Package
Three bills were introduced in the House to create a structure that attempts to address the chronic underfunding of revenue sharing for local units of government. The League supports the bill package in concept and continues to advocate for a plan that restores the revenue sharing cuts of the past decade and distributes dollars appropriately. More.

Stay Tuned: OPEB Revisions Forthcoming, May Need Your Help
The League has been told to expect substitute versions for the 16-bill OPEB reform package sometime this morning or later today. The original package of bills, as introduced Nov. 30, was approved without support from Democrats in House and Senate committees Tuesday and has been tentatively scheduled for action on today’s House and Senate agendas. The League continues to actively press for amendments to the bills that would address our concerns. Please stay tuned as the League may ask you – our members – to contact your lawmakers to support or oppose the forthcoming revisions. Read more here and stay tuned.

Why Michigan Needs Newcomers. Told in 5 Data Maps.
Michigan's economy would improve if more adults had college degrees. One solution is convincing more adults from other states and countries to move to Michigan. Vibrant cities are one important key to drawing more college graduates to our state. Read more.

League Testifies on OPEB Bills, Continues to Work on Revisions
On Dec. 5, the League's Chris Hackbarth and Anthony Minghine testified in opposition to the introduced versions of the identical OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefit) bill packages in the Michigan Senate and House committees. Negotiation on these bills is ongoing and we are working diligently with the Governor's Administration and House and Senate leadership staff to address our concerns. They have been receptive to our input so far and we are waiting for revisions that should reflect the input we have provided. A 16-bill package that aims to better manage retirement health benefit cost drivers was introduced in the House and Senate on Thursday, Nov. 30. Those bills followed months of discussions between the League, legislative and administration officials. Read more here and stay tuned.

UPDATE: Legislature Introduces OPEB Reform Proposal
Negotiations on the OPEB reform package remain fluid. The Michigan Municipal League has remained fully engaged, including meetings with the Governor, Treasurer, and legislative leadership to fully understand the various components of the package. We are continuing to express concerns and suggestions. We have identified additional issues in need of addressing, primarily related to changes to PA 345 which allow levying taxes for public safety pensions, and the elimination of the bonding provisions for closed plans. We will be working on this package throughout the week. Please check the website for further updates as things develop. A 16-bill package that aims to better manage retirement health benefit cost drivers was introduced in the House and Senate on Thursday, Nov. 30. Those bills followed months of discussions between the League, legislative and administration officials. Read more here and stay tuned.

Downsized Public Workforce May Be Permanent Result of Recession
As revenues fell in the Great Recession, states and localities cut back on services and left vacancies unfilled. In Michigan, the League's Shanna Draheim says the shrinking of local government payrolls began in the early 2000s due to mounting cuts to state aid. Read more.

Why Michigan Needs Newcomers. Told in 5 Data Maps.
Michigan's economy would improve if more adults had college degrees. One solution is convincing more adults from other states and countries to move to Michigan. Vibrant cities are one important key to drawing more college graduates to our state. Read more.

Legislature Introduces OPEB Reform Proposal
Following months of discussions between the League, legislative, and administration officials on the need for additional tools to better manage retirement health benefit cost drivers, negotiations took a turn within the last few days. This shift in content has resulted in identical 16-bill packages being introduced on Nov. 30 in both the House and the Senate. House Bills 5298-5313 and duplicate Senate Bills 686-701 now include a number of provisions that were outside the original scope of those conversations that pose serious concerns for municipalities. These bills were referred to the House and Senate committees on Michigan Competitiveness. We have been told to expect these bills to be brought up by those committees next week, starting Tues., Dec. 5. Read more.

The Quiet Revolution Happening in the Suburbs
All over the country, suburbs are rushing to develop new mixed-use corridors, complete with dense, walkable shopping areas. After decades offering themselves as safer, quieter alternatives to cities, suburbs are refashioning themselves to become more like them. Read more.

November 2017

Retirement Reform Battle Looms in Lansing
House Republicans are preparing to introduce a reform proposal that sponsoring Rep. Thomas Albert calls a "fair and balanced solution" to protect retirees while helping local governments avoid potentially budget-busting bills for retirement benefits. Read more.

Deadline Approaching for John Barr Leadership Education Scholarships
Need some help with leadership training? The John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship, through the MML Foundation, is offering two scholarships of up to $1,000 each for training opportunities for local elected and appointed officials. The deadline is Nov. 30, so apply today.

You Won! Now What? Newly Elected Officials Training
The League is offering training for newly elected officials that will help educate them on the basic functions in their roles as public leaders. Topics include an overiew of basic local government; roles and responsibilities of elected officials; and more. Find a training session near you.

Taxes, Big-Box Stores and the 'Dark Store Theory'
Cities accuse big box retailers of undervaluing their own properties so they can pay less tax. One method to appraise a property is to use comparables If you're a big-box retailer, you might want to compare yourself to a dark or vacant store. like the vacant Menards in Kalamazoo. More.

Michigan Wants All Lead Pipes Replaced Within 20 Years
Gov. Rick Snyder's administration is planning to require the replacement of every underground lead service pipe in Michigan within 20 years while delaying by four years a deadline to implement the nation's toughest lead limit for drinking water, in the wake of the Flint lead crisis. State officials plan to give communities 20 years to replace an estimated 500,000-plus lead service lines in a state with the third-most in the U.S. The goal is to push municipalities to replace the old lead pipes running from water mains to houses or else face "difficult" new operational rules. More.

Legislature Considering Retiree Health Care Reforms
The League participated in Gov. Snyder's Retirement Reforms workgroup and was disappointed with the results. Now, a prospective OPEB reform proposal could be introduced soon and we're hopeful that it will provide tools for local units to control their OPEB expenses. More.

MML Foundation Launches Inaugural #GivingTuesday Campaign
Today, we're launching our first Michigan Municipal League Foundation #GivingTuesday campaign! Our goal is to raise $1,000 to make thriving, safe, and beautiful communities a reality for families around the state. Your donation will help educate local officials so they can make the best decisions for their communities; support local public space projects that improve quality of life; and connect communities with funding so they can attract residents, visitors, and employers. Please make a #GivingTuesday donation today. Donate here. Thank you for your support!

The Nashville Experiment and How Michigan is Still in Retreat
Michigan continues to fall behind in the race to attract talent. While our lawmakers talk about tax cuts and regulations, other places are investing in what really matters - ommunities. Nashville just announced a $5.2 billion transit system overhaul that goes before voters in May 2018. More.

MML Foundation President Guests on Comcast Newsmakers
Michigan Municipal League Foundation President Gisgie Gendreau was recently a guest on Comcast Newsmakers, hosted by Laurel Hess. Gendreau shared highlights of the Foundation's work and how it's helping Michigan communities thrive. Read more.

USDA Now Accepting Applications for Solid Waste Management Grants
USDA is currently accepting applications for Solid Waste Management grants. Funds can use used to evaulate current landfill conditions, identify threats to water resources, and provide training to enhance operations. The deadline to apply is Jan. 2, 2018. Read more.

MSHDA Neighborhood Placemaking Grants Available
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) announced round two of the Neighborhood Enhancement grant program. The grants are targeted at beautifucation and public space improvements. Applications are due Dec. 20. Read more.

Important 2020 Census Information for Municipalities
Accurate data collection in the U.S. Census is very important for communities.The Local Update of Census Addresses Operation (LUCA) is the only opportunity for local governments to review and update the Census Master Address File prior to the 2020 Census. Deadline to register for LUCA is Dec. 15, 2017. Read more.

Voter Approval of Tax Hikes Proof of Broken Municipal Finance System
Local taxpayers were once again asked to step up to the plate and approve tax-related proposals during the recent Nov. 7 election. And, according to MIRS News Service, 75 percent of the tax questions seeking new money were approved. More

League Signs on to NLC Letter Urging Federal Tax Reform Changes
The League has signed on to a letter from the National League of Cities to the House Ways & Means committee expressing support for preserving the tax exempt status of municipal bonds, but relaying concern with some provisions that will negatively impact local governments. Please contact your Congress member and ask them to support the changes proposed by NLC. More.

New MWIMG Event - Advancing Women in Local Government
Please join us for a panel discussion, where successful women serving in local government will share their insights. There will also be time to learn more about Michigan Women in Municipal Government (MWIMG) and some lively networking, Nov. 28, 3:30 pm, Lansing. More.

Do Ride-Sharing and Driverless Cars Mean Fewer Parking Garages?
Cities should start thinking now about the impact driverless cars will have on everything from transit to parking. That's according to the new CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which commissioned a recent report as a road map for cities to consider the kinds of infrastructure and land use changes that the emerging mobility industry will bring. The report makes the case that the communities best suited to attract jobs and residents will be the ones that have invested in the infrastructure to be ready for things like ride-hailing and bike-sharing services and self-driving cars. More

Michigan Municipal League and Flint Celebrate a Decade of Placemaking
On Nov. 9, the League celebrated successes in community placemaking - and looked forward to what still needs to be done to make our state's cities more attractive - with a new report entitled "A Decade of Placemaking in Michigan." The celebration included comments from those leading the way: Tim Herman, CEO, Flint & Genessee Chamber of Commerce, Karianne Martus, market manager, Flint Farmers' Market; Shanna Draheim, League director of policy development, and Keysa Smith of Spectacular Spudz. The event was at Flint Farmers Market and Facebook Live. Read more

Great Places in the Great Lakes: 20 Years of Placemaking in Michigan
Michigan has found itself in another line of business: as a producer of great places.The word of these great places is spreading in Michigan. Organizations like the League are helping to scale up placemaking all over the state, as evidenced by the League's new report. Read more

Webinars on Local Regulation of Medical Marijuana Facilities
MSU Extension is offering webinars on "Next Steps in Local Regulation of Medical Marijuana Facilities." They'll review Michigan's medical marijuana facilities laws, summarize options for local govt. regulation, highlight ordinances that municipalities are adopting, and more. More

Invest in Cities to Narrow the Inequality Gap
In his new book "The New Urban Crisis," urbanist Richard Florida calls for cities and urbanism to be put at the center of the agenda for economic prosperity. He proposes a strategy that includes investing in infrastructure and empowering cities and communities. Read more

Michigan Secretary of State Releases May 2018 Election Deadlines
The Michigan Secretary of State recently released a calendar of deadline dates for the May 8, 2018 election. Please pay special attention to these deadlines as many of them are as early as January 2018. Read more.

ELECTIONS TODAY - Michigan Secretary of State Reminders
Many Michigan cities and school districts will hold elections Nov. 7. The Secretary of State has a lot of valuable information on their Elections in Michigan page. Residents can check their voter registration information, view their sample ballot, and more. Read more

October 2017

Michigan Must Look to Infrastructure, Policy to Lead Mobility Charge
Gov. Snyder unveiled a new report: "Future Cities: Navigating the New Era of Mobility." "We must arm our communities with the knowledge they need to develop a vision for tomorrow's infrastructure, neighborhoods and transportation systems, says one of the report's authors. Read more.

Water Crisis Hits Suburbs: 'We've Been Sounding Alarms for Years'
When a massive water main broke last week in Oakland County and made tap water unsafe to drink for 305,000 residents, a top utility official called the mishap "unprecedented." Experts fear it could be something else: a byproduct of aging infrastructure in Michigan whose failings are becoming more frequent and dangerous. Read more.

Meridian Township Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035
The Meridian Township Board approved a Climate Sustainability Plan that provides a framework for the township to improve sustainability and reduce climate change. Objectives include energy and water cost savings, use 100% renewable energy by 2035, and more. Read more.

Municipalities, Investors Explore State's New Pot Opportunities
Developers and companies affiliated with medical marijuana are flocking to Michigan municipalities. The League's Jennifer Rigterink says it's an opportunity to put vacant properties back on the tax rolls, but it's unclear if licensing fees, etc. will be a windfall for local coffers. More.

Searching for Housing Solutions in the Grand Traverse Region
Michigan's current housing supply is not keeping up with modern needs. The rising interest in this topic was evidenced by the large turnout at Networks Northwest's recent Housing Summit, where community leaders shared success and aired challenges and frustrations. Read more.

Major Dark Stores VICTORY for Michigan Communities, Taxpayers
The Michigan Supreme Court issued a ruling that Big Box stores can no longer use the “Dark Stores” property valuation method, which allowed them to escape paying millions in local property taxes. View decision and joint League and Michigan Townships Assoc. statement.

MDOT Performance Audits No Longer Required from Local Road Agencies
The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has re-evaluated its decision regarding performance audits. Local road agencies are no longer required to submit Act 51 performance audits, and MDOT will reimburse agencies for costs incurred related to these audits. More.

League Lessons Learned and Shared at Placemaking Week
Michigan's experience with placemaking for the past decade makes it a perfect case study for others around the globe. That's why the League and our partners at MEDC were recently featured speakers at the Project for Public Spaces' Placemaking Week in Amsterdam. Read more.

John Barr Scholarships Offered for Leadership Training
Need some help with leadership training? The John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship, through the MML Foundation, is offering two scholarships of up to $1,000 each for training opportunities for local elected and appointed officials. The deadline is Nov. 30, so apply today

Nominations Now Open for the League's Guido and Sinclair Awards
Does your community have an outstanding chief elected official? Would you like to recognize someone who has provided exemplary service to the League? Nominate them for a Guido Leadership & Public Service or Sinclair Exceptional Service Award by Dec. 15. Read more

Training Videos Available for New Voting Systems
In 2017 and 2018, Michigan's counties, cities and townships are gradually replacing voting systems statewide. Dominion and ES&S have provided training videos for the new tabulators and voter assist terminals. Training documents are available for the Hart system. More

Bessemer Unveils New Branding for the City
The City of Bessemer recently unveiled a new branding logo, which focuses on what a person can "Be" in Bessemer. Slogans such as "Be Amazed" and "Be Proud" are part of a new branding video, and may also be used on banners to be hung along U.S. 2. Read more

TODAY League CEO to Keynote UM-Flint Placemaking Conference
League CEO Dan Gilmartin will be the keynote speaker at "Aspire to Transform: The Power of People and Place." Community leaders, local business owners, UM-Flint faculty and other influencers will discuss placemaking and its transformational impact, Oct. 24, More

Michigan Supreme Court Considers 'Dark Store' Case
Escanaba officials who attended a Michigan Supreme Court hearing in Lansing on Oct. 12 are hopeful justices will decide not to hear a "dark store" appeal by Menards to reverse a lower court's ruling which favors the city. Menards claims the store's value should be based on a closed and empty building - or a dark store. The League is among many state organizations that are backing Escanaba. Read more.

Sterling Heights City Manager Honored with ICMA Longevity Award
Mark Vanderpool, Sterling Heights city manager, has been honored with a 30-year service award from the International City/County Management Association. He was appointed city manager in Sterling Heights in 2004 after serving as assistant village manager in Skokie, IL. More

Airbnb Battle Brews in Lansing Over Local Control of Short-Term Rentals
Municipal leaders say they know better than Lansing how to govern their communities in regard to short-term rentals. Bills introduced in the Michigan House and Senate would allow short-term rentals in all residential zones and prohibit municipalities from restricting them. More

Suzanne Schulz Appointed to State Marihuana Advisory Panel
Gov. Rick Snyder announced initial appointments to the Marihuana Advisory Panel. One of those appointees is Suzanne Schulz, planning director and managing director of design, development, and community engagement for the city of Grand Rapids. Read more.

MBC-LEO Supports Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands in Crisis
Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials: We stand in agreement with the U.S. Conference of Mayors regarding the devastation that struck Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The White House should follow the example of the nation's mayors, and other locally elected officials, who form a united front to support their fellow Americans in times of crisis. Read full statement.

Special Discount for Grants Management Training in Detroit
SEMCOG and Grant Writing USA are presenting a grant management workshop in Detroit, Dec. 4-5. Attendees will learn how to administer government grants and stay in compliance. League members can get a $30 discount by using code "MIASSN" at registration. Read more.

MDOT Seeking Input From Local Agencies on Construction Services
The League is working with MDOT to identify areas of construction oversight inconsistencies and gauge the effectiveness of current activities. Your feedback will help them identify things that do or don't work well. Please complete their survey by Oct. 20. Read more.

Planning and Shaping Cities: Customer Service is Key
In local government, good customer service is just as important as in the private sector. It is crucial that we recognize the unique needs of each customer type and plan ways to be responsive to them. Helpful techniques range from speaking their language and presenting options to demystifying board and commission meetings. Read more.

Plymouth's Art Foundation Launches Campaign to Foster Creative Minds
Plymouth's Art Foundation believes that in the right environment, anyone can thrive as an artist. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform part of an old school into Warehouse Studio, with art classrooms, a gallery for budding artists, and more. More

League Promotes Summer Minnick to Executive Team
The League's Summer Minnick was recently promoted to deputy executive director and chief membership officer. She'll oversee the strategic direction and implementation of the League's external programming, including State and Federal Affairs. Read more.

saveMIcity Initiative Travels to Macomb County and Saline
The League's Anthony Minghine has been making presentations on municipal finance around the state. He was recently in Clinton Township, and spoke to members of the Michigan Library Association in Saline. He'll make another presentation in Macomb County on Oct. 18. Read more.

How You Can Help Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico
After Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is facing what local officials have described as a full-blown humanitarian crisis, with devastation they call "apocalyptic." Nearly all of the island's 3.4 million residents need assistance. Here's how you can help. Read more.

The League and Muskegon Celebrated a Decade of Placemaking
On Oct. 6, the League was in Muskegon to celebrate successes in community placemaking - and look forward to what still needs to be done to make our state's cities more attractive - with a new report and comments from those leading the way. Also on Facebook Live. Read more.

League Promotes Long-Time Employee Dene Westbrook
Long-time League employee Dene Westbrook has been promoted to director of internal operations. "She has worked her way up at the League by impressing us with her skill, knowledge and desire to learn at every step along the way," said League CEO Dan Gilmartin. Read more.

Alcona Co. Launches Campaign to Build Local Farm to Fork Movement
Alcona County wants to rejuvenate their economy by building a local farm to fork movement.. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to hold workshops, chef-inspired dinners, and more to attract visitors, young farmers, and budding entrepreneurs. More

What's Next for Regional Transit in SE Michigan?
Online retailer Amazon wants to open a second headquarters in North America, but. SE Michigan may not have a shot. One of Amazon's "Core Preferences" is access to mass transit - not exactly an asset in our region, especially after the defeat of last year's mass transit proposal. More.

September 2017

The League and Cadillac Celebrated a Decade of Placemaking
The League celebrated successes in community placemaking - and looked at what still needs to be done for our cities - with a new report and comments from those leading the way. The press conference was held in Cadillac Sept. 28, and on Facebook Live. Read more.

League Promotes Long-Time Employee Shari Milliken
Long-time League employee Shari Milliken has been promoted to finance director. "Promoting staff from within is important to our organization and I couldn't be more pleased to have Shari as the League's finance director," said Dan Gilmartin, League CEO. Read more.

Detroit Neighborhood Launches Campaign for Community Treehouse
Detroit's Manistique Block Club wants to create the Manistique Treehouse Center, a community-run center for occupational therapy and education. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build an ADA-accesible building and offer special programs for veterans and people with disabilities. Read more

Marshall and Albion Bridge Divides Through Art and Theater
The recent merger of the Marshall and Albion school districts ran into some bumps in the road. The two towns have significant demographic differences. They came together to develop the Franke Center's Youth Theater Education Program to give the students exposure to one another and to creative expression. Read more.

saveMIcity Goes to West Michigan; Up Next Saline & Macomb County
The League's Anthony Minghine recently spoke to dozens of people for a presentation with West Michigan municipal leaders and a community event in Paw Paw. "We have disinvested in our communities and that has got to stop," said Minghine. More presentations are planned in Macomb and Washtenaw counties. Read more.

Hudsonville Emerges Victorious at Convention in the Race for the Cup!
Hudsonville came out on top in the League's annual Community Excellence Awards competition! Their Terra Square project transformed a 1950s Chevrolet dealership into the city's freshest, multi-purpose community venue. Read more about Hudsonville's Terra Square project and Convention highlights.

Gladstone Launches Crowdgranting Campaign for Disc Golf Park
Local disc golfers want to install a disc golf course at Gladstone Sports Park to enhance recreational opportunities, safety, and conservation. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a course for people of all ages and skill levels. Read more.

Internet Sales Tax Challenge Could Face Supreme Court
In a recent National League of Cities blog, MML Convention speaker Lisa Soronen says that South Dakota is expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that its law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax is constitutional. Read more.

Several Michigan Communities Take a Stand Against Racism and Hate
Racism and hate, in any form, are detrimental to the development of welcoming, thriving communities. In response to national and local incidents, several Michigan municipalities recently passed resolutions opposing and condemning racism and hate. Read more.

Local Leaders Highlight Priorities in Annual State of the City Addresses
Many local leaders give a "State of the City/Village" address to highlight priorities, challenges and accomplishments. A new League report, Michigan: State of the Cities 2017, summarizes key themes and priorities presented in these speeches. Read more.

Governor Signs Fix for Local Candidate Filings
Gov. Snyder has signed HB 4892, which will allow any community that inadvertently followed candidate filing deadlines in their charter rather than the uniform filing date in Michigan election law, to place all otherwise eligible candidates back on the November ballot. Read more.

Want an Amazon HQ in Metro Detroit? Shoulda Voted for Transit
Amazon plans to open a second headquarters. Metro Detroit may already be out of the running due to lack of mass transit. League CEO Dan Gilmartin says our transit woes are part of a broader pattern of disinvestment that hobbles our state economically. More.

New Infrastructure Asset Management Fact Sheet
The goal of asset manaqement is to minimize the total cost of ownership of a community's infrastructure assets throughout their lifecycle. Prein&Newhof provides helpful information in this new Infrastructure Asset Management Fact Sheet. Read more.

Sault Ste. Marie Leaders Testify in Lansing, Work to Resolve Ballot Issue
A state ruling said city office candidates in Sault Ste. Marie filed their nominating petitions 3 weeks too late. City manager Oliver Turner, with support from the League, has been working to fix the filing deadline flub. Turner and the League's Chris Hackbarth testified in Lansing. More.

We Hope to See You in Holland This Week for Our Exciting Convention!
We've been hard at work all year creating a Convention experience that will educate and inspire you! From the opening day workshops to the closing session on The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, every session is designed with you in mind. You'll also have plenty of time to get out in the community on mobile workshops, have informal conversations on Convention topics at Meet-Ups, and mingle with your colleagues at fun events like the Host City and League Foundation Receptions. Complete details are available on our Convention website.

How to Help in Hurricane Harvey Recovery Effort
Images of desparate rescues and flooded neighborhoods prompt many of us to ask, "How can we help?" ICMA asked Texas City Management Association President David Harris for his advice. Coordinating disaster recovery efforts is an important part of the process. Read more.

August 2017

Treasury Announces Grants for Financially Distressed Communities
The Michigan Department of Treasury announced grants for financially distressed communities. Cities, villages, and townships experiencing financial struggles can now apply for a grant to help fund special projects and free up tax dollars for important services. Read more.

Michigan Bills Would Prohibit Bans on Short-term Rentals
SB 329 and HB 4503 would not allow municipalities to define a property renting for less than 28 days as a commercial use and would prohibht them from restricting short-term rentals in residential districts. The League is urging local governments to oppose the legislation. More.

New NLC Report Reveals Five Distinct Local Economies
The National League of Cities just released a new report - Local Economic Conditions: The Untold Story of the Varied Middle. The report reveals a dynamic economic landscape that has given rise to five distinct types of local economies: a highly rural cluster; a large central city cluster; and three types of mid-sized economies. Read more.

Convention "Nuts & Bolts" Sessions Keep Communities Humming
Local governments provide numerous "nuts and bolts" programs and services that keep their community functioning on a daily basis. At Convention, the League is offering several sessions that will share ideas on how to keep those activities running smoothly and efficiently. Try one of these Breakout Sessions: Illegal / Improper Municipal Expenditures or Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Legalities. AND everyone can save $150 if they register for Convention by Aug. 30! Read more.

State Disinvestment Hurting SE Oakland County Communities
Residents and officials from SE Oakland County came to learn why Michigan ranks last in the nation for investment in its communities. The League's Tony Minghine brought that message to leaders and residents from Pleasant Ridge, Huntintgon Woods, Ferndale, Berkley, Hazel Park and other communities. Read more.

Five Michigan Mayors Join Pledge to Fight Extremism After Charlottesville
Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Muskegon Mayor Steve Gawron and Westland Mayor William Wild all signed the "Mayors' Compact to Combate, Hate, Extremism and Bigotry" put together by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Anti-Defamation League. Read more.

Kalamazoo Mayor Appointed to State Community Corrections Board
Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell and several others to the Michigan Community Corrections Board. The board advises the director of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Hopewell will represent members of city government. Read more.

Earn EOA and ICMA Credits at Convention
For Convention attendees participating in the League's EOA, you can earn 4 credits for attending Convention, and 3 credits for attending a workshop. If you're participating in ICMA's voluntary credentialing program, many Convention sessions meet ICMA Core Competency requirements. Save $150 if you register for Convention by Aug. 30! Register now!

Grand Blanc Honored in Michigan Green Communities Challenge
In this year's Michigan Green Communities Challenge, Grand Blanc won a Bronze Certification for completing an energy audit and implementing energy-saving measures. The League's Emily Kieliszewski presented City Manager Wendy Jean Burher with the certificate. Read more

Sinister-Sounding Dark Store Theory is Corporate Welfare
The dark store theory gained traction in Texas, with recent protests in several counties. Large retailers have tax consultants, lawyers and lobbyists, so they keep pushing and eventually bully their way to lower values and lower taxes, leaving others to pick up the tab. More

saveMIcity Events: Let's Chat About Fiscal Challenges of Your City
The cities of Huntington Woods, Berkley, Pleasant Ridge, Oak Park, Hazel Park, and Ferndale hosted three saveMIcity presentations. The League's Anthony Minghine and local elected officials discussed ways to reform municipal finance policy. Read more.

Gov Snyder Signs Legislation to Make State More Jobs Competitive
Gov. Snyder signed into law the Good Jobs for Michigan package, which is designed to attract large employers to Michigan by allowing them to keep some or all of the state income tax paid by their employees if certain criteria are met. Read more.

Mobile Workshops Pave the Way to Explore Many Avenues of Holland
At Convention, the League is offering several opportunities to get out in the community and discover all that Holland has to offer. Choose the Walk: Downtown Holland or Ride: Downtown Holland tours to learn about the city's ongoing efforts to develop and sustain its vibrant downtown, as well as its historic preservation initiatives. Or find out about the city's innovative Holland Energy Fund and Community Energy Plan - twice recognized by the Governor's Energy Excellence Awards - on the Holland Energy Park Tour. Get the details and register today!

Michigan Pension Reformers Turn Their Attention to Local Governments
Gov. Snyder and legislative leaders want to devise a plan to rein in pension debt at the municipal level. The League and other municipal organizations caution a "one-size-fits-all" approach handed down from the legislature isn't the best for Michigan's local governments. Read more

MEDC Roadshow Celebrates Manistee's Vogue Theatre
MEDC was in Manistee Aug. 11 for a 5-year celebration of their Community Revitalization Program, which helped finance the renovation of the Vogue Theatre. The League is pleased to support projects like these that help create vibrant communities.

Convention Breakout Sessions Shed Light on a Multitude of Topics
Enlightening breakout sessions will be Interspersed throughout the three days of the League's Convention in Holland, Sept. 13-15. Want to learn how to present an engaging State of the City address or develop an energy strategy for your community? Or maybe you need to know more about passing millage proposals, best practices for emergency vehicle operation, or getting redevelopment sites moving. These sessions and more - along with plenty of opportunities to interact with your colleagues - will be available at Convention.Get the details and register today!

Finalists Revealed for 2017 Community Excellence Awards!
After receiving the judges' rankings and more than 11,000 votes for this year's Community Excellence Awards, we're ready to unveil the finalists! The communities of Cadillac, Hudsonville, Milan, and Wayne will be heading to Convention in the Race for the Cup! Read more.

July 2017

Ten Reasons to Build Community Through Urban Design
Mixed-use neighborhoods and great public spaces bring citizens together. The 10 best reasons to design and build places that support community include freedom and choice in mobility; support social interaction; great public places; healthy lifestyle opportunities, and more. Read more

Grand Rapids Named One of The 25 Best Towns of 2017
Grand Rapids was named "Best River Town" in Outside Magazine's national list of The 25 Best Towns of 2017. The city has high-paying jobs, 70 parks, and 10 mountain biking trails nearby. Mayor Rosalynn Bliss hopes to make the town more sustainable, too. Read more.

Council Recognizes Longest-serving Member in Madison Heights History
Margene Scott has long been passionate about history. Now, Scott herself has made history, becoming the longest-serving councilmember in the history of Madison Heights, with 24 years of service. On July 24, Scott's peers honored her for her impressive feat. Read more.

A Refreshing Way to Support MML Foundaton at Convention
Want to have fun while supporting Michigan communities? Then be sure to add the MML Foundation fundraising reception to your Convention registration. Held at the beautiful, lakeside Boatwerks in Holland and generously supported by DTE Energy, the event is a great opportunity to network while doing good. Your support will help sponsor scholarships for local elected and appointed officials to get the training they need. Refreshments and fun entertainment will make this a can't-miss event. Thursday, Sept. 14, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Get the details and register today!

Southfield Fire Chief, Councilman Recognized for Community Efforts
Southfield Fire Chief Johnny Menifee and City Councilman Lloyd Crews were recognized by the Michigan Chronicle for their involvement in the community. The Chronicle's Men of Excellence Awards celebrate African-American men who inspire others. Read more.

League Statement on Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Govt.
A work group aimed at providing a comprehensive plan to substantially improve the ability of communities to address municipal fiscal stresses has failed to reach the League's goals. We were hopeful the work would have culminated in a real solution. Read more

Convention Workshops Offer a Deep Dive into Essential Topics
Arrive a little early to the League's Convention in Holland and you'll have an opportunity to participate in an in-depth, interactive session. This year, on the morning of Sept. 13, we'll be offering three different workshops: Building Trust Between Citizens and Law Enforcement, presented by the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials; Understanding the General Law Village Act; and Council-Manager Relations. Each workshop will provide you with valuable ideas to apply in your own community. Get the details and register today!

Plainwell Launches Crowdgranting Campaign for a New Dog Park
The residents of Plainwell would love to have a dog park where their furry friends can romp. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform part of Cook Park into a dog park with fenced areas, benches, water stations and more. Read more.

NLC Toolkit to Fight Federal Budget Cuts Affecting Michigan Communities
The federal budget proposal for FY 2018 cuts more than $54 billion in funding for domestic programs. It would have major consequences for every city and village in Michigan. The League is proud to be working with NLC on a toolkit to send a message to Congress. Read more.

"On the Ground" To Tell Stories of Ypsi People, Projects, & Innovations
Concentrate wil be conducting an embedded reporting program called "On the Ground" in Ypsi. The intent is to create "solutions-oriented" media coverage, community engagement, and understanding of the community. Find out how you can get involved. Read more.

#CityHallSelfie Day is August 15, 2017!
Local government professionals and elected officials from the around the globe are invited to participate in #CityHallSelfie day, organized by Engaging Local Government Leaders. The day is a chance to show pride in local government service and facilities. Get the details

At Convention: America in Bloom's Vision for Vibrant Communities
America in Bloom envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play - benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism. At Convention's Thursday morning General Session, Tony Ferrara, America in Bloom's first vice president, will share how his organization is using community engagement and successful local level leadership as part of their vision to help create better places to live. Get the details and register today!

League's Richard Murphy Featured in Article on Ypsi Housing Affordability
Increasing rents as well as the arrival of some upscale new businesses have led some Ypsi residents to worry about gentrification. The League's Murphy says there are a number of solutions in the urban planner's toolkit, including the 'market urbanist' approach. Read more

You Need to Know! Event: Medical Marihuana in Your Community
Michigan's new Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act is generating lots of questions. Join us for You Need to Know! , where we'll discuss your rights and what the new law can create in your community. Register now for sessions in Gaylord, Mt. Pleasant, Novi, and Kalamazoo

League Leadership Opportunities Now Easier to Locate
The League looks to members to lead in many ways, from legislative issue committees to affiliate boards to moderating a Convention session. Those opportunities are now all on one web page. Check out the options for putting your leadership skills to work. Read more

After Teacher Pensions, Legislature Wants More Benefits Changes
Now that Gov. Snyder has signed major changes to retirement benefits for new teachers into law, legislators hope to extend those changes to other public employees. The League's Chris Hackbarth says the largest spiraling cost for cities is retiree health care. Read more.

July/August Magazine Highlights Great Communication Ideas
Storytelling for Local Leaders, The Benefits of Low-Tech Engagement, and Governtainment - these are just a few of the articles in the new July/August magazine. Each story offers ideas on unique ways to keep your community informed and engaged. Read more.

Washington Decisions Affect Your Communty: See How at Convention
With ample chatter about what's going on in Washington, D.C., don't miss out on the happenings relevant to cities and villages. At Convention, Lisa Soronen, executive director of the State and Local Legal Center, will share insights on this topic. You'll hear about cases being considered by the Supreme Court, the appointment of Justice Gorsuch, the relationship between the federal and local governments on immigration, and many other inside perspectives. Please join us for this engaging Michigan Municipal Executives Colloquium at Convention. Get the details and register today

New Report Chronicles a Decade of League Placemaking Efforts
Since the early 2000s, the League has been a leader and partner in bringing the concept and practice of placemaking to Michigan communities. Our new report, "A Decade of Placemaking in Michigan," is a retrospective of our efforts. The purpose is to remind us of what we've accomplished and set the stage for our future placemaking work. Read more..

Mayors Can Boost Local Biz with "I Buy Nearby Weekend" Proclamation
The Michigan Retailers Association's Buy Nearby campaign urges shoppers to patronize local businesses. A great way to promote the campaign is to issue a proclamation declaring Oct. 7-8 as "I Buy Nearby Weekend" in your community. View sample Resolution.

New Growth for Grayling: City Looks Back to Forest Industry
A Chilean forestry company's $400 million particleboard factory just south of downtown Grayling is poised to transform the area's economy. And its arrival may offer lessons for other Michigan towns on how to revive their financial fortunes. Read more.

Clean City Design, Park Proximity Boosts Trust in Local Government
Findings from the Assembly Civic Engagement Survey indicate that people living near well-maintained parks are more likely to show satisfaction with local police and their mayor. Results indicate that placemaking is just as important for smart cities as open data. Read more.

Grand Rapids Ranked No. 1 in U.S. for Job Growth
The Grand Rapids metropolitan area was the fastest growing economy in the U.S. last year, according to Headlight Data, a company that tracks economic and workforce development. Grand Rapids' workforce grew 4.4 percent last year. Read more.

Supreme Court Decision Affects Local Governments on Social Media
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that social media is "speech" under the First Amendment. As a result, local government officials and employees should make sure their social media use and policies comply with First Amendment principles. Read more.

AARP Funding Opportunity for Communities - Deadline July 15
AARP knows that great communities take time to build and sustain. But "quick actions" can be the critical spark for longer-term progress. That's why the AARP Community Challenge will fund projects to help build momentum. Apply by July 15. Read more.

June 2017

Experience Hip and Historic Holland at 2017 League Convention!
YOU can join hundreds of local government officials from across the state for the League's 2017 Convention in Holland. You don't need a passport to enjoy this unique city on the shores of Lake Michigan. In this European-inspired setting, municipal officials will have the opportunity to hone their leadership skills; learn how to make ethics an integral part of your leadership style; partner with the business sector to boost the vibrancy of your community, and much more. Join us in Holland, Sept. 13-15, for a Convention experience you'll never forget. Get the details and register today!

The Scoop on Comp, Master, General, Strategic, Vision Plans
A comprehensive plan articulates the vision for the community through the framework of goals and objectives. It typically involves land use, transportation, and economic development, but success of the plan also depends on departments such as finance and IT. Read more.

A Year After Leaving State Oversight, Pontiac Sees Successes
Pontiac is undergoing a transformation and positioning itself for the future. Since coming out of state oversight in 2016, Pontiac is on the move and headed in the right direction. The city is committed to safety and building a welcoming community for everyone. Read more.

Baroda Uncorks Placemaking Potential with Wine Tasting Room
Baroda was featured in the League's book, The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities, for its placemaking efforts to transition into a wine country destination. Baroda has taken a step in that direction with the opening of Lake Michigan Vintners Tasting Room. More.

Six Lessons From People Shaping Tomorrow's Cities
Coming up with a big idea to improve your city is one thing. Digging into the gnarly details of launching and scaling that project is quite a different story. Knight Foundation brought together winners from the past 3 years of Knight Cities Challenge to share the lessons they've learned. More.

Dark Stores Victory for the City of Sault Ste. Marie!
An ongoing dispute at the Michigan Tax Tribunal involving the City of Sault Ste. Marie and Wal-Mart has come to a conclusion, with Wal-Mart withdrawing its appeal and the taxable value previously set by the city for the Wal-Mart property remaining intact. View Order of Dismissal. More

Michign Counties Seeing Increased Young Adult Civic Engagement
The majority of Michigan counties exhibit moderate to high levels of opportunity to increase youth civic engagement, according to the Reaching All Youth Strengthens Engagement Index. According to the index, 64 of Michigan's 83 counties had a rating of 3 stars or higher. Read more

NEW Legal Defense Fund Online Amicus Brief Bank
The best legal thinking on key municipal issues is now at your fingertips! The MML Legal Defense Fund has created an online, searchable dababase of amicus curiae briefs, 1997-present. Municipal attorneys and elected/appointed officials will find this new resource helpful in managing and defending their municipality. Read more.

Urbanism & Tech - Pushing Cities to the Next Level
The resurgence of urban environments as desirable, thriving and productive areas has been amazing. Similarly, we've seen the global impact of digital. The uniting of these trends creates a fantastic opportunity to develop stronger, safer, more affordable and efficient cities. Read more.

5 Metro Detroit Communities Recognized in MGC Challenge
Dearborn, Ferndale, and five other communities in metro Detroit were recognized June 6 as part of a clean energy and environmental leadership event hosted by the Michigan Green Communities Network. The League is one of the MGC partners. Read more.

Marquette Launches Campaign for Extension of Noquemanon Trails
About 4 miles of Marquette's Yellow Loop singletrack trail network are already in regular use by hikers and bikers. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to complete the next phase: 2-3 miles of new singletrack near Marquette Mountain. Read more

Funding Michigan Cities: The Path Forward
Did you miss the League's Anthony Minghine and Rosalynn Bliss in a panel discussion on municipal finance reform at the Mackinac Policy Conference? Catch a replay of the Conference panel discussion.

Community Excellence Awards Entries Due TODAY
We love hearing about all the great stories and creative projects that are making your communities vibrant! Better yet, we'd love to share that news with everyone in Michigan and beyond. But first, you need to enter this year's Community Excellence Awards. We've made entering even easier this year. Hurry - the deadline is June 15. Read more.

Howell Launches Campaign to Transform Peanut Row Alley
We love hearing about all the great stories and creative projects that are making your communities vibrant! Better yet, we'd love to share that news with everyone in Michigan and beyond. But first, you need to enter this year's Community Excellence Awards. We've made entering even easier this year. Hurry - the deadline is June 15. Read more.

New Fact Sheet: Reed v Gilbert Sign Regulations
In Reed v Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Court found that distinctions based on the content of a sign favored certain types of signs and violated the First Amendment. Signs should not be regulated based on the content of the message or the speaker. Find out how your municipality should respond to the ruling in our new Fact Sheet.

May 2017

Battle Creek's Cybersecurity Training Featured in National Article
Cyberattacks on local governments are increasing in frequency and severity, but few are equipped to stave off the threats. In Battle Creek, a training program and subsequent cultural shift resulted in a significant decline in cyber-related incidents. Read more.

League, Chris Hackbarth Named Among Top Five Lobbyists in State
The League and our own Chris Hackbarth, state and federal affairs director, were both recognized this week for being in the top five lobbyists in the state. The recognition of the League and Chris making a real impact in Lansing politics was part of the 2017 Capitol Insider Survey. More.

For 2018 Mackinac Conference, Let's Put More Focus on Cities' Needs
At the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss told a panel on cities that state cutbacks have cost her city $92 million in once-promised revenue-sharing cash over the last 15 years. Restrictions on raising property taxes built into the Michigan constitutuon further hamstring cities and their leaders in providing services. Read more.

Broken Municipal Finance System Topic at Multiple Recent Events
The League and saveMIcity held 3 events to spread the word about Michigan's broken system for funding municipalities: panel discussion at Mackinac Policy Conf. news conference on Michigan's failing infrastructure; and Small Business Assoc. of Michigan's Capitol Issues Forum. More.

TONIGHT Strong Towns Curbside Chat Comes to Traverse City
Traverse City won the March Madness-style tournament to be crowned the Strongest Town in North America. As part of their reward, Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns will visit Traverse City June 7 to present them with their award and talk about what can make the city even stronger. More.

Grand Rapids Launches Campaign for Sigsbee Playscape
At Grand Rapids Sigsbee Park, the playground equipment is falling apart and unsafe, and the grounds are in disrepair. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a new play structure, learning benches, and more. Read more.

Snyder Economy Commission Offers Strategies for Economic Prosperity
Leading on talent, investing in infrastructure, creating a competitive business climate, and ensuring a good quality of life are keys for Michigan economic success, according to a new report by Building the 21st Century Economy Commission. Read more.

Business, Government, Others Urge Legislature to Find Infrastructure Fix
While failing infrastructure threatens Michigan's waterways, economy, and public health, the Legislature continues to ignore this massive problem. Michigan business, government, transportation, and engineering groups urged the Legislature to make fixing infrastructure a priority. More.

We Need Your Help to Save Michigan Cities
In a guest column, the League's Anthony Minghine expounds on the state's disinvestment in Michigan cities. He recently engaged in community conversations which stressed that Michigan is failing to make strategic investments in its cities. Read more.

What Michigan Is - and Isn't - Doing for Local Governments
Michigan Treasurer Nick Khouri says the improving economy gives Michigan a chance to reform local governments' revenue, efficiency of services and unfunded retiree costs. Gov. Snyder's new task force on retirement reform is unlikely to recommend fixes. More.

Municipalities Can No Longer Regulate Taxicabs
A new law stripping all local control over taxi carriers went into effect on March 21. It prohibits a local unit of government from imposing a tax or fee upon, or requiring a license for, limousines, taxicabs, and Transportation Network Companies such as Uber or Lyft. Read new Fact Sheet.

TODAY League to Participate in Panel on Funding Michigan Cities
At 10:30 a.m. today, the League will be part of the panel for the "Funding Michigan Cities: The Path Forward" session at the Detroit Regional Chamber's upcoming Mackinac Policy Conference. Panelists include the League's Anthony Minghine; Rosalynn Bliss, League President and Grand Rapids Mayor; and Joshua Sapotichne, associate professor at Michigan State University. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is sponsoring the panel. They'll discuss how cities are facing unprecedented fiscal stress created by a broken municipal finance system. Read more.

TODAY is the Deadline for John Barr Scholarship for Local Officials
The John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship was created from its namesake's vision to provide local elected and appointed officials with the knowledge and skills they need to lead and govern their communities. Apply TODAY. Read more.

League Speaking on Municipal Finance at Capitol Forum May 24
The League's Tony Minghine will be part of a panel discussion on "Tax Dilemna: Finding Funding for Failing Cities," hosted by the Small Business Association of Michigan. He'll explain the challenge of advocating for more state revenue sharing when the budget is already cash-strapped. Tune in to Facebook Live, 8 am, May 24.

Innovation in Government? Yes, Where Else?
League staffers advocated for the Public Spaces, Community Places crowdfunding initiative, a finalist for Harvard University's Innovations in American Govt. Award. Some think innovation and government is an oxymoron. We've forgotten proactive government investments. Read more.

Tax Credit Plans Would be Good for Michigan Cities
The League supported the tax incentive bills (S.B. 111-115) on Gov. Snyder's desk, which promise to transform challenging brownfield sites in our state into new engines of growth. The legislation is designed to strengthen our local communities and grow their tax base. Read more.

Deadline Nearing for Input on Talent Retention and Attraction Survey
The League is working with the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation to explore talent retention and attraction in Southeast Michigan. They're created an online survey to gather input that will inform initiatives they'll be leading. Please complete the survey by May 19. Read more.

Is Modern Streetcar First Step Toward Improving Transit in Detroit?
The QLINE streetcar in Detroit officially launched service on May 12. Matt Cullen, CEO of QLINE, was on the radio to talk about the launch. Hear how they are going to define the success of the QLINE and what public transportation in Metro Detroit could look like. Read more.

Pontiac Launches Campaign for Community Backyard
A group of Pontiac high school students want to reclaim three vacant lots in a lively neighborhood. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to create a community backyard with a playground, picnic tables, and a sprawling fruit orchard. Read more.

NEW Revenue Sharing Data: See How Much Your Community Lost
The State has now diverted more than $8.1 billion in revenue sharing from Michigan municipalities since 2002. The League's saveMIcity initiative has been educating people on the broken system and the need for change.See how much your community has lost in our updated Revenue Sharing Database. More.

League Speakers to be Featured at Mackinac Policy Conference
Nearly 1,700 Michigan leaders will attend the Detroit Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference. The League's Rosalynn Bliss and Anthony Minghine will participate in a panel discussion, hosted by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, on how Michigan cities are funded. Read more

saveMIcity Takes Broken System Message to Central & West Michigan
The League's saveMIcity initiative has done many presentations so far this month about the state's broken system for funding municipalities. The League's Anthony Minghine has spoken in Alma, Mt. Pleasant, Clare, Spring Lake, Grand Haven, and Muskegon. Read more.

Michigan Program Recognized for Crowdfunding Innovation
Harvard University announced that the Public Spaces, Community Places crowdfunding program is one of 7 finalists for the Innovations in American Government Award! The League's Luke Forrest and Summer Minnick are on the team that will make the final pitch, May 16-17. More.

League Opposes New Legislation to Eliminate Local Control in Zoning
House Bill 4503 and Senate Bill 329 are intended to eliminate a local unit of government's ability to regulate short-term rentals. The League disagrees and believes short-term rentals operated as commercial businesses are inconsistent with residential land use. More

Patronicity Crowdgranting Platform in the Running for National Award
Patronicity, the crowdgranting platform that partners with the League and MEDC for Public Spaces, Community Places, has been nominated for ELGL's 2017 Haverford Award! The award recognizes the best companies working in partnership with local government. Vote for Patronicity!

Flint Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Maker Space
Flint residents, students, entrepreneurs, artists, small businesses, and inventors need a community maker space. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they'll assemble the most desired gear, including a wood shop, metal shop, computer lab, and more. More.

League Hosted Community Financial Health Forum in Mount Pleasant
In Mount Pleasant, the League addressed how local governments across the state are financially struggling. At our saveMIcity Community Financial Health Forum, attendees joined the conversation and discussed possible solutions with executives from the League, Clare, Alma, and Mount Pleasant local government. Read more.

MSU Extension Webinar on Local Government Finance Reform
The next webinar in MSU Extension's series focused on current issues affecting Michigan local governments will be efforts to reform the state's local government finance system. The featured speaker will be Deputy State Treasurer Dr. Eric Scorsone, May 15, 10:00 a.m. Read more

Michigan's Roads and Bridges 2016 Annual Report Now Available
The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council has released the Michigan 2016 Roads and Bridges Annual Report. The report summarizes road and bridge conditions and provides projections into the future. It also provides a synopsis of TAMC activities. Read more.

April 2017

Ford, City of Dearborn Work Together to Build Millennial Talent Pipeline
To attract and retain younger talent in-house, Ford is working with the City of Dearborn and its downtown district to make Dearborn the kind of place millennials want to live, work and play. Transforming vacant buildings into the mixed-use Wagner Place is part of that process. More.

Longtime Supporter Pens League Tribute Poem
Daniel Matson has a rich history of service to local government. He served as Dewitt's city attorney for 45 years and as president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. In honor of the League, he composed a poetic statement about its value to all involved. Read more.

Michigan Future: Path to Good-Paying Careers for All Michiganders
Michigan Future released is first set of policy recommendations, calling for state policy makers to make increasing household income for all Michiganders the goal of state economic policy. It recommends placemaking, education attainment, and expanding the social safety net. More.

League Fund Announces Loss Control Achievement Awards
Thirty one Michigan communities earned honors for their outstanding efforts to maintain safe work environments. The League's Loss Control Achievement Awards reflect excellent management and making safety a priority to protect staff, residents, and budgets. Read more.

Detroit Neighborhood Launches Campaign to Beautify GRANDcorridor
Consultants have suggested major changes to make Grand River in Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale area more attractive and pedestrian friendly. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to start small with murals and street trees. Read more

Metropolitan Revolution: The Reality of Main Street
Main streets have been battered in recent decades. Big-box and Internet retail have exposed communities to unprecedented competition. Sprawling development and migration have emptied out many small downdowns. Yet far from a myth, some main streets are thriving. Read more.

Legacy Costs for Pensions, Health Care Threaten State Comeback
The League's Tony Minghine spoke at the Business Leaders for Michigan Summit on Fiscal Stability. A hot topic was legacy costs for municipal pensions and retiree health care, which claim 19% of government revenues in payments that cities, townships and school systems must make. More.

Brighton Passes Resolution in Support of saveMIcity Initiative
Brighton is the first city to pass a resolution in "support of fiscal sanity to save Michigan's communities." The city resolves to urge the Michigan legislature and governor to immediately restore the full amount of statutory revenue sharing to Michigan's cities and villages. More.

Retail Evolution Could Benefit City Centers Over Malls
The supposed bricks-and-mortar retail apocalypse is overstated. But the face of the industry and its jobs is changing drastically, in ways that are likely to benefit city centers like Detroit, Royal Oak, and Grosse Pointe at the expense of rural and suburban shopping centers. Read more.

League, MSHDA Use Matchmaking to Make Great Places Happen
Many Michigan communities have undertaken PlacePlans, target market analyses, or the Redevelopment Ready Communities program. To advance this placemaking planning into implementation, the League partnered with MSHDA to help cities develop RFQs for property developers. More.

St. Louis, Alma Officials Exploring Possible Merger
In an effort to save money amid dwindling revenues, the central Michigan cities of Alma and St. Louis are exploring the possibility of merging in some capacity. Both cities have seen minimal growth in revenue over the past 20 years, without much hope of improvement. More

Hometown Summit Shares Best Practices for Smaller Cities
The national Hometown Summit brought together leaders of small and mid-sized cities who have spearheaded creative initiatives for community problem-solving. They tackled talent attraction, universities as economic drivers, and open data and civic engagement. Read more.

Go Green! Get Involved in the MGC Challenge and Conference!
The MGC Challenge helps communities measure their progress towards sustainability. Complete the MGC Challenge by April 30 to be eligible for 2017 certification and prizes! Attend the MGC Conference to build capacity for energy and sustainability, Muskegon, June 6. More.

Six Mayors Team with League for SaveMICity Financial Health Forum
At the recent Community Financial Health Forum, six West Michigan cities teamed up with the League to discuss municipal funding, ways to improve the current system, and the local impact of state revenue-sharing declines. See event photos on flickr. Read more

Ypsilanti Mayor Chosen for Marshall Memorial Fellows Program
Ypsilanti Mayor Edmonds will travel to Europe this month as part of a 24-day leadership program. She was chosen to be a fellow of the Marshall Memorial Fellows program, which sends emerging U.S. leaders to Europe to enhance their understanding of transatlantic relations. More.

Flint Launches Campaign to Light Up Downtown's Brush Alley!
Two years ago, Flint was successful in lighting Buckham Alley, making it an inviting destination. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to create another engaging public space in Brush Alley, with hanging lights, art work, planters, and seating. Read more.

Communities of All Kinds Facing Missing Middle Housing Issues
Access to housing is not just an issue that affects low income people. Those in the "middle" - workers and professionals - have trouble finding adequate living arrangements in their price range. This was the subject of a panel discussoin at the League's Capital Conference. More

Webinar on Legal Issues Surrounding Sanctuary Cities
The National League of Cities is offering a FREE webinar at 1:00 pm April 18 designed for local government officials on the legal issues surrounding Sanctuary Cities. The webinar will discuss Pres. Trump's Executive Order on "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States." More.

Successful Forum on Race & Law Enforcement in Urban Communities
MBC-LEO's Race & Law Enforcement in the Urban Community Forum was a huge success. More than 100 people turned out to hear police chiefs from SE Michigan discuss proactive approaches to community policing and racial inequities. View handouts and presentations. More.

League to Offer Valuable Insights at Summit on Fiscal Stability
We all want Michigan and its communities to be financially stable. Join the League's Tony Minghine and other experts for a high-impact discussion of the fiscal challenges facing the state and local government. Business Leaders for Michigan Leadership Summit on Fiscal Stability, April 17. More.

League Presenting on Municipal Finance at Mackinac Policy Conf.
At this year's Mackinac Policy Conference, May 30-June 2, the League's Anthony Minghine and League president Rosalynn Bliss will be participating in a panel discussion on municipal finance in a session hosted by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Read more

'Govtech' Can Change the Ways Cities Function: Lessons from Paris
In recent years, Paris has distinguished itself as a leader in experimenting with digital tools for citizen participation - "civic tech" or "govtech." In 2014, the city committed to a new vision of how to build a city that will be both "smart" and "sustainable " by 2020. Read more

Alpena Launches Campaign for Downtown Dog Park
There are over 6,000 Alpena area residents with dogs, and lots of visitors that bring their dogs while exploring the city. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a downtown dog park with benches, picnic tables, landscaping, and more. Read more.

MML Foundation Donors and Scholarship Recipients Tout Benefits
One of the primary missions of the League Foundation is to educate community leaders and advocates. Donors and scholarship recipients have shared how donations benefit communities. Read their stories and consider lending your support to the Foundation. Read more

March 2017

Iron Mountain Launches Power of Words Mural Campaign
Iron Mountain has been voting online for the ONE WORD that describes the future of the their community. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, award-wining artist Mia Tavonatti will use that word as the theme for a new public mural downtown. Read more.

Project Rising Tide Communities Create Promotional Videos
Michigan's Rising Tide initiative provides at-risk communities with tools to design and build a successful economic framework. As part of that initiative, Newberry, Central Lake, Grayling, Evart, Harrison, Sandusky, Charlotte, Paw Paw, Hillsdale, and River Rouge have created engaging promotional videos. Read more.

Funding Squeeze Could Mean Financial Disaster for Communities
Cadillac City Manager Marcus Peccia and Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski were interviewed on Michigan Radio about the financial challenges facing Michigan municipalities. Many have had to cut services or reduce the size of their police and fire departments. Read more.

Ann Arbor Ranks High in 2017 Top 100 Best Places to Live!
Ann Arbor has been named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live 2017 by Livability.com, outpacing more than 2,100 cities in this data-driven ranking. Data experts scoured thousands of cities to build a list that truly encompasses the things that make a city ideal. Read more.

Detroit Launches Motown Movement Home Energy Efficiency Campaign
Detroit has plenty of homes with high gas and water bills. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, three architecture students from The Netherlands plan to create a training center to teach low-cost DIY methods to make homes energy efficient. Read more.

League Honors Graduates of 2017 Elected Officials Academy
The Elected Officials Academy is an ongoing 4-level program that educates and recognizes elected officials across the state for their dedication to becoming as professional and knowledgeable as possible. Eleven graduates were honored at Capital Conference. Read more

Michigan's Traverse City Wins 'Strongest Town' Contest!
In a contest with 15 other communities throughout the nation, Traverse City was named the winner in Strong Towns 2017 'Strongest Town' competition. The contest is about showcasing towns that have the building blocks in place to be strong towns today and in the future. Read more

Rochester Hills and Harper Woods Officials Join Statewide Board
The Michigan Women in Municipal Government (MWIMG) recently elected two new members to the board: Marie Willett, special assistant to the mayor in Rochester Hills, and Valerie Kindle, Harper Woods city councilmember. Each received two-year terms. Read more.

New Law Would Challenge Michigan's "Dark Stores" Problem
At Capital Conference, Rep. David Maturen announced HB 4397, a state bill seeking to close the tax loophole that allows the largest retailers to reduce property taxes to the level of an empty building. The press conference was live on the League's Facebook page. Read more..

League Foundation Announces New Scholarship
The League Foundation launched a new scholarship to provide educational opportunities for municipal managers and elected officials.The John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship was setup with a generous $10,000 investment from Foundation Board Member John Barr. More

Detroit Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Kite Festival
Detroit has a rich history of kite flying and making. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, Belle Isle Conservancy plans to create a variety of annual kite events and workshops to bring together people in Detroit. Read more.

Dowagiac Honored with First Better Streets, Better Michigan Award
Dowagiac received a statewide award March 22 for its creative downtown gateway project that makes the city more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly. This was the first year for the Better Streets, Better Michigan Award, a joint recognition by the League and MDOT. Read more.

Wetlands Mitigation May Get Cheaper for Local Governments
A new partnership of state and local agencies is working to set aside state lands to make it easier for public entitites with expansion needs to fulfuill wetlands replacementt requirements. The League is part of the new partnership - Michigan Municipal Wetland Alliance. More.

State Sen. Marty Knollenberg Named Legislator of the Year
The League honored State Sen. Marty Knollenberg as our 2017 Legislator of the Year during the League's Capital Conference Awards Gala in Lansing. Former League Pres. Robin Beltramini said Knollenberg is always open to addressing the League's concerns. More.

State Rep. Robert Kosowski Named Legislator of the Year
State Rep. Robert Kosowski was also honored as the League's 2017 Legislator of the Year at the Capital Conference Awards Gala. Wayne Mayor Susan Rowe said Kosowski has been an outspoken, supportive voice on many issues critical to the League and its members. More.

Traverse City in the Finals of Strongest Town Competition!
LAST DAY! Traverse City is in the final two of #StrongestTown contest! Vote for them by 5 pm today! More.

Broken Cities, Elusive Recoveries: Property Values Still Very Low
More than 1.4 million people live in Michigan communities where property values are less than half of where they were at the beginning of the recession. Those declines have gutted property tax collections and affected what cities can offer citizens in security and amenities. More.

Capital Conference is in Full Swing in Lansing This Week
Capital Conference is the source for answers on all the state and federal issues that impact local communities. There will be a legislative update from the League's Lansing staff, and presentations on autonomous vehicles, housing, medical marihuana, and much more! Stay tuned to the Conference blog for all the action. More.

Funding Squeeze Could Prompt Proposal A Update
The League's Dan Gilmartin has a warning for Michigan's policymakers: The way the state funds its cities is squeezing them dry. Gilmartin and others are proposing an update to Proposal A, the 1994 Michigan constitutional amendment that caps property tax increases. Read more.

Bark for Your Park™ Grants Available for Off-Leash Dog Parks
Dog parks have become an essential amenity for communities nationwide. The PetSafe® Bark for Your Park™ program has been helping to feed that need by funding community projects to build, improve, and maintain off-leash dog parks. Submit applications May 1-June 30. Read more.

Create a Spark for Arts in Your Community
March is Arts Advocacy Month, and Creative Many Michigan is encouraging people to help "create the spark" for arts. They're celebrating the impact of arts and creativity in Michigan and highlighting the importance of the arts on lndividual lives, quality of life, and economic prosperity. More

Hillsdale Professor Writes About Importance of Revenue Sharing
There's a fascinating, important column in the Detroit News entitled “Revenue sharing boosts Michigan communities.” Conservative Hillsdale College Economics Professor Gary Wolfram echoes many of the messages in our saveMIcity municipal reform effort. Please check it out..

Welcoming Cities: Immigration, Economic Prosperity, Public Safety
One of the 8 assets that help communities succeed is being a "welcoming" community. A recent report found that foreign-born workers and students have positive effects on local employment, levels of educational attainment, populations, and incomes. Read more.

Rebuilding Local Manufacturing, One Job at a Time
Communities are often identified by what they make, but for many that identity is past. Replacing a few big businesses with many small ones can grow good jobs and good places. An I-69 Thumb Region workshop helped communities understand small-scale manufacturing sectors. More.

TODAY is Capital Conference Registration Deadline - Sign up Now!
We have planned an exciting Capital Conference for you! As always, this event is the source for answers on all the state and federal issues that impact local communities. It's also the best place to network and make your voice heard on matters of public policy. This year's conference will cover a wide array of topics - legislative update, municipal finance, autonomous vehicles, equity and inclusion, missing middle housing, medical marijuana, and much more. We're saving a seat for you. Save some money by signing up by today's registration deadline. Get the details and register now!

Wyandotte Launches Campaign to Create Arrowhead Pavilion
Outdoor gathering spaces are at a premium in downtown Wyandotte. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to construct Arrowhead Pavilion with outdoor seating, lighting, art, and space for programs such as the Wyandotte Street Art Fair. Read more.

League to Share Municipal Finance Reform Update at Capital Conference
Over the past two years, the League has made municipal finance reform our top legislative priority. Over the last 12 months, we embarked on a major communication and education effort around this topic. Additionally, we have developed a policy agenda around revenues, costs, and structure that will be the basis of our advocacy agenda. At Capital Conference, the League's Anthony Minghine will outline where we've been, what we are doing, and what we need to do to invoke real change in our municipal finance system. Get the details and register today!

February 2017

League Testifies on Need to Restore Revenue Sharing
The House Appropriations subcommittee began considering Gov. Snyder's budget recommendation for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The League shared our position that it's critiical to include additional funding for revenue sharing above the Governor's recommendation. Read more.

Capital Conference: Filling the Missing Middle Housing Gap
Michigan communities need a variety of housing types to attract and retain talent, but often they have a missing middle - desirable, affordable housing. At Capital Conference, hear from experts on national housing trends, barriers and opportunities. Get the details and register today!

Michigan Municipal League Foundation Selects New President
Gisgie Gendreau was officially selected as the Michigan Municipal League Foundation's president during the Foundation's Board of Directors' meeting. She has an extensive background in strategic communications and building partnerships in state and local government. More.

Republican Tax Cut Plan Fails in Michigan House
A controversial plan to cut Michigan's personal income tax rate was defeated in the state House. The bill was opposed by Gov. Snyder, the League, and a broad coalition of organizations. House Minority Leader Sam Singh said Democrats are open to more targeted tax relief. More.

Learning from the Success of Dig Jackson
In the current issue of the League's Review magazine, we have a new column entitled "Place Plans: Where Are they Now?" In this issue, the focus is downtown Jackson, where we explore what factors laid the groundwork for their burgeoning downtown development boom. Read more.

Immerse Yourself in Capital Conference Workshops!
Capital Conference Workshops offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in a topic of interest. These 3-hour sessions allow lots of time to interact with presenters. Topics range from Redevelopment Ready Communities to Storytelling. Get the details and register today!

Brighton City Council Grills State Lawmakers on Revenue Sharing
Two state lawmakers, who attended the Brighton City Council meeting Feb. 16, were told that the city needs more revenue sharing funds from the state or it could face bankruptcy if there is another recession. The state has recovered, but the city has had to pinch pennies. Read more.

League Statement on Governor Snyder's Budget Proposal
Governor Snyder's proposed budget does little to alleviate the financial stresses facing Michigan's local governments. The state provides for no increase in statutory revenue sharing, allowing that important revenue source to be further eroded by inflation. Read more.

TONIGHT Romulus to Host Free Community Financial Health Forum
At 5:30 tonight, the League's saveMIcity initiative and its message about the state's broken system for funding municipalities will be in Romulus. The forum will feature the League's Tony Minghine and Frank Audia with Plante Moran. Learn about Romulus' struggles and get the event details.

Contact Your State Reps Today to Oppose Income Tax Elimination Bill
On Feb. 21, the House adopted substitute version H-3 for HB 4001 that would reduced the income tax rate from 4.25% down to 3.9% by Jan. 1, 2021 and stopping at that point. The House Fiscal Agency analysis of the new proposal. pegs the state's General Fund loss in the first year at $195 million and progressing upwards to $1.1 billion in FY 2021-22. The H-3 version of the bill is now on 3rd reading in the House and has been listed for action on TODAY'S House calendar. Gov. Snyder opposes the revised bill. Contact your Reps today and ask them to oppose the sub version of HB 4001. Read more.

New MSHDA Grant to Fund Neighborhood Placemaking
The Michigan State Housing Authority has announced a request for proposals (RFP) for a new "Neighborhood Enhancement Program" that provides communities an opportunity to fund placemaking projects in priority neighborhoods. Proposals are due March 15. Read more.

Tune in to Changes in Washington at Capital Conference
Major changes are taking shape in Washington. At Capital Conference, a panel of Michigan local government officials who are involved with national organizations will share their thoughts and concerns about what is happening at the federal level. Get the details and register today!

League to Work with Gov. Snyder's Retirement Benefit Committee
Gov. Snyder created a Task Force on Responsible Retirement Reform for Local Government. to address unfunded health care and pension liabilities in Michigan communities. The League's Tony Minghine has been appointed to the committee. Read more

Legislative Committee Orientation Teaches Ins and Outs of State Politics
About 60 local municipal officials from across the state were at the state Capitol Feb. 9 for the League's first-time Legislative Committee Kick-Off Orientation. Committee members heard from state lawmakers, League staff, and communications experts. Read more.

Last Day to Apply for MDOT-MML Better Streets, Better Michigan Award
MDOT and the League are excited to announce the Better Streets, Better Michigan Award, which recognizes Michigan cities and villages that have done creative road projects aimed at improving the function and aesthetics of a busy street. Apply by TODAY. Read more.

Birmingham: A Small City Embraces Walkability and Reverses Decline
After three decades of 20th century population loss and commercial decline, Birmingham, MI committed to building a new identity: "The Walkable Community." Now, thanks to forward-thinking planning, the city has grown steadily since the turn of the millennium. Read more.

Open Letter: This is What Democracy Looks Like
Fred Kent, founder of Project for Public Spaces, says that true placemaking is not just about creating places where we want to spend time. It's about creating communities that have a greater capacity to self-organize - pilot their own destinies, express outrage, solidarity or celebration. More.

Autonomous Vehicles Drive onto Capital Conference Agenda
Michigan is committed to being the global leader in the development of autonomous vehicles. At Capital Conference, Nicole DuPuis, principal associate for Urban Innovation at the National League of Cities, will share her insights on this topic. Get the details and register today!

Jackson City Council Approves Non-Discrimination Ordinance
The Jackson City Council has approved a long-debated non-discrimination ordinance by a vote of 5-2. The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. Read more.

Gov. Appoints Portland City Manager to Emergency Response Council
Governor Rick Snyder has appointed S. Tutt Gorman, Portland city manager, to the Michigan Citizen-Community Emergency Response Coordinating Council. After leading his city's recovery from a 2015 tornado, his experience will benefit the rest of the state. Read more.

Ottawa Co. Deputy Administrator to Lead Michigan Municipal Executives
Keith Van Beek, Ottawa County's deputy county administrator, is the new president of Michigan Municipal Executives, the statewide association representing Michigan's municipal. managers. He was selected at MME's recent Winter Institute in Kalamazoo. Read more

January 2017

Michigan Leads Effort to Shift Workers Away from Pensions
Struggling under the weight of pension and health care obligations, Michigan lawmakers appear ready to take another whack at public employee benefits - a move that reflects renewed determination to shift workers to 401(k)-style retirement systems. Read more.

Sturgis Launches Campaign to Create Off-Leash Dog Park
Old Depot Park in Sturgis needs a facelift and the city needs a dog park. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform the park into an inviting space for dog lovers with safe fencing, watering stations, benches, and more. Read more

League Insurance Boards Announce Millions in 2017 Member Dividends
Many Michigan communities are expected to share millions in dividends for keeping their communities safe. The League Liability & Property Pool voted to return $2.2 million in equity to members. MML Workers' Compensation Fund authorized an equity return of $8.2 million. Read more.

Racial Justice Will Be at the Forefront at Capital Conference
Racial justice is at the center of systems that work well for all the people they serve. Rinku Sen, presdent and executive director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation, will lead a general session on this topic at Capital Conference. Get the details and register today!.

Marshall Launches Campaign to Create a Downtown Pocket Park
Four years ago, a fire destroyed a cafe in downtown Marshall, leaving behind an unsightly vacant lot. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform the lot into a community-designed park with a mural, seating, landscaping and more. Read more

Taking Sides? With Walkability, There's No Need
To get walkable places, advocates of good urbanism have to answer the question "What's the value to me?" for both developers and the public. Many discussion points have gained traction with both "sides" of the urban design discussion. Read more.

Michigan Municipal Executives: Ready for Anything
Municipal Executives now have a new name and brand to guide them. The organization representing city, county, township and village officials from throughout the state officially unveiled its new name - Michigan Municipal Executives (MME) - and branding on Feb. 1 at its annual Winter Institute taking place this week in Kalamazoo. More.

Solutions for Fixing Broken System for Funding Communities
As part of our saveMIcity.org initiative, the League had a successful news conference outlining our proposals to fix the state's broken system for funding municipalities and unveiled a new report, Michigan's Broken Municipal Finance System: Issues and Proposed Actions, Read more.

League CEO Helps Kick-Off One Lenawee Community Visioning
On Jan. 26, League CEO Dan Gilmartin helped launch One Lenawee's community-wide visioning project. It's all about place! One Lenawee is a collaboration of volunteers dedicated to the vision of making Lenawee County a great place and keeping it that way. Read more

How Technology is Making Urban Planning More Inclusive
Having a say in what your city should be like is often complicated, time-consuming and full of confusing jargon. A new wave of digital tools are trying to make the process transparent and interactive. One tool - CitySwipe - is modeled after the dating app Tinder. Read more.

Recruiting, Retaining & Fostering Talent: A Desire for Place
One of the biggest things that has changed for talent recruitment is the emphasis on place, as in the city in which one lives and works, over position. This sense of place is particularly important due to the decrease in time that the average worker is spending in each position. Read more.

Main Street Gets a Boost from Washington
Mixed-use development is getting a fresh look in Washington, D.C. Federal housing programs that support multi-family housing have started to make it easier to get loans for projects in smaller downtowns that combine residential space with ground-floor retail. Read more.

Registration Now Open for 2017 Capital Conference!
Capital Conference will cover a variety of topics sure to pique the interest of every attendee. We'll share the League's legislative efforts, progress on our municipal finance reform campaign, and offer sessions on autonomous vehicles, medical marihuana, and more. Get the details and register today!

Patronicity is a Bright Spot in Public- Private Crowdgranting
With tight city budgets and rising urban needs, cities seek out new ways to raise funds to support public spaces. One tool is crowdgranting - crowdfunding paired with a matching grant from a sponsor. Patronicity is a successful crowdgranting practitioner with partner MEDC. Read more.

Bronson Launches Campaign to Improve Memorial Park
The City of Bronson is in the home stretch of a 4-year redevelopment project for downtown's Memorial Park. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to add a water feature and improved landscaping to complete the popular park. Read more

League Calls on State to Address Municipal Finance Concerns
In Gov. Snyder's State of the State address, the League was pleased to hear him acknowledge the key role of communities in the success of our state, his support for placemaking efforts, and more. But there is still a systematic disinvestment in Michigan's communities. Read more.

How a Place-Based Approach to Economic Development Won 2016
An economic development fix that cities are taking into 2017 is the importance of a place-based approach that is shaped locally, by the industries, people and infrastructure that already exist. But cities are faced with very different federal and local policy changes this year. More.

Gear Up for the 2017 Community Excellence Awards Competition
Start planning now to enter this year's exciting CEA competition! Entries will be accepted from March 21 - June 15. Show us your creative projects and you could join communities like Beaverton, whose Beaverton Activity Center won the race for the cup last year. Read more.

New Fact Sheets: Medical Marihuana and Open Meetings Act Ruling
The League has two new Fact Sheets on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) - a summary and a Q&A. We've also created a Fact Sheet on the Open Meetings Act ruling that email deliberations among a quorum of public body members violates the OMA. More.

Detroit News Editorial: State Can't Shirk Pension Reform
Flint is facing another crisis. The city's pension system is severely underfunded and getting worse, leaving the future viability of the city uncertain. The basic problem is that promised benefits can't be met by Flint or many other communities with current municipal revenues. Read more.

League Calls on State to Address Municipal Finance Concerns
Revenue projection shows modest additional funds available for state government for the 2017-18 fiscal year, but cuts have cost communities $7.5 billion since 2002, hampering their ability to provide services. To retain and attract talented individuals, we need help from our lawmakers and the governor to address these issues.More.

The League's Anthony Minghine Appears on Westland In The W Show
The League's Anthony Minghine discussed our saveMIcity work, municipal finance, and the recent Lame Duck legislative session with Westland Mayor William Wild on the city's cable access program "In the W." Check out the city's Vimeo page, beginning at the 10:52 mark. Read more.

Nominations Due Soon for Guido and Sinclair Awards
Does your community have an outstanding chief elected official? Would you like to recognize a person who has provided exemplary service to the League? Nominate them for the Guido Leadership & Public Service Award or Sinclair Exceptional Service Award by Jan. 15. More

Jackson Launches Campaign for Pangborn Museum of Art
Dominic Pangborn grew up in Jackson and his artwork draws people from all over. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, the Jackson Arts Network plans to acquire a downtown building to house the Pangborn Museum of Contemporary Art. Read more.

What Could Lowell Do With $1.4 Million? Find out Tonight in Lowell
The League's Anthony Minghine will be in Lowell tonight to discuss the state's broken system for funding Michigan's municipalities. This saveMIcity event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Lowell High School, 6-8 pm. The presentation will include data spedific to communities surrounding the Lowell area. For example, what could Lowell do with the $1.4 million that it should have received in revenue sharing since 2002? Learn why Michigan communities are continuing to struggle financially, and hear and share ideas for change. Please RSVP. Read more.

Grayling Launches Campaign for Artisan Village Creativity Center
Grayling's Artisan Village has transformed the downtown and led to several new developments. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform the Artisan Village's basement into a Creativity Center for art, music, and drama. Read more.

A New Year Brings New Trends for Michigan and the Country
2017 brings change on many fronts: a new presidential administration with different priorities; new lawmakers take office in Michigan's Capitol; Detroit's resurgence seems likely to continue; and a new House Speaker aims to tackle public employee retirement costs. Read more.

Governor Snyder Vetoes School Billboard Bill
After strong opposition from the League, the Governor has vetoed SB 953. This legislation would have amended the Highway Advertising Act to exempt private commercial uses from zoning when located on a school-owned property. Read more.

Several Issues Get Pushed Through During Last Day of Lame Duck
A number of legislative issues were sent to the governor for signature: an energy deal, a bill that would eliminate local cost sharing with MDOT, an amendment that would require lead action level notifications,. bills that address speed limits, and a TIF library opt out package. More.

Gladstone Launches Campaign for Little Bay de Noc Trail
The idea of a trail between Gladstone and Escanaba has been talked about for at least 15 years. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a 2.5 mile waterfront trail for bicyclists, runners, dog walkers, and much more. Read more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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