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Press Release

Matt Bach, Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317;


Michigan Municipal League Honors Four Officials with Outstanding Service Awards

Honored leaders from Portland, Adrian, West Branch, Midland

LANSING, Mich. —The Michigan Municipal League honored three municipal officials and one community during the League's annual Capital Conference held March 18-19 in Lansing.

Those receiving the League’s prestigious Outstanding Service Awards Wednesday (March 19, 2014) were officials from Portland, Adrian, and West Branch, as well as the City of Midland. The honor recognizes those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting the League's legislative efforts in Lansing on behalf of Michigan communities.

Here is a look at this year’s recipients:

Tom Dempsey (former city manager, Portland):
Dempsey has been a great advocate for municipalities for many years. Recently, he has done a lot of work with League staff on the TIF/DDA issue brewing in Lansing and is always ready and available to bounce ideas off from and get feedback on different proposals, regardless of the issue. He is an active member of the Municipal Services Committee and is always there when the need beckons. He is truly a great asset for Michigan. Earlier this week, Dempsey left the City of Portland to become corporate counsel for Kent County.

Chris Miller (economic development and DDA director, Adrian):
Miller has been a champion and an extremely active and local voice on the issue of crowdfunding. His passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for Michigan communities are unmatched. He is also a member of the League’s Economic Development and Land Use Committee. His knowledge and willingness to assist where needed is greatly appreciated. 

Tom Youatt (city manager, West Branch):
While creating a long-term vision for their downtown, the city of West Branch wanted to incorporate angled parking into a new street design. They were informed their vision wouldn't receive MDOT’s approval because of a law adopted in 1949 that prohibits angled parking on state trunklines. With the leadership of their city manager, Tom Youatt, they brought this issue before MDOT and the Legislature. Youatt provided important information about the city’s vision and the economic impact a vibrant downtown would have on West Branch. As a result of his efforts, the governor recently signed HB 5073 into law. Municipalities across this state now have the flexibility to work with MDOT and have angled parking on state trunklines in their communities.

City of Midland:
In the past year, one of the most pressing federal issues facing local units of government across the country has been the threat of the elimination of the federal tax exemption on municipal bonds. U.S. Congressman Dave Camp (R-Midland) is the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and the leader in this tax reform effort. The city of Midland held a key position in this debate as the home of the congressman. City of Midland officials not only communicated with the congressman directly, but assisted the League in ensuring we were able to communicate directly while in Washington DC where we were joined with lobbyists from the National League of Cities as well. It was clear that they received the message about the impact this issue would have on local communities, and so far, no recommendation has been put forward to eliminate the exemption. The City of Midland’s efforts had a direct impact on the fiscal health of cities across the country.

Download photos of the award recipients from the League’s flickr page here:

The Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.




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