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June 2018

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 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, 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 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.

December 2016

Governor Snyder Plans to Tackle Retiree Health Costs in 2017
Gov. Snyder wants municipalities and labor unions to jointly study how best to tackle retiree health care costs after lawmakers removed a contentious proposal to curb the benefits from the post-election agenda. He plans to create a task force to "put the facts on the table" early next term. More

CRC Report: The Prolonged Recovery of Michigan's Taxable Values
The Great Recession of 2007 hit the Michigan property tax base especially hard. In a Dec. 22 webinar, the Citizens Research Council will review the findings in their new paper on the topic and discuss potential policy actions that could alleviate the impact on local governments. Read more

West Branch Launches Campaign to Improve Irons Park
For many years, Irons Park in West Branch has been a popular attraction for families and children, but it's showing signs of wear. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to improve the Fort Austin playscape, basketball courts, and more. Read more.

League's saveMIcity Tour Went to Adrian Dec. 12
The League's SaveMIcity initiative was in Adrian Dec. 12 meeting with area elected officials, the business community, residents, and the media. The League's Anthony Minghine talked about the state's failed system for funding municipalities. Read more

Rogers City Launches Campaign for Nautical-Themed Gathering Space
Rogers City wants to beautify their historic downtown while celebrating their nautical heritage. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to create a gathering space with landscaping, benches, antique breakwater entry light, and more. Read more.

OPEB: Lame Duck is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year ... NOT!
As part of the Lame Duck session, the State House introduced a package of bills that would have made changes to Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB). In the League's municipal finance initiative, we identified OPEB reform as a necessary consideration. Read more

Mt. Clemens Seeks Crowdfunding for Accessible Kayak and Canoe Launch
The Clinton River Watershed Council wants to connect and enhance public access to the Clinton River. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, Mt. Clemens' MacArthur Park will be the first site for a universally accessible canoe/kayak launch. Read more

Property Tax Laws: Why Cities' Services Haven't Recovered
The cost of the housing bust isn't just measured in lost homes and property value. Many services like police and fire protection, library services, and local roadwork also took a hit. Most local governments are years away from getting back to 2007 revenue levels. Read more

TODAY Contact Your State Rep to Oppose TIF Library Opt Out Package
A 7-bill package, SB 579 and 619-624, is anticipated to be on the House agenda for second reading today. The package allows separate millages for library purposes to opt-out of tax capture. This legislation is a slippery slope and ripe for amendments detrimental to communities. Contact your State Representative TODAY and urge them to oppoose this package of bills. More.

Governor Snyder Signs Recreational Authorities Bill
The League and League member and Big Rapids Mayor Mark Warba joined Gov. Snyder to sign HB 4578. It clarifies the use of tax proceeds by a recreational authority and includes school districts.Now, a community can partner with a school district to form a recreation authority. More.

Detroit Youth Group Launches Campaign for Mini Golf Center
Detroit's North End Neighborhood Patrol Youth Group - 4ward Phoenix - has been learning skills needed to run a business. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to create and run a Mini Putt Putt space for people of all ages to enjoy. More

21st Century Infrastructure Commission Report Released
The 21st Century Infrastructure Commission released a report on improving Michigan's infrastructure and strengthening our economy. The report suggests we promote asset management, coordinated planning, sustainable funding, emerging technologies. More

FLSA Overtime Rule Blocked
A federal judge halted the implementation of a federal administrative rule to extend mandatory overtime for employees making less than $47,500 per year. He also issued a nationwide injunction to stop the scheduled change from taking effect on Dec. 1. Read more.

Hastings Launches Campaign for Hammond Hill Multi-Use Trail
Hammond Hill Multi-Use Trail will open up 76 acres of one of Hastings' most beautiful parks for cycling, hiking, snowshoeing, and more. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, the new trail will benefit local and regional residents as well as businesses. Read more.

Kzoo PlacePlan: Asian Restaurant Wins Competition for Lease
A Vietnamese restaurant will open in Kalamazoo after local developers won the "Fare Games" competition designed to help revitalize the Edison Neighborhood area. More than $200,000 was invested in the neighborhood's renovation by the city, the League, and others. Read more.

House Shelves Plans for OPEB Reform During Lame Duck
The House Local Government committee deferred action on comprehensive retiree health care reform (OPEB) until next term. The League has long cited the need to address the high cost of retirement health insurance while maintaining options for health care for municipal retirees. Although the League offered conceptual support for this proposal, the complexity of the issue makes it difficult to thoroughly consider during the lame duck environment. For that reason, the League requested the House delay action on this proposal and allow for the opportunity to work with Gov. Snyder, the incoming Legislature, and all of the relevant interest groups in the next term. Read more.

State Awards Marshall Redevelopment Ready Certification
MEDC has awarded the City of Marshall cerfitication in its Redevelopment Ready Communities program as a signal the city has removed barriers to make it attractive for investment. Marshall joins 7 other Michigan communities deemed "thoroughly prepared." Read more.

League CEO Shares Development Strategies to Enhance City Appeal
More than 100 people heard League CEO Dan Gilmartin speak on urban development strategies at UM. The lecture was aimed at educating students about placemaking. The League collaborated with UM on a survey that showed local governments are using placemaking more. Read more

OPEB Reform Proposal on Lame Duck Agenda
House Bills 6074-6086 went before the House Local Government committee this morning (Dec. 1). League staff were given an opportunity to testify on the bills and supported the concept of what the bills aim to do. Governor Snyder's administration, while preferring to deal with this issue next year as part of a comprehensive conversation, regcognizes that this is a major issue and is likely to support it. View a Detroit Free Press article about the hearing here. The hearing recessed and resumed in the afternoon. Read more.

November 2016

You Won! Now What? Newly Elected Officials Training
Newly elected officials have a lot to learn to perform well in their new roles as public leaders and the League is here to help. We'll once again be offering trainings to educate officials on their new positions. To find a session near you, check the League calendar.

How to Brew a Midwest Downtown Renaissance
Smaller urban areas suffer from vacant storefronts, lack of dining and entertainment, and market-rate housing. Five tactics are currently being carried out in Jackson, Michigan: infrastructure, entertainment, market-rate housing, basic necessities, and retail. Read more.

Planning For, Not By, Autonomous Vehicles
The Center for Automotive Research recently presented their draft findings on what connected and autonomous vehicles mean for our communities. Their work has largely been guided by discussion at the League's 2016 Convention, where we used a breakout session to hear members' concerns about adapting to self-driving cars.More

Vassar Vision Public Space Concept Plan Moves Forward
Vassar City Manager Brian Chapman wanted to transform his city. The League has been working with the city on the Vassar Vision 2016 PlacePOP Concept Plan report, which includes details on implementation, recommendations, and community impact.. Read more.

Michigan Voters Support Local Government Ballot Questions
More than 300 ballot questions faced Michigan voters and about 86% were approved, according to MIRS News. These results show that local voters will support - with their wallets - local services they enjoy, expect, and want from ther local communities. Read more.

PPT Reimbursement Checks Expected the Week of Nov. 21
The Local Community Stabilization Authority authorized disbursement of $374 million dictated by the new personal property tax reform system. Nearly 500 cities and villages that experienced a loss in 2016 from eligible exempt personal property should expect to receive a check. More.

Nominations Now Open for 2017 Clerk of the Year
Do you know an exceptional city, township or village clerk? Consider nominating them for the 2017 Clerk of the Year Awards. To qualify, a nominee must be a member of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. Nominations are due Jan. 13, 2017. Read more.

Lame Duck Agenda Whispers in Michigan Legislature
A recent article in MIRS quoted Gov. Snyder as suggesting municipal retirement health care reforms could be considered during the upcoming lame duck legislative session. We have identified this issue as a key cost driver for communities and we are monitoring it closely. More.

The Myth of Revealed Preference for the Suburbs
If so many people live in suburbs, it must be because that's what they prefer, right? The counterargument is that people can only choose from among the options presented to them. And the options for most people are not evenly split between cities and suburbs. Read more.

Rail Work Done, Amtrak Michigan is Ready to Go in Time for Holidays
After months of construction on Amtrak's Detroit-Chicago route, service has returned to normal. Three round-trip trains per day have been restored on the Wolverine line. Ten extra trains per day will be added during Thanksgiving week on the Wolverine and Pere Marquette lines. More.

TODAY: Webinar on Fair Labor Standards 2016 Admin Changes
On Dec. 1, final amendments to the federal Fair Labor Standards White Collar Exemption Rules will become effective as well as other administrative changes. In this webinar, two leading labor and employment attorneys will discuss the changes and offer tips. Register now.

League Returns to Flint for Investing in Michigan Communities Tour
The League's Anthony Minghine continued a statewide tour Nov. 9 in Flint, talking about the state's broken system for funding municipalities. He was part of the "Investing in Michigan Communities: Finding Fair Funding for Strong, Successful Communities" event at UM-Flint. Read more

The City of Sterling Heights Passes Transformational Parks & Rec Millage
Sterling Heights' Recreating Recreation - a $45 million dedicated parks and recreation millage - received voter approval Nov. 8. Over the next three years, the city will build out its largest placemaking effort in history, including a new Community Center, ice rink, hike/bike trail, and more. More

Michigan Municipal League Receives Seven Communications Awards
The League recently received 7 awards for communications projects: four MarCom awards from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, and three gold awards in the Michigan Society of Association Executives Diamond Awards competition. Read more

Michigan Cities' Advocate: Revenue Sharing Discussion Gaining Traction
The League has been saying the state needs to reverse billions of dollars of cuts to revenue sharing to avoid a "perfect storm" for local governments. Listen to the League's Tony Minghine's interview on WKAR radio to hear where the SaveMICity effort stands now. Read more.

Five Reasons Mass Transit Makes Sense for Workers
Trends are changing in car ownership, commuter patterns,and the ways people get to work, making mass transit options more important to the workforce and businesses looking for talent. See the top 5 reasons mass transit and workforce are becoming more intertwined. More.

How Road Diets Drive Development in Communities
A road diet takes a wide road and skinnies it down. The goal is a more balanced street that supports traffic, pedestrians, bikers, mass transit riders, and people going into stores. Improving access, safety, and comfort on a street supports a healthy business environment. Read more.

Evans, Duggan, Other Mayors Rally for RTA Transit Millage
Those who cannot afford a vehicle, the disabled, the elderly have every bit as much right to get to jobs, school, and entertainment as everyone else, said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Supporting the transit millage for the RTA is just the right thing to do. Read more

October 2016

Congressman Dan Kildee, League Host Municipal Finance Session
At our Flint event, Anthony Minghine discussed the broken system and ways to fix it. Detroit Free Press Editor Stephen Henderson led a panel discussion. Rep. Dan Kildee and Michigan Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich added federal and state perspective. Photos. More

Oakland Co. Commissioner: Lack of Effective Mass Transit "Shameful"
Oakland Co. Commissioner Helaine Zack is a passionate supporter of public transportation, having lived in Washington, D.C. She knows what's it's like to have a wonderful transportation system, and it's shameful we don't have that type of connected regional transit here. Read more

League Opposes Bill to Amend the Highway Advertising Act
SB 953 would allow commercial activities that are not related to education on school-owned property. This opens the door for all school property to be exempt from zoning when used for a private commercial purpose. Please urge your State Representative to oppose this bill. Read more.

Macomb Chamber: Regional Transit Means Business, Job Growth
Connected regional transit is essential for a growing business community. Employers and employees depend on transit for job connections.Voting yes for regional transit Nov. 8 will strengthen job connections and provide a major boost to our economy. Read more.

Pop-up Testing in Berkley's Robina Plaza Continues
Phase 3 of the Berkley Robina Plaza project - transforming the Robina/12 Mile intersection into a more pedestrian-friendly plaza - is now underway. The intersection is temporarily closed to traffic, the space is being activated with activities, and feedback is being collected. Read more.

Detroit Free Press: Passage of RTA Millage Will Help Detroit Work
Metro Detroit's over-reliance on the private automobile and our woefully inadequate bus systems deny tens of thousands of people a reasonable way to get to jobs, schools, shopping, and recreational spots. We can change that by approving the RTA ballot proposal on Nov. 8. More.

Spring Lake Launches Campaign to Build New Train-Themed Playscape
After many years of use and enjoyment, Spring Lake had to remove their only park play structure. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a new train-themed, handicapped accessible playscape for family recreation and fun. More.

League Launches You Need to Know Events Around the State
Please join us for the first You Need to Know educational and networking events in Sterling Heights and Grand Rapids. This new series will be held in relaxed settings and focus on hot topics, networking, and opportunties to earn EOA credits. In this round, hear from leading attorneys on Wireless Antennas and Poles in Our Rights of Way.

Flushing Launches Campaign to Restore Popular Boardwalk
For 20 years, Flushing's boardwalk has been connecting the community with one another and the environment. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to restore it with more durable materials so it can be enjoyed for another 20 years. More.

MML Opposes Bill That Could Expand Charitable Property Tax Exemption
The Senate Finance Committee reported SB 960, despite opposing testimony from the League and the mayor of Dexter. Dexter testified that new language in the bill was an over-broad expansion of the current standards for a nonprofit, offering an invitation for potential abuse. More.

TONIGHT Rep. Dan Kildee to Lead "Save Michigan Cities" Panel
TONIGHT in Flint, join Rep. Dan Kildee for a town-hall style meeting on Michigan's failed system for funding our municipalities. Learn why communities are struggling financially, and hear about and share ideas for change. The League's Anthony Minghine will speak, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Detroit Free Press Editor Stephen Henderson. Panelists include Rep. Kildee, Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman, Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem Lois Allen-Richardson, and Michigan Senate Minority Leader Ananich. Event will be steamed live at More.

RTA CEO: A Vote for the RTA is a Vote for Flexibility and Freedom
The upcoming election will give voters a chance to decide whether or not they're willing to pay for the future plans of the Regional Transit Authority. Lister to inverview with RTA CEO Michael Ford, as he explains why he believes it deserves voters' approval. Read more.

Race, Poverty and Policy: Creating an Equitable Michigan
At the Michigan League for Public Policy's recent forum on Race, Poverty and Policy, the speakers shared a lot of valuable information and resources. They tackled topics such as what is racial justice and what is the government's role in achieving racial equity. Read more.

Better Places Need Better Rules - How Do We Get There?
Traditional zoning codes can be harmful to building strong, prosperous communities. The League hosted a workshop that connected 5 cities with a team of national development code-writing experts convened by Congress for the New Urbanism to dig into this question. Read more

Albion Launches Campaign to Expand the Bohm Theater
The Bohm Theater's 2014 restoration has been a primary economic driver for downtown Albion. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to expand programming operations by adding an intimate 40-seat screening room next door. Read more

Vote Yes on the Metro Detroit Mass Transit Proposal
We're one of the few metropolitan regions in the country without a comprehensive mass transit system. The RTA proposal may well be our last, best chance to create the foundation for a comprehensive and evolving metropolitan-wide transit system. Read more

Three Municipal Attorneys Inducted into Academy of Municipal Attorneys
Three prominent attorneys were inducted into the Academy of Municipal Attorneys: John Barr of Barr, Anhut & Associates in Ypsilanti; Peter Letzmann of Peter Letzmann Associates in Grand Rapids; and William Mathewson, League general counsel. Read more.

Southeast Michigan Attorney William Hampton Honored by Peers
The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys awarded the Distinguished Municipal Attorney of the Year award to William P. Hampton. He has practiced law for more than 50 years and is reconigzed as a leading authority in municipal law. Read more.

For Drawing Talent to Region, Transit Beats Trotting the Globe
If Southeast Michigan voters approve a new property tax Nov. 8 to fund a network for public transportation in our region, we will finally shed our reputation as a backwater of transit. Like Denver, with the highest migration of millennials, the system could attract new talent. Read more.

Tuxedo Project Campaign Seeks to Restore Detroit Neighborhood
Detroit's Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson discovered his childhood home in ruins. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to resurrect the home as a literary center with the hope of transforming the neighborhood. Read more

New Fact Sheet on Medical Marijuana Reforms
Gov. Snyder signed 'landmark" medical marijuana legislation to regulate dispensaries and clarify legality of edible products in Michigan. The new law will allow state licensed dispensaries to operate in communities that choose to allow them. Read Fact Sheet.

Flint Sprint Initiative Aims to Improve Quality of Life for Residents
The Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce launched Flint Sprint, a new initiative that aims to help improve the quality of life for Flint residents within 60 days. Michigan businesses will provide on-the-ground pro-bono support to Flint community organizations. Read more.

Looking to Boost Tourism Revenue? Start with Placemaking
Michigan's tourism industry attracts national and international visitors to our state, creating an opportunity for many Michigan communities to capitalize on this traffic with intentional and focused placemaking efforts. Check out MSU Extension webinar: Placemaking for Tourism.

Walkability is Key to Economic Development in the New Economy
In a recent ULI report, 50% of U.S. residents say that walkability is a high priority when considering where to live. Local officials have the power to increase opportunities for walking and improve the pedestrian experience. Try MSU Extension's Walkability Workshops. Read more.

St. Ignace Launches Campaign for Urban Pocket Park
The removal of a downtown St. Ignace building after a fire revealed a perfect view of St. Anthony's Rock, a "sea stack." With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform the site into a beautiful gathering place for locals and visitors alike. More.

Lower Revenue Sharing Threatens Success of Cities, State
Local governments aren't bringing in as much money these days, partly due to the state cutting back on how much revenue it shares with cities. Rosalynn Bliss, League board president, says that legislators need to find solutions, and not be okay with cities going into bankruptcy. Read more

Former Michigan Governor Milliken Says Vote 'Yes' on RTA Proposal
Former Gov. Milliken says Southeast Michigan has an opportunity to correct a historic mistake. The ballot proposal to fund the creation of a regional transportation system for SE Michigan would permit us to compete with other regions throughout the country and the world. More.

League Foundation Fundraiser a Smashing Success!
Thank you to the supporters of the League Foundation's recent fundraiser. We met the $10,000 Matching Gift Challenge of Foundation board member John Barr by raising that amount from over 100 donors. This will help support and fund many League programs. Read more.

Online Engagement Tools and Strategies
At Convention, Scott TenBrink from the University of Michigan's School of Information's Citizen Interaction Design program spoke about engagement. There are lots of online or app-based engagement tools. If you'd like to learn more, contact Sarah Craft. Read more.

Mt. Pleasant Launches Campaign to Rebuild Timber Town Playscape
After 22 years, Mt. Pleasant's popular Timber Town playscape in Island Park is suffering from aging infrastructure. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a new, universally accessible and unique playground structure. Read more.

Rising Tide Workshop Bolsters Skills of At-Risk Michigan Communities
Project Rising Tide is a new program designed to help economically challenged communities become better positioned for redevelopment opportunities. The League and MEDC brought together the 10 PRT communities at our Lansing office for a day of enlightening sessions. More.

September 2016

Steps Municipalities Can Take to Pay Pension, Health Care Obligations
Due to large unfunded pension and retiree health care promises made to government workers, municipalities should consider several steps, including conducting a total compensation study, and restructuring compensation, pension, and retiree health care plans.Read more.

Conversation Continues on New Personal Property Tax System
The League co-hosted a webinar with Howard Heideman from Treasury as a continuation of our efforts to help communities move through the initial phases of implementing the state's new personal property tax system. Visit Treasury's web site for more details. M

RTA Transit System Would Provide Comprehensive Service to 4 Counties
For the first time Nov. 8, a regional transit system tied to a funding mechanism will be presented to voters. The four-county plan would utilize existing public transportation combined with new lines and services to fill in the gaps and more efficiently transport users across the area. Read more

Lee Kilbourn Elected President of Michigan Association of Mayors
At the League's 2016 Convention, Auburn Mayor Lee Kilbourn was elected to serveaa one-year term as president of the Michigan Association of Mayors. Kilbourn was previously vice president. Baraga Village President Wendell Dompier was selected as the new vice president. More

Rochester Launches Campaign to Enhance Lake Norcentra Park
Lake Norcentra Park is a long-hidden natural space with access from the Clinton River Trail to downtown Rochester. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to turn it into Michigan's first "community service-learning park." Read more.

League CEO Reflects on Year of Successes and Challenges
League CEO Dan Gilmartin addressed over 500 representatives from Michigan cities and villages at the League's Convention. He emphasized that the League tries to stay ahead in innovation and take the lead in finding solutions for community-level problems, particularly funding. One of the big successes this year was fighting PA 269, known as the gag order law, which prevented local officials from sharing information about election issues. Another success was supporting the right of local governments to set their own "prevailing wage" requirement. Read more.

Nominations Open for Michigan Traffic Safety Awards
Nominate an individual or organization for the Governor's Traffic Safety Advisory Commission's traffic safety awards in these categories: Outstanding Traffic Safety Achievement, Richard H. Austin Long-Term Safety Achievement, and Student. Nominations due by Nov. 4. More

Survey Shows More Support for RTA Vote with Education
In a new MIRS News/Target Insyght survey, the percentage of registered voters who would vote yes based on what they already knew about the mass transit proposal was 49.2%, but that number increased to 51.6% after the voters were given the actual ballot language. Read more

Snyder Signs 'Landmark' Medical Marijuana Reforms
Gov. Snyder signed "landmark" medical marijuana legislation to regulate dispensaries and clarify the legality of edible products in Michigan. The new law will allow licensed dispensaries to operate in communities that choose to allow them. Read more.

Michigan Voters to State Government: Help Our Cities
In a new poll conducted for the League, 48% of Michigan voters said their local government has too little funding to provide high quality local services to residents; 65% disapprove of decisions by governors and lawmakers to cut revenue sharing to balance the state budget. Read more.

Campaign Launched to Revitalize Cheboygan's Kiwanis Park
Kiwanis Park in Cheboygan is old, outdated, and doesn't make the best first impression as people enter town. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to add new playground equipment, trails, and green space for all to enjoy. More.

Both League Economics of Place Books Now Available as E-Books
Both of the League's books are now available as e-books: The Economics of Place: The Value of Building Communities Around People and The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities. Purchase them here.

City of Beaverton Wins 2016 Community Excellence Award
Beaverton was honored with the League's 2016 Community Excellence Award on Sept. 16 during Convention on Mackinac Island. Beaverton, with a population of just under 1,100, won for its innovative, volunteer-driven effortt to save an old, vacated two-story school building and turn it into the now-vibrant Beaverton Activity Center. The project breathed new life into the former school building and quickly became a focal point and hub of activities. It has brought about new cultural events and sporting activities, created meeting rooms, a fitness center, library, and more. Read more.

Free Personal Property Tax Implementation Web
Many communities have questions about the phase-in implementation of the new personal property tax system. In this Sept. 27 webinar, Treasury will provide an overview of implementation, review relevant timelines, explain new forms, and more. Register today.

League Helps Berkley Create Cool Downtown with Walkable Plaza
For years, Berkley city officials and downtown merchants have talked up a pedestrian plaza in their downtown. With the League's help, they're embarking on a two month experiment to make that happen at 12 Mile and Robina, a major downtown intersection. Read more.

Michigan Cities Cut Payrolls by One-Third from 2002-2012
Due to huge revenue losses, Michigan cities and villages cut their collective payrolls by $1.2 billion from 2002 -12. This impaired their ability to deliver services to residents. Under Michigan's local govermnent financing structure, it's unlikely that service levels will ever be restored. More.

Business Groups Push Back Against Dark Stores Fix
A Detroit News op-ed article by a lobbyist with the Michigan Chamber of Commerce expresses their opposition to the dark stores fix supported by the League and every other local government and education organization in the state. The author uses more spin than fact. Read more.

Officials: 2017 Road Money Boost Smaller than Claimed
Some local government leaders are pushing back on claims they will receive significantly more road money in 2017 because of the road funding deal that calls for higher fuel taxes and registration fees. The League's John LaMacchia says when reductions in state general fund money going to roads are considered, the increase is much lower. More.

Jackson, and County, Feel 15-Year Pinch of State Fiscal Policy
The League's Anthony Minghine says that, like all cities across Michigan, Jackson is feeling the severe pressures created by Michigan's broken municipal finance model. We must re-evaluate how we fund services that matter most and back them with resources. Read more.

New Campaign for Kalamazoo River Valley Trail Downtown Connection
Since 2008, the Parks Foundation of Kalamazoo County has built 22 miles of trails throughout the county. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to connect the trails so families can ride safely downtown. Read more.

Big Box Stores Battle Local Governments Over Property Taxes
Many Michigan communities have taken a property tax hit due to rulings by the Michigan Tax Tribunal that allow large retailers to reduce their property taxes by as much as half. The longer it takes for a concerted state response, the more money local governments will lose. More.

Crowdfunding Campaign Launched to Restore Palmer Park Log Cabin
Built in 1887, the log cabin in Detroit's Palmer Park was filled with dazzling stained glass windows. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to restore 35 windows and transform this abandoned landmark into a thriving gathering space. More.

Detroit's Jefferson-Chalmers Area Named "National Treasure"
The Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood on Detroit's east side has been named Michigan's first "National Treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The group works with local officials and community members to pinpoint the best rehabilitation and reuse strategies. More.

East Lansing Launches Biking and Recycling Crowdfunding Campaign
East Lansing is committed to getting greener and improving biking and recycling in its downtown area. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to add lots of new public recycling bins and bike parking locations. Read more.

August 2016

Economy Improved, but Michigan Cities Still in Crisis
Cash-strapped Flint will receive $14.4 million in state revenue-sharing payments this year - about $50,000 less than last year. While Flint's financial situation is dire, it's a microcosm of a broader and broken state revenuue-sharing system that's choking local governments. More.

Convention: Join Colleagues at Foundation Fundraiser Reception
At Convention, please join the League Foundation for a reception in the Grand Pavilion. Socialize with local officials, learn more about the Foundation, and talk with special guests: Senate Commerce Committee Chair Wayne Schmidt and House Local Government Committee Chair Lee Chatfield. Donations are encouraged to help further the work of the Foundation. Read more.

Muskegon Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Downtown Dog Park
Muskegon has a feeling of pride as they grow, restore, and build community in their downtown corridor. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a downtown dog park where their furry friends can unleash and unwind. Read more.

'Boxed In' Documentary Explains Michigan's Dark Stores Tax Loophole Cities?
A new documentary does an outstanding job explaining the complex, devastating "Dark Stores" tax loophole issue facing Michigan communities. The film was created by Northern Michigan University professor Dwight Brady and NMU students. Watch it here. Read more.

Lansing, Are You Listening to Michigan Cities?
A UM study shows just 31% of local leaders are better able to meet their community's fiscal needs. On, the League's Anthony Minghine says, "If the right people are willing to show the courage and leadership needed to reinvent our municipal finance system ... we will thrive, not survive." More.

Transportation Asset Mgmt. Council Launches Mobile-Friendly Map
The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC) has released a new mobile device version of their interactive map featuring road and bridge conditions. it also includes information on traffic volumes, pavement types, and bridge structure identifications. More

UM Survey: Fewer Local Officials Report Positive Fiscal Health
A UM survey polled top local officials and found that fewer Michigan officials are reporting improvements in their local communities' fiscal health for the first time since the Great Recession. The number of financially confident communities is down from 38 to 31 percent. More

Convention Sessions Cover Self-Driving Cars, Millennials, & More
Want to learn how to prepare for the self-driving car movement or blend the skills of millennials with your more seasoned staff? Or maybe you'd like to know more about reforming Michigan's municipal finance system, technology, or community partnerships. It's all at Convention! Advance registration ends Sept. 1, so get the details and register today!

MDOT to Offer Free Rural Task Force Training Across the State
On behalf of the Rural Task Force Oversight Board and the Education Subcommittee, MDOT is pleased to offer a free, one-day Rural Task Force training event in four locations. If you have specific issues you'd like addressed, submit them through this Survey Monkey link. Read more

Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for Market at Cadillac Commons
Cadillac's farmers markets have never had a place of their own to call "home." With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to create an open-air, covered structure in The Cadillac Commons for farmers markets, artists, events, and more! Read more.

Flint Poisonings Haunt City of Wayne, Which Faces State Takeover
Wayne Mayor Susan Rowe thinks Wayne will be the first city since Flint to be placed in emergency financial management. "They go in, they come out, and the cities become a less desirable place to live. The only tool they're given is to cut," said the League's Anthony Minghine. Read more.

Jackson Hosted League Municipal Finance Road Show
The League's Tony Minghine and MML Board member/Jackson councilperson Dan Greer were in Jackson Aug. 15 discussing the state's broken municipal finance system. They were interviewed on WKHM radio, WLNS-TV, JTV and Mlive, and hosted a public forum at City Hall. More.

MML Executive Search: Opening for Dynamic Leader of Gratiot County
Gratiot County, located in the geographic center of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, is seeking a dynamic, collaborative administrator/facilitator to move the organization forward and build on the strong working relationsips that are a trademark of the County and enable partners to complete high priority initiatives. The County Administrator is recognized as the chief financial officer within the organization, and the successful candidate will possess excellent skills in all aspects of governmental budgeting, procurement, and resource allocation. APPLY BY AUG. 19. Read more.

Convention: A Sea Change for State Place-Based Policies
MEDC and MSHDA have gone through some changes to improve the way they provide community development services. Katharine Czarnecki, v.p. of MEDC's Collaborative Community Development team, will introduce the next level of state directives and how your community can maximize the benefits. . Get the details and register today!

Campaign Launched to Renovate Community Center in Detroit
Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp. has been rebuilding homes and lives for 21 years. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to transform an old church into a community center to expand their outreach. Read more.

Taking a Closer Look at Troubles with Municipal Funding
State government hampering the fiscal capabilities of local governments was the subject of a recent stop in Marquette on Wayne Co. Executive Warren Evans' statewide tour. The League's Anthony Minghine also made a presentation at the event. Read more.

Campaign to Create Community Garden in Detroit Neighborhood
Wolverine Human Services has seen Detroit's Jefferson-Mack neighborhood deteriorate over the last 30 years. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to create a community garden, farmers market, and educational opportunities. Read more

League CEO's Thoughts on Detroit Riverwalk in British Publication
League CEO Dan Gilmartin was featured in The Guardian, a United Kingdom-based publication, in a piece on the six best city walks in the world. Expounding on Detroit's waterfront, he said, "The contrast opens the mind to the challenges and changes in cities." Read more..

Conv: Community Partnerships Are Critical to Vibrant Communities
Everyone has an important role to play in reinvigorating their community. At Convention, Marilyn Schlack, president of KVCC, will share unique ways to improve communities through partnerships. League rate at Grand Hotel ends TODAY, so get the details and register now!

Americans Say Infrastructure Has Worsened, Want More Spending
A national poll found that nearly half of U.S. voters think American infrastructure has deteriorated in the last 5 years. A majority believes more infrastructure funding would positively affect the economy, but hold different views on the nation's recent infrastructure changes. Read more..

Grand Rapids Launches "Unique Garden Personality" Campaign
Well House renovates vacant homes and creates communal gardens in Grand Rapids' Southeast Community neighborhod. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to develop each garden's personality for community members to enjoy. More

Municipal Disconnect Between Revenue Sharing & Economy
As Michigan's private sector continues to grow, municipal executives are concerned that local governments have limited options to share in that growth. "The state has turned revenue sharing into a gift, and that's not how it used to be," said the League's Anthony Minghine. Read more.

Oak Park Blossoms with Sunflower Placemaking Project
Oak Park is blooming with sunflowers this summer in a beautiful community project built on hope and happiness. Research suggests that when communities do things to be distinctive, the reputation helps attract visitors to a city - part of the concept of placemaking. Read more.

Resurge Detroit Launches Campaign to Build Liberty Harvest Grow House
Detroit has a lot of vacant land and blighted properties. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, Resurge Detroit plans to convert a vacant lot in Brightmoor into a grow house to provide agricultural training to veterans and fresh produce to the community. More

ICMA-RC Virtual Reality Retirement Tour Comes to Michigan
ICMA-RC's RealizeRetirement® Tour is making stops in Michigan now through Aug. 12. The mobile, interactive experience is an engaging way to promote public sector employees saving for retirement. See schedule for stops, including one at the League's Ann Arbor office Aug. 9. More

Regional Transit Board OKs Master Plan to Let Voters Decide
A plan to bring regional transportation to SE Michigan will now go to voters in Nov. The RTA failed last month to get enough votes to put the $4.7 billion plan before voters after officials in Oakland and Macomb counties raised concerns. Regional leaders have now made a deal. More.

Kalamazoo's $70 Million Gift May Be a Matter of Perspective
An offer of $70.3 million to the city of Kalamazoo would allow it to resolve its budget woes, reduce property taxes, and more. Kalamazoo wouldn't be struggling if the state hadn't short-changed it and other cities in revenue sharing. For more details, see Read more.

Convention: Growing Communities Together
As president and co-founder of Patronicity, Ebrahim Varachia has been instrumental in creating the civic CrowdGranting model that offers a big opportunity for citizens and local government to work together. At Convention, he'll provide insights on how your community can benefit. Read more.

Alanson Launches Campaign to Build Sanctuary Island Boathouse
For the past 10 years, the Village of Alanson has been working to turn Sanctuary Island into a wonderful community park. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a boathouse to provide more free water recreation opportunities. Read more

July 2016

RTA Board Can't Muster Votes to OK $4.7B Regional Transit Plan
It's up to Detroit Mayor Duggan and four county leaders to try to salvage a $4.7 billion plan for expanded regional public transportation after the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan board couldn't come up with the votes to put the proposal before voters. . Read more

Michigan Cities Team Up to Offset Broken Municipal Finance System
These are trying times for Michigan cities due to cuts in state revenue sharing and decreasing property values. Public finance expert Michael McGee has a solution: a legal "toolbox" that could allow cities to band together and put up a millage to pay for essential services. Read more.

Convert Capitol Avenue Activities Rev Up This Week
The League and several other Lansing organizations are once again teaming up for the unique Convert Capitol Avenue event. On July 27-28, parking spaces became fun, creative parklets, and a farmers market showcased Michigan food. And the week is finishing up with Fitness Friday presented by the YMCA. Get in on the fun! .Read more.

Convention: Join the Conversation with New Civic Meet-Ups
We're trying something new at Convention: Civic Meet-Ups. They'll give attendees a chance for informal conversations on topics presented during Convention or subjects of their choice. Check the Meet-Up board near registration for times and locations. Get the details and register today!.

Cast Your Community Excellence Awards Votes by July 30!
Entries for the 2016 Community Excellence Awards are now online. The top scoring entry in each category will go on to compete at Convention in September. Get your whole community involved in the online voting process!. Voting ends July 30, so get the word out and get voting! Read more.

Grand Traverse Co. Launches Campaign for Fun Playground Equipment
Kids Kove playground at Grand Traverse County City Center Park closed in 2014 due to environmental issues. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a new, safe, accessible, unique playground structure at the park. Read more

12 Cities Have Lost Equivalent of Detroit Tigers Payroll in State Money
In Grand Rapids, Wayne Co. Exec. Evans sought ideas on how to generate more money for cities after years of state funds being diverted. The League has shown that millions of dollars in state income tax revenue have been re-directed away from local govt. over the past decade. More

New Study Confirms Economic Impact of Eight Placemaking Assets
Melanie Piana says Ferndale aims to make visitors and residents feel welcomed and valued. That's good for Ferndale's bottom line. The new "Creating 21st Century Communities" report found positive economic outcomes for a welcoming attitude and 7 other community assets, More.

Holland Launches Campaign for State Park Playground
Holland State Park is beautiful, but it's missing a place for children to play. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to build a fun, safe play structure for the hundreds of children who come to the beach on a daily basis. Read more

45 Cities Stuck with MDOT Costs for State Roads After Snyder Veto
Gov. Snyder's veto of SB 557 will force residents of 45 Michigan cities to continue providing funding to support MDOT. SB 557 would have replaced part of PA 51 that requires larger cities and villages to pay for portions of MDOT projects that fall within their boundaries. Read more.

Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for the 'Clare Depot Doubler'
The Clare depot will soon receive renovations to transform the space into a visitor center, museum, and more. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they will complete final renovations of the recently moved and redeveloped train depot. Read more

Convention: Suzanne Schulz on Meaningful Civic Engagement
Suzanne Schulz, director of design, development and community engagement for Grand Rapids, has led numerous initiatives that benefited from resident involvement. She'll share tips to get your residents involved in positive change. Get the details and register today!

Michigan Communities Honored for Clean Energy Achievements
Nearly two dozen Michigan communities were honored in the statewide Michigan Green Communities Challenge for their sustainability efforts in projects ranging from green building technology to LED streetlight conversions. Read more.

League Commentary: Outrage Over Snyder's Road-Funding Veto
The League is extremely disappointed by Gov. Snyder's recent veto of a key road-funding related bill. SB 557 would have eliminated a local cost-sharing provision for road funding for cities over 25,000 in population on MDOT projects and provided much-needed revision to PA 51. More

Online Voting Now Open for 2016 Community Excellence Awards!
Entries for the 2016 Community Excellence Awards are now online. The top scoring entry in each category will go on to compete at Convention in September. Now it's time to get your whole community involved in the online voting process!. Get the word out and get voting! Read more.

Funds Available for Local Governments for Targeted Demolition
The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Non Profit Housing Corporation, working in conjunction with MSHDA, is seeking proposals for targeted demolition activity within local units of government.The goal is to encourage private investment and increase property values. Read more

Governor Vetoes Bill Eliminating Local Cost Sharing with MDOT
The Governor vetoed SB 557, which would have eliminated the local cost-sharing provision for cities over 25,000 on MDOT projects. The League and Senator Knollenberg tried to convince the Legislature that tixing this provision was vitally important to communities. Read more

Holland to Host 2017 League Convention for the First Time
Holland Mayor Nancy DeBoer attended the League's 2015 Convention in Traverse City and suggested that the League consider Holland for a future Convention. After a successful tour of Holland sites and a review of hotel room availability, the League said yes. Read more.

June 2016

New National League of Cities Report on Paying for Infrastructure
U.S. cities are struggling with an infrastructure deficit and a growing backlog of projects. A new report from the NLC presents a national comparison of the local tools available for cities to fund infrastructure. View the report on the League's website.

Ann Arbor Launches Online Voter Resource for Local Elections is a new online voter resource to help Ann Arbor residents be informed about local candidates and proposals on the Aug. 2 ballot. The site also provides information that would be useful to anyone, such as how to register or vote absentee. Read more.

Capital Conference Session Inspires Ferndale to 'Ban the Box'
Ferndale has adopted a "ban the box" policy to remove the question on employment applications that asks if an applicant has been convicted of a crime. Cities and business are doing this in hopes of making the world a little more fair to people who have served their time. More.

Some Michigan Communities Enact Fireworks Ban for 4th of July
Some Michigan communities have called for bans on fireworks after dry conditions have elevated the risk of fires. A section of the state regulations on burning allows state and local fire officials to ban burning and fireworks if they find an emergency condition exists. Read more.

Livonia Can Continue to Manage Billboards, Court Rules
A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision is a major victory for Michigan communities and their ability to regulate and ban billboards. The Court upheld a lower court ruling that plaintiff failed to establish that there is a demonstrated public need for billboards in Livonia. More.

Join the Conversation at the League's 2016 Convention!
Please join us for Convention on Mackinac Island. Hundreds of local officials will connect, engage, and discover creative solutions to local challenges. You'll hear visionary keynote speakers, and dive into strategic topics in breakout sessions. Get the details and register today!

Sault Ste. Marie is Creatively Implementing their PlacePlan
Sault Ste Marie is implementing their PlacePlan with a creative approach supported by local property and business owners. The DDA and City Commission have been working with the property owners of 2 downtown sites to evaluate a range of development scenarios. More.

Hatch Art Launches Campaign to Save Hamtramck Disneyland
Artist Dmytro Szylak left behind an iconic outdoor folk art installation known as Hamtramck Disneyland. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, Hatch Art plans to restore, improve, and share the art with the community for many years to come. Read more.

New Study Confirms Economic Impact of 8 Placemaking Assets
League CEO Dan Gilmartin is featured in the Q&A section of a new article on "Creating 21st Century Communities," a report that found relationships between eight community assets identified by the League and positive economic outcomes. Read more.

Planning for the Future in Calumet and Baraga
The Upper Peninsula villages of Calumet and Baraga are in the early stages of potential revitalization. With support from the League's Scott MacInnes, the two communities held public visioning sessions as a key first step in forming new village master plans. Read more.

13 Michigan Mayors Jointly Oppose Bathroom Inspection Legislation
In the wake of the Orlando shooting, it's more important than ever that we speak out against anti-LGBT legislation. 13 Michigan mayors are doing just that by opposing dangerous and discriminatory bathroom inspection bills introduced in the Michigan Senate and House. Read more

Radio Show Highlights the Evolution of Placemaking
Placemaking has come a long way since Prosperity Agenda first aired in 2010. League CEO Dan Gilmartin and Natalie Burg discuss how placemaking has helped turn around cities. Prosperity Agenda aired June 22 on WJR Radio. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast or listen here.

Corktown Launches Campaign to Activate Dean Savage Memorial Park
The Corktown Economic Development Corporation is focused on reactivating spaces to improve the quality of life. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to add or improve the park's recreation facilities, outdoor seating, and walkability. More.

Great People Do Great Civic Engagement
About 200 people - excited and ready for change - showed up at the Vassar Vision Taste & Talk event. The League is working with Vassar to facilitate an engagement-based process that will develop a concept design and programming plan for the T. North Pavilion area. More>

Detroit Shines at 24th Annual Congress for the New Urbanism
At CNU 24, experts in urban planning gathered to learn from each other and experience Detroit's transformation. A recurring theme was putting people first, or in Jane Jacobs' words: "People make cities and it is to them, not buildings, that we must fit our plans." More>

Climate Change, Clean Energy Highlight Green Communities Conf.
At the 2016 Michigan Green Communities Conference, more than 80 people from around the state gathered to discuss challenges and opportunites communities face on sustainable initiatives. The MGC Challenge helps communities measure their progress. More>

New Essential Services Form for State PPT Calculation
The Michigan Department of Treasury is now providing a newly developed Form 5448 to calculate essential services as part of the implementation of the new Personal Property Tax reimbursement process.The new form can be viewed here or on the Treasury's website. More>.

Unique Saginaw PlacePlan Involves Strategic Prioritization
In Saginaw, League staff facilitated development of a 'shared strategy' to prioritize possible placemaking activities in the riverfront area. The PlacePlan outlines action steps as well as recommendations for improving the zoning ordinance and design guidelines. Read more.

Rosalynn Bliss Selected as One of State's 100 Most Influential Women
Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids mayor and League Board vice president, was selected by Crain's Detroit Business as one of the 100 most influential women in Michigan. She was honored for her rise to power in the second-largest city in the state. More>

Dark Stores Fix Wins Approval in the House
The Michigan House passed the League-supported fix to the Dark Stores issue. We will be working to secure committee action in the Senate in September. Read our statement and a blog by the League's Chris Hackbarth. View our Dark Stores resource page. More>

Michigan Municipalities Feeling the Financial Pressure
Benton Harbor's financial woes are a taste of what's ahead for many Michigan cities. The problem is the restrictions on local governments' ability to raise revenue. Because of the restrictions, it will take 30 years or more for municipalities to get back their pre-2008 tax base. More.

Sault Ste. Marie Launches Mural Crowdfunding Campaign
Fresh, vibrant public art is needed in Sault Ste. Marie to encourage tourism, engage residents, and showcase the city's rich arts culture. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to install large-scale murals in four key downtown locations. More.

Michigan's Record on Infrastructure: Ignore Everything
Often, infrastructrure problems stay out of sight and out of mind until something goes wrong. So our infrastructure to-do list continues to grow. That lack of attention is costing us. Just 57% of the nation's estimated $3.3 trillion in necessary infrastructrure repors by 2015 are funded. More.

Placemaking Agenda: Municipal Finance
The combination of stricter limits on local government's taxing power and revenue sharing and transportation funding cuts results in even the best managed cities unable to provide basic services. If the state will not reinvest in cities, we need a new system of municipal finance. More

League Leader Pushes Cooperation in Muskegon, Raves About Area
Muskegon's got a good regional campaign going, and the League wants to help, said League Foundation President Samantha Harkins on a recent visit to the Muskegon area. She sang the praises of a number of area businesses as well as the Watch Muskegon campaign. More>

MSU Releases Ground-Breaking Guidebook on Placemaking
MSU released a guidebook titled Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool. This guide seeks to assist communities with quickly reshaping their thinking and acting on how placemaking can enhance community and economic development. Read more.

Traverse City PlacePlan Aims to Enhance City Lot
Traverse City's W. Front St. district began a positive transformation with a streetscape and planned bridge rebuild. Through the PlacePlans process, the League worked with the city to design a new hub of activity at City Lot around Kids Creek and surrounding public spaces. Read more.

Sign Up for Michigan Association of Mayors Summer Workshop
Join your colleagues from across the state for educational sessions focused on municipal finance reform, local success stories, and how you can leverage your power in Lansing. Guests are welcome to the beautiful shoreline city of Muskegon, July 21-22. Read more.

Registration Open for MLGMA Summer Workshop in Midland
Learn, network, and get inspired with your fellow managers at the Michigan Local Government Management Association Summer Workshop. A highlight will be the timeless lessons presented by former NCAA First Team All-American Gian Paul Gonzalez. Midland, July 26-29. More.

May 2016

Marine City Launches Beach FUN Raiser Crowdfunding Campaign
Marine City has a wonderful downtown beach, but its upkeep has suffered due to economic challenges. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to add sand, signage, playground equipment and more to make it a place for all to enjoy. More.

Vassar Vision Taste and Talk Event Thursday Evening
The League is working with the City of Vassar on a placemaking project. At Thursday's Vassar Vision Taste and Talk event, residents, business leaders, and supporters shared ideas on ways to improve the area around T. North Pavilion. More details on Facebook. More.

Robert Kleine: The State Has Failed our Cities
"If the state can afford to cut business taxes by $3 billion over the last five years, they can afford to fully fund revenue sharing." That was the message from Robert Kleine, former state of Michigan treasurer, during a news conference on Michigan municipal funding. Read more.

Downtown Development Authority Act in Danger of Repeal
Recently, HB 5524 was introduced, which would repeal the Downtown Development Authority Act. Downtowns are the heart of communities and host many resources for our citizens. Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Westland, opposes HB 5524 as it would be detrimental to our cities. Read more.

Mitch Bean: Starving Michigan Cities and the Coming Storm
If we don't change the way we fund municipalities, the crisis in Flint may be a preview of coming attractions, says Mitch Bean, former dir. of House Fiscal Agency. State funding for municipalities has deteriorated to the point many cities cannot adequately fund basic services. More.

MSU Expert: Michigan Needs to Own- Up to Why Its Cities are Struggling
Michigan is not alone when it comes to the financial challenges facing its local communities. But the state's "stick approach" to dealing with struggling cities is different, said MSU asst. prof. Joshua Sapotichne at the League's recent press conference. Read more.

Michigan's Great Disinvestment: Study on Broken Municipal Funding
The League released a report - Michigan's Great Disinvestment: How State Policies Have Forced Our Communities into Fiscal Crisis - produced by Great Lakes Economic Consulting. It lays out the stunning but true historical reality that our dysfunctional system has created. Read more.

Radio Show: Time to Fix Michigan's System of Funding Communities
Placemaking has many advantages but costs money. League CEO Dan Gilmartin, co-host Mike Wilkinson discuss its benefits, financial challenges, and solutions. Prosperity Agenda aired May 25 on NewsTalk 760 WJR Radio, subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast. or listen here.

Committee Approves Dark Stores Fix - Contact Your Legislator!
The House reported HB 5578, sponsored by Rep. David Maturen, which would end the "Dark Stores" assessment theory by requiring that commercial property be assessed at its "highest and best use." Contact your State Representative and Senator to urge their support. More.

Bridge Magazine Editorial: Binding Cities, with Few Ways Out
The "Flint Syndrome" is a quick way of summing up the long-run consequences of disinvestment in our cities that have resulted in widespread breakdowns in public safety and the quality of life for citizens. The syndrome could easily apply to other Michgian cities. Read more.

Heart of Monroe PlacePlan Improves Connections to Business and Culture
The League worked with the Monroe community to identify how an alley could be used to improve access to western downtown. The PlacePlan does that, plus creates new public spaces that can connect and strengthen the businesses and cultural destinations around them. More

Manchester Launches Campaign to Create Museum, Gathering Space
The Manchester Area Historical Society needs a permanent home and the community needs a central meeting space. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to renovate the Kingsley-Jenter House to serve both those needs. More.

LaMacchia: Infrastructure Issues in Flint Symptom of Larger Problem
What's happening in Flint is a symptom of a larger problem where Michigan cities are only allowed to fall with the economy but not prosper as the economy grows, said the League's John LaMacchia at a session of the National League of Cities Infrastructure Week 2016. More

Build It, and Give Them a Reason to Come
In a sneak peek of the July issue of The Review magazine, the League's Richard Murphy expands on his article about two two vancant Ypsilanti businesses that were renovated through crowdfunding. But it takes people and programming to truly bring spaces like these to life. More.

Grand Rapids School Launches Campaign for Green Outdoor Space
Grand Rapids Discovery Center's unique approach requires outdoor space with which to interact and learn. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to turn concrete parking lots into public green space for students and the community. Read more.

Past League President Part of Strong, Tolerant Women Leading Hamtramck
Hamtramck is a city with strong women at the helm, including Karen Majewski, its first female mayor (and past League President). Majewski was elected mayor of Hamtramck in 2005, then re-elected in 2009 and 2013. She finds the city's interesting mix of ethnicities exciting. Read more.

League's Anthony Minghine Part of 'Broken Municipal Finance' Tour
On May 18, the League's Anthony Minghine participated in the first of a series of statewide panel discussions regarding the state's broken system for funding municipalities. The tour, organized by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, has six more stops planned. More.

Strong Communities Require Fixing Michigan's Local Funding System
In an editorial on, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans makes the case that Michigan local governments cannot continue to do more with less. Lansing has been unwilling to seriously consider local funding reform, so he has organized seven local funding summits. More.

Flint Syndrome: Why More Cities will Crumble Unless Michigan Changes
A Bridge magazine series focuses on the Flint Syndrome, where systemic, long-term disinvestment has imperiled the safety and quality of life in many Michigan cities. Part 2 shows how Pennsylvania and Ohio are taking a different approach to keeping their cities strong. Read more.

Deadline Approaching for 2016 Community Excellence Awards
There's still time to show us the creative ways you're making vibrant communities by entering the 2016 Community Excellence Awards. But hurry - the deadline is quickly approaching. Submit your innovative projects by June 1 and you could be the next winner in the Race for the Cup! More.

City Prevailing Wage Laws Ruled Constitutional
In a case involving a contractors' group and the City of Lansing, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that local prevailing wage laws - which require union-rate pay and benefits on city jobs - are constitutional. The Court agreed that Lansing has the authority to pass such an ordinance. More.

Wayne County Exec Sets Tour on 'Broken' Local Government Financing
Michigan's "broken system for financing local government" is the topic of a statewide tour by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, accompanied by the League's Tony Minghine. They'll meet with local officials and government finance experts at seven stops in Michigan this year. More.

New "Dark Store" Solution Focuses on Tribunal Process
To address the "dark store" property tax appeals crisis, State Rep. Dave Maturen introduced HB 5578 to require the Michigan Tax Tribunal to apply universally accepted appraisal standards. Please urge legislators to support HB 5578. View the League's joint statement. Read more.

League Magazine Focuses on Developing Entrepreneurship
The May/June issue of The Review highlights the role of entrepreneurship in developing vibrant communities. This issue covers Generate Sturgies and many other examples of the creative ways Michigan cities have found to encourage local businesses within their borders. More.

Lathrup Village PlacePlan enLiVen's Green Spaces Around City Hall
Lathrup Village updated its master plan to support creation of a "village center" and wanted to lead the way around city hall. In the League's PlacePlan process, a plan was developed that better serves activlties like the summer concert series and farmers market. More.

Economic Development Without Economic Developers
From the perspective of a millennial on a tight budget, buying local doesn't come cheap, so is it actually worth it?. Economist and author Michael Shuman affirms the variety of economic benefits of supporting community-based businesses, such as higher job and income growth. More.

Take the Green Communities Challenge (and join us in Lansing!)
This year's Michigan Green Communities Challenge - which helps communities measure their progress in sustainability initiatives - is now open! Also, please join us to talk about sustainability issues at this year's MGC Conference in Lansing, June 15. Read more.

Ford's Better Idea for Dearborn Mirrors Eight Placemaking Assets
League president Jack O'Reilly notes that Ford's planned $1.2 billion remake of its Dearborn campuses will emphasize placemaking traits. The economic impact of these traits is outlined in a new report, Creating 21st Century Communities: Making the Economic Case for Place. More.

Secretary of State Enjoined from Enforcing Gag Order Law
Victory! Judge O’Meara has accepted an agreement between the Secretary of State’s office and local governments and school groups, permanently enjoining the SOS from enforcing a law that prevented local officials from providing factual information on local ballot proposals. More.

A Progressive Way to Get More Revenue in Michigan
The narrative in Lansing is that more revenue should come from economic growth, rather than new sources. It badly needs expanding to a more reasonable consideration of ways to get more money to do more vital things, like education, infrastructure, and public safety. More.

Tecumseh Launches Campaign to Create a Public Marketplace
A key Tecumseh goal is to upgrade the Evans Street Corridor into a more pleasing entrance into downtown. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, they plan to renovate a dilapited barn in the corridor into a public marketplace and gathering space. Read more

Accessorize Your Historic District with Carriage House ADUs
Many historic neighborhoods have carriage houses behind the main homes. Perhaps the best tool cities have to support preservation of these structures is to make them economically productive assets for the homeowner by allowing their reuse as small apartments. Read more.

Vote for Niles as "Coolest Small Town in America"
Niles is the only Michigan city in the running for Budget Travel's 2016 "Coolest Small Town in America" contest. You can help Niles rise to the top by chiming in with your vote. The League has seen the cool things going on in Niles during their PlacePlan process. Voting ends June 6. More.

Eight Placemaking Assets Show Economic Promise for Communities
With so many headlines broadcasting the challenges facing our cities - from struggling schools and crumbling infrastructure to precarious finances - it is unclear whether city managers and local government officials have any arrows left in their quivers to sustain and revitalize their communities. However, a recent Public Sector Consultants (PSC) report, called Creating 21st Century Communities: Making the Economic Case for Place, provides a ray of hope. The report contains a list of investments leaders can consider making to help their communities grow and prosper. Read more.

Urbanist Jane Jacobs: 100 and Timeless as Ever
Though Jane Jacobs published her masterpiece, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in 1961, urbanists do not celebrate her for some distant work. Contemporary movements such as smart growth, New Urbanism, and tactical urbanism all tie back to her. More.

CNU 24 Sneak Peek: Balancing the Scales of City Sustainability
"Urbanism and Sustainability" is the theme of a presentation by F. Kaid Benfield at CNU 24 in Detroit in June. He says that metro regions represent the economic scale of people habitat and neighborhoods represent the human scale. We have to get them both right. Read more.

April 2016

Ypsilanti Launches Campaign for Student-Created Heritage Mural
Public art creates engaging public spaces and inspires Ypsilanti youth. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, students plan to work with a local artist and historian to create an African American heritage mural highlighting the power of local women in history. More

Radio Show Highlights Upcoming CNU Conference in Detroit
The placemaking revolution will be on display in Detroit at the 24th annual Congress for the New Urbanism. League CEO Dan Gilmartin and co-host Crystal Proxmire talk about the event's importance to Michigan. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast or listen here.

CNU Charrettes Bring Communities Together to Design Their Future
The League partnered with Congress for the New Urbanism to bring the international CNU 24 to Detroit in June. In preparation, design charrettes were held in four Metro Detroit communities: Hazel Park, Pontiac, and two Detroit neighborhoods.. Read our blogs on all four charrettes.

Ferndale Tapped as Next City for UM's Citizen Interaction Design
Fresh off a successful three-year stint in Jackson, the UM Citizen Interaction Design program is heading to Ferndale. UM students interested in improving the way government and citizens interact will be at the ready to help Ferndale with a variety of projects. Read more.

New League Webinars Tackle Local Government Ethics and Meetings
Please join us for one of our upcoming webinars. In Local Government Ethics, you'll learn about the latest lawsuits and legal cases related to ethics. In Meetings 'R Us for Mayors and Village Presidents, you'll hear ideas on running smooth meetings with your council or board. More.

League's SaveMICity Site Presents Case for Municipal Finance Reform
SaveMICity is dedicated to reforming municipal finance and encouraging renewed investment in our communities. The site provides evidence of the state's disinvestment in our communities, a framework for reform, and makes an economic case for place. Read more.

Getting the Millennial Generation Interested in Local Government
Hazel Park officials are committed to setting aside personal convictions to make the best decisions for their city. But frequently, governments are very polarized. Millennials want govt. officials to elevate local standards of living above personal politicial ideology. Read more.

Detroit Neighborhood Launches Campaign for Student-Designed Park
In 2013, students at Detroit's Denby High School designed improvements to Skinner Park near their school. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places, Life Remodeled will help support their vision by adding recreational amenities, art, and urban gardens. More

Hazel Park Legacy Design Project is Inspiring Lead-up to CNU 24
At a special design charette, Hazel Park residents, city leaders, and business owners learned that their city has great market potential for restaurant growth and retail development. Charettes in Pontiac and Detroit will also be held April 15-17, in conjunction with the international CNU 24 conference coming to Detroit June 8-11. Read more.

Boyne City PlacePlan Seeks to Enhance Enjoyment of Lakefront
Boyne City has great cultural and natural resources, most notably Lake Charlevoix. The League and MSU worked with the city on a PlacePlan to create a vision for a disconnected waterfront area that would engage residents and visitors and create memorable experiences. More.

MI Innovation Lab: Civic Engagement and Trust Panel
Alliance for Innovation, in partnership with the League, is hosting MI Innovation Lab: Civic Engagement and Trust Panel in Ferndale June 23. This workshop will bring together action-leaders to explore challenges, ideas, and practices for building civic engagement and trust. More.

CEA Winner Cops & Doughnuts Featured in Washington Post
In 2011, Clare's Cops & Doughnuts won the League's annual Community Excellence Award Race for the Cup. Now, it has captured the attention of the Washington Post. Your community can get in the running for the 2016 Community Excellence Award. Enter today!.

Capital Conference PowerPoints and Blogs Now Available Online
The League's municipal finance reform campaign was the theme at this year's Capital Conference. PowerPoints and blogs are now available on our Capital Conference website. More information, including the Revenue Sharing Data Lookup tool, is on

Middleville Launches Campaign to Grow Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail
The Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail brings people through some of Middleville's most precious features. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to extend the trail to connect with nearby Caledonia and improve recreational opportunities. More.

New League Webinars Tackle Local Government Ethics and Meetings
Please join us for one of our upcoming webinars. In Local Government Ethics, you'll learn about the latest lawsuits and legal cases related to ethics. In Meetings 'R Us for Mayors and Village Presidents, you'll hear ideas on running smooth meetings with your council or board. More.

New Resources on City Charters and City and Village Govt Organization
Are you interested in revising your city charter or learning the difference between a Weak Mayor and Council-Manager form of government. Check out two new League resources: City Charter Revision report and Organization of City and Village Government in Michigan.

Niles PlacePlan Now on Placemaking Site, Final Presentation to City
Over the past year, League staff worked with the city of Niles to facilitate work on preferred development scenarios and financial estimates for three key redevelopment sites. The goal was to set a pattern that can be followed on other sites. The League's Richard Murphy gave a presentation on the final Niles PlacePlan on April 5. Read more.

Cadillac Launches Campaign to Renovate Performing Arts Pavilion
Cadillac's Performing Arts Pavilion has long been a popular site for concerts, festivals, and more, but it has seen better days. With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to renovate it with new seating, technology, and landscaping. Read more.

March 2016

Radio Show Honors Michigan's Community Builders
Community builders encourage innovation that attracts residents, visitors, and businesses. League CEO Dan Gilmartin and co-host Kevin Elsenheimer, MSHDA exec. dir., talk to some key community builders on Prosperity Agenda. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast or listen here.

Marja Winters Farrow Wins First Community Builder Award
Marja Winters Farrow was awarded the League's first Community Builder Award. As Benton Harbor assistant. city manager and director of community and economic development, Farrow was a great asset to the League in the development of Benton Harbor's recent PlacePlan. More.

NeighborWay Crowdfunding Campaign Launches in Detroit
Detroit's Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood has lots of parks, public art and more. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to create a wayfinding path and enhance three sites into community hubs for locals and visitors. More.

Capital Conference PowerPoints and Blogs Now Available Online
The League's municipal finance reform campaign was the theme at this year's Capital Conference. Flint and Detroit are prime examples of the need for reform. Flint Mayor Dr. Karen Weaver said her city will need substantial financial help, but they are determined to rise again. A panel of judges involved in Detroit's bankruptcy shared some of the deals that brought the city out of bankruptcy. PowerPoints and blogs are now available on our Capital Conference website. To learn about the municipal finance reform campaign, including the Revenue Sharing Data Lookup tool, visit

League Fund Announces Loss Control Achievement Awards
The League Workers' Compensation Fund has issued its 2015-2016 Loss Control Achievement Awards. Thirty three Michigan communities earned statewide honors for their outstanding efforts in maintaining safe work environments. Read more

2016 Community Excellence Awards Competition Now Open!
As Westland basks in the glory of winning the 2015 Community Excellence Award, the League is opening the competition to a new round of entries for 2016. We're anxious to see the creative ways you make vibrant communities. Get the details and enter now on the CEA website. Read more

How Can We Keep College Graduates in Michigan?
Michigan has world class universities, yet nearly half of our college graduates leave the state. To retain this talent, the League Foundation has been working on several programs, including the Community Foundation of St. Clair County's new reverse scholarship program. Read more.

Mt. Pleasant Launches Campaign to Renovate Potter Playground
Potter Playground has been enjoyed by kids for decades, but the playground and the neighborhood are in need of revitalization. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, the city plans to install new playground equipment, landscaping, and more. More

Michigan's Way of Funding Cities Set Stage for Flint Water Crisis
The human side of the Flint water crisis is receiving major attention, but the state's failed policies toward municipalities have been largely ignored. Michigan is the only state in the country providing fewer economic resources to its cities in 2012 than it did in 2002. Read more.

Businesses Seek Talent, and Talent Seeks Places, So Help Michigan Cities
The League's Anthony Minghine emphasizes that it is time to begin investing in Michigan's future: its communities. In our state, we have endured some of the most heinous examples of what disinvestment can bring, from Detroit's bankruptcy to Flint's water crisis. More.

Michigan Leaders Discuss Flint Crisis, Legislative Priorities in D.C.
At the NLC Congressional Cities Conference, League CEO Dan Gilmartin participated in a Congressional Capitol Briefing. League members met with EPA Administrator on the Flint crisis, and with U.S. Senators Stabenow and Peters to outline legislative priorities. More.

Latest Round of PlacePlans Has Now Been Completed
The League is proud to announce the release of finalized PlacePlans for seven communities: Benton Harbor, Boyne City, Lathrup Village, Monroe, Niles, Saginaw, and Traverse City. The final reports for these cities and others are available on our Placemaking website. More.

Michigan Municipal Reform Finance Campaign, Revenue Sharing Database Debut
At a news conference in Lansing, the League unveiled a statewide database at that the public and media can use in determining how the state has diverted revenue from local communities. SaveMICity is dedicated to reforming municipal finance in Michigan and encouraging renewed investment in our communities. The site provides evidence of the state's disinvestment in our communities, provides a framework for reform, and makes an economic case for place. The League will livestream a Capital Conference session on this topic on Wednesday. More.

Michigan Municipal League Opposes Latest 'Fix' to Gag Order Law
HB 5219, the gag order "fix", continues to lack clear guidance in how a public body can communicate with its residents about local ballot questions. The League believes the best solution is still repealing Section 57(3) of PA 269. Read Chris Hackbarth's blog and our PA 269 resource page

Flint's Legacy May Include Dramatic Expansion of Public Records Law
In the wake of Flint, many people from across Michigan are clamoring for Michigan to expand the reach of state FOIA laws - considered among the most restrictive in the nation. Bills are being drafted to bring the governor's office within reach of public records laws. Read more

Database Showing Revenue Sharing Losses by Community Coming Soon
The current issue of the League's magazine, The Review, lists the dramatic disinvestment by the State in many Michigan communities. The complete database showing revenue sharing losses for all communities will be on our website by March 21. More.

TODAY Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families Telethon Underway
Five TV stations are joining with Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, FlintNOW, and Art Van Furniture for the Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families telethon today. All proceeds will go to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund for things like nutrition and medical intervention. Read more.

Michigan Leaders Outline Three Local Govt. Priorities for U.S. Congress
A contingent of Michigan local government leaders was in Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters on legislative priorities for local communities. The three priorities requested were muncipal bond exemptions, marketplace fairness and online sales tax parity, and transportation funding. Read more.

Capital Conference Sessions Appeal to a Wide Variety of Interests
Are you interested in alternative transportation? Want to know more about dark stores, the Detroit Grand Bargain, or changes in how you can communicate with residents about local ballot questions? Those topics and more will be covered at Capital Conference. Register. More.

Lansing Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Downtown Pop Up Art
The Lansing Art Gallery promotes the work of many fine Michigan artists. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to transform downtown Lansing's Washington Square into a pop up art display complete with artful activities. Read more.

New Guide to Placemaking Available for Free Download
Michigan State Housing Development Authority and MSU Land Policy Institute - League partners on many placemaking initiatives - have produced the free guidebook Placemaking as an Economic Development Tool, an excellent resource for local governments. More.

Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families Telethon is March 15
Four Michigan TV stations are joining forces with Art Van Furniture for the Flint Water Crisis: 4 Our Families telethon on March 15. All proceeds will go the Flint Child Health and Development Fund, which was established in January to provide flexible funding for support services.More.

How to Create a Customer-Centered Government
Government has made some tremendous strides in improving their customers' experiences. A recently released report, Government for the People: The Road to Customer-Centered Services, highlights some of the areas government can continue to improve. Read more.

What Michigan Communities Expect from a U.S. President
League COO Anthony Minghine and Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher were guests on WDET to discuss how who is in the White House affects communities in Michigan. They emphasized the need for a federal Internet sales tax law and the importance of federal funding for programs like Community Development Block Grants. More.

Help Provide Education for Your Fellow Municipal Leaders
Some of your fellow members are missing important educational opportunities due to tight budgets. You can help! Your donation to the League Foundation will help more people attend Convention, elected officials training, and more. Prizes at Capital Conference for largest donors. More

Join Your Local Government Peers at the Green Communities Conference
The Michigan Green Communities Conference will focus on building climate adaptation in Michigan with an emphasis on clean energy initiatives. Local governments are encouraged to bring a "team" of 3-5 representatives to Roscommon, April 20-22. Read more

Municipal Finance Reform Campaign to Launch at Capital Conference
The League's Board of Trustees has made municipal finance reform a top legislative priority. We've been building a legislative and policy case for why communities matter and how there has been a consistent disinvestment in communities at the state level. We'll unveil our findings and next steps at Capital Conference. Register. Read more.

Rail Across Michigan, Coast-to-Coast? Yes, Please!
A new Coast-to-Coast Passenger Rail Study dove deep into current travel patterns and the conditions of Michigan's rail network. The report concludes that new train service running 4-8 daily round trips between our state's major cities is posslble and would be popular. More.

February 2016

Radio Show Focuses on Overcoming Obstacles to Placemaking
Communities can face many hurdles to placemaking. The League's CEO Dan Gilmartin, co-host Luke Forrest, and guests discuss how to eliminate those obstacles. Prosperity Agenda aired Feb. 24 on NewsTalk 760 WJR Radio, subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast, or listen here

2015 Wage and Salary Survey Updates Available Now
The League has added 84 new contracts (police, fire, DPW, etc.) to our online library, accessible with the 2015 Wage & Salary Survey login sent to communities that participated in the survey. It's not too late to participate to gain access to our database of 143 job titles. Read more.

Financial Struggles in Cities - It's Not Always What You Think
The travesty in Flint has focused new attention on Michigan's role in the struggling finances of our cities. In The Great Revenue Sharing Heist, the League details how the State has balanced its own budget on the backs of its municipal partners for over a decade. More.

UPDATE: Today's Priority Based Budgeting Class Changed to Webinar
Priority Based Budgeting is a unique, innovative approach being used by local governments across the country. Learn how to match resources with community priorities, engage citiizens, and more. Join us for a valuable webinar on March 2. Register today.

2015 Wage and Salary Survey Updates Available Now
The League has added 84 new contracts (police, fire, DPW, etc.) to our online library, accessible with the 2015 Wage & Salary Survey login sent to communities that participated in the survey. It's not too late to participate to gain access to our database of 143 job titles. Read more.

League Advises Proceeding with Caution as PA 269 is Challenged
In light of the recent preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of a "gag order" provision in PA 269, the League has prepared some guidance for Michigan communities. To read the lawsuit, issue summary, sample resolutions, and more, visit our PA 269 resource page.

TechBrewery Encourages Geek Culture in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor's TechBrewery provides a cooperative, non-traditional environment in which tech entrepreneurs can get the ball rolling. Roughly 50 startups have moved through their space and gone on to contribute to the city's ever-growing tech economy. Read more.

TODAY is Early Bird Deadline for the League's 2016 Capital Conference!
Register TODAY to get early bird discount for Capital Conference. Learn about the latest legislative issues facing Michigan communities, including the impact of changes in pension funding and revenue sharing, new mobility options, and more. Get the details and register now.

A Good Move for Flint: Relocating Public Market Improves Food Access
In the aftermath of Flint's water crisis, it's encouraging to see evidence of positive health-related reinvestments, particularly in relocating the city's farmers market to downtown.The League's farmers market case study highlights the benefits to many Michigan communities. More

A Millennial's Viewpoint: Flint's Bad Pipes, Worse Policy
At a time when millennial retention is so crucial to Michigan's redevelopment, the situation in Flint sends up a huge red flag to that generation. They wonder - which Michigan cities will be the next Flint? Do they really want to gamble with their health by settling in Michigan? Read more.

National League of Cities President Joins Capital Conference as Keynoter
Melodee Colbert-Kean was elected president of the National League of Cities in 2015. At our Capital Conference luncheon, she will share her plans for shaping NLC's priorities and directing advocacy, education, research, and membership activities. Read more

Scholarship in Memory of Michael Young, Former MLGMA President
Colleagues in the Rockford community, where Michael Young served as city manager for 20 years, have set up a scholarship at Grand Valley State University in his honor. A gift to this scholarship is an investment in the students of Young's alma mater. Read more.

Lend Your Help and Support During the Flint Water Crisis!
People all over Flint are in need of our help! The news is filled with stories of the serious health and environmental challenges they are facing as a result of the city's lead-contaminated water. For links to resources on ways you can help, check out our Flint Water Crisis page.

Governor Announces Budget Plan - Revenue Sharing Flat Again
Gov. Snyder released his budget plan for Fiscal Year 2016-17 and much of his focus was on infrastructure and education, particularly the Flint water crisis, Detroit Public Schools, and road funding. Unfortunately, there was a lack of restoration to statutory revenue sharing. Read more.

Transportation Asset Management Council Seeks Award Nominees
The Transportation Asset Management Council is seeking Act 51 agences and individuals to recognize for their efforts in asset management. Awards include the Organizational Achievement Award and the Individual Achievement Award. Submissions are due Feb. 26. More

League Insurance Boards Announce 2016 Member Dividends
Hundreds of Michigan communities will share nearly $11 million in dividends for keeping their communities safe for their employees and citizens - $2.4 million to members of the Liability & Property Pool and $8.4 million to members of the MML Workers' Compensation Fund. More.

League Foundation Launches Fundraising Campaign, Offers Prizes
From now until Capital Conference, the League Foundation is seeking donations to help continue the work of educating local officials. The individual who donates the most will receive a free registration to the 2016 Convention on Mackinac Island. The community that donates the most will get League help with a placemaking project. Read more.

Flint Water Crisis Exposes Threat to Michigan's Comeback
The Flint water crisis is like a fusion bomb of neglect, indifference, and bad policy that exploded in disaster, revealing the true condition of our state, and the corrosive approach of state leadership. The crisis exposed the gutting of funding to municipalities and much more. Read more.

Snapchat Offers New Platform to Engage Millennnials in Placemaking
The popularity of social media platform Snapchat has grown exponentially in the past year, especially with the 13-34 age group. The app could serve as a vital community resource to improve communication, reach a younger audience, and attract new residents. Read more

What Other Michigan Cities Can Learn From Westland
While other bedroom communities in southeast Michigan are struggling to survive amidst dwindling population and loss of revenue, Westland Mayor Bill Wild says his city is standing strong despite the odds. He credits a diversified economy and a well-executed plan. Read more.

City of Berkley Down to Four Finalists for City Manager Position
The search for the next Berkley city manager is down to four finalists who have been selected for interviews later this month. A "meet the candidates" open house has been scheduled for Feb. 19 at the Berkley Community Center. The public is invited. Read more.

Lessons from Allegan's Festive Fridays Pop-up Retail
In December, the League hosted a pop-up retail PlacePOP project with Allegan leaders to create vibrancy, boost foot-traffic, and encourage economic growth in the city's downtown. The project showed that Allegan is innovative, collaborative, and focused on place. Read more

MLGMA Leaders Converge on Port Huron for Annual Winter Institute
Hundreds of Michigan Local Government Management Association members came to Port Huron's Convention Center last week for sessions on finance, treasury standards, and more. City Manager James Freed said it also gave the city a chance to highlight other sites, such as the U.S. Customs facilities at the Blue Water Bridge and the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Read more.

Grants Available for Mayor-led College Success Programs
The U.S. Conference of Mayors and USA Funds will award grants totaling $150,000 to recognize excellence in mayor-led programs that provide a more purposeful path for America's students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. Read more.

Historic Districts: Keeping the Great Places We Already Have
Recently, Lansing took up a bill for a "Historic District Modernization Act." Local historic districts play an important role in placemaking. Since 1970, historic districts in 78 Michigan cities have helped blighted areas become some of the most sought-after neighborhoods. Read more.

How Breaking Down Government Silos Empowers Placemaking
By drastically rethinking the way their municipal government works - Place Governance - the small community of Innisfil, Ontario has taken on placemaking in a big way. The shake-up freed them to make focusing on place a priority at every level of government. Read more

Decades of Hostility Toward Michigan Cities Led to Flint Water Crisis
The people of Flint are suffering due to a state government that has made deep cuts to the revenue sharing their struggling city needs to function. Michigan's decades-long combination of deindustrialization and lack of public support for cities created the conditions that led to the water crisis. More.

Judge Grants Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction on PA 269!
Good news! U.S. District Court Judge O'Meara has entered an opinion granting a preliminary injunction on PA 269. We are digesting the opinion and will have more news for you on Monday. But in short, WE WIN! The lawsuit charges that a "gag order" provision in Public Act 269 is unconstitutional and asks that the law be overturned. Jerome Watson, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs - 17 local government officials and one private citizen - said the heart of this case is not about misusing public funds. It's about abusing First Amendment rights. To read the lawsuit, issue summary, sample resolutions, and more, visit our PA 269 resource page.

Rockford City Manager, MLGMA President Michael Young Passes Away
After more than two decades of distinguished leadership, Rockford City Manager Michael Michael F. Young has passed away. He is remembered as a passionate, dedicated, and respected city leader. A scholarship in his honor has been set up at Grand Valley State University by his colleagues in the municipal community. Read more.

Federal Judge O'Meara Plans to Issue Ruling on PA 269 Soon
On Feb. 4, recognizing the urgency of the case, U.S. District Court Judge O'Meara said he would issue a written ruling soon regarding a lawsuit charging that a "gag order" provision in Public Act 269 is unconstitutional and asking that the law be overturned. Jerome Watson, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs - 17 local government officials and one private citizen - said the heart of this case is not about misusing public funds. It's about abusing First Amendment rights. To read the lawsuit, issue summary, sample resolutions, and more, visit our PA 269 resource page.

January 2016

Capital Conference Workshops Dive Deep on Vital Community Topics
Does your community have neighborhoods in need of revitalization, or program evaluations in need of streamlining? Are you aware of the benefits of a diverse, inclusive community? How does the Supreme Court's ruling on sign regulations affect you? Arrive at Capital Conference a little early and get the answers at several FREE Workshops! Register today.

Radio Show Focuses on Making the Most of Michigan Winters
Many Michigan residents enjoy snow skiing, sledding, and more. League CEO Dan Gilmartin, co-host John Gonzalez, writer, and guests discuss Michigan's Winter Wonderland. Prosperity Agenda airs on NewsTalk 760 WJR Radio. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast, or listen here.

Detroit's Marche du Nain Rouge Adds Neighborhood Float/Costume Contest
Detroit's Mardi Gras-style Marche du Nain Rouge parade plans to grant $1,000 to each of Detroit's seven neighborhood districts to build a float or large-scale costume for the parade. Learn more about the Marche in the League's new Economics of Place book. Read more.

Be Among the First to Meet TED at this Year's Capital Conference!
TED, the State's new Department of Talent and Economic Development, builds talent with in-demand skills while helping state businesses grow and thrive. In this session, you'll learn from the leaders of MEDC and MSHDA how TED can help your community. Register today.

Governor Snyder Delivers 2016 State of the State Address
Gov. Snyder devoted much of the 2016 State of the State speech to the water crisis in Flint. He also focused on Detroit Public Schools reform, the need to address aging infrastructure in Michigan cities, and announced a commission on 21st century infrastructure. Read more.

Ferndale is First City to Adopt Paid Parental Leave Policy for Employees
Ferndale saw a need for local government to become a more friendly workplace, offer balance for families and show how policies can make a difference in a community. With that in mind, Ferndale became one of the first Michigan cities to adopt a paid parental leave policy for its employees. More

Vicksburg Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Victorian Garden Path
Vicksburg wants a downtown that embraces their heritage and offers dynamic dining and entertainment. With help from MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to turn an alley that connects shopping and dining areas into Liberty Lane, a Victorian garden path. More.

House Urged to Repeal Portion of PA 269/SB 571; 'Fix' Not Good Enough
Local government and school organizations told the House Elections Committee that a "gag order" provision in SB 571 should be repealed. Section 57 of the bill dramatically limits the ways local officials can inform voters about local ballot measures within 60 days of an election. The proposed 'fix' - HB 5219 - would still ban these organizations from giving voters factual information about a ballot measure via radio, TV, mass mailing, or prerecorded phone messages. Please call your lawmakers today. Read the League's issue summary and sample resolution, joint statement calling for repeal, and Chris Hackbarth's blog, More.

Those Who Stay in Michigan will be Champions
Samantha Audia, an intern with the League, will soon graduate from the University of Michigan with a degree in political science and international studies. She shares her insights on the opportunities open to millennials who choose to stay in Michigan to launch their careers. More.

League "Permit Corps" Idea Selected as Knight Cities Challenge Finalist
The League's Permit Corps is a finalist in the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge. The Permit Corps would place graduate students in a few Detroit neighborhoods to serve as technical experts/advocates to help residents and small business owners get projects done. Read more.

Fight Blight in Your Community Connect & Share Webinar
The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign, of which the League is a part, is presenting a webinar designed to help communities turn vacant properties into assets. The Jan. 21 webinar will give background on the Campaign and an overview of the Michigan Blight Elimination Guidebook. More

Nominate Your Town for a $500,000 Transformation with Shark Tank Star
Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec, through Small Business Revolution, is helping Deluxe Corp. give a $500,000 revitalization to one small town's Main Street business district. The transformation will be captured and shown in a video series. Nominations are open Jan 11-28. Read more

Seven Finalists for Washtenaw County Adminstrator Position
Seven candidates for the Washtenaw County Administrator job have been selected for interviews. The League's executive search service is coordinating the effort to replace Verna McDaniel, who retired last year. The Jan. 23 interviews are open to the public. Read more.

Presentation to Focus on Changes to Michigan Freedom of Information Act
The Mid-Michigan ARMA Chapter will present a session on Michigan's Freedom of Information Act at it's Jan. 21 meeting in Lansing. Tom Quasarano of the Michigan Attorney General's office will focus on changes to the Act that went into effect in July 2015. Read more.

An Action-Packed 2015 Energizes the League for the New Year
The League worked hard in 2015 to represent and serve the needs of our members - from advocacy efforts to placemaking, Legal Defense Fund, talent attraction, crowdfunding, risk management, and our vast array of information, resources, and training. Read more.

Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys Elects President, Vice Pres.
The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys is pleased to announce that it has elected Kalamazoo City Attorney Clyde Robinson as president and Muskegon City Attorney John Schrier as vice president. Both have served on the MAMA board of directors for several years. Read more

Former Midland City Attorney Receives MAMA Award
Long-time municipal attorney John J. Rae received the 2015 William L. Steude Ethics and Civility in Local Government Award from the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. His career included roles as city attorney in Midland and prosecuting attorney for Calhoun County. More.

ArtPlace National Creative Placemaking Fund Seeking Projects
ArtPlace America is excited to announce that they have $10 million available to fund projects in any community in the U.S. that is working with artists and arts organizations to help build stronger, healthier communities. Learn more at an informational session in Detroit, Jan. 11. Read more

Michigan Cities Should Strive to be Competitive
An annual UM-Dearborn study highlights cities around the state that are thriving economically, and what they are doing right to improve their business climates. Other communities in Michigan should take a look at what's working in these cities and emulate those policies. More.

December 2015

Radio Show Focuses on Connecting Michigan Through Higher Education
Free Press reporter David Jesse and League CEO Dan Gilmartin discuss higher ed's vital role in improving residents' health care, job training, and more. Prosperity Agenda aired at 7 pm Dec. 23 on NewsTalk 760 WJR Radio. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast, or listen here.

Pledge to Foster Welcoming Michigan Communities
To counteract negative comments and actions directed toward Arab refugees and those of the Muslim faith, Welcoming Michigan and Take on Hate have launched the "Stand Strong, Respect Michigan" pledge. They're encouraging elected officials to take the pledge. Read more.

SEEDS Programs Empower Youth to Create Positive Community Change
The nonprofit SEEDS - Seeking Ecology Education and Design - empowers at-risk youth to make a difference in their community. Students in their After School Education and Youth Conservation Corps programs learn how to improve themselves and the environment. More.

Michigan Communities Ramp up Holiday and Winter Fun!
Michigan cities and villages are unique and inviting all year long, but especially during the holiday and winter season. Tradition and creativity swirl together in events that draw in visitors and remind residents why they love their community. Check out the merriment all over the state. More.

Crowdfunding is Having a Unique Impact on Michigan Communities
The League has been helping communities benefit from crowdfunding as a placemaking tool. We've partnered with MEDC, MSHDA, and Patronicity on Public Spaces Community Places, a matching funds crowdfunding initiative. A new investment crowdfunding law enables projects like Detroit City Football Club's stadium restoration. Read more

Addition to Campaign Finance Bill Puts Gag Order on Communities
A Campaign Finance Act bill before the Michigan Legislature includes wording that deals with permissible and prohibited activities by public bodies on election-related issues. This puts an undue burden on communities. Please express your concern to the Governor's office. More.

Dark Stores Resources Section Now Available on League Website
"Big Box" stores have convinced the Michigan Tax Tribunal to give them special treatment as it pertains to the market value of their property. The League has created a Dark Stores section on our website to help you learn more about the problem and what can be done about it. More.

New FAST Act Allows Greater Flexibility in Street Design
The new federal FAST Act (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) has at least one change that will help Michigan cities more effectively engage in placemaking. This Act allows local planners and engineers to design more walkable, bikeable urban environments. Read more.

PlacePOP Brings Activity to Allegan Storefronts
During Allegan's Festive Fridays holiday experience, the League's new PlacePOP service is helping the city showcase some of its vacant storefronts. Holiday revelers can enjoy pop-up venues offering everything from sweets and jewelry to art, music, and Christmas decorations. More.

Urge Your Representative to Vote NO on HB 5016
The Michigan House could vote on HB 5016 this week, legislation that the League strongly opposes. The bill would require municipalities to reimburse a portion of relocation costs to a telecommunications provider under certain cirsumstances. Please contact your Representative TODAY and tell them to oppose HB 5016. Read more.

Newly Elected Officials Trainings are in Full Swing Across the State
At the latest Newly Elected Officials Training in Southfield, about 40 southeast Michigan officials gathered for sessions on topics such as the roles and responsibilities of city council, and got tips from seasoned elected officials. See photos and find a session near you. Read more.

Paris Climate Conference Debrief for Cities Webinar
At the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, the U.S. and many other world leaders adopted the first global pact to fight climate change. On Dec. 17, the NLC and several other organizations are offering a webinar on COP21 from the perspective of U.S. local governments. Read more.

League Statement on Data Center Abatement
A Michigan House committee is reviewing legislative proposals on the data center issue. The League, MAC, and MTA issued a joint statement about it. The biggest concern is ensuring that local communities have local control on existing and future abatement requests. More.

Crowdfunding Campaign to Bring Art and Connectivity to Lansing Parks
Getting into Lansing's beautiful Dunnebacke and West Side Parks can be challenging. With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to connect the parks with a one-mile multi-use recreational trail and public art. Read more.

All the Risk, None of the Rewards for Michigan Cities
The League Board has made municipal finance reform a major focus for 2016. Cities like Lincoln Park have had to declare financial emergencies. Their prospects going forward aren't great, thanks to a triple threat of constitutional restrictions on tax revenue growth. Read more.

Brightmoor Launches Community Kitchen Crowdfunding Campaign
Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood is considered a food desert. With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to create access to healthy food with a community kitchen, nonprofit cafe, and nutrition education. Read more.

Royal Oak Wins Free Technical Assistance Workshop
Royal Oak is one of seven U.S. communites to receive a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America. The workshops give communities a chance to understand the technical aspects of smart growth development and build a strategy. Read more.

New Federal Transportation Bill, FAST Act, Becomes Law
President Obama signed the FAST (Fixing America's Surface Transportation) Act on Dec. 7. A big win for local communities is that it is a 5-year arrangement. The League has been advocating for a bill that enables more long-term planning for transportation projects. Read more.

Crowdfunding to Bring Community Center to Detroit's Mack Avenue
MACC Development, a nonprofit community development corporation, is restoring a vacant building on Mack Avenue. With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to transform it into a new, dynamic, mixed-use community center. Read more

New Flint Entrepreneurial Hub is the Goal of Crowdfunding Campaign
Flint is experiencing an exciting revitalization with new businesses and a redevelopment of downtown buildings. With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to capitalize on that energy by creating a downtown entrepreneurial hub. More

Layers of Government Inhibit the Regional Cooperation We Need
Many of our communities are literally falling apart, with no way to pay for their rebuilding. A major barrier is the way our cities are funded. Michigan's municipal finance model is broken. The governor must lead a fundamental overhaul of how we pay for local government services. More.

Governor Snyder Signs Bills Benefiting Local Government
Governor Snyder recently signed key legislation that will positively impact Michigan municipalities. SB 372 grants training reciprocity to out-of-state firefighters. HB 4904 enables local governments to include their own local questions on the March 2016 ballot. More.

Vicksburg Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Nature Trailhead
To foster placemaking, the Village of Vicksburg envisions a trail to connect its downtown district and recreational assets with other communities.With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to create an inviting trailhead into the village. More.

November 2015

The Connection between Vibrant Neighborhoods & Economic Growth
Having a solid business climate is important, but so is a vibrant, exciting community with a wide diversity of talent. A recent study of 84 suburban areas found that vibrant, dense, mixed-use suburban areas performed better than lower-density, auto-dependent office parks. More

Detroit's Bankruptcy Shows Need for State Policy Reform for Cities
On a WDET-FM discussion about municipal financial management, the League's Tony Minghine said that Michigan city budgets aren't enough to meet today's community needs. Most of budget comes from property taxes and state revenue sharing, over which they have little control. More.

Radio Show Focuses on Striving for a Welcoming and Diverse Michigan
Americans come from many different cultures. League CEO Dan Gilmartin and Detroit News columnist Bankole Thompson discuss ways to make diversity work in our state. Prosperity Agenda aired Nov. 25 NewsTalk 760 WJR Radio. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast, or listen here.

City of Berkley Taking Applications for City Manager Position
Berkley, a southeastern Michigan city known for earning 10 "The Best Community for ..." accolades, is seeking its next city manager. The ideal candidate will have boundless energy and the creative passion necessary to engage a supportive citizenry. Read more.

Getting into the Spirit of #GivingTuesday
Today is #GivingTuesday, a great opportunity to volunteer in your community. In that spirit, the League is helping make a magical holiday for our neighbors at the housing complex next to our Ann Arbor office. Please consider volunteering or donating in your own way. More.

'Dark Stores' Cost Michigan Local Governments Millions
Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, is leading the charge against big box retailers, trying to stop them from taking advantage of a loop hole in the way the state assesses the taxable value of such stores. He says just because it's legal doesn't make it right or fair. More

Futbol and Crowdfunding: A 'Match' Made in Detroit
Detroit City Futbol Club brings professional soccer to the city and and builds community networks that help Detroit rebuild. They've launched an investment crowdfunding campaign to restore their new home field, historic Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. Consider getting involved! More.

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday Nov. 28
Small Business Saturday is a special time to support all the local merchants in your city. For every $100 spent at these merchants, $68 returns to the community. Think about all the ways you could show some love to the small businesses in your area. Gather your friends and family for dinner at a family-owned restaurant, find unique gifts and holiday decorations at specialty shops in your downtown, or bring home fresh, luscious baked goods from your local bakery. The possibilities are endless, and so are the benefits to your community! Read more.

#BlackFridayParking Calls Attention to Ridiculous Parking Requirements
#BlackFridayParking is a nationwide event to show the harmful nature of minimum parking requirements. Snap photos of the parking lots in your community on Black Friday and upload them to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #blackfridayparking. Read more.

Getting into the Spirit of #GivingTuesday
#GivingTuesday is a great opportunity to volunteer in your community on Dec. 1, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. In that spirit, the League is helping make a magical holiday for our neighbors at the housing complex next to our office. Please consider giving in your own way. Read more.

City Blues: MSU Study Finds State Tax Policies Cripple Cities
A new report by MSU concludes that Michigan's tax policies help cultivate financial crisis in our cities. MSU researchers recommend changes that will more readily align state policy priorities with what cities need to remain financially stable.. Read more.

New 20-Year-Old Inkster Councilman Hopes to Improve His Hometown
Jewell Jones was sworn in Nov. 16 as the youngest person ever to sit on Inkster's City Council. He has big ideas for bettering his community, including improving the city's parks and recreational services, increasing public safety, and fostering economic opportuntiies. Read more.

Forum Features Candid Talk about Race Relations & Law Enforcement
The "Race & Law Enforcement in the Urban Community" forum, sponsored by the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, featured national and state speakers, such as Leon Andrews, Jr., dir. of Race, Equity and Leadership for the National League of Cities. More

Legislature Considers Removing Local Control of Speed Limits
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is considering five bills that would dramatically impact the ability of local governments to set safe, context sensitive speed limits within their boundaries. Please urge your legislator to oppose these bills. Read more.

Legislation Tries to Shift Broadband Relocation Costs to Communities
Legislation recently introduced in the House would require cities and villages to reimburse broadband providers for relocation costs under certain circumstances. The League opposes HB 5016 and urges you to contact your legislator to defeat it. Read more.

Seeking Nominations for 2015 Michigan Clerk of the Year
Nominations are now open for the 2015 City, Township, and Village Clerk of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks. If you know a outstanding clerk who is dedicated to their profession, consider nominating them. Deadline is Jan. 16. Read more

The State of the Creative Economy in Michigan
The impact of the arts and creative industries on local, regional, and state economies was the focus of the Creative Economy Policy Summit, organized by Creative Many. There was good news about where innovation and job creation are taking the economy. More.

Michigan Legislature Wraps Up Busy Fall Session
The Legislature had full agendas before breaking for the Thanksgiving holiday. Several bills the League is supporting saw committee and floor movement, including reciprocity for firefighter training; Commercial Rehabilitation Act; and adverse possession of municipal property. More

Get Your Newly Elected Officials Off to a Smooth Start
To help newly elected officials get up to speed, the League is offering a training program entitled "You Won! Now What?" It covers core topics to educate first-time and seasoned elected officials on the basic functions they will need to know as public leaders. Find a session near you.

Michigan House Committee Shines Light on Dark Stores
The House Tax Policy Committee heard testimony on the big box retail/dark store tax appeal issue, including the negative impact these appeals have on communities, and the manipulation of property values. Please encourage your legislators to address these dark store appeals. Read more

League Foundation President Shares Thoughts on Vibrant Communities
In advance of her Nov. 19 presentation at the Midland Downtown Opportunity Summit, League Foundation President Samantha Harkins elaborated on the value of placemaking and its impact on the long-term economic viability of 21st century communities. Read more

PlacePlan Designs for Traverse City's 'City Lot' Unveiled
For several months, Traverse City and the PlacePlans team have been gathering input on the community's desires for the "City Lot" site on West Front Street. On Nov. 10, the first phase of brainstorming concluded when three conceptual designs were unveiled at an Open House. More.

PlacePlans in Action: The Skinny on Kalamazoo's Portage Street
Progress is being made on part of Kalamazoo's PlacePlan: a "road diet" on a section of Portage Street. The street has been temporarily reduced to three lanes, making it more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Outside the right-of-way, vacant storefronts are filling up. Read more.

Grand Rapids Downtown Master Plan Highlights Diversity, Inclusion, Equity
GRForward, the new master plan for downtown Grand Rapids, calls for a revitalized riverfront, more housing, improved public transportation, a better trail network, and better schools. But planners said the need for diversity and inclusion overrides all of the goals. Read more

St. Joseph Streets will be Abuzz with Public Art Next Summer
The organizers of St. Joseph's 2016 public art display hope the new theme has people swarming into town to see it. The winning slogan is "Beach Bugs - All St. Joseph is Abuzz." Read the League's St Joseph Public Art case study for details on this popular annual event. Read more.

Washtenaw County Taking Applications for New Administrator
Washtenaw County is seeking an administrator to oversee a $106 million operating budget and more than 1,300 employees. The League is leading the executive search for an experienced professional with a proven record of transparency and innovation. Read more.

Feedback Sought on Traverse City PlacePlan Designs at Open House
The public is invited to an Open House to review newly created conceptual drawings for the future use and design of the Traverse City-owned City Lot property on Nov 10. Attendees are encouraged to share their thoughts and participate in a community arts activity. Read more.

Exciting Topic for League's 2016 Student Scholarship Essay!
Help bring local talent to Lansing by inviting your community's students (ages 15-19) to submit an essay for a scholarship opportunity to attend Capital Conference March 22-23. This year's topic is pop-up placemaking! The deadline to submit essays is Feb. 8. Read more.

Michigan Municipal League Issues Statement on Road Funding
The following is the League's statement regarding the road funding package approved by the state Legislature. "It's an over-statement to say that a $1.2 billion plan with $600 million in new revenue and $600 million in General Fund dollars will fix Michigan's crumbling infrastructure. This is especially true given that two-thirds of the new revenue will simply replace money already budgeted for roads in the current fiscal year and the plan doesn't fully phase in for almost a decade," For additional comments on this issue, contact the League's John LaMacchia. Read more.

Treasury Distributing First Major PPT Reimbursements to Cities
Most Michigan cities recently received Personal Property Tax (PPT) distribution checks. These reimbursement checks are the first amounts cities are receiving for operating mills under the PPT reform voters approved in a statewide referendum last year. Read more.

October 2015

Radio Show Focuses on Benefits of Walkable Cities Projects
Walkable cities build community. League CEO Dan Gilmartin explores this topic with co-host Michael Jackman, managing editor of Metro Times, and guests. Prosperity Agenda aired at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 on News/Talk 760 WJR. Subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast, or listen here.

Remember Your Community's Annual DDA Reporting Requirements
As the conversation on Downtown Development Authority/Tax Increment Financing reforms and lack of reporting continues this legislative session, the League is reminding members of their annual reporting requirements and providing some helpful hints. Read more.

Benton Harbor Final PlacePlan Makes its Debut at Celebration
An enthusiastic Benton Harbor crowd celebrated the unveiling of the final design plan for Dwight Pete Mitchell City Center Park. Popular items like creative lighting, a permanent stage and farmers market area, and public art made it into the final drawings. Read more.

Cycle Survey Adds Value to Saginaw Halloween-Themed Bike Ride
More than 50 people participated in a Halloween-themed bicycle ride in Saginaw Oct. 26, which included an after-bike-ride party and "cycle survey" for participants to complete. The survey, part of Saginaw's PlacePlan, is aimed at making the community more pedestrian-friendly. More.

Encourage Presidential Candidates to Address City Issues
The National League of Cities has launched Cities Lead 2016, a new platform for local officials to engage with presidential candidates on important city issues such as transportation, economic development, and public safety. Get more info on the NLC website. Read more.

Placemaking as a Fulcrum for Innovation
Project for Public Spaces has announced a new partnership with Brookings Institution to establish an Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking. They will take a wide-angle approach to the productive relationship between place, placemaking, and innovative growth. Read more.

House Passes $1.2B Road Funding Plan, $600M in Gen. Fund Revenue
The Michigan House passed a plan that would raise $1.2 billion to fix Michigan's infrastructure, but relies heavily on state general fund revenue to do so. The plan could have a significant negative impact on essential services. The League has consistently expressed our concern with any road funding solution that would jeopardize the long-term fiscal sustainability of this state and its communities. The League encourages Gov. Snyder and quadrant leaders to come up with a road funding plan that does not jeopardize essential services. We also encourage you to reach out to your individual Senator. Read more.

Building the 'Just City': Frontier of the New Urbanism
The phrase that identifies what today's progressive urban planners and developers and public officials want their work to embody is the "just city." The just city is seen as an urban center that is inclusive, affordable, and equitable for all its residents. Read more.

Crowdfunding Campaign Launched to Return the Rapids to Eaton Rapids
One of the dams on Eaton Rapids' Grand River is dangerous for people and the river ecosystem. With help from the MEDC-MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to remove the dam and create better river access for fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Read more.

The Challenge of Funding Municipal Pensions and Health Care
Many Michigan communities, including Wexford, Missaukee, and Osceola counites, are dealing with unfunded pension liabilities. League COO Anthony Minghine says pensions are not the real issue. Contributions for pension are required, but not for health care benefits. More.

Analyzing the Economic Impact of Ann Arbor's POP-X Art Festival
POP-X is a brand new interactive arts festival bringing a splash of excitement to Ann Arbor's Liberty Plaza, Oct. 15-24. To gain insight into the economic impact of such events, the Ann Arbor Art Center and area partners are identifying useful economic indicators. Read more.

Final Draft of Monroe Alleyways PlacePlan Unveiled to Public
Decorative archways and lights, a well-landscaped plaza, and kiosks offering views into the city's history are some of the elements of the PlacePlan for a downtown Monroe alleyway. The HEART of Monroe plan was recently unveiled after almost a year of work. Read more.

Race and Law Enforcement in the Urban Community Forum
Race relations have taken on a heightened seriousness with high-profile cases of police incidents involving African-American men and women. Michigan Black Caucus-Local Elected Officials is presenting a statewide forum to explore causes and solutions, Saginaw, Nov. 14. More.

The Next Woodward: More Bikes, More Walkers, More Green
The Woodward Avenue Complete Streets plan, recently approved by the Woodward Avenue Action Association, proposes changes from the M-1 streetcar project in Detroit all the way to Pontiac. Plan includes lanes for rapid transit buses, bikes, and other amenities. Read more.

Farmington Hills Councilwoman Serves Despite Cancer
Samantha Steckloff is adamant about beating cancer and has unwavering focus on doing the things she loves. Steckloff, a Farmington HIlls councilwoman since 2013, continues to perform all her duties for Farmington Hills. The thought of stepping away from all of that to fight the cancer never occurred to her. Steckloff, the daughter of former mayor Vicki Barnett, says she has a very positive atttude about it, cares a lot about the council, and has worked hard to be an advocate for the city. Researching her disease led her to create a Community Health Committee. Read more.

Learn the Nuts and Bolts of the Westland City Hall Big Box Retrofit
In 2012, Westland found an ideal solution to the serious structural issues of its aging city hall - retrofit a vacant Circuit City store in the heart of the city's "shop and dine" area. Read the case study to learn how Westland accomplished this feat and won the 2015 Community Excellence Award!

Updated Handbooks for Municipal and General Law Village Officials
The League has recently updated our Handbook for Municipal Officials and Handbook for General Law Village Officials and they are now available online. These valuable resources cover local government, roles and responsibilities, operations, and finance. Read more.

Regional Transit Authority Seeks Public Input on BEST Projects
Southeast Michigan's Regional Transit Authority wants you to join the conversation on Building Equitable Sustainable Transit (BEST) projects that will have a positive impact on the area's economy and quality of life. Meetings will be held all over the metro area throughout October. More.

Tailgate Event to Unveil Monroe Alleyway Plans on Thursday
The public is invited to an MSU-UM pre-tailgate party to celebrate and unveil the HEART of Monroe PlacePlan. The design plans illustrate ways to improve a city alleyway to connect key parts of downtown. Attendees are encouraged to wear their Go Blue or Go Green colors. More

MSHDA Joins MEDC's Crowdfunding Initiative for Vibrant Communities
MSHDA is teaming up with MEDC to fund the Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative. MEDC, with the support of the Michigan Municipal League, launched the wildly successful first-of-its-kind model last June through the Patronicity crowdfunding platform. More.

New Crowdfunding Campaign to Beautify Detroit's Avenue of Fashion
Detroit's historic business district, The Avenue of Fashion, is changing in positive and vibrant ways. With help from the MEDC/MSHDA Public Spaces Community Places initiative, Detroit Fiber Works plans to beautify the avenue with public, community-created, fiber art. Read more.

Birmingham Embraces Walkability and Reverses Decline
After three decades of population loss and commercial decline, the city of Birmingham committed to building a new identity: "The Walkable Community." With forward-thinking planning across multiple sectors, the city has grown steadily since the turn of the millennium. Read more.

Dark Store / Big Box Retail Assessment Legislation Introduced
Legislation has been introduced that would help communities facing tax assessment appeals by big box retailers. The League has been working with several State Representatives to craft SB 524 and HB 4909. Please encourage your legislators to address this issue. More

Senate "Sanctuary City" Bill Jeopardizes Revenue Sharing
Senate Bill 445 would prohibit any Michigan community from adopting or enforcing a "sanctuary city" ordinance or policy. Failure to comply would require the Treasurer to withhold a community's total annual revenue sharing. Please urge your legislators to oppose SB 445. More.

East Lansing Launches Artist Alleys Campaign to Beautify Downtown
East Lansing wants to enhance its downtown environment to engage more people and build a sense of place. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to beautify two alleys with murals, lighting, landscaping, and more. Read more.

September 2015

Congratulations to Westland, Winner of Community Excellence Award!
A project that turned a vacant Circuit City building into the new Westland City Hall won the 2015 Community Excellence Award. The other finalists were Flood of Community Benefits for NOCWA Members, Transforming Woodward Together, and Citizen Interaction Design. More.

Former Ishpeming City Attorney Receives State and National Awards
The Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys recently recognized retired Ishpeming City Attorney David Savu for receiving two major awards: Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award from MAMA, and Longevity of Service Award from Intl. Municipal Lawyers Assoc. More

Paul Grondin Honored for Service to Mayors Association, Communities
St. Ignace Mayor Paul Grondin was honored by Governor Snyder, the Michigan Association of Mayors, and Michigan Municipal League for his years of service to the two organizations and to his community. His leadership stands out and deserves this kind of award. Read more.

League is a Big Winner at Annual MSAE Diamond Awards Banquet
At the Michigan Society of Association Executives' 2015 Diamond Awards dinner, the League won the highest honor possible - a Diamond Award - for our PlacePlans work in the creative collaboration category, and a Silver Award for our Review magazine. Read more.

Petoskey Sets it Sights on Ultimate Trailhead Crowdfunding Project
Last year, more than 100,000 people used the great trail network in the Petoskey area. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to repurpose an historic cottage as the Ultimate Trailhead, source of maps, educational information, and events. More

New League Service Brings POPs of Activity Across Michigan!
We're really excited to announce PlacePOP, our new placemaking and engagement consulting service. PlacePOP is a low-cost, high-impact approach to community planning that can be used to test ideas, engage residents, and strengthen support for place-based projects. More.

Alpena Launches Campaign to Make a Splash for Art
A bare, unattractive cement wall sits next to an inviting pocket park in downtown Alpena. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to paint and install a beautiful community mural steeped in the community's maritime history. Read more.

The "Dow of Cities" Shows Bull Market for Downtowns
The latest new voice suggesting city centers are the place to be is Fitch Ratings. In one of the most under-reported stories of the year for urbanists, the Investment rating agency shows housing demand shifting towards urban centers "in nearly every city analyzed." Read more.

Traverse City's "City Lot" Hosts Community Picnic, Invites Input
The public is invited to a family-friendly Community Picnic at 500 W. Front St. to share ideas about the future use and design of "City Lot," the focus of a current PlacePlans project. The event will feature an "open house" format where people can explore the site, share comments, and enjoy local food, Sept. 16, 5:00 - 8:00 pm. Read more.

Saline Launches Campaign to Light the Way for Community Events
Saline lacks convenient gathering places close to downtown for music, art, and other community events. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to install environmentally-friendly lighting along the Henne Field path to expand the park's use. Read more.

Radio Show Highlights Valuable Role of Foundations in Communities
Many Michigan cities get much-needed assistance from foundations. League CEO Dan Gilmartin explored this topic with foundation liaison Karen Aldridge-Eason and guests. Prosperity Agenda aired Aug. 26 on News/Talk 760 WJR. Subscribe to a FREE podcast, or listen here.

Group Launches Campaign to Restore Detroit's Alger Theater
The historic Alger Theater on Detroit's east side hasn't shown movies in 30 years. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, Friends of the Alger Theater plan to transform it into a community destination for arts, entertainment, and education. More.

Convention Speaker Frank Peterson Wants the Community on His Team!
At the Convention's Michigan Local Government Management Association Colloquium, Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson will be leading a session on community engagement. During the session - entitled "Order More Jerseys - Our Commuity Team is Getting Bigger" - he will share ideas on creating a culture of openness and teamwork that will entice citizens to get involved in their community. Join this session to learn how to get people off the sidelines and onto the field to deal with the city's challenges and cheer its accomplishments. Get more details and register now.

League Foundation Receives Mott Foundation Grant for Green Work
The League Foundation was awarded a $125,000 grant from Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for Michigan Green Communities Network, a statewide group of local leaders who come together for education, sharing best practices, and assessing sustainability efforts. More

Convention Speaker Rosalynn Bliss Will Share Insights on Adapting to Changing Expectations
Grand Rapids commissioner Rosalynn Bliss will join a panel of experts at the League's Convention Sept. 16-18 to share her insights on people's changing expectations of where they live. Bliss was elected as Grand Rapids's first female mayor in August. She serves on the city's Legislative Team, chairs the Commission Fiscal Committee, and serves on a variety of boards. Bliss has been honored locally and statewide for her dedication in the field of child abuse, and her leadership in the community. Get more details and register now.

August 2015

Traverse City Tavern and Winery Tours Support League Foundation
Two events at Convention will provide a fun way to experience downtown Traverse City's nightlife or a beautiful countryside winery. Both events have the added advantage of helping raise money for the League Foundation, which funds placemaking projects and educates community leaders and advocates. Take a lively tour of several outstanding downtown taverns, complete with a chance to win prizes at the final destination. Or travel out to the stunning Chateau Chantal winery for a strolling dinner and tour of the winery. Register for Winery Tour by Sept. 1. Get more details and register now.

Benton Harbor PlacePlan Begins Popping to Life
Benton Harbor residents recently got a glimpse of the second round of conceptual drawings for Dwight Pete Mitchell City Center Park, The next day, the League launched some lively pop-up placemaking activities to give people a flavor of what the park can become. Read more.

The League is Working to End 'Dark Store' Property Tax Loophole
Big-box retailers have been using the "dark store" loophole to cut their Michigan property tax bills, diverting upwards of $50 million from local government authorities. It doesn't make sense to use only vacant store sales comparisions to set the value for an in-use property. More.

Learn How to be a Smooth Operator at this Year's Convention
As a key member of your city's administration, you have a to-do list a mile long to keep your community humming along. You need tools and resources to help you be a smooth operator and get through that list with ease. At this year's Convention, we'll present you with the latest information and ideas to do just that. We're offering practical sessions on everything from legislative updates to municipal hot topics to retiree finance strategies. Our agenda also includes mobile workshops and networking opportunities to stock up your smooth operator tool box. Get more details and register now.

Invite a Community Leader to Convention for FREE!
Every community has champions with a strong belief in their community's assets. Invite one of those economic development professionals, business or civic leaders to Convention this year! For every paid member registration, you may register one community leader FREE. Read more.

Crowdfunding to Form a More Perfect Union ... City!
An informal gathering place for community events spourted up behind Union City's library. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to improve the site for events such as concerts and festivals, and provide provide easier access to the river.More.

Creative Ways to Bring Wow to Your Community Waterfront
Project for Public Spaces has developed a list of the 10 Qualities of a Great Waterfront Destination. The League is helping some communities develop their waterfronts with PlacePlans, and we're offering a waterfront development session at Convention. Read more.

Explore a Wide Variety of Sessions at Convention
Municipal leaders need to be visionairies, picturing the vibrant future their community wants and using the latest techniques to reach those goals. At Convention, we'll present you with new and creative ways to do just that. Sessions are designed to stimulate your thinking and provide you with inspirational examples that you can apply in your own community. Explore sessions on public art, crowdfunding, technology, equity, and more. We're also providing exciting mobile workshops and plenty of opportuniies for networking. Get more details and register now.

Attorney General Opinion Potentially Limits Building Official Options
Last month, the Attorney General released an opinion stating that the building official must be directly employed by a municipality. This calls into question third party contracts and shared arrangements. We need your feedback as we look for possible solutions to this problem. Read more.

Realtors Say We Don't Have the Homes People Want
In a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, 25% of respondents said they live in detached, single-family homes, but would prefer to live in attached housing in a more walkable neighborhood. Lack of supply of that type of housing is a key reason. More.

Crowdfunding Campaign Aims to Enhance Capital-MSU Corridor
A bridge over Michigan Avenue is seen as a barrier at a key juncture between East Lansing and Lansing. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, they plan to make it more pedestrian and bike-friendly with artistic lighting and colorful murals. Read more

Vendors: Reach your Target Market at Convention!
Local government officials from across the state will converge on Traverse City for the League's Convention Sept. 16-18. This annual event presents an ideal opportunity for vendors to reach this municipal audience. The League offers a wide variety of options to market your organization at Convention Choices range from advertising in the program or hosting a vendor presentation to sponsoring sessions and mobile workshops. We're here to help with networking, relationship-building or company branding. Get more details. League members - early bird dealine is Aug. 19. Register now!

Experience Amazing Traverse City in 3D at Convention!
Traverse City is much more than the sleepy tourist town of yesteryear. Jump on one of seven mobile workshops at Convention and experience for yourself how the city has transformed into a wildly-popular regional and national destination! Early bird registration deadline is Aug. 19. Get the details and sign up now!.

July 2015

Substantial Changes to FOIA Effective July 1, 2015
Our FOIA Resource Packet includes a One Pager Plus Fact Sheet, article from The Review magazine, Summary of the Act, sample procedures/guidelines, two sample fee itemization forms, and the Act with the new amendments. We also offer an on demand webinar. More.

Millennials Will Live in Cities Unlike Anything We've Ever Seen Before
In recent years, millennials have moved into cities at an astonishing rate. But now, they have begun moving out of big city downtowns and started a new trend: revitalizing smaller cities or opting for hybridized urban-burb enclaves where quality of life is the driving force. Read more

Lansing's Capitol Avenue Popped to Life Last Week!
Lansing was treated to fun pop-up placemaking on Capitol Avenue! One lane was for bikers only, and the League and other Lansing area organizations set up creative parklets in the parking lane as part of the League's Convert Capitol Avenue project, a bigger conversation about making Capitol Avenue more people-friendly. Read more.

Ellsworth Launches Campaign to Create Community Square
In 2011, a fire destroyed a downtown building next to the historic village/township hall. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to use that site to create a community gathering center for social, cultural, and civic activities. Read more

Expand Your Convention Experience with FREE Workshops!
Convention attendees who arrive in beautiful Traverse City on the morning of Wed., Sept. 16 can join a special workshop at no extra charge! You can choose from Placemaking Strategies for your Community, Suburban Strategies for Success, or Waves of Waterfront Concepts. Space for these free workshops is limited, so sign up early! Read more

Pop-up Placemaking in Action on Lansing's Capitol Ave.
Please join us July 27-31 for fun activities designed to show how a lively, interactive, people-focus can take shape on Lansing's Capitol Avenue! Parking spaces will become fun parklets, a farmers market will set up shop, and yoga and lawn games will take place on Fitness Friday. More

And the 2015 Community Excellence Awards Finalists are ...
We are pleased to announce the CEA finalists: Flood of Community Benefits Realized for NOCWA Members, Transforming Woodward Together - The Journey to Better Transit, Citizen Interaction Design, and Westland City Hall Big Box Retrofit. Details on CEA website

Convention Speaker Claire Nelson Pumps Up Civic Engagement
Claire Nelson has been a passionate advocate of civic engagement and quality of place in Detroit for the past decade. At Convention, she will share her experiences with her latest endeavor, Urban Consulate, a project designed to foster civic and cultural exchange between cities, starting with Detroit, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. Mor

Adrian Launches Campaign for Hot New Downtown Hangout
Adrian's Croswell Opera House has been an arts and culture center for nearly 150 years. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to turn the building's Heritage Room into an inviting and fun community gathering space. Read more

Potential Negative Impact of Using General Fund Revenue for Roads
We delivered a letter signed by the League and others to all members of the House expressing our serious concerns about cuts to the General Fund. We also gave House Fiscal Agency Director Mitch Bean's report to Legislators, the Governor, and the Capital Press Core. More

MEDC-Backed Crowdfunding Initiative Hits 97% Success Rate
In the first year of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s "Public Spaces, Community Places" crowdfunding initiative, a partnership with the League and crowdfunding platform Patronicity, 33 out of 34 projects from around the state have met their fundraising goals. More.

Contact Your Member of Congress on New E-Fairness Legislation
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has introduced a bill to modernize our nation's outdated sales tax collection process. The League has already sent a letter to our Michigan congressional delegation asking them to support this bill, and we need you to do the same! Read more.

MEDC Offers Redevelopment Ready Communities Program Training
MEDC's Redevelopment Ready Communities Best Practice Training Series provides detailed information, examples, and implementation steps from experts in each of the RRC Best Practices. Sessions are being held at the League's Lansing office. Read more

MAM Summer Workshop Early Bird Deadline is TODAY!
Join your colleagues for the Michigan Association of Mayors' Summer Workshop, a great mix of peer learning, networking, and formal programming in an excellent "living laboratory" for local economic development - Battle Creek. Early bird deadline is TODAY!. Register now.

Register for 2015 Convention in Downtown Traverse City
This year's Convention takes place in downtown Traverse City, home to the beautifully restored State Theatre and the world-famous Traverse City Film Festival. In this energetic city, local leaders will learn strategic lessons on topics of vital importance to municipalities. Details!

Senate Passes Road Funding Plan; $700 Million from General Fund
On July 1, the Michigan Senate approved a road funding plan that could ultimately raise $1.5 billion for roads: roughly $822 million by increasing the gas tax 15 cents and $700 million from unspecified General Fund budget cuts. This plan does not provide a long-term solution. Read more

Charlotte Launches Campaign to Save Community Tennis Courts
Charlotte's much-loved community tennis courts, built in 1940, have fallen into serious disrepair. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to replace the entire existing court surface and do other needed repairs. More

June 2015

Transform Lansing: Great Communities Attract Talent
The Lansing region is in a global competition to rise to the top in the 21st century economy. The region already has much to offer, including MSU, cultural options, affordable housing, great schools, the amazing Lansing River Trail and miles of trails and parks. More.

New Study Shows Walkable Urban Places are Emerging in Michigan
The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Michigan Metros report finds that after decades of disinvestment, a new trend is emerging in Michigan metropolitan areas. Grand Rapids and Detroit-Ann Arbor are leading the way in a shift back toward "WalkUPs," walkable urban places. Read more

Who Tops the List for Best American State for Business?
America's 2015 Top State for Business is Minnesota! Since this rating began in 2007, a high-tax, high-wage, union-friendly state has never made it to the top. But Minnesota is a great place to live, and continues to invest in education and quality of life. It's all about place! Read full report.

E-Fairness Legislation Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives
Last week, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced a new E-Fairness bill that would bring onine sales tax parity to retail transactions and help states generate significant sales tax revenues. The League is hopeful that this legislation will become law soon. Read more.

Governor Signs Budget with $400M in General Fund Spending on Roads
An additional $400 million for roads and bridges will result in an extra $56.7 million for local roads in cities and villages. See the breakdown here. This still does not represent a long-term solution, so the League continues to advocate for a long-term, sustainable answer. Read more.

DEQ Workshops on Lake & Wetland Protection Tools for Local Govt.
This summer, the DEQ will host four workshops in Michigan to help local officials and concerned citizens understand the benefits of inland lakes to communities, the regulations that govern them, and the opportunities for enhancing protection at the local level. Read more.

New Blight Elimination Resource Guides Communities
The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign recently released a comprehensive Blight Elimination Guidebook that gives communities the tools, resources, and process to address blight and vacancy at the local level. It empowers leaders to develop strategic plans. Read more.

Radio Show Focuses on Embracing Redevelopment and Innovation
Michigan's push to be a leader in providing vibrant places to live is propelled by communities embracing redevelopment and innovation. League CEO Dan Gilmartin explores this topic with John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press reporter, and other guests on Prosperity Agenda. More.

Workshops Reveal Small-Town Placemaking Strategies
Participants at placemaking strategy workshops across the state produced project ideas for improving their community's economy and quality of life. They learned the four types of placemaking and applied the concepts to their own communities. Read more.

PlacePlans Taking Shape in Benton Harbor and Farmington
Residents in Benton Harbor and Farmington/Farmington Hills got a chance to review and comment on preliminary design plans for two very different projects: the best use for Dwight Pete Mitchell City Center Park and a pedestrian/bike-friendly 10 Mile/Orchard Lake Road intersection.

Calumet Launches Campaign for Activity and Curling Center
Calumet has been restoring the 1885 "Drill Shop" building for community uses. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to repurpose the entire building and create a year-round activity and curling center. Read more.

Governor Snyder Signs $54.5 Billion Budget that Lacks Road Fix
Gov. Snyder signed a $54.5 billion state budget that includes modest spending increases for education, reduces film tax credits to promote the move industry, and provides no long-term funding plan to fix and maintain Michigan's crumbling roads and bridges. Read more.

Marquette's Third Street Corridor Project Wins Placemaking Award
Marquette has been developing a sustainable plan for its Third Street Corridor to make it more livable and walkable, and strengthen the local economy. Their efforts were recognized recently with an award from the Michigan Congress for the New Urbanism. Read more.

Majority of Cities Want More "Sharing Economy"
Cities have had to quickly shape regulations for the new "sharing economy." A new survey from the National League of Cities found that there's a trend toward wanting to see the "sharing economy" grow, but there are concerns about issues such as public safety. Read more.

Community Excellence Awards Online Voting Now Open!
A wide variety of creative entries for this year's Community Excellence Awards are now online and ready to compete with projects from across the state. Now it's time to get your whole community involved in the online voting process! Voting counts for a full 25 percent of a project's score, so get the word out and get voting! Read more.

House Road Funding Plan that League Opposes Sent to Senate
A 12-bill package transportation plan passed the House on June 10 and was sent to the Senate. The plan would use existing revenue and prioritize future dollars to provide an additional $1.1 billion in funding for roads and bridges. The League opposes this package. Read more.

League Testified Against Amended Preemption Bill Passed by Senate
A modified version of HB 4052, passed by the full Senate on June 11, addresses some of the League's concerns regarding local government's ability to negotiate with vendors, and more. However, we remain opposed to the bill. Read the League's testimony here. Read more.

Engaging Young People to Create Community Places
Young people use public spaces as much as anyone else, but too often they're not included in the process of placemaking. By being actively engaged in youth-friendly spaces, like The Alley Project in Detroit, young people can feel invested in their community. There are many other successful examples from around the world where young people were involved in placemaking. Read more.

Brightmoor Neighborhood Seeks to Develop Creative Maker Space
UM's Stamps School of Design is helping develop the Brightmoor Maker Space, a place for design, creative making, and entrepreneurship. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to repurpose a vacant building and equip it with the essential tools and programming. Read more.

Detroit Neighborhood Launches Campaign for Performance Art Space
A group of collaborators is transforming an old Detroit house into the House Opera | Opera House performance and arts space. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to complete structural work and fund the first SigiFest. More.

City of Grand Rapids Gets Significant Win in Lawsuit
The City of Grand Rapids won a significant lawsuit on June 1 regarding an "open carrying" of a firearm situation. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan ruled in favor of Grand Rapids in a case involving Grand Rapids police officers stopping and detaining a man who was openly carrying a firearm on a city sidewalk. View the city press release and view an article about the case.

Imlay City, Three Rivers Advance in America's Best Communities Contest
Imlay City and Three Rivers are part of groups that will be awarded $50,000 in the first round of the America's Best Communities competition. The League member communities will use the money to develop a strategy to revive the local economy. Imlay City Three Rivers

Detroit Neighborhood Launches Campaign for Community Garden
The community has started a rehabilitation project for the 7 Mile/ Evergreen area. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to complete the last phase of the project with a community garden and playground improvements. More.

League's John LaMacchia Named 2015 Rising Leader
John LaMacchia was selected as a 15 Rising Leaders in '15 by the Michigan Society of Association Executives. John joined the League in 2013 and serves as a legislative associate in our Lansing office, handling transportation, infrastructure and energy issues. Read more.

May 2015

Michigan State Legislature Tees Up Budget Deal
In the conference report on the General Government budget (SB 122), they agreed to maintain statutory revenue sharing payments at current year levels for FY16. Individual budget reports will be combined into one budget bill (SB 133), which may be voted on this week. Read more.

Transit-Oriented Development Bill Gets Hearing in House Committee
A bill introduced by Rep. Andy Schor, HB4422, would allow for transit-oriented development activities in business improvement zones. The bill received a hearing in the House Commerce and Trade committee in late May. The League thanks Rep. Schor for introducing this legislation. Transit is vital to attracting and retaining talented individuals in our communities. Read more.

Petoskey Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Community Trail
Petoskey is building a new high school athletic complex with a multi-use stadium, practice fields, and more. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to add a year-round community trail for students, residents and visitors. More.

State Rep. Andy Schor Defends Communities, Local Control
Rep. Andy Schor gave outstanding testimony against House Bill 4052, which takes away the ability of local governments to enact ordinances that benefit their residents. The League strongly opposes this bill. Rep. Schor explains why the bill is harmful in this 5-minute video.

Prosperity Agenda Focuses on the Growing Benefits of Farmers Markets
Farmers markets provide fresh produce and an economic boost League CEO Dan Gilmartin explores this topic with co-host Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press reporter, and other guests. Prosperity Agenda aired May 27 on WJR, or listen here, or subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast. More.

Michigan Community Stakeholders Learn Strategies to Retrofit Suburbia
At our Suburban Summits, leaders learned about road diets, "stroads," and how cities are turning eyesore properties into vibrant, economy-bolstering gems. One summit was at Westland City Hall - a building recently transformed from an abandoned Circuit City store. Read more.

Royal Oak Launches Campaign to Create a Smart Park Downtown
In the summer of 2014, Royal Oak created an exciting pop-up park on Center Street. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to keep the excitement going by transforming that area into an environmentally-friendly 'smart' park. More.

Speaker Cotter Unveils House Republican Transportation Solutions
The new House Republican transportation plan would generate $1.05 billion for transportation: $700 million from the General Fund; $185 million from Reprioritizing Restricted Funds; $162 million from Tax Fairness. Stay tuned for more details. Read more.

Midland Seeks Community Input to Advance Farmers Market PlacePlan
The Midland Farmers Market has seen an explosion in demand and the existing facility can't keep up. The League worked with Midland to create a PlacePlan, which recommended a community conversation about the role of the farmers market. Talks about a new location for a year-round market and now underway. Read more.

Investment Crowdfunding Gets Doors Open for Local Brewer
Tecumseh Brewing Co. opened in April, thanks to Michigan's 2013 MILE Act, which makes it easier for entrepreners to raise money from smaller investors by exempting this type of deal from complex federal securities laws. It was the first company in the state to use this new tool. More.

House Narrowly Passes Preemption Bill, Harmful to Communities
After debating House Bill 4052, the House passed the bill on a 57-52 vote. Numerous amendments were offered based on concerns raised by the League on how broadly the bill could impact local governments, but each of those amendments were defeated. The bill focuses on preempting all local involvement in any issue related to the “relationship” that a private employer has with their employees. The League will continue to work with the bill sponsor and the Senate committee to address this issue. Please continue to talk with your legislators. Get contact info for your legislators here.

Creating a Purposeful New Life for Old Suburban Sites
Dead malls and empty office buildings are piling up in American suburbs, often due to demographic shifts. Ellen Dunham-Jones, co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia, offers three strategies to revitalize old sites - redevelop, reinhabit, or regreen - and plenty of examples. Read more.

Kalamazoo Seeks to Create Cool Community Place Along River
Arcadia's Kalamazoo Riverfront Brewery came to life on the site of a former power plant. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to add an inviting public space with riverfront garden, canoe/kayak launch, and more. Read more

How Suburban Farmington's Downtown Grew a Heart
Farmington residents and leaders created a heart for their downtown that would encourage residents and visitors to spend time there. Now, a former parking lot has been transformed into Sundquist Pavillion and Riley Park, where many events attract thousands of people. Read more

Sparta Launches Campaign to Complete Youth Sports Complex
More than 1,200 Sparta kids play a variety of sports on a small number of fields, most with safety concerns. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to complete construction of a centralized facility with sports fields, trails, and more. More.

Ferndale's Rust Belt Market Breathes Creative Life into Vacant Storefront
Many suburbs are dealing with vacant commercial sites. In Ferndale, they took a vacant big box store, partnered with the property owner and an artistic couple, and transformed it into Rust Belt Market. The refreshed building now supports local artisans and entrepreneurs. Read more

Cadillac Takes Active Steps Toward Making Their PlacePlan a Reality
Big changes are in store for Cadillac City Park as the city implements the Heritage Plaza PlacePlan. Rotary Pavilion will get Improvements, including amphitheater-style seating, pathway, sound booth, and dressing-storage rooms. Future plans call for a "splash-pad" and more. More

Crowdfunding Seeks to Cool St. Johns with New Spray Park
In 2009, St. Johns had to close its 60-year old Veterans Memorial Pool in Main City Park, a popular site for recreation and special events. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to replace the pool with a spray water park for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy free of charge. Read more

League Fund Announces Loss Control Achievement Awards
Thirty Michigan communities have earned statewide honors from the Michigan Municipal League Workers' Compensation Fund for their outstanding efforts in maintaining safe work environments. They're the best at providing safe places for their employees and citizens. Read more

Campaign to Bring Community-Themed Art to Detroit's Stoepel Park
Grassroots organizations, like the Rosedale Grandmont Little League, have been spearheading efforts to renovate Stoepel Park. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to create and install seven large mosaic art works that reflect the visions and history of the community. Read more.

Get Involved in Michigan's Commuter Challenge this Month!
May is Commuter Challenge Month. Try some transportation alternatives, such as carpooling and vanpooling, public transportation, walking and biking, or flextime and telecommute options. Detroit and Ann Arbor are two cities taking on the challenge. Read more.

Detroit Neighborhood Launches Campaign for "Green" Bus Stop
Bus commuters and walkers have to deal with lots of weeds and no shade at the Gratiot & Conner intersection. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, a neighborhood group plans to transform the intersection into an inviting greenspace, bus stop, and trail connection. More.

PlacePlans: What Have we Learned So Far?
We're learning as we go in the PlacePlans process, updating our practice as we figure out what's working well and what needs more attention in our communities. As a result, many of this year's PlacePlan projects look very different from the initial pilots. Read more

April 2015

New Guidebook Tackles Blight, Vacancy Issues across Michigan
The Michigan Blight Elimination Guidebook was recently unveiled by the Michigan Vacant Property Campaign. It's a free resource for Michigan communities to use to address blight and vacancy issues, available at Read more.

Proposal 1 Offers Michigan's Last, Best Chance to Fix Roads
The fate of Proposal 1 will be decided by voters next week (Tuesday, May 5), and there is one thing guaranteed about the outcome: If it passes, it is the state's last, best chance to fix Michigan's roads with funding guaranteed for transportation. And if it fails? No one can guarantee a solution out of the state Legislature. Read more.

Communities are Enlivening and Adding Heart to their PlacePlans
In Lathrup Village and Monroe, hundreds of people have been offering ideas about enLiVen-ing the site around Lathrup Village City Hall, and creating an experience in an underutilized alley in the Heart of Monroe. PlacePlans are also moving forward in six other cities. Read more.

Detroit's Ponyride Arts Incubator in Commercial and Documentary
Ponyride provides artists and socially conscious entrepreneurs with affordable space to work on their craft in Detroit's Corktown. This creative incubator, detailed in a League case study, is being featured in an American Express commercial and documentary. Read more

Lansing Starts Crowdfunding for Community Soccer Field
Easily-accessible soccer fields have both healing and invigorating effects on communities and on the people who use them. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, Lansing plans to build a free-play soccer field for kids downtown. More.

April's Prosperity Agenda Focuses on Building Better Communities
Are suburbs dying? Where do retirees and millennials want to live? League CEO Dan Gilmartin tackles these topics with co-host Chad Livengood, Detroit News reporter, and guests. Prosperity Agenda aired April 22 on News/Talk 760 WJR. Listen here or subscribe to FREE podcast. More.

Hamtramck Launches Crowdfunding to Beautify Pope Park
Pope Park, in the center of Hamtramck's business district, is underutilized due to repair and aesthetics issues. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to make the park more inviting with landscaping, seating, and more. More.

Enter Now for a Chance to Win a Community Excellence Award!
Entries for the League's all-new Community Excellence Awards are starting to come in. The new CEA process, which will take place primarily online on the new CEA website, is more exciting, with more presentation formats and online voting. Entries are due by June 1. Read more.

Detroit Zoo Seeks Crowdfunding to Make a Greener Zoo a "Dung" Deal
The Detroit Zoo is one of the greatest green community places in southeast Michigan. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to build a biodigester to turn their most abundant product - manure - into compost and biogas. Read more.

Three Oaks Launches Crowdfunding for Arts & Education Center
Three Oaks has wanted a community center for a long time, even including one in its 2030 Strategic Plan. Now, with help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to transform the old Village Hall into a community arts and education center. More.

Coffee and Tap House Crowdfunds for Community Space Renovations
Cultivate Coffee & Tap House in Ypsilanti believes in excellent craft, amazing community, and investing in hunger relief. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to convert an old building into a great community space. More.

Ypsilanti Launches Farmers MarketPlace Crowdfunding
Ypsilanti's downtown farmers market has been thriving in a temporary seasonal location for ten years. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to renovate an old warehouse and bank as a permanent location. Read more

League Event Paints a Picture of the Value of Arts and Culture
Ann Arbor's FoodMoon and FestiFools events, featured in the League's new book, served as a creative backdrop for the League's "Foolish Happy Hour & Panel Discussion." Panelists shared their views on the importance of arts and culture to a community's economic vitality. More.

Substantial Changes Coming to FOIA Effective July 1, 2015
A sample FOIA Summary, Procedures and Guidelines, and Fee Itemization Form are now available on the League's FOIA 2014 Changes One Pager Plus Fact Sheet. We also held a breakout session at Capital Conference, and we're hosting a webinar on May 21. Read more.

Gov. Snyder Explains Proposal 1 Benefits on Prosperity Agenda
Gov. Snyder joined League CEO Dan Gilmartin and other guests to discuss his strong support of Proposal 1. He shares Proposal 1's history and what it means for Michigan. Prosperity Agenda aired March 25, News/Talk 760 WJR, or listen here, or subscribe to a FREE iTunes podcast.

Proposal 1 Covered from Numerous Angles at League Capital Conference
Michigan local officials gathered in Lansing for networking and sessions on everything from Proposal 1 to clean energy. We hope everyone feels well informed on Proposal 1 and how to communicate its benefits to their communities. Download presentations, read blog and view photos

League President: Proposal 1 Best Option to Fix Roads
Families and businesses looking for a new location want good basic public services, starting with roads, says League President Dick Bolen. Proposal 1 may not be perfect, but it's the best solution we have. On March 31, the League held a Safe Roads Symposium, where panelists shared why Proposal 1 is so important to our communities. Vote YES for safe roads on May 5. Read more.

Crowdfunding to Bring Back Tecumseh Movies in the Park
Tecumseh is known for creating memorable family experiences for its residents. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they plan to buy a screen and projector and bring back the popular Movies in the Park. Read more.

March 2015

League Honors Two Officials for Outstanding Service
At Capital Conference, the League honored Bob Clegg, Port Huron city engineer, and Mike Fisher, Livonia assistant city attorney, with the 2015 Outstanding Service Award. The award recognizes those who have gone beyond the call of duty in supporting the League's legislative efforts. More.

League to Host Proposal 1 Safe Roads Symposium March 31
Please join the League for a Safe Roads Symposium on March 31 in Sterling Heights. A panel of experts will break down the details and impacts of Proposal 1, the safe roads ballot initiative up for a vote May 5. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Read more.

Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Fenton Approve Proposal 1 Resolutions
More than a dozen Michigan communities have now approved resolutions in support of Proposal 1. Many communities will be hosting news conferences in support, and about 100 mayors, council members and municipal managers had a conference call with Gov. Snyder. More.

Crowdfunding can Light up the Night in Flint's Buckham Alley
The Buckham Alley Fest, a music and art festival with twinkling overhead lights, has been drawing large crowds to downtown Flint since 2011. Through MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding program,, Friends of the Alley hopes to permanently light the alley. Read more

Capital Conference Mobile Apps Now Available!
Get all the latest news on Capital Conference from your smartphone! Information on the schedule, sessions, speakers, and more can be right at your fingertips. We have download links for Apple, Android, and web/browser versions. Read more.

For Safety's Sake, Vote Yes on Proposal 1
In a March 15 editorial, the Detroit Free Press expresses support for Proposal 1, calling it a compromise among legislators who wanted to fix Michigan roads without being personally responsible for a tax increase. There are more direct ways to raise the $1.3 billion a year we need to restore our roads and bridges, but it's unlikely that legislators will agree on a simpler, more equitable solution. If voters reject Proposal 1, legislators may address the road-funding gap by diverting resources from other necessary public investments with the goal of shrinking state government. Read more.

Marche du Nain Rouge, Featured in New League Book, Adds Contest
Thousands of people will don masks and costumes to march through downtown Detroit on Sunday in a parade steeped in local folklore. The parade offers a chance to explore Detroit and its historical traditions. This year, they've added a float contest with a grand prize of $500. Read more

Lincoln Park Crowdfunding Seeks to Restore Historic Band Shell
The Band Shell at Lincoln Park's Kennedy Memorial Park has been the centerpiece for music and performance art. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding grant, the city plans to update the band shell and make the summer concert series self-sustaining. More

Sprawl, Sprawl, and More Sprawl in American Communities
Do we ever stop to think how sprawl impacts our lives? Housing is separated from shopping, restaurants, and cultural venues, which encourages driving and discourages walking and biking. We need more mixed-use communities that accommodate these needs. Read more

Portland Red Mill Crowdfunding Adds Recreation and Vitality to Downtown
The historic Red Mill has been the site of Portland's popular Farmers Market since 2001. Through MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding program, the city plans to build a pavilion to add space to the market and new opportunities for social and civic events. More.

Do Complete Streets Require Complete Snow Removal?
After last year's heavy snows, an Ann Arbor neighborhood formed a unique nonprofit sidewalk snow removal service. This poses a serious question: if we want walking and biking to be real transportation choices, can we leave sidewalk snow removal to individual property owners? More.

Traverse City Crowdfunding Project Creates Cool Crosswalk Hangouts
"Bumpouts" are Traverse City's unique places to rest and engage with others at downtown crosswalks. With help from the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, the city plans to add more bumpouts for safer, more visually interesting crosswalks. Read more.

Allegan Named America's 4th 'Coolest Small Town of 2015'!
Allegan's lakes, pleasant downtown, historic homes, and friendly people earned it the 4th place spot as one of the "coolest small towns of 2015" in Budget Travel magazine's recent national online poll The magazine defines cool as an "energetic vibe that often combines community spirit with a vibrant arts scene, great food, natural beauty, and unique history. Congratulations, Allegan! Read more.

Michigan Municipal League Actively Supports Voting YES on Proposal 1
Michigan's roads play a vital role in our long-term success, but they are dangerous and a threat to driver safety. The League supports voting YES on Proposal 1 as it's our last, best chance to fix Michigan's roads with funding guaranteed for transportation. We strongly encourage our member communities to support it also. Read more.

Community Excellence Awards Program is All New for 2015!
The redesigned CEA program will take place primarily online on the new CEA website, and focuses on the four categories of our Partnership for Place Agenda. There are more presentation formats, and you can get your whole community involved with online voting! Read more.

League Members Hear from President Obama at NLC Conference
League President Dick Bolen led a Michigan contingent to Washington, D.C. this week to attend the 50th Annual National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference. The group had the opportunity to hear President Barack Obama talk on March 9. Read more.

Substantial Changes Coming to FOIA Effective July 1, 2015
The League has created a new One Pager Plus Fact Sheet summarizing the changes, we are working with an outside expert to provide a sample policy, we have an hour long webinar available for purchase, and we have planned a breakout session during our Capital Conference. More.

The March/April Issue of The Review is Hot off the Presses
In the latest issue of The Review, the League features the advantages and variations of farmers markets in several Michigan communities. Other topics include the May 5 road funding ballot proposal, PlacePlans, urban homesteading, and much more. Read more.

St. Clair Crowdfunding Campaign Aims to Transform Plaza into Park
The city of St. Clair has begun creating a beautiful park and gathering space in the courtyard of St. Clair Plaza. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Spaces crowdfunding initiative, they plan to add amenities like outdoor seating, fireplaces, and public art. Read more.

February 2015

FREE Proposal 1 Webinar Now Available from the League
A League webinar on Proposal 1 is now available for free for League and community members. The webinar focuses on the history of the proposal, what it means for communities, how there's no Plan B for fixing our roads, and the reasons for the League's support. Read more.

Radio Show Explores What Makes People Fall in Love with their Cities
On Prosperity Agenda, we delved into what makes people love their cities and the role of the arts. League CEO Dan Gilmartin was joined by co-host Natalie Burg, freelance writer and editor, and several other guests. Prosperity Agenda aired Feb. 25 on News/Talk 760 WJR, listen here.

Placemaking Workshops Will Result in Strategies Throughout Michigan
The MIplace Partnership is offering free placemaking workshops in locations all over the state. These workshops are designed to help communities improve their quality of life and economic prosperity. Participants can choose from two options, which vary in depth. Read more.

UM Survey Finds Local Leaders Want State-Level Road Funding Increased
A new survey by UM's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy finds that nearly 80 percent of Michigan's local government officials think state-level funding needs to be increased by at least 50 percent to maintain roads. Almost 25 percent rated their roads as poor. Read more.

The League Asks Members to Pass Resolutions in Support of Proposal 1
In January, the League Board pledged support of Proposal 1. Your support is essential in getting the proposal passed. You can help, including passing a resolution, sending a letter to the editor of your local media, or signing up at the official campaign website. Read more

Allegan is in the Running for 'America's Coolest Small Town'
Allegan's lakes, pleasant downtown, historic homes and friendly people have earned it a spot as one of 15 finalists for the title of "America's coolest small town." Allegan is the only town in Michigan to make the list. Cast your vote and help them cross the finish line! Read more

Webinar on Proposal 1 Road Funding Ballot Issue
Proposal 1 heads to Michigan voters on May 5. This Feb. 27 webinar, free to League members, will give you all you need to know about the road funding proposal, what it means for your communities, how you can inform your residents, and why the League supports it. Register today!.

"Missing Middle" Housing Design Competition Offers Big Cash Prize
The League is co-sponsoring an open design competition intended to spur the development of creative, mixed-income, and affordable "Missing Middle" Michigan housing developments in our state's downtowns and along key transit corridors. First prize is $10,000! Read more.

Capital Conference Early Bird Deadline is Today!
The League's exciting Capital Conference is quickly approaching and the early bird deadline is even sooner. Members can save $124 by registering today! Come hear Lt. Governor Brian Calley discuss the upcoming roads ballot proposal, and rev up your knowledge with sessions on everything from Lobbying to FOIA.. Register today!

New Revenue Sharing Report Outlines History, Recommendations
A new report unveiled before a House Appropriations Subcommittee focuses on the history of revenue sharing, declines in the past decade, and suggestions for improvement. The League believes this funding is essential for municipalities and cuts have been very damaging. More.

Milan Crowdfunding Project to Build Pavilion and Sense of Community
Milan's Wilson Park hosts a variety of recreational uses and annual community events. With the help of MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they hope to build a larger, more centrally located pavilion to serve a wider range of uses. Read more.

Grand Rapids Crowdfunding Project Connects Urban Spaces & Public Art
Exciting public art to enhance Grand Rapids' sense of creative place is the goal of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. Through the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they hope to install eye-catching murals around the city. Read more.

Creating a Purposeful New Life for Old Suburban Sites
Dead malls and empty office buildings have been piling up in American suburbs. At MLGMA's Winter Institute, Ellen Dunham-Jones, co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia, presented 3 strategies - redevelop, reinhabit or regreen - and plenty of examples from across the country. Read more

An Aussie Urbanist in America's Heartland
Peter Smith, CEO of the Adelaide, South Australia City Council, is a pioneer in place-led governance and has has attracted worldwide attention for his work. The League brought him to Michigan to meet with community leaders and speak at MLGMA's Winter Institute. Read more

Imlay City Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Renovate Rotary Park
Imlay City plans to turn the outdated Rotary Park into an inviting space for families. With help from the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they hope to add new playground equipment for toddlers, picnic tables, benches, and more. Read more.

League Presenting at Upcoming MSU Institute on Civility
On March 6, MSU is hosting their annual Contemporary Issues Institute on Cultivating a Civil Society in an Era of Incivility. The League's Sarah Craft will be moderating a session on Putting Civility in Place: How Placemaking & Interior Design can Promote Civility. More.

Seven Michigan Communities Selected for 2015 PlacePlans Work
Seven Michigan cities have been chosen to receive technical assistance with key projects to attract and retain residents and employers: Benton Harbor, Boyne City, Lathrup Village, Monroe, Niles, Saginaw, and Traverse City. Check out our Placemaking site for more details. More.

League Issues Statement on Gov. Snyder's FY2016 Budget Proposal
The League is encouraged that statutory revenue sharing remains whole and constitutional revenue sharing continues to increase. However, the League continues to maintain that the state's system of funding Michigan's municipalities is broken. Read more

Crowdfunding Campaign Seeks to Green Up Downtown Pontiac
Creating a new pocket park on Saginaw Street is the goal of the Pontiac Downtown Business Association. With matching funds from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, the group hopes to turn a vacant lot into an attractive gathering space. Read more.

League Board Supports Michigan Road Funding Ballot Proposal
The League Board discussed the state's road funding initiative with Gov. Snyder and issued a support statement for the May 5 ballot proposal. The board believes this proposal is in the best interest of Michigan's communities and the League will be actively supporting it. Read more.

Changes Coming to Community Excellence Award Program
Since 2007, the Community Excellence Award (CEA) has been the League's most prestigious community award. To keep the program fresh and relevant, our Board requested some changes that will make the 2015 CEA program more exciting and inclusive. Stay tuned for details!

Rockford Manager Michael Young Named MLGMA President
Rockford City Manager Michael Young is the new leader of a statewide association representing Michigan's municipal managers. Young's public service work started in 1990, and he has been an active member of MLGMA since then, serving in a variety of capacities. More.

Kathie Grinzinger Receives Patriarche Award from MLGMA
At the recent MLGMA Winter Institute in Novi, former Mt. Pleasant City Manager Kathie Grinzinger received the 2014 Patriarche Colloquium Award. She was honored for her continued service to Michigan communities spanning more than 30 years. Read more.

January 2015

Keep Up to Date with League Freedom of Information Act Webinar
Last year, Public Act 563 made significant changes to FOIA concerning fees; the receipt, processing, and denial of requests; and civil actions and appeals brought under the Act. The League's Feb. 18 FOIA webinar will provide helpful insights on all these important changes. Read more

Radio Show Explores How to Retain and Attract Talent to Michigan
On the latest Prosperity Agenda show, we examined why Michigan is losing recent college graduates and how we can retain and attract them. League CEO Dan Gilmartin was joined by co-host Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press reporter and columnist, and other guests. Prosperity Agenda aired Jan. 28 on News/Talk 760 WJR. Listen here

MDOT to Send Out MI Travel Counts Survey to Michigan Households
Throughout the year, randomly-selected households will be invited to participate in the MI Travel Counts survey, administered by MDOT and SEMCOG. It's important for municipal officials to verify the legitimacy of the survey and encourage participation. Read more.

State of the Union Address: 'Shadow of Crisis' has Passed
President Obama urged Congress to build on the country's economic gains by raising taxes on the nation's wealthiest to pay for reductions for the middle class. He also highlighted Michigan's auto industry as one of the major successes in creating additional jobs. Read more.

State of the State Address: Time for all to Swim in 'River of Opportunity'
Gov. Snyder stressed that Michigan must focus on people, not programs; root causes, not symptoms; maximizing results, not bureaucracy; and involving neighbors, not just the state. Central to his plan is merging the Community Health & Human Services Departments. More.

Why the National War on Infrastructure?
Many countries spend far more on their country's infrastructure than the U.S. - basics like buildings, roads, and power supplies. Our political climate makes a long-term, strategic infrastructure plan nearly impossible to achieve, so the economy suffers and innovation lags. More.

2014/15 Pay and Benefits Survey Data Now Available Online
Thanks to the participation of many of our member communities, this year's statewide pay and benefits data is now accessible in a searchable online database. The survey is still open to communities that haven't yet participated. Access the database here.

Campaign Envisions Arts Incubator along Detroit's Grand River Corridor
Quarter Pop will be an arts incubator to strengthen and ignite creative business in Detroit. With MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they will provide pop-up retail spaces for a quarter of a year to help creatives develop their entrepreneurial skills. More

Ypsilanti Campaign Aims to Restore Historical Freighthouse
Preserving its heritage and creating a community center for recreation, arts, and more is the goal of the Ypsilanti Freighthouse project. Through the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places matching grant crowdfunding program, they hope to raise $50,000. More

Australian Placemaker to Share Ideas at League Placemaking Event
Peter Smith, placemaker and CEO of Adelaide, Australia, and several local guests will headline a fun, low-key, happy hour and panel discussion event at Detroit's Seva restaurant on Jan. 26. The event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP. Read more

Open Data Improves Government Efficiency, Transparency and More
Government accountability and openness is a big concern for many citizens. To help address this issue, open data has been quietly growing in popularity for the past few years. The concept involves sharing public information in a format that's easy for people to access and use. The League has created an Open Data Resources page with helpful open data publications and sample policies. Read more.

League Joins Supporters at Snyder’s Road Funding Bill Signing
The League’s John LaMacchia II was among the dignitaries invited to the official bill signing of the road funding package approved in the Legislature last month. The package is a framework for a comprehensive solution for investing in Michigan's infrastructure. It will be a ballot proposal put before the voters in May. Read more.

Latest Issue of The Review is Hot off the Presses
The newest issue of The Review is now available online and in print. Read about financing capital projects, a League placemaking case study, a review of recreational marijuana ballot initiatives, and a report on the new Shore-to-Shore equestrian trail. Read more.

Michigan Policymakers Need to Consider Needs of Millennials
Michigan's population is aging at a faster rate than many states and we're struggling to retain and attract recent college graduates. Michigan policymakers need to think more about the needs of younger residents, particularly in the area of public transportation. Read more.

Radio Show Focuses on Measuring Your Town's Strength
On December's Prosperity Agenda radio show, League CEO Dan Gilmartin, co-host John Gallagher, veteran Detroit Free Press reporter, and other guests discussed the Strong Towns Strength Test, a great measurement tool to see how your community is doing. Listen here.

Crowdfunding Helps Detroit Garden Theater Project Unite Community
"The Harrowing" is the third Detroit-based project to qualify for a matching grant from the MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding program. "A Host of People" theater troupe plans to perform the experimental art piece in community gardens to unite residents. Read more

Great Places in Grand Rapids' Urban Neghborhboods
Heritage Hill, near downtown Grand Rapids, is one of Michigan's great urban neighborhoods even though it breaks some traditional neighborhood planning rules. Young, educated people flock to this historic high-density residential area with walkable shopping. Read more.

Transportation Solution Relies on Passage of Ballot Proposal

Late in December, the House and Senate put together the framework for a comprehensive long-term solution for investing in Michigan’s infrastructure. Although we would have liked the legislature to solve this problem independently, they approved a ballot proposal that will be put before the voters in May 2015. Read the lame duck recaps on Inside 208, the League’s legislative blog

December 2014

The League Spreads the Word About Crowdfunding on Radio Program
Summer Minnick, the League's director of policy initiatives and federal affairs, appeared on the Michael Patrick Shiels radio show on Dec. 17. She shared some crowdfunding basics and how it can be an innovative financial tool for projects in local communities. Listen here.

We Wish Everyone a Very Happy Holiday Season!
League offices will close for the holidays at 3 pm Dec. 23 and reopen at 8 am Jan. 2, 2015. Our staff will be home enjoying the holidays with friends and family and we hope you will be doing the same. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year! Until then, watch for some fun League flashback photos on Facebook and Twitter.

Big Sale on New League Book Just in Time for the Holidays!
Take advantage of our big sale on the League's new book, "Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities." From now through Dec. 22, the book is available for 50% off. Share the great Michigan placemaking stories with friends and colleagues. Order here.

Crowdfunding: Invest in Tiger Stadium Development for $100
Larson Realty Group has partnered with Fundrise, a real estate crowdfunding platform, to give Detroiters and Tigers fans a chance to invest in the redevelopment of the stadium site for as little as $100. Plans call for retail, residential, and a restored playing field. Read more.

Congress Passes Budget that Does Not Include Marketplace Fairness
The U.S. Congress passed a $1.1 trillion budget bill, which funds most of the federal government through Sept. 30, 2015. Unfortunately, Marketplace Fairness, which would level the playing field for brick and mortar businesses and online retailers, did not get included. Read more.

Year in Review: The Best Placemaking Reports of 2014
Placemaking has been such a buzz word in 2014 - and that's a good thing! Themes, ideas, and policies related to placemaking are now more generally accepted and promoted. The League's Sarah Craft has rounded up her top five favorite reports on the topic. Read more.

Community Benefits Prohibition Bill Dead this Session!
The House didn't pass HB 5977, which would prohibit local governments from creating a "community benefits ordinance." The League vehemently opposes this bill. Listen to the League's Samantha Harkins' take on HB 5977. Thank you to all the legislators who voted no. Read more.

Governor Approves Financial Aid for Spring Flooding, Deep Freeze
Governor Snyder has approved more than $2.7 million in financial aid for communities impacted by last spring's flooding and deep freeze. Eligible local governments affected by these severe weather conditions were allowed to apply for assistance grants of up to $100,000. Read more.

Senate Committee Passes Cell Tower Colocation Bill
A Senate committee reported HB 4237, which would open state police communications towers to colocation for broadband expansion. The League opposes a provision that limits colocation to only private entities for three years. Please contact your Senators. More.

City of Eastpointe is now Redevelopment Ready
Eastpointe recently received MEDC's Redevelopment Ready Communities® certification, a program that helps local municipalities establish a sound basis for development and investment to occur in their communities. MEDC will celebrate in Eastpointe on Dec. 15. Read more

Action Needed on Marketplace Fairness Push in Congress
Marketplace fairness would close the online sales tax loophole, level the playing field for local brick and mortar retailers, and add $23 billion nationally to invest in our communities. Please ask your congressman to support Marketplace Fairness. Read more.

Detroit Bankruptcy Over; Emergency Manager Resigning
Detroit's historic Chapter 9 bankruptcy ended Dec. 10, setting in motion a sweeping plan to slash $7 billion in debt and reinvest $1.4 billion to improve city services. "We've got an outstanding outcome, far better than people's expectation," said Governor Snyder. Read more.

DDA Legislation will not be Taken up this Session
Fortunately, House Bill 5856, a bill to amend the DDA act, wil not be taken up in committee this year. The bill was intended to provide for additional transparency and reporting requirements as well as add in fund accumulation restrictions. The League opposes this bill. Read more

PlacePlan Sets Out to Make Detroit's Vernor Area Pop
For the president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association, transforming a shuttered Detroit Public Works facility along Vernor into a retail center and community gathering space has been a long-time goal. The League's PlacePlan brings that goal much closer to reality. More

Two Michigan Cities Receive Grants to Implement PlacePlans
On Dec. 4, the House passed House Bill 5560, which would phase out the newspaper publication requirement for public notices and transition them to the Internet. It creates a tiered system for legal notices and phases them out over time. Read more.

House Passes Online Notice Legislation
On Dec. 4, the House passed House Bill 5560, which would phase out the newspaper publication requirement for public notices and transition them to the Internet. It creates a tiered system for legal notices and phases them out over time. Read more.

Proposed Rental Inspection Legislation is Problematic
The House Local Government Committee has reported Senate Bill 313, which would drastically change the way municipal rental inspection programs operate. The bill would negatively impact well-run, efficient programs. Please reach out to your legislator and ask for a "no" vote. Read more.

East Lansing Leads Nation in Equality Policies
To attract and retain talent, communities should focus on investing in equality, says a new report from the Human Rights Campaign. In their evaluation of municipal LGBT equality laws in the U.S., East Lansing received a perfect score. Ann Arbor and Detroit also did well. More.

The League Mourns the Passing of Florence Schrader
It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Florence Schrader. She was a passionate League supporter as Region V secretary, vice chair, and chair, and board member of the League and League Foundation. She created gift baskets for the Foundation Silent Auction, which she and her daughter Susan delivered with excitement and pride. We'll all miss her cheery outlook and "can do" attitude!

League Marketing Efforts Honored with International Awards
The League won four MarCom international awards for communication and marketing: Gold for The Review magazine's issue on "Resiliency" and The Prosperity Agenda radio show, Honorable Mention for "The Great Revenue Sharing Heist" article. There were over 6,500 entries. More.

2014 PlacePlans Reflect the Needs of the Local Communities
The League worked with community leaders and residents in eight Michigan cities to design transformative placemaking projects. The result is creative PlacePlans for everything from activating downtown public plazas to improving streetscapes and transportation options. More..

Radio Show Focuses on Community Benefits of Crowdfunding
On the Nov. 26 Prosperity Agenda radio show, League CEO Dan Gilmartin, co-host Marjory Raymer, director of news for MLive media group, and other guests discussed crowdfunding, which essentially takes the tools of Wall Street to the local level. Listen here.

Detroit Theater Company Creates Dramatic Crowdfunding Campaign
Detroit's community gardens will be the site of The Harrowing, a new theater piece by A Host of People. With help from MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, they hope to activate these gardens in a new way and bring them more support. Read more.

UM Students Present Civic-Minded Projects at City of Jackson Exposition
For the past year, University of Michigan students have partnered with the City of Jackson on a variety of civic-minded projects, including an open data policy, living history and a farmers market website. Project updates from the fall semester will be presented to the public at City Hall, 2-4 p.m., Dec. 1. Read more.

November 2014

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday Nov. 29
Small Business Saturday is a special time to support all the local merchants in your city. For every $100 spent at these merchants, $68 returns to the community. Many such small businesses are featured in the League’s new book, “The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities.” Enjoy a drink at the Round Barn or St. Julian wineries in Baroda and Paw Paw, catch a movie at Traverse City’s State Theatre,  indulge in a mouth-watering corned beef on rye at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, and much more. Your support will make your whole community stronger. More.

West Michigan Attracts Talent During Thanksgiving Holiday Season
Many Michigan college graduates leave the state, so HelloWestMichigan channels its efforts into retaining them and attracting new talent. This week's 3rd annual ReThink West Michigan Thanksgiving-eve event is designed to entice former West Michigan residents to return home. Read more

New Issue of The Review Focuses on Small Communities
There are plenty of success stories in small Michigan communities that add up to a pretty big picture of the state's hope for the future. Read the November/December issue of The Review to learn about Preservation Bloomfield, Dowagiac's transformation, and much more. Read more.

Economics of Place: Michigan as a Beacon in Placemaking Movement
The Project for Public Spaces founder contributed to the League's new book, "The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities," and shared his thoughts "... Michigan communities are leading the way in demonstrating the potential impact of placemaking..." More.

Revenue Sharing Recipients: Certifications Due Soon
Please remember that accountability and transparency certifications are due to the Department of Treasury by Dec. 1. Eligible local units must have produced a citizen's guide, performance dashboard, debt service report, and projected budget report. Read more.

Novi Assistant City Manager Profiled by Emerging Local Leaders
Victor Cardenas was featured in a series by Emerging Local Government Leaders that looks at local government through the eyes of assistant city and county managers. Cardenas has an impressive background leading up to his current role as Novi Assistant City Manager. Read more.

Michigan Senate Votes for New Funding for Transportation!
The Senate passed HB 5477, which would phase in a new gas tax that will result in an additional $1.2 billion for transportation funding by 2019. This plan would invest in roads, bridges, public transit,and more. Please contact your House member and ask them to vote yes on HB 5477. More

Allegan Turns PlacePlan Design Concepts into Reality
Redeveloping Allegan's riverfront was the focus of the 2013 PlacePlan developed for the city by the League and our partners. The plan called for improving Veteran's Park, which has been completed, the Second Street Bridge has been revitalized, and other projects are underway. More.

RESCHEDULED Newly Elected Officials Training in Paw Paw
Due to harsh winter weather in the Paw Paw area on Nov. 19, the Newly Elected Officials training session was cancelled and rescheduled for Dec. 3. Registered attendees will automatically be transferred to the new date, or they can change dates or receive a refund. Read more.

State's Fiscal Policies Increase Local Government Economic Challenges
A Chicago Federal Reserve report supports the League’s findings that the state’s fiscal policies have been a major contributor to local government difficulties. We presented this information in The Great Revenue Sharing Heist and continue to advocate for apropriate municipal finance. More.

Transportation Funding Means More than Roads and Bridges
The president of the Michigan Environmental Council strongly encourages the Michigan legislature to pass a transportation funding package. They must seize the opportunity to invest in our complete transportation system, which is necessary for a thriving economy. More.

Michigan House Commitee Passes Online Notice Legislation
The House Local Government Committee has reported HB 5560, which would phase out the newspaper requirement for public notices and transition them to the Internet. It creates a tiered system based on the seriousness of the notice. The bill now goes to the House for approval. More.

Registration Now Open for MLGMA Winter Institute 2015
Join your colleagues for an enlightening MLGMA Winter Institute at Novi's Suburban Collection Showplace, Jan. 27-30, 2015. Sessions will cover everything from creating an environment for redevelopment to effective hiring practices. There's also time for networking. Register today

Newly-Elected Officials Training Available Around the State
The League offers training to help educate first-time elected officials, as well as seasoned officials, on the basic functions that will help them be effective public leaders. Topics include an overview of basic local government, Opening Meetings Act, and more. Register now

Kalamazoo Cooks Up a Special Event for League Book-Signing
The tantalizing sights and aromas of locally-sourced food filled the dining room of Webster's Prime in Kalamazoo as the League promoted our new placemaking book. Webster's support of local food producers earned it a special place in the local food chapter. Read more.

Crowdfunding Can Help Detroit's "The Wig" Skatepark Come Alive
Detroit's Community Push organization is transforming Midtown's Wigle Recreation Center into "The Wig" skatepark, built and designed by the community. MEDC's Public Spaces, Community Places crowdfunding initiative can help make their expansion dreams come true. Read more.

How Farmington's Downtown Area Grew a Heart
Farmington residents set about creating a heart for their downtown that would encourage residents and visitors to spend time there. Now, a former parking lot has been transformed into Sundquist Pavillion and Riley Park, where many events attract thousands of people. Read more

NEIdeas Grants Help Local Companies Grow their Business
Arts and culture are a priority in Ironwood. To continue developing these assets, the city is planning a downtown Art Park with space for public art, art programming, and theatrical/musical performances. They are seeking funding through MEDC's crowdfunding initiative. Read more.

Ironwood Launches New Art Park Crowdfunding Campaign
Arts and culture are a priority in Ironwood. To continue developing these assets, the city is planning a downtown Art Park with space for public art, art programming, and theatrical/musical performances. They are seeking funding through MEDC's crowdfunding initiative. Read more.

Statewide Recycling Event Highlights New Opportunities and Programs
The Michigan Recycling Coalition hosts Fall Into Recycling on Dec. 2. An interactive discussion will help communities learn about new opportunities and programs in recycling in connection with the governor's Recycling Initiative, as well as state and local policy priorities. More.

October 2014

Finding the Future of Places in Buenos Aires, Argentina
At a recent conference on the Future of Places in Buenos Aires, the focus was on streets as public spaces and how they can drive urban prosperity. Professionals from 50 nations discussed public space and placemaking and agreed that it's the human experience that matters. More.

World Cities Day Promotes Interest in Global Urbanization
The UN established Oct. 31, 2014 as the first annual World Cities Day to promote interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeing opportunities and challenges in urbanization, and contribute to sustainable urban development around the world. More.

Baroda Area Featured in League's New Placemaking Book
Baroda was the site for a big celebration on Oct. 23. League CEO Dan Gilmartin commended Baroda for its revitalization efforts that earned it a chapter in the League's new book, "The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities". Read more.

Remember to Exercise Your Right to Vote on November 4
Your vote is your voice. It's your opportunity to be heard and have a say in important issues that affect your community. There are a variety of resouces available to help you learn about the candidates and issues, such as the Michigan Department of State, League of Women Voters and MLive. Let your voice be heard on Nov. 4.

Civic Engagement Offers Communities a Multitude of Benefits
Civic engagement is becoming a topic of conversation at all levels of government. It's good for the community, aids governmental capacity, and leads to better decision-making and policy implementation. Learn best practices in the League's Civic Engagement Guidebook. Read more.

Pop-up Placemaking Sparks Creativity and Engagement
Berkley took advantage of their annual Art Bash to plan an event showing show residents possible uses for an outdated downtown intersection. Along with the art fair, people enjoyed outdoor seating, sculptures, games and yoga, and offered feedback and more ideas. Read more.

Halloween is a Boo-tiful Time for Downtown Placemaking
Crisp Fall air and trees ablaze with color create the perfect setting for a Halloween-themed event to draw people into your downtown. Many Michigan communities have put their creative spin on the holiday. For more ideas, check out the League's new placemaking book. Read more.

Longtime Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte Dies
Richard Notte, mayor of the fourth largest city in Michigan, died Oct. 28. He enjoyed a long and productive career in Sterling Heights government, including 11 terms as mayor and 10 years on city council. In 2011, Notte was honored with the League's Michael A. Guido Leadership and Public Service Award. Read more.

Radio Show Highlights Placemaking Stories in League Book
On the latest Prosperity Agenda, League CEO Dan Gilmartin, Bridge magazine writer Chatity Pratt Dawsey, and other guests discussed placeamaking successes and stories in the League's new book, "The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities," Listen here.

Governor Signs Michigan Investment Market Legislation
As the next step from this year's MILE/ crowdfunding legislation, the governor has signed into law HB 5273, which gives Michigan businesses and residents the ability to become broker-dealers to create a market through which intrastate stocks can be listed, bought and sold. More.

League Wraps Up Successful, Exciting Convention in Marquette
Hundreds of municipal officials filled Marquette last week to explore the city and boost their knowledge on civic issues with presentations from local experts and keynoters. We also applauded Harbor Beach, winner of the 2014 CEA Race for the Cup! Read more.

Adrian Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for new Trailhead Park
The Kiwanis Trail is a great asset to the Adrian comunity.Their aim is to create an inviting park to connect the trail with their historic downtown. The city and Adrian Kiwanis have raised $105,000. This MEDC Public Spaces Community Places campaign can get them over the top. More

Grand Rapids' Avenue for the Arts Kicks Off Crowdfunding Campaign
Avenue for the Arts is a catalyst for economic growth. It connects residents, artists, and businesses with opportunities for creative activity. Their campaign goal, through MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places initiative, is to create a new Heartside headquarters. Read more.

League Insurance Boards Announce 2015 Member Dividends
Many Michigan communities are expected to share nearly $11 million in dividends. For members who renew coverage in 2015, the League Liability & Property Pool board voted to return $2.55 million, and MML Workers' Compensation Fund voted to return $8.4 million. Read more

Jackson's Anchor Initiative Aims to Revitalize Downtown, Attract Talent
Jackson's largest anchor institutions have teamed up to launch the Anchor Initiative, a three-pronged approach designed to transform downtown and attract millennial talent. One aspect of the program is modeled after Detroit's Live Midtown live-where-you-work rent incentive. Read more

New League Book Aims at Focal Point of Great Communities and Sound Economics
When you combine innovative thinking with people passionate about their community, the results can be extraordinary. This power of people and place is illustrated in our new book, "The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities." Get details & ordering information

Former Houghton City Manager to Assist Northern Michgan Communities
The League is pleased to announce that recently retired Houghton City Manager Scott MacInnes has been selected as the League's Northern Field consultant. He will assist Upper Peninsula municipalities and act as a liaison for the League. He has 40 years of city government experience and is excited to share his knowledge. Read more.

Statewide Homeless Awareness Week, Nov. 15-23
Did you know that more than 92,000 people were homeless in Michigan in 2013, and more than half were families with children? Help raise awareness and inspire action by participating in community activities during Michigan's Homeless Awareness Week, Nov. 15-23. Read more.

Convention Starts Next Week - Hear Keynoter on Good "Hacking"
Finding creative ways to empower citizens with technology is the forte of Catherine Bracy, director of community organizing at Code for America. In her keynote presentation, she will highlight good uses of "hacking" in a variety of comunity projects. Get the details and register now.

Proposal 1: Cities Aren't Doing Great, They're Doing Less Terrible
Proposal 1, approved by voters in August, gets rid of a tax on business equipment and provides some security to local government funding. But cities still have huge pension and retiree health care debt, and a shrinking tax base. Proposal 1 doesn't change that. Read more.

September 2014

Projects Succeed in MEDC Matching Grant Crowdfunding Program
The new Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding program is off to a great start. Two projects - Midtown Detroit's Green Alley and Marquette's Skate Park - reached their fundraising goal and got the matching grant from MEDC. Three more projects are active right now. Read more.

Costly PA 54 Exemption on its Way to the Governor
Unfortunately, House Bill 5097 passed both houses on Oct. 2. This bill will exempt police and fire from PA 54 so they can receive retroactive pay increases after a contract expires. There is also confusing retroactive health care language which may cause problems during negotiations. The League strongly opposed this bill due to the detrimental financial implications for our communities. Read more.

State Policy Helps Undermine Local Governments
The state's decision to end film credits that Allen Park relied on to build a film studio contributed to the city's emergency management situation. But the state's role in shaking the financial confidence of local governments through inconsistent policymaking is unaltered. Read more..

Convention Keynote Speaker Brings Creative Zeal to Placemaking
Creativity flows through Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America, a keynote speaker at this year's League Convention. His organization seeks to advance creative placemaking through grants for community arts and culture projects. Get the details and register now.

NLC Applications Now Open for Committee & Leadership Positions
If you are a member city of NLC and interested in getting more involved in the organization, now is the time to submit an application for a committee or leadership position. Applications are due Oct. 3 for Chairs and Vice Chairs, and Nov. 24 for committee membership. Read more

Contact your State Legislators on Proposed Changes to TIF/DDA

On Sept. 24, the League and many members testified at the House Commerce committee on HB 5856 dealing with DDA transparency and spending. The bill does not contain opt-outs or resetting of baselines, both of which are problematic. Please contact your legislators. Read more

Detroit's North Rosedale Park Revs up Community Pride with Crowdfunding
The Community House in Detroit's North Rosedale Park has hosted everything from pancake breakfasts to Girl Scout meetings. To reinvigorate the building, the North Rosedale Park Civic Association has launched a campaign through MEDC's crowdfunding initiative. Read more.

Prosperity Agenda Unveils New League Placemaking Book
On the latest Prosperity Agenda, the League proudly announced our new book, "The Economics of Place: The Art of Building Great Communities." League CEO Dan Gilmartin, co-host John Notarianni of Issue Media Group, and other guests discussed the book. Listen here

Kal-Haven Trail Project Strives for MEDC Crowdfunding Match
Bloomingdale's Kal-Haven Trail Pavilion is the newest project in MEDC's Public Spaces, Community Places crowdfunding initiative. The village has already secured a great site in Mitchell Park and has 70% of the funds. With a little help, they can get the pavilion built for trail users. More

Convention Mobile Workshops Offer Opportunities to Explore Marquette
Discover new aspects of Marquette on an exciting mobile workhop. Explore waterfront development or the economic potential of recreational trails. Tour a microbrewery and hear about crowdfunding. Get inspired by the PlacePlan for Marquette's main street. Get the details and register now

The League Adds Diamonds and Gold to its Awards Collection
The League was recently honored with three awards from the Michigan Society of Association Executives. The Review magazine and our crowdfunding efforts earned Diamond Awards, and our Great Revenue Sharing Heist campaign won Gold. Good work, team! Read more.

Lansing Art Center Chosen for MEDC Crowdfunding Initiative
Reach Studio Art Center has been selected for the Public Spaces, Community Places crowdfunding initiative, a partnership with MEDC, the League and Patronicity. Reach, an art education group that mentors at-risk children, will use funds for a youth art gallery and a courtyard. Read more.

Farmers Markets Helping Revitalize Michigan Communities
Farmers markets have sprouted up all over Michigan. They provide fresh, local food and a connection to the farmers who grow it. Markets can also revitalize a community, give an economic boost to existing businesses, and inspire new merchants to open. Read more.

Get a Jump Start with League Pre-Convention Workshops
Enhance your community know-how before Convention. Learn about changes in liquor sales regulation, developing a smooth-running council, avoiding illegal municipal expenditures, or join a tour of Presque Isle Park. Get the details and register by Sept. 19 to get the early bird rate.

Bicycle Club Adds Fun to Healthy Living and Community Exploration
Every week, the youth of Flint's Berston Bicycle Club Project get off the couch and head out on a tour of their community on donated bikes. Angela Stamps started the club because too many kids were stuck inside playing video games and suffering health consequences. Read more.

DIA Offers Communities a Chance to Display World-Famous Art
For the past 5 years, the Detroit Institute of Arts' Inside/Out program has been bringing high-quality art reproductions to town squares and other public spaces. They're looking for Southeast Michigan communities for the 2015 program. Applications are due by Oct. 31. Read more.

MEDC Announces the First Redevelopment Ready Communities
Allegan and Roseville are the first communities in the state to receive Redevelopment Ready Communities® certification from the MEDC. As a 2013 PlacePlan community, Allegan has also been proactive in redesigning its downtown riverfront. Read more.

Grant Applications Available for Financially-Distressed Communities
The State's Fiscal Year 2015 budget includes grants for communities that are currently experiencing at least one condition of "probable financial distress." Applications for a grant from the $8 million appropriation must be submitted by Oct. 31. Read more.

Tell Senators: Support Marketplace & Internet Tax Fairness Act
Please contact U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow TODAY to urge their support of the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act. At stake is more than half a billion dollars, which could have a significant impact on state revenue sharing to Michigan communities. Read more

August 2014

Grand Rapids Launches First Rapid Bus Transit in Michigan
Grand Rapids' Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit kicked off its new $40 million system. It offers an efficient transportation alternative that cuts a typical 45-minute commute down to 27 minutes and is expected to lead to a new wave of economic development. Read more.

League Radio Show Offers Sneak- Peek at 2014 Convention
Get a Convention preview on our Prosperity Agenda radio show. League CEO Dan Gilmartin was joined by Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America and Convention keynote speaker, and other guests to discuss the role of arts and culture in economic development. Listen.

Pour on League Foundation Support at Convention Tavern Tour
How can you have fun and support the work of the Michigan Municipal League Foundation? Come to Convention, experience downtown Marquette by way of a Tavern Tour fundraiser, and get a chance to win prizes at each stop. The Foundation develops local government leadership via training, research and public awareness. Get the details and register by Sept. 19 for the early bird rate.

Madison Heights Flood Campaign Sparks More Crowdfunding Ideas
Recent torrential rains wreaked havoc on Madison Heights, leaving $28.4 million in damages. To help elderly and disabled residents with flood-related costs, the city launched a crowdfunding campaign. How else could crowdfunding help or improve your community? Read more.

Renowned Urban Thinker Enrique Peñalosa on Transportation Equity
Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, made dramatic changes to his city by making pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit an important part of the whole transportation picture. He thinks Detroit is in a good position to make some of the same changes. Read more.

Your Vote Counts in the 2014 CEA Race for the Cup
At Capital Conference, each region wowed us with unique presentations on everything from historic fire hall renovations to creative uses for abandoned bicycles. Now it's your turn to select the 2014 Community Excellence Award winner at Convention. Get the details and register now

How the Arts Inspire Change in Detroit Neighborhoods
Detroit arts are an active part of civic life, connecting people and places across the city. Write A House, which renovates homes and gives them to talented writers, and Scarab Club, which uses art to heal racial and class divisions, are just two inspiring examples.Read more.

Two New Ann Arbor Restaurants Bubble-up From Mark's Carts
Opening a restaurant is risky, but starting with a food truck at Mark's Carts de facto business incubator program gives budding entrepreneurs a chance to test out their concept on a smaller scale. Two businesses that started as carts have now graduated to brick-and-mortar cafes. More.

SEEDS Program Promotes Green Education in Northern Michigan
As another school year begins, Traverse City's nonprofit SEEDS program aims to boost young people's knowledge of the environment. After-school programs get kids outside for hands-on projects, and teens can earn school credit while learning green-collar job skills. More.

Marquette Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Awesome Skatepark
Over the last 8 years, Marquette residents and officials created an awesome skatepark. To make it even better with landscaping, benches and skate-able art, they launched a crowdfunding campaign through MEDC's public spaces matching grant initiative. Read more.

Convention Breakout Sessions Give Voice to Communities of All Sizes
This year's Convention sports an array of breakout sessions that should put a smile on the faces of all attendees. If you're from a rural community longing to be heard in legislative decisions or a larger city desiring to revamp your planning-zoning system to accommodate placemaking, we have something for all. You'll come away with ideas you can apply in your community. Get the details and register now.

Artists Create Long-Term Community Vision for Detroit/Hamtramck Border
In 2008, two Detroit artists set in motion a creative placemaking plan for their multcultural Banglatown neighborhood. It's now a growing creative community where familes upgrade their houses and gardens, children ride bikes, and a Porous Borders Festival is planned. More.

Bicycling Contributes an Enormous Economic Gain to Michigan
Cyclists are adding about $668 million in annual economic benefits for Michigan, according to a new Michigan Department of Transportation study, which shows that bicylcles are used for recreation, and 39 percent of households also used them for transportation. Read more

Top National Prize Goes to League's Partnership for Place Video
The League's Partnership for Place video won top honors in the national 2014 Videographer Awards competition. Partnership for Place is a proactive policy agenda that proposes action in partnership between the state and its municipalities. Read more.

People Speak Up on What They Love about Living in Cities
As more people choose city life over suburbia, designers need to know what makes city neighborhoods desirable. A survey of 1,000 city-dwellers discovered that placemaking assets like access to cultural amenities, recreation and easy transportation ranked high. Read more

Summit Brings Together Civic Tech Leaders from across the U.S.
Code for America - workplace home of League Convention keynote speaker Catherine Bracy - is gathering local government innovators, civic-minded technologists, and more for a roll-up-your-sleeves event. League member 50% discount with code MML. More.

Economic Upturn in Michigan Main Street Downtowns
Attractive buildings, popular stores, and fun community events now fill the downtowns of communities across the state due to the Michigan Main Street Program. Results include over $200 million invested in Main Streets, 250 new businesses and a $3 million increase in local taxes. More.

Convention Workshop: Designing a New Life for an Old Main Street

Many cities have main streets in need of rejuvenation. Join the "Reimagining Marquette's Historic Downtown Main Street" workshop to hear about the League's PlacePlan designed to breathe new life into the city's once-flourishing Baraga Avenue. Get the details and register now

New App Offers Tours of Public Art All Over Michigan
Arts and culture are key elements of vibrant 21st century communities. A new iTunes app brings the art of Michigan communities into sharp focus with amazing public art tours, from Detroit's fountains to Traverse City's outdoor sculptures. Get your community's art on a tour. Read more.

Volunteers Restore Sense of Place to Detroit's Cody High Neighborhood
For a 6-day blitz this week, Chris Lambert and his Life Remodeled nonprofit have mobilized 15,000 volunteers to transform Cody High School, two other schools and many homes in the surrounding neighborhood. GM and Quicken Loans are also committed to the project. More.

Kalamazoo Community Designs New Front Door to Health District
The redesign of Kalamazoo's Portage Street advanced with recent PlacePlans workshops. Many people offered their ideas on improving the street's appearance and connection to new developments, such as Kalamazoo Valley Community College's new Healthy Living Campus. More.

Abundant Activity Flows in and around Shiawassee River
Kayak races and moonlight paddle events are part of the increased recreational activity on the Shiawassee River. Join our Sept. 4 webinar to learn how civic groups and local governments came together to spur recreation and economic development along the waterway. Register now.

Voters Approve Proposal 1 - Huge Victory for Michigan Communities!
The League worked hard to encourage the development and passage of Proposal 1 to benefit the communities we serve. We want to thank our members who publicly supported Proposal 1. Those efforts resulted in YES votes tallying approximately 69%. Read more.

City and Village Voters Support Their Communities at the Ballot Box
Aug. 5 election results showed that Michiganders will overwhelmingly support tax increases for services they value, such as roads, police, and public transit. But these results also show that the state's system for funding municipalities is broken. Read more.

League Convention Keynote Speaker is a Fan of "Hacking"
Discovering creative ways to empower citizens with technology is the forte of Catherine Bracy, director of community organizing at Code for America. In her keynote presentation, "Why Good Hackers Make Good Citizens," Bracy will highllight good civic "hacking." Get the details and register now.

First Project in Public Spaces Initiative Scores a Fundraising Win
Midtown Detroit's Green Alley Project exceeded its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 as part of Public Spaces Community Places, a crowdfunding initiative created by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation along with the League and Patronicity. Get your community on board. More.

Big Ideas: How Do You Fix a City in the 21st Century?
Cities all over the world face big urban challenges that need big solutions. How do you kick-start change? With a grassroots movement, strong leadership, bold vision and risk-taking - the same process promoted in the League's placemaking initiative. Read more.

Soccer League Encourages Players to Explore New Neighborhoods
Now that the excitement of the World Cup in Brazil has died down, you might try your own recreational soccer skills with Detroit City Futbol League. It brings communities together in a fun and unique way and gives players a chance to explore new neighborhoods in the process. Read more.

July 2014

Strategies to Design and Invest in Michigan's Small Towns
Eight Michigan communities are part of the League's PlacePlans this year, gaining technical assistance to create unique, vibrant downtown areas through a strategic planning process. Marquette is already heading toward the finish line for their new Baraga Avenue design. Read more

Convention Workshop Fills You up with Crowdfunding Know-How
Join the Crowdfunding mobile workshop, sample unique beer blends, hear about Tecumseh Brewing Co.'s, successful crowdfunding campaign, and learn how the state's new crowdfunding law can be used as a powerful economic development tool in your own community.

SEED Economic Gardening Program Develops more than Photos
Imlay City's award-winning Small Business Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Group - or SEED - will be highlighted in an Aug. 21 League webinar. Studio E Photography, pictured here, has benefited from SEED's efforts. Learn the secrets to the city's success. Register now

Tour de Troit Moves Cycling and Green Infrastructure Forward
Last year, over 6,000 cyclists pedaled along Detroit streets in the state's largest annual cycling event. The tour gets people to explore the city by bike, promotes non-motorized transportation, and publicizes the growing greenways network in Detroit and southeastern Michigan. More.

Prosperity Agenda Show Focuses on Michigan's Immigrant-Friendly Efforts
Dan Gilmartin, League executive director and CEO, co-host Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain's Detroit Business, and several other guests discuss Michigan's efforts to become one of the nation's most immigrant-friendly states. The show aired July 23 on News/Talk 760 WJR. Listen here

NLC Workshop Shines a Light on State Leagues and its Host City
The "weird" city of Portland, Oregon was the site of this year's National League of Cities State League Staff Workshop. Along with enjoying the city's unique character, two League staffers had a chance to network, learn, and present MML's work on supporting distressed communities. Read two perspectives: Sarah and Lisa.

Vendors: Reach your Target Market at 2014 League Convention
Local government officials from across the state will converge on Marquette for the League's 2014 Convention. The League offers a variety of options to market your organization to this group, including advertising in the program and sponsoring sessions. Get the details and register now.

Applications Now Available for Public Space Crowdfunding Projects
Patronicity, a League partner in MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, is seeking applications for new projects. The crowdfunding site helps raise funds for a great new public space, which MEDC will match. Get the details and apply.

Creative Placemaking Closes the Gap in Detroit's Vernor Square
The League's Southwest Detroit PlacePlan took an important step with a community-based design workshop. Residents and experts offered ideas to invigorate the "gap" that divides Vernor's commercial district. Ideas include artistic streetscapes and an indoor/outdoor market. More.

Berkley Experiments with making Place in Downtown
To create a sense of place in their downtown, Berkley - with help from the League - used their annual Art Bash to test the waters. A main intersection was filled with local art, games and patio furniture, and residents shared ideas on how to use the space in the future. More

Crowdfunding Capitalizes New Downtown Tecumseh Business
Tecumseh Brewing Co.tapped into the opportunity available through Michigan's new investment crowdfunding law to launch its start-up business.They met their funding goal in half the time anticipated, becoming the first company in Michigan successfully funded through crowdfunding. More

Convention Keynote Speaker Brings Creative Zeal to Placemaking
Creativity flows through the veins of Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America, who will serve as the keynote speaker for the League's 2014 Convention. Throughout his career, he has immersed himself in the creative arts in a variety of capacities. In his current position, Bennett, with the support of many foundations, seeks to advance creative placemaking through grants for community arts and culture projects. ArtPlace values the central role that art and culture play in shaping communities' social, physical, and economic futures. Get the details and register now.

Applications Now Available for Public Space Crowdfunding Projects
Patronicity, a League partner in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Public Spaces Community Places crowdfunding initiative, is now seeking applications for new projects. The crowdfunding site can help you raise donations to create a great new public space in your community. And MEDC will match the funds raised dollar for dollar. Get the program details and apply now.

Community Workshop Reimagines Detroit's Vernor Square
This week, community members joined the Southwest Detroit Business Association - a recipient of the League's PlacePlans technical assistance - to help with the design process for Vernor Square. Feedback was solicited on preliminary ideas, which call for a mixed-use community center with a public plaza to serve as a focal point for this culturally rich and diverse community. Read more.

Pre-Convention Workshops Give you the Leading Edge
Special opportunities to enhance your community know-how will be available on the morning of October 15. Experts will offer insights on council efficiency and illegal expenditures. Outdoor enthusiasts can join the group on a color walking tour through Marquette's Presque Isle Park. Get the details and register now.

New Issue of The Review Focuses on Michigan's Blue Economy
Read about Michigan communities making waves in the Blue Economy - emerging technologies, research, and economic development based on innovative uses of freshwater resources. Also, learn about the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative, get a 2014 Convention preview, and more

League Partners with MEDC and Patronicity to Support Crowdfunding Projects
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has announced a groundbreaking crowdfunding and matching grant initiative to help drive public space projects in Michigan communities. The League is one of the partners in this exciting opportunity that will help Michigan communities take on, fund, and complete projects they previously could only dream about. Read more.

June 2014
Prosperity Agenda Show Centers on Age-Friendly Communities

League CEO Dan Gilmartin leads a lively discussion on accommodating the community needs of retiring baby boomers. Several guests, including writer Natalie Burg, offer insights on making adaptations for the aging population. The show aired June 25 on News/Talk 760 WJR. Listen here.

NEW League Crowdfunding Site Encourages Michigan Residents to Invest Locally
Crowdfunding is a game-changing economic development tool to help support local businesses. The League's new website,, has training information and serves as a gateway for Michigan investors and businesses to learn more through two crowdfunding companies, Localstake and Fundrise. Read more.

Nominations Due Today for Superb Local Officials & League Supporters
Do you know an outstanding chief elected official or exemplary League member? Nominate them for the Michael A. Guido Leadership and Public Service Award or the Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award. All nominations are due July 1. Read more

Detroit and other Michigan Communities are more Walkable
Detroit is #8 on a recent report ranking the country's largest metro areas on their future for growth in walkable urban development. High-profile projects in the city's Downtown and Midtown areas were cited, along with smaller "town centers" like W. Dearborn, Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor. More.

EVIP Eliminated in Final Michigan Revenue Sharing Budget for 2014-15
Thanks to the efforts of Senator John Pappageorge and communities that contacted their legislators, a new budget report terminates EVIP requirements and includes an additional $7.2 million in revenue sharing for cities, villages, and townships. More.

Michigan Senate Fails to Pass Road Funding Package
The Senate failed to agree on a funding source to fix Michigan's crumbling roads and transportation infrastructure. They will reconvene July 16. In the meantime, the League thanks our members who contacted their legislators and we will be relentless in pursuing additional funding. Read more.

Legislature Must Act to Improve Michigan's TransportationSystem
League CEO Dan Gilmartin stresses that transportation infrastructure is one of the most important things that government can do to spur economic growth, yet Michigan ranks last in per capita road expenditures. The legislature must act soon to find appropriate funding. Read more.

Public Art Project Energizes Downtown St. Joseph, Michigan
Tourists, visitors and potential residents now flock to St. Joseph's quaint Victorian downtown every summer to enjoy a unique array of sculptures created by local artists. The popular displays have increased business and turned the community into a desirable tourist destination. More.

Write Letters to Your Local Newspapers to Support Proposal 1
Proposal 1 on the Aug. 5 ballot completes Personal Property Tax (PPT) reform and provides a more stable revenue source for communities without raising taxes. Please support it by writing letters to the editor, passing a resolution, and signing up for email alerts. More.

Act Now: Contact Your State Representatives to Oppose SB 850
The Senate has passed SB 850, which exempts police and fire from PA 54 so they can have retroactive pay increases after a contract expires. This detrimental bill now goes to the House. Send an email to your representatives today using the League's Action Center. Read more.

Contact State Lawmakers TODAY Telling Them to Pass Transportation Funding Increase
Please contact your state legislators TODAY encouraging their support of the transportation funding increase being debated TODAY in Lansing. This would be the first significant transportation funding increase since 1997 and a huge step toward fixing the state's crumbling roads, bridges and transportation infrastructure. It is imperative that the Senate and House vote on this issue before taking their summer break TODAY (June 12). Please contact your lawmakers RIGHT NOW. Look up their contact info here, or email them our sample letter.

Nominations Open for Exceptional Local Officials & League Supporters
Does your community have an outstanding chief elected official? Nominate them for the Michael A. Guido Leadership and Public Service Award. Would you like to recognize a person who has provided exemplary service to the League? Nominate them for a Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award. All nominations are due July 1. Read more

Revolve Detroit Wins a 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Crain's Detroit Business has selected Revolve Detroit, a League case study, as one of the winners in this year's Salute to Entrepreneurs. The awards recognize entrepreneurs who are noteworthy for their innovation, problem-solving ability or sheer relentlessness. Read more.

Interactive Class Equips HR Professionals to Deal with Challenges
Learn effective ways to deal with some of the challenges faced by human resources professionals on a daily basis. Labor and Employment attorneys from Plunket Cooney will cover topics such as discrimination, wage and hourly issues, and harassment. Register now.

League Supports Efforts to Allow Cities to Tax Based on Land Values
A Next City article asks why more cities don't base taxes on land value, instead of on the property's buildings? This aligns with the League's Partnership for Place Agenda's call to allow Michigan municipalities to use land value taxation. Michigan House Bills 5495 and 5496 also support this concept. Read more.

Prosperity Agenda Show Joins the Conversation at National Main Streets
Detroit was the location and focus of the recent National Main Streets Conference. The League's Prosperity Agenda show taped on-site and engaged David Zeman, editor of Bridge Magazine, and other Conference guests in a discussion on positive happenings in Detroit. Listen here

NEW Explore More Mobile Workshops Inspire Creative Placemaking
Many Michigan communities have gone from dull to dazzling with imaginative placemaking projects. Now you can jump on board the League's first Explore More Mobile Workshop in Detroit to get an up-close view of some of these creative projects, like the Dequindre Cut Greenway, an inviting recreational path that connects the Riverfront with Eastern Market.. Read more

Mobile App Data Drives Placemaking Efforts Forward
Apps that help fitness afficionados keep track of their walking, jogging and cycling miles are finding a new use. Urban planners are tapping into this data souce to support placemaking efforts that relate to a community's walkability and transportation options. Read more.

May 2014

Webinar Presents Challenges of Cable TV System Changes
Comcast and Time-Warner plan to turn over control of their cable TV systems to Charter Communications. Learn from experienced attorneys what the imact of this plan will be on Michigan communities and what steps local governments can take to protect their residents. Register now.

Changes to Road Funding Bills Would Increase Revenue
Crumbling roads are everywhere in Michigan.To address much-need improvements to our transportation system, the Senate has adopted changes to current bills that would gradually increase the new percentage tax on gasoline over four years. Read more.

Enlivened Downtown Farmington is the Life of the Party
Concerts, art fairs, dances and a multitude of community events fill downtown Farmington's new park and pavilion year-round. This creative placemaking project transformed a parking lot into an inviting gathering space for the entire community. Read more.

U.P. Education Summit Offers Thought-Provoking Sessions
Join your fellow U.P. city and village officials for two days of networking and stimulating sessions, June 12-13. Share experiences and ideas and boost your knowledge on topics important to your community, including crowdfunding, municipal finance, legislation and more. Register now.

Sign-up to Support Personal Property Tax Reform Ballot Question
The League is encouraging its members to join us in supporting the Aug. 5 ballot proposal that, if approved, would complete much-needed reform to the state's personal property tax. Please support the campaign and review the League's proposed resolution.

Bike-Sharing Programs Roll into Michigan Communities
Cities across the country have been discovering the benefits of adding a bike-sharing program to their transportation plans - less traffic congestion, more economic activity, and better health. Several Michigan cities have now joined the movement. Read more.

Economic Opportunity: Keep the Conversation Going
The recent Meeting of the Minds/Living Cities group blogging event was a jumping- off point for an extended discussion on economic opportunity. Focusing on developing some of the League's eight assets, such as education, entrepreneurship and transportation, will keep cities moving in the right direction. Read more.

The League Joins a Global Dialogue on Economic Opportunity in Cities
Meeting of the Minds and Living Cities organized a unique group blogging event to answer the question "How could cities better connect all their residents to economic opportunity?" The League offered responses on the Economics of Place blog and the Placemaking blog.

Show Off Your Community's Retail at ICSC Michigan Idea Exchange
In his bright yellow safety vest, Dan Burden, co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, spent many days conducting walking audits in Michigan and around the country. On May 13, the White House honored him for his efforts to improve street design. Read more

White House Honors Pioneer of the Walkability Movement
In his bright yellow safety vest, Dan Burden, co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, spent many days conducting walking audits in Michigan and around the country. On May 13, the White House honored him for his efforts to improve street design. Read more

League Honors Communities that Make Safety a Priority
Twenty-nine Michigan communities earned accolades for their commitment to providing a safe working environment for their staffs and residents. Congratulations to the winners of the League Workers' Compensation Fund annual Loss Control Achievement Awards. Read more

UM Students and City Leaders Foster Citizen Engagement in Jackson
Students in UM's new Citizen Interaction Design course have been putting their knowledge into practice in Jackson this semester. Working with Jackson government officials, teams have been creating information tools designed to encourage citizen interaction with government. Read more.

Live-Where-You-Work Program Brings Vitality to Neighborhood
Families and young professionals fill homes and apartments all over Detroit's Midtown community, thanks to a housing incentive program. A community development nonprofit and major employers partnered to make this program a reality. Read more.

Innovation and Passion Thrive in Low-Rent Warehouse Space
A whimsical name - Ponyride - reflects this project's dedication to providing a fun place where people can pursue their passion and not worry about rent. These entrepreneurs are finding success making everything from furniture to jewelry. Read more.

April 2014
New Crowdfunding Webinar Examines Local Investment Potential of New Michigan Law
Crowdfunding is a game-changing economic development opportunity now available to support and grow local businesses. In this webinar, you'll learn about Michigan's new crowdfunding law and the League's efforts to help communities benefit from this powerful new tool. More.

League's Prosperity Agenda Show Focused on Community Investment
On WJR radio, Dan Gilmartin, League executive director and CEO, led a lively discussion of revenue sharing and community investment with Ferndale mayor Dave Coulter and other guests. They offered insights on positive placemaking projects in Michigan. Listen here.

CRC Study Shows System of Funding Local Governments is Broken
A new report from the Citizens Research Council shows that state tax revenues increased by $1.2 billion from 2009 to 2012, while local tax revenues declined by $1.1 billion in the same period, further proof that the state has balanced its budget at the expense of communities. More.

Artistic Recycling Center Becomes the Social Hub of a Neighborhood
Recycling has become a fun activity in one Detroit neighborhood. Residents look forward to drop-off days, when they can chat with friends, admire the building's colorful murals created by local artists, and enjoy live music - all while keeping their environment "green." . Read more.

League Crowdfunding Portal Offers One-Stop Shop for all Michiganders to Invest Locally
Crowdfunding is a game-changing economic development tool now available to support and grow local businesses. Soon the League will be launching a new crowdfunding website designed to educate people on crowdfunding and present local investment opportunities. Read more.

Personal Property Tax Webinar Recording Available
For anyone who missed our recent webinar on personal property tax reform, the webinar is now available for sale. Read more.

Outdoor Art Gallery Sparks Creative Expression and Community Pride
Colorful street art comes to life in The Alley Project in Southwest Detroit. In the project's studio and gallery, professional artists, teens and neighbors have created an inviting artistic and social hub. Read more. .

Community Turns Old Railway into New, Creative Pathway
Enjoy.spring by grabbing a bike and heading to Detroit's Dequindre Cut Greenway. This artistic path, which links the Riverfront and Eastern Market, is one clever example of how communities can come together to create a sense of place.

A Foolish Celebration Brings Art to the Streets
Majestic puppets.created by art students and community members marched along Ann Arbor's Main Street for the 8th annual Festifools. This colorful parade is a unique use of Cultural Economic Development. Read more.

New Video Illustrates Goals of Partnership for Place
Thriving communities and a strong Michigan economy are the goals of Partnership for Place, the League's proactive policy agenda, which proposes a commitment to create communities that attract today's talent. Check out our new video that illustrates some of Michigan's challenges and what we need to do to move forward!

Detroit News, Free Press Editors Side with Cities on Revenue Sharing
It’s not too often when the opinion page editors of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press agree, but that’s exactly what happens in this conversation about the Michigan Municipal League’s report on how the state has diverted $6.2 billion in revenue sharing from Michigan’s communities since 2003. Watch the video from “MiWeek.”

MiBiz Focuses on League/Localstake Crowdfunding Partnership
The top story in is currently about the League’s efforts to drive community development through crowdfunding. It includes comments from Summer Minnick and Localstake co-founder Kevin Hitchen. Check it out

Michigan House Speaker Unveils New Transportation Funding Plan
A new plan announced by House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, would increase Michigan's annual investment in its roadways by at least $500 million annually. Read more from the League's John LaMacchia II.

Personal Property Tax Ballot Campaign Kicks Off
This week the campaign to pass the August 5, 2014 ballot proposal, the last step in personal property tax (PPT) reform, kicked off with a series of press conferences. Read more.

Personal Property Tax Bills Signed into Law by Governor Snyder

On Friday (March 28, 2014) the Governor Rick Snyder signed a 10-bill package that reforms the personal property tax (PPT). Check out the official Gov. Snyder press release that includes a quote from our League President.

March 2014

Multiple Media Outlets Tell State's Revenue Sharing Heist Story
Media from all parts of Michigan have reported on the Michigan Municipal League’s revenue sharing study that showed the state has diverted $6.2 billion from local communities in the last decade. Go here to get links to the many articles done about the study.

EVIP, Revenue Sharing were Hot Topics at 2014 Capital Conference
League members heard the latest efforts to get additional revenue sharing for communities and to fix or scrap the troublesome EVIP program

Seven Michigan Communities to Compete for Statewide League Community Excellence Award
Congrats to our seven regional winners in the Michigan Municipal League's Community Excellence Award Competition! Good luck in Marquette in October! Region 1: Fenton; Region 2: a joint project by Lansing, East Lansing and the townships of Lansing, Meridian, Delta and Delhi; Region 3: Grandville; Region 4: Ithaca; Region 5: Harbor Beach; Region 6: Cadillac and Region 7: Gladstone.

February 2014

Call Your Lawmakers Today to Support $100m for Snow Removal, Potholes
A plan to add $100 million in additional funding for snow removal and potholes in Michigan communities has passed the Senate and now goes before the House Appropriations Committee 9 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2014). Please contact your state Representatives today to support this legislation. Read more.

Municipalities welcome call for more state aid, but not attached strings
While the revenue-sharing funding bump proposal shows the state government is willing to reinvest in communities again, tying the extra funding to meeting state dictates is counterproductive, said Samantha Harkins, director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. “The current EVIP program has pretty much been an unmitigated disaster,” said Harkins, whose group wants the incentive program eliminated.

15% Increase a Good Start, But Gov’s Budget Plan Does Not Fix System
Governor Snyder is seeking a 15 percent increase to statutory revenue sharing for Michigan communities. It’s a big step symbolically, but we have a long way to go. Read the League’s full statement and an Inside 208 blog.

Michigan’s Cities, Villages Embrace Winter Wonderland
In Michigan’s communities, it is truly a winter wonderland. Cities and villages throughout our state have amazing weather appropriate events and programs and find creative ways to make sure that public spaces are enjoyed year round. Some utilize special features- heated sidewalks, public fireplaces and temporary warming structures. Check out a past issue of The Review to embrace winter.

Walkable and Livable Communities Institute: A Smart Growth Tour
Join national walkability experts Dan Burden, Mark Fenton, and Paul Zykofsky in Denver on February 10-12 for Forward Thinking on the Front Range: A Smart Growth Tour. Explore communities on the leading edge of walkable and livable design in the Denver area as a lead-up to the national New Partners for Smart Growth conference.

EVIP/CIP Category 2: Consolidation of Services is Due February 1 A reminder from the Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis: A reminder from the Office of Revenue and Tax Analysis: EVIP/CIP Category 2 Consolidation of Services is due by 11:59 pm Feb. 1. Please visit their website for additional information. Read more on Inside 208. Learn more on the League's EVIP resource page.

New Member Resource: Legal Spotlight Columns Now Online!
The Review
Legal Spotlight columns from 2010-2013 are now online. Please peruse the list of columns by title. They feature summaries of recent court cases with statewide municipal impact.

Urban Core Leaders Discuss Action Priorities for Partnership for Place
Mayors and managers from some of the state’s largest cities met with the League’s lobbying staff in Lansing on January 13 to discuss how to best prioritize the new Partnership for Place policy agenda in the coming year.

Governor Fails to Mention Broken Municipal Finance System
Excerpt from the League's response to the Governor's speech: “We strongly support the Governor’s ongoing call to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges, but we grow increasingly disappointed in the total lack of concern for fixing the state’s archaic and broken municipal finance system." - Utica Mayor and League President Jacqueline Noonan. Also read Noonan's public statement on the state budget surplus announced Jan. 10.

January 2014

Michigan Municipal League Issues Statement on State Budget Surplus
Here is an excerpt of a public statement from Utica Mayor and Michigan Municipal League President Jacqueline Noonan regarding the state budget surplus announced on January 10: “We would again remind Gov. Snyder and state lawmakers that the budget surplus is at least in part a result of the governor and Legislature taking $6 billion over the past decade that by law was supposed to go to local communities to fund local police and fire services, road maintenance, snow plowing, drinking water systems, and more...we strongly urge the Legislature to restore funds to local governments, and to fix Michigan’s broken municipal finance system..."

League's Director of State Affairs on 2014 List of Top Ten in State Politics
Michigan Municipal League Director of State Affairs Samantha Harkins is on the Crain's Detroit Business list of Top Ten People to Watch in State Politics in 2014. As the league's chief lobbyist, she is an important force representing Michigan's communities in Lansing. She told Crain's one of her goals this year is changing the law phasing out the state's personal property tax for business to guarantee complete reimbursement to communities of lost revenue from the tax. As written, the law provides 80 percent. Read more.

Apply for MEDC Redevelopment Ready Communities Program
This certification program supports community revitalization to attract and retain business and talent. Learn more about becoming RRC certified.

Placemaking Podcast: Prospects for Action on Federal Policy Changes
The environment in Washington DC has not been collaborative in recent years. Some issues very critical to local communities are on the table. Hear the podcast to learn what to expect from Congress in the coming months.

Jan. 15th Deadline for 2014 Michigan Green Communities Challenge
The 2014 Michigan Green Communities Challenge is an opportunity for communities to measure their progress in green initiatives, an important asset for 21st century communities. Deadline for registration is January 15.

Placemaking Case Study: Adrian's Main Street Community Partnership
Read a case study
on how Adrian used a crowdfunding approach to buy a long neglected and significant mixed-use building on their main street.

Boon to Economic Development: Crowdfunding Bill Passes Senate
The Senate unanimously passed HB 4996. Crowdfunding will assist new small businesses and those wishing to expand. Read more. Entrepreneurs are key to vibrant 21st century communities.

Angled Parking Legislation Passes Senate, Awaits Governor's Signature
HB 5073 was unanimously passed
by the Senate and sent to the Governor. This bill would allow MDOT to approved angled parking on state trunklines at the request of a local municipality. The change will allow many downtowns to develop better walkability for their placemaking strategies.

Round-Up of Year's End Legislative Actions on League's Inside 208 Blog
The legislature had a fast and furious finish to the 2013 session year and will return January 8, 2014. For details, read all the year-end entries posted by the League's Lansing team on the Inside 208 blog. Expect the next installment of the Legislative Link on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 and the next installment of the LOOP on Thursday, January 9, 2014.

December 2013

Detroit’s livingLAB Wins Let’s Save Michigan Highway Redesign Contest
A Detroit-based landscape architecture and planning studio named livingLAB is the Grand Prize winner of the Let’s Save Michigan Highways for Habitats contest. The plan would use arena investments to connect Downtown and Midtown. What is today an interruption in the urban fabric, particularly for alternative forms of transportation like walking and biking, could with this design become a vibrant place, unifying two central areas and producing room for new development in an in-demand part of town. Learn more.

Editorial: State not EMs Should Help Cities Stay out of Financial Trouble
With a growing number of cities under emergency management or under EM review, read a Detroit Free Press editorial on why the State of Michigan needs to address what is fundamentally wrong with the way Michigan finances and supports its local governments, which is a key element of the League's Partnership for Place policy agenda. Read more.

Detroit News: MML says to invest in mass transit to retain young people
To keep young talent from leaving the state, the Michigan Municipal League is urging officials in Lansing to better fund cities and invest in mass transit options that would serve as long-term enticements. In an hourlong meeting Monday with The Detroit News editorial board, league officials touted the “Partnership for Place: An Agenda for a Competitive 21st Century Michigan". The League's 2014 Capital Conference will focus on this agenda. Read more.

You Won! Now What? Register Now for Newly Elected Officials Training
Make sure your elected officials get the core training they need to govern effectively. One-day seminars include core topics for both first-time and veteran elected officials.
Dec. 17 – Huntington Woods

Royal Oak, Others Oppose SEMCOG's I-75 Expansion Proposal
Loss of property values, increase in traffic noise, displacement of residents, and a negative impact on the tax base and funding were among reasons cited in Royal Oak's opposition to SEMCOG's proposal to expand I-75 from M-59 to Eight Mile Road. The League and MDOT are among those who agree with the city's concerns.

Kathie Grinzinger to Lead League Executive Search Service
Outgoing Mt. Pleasant City Manager Kathie Grinzinger will lead the League’s Executive Search Service. Grinzinger will assist Michigan communities by connecting talented public administrators to key leadership positions.

Former League President Pat Lockwood Named to NLC Board
Patricia Lockwood, Fenton Mayor Pro Tem and former League Board President, was elected to the National League of Cities Board of Directors at NLC’s annual conference in Seattle. Read more from the League’s Summer Minnick. Read about the conference from League CEO Dan Gilmartin.

League Magazine, Websites Win Multiple Awards for Excellence
The Michigan Municipal League’s website and Review magazine recently won awards in two separate marketing and communications-related competitions. Read more.

Dec. 6th Deadline for 2014 Directory of Municipal Officials Yellow Pages
Be the first place local officials look for the services and products they need! Reserve your ad space for the 2014 Directory of Municipal Officials Yellow Pages. Deadline is Friday, Dec. 6. Learn more. Or contact Terri Murphy.

November 2013

Partnership for Place to be Theme of League's 2014 Capital Conference
Thriving communities are critical to Michigan’s long-term success and sustainability. The League’s Partnership for Place policy agenda proposes a partnership of action between the State and its municipalities to facilitate economic growth and develop places with a high quality of life, while using a regional approach to services, resources, and systems.The 2014 Capital Conference is the place to learn how this proactive agenda will help drive the future for Michigan communities in the key areas of municipal funding, transportation, talent retention, infrastructure, and development. Registration opens soon!

Eight Communities to Get PlacePlan Design Help from the League
Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland will participate in PlacePlans, a joint effort between the League and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan transformative placemaking projects with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and MIplace Partnership. Read more.

League, Locals Say Crowdfunding Helps Grow Business, Communities
why recently introduced crowdfunding legislation is essential to the future of Michigan communities and businesses, by opening new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to find each other.

Eight Communities to Get PlacePlan Design Help from the League
Cadillac, Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, Holland, Jackson, Marquette, and Midland will participate in PlacePlans, a joint effort between the League and Michigan State University to help communities design and plan transformative placemaking projects with support from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and MIplace Partnership. Read more.

Detroit's Bankruptcy: Hear the Latest Podcast on
Detroit's Bankruptcy: Iceberg or Anomaly?
is the latest Better Communities Better Michigan podcast, featuring public policy expert Frank Shafroth of George Mason University, Detroit City Council President Saunteel Jenkins, Battle Creek Mayor Susan Baldwin and Detroit entrepreneur Austin Black II.

House Passes Redevelopment Liquor License Amendment Bill
The Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 4257, a reintroduction from last session. The bill amends the Michigan liquor control code dealing with redevelopment liquor licenses. Learn more.

Michigan Future, Inc: Knowledge Economy is Path to Prosperity
Michigan Future, Inc has released a new report that analyzes data from the American economy over the past two decades showing a knowledge-based economy is the key to future prosperity. Read more.

Urgent! Contact Your MI Lawmakers to Oppose HB 4887 on Election Law
The League needs your help TODAY in opposing a bill that would further limit when you can place new millage questions on the ballot. This bill is a complete infringement on the control of local communities like yours. Please contact your state Representatives today and the lawmakers on the House Elections and Ethics Committee hearing this issue.

Bill Moves Forward for Angled Parking on State Trunklines
Many Michigan cities and villages have state trunklines that are a main street through their downtown. HB 5073 would allow a municipality to work with MDOT to authorize angled parking on a trunkline. Read more.

Important League Message on MDOT Letter about Act 51 Road Funding
Over the past few weeks many members have received a letter from the Michigan Department of Transportation about complying with section 18j of Public Act 51. The League is addressing concerns. Read more.

Better Communities Better Michigan Podcasts on
Better Communities Better Michigan
is the League's new podcast series on strategies for creating highly adaptable, economically competitive communities ready for the 21st century. Lean Urbanism: The New Local Face of New Urbanism features Andres Duany, co-founder of the Congress of New Urbanism.

Prosperity Agenda Radio Show Focuses on Partnership for Place
Want to hear more about the League's new plan of action for building better communities for a better Michigan? The Partnership for Place policy agenda is the focus of the latest Prosperity Agenda radio show on WJR.

Register Now for National Brownfield Association Nov 13 Event in Lansing
On November 13, 2013, the Michigan Chapter of the National Brownfield Association is presenting a program on the newest developments on brownfield issues in Michigan. The program will be held at the Lansing Center. Learn more.

League Letter to the Editor: Blame State for Struggling Communities
The Detroit Free Press published this letter from Utica Mayor and League President Jacqueline Noonan. She wrote about the need for quality communities in response to an opinion article calling for consolidating Michigan local  governments. Several positive comments on the letter support the League’s position.

MIT Study: New Urban Planning is Light, Quick & Cheap Placemaking
Both Forbes and Digital Journal have articles on an MIT study, "Places in the Making" showing how placemaking has become the new philosophy for urban planning. The League has been leading the conversation on this fundamental shift in the way communities approach revitalization and socioeconomic development.

Creative Economics: Crowdfunding Legislation Moves to House Floor
HB 4996 would enable crowdfunding, the idea of funding projects or startups with small sums of money from many individuals.The League sees it as a creative approach to economic development in Michigan, and exactly the type of action recommended in the League's Partnership for Place policy agenda. Read more. Adrian has passed a resolution in support of HB 4996. Interested in doing something similar? Here is a copy of that crowdfunding resolution.

October 2013

Hundreds of MI Cities Could Levy Special Tax to Fund Police, Fire
Hundreds of Michigan cities facing shrinking property tax bases could ask voters to pay special assessments for police and fire protection under legislation that has won approval in the state Senate. More.

Southfield and Lawrence Tech Partnership Boosts Economy
Significant redevelopment and enhancement of Lawrence Technological University’s Southfield neighborhood is under way and the beneficiaries are current and prospective students, parents and guests, faculty, staff, alumni, and thousands of visitors. Read more.

League Proposes New Policy Plan to Restart Investment in Communities
Republican and Democratic state lawmakers joined today with local government leaders to propose bold new policies to fix Michigan’s archaic and broken municipal finance system and end decades of disinvestment in the state’s most important economic areas. Read the press release. Read the Inside 208 post.

House Committee Hears Testimony on Blight Hurdles for Locals
The House Local Government Committee took testimony on the problems local communities have when dealing with blighted properties. Officials from the city of Ypsilanti, city of Jackson and city of Niles were among the group to testify. Read more. Blight will be the topic of a breakout session at the League's Capital Conference, March 18-19 in Lansing.

Congress Ends Federal Shutdown, Extends Debt Limit thru February
The House and Senate passed, by wide margins, HR 2775 which funds the federal government through Wednesday, January 15, 2014 as part of a continuing resolution from the current FY 2013 levels. In addition, it also extends the debt-limit through February 7, 2014. More.

House Tax Policy Passes Personal Property Tax Reform "Fix" Bills
The House Tax Policy Committee passed Senate Bills 489 and 490, bills that are the first “fix” bills from the personal property tax (PPT) reform package that passed in December. The bills clarify the process for businesses to claim exemptions under the legislation. More.

Local Lesson: How to Make a Sense of Place with Halloween Events
Read how Northville is drawing visitors and engaging the community with its month-long celebration of fall and Halloween. It's a great example of using events to enhance a sense of place.

2013 Green Communities Challenge Registration is Now Open
The 2013 Michigan Green Communities Challenge is an opportunity for communities to measure their progress Registration is now open!

League CEO Talked Municipal Finance at National Press Club League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C.on Oct. 10 on the fiscal condition of U.S. cities. The National League of Cities also released a report on 2013 City Fiscal Conditions. Read the media advisory.

League Staffer Studies Best Municipal Practices in Germany
Follow League Staffer Kim Cekola's online journal as she spends three weeks studying local government in Germany as a McCloy Fellow in Urban Affairs.

MSU, League Team Up Again on MiPlace Partnership Initiative
The Michigan Municipal League, the MSU Land Policy Institute (LPI), the MSUE Greening Michigan Institute (GMI) and the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction (SPDC)--are pleased to once again partner with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to provide placemaking training, research, planning and policy assistance through the MIPlace Partnership Initiative.

Survey: Michigan Cities and Villages Continue to Struggle with Finances
Data released Tuesday by the Michigan Public Policy Survey finds that while many local governments are seeing improvements since the depths of the recession, the trend is limited to municipalities of more than 30,000 residents, with many smaller local governments still struggling. Read the Detroit News story.

Amtrak, Michigan Spending Millions on Upgrades on Passenger Lines
According to this Lansing State Journal article, Amtrak and the state plan to invest millions over the next several years to improve service on Michigan's three passenger train lines. Read more.

League Convention Draws Media Attention to Important Local Issues
The League's 2013 Convention in Detroit drew attention to key issues facing local municipalities, and helped fuel a national conversation on what needs to be done to help ensure a healthy and sustainable future for our communities. See all Convention media coverage here. See event photos on Flickr.

September 2013

League in Wa DC to Discuss Federal Tax Exemption on Municipal Bonds
The League is in Washington DC to discuss the critical nature of retaining the federal tax exemption on municipal bonds. Meanwhile, uncertainty looms for local government due to the federal government shutdown that occurred Oct. 1 after Congress failed to pass a resolution to maintain existing government funding levels, due to the ongoing Republican effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Important Reminder: Category One EVIP is Due Today for Local Funds
This is an urgent reminder that the Category One EVIP, accountability and transparency, is due today. Treasury contacted the League this morning that 82 communities still haven't submitted their information, so we want to make sure you're all getting the funds due to your community. For more information you can check out the blog post on the topic.

League's "Partnership for Place" Legislative Agenda for Local Future
Thriving communities are key to Michigan’s success and sustainability. The League's Partnership for Place Agenda proposes a commitment to action in the key areas of funding, talent retention, transportation, infrastructure and development.

League Continues to Oppose Tax Exemption Legislation
The League opposes Senate Bills 372 and 396 which both create property tax exemptions. We have testified in both the Senate and House committees that continuing to mandate local tax exemptions is an issue for local units even if the amount is considered “negligible” by the legislature. Read more.

Ironwood Rail Depot Park Wins Community Excellence Award
Ironwood in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was honored with the League’s 2013 Community Excellence Award at the League’s Annual Convention in Detroit. The placemaking project centered on a railroad depot park and recreational amenities including a trailhead for the region's nonmotorized trail network.

MEDC Offers Infrastructure Grant Program for Michigan Communities
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation's new Downtown Infrastructure Grant Program (DIG) helps low and moderate income non-entitlement communities improve downtown infrastructure and reduce redevelopment costs.Submissions are due by Oct. 1. More.

Free Workshops for Local Bridge Asset Management Training
The Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council is offering three opportunities to participate in a free workshop on the Asset Management Guide for Local Agency Bridges. Read the invitation. Registrations are due by Oct. 1 for the events.

Public Meeting on Chicago-Detroit-Pontiac Rail Corridor Program
Illinois, Indiana and Michigan DOTs have launched a program to evaluate passenger rail improvements for the Chicago - Detroit/Pontiac corridor. Attend the next public meeting to learn more.

Let's Save Michigan Launches Highways for Habitats Contest
If you were in charge of designing thoroughways, what would you do differently? For inspiration, see these innovative ideas from around the world. Then submit your idea for a chance to win the grand prize from Detroit Bikes! Plans due by Sept. 20. Read the flyer.

Detroit News: Creative Firms have Designs on Detroit's Downtown
The Detroit News reports that a wave of creative companies — graphic design and film production studios, ad agencies and PR firms — is settling in downtown Detroit. See it for yourself on the mobile workshops at Convention.

Shell Game Not the Answer; League Responds to Legislature's Road Plan
The Michigan Municipal League has issued a statement about a legislative proposal to change how roads and transportation services are funded in Michigan. The League strongly supports increasing funding for Michigan’s roads and transit systems, but believes the current proposal is little more than a “shell game.”

 Lt. Gov. Calley to Discuss Personal Property Tax Issue at Convention
Want to hear what Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has to say about the Personal Property Tax issue and how it will impact our communities? This is your chance to ask questions and get the answers you need directly from the source, during the PPT Session at the League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 in Detroit. One-day and non-overnight registrations are a cost-effective way to attend for those within commuting distance. Detroit's bankruptcy. urban planning expert Andres Duany and medical marihuana zoning are just a few of the other highlights.

August 2013

NLC Seeks Input for Strategic Planning Process from Leagues
The National League of Cities is asking League members to participate in a brief online survey by Sept. 6, to help the NLC Strategic Planning Task Force develop its goals for advocating for city issues at the federal level, fostering leadership development, and providing applied research.

Final Free "Partnership for Place"Webinar at 10 am Thursday
Thriving communities are key to Michigan’s success and sustainability. The League's new policy agenda proposes a commitment to action in partnership with the State and its municipalities in the key areas of funding, talent retention, transportation, infrastructure and development. Free Partnership for Place Webinar.

Watch "Detroit: By Choice" Video Then Register for Convention!
"Detroit: By Choice" focuses on the Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit that defies all the negative stereotypes of what it means to live in Detroit. It's part of the Detroit you'll see and learn about at the League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 in Detroit. One-day and non-overnight registrations are a cost-effective way to attend for those in the southeast Michigan area. Detroit's bankruptcy. urban planning expert Andres Duany and medical marihuana zoning are just a few of the highlights.

Call for Presentations for Asset Management Conference
The Transportation Asset Management Council is seekintg presentations for its fall conference in October in Escanaba. Deadline for abstracts is Aug. 23. More.

Locals Must Take Charge to Build Resilient Communities
Grand Rapids Director of Energy and Sustainability Haris Alibasic's op-ed says local governments should be the front line in planning for natural disasters and other emergencies, and environmental sustainability.

MSU Extension Provides Citizen's Guide to Complete Streets
Approximately 100 local governments in Michigan have adopted Complete Streets policies. The MSU Extension Citizen's Guide to Promoting Complete Streets provides resources for this important placemaking initiative

LSM's "It's About Place" Contest Winner Saline Alley Project Opens
An alley project funded in part by a Let's Save Michigan "It's About Place" grant is now open to the public in downtown Saline. Saline officials are seeking names for the new public space that is part of the city's ongoing placemaking efforts. Read more.

Detroit Companies to Invest $10.8M with State Incentives to Add 183 Jobs
Three new Detroit projects are getting a boost from the Michigan Business Development and Community Revitalization program. Here's 7 More Detroit Success Stories. Also read Detroit, a Tale of Two Cities.The League will address Detroit's bankruptcy at the 2013 Convention September 17-20. Save 46% if you register by the Early Bird Deadline on Friday, August 23.

MSU Report Proposes Solution to Abandoned Factory Problems
Read the MSU report on creative ways to deal with certain types of blighted, abandoned private property. Read why such solutions are important to the future vitality of our communities in this press release.

July 2013

League, NLC Oppose Efforts to Cut Funding to Cities in Fiscal Distress
Senators Graham (R-SC) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced an amendment targeted at Detroit that would have significant negative impacts to cities around the country. It would prohibit federal funding to any local government that was in default OR at risk of default. The League and the National League of Cities sent a letter to the Senate opposing these efforts. Read Rick Haglund's column on Michigan's broken system for financing local government.

YouTube Video: Shocking Detroit Homes You've Never Before Seen
Think living in Detroit is nothing but high-rise apartments and ghetto ruins? Think again. From regal manors to cozy Cape Cod cottages with manicured lawns, the city is home to many beautiful, livable neighborhoods that rival anything in the burbs. Watch the video. Then join us there at the League's 2013 Convention, Sept. 17-20.

Michigan Avenue: Connecting the Corridor into the State Capitol
Place-based Ideas and projects are reshaping the conversation about the future of the 20-mile stretch from the Capitol in downtown Lansing to Grand River in East Lansing and east to Webberville just past M-52. Read more.

MEDC Grant Programs for Farmers Markets and Food Trucks
If you are looking to enhance your farmers market or know of someone looking to start a food truck business, be sure to touch base with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation on two new programs. More.

Dan Gilmartin Quoted in CNN Column on Placemaking
Michigan Municipal League CEO Dan Gilmartin was included a column about placemaking on He explains that communities that figure out placemaking will see greater economic growth and improved quality of life. Read more.

YouTube Video: Reflecting on Detroit's Downtown Revitalization
Downtown Detroit is not what you think — and this YouTube video will show you why. Watch what owners and employees of pubs, eateries, jazz clubs, coffee houses, specialty markets, technology companies and city resource centers have to say about living, working and enjoying Detroit's revitalized downtown. It's why the League's 2013 Convention is taking place in Detroit September 17-20. Check out the mobile workshops.. Also on the agenda: EVIP, PPT, transportation, streetscape projects, energy efficiency and more! Register now to save 46% during the Early Bird!

Hope College and Holland Area Have Family-like Relationship
The long-standing relationship between Hope College and the Holland community
is the latest TownGown blog. Read more. View an mlive story.

Legislature Adjourns with No Transportation Funding Vote
The legislature has adjourned until September. There are a few tentative days scheduled in July and August but, as of now, there will be no voting and no attendance taken on those days. The legislature broke without voting on anything regarding future transportation funding. This will continue to be a hot topic for the fall when they return to full session. More

Fodor's Travel Offers Five Great Reasons to Go to Detroit Right Now Internationally known travel experts Fodor's offers these five great reasons to go to Detroit: art, living history, all-season sports, Motown and the food scene. They are all on the agenda during the League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 in Detroit, from mobile workshops to MML Foundation social events. And check out this ad for Google's new Map App featuring Detroit. Also on the agenda: EVIP, PPT, transportation, risk management cases and decisions, demographic changes, streetscape projects, finance, energy efficiency improvements, and more! Register now to save 46% during the Early Bird Registration!

Detroit News Business: Wave of Interns Buoys Downtown Detroit
The number of interns in downtown Detroit has grown from a few hundred five years ago to thousands today, according to a Detroit News Business story on the city's emerging demographic of young talent. Some of the major companies hiring those young interns will be featured in Detroit Redux, a panel discussion on the influx of big business into Detroit on Thursday morning during the League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 in Detroit. Also on the agenda: EVIP, PPT, transportation, risk management cases and decisions, demographic changes, streetscape projects, finance, energy efficiency improvements, and more! Register now to save 46% during the Early Bird Registration!

Revolve Detroit Among Placemaking Projects at League's Convention
The Many Faces of Placemaking in Detroit
will feature a panel of experts sharing lessons learned from their successful place-based ventures at the League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 in Detroit. Sign up for mobile workshops for a close-up look at placemaking in Detroit. Also on the agenda: EVIP, PPT, transportation, risk management cases and decisions, demographic changes, streetscape projects, finance, energy efficiency improvements, and more! Register here.

June 2013

Placemaking Blog Covers Trans-Michigan PALM XXXII Bike Tour
From June 22-28, follow along on the League's Placemaking blog as we explore the state of bikeability in Michigan during the 2013 Pedal Across Lower Michigan (PALM) bike tour.

Andres Duany is at the forefront of the international movement to end surburban sprawl and urban disinvestment. Duany will speak on Lean Urbanism for Local Governments at 3:00 pm Thursday at the League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 in Detroit. Sign up for mobile workshops for a close-up look at placemaking in Detroit. Also on the agenda: EVIP, PPT, transportation, risk management cases and decisions, demographic changes, streetscape projects, finance, energy efficiency improvements, and more! Register here.

Report: One in 10 Michigan Bridges Structurally Deficient
Read an Mlive story on the latest Transportation for America report on the state of bridges in the US, showing Michigan's bridges are in dire need of repair.


May 2013

Immigration and Economy "To Immigrate is Entrepreneurial"
Global Detroit offers lending programs and entrepreneurship training for immigrants and works to keep international students in the U.S. after graduation. More.

The League's 2013 Convention September 17-20 will include a selection of unique mobile workshops that provide a close-up look at some of the exciting things happening in Detroit. The agenda also includes breakout sessions on EVIP, PPT, transportation, risk management cases and decisions, demographic changes, streetscape projects,finance, energy efficiency improvements, and more! There is no place in the world like Detroit. And there is a Detroit that many have yet to meet. Come see what the rest of the world is talking about. Register here.

Michigan's New Placemaking Curriculum Events During June
The MIPlace Partnership Initiative’s new Placemaking Curriculum helps Michigan communities implement placemaking as a strategic economic development initiative in the New Economy. Coming up: Ann Arbor on June 17, Mt Pleasant on June 24, and Kalamazoo on June 26.

Transforming Woodward Avenue into a 27-Mile Complete Street
The Woodward Avenue Association has embarked on an ambitious program to redesign and reshape Woodward Avenue into a Complete Street. Read more.

Realtors Association Writes About Michigan Placemaking
There’s a fantastic article about placemaking in Michigan in the summer, 2013 issue of On Common Ground magazine put out by the National Association of Realtors. Read more.

New Study Shows Why One Third of College Grads Still Leave Michigan
Read the Crain's story on the Detroit Regional Chamber study
showing the number of graduates who stayed in the state is up from 51 percent in 2007 to 63 percent. Of the graduates who left, 86 percent are employed full time, according to the survey. The grads who left said they did so due to better career opportunities, better urban experiences and public transportation -- exactly what the placemaking initiative is working to accomplish.

2014 State Budget Includes 4.8% Increase for Michigan Communities
The state’s conference committee approved a 2014 budget agreement that includes a 4.8% increase to statutory revenue sharing for Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships. Read more from the League’s Samantha Harkins and a press statement from the League’s CEO and Executive Director Daniel Gilmartin. Read an mlive article quoting Dan Gilmartin.

Sign Up Now for "Promoting Active Communities" Program
Register by June 15 for the Michigan Fitness Foundation's PAC program that helps cities evaluate their Complete Streets policy and implementation.

Bridge Series Highlights Financial Plight of Michigan Cities, Villages
A guest commentary on EVIP by Michigan Municipal League President and Linden Mayor David Lossing is the latest in a Bridge Magazine series on the financial plight of Michigan communities. Other strong posts include one by Mitch Bean and another with the League’s Anthony Minghine.

House Judiciary Holds Medical Marijuana Hearing
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act on May 23. The League testified about the need for local control and clarity in the Act. Read more.

Senate Committee Passes WPW Fix to General Property Tax Act
The Senate Finance Committee has unanimously passed Senate Bill 114, a bill introduced by Senator Vince Gregory (D-Southfield) that amends the General Property Tax Act. Read more.

Ask Legislators to Include 4.8 Percent Increase in Revenue Sharing in 2014 Budget
The Michigan Municipal League is encouraging our members to contact their state legislators today to encourage support of the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2014 general government budget recommendation, which includes a 4.8-percent increase in funding for statutory revenue sharing. To make it convenient, you can use the League’s automated letter service by going here to our Action Center. Read more.

League Opposes Exemptions in House Hearings on Blight Package
The House Local Government committee held testimony on SBs 35-39, dealing with blighted properties.The League testified in opposition because some well-intentioned exemptions carve out a large chunk of the blight offenders from fines and penalties. Read more.

DIA Inside|Out Among League's How-To Placemaking Resources
Inside|Out brings 80 reproductions of masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) collection to the streets and parks of greater metro Detroit. Read more case studies showing how various communities have enhanced their sense of place in creative and surprising ways.

House Considers Income Tax Credit for Michigan College Graduates
House Bill 4182 would give income tax credits to MI college graduates if they live and work here after graduation. The League supports this legislation to attract and retain talented individuals in the state. State Rep. Andy Schor discussed the "brain drain" bill on public radio.

State Budget Agreement Could See Legislative Vote Before End of May
The state Legislature could vote soon on a budget target agreement which includes more funding for state roads and K-12 public schools but no Medicaid expansion or restored revenue sharing funds for local governments to provide police, fire and other services. Revenues coming into state government this fiscal year are nearly $483 million higher than anticipated in January. Read an Inside 208 post.

League Works to Improve Local Control in ORV Legislation
The League has worked with Representative Bumstead on House Bill 4299 to improve local control over ORVs being used within municipalities. Read more.

Spending Debate Begins for $483 Million in Unexpected Tax Revenues
Revenues coming into state government this fiscal year could be nearly $483 million higher than anticipated in January. Read the Inside 208 blog post. No decisions on how to spend the unanticipated surplus have been made – but according to this Mlive story Michigan’s deteriorating roads will get strong consideration. The Michigan Municipal League wants more spent to restore past cuts to revenue sharing programs – money that helps local governments pay for police, fire and other services. View the press release.

How Marquette's Placemaking has Developed a Thriving Community
Read about and listen to a Michigan Radio interview
with Marquette City Manager Bill Vadja and Arnold Weinfeld, the League's Director of Strategic Initiatives, on Marquette's placemaking success story.

League Opposes Aviation Bills That Would Cut Revenue Sharing Funds
The League opposes a proposal on changing the aviation fuel tax because the bill's current form would result in a $12 million cut to revenue sharing.

League Asks State to Put Budget Surplus Toward Revenue Sharing
The Michigan Municipal League has issued a statewide press release calling for the state to use a portion of the recently announced budget surplus to restore massive cuts made to local revenue sharing. View the press release. Read more.

New One Pager Plus Fact Sheet on OMA Posting Requirements
Recent Open Meetings Act changes affect the posting of emergency meetings and public bodies with official websites. Get the League’s new One Pager Plus Fact Sheet.

West Michigan Communities Pass Transportation Funding Resolutions
The Michigan Municipal League encouraged member communities to draft transportation funding resolutions and several communities have done so. Check out some of the resolutions here. Here is a recent Grand Rapids Press article about the resolutions. The League is encouraging members to attend a town hall meeting on transportation funding in their area. Click here for dates, times, and locations across the state now through May 13.

Senate Passes 4.8% EVIP Increase in Proposed General Fund Budget
Final budget negotiations will continue in earnest throughout May now that the Senate passed the general government budget including the subcommittee's recommended 4.8% EVIP increase, thanks in large part to Senator Pappageorge's relentless advocacy. Read more here.

House Sends Transportation Budget to Senate Without $1.2 Billion
The legislature has yet to come to agreement on how to raise the $1.2 billion in new funding that the Governor requested for roads. Read more on the status of the transportation budget.

Senate Committee Passes 4.8% EVIP Increase in Proposed Budget
During the League's Capital Conference, the frustration over EVIP was evident. Governor Snyder said he wanted to hear  from League members regarding problems with the program and the League responded with a letter to the Governor and a call to action from members. THE RESULT: On April 18, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the general government budget including the subcommittee's recommended 4.8% increase, thanks also to Senator Pappageorge's relentless advocacy. Read more here.


April 2013

Two Sides of the Equation for Reviving Michigan Communities
Many know only one side of Detroit and our other urban centers. Now read a Bridge article about those who are working to make them vibrant places for the future.  And another side of the equation: involving state policy makers who used to believe and participate in a shared responsibility for our communities. Here is a reminder of what they might want to focus on over the coming weeks.

Senate Subcommittee Passes Budget Without New Road Funds
The Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee voted out the 2013-14 transportation budget without the $1.2 billion in new funding proposed by the Governor. Read more.

NLC Case Study on Chelsea's Path to Vibrant Downtown
Read this comprehensive placemaking study by the NLC on the city of Chelsea's path toward creating a vibrant downtown.

League Explains Placemaking "Market" to Business Community
The League's Arnold Weinfeld discusses placemaking and the importance of quality of life assets in today's market, in a two-part conversation on the Michigan Business Network. Listen to Part 1 and Part 2.

Sends Local EVIP Problems and Concerns to Governor's Office
Last week at Capital Conference the frustration over EVIP was evident. Governor Snyder indicated he wanted to hear  from League members regarding problems with the program. Check out this blog post regarding a letter we sent to the Governor. It's important that the Governor hear not just from the League but from our members as well. We're requesting letters from your communities detailing your problems/concerns with the program. We will then remit those letters to the Governor's office. Here are some talking points you can use. We are working hard to get changes to this program, and your help is needed.

PlacePlan: Allegan Unveils Riverfront Redesign Project
Allegan's riverfront redesign project
is one of five to gain help through PlacePlans, which brings together expertise from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction.

Senate Subcommittee Recommends 4.8% Increase in EVIP Funding
EVIP was a hot topic at the League's 2013 Capital Conference with local officials voicing "appropriate anger" about the issue. Plante Moran has released a chart that shows statutory revenue sharing cuts to communities in excess of $6 billion since 2001. What you can do to help. For the latest on EVIP posting requirements and penalties, click here. For more on the Senate Subcommittee's recommended 4.8% EVIP increase, click here.

Placemaking Conference Considers Detroit's History and Deep Potential
League CEO Dan Gilmartin was one of the speakers Thursday at the Placemaking Leadership Council inaugural meeting at the Westin Book Cadillac. More than 300 participants from 10 countries and 25 states came to learn about Detroit during the three-day conference featuring urban planners, architects, and redevelopment experts focused on placemaking efforts in Michigan's largest city. More.

Tax Shift off Businesses Will Add to Fiscal Woes at City Halls
The new tax shift off business will weigh heaviest on municipalities already struggling under legacy employee benefits, rising costs and lost revenue-sharing dollars. According to legislation passed in late 2012, the voters will be asked to approve a measure in 2014 to replace most of the personal property tax revenues that would be lost to cities, but officials say that may still not be enough to maintain communities at an acceptable level. Read more.

Report: Estimated Revenue Sharing Loss at Over $6 Billion Since 2001
Plante Moran has released information that shows statutory revenue sharing cuts to communities in excess of $6 billion since 2001. You can view the information here. What you can do to help. For the latest on EVIP posting requirements and penalties, click here. For more on the recommended 4.8% EVIP increase, click here.

Finance Experts to Lead Budget Discussion at Capital Conference
Mitch Bean, former director of the Michigan House Fiscal Agency, and Eric Lupher, Director of Local Affairs at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan, will be on a panel discussion on Michigan’s budget situation at 3:15-4:00 pm April 10 at the League's Capital Conference.

Spring Transportation Asset Management Conference May 8
MDOT's Kirk Steudle is the keynote speaker for the 2013 Spring Transportation Asset Management Conference in East Lansing on May 8. Learn more

Federal Tax Exemption in Danger: Contact Congressional Leaders Now
Congress could eliminate the federal tax exempt status of municipal bonds. If you have not done so already, please contact Congress and tell them how important the federal exemption is to your community. Learn more here.

Dan Gilbert Unveils Plan for Livelier Downtown Detroit; Papa Joe’s
Quicken Loans Chairman and Founder Dan Gilbert announced his continuing commitment to revitalizing Detroit at an “Opportunity Detroit” event Thursday, that included Fred Kent of Project for Public Spaces. The plans, which included an announcement of a Papa Joe’s grocery store opening in the heart of downtown, are very consistent with the League’s placemaking message. Read more.

House Committee Proposes Major Changes to EVIP; No Increase
The League is asking members to contact their lawmakers to voice concerns about a proposed EVIP budget that has no increase in revenue for local communities. This plan also includes major changes and penalties to the current Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP). The League has significant concerns with this plan. Here are the details. Get the latest updates on this and other key legislative issues at the League's Capital Conference in Lansing, April 9-10.

Town Gown Partners Focus of Prosperity Agenda Radio Show
The relationship between communities and their adjacent colleges and universities is the theme of the March Prosperity Agenda radio show on News Talk 760 WJR. Read more here and here. View photos.

New Election Law Fact Sheets for Cities and Villages Now Available
New election law was passed in December 2012 that 1) eliminated September village elections and 2) gave cities the option to change their election dates by Resolution to even year November elections. The League has developed two new Fact Sheets with sample Resolutions—one for villages and one for cities

More than a Balanced Budget to Make Detroit a World Class City
As Detroit moves into emergency management, this Detroit News op-ed urges that we look beyond a balanced budget to invest in ensuring that our biggest city has adequate tax base, quality services, and important amenities, and is development-friendly and welcoming to all. Read more.

Study Shows Transit Proximity Keeps Home Values More Stable
A recent study shows homes near transit stations weathered the recession better than others. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari is a keynote speaker at the Capital Conference, April 9-10.Register here.

Why Wall Street Profits Don't Trickle Down to Local Government
On Metromedia: Oak Park City Manager Erik Tungate explains why Wall Street profits don't trickle down to local services.

State of the Cities 2013: Building for the Future in an Uncertain Present
Read the NLC State of the Cities Address for 2013, which focuses on economic development, public safety, education, infrastructure, and municipal finance.

League City Charter Database: New Online Resource is Now Available!
The new charter database includes information from 273 home rule city charters on key concepts such as mayoral selection, filling council vacancies, and the fiscal year.

Haglund: Lansing's Problems Show What State Government Needs to Fix
From Rick Haglund's column: Lansing has a smaller budget and 30 percent fewer employees than in 2003. Yet the city is facing a projected $9 million budget deficit in its fiscal year starting July 1. Older Michigan cities are dealing with population loss, declining property tax revenues and state revenue sharing, and rising costs for city employees and retirees.But the state has cut $4.2 billion in statutory revenue sharing to local government over the past dozen years.There is no increase in Snyder’s proposed 2014 budget. Many communities also could lose as much as 20 percent of their personal property tax revenue if voters ultimately approve a phase-out of the tax. Fixing the cities will require a renewed partnership between the cities and state government, said Dan Gilmartin, CEO of the Michigan Municipal League. More.

March 2013

Why Detroit Matters is Focus of League’s Review Magazine
Detroit is the focus of the latest Review Magazine. The League’s 2013 Convention takes place in Detroit in September. More.

Let's Save Michigan Hosts Twitter Town Hall on Pop Up Placemaking
Let's Save Michigan reached a potential audience of more than 44,000 with its “Twitter Town Hall on Popup Placemaking” on March 19. The social media event helped spread the word on pop ups—temporary events and projects that experiment with novel ways to energize and activate public spaces.

Local Leaders to State: Fix PPT Problems and Revenue Sharing Cuts
The Michigan Municipal League and local leaders held a press conference calling for action from the state on issues crucial to the future prosperity of Michigan's cities and villages. Topping the list: critical problems with the personal property tax legisation, and revenue sharing cuts that make it increasingly difficult to provide the local services that Michigan citizens expect in their communities. Read the press release. Use the PPT Plan Local Unit Worksheet.

Members Urged to Attend Town Hall Meetings on Transportation Funding
State legislators are reaching out to hear local concerns on transportation. The League urges members to attend town hall meetings on transportation funding coming to your area March 14-23. Dates and times for specific locations can be found here.

League Members Honor Senator Carl Levin for Years of Service
Several Michigan Municipal League members were in Washington D.C. this week for the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference. They honored U.S. Senator Carl Levin for his years of service in the Senate. Levin announced last week that he will not seek a seventh term in Congress. Read more.

League Shines Light on Cities' Struggles from Falling Revenues
Read Cities, Counties Need New Revenue and Michigan Revenue Sharing Levels Add to Cities' Struggles in the Lansing State Journal. The League's Samantha Harkins and Nicole Brown both called for public attention to the financial plight facing local municipalities due to revenue sharing cuts, declining property values, and the elimination of the personal property tax on business.

Why it Makes Economic Sense to become Age-Friendly Communities
The AARP offers these eye-opening facts on our aging population, which shows why it makes good economic sense for Michigan municipalities to become age-friendly communities. Read an Ann Arbor Journal article on the AARP Age-Friendly Communities Conference.

Members Urged to Attend Town Hall Meetings on Transportation Funding
The League urges members to attend town hall meetings on transportation funding coming to your area. Transportation will be a central topic at Capital Conference, April 9-10 in Lansing. Early Bird Deadline is March 14. Liability Pool & Workers Compensation Fund members save more than half off the regular rate! Learn more and register here. Read about this and other eventsin the LOOP.

Local Leaders Learn Innovative Placemaking Ideas at Workshop
Mark's Carts
and Detroit Soup are the kind of organic placemaking that occurs when city officials open their doors to innovative thinking. The case studies were part of a Governing Innovation Workshop at the Innovatrium.

State Must Partner with Communities to Build a Collective Future
Like many cities, West Branch is trying to reinvigorate its downtown with little help from the state. Dan Gilmartin writes about the obstacles they face in Placemaking and Politics-Like Peanut Butter and Hand Grenades.

February 2013

White House Releases Michigan Impact of Sequestration Cuts
About $85 Billion in Federal Spending Reductions have gone into effect for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. Learn how this will impact your community.

U.S. Transportation Deputy Secretary to Speak at Capital Conference
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation John D. Porcari will be the keynote speaker at the Awards Luncheon on April 10 at the League's Capital Conference at the Lansing Center in Lansing. Register now: Early Bird Deadline is March 14!

House Bill Would Give Tax Credits to College Grads Staying in Michigan
State Rep. Andy Schor has introduced a bill that would help address the ongoing "brain drain" that hinders Michigan's future economic strength. It would authorize tax credits for up to half of a college graduate’s tuition if he or she stays and works in Michigan.

Editorial: Expect Pinch on Local Budgets and Services to Worsen
This Detroit Free Press editorial warns of the impact of the new personal property tax reform on our communities. Calculate your local impact with the Department of Treasury's PPT Plan Local Unit Worksheet. Read a new report showing that Michigan residents feel essential services are in “worse” or “far worse” shape than they were 10-15 years ago.

League Calls for Increased EVIP Funding for Michigan Communities
The Michigan Municipal League’s Samantha Harkins testified in Lansing Tuesday about the need for increased funding for communities through the state’s Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP). Harkins expressed concern over the Governor’s failure to recommend an increase in EVIP funding as well as concerns about the administration of the program itself. A new report shows that Michigan residents feel the services they rely on–roads, parks, education, local police and fire protection–are in “worse” or “far worse” shape than they were 10-15 years ago.

League Releases Video, Letters on Just Fix the Road Effort
A new video was released today featuring Michigan Municipal League President David Lossing and CEO Dan Gilmartin about the Just Fix the Roads effort. Also in recent days several letters to the editor by League members about the need for increased transportation funding were published and posted online. Learn more.

PPT Calculation Spreadsheet Available for Local Government
The Department of Treasury has put together a spreadsheet to help calculate a the impact of the new personal property tax reform on our communities. You can find the sheet here: PPT Plan Local Unit Worksheet.

Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is April 9
A Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service will take place on Tuesday, April 9 across the country. Community leaders can participate in a variety of ways. Read more about the event and what you can do to participate.

Aging in Place: Michigan Cities Prepare for Baby Boomers
We will see a rapid acceleration in growth in our elderly populations as baby boomers turn 65. January's The Prosperity Agenda talked about the opportunity they bring to cities. Register for the Age-Friendly Communities Conference Feb 28 in Ann Arbor.

League Launches New LOOP E-Newsletter for Training and Events
Check out the LOOP’s new look! It’s fresh, clean and compelling—and hopefully will entice many more “eyes on the page” for League trainings and events.


Aging in Place: Michigan Cities Prepare for Baby Boomers
We will see a rapid acceleration in growth in our elderly populations as baby boomers turn 65. The Prosperity Agenda talks about the opportunity they bring to cities. Register for the Age-Friendly Communities Conference Feb 28 in Ann Arbor.

Sample Resolution for Cities on Fixing the Transportation Budget
The League is asking cities and villages to please consider using this sample resolution as a model to adopt and show your support for enhancing transportation funding.

Governor Speaks on Transportation Plan and Funding for State Budget
Michigan Municipal League members from Flint, Durand and Grand Blanc were among more than 50 people to hear Governor Rick Snyder discuss his transportation improvement plan and its place in his budget proposal, during an event in Flint on Feb. 8. More. For a sample resolution for cities on transportation funding, click here.

Michigan Cities "Firing Flares" Over State's Broken Funding System
Read a Bridge guest column
warning that the state's system of funding local government is broken, and that we can expect fewer public services in the future if the system is not fixed.

Town Gown: Big Rapids, Ferris State University Joined at the Hip
Read a Town Gown blog post on the partnership between Ferris State University and Big Rapids.

Ann Arbor Placemaking Success Story: Food Cart to Brick and Mortar
ead the latest placemaking success story about how Ann Arbor's "food cart pod" has created a diverse and vibrant gathering place for residents. while serving as an incubator for new food businesses to become permanent establishments.

National Brownfield Assn Program Feb. 21 in Lansing - Register Now
The Michigan Chapter of the National Brownfield Association will discuss the newest developments in brownfield issues Feb. 21 at the Michigan Manufacturers Association in Lansing. More.

Last Chance for Critical Trainings in Frankenmuth on February 14 and 15
Friday is the last day for elected officials and municipal staffers to register for these critical trainings in Frankenmuth. Thursday, February 14: Finance for the Non-Finance Municipal Official and Parliamentary Procedure. Friday, February 15: Service Consolidation & Shared Services and Back to Basics: OMA & FOIA. This is the last chance to get these critical trainings at this convenient location in mid-Michigan!

Kalkaska Village Manager Penny Hill Named MLGMA President for 2013
Kalkaska Village Manager Penny Hill was named the 2013 president of the Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) during the organization’s annual Winter Institute Jan. 29-Feb. 1 in Rochester. She succeeds 2012 MLGMA President Curtis Holt, Wyoming city manager

Communication the Theme at MLGMA 2013 Winter Institute
Municipal managers from throughout Michigan were in Rochester the week of Jan. 29-Feb. 1 for the 2013 Michigan Local Government Management Association (MLGMA) Winter Institute. More..

January 2013

FREE League/Microsoft Webinar: CRM in Local Government
Learn how to use "customer relationship management" to make communication more effective with your constituents. Sign up for the FREE webinar from the League and Microsoft on Feb. 6.

Help Increase Transportation Funding - Contact Legislators Now!
Read about the upcoming Transportation Asset Management Conferences. Read about newly introduced road funding bills.The League is part of the Michigan Transportation Team to support increased funding for transportation. How to help. For a sample resolution, click here.

Bernero and Gilmartin: Why Cities Matter to Regions and Entire State
Read Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero's LSJ op-ed "If Lansing Thrives, So Does Region" and two guest columns from the League's Dan Gilmartin: "Prosperous Urban Areas Draw Workers" and "Here's Why Detroit Matters, Even in Outstate Michigan," an excerpt from an upcoming Review column.

Community Excellence Award Entries Coming in: Join the Race for the Cup!
Lexington, Albion, St. Joseph and South Haven are the first communities to enter the League’s 2013 Community Excellence Award (CEA) competition. Sign up now! First round takes place at the 2013 Capital Conference, April 9-10 in Lansing.

Citizens Institute on Rural Design Seeks Proposals from Communities
The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) is requesting proposals from rural communities facing design challenges to host local workshops in 2013. Successful applicants will receive a $7,000 grant and in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000. More.

League, MLGMA Call for State to Fix Crumbling Transportation System
In response to Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State address, Michigan Municipal League Board President David Lossing and MLGMA President Curtis Holt issued statements calling for a major investment to the state’s crumbling transportation system. Read the League statement and MLGMA's statement. Learn more about the “Just Fix the Roads” campaign.

Editorial: Surplus is Nice But Growth Must be Next for Michigan's Future
Read a Livingston Daily editorial
challenging the current state leadership's notion that cutting education, social services, public safety and infrastructure while giving breaks to business will actually result in economic growth and help make Michigan a quality state.

A New Year Full of Hope and Challenges for Local Communities
Read why a series of Lansing State Journal articles written by individuals high on Lansing show the concepts of placemaking are at work here in Michigan - collaboration, creativity, and a diverse economy being built around entrepreneurs and young talent - despite ongoing challenges. Read more on why communities and people matter. Read the 2013 State of Your League Report.

December 2012

More than 100 Call In to League's Live Chat on Lame Duck Decisions
Click here for a spreadsheet to calculate the impact of the PPT plan. Listen to a recording of the League Live Chat on the bills passed during the Lame Duck session. One Pager Plus Fact Sheet on Right to Work.

27 Former League Members Among New 2013 Legislative Session
A new House is being sworn in, and there are 28 new members, including six additional former League members (and one former League lobbyist) are taking seats as legislators. That will bring us to a total of 27 legislators who are former city or village officials, and we look forward to working with them and other legislators in this new session. See the list. Want to be part of what's going on in Lansing? We need you on the League's Legislative Committees! Learn more.

Lansing Wins $1.5M Grant from NYC Mayor's Foundation for Families
The City of Lansing and Capital Area Community Services, a regional organization combating poverty, have been awarded a $1.5 million grant to help low-income residents become financially stable. More.

Former MAMA President and LDF Board Chair Jack Beras Dies
Long-time Southfield City Attorney John E. (Jack) Beras died recently following a long illness. Beras was an active supporter of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys and a former board chairman of the League’s Legal Defense Fund. Read more about Beras here and here

Port Huron, St Clair Co. Community College Partner for Growth
Read the TownGown blog on how the city and college are involved in initiatives to emphasize the value of higher education.

New: League Publishes One Pager Plus Fact Sheet on Right to Work
Click here
for an overview of the new Right to Work legislation for public and private employees. The League is still evaluating its impact on our members, and will include this important topic in future training programs.

Placemaking and Advocacy Featured in 2013 State of Your League Report
As our member communities continue to struggle with a turbulent economy and tough legislative issues, the League continues to work toward easing those burdens through every avenue available. The League Liability & Property Pool will return more than $10 million in dividends to member communities in 2013. The League continues to lead the way on placemaking as a core economic development strategy. New training opportunities will better equip elected officials for the challenges of office. The Lansing staff is forging ahead with a proactive legislative agenda. Learn about it all in the 2013 State of Your League Report.

Homegrown Talent: Resources for Improving College Attainment
Don't just try to attract or retain talent: help grow your own! The League is partnering with the Michigan College Access Network to promote tools to improve college attainment in local communities. The National League of Cities has also released an Action Guide on the topic.

Training Weeks Coming to a Location Near You in January
The League's new Training Week program offers topics to help educate elected officials and municipal staff. Online resources include a local government primer and specialty one-page fact sheets.

NLC Congressional City Conference March 9-13, 2013 in Washington DC
Click here
to learn more and to register.

Legislature Passes Massive Changes to Michigan Recall Process
Read about HBs 6060 and 6063, sent to the governor at the end of the lame duck session, that change the recall process in Michigan.

Legislature Passes Medical Marihuana Law Changes
The Legislature passed bills to amend the voter-initiated Medical Marihuana law. Read more.

College Town: Sault Ste. Marie and Lake Superior State University
Read the latest Towngown blog on this growing collaboration. Read UP Second Wave's article on the city's transformation into a true university town.

Township BID Tool Bill Passes, Limited to Kent County
SB 334 will allow four Kent County townships to create Business Improvement Zones, which are currently limited to only cities and villages. More.

2012 Statewide Pay and Benefits Survey: Time is Running Out!
Does a searchable database of 143 job titles with pay & benefits information interest you? If so, please check to see if your municipality has participated in this year’s survey—not many have. What are comparables without comparables?

New Emergency Manager Law Passes House, Now at Senate
New Emergency Manager legislation passed the House Wednesday night, allowing four options for struggling local governments: emergency management, consent agreement, mediation, or Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Cable Survey Input Needed by Friday, December 14, 2012
Michigan cities, villages and township are urged to respond to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s online annual survey of competition in the cable television industry by December 14.

League Victory! PA 54 Exemption Will Die in Lame Duck Session
HB 5780 (a bill to create an exemption to PA 54, the law barring retroactivity when contracts have expired) was not taken up by the House and will die on the House floor. It would need to be reintroduced next year and start the entire process over again. This is a huge victory for our communities who are working hard to be efficient and cut costs! Read more.

Main Regional Transit Authority Bill Passes House, Goes to Governor
The House of Representatives has passed SB 909, the main bill in the Regional Transit Authority package. More.

MDOT Offers New Transportation Alternatives Grant Program
The program uses federal transportation funds for activities that enhance the intermodal transportation system and provide safe alternative transportation options. See eligible activities relevant to our communities.

Senate Hearing on PPT Package is Wednesday; Contact Lawmakers!
Last week the House passed part of the personal property tax package and on Wednesday morning (Dec. 12) the Senate Finance Committee is to have a hearing on the issue. PLEASE KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON YOUR LEGISLATORS! Without full, guaranteed replacement state Legislature should not pass what's being considered!!

Training Weeks Coming to a Location Near You in January
The League's new Training Week program will offer a series of topics to help educate elected officials and municipal staff. Online resources for elected officials include a local government primer and specialty one-page fact sheets.

Applicant's Guide to Competitive Grant Assistance Program (EVIP)
Click here for the Applicant's Guide and other resources on EVIP and PA 152. Click here for the Michigan Dept of Treasury page on the program. Read more.

PPT Update
Ignoring pleas from the Michigan Municipal League and other organizations to slow down, the House Tax Policy Committee today pressed forward during this lame duck session to repeal the personal property tax. And now the League needs your help as the bills move to the full House.
Click here to read more and get contact info for your representatives. Read media coverage of the issue here.

Saline Alley Project New "It's About Place" Contest Award Winner
Let’s Save Michigan is happy to announce the Saline Alley Project is the new winner of a $500 award in the It’s About Place Placemaking contest. More.

League CEO, Mayors on "Fix the Debt" Coalition's Michigan Chapter
League CEO Dan Gilmartin is among local leaders in the new Michigan chapter of a national coalition to "Fix the Debt" to avoid the US going over the "fiscal cliff." More.

Senate Passes Village Election Changes to November Schedule
The Senate has passed SB 810 and SB 811, to require village elections to be in November instead of September. More.

Michigan Vacant Property Campaign Roundtable December 4 in Flint
The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign, in partnership with the League, will host its final regional roundtable on Tuesday December 4 in Flint. More.

Governor Releases Energy and Environment Special Message
Governor Snyder released a Special Message to the Michigan Legislature on Ensuring our Future: Energy and the Environment. More.

League Members Needed to Serve on a Legislative Committee
Effective advocacy depends on active involvement of League members in issues that impact local governments. Learn how you can serve on the Legislative Governance or individual Legislative Issue committees.

League Launches New Town Gown Blog on City/University Partnerships
Read about the benefits of city and university partnerships on the new League blog TownGown spearheaded by League President David Lossing.

League Launches New Town Gown Blog on City/University Partnerships
Read about the benefits of city and university partnerships on the new League blog TownGown. Spearheaded by League President David Lossing,the blog will be written by various city leaders and university presidents around the state. A direct link to the blog has also been added to the International Town & Gown Association website. Lossing is featured on the cover of this month's Review magazine and in this Mlive story. Read another Mlive story about the blog's first entry, co-authored by Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and UM-Flint Chancellor Ruth Person.

Act Now to Stop PA 54 Exception for Police and Firefighters
HB 5780 would undo one of last year's important reforms by amending PA 54 of 2012 to exempt police officers and firefighters from the law prohibiting retroactive wage increases. More.

November 2012

NLC to Showcase Ann Arbor Sustainability Framework
Ann Arbor’s sustainability framework is one of 27 programs recognized in the National League of Cities 2012 City Showcase as a model program demonstrating innovative and collaborative approaches within government. More.

League Members: Participate in the MPSC Annual Franchise Survey
We are encouraging our members to participate in the Michigan Public Service Commission's annual franchise survey. More.

League Members: Participate in the MPSC Annual Franchise Survey
We are encouraging our members to participate in the Michigan Public Service Commission's annual franchise survey. More.

League Wins MarCom Awards for Marketing, Communications
The League won seven international MarCom Awards for its marketing and communications efforts, including the highest “Platinum” honor for the book, The Economics of Place: The Value of Building Communities Around People.

Community Foreclosure Toolkit Now Available Online for Michigan
This online toolkit is filled with Michigan-specific foreclosure-related information, resource and strategies for mortgage and tax foreclosure prevention and response, as well as best-practice models from around the state.

League Wins Big with Proposals 5 and 6 Rejected by Michigan Voters
Majority rule democracy was protected by Michigan voters on Nov. 6 with the defeat of Proposal 5, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Defend Michigan Democracy coalition. See all the election results on the Michigan Department of State website.

Former League CEO Robert E. Fryer of Ann Arbor Passed Away Nov. 8
Ann Arbor attorney Robert E. Fryer passed away November 8, 2012. Fryer served as the Michigan Municipal League's Executive Director from 1963-1976. He was named an Honorary Life Member in 1976 and also formerly served as the League's general counsel. Memorial services information.

Green Communities Challenge Awards 25 Communities
Read the press release. Visit the Green Communities Challenge website.

Competitive Grant Assistance Applications Now Available
Applications for the competitive grant assistance program (formerly EVIP grants) are now available at the Treasury Dept's website for the application period lasting through December 3. Read about 32 Michigan communities awarded Competitive Grant Assistance Program grants totaling $10.5 million.

Green Technology in Neighborhood Revitalization
Experts discuss how green building can play a role in placemaking on the most recent Prosperity Agenda show.

Vote NO on Proposal 5
Newspapers across the state have come out overwhelmingly against Proposal 5, which would require a 2/3 supermajority to increase taxes that would effectively end legislative collaboration-- hurting public safety, hospitals and other essential services. Read the Detroit Free Press debate. The League's Arnold Weinfeld joined Gov. Snyder and others on a statewide bus tour opposing Proposal 5. Listen to WJR's Frank Beckmann Show with Dan Gilmartin as the final guest. Watch a bipartisan video of Gov. Snyder and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero speaking against Prop 5. Watch a Detroit News and Free Press video calling for a NO vote on Prop 5. The Defend Michigan Democracy coalition website has resources for communities including a sample resolution opposing Prop 5. Join the Vote NO effort. Read who is paying for ballot proposal ads.

Apply for Michigan Main Street Associate Main Street Program
The Michigan Main Street Center is taking applications for the Associate Main Street program now through November 2. Read more.




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