The House Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Committee passed HB 1155 – 1158. These bills will allow for more funding from the Great Lakes Water Quality Bond Fund to be distributed to communities. The Michigan Municipal League indicated support for these bills.
Currently a maximum of $710.0 million must be deposited into the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (SRF) and a maximum of $290.0 million must be deposited into the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund (SWQIF). The legislation would decrease the maximum amount transferred to the SRF to $90.0 million, and increase the maximum amount transferred to the SWQIF to $910.0 million.
The SWQIF would now include construction activities related to sewage treatment works, stormwater treatment, and nonpoint source projects among the activities eligible for a low-interest loan through the program, when identified through an asset management program or storm water project plan designed to protect water quality. The SWQIF money could also be used for grants to municipalities for sewage collection and treatment systems, and grants and loans for wetland mitigation banks. The grant program would have to provide grants of up to $1.0 million to cover a maximum of 90% of the costs incurred by a municipality. For grants of more than $1.0 million and less than $2.0 million, the program could not cover more than 75% of the municipality’s costs. A municipality could receive a 100% grant if it were a disadvantaged community. No municipality could receive more than $2.0 million in total grant assistance. The bill would require the Michigan Municipal Bond Authority, in conjunction with the DEQ, to establish a wetland mitigation bank funding program that provided grants and loans totaling a maximum of $10.0 million to eligible municipalities. Up to $500,000 of the total could be used for grants. The funding could be used for this program as long as funds remained available. These grants would have to provide assistance to municipalities to complete loan application requirements for funding from the wetland mitigation bank funding program or other sources of financing. Grants could not cover more than 90% of a municipality’s costs to complete an application for loan assistance. Loans under this program would have to provide assistance to municipalities to establish a wetland mitigation bank. Disadvantaged communities will also now be more easily able to use the Clean Water Assistance and Safe Drinking Water Assistance programs.
Nikki Brown is a Legislative Associate for the League handling economic development issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.