Municipalities Answer Governor with List of Reforms

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

Governor Rick Snyder dared municipalities to think of new ideas to save money, and the Michigan Municipal League has rose to the challenge.

"If the question is show us how you've consolidated and cut costs, we will be able to answer that question," said Summer Minnick, the director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.

One of the top priorities in a series of 6 reforms is changing the urban cooperation act that forces cities to pay employees more when services are combined.

"Studies have shown that when two communities have really tried to consolidate, the costs have actually increased. In order to save money and cut costs, we're saying break the state laws that prohibit that from happening," said Minnick.

Other reforms they are sending to the governor include changing to online notices instead of paying for legal notices in the newspaper. Also, changing the law that holds communities liable for 2-inch defects in sidewalks. These are small steps, but mean leaps at the local level.

Now local governments are asking something of the governor--stop cutting revenue sharing taxes they need to fund basic services.

"Roads are not being paved and parks have been closed because the state has made the choice to plug it's holes rather than provide this money for these essential services," said CEO Dan Gilmartin of the Michigan Municipal League.

In the last decade, Lansing's revenue sharing taxes have been cut $6 Million, Jackson has been cut $2 Million, and Meridian Township has been cut a $0.5 Million.

"They basically robbed us of $4 billion. We're in a position where we've got to work behind every nook and cranny. At some point in time, the numbers don't add up. We are there now," said Gilmartin.

The league is cautiously optimistic these changes will be made by the new administration.


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