Snyder Wants Laws Change to Encourage Consolidation

By: AP
By: AP

GRAND RAPIDS -- Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder detailed a plan Monday aimed at encouraging regional cooperation and shared services between local governments.
The Republican governor said he wants to emphasize changes that prompt consolidation and service sharing among local government units. In a special message to the Legislature, Snyder also called for strategies that control compensation costs while targeting accountability and transparency.
"Local officials deserve credit for continually finding ways to make effective use of their limited resources," Snyder said in a speech delivered in Grand Rapids.
"However, antiquated laws often discourage them from taking broader steps such as consolidating or sharing services with neighboring communities. It is time that we view both challenges and solutions in a regional context rather than confining them to township, city and county borders," he said.
Snyder wants to establish an incentive program that would replace part of Michigan's tax revenue sharing program that supports local governments. Communities that meet "best practices" standards would be eligible for incentives.
Examples of best practices would include placing all new hires in a defined contribution plan or a hybrid retirement plan that caps annual employer contributions at 10 percent of base salary. If health care is offered, new hires would have to pay 20 percent of their health insurance premiums.
Snyder's plan calls for speeding up the collective bargaining process in cases where services or management are being merged between local units of government.
Snyder called for changing binding arbitration practices for public safety workers so that a community's ability to pay is a fundamental factor in an arbitrator's decision.


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