Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans’ Investing in Michigan Communities: Finding Fair Funding for Strong, Successful Communities statewide tour kicks-off May 18. Mayors, township supervisors, commissioners, city council members and other decision-makers are scheduled to join Executive Evans in Trenton, Michigan for the first of seven summits aimed at identifying viable solutions to Michigan’s broken model for funding local governments.
The first six summits have been designed to educate participants on the history of how the existing funding system came to be, hear stories of how the current model is hurting local communities, examine past proposals to fix the system and discuss possible solutions. At each tour stop, a different local official will present their perspective about the local funding model. City of Taylor Mayor Rick Sollars is the featured elected official at the May 18 summit. As part of the seventh summit, expected to be in Southeast Michigan, the findings from the previous summits will be presented along with some of the recommended solutions.
Executive Evans has assembled a team of well-respected research and policy institutions, many of whom have already been exploring solutions for improving local finance, to join him for this journey. They are: Michigan State University Extension Center for Local Government Finance and Policy, the Michigan Municipal League, Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Michigan Association of Counties (MAC), and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.
“For years, it’s been hard to pin down agreement around the best solutions to fix local funding. Now more than ever, municipalities are finding the cost cutting measures they’ve taken aren’t enough to meet the long-term needs for their residents,” said Executive Evans. “It’s a struggle for many to properly fund basic services like police, fire, road and infrastructure repairs.”
“Michigan’s system to fund local governments does not support investing in strong, successful communities. Through these summits I plan to work with local decision makers and think tanks to build consensus around an agenda that provides fair funding to Michigan communities.”
Executive Evans initially expressed his concerns about this topic during his State of the County Address this past March when he called the existing system “broken” and said it “… threatens the financial stability of counties and local municipalities…”
The remaining six Investing in Michigan Communities: Finding Fair Funding for Strong, Successful Communities summits will invite government leaders representing the counties, cities, townships, and villages near the summit site. The remainder of the summit tour schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:
- July 2016 – Grand Rapids
- August 2016 – Upper Peninsula
- September 2016 – Lansing
- October 2016 – Traverse City
- November 2016 – Flint
- January 2017 – Southeast Michigan