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Monday, November 8, 2010

Mayor Hall Testifies at Michigan Senate Hearings on Bond Financing

Below is a press release from the Michigan Municipal League on Mayor Hall's testimony:

LANSING, Michigan (11/5/2010) – Rogers City Mayor Beach Hall testified before the state Senate Finance Committee Thursday about the need for a package of bills that changes municipal bond refinancing rules.

Hall testified along with Summer Minnick, director of state affairs for the Michigan Municipal League and Howell City Manager Shea Charles. The three explained that the bills (HBs 5550-5554) are needed to help communities in these challenging fiscal times. The bills would allow local communities to refinance their existing bonds, essentially enabling them to obtain lower payments in order to survive financially. With the drastic reduction in property values, which bonds are based on, and the $4 billion in statewide cuts to revenue sharing, many communities have not been able to generate the funds needed to pay the bonds and have had to drain their general funds to help cover the cost of the bond payments – resulting in cutting critical services.

Hall said he made the 250-mile trek from his northern Michigan community to Lansing specifically to testify because he views this issue vitally important to his community and other Michigan communities.

“This can rescue a local community, it really can,” Hall said.

Minnick said the League has been encouraging change to municipal refinancing laws for a couple of years to give communities more flexibility in refinancing existing non-voted debt.

“Our communities are facing some tremendous financial hurdles right now and these bills should help considerably,” Minnick said.

Charles of Howell added, “These bills would greatly benefit all Michigan communities.”

The bills have already passed the state House and having a hearing before the Senate finance committee was a great step forward in the process, Minnick said. There was a substitute adopted by the Senate committee that made minor changes to the approval process and Minnick said she is optimistic that the bills will be approved at the next Senate finance committee next week. Once that occurs, the full Senate will need to take a vote and the House will have to concur before it goes to the Governor for her signature.

End of Press Release.
Please contact your state Senator and ask him or her to support this important legislation. 

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