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Posted on Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 10:05 p.m.

Ouimet hails passage of 'sweeping legislation' to help local governments consolidate

By Ryan J. Stanton

The state House on Thursday approved what one Washtenaw County lawmaker is calling "sweeping legislation" that allows local governments to more easily consolidate.

Senate Bills 8-9, which state Rep. Mark Ouimet shepherded through the House Committee on Local Intergovernmental and Regional Affairs, create the Municipal Partnership Act for local governments to utilize when consolidating or cooperating to provide services.

"As we ask our local governments to do the same with less, it is important we provide them with the tools they need to be successful," Ouimet, R-Scio Township, said in a statement.


Mark Ouimet

"This is yet another tool that municipalities can use when looking to consolidate or cooperate with other local municipalities or agencies."

SB 8 authorizes two or more local governments — or one or more local governments and a public agency — to enter into a contract to form a joint partnership that could exercise the functions of the local government or public agency.

The new joint partnerships could levy up to 5 mills worth of property taxes with approval by voters during a November general election.

According to a Senate Fiscal Agency analysis of the legislation, "local government" means a county, city, village or township.

"Public agency" means the state, any department or agency of the state, a single-purpose or multipurpose public body corporate formed under a law other than the proposed act, or an Indian tribe recognized by the federal government before 2000 that exercises governmental authority over land within the state.

SB 8 passed 26-11 in the Senate on Thursday and was ordered enrolled. SB 9 passed 72-35 in the House and was returned to the Senate and ordered enrolled.

Consolidation has become somewhat of a buzzword in the political arena in Michigan, with both Democrats and Republicans backing efforts to find new efficiencies in local government.

The first step in a possible merger of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township into one town in southwest Michigan is reportedly under way. A grassroots committee is petitioning the Michigan State Boundary Commission to put the merger process on track for a vote in 2012.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


E. Manuel Goldstein

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

And this legislation creates how many jobs? Or helps to create how many jobs? The republicans in Lansing have done a dismal job in job creation for the past year. They seem to prefer gutting consumer protections, workers comp, unemployment benefits, and cutting the needy from public assistance. They raise taxes on pensions, and fees on auto registration (yet another backdoor tax).


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Mr. Stanton Why is Mr. Ouimet's actions described as 'sheparding'? These two bills seems to have been sponsored solely by State Senator Jansen. Can you distinguish Mr. Ouimet's specific role?

Susie Q

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

I do not believe Mark Ouimet is "getting it done for the residents". I have been very disappointed in Mr Ouimet's voting record. I had hoped that he would remember that the residents that he represents are not the lock-step far right conservatives of the west side of the state, especially on social issues. I am a fiscal conservative and believe that Michigan has needed to change the way we do business. But I have been very disappointed in many of the mean-spirited initiatives that are emanating from Lansing and that Mark has supported. I hope that Mr Ouimet comes to his senses and realizes that he needs to vote for all his constituents, not just the business interests.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

State reps and all of Michigan legislators need to open your eyes do you really think Michigan citizens in this depressed state can afford more taxes. Wow ! what type of palace do you live in. Vote these bad politicians out wake up michigan voters


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

5 mills more taxes for what more government. No thanks, Vote No.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 10:57 a.m.

just what I would expect from some 3rd rate MBA who thinks he knows better than the voters how their local governments should work. Nice!


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 10:53 a.m.

Now our state representatives will have a new place to work when they leave the State. That's the way to look to the future.

David Briegel

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 10:09 a.m.

I'm certain that Mr Hankamp and his fellow Chicago residents will be quite happy to pay that additional 5 mills! Think how many bridges to nowhere can now be built.

Michigan Man

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Briegel - Yes, you are correct! I am quite satisfied that Ouimet is my fairly elected representative and that he is working hard for the fine people of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County. BTW - I own property in Ann Arbor so I suppose our wonderful liberty of free speech in this country would allow me to comment on all things Ann Arbor. Keep an eye out for future posts!


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 6:29 a.m.

Why don't we merge our State goverments? Say Michigan and Ohio, then we can get rid of half of our State Legislators and one Governor. Just think of all the money we can save! Millions.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 5:31 a.m.

So, Maximus, the legislation authorizes a vote for up to 5 additional mills of property taxes. How does that keep our tax burden down? This sounds like it creates a new bureaucratic layer that can be thrown at voters again and again every time local politicians enter into an "agreement". You can have your local county agree with a State agency to have combined services and throw a millage election onto the ballot. Then you can have your local city or township agree with the county to tie in onto some of those services and throw another millage election onto the ballot. Then you can have your township and county agree on another service tie in and put another millage on the ballot. From the sounds of it, you can have geographically disparate groups consolidate and toss millages onto the ballot. You lose local responsibility by the creation of a new bureacratic class that doesn't answer directly and solely to voters or their local representatives and you possibly gain endless ballot proposals for increased millages. Either this article is too shallow to get into any protections or limitations in this legislation or there are none and that's scary. I would urge everyone to give this legislation close scrutiny before heaping praise on Mr. Ouimet. Maybe it's deserved, but there are too many questions that this superficial article doesn't ask or answer.

John Q

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

"So it's encouraging that municipalities will have to learn the same. " Where have you been? Municipalities have been cutting back for years.

Michigan Man

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 3 a.m.

Good news - Ouimet getting it done for the residents/citizens of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and the State of Michigan - Mark has been a fine new addition to the old school Lansing crowd.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

So who decides that a merger should take place? Certainly not the stupid voters. The administrators are much smarter.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.



Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 8:02 a.m.

These truths you spew. They will not do. Consolidate the authority just as soon as the nation of laws-not-men flips into the visa versa. Mark will caddy you the whole way through.

Max Maximus

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

Outstanding news- way to go, Mark. Many of us have learned to do "more with less" the past few years. So it's encouraging that municipalities will have to learn the same. Please keep bringing our overwhelming tax burden down. It's the American way, Michiganders deserve it and we owe it to our children. Great to hear.