2017-09-21 / News

Mackinac County To Host Association of Counties on Island

Mackinac County will be the host county for a sold-out threeday annual conference of the Michigan Association of Counties and the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council Sunday, September 24, through Tuesday, September 26, at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

The three-day event is the largest gathering of county officials in the state each year. Jim Hill, chairman of the Mackinac County Commission, will deliver the welcoming address.

Keynote speakers will be Chris Johnson of On Target Living and Michigan State Treasurer Nick Khouri. The conference will include a President’s Banquet featuring Grand Hotel historian Bob Tagatz, a Grand Porch Party on the hotel’s 660-foot porch, and a Mackinac Island Mixer on Sunday evening, September 24, after participants arrive.

Mr. Johnson, CEO and Founder of a multi-million-dollar company with global operations, will speak on the theme of “Capacity: Creating Laser Focus, Boundless Energy and Unstoppable Drive” on Monday morning, September 25.

With local government finance problems showing few signs of lessening, Monday’s afternoon session will focus on Michigan fiscal issues as viewed by the state’s top fiscal officer, Mr. Khouri. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed him Michigan’s 46th state treasurer in April 2015.

His speech will be of particular interest because an August analysis from Citizens Research Council of Michigan says the state will face a $2-billion to $5-billion general fund shortfall in three years. That could necessitate reduced services or tax increases.

MAC government affairs director Deena Bosworth, who will provide a legislative update Tuesday morning, September 26, said last month that counties are running “at 60 percent of the tax what revenues were 10 years ago.”Local governments say they face fiscal troubles because of pinched revenues during recession in the first decade of this century and state revenue limits that hamper their ability to recover.

Mr. Tagatz, who has more than 30 years of civic experience in historical preservation in Michigan, Florida, and Georgia, will describe the varied history of the Grand as it celebrates its 130th anniversary. He came to Mackinac Island owing to his interest in Grand Hotel and its status as one of 11 remaining turn-of-the-century wood frame hotels in the U.S.

At breakout Michigan Association of Counties sessions, county officials from around the state will discuss issues such as the importance of the Soo Locks, through which freighters pass 8,000 times carrying 80 million tons of cargo annually; federal health care turmoil and what it means for counties and individuals; protecting government computers from cyber attacks; and insights about the effects of wind turbines, with information from surveys conducted by the University of Michigan of more than 3,200 landowners in four counties that have wind farms.

The Grand Porch Party will be held prior to the President’s Banquet on the western half of the porch, with views of the Mackinac Bridge, on Monday evening, September 25.

A key topic of the Care Facilities Council sessions will be long-term care regulations in Michigan.

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