State-wide municipalities come together to address U.P. funding issues

MARQUETTE — A downstate executive stopped in Marquette today to address an issue facing Michigan municipalities: too little funding.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is conquering the state, one city at a time, to address the issues local government officials are facing when it comes to fiscal responsibilities.

After a visit to Marquette and several areas downstate, Evan’s is hearing similar complaints. With a lack of revenue plaguing municipalities, officials are having to balance budgets differently, which is negatively affecting infrastructure, roads and other public services.

Michigan is now ranked 15th amongst the states in terms of returning revenue back to local governments.

“That’s our money we sent in the first place, there’s no mystical thing here,” said Wayne County Executive, Warren Evans. “We pay tax dollars and the percentage of the tax dollars we get back is the money we operate off of. We’re not necessarily talking about new money, we’re talking about the appropriate allocation of the money that already goes to the state.”

Though Marquette County has seen its fair share of economic turmoil in the last decade, staff have managed to keep the county ahead of the game.

“We are doing better than some places throughout the state who have seen significant changes from an economic standpoint,” said Marquette County Administrator, Scott Erbisch. “We stay fiscally solid because we keep making the adjustments as we need to. However, these adjustments get more and more difficult as you look at it.”

Evan’s said he hopes to compile all the complaints and compile a proposal that will re–engage local officials and come up with a solution to a growing issue.