November 1, 2014

Arenac County Commissioners consider dropping out of county association

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ARENAC COUNTY — In its efforts to cut out $200,000 in spending over the next two years, the Arenac County Board of Commissioners may opt out of its membership in the Michigan Association of Counties, which cost $7,000 per year.

“When you look at it, $7,000, that’s quite a chunk,” Board Chairman Raymond Daniels said. “I’m not real sure what we’re going to be losing, to be honest.”

Tom Hickson, MAC Director of Legislation Affairs, however, sees it differently when it comes to benefits MAC offers its members – all Michigan counties besides Mason County.

“I’d think they’d lose a lot,” Hickson said, adding that the $7,000 membership dues are less than what MAC returns to members. “We provide lobbying at the capitol for all the counties.

“I can probably easily double that in savings we’ve gotten from state government,” he continued. He added MAC offers discounts in workman’s compensation plans and office supplies.

“If Arenac’s not a member, they’re not going to get those discounts,” Hickson said.

He also added the workman’s comp plan pays back a dividend annually to member counties.

MAC also offers legal advice to its members, Daniels said, but added the advice isn’t that helpful.

“That legal advice usually tells the counties to contact its own attorneys,” he said.

According to the Board Chair, many of the Lansing affairs MAC informs the county about are already known.

“A lot of that stuff, when it comes to funding, the treasurer gets that too,” Daniels said. “Dennis (Stawowy, treasurer) seems to be aware of that stuff.”

While Hickson said the discounts members could take advantage of wouldn’t be available if Arenac County dropped out, Daniels said he’s confident that the lobbying done by MAC will still help the county, if it helps any of its members.

“I’m pretty sure that they’re not going to say ‘Okay, we’re lobbying for revenue sharing for everybody except Arenac County because they’re not a member anymore,’” he said.

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