Category Archives: Government

Secretary of State replacing ‘unreliable kiosks’ with new self-service stations

In addition to Secretary of State branch offices, many of the new stations will be in grocery stores such as Kroger and Meijer, meeting customers where they already are doing business.


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Nov. 27, 2019

Say goodbye to the old, unreliable relics of the past usually located near the entrance of your local Secretary of State office.

Secretary Jocelyn Benson said she is replacing “unreliable, hard-to-use kiosks across the state with new, user-friendly self-service stations.”

Benson said she is also increasing the number of stations by more than 60 percent.

Following a one-month pilot phase completed this involving a dozen new self-service stations and thousands of customer transactions, the project will expand to replace all 93 existing kiosks by the end of January and add 57 more, for a total of 150, by the end of April.

Additional stations are also being discussed.

In addition to Secretary of State branch offices, many of the new stations will be in grocery stores such as Kroger and Meijer.

“We’ve already seen a significant increase in customers using the new machines,” Benson said. “During the pilot phase, the number of transactions increased significantly on three-quarters of the new machines compared to the same period the previous year. In some locations, the increase has been as much as 57 percent.”

Like the previous kiosks, self-service stations will offer renewals for automobiles, motorcycles and watercraft.

The stations can print auto and motorcycle tabs. Watercraft tabs will be mailed to customers.

The new stations will add numerous driver-related transactions once the Michigan Department of State completes the second portion of its computer system upgrade in March 2021.

The Department of State is partnering with vendor Intellectual Technology Inc. (ITI) on the new stations, which are being provided at no cost to the state, according to Benson.

Customers will pay a technology service fee of $3.95 for every vehicle renewed at a self-service station. Transactions normally take less than two minutes.

Many of the new machines will accept cash — previously not an option at the old kiosks. The new stations also accept American Express credit cards, in addition to the Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards the previous kiosks accepted.

Residents don’t need to have their renewal packet with them to renew their registration at a self-service station. Eligible vehicles can be renewed with only the plate number and the last four digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Many stations are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For an up-to-date listing of locations with the new self-service stations, visit Michigan.gov/SOSSelfService.


 

Gov. Whitmer visits New Boston restaurant for a sit-down with local officials, community leaders

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer discusses state and federal issues with local officials, community members, and residents on Nov. 13 at Tony’s Coney Island and Grill in New Boston. (Image courtesy of Tony’s Coney Island and Grill)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Nov. 18, 2019

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer visited New Boston last week for a sit-down conversation with local officials and community members.

The meeting was held at Tony’s Coney Island and Grill on Nov. 13 and was not announced to local media ahead of time.

During the meeting, Whitmer was joined by State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) and the two discussed a recent proposal by Whitmer to expand overtime eligibility for Michigan workers.

“As the law stands right now, far too many Michigan workers are not guaranteed overtime pay when they put in extra hours at work,” said Camilleri. “The governor is taking bold steps to ensure Michiganders are fairly compensated for a hard day’s work. This has the potential to help thousands of families achieve the financial security they need to support themselves, and I look forward to doing all I can support this initiative with my work in the Legislature,” Camilleri said.

Recent changes in federal law are set to extend overtime pay rights to workers making up to $35,500, but even then less than one in six Michiganders will benefit, a statement from Camilleri said.

If enacted, Whitmer’s proposal would raise that threshold to $61,000.

Also participating in the discussion were state Reps. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham), Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth) and representatives from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, as well as two residents who would be affected by the proposed change.

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer meeting with local community members to discuss expanding overtime eligibility. (Photo courtesy Darrin Camilleri)


 

Camilleri, Chang open Downriver Community Workspace set to offer face-to-face help with state issues

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (center) talks with a resident during Wednesday’s opening celebration of the Downriver Community Workspace located inside of Gibraltar City Hall. (Photo courtesy of House Democrats)


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Nov. 15, 2019

The Downriver Community Workspace opened this week inside of Gibraltar City Hall.

The workspace allows residents in Downriver the ability to receive help with state issues in a face-to-face format.

It’s also the first community space opened by state lawmakers in Downriver in over a decade.

The workspace was spearheaded by State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) and State Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).

Camilleri and Chang say they hope the new workspace will serve to make state government more accessible to Downriver residents.

“As a state representative, the best part of my job is being out in the community with the people I have the honor of representing,” said Camilleri. “I want to ensure that all Downriver residents have a reliable place they can go to get assistance and discuss the most important issues facing their families. Opening a community workspace has been something we’ve been working on for a long time, and we’re really excited by the opportunities it will provide.”

Over 30 residents attended the open house for the new workspace on Wednesday. Coffee, pie and other refreshments from local businesses were served during the event.

Staff will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during normal business hours at the city hall.

Gibraltar City Hall is located at 29450 Munro Street.

Residents with questions, or those looking for more information about the new workspace, are encouraged to reach out to Camilleri by phone at (517) 373-0555 or by email at DarrinCamilleri@house.mi.gov, or Chang by phone at (517) 373-7346 or by email at senschang@senate.mi.gov.


 

Here is the agenda for Wednesday’s board meeting

Huron Hub file photo


Posted by The Huron Hub on Nov. 13, 2019

Here is the agenda for Wednesday’s board meeting.

For more information about agenda items, visit the township’s civic portal by clicking here.  At that link, you can view an attachment file linked to each item.

Meetings are also broadcast live at this link: hurontownship.viebit.com/

The board meets Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Township Hall, 22950 Huron River Drive in New Boston.

Click or tap documents to enlarge


 

 

Camilleri, Chang announce opening of new Downriver Community Workspace


Posted by The Huron Hub on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) and State Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) invite residents to attend a special open house to celebrate the opening of a new Downriver Constituent Office and Community Workspace inside Gibraltar City Hall.

The office is the first of its kind Downriver, and will allow residents to get help with state issues face-to-face. After the office formally opens, staff will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during normal business hours.

Free coffee and pie from local Downriver businesses will be available during the open house celebration.

The open house will be Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 4-6 p.m.

Gibraltar City Hall is located at 29450 Munro Street.

Residents with questions, or those looking for more information about the event or the new workspace, can reach Rep. Camilleri by phone at (517) 373-0555 or by email at DarrinCamilleri@house.mi.gov.


 

Camilleri, Manoogian look to create Election Day holidays

(Huron Hub file photo)


Posted by The Huron Hub on Friday, Nov, 1, 2019 

State Reps. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown) and Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) introduced legislation this week that they say will increase access to voting.

Camilleri’s House Bill 5191 would designate regular election days in May, August, and November as state holidays.

Manoogian’s House Joint Resolution calls on Congress to declare Election Day a national holiday.

The package would also encourage employers to allow their employees to take at least a half-day of paid leave to ensure they have the opportunity to vote.

“Voting is at the very foundation of our democracy—it’s our best tool to hold our elected officials accountable and chart a new course for the future,” said Camilleri. “But even today, many people can’t exercise this fundamental right in a meaningful way because they can’t get the time off work. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to expand access to voting in Michigan by ensuring that residents can fulfill their civic duty without jeopardizing their job or financial security.”

According to a joint statement from the representatives, several states have already declared election days as civic holidays, while others require employers to allow employees to take paid leave time in order to vote.

Manoogian and Camilleri said they believe their package will make it easier for Michigan residents to reach the ballot box.

“Every citizen who wishes to vote should be able to. For Americans working multiple jobs to support themselves and their families, it can be impossible to find the time to vote,” said Manoogian. “This resolution urges Congress to make Election Day in November a holiday, giving citizens more flexibility to vote, ensuring that our government is truly representative of its people.”

“In the United States, voting is the most important civic duty entrusted to the people by the Constitution. It is what allows the elected representatives to respond to the will of the people, and holds elected officials accountable for their actions,” said state Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Huntington Woods), who co-sponsored the package. “By passing this resolution and making voting day a national holiday, the government is sending the message that the election process, and each vote, matters.”


 

Romulus receives five star rating from U of M-Dearborn’s annual eCities study for second year in a row


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019

The City of Romulus received a five star rating recently from a study conducted by eCities iLabs researchers at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Center for Innovation Research.

The study recognized Romulus for its dedication to entrepreneurial growth and economic development, according to a statement from the city.

It’s the second year in a row that Romulus has received the accolade.

“The city of Romulus is proud to receive a five-star rating in the eCities report for the second year in row, demonstrating our commitment to making Romulus a home of opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs,” Mayor LeRoy Burcroff said. “We have doubled down on our efforts to fuel the success of local businesses, and I am thrilled to see continued growth in our community as a result.”

The annual eCities study analyzed publicly available data from 277 communities in 54 counties in Michigan. Researchers focused on the five-year changes in property values, community assets and tax rates, which demonstrates the growth, investments and cost of doing business within the community.

Romulus was one of only three communities in Wayne County to receive five stars.

According to the statement, the city’s Economic Development Department has numerous tools and incentives designed to attract incoming development, retain current businesses and prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The city says they recently implemented a three-part “Buy Local” strategy in support of local businesses, which includes marketing businesses to new and existing residents, providing networking opportunities for developers and businesses owners, and implementing a local preference clause in the city’s purchasing ordinance.

In addition, to mitigate a shortage in talent, the city says it is developing a pilot program called Career Connect, that provides youth and young adults with summer work experience at local businesses.

Once admitted to the program, students receive assistance with resume building and job training, along with access to a financial literacy course.

Other business resources include a Tax Increment Finance Authority, a Downtown Development Authority, Next Michigan Development Corporation, a Foreign Trade Zone and two Federal Opportunity Zones.

To view the entire list of five star communities in Michigan, visit this link.