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E-M:/ HB 5752 - Special Assessment for Gypsy Moth Spraying



I would like everyone to be aware of a bill that has recently passed the
House and now is in the hands of Senator McManus of the Senate Policy
Committee.  This bill will allow governmental units to specially assess
property owners for the spraying of gypsy moths.  This bill also places
stricter objection processes on the property owners.  We are losing our
individual right as a property owner to say "NO" to spraying with Foray 48F
(Bt is contained within this pesticide).  

Please refer to the attached bill.

Here is some background.  My township, Caledonia Township, asked the MTA to
lobby for this bill.  Actually, our Supervisor and one of our Trustees
requested this action.  Our township board never requested or supported this
action.  No one in our township was aware that these two representatives of
our township requested the inclusion of the stricter objection process.  We
are extremely disgusted that our township representatives would use their
status to push this bill forward.  This bill will affect the entire State of
Michigan.  There are proven biological methods to suppress gypsy moth
infestations without spraying pesticides.  Also, we have obtained
information that proves the pesticide is not totally safe and how it does
affect the soil composition and other lepidoptera species.

We are seeking help in lobbying against this bill.  We have already inlisted
the American Lung Association and have sent numerous petitions to Senator
Posthumus against the bill.  The bill is in a fast track at this time
because the governmental agencies would like to see this bill passed before
the next spraying season which is next Spring.  I will be attending a Sierra
Group meeting this month to provide the board with my information.

Please help us!  Many of us citizens of Caledonia Township are angry and
embarrassed that our officials would support such an action!  Please contact
me at this addy:   lporritt@raider.grcc.cc.mi.us

Thank you!

HEB5752H.PDF

<html><Title>House Legislative Analysis</title><Body bgcolor=#FFFFFF>
<img src="/HouseLegAnal.gif">

<PRE>
                                   TOWNSHIP SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS 
                                   FOR GYPSY MOTH SUPPRESSION


                                   House Bill 5752 with committee 
                                    amendment 
                                   First Analysis (5-12-98)

                                   Sponsor: Rep. Kirk Profit 
                                   Committee: Agriculture 


THE APPARENT PROBLEM:

The township public improvement act (Public Act 188
of 1954) is the primary enabling statute under which
townships have authority to make public improvements
as listed in the act and to pay for them by borrowing
money and issuing bonds in anticipation of collecting
special assessments against the property especially
benefited by the improvement. Currently the public
improvements listed in the act include constructing,
improving, and maintaining storm or sanitary sewers,
water systems, public roads, pedestrian overpasses,
bicycle paths, sidewalks, private roads, bodies of water
(lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and lagoons, including
dredging), recreational dams, and dikes; acquiring,
improving, and maintaining public parks; garbage or
rubbish collection and disposal; installing, improving,
and maintaining lighting systems; planting,
maintaining, and removing trees; and eradicating or
controlling aquatic weeds and plants. The township
board may carry out an improvement under the act
unless written objections are filed with the board by
property owners whose land constitutes more than
twenty percent of the total land area in the proposed
special assessment district or whose land constitutes
more than twenty percent of the total frontage in cases
where the proposed improvement is a road, bicycle
path, or sidewalk. If written objections are filed, the
township board cannot proceed with the proposed
public improvement until a petition signed by more
than 50 percent of the landowners is filed with the
board. 

The Department of Agriculture currently administers a
gypsy moth suppression program that counties can
participate in and under which counties can be
reimbursed with federal funds for up to 50 percent of
their costs. Reportedly, nine counties participated in
the program last year and received $358,000 in
reimbursement for costs. However, some townships in
counties not participating in the state and federal
program have experienced problems with gypsy moth
infestations, and have no statutory authority to
establish special assessment districts to pay for such
programs under their enabling act, Public Act 188 of
1954. The Michigan Townships Association has
encouraged introduction of legislation to add gypsy
moth suppression to the list of public improvements
allowed under the act.  

THE CONTENT OF THE BILL:

The bill would amend the township public
improvement act (Public Act 188 of 1954) to add the
suppression or control of gypsy moths to the list of
improvements allowed to be financed under the act. 

MCL 41.722 and 41.723 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

House Bill 5579 of 1997, which was referred to the
House Tax Policy Committee, is identical to the bill as
introduced. 

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

According to the House Fiscal Agency, the bill would
have no fiscal impact on the state, but could result in
additional local revenues from the levy of special
assessments under the bill. (5-7-98) 

ARGUMENTS:

For:
By creating special assessment districts, a township can
provide a service or a public improvement to a limited
number of property owners within the township and
only assess those who benefit from the service or
improvement. Although there is a state and federal
gypsy moth suppression program that counties can
participate in, and receive federal reimbursement for
up to half of their costs, most counties don't participate
in the program (reportedly nine of the state's 83
counties participated last year and 19 plan to do so this
year). So if a township in a nonparticipating county has
a serious gypsy moth problem, what it currently must
do is either spray the gypsy moths and hope that the
property owners who are billed for the costs of the
spraying will voluntarily pay, or else do nothing. Since
gypsy moths are only a problem where certain kinds of
trees grow (for example, deciduous rather than
evergreens) -- and are not a problem for agricultural
crops -- the bill would allow townships to target
specific problem areas within their boundaries in a
timely and effective manner. As is the case with other
special assessments, only those people whose property
would benefit from suppression programs would be
assessed for the costs of the programs, which is the fair
and equitable way to go. 

Against:
Some people argue that bonding is the wrong way to
go, particularly for projects other than capital
improvements. Bonding should not be used for
ongoing operations. Others believe that since gypsy
moths have become a statewide problem, the state
should pay for gypsy moth suppression, and not
townships, particularly through bonding. 
Response:
The act already allows -- and the bill would allow --
bonding, but would not require it. According to
testimony before the House Agriculture Committee,
townships probably would pay for gypsy moth
suppression programs through establishing special
assessment districts and collecting special assessment
fees to pay for the costs of these programs. In
addition, however, it should be pointed out that the act
already allows townships to bond not only for the
construction, acquisition, or installation and 
improvement of certain public improvements, but also
for their maintenance, which presumably involves
ongoing operations. The act also specifically allows
townships to bond for the eradication or control of
aquatic weeds and plants, which also would sometimes
involve ongoing operations. 

Against:
Some people suggest that the bill might require that
proof of the need for a gypsy moth suppression
program be required before allowing the townships to
establish special assessment districts for conducting
such programs. Currently, the federal program
requires a certain density of gypsy moth egg masses
before a county is eligible for reimbursement, which is
determined by egg counts. Although some townships 
implementing gypsy moth suppression programs
reportedly already are following a similar
methodology, it has been suggested that the bill require
townships to have a methodology for determining the
need for a gypsy moth suppression program similar to
that currently in place for counties participating in the
federal program. 

POSITIONS:

The Michigan Township Association supports the bill.
(5-7-98) 

Caledonia Township (in Kent County) supports the
bill. (5-7-98) 



                                              Analyst: S. Ekstrom


ūThis analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House staff for use by
House members in their deliberations, and does not constitute an
official statement of legislative intent.</Pre></Body></html>
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Laura L. Porritt               |
GRCC Student		       | "A penny saved is a penny earned."
      	                       |
                               |
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(616) 776-6365                 |
lporritt@raider.grcc.cc.mi.us  |  Fax #: (616) 776-7885
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