Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.


Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.



Think Regional/Act Local

Key socio-economic data in jeopardy

(Census, Data) Permanent link

On May 9, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5326) that dramatically affects the Periodic Censuses and Programs. It effectively terminates the annual American Community Survey, eliminates the 2012 Economic Census, and halts several projects for preparing the 2020 census.


The American Community Survey (ACS), which replaced the decennial Census long form, is our country’s only source of small area estimates on social and demographic characteristics. There is no substitute from the private sector for ACS. Critical data on education attainment, household income, poverty rates, commuting patterns, among a lot more key socio-economic information, rely on ACS. Regional planning agencies, like SEMCOG, use ACS data to estimate and forecast infrastructure needs and plan for future growth. Local communities use ACS to choose locations for new schools, senior centers, hospitals, and fire stations. Even if the funding problems were solved in the proposed budget, the House bill also bans enforcement of the mandatory nature of participation in the ACS. This alone would require millions more in funding to achieve the same precision of the current ACS estimates.


For all of these reasons, we urge the U.S. Congress to continue its support for a comprehensive and statistically valid American Community Survey and other census projects. Now, the Senate will take on a similar bill. It will then take a joint committee to reconcile the bills before it reaches the President’s desk. Please contact your Congress members to express your support on Census data!



Xuan Liu
Interested in knowing how SEMCOG’s data impacts local governments and residents in Southeast Michigan? Then, you’ll want to read Xuan’s weekly posts.

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Over 100 environmental reviews…and going strong

(Best Practice, Environment, Green infrastructure, Stormwater management) Permanent link

Last week SEMCOG visited the City of Woodhaven to evaluate their salt storage facility and begin to draft a Pollution Incident Prevention Plan, or PIPP, as required in their Phase II Stormwater Permit audit by the state.


That makes over 100 environmental reviews and/or PIPPs that have been developed by SEMCOG for 44 of our members.


To help communities comply with their permit and prepare for this audit, SEMCOG developed an environmental review program to evaluate municipal facilities for stormwater pollution prevention activities prior to an audit. As part of the evaluation, SEMCOG staff will visit your facilities, evaluate your practices, and develop recommendations that will maximize your compliance with the permit.




During the environmental review, if other environmental activities and/or materials are observed that fall under other state regulations, SEMCOG will also make recommendations on how to ensure compliance. In many cases, this results in the need for a plan required for storing road salt or oil, called a PIPP. SEMCOG will draft this plan, in combination with the environmental review, as needed. This service is currently being offered free-of-charge to SEMCOG members.


If you have questions about your stormwater permit or have received a letter from the state notifying you of an audit, contact us and we would be glad to help!


Amy Mangus
You can leverage your SEMCOG membership to help your local government become more sustainable and effective. Amy’s posts will focus on SEMCOG’s member services.

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