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

Housing appraisal legislation – no silver bullet, but deserves your support

(Legislation) Permanent link

The Michigan Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee is poised to take up the legislation that would require licensing of Appraisal Management Companies and Registration of Fees. The bills passed the Michigan House of Representatives at the end of March 2012. While these bills are no “silver bullet” for ending our region’s struggles with low appraisals and a flawed valuation process, it is certainly a step in the right direction.


SEMCOG developed a Housing Valuation Quick Facts document that members, like Assessor Tony Fuoco from Lincoln Park, are using to advocate for a better housing appraisal and valuation system – “Great info that hopefully will trigger resolution to our issues,” Tony told us.


SEMCOG sent this letter on behalf of our membership to Michigan’s Senators earlier this month. I encourage you to express your support for these bills; please contact Kevin Vettraino with any current housing appraisal experiences and/or best practices you may be implementing.


Karen Wieber
Karen is SEMCOG’s Legislative and Planning Analyst. As a member of SEMCOG’s Membership/External Affairs Group, Karen draws on her local government planning experience to engage SEMCOG members and policymakers on a variety of issues.

You must be logged in comment. Log in or Register to comment. 
By commenting, you are agreeing to the 
terms of use.

Use SEMCOG’s Data . . . just avoid the ugly sign

(Data, SEMCOG Member Services) Permanent link

Sign Mangus Post


Ever drive around town and see those ugly signs trying to get you to buy billboard space? Well these signs may be ugly, but the thought behind them is good – and SEMCOG can help. Consider including SEMCOG traffic count data in your marketing and redevelopment strategies.

The City of Dearborn Heights is doing just that. They are using SEMCOG data to assist a property owner in leasing out a vacant building. According to Ronald Amen, Director of Community and Economic Development, “The owner wants to use the information as a marketing tool and I want to see the long vacant building put back into use again.”


The SEMCOG Traffic Counts Database System is easy to use and packed full of most (if not all) major roads in the region.

So, think creatively like Dearborn Heights about how SEMCOG data can help your community’s efforts.
Just avoid the ugly sign.


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.

You must be logged in comment. Log in or Register to comment. 
By commenting, you are agreeing to the 
terms of use.

Why aren’t local governments planning ahead?

(Data, Efficiency, Right-sizing, SEMCOG Member Services) Permanent link

One year. That’s about the extent most communities are planning ahead – or less if the budget year is partially over. We help remedy this situation by working with member communities like Eastpointe, Keego Harbor, Wayne, Waterford Twp., and Oak Park to develop long-range financial plans to help the community plan beyond the typical one-year budget cycle. The financial planning tool was developed by John Kaczor for the Michigan Treasurer, which we enhanced to include benchmark data and other improvements.


The tool is easy to use via an Excel spreadsheet and readily allows a community to assess various scenarios for balancing revenues and expenses. As indicated in the chart below, the first cut of the financial forecast always shows a seriously deteriorating fund balance as revenues drop and expenses rise. We help community officials vary the assumptions, analyze the results, and recommend actions to balance revenues and expenses allowing fund balance to be sustained.


Click here for a sample financial plan that can be readily applied to your local government. Also, no-cost help for SEMCOG member communities is available by contacting Dave Boerger.


Financial Forecast chart


Dave Boerger
Learn how to navigate fiscal uncertainty by improving efficiency, fostering collaboration, and providing information on right-sizing. Through weekly posts, Dave will discuss legislative developments, best practices, and training opportunities.

You must be logged in comment. Log in or Register to comment. 
By commenting, you are agreeing to the 
terms of use.