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

Local Governments’ revenue base continues to shrink

(Data, Regionalism) Permanent link

July 12, 2012 - While it is encouraging to read the news about the “Detroit Three” automakers and other companies in the region improving their business, the public sector continues to lag the private sector in terms of revenue sources. The latest data gathered by SEMCOG show that State Equalized Value (SEV, which is half the market value that assessors assign to a property) decreased by five percent (5%) from 2011 to 2012 in Southeast Michigan. This is the fifth consecutive year that the region lost SEV. Since 2007, the region’s SEV has declined by 34%. When the inflation factor is taken into account, the decline is a staggering 40% from the peak! More than half of local governments’ revenue is from the property tax. It may take a couple of more years to see any improvement in this major revenue source for the public sector.


Annual Percent Change in SEV, Southeast Michigan

Annual Percent Change SEV for 7-12-12 blog
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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SEMCOG at Wyandotte Art Fair…please visit us!

(Public outreach, Public transportation) Permanent link

July 12, 2012 - The 51st Wyandotte Street Art Fair is going on now on the historic streets of that community. SEMCOG is there to talk to everyone about our public outreach programs – Ozone Action, Ours to Protect, and the MiRideshare carpool and vanpool matching program. We’ll also be distributing information on SEMCOG’s Regional Transportation Plan. The public engagement process begins now and we need your input. If you can’t make it to the fair, look for us throughout the region this summer and fall, and follow the process at www.semcog.org/TransportationStrategy.aspx

Grant Brooks
In order to create a successful future for Southeast Michigan, we must have an educated and engaged public. Grant’s blog posts will focus on important messages for residents on how their daily habits can improve quality of life for themselves and their neighbors.

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Let’s go fishing

(Best Practice, Green infrastructure) Permanent link

July 11, 2012 — Many of us love the chance to fish, swim, and kayak right in our backyard. In fact, more and more communities and counties are betting on that to set our region apart from other areas in the country. An important element of that is opening areas to recreation and keeping our rivers and lakes clean.


Last week we visited the celebration of another such success!


Paint Creek is part of the Clinton River and a designated coldwater trout stream. For years, there has been a successful partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Clinton River Watershed Council, Trout Unlimited, and area municipalities to improve the local trout fishery. As such, this local water resource has the potential to enhance the fishery and local economy.


In studies by this group it was determined that the Paint Creek Dam was causing significant problems in the restoration of the fishery (i.e., trout can’t get past the dam) and was named one of the highest priority dam removal projects in Michigan.


This project did receive funding and last week we celebrated the successful completion of the project which included:

  • Remove the dam on Paint Creek and re-connect 16 stream miles;
  • Restore 1,500 feet of stream channel and re-connect 2.5 acres of floodplain/wetlands;
  • Reduce bank erosion by greater than 95 percent in this area;
  • Restore native fish populations and improve managed trout fishery.



Congratulations to all involved!


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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