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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.

 

Meet SEMCOG's Blogging team:

Amy Mangus
Member Services
About Amy . . .
Read Amy's past posts

Dave Boerger
Government Efficiency
About Dave . . .
Read Dave's past posts

Bill Anderson
Local Government Revenue
About Bill . . .
Read Bill's past posts

Carmine Palombo
Transportation
About Carmine . . .
Read Carmine's past posts

Xuan Liu
Data & Demographics
About Xuan . . .
Read Xuan's past posts

Grant Brooks
Public Outreach
About Grant . . .
Read Grant's past posts

 

 

Think Regional/Act Local

Administrative Benchmarks

(Best Practice, Efficiency, SEMCOG Member Services) Permanent link

 

April 22, 2014 – This week’s blog continues our series of reviewing the recently updated SEMCOG municipal benchmarks with a focus on administrative metrics for clerk and assessing.

 

Voting booth2

By Serenity (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

SEMCOG Clerk and Assessing Benchmarks

 

administrative benchmarks

 

The clerk and assessing functions are extremely critical to effective local government operations. The clerk performs all duties related to elections and is the record keeper for the local government; the assessing department is responsible for developing the taxable values (TxV) critical to generating municipal revenues. Literally, all communities have their own clerk, while only larger communities tend to have their own assessor.

 

The above benchmarks help guide and assure that proper methodologies are being applied to realize effective operation of both departments. The highlighted cost metrics show quite a variation between the best 20 percent and average community we’ve surveyed. That means there are significant improvement opportunities by learning and applying the best practices of the top 20 percent.

 

SEMCOG has documented those best practices and can help your community improve their administrative departments in an optimal manner, at no cost to member communities. Contact Dave Boerger.

 

 

Dave Boerger
Learn how to navigate fiscal uncertainty by improving efficiency, fostering collaboration, and enhancing service delivery. Through weekly posts, Dave will discuss legislative developments, best practices, and training opportunities.

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Filled potholes is not the goal

(Best Practice, Efficiency, Legislation, Transportation) Permanent link

 

Pothole repair
By U.S. Air Force Photo By/Josh Plueger [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
(Not pictured: The apex of road planning and maintenance)

 

April 21, 2014 – There are stories all over radio, TV, newspaper, Facebook, and Twitter every day about how bad our roads are – and they are bad. In some ways, this is not news, just as the sun rising isn’t news. But it is, because almost nothing is being done to improve them. I appreciate the fact that the media has finally caught on to a story that should have been getting more publicity years ago and not just every spring. But, I have a problem with headline after headline that refers to improving our pavements as “fixing the potholes” or the need to develop “pothole plans.” No, that is not what we want or should aspire to!

 

I understand that it is the potholes – AKA the deplorable condition of the roads – that may finally spur some action by the legislature. What we need is a plan for a more permanent fix that will give us nice, smooth pavements that are properly maintained. To a transportation professional, filling potholes is a necessary evil. It is an extremely short-term action, a band-aid if you will, on an injury that requires stitches or surgery. It is not a solution; it is a life-saving action.

 

I would like to suggest a far more elevating goal than just filling the potholes, one that provides enough resources that if managed and spent properly will allow us to build, maintain, and then rebuild our roads without having potholes at all! Dreaming? Probably. But let’s dream big as long as we are dreaming.

 

 

 

Carmine Palombo
If you want to know what about anything related to transportation in Southeast Michigan, don’t miss Carmine Palombo's blog. Carmine has more than 30 years of experience in various phases of transportation planning at SEMCOG. He is responsible for administering SEMCOG’s transportation planning program, which includes the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-term transportation plan.

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Library Benchmarks

(Best Practice, SEMCOG Member Services) Permanent link

 

April 8, 2014 – This week’s blog focuses on Libraries as part of our continuing series reviewing the recently updated SEMCOG municipal benchmarks.

 

SteacieLibrary
By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

SEMCOG Library Benchmarks

 

Library Benchmarks

 

Some communities have their own libraries and some use regional libraries. The strategy depends largely on size and historical practices. Regardless, it behooves municipal officials to make sure the library services being provided to their citizens meet or exceed their expectations. With new technologies dramatically changing library services, it’s also important that the municipal IT budget be at an appropriate level.

 

The above benchmarks help guide and assure that proper methodologies are being applied to assure effective library operation. The highlighted utilization and cost metrics are especially pertinent.

 

SEMCOG can help sort through your library issues and develop an optimum strategy, at no cost to member communities. Contact Dave Boerger.

 

Dave Boerger
Learn how to navigate fiscal uncertainty by improving efficiency, fostering collaboration, and enhancing service delivery. Through weekly posts, Dave will discuss legislative developments, best practices, and training opportunities.

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