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Michigan Municipal League and International City/County Manager Association | Business

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Michigan Municipal League and International City/County Manager Association
Business, News, Politics
Michigan Municipal League and International City/County Manager Association

From: http://www.wyomingmi.gov

Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to attend a couple of conferences to network and interact with other communities not only in Michigan but also worldwide. As President of the Michigan Local Government Managers Association, I attended the Michigan Municipal League Conference on Mackinac Island two weeks ago. This conference draws representatives of nearly every community in the State. It is a chance to exchange ideas and generate new ideas with regards to the future direction of our communities.

In many cases, communities throughout Michigan face the same challenges as the City of Wyoming. We are all working to maintain a high value for every tax dollar provided. In all cases we have been able to show where the most bang for every tax dollar is spent at the local level. This was verified again and again during the conference as the discussions centered on services, collaboration in providing services and better community design to maximize services. The City of Wyoming has numerous examples of collaboration and cooperation including combined dispatch, lab service partnerships, sign shop contracts and others.

Buzzwords we heard included “place making,” “walkability” and “new urbanism,” which refer to making your community more vibrant and accessible. When discussing place making, we in Wyoming are concentrating efforts in this area with our “Turn on 28th Street” plan and our Silver Line transit corridor zoning overlay district. Both of these examples use the theories of place making, new urbanism and walkability.

Last week I also had the opportunity to attend the International City/County Manager’s Association meeting. In this case I was able to listen and participate in presentations by nationally known authors and researchers, hearing more examples of how communities worldwide are addressing some of the same issues we are dealing with.

Based upon this conference, it is no doubt that revenue shrinkage is not only an issue for Michigan communities but an issue faced by municipalities all over the world. In our case, the actions we have taken to become more cost efficient are in line with many of the actions I heard about being implemented by other communities. If anything, we have taken steps well beyond many of our comparable cities and are well ahead of the current pack.

One important difference for Wyoming that is overwhelmingly in our favor is the City Council’s discipline in making difficult decision before issues become crises. The conviction of our Council to look forward and seek ways to address issues before they become emergencies is a rare trait that I don’t see or hear about in many similar cities. Our citizens can be thankful that tough decisions are made thoughtfully. Our actions are planned, not forced upon us as a result of a failure to act.

Overall, it is always beneficial to attend conferences like these, see what is happening in other communities and share best practices. We always return with useful ideas to consider implementing.

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