|East Michigan Council of Governments|
|Serving the Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Iosco, Isabella, Midland, Ogemaw, Roscommon, Saginaw, Sanilac, Tuscola Counties, and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe|
EMCOG FOCUS AND PROGRAM AREAS
EMCOG has evolved into much more than just an Economic development planning agency.
Never losing sight of the fact that sound planning remains the most critical element of any economic development endeavor but recognizing that economic development must be viewed and approached from a much broader perspective, the Agency restructured itself in 2009 to be able to more aggressively pursue those programs that enhance and expand upon traditional economic development and to provide more flexibility of membership and increased representation.
The following represent a sample of the programs, EMCOG will engage in during 2010.
Work is underway to apply for a joint 6-county (northern region) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block grant. Staff is also working with both Consumers Energy and DTE on this activity in order to advise all communities on the free leveraging tools and free assistance programs that are available to them in calculating their energy efficiency needs.
As part of this process, a mini-Energy Workshop will be held September 11, 2009 at Riverwalk Place in Gladwin. It will be an adjunct part of the Regional Economic Development (RED) Team meeting held that day.
EMCOG staff is also exploring the potential for a Wind Energy Plan study to be done in the Thumb thru DEQ/CZM.
Additionally, EMCOG transportation staff will be working with all the County Road commissions on Energy Efficiency Transportation Project involving cost-reduction through energy efficient signals.
2. Data Information Clearinghouse function (Executive Order A-12372)
ECMCOG is the Census affiliate for the 14 counties. EMCOG’s Data Information Clearinghouse strives to provide easy access to useful data and map sources and publications for our members. We have development data breakdowns of per capita, per capita trends, population, population and land mass, economic indicators, economic impacts on prison closures, County property tax percent comparison by classifications, detailed demographic trends, population projections, individual county economic data breakdowns, to name a few. This information is free to members.
3. Asset Management
Asset Management is an MDOT Transportation program. We annually receive funding from the Transportation Asset Management Council to conduct pavement assessments throughout the region. These pavement assessments are used by both the State as part of an overall Needs study and the participating local units to determine current and future pavement infrastructure needs/repairs and to comply with GASB 34. Local units that develop an approved Asset Management Plan are eligible to utilize more of the Act 51 funds for local streets than if they do not have such a plan. EMCOG staff works with local units in making these plans.
EMCOG staff also works with local units on the mandatory reporting system of Investments in the transportation infrastructure online through of Asset Investment Reporting Tool.
Asset Management activity breaks down to an estimated $7,735 per member unit. In Saginaw and Bay Counties, EMCOG staff cooperates with the local MPOs to ensure non-duplication of effort.
4. Economic Development
The Council is funded annually by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to fulfill the functions prescribed within the Catalog of the Federal Register (CFR) as part of its role as the federally designated economic development (EDD) district for the 14 counties. Economic development staff is currently working in the following areas:
Ø Energy (see above)
Ø Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy update (full 5-year update)
Ø Grant writing/grant review upon request
Ø Data development and information dissemination
Ø Coordination with SVSU on a potential region-wide Economic Gardening program.
Ø Work with USDA on obtaining an Intermediary Re-lending Program for the entire region. This is an RLF/Loan program. Estimated initial loan portfolio size: $750,000.
Ø Working with USDOC/EDA to expand our existing Revolving Loan Fund into all counties meeting EDA’s current distress criteria.
Ø Liaison with federal officials on available grant programs that may be used by members.
Ø Continued professional training for staff including training by USDOC/EDA on “What is an Acceptable EDA Project.”
Ø Continued administration of the current two-county East Central Michigan Revolving Loan Fund (used in Saginaw and Bay Counties). Steve Jonas of SFI, Inc., is a member of our RLF Loan Committee.
5. MDOT Transportation Program
The Council receives an annual regional transportation planning grant from MDOT. As part of this grant, the Council performs services, as stipulated by MDOT and the Regional TSC offices throughout the Region; i.e., local technical assistance, public involvement, Highway Performance Monitoring Systems, etc. The Council is a voting member of both the SMATS and BCATS MPO entities.
6. Additional MDOT Activities
In 2010, the Council will also assist MDOT through the following additional MDOT funded activities:
Ø M-25 Heritage Route activities (Economic Development/Tourism/Recreation)
Ø M-15 Heritage Route activities (Economic Development/Tourism/Recreation)
Ø US-23 Heritage Route activities (Economic Development/Tourism/Recreation)
Ø Participation on the Statewide Signage Committee for Heritage Routes
Ø Update for the I-75 Incident Management Plan
Ø Safe Routes to Schools – First event: September 24, 2009 – Arthur Hill High School (3 schools – MDOT - Dow – Consumers- Field Neurological Sciences Institute – EMCOG joint production)
Ø National & International Award winning Bay Region Bike Map including myriad of information for non-motorized enthusiasts.
Ø Completion of the Non-Motorized Regional Plan for the 13-county MDOT Bay Region.
Ø Ending Summit for the N/M Plan. Continued participation by EMCOG staff with Bay and Saginaw MPO’s, Trails Committees, etc.
7. Transportation, Land Use and GIS Committee
EMCOG staff has developed the first ever Transportation, Land Use and GIS Committee in the U. S. and the State of Michigan. This Committee, which consists of representatives from both Bay and Saginaw MPOs, Saginaw GIS Authority, member counties and GIS experts from throughout the 14 counties, has convened for the purpose of information sharing, determination of potential projects within the region, and how to best integrate Transportation, land use and GIS mapping capacity into meaningful projects throughout the Region.
One potential upcoming project is the “East Central Michigan’s Geospatial National Map Project” with USGS as the possible funder.
TLAG is also working on developing partnerships within the Region for the State Technology Partnership and other available opportunities. Through TLAG, EMCOG aims at having all of its counties developing the capacity of basic mapping and be able to use it for land use analysis and planning. Regional GIS project will enable these facilities to them without individual personnel and maintenance costs in the current economy.
8. Coastal Zone Management Initiatives
Saginaw Bay Coastal Atlas:
EMCOG is currently under contract to MDEQ/CZM to develop a Saginaw Bay Coastal Atlas. EMCOG staff is working with MDEQ/CZM and representatives in all coastal counties to develop the Atlas. This Atlas will consist of GIS layers EMCOG will develop with guidance and participation from an advisory committee of DEQ and DNR staff and Saginaw Bay coastal community representatives, county officials, land conservancies, MI Sea Grant and recreation, tourism, and conservation organizations. The Atlas will serve as a reference and resource guide for coastal land use, conservation, and recreation and tourism planning in Saginaw Bay counties. DEQ staff will determine a basic set of required data layers and the advisory committee will identify additional layers for inclusion. The final product will be a Saginaw Bay Coastal Atlas GIS that ECMPDR will provide to MDEQ and make available to communities and groups upon request.
Tuscola County Needs Study
EMCOG is currently under contract to MDEQ/CZM to conduct a Tuscola County Coastal Needs Study. EMCOG staff is working with the local representatives of Tuscola County, MDEQ, MDNR, Michigan Sea Grant and local entrepreneurs to do a coastal analysis of the facilities available in the County. The County is in dire need of economic development and the Committee is working towards finding the best way bring in the development. It is working on finding the current conditions and needs for the future starting from land use analysis, economic analysis, zoning analysis, infrastructure and marketing.
Arenac County Coastal Needs Study
EMCOG is currently under contract with Arenac County EDC to prepare an Arenac County Coastal Access Brochure under a MDEQ-CZM grant. Arenac County EDC and EMCOG have been working closely for this project and have developed a list of public coastal accesses for increased tourism and economic development in the area. EMCOG has developed a brochure for the same and is in final stages.
The Bay Region Non-Motorized Comprehensive Plan-This project proposes to develop a comprehensive, regional non-motorized plan for Gratiot, Genesee, Lapeer, Tuscola, Sanilac, Huron, Arenac, Gladwin, Clare, Isabella, Midland, Bay, and Saginaw Counties. Once completed, the document could be incorporated into local existing non-motorized plans or adopted as a “stand alone document”.
Bay Region Bike Map – This project was produced by EMCOG (then ECMPDR) in fiscal year 2006 which involved extensive data collection and mapping of all the public recreation and historic locations on a 13 county map. The final product was a hand folded map distributed to numerous public locations and is being used by enthusiasts all over the Region and beyond. Copies can be sought at the EMCOG office. The Map received two awards:
EMCOG Planning Academy
The Academy is a land use education partnership between the East Michigan Council of Governments (EMCOG) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE). Local officials in other planning regions have responded overwhelmingly to the planning and zoning education classes offered so far by MSU Extension staff through planning region sponsorship. EMCOG wishes to do the same for our member counties. These classes bring the planning education to their doorstep and make them aware of all the recent regulations and processes for local governance.
With the recent name change from ECMPDR to EMCOG our agency is working on development of new logo and website. Our new website www.emcog.org will be active in the near future. It will be more informational, user friendly and will contain updated documents for all our member counties to download.
‘EMCOG Communications’ is the EMCOG newsletter publication that is awaiting launch in the coming months. It will be an electronic publication that will serve our members and list serve with the most updated information from around the state and nation. It will also compliment and link with other floating newsletters in the area.
 The cost to prepare an annual CEDS is approximately $53,000. It is much cheaper for member units to have EMCOG staff prepare this document then to try and write one and have it approved by the USDOC. Preparation cost breakdown would be estimated at $3,500 - $4,000 per member if done by Council staff.