Articles Tagged with

Municipal

Municipal, News, Press Releases

Dynamo Metrics Joins the Munetrix Family

It is with great enthusiasm that we share with you the exciting news that Dynamo Metrics, a leading provider of planning and analytics software for government and public sector entities, is joining the Munetrix family! While this announcement will have no immediate impact on our existing relationships with clients, vendors and others, we are extremely optimistic about what this means relative to our ability to better serve municipal governments going forward, with more solutions, deeper resources, and broader expertise.

What brings us so much optimism about Dynamo Metrics joining Munetrix is that Dynamo Metrics provides a distinct but complementary solution set and domain expertise that will only enhance what we are able to offer the communities we serve. Founded in 2014, Dynamo Metrics shares our mission of making data-driven governance easy, so communities can better communicate with their constituents, delivering a culture of community through trust, transparency and compliance.

Co-Founders Nigel Griswold and Ben Calnin, who are joining our management team, founded the company on the premise that better data drives better decision making. For nearly a decade, they’ve been working with local governments to deliver metrics, insights, and reports that help demonstrate impact, increase collaboration, and support strategic decision making. To learn more about the company and its team, please visit www.dynamometrics.com.

Buzz Brown, CEO of Munetrix, commented: “We appreciate the value Dynamo Metrics and their team brings to the Munetrix family. We see tremendous opportunities to create unique insights for customers using the robust property-level Dynamo Metrics solution. Together we will help leaders improve communities through neighborhood revitalization and other programs using comprehensive, easily digestible data and tools that help to analyze where to make investments that will be most rewarding.”  

Nigel Griswold and Ben Calnin, co-founders of Dynamo Metrics, added:  “Partnering with Munetrix will allow us to accelerate the growth of Dynamo Metrics and better serve our customers, through a broader platform and enhanced resources and investment.”

Dynamo Metrics provides software that delivers insights about neighborhood health that helps municipalities target, maximize and communicate the impact their work has on the community, down to the parcel level, adding a more granular level of specificity to the data and insights Munetrix has been delivering for more than a decade.

We will be sure to keep you updated as exciting developments emerge, such as new products and services or additional data and integrations that will be available to you and your peers going forward.

Education, Fiscal Health, Municipal, News, Opinion

Finally, it’s not the economy; unfortunately, it’s still the education void

By: Bob Kittle

If it ain’t one thing, it’s another. Perhaps not the best way to start a blog that is ultimately on education, but as the economy hums along (despite some potentially scary headwinds with the recent GM announcement) education is the nemesis that Michigan (or at least Detroit) can’t seem to conquer.

The Detroit Regional Chamber recently released its 2018-2019 State of the Region providing economic indicators and critical areas of improvement for its 11-county region plus Detroit. The report overall offered an upbeat outlook on the region’s progress in many sectors, but underscored the importance in addressing areas in which the region continues to lag – notably education. In a spot-on Detroit News column by Daniel Howes, the education void is so dark and vast, its challenges may temper many of the positive gains made in the region and the state for recent years.

The good news is that Detroit is outpacing the nation in growth in real gross domestic product (2.7 percent vs. 2.2 percent nationally) and per capita income (4.3 percent compared to 4.1 percent nationally). That can’t be overlooked. Nor can the fact that Detroit was second in the nation in growth of median home values between 2013 and 2017, increasing by 42.4 percent (Seattle was number one). The high cost of living on the East and West Coasts makes Detroit attractive—a plus for companies aiming to boost and cultivate tech talent.

But contradicting these positive indicators are critical areas where Detroit is missing out, notably extreme poverty, low metrics on community well-being, and stagnant population growth. Yet the most pressing issue is the mediocre status of Detroit’s educational attainment—which was actually below the national numbers in 2017.

Fiscal Health, Municipal, News, Opinion

At least for now, Michigan closes the chapter on Emergency Financial Managers

By: Bob Kittle and Katrina Powell

The State of Michigan Department of the Treasury sent out a press release on June 27, 2018 announcing that for the first time in 18 years, neither a school district or municipality in Michigan has an emergency manager. You can read the press release in its entirety here, but following is an excerpt.

“LANSING, Mich. – State Treasurer Nick Khouri today announced that no Michigan municipality or school district is under state financial oversight through an emergency manager for the first time in nearly 18 years. The…announcement comes after releasing Highland Park School District from receivership under the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act. Since 2000, there has been an emergency manager providing financial oversight somewhere in Michigan.”

For many years the Emergency Financial Manager (later changed to Emergency Manager or EM) concept was regularly maligned by some constituents, citing it as an overreach of state government at the loss of local control and racially motivated. The term carpetbagger was bandied about as well. One respected national government trade publication headlined a 2012 article, Emergency Financial Managers: Michigan’s Unwelcome Savior. As local government financial advisors ourselves, (Katrina was the State-appointed City Manager for Hamtramck from 2014 to 2017) we, but especially Katrina, have been on the receiving end of some hurtful and untrue verbal attacks about roles and motives.

Municipal, News, Opinion

Can Open Checkbooks Promote Transparency In Local Governments and Prevent Theft?

The recent news in the Oakland Press about the City of Oak Park’s former clerk siphoning $433,000 out of the city’s coffers over a 2-year period made me think … would a higher level of transparency by the city have been able to thwart such an incident?

Within the Munetrix toolbox is a Dynamic Check Register that takes the transparency discussion to the next level.  Local governments have the ability to export their vendor accounts payable files directly from their accounting software into a publicly accessible, searchable database.  Some refer to this as “Open Checkbook” but it by itself is only a fraction what it takes to truly be transparent.

Municipal, News, Opinion

Police: Tough and Smart

As Mayor Pro-tem for the City of Auburn Hills, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to address the men and women in uniform at the Annual Police Department Awards Banquet Dinner.  Below are my my remarks.  

I’m honored to have the opportunity to share in this important function with you and your families tonight. I’ll work to keep my comments to a minimum.  When I tried to think up words that best describe my view of what it means to be a police officer, I came up with the following list:

  • Hard Working
  • Smart
  • Caringpolice-hat
  • Transparent
  • Ethical
  • Dedicated

I’m sure I missed a couple, but I’ll take a couple minutes to share how I correlate each of those to your public servitude.

Fiscal Health, Municipal, News, Opinion

Local Government Early Warning Indicators

There is no shortage of articles and white papers addressing the topic of “Local Government Early Warning Indicators.” However, very few offer a concise methodology to address the issue; and most don’t draw any meaningful recommendations to address the dynamics local governments face in today’s new normal.

According to an Alison Wiltshire paper, Developing Early Warning Systems: A Checklist, there are four elements of a people-centered Early Warning System. Why people-centered? Because the average person must be able to grasp the concepts of the message heeded. Mathematicians, researchers and academics are not the ones who will be dealing with a fiscal calamity as it unfolds. The concept of “early” indicates that one would want to understand the issue well in advance in order to act proactively.