Where Did the Vote Break in Southeastern Michigan?

Republican areas saw marginally increased turnout between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections increased. The focus of that increase was southern Macomb County and the Downriver area in Wayne County. Conversely, the traditionally Democratic areas in Wayne County experienced some of the largest voter turnout decreases. Detroit saw especially large decreases.

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In Macomb County, eight of the communities experienced a voter turnout decrease between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections. It was Chesterfield Township that experienced the largest decrease in the county at 5.35 percent while Ray Township experienced the largest increase at 2.46 percent. Although Warren and Sterling Heights have been noted for having several precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two Presidential elections, both cities had areas that remained Democratic in 2016. Sterling Heights experienced a 2.7 percent voter turnout decrease in 2016 and Warren experienced a 1.5 percent decrease. St. Clair Shores is another city in southern Macomb County that flipped from Democratic to Republican and here voter turnout increased by 1.6 percent.

While the changes are complicated, it appears that areas in the county to the south that shifted to the GOP are also areas where turnout declined. Likely Democrats would have benefitted by a better Get Out The Vote (GOTV) campaign.

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In Oakland County we have highlighted how higher income communities like Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham flipped from being Republican in the 2012 presidential election to Democratic in the 2016 election. These communities though experienced a voter turnout decrease between the two elections, as did majority of the Oakland County communities that went Democratic in 2016. With the exceptions of Ferndale, Madison Heights and Clawson, all of the Democratic communities experienced a voter turnout decrease in 2016. Ferndale had the largest voter turnout increase in the county at 11.6 percent while Berkley had the largest decrease at 23.7 percent.

Republican communities in Oakland County weren’t exempt from experiencing a voter turnout decrease in 2016, however the decreases weren’t as widespread or large.

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Wayne County communities experienced some of the largest decreases in voter turnout in 2016, with Inkster experiencing a 26 percent decrease, River Rouge experiencing a 23 percent decrease and Redford and Detroit experiencing 11 percent decreases, each. Again, these communities all went Democratic in the 2016 election; they also went Democratic in the 2012 election.

Throughout much of Downriver though, an area that flipped from Democratic to Republican, an increase in voter turnout occurred. In that area, Rockwood had the largest increase at 7 percent. The city of Flat Rock did flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, but experienced a 16.36 percent voter turnout decrease.

Hamtramck and Highland Park experienced the largest voter turnout increases in Wayne County; Hamtramck had a 12 percent increase and Highland Park had an 11 percent increase. Both cities went Democratic in the 2012 and 2016 elections.

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In Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Township had the highest voter turnout increase at 3.37 percent; this community went Democratic in both elections. The only Washtenaw County community that went Democratic in the 2016 election and experienced a voter turnout increase was Sylvan Township; it had a 0.37 percent increase. There were several Republican communities in Washtenaw County too though that experienced voter turnout increases. For example, Northfield Township experienced a 19.6 percent voter turnout decrease.

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Overall, the data shows that there were very few communities in Southeastern Michigan that experienced large voter turnout increases (above 10 percent). The marginal increases though occurred in areas that went Republican in the 2016 Presidential election, particularly in northern Macomb County, St. Clair County and the Downriver area in Wayne County.

Majority of Metro-Detroit’s Communities that Flipped Republican have Middle Class Incomes

In our last post regarding the 2016 Presidential election we highlighted what areas in Southeastern Michigan flipped from Democratic to Republican, or Republican to Democratic. The most notable switch occurred in Macomb County where, much of the southern portion of the County went from voting Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016. This switch was also noticeably evident in the Downriver area of Wayne County.

In the 2016, Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs (Ferndale, Royal Oak, parts of Warren, etc.), along with Ann Arbor and its surrounding cities to the east and west, had Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton as the winning candidate. However, a large share of the region went to now President Donald Trump, including all of Livingston and St. Clair counties and majority of Macomb and nearly all of Monroe counties.

To shine additional light on the 2016 Presidential election, we will now be looking at the socioeconomic characteristics of the region, alongside which Presidential candidate won where. For this post, we will be discussing median income, particularly of the areas that flipped between the 2012 and 2016 elections.

When examining the region overall, the map below shows that majority of the areas in Southeastern Michigan that flipped from Democratic to Republican have a mid-range ($45,000-$70,000) median income. As we get further into the details of the region, we see this to be a defining factor for this group of precincts. Of the areas that have remained Republican, median incomes range from between $45,000 and to over $100,000. Of the areas that remained Democratic the median incomes range from about $17,000 to $100,000.

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A deeper look at Macomb County shows that majority of the areas that switched from voting Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016 have a median income between $45,000 and $70,000. This is true for St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights and parts of Chesterfield, Lenox, Harrison and Clinton townships, all of which had at least one precinct flip. In the northern part of Macomb County, which voted Republican in 2012 and 2016, the median income is above $70,000.

While portions of Warren also flipped from Democratic to Republican, it is categorized as having a median income below $45,000. But, as noted earlier, the city’s median income is $44,000.

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In Oakland County, there were some high income areas-Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham-that flipped to Democratic. However, we see that majority of the County went Republican in 2012 and 2016, and majority of these communities have median incomes above $70,000. The communities in the southeastern portion of Oakland County (Ferndale, Royal Oak, Oak Park) have remained Democratic communities for both elections and their median incomes top out at $70,000. Pleasant Ridge and Huntington Woods are two higher income (above $70,000) communities in that portion of the County that have traditionally gone Democratic.

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As noted earlier, it was the Downriver portion of Wayne County that flipped from Democratic to Republican for the 2016 election. In this portion of the County (Trenton, Woodhaven, Riverview, Flatrock, Gibraltar, Rockwood, etc.) 10 of the communities have a median income between $45,000 and $70,000. Parts of Taylor (median income below $45,000) and Brownstown (median income between $70,000 and $100,000) also switched.

Throughout Wayne County, median incomes vary greatly, with communities located on the County’s north eastside (Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park and Ecorse, etc.) having a median incomes below $45,000 and communities on the northwest side (Northville, Canton, Livonia) having median incomes above $70,000. Communities with median incomes between the two extremes are also scattered throughout the county. In Wayne County, of the 14 communities with median incomes above $70,000, 10 had a large Republican turnout. Of that 10, four showed precincts that flipped from Democratic to Republican, while the rest remained Republican between 2012 and 2016.

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In Washtenaw County, there are no communities that have a median income less than $45,000. Of the four that had precincts flip from Democratic to Republican between the two elections, the median incomes range between $67,000 (Northfield) and $94,000 (Dexter).

Of the communities that with precincts that flipped from Republican to Democratic, five had median incomes above $70,000 and one had a median income at $69,000.

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By examining the election data alongside median income data, we are able to determine there were 32 communities with median incomes between $45,000 and $70,000 with at least one precinct that flipped from Democratic to Republican between the 2012 and 2016 elections. When the opposite occurred-an area flipped from Republican to Democratic-the median income of that area was above $70,000.

Next week we will look at the election outcomes while also looking at the racial makeup of Southeastern Michigan’s communities.

Where Did the RTA Fail in Southeastern Michigan?

In November 2016 the concept of regional transportation in Southeastern Michigan lost again. On the Nov. 8 ballot was a question asking residents of Macomb, Oakland Wayne (including Detroit) and Washtenaw counties if they would fund a 1.2 mill tax (about $120 a year for a homes with a taxable value of $100,000) for 20 years.

If passed, the millage would have created main transportation routes along Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues (some of which would have eventually used Bus Rapid Transit), along with connector lines going east to west throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. However, only Wayne and Washtenaw counties supported the millage overall. In Oakland County the millage fell short of approval by 1,109 votes (50.1 percent of voters voted against it) and in Macomb County the measure failed with 60 percent of voters voting against it.

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Currently in Southeastern Michigan, public transportation is fragmented, at best. Parts of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are serviced by the Suburban Mobility Authority of Regional Transit (SMART), a transportation system that was created in 1967. However, in Oakland and Wayne counties communities can opt-out of the system, meaning they do not need to support its funding or have routes accessible in their community. Macomb County, through legislation passed by the County Board of Commissioners, is an entirely opt-in community. This means either the majority of the county supports SMART funding when it goes up for renewal and/or increases or it doesn’t; the county as a whole has historically supported SMART.

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Despite Macomb County being completely opt-in for SMART, only one municipality supported the RTA millage in November; it was Mount Clemens-the county seat. According to the Macomb County Clerk’s Department 55 percent of voters in Mount Clemens supported the millage and 45 percent voted against it.

In Oakland County, 23 of the 51 municipalities in the region supported the RTA millage, with the inner-ring suburbs like Ferndale (72% yes), Pleasant Ridge (74% yes) and Huntington Woods (76% percent yes) showing the highest support. Unlike Macomb County, Oakland County is not an entirely “opt-in” community for SMART, meaning individual municipalities decide whether they want to fund/participate in the region’s current form of public transportation. Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Huntington Woods all opt-into SMART, as do some of the Oakland County communities that were just above 50 percent of voters supporting the RTA millage; these communities include Bloomfield Township and Birmingham. Troy and Bloomfield Hills are two communities in Oakland County though that participate in SMART but did not approve the RTA millage.

In Wayne County, where there are SMART routes and where the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) operates, communities like Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Dearborn and Redford Township (which all participate in SMART) voted to approve the RTA millage. However, communities on the western side of the county and a majority of the downriver communities (despite some participating in SMART-like Trenton) did not approve of the transportation millage. Overall, 53 percent of Wayne County voters voted to approve the RTA millage.

Washtenaw County does not participate in SMART (the transit system is limited to Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties) but it does have the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA). Of those who voted on this measure, 53 percent supported the millage in the county. Overall, eight of the 27 communities in the county supported the millage. However, those with the highest populations (Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti) showed high support for the regional transportation tax.

Despite not having a long-term funding mechanism, the RTA currently operates RefleX, which is a supplemental ride system along Woodward and Gratiot avenues; these services did not eliminate any SMART or DDOT stops/lines. However, the RTA is only funded by the State through Sept. 30, 2017. After that though, its future is uncertain. With the regional transportation millage failing, the RTA is left without a solid funding source and cannot go to the voters with another tax proposal until 2018. According to Public Act 387 of 2012 (which created the RTA), the RTA can receive money through voter approved millage funding and/or an additional fee that may accompany state driver registration fees. Ballot initiatives can only be placed on ballots during presidential or gubernatorial elections.

Members of the RTA Board of Directors or Executive Staff have not publicly stated their future plans or ideas for funding mechanisms. While funding mechanisms would need to be identified, negotiating interlocal agreements between communities that want transit might be an incremental means of supplementing the fragmented systems currently in place. For example, there are no direct public transportation routes between Ann Arbor and Detroit[1] even though Ann Arbor, Detroit and DTW are the most desired routes, according to surveys. Both Wayne and Washtenaw Counties voted for the RTA, so it seems feasible that enterprising public officials in those two counties could negotiate an agreement to move forward on creating services, knowing both that their residents voted for services and that they want those routes.

[1] It might be possible for an ambitious soul to take a bus from Ann Arbor to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and then shift to a SMART bus and transfer to a DDOT bus into Detroit.
[1] It might be possible for an ambitious soul to take a bus from Ann Arbor to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) and then shift to a SMART bus and transfer to a DDOT bus into Detroit.

Change Evident in Southeastern Michigan for Presidential Election

On Nov. 8, 2016 election results showed that then Republican nominee Donald Trump was elected to serve as the nation’s 45th President; Michigan was one of the states that went red for President-Elect Trump. In 2012 though President Barack Obama, the then Democratic candidate up for re-election, won Michigan, helping assure his second term in the White House. To show exactly what locations swung from Democratic to Republican or Republican to Democratic in the 2016 Presidential Election, voting results by precinct were taken from the Michigan Secretary of State and the County Elections offices and mapped. Even just a glance at the maps shows where significant change occurred-Macomb and Monroe Counties-but our deeper look at the precincts also shows precisely where change occurred throughout Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. In many cases, the change shown is of an area where residents voted Democratic in 2012 and Republican in 2016, but there were instances of the opposite as well.

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In the 2016 map we see that Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs (Ferndale, Royal Oak, parts of Warren, etc.), along with Ann Arbor and its surrounding cities to the east and west, had Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton as the winning candidate. There was also a pocket in the City of Monroe that went to Clinton. However, a large share of the region went to President-Elect Donald Trump, including all of Livingston and St. Clair counties and majority of Macomb and nearly all of Monroe counties.

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The two counties in the region that had the largest number of precincts switching from Democratic to Republican from the 2012 to 2016 election were Macomb and Monroe counties. In 2016 53.6 percent of the votes went to the Republican nominee (President-Elect Trump) in Macomb County while in 2012 47.5 percent of the vote went to then Republican nominee Mitt Romney, according to the election results. In Monroe County in 2016 58.4 percent of the votes went to the Republican nominee (President-Elect Trump) in Monroe County and in 2012 that number was 48.9 percent for the Republican nominee, according to the election results.

When drilling down into Macomb County we see that the central portion of Sterling Heights, the northern portion of Warren, majority of St. Clair Shores and pockets of precincts in Lenox, Chesterfield, Clinton, Harrison, Richmond and Shelby townships and in the cities of Fraser, Utica and Roseville flipped from Democratic to Republican precincts between the 2012 and 2016 elections. There was not one precinct in Macomb County that switched from Republican to Democrat between the 2012 and 2016 elections, according to county election results.

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In Monroe County we see that the city of Monroe and Dundee, London, Erie, Exeter, Berlin and Rainsville townships switched from Democratic in 2012 to Republican in 2016. Similar to Macomb, there were no precincts in Monroe County that had the reverse switch, going from Republican in 2012 to Democratic in 2016.

While overall, Wayne County remained Democratic in the 2016 election, a drill down on the municipalities and precincts shows that nearly all of the Downriver region
(Trenton, Woodhaven, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Rockwood, Brownstown, Riverview and portions of Wyandotte, Southgate, Taylor and Allen Park) switched from voting Democratic in the 2012 election to going for the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016. Additionally, all of Garden City made that switch, as did portions of Huron, Sumpter and Van Buren townships, along with areas in Westland, Romulus and Livonia. Overall in Wayne County in 2016, 66 percent of the vote went to Democratic nominee Clinton and 29 percent went to Trump, according to the official Wayne County election results. In 2012 though 73 percent of the vote went to the Democratic nominee (Obama) while 26 percent went to the Republican nominee (Romney), according to election results.

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Washtenaw County, unlike Macomb and Monroe, had several precincts in 2016 that switched from being Republican in 2012 to being Democratic in 2016. All precincts in Lima and Sylvan townships switched from Republican in 2012 to Democratic in 2016, and about half of the precincts in Dexter and Lodi townships did the same. Augusta and Lyndon townships did the opposite, switching from Democratic to Republican between the two elections.

In Oakland County, overall, 44 percent of the voters voted for the Republican nominee (Trump) and 52 percent voted for the Democratic nominee (Clinton) in 2016, according to county elections results. In 2012 though there was a higher percentage of votes cast for both the Republican and Democratic nominees. In 2012 the Republican nominee (Romney) received 45 percent of the vote and the Democratic nominee (Obama) received 54 percent of the vote, according to county election results. In 2016, there were pockets of precincts-primarily in the Bloomfield-Birmingham area-that switched from Republican to Democratic. Birmingham though was the only municipality that switched nearly in its entirety. There were also about a dozen precincts that made the opposite switch (from Democratic to Republican) between the two most recent Presidential elections; those switches primarily occurred in the municipalities that have remained Republican in both elections.

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With the evident change between the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections in Southeastern Michigan, we will embark on a detailed series showing not only where the change occurred, as we did in this post, but also how it relates to socioeconomic data, voter turnout and third party votes. Stay tuned for another post related to the 2016 election in the coming weeks.

Detroit Tops List of Regional Crime Rates

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently released data on known criminal offenses for the year 2015. For this post, these criminal offenses have been turned into rates per 10,000 residents to accurately show how reported crimes differ between the some of the most well known cities in each county in Southeastern Michigan.

The cities featured in this post are

  • Ann Arbor: Washtenaw County
  • Detroit: Wayne County
  • Howell: Livingston County
  • Monroe: Monroe County
  • Pontiac: Oakland County
  • Port Huron: St. Clair County
  • Warren: Macomb County

Of the nine crimes featured, Detroit had the highest rate of the seven featured cities for all but one. Conversely, of the nine featured crimes, Howell had the lowest rates for six of them.

Overall, property crimes had the overall highest rates of the crimes discussed in this post while murder and nonnegligent manslaughter had the lowest. Property crime rates also had the largest difference between the city with the highest rate (Detroit) and the city with the lowest rate (Howell).

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According to the FBI, Detroit had the highest murder rate in 2015 of the seven cities examined in this post. This rate was calculated to be 4.4 per 10,000 residents; this was equivalent to 295 murders for a population of about 673,000. Howell, Monroe and Ann Arbor had zero reported murders while Port Huron had a rate of .7 and Pontiac and Warren had rates of .1

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According to the FBI forcible rape is defined as “the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.  Attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.”

In 2015, of the cities highlighted in this post, Pontiac had the highest reported rape rate per 10,000 residents at 11.5; this was equivalent 69 reported rapes to law enforcement for a population of about 60,000. Ann Arbor had the lowest rate at 4.9, which was equivalent to 58 total rapes known to law enforcement. Detroit’s forcible rape rate per 10,000 residents was 7.8 in 2015, or 530 total rapes known to law enforcement.

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According to the FBI robbery is defined as “the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

Of the featured cities, Detroit had the highest robbery rate per 10,000 at 51 and Ann Arbor had the second highest at 35. In total, Detroit had 3,457 reported robberies while Ann Arbor had 42. Howell had the lowest rate at 2 with two reported robberies.

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According to the FBI, aggravated assault is defined as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”

In 2015 Detroit had the highest aggravated assault rate of the cities featured in this post. Detroit’s 2015 rate was about 112.5 per 10,000 residents, and Pontiac had the second highest rate at 90.5. Ann Arbor had the lowest aggravated assault rate of the seven cities featured at 10.8.

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According to the FBI, property crime “includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.  The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims.”

Detroit had the highest property crime rate of the seven cities featured at 409 per 10,000 residents. The city with the second highest property crime rate was Pontiac at 258 per 10,000. Howell had the lowest rate of the featured cities at 152.7. There was a 257 point difference between Howell and Detroit, making this the largest rate difference of the featured cities.

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According to the FBI burglary is defined as, “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft.  To classify an offense as a burglary, the use of force to gain entry need not have occurred.”

Similar to the property crime rate standings, Detroit and Pontiac had the highest rates of the featured cities. Detroit’s property crime rate per 10,000 residents in 2015 was 116 while Pontiac’s was 93. Howell again had the lowest rate of the cities at 12.5 with Ann Arbor coming in just above it at 23.1.

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According to the FBI, larceny theft is defined as “the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another.”

Detroit had the highest larceny-theft rates of the featured cities in 2015 at 215.7 and Monroe had the second highest rate at 185. Monroe’s rate was equivalent to 373 reported crimes for a population of 20,074 while Detroit’s rate was equivalent to 14,523 reported crimes for a population of about 673,000. Howell again had the lowest rate at 132.9; this was equivalent to 128 reported crimes for a population about about 9,600.

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According to the FBI, motor vehicle theft is defined as “the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.”

The highest motor vehicle theft rate of the featured cities was 77 per 10,000 residents for the city of Detroit. This rate was equivalent to 5,216 motor vehicle thefts for a population about 623,000. The city with the second highest motor vehicle theft rate was Warren with a rate of about 39. In 2015 Warren had 521 reported motor vehicle thefts for a population of about 135,000. Ann Arbor had the lowest motor vehicle theft rate of 6 per 10,000 residents in 2015 of the feature cities.

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According to the FBI, arson is “any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.”

Ann Arbor had five reported arsons in 2015, giving it the lowest rate at .5, while Detroit had 842 reported arsons for a rate of 12.5. Port Huron had the second highest rate at 5.2 with 12 reported arsons.

Four Southeastern Michigan School Districts Eliminate Budget Deficits

By the end of Fiscal Year 2016 there were four public school districts in Southeastern Michigan that eliminated their deficits while one new district was added to the list of having a deficit, according to the Michigan Department of Education. The four public school districts that eliminated their deficit by June 30, 2016 were Clintondale Community School (ended with a fund balance of about $1.4 million) and Warren Consolidated Schools (ended with a fund balance of about $5.7 million), both in Macomb County, Southgate Community Schools (ended with a fund balance of about $375,000) in Wayne County and Lincoln Consolidated Schools (ended with a fund balance of about $3.6 million) in Washtenaw County. Grosse Ile Township Schools in Wayne County began FY 2016 with a fund balance of $189,441, but ended the fiscal year with a deficit of $152,299. This was the only public district in the region and state to be added to this list. However, there were four charter schools in the region (Blanche Kelso Bruce Academy, Experienca Prepatory Academy, Frederick Douglas International Academy, Taylor International Academy) that began FY 2016 with a fund balance and ended with a deficit.

While there were districts that eliminated their deficit by the end of FY 2016, there were five public school districts in the region that ended the fiscal year under the oversight of the Michigan Department of Treasury (these districts are distinguished in red in the map, however if a district also increased or decreased its deficit they are highlighted in a different color in the map). A district is put under the oversight of the Department of Treasury if it maintains a deficit for five years. The public districts in the region under such oversight are: Detroit City School District, Hazel Park City School District, Mt. Clemens Community School District, New Haven Community Schools and the Pontiac City School District. Additionally, while the New Haven Community Schools and Hazel Park City School District began and ended FY 2016 with deficits, and under the supervision of the Department of Treasury, by the end of FY 2016 both districts had reduced deficits. At the beginning of the fiscal year New Haven Community Schools had a deficit of about $296,000 and by the end it had a deficit of about $65,000. The Hazel Park City School District had a deficit of about $8 million at the beginning of FY 2016 and by the end the fiscal year the deficit was reduced to about $6 million. There were also three other public school districts in the region that began FY 2016 with a deficit but reduced it by the end of the year; these districts were Dearborn Heights, Garden City and Pinkney.

The Detroit school district and Mt. Clemens Community Schools were the only two public districts in the region that began FY 2016 with a deficit and ended the fiscal year with an increased deficit; these distinctions are shown in the map although they too ended the year under the oversight of the Michigan Department of Treasury. Detroit Public Schools began FY 2016 with a deficit of about $1.8 million and ended the fiscal year with a deficit about $1.9 million. The Mt. Clemens Community Schools district began FY 2016 with a deficit of about $1.3 million and ended the fiscal year with a deficit of about $2.2 million.

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Ann Arbor Has Highest Total Equalized Residential Value in Southeastern Michigan

There are four types of equalized property values: residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural. Residential property values are the largest contributor to the region’s total property values. In this post the 2016 total equalized values of residential properties are presented, meaning the values presented represent the municipality as a whole and not the average per residential property.

According to the State of Michigan, the equalized value of a property is the assessed value (which is about half the property’s market value and is set by the assessor) that has been adjusted by the County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Tax commission to ensure they are at the constitutional 50 percent level of assessment. All information presented in this post has been approved by the local county Board of Commissioners.

In the tri-county area (Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties) Oakland County experienced the largest percentage increase in total equalized property values between 2015 and 2016. Oakland County experienced a 7.4 percent increase while Macomb and Wayne both experienced about a 1 percent increase.

In total, Oakland County also had the largest equalized property values in 2016 at $65,084,851,114 (more than $130 billion in actual value); residential values made up $49,933,653,218 (more than $100 billion in actual value) of that. The City of Troy in Oakland County had the highest total residential equalized property value in the county at about $3.8 billion (about $7.6 billion in actual value). This value was higher than Detroit’s total equalized residential property value of $2.5 billion ($5 billion in actual value). Wayne County’s total property value was $44,884,066,562; residential equalized property values made up $29,476,949,702 of that. The community in Wayne County with the highest total residential equalized property value was Grosse Ile with about a $3.3 billion total ($6.6 billion in actual value). In Macomb County the total equalized property value for the county in 2016 was $30,605,374,212 ($61.2 billion in actual value), with residential equalized property values making up $22,477,768,361 of that ($44.8 billion in actual value). Sterling Heights in Macomb County was the municipality in that county with the largest total residential equalized property value at about $3.5 billion ($7 billion in actual value). In Washtenaw County, where the total residential equalized property value was $13,045,788,080 ($26 billion in actual value), Ann Arbor had the highest total equalized residential property value, in the county and the region, at about $4.25 billion ($8.5 billion in actual value).

The map below shows that the municipalities with the highest total equalized values are mainly located in the Metro-Detroit area where home values and median incomes are traditionally higher. There are exceptions though, such as Detroit, where the median income and household value are below communities like Grosse Ile, Troy and Sterling Heights. However, Detroit is geographically the largest municipality in the state at about 139 square miles. The communities in the region with the lowest total equalized residential property values for 2016 are the rural communities, with larger amounts of agricultural land, located on the edge of the region in St. Clair, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw communities. In St. Clair and Monroe counties there was not one municipality where the total equalized residential property value was above $1 billion ($2 billion in actual value), while in Oakland County majority of the communities had total residential property values at or above that threshold.

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Percentage of Female City Managers in Metro-Detroit Below Average

The percentage of females who serve as city managers in Southeastern Michigan is below the national average. In Southeastern Michigan, 10 percent of the cities with city managers had those positions filled by females. According to the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), a 2012 survey administered by this professional management organization found that about 20 percent of chief administrative officers in local government are females. Additionally, ICMA membership records show that 15 percent of the organization’s members in 2016 were female city managers.

In Southeastern Michigan there are 233 municipalities (not including counties or special districts), most of which are townships. Typically, the chief administrative officer in a township is the township supervisor, which is an elected position (more on this can be found in a past post). There are about 75 cities in Southeastern Michigan, but again, not all have city managers. Cities like Detroit and Warren have a strong mayor form of government, meaning the elected mayor serves as the chief administrative officer. Of the 69 cities with a council-manager form of government, only six had a female city manager, according to information found on each city’s website.

The largest city in Southeastern Michigan with a female city manager is Ferndale, which is located in southern Oakland County with a population of about 20,000. April Lynch has served as the Ferndale’s City Manager since 2011. The other cities with female city managers are: Belleville, Hamtramck, Lathrup Village, South Lyon and Rockwood.

In addition to cities and townships, villages are another form of local government in Michigan. In the map below these communities with chief administrative officers are also highlighted. Of the six villages in Southeastern Michigan with a village administrator one has a female serving in that position (not all villages have such a chief administrative officer-many villages have small populations, and the village president serves as the chief administrative officer). The village with a female administrator is the Village of Bingham Farms, which is located in Oakland County and has a population of about 1,100.

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As noted in our recent elected officials post, more than 50 percent of the country’s population is made up of females, but a much smaller number of females serve in elected positions, and as this post shows, are selected to lead local government. This conversation is being raised by organizations such as ICMA and Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Locally though, more conversations need to take place to at least put Southeastern Michigan in line with or above the national average, so there is a more inclusive and representative pool of local government leaders.

 

Deer-Vehicle Crashes in Region Account for 17% of State’s Total

In 2015 in the state of Michigan there were about 1.75 million deer, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In Southeastern Michigan there were 7,855 deer-vehicle crashes, according to the Michigan State Police.

This was down 509 crashes from 10 years prior. This total number of crashes represented 17 percent of the total number of deer-vehicle crashes in the state in 2015 even though this part of the state represents over 47 percent of the states population.

Below are three time series, based on data provided by the Michigan State Police, showing the total number of crashes in the seven county region, the total of injuries caused by deer-vehicle crashes and the total number of fatalities caused by deer-vehicle crashes.

Oakland County experienced the highest increase in the number of deer-vehicle accidents between 2014 and 2015 at 123. Over the 10 year period, four counties (Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne) experienced increases, with Wayne County experiencing the highest at 56. Livingston County experienced the largest decrease in the number of deer-vehicle crashes between 2006 and 2015 at 474.

Washtenaw County is another county that experienced an overall decrease in the number of deer-vehicle crashes between 2006 and 2015 at 125. Between 2014 and 2015 the county also experienced a decrease of 110 crashes. However, the city of Ann Arbor is in the midst of a deer management program to reduce the number of negative deer-human interactions, according to Mlive. Between 2014 and 2015 the number of deer-vehicle accidents in the city increased from 51 to 90, according to Mlive.

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As seen in the next two maps below, injuries caused by deer-vehicle accidents are fairly common while human fatalities are infrequent varying between zero and one for any given county in a year. Between 2006 and 2015 Oakland County regularly had the highest number of deer-vehicle injuries; it also had the highest number of deer-vehicle crashes. The number of injuries appears directly related to the number of accidents.

In 2015 there 70 injuries caused by deer-vehicle related accidents in Oakland County and in Monroe County there were four. Not only does Oakland County have the highest number of injuries from such crashes but it has also experienced the highest increase between 2006 and 2015 at 15. Washtenaw County climbed to a paek in 2010, fell substantially and then climbed slightly by 2015. It experienced the lowest increase in from 2006 to 2015 at 6.

While each county in Southeastern Michigan had at least a handful of injuries caused by deer-vehicle crashes, fatalities from such accidents were much more rare. Between 2006 and 2015 there were zero fatalities caused by deer-vehicle accidents in Wayne County. Unlike Wayne County, every other county in the region had at least one fatality in the 10 year time span. In the years 2009, 2010 and 2014 though there were zero deer related fatalities throughout the region. Livingston County had the highest number of fatalities between 2006 and 2015 at three, one of which was in 2015. Throughout the state of Michigan there were 11 fatalities caused by deer-vehicle crashes in 2015.

 

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Although fatalities from deer-vehicle crashes are uncommon, motorists should still be aware of their surroundings when driving. Most deer-vehicle crashes occur in the fall and winter months between dusk and dawn on rural roads. Very few methods of reducing these crashes have been found to be effective, except fencing and drivers slowing their speeds (though they often will not without consistent enforcement).

Southeastern Michigan Economy Gaining Strength

  • The unemployment rate across the state remained stagnant while the rate in the city of Detroit decreased (monthly);
  • The number of employed Detroit residents increased, (monthly);
  • The Purchasing Manager’s Index for Southeastern Michigan remains strong, especially after increasing 7 points (monthly);
  • The Commodity Price Index remained the same (monthly);
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually.

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According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan slightly increased to 4.7 in October of 2016 from 4.6 the previous month. However, unemployment in the City of Detroit decreased to 11.1 in September, from 12.4 the previous month. The September unemployment rate in 2016 was 0.4 points lower than it was in September of 2015.

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In September of 2016 the number of employed Detroit residents rose to 221,238, an increase of 2,314 from August. Between September of 2016 and September of 2015 there was a total increase of 10,012 employed Detroit residents, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

While the number of employed Detroit residents increased between August and September the labor force decreased by 1,067. In August the labor force was reported to be 250,047 and in September it was reported to be 248,971.

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The Purchasing Manger’s Index (PMI) is a composite index derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories. A PMI above 50 indicates the economy is expanding.

According to the most recent data released on Southeast Michigan’s Manager’s Index, the PMI for October 2016 was 67.2, an increase of 7 points from the prior month. The October 2016 PMI was an increase of 8.4 from the previous year.  With this increase, the PMI is considered to be strong, particularly because it has remained above 50 since June of 2014. Much of this growth, according to the Institute of Supply Management of Southeastern Michigan, is due to the resurgence of the auto sector in the region.

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The October 2016 Commodity Price Index decreased 0.2 points from September but increased 3.2 points from the prior year. The three month average for the Commodity Price Index was 48, which the Institute of Supply Management of Southeastern Michigan states is good for short-term profits.

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The above charts show the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $109,660 in August 2016. This was an increase from $103,750 from August of 2015 and an increase from $98,720 from August of 2014.