Intergovernmental collaboration on sustainability and energy issues among Michigan local governments

September 2020

This report presents the opinions of Michigan’s local government leaders regarding current and potential local government collaboration on a range of sustainability and energy policies. These findings are based on statewide surveys of local government leaders conducted in the Fall 2019 Michigan Local Energy Survey (MiLES), a special wave of the Michigan Public Policy Survey.

Key findings

  • Over a third (38%) of Michigan local governments report they are currently collaborating with other local governments on recycling issues, while 36% do not collaborate on recycling now, but would be interested in doing so.
    • Intergovernmental collaboration on recycling is most commonly reported by the state’s larger jurisdictions, including almost half (48%) of communities with more than 10,000 residents.
    • Even among Michigan’s smallest jurisdictions, 34% currently collaborate, and only 18% have no interest in doing so.
    • By region, recycling collaborations are most common in the Northern Lower Peninsula (55%), and least common in the Upper Peninsula (26% of jurisdictions). However, 43% of UP jurisdictions express interest in pursuing collaboration on recycling.
  • On other topics, relatively few local governments statewide currently report collaborations on non-motorized or public transportation (17%), green purchasing programs (7%), or shared staffing for energy issues (3%). However, local government officials express considerable interest in pursuing these opportunities, particularly for green purchasing programs (44%).
    • As with recycling, collaboration on these other issues is more frequently reported by larger local governments, especially jurisdictions with more than 30,000 residents among whom 42% currently collaborate on non-motorized or public transportation, 19% do so on green purchasing programs, and 8% on shared staffing for energy issues (with another 48% interested in doing so).