By NLC Member Relations Staff
The four member councils for the National League of Cities met at the Congress of Cities in Boston, MA in late November to discuss the various issues that affect their respective communities and helped to set the future agendas for their work within NLC. The council meetings -- Large Cities, First Tier Suburbs, Small Cities, and University Communities -- featured an exciting lineup of speakers, legislative updates and lively discussions surrounding the issues and priorities that affect their communities.
Large Cities Council
Nearly 60 members of the Large Cities Council met at the Congress of Cities. Speaker Steven Torres, partner with Boston law firm Pannone, Lopes, Devereaux & West LLC, discussed the design build concept, a system where city leaders and contractors work together on projects to increase efficiency, reduce change orders, and obtain the best prices for materials reducing costs. The Council also heard from William Jabjiniak, Economic Development Director for the City of Mesa, AZ, on how to enhance development through higher education. Jabjiniak showed participants how to go beyond traditional public private partnerships and attract new, private liberal arts colleges and universities for their community. Large Cities Council Chair Dina Higgins, councilwoman from Mesa, AZ, and Vice Chair Jan Marcason, council member from Kansas City, MO, conducted the meeting.
Small Cities Council
The Small Cities Council agenda featured education on developing local government responses to changing federal policy trends impacting local community development efforts - - specifically decreases in federal program support, shifting federal grant terms, and the federal role in the housing finance market. The Council also heard updates on local government strategies for maximizing the economic development potential of small businesses, including helping to ensure small businesses have access to credit, engaging local and regional financial institutions, and sharing best business retention practices. The Council discussed the role that natural gas will have on the nation's energy future, as well as the impact of hydraulic fracturing on local drinking water resources, wastewater and air emissions. The meeting was conducted by Lumberton, NC Councilman Leon Maynor, Chair of the Small Cities Council Steering Committee.
First Tier Suburbs Council
The First Tier Suburbs Council spread its influence across the conference by selecting and promoting a series of workshops to highlight a number of important issues that first-ring suburban cities and towns are dealing with. Rancho Cordova, CA Mayor David Sander, Vice Chair of the First Tier Suburbs Council, served as a moderator for the Revitalizing Your Downtown workshop, while First Tier Suburbs Councilmember Marc San Soucie of Beaverton, OR moderated the Supporting Start-ups and Entrepreneurs workshop. Council Chair Mayor Denny Doyle, also of Beaverton, Vice Chair Councilmember -at-Large Corey Rushton of West Valley City, UT along with Mayor Sander led the Council in a meeting to discuss strategies to promote the work of the group to the broader NLC audience and increase participation.
University Communities Council
During the University Communities Council membership meeting, Neil Bomberg, NLC Program Director for the Center for Federal Relations, provided an overview of the issues addressed by Congress that are of concern to university communities, the national elections and what the fiscal cliff will mean to cities and towns, in addition to what to expect legislatively in 2013. Yale University professor Dr. Peter Rabinowitz's presentation "Canaries and Communities: Humans, Animals, and Shared Risks in Urban Environments" highlighted the roles of universities and local governments in preventing, identifying, and addressing threats to public health and well-being. Both of these presentations can be found in the University Communities Council online community within myNLC.
Military Communities Council
The Military Communities Peer Network met for the last time as a peer network before it officially becomes another NLC member council -- the Military Communities Council -- beginning January 1. See the separate article on this meeting, which focused on what city leaders can do to assist with the reintegration of returning veterans, specifically with regards to finding and maintaining affordable housing.
Details: If you are interested in joining a member council or would like more information on any of the NLC councils please contact member services at 202-626-3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.