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November 29, 2012
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Building livable communities that improve people's lives

  Leadership and Management 
  • S.C. county manager emphasizes courage and collaboration
    York County, S.C., Manager Jim Baker, in his last State of the County address, encouraged council members to take care in making decisions about using taxpayers' money and to collaborate to find growth opportunities. "It takes a lot of courage to make those types of decisions," he said. Baker, who will resign in January, commended the county for creating 1,800 jobs this year and outlined construction projects the council will oversee, including recreation initiatives and upgrading county buildings. The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.) (11/27) Email this Story
Boulder City Council approves 10-cent disposable bag fee
Boulder City Council unanimously adopted a 10-cent disposable bag fee Nov. 15 as part of a sustainability initiative. Based on a study performed by TischlerBise, the fee considers the public cost of recycling disposable bags and the costs of public education/fee implementation. Food retail stores and Target will be affected by the new ordinance, effective July, 2013.
  Budgeting and Finance 
  • Calif. city manager will study long-term budget solutions
    The Upland, Calif., City Council gave the city manager permission to evaluate long-term recommendations for restoring reserves and freeing up more of the general fund. The recommendations include reorganizing the Finance Department, renegotiating an air-ambulance contract, increasing the business-license tax and finding alternative ways to provide services. The council also approved short-term financial solutions. Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, Calif.) (11/27) Email this Story
  • U.K. government cuts spur talk of city independence
    The Stoke-on-Trent, U.K., City Council is facing a £21.1 million reduction in nursery education and adult social care and £7.6 million in job cuts because of austerity by the central government. Some council members have expressed a need for the city to become independent. "It's crucial we generate income within the city, and we can only do this if we attract businesses and raise money from the business rates they pay," Council Leader Mohammed Pervez said. "The government is simply not helping us, and we have to do more to find ways to pay for our services." This Is Staffordshire (U.K.) (11/28) Email this Story
Making the Most of Parcel Boundary Data
For a growing list of industries, the importance and widening use of parcel boundary and property data continues to grow. Thankfully, alternatives to traditional parcel acquisition efforts are now available through cost-effective and ready to use solutions. Read our guide to smart decision-making using parcel boundary data
  Emergency Management and Public Safety 
  • Wash. city manager makes police funding a priority
    Having an adequate police force in Walla Walla, Wash., is a priority for the city manager, who says maintaining a "delicate balance" between funding the Police Department and city services that reduce crime is a challenge. Proposed police funding next year would make up almost a third of the $25.1 million general fund, which also pays for library services and youth programs that are essential to keeping young people out of trouble. Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Wash.) (11/27) Email this Story
  • Tenn. city council weighs expansion of gang task force
    The Chattanooga, Tenn., City Council is considering hiring two people for the gang task force, at the request of the task force's coordinator. The outreach worker would refer at-risk youth to the task force's intervention team, while the violence interrupter would intervene in gang-related violence. However, some council members expressed concern about what information would be reported to the Police Department. (Chattanooga, Tenn.) (11/28) Email this Story
  Economic Development, Restoration and Sustainability  
  • Ala. city council seeks EPA grant to clean old city hall
    The Mobile, Ala., City Council voted unanimously to apply for a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate asbestos and other contaminants in the old City Hall, which has been empty for more than a decade. The building cannot be restored or demolished until it is free of contaminants. "We have a building that is in the area of the city that is its front door, so to speak," the mayor's chief of staff said. "You can't show it. You can't tear it down. We've had a number of inquiries about the building. But we can't even market it now." (Alabama)/Real-Time News from Mobile blog (11/27) Email this Story
  • Utah city council aims to preserve buildings
    The Salt Lake City City Council heard a proposed ordinance that would require property owners to ensure vacant buildings are "habitable." The ordinance, which will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday, is an attempt to preserve buildings citywide. The council also unanimously passed an ordinance prohibiting the demolition of downtown buildings to form parking lots. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (11/28) Email this Story
  Legislation, Policy and Grants 
  • Stricter texting-while-driving law is up for debate in Va.
    The Virginia State Crime Commission is deliberating whether it should enact harsher texting-while-driving law, which police officers say is a much-needed response to an increase in car fatalities. In Lynchburg, fatalities increased 600% this year. "The fatality rate in the state of Virginia this year has gone up for the first time in several years," Lynchburg police Officer Ronnie Sitler said. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says higher, rather than lower, fatality rates generally follow texting bans. WSET-TV (Lynchburg, Va.) (11/27) Email this Story
  Public Works and Infrastructure 
  • Calif. city council eyes drought protection with water purchase
    The Carlsbad, Calif., City Council voted to buy 2,500 acre feet of desalinated water from the San Diego County Water Authority to diversify its water supply, which comes from Northern California and the Colorado River. "This is like buying insurance against future droughts, which we know are coming," Mayor Matt Hall said. The purchase will make up 12.5% of the city's water supply., Calif. (11/28) Email this Story
  ICMA News 
  • ICMA's Leonard Matarese will conduct police/fire Web conference
    Back by popular demand, ICMA's eye-opening Web conference will help you make informed policy decisions by knowing what to ask of police and fire departments -- typically the toughest departments from which to get accurate, measurable information. Register for "Asking Police and Fire Chiefs the Right Questions to Get the Right Answers" and learn from a nationally known public-safety expert with a combination of experience as a city manager and a public-safety professional. The Web conference is at 1 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 5.
  • Study guide accompanies fire and emergency services book
    ICMA has released the "Managing Fire and Emergency Services" study guide, which accompanies the newly revised ICMA green book "Managing Fire and Emergency Services." The study guide is designed to help students of fire and emergency services and those preparing for promotional exams develop knowledge, skills and abilities to meet challenges in the increasingly complex field of fire and emergency services. The self-study format allows students to complete the review at their own speed and provides tips on how to make the most of the self-paced study. For professors, the study guide's format can be a helpful resource to organize lesson plans based on the primary fire text. Save $10 and order the self-study course.
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The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet."
--James Oppenheim,
American poet, novelist and editor

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