Monday, July 29, 2013
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH - Members of the Parish Council and Administration joined 1,800 fellow county officials from across the country July 19-22 to adopt policies and share ideas at the National Association of Counties' (NACo) 2013 Annual Conference and Exposition in Tarrant County, Texas.
NACo's Annual Conference is the most important gathering of county officials of the year. "The quality of information in NACo's presentations was beneficial and having the ability to exchange ideas with other participants was valuable," said Marvin Perrilloux, Councilman District 4. "NACO's mission was accomplished," said Lucien Gauff, Councilman At Large, Division A. "It provided opportunities to gather resources and ideas that could assist me in being a better public servant," he added.
Decisions made at the conference allow counties to speak with a strong, clear and unified voice to the Administration, Congress and the American people on issues ranging from transportation infrastructure, access to health care, and court and jail systems. During the conference, the impact of the Biggert Waters Act on flood insurance rates across the country was a hot topic of conversation. A resolution calling for amendments to the Biggert Waters Act passed unanimously at NACo's general membership session, making the issue of unaffordable flood insurance premiums through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) a top policy priority for NACo. "Having our resolution for reform of the Biggert-Waters Act approved shows nationwide support of local government leaders wanting immediate action on such a pressing issue," said Councilman Michael Wright, District 5. Councilman Lennix Madere, District 3 was also very impressed with the support of the Biggert Waters Act support from NACo, "In addition to many educational workshops, it was impressive to have NACo and other counties support the Biggert Waters resolution. We are all in this together and there are many others who have the same concerns with this ongoing issue."
"We are not alone in the challenges faced from natural disasters," Parish President Natalie Robottom said. NACo's newly appointed President, Linda Langston of Linn County, Iowa, will focus on building capacity in communities so they are ready and resilient - agile and adaptive in the face of disaster. She wants communities to be "ready to lead, ready to adapt, ready to build for the future, agile in the face of a changing world that is often filled with disasters. Resilient so that no matter what happens, you are focused on doing what it takes to be ready for the dynamically changed future." President Langston's familiarity with flooding and her experience with disaster recovery will serve as an asset to communities like St. John for recovery and the fight to change the Biggert Waters Act.
"The bottom line is that while recovery begins and ends at the local level, support from the federal government is critical to recovery from disasters," saidPresident Robottom. "Our involvement in NACo is extremely important to creating policy and strengthening our voice in Washington."
During the Annual Conference, county officials set the agenda and legislative priorities for 2013-14, which addressed budget and revenue; rural and urban development, green government; transportation; public safety; emergency preparedness and response; housing and more. The policy resolutions adopted at the conference will be posted soon at www.naco.org.
St. John representatives attended a variety of educational workshops to gain greater understanding of issues affecting local government, innovative approaches, and cost-effective services and programs. Workshops and meetings of interest included: NACo Technology Innovations Summit, NACIO Business/Membership Meeting, Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee Meeting, Beyond Civility: Communications for Effective Governance, Social Media Analytics: Tracking Engagement, Essential Steps for Building Community Resilience, and How Community Development Programs Impact Local Public/Private Sectors.
For more information about the 2013 NACo Annual Conference, contact Jim Philipps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.942.4220.