NACo President Sallie Clark swears in the 2016-2017 WIR Executive Committee. Photo by Charlie Ban
Special thanks to the 500 county officials and state associations of counties who attended this year’s Western Interstate Region (WIR) conference in Teton County (Jackson Hole), Wyo. last month. In partnership with Teton County and the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, the conference brought together nationally renowned experts, state and federal policy leaders and county officials from the 15 states in NACo’s WIR.
With critical legislative and regulatory issues being debated in the nation’s capital, we discussed issues particularly important to Western communities. These issues included:
- Ensuring certainty in federal county payments through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs,
- New regulations proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that could substantially affect counties containing federal public lands, and
- Strengthening local infrastructure.
Each county — whether in the West or across the country — is unique, but we can learn from one another and shape key federal policies to help address the challenges we face every day.
We hope all counties, parishes and boroughs will join us at NACo’s Annual Conference July 22–25 in Los Angeles County-Long Beach. In addition to helping us set our federal policy agenda for the year ahead, we have many educational workshops that offer second-to-none resources specifically for counties. Many of these opportunities fit within the theme of NACo’s Safe and Secure Counties initiative, which focuses on protecting public safety, preserving public health and well being, and promoting local economies.
One of these sessions is a lunch discussion on how county leaders are addressing the nation’s opioid and heroin crisis. Boone County, Ky. Judge-Executive Gary Moore will discuss our National City-County Task Force on the Opioid Epidemic. Sam Quinones, a journalist and the author of Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic, will share his perspectives on the origins and future of the problem. And private sector partners will highlight tools counties use to stem the tide of the epidemic. Space is very limited, so RSVP now to secure your seat.
Another session will share lessons learned from a county that experienced an active shooter situation and how county officials collaborate with public and private sector partners to protect county residents and employees.
There are many other workshops designed to give you concrete tools to create safer, more secure communities across the country. From increasing local road safety to reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in jails, the Annual Conference will offer educational opportunities you can find nowhere else. Explore the full agenda and register today at www.NACo.org/Annual.