County Solutions and Innovation Blog
|(NACo Podcasts) Resiliency in New Orleans: The Urban Water Plan|(read more)3 days ago | 0
In order to remain healthy, vibrant, safe and economically competitive, America’s counties must be able to anticipate and adapt to all types of change. Coastal Louisiana is one part of the country that is taking strides to adapt and strengthen its resiliency in the face of threats from increasingly severe weather events.
Composed of ten parishes with over 1 million residents, Greater New Orleans Inc, or GNO Inc. for short, is southeast Louisiana’s economic development organization. Given the importance of water to the region’s culture and economy, in 2010 the state of Louisiana provided funding to GNO Inc. to develop the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. The Urban Water Plan represents a region-wide effort to explore and invest in smart and sustainable water-related infrastructure.
Robin Barnes, Executive Vice President and COO of Greater New Orleans Inc., joins the podcast to discuss the Urban Water Plan and explain its implications for the Southeast Louisiana region. For more information on the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, visit livingwithwater.com,
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|Working Across Jurisdictions Offers Opportunities for Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness|(read more)6 days ago | 0
Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Assoiciate.
This post is part of a series of guest blog posts from the Center for Sharing Public Health Services.
In counties across the nation, rising costs and shrinking budgets are putting elected officials and public administrators in a financial squeeze-play. Adding to the pressure is often a desire to expand services in order to better serve communities. Difficult situations like these demand innovative thinking.
Many local governments are responding to the challenge by implementing cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements. By pooling resources with neighboring jurisdictions, local governments can create economies of scale that save money and/or expand capacity.
The Center for Sharing Public Health Services helps communities that are considering or adopting cross-jurisdictional sharing approaches. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and managed by the Kansas Health Institute, the Center studies, shares and supports ways cross-jurisdictional sharing can improve efficiency and effectiveness in public health. Many of its findings are likely applicable across other public functions as well.
In addition to producing and distributing tools and resources that can assist any community considering or adopting cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangements, the Center also studies and works with 16 demonstration sites in 14 states. The sites form a learning community that includes 76 health departmen...
|Obama Administration Accepting Applications for New Climate Action Champions Competition|(read more)2 weeks ago | 0
Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
The colors on the map show temperature changes over the past 22 years (1991-2012) compared to the 1901-1960 average, and compared to the 1951-1980 average for Alaska and Hawaii. The period from 2001 to 2012 was warmer than any previous decade in every region. (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).
On October 1st, the Obama Administration announced a new Climate Action Champions competition to identify, showcase and invest in up to 15 local and tribal governments across the nation that demonstrate ongoing commitment to cutting carbon pollution and preparing for the impacts of a changing climate. Focusing on both mitigation and building resilience to climate impacts at the local level, the goal of the Climate Action Champions competition is to help American communities to accelerate and expand their alignment of climate pollution actions and climate resilience efforts.
Designated Champions will receive technical assistance to help support their current and planned actions around climate pollution mitigation and climate resilience. Champions will also receive help with leveraging existing federal programs and resources, and in certain competitive federal grant programs, the Champions will receive a preferred status to aid in development of new approaches and part...
|Coastal Resiliency: Ecosystem Management|(read more)2 weeks ago | 0
Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow.
The many facets of coastal resilience may fall under three broad topics: water quality, severe weather and climate change adaptation, and ecosystem management. Two recent NACo publications, Planning Resilient Water Systems and Severe Weather and Climate Change Adaptation, review county-implemented solutions addressing water quality and severe weather and climate change issues. This in-depth blog post will touch upon the third facet, ecosystem management. Ecosystem management approaches can help to alleviate or solve ecological issues, economic difficulties, ineffective decision-making processes and social concerns. Good ecosystem management demands attention to the complexity of natural processes and social systems, considers geographic areas that may not adhere to political boundaries and emphasizes collaborative decision making and adaptive management strategies. Ecosystem management is explored here with a case study of the watershed wetlands conservation planning process in Douglas County, Wisc.
Ecosystem Management: Coastal Resiliency County Case Studies Volume 3
Douglas County, Wisc.: Watershed Wetlands Conservation Plan
Six large sub-watersheds in Douglas County, Wisc. flow into Lake Superior. Source: Wisconsin Coastal Management Program
Located in the northwest corner of Wisconsin, Douglas County is a primarily rural county with a population of about 44,000 . The Fond du Lac Indian Reservation is located just over the state boundary in Minnesota, and tribal members have rights to harvest natural resources in the Trust L...
|New Pay for Success Technical Assistance Opportunities: Learn More on Oct. 24|(read more)2 weeks ago | 0
Written by Kathy Rowings
, NACo Program Manager.Are you interested in Pay for Success contracting (also called Social Innovation Finance or Social Impact Bonds)? These financing models direct funding to programs that demonstrate success through measureable outcomes, and can be an effective mechanism for counties to implement new programming in justice, health and human services areas.
Local governments interested in developing Pay for Success can enter a new competition to receive services to identify and develop opportunities to use Pay for Success contracts to fund impactful social interventions. Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc., a non-profit advisory firm specializing in Pay for Success, has received a $1.9 million grant from the federal Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS) Social Innovation Fund (SIF)—a key White House initiative—to support this competition and provide training and technical assistance to approximately 10 jurisdictions. To learn more about applying for Pay for Success Technical Assistance services, join the informational webinar hosted by Third Sector and its partners on Friday, October 24, 2014 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST.
To learn more about Pay for Success and how counties can use this type of funding to support programming, check out NACo’s two-part webinar series: Pay-for-Success Models: Financing Solutions for Counties and Investing in Counties: P...
|Washington County, N.C. Community Leaders Discuss Access to Transportation at NACo Community Dialogue|(read more)2 weeks ago | 0 Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.
NACo, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) is conducting community dialogues in six counties across the country. The NACo Community Dialogue to Improve County Health sessions are intended to assist counties in assessing, planning and strategizing current efforts toward coordinating health initiatives to improve the overall health of residents in these counties. These sessions are a part of NACo’s Elected County Officials’ Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps project, which aims to bring together public and private partners to share innovative ideas and strategize about how to resolve various challenges counties face. The fourth session of the series was held in Washington County, N.C. on September 19th.
As a rural county of roughly 12,000 residents in eastern North Carolina, community leaders in Washington County decided to focus their Community Dialogue on addressing access to transportation. As the Martin-Tyrrell-Washington (MTW) District Health Department began to consider the issues facing their county, they noticed high rates of no-shows to health service appointments. After following up with these residents that were unable to make their appointments, they realized that an inability to physically get to their clinics created a high barrier to accessing health se...
|New NACo Report: Partnering in Government Innovation|(read more)2 weeks ago | 0
Written by Kathy Nothstine, Program Director.
NACo has released a new report highlighting how America’s large urban counties are joining forces with private-sector firms to improve government operations, generate new solutions and reap valuable cost savings.
The report—Partnering in Government Innovation: County Leadership in Action—is released as NACo’s Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) kicks off its annual Leadership Symposium in Ramsey County, Minn., on October 15.
Large urban county governments provide essential services to more than 130 million residents each day, spanning from transportation and infrastructure to public safety and public health. In an era of increasingly limited funding, an ever-growing demand for public services and a strong imperative for efficiency and transparency in government, counties are collaborating more than ever with the private sector to better deliver essential services to keep our communities healthy, safe and thriving.
The report features 11 case studies, reaching across sectors such as technology, health care and infrastructure development. For example:
To engage residents in a two-way conversation and provide timely responses to pressing needs, the City and County of San Francisco worked with SalesForce to coordinate social media platforms, resulting in greater government transparency, better responsiveness to community issues and enhanced quality and efficiency of government services;
Broward County, Fla., contracted with a professional services firm, Parsons, to manage a complex runway expansion...
|(NACo Podcasts) Great Lakes Planning Guide: A New Resource|3 weeks ago | 0
Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow at NACo interviews Jeff Stone, Senior Project Manager at the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), about a new website called the Great Lakes Planning Guide. The Guide provides Great Lakes region stories, data, tools and other resources related to flooding, bluff erosion, invasive species, and other coastal concerns. Mr. Stone shares the impetus for creating the guide, a bit about the process, as well as how users can best benefit from the resource.
Explore the Great Lakes Planning Guide at greatlakesresilience.org
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The podcast includes music by Digital Primitives, Christian Bjoerklund, Kevin MacLeod, Broke for Free, YACT, and Gabl.
|Community Leaders in Wayne County, N.C. Focus on Next Steps for the Healthy Wayne Taskforce at the NACo Community Dialogue|(read more)3 weeks ago | 0
Written by Andrew Whitace, NACo Health Associate.
NACo, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), is conducting community dialogues in six counties across the country. The NACo Community Dialogue to Improve County Health sessions are intended to assist counties in assessing, planning and strategizing current efforts toward coordinating initiatives to improve the overall health of residents in these counties. These sessions are a part of NACo’s Elected County Officials’ Guide to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps project, which aims to bring together public and private partners to share innovative ideas and strategize about how to resolve various challenges counties face. The fifth session of the series was held in Wayne County, N.C., on October 2.
Wayne County, N.C., is located one hour southeast of the state capitol, Raleigh, and has a population of about 125,000. Leaders in the county decided to focus their Community Dialogue on using the collective impact model and the World Café process to help move their Healthy Wayne Task Force from vision to action. The Healthy Wayne Task Force was established in May 2013 as a result of a meeting convened by the Wayne County Commissioners in response to the 2012 Community Health Needs S...
|Two New Coastal Tools: Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper and the Lake Level Viewer| (read more)3 weeks ago | 0 This particular view of the Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper shows storm surge scenarios at 58 percent opacity (orange and red) and the protection layer (gray) over the natural areas and open space map (green) of Atlantic County, N.J.
The goal of the Coastal Flood Exposure Mapperis to catalyze discussions about coastal flood impacts based on maps that users create. This tool has pre-loaded layers of flood hazard maps, societal exposure maps, infrastructure exposure maps, hurricane storm surge maps and ecosystem exposure maps. These layer features can be turned on or off, allowing users to compose, save and share unique and specialized maps with their communities. While counties desiring more in-depth analyses may opt to collect their own mapping data with a finer resolution at the local level, the data presented in the Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper are nationally consistent, which allows for comparison and peer-to-peer discussion between cou...
|America’s PrepareAthon: Preparing our Nation One Community at a Time|(read more)3 weeks ago | 0
This is a guest post written by Gwen Camp, the Director of Individual and Community Preparedness for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
America’s PrepareAthon! offers specific preparedness actions and resources to prepare for a disaster
Building strong communities through disaster preparedness is more important than ever and counties across America are leading the way. America’s PrepareAthon! is a grassroots effort to make us smarter and more ready for the next disaster by asking communities to practice what they would do if a disaster impacts their community. Constituents will often turn to elected officials in times of crisis, so it’s important to prepare now. County officials can rally their communities to participate in America’s PrepareAthon! by visiting Ready.gov/Prepare and choosing the hazard most likely to impact your area: flood, hurricane, wildfire, earthquake, tornado or severe winter weather. On Ready.gov/Prepare you will find tools to have a drill, discussion or exercise and to publicize your efforts. Counties can plan a day of action around two National PrepareAthon Days each year: September 30 (the last day of National Preparedness Month) and April 30, or any other day that works best for the county.
Research shows that communities are better prepared to withstand a disaster and reco...
|Ocean planning moving forward in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic; Comment opportunities upcoming|(read more)3 weeks ago | 0
This is a guest post written by: Dr. Anna M. Zivian and Anne Merwin of Ocean Conservancy. Dr. Zivian is a former county commissioner for San Miguel County, Colorado and an expert on marine spatial planning; Anne Merwin is an attorney and Director of the Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning program.
Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) formed by state, federal and tribal governments in both the Northeast (Connecticut through Maine) and the Mid-Atlantic (Virginia through New York) have spent the last several years laying the groundwork that will facilitate the development of ocean plans for federal waters in those regions. This work has flown under the radar of many county officials, but as plan development shifts into high gear this fall, county officials and staff are presented with an ideal opportunity to get up to speed. Ocean planning presents a key opportunity for coastal county leaders to ensure their communities’ interests are reflected and protected in these plans.
First, a brief primer – what is ocean planning? We are all facing increased competition for valuable ocean and coastal resources. Millions of American jobs depend on access to marine resources. A healthy coastal environment provides the public with recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and, in many local...