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County Solutions and Innovation Blog​​
​NACo Participates in ASFPM’s No Adverse Impact Workshop​New

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow and Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.

NACo Program Manager Jen Horton gives an overview of Digital Coast tools at NAI Workshop.

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) recently hosted the first No Adverse Impact workshop in Milwaukee, Wisc.  The goal was to introduce local policy officials and floodplain and coastal managers and planners to tools and approaches for reducing flood risk, particularly in the Great Lakes region.  The “No Adverse Impact” (NAI) approach to floodplain management offers local governments tools to prevent the acceleration of flooding and other negative impacts on the community in the near-term.  Specifically, the NAI approach can empower local communities to identify the potential negative impacts of development and implement local initiatives to mitigate them before the impacts occur.  Put simply, this approach signifies an effective bottom-up flood management approach grounded in local level decision-making.  

During the workshop, Alan Lulloff, Science Services Program Manager for ASFPM, provided applicable examples of the NAI approach for flood management.  Lulloff explained that using hydrography data based on build-out scenarios for current zoning can help to better inform planners about future hydrology.  These sorts of projections that incorporate a more long-term approach to development decision-making benefit the community by decreasing flooding, liability and long-term mo...

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3 days ago | 0

Taking Out the Trash: Baltimore’s Innovative Approach to a Healthy Harbor

Written by Alix Kashdan, Community & Economic Development Intern

Inner Harbor Water Wheel.  From Healthy Harbor Facebook page, with permission from Clearwater Mills.

In Baltimore, Maryland, the downtown Inner Harbor is the principal landmark of the city’s waterfront district.  Historically important for the region’s physical and economic growth, Baltimore Harbor continues to serve as a tourism generator and popular spot for locals today, with visitors enjoying the vibrant energy of its many restaurants, museums and historical attractions.  While the harbor serves as a central component of Baltimore’s economy, water pollution issues threaten the health of the harbor ecosystem and dampen people’s enjoyment of the space.  Aware of the vital role the harbor plays in the fabric of the city, a local network of partners, including Baltimore City and Baltimore County, came together to form the Healthy Harbor Waterfront Partnership Initiative and subsequently developed the Healthy Harbor Plan in 2011.  In addition to addressing pollution concerns, the Healthy Harbor Plan calls for the development of a network of green spaces, pedestrian paths and shoreline marshes.

Without doubt, the central aspect of Baltimore Harbor is the water that links the region to the Chesapeake Bay and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.  Cleaning up the harbor’s water is, therefore, ch...

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4 days ago | 0

(NACo Podcasts) RWJF Culture of Health Prize & Counties


JThe RWJF Culture of Health Prize is an annual award of $25,000 to communities that are on the journey towards building a culture of health. This year, up to 10 communities will be chosen for the Prize. The deadline for the first phase of the application is September 17th at 3pm EST. NACo sat down with Julie Willems Van Dijk from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to discuss the Prize, as well as the three county winners of the 2014 RWJF Culture of Health Prize- Durham County, N.C., Buncombe County, N.C. and Spokane County, Wash.

Subscribing to NACo Podcasts is simple.  If you are using an Apple device, while on your device, click the "Subscribe Via iTunes" button below.  Once subscribed, new episdoes will beautomatically pushed to your device.  For other devic​es, subscribe via RSS, or download today's episode directly to your device.  Click here for a full listing of NACo Podcasts episodes.


7 days ago | 0

NACo Financial Services Center Launches New Partnership to Help Counties Manage Investment Needs

The National Association of Counties (NACo) announced that the NACo Financial Services Center (FSC) is launching a new, exclusive partnership with Multi-Bank Securities, Inc. (MBS) to help its members manage their fixed-income investment needs through a robust online platform, eConnectDirect®.  

Designed by MBS, eConnectDirect® is an online investment marketplace to help institutional clients search, compare, transact and manage their fixed-income portfolios.  It delivers information that allows them to perform transactions across thousands of fixed-income assets. 

“Counties strive to find the most effective ways to manage their investments while ensuring transparency, enhanced controls and better pricing,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew D. Chase.  “We are proud to endorse this solution for counties across the country.  This new partnership and innovative online platform will provide tangible support to counties, county treasurers and other local government entities.”

Among the many features of eConnectDirect®, clients receive the tools to purchase and monitor insurance coverage of federally insured CDs, access to new issue and secondary agency bonds, treasuries, corporates and municipal securities. eConnectDirect® provides transparency to the marketplace by compiling bond offerings from hundreds of broker-dealers as well as access s...

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9 days ago | 0

Upcoming Webinar: The Location Affordability Portal, Version 2: A Better Understanding of How Location Impacts Affordability

Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.

Image from Flick user Ken Teegardin.

There is more to housing affordability than how much rent or mortgage you pay.  Transportation costs are the second-biggest budget item for most families, but previously there hadn't been an easy way for people to fully factor transportation costs into decisions about where to live and work.  The goal of the Location Affordability Portal is to fill this gap by providing the public with robust, standardized data and resources on combined housing and transportation costs to help consumers, policymakers and developers make more informed decisions about where to live, work and invest. 

The Portal, developed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of Transportation (DOT), features two new cutting-edge tools — the Location Affordability Index and My Transportation Cost Calculator—that illustrate from different perspectives how housing location impacts affordability.  HUD and DOT are excited to announce the launch of Version 2 of the site.  In addition to updated data, Version 2 incorporates new variables and more sophisticated statistical modeling techniques that make the tools even more powerful and effective.

Please join NACo, NADO Research Foundation and the National Association of Regional Councils on Wednesday, October ...

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9 days ago | 0

Coastal GeoTools Call for Abstracts

Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow.
coastal geotools image.JPG
The Coastal GeoTools conference has historically been held every other year by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), but will be held in 2015 by NACo’s fellow Digital Coast co-partner, the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM).   This conference focuses on geospatial data, tools, technology and information for coastal resource management professionals .  If you or someone in your county is using geospatial solutions to address coastal issues, this conference would be a great opportunity to share these projects, or to learn more about how others are applying such solutions.  Coastal GeoTools will be held March 30 through April 2 in North Charleston, South Carolina.  Abstracts are due October 6, 2014.  For more information, please see Coastal Geotools, here.

9 days ago | 0

Application Deadline for the 2015 RWJF Culture of Health Prize Approaches

Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.
The first phase of the 2015 RWJF Culture of Health Prize is due September 17, 2014 at 3PM EST. This is the first phase in a multi-step application process. The first phase consists of a five-page application that includes background information about your community and four accomplishments.  

What is the RWJF Culture of Health Prize?

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize is a $25,000 award that recognizes communities that are on the journey towards building a culture of health. The $25,000 award can be used by the winning communities in whatever way they want, there are no budget preparation or grant reporting requirements attached to it. In 2015, up to ten Prizes will be awarded to communities around the country.

How Are Communities Selected for the Prize?

Communities are evaluated on six different criteria throughout the application process, those criteria include:

  1. How do you address health from a broad perspective? Are you not only targeting access and quality of health care, but also focusing on health behaviors, social and economic factors, and the physical environment to improve health?

  2. Do you have a sustainable strategic approach that includes a focus on policy, systems and environmental change?

  3. Are you addressing health across the entir...

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10 days ago | 0

(NACo Podcasts) Leadership through Health


Join Mimi Hall, Plumas County, California Public Health Agency Director and David Dyjack, NACCHO Associate Executive Director for Programs, as they describe how county health departments are improving individual and community health. The challenges, opportunities and how to build a culture of health in counties are all discussed during this podcast.

Subscribing to NACo Podcasts is simple.  If you are using an Apple device, while on your device, click the "Subscribe Via iTunes" button below.  Once subscribed, new episdoes will beautomatically pushed to your device.  For other devices, subscribe via RSS, or download today's episode directly to your device.  Click here for a full listing of NACo Podcasts episodes.



10 days ago | 0

New Economic Development Opportunity: Apply Now to Host a County Prosperity Summit

NACo is pleased to announce a new opportunity for rural and mid-size counties to host innovative economic development workshops, to be held in Winter/Spring 2014. NACo will work with your county or region to organize a County Prosperity Summit tailored to your county's specific needs. NACo will invite national experts to your community who will engage with local leaders to generate new and creative solutions for building and strengthening your local economy. 

The goal of these summits is to help small and mid-size counties strategize innovative economic development approaches. The workshops will introduce counties to the WealthWorks framework (learn more here), help counties build strategies to strengthen regional relationships, identify ways to deepen and sustain economic development activities and investigate strategies to infuse equitable development principles into local economic approaches. 

The County Prosperity Summit application is open to counties with populations of 250,000 or less and to multi-county regions with a total population of 400,000 or less. The application deadline is October 3, 2014 at 5p.m. EDT. More information and the application form can be found here, and additional questions can be directed to NACo Program Directo...

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2 weeks ago | 0

Upcoming NACo Webinar: Communicating Pipeline Safety Risks: Strategies and Tools for Local Governments

Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
More than 164,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines and more than 295,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines move energy throughout the U.S. every day.  County leaders can impact pipeline safety in their community by developing communications and outreach strategies about new and existing pipeline development and potential pipeline risks.

Join NACo on Thursday, September 11th from 2:00pm-3:15pm ET for a webinar that defines the challenges and opportunities related to pipeline safety in local communities, while detailing the roles county leaders can play to effectively communicate and promote pipeline safety in their local communities.  The webinar will also highlight national and local leaders who will provide best practices for communicating pipeline safety issues.  Additionally, the webinar will provide resources and tools that are helpful for counties interested in learning more about pipeline safety outreach approaches.

Register for the webinar here.

For more information on how counties can encourage communication by creating consultation zones, read the Creating Consultation Zones for Pipeline Safety fact sheet.

3 weeks ago | 0

RWJF Highlights County Efforts to Use the County Health Rankings to Improve Community Health

Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.

Image by Flickr user Visit Florida.

This post is based on conversations with Jennifer Nixon, Executive Director of the Rockingham County Healthcare Alliance and Dr. Connie White, Deputy Commissioner of Clinical Affairs at the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

In conjunction with the release of the 2014 County Health Rankings, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) held events in Rockingham County, N.C. and Grant County, Ky. to highlight their work with the County Health Rankings to drive critical community health improvement efforts in their counties.

Rockingham County, N.C.

Rockingham County, N.C., is a small, rural county with a population of 91,000 residents. The county is situated on the border with Virginia, just north of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C. When the initial County Health Rankings were released in 2010, county officials were surprised by their low ranking in the state — they ranked in the bottom quartile in health factors and near the bottom quartile in health outcomes. At first, county leaders focused on the areas that the county ranked lowest in, primarily health behaviors and access to care; however, after their efforts stalled, the county shifted focus on creating a culture of health across all communities in the county.

The County Health Rankings served as a catalyst in the county, prompting leaders to formulate a task force which developed a long-term initiative, which began with creation of the Healthcare Alliance. The county utilized the first few years of the County Health Rankingsto drive participation in the initiat...

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4 weeks ago | 0

Rural Assistance Center Releases New Health Tools for Rural Counties

​Written by Andrew Whitacre, NACo Health Associate.
The Rural Assistance Center recently launched a series of resources aimed at providing accurate data that relates the needs of rural counties. These tools are available to assist rural counties in finding and utilizing data on rural health to inform decision-making and communicate the health needs of rural communities. Below are descriptions and a link for each resource.

  • Finding Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health
    The Rural Assistance Center Topic Guide provides information on understanding rural health needs and health disparities between rural and urban counties. The resource also describes how to locate and use statistics and data in order to communicate rural health needs and information decision-making on these issues.

  • Data Sources & Tools Relevant to Rural Health
    This resource is a collection of data sources focused on healthcare services, health status, demographics, and social determinants of health. For each source, it identifies the topics covered, ease of use, geographic level of data, and update frequency.

  • Selecting Rural Data in American Factfinder
    This  is a step-by-step Slideshare presentation that shows two methods for selecting rural data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Factfinder tool, which is a data set that provides a number of statistics describing the U.S. population. The presentation ...

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4 weeks ago | 0