NACo’s Board of Directors approved a $20.7 million budget for 2017, adopted eight national policy priorities, okayed a new alliance with local government technology association, PTI, and learned about the launch of the Counties Futures Lab during their fall meeting Dec. 8–10 in Leon County, Fla. Leon County is home to the state capital at Tallahassee, Florida State University and not to be outdone, NACo President Bryan Desloge.
The associations’s $20.7 million budget represents an 8.9 percent growth over 2016, fueled by an expected bump in revenue from NACo’s Financial Services Corporation (FSC) and investments in grants and contracts, according to NACo Executive Director Matt Chase. FSC, which accounts for 43 percent of total revenues, is projecting 7.5 percent growth in 2017 to $9.1 million.
While membership revenues are projected to be flat with only 0.85 percent growth, the association continues to enjoy one of the highest retention rates — 98.5 percent — among national associations.
Chase also reported that NACo moved into its new space at 660 N. Capitol St., NW, Nov. 1, where it occupies 42,352 square feet and shares a first floor state-of-the art conference center with the National League of Cities (NLC). NLC is located in the building as are several NACo affiliates and local-government-related organizations.
Construction of the new leased space was completed on time and under budget, Chase said, and NACo is projected to save $2 million with the office relocation.
NACo’s national policy efforts for FY17 will concentrate in eight areas, including a new policy priority on supporting programs that assist counties in preventing and reducing poverty.
Also on the list of national priorities are: protecting the federal-state-local partnership for Medicaid; protecting the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds; promoting county surface transportation priorities; working for a more effective definition of “Waters of the U.S.”; supporting county authority to collect existing sales taxes from remote, internet sellers; promote behavioral health and criminal justice reform; and restoring full funding for the payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs.
NACo’s 10 policy steering committees also selected priorities for the new year. They range from promoting local law enforcement innovation from the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee to enhancing cybersecurity measures from the Telecommunications and Technology Steering Committee.
The Counties Futures Lab
NACo is set to launch a rebranding of NACo’s Research Department that will combine its ground-breaking work with the insights of leading national experts to examine and forecast the trends, innovations and promises of county government.
Christened the “Counties Futures Lab,” the new center’s primary focus will be on pressing county governance and management issues, grounded in analytics, data and knowledge sharing. The Lab will deliver a variety of products, from research studies and analytics reports to forums in partnership with corporations, academia and philanthropic thought leaders with an emphasis on promoting the county government of the future, according to the Lab’s initial proposal.
NACo President Brian Desloge and Chase will introduce the Counties Futures Lab in a January 2017 video.
Public Technology Institute (PTI)
The new partnership with the Public Technology Institute, or PTI, will broaden and strengthen NACo’s capacity to provide information technology leadership and support to its members, Chase said during his presentation of the PTI association management proposal.
Under the proposal approved by the Board, PTI would be co-located within NACo’s headquarters’ space and contract with NACo for association management services. The agreement is set for three years.
…And in Other Action
NACo Board members had the opportunity to tour four Leon County program sites and learn about their exceptional achievements: Apalachee Regional Park where an old landfill was developed into a national cross-country competition venue; the Kearny Center, where a public-private partnership started and maintains a state-of-the-art homeless shelter; Public Safety Center, featuring recently consolidated services; and Domi Station, a refurbished county-owned warehouse, now business incubator creating new jobs and businesses.
Board members also heard from Cissy Proctor, the state’s economic opportunity director, and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.).Hero 1