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At Congress of Cities, Small Cities show they count big.

"Small Cities Count BIG at NLC" -- that's what members of NLC's Small Cities Council will tell you. At the Congress of Cities in Atlanta, the council was even handing out badge stickers proclaiming it. The group had a busy schedule at the conference that included networking roundtables, workshops and business meetings.

Mayor A. Everette Clark of Marion, N.C., 2001 chair of the Small Cities Council, presided over the steering committee meeting on Friday morning. Topping the agenda was a discussion of how the Small Cities Council (SCC) could support the NLC President Karen Anderson's agenda, "Building Quality Communities."

Guest speaker Hamilton Brown, director of training and technical assistance at the National Center for Small Communities (NCSC), participated in the discussion and provided an overview of his organization's work. He offered the resources of NCSC to the council in its effort to support the President's Agenda. The NCSC provides leaders of smaller communities with the tools to help expand local economies, protect natural resources, and preserve community character. The discussion culminated in a proposal to hold a one-day event celebrating small cities' activities in Building Quality Communities. Later that day at the SCC business meeting, the full council voted to implement idea.

Also at the business meeting, Mayor Clark and Marion City Manager Bob Boyette reported on the council's activities during the past year, including a slide presentation that highlighted the summer meeting held in Marion. New officers were elected as well. Del Haag, council-member from Buffalo, Minn., is the new chair of the group, Brenda Barger, mayor of Watertown, S.D., is the first vice chair, and Gerry Whipple, mayor of Show Low, Ariz., was elected second vice chair.

In addition to the business meeting, a roundtable and workshops were dedicated to small cities during the Congress of Cities.

Sponsored by the NLC Small Cities Council, the plenary session, "Small Cities Sharing Big Ideas: Roundtable Networking," provided an opportunity to discuss ideas and seek solutions to community issues in an informal setting. Clark convened the session and NLC Past President Clarence Anthony, mayor of South Bay, Fla., shared how the support of the Small Cities Council was important to him during his presidency of NLC and asked participant to encourage other small city officials to continue to be involved in NLC.

The roundtable session's facilitator, Gordon Maner, program manager, local government leadership and management programs, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, The University of Georgia, encouraged participants to join a roundtable. Members of the Small Cities Council moderated each discussion around topics such as:

* Building Quality Communities;

* Promoting Racial Justice;

* Programs for Youth;

* Creative Funding and Financing;

* Technology Issues and Digital Divide;

* Economic Development;

* Crime Prevention and Public Safety;

* Working with Schools;

* Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness;

* Balancing Public and Private Lives;

* Environmental Issues;

* Effective Citizen Communication; and

* Investing in Communities.

After the enthusiastic discussion, participants from each table shared highlights with the entire group.

One workshop focused on domestic preparedness for small cities.

In "Preparing for Domestic Terrorism--A Small City Perspective," Mayors Charles E. Henderson, Greenwood, Ind., and Chip Howell, Anniston, Ala., shared their experiences with strengthening local preparedness both before and after the events of September 11.

Moderator Brenda Barger, mayor, Watertown, S.D., encouraged participants to ask questions about preparing emergency plans and how to find diverse resources to support small city activities. In particular, participants were interested in information on training for emergency personnel offered by the Center for Domestic Preparedness at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Noble Training Center at the U.S. Public Heath Service. For more information on the program at the Center for Domestic Preparedness, contact Rick Dickson at (265) 847-2134 or dicksonr@ojp.usdoj.gov; for more information on the Noble Training Center, contact John D. Hoyle at (256) 820-9135 or jdhoyle@juno.com.

Local officials from small cities also took the opportunity during the conference to relax and network with peers. Close to 300 people attended the SCC Networking Reception during the Congress of Cities. One of the highlights of the event was the door prizes, more than 20 in all, each a unique representation of the small city or region from which it came. Donated by SCC members, prizes varied widely and included things like handcrafted pottery, clothing and mugs with city logos, signed artwork and even salmon from Alaska.
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities
Author:Behroozi, Cy; Assion, Melissa
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 7, 2002
Words:723
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