By Kathy Ackerman, IAC Immediate Past President
The National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors meeting was held in Dekalb County (Decatur), Georgia on December 2-4 in conjunction with the Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) meeting. One of the primary purposes of the Board meeting was to set the legislative priorities for the coming year.
Eleven priorities were set, including working to pass legislation that would provide additional flexibility for ARPA funds, the inclusion of county priorities in Farm Bill reauthorization legislation, full funding support of SRS and PILT, election integrity and workforce opportunities and support services (workforce housing). Roundtable group discussions regarding local issues and opportunities also took place. The focus was on making NACo relevant for counties by providing support services and brainstorming ways to engage NACo members.
The Board meeting also included offsite tours that highlighted the many community partnerships Dekalb County has as they work to address issues that impact large urban areas, such as food insecurity, workforce training and diversion programs for minorities.
Blackhall Studios is an up-and-coming movie studio that is contributing to the economic base of the area. Tax incentives and a nearby supply of high-school-aged apprentices contributed to the location of this studio in Georgia.
The Urban Farm was located on five acres and serves the community by providing produce for several area food programs, as well as teaching life skills to under-advantaged minorities. (This experience made me appreciate the important agricultural presence we have in Idaho!)
The production of “A Soulful Christmas” was held in a performing arts center that recruits and trains individuals in the performing arts to create a diversion from the impacts of poverty, such as unemployment and crime. It was an outstanding show!
Attending this meeting as IAC’s immediate past president afforded a great opportunity to see a vibrant part of the country and to represent Idaho on a national board.
To learn more about NACo, visit their website.