NLC's Member Councils to Foster Idea Sharing

Article excerpt

NLC's four member councils capped off a year of educational programs and networking at the recent Congress of Cities. Sharing great ideas and hearing from experts provide members of these groups with solutions to local challenges and opportunities to discover new and innovative programs.

The member councils are NLC standing committees that focus on the close-to-home issues encountered by central cities, first tier suburbs, small cities and university communities.

At its December meeting, the Central Cities Council recommended that NLC adopt a resolution or policy in 2007 supporting smoke-free cities. This item will be referred to the appropriate NLC policy and advocacy committee for consideration. Another focus of central cities was crime prevention and public safety The director of the U.S. Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services Program addressed the group and several experts outlined key emergency preparedness issues. In 2007, this council will turn its attention to federal support of public transit and sustainabitity issues.

Many cities, but especially first tier suburbs, are experiencing problems related to foreclosure, including increasing numbers of vacant properties and homeless people. The First Tier Suburbs Council helped its members cope with this growing problem by bringing attention to a new Foreclosure Prevention Program in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, that offers pre-borrowing counseling, assistance in developing workable family budgets, refinance counseling, assistance for people in default on their mortgage, help to individuals in working out a repayment plan with lenders and warnings about predatory lending.

Council members also learned about new techniques for updating aging housing stock. Focusing on the need for a federal lobbying strategy for first tier suburbs and ways to increase the supply of rental properties are two priorities for 2007.

More than 75 percent of NLC's members come from small cities with populations less than 50,000. …