Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

CED Committee Focuses on Helping Cities through Economic Downturn

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

CED Committee Focuses on Helping Cities through Economic Downturn

Article excerpt

Members of NLC's Community and Economic Development Policy and Advocacy Steering Committee (CED) focused on how cities and towns are moving forward despite the economic downturn during their fall meeting in Muskegon, Mich.

The committee, hosted by Muskegon City Commissioner Clara Shepherd, also heard from staff on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on the federal agenda for housing and community development.

CED Committee Chair Bruce Hill, mayor of Grand Junction, Colo., kicked off the meeting at a reception in the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC). Built on a former brownfield, the MAREC is a LEED Gold Certified multi-use facility, the first in Michigan and only the 10th in the country. Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington welcomed the committee to the city and introduced representatives of Consumers Energy, who spoke about their efforts at improving household energy efficiency for their customers through the use of "smart energy meters."

The next day began with a presentation by Robert Weissbourd, president of RW Ventures, who served on the HUD transition team for the Obama Administration. Weissbourd presented on the pioneering work being done for Chicago homeowners living in neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures. By improving the timeliness and accuracy of property assessments, Weissbourd showed the committee that local governments can provide relief to homeowners beset by falling property values without a significant loss of tax revenue. Moreover, the data presented showed that poor assessment practices can actually exacerbate the loss of home value.

Arnold Weinfeld, director of public policy and federal affairs for the Michigan Municipal League, presented on the Center for 21st Century Communities (21 c3), which is innovating new approaches to community and economic development for Michigan cities and towns. …

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