Small City Officials Meet in Missouri; Issues Range from Economics to Urban Forestry
Gertzog, Lynn, Nation's Cities Weekly
The steering committee of NLC's Small Cities Council (SCC) held its summer meeting in Frontenac, Mo., in the St. Louis metropolitan area, last week under the leadership of Council Chair Marge Schramm, mayor of Kirkwood, Mo.
The committee's agenda covered diverse issues ranging from economic development and infrastructure financing to crime prevention and urban forestry. Participants also got a preview of educational activities being planned for small city officials at NLC's Minneapolis Congress of Cities in December and discussed the SCC's goals, accomplishments and future role.
Made up of 90 municipalities, most with populations under 5,000, St. Louis County proved the perfect setting for local officials to share experiences in small city governance. County Executive Buzz Westfall opened. the meeting with a welcome address that encouraged leaders to "think beyond their borders and move forward as a region," while Tim Fischesser, executive director of the St. Louis County Municipal League, continued that theme with a discussion of regional cooperative efforts and intergovernmental relations.
A workshop focusing on credit issues in financing small city projects was especially relevant for those seeking strategies for stretching resources. Led by Karen Irwin, vice president of investment banking for A.G. Edwards, Inc., the session outlined valuable guidelines for understanding this often complicated but critical subject and included a down-to-earth discussion of credit evaluation criteria, general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, lease financing, and municipal bond insurance.
In another session, the city of Farmington, Mo. (pop. 11,598), showed committee members how small cities can develop workable strategies to attract industry to the community. Mayor Gay Wilkinson and economic development coordinator Jim Dismuke led the lesson in local economic development. Describing their recent success in negotiating with Huffy to locate a new bicycle manufacturing plant in the city's already booming 166-acre industrial park. The new facility brings five to seven hundred jobs to Farmington. …