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Four out of five cities indicate that health benefit costs have increased in the past year. Add to this new financial reporting requirements from the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), making these expenses more transparent than ever and thus subject to increased scrutiny. City leaders must be informed and clear on their role in working with staff on this emerging fiscal and communications challenge. This workshop will help city leaders prepare for the GASB ruling pertaining to transparency of financial reporting of Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEBs). Participants will also learn strategies to communicate these newly visible liabilities to constituencies, including employees, the media and investors.

The presence of vacant and abandoned properties can prohibit city officials from building communities of opportunity. But this does not have to be the case. Local leaders across the country continue to use best practices, as well as innovative solutions, to transform properties into assets that can drive revitalization. Join this session to learn tested best practices and current innovations that attendees can bring home to create change.

The private sector and all levels of government are embracing resilience as a holistic, proactive framework to reduce risk, improve services, adapt to changing conditions, and empower citizens. In 2016, NLC launched a Leadership in Community Resilience program to help elected officials, city staff, and community partners share their experiences and advance local resilience efforts. The pilot initiative is providing technical assistance and professional development opportunities for 10 cities by supporting local resilience initiatives that have been prioritized by each city. Hear from four of those cities in this workshop and learn their process for planning, building engagement, and implementing resilience initiatives with limited resources.

More and more cities are appreciating the important and unique contributions of the youth voice to the community. Putting a focus on policies supporting youth, children and families, plus developing a youth council are both effective ways in which cities better engage their youth. During this session, learn how small cities can develop a strategic plan for youth, children and families, as well as engage young people in the process of local governing. Then, hear from City Summit Youth Delegates on the impact they have had in their communities through serving on their cities’ Youth Councils.

Across the nation, city officials recognize the perils of an uneducated and under-skilled workforce. Mayors and corporate leaders share the concern that today’s workforce is not prepared for today’s jobs, much less the jobs of tomorrow. Afterschool and summer programs have the unique ability to expose youth to new careers and provide them with key skills to be prepared for the workforce. Hear from leaders in Charlotte on how they’ve built momentum around supporting these expanded learning opportunities to ensure youth across the city have equitable chances at success. Learn action steps that your city can take to inventory your community for afterschool opportunities and get the research and data to back them up.

For decades America’s cities have been at the forefront of advancing equality, passing equal rights ordinances, outlawing discrimination, and extending benefits for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) residents. From North Carolina’s HB2 and the “repeal” bill that followed to Texas’ SB6 and the repeal of Houston’s equal rights ordinance, there has been no shortage of recent activity around LGBTQ rights. What approach should LGBTQ elected officials and allies take to continue advancing equality in this political climate? Hear from LGBTQ elected officials working to protect LGBTQ residents from discrimination. Plus, learn about the Victory Institute’s work to identify, recruit, and train the next generation of LGBTQ leadership at the local, state, and federal level.

A thriving small business sector leads to more job growth, less inequality, higher median incomes, and stronger social bonds in your community. Yet aspiring entrepreneurs don’t have it easy. The cost of leasing commercial space is soaring in many cities, loans are hard to get, and competition from e-commerce is on the rise. Hear how some cities are tackling these challenges and making local, independent businesses a centerpiece of their economic strategy.

Speakers will outline concrete policies and initiatives their cities have implemented to be small-business friendly. Highlights include:

  • Zoning policies that create a built environment more conducive to local entrepreneurs.
  • Turning vacant commercial buildings into new businesses.
  • Keeping commercial space affordable as real estate costs soar.
  • Redesigning small business support programs to better meet the needs of entrepreneurs of color.

Branding is more than just a marketing strategy and a logo. City branding can be an effective economic development tool to attract human capital, foreign direct investment and tourism. Effective branding not only creates more competitive cities, but also increases innovation and civic engagement, leading to a healthier local economy. In this session, you’ll hear from cities that developed comprehensive city branding strategies and learn how to brand your city, including how to measure the return on your investment.

This always-popular mini plenary features TED-style presentations from mayors in smaller communities. Up to five mayors will each present for 10 minutes about a transformative initiative or project in their community. Hear first-hand how creative initiatives are conceptualized, developed, improved, and implemented. Take away ideas you can use at home. (There will be time at the end for questions.)

Traffic congestion in many cities is crippling. But what if vehicles could travel more efficiently and safely by “talking” wirelessly with traffic lights, pedestrians, and with each other? Could connected vehicles ease the traffic burden? To find out, the U.S. Department of Transportation will test connected vehicle technology in two major cities: New York and Tampa. The New York City pilot will be the largest in the nation, with more than 300 traffic signals talking to 8,000 vehicles and more than 100 pedestrians via personal devices. The Tampa pilot will feature 1,500 cars, 10 buses, 10 trolleys, and 500 pedestrians with smartphone apps, and will deploy a variety of connected vehicle technologies to relieve congestion, reduce collisions and prevent wrong way crashes. Attend this session to learn more about connected vehicle technology and the benefits it could bring to your city. You’ll also hear about the institutional, legal, and technical issues that may impact the use of connected vehicle technologies.