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Welcome to Voices in Local Government, an ICMA podcast to share success stories, ideas, and lessons for local government leaders and their staff. Today's topic is infrastructure, specifically how local governments can secure and optimize federal funding to take ownership of their own infrastructure needs. The perfect guest to help navigate us through finances, grants, multiple acts and laws, planning and executing projects, all while building consensus among managers, councils, mayors, and the community is Mr. Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of the National League of Cities and host of CitiesSpeaks Podcast. Thanks for joining us today, sir.
Thank you so much for having me to talk about this important topic as it impacts local leaders, both staff as well as, most importantly, local leaders that are really creating a vision for the use of the infrastructure dollars.
Right. Glad to have you. Mr. Anthony also served as mayor of South Bay, Florida for 24 years, and as a member of the US Small Business Administration's Council on Underserved Communities, which obviously factors into this topic, as well as the advisory board of the University of Illinois, Chicago Urban Forum and the board of Destination DC.
So I also just wanted to give a special welcome to the NLC audience. We know there's some overlap with ICMA, but glad to have you all here for our show. We will combine resources from NLC and ICMA on the podcast webpage, or you could just scroll down in the app that you're listening to right now. All the links will be right there.
Then one other note, just listeners from small towns and communities, don't click off. We're not just talking about cities today. This work is accessible, scalable, and relevant everywhere. We're also going to get into some specifics about grant writing support for small communities.
So with that, let's just start off with the why. Clarence, can you tell us why are local governments the best stewards of this funding?
Yeah, thanks again, Joe, for having me because, again, this is an important subject. We all say that local-level government is the most trusted level of government. Therefore, local leaders and their team members are best positioned to reshape the future of our cities, towns, and villages when it comes to use of federal funds and the opportunities they present to make their communities better.
I think that also, for me, as we look at the opportunity to use federal funding, we are the ones that really work directly with local constituents, whether it is our city staff, our community-based organization, our county health departments. Every piece of the local government constituent, we are there at the forefront of all of the issues that are impacting them.
We also know that federal funding can be daunting, especially when history has not favored small and mid-sized cities' efforts to win federal funds. That's exactly why the local infrastructure hub was launched, to help communities who really have few resources or less capacity level up to compete against those large, giant of cities for those funds.
So don't turn off. Listen up, small and mid-sized local communities, because these dollars can be a change agent for your community to really transform your communities in a lot of ways and to always talk about the gaps that exist, the data has shown us those gaps, and to develop programs that can go a long way in addressing those important issues.
So it's important for local governments not to just think it's a role for the federal government and the state government, because we are the ones that are really implementing the real change in communities, and the infrastructure law, the bipartisan infrastructure law, is that current tool that we want to encourage municipal leaders and county leaders, local government leaders all over America to use.
Well, I'm glad you brought up the bipartisan infrastructure law. Obviously there was also the CARES Act and ARPA prior to that. So I don't think anyone's really interested in a rehash of peak COVID struggles and confusion around that legislation. But can you give us an update? Where are we now? We're recording this in December 2022, but more importantly, what do you see for 2023 in regards to the legislation, but then how that filters in in timelines? Because that was some of the struggles early on. I think it's clarified a little bit, but where are we now?
Clearly, I think that we are in a position now that we are working to put together our plans as it relates to the CARES Act. We know that that was for counties of a half a million population. That only touched a few many ... In terms of cities, it was only 36 of the largest metropolis in America.
So those funds were received direct to help recovery. Those funds have been pulled down by a lot of those counties and cities. They're starting to use those dollars.
The CARES Act was the first unprecedented opportunity to apply for federal funds directly from the federal government. But as you and I both know, the American Rescue Plan was also passed by the Biden administration. That was the first time in history that we've had direct funding to every city, town, and village in America, and county in America.
And so, what does that mean for us? It meant that we're the ones that are more trusted. We know our communities. We know the data. We know the impact that COVID had not only on the workforce of local governments, but the small businesses, the infrastructure of the businesses.
So we could actually design initiatives that focused directly on the first responders. What impact did it have and what dollars should we use to address those impacts that it had on our first responders? Let me just put a pin in that for a second. When I say first responders, I'm talking about not just police and fire. I'm talking about every EMS, every clerk, because no local government closed. All the water systems were working. All the wastewater systems were working. Police and fire, EMS on county and city governments, local governments, we were working.
So these dollars are going to the level of government, local government, that could really help to close those gaps. Now what we're doing is encouraging all local government leaders to work with their staff to use the ARPA dollars to look at data. So if the housing rate, unemployment rate is worse in one part of the community, let's focus on that gap. If it is about small businesses going out of business, let's focus on getting incentives for small and minority-owned businesses, because they closed at a higher rate.
So this opportunity that we got with those pieces of legislation really did provide us with an opportunity to look at many of the programs that we had not looked at before. So I'm just excited that we have taken this time in terms of the most horrific pandemic that we faced in my life and in our nation and we're turning it into an opportunity for local government to really tackle tough issues.
We are hearing the stories every day, Joe, about how local governments are using those dollars today and they're moving forward with helping to revive and revitalize their community. So I commend the county administrators, as well as the city administrators and the mayors and the county mayors and the commissioners, who are taking hold of this opportunity and transforming their community so that we actually see ourselves not returning to normal, because we'll never be normal again, but really just moving forward.
So I'm excited about what local leadership looks like as we end '22. In '23, man, I know that we'll see more progress and we'll see more opportunities for local leadership. So, yeah, we've done it and we're going to keep doing it.
Have you seen a shift from ... Again, there were different buckets of funding and grants from these different acts, but have you seen a shift recently or maybe projecting a shift from addressing some of those short-term fixes or immediate needs versus the long-term projects? Or, again, getting back to infrastructure, a lot of those things are not done overnight or even within a year. It's hard to get the buy-in cause the payoff's not till later. But have you seen that pendulum shift a little bit or not yet? What do you think?
Yeah, I think that as we look at the infrastructure bill, most of those dollars are expected to be directed to projects that are ready, that have been on the books through county and city comprehensive plans, their infrastructure plans. So this gives them the dollars to move forward on the bridges that have been identified that needs to be fixed. It gives them an opportunity to look at the roads that are there that need to be improved in the potholes.
It also gives these local governments a chance to look at the water, wastewater systems that have been on their plate for years, to fund and to move forward. So clearly those ready-to-go projects will move faster than those that are long-term visionary plans that deal with charging infrastructure, electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Yeah, I think what we are working with at the National League of Cities are small and mid-sized cities that are ready to go with projects that they just did not have the funding for. Now the real thing that is happening here is, yes, it's about working on those projects, but just think about it. What we're also doing is creating job opportunities. We're creating training opportunities.
So it's just not about the infrastructure that is being improved. It's the opportunities that are being created. When you think of it that way, I think, again, that we know best at the local government. We have that vision. We know it's not just a project. We know it's not just a wastewater system. We know it's about quality of life. It's about opportunity.
That's what the CARES Act, the ARPA dollars, as well as the bipartisan infrastructure dollars is all about. It's about tackling those tough issues while creating opportunities for those local communities.
Yeah. Again, I'm glad you get my questions before I even get to them. But ICMA, we ... And NLC, I'm sure ... encourage local governments to think about how investment decisions can help address those issues of inequality and expand upward mobility and opportunities. Have you seen any specific examples of local governments, how they've capitalized on this infrastructure investment to already make that happening? Where does that connect, the idea of infrastructure?
You said people think about bridges and roads and water. How else can that manifest even in housing opportunities or otherwise? Has NLC seen success stories to shift that from just talk? Sometimes it can feel like, hey, we're working on this, but it's still hypothetical. Have you actually seen a specific location deliver on that promise and actually address inequalities and make it better?
One of the things that ... And that's a really good question. One of the things that we are doing is that we're tracking those programs and how cities are using those programs, because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. We want to use first this technique that we have seen Congress has used to actually send the dollars down to the local community. The ARPA dollars is the best example that we know will work.
Now the infrastructure dollars are different. They go to the state DOTs, which we then have to work directly with them. Now there are grant opportunities there for small and medium-sized cities to have competitive grants, but I'm going to talk a little bit about how the infrastructure dollars are being used, as well as the ARPA dollars, to bring about equity, especially racial equity.
What the data has shown is that certain communities of color lag behind in housing, in economic development opportunities, in small business opportunities, as well as just education levels as well.
So what are we doing? We are encouraging local governments, local leaders, especially staff who are in the planning department, to have an equity lens in terms of how you're going to approach the implementation of the ARPA as well as the infrastructure dollars. That lens starts with, again, good data.
So any city manager, county manager, staffers, as well as elected officials, I encourage you to look at the data that is in your community while you're developing your plans to bring about change in your community, to bring about investment in your community.
Our president of the National League of Cities, Mayor Victoria Woodards, actually they are using in Tacoma, Washington their dollars in a number of ways. They actually created a small business fund that will help small business owners to be able to apply for dollars to help them rebuild their business. They took the equity lens in a way so that they can be able to then go in and really be targeted in their programming.
We've also seen communities invest dollars in their infrastructure, in communities that they could not do before. We're seeing that especially in the small and minority-owned businesses. In communities like Baltimore, they are using their dollars in a creative way, ARPA as well as infrastructure dollars, for housing and utility relief funds for low-income residents, helping to bring others up and to help them to change their lives.
Union City, Georgia Mayor Vince Williams, using dollars for food assistance for low-income families, being creative in a way that says that we recognize that we have a level of poverty and we're going to use these dollars to help people get back on their feet.
All of these initiatives are in our local government infrastructure tracker that is on nlc.org. So anybody who wants to look at some of the ways local governments are doing that. I think we have over 3,000 different stories and projects by cities, towns and villages, and local governments all over America, including counties, who can plug into this tracker.
Yeah. Those are the kind of stories we want to share. It doesn't always have to be an exact replication. Just get the idea, see how it was implemented, and do something similar for your area.
Well, that's one thing about local government officials. They'll travel somewhere and they'll see an idea, and then they'll come in and change the name of it. But it's the same program, Joe.
Yeah. Yeah. That's what you do as local leaders. When I was a mayor, that's what I did. That's why I got reelected 12 times.
Sure. So in addition to the equity lens, another important ingredient, let's say, is resiliency. ICMA, we're launching a new initiative called Local Government Reimagined. The idea is to help or assist local government leaders as they think about future-proofing infrastructure and other topics. But climate change, cybersecurity. There's lots of threats that are associated with infrastructure.
Is it still a little early or have you seen examples of these new investment dollars addressing the big long-term picture of resiliency? Because, again, you just went over what we need now, getting people back on their feet, making real impact today and this month, not five years from now. But that longer track is still important and I think it's going to have to be done a lot differently moving forward. So what are your thoughts on the longer term picture in terms of resiliency and how these dollars fit in there?
Yeah, there's no question that in my job as the CEO of the National League of Cities, I'm focused on trying to make sure that we get stabilized, and that's, again, using the data for today. But we do also know that local leaders are ... They've been challenged by the administration through the use of these dollars to focus on sustainability and resiliency. My home state of Florida, I say the home state of my country of Florida, or the Florida Man-
Sorry to interrupt. I am too. I went to high school and college there, so I'm familiar with Florida Man and take no offense by it. So continue.
Oh man. I'm a Florida ... Yeah, I went to college there as well. So we got to talk offline on that one.
Well, sorry, Florida State, just to be clear. Not UF.
Oh, no, man.
But we'll still talk. We'll still talk.
I'm a go Gator family, but graduated from Florida Atlantic in Boca. I also think as we look at the infrastructure bill, we do think about that in a way of creating resiliency with ... Again, being in Florida, you look at South Florida, you see the beaches' erosion and Miami South Beach, you see the flooding.
Floods just from some rain. It's not even a hurricane situation. Just the rain will ... Yeah.
That is right. In my home county of Palm Beach County, the same thing is happening. So we see that occurring. Those dollars are being used for sustainability. The South Florida Climate Compact is a part of the plan to be reinvested in South Florida, in sustainable projects, sustainable systems. We have to, nationwide, look at the fires in the west, the tornadoes in the Midwest.
When you think about resiliency as well, the visual that you see when you think of a tornado going through rural parts of America, you often see people living in homes or housing that is not sustainable, does not have the bunker. All of these things need to be addressed long term as we look at the use of the infrastructure dollars. The administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which encourages new clean energy projects, and there are dollars in there for local governments to address these issues.
So, yes, I'm thinking about how do we revive our communities today, but I must tell us that local leaders have to also think about how do we use these federal dollars to help local governments to be able to create long-term, sustainable, inclusive, equitable communities so that everyone that live in a community can see themselves and their family there long term. That's what the goal is.
Yeah. I dismiss all the talk about generations, whether it's boomers, millennials, et cetera. But I would say that there's probably some people on staff, again, any size, location, town, city, whatever, that if they're not at the manager or even assistant manager level ... And it's also not necessarily just about age, but there are some of those mid-career, early career types where this is a really big deal to them. I think there's ideas and energy and help from that kind of group that might not be at the big table, at the decision-maker's table, but they're there. So I would just encourage the managers out there to tap into that as a resource.
One more topic on the what before we shift into actual how and get into some of the grant-writing questions. But bipartisan can literally be in one of the names, and infrastructure theoretically is everyone wants to improve that, but still some strong opinions on either end of the political spectrum can feel inevitable.
So is the infrastructure topic different? How can non-elected professionals keep the focus on the projects and the outcomes rather than the political conversation that can get off the rails a little bit? What's your advice there? Because you've seen it from both ends. You've been the mayor. You're involved in local government, councils, all sides of it. So what's your experience with that?
Well, first of all, I'll just say that the National League of Cities, ICMA, our mission is focused on assisting local leaders in terms of improving their communities through policies, programs, technical assistance, engagement with residents. For us at NLC and ICMA, there's no Democratic or Republican firetruck when your house get caught on fire. There's no Democratic or Republican pothole. There's no Democrat or Republican water or wastewater system that runs water in your house, brings water in your house, and runs water out of your house.
Our focus is to be able to utilize these dollars in a way that's going to transform our communities and improve the lives of our residents. So that's what we do. But, candidly, we all have opinions about things. But, professionally, that's the part I challenge every professional public administrator to always keep in mind, that we are here because we want to be here in public government, to make an impact on communities in which we live, design initiatives that we can look back 10 years ago and say, "We created this housing model. Look at that community there right now exists because I'm an urban planner in my county or in my local government, in my city, and I help to get financing for it. I put the structure together. I got the tax incentives. Look at it. affordable housing, low, moderate, as well as average home ownership opportunities there."
That's why we do this. So when I look at the infrastructure bill, I love the fact that it was named bipartisan. It wasn't named the Clarence and Joe Bill for Infrastructure, because even if it would've been named that, we would've been targeted just because of the name. Bipartisan infrastructure bill keeps us all focused that we are going to use this in a way that I imagine that that bridge is going to be improved because it was a degraded bridge.
I used to take my kids over that bridge to go to school every morning. Now I feel so comfortable because I've done something that has improved a bridge that kids and the elderly and families and even myself can go across that bridge. I've improved that road so that the poorest or wealthiest of families can ride down that road without being injured by a pothole.
I've improved that water and wastewater system so that young kids in rural communities won't have fertilizer runoff from some industry coming through that water system, where kids are drinking that water and can get cancer later.
I mean we do so many great things if we will pause and put a face to everything we do. I encourage people, professionals to put people first. If you can put people first in your policies, they will be so much more impactful on the lives of the people who live in your communities. I believe that and that's why I've been in this business of public service for all of these years. I know a lot of other people do because I work with them every day. I'm so proud to say that it is a wonderful, wonderful profession to be in
Yeah, and keep the focus on the outcomes, as you said, and even more important than the outcome, the people who benefit from those outcomes. Maybe leave some of the political stuff to the council or the public who want to talk about it. You can't really stop them from doing that. But the focus from the administrators can stay on the job.
Well, Joe, I will be honest with you, and the audience needs to know, we do recognize that there is a real challenge in incivility right now. I want to encourage our public administrators, elected as well as appointed professionals, to hang in there because it is a tough time right now, because things are not as civil as they were 25 years ago when I was elected.
Yeah, that's something that comes up a lot and no easy answer for it, or just keep pushing through, as you said. So let's shift towards the how, grant writing specifically. It seems overwhelming. It's complicated to me. I don't quite understand what goes on. It's not just about getting approved or getting clearance for something. You said it earlier. You are competing against your peers, essentially, at the end of the day. There's only so much in the bucket.
Smaller communities, but not just them, any location, might have difficulty if they have limited resources or maybe they don't have that experience or expertise on staff to write and win these grants. So I'm not even really sure where to go from there. But talk to us about what is NLC's ... I know you guys have some resources. Again, the website's localinfrastructure.org as well as just nlc.org. But talk to us about your training and technical assistance.
ICMA offered ... We had a working group, again during peak COVID, to help get them on the right step or the right path forward with this grant-writing process. But what are you all continuing to do as there's more money available and you can't wait around or just hope it falls to you, you've got to go win it?
Yeah, I've got to tell you it just makes me think about when I was a mayor in a very small community, South Bay, Florida, in western Palm Beach County, rural, agricultural, and the city manager was the public works director and the city manager, the city clerk was the treasurer, and everybody in that community, our community, my home, had two or three jobs because we-
Two or three jobs and only getting paid for one of them, I'm sure.
That is right. That is right. And so, we had to figure out how to do all of those jobs. We didn't have a grant writer. And so, as we thought about at the National League of Cities, thought about how this can really change the lives and impact communities, we recognized that we had to establish a program that could help the small and mid-sized cities to be more competitive. And so, the local infrastructure hub is the first of its kind program to ensure that all cities, towns, and villages can access these federal infrastructure dollars.
We thought about it and we went to and work with Bloomberg Philanthropies and other nonprofits, with the specific goal of supporting small and mid-sized local governments who had not traditionally competed directly for federal funding. And so, we launched the local infrastructure hub and we created these curriculums that really helped them to step them through one-by-one how do you apply? They're new boot camps, I'd say five boot camps, that started.
Now we're going to also start the second phase in January of this year. We have over 400 cities already have applied for participating in the infrastructure hub. So I'm excited about it. The bottom line is if we can help these cities, towns, and villages put a plan together to compete, we know that they will improve their infrastructure, they'll become more competitive in future grant opportunities, and they will develop a plan of action of now I can do it again and again and again and again. I can, in fact, compete against some of the largest cities because I do know now we have the infrastructure to fill out those grants.
Now, Joe, right now we have five areas of grant opportunities that we are preparing a curriculum to teach and train and provide technical assistance to these cities. The first one is energy efficiency and conservation grant program, and that goes to your sustainability question earlier.
Then the second one is electric vehicle and charging infrastructure. As you know, the infrastructure bill has designated dollars in there for electric vehicle and charging infrastructure to be placed throughout communities throughout America. It's not just about the big cities, the medium-sized and small cities also want to be able to provide that kind of ability for vehicles and other infrastructure.
Roadway safety planning is a big thing for local governments right now. How do you design roads that they are safe, sidewalks? How do you put together a plan to make sure your community is safe? Roadway safety implementation hand-in-hand with planning of safety programs. Then, finally, brownfields cleanup.
I want to pause on that one because I think that this is our opportunity to go into those legacy communities, the legacy counties and cities that were high industrial communities years ago and now we're trying to reimagine what we do with those old factories and those smoke tanks that are there sitting in those communities. How do we reimagine communities that are next to a railroad track, who never had a real opportunity to reimagine their communities? So we have more than 400 communities that's ready to learn and compete. That's what we're excited about.
Talk to us about how local governments are communicating and engaging with the residents, and all of the residents, not just the regulars. Again, small town, you might have those 10 same people at every meeting. Even in the cities, you might have your go-tos who are typically upset or have an opinion on something. You've used the word data a few times today. That is a big thing to get the feedback maybe even on the front end of projects on what actually is important.
But, again, have you seen any specific examples of jurisdictions being successful with this? It's one thing to just put that information out there. Everyone's got social media, there's different avenues, but to actually get the feedback and the input back from the public itself. Easier said than done, so how does that go? What do you think?
Yeah, this is a pet peeve of mine in terms of ... My graduate degree is urban planning or growth management. One of the things that was important to me is that you actually start engaging the public at the beginning of the process and not at the end of the process. And so, often, even when I was mayor, we would have a public outreach plan in terms of a policy or a rate increase, and it would be the final hearing and then the entire room is full of people who get up one-by-one and say, "We've never heard about this. How could you guys do this?" and we've been advertising for about four months publicly and talking about this publicly.
One of the things that I'll say about the pandemic, it changed the way in which we communicated. We had to use social media. We had to use all types of tools that helped us to reach our communities, from citywide techs, from using our television stations, local and radio stations. Local leaders now are in fact learning that they do have to use all of those tools, the virtual tools, that are available to them.
I also think that what I've seen is local leaders understand that they have to go into every community and take with them a diversity of members of their staff who's able to use different languages, different cultures. The messaging has to be associated with that community and how they receive information. It is no longer a time where one message works in every community or one language works in every community.
The National League of Cities' policies talk about being inclusive and meeting people where they are. Local leaders are now starting to do that all over America.
I can't give you, and I wish I could remember just one specific community, but I can tell you what our programming does. It tells our community leaders to design an outreach process that fits your community, because one size does not fit all in public policy implementation or programming. So any of the listeners here, take the time to reach out to the community, engage the community at the front end, and it will save you so much time in the back end because you won't have to stop your project because somebody says they're going to sue you.
All right. So just to close it up here, what is the single most important takeaway a local government leader should remember? If someone's listening and they're going to share it with their staff or their colleague across one town over, what's the number one thing you want them to remember?
I would say that the pandemic changed all of us personally and changed our communities forever. The investment that the federal government has made through CARES, ARPA, and infrastructure is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine your communities, to identify the gap using data, to be able to fill those gaps so that the lives of all of your residents are improved, whoever they are. It should not be about their zip code.
It's a once in a life opportunity to make sure broadband infrastructure is brought to every house, every school, and communities throughout America. It's a once in a life opportunity to focus on job creation, small and minority women-owned business opportunities. This is our big audacious goal that we must seize upon and as local leaders be able to say, "I did something during this time that I never imagined I had to tackled. I tackled it and we're moving forward."
Okay. That sums it up nicely. I would also add, personally, I think that opportunity is real, as you said. So put the effort or put the resources, put the funding to staff up if you need to. As we joked about earlier, everyone's doing multiple roles. The stuff isn't easy. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of hours and energy.
So whether it's making new hires or putting some promotions in, I think, speaking of infrastructure, just like internal infrastructure, to actually get the stuff done is not easy. Whether it's that grant writer you didn't have that you need now or the people to manage the programs themselves, that's not just a snap of the fingers. It's actually got to get done by real people. So that's something to keep in mind, too.
I agree, Joe. I'll say that the partnership between NLC and ICMA is strong and the opportunity for elected and staffers at the local level to really work together is now. So we love our city and county managers, and I know that most city managers love their elected officials. You don't have to laugh at that that much.
Well, no, I'm laughing because you're right. You're right, especially on a percentage scale. So once again, the website was localinfrastructure.org and then ICMA on ... You used the word reimagined. The initiative we've just launched is icma.org/localgovernmentreimagined. That has more upcoming resources, programs, and events. Quick plug while you're there, check out ICMA's new reduced due structure, including extra discounts for those in small communities, which we've spoken to directly today.
All right, last question. I have asked a few former guests on this podcast, specifically some ICMA fellows that were from Florida, different parts of Florida I should add, what the best beach in the entire state is. So I know South Bay is inland a little bit there by Lake Okeechobee, but what is your go-to beach destination when you travel back, as everyone who is listening to this in a cold weather town or city in January can at least fantasize about? What's your go-to beach?
Well, I do have a home in West Palm Beach, Florida, so it has to be in that area. When I'm home and the sunroof is back and the ballhead is getting the sun on the way to the beach, it's usually Singer Island in Riviera Beach, Florida. You go over the bridge and you start seeing true Florida with T-shirts, swimsuits, shades. Oh man, I'm feeling like I'm ... I'm heading home, so I look forward to having the holidays in South Florida. But you all check out Singer Island in Palm Beach County.
All right. Well, thanks for your time today. Thanks for everything you're doing personally, and NLC is doing, for local infrastructure initiatives. Appreciate your time today.
Thank you, Joe. Appreciate being here. Go Gators.
Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities and host of the CitiesSpeak with Clarence Anthony podcast.
National League of Cities Executive Director Clarence Anthony joins the show to explain how cities are getting to work implementing the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. He discusses how NLC is supporting them through the Local Infrastructure Hub – a new resource that provides guidance and training for local governments to access and optimize these new federal funding opportunities. Additional topics include:
- Why local governments are the best stewards of federal funding opportunities.
- How investment decisions can help address issues of inequity and expand upward mobility and opportunities for all residents.
- How specific cities like Tacoma, Washington; Baltimore, Maryland; and Union City, Georgia are using their federal funds, included in NLC's ARPA Investment Tracker.
- How small and mid-sized communities in particular can get access to technical assistance for grant writing to apply for federal funds.
- Why it’s so important for communities to gather community input on the front end of city projects and then communicating intentions and results across various channels to a diverse public.
Zencity 360: essential tools to help government agencies improve services, build community trust, and increase overall satisfaction, from our partner recently named a 2023 GovTech100 company.
ICMA's Local Government Reimagined initiative and conferences