This program of approximately five sessions targets community leaders, elected officials, and local government employees of rural communities. Rural communities typically are challenged on their governance capacity. This program is focused on enhancing basic knowledge, skills, and resources in an effort to significantly upgrade both structural and substantive capacity in these communities. The purpose of the sessions is to give community representatives the knowledge that will allow them to identify their own specific needs and develop projects or plans from them.
To help insure that the sessions will be of concrete use to the participants, each session will have a “baseline/benchmark/challenge” component built in.
Background research will be conducted on each municipality before the program begins to assist with establishing baselines.
An example of the session schedule for the program is listed below:
This session provides an in-depth overview of the rules and available options of municipalities with the purpose of establishing the current legal status/governmental structure of each municipality represented and the extent to which structure succeeds/fails to meet current demands and/or future growth and options for structural change.
This session will consider the ability of municipalities to respond to social needs, both existing and those expected to materialize with increased population. The focus will be on the most effective response strategies, with a particular emphasis on developing significant public/non-profit partnerships.
This session will summarize the tools available for guiding land use and development, focusing on both laws and policies and on how municipalities can take a more active role in shaping growth to the best advantage of their citizens.
This session will utilize the specifics of earlier sessions for a more general focus on how municipalities may realize ideas for improvement and expansion; with an emphasis on how to meet the challenges identified to this point by, and to identify current capacity for, communicating/advocating with citizens, state legislature, and various sources of funding.
This session continues the focus on general municipal empowerment with a final emphasis on empowering participants with the ability to apply this workshop experience in their own city, and will include a presentation from each municipality.