Legislators took a nice, long vacation over the summer. Haven’t you always wished you could do that?
Imagine leaving behind all of the consequential decision-making and headache-provoking conversations for a three-month change of pace. Pretend, for a minute, that you too, could postpone — without personal consequence — having to deal with the pain that unfunded mandates, sequestration and new regulations have on municipal entities. Just let them stew about whether the budgets they’d just passed would be hobbled by a potential municipal bond tax cap or the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations covering municipal separate storm sewers. Doesn’t it seem, sometimes, as though that’s part of Washington’s grand plan for local government?
At least infrastructure professionals had the opportunity of attending the annual American Public Works Association conference and expo, Aug. 24–28, to diffuse their frustrations and share information. Directors, managers and operators returned home minds racing with new potential solutions and resources, plus a clearer idea of what’s in store for those departments. At least, in a few cases, they also left Chicago armed with leads on new funding sources and methods to pay for it.
In our parks and recreation focus this month, ideas are coming the way of the men and women who play a large role in residents’ quality of life. In advance of the National Recreation and Parks Association Conference this month, Rich Dolesh, NRPA vice president for conservation and parks, is bringing parks directors up-to-speed on an initiative that has great potential to increase the value of the department in the eyes of city officials and council members. I’m sure you can get him to talk more about the Parks Build Community initiative during the event, happening Oct. 8–10 in Houston, Texas.
Speaking of the local level: While a three-month vacation probably isn’t on your horizon, October does seem like a good time to try and catch your breath. The summer-to-school transition is complete, but the holiday frenzy hasn’t yet begun. Budgets, such as they are, are set and approved for the year. So breathe deeply and relax. For a minute.
Then, I suppose, those of us who are not members of Congress need to go back to work. See you in November!