2017 Smart Management for Small Communities Conference


Smart Management for Small Communities:
Practical Resources for Governance

A Conference for Local Leaders
April 25-27, 2017
Minnowbrook Conference Center, Blue Mountain Lake, NY

Download the Agenda


The purpose of this conference was to provide rural leaders in NYS the opportunity to develop leadership skills and discuss local governance needs, all while networking with technical assistance providers and state and federal funding agency representatives. This event was part of EFC’s Public Management Finance Program (PMFP).

The main themes of this LLC included municipal finance, disaster mitigation and debris management, sustainable materials management, smart municipal management, public infrastructure, water resources, and leadership tools for resiliency. The second day of the conference was devoted to disaster mitigation and emergency response training. This intensive program highlighted available state and federal programs to assist in resiliency and relief efforts, leadership tools for resiliency, on the ground projects for stormwater/watershed management, and an emergency scenario training with first responders (EMS, fire, Red Cross, and police). The event also focused on case studies and lessons learned from communities that have experienced infrastructure damage from severe storm events. The event also highlighted strategies for emergency preparedness and response in an effort to showcase potential scenarios that may greatly impact rural municipalities.


Supervisors and mayors, council/board members, town clerks and managers, DPW staff, town planners, engineers, and other interested community leaders are invited to attend.

Featured presenting organizations included state and federal funding agencies (NYS EFC, NYS DOS, NYS HCR, USDA RD, FEMA), Cornell Local Roads Program, SU- EFC, EFC West, Town of Ulysses, NYS Tug Hill Commission, NYS GIS Association, and NYSDEC – Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling.

Training Included:

  • Roundtable discussions, updates, and one-on-one discussion with state and federal funding agencies
  • Leadership training and tools
  • Innovative budget and finance tools including key financial indicators
  • Administering income surveys for rural municipalities
  • Workforce development strategies
  • Flood and drought resiliency training
  • Stormwater management financing and green infrastructure applications
  • Sustainable materials management strategies including Trash Free Waters
  • Municipal operation efficiency


In total, 24 attendees participated in the conference and 8 speakers presented. Attendees and presenters traveled to the conference from various regions throughout NYS. From conference evaluations, the majority (~90%) of attendees indicated the conference increased their understanding and ability to utilize the following topics: sustainable stormwater management, grant writing and the consolidated funding application (CFA), preparing and protecting infrastructure for disaster mitigation, leadership tools for resiliency in rural communities, coordinating emergency response efforts, community GIS, and producer responsibility for organics and waste. Based on information learned, attendees indicated they would implement the following in their communities: improvement of town emergency management/plan (6 attendees), improvement on stormwater management (5 attendees), better interdepartmental and public communication and messaging (6 attendees), applying for financial assistance (3 attendees), and other additional efforts.