Washington, D.C. — Gila County District 1 Supervisor, Tommie Martin, joined 300 county officials last week at the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) Western Interstate Region Conference in Deschutes County, Sunriver, Oregon.
In partnership with Deschutes County and the Association of Oregon Counties, the conference brought together nationally renowned experts, state and federal policy leaders and county officials from across the country. With critical legislative and regulatory issues being debated in the nation’s capital, county leaders discussed issues particularly important to Western communities.
These issues included:
• Ensuring certainty in federal county payments through the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs
• Protecting the local-state-federal partnership in health care reform efforts
• Preserving the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds and the federal deductibility of state and local taxes
• Strengthening local infrastructure, and
• Fostering conditions for economic growth.
Supervisor Martin said, “Each county has a unique set of circumstances, but we can learn from one another to address the challenges counties and residents face. The core work involves forming and sustaining effective partnerships, discovering new strategies and building new capacities to meet changing conditions. It’s also important for Gila County to have a role in shaping key federal policies that affect us every day. Much of the information presented at the conference, namely the discussions on PILT and SRS funds, will help our efforts at home.”
The conference brought together national experts, state and federal policy leaders and county officials from across the country. Featured speakers included Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson; Jim Geringer, former governor of Wyoming now with Esri; Mary Bono, former member of Congress; and health policy expert Rodney Whitlock. More than 20 sessions and workshops provided attendees with a wide variety of learning opportunities.
WIR serves as the counties' advocate for public policy issues affecting the West. WIR is affiliated with the NACo and is dedicated to the promotion of Western interests within NACo. These interests include public lands issues such as land use and conservation, community stability and economic development and the promotion of the traditional Western way of life. WIR’s membership consists of the state associations of counties in 15 Western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
WIR is dedicated to promoting a clearer understanding of challenges facing county officials and serves as a valuable resource for exchanging information about Western county governments for NACo, Congress, the Administration and to county officials nationwide. For more information about WIR, see the new video and visit http://www.naco.org/WIR.