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NewsroomPromoting Teamwork Among Communities
Teamwork is instrumental in moving your city and community forward. Working with neighboring towns will not only help you but it will positively affect the entire community around you. Teamwork promotes better ideas, clearer goals, more trade, and increases in local sales tax revenues. Communities may unknowingly struggle without other communities’ support. By partnering and communicating with neighboring towns, your community can reap some major benefits. Some of those benefits may include:
- Economic development
- Population growth
- Community pride
- Quality of life
Realizing these benefits takes dedicated time and effort. Whether you are the city manager, city administrator, city clerk, public works director or city council member, you can promote teamwork among your community through the following steps:
- Get involved in your industry’s associations such as the League of Kansas Municipalities, Kansas Municipal Utilities, and the Kansas Rural Water Association. Through these associations you’ll meet other like-minded people who share similar problems and issues. Having multiple solutions to problems allows you to make the best decisions for your city.
- Brainstorm with your employees and other surrounding cities and communities. This relates to the previous point of finding multiple solutions and then selecting the best option. The saying, “Two minds are better than one” couldn’t be truer.
- Network with surrounding communities because they can share the positives and the negatives of managing a rural community and provide solutions. Facilitate roundtable discussions to share challenges and solutions. Through these discussions you can gain a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time.
- Listen to your constituents and the ideas they bring to the table. You don’t have to implement everything but listen with an open mind. You just might hear some great ideas that can improve your town.
- Support and promote surrounding towns’ special events, festivals, farmer’s markets, etc., so everyone can benefit. Citizens always want something to do and promoting surrounding towns’ events will help spur economic development and increase quality of life.
- Communicate with multiple towns, so all citizens, administration, and staff are aware of what’s going on and what benefits each town could provide the other.
As leaders in smaller, rural communities, a plan for the future is vital. A key component for success will be working through regional and strategic partnerships to complement and draw upon the resources of each other to solve problems that strengthen their community and those around them.
Cooperating with other communities creates partnerships, which in turn helps multiple towns. For example, EBH assisted Hill City and Bogue with their water supply challenges. All parties worked together to find the right and most financially feasible solution and determined regionalization would be the best solution for both cities. EBH was a facilitator between the cities and USDA Rural Development, and the Kansas Department of Commerce in developing an agreement, coordinating and engineering the project. Hill City drilled a new water supply well and will provide water to Bogue using a new water supply line installed from Hill City to Bogue. Hill City has a new water well and the City of Bogue has a ready supply of quality drinking water. (Read more about the project here.) The teamwork resulted in a win-win solution for both communities. The team was open minded and willing to work together to provide the best solution for their communities.
Teamwork among communities takes time and effort, but it produces worthwhile, positive results. Partnering can and should occur at all levels of a town, so make the commitment to build relationships with your surrounding towns to benefit everyone.
Michael Younger, PE
Michael Youngers, PE, EBH Vice-President, is a licensed professional engineer with over 8 years of experience in engineering. Michael specializes in water system improvements for communities, with experience ranging from construction of new treatment plants to supply and distribution construction and improvements. Michael works closely with public works officials during and long after projects, gaining valuable real-world knowledge. He also has close working relationships with funding and review personnel at KDHE and USDA. Michael was the engineer on the Hill City-Bogue water project. Contact Michael if you would like to discuss your wastewater or water distribution needs at 620-672-1112.
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