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Posted: June 13, 2014 11:23 a.m.

Oxford, Porterdale and the GMA

The City of Oxford will be represented at a new Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) Advisory Council, which will help prioritize recommendations made to the GMA and to provide ongoing feedback to the staff on services needed to help cities operate more effectively and efficiently, according to a letter from the GMA to Bob Schwartz, Oxford city manager.

Schwartz served on three GMA Member Services Task Force meetings this past year as part of 22 city managers, mayors, city administrators or clerks who discussed ways to provide additional services throughout Georgia. Last month, the GMA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a recommendation from the task force to create the advisory council.

Schwartz said it is anticipated the group will meet three to four times a year.

“It’s the real technical stuff about running a government,” Schwartz said.

Other recommendations made by the task force included creating more regional workshops to get cities not close to Atlanta to attend and enhanced field services to provide better technical assistance to cities.

The task force recommended online workshops and mentoring programs to help assimilate newly elected city managers and clerks, along with an orientation program. It was also recommended that the GMA creates a formal way to support town-gown relationships, which involve cities, such as Oxford, that have a college.

A peer-to-peer operational review was recommended, where one city’s employees would offer services to neighboring cities and vice versa.

“It was created to provide better and more responsive services to cities around the state,” said Bill Thornton of GMA.

Porterdale at annual convention
Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson will sit on a panel at GMA’s Annual Convention on June 24 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. The panel will discuss funding city projects and programs through grants and loans.

Thomson said he will talk about Porterdale’s recent success with its kayak launch, trails program and gymnasium, all of which were funded through outside grants.

“I think others who may be new to city management or newly elected may be interested in hearing about it,” Thomson said.

The panel will go over who to talk to, how to apply for a grant, how long certain grants take and the importance of getting a good design engineer for a city project.

Thomson said 58 people will sit on the panel.

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