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Successful financial management Sharon Conner District Manager Hanover-Caroline SWCD
Planning • Planning is essential with any successful organization • Planning processes occur at many levels within the District • Strategic Plans • Annual Plans • Local Plans or Contracts • The broader public must be reached to understand their stake in conservation and contribute their political, volunteer, and financial support!
Public Relations • Continuous program to help people understand what a Conservation District is, what is does, and why it is important • Good public relations will: • Ensure that localities and citizens are aware of the availability of District programs • Build rapport with other groups • Increase inter-agency relations • Improve the quality of people who serve a District as Directors • Increase the amount of funding Districts receive • Consistency: • Directors must be engaged with the public – Don’t sell yourself or your District short as a local resource! • Directors must develop strong relationships with local officials. • Your elected position is as important. • You are the voice for Natural Resource Issues. • Sending Staff is rarely as effective.
Improving Your Public Image • Stay Connected: • Personal Contacts • Community Meetings • Newsletters • Conservation Directories • Radio and Newspaper Spots • Videos • Field Days and Demonstrations • Presentations • Personal Invitations to District Functions and Meetings • Annual Meetings • Awards Banquets including Clean Water Farm Awards • Legislative Breakfasts • Workshops on Topics of Interest • Websites
What Can We Do For You? • Services to the Locality • Planning Departments • Public Works Departments • Utilities/Public Grounds • Economic Development • Health Department • Other County Committees • Services to Producers • Traditional Farm Sector • Transitioning Farm Community • Services to Educators • K-12 • Governor’s School • Colleges and Universities • Private/Home Schools • Services to Landowners • Homeowners • Homeowner Associations • Civic Groups and Associations • Services to Business Community • Landscapers • Greenhouses • Building Contractors • Local Businesses and Business Associations • Partner Agencies and Non- profits
Innovations in Services Thomas Jefferson SWCD • Storm water Commitments • Contract with Albemarle County to provide assistance with MS4 Storm water program elements including Public Education and Outreach, Public Participation and Involvement, and Illicit Discharge Detection • Provide services on an hourly rate for staff time . Brings in $10,000 per year. • Erosion and Sediment Control • Reviews plans for colleges and universities for a flat retainer fee ($4000 per year) per institution • Review and inspect Town of Scottsville’s E&S plans – charges on a per plan basis • Reviews E&S and Storm water plans for the counties of Louisa and Nelson as part of dedicated funding allocations • Provide Shoreline Protection services in support of local ordinances for Louisa County and Lake Anna
Thomas Jefferson SWCD • TMDL’s (Impaired Streams) • Subcontracted with the Nature Conservancy to determine the stream issues (phase 1) - this included $7000 administrative funds for the District in addition to costs for stream walks • Continued working with the Nature Conservancy to help install projects that were not cost-sharable under the state BMP cost-share program. This equated to $20,000 for the District and $180,000 for the projects • Allocated almost $700,000 in BMP cost-share funding in 2009
Innovations Prince William SWCD • Receives the majority of its locality operating funds through the Department of Public Works, Watershed Management Division, from a Storm water Management Fee. The relationship has been ongoing for 22 years. • The District assists the locality with Soil and Water Quality Conservation Planning for farms (Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act) • The District administers with DCR the Adopt a Stream Programs in the localities (35 reaches) • Outreach Education opportunities can be ordered on-line by K-12 schools • Agricultural Services are not duplicated or offered by any other County Department or County-supported agency • Similar services are provided to the City of Manassas and the Town of Haymarket for additional funding
Prince William SWCD • Grants – Over $145,000 in grant funds have been received over the past 2 fiscal years. • Chesapeake Bay-Friendly Horse Farm Project – DCR Water Quality Improvement Fund. This addresses issues that DCR cost-sharing is not available for. • O2 Composting Project – Fairfax Water • Family Nature Adventure – Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund • Soil Tunnel – Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund • 35 Partners on the Horse Farm Project • Setting up a 501c3 organization called the Prince William Environmental Excellence Foundation to accept donations and grant funds not currently available to SWCDs
Innovations Hanover-Caroline SWCD • Soil and Water Quality Conservation Planning • Contracts with both localities to provide conservation planning for agricultural operations in both Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas and Non-Bay Areas • Provides planning for activities associated with land conversions and those exempted by the Erosion and Sediment Control Law • Provided an additional $35,000 per year • Storm water Assistance – provide Education and Outreach in support of the localities MS4 obligations • K-12 Education – provide Chesapeake Bay 2000 agreement requirements that all students will have a Meaningful Watershed Experience • Operational budgets from both localities have doubled in a decade
Hanover-Caroline SWCD • Equipment program generates $10,000 annually from the rental of 2 no-till drills • A yearly rain barrel program generates $5,000 per year in funding • An ongoing wildlife box program generates between $500 and $1000 yearly • Grants – over the last two fiscal years, over $150,000 have been secured • Pamunkey Farm Innovative Grazing Systems Project secured $78,000 in funds from NFWF • Union Bankshares Corporate Greening of Virginia - secured $50,000 in funds from NFWF • York Roundtable – several grants have been secured via the roundtable for administration and educational outreach totaling approximately $5000 • Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience – secured partnership funds from DEQ in the amount of $1200 • Have partnered on numerous other grant projects that have brought funding into the District including a $45,000 LID project with Randolph Macon College and the State Fair of Virginia • Allocated over $800,000 in Ag BMP cost-share funding in 2009
Innovations Culpeper SWCD • Utilizes a funding formula based upon workload and programs. Their budget is put together based upon local need and a balanced budget. The first half of the budget is divided between their 5 counties based upon proportion of population within the District. The second half of the budget is based on workload of the previous 12 calendar months for the 5 counties. • Workloads include urban programs such as erosion and sediment control, storm water engineering reviews, code revisions, rezoning requests • Grants – WQIF has been utilized to develop ordinance guides for Storm water on Individual Home Sites and for roads and drainage ways • Still allocate over $1.2 million annually in Ag BMP and TMDL Ag BMP funding
Innovations Piedmont SWCD Head waters SWCD • Equipment Rentals of an earth moving pan, straw mulch blower, no-till drill, and roller crimper generate over $20,000 in revenues each year. • Sale of Tree Seedlings have raised funds for Headwaters educational outreach opportunities for the past 11 years.
Innovations Eastern Shore SWCD • The Eastern Shore SWCD has been busy with several major projects this year involving an EPA Capacity Building Grant. This grant has been utilized by the Eastern Shore Environmental Education Council created by the district, and chaired by the Education Director. The Council has developed and led several successful projects that have reached many of the residents of the Eastern Shore. • Projects include, the “Shore Outdoors,” a four page full color special insert to the Eastern Shore local newspaper that reaches over 65% of the households of the Eastern Shore, about 12,000 households. There have been nine environmental issues. • Another activity, The Watershed Walk is an outgrowth of the former Watershed Festival, which was revived by the EE Council. The purpose of the Watershed Walk is to provide a fun filled, hands-on, educational event which allows over 1000 children (and adults) of the Eastern Shore to learn about their local watersheds, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Eastern Shore Environment.
Flexibility Leads to Funding Opportunities • Flexibility • Change with the demands of your constituents • Flexible with Staff job descriptions and training opportunities • Interact with other SWCDs – partner on projects to reach larger audiences and expand funding opportunities • Expand Involvement in committees, commissions, non-profits, educational institutions, etc. • Roundtables – projects and funding opportunities through the watershed roundtables • Commissions – Rivanna River Basin Commission, Rappahannock River Basin Commission • Non-Profit Agencies– Funding for projects through such non-profits as Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Nature Conservancy • Educational Institutions – Universities, Colleges • Partnerships , Committees, Forums , Councils – Shenandoah Pure Water Forum, Streamwatch Committee, Rivanna Regional Storm water Education Partnership , Prince William Clean Community Council • Grant Opportunities
Sweat The Details! • Sometimes the little things are what people remember • Personal phone calls from Directors – keep the lines of communication open. • Regular meetings with local officials – don’t just send the staff (that is rarely as effective) • Provide Quarterly reports • Provide written thank you’s for financial contributions • Follow through on all commitments! • Always give recognition to agencies, associations and personnel for their support – they will be more eager to support you again if they are recognized for their efforts.
Locality Budget Requests • If you have developed good public relations and a good slate of services, budget requests to your localities will come easier. • Don’t wait until budget time to approach your locality! • Meet regularly with your local finance officer and administration; provide regular reports to your locality; attend locality work sessions/staff meetings/board of supervisor meetings • Make sure your District is a separate line item in you localities budget • Draft budgets early and with multiple scenarios. • Always ask for funding - If you don’t ask, you don’t get • If funding is not an option, offer a funding alternative – a budget inclusion for printing services, computer services, office space, vehicles
Budget Time • Budgets • Finance Committees should meet regularly to review budget/actual progress throughout the year. • Project revenues and expenses. Take into consideration and have a plan for any unexpended funds from the previous year. • Be specific and detail what funds will be used for. • Show District investment into locality including cost-share, grants, district generated funds and service benefits • Include audit statements, financial reports, Strategic Plan, Annual Plan of Work, and Annual Report • Always request a budget hearing or a one-on-one meeting with local government officials or staff • If you know about potential cuts (state cuts, cost-share cuts, etc.), inform the locality ahead of time, particularly if it will effect service levels.
Maintaining Local Connections • If you are not having success with support from your locality, it is time to re-examine your relationship with your elected officials. • Ask yourself how can you make those connections on a regular basis, are you offering the services needed by your locality, are you filling a niche that no-other department of agency can fill. Realize that establishing a relationship with your localities is only half of the equation. Efforts to maintain established relationships should be ongoing and persistent. As a District Director, consider capacity building with your locality officials to be one of your biggest responsibilities. DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT!!! You are the local voice for Natural Resource Issues.
Questions???? Sharon Conner Hanover-Caroline SWCD 804-537-5225 ext. 109 www.h-cswcd.org