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Council approves travel for out-of-state conferences

The Carlsbad City Council unanimously supported travel to out-of-state conferences for two staff members to attend. One will take place in April and the other will follow in May.Although both conferences are estimated to cost around $4,200 the city council felt they were an important investment for Carlsbad.

The first conference scheduled is the Inforum 2012, hosted by a company called Infor, which owns the Hansen software used by much of the city’s maintenance divisions. A business systems staff member will attend. Total expenses for the Colorado trip will be $3,000, which will include transportation, registration, meals and lodging.

“This out of state travel request did not include a request for additional funding,” said Christine Ruess, senior management analyst. “Funds are available in the existing budget since the decision was made to attend this conference in lieu of other trainings or conferences that were originally contemplated.”

Ruess pointed out that the costs associated with business systems activities are shared between the Utilities, Transportation, Property & Environmental Management, and Parks & Recreation departments.

The city felt it was necessary for a representative to attend because it uses the Hansen system to gauge, track and analyze a multitude of data on maintenance and data. In turn, this data tracking system helps the city make decisions while being poised on how to offer effective maintenance services.

“Infor’s annual conference provides us information on product roadmaps that help with our planning on how to improve the use of the system,” she said. “Additionally, the conference gives us the opportunity to meet with Infor staff to discuss our city’s unique needs and how the application can support them; it also allows us to exchange ideas and best practices with Hansen users from other agencies.”

Ruess said that the conference sessions and training would enable the city to increase its knowledge of the system and its capabilities so that they can continue to use it successfully.

“The knowledge that is gained at the conference will be shared with other users of the system and will be used to enhance our data tracking, analyzing and reporting capabilities,” Ruess said.

In May, the housing and neighborhood services director, Debbie Fountain, will be attending the 37th Annual Neighborhoods Conference in Indianapolis. Neighborhoods, USA is hosting this annual event. This year, the theme is “Communities Building Community.”

Fountain wants residents to know that the conference serves as a platform where representatives from vibrant cities throughout the nation meet and discuss the great projects and programs they are working on to improve neighborhoods.

Topics covered in the conference will include building communities from the inside out; inclusive communities; youth creating a nation they will inherit; community leadership; collaboration; effective communication; telling the story of your success; and, well-being and healthy living.

“With the realignment of city services to meet current needs within the community, an emphasis has been placed on our existing neighborhoods and efforts to improve the quality of life and enhance a sense of community,” Fountain said. “This conference offers the city, and myself, as the neighborhood services director, an opportunity to learn from others who have been doing this work for many more years than Carlsbad.”

Fountain said she is excited to return with some creative, innovative ideas and strategies to assist Carlsbad neighborhoods.

The conference is expected to draw 800 practitioners from municipalities around the nation. Fountain described the event as one of the few conferences and educational forums held to discuss neighborhood services and related improvements. It’s considered to be the best among practitioners in this field of work.

The all-inclusive cost for this conference stands at $1,200, Fountain said, and adequate funds are budgeted within the neighborhood services account.

“I believe the conference will be very motivating and very helpful in our effort to more quickly implement neighborhood service programs within Carlsbad, and will continue to enhance our neighborhoods and increase the sense of community,” she said.