Access to Paid Leave

City leaders have faced some of the greatest challenges brought on by COVID-19, but they now face some of the greatest opportunity. 

Amidst an ongoing economic recovery and global health crisis, providing paid leave is a benefit for both businesses and families. Across the board, paid leave policies have found positive benefits. However, without federal support, the burden falls to local governments.

How can cities make it happen?

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  • Access to safe and affordable drinking water is a human right, and it is the duty of the water utility to ensure that this right is protected and upheld. Understanding the different ways water intersects with your city is critical. Basic Water Utility Management provides local leaders with a foundation for understanding their local water systems, including: understanding what a successful water system looks like; getting up to speed on government compliance; identifying infrastructure and maintenance needs; and engaging with community members around water resources.

  • Even as the scale of needed investment grows, utilities can develop rate structures, impact fees, and new products or services that generate needed revenue fairly. This report is a primer on getting started with financing water systems, including: assessing where the largest costs are incurred and where borrowing is most extensive; understanding your city’s specific water utility structure and financial status; building a relationship with your water utility manager/CEO(s); and reaching out to and growing relationships with community leaders across a range of neighborhoods and interests, and asking questions about needs and water affordability.

  • Climate change poses a risk to communities and their investments. There is a growing toolbox of measures cities can take to combat climate change. One of these tools, divestment from fossil fuels, is ethical, viable, and a moral imperative. Successful divest/invest strategies are a matter of political will. Steps a city can take: determine if they have funds that should be divested; reinvest the capital moved from fossil fuel stocks to a Green Bank or Revolving Loan Fund; identify what opportunities there are to attract “fossil free” investments to sustainable projects via green bonds or other mechanisms; ensure that any jobs created through this process are quality jobs.

  • Transit service provides a critical link for people in cities. Rather than throw up their hands in the face of falling ridership and revenue streams, cities need to invest in this critical resource. Doing so can provide a wealth of co-benefits that cities care about: the environmental benefits of reducing congestion and car travel; economic benefits of connecting people and jobs; and reducing inequities by providing better access to historically disadvantaged people and neighborhoods. Leading on Transit, describes how cities, in partnership with their transit agencies, public, and other agencies and institutions, can work to enhance transit.

  • Traditional Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies are increasingly used by large employers and building owners to encourage the use of alternatives to driving – things like providing bus passes, bike share, and affordable carpooling. But most existing best practices overlook the role of local government decision makers, whose decisions on policy affecting local transportation options, planning and regulation of land use, structure and enforcement of fees, taxes and other financial signals can play a big role in increasing or decreasing vehicle demand.

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