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Slaughter meets other mayors of several cities

Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter spent a day with mayors at the White House in Washington, D.C., speaking with them recently about similar challenges that cities face.

Discussions included how to improve finances and strategies on how federal government can assist with economic development, reduce crime and build a lasting infrastructure, he said.

Slaughter attended the United States Conference of Mayors on Friday. Discussions amongst mayors focused on how best to improve cities through transforming cities at the local level, he said.

Mayors were there from metropolitan areas as large as Dallas, Texas, Gary, Indiana, and Boca Raton, Florida, to those of Aliquippa and New Castle, two small cities in western Pennsylvania with similar challenges to Williamsport, he said.

Slaughter said he spoke with several mayors about ways to improve cities and how the federal government can be of assistance.

“We shared ideas,” Slaughter said.

He added there were no specific themes and discussions ran the gamut from improving city functions and departments and ensuring better public safety with police and fire departments and codes enforcement to strategies for economic progress.

In terms of the economy, the federal government can assist cities with initiatives such as Federal Opportunity Zones, he said.

These zones are intended to be part of an economic development strategy to drive investment into economically-distressed neighborhoods through a new federal tax incentives.

Getting those who served prison time to become productive citizens was another idea shared by the mayors.

“Recidivism and re-entry programs,” Slaughter said, and how these programs help to keep those offending criminal law from repeated those mistakes or behavior. Locally, they have been attributed to reducing overcrowding at prisons.

The conference is held annually and Slaughter said he would want to attend next year, too.

Among the best advice Slaughter said he received from one mayor was: “It is a marathon, not a sprint.”

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