Through the years IACT has continuously offered numerous educational workshops and consultations to provide the latest information to our members. This year’s conference will include three in-depth early bird workshops. Early bird workshops are eligible for IACT Municipal Management Institute (MMI) Credit through the generous sponsorship of HWC Engineering. Further, many of our workshops will quality for CLE and CPE credits.

Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in consultations with representatives from several IACT programs, including Indiana Downtown®, the IACT Medical Trust and IACT’s newest endorsed program, InForm.

Our Vendor Solutions Workshops are back this year, where vendors demonstrate their product, service or specific area of expertise. Presenters will provide case studies, best practices or innovative solutions for cities and towns.

Download the official program booklet.


Come early to the conference and choose one of these Early Bird Workshops to attend! These extended workshops will go in-depth into their subject matter, and attendees will receive IACT Municipal Management Institute (MMI) credit for attending them.

1:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Maximizing the Capabilities of your Parks Department to Create Active, Healthy Communities

Our two segment workshop will start at the beginning with preparing a park master plan, identifying potential funding options available for your project and helpful advice on ways to promote community involvement in the planning process.  Our first panel will highlight the economic benefits of a vibrant parks program as well as the overall improvement to quality of life for your citizenry.  Our second panel will discuss the link between a strong parks and recreation program and improved public health.  Translating a strong parks and recreation department into a healthy community can assist with establishing goals for improved health and identifying assets to place a true value on these programs.

Indiana’s Municipal Government Funding Dilemma and the Options for Re-working the System    

The movement to eliminate Indiana’s personal property tax brought with it a heightened sensitivity to how municipal government in Indiana is funded and how the last decade of fiscal policy making at the Statehouse has taken its toll on local budgets.  Participants in this extended workshop will hear the results of a detailed analysis conducted by Umbaugh and Policy Analytics that looks at the elimination of banked levy, the cumulative effect of the property tax caps, potential revenue replacements the state could consider and much more.  Finally, hear how one Mayor is using data to make the case for why cities are in desperate need for real funding solutions, particularly in the areas of transportation and infrastructure.

Mobile Workshop - Pufferbelly Trail Project & Salomon Farm Park

In this combined workshop, participants will visit a proposed 80-mile state visionary rail-to-trail project, the Pufferbelly Trail, where a section is currently under construction and Salomon Farm Park, a working farm that was turned into a public park. Trail presenters will provide information about funding, working with property owners, utilities and developers as well as provide information about the construction process.  While touring Salomon Farm Park, park presenters will provide detailed information about how the family farm was transformed into a public park and continues to be a working farm, as well.


9:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Recycling Tour & Green Engagement - Mobile Workshop  

Residential recycling in Fort Wayne has increased to 80% thanks to increased outreach and a one-bin recycling program.  Learn how the City engaged its residents and increased participation. During this mobile workshop, attendees will visit Republic Services Recycling Center to learn more about the recycling process and how a Materials Recovery Facility works with municipal operations.  Additionally, attendees will hear more about how various departments are using sustainability practices to improve operations and decrease resource use.

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Simple Ways to Cultivate your Community’s Quality of Life by Focusing on Nature and Developing Progressive Policies

What can you do to help provide nutritious food to citizens in your community and improve wellness, while also providing assistance to those in need?  This workshop will focus on how municipalities are utilizing farmers markets and community gardens to increase quality of life and address hunger in their communities.  Communities with long-standing programs and those that are just beginning the process will present.

Making the Grade:  Forging Partnerships between Municipalities and School Systems   

In the face of shrinking tax revenues throughout the state, municipalities and school corporations can partner together to address the needs of their communities. Attend this workshop to learn about specific projects undertaken and policies instituted by municipalities and school corporations that support local economic development efforts, the local workforce and the local community in general.

Financial Resources to Address Abandoned Housing in Your Community     

Blighted, vacant and abandoned homes are a serious issue for homeowners, neighborhoods and communities. Many communities lack the resources necessary to address this growing issue alone Join us to discuss resources and funding mechanisms available to help you address this complicated problem. Whether your community has 1 or 100 abandoned homes, you will learn about a limited time offer from the Indiana Housing Community Development Authority offering millions of dollars at 0% interest as 100% forgivable loans.

Meetings Gone Wild: How to Keep your Public Meetings from Going Viral – Content Provided by Bliss McKnight   

While citizen participation in the governmental process is a pillar of our democracy, the expression of diverse opinions in a public forum can present many challenges for municipal officials.  This workshop will address the requirements and limitations of Indiana’s Open Door Law as well as relevant case law.  Our discussion will focus mainly on the critical balance between conducting fair, efficient and productive public meetings and protecting the First Amendment Rights of your citizens.  Participants will learn practical strategies for promoting citizen input, while maintaining appropriate and constructive decorum at public meetings.

Learn more about this workshop by clicking here.

City & Town Inspections – Time Saving Methods Utilizing GIS Technology on the Internet and Mobile Devices (Vendor Solutions Workshop)

This workshop will cover a sample listing of daily inspections that municipalities must conduct with detail given to required inspections and record keeping and how the use of technology can shorten the process and lessen workload impacts. The proposed system will streamline efforts while maintaining a high level of record-keeping without compromising services.

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Prevention and Solutions for Addressing Common and Uncommon Utility Disputes   

Utilities have become a source of revenue for municipalities and can cause disputes over territory, customers, and other issues. This workshop will provide real-life example cases and how they were resolved in addition to information on preventing future disputes.

Is Indiana Downtown® the Key to Energizing the Heart of your Community?

IACT’s technical assistance program, offered in partnership with downtown experts HyettPalma, Inc., provides tried-and-true assistance to officials who want to start, refocus or energize their downtown enhancement efforts in partnership with the private sector.  Creating a vision for your community’s downtown, preparing a market analysis and developing a strategy to manage your downtown are just a few of the topics highlighted by this program.

Meetings Gone Wild: How to Keep your Public Meetings from Going Viral – Content Provided by Bliss McKnight

While citizen participation in the governmental process is a pillar of our democracy, the expression of diverse opinions in a public forum for municipal officials.  This workshop will address the requirements and limitations of Indiana’s Open Door Law as well as relevant caselaw.  Our discussion will focus mainly on the critical balance between conducting fair, efficient and productive public meetings and protecting the First Amendment Rights of your citizens.  Participants will learn practical strategies for promoting citizen input, while maintaining appropriate and constructive decorum at public meetings.

Learn more about this workshop by clicking here.

Staying Lean and Going Green, Advice from IACT Green Community Awards Recipients

Attend this workshop to learn more about best practices from previous IACT Green Community Award winners. This workshop will provide a brief overview of the IACT Green Initiative, tips on completing the green community award application, and the importance of green and sustainability efforts for cities and towns.

Implementing Public Safety Solutions: Setting Expectations to Create a Path for Success (Vendor Solutions Workshop) 

This workshop will cover the various stages of planning for real-time surveillance systems and access control solutions for cities and towns. Presenters will offer information that may assist municipalities that are considering products such as card reader security systems for municipal buildings and real-time video surveillance in parks and other city or town properties. The workshop will also cover potential grant funding and other financing perspectives of public safety security solutions.

2:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Mobile Workshop – Downtown Development Tour and Discussion

Fort Wayne’s downtown has been revitalized through public-private partnerships.  Results include construction of a baseball stadium complex, hotel and restaurants, adaptive reuse of vacant office buildings for a variety of living options including condos, apartments and lofts, and the development of a downtown corporate headquarters for a local brokerage business.  The next chapter in Fort Wayne’s downtown story involves making the city’s three rivers a downtown focal point.  During this mobile workshop, attendees will visit the Envision Center, look at three downtown housing types with opportunities to examine what makes downtown living so attractive.  Along the way, see examples of new uses for existing and historic buildings, as well as new construction.

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Navigating the Ever Changing & Challenging Landscape of Economic Development/TIF   

Changes made in 2014 by the Indiana General Assembly can impact the way your community approaches economic development opportunities now and in the future.  Senate Enrolled Act 118, a sweeping Tax Increment Finance (TIF) reform bill, may change the way you manage your TIF areas and your economic development or redevelopment plans for these areas.  Senate Enrolled Act 1, which allows “super” abatements and a local option through the County Income Tax Council for elimination of business personal property taxes could bring major changes to the type and amount of local incentives your community offers in the near future.  Join us for analysis and in depth discussion of the impact of this new legislation, alternative methods for managing your TIF areas and providing incentives. Hear examples of current practices as well as challenges and solutions in this ever changing landscape of economic development.

The Intersection of Public Safety and Public Works – How Right Angle Collisions Impact Communities and Solutions for Addressing the Problem 

Intersections are planned points of conflict on our roadway system where a majority of traffic accidents occur.  Motorist are crossing paths as they travel through or turn from one route to another, therefore, a major part of addressing road safety challenges involves intersections. This workshop will provide strategies to improve intersection safety using diverse engineering based ideas, including design and application of traffic control devices such as signs, markings and signals.  Our panel will examine the true cost of intersection accidents and also discuss low cost, effective strategies to dramatically reduce the incident of these accidents in your community.  Please join us for this classroom style presentation which also includes a real world demonstration on these safety applications with a site visit outside the convention center.

Making Wise Decisions about Your Utility’s Technology     

The number of Cybersecurity breaches continues to rise and the deep impact they leave in their wake threatens the day to day operations of Utilities. The operational, financial and reputational risks cannot be disregarded as reports of widespread and advanced attacks are consistently found at the top of media channels. In this presentation, Utilities and Cybersecurity experts from Crowe Horwath will discuss the growing risks, including an update on increased regulatory pressures. The session will also provide organizations a practical approach to engage these risks head-on and deploy a Cybersecurity breach prevention program.

Creating Active Living Communities through Strategic Planning and Design

Designing our built environment to support everyday active living through walking, biking, running and more is a valued public health and economic development strategy in cities and towns today. Communities that support physical activity with a mix of land uses and multi-modal transportation options offer an array of quality-of-life benefits for residents and employers. In this session, learn about practical planning, policy and design tools that you can employ to meet demand for safe, accessible infrastructure in a variety of contexts, as well as the unique partnership and funding opportunities bringing definition to local active living efforts around the state.

The Advancements and Challenges in Bringing Broadband Technology to the Hoosier Heartland    

Telecommunications companies continue to invest billions of dollars in wired and wireless infrastructure throughout the Hoosier Heartland making Indiana a leader in broadband deployment. Attend this workshop and learn from a panel of experts how expanding wired and wireless broadband networks even further in our cities and towns will continue to attract local economic development projects and improve quality of life for all residents in our communities.


10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

The Critical Engine to Drive Your Health Plan and Wellness Program to Success    

Employers continue to face a huge challenge today…managing healthcare costs.  Participating in an insurance pooling program designed specifically for Indiana’s municipalities provides long-term stability in managing healthcare costs coupled with excellent customer service that relieves the worry of plan administration and PPACA compliance.  Another way to manage healthcare costs alongside a strong health plan is through an employer-sponsored wellness program. Unfortunately, simply offering a wellness program, no matter how well designed, provides no guarantee of improving employees' well-being. Numerous studies have shown that low participation is a major issue for wellness program success. When wellness programs fail, lack of engagement is almost always a major culprit.  In this workshop, you will learn about the structure, services and long-term benefits provided by the IACT Medical Trust. You will also learn the five keys to maximizing employee engagement which will help take your wellness program to the next level.

Indiana’s Annexation Policies and Practices – How to Grow while staying within Legal Boundaries

Annexation has been a controversial subject for over 10 years now but not every annexation is fraught with delay, long public hearings and litigation. What can be done to ease controversy? What is the true status of annexation in Indiana as reported by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute?

Leveraging your Resources to Bolster Economic Development Goals   

This is a can't miss workshop for appointed and elected city and town financial decision makers working on policies that will impact current and future economic development. The workshop will highlight economic policy elements for real estate development, infrastructure support and much more. Discussion will also provide guidance on generating operational and financial optimization for Utilities or Public Works and an overview of the newly released USEPA regulatory policies.

The Future of Managing Economic and Redevelopment Activities (Vendor Solutions Workshop)

This workshop will focus on professionalizing municipal operations by standardizing processes and leveraging technology to provide real-time analysis for economic development decision-making and tracking purposes. Speakers will discuss Common Point 360 – a comprehensive technology solution for municipalities pursuing economic growth.

How Returning to Two-way Streets can Ignite Development in your Downtown

Many communities in Indiana have seen dramatic change to their downtowns.  Previous hubs for community social gatherings, business and retail have become a collection of vacant buildings where businesses have left or relocated to highway interchanges and bypasses.  Some communities have chosen to fight this deterioration with innovative transportation planning.  The City of Fort Wayne will demonstrate how their efforts to change one-way streets to two-way will aid in their efforts to transform a corridor that was once stagnant and un-appealing to an area that provides not only increased visibility for businesses, but offers a safe, inviting and welcoming environment for pedestrians and bicyclist.