Successful Financial Management

Sharon Conner
District Manager
Hanover-Caroline SWCD
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!
Continuous program to help people
understand what a Conservation
District is, what is does, and why it is
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
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.
Stay Connected:
Personal Contacts
Community Meetings
Conservation Directories
Radio and Newspaper Spots
Field Days and Demonstrations
Personal Invitations to District Functions and Meetings
Annual Meetings
Awards Banquets including Clean Water Farm Awards
Legislative Breakfasts
Workshops on Topics of Interest
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
•Governor’s School
•Colleges and Universities
•Private/Home Schools
Services to Landowners
•Homeowner Associations
•Civic Groups and
Services to Business Community
•Building Contractors
•Local Businesses and
Business Associations
Partner Agencies and Nonprofits
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
Erosion and Sediment Control
Reviews plans for colleges and universities
for a flat retainer fee ($4000 per year) per
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
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
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
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
Grants – over the last two fiscal years, over $150,000 have been
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
Allocated over $800,000 in Ag BMP cost-share funding in 2009
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
Head waters SWCD
Sale of Tree Seedlings have raised
funds for Headwaters educational
outreach opportunities for the
past 11 years.
Piedmont 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.
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.
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
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
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
Sometimes the little things are what people
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.
If you have developed good public relations and a good
slate of services, budget requests to your localities will come
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
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.
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.
Sharon Conner
Hanover-Caroline SWCD
804-537-5225 ext. 109