BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. – The 45th Annual West Virginia Municipal League Conference brings municipal officials from across the state together with the goal of “Bridging Communities and Building Relationships.”

“It’s an opportunity to meet each other and network and to lean best practices,” John Manchester, Mayor of Lewisburg and West Virginian Municipal League Board President said. “To compare notes on things that have worked, that people have been successful with and maybe be able to show places where people have had pitfalls so they can learn from the experience without having to go through it.”

The conference, which began Tuesday and runs through Friday at the Bridgeport Conference Center, will feature many seminars with topics ranging from how to assist EMS to leadership tools.

Manchester said having a variety of issues discussed and many municipalities participating is what makes for a successful conference.

“We have a great turnout so it’s nice when you get critical mass of about 250 people coming in from all throughout the state to share ideas,” he said. “It really creates a good smorgasbord to be able to take ideas back to your community to save money, do things better.”

The event also gave the chance municipalities a chance to show themselves, along with the prodcuts and services they offer, off.

On Wednesday, an exhibitor’s tent was set up to mark the arrival of most of the conference’s participants.

“From engineering firms, to finance firms and different municipalities showing what practices they’ve had good success with,” Manchester said. “Basically, to showcase them and to be able to be available to answer questions about what they’ve done and what they’ve seen and what’s worked.”

According to its website the West Virginia Municipal League is ” a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities, towns and villages established in 1968 to assist local governments and advance the interests of the citizens who reside within.”

The group achieves this through research, legislative advocacy and offering education for newly elected officials.

“The League itself provides a variety of services for municipalities, especially for people that are new to office,” Manchester said. “The Municipal League has a whole series of ordinances and research that they’ve done to be able to help.”

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