eRegions

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.

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September 18, 2017


Sticking Around After the Executive Directors Conference in San Antonio?
If so, ICMA has invited you to their U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) session following the close of NARC’s conference on Tuesday afternoon. If you are interested, please reach out to Sarah Reed, sarah@narc.org, to confirm your participation and submit topics in advance of the conversation.

Energy Innovation: A Local and Federal Dialogue
Tuesday, October 24 2:00 PM – 3:10 PM
DOE wants to hear from you about opportunities and needs in key areas of community-scale energy innovation. What are effective strategies, tools, and resources that could support you as leaders in energy planning? Do you have feedback on current DOE projects? A key topic DOE will be prepared to discuss is how local governments can finance energy initiatives and the return on investment.

NEWS FROM WASHINGTON
The Senate is in session; the House is in recess.

Overview
Even though Congress and the administration found a way to fund the federal government and raise the debt ceiling through mid-December, and avoid a fiscal crisis on October 1, there are still major pieces of legislation that require congressional action. Failure to do so could mean the abrupt end to any one of these three programs:

First, Congress needs to find a way to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or at least extend it, so that the six million children from lower income families who do not qualify for Medicaid can continue to receive appropriate health care. A six-month extension is increasingly looking like the short-term solution to the current impasse, even though many in the House and Senate favor a bill reauthorizing the program for five years.

Second, Congress needs to adopt legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), or at least extend its current authorization. Holding up action is a push by some in Congress to privatize, through a public corporation, the nation’s air traffic control system. Democrats strongly oppose this effort and senators have said they will filibuster any bill that includes privatization efforts. Like other important bills, Congress will likely extend FAA authorization for six months to a year.

Third, even if Congress repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before September 30, most in Congress recognize that some effort must be made to shore up the marketplaces and prevent premiums from rising dramatically before the next enrollment period begins on November 1. Bi-partisan efforts are underway to address this, but a solution does not seem imminent, and renewed efforts to repeal and replace the ACA before a September 30 deadline, have taken precedence.

NFIP Reauthorization Deadline Extended
With Trump’s signature on the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 (HR 601), the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization deadline has been extended to December 8. The program is currently $25 billion in debt, and many worry that this number will grow quite a bit after the damage created by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Private insurers organizations told Insurance Journal that they hope the deadline extension will give Congress more time to pass legislation that will bring financial stability and transparency to the program.

EDA Regional Offices Working with Local Governments to Accelerate Economic Recovery from Recent Hurricanes
Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s regional offices that serve areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are working with Economic Development Districts (EDDs), local officials, and other partners to help restore their local economies. EDA’s role in natural disasters is to “facilitate the timely and effective delivery of federal economic development assistance to support long-term community economic recovery planning and project implementation, redevelopment, and resiliency.” EDA is spearheading six recovery support functions (RSFs) through the National Disaster Recovery Framework to foster interagency and intergovernmental problem solving post-disaster, including community planning and capacity building; economic; health and social services; housing; infrastructure systems; and natural and cultural resources. Visit EDA’s Disaster Recovery webpage to learn more about their role in disaster recovery.

Senate Democratic Rural Summit
Last week, NARC attended the Senate Democratic Rural Summit to hear from Democratic leaders on their concerns and plans for supporting rural communities. The key issues discussed included rural broadband, workforce development, and the opioid crisis. Two panels of senators and stakeholders from rural communities and states across the country spoke to the challenges in their home towns with keynotes from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). To close the half-day summit, AOL Founder Steve Case discussed his Rise of the Rest initiative that promotes, invests, and celebrates startup companies across the nation.

Congress Concerned after Equifax Data Breach
Expect to see more criticism from Congress regarding the Equifax data breach that came to light earlier this month. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been demanding congressional investigations after it was disclosed that hackers accessed personal information from 143 million U.S. consumers nearly six weeks after the breach detection. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) has already announced that his committee will be holding a hearing on the matter. The House Homeland Security Committee has also reported that they are looking at options to investigate the hack.

Members of Congress are introducing legislation to put safeguards in place so that large-scale incidences like this cannot happen again. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) reintroduced the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act (S 1786) to establish minimum standards for credit reporting agencies and to make it easier for Americans to prevent and resolve identify theft. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act that would mandate “comprehensive” privacy data and security programs at data brokers to protect the data of millions of individuals.

OTHER NEWS
F4F Announces Zenith Motors Electric Vehicle Procurement Opportunities Nationwide in October
In partnership with National Joint Powers Alliance® (NJPA), Fleets for the Future (F4F) is offering the complete line of Zenith Motors’ 100 percent electric vehicles through our national procurement program. For a limited time from October 1 to October 31, 2017, Zenith Motors will provide a discount through NJPA and F4F – the more vehicles ordered through F4F, the larger the discount. Check out the most recent F4F blog post for information on the discounts and vehicles available through this opportunity.

NLC’s Fiscal Conditions Report
Last week, the National League of Cities (NLC) released their City Fiscal Conditions 2017report. This annual document gives local leaders and interested stakeholders a window into the financial health of cities across the U.S. A major finding of the report indicated “a potential slowdown in the municipal finance sector as city fiscal growth contracts for the second consecutive year.” Report co-author Christiana McFarland, Director of Research at NLC, stresses that “our findings raise cautionary flags, despite improvements in economic indicators, like productivity and unemployment… These countervailing trends point to the imperative to expand the fiscal tools available to cities.”

Some other key findings from the report:

  • General Fund revenues are slowing
  • Property tax revenue growth is budgeted much lower than 2016
  • Finance officers project a decline in sales and income tax revenues for 2017
  • Confidence of municipal finance officers has waned

USDOT Announces Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative Application Development Awards
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recently awarded six application development research contracts that total $6.185 million to improve mobility options for those with disabilities. According to Census estimates, nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population has a disability, and USDOT responded by exploring innovative technologies and creative service models to provide everyone with equal accessibility options. Through the Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI), these projects will leverage transformative transportation technology advances in one of three categories: wayfinding and navigation; pre-trip and concierge services; and safe intersection crossing.

REGION SPOTLIGHT
Apply for the NACo Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge!
The National Association of Counties (NACo) – in partnership with Americans for the Arts – has launched the Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge to train local leaders from rural and mid-sized counties on how to advance arts-based economic and community development to address local challenges. Selected teams will have the opportunity to attend a 2.5-day training in Des Moines, Iowa and will receive technical assistance and mentoring. NOTE: Regional Councils are eligible to apply, so long as the team includes one county representative. Please send questions to Sanah Baig at sbaig@naco.org.

Video: Dennis Smith on the History of MAG and Its Founder
Jack Debolske, the former head of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns and the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), passed away this month. Behind the scenes, Debolske helped shape the development of the Phoenix area, probably more than any other single figure. Listen to MAG Executive Director Dennis Smith tell us more about the pioneering nature of this man and how he shaped MAG philosophy.

MEMBER REQUESTS

REGIONS LEAD
Visit www.regionslead.org to read up on the latest NARC blogs. We invite members to submit blogs to the site too.

FEATURED JOBS
View full list of jobs!

Economic Development Planner
Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization, Akron, OH

Director of Transportation Planning
Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Allentown, PA

JLUS Project Manager
Alamo Area Council of Governments, San Antonio, TX

Homeland Security Planner
Houston-Galveston Area Council, Houston, TX

FUNDING
View full list of grants!

Funding to Help Fight the Opioid Crisis
On Friday, the Trump administration announced that $144.1 million has been awarded in grants to help fight the opioid crisis. These Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants, according to HHS Secretary Tom Price, “will help expand treatment and recovery services to pregnant and postpartum women who are struggling with substance abuse, train our first responders to effectively use overdose reversing drugs, improve access to medication-assisted treatment, and increase long term recovery services.” Here are the six grant programs and respective amounts they have awarded to expand prevention, treatment, and recovery services for opioids misuse:

  • First Responders – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act: $44.7 million
  • State Pilot Grant for Treatment of Pregnant and Postpartum Women – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act: $9.8 million
  • Building Communities of Recovery – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act: $4.6 million
  • Improving Access to Overdose Treatment – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act: $1 million
  • Targeted Capacity Expansion:  Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) – Prescription Drug and Opioid Addiction: $35 million
  • Services Grant Program for Residential Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women: $49 million

2018 National Ground-Water Monitoring Network Grants
Applications Due: November 30
The Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is offering a two-year cooperative agreement opportunity to state or local water-resources agencies that collect groundwater data to participate in the National Ground-Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN). USGS is working with the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI) and its Subcommittee on Ground Water (SOGW) to develop and administer the NGWMN.

FY2018 NOAA Marine Debris Prevention Program
Applications Due: December 16
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Prevention Program, provides funding to prevent marine debris from entering marine and coastal environments. Projects awarded through this grant competition will encourage changes in behavior of a target audience (such as students, teachers, industries, or the public) to address a specific marine debris issue, and will actively engage these groups in hands-on personal participation. Successful proposals through this solicitation will be funded through cooperative agreements. Funding of up to $1,500,000 is expected to be available in FY2018, with typical awards ranging from $50,000-$150,000. This solicitation is focused on efforts to prevent marine debris from entering the environment through targeted behavior change. Eligible applicants are state, local, and tribal governments whose activities affect research or regulation of marine debris and any institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or commercial (for-profit) organization with expertise in a field related to marine debris.

EVENTS
View full list of events!

The New Agenda in State and Local Government
September 19, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Join Route Fifty for a digital conversation about what the Trump administration’s agenda means for state, county, and municipal governments across the country. The fundamental nature of intergovernmental relations is changing. From immigration to climate change, state and local governments sometimes find themselves at odds with federal policy. Governors and mayors are stepping to the forefront on international relations and trade. Funding formulas for healthcare, homeland security, social services, taxation, and infrastructure are all up for debate. Tune in to hear from the following leaders:

  • Scott Pattison, Executive Director, National Governors Association
  • Matt Chase, Executive Director, National Association of Counties
  • Clarence Anthony, Executive Director, National League of Cities

NARC Webinar! Trees, Stormwater, and Resiliency: An Opportunity for Local Communities
September 20, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Traditional ‘gray’ infrastructure systems – like roads, utilities, and water/wastewater networks – have long supported our cities and towns as they grow and develop. However, as leaders grapple with shrinking budgets and deteriorating local infrastructure, the resilience and multifunctionality of green infrastructure and trees continues to broaden its appeal as a fiscally responsible investment for the long-term health and vibrancy of an area. A new interactive tool developed by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Council of Governments in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, NARC, Davey Resource Group, and Centerline Strategies, LLC will enable community planners, engineers, stormwater managers, community foresters, and policymakers to better capitalize on trees when investing or reinvesting in their stormwater systems. This resource can help you unleash new and innovative approaches for realizing the full capacity of trees as a component of your community’s infrastructure systems. Join NARC and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for this webinar to discuss regional resilience planning and how TreesandStormwater.org can assist you in maximizing the benefits of trees and green infrastructure in your community.

Digital Training and Workforce Development Webinar
September 20, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
One in four jobs added to the economy over the next decade will be in technology and health care, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and jobs in every sector will require increased math, computer, and digital literacy skills. As a result, the demand for a highly skilled, digitally trained workforce is high. Communities are taking the lead to ensure that their workforce is ready to attract and support emerging industries and businesses. Join this BroadbandUSA conversation to learn how local leaders are preparing the workforce for the digital skills needed today and tomorrow.

Tax Reform: A Look at the Players, Politics and Policies
September 21, 11:00 AM–12:00 PM ET
Tax reform is now front and center on the GOP’s agenda. The White House has proposed an ambitious timeline to enact the first major tax overhaul in more than 30 years by the end of 2017. But striking a deal will require Republicans to resolve a number of key policy issues; chief of which will be financing—especially since the border adjustment tax is now off the table. Join the National Journal for this policy webinar where they will examine the current state of affairs and review ways this debate could play out.

EDR Webinar: Insightful Voices in the Redevelopment Space
September 21, 1:00 PM ET
Catch Patricia Overmeyer, the Land Revitalization Coordinator from U.S. EPA Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment, and Dan French, CEO of Brownfield Listings, in a webinar moderated by Bloomberg BNA Deputy Editorial Directory Mary Ann Grena Manley. Dial in for the very latest on U.S. EPA’s budget, the recently released regulatory agenda, and likely areas of policy focus for site assessment and cleanup. Hear the latest views of what is likely to change, and where bipartisan support remains strong, as well as an outside the Beltway view of current macro conditions converging to drive such a hot period of public and private sector interest in redevelopment.

Tax Reform: What it Means for Main Street, Wall Street, and K Street
September 21, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
As tax reform discussions persist in Washington with little to no detail, Congress and the Trump administration push for one major victory by the end of the calendar year in the form of a tax cut or comprehensive tax reform. Municipal Bonds for America will hold this webinar featuring experts who will discuss the prospects for tax reform, the potential changes to the municipal bond market, and how these changes could impact K Street, Wall Street, and Main Street.

How Regional Food System Investment Creates More Equitable Communities
September 21, 3:30-5:00 PM ET
The Federal Reserve System and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have partnered to develop a book focused on the community and economic development opportunities of regional food system investments. This is an unprecedented collaboration with a traditionally conservative section of the Executive Branch. The full report explores many positive community impacts of investing in regional food systems.

This webinar will explore examples of regional food system actors that have been proactive and thoughtful in how they incorporate equity and inclusion considerations into their efforts, including where those have been successful, and where there is opportunity to improve. You will hear inspiring presentations from the Latino Economic Development Center, La Montañita, and Capital Impact Partners.

Connecting Communities: Engaging Banks in Workforce Development
September 26, 3:00-4:00 PM ET
The workforce development system trains, educates, and provides social services to working-age individuals to help them succeed in the labor force and, at the same time, meet employers’ demand for quality talent. Banks and organizations partnering with them can play an important role in workforce development and the economic health of low- and moderate-income communities. Find out how by joining this webinar, which will present tools and information for banks to engage in workforce development activities that may help them fulfill their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

Speakers will include workforce development entities and their bank partners. They’ll be introduced by Elizabeth Sobel Blum, senior community development advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, who will give a brief overview of the Dallas and Kansas City Feds’ publication, Engaging Workforce Development: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations.

Recovery, Prevention, & Hope: HHS National Live Stream Event
September 27, 12:00-2:30 PM ET
Live from Washington D.C., the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will convene national leaders and experts to talk about the opioid epidemic and other addictions to raise awareness, encourage compassion, reinforce the role of community and families in long-term recovery and prevention, and make a call to action. A new tool kit for faith and community leaders will also be introduced.

 

 

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