eRegions Newsletter

March 18, 2019        View original email

53rd ANNUAL CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION
Early Bird Registration is Open for NARC’s 53rd Annual Conference & Exhibition in Omaha, Nebraska June 9-12, hosted by the Omaha – Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency.

Learn More & Register
Register here before Friday, April 12 to take advantage of early bird pricing. A draft agenda summary with Board and EDC times is listed on our conference page. If you are interested in sponsoring or exhibiting, please view our sponsor benefits and application packet.

Vote on Conference Topics
Take this five minute survey  to help choose the topics for the conference’s panel discussions and keynote/lunch sessions. We look forward to seeing your responses!
NEWS FROM WASHINGTON
Congress is out on recess this week. They will return Monday, March 25.
 
NARC on the Hill
As the process for fiscal year (FY) 2020 ramps up, NARC staff has been making trips to Capitol Hill to advocate for funding important to localities and regions. NARC staff joined our partners in the CDBG Coalition last week to bring attention to the effectiveness of the CDBG program and the need to support salaries for more Department of Housing and Urban Development staff to carry out critical programs amid a housing affordability crisis. Our staff will continue to attend Hill meetings with our coalition partners over the next few weeks to advocate on topics including CDBG and HOME, all facets of infrastructure, workforce, and more. 
 
Inside Trump’s Budget: 6 Things State and Local Governments Should Know
Last week, the president released his vision for the federal government’s FY 2020 budgetGoverning identified six takeaways from the budget request that local governments should know:
  1. Congress is not expected to take up the president’s budget request – it’s largely viewed as a window into the Administration’s funding priorities.
  2. There are significant cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), research needs for pollution control agencies, and for bodies of water with a history of major environmental and health problems.
  3. The budget request calls for major Medicaid, public welfare, and public housing cuts.
  4. The proposal would cut transportation programs by 19 percent, eliminate CDBG and HOME, and cut funding for federal programs that drive investment in clean energy innovation. The plan does include $200 billion over 10 years for infrastructure spending and doubles funding for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program for roads and bridges.
  5. Many of Trump’s proposed cuts were in previous budget requests.
  6. The budget request would run a $1 billion deficit each year for the rest of his term.
 
More Fiscal 2020 Budget Details Released
Today, the Trump Administration released more documents from the president’s formal FY 2020 budget request. The budget appendix document contains agency-by-agency information on individual programs and funding accounts. The analytical perspectives document highlights specified subject areas or provide other significant presentations of budget data that place the budget in perspective. The major savings and reforms document describes both major discretionary program eliminations and reductions and mandatory savings proposals. NARC staff will provide more detail on the president’s budget and congressional budget and appropriations work in the coming weeks.
 
Lawmakers Press Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for Opportunity Zones Oversight
While testifying during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the president’s FY 2020 budget request, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielded questions from lawmakers on the Opportunity Zones (OZ) program. Lawmakers stressed that they want to see data and metrics for the program so the initiative is transparent and its effectiveness can be assessed. Secretary Mnuchin agreed, saying that the department has not yet issued guidelines around reporting and data collection because they do not want to rush the guideline determination process. The secretary did not 0ffer a specific date of when we could expect a new round of guidelines, but said they are going through a review process.
 
Congressional Hearing – Preparing for the Storm: Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on March 13th addressing reauthorization of the NFIP, which is due to expire on May 31st. Hearing statements and testimony covered recent legislative proposals to reauthorize the program and methods to improve it. Topics included the need to increase affordability, expand mapping efforts, and reform floodplain management. Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) also directed conversation to the program’s $20 billion debt that remains despite $16 billion of debt forgiveness provided to the program last year.
 
Bill Would Extend Permits for Water Infrastructure Projects
Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1764, which would amend the Clean Water Act to allow environmental regulators to issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to states and municipalities for up to 10 years. Current permits can only be granted for up to five years. “This bill supports upgrades on aging water treatment plants to ensure projects are built on time and on budget,” Garamendi said in a statement on the bill. This legislation follows a 2018 White House proposal that called for an increase in the length of NPDES permits to 15 years.
OTHER NEWS 
The Affordable Home Crisis Continues, But Bold New Plans May Help
In their recently released annual analysis, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) found concerning empirical evidence concerning the nationwide housing affordability crisis. Record-breaking numbers of families cannot afford decent homes – there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable to lowest-income renters. The federal budget authority for housing assistance programs is nearly a third of the level it was 50 years ago. NLIHC and the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign calls for major investments in the Housing Trust Fund and in solutions to make homes affordable for the lowest-income people.
 
FEMA Announces Retroactive Payments to Some Survivors
According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Intergovernmental Affairs Advisory, the agency’s Individuals and Household Programs (IHP) has been expanded to provide separate maximum grant amounts for Other Needs Assistance and Housing Assistance. The change also allows Rental Assistance and accessibility-related Real and Personal Property costs be paid separately from those maximum grant amounts. FEMA identified over 12,000 applicants who have reached or exceeded the IHP financial limit who may be eligible for additional funds due to the increased amount of assistance available to individuals and households. Beginning this month, FEMA will process retroactive payments from thirty disasters dating back to August 1, 2017 to applicants eligible based on the new expansions. For more information, contact FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division at 202-646-3444.
REGIONAL SPOTLIGHT  
Former NARC Director George Bailey Dies at 100
Following a 35-year political career, former La Mesa Mayor and San Diego County Supervisor George Bailey has passed at 100 years old. George was a former NARC director, and served on both the La Mesa Planning Commission and the San Diego Association of Governments boards. San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said of George: “[The] County is a better, more vibrant place today because of his decades of hard work and public service. While his passing marks a great loss, the region will continue to benefit from his rich legacy.”
 
SANDAG Meets with Mexico City Officials on Port of Entry Project
Last week, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata met with officials in Mexico City to discuss border infrastructure and the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project. This project is comprised of a binational, multi-agency group “working aggressively to expedite the construction of an innovative port of entry in the San Diego-Baja California region with the objective of dramatically reducing border wait times.” Agencies working on both sides of the border agree that “lots of good things are happening at the border. Our meetings are a first step, with many more to come.”
MEMBER REQUEST
Model Budget Forms and Templates
The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) is in the process of revising the budgeting process for their organization. ACOG is requesting examples of effective budgeting templates including forms, steps, and recommended procedures that would provide the organization with more contemporary options to consider.  Any information that would make the COG budgeting process user-friendly and easier to explain to both the ACOG board and staff would be appreciated. Please respond to Maci Morin at NARC (maci.morin@narc.org) if you have questions or would like to pass information along. 

Have you Recently Completed a CRM Selection Process?
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is interested in purchasing Constituent/Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and requests information on the process other MPOs have used to acquire and implement CRM software. Specific questions include: Did your MPO select a software company first, and then put out a competitive bid to a consultant/vendor to procure the software and transition the organization? Or did you bid out a consultant to help select the software?
 
Please respond to Eli Spang at NARC (eli.spang@narc.org) to pass information along. Due to significant interest on this topic, NARC’s communications group is planning a call on this topic. If you would like to present or participate on the call please contact Eli.
FEATURED JOBS
View full list of jobs!

Associate Policy Analyst
Posted: 3/15/2019
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Chicago, IL

Transportation Planner – Special Projects Coordinator
Posted: 3/15/2019
Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Lansing, MI

Chief Executive Officer
Posted: 3/15/2019
New Growth Innovation Network, Chicago, IL (Location is Flexible)

Transportation Analyst/Programmer
Posted: 3/15/2019
Ohio – Kentucky – Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Cincinnati, OH

Program Manager
Posted: 3/14/2019
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA

GRANTS
View full list of grants!

USDA REDI Grants
Applications Due: April 5
The USDA Rural Development Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) Initiative was designed to support regionalized planning to overcome multi-jurisdictional challenges and to better leverage federal, state, local and/or private funding. NARC is partnering with the National Association of Counties to support rural communities by providing the opportunity to maximize their access to planning resources. These resources will enable the project Cooperators to identify critical needs, create an actionable economic development plan, convene with potential partners, as well as implement project priorities that will ultimately improve economic stability and the quality of life in rural communities. If you have any questions, please reach out to Maci Morin at maci.morin@narc.org.
 
AARP Community Challenge
Applications Due: April 17
As part of its Livable Communities efforts, AARP invites you to submit applications for quick-action projects that can help YOUR community become more livable and age-friendly. Applications are now being accepted for small grants to improve housing, transportation, public space, smart cities, and other community elements that support great places for people of all ages. Last year, AARP funded 129 projects representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.AARP.org/CommunityChallenge to learn more and apply.
EVENTS
View full list of events!

American Broadband Initiative: The Administration’s Strategy for Promoting Broadband Connectivity
March 20, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Join BroadbandUSA on March 20, 2019 to learn about the newly launched American Broadband Initiative and Milestones Report, which details the Administration’s strategy to expand broadband connectivity across the country. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will provide an overview of the Initiative’s goals and will be joined by officials from key Agencies who are contributing to its mission.
 
Economic Effects of Criminal Justice Reform
March 20, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
In recent years, calls for reforming the criminal justice system have gained traction, as both conservatives and liberals seek to address perceived excesses and injustices. Lawmakers have pursued, or at least considered, a range of changes on the federal and state levels – from revising sentencing guidelines to legalizing marijuana. Please join REMI Senior Economist Peter Evangelakis, Ph.D. for an overview of criminal justice reform and incarceration trends. He will examine recent changes at the federal and state level, and demonstrate how to simulate reform’s impacts on output, employment, and revenue using dynamic economic modeling.
 
National Community Development Week Preparation Webinar
March 25, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
The National Association of Counties, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Community Development Association and Council of State Community Development Agencies will host a webinar on National Community Development (CD) Week. National CD Week is an annual opportunity to recognize and celebrate the successful impact of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) programs. Local and state officials will provide a history and overview of CD Week and share locally planned activities, as well as social media and planning tools for participation in this week-long celebration of the CDBG and HOME programs.
 
What’s Next for Walkable Communities
April 10, 2:00-3:00 PM ET
Transportation, mobility, and city planning are changing. With these changes come new opportunities and challenges for walkable community advocates. This America Walks webinar will explore programs, resources, and practices that are putting walking front and center of the future of communities. This webinar is intended for those who are familiar with topics and issues related to walking and walkability.

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