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MACOG News Archive - FY09-010

Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments
Announces New Executive Director
5/20/10 Camdenton, MO
At the May 17, 2010 session of the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments Board of Directors, the Board voted unanimously to appoint Deborah K. Rathert of Jefferson City, Missouri as LOCLG’s new Executive Director.

Ms. Rathert currently works for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Office of Homeland Security. Previously, with the State Emergency Management Agency, she supervised the daily operations of the Homeland Security Branch to ensure compliance with program and fiscal guidelines for the $300+ million local government grant program. Other State experience included time with the Department of Mental Health as a program specialist and grant coordinator. Prior to her State positions, Ms. Rathert served as the Executive Director of the ABLE Learning Center, a United Way affiliated organization in Jefferson City.

Ms. Rathert holds a MSW degree, with a policy, planning and administration emphasis, and a BS in Education, both from the University of Missouri – Columbia.
“The Council of Local Governments Board evaluated a number of strong candidates for the Executive Director position,” said Tom Wright, Chair of the LOCLG Board, “And Debbie impressed us both with her extensive management and organizational experience and her clear technical expertise in government programs. She will represent us well with our member communities and various state and federal partners.”

Ms. Rathert will begin her new position of Executive Director on June 15, 2010. Until that time, Doug Hermes, Planning Coordinator for the Missouri Association of Councils of Government (MACOG), will continue as Interim Executive Director and will assist Ms. Rathert in the transition.

“It is with great pleasure and anticipation of a long, successful working relationship that I accept the Board’s appointment as Executive Director,” said Ms. Rathert. “I look forward to continuing to build upon the strong foundation the Board put in place over this past year and to meeting with the region’s counties and cities to learn how their council of local governments might best be of assistance.”

NWMORCOG Launches Regional Blog
4/30/10 Maryville
The Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments has launched a new online tool to better inform its members, planning partners, and the public about issues impacting northwest Missouri. The blog can be found at http://nwmorcog.blogspot.com.

Meramec Region Senior Multi-Family Housing to Receive Rehab Funds
4/23/10 St. James, MO
(courtesy MRPC)
The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) announced earlier this month that several projects in the Meramec Region, which were in an area of the state affected by weather related disasters during 2008, have been approved for supplemental Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

Approved for funding were:

•  Linn Senior Citizen Apartments —$376,597 for renovation work and inspection;

•  Rich Fountain Senior Citizen Housing— $106,725 for renovation work and inspection;

•  Hermann Senior Citizen Housing— $472,070 for renovation work and inspection;

•  Sullivan Homes —$484,000 for renovation work and inspection; and

• Meramec Community Enhancement Corp. —$306,563 to renovate low-income rental housing in its eight-county service area.            

In all, over $1.74 million of federal funds will be spent in the Meramec Region to improve existing housing stock occupied by elderly and low-income families.

Osage County applied for funds for projects in Osage and Gasconade counties while Crawford County applied for funding for the Sullivan project. Pulaski County sponsored the request for MCEC to benefit the entire region.

Meramec Regional Planning Commission prepared the applications for the funded requests, on behalf of MCEC, MRPC’s nonprofit organization, and actually developed the requests and asked the counties to sponsor them.

“We were contacted by folks in Linn, Rich Fountain and Hermann about finding grants to renovate their senior citizen housing complexes, and we had just missed the deadline for the primary grant program for those type of projects,” explained Kelly Sink-Blair, a grant writer with MRPC. “Then DED announced this pot of money, and it was a good fit. So we asked the county commissions to sponsor the applications, based upon the requests we had received directly. We had already been working with Sullivan Homes and they had been turned down on another request, so we wanted to get their name in the hat as well.”

Once the grant paperwork is finalized, the projects will be put out for competitive bid.

 “Not only will homes be renovated, local contractors will have an opportunity for some work as well,” Sink-Blair noted.

The funding for these grants was approved by Congress with the passage of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 (Public Law 110-329), which appropriated $6.5 billion in CDBG funds for expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization in areas affected by hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters that occurred during 2008 and for which a presidential disaster declaration was issued.  Missouri was allocated $92,605,490 from this appropriation. A minimum of $10,372,631 of this appropriation must be used for affordable rental housing activities.

All projects funded must meet one of the following CDBG national objectives: (1) Low-to-moderate income (LMI) benefit:  at least 51 percent of the persons benefitting from the project must be of LMI status, which is defined as incomes at or below 80 percent of the county median household income.  This may be met through area 51 percent benefit, housing, job creation/retention, or limited clientele, (2) Slum and blight removal, or (3)  Urgent threat to health and safety

Eligible applicants are units of local government (cities and counties) located in an area receiving a presidential disaster declaration in 2008.  

MRPC to Consider Forming Community Foundation

2/17/20 St. James, MO
(courtesy MRPC)
The board of Meramec Regional Planning Commission took action to further explore establishing a regional community foundation after hearing a proposal from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, a Springfield-based public foundation serving the Missouri Ozarks. The board, meeting Feb. 11 in regular session, agreed to having staff to research the opportunity and outline a plan for implementing the concept of a community foundation on a regional basis.

Brian Fogle, CFO executive vice president, proposed that MRPC form a regional community foundation and encourage other non-profits to become a part of that foundation.

“There will never be enough resources from Washington, DC, or Jefferson City to solve your problems,” Fogle explained. The largest transfer of wealth in American history will occur over the next 15 years, and a large portion of that wealth will follow the inheriting children out of the hometowns where they grew up, Fogle explained.

“The solution? Community foundations,” Fogle said.  

A community foundation, usually established as a trust or non-profit corporation, is a philanthropic vehicle that combines the charitable gifts of many in addressing the current and future needs of the community through grant-making, aimed at improving the lives of the citizens within that community. It is a way to keep wealth in a community so that it can continue to benefit local important causes. For example, a company or individual can donate to the local foundation and receive certain tax benefits, or an individual can include a planned giving donation in their will, transferable upon death. The donation can be in the form of cash, stocks, bonds, life insurance, property or even such things as cars and tractors.

A portion of the interest earned on a foundation fund is then awarded annually as grants by the local board. The larger the fund grows, the more grant funds that can be awarded.

CFO charges its affiliates three-quarters of one percent annually on all funds held in the local foundation. Fogle proposed splitting that fee with MRPC to provide income to help support a staff person to encourage the formation of community foundations.

“You provide boots on the ground. We provide administrative support, investment management and training,” Fogle said. CFO also provides legal counsel on donor contributions and handles foundation reporting to the IRS.

“There’s very seldom a win, win, win situation, but this truly is one. The rising tide floats all boats,” Fogle added. “It’s not just for the wealthy. It’s for those who care about their community.”

CFO currently manages $145 million from 41 regional community foundation affiliates offering 1,700 separate funds. Community foundations in Hermann, Bourbon, St. James, Newburg, Dent County and Crawford County, with funds in access of $3.3 million, already work with CFO

First Five-Year Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Approved by FEMA and SEMA

12/24/09 Rock Port, MO
The Federal Emergency Managment Agency (FEMA) has approved the first five-year revision of a county-level Hazard Mitigation Plan in the state of Missouri. The Atchison County HMP Revision is now available in the document archive section of the MACOG website.

NWMORCOG Receives $300,000 to Upgrade Outdoor Alert Sirens in Northwest Missouri

12/5/09 Maryville, MO
 Fourteen communities across northwest Missouri will soon be better prepared for dangerous weather thanks to a federal appropriation secured by U.S. Congressman Sam Graves.  The appropriation, totaling nearly $300,000, will be used to install new outdoor alert sirens, repair existing sirens, and add remote siren activation or battery backup to existing siren systems. 

The Northwest Missouri Regional Council of Governments approached Congressman Graves late last year about the need for enhanced outdoor alert systems in northwest Missouri.  “One of the most common requests we receive from communities in northwest Missouri is for outdoor siren funding”, noted Tye Parsons, executive director of the Regional Council.  “By lumping several communities together in one request, we were able to cut down on the administrative cost of the grants, while also ensuring the most number of communities would benefit.  Plus, helping to increase the safety of fourteen communities, as opposed to only one or two, made the project that much more attractive to lawmakers considering the appropriation on Capitol Hill” Parsons added.

The federal appropriation, which is administered at the state level by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, requires communities to provide a minimum of 25% of the total project cost.  The Regional Council will host a kick-off meeting for the benefitting communities in early January, with siren purchase and installation likely taking place in the Spring of 2010.  Those communities receiving funding are: Albany, Burlington Junction, Denver, Forest City, Guilford, Hopkins, King City, Maryville, Mound City, Pickering, Ravenwood, Sheridan, Skidmore, and Tarkio.     

MACOG, RPCs Apply for DNR Funding to Assess State's Small Wastewater Systems
11/2/09 Jefferson City, MO
(courtesy Mid-Mo RPC)
Missouri's Regional Planning Commmissions across the state are applying to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to assist communities with identifying wastewater improvement needs. The 604B grant program is authorized under the Clean Water Act Section 604(b) for water quality assessment and management planning.

The identified project will allow Missouri's RPCs to access and inventory public wastewater systems, work with communities in identifying improvement needs, and to assist in identification of funding opportunities available to asssit with these improvement needs. Prioritization will be given to wastewater systems that discharge into sensitive watersheds.

The regional inventories will also be used to assist in developing a state wastewater capital improvement needs list. This propsed project is intended to serve as the foundation for future watershed planning efforts in Missouri, and will work in conjunction with all exisiting studies to avoid any duplication of efforts. The RPCs will develop a wastewater improvement summary and a project financing guide for each community and district providing wastewater treatment. The project will also allow for planning coordination between the community and funding agencies that provide financial assisstance for wastewater systems. If the grant is approved, the project will begin in Spring 2010 and take 9-12 months to complete.

MACOG Directors Attend Annual Fall Retreat
  10/21/09 Potosi, MO
RPC Directors from around the state of Missouri descended on the Mark Twain National Forest in southeastern Missouri to hold their annual planning and professional development retreat. The group, which spent their time at the Trout Lodge near Potosi, heard from a number of state and federal officials about partnership opportunities, funding sources, and the general outlook over the next 18 to 24 months. Special thanks to Richard Cavendar and the Meramec Regional Planning Commission for hosting the 2009 retreat!

Missouri Directors Attend Annual NADO Training Conference
NADO 9/1/09 Chicago, IL
Six Missouri RPC Directors, along with MACOG Planning Coordinator Doug Hermes, attended the annual training conference of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) in Chicago, IL. The conference, which was held August 29 through September 1, 2009, provides a unique networking and professional training opportunity for regional planning commission staff members from around the country. Mr. Hermes was asked to present at various sessions during the conference on the beneficial impacts a statewide assocation can have on its member planning organizations. For more information on NADO, visit their website at www.NADO.org.
Directors Tye Parsons, Northwest Missouri and Steve Etcher, Boonslick, along with Doug Hermes, MACOG, at the NADO conference.

MACOG Meets with U.S. Senator McCaskill
08/26/09 Jefferson City, MO (courtesy Mid-Mo RPC)

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill met with representatives of Missouri's Regional Planning Commissions on August 26, 2009 to discuss the planning commissions' programs and services. In particular, the delivery and planning partnerships of federal programs that the regional planning commissions are engaged in delivering to the membership was discussed. Federal program guidelines encourage regional collaboration in economic development, transportation, homeland security, and hazard mitigation concerns.

The discussion reviewed that all of Missouri's regional planning commissions are recognized as planning partners and economic development districts by the Economic Development Administration. This planning partnership provides the opportunity for the membership of the regional planning commissions to qualify for funding assistance for economic development projects.

McCaskill was informed that all of Missouri's RPCs are a planning partner with the Missouri Department of Transportation. The RPCs facilitate Transportation Advisory Committees (TACS) to provide local grassroots input into the transportation planning process. Missouri RPCs also aid MoDOT in statewide needs prioritization and development of Regional Transportation Plans.

In 2006, the Regional Planning Commissions entered into partnership with the Missouri Office of Homeland Security to provide a framework for effectively distributing Missouri's homeland security dollars. This regionalization framework uses nine Regional Homeland Security Oversight Committee (RHSOCs) to provide local funding recommendations to the State Homeland Security Advisory Council.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires that all counties (communities) have an adopted All-Hazards Mitigation Plan in place to be eligible for any federal hazard mitigation funds. The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has partnered with the Regional Planning Commissions to facilitate the creation of these plans in Missouri. As a result of this partnership, all of the Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission's counties (communities) have approved Hazard Mitigation Plans.

The directors of the regional planning commissions reviewed the structure for Missouri's Regional Planning Commissions created by the Missouri Legislature in the 1960s with oversight provided by the Governor's Office and the Office of Administration with McCaskill. The membership of the RPCs is local governments (city and county governments). The agencies are governed by the local elected officials and appointed representatives of these local governments. They serve as the primary local mechanism in the administration of key federal and state programs.

MACOG members meet with Senator McCaskill

Northwest Missouri RPCs Help Form New Wholesale Water Commission
7/16/09 Savannah, MO
After more than six years of meetings, discussions, and studies, a new group, with the sole purpose of ensuring northwest Missourians have safe, clean, and abundant drinking water for generations to come, is preparing to become a reality.  The group, which will be known as the Great Northwest Wholesale Water...(read more)