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In the News

Area residents can register to receive emergency warnings in 2 minutes

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments wants to remind area residents registering for the regional notification system (RNS), a messaging service that alerts residents of emergency and non-emergency situations, can take as little time as two minutes.

RNS messages sent by local officials may include content such as incident-specific information, recommended protective actions or response directives. They can be delivered to various devices that accept voice, email or text messaging content and to alpha or numeric pagers. The message sender identifies recipients, develops the message and determines which types of devices receive the message.

> Register to receive emergency messages from RNS.

All you need to register is your phone or cellphone number and an address.

Once registered for CAPCOG’s RNS provider, CodeRed, residents will recognize the RNS call when their caller ID displays the following numbers. Please be sure to add these telephone numbers into your telephone's contacts, when applicable:

  • 866-419-5000 or Emergency Comm for Emergency Notifications
  • 855-969-4636 or ECN Community for General Notifications 
  • 800-566-9780 or Emergency Comm for CodeRED Weather Warning Alerts

To hear the last message delivered to a phone, simply dial the number back.

> Want to more about RNS, discover more on how it is used.

CAPCOG General Assembly adopts FY 2016 budget

Thursday, October 15, 2015

CAPCOG’s approved 2016 budget estimates expenditures of $24.4 million and revenues of $24.42 million.

The Area Agency on Aging, including the Aging and Disability Resource Center, and the Capital Area Emergency Communications District consist of the largest budget expenditures — $8.4 million and $13.2 million respectively.

New programs and projects planned for the budget year include: text to 9-1-1, a regional radio communications interoperability plan, an in-home caregiver respite program, scenario place-making, the Capital Area Addressing and Referencing Map (CAAR Map) GIS program, and more.

The 2016 fiscal year budget is almost a 2 percent increase from the 2015 fiscal year budget. The General Assembly approved the budget in September, and a complete budget book was posted in October.

> Review CAPCOG's Fiscal Year 2016 budget.
> Read other CAPCOG financial documents.
> Discover more about CAPCOG.

Capital Area Mutual Aid Plan coordinates region

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Capital Area Mutual Aid Plan’s goal is to make available the appropriate resources at the appropriate time in response to large-scale, emergency management incidents as they develop.

Covering all 10-counties in CAPCOG and the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council 11-county region, the plan provides guidance for the coordination of many different types of available local, public resources needed for regional response in the event of catastrophic incidents. It addresses the system of requesting, locating, and mobilizing those resources and the coordination of their deployment before and after substantial state, federal or distant local resources can arrive.

CAPCOG’s Executive Committee approved the plan in September, which is different than the Capital Area Mutual Aid Agreement approved in 2006. The agreement pertains to counties and municipalities and what resources — police, fire, and emergency medical units — they may make available, while the plan is directed at those local governments and other organizations not eligible through agreement, such as the American Red Cross.

If a local government adopts the agreement, then it automatically becomes a participant of the plan. Other political subdivisions, nonprofits, and private sector organizations can partake in the plan and not the agreement.

> Read the full plan.
> Review the mutual aid agreement.
> Discover the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

EPA announces $7 million to reduce diesel emissions from school buses

Wednesday, October 07, 2015
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of about $7 million for rebates to public and private school bus fleet owners for the replacement and retrofit of older school buses. Replacing buses with older engines will reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality.

New to this year’s program is the option of implementing retrofit technologies. Fleet owners can install diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC) plus closed crankcase ventilation (CCV) systems to reduce emissions up to 25 percent, and they can replace older buses with newer ones that meet the latest on-highway emission standards as in previous EPA rebate programs. EPA will pay up to $3,000 for each DOC plus CCV, and between $15,000 and $25,000 per replacement bus, depending on the size.

EPA will accept applications from September 28 to October 30, 2015. Applicants may request up to 10 buses for replacement and up to 10 buses for the retrofit option on each application. Fleets with more than 101 buses in operation may submit two applications.

Public school bus fleets and those owned privately but contracted with a public school system are eligible to apply for rebates to replace school buses with engine model years of 2006 or older.  They may also apply to install DOC plus CCV technology on school buses with engine model years 1994-2006.

Many of the nation’s school buses are powered by diesel engines. EPA standards for new diesel engines make them more than 90 percent cleaner than older ones, but many older diesel engines remain in operation and predate these standards. Older diesel engines emit large quantities of pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These pollutants are linked to health problems, including aggravated asthma, lung damage and other serious health issues.

This is the third rebate program offered under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) reauthorization to fund cleaner school buses. Nearly 25,000 buses have been made cleaner because of the funding.

> Learn more about the rebate program, applicant eligibility and selection process, and informational webinar dates.
> Email the EPA questions about the program.
> Discover CAPCOG's Air Quality Program.

Central Texas likely to remain designated in ozone “attainment”

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new ozone standard of 70 parts per billion (ppb) may not have a significant impact on Central Texas since the region’s air pollution levels will likely remain low enough to avoid a “nonattainment” designation. The new, more stringent health-based ozone standard, announced Oct. 1, 2015, tightens the National Ambient Air Quality Standard from 75 ppb to increase protections for human health and the environment. Peak ozone levels in Central Texas have averaged 68 ppb between 2013 and 2015. If the region’s ozone levels were above 70 ppb, it would be at risk for being designated nonattainment, which could cost $24 to $42 billion in economic losses for the region, according to a report by the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG).

“Central Texas has been a national leader in voluntarily reducing ozone-forming emissions, and every resident of Central Texas can be proud of the success of the region’s efforts to keep the air clean and avoid the burdens of an ozone nonattainment designation,” Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, who serves as the chair of the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition (CAC) said. “I encourage residents to continue these efforts in 2016 to help ensure that the region can remain designated attainment for this new ozone standard.”

Since 2002, the CAC has led local efforts to remain in attainment of ground-level ozone standards. Through these efforts, local governments, businesses, and other organizations in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties have worked with the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to voluntarily reduce local ozone-forming emissions. As part of the region’s current air quality plan, 30 organizations have voluntarily implemented more than 500 emission reduction measures, and another 24 organizations participate through CLEAN AIR Force’s Clean Air Partners Program. These emission reductions were critical in keeping the region designated attainment for the two previous ozone standards, and will be important to remain designated attainment for the EPA’s new ozone standard. The EPA has recognized these local efforts by awarding Clean Air Excellence awards for Community Engagement to the Clean Air Coalition in 2014 and the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas in 2015.

Although the region’s current ozone levels are in compliance with the new standard, pollution levels can vary substantially year-to-year. Keeping ozone levels low in 2016 will be important to ensuring the region can avoid a nonattainment designation under the new standard.

Residents of Central Texas can help the region remain in compliance with the new air quality standard and improve public health protections by purchasing newer, cleaner vehicles; avoiding driving alone to work; and conserving energy. On “Ozone Action Days,” when meteorologists expect ozone levels to be particularly high, children, seniors, and people with respiratory problems should avoid prolonged exposure outdoors, and motorists should avoid idling and taking unnecessary trips.

> Discover more information on regional air quality in Central Texas.
> Read CAPCOG's fact sheet about EPA’s new ozone standard, and how it affects Central Texas.

CAPCOG Disaster Debris Plan earns award

Monday, September 28, 2015

CAPCOG’s Disaster Debris Plan, which can be used by municipalities and counties, offers guidance via a template for a coordinated, quick, and succinct response to large scale, debris generating events by establishing a common and standardized approach to handling debris. The recently completed plan has earned national recognition for its contribution in strengthening economic resiliency in communities affected by disaster.

The National Association of Development Organizations announced in August CAPCOG’s Disaster Debris Plan will receive a 2015 Innovation Award. The plan, which was funded through Texas Homeland Security State Administrative Agency’s Regional allocations, was completed earlier in 2015 with help from regional stakeholders. It strives to allow local governments to hastily secure the public health, safety and welfare of a community; let communities realize their maximum disaster reimbursement; and sustain resiliency against debris negatively impacting their economies.

> Discover more about the plan and see helpful debris management documents.
> Read more a full article about the plan.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Solid Waste Planning Program.
> Learn about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

Homeland Security Director to retire

Friday, September 25, 2015

Ed Schaefer, the Capital Area Council of Governments Homeland Security Division director, will retire Sept. 30 after 25 years of his career dedicated to emergency management and disaster preparedness.

“It has been a great pleasure to work in homeland security in Central Texas both as a member of the Homeland Security Task Force and as its CAPCOG staff support,” Schaefer said. “The Task Force has focused on coordination and cooperation and shown it works.”

For the last eight years, Schaefer has worked for CAPCOG where he coordinated the task force. His work has helped improve regional communications interoperability, regional planning, communities’ use of emergency notifications, and regional cooperation.

Schaefer was instrumental in starting cellphone self-registration for emergency notifications; developing the statewide mutual aid system; and coordinating the purchase of regional resources to deploy throughout CAPCOG’s 10 counties.
Much of what the Homeland Security Task Force has accomplished during Schaefer’s tenure surpasses preparing for any one incident, he said. Its efforts have helped public safety personnel in preparing for and responding to a wide range of incidents.

Prior to coming to CAPCOG, Schaefer served on the Task Force as the Lower Colorado River Authority’s emergency management coordinator. He worked for LCRA for 10 years and previously served with the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management for 7 years and as the emergency management coordinator for Burnet County.

> Read more about CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division.

Nonattainment designation for new ozone standard could cost Central Texas

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) released a report that estimated that a “nonattainment” designation for the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could cost Central Texas $24 - $42 billion over the next 30 years.

“This report shows that there are real economic consequences of an ozone nonattainment designation, and underscores that there are real economic benefits to taking voluntary action to reduce ozone levels in areas like Central Texas to avoid a nonattainment designation,” said Andrew Hoekzema, CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program Manager.

A nonattainment designation would mean added permitting requirements, extra hurdles for infrastructure development, and regulations on emissions of existing businesses within the region. CAPCOG’s new report estimates what the economic impact of these regulations could be if the region is designated nonattainment.

By Oct. 1, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required under a court order to finalize a new ozone NAAQS or retain the existing standard. Last year, the EPA proposed to reduce the level of the ozone NAAQS from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a range of 65-70 ppb. Ozone levels in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) — Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties — are currently at 68 ppb, putting it right in the middle of that range. If the EPA sets the standard at the lowest end of that range, it is likely that one or more counties in the Austin-Round Rock MSA will be designated a “nonattainment” area for the new NAAQS.

Since 2002, the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition (CAC) has led local efforts to remain in attainment of ground-level ozone standards. Through voluntary regional air quality planning efforts, local governments, businesses, and other organizations in the Austin-Round Rock MSA have worked with the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to voluntarily reduce local ozone-forming emissions. As part of the region’s current air quality plan, 30 organizations have voluntarily implemented more than 500 emission reduction measures, and another 24 organizations participate through CLEAN AIR Force’s Clean Air Partners Program. These emission reductions have been critical to keeping the region designated attainment for the two previous ozone standards, and are likely to be important again in the area’s ability to remain designated in attainment for the EPA’s new ozone standard. The EPA has recognized these local efforts by awarding Clean Air Excellence awards for Community Engagement to the Clean Air Coalition in 2014 and the CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas in 2015.

“We hope that this report can help motivate the Central Texas community to continue the good work it has been doing for over a decade to voluntarily reduce ozone-forming emissions,” Hoekzema said. “This will be especially important in 2016, since designations will likely be based on 2014-2016 ozone levels. We also hope that this report can serve as the starting point for discussions between our community and the EPA to find creative ways to work within the Clean Air Act to improve air quality without designating an area nonattainment unless absolutely necessary.”

> Read the full report.
> Discover the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.

Striking a Balance 2015 shares caregiver resources

Monday, September 21, 2015

Striking a Balance 2015, a caregivers conference will place national and local resources in front of family caregivers who have dedicated a portion of their life caring for their loved ones.

Organized by the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) and AGE of Central Texas, the conference will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 26 at Norris Conference Center, 2525 W Anderson Lane, No. 365, Austin. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

“A family caregiver’s dedication to their loved one can be stressful and equal the work of a fulltime job, leaving little time for themselves,” said Jennifer Scott, AAACAP division director. “We have partnered to bring Striking a Balance to Austin for 14 years, so family caregivers have a venue to learn about their resources and know that they are not alone in facing their challenges.”

This year’s conference will feature nationally-acclaimed speaker and author, Dr. Sara Honn Qualls. Qualls will speak on how caregiving changes over time and explain when and how to implement changes. She is the Kraemer Family Professor of Aging Studies and Professor of Psychology, and Director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

The conference also will feature a number of breakout sessions lead by local experts and vendor information tables.

> Find out more about the conference.
> Discover the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.

TCEQ Announces Workshops for TERP Grant Recipients

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality scheduled "I Just Received a TERP Grant-Now What?" workshops to assist Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) grant recipients with using their recently awarded funds.

Four workshops, slated to take place across the state, will provide an overview of the reimbursement, disposition, and monitoring process to grantees who recently were awarded a grant under the TERP Emissions Reduction Incentive Grants (ERIG) and Rebate Grants programs. The Austin workshop will be from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 29, at TCEQ’s Austin Offices.

TERP Staff will be available to address specific questions or concerns following the workshop. The workshop will be beneficial to grantees, vehicle and equipment dealers, third-party preparers, and financing entities.

Please visit or call 1-800-919-TERP (8377) for more information regarding the scheduled workshops.

Austin: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015
TCEQ's Austin Office
Building F, Room 2210 
12100 Park 35 Circle
Austin, TX 78753 

Houston: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015
Tracy Gee Community Center
3599 Westcenter Drive
Houston, TX 77042

Arlington: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015
North Central Texas Council of Governments
616 Six Flags Drive, Centerpoint II
Arlington, TX 76011 

San Antonio: 1:30 - 4:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015.
Alamo Area Council of Governments
8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 700
San Antonio, TX 78217

> Learn more about the TERP Grants.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

Austin seeks nonprofit, business participation on disaster census

Monday, September 14, 2015
Source: City of Austin

The City of Austin is asking businesses and nonprofits to participate in a survey that will help assess their readiness and ability to recover from a disaster event. The census will run through Sept. 21.

> Take the survey.

According to a study by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, 25 percent of companies do not reopen after a major disaster.

The census is a part of an ongoing collaborative effort to make the Austin community more resilient and aid in recovery from disaster.

The City of Austin was the only city to be awarded a $150,000 Economic Recovery Preparedness Grant in 2014 by the Texas Homeland Security State Administrative Agency – State Homeland Security Program to enhance Austin’s business preparedness to recover from a natural or human-caused disaster. The grant is a result of a collaborative application by the City Economic Development Department (EDD) and Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).

As a result of the grant, Austin has engaged a professional disaster assistance consultant, ProSource Technologies, and a policy research firm, Morningside Research, to survey how prepared Austin’s business community (including nonprofit, artist, artist organizations and musicians) are for an interruption in operations.

The team will make recommendations to the city on the most effective means to engage Austin businesses on resiliency and disaster recovery on an ongoing basis and later this year will conduct forums with practical information on existing community resources available to local businesses at little or no cost to assist with business continuity planning and workforce readiness.

“Recent natural disasters, such as the Memorial Day floods, proved that a disaster can hit at any time,” said Kevin Johns, Director for the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department.  “There is much that a business owner — from those that provide critical infrastructure like gas or groceries, to a music venue, nonprofit or big business — can do today to protect their employees, reduce their financial losses, and re-open quickly to support Austin’s economic recovery.”

> Take the survey.
> Discover more about the City of Austin Economic Development Department. 
> Learn about the City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM).

Travis County promotes RNS, safety tips during National Preparedness Month

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Source: Travis County Emergency Services

As part of National Preparedness Month, Travis County reminds residents to plan now for emergencies.—Don't wait. Communicate. Make your emergency plan today. Any time of the year, Travis County and Central Texas could face wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods, or man-made disasters. This year, we have seen the dangers of flash flooding, while still experiencing drought and wildfire danger.

How can anyone prepare for the possibility of these different disasters? Go to or to learn more. Take practical steps, so that you are informed and ready for events beyond your control: 

  1. Stay informed. Monitor news reports for emergency information. Remember that there may be no electricity during a disaster, so a hand-crank radio is recommended. Register your cell phone, phone landline, email address or pager to receive Regional Notification System alerts by voice call, email or text at The Travis County Emergency Services Facebook (TravisCoEmergencyServices) and Twitter (@TravisCountyES) pages also provide updates during emergencies.
  2. Build a disaster supply kit. Your kit should include enough non-perishable food, one gallon of water per day per person, prescription medication and other supplies, such as flashlights, batteries and a first-aid kit. Learn more about disaster supply kits at
  3. Make a plan that extends from home to vehicle, workplace and other locations. Remember to have supplies at all locations, and keep vehicle fuel tanks at least half full. 
  4. Prepare your home and decrease the threat of wildfires to you and your property by following the Ready, Set, Go! brochure at  
  5. Get involved–Prepare your community for emergencies: For more information on National Preparedness Month and getting others involved, go to: or, and follow #NatlPrep.

> Learn more about Travis County Emergency Services.
> Read more about CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.
> Discover more about the Regional Notification System that serves all ten CAPCOG counties.

Jack Griesenbeck Award solicits nominations

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Former Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck was a man of vision when he decided to be the first chairman of the now Capital Area Council of Governments in 1970 and subsequently the first president of the Texas Association of Regional Councils, the state association representing all 24 Texas councils of governments. These organizations by definition must focus on regional issues that mutually benefit multiple local governments when doing their work. It is not always easy to wear your “regionalism hat” when you represent a more narrow constituency, but Judge Griesenbeck did that consistently as have the recipients of the award named after him.

In 2001, CAPCOG created the Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award to recognize those who have articulated the need for regionalism and supported the activities to achieve it. The first recipient was Senator Kirk Watson who brought together county and city officials to develop the state’s first voluntary air quality plan recognized by EPA in 2002. The Early Action Compact was a proactive approach to keep the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area from entering a nonattainment status and to avoid onerous federal mandates. The region and the organization Watson started, the Clean Air Coalition, continues to implement its third voluntary emission reduction plan.

Dr. W. Neal Kocureck, a local doctor and community leader, followed in 2002 after he launched Envision Central Texas, an effort to create a long-term vision of how the region should grow through a collaborative community by community approach. Bob Daigh, then district engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation- Austin office, was the first in his position statewide to embrace the benefits of regional transportation planning among urban and rural county elected officials sharing ideas and prioritizing projects that would have the most impact on regional mobility.

Others recognized include former Caldwell County Judge H.T. Wright. Wright served many years on CAPCOG’s board until he died in 2010, but he also represented all Texas COGs and their 9-1-1 programs by serving on the Commission for State Emergency Communications. The most recent honoree was former Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, who always kept goals of the region at the forefront during his 20 years serving on CAPCOG’s board.

“Being regional isn’t always an easy thing to do when often leaders in our communities must prioritize their goals starting with the organization they represent,” explained CAPCOG’s executive director Betty Voights. “But when they can link those goals with what’s good for our region, they typically become more involved with CAPCOG, and we all benefit from their involvement.” 

After seeing so many work for the region for so long, Voights said it was important for CAPCOG to acknowledge those who consistently advocate a regional approach.

This September, CAPCOG is seeking its 14th honoree to receive the annual Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award. Nominations will be accepted from CAPCOG General Assembly Representatives until Oct. 7. The recipient of the award will be announced at the Dec. 9 CAPCOG General assembly meeting.

Previous Jack Griesenbeck Leadership Award in Regionalism Recipients
  • Mayor Kirk Watson, City of Austin
  • Dr. W. Neal Kocurek
  • Robert J. Huston, Chair of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
  • Mayor Ray Sanders, City of Lockhart
  • Bob Daigh, Texas Department of Transportation Austin District Engineer
  • Texas Senator Gonzalo Barrientos
  • Mike Simpson, City of Austin and Texas Radio Coalition
  • County Judge H.T. Wright, Caldwell County
  • Police Chief Mark Whitacre, City of Marble Falls
  • Texas Senator Troy Fraser
  • Mike Fisher, Emergency Management Coordinator of  Bastrop County
  • Seth S. Searcy, Attorney at Law
  • County Judge Sam Biscoe, Travis County

> Download a Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award nomination form.
> Submit the nomination form to Mason W. Canales, the CAPCOG member services coordinator, by Oct. 7.

TCEQ issues first 2015 ozone action day for Austin area

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued an Ozone Action Day for the Austin area for Thursday, August 27, 2015.

Atmospheric conditions are expected to be favorable for producing high levels of ozone air pollution in the Austin area, stated the TCEQ.

You can help prevent ozone pollution by sharing a ride, walking or riding a bicycle, taking your lunch to work, avoiding drive-through lanes, conserving energy, and keeping your vehicle properly tuned.

The day will mark the Capital Area’s first ozone action day of the year.

> Read about ozone facts.
> Discover the Capital Area Council of Governments Air Quality Program.
> Learn about CLEAN AIR Force of Central Texas.

TCEQ offers funds to reduce school bus emissions, better student health

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

A Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) grant program to reduce emissions and improve the health of school children and bus drivers started taking applications earlier this month. It will accept grant request until Dec. 2, 2015.

The Texas Clean School Bus Program strives to improve the health of school children and bus drivers through reducing school bus diesel exhaust. It is a comprehensive program designed to reduce emissions of diesel exhaust by retrofitting older school buses. The TCEQ provides the grant money so districts can purchase and install devices on diesel-powered school buses to reduce emissions.

According to the Texas Education Agency more than 33 percent of school buses in local fleets are more than 10 years old. Several advancements in vehicle and engine technology have helped reduce emissions from school buses, which helps reduce air pollution, since those buses were purchased.

The Texas Clean School Bus Program has retrofitted more than 7,200 buses across the state since the TCEQ started the program.

All public school districts and charter schools in Texas are eligible to apply for the grant. Public school districts that lease buses also are eligible. Private schools are not eligible for funding.

To meet the TCEQ qualifications, a school bus must:

  • have an engine model year 2006 or older;
  • be used on a regular, daily route, to and from school; and
  • be kept and used by the school district for a least five years after installing the retrofit device.

Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. The TCEQ doesn’t limit the amount of funding for which districts can apply, but it will use its own discretion when awarding the grants.

> Download the grant application and learn more about the grant.
> Discover the Capital Area Council of Governments Air Quality Program.
> Learn more about emission reduction grants, you can use.

Learn about the Aging and Disability Resource Center

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area, a program of the Capital Area Council of Governments, assists residents living in the 10-county capital region with accessing information about long-term services and supports, and public benefit programs offered to older Americans, the disabled, and their caregivers.

The ADRC partners with more than 25 nonprofit, local, state, and federal organizations to ensure residents in need of support services are connected to resources using a No-Wrong-Door Approach. The No-Wrong-Door approach is a single point of entry for accessing public and private long-term services and supports for older adults, caregivers, veterans and people with disabilities. The ADRC lessens the burden of connecting a resident with the information they need through its information, referral and assistance services, or resource navigators.

The following FAQ can help residents better understand how the ADRC can help them.

Q:  How does the ADRC provide help?
A: Resource navigators provide extensive and ongoing resource options for older Americans (those 60 years old or older), the disabled and their caregivers. Navigators provide help over the phone and in person. They follow the consumer through the ADRC services and are extremely beneficial to people who have multiple needs and who may need help from various resources and agencies. Navigators work to connect consumers as quickly and easily as possible to the resources they need.
Navigators also work to ensure consumers can make informed decisions and have streamlined access to long-term services and support agencies.

Q: Can the ADRC help apply for disability benefits or long-term care? 
A: Yes. Because the ADRC works with a number of organizations, it can either help people apply for benefits or direct an organization, such as the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area, to the person seeking the benefits.

Q: Does the ADRC offer help for family members? 
A: Yes. Family caregiver support also is part of the ADRC’s mission. Taking care of loved ones may seem overwhelming at times, and the resource center works to alleviate such stress by referring the appropriate partner agencies to the consumers. 

Q: Who can use the ADRC?
A: The ADRC offers assistance to older Americans, children and adults with disabilities, and people caring for those with disabilities. The ADRC serves people living within Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties.

Q: What is the best way to contact the ADRC?
A: Consumers can contact the resource center by phone, email, or in person. They should use which ever method they are most comfortable.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on holidays. Walk-ins are accepted, but appointments are strongly suggested.
Consumers can meet with a resource center navigator in person at 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310, Suite 165, Austin, Texas 78744. They can also call the ADRC at 855-937-2372 or email the center at

Q: When is the best time to contact the ADRC?
A: Consumers can contact a resource center navigator during normal business hours, but a phone line is always available to accept messages after business hours. Emails also are received by the center after business hours.  A resource center navigator will promptly respond to messages and emails during the next business day.
The ADRC wants to help consumers navigate through long-term support services and benefits regardless of the circumstances or challenges a consumer is facing. Consumers are welcome to contact the center anytime they have questions or concerns. 

Q: Does the ADRC tell me what to do? 
A: No. Consumers make their own choices. The ADRC does not and cannot tell a consumer what to do. It offers information and resources to the consumer or caregiver so they can make their own choices about the support services they may require. 

Q: Can I call even if I am the one not receiving support services or benefits? 
A: Yes, family and friends often are the caregivers. Regardless, if you are a caregiver or not, the ADRC accepts calls from people seeking information to support their loved ones. 

Q: Does the ADRC need my name? 
A: No. The resource center does not require a consumer’s name. However, providing a name would be helpful for the ADRC navigator to return their call, make an appropriate referral on behalf of the caller, and follow up to ensure the correct long-term support services and benefits fit their needs.

Q: How long do ADRC services last?
A: The ADRC is not the service provider. Durations of services and benefits are dictated by the various organizations the consumer elects to use after the resource center connects them with those resources.

Regional counties host family caregiver mini-conferences

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments Aging Advisory Council and the Area Agency on Aging are sponsoring mini-conferences in counties throughout the region to educate and support family caregivers.

Informal family caregivers provide the majority of care for the nation’s aging population. An estimated 40 million family caregivers devote 37 billion hours a year to assist older adults, an economic value of about $470 billion. Each conference will educate attendees on balancing caregiving responsibilities with everyday life and provide local resource information.

Background for the conferences is provided by the National Family Caregiver Support program developed by Area Agencies on Aging and supported through the Older Americans Act. Conferences will target informal caregivers of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Tam Cummings, a local gerontologist, will give keynote presentations. She is dedicated to untangling the complexities of dementia.

The first conference is in Williamson County from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.,  Sept. 10, Six Flags Ballroom, 2 Texas Drive, Georgetown. On site, registration begins 10:30 a.m.

Other caregiver support events:

  • September 12: Travis County Caregiver Conference hosted with AARP Texas, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (10:30 a.m. doors open for registration), La Quinta Inn & Suites Austin Airport, 7625 E. Ben White Blvd., Austin 78741
  • September 26: Striking A Balance Caregiver Conference hosted with AGE of Central Texas, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (doors open for check-in at 8:30 a.m.), Norris Conference Center, Northcross Mall, 2525 W. Anderson Lane, Austin.
  • September 30: Fayette County Caregiver Mini-conference, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (10:30a.m. doors open for registration), County Extension Office, 255 Svoboda Lane, La Grange
  • November 14: SW Travis/Hays County Caregiver Conference hosted with AARP Texas, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (10:30 a.m. registration), Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, 10408 HWY 290 West, Austin.

> To pre-register for any of these events please contact Michelle Davis.
> Discover the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.
> Register for Striking a Balance 2015.

Governor’s Committee conducts Impact on Aging survey

Monday, August 17, 2015
Source: Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is conducting its annual survey on an aspect of living in Texas. The survey will conclude at the end of September.

This year the committee is interested in examining the impact of the aging population across 10 issue areas: access, communication, education, emergency management, health, housing, recreation, transportation, veterans and workforce.

People are living longer, and the U.S. population is increasingly getting older. Beginning in 2005, Texas has experienced the largest annual population growth of any state.

Seniors, those older than 65 years of age, are projected to more than triple from 2010 to 2050. This will mean the number of seniors will approach about 7.9 million. The age category of people 45 to 64 years old is projected to be the second fastest growing age group. That demographic is estimated to increase 55 percent by 2050 to a population more than 9.3 million.

Population growth in Texas is projected to come from large urban areas in and surrounding Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis counties, stated Texas State Demographer reports.

This year the survey will be divided into two parts.  
> Take Part 1 of the survey, the Impact of the Aging Population Survey.  
> Take Part 2 of the survey, the Aging Related Disabilities Survey.

Alternative survey formats are available in large print, Spanish or can be voiced out by phone with assistance of staff.  For any alternative format, contact at or 512-463-5739.

Si a usted le gustaría aprovechar esta encuesta en español por favor envíe un correo electrónico a Stephanie Myers,

> Visit the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities website.
> Learn about the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area.
> Discover the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Capital Area.

General Assembly to vote bylaws, budget

Thursday, August 13, 2015

General Assembly members will decide the Capital Area Council of Governments' 2016 fiscal year budget and bylaw amendments pertaining to the process of electing the council’s Executive Committee at its annual September meeting.

The meeting will be at 11 a.m., Sept. 9, 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Austin, 6121 N. IH 35, Austin.

> General Assembly Representatives can register for the luncheon on CAPCOG's training website.

A public safety workshop will follow the luncheon. It will cover what elected officials need to know about policing, homeland security and emergency communications. Workshop attendees will learn about the tools CAPCOG has available for its members and career expertise on topics such as keeping good peace officers and the benefits of having tenured officers.

Seating will be limited at the workshop. General Assembly Representatives should use a coupon code to register for the meeting and/or workshop for free.

> Register for the public safety workshop.
> Discover more about the General Assembly.
> Contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator, for more information.

TCEQ, STAR seek award nominations

Monday, August 10, 2015

Numerous communities in the Capital Area Council of Governments’ 10-county region have strived to achieve excellent environmental stewardship, and CAPCOG wants to encourage its communities to apply for accolades from two state wide environmental organizations seeking award nominations through August and September.

The State of Texas Alliance for Recycling’s (STAR) 2015 Texas Environmental Leadership Awards recognize stewards of environmental change in Texas that develop and maintain programs involving recycling, composting, sustainable material management, public education and outreach, special event recycling and more. The deadline is 5 p.m. Aug. 28.

> Learn how to apply for a STAR award in one of its six categories.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is offering awards in nine categories, such as education, pollution prevention, and innovative operations and management, for those that make inspiring efforts to preserve and protect the state’s environment. TCEQ will accept applications for its awards until Sept. 25.

> Discover more or apply for the TCEQ awards.

Both organizations accept awards nominations for efforts made by individuals, students, communities, organizations, local governments and businesses.

> Contact Matt Holderread, CAPCOG solid waste planning manager, for more information or help applying for an award.
> Read about the CAPCOG solid waste planning program.

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