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In the News: News from December 2015

CAAR Map puts data at fingertips

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Accurate information is invaluable for  planning — the CAPCOG Geographic Information System Program’s latest product, the Capital Area Addressing and Referencing Map (CAAR Map), delivers accurate, regional and timely data to planners and others.

CAPCOG uses the monthly updated address points and street data in the CAAR Map dataset for 9-1-1 emergency response and planning purposes. But these datasets are also useful in determining transportation routes for buses, taxis and other transit. When overlaid with demographic data, it can help determine area development trends for demographic analysis and growth planning. CAAR Map data can also be used as an excellent reference for plotting an organization’s customer database or other address information onto the map. This can be useful for marketing and many other purposes.

Because CAAR Map is based on emergency response data, the information goes through a rigorous process for correcting errors and a geocode testing. The process has led to 99.6 percent accuracy rating of its data. The high accuracy rating plus monthly updating and archiving makes CAAR Map a unique and superior product. CAAR Map is offered as a seamless, region-wide dataset covering all jurisdictions in CAPCOG’s 10 counties — Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson.

> Discover more about CAAR Map and how to order its data.
> Learn about CAPCOG's GIS Program.

Holmes heads Regional Law Enforcement Academy

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Training and educating people is at the core of Randy Holmes. Since the age of 19, the now 61 year old has trained soldiers and peace officers around the world on protecting people and being admirable public servants. In late October, CAPCOG promoted him to Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) director.

“I enjoy people that want to learn,” said Holmes. “It is very satisfying to see someone perform a skill they couldn’t perform when they came to me.”

Holmes worked eight years as the CAPCOG RLEA chief instructor. He has provided oversight and instruction for 32 basic peace officer courses and many law enforcement in-service classes. Before coming to CAPCOG, Holmes, who always wanted to be a police officer, served San Marcos as a patrol officer, patrol corporal, detective, patrol sergeant, and commander. Three years into his 22 year stint at San Marcos Police Department, Holmes began instructing his fellow officers on topics such as fire arms and self-defense. Holmes also was recruited to participate in United Nations Mission of Kosovo to train law enforcement officers in the region.

Holmes began his instructor career as a U.S. Army sergeant in Germany. He trained his fellow soldiers in skill courses such as demolition and bridge construction.

> Discover the CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy.
> Review upcoming RLEA courses.
 

TCEQ announces alternative fuel, natural gas fueling station grants

Monday, December 14, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality announced up to $11.8 million in grants is available to eligible individuals, businesses, and governmental entities to continue the development of a network of alternative fuel and/or natural gas fueling stations to serve as a foundation for a self-sustaining market for alternative fuel vehicles.

The Clean Transportation Triangle (CTT) and Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP) grants are part of the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan and are offered to eligible entities that intend to build, own, and operate alternative fuel or natural gas fueling stations in eligible Texas counties.

The CTT/AFFP joint request for grant applications (RFGA) closes at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Because of the similarities between these programs, the TCEQ is soliciting applications for the programs under this joint RFGA. It is providing joint application forms for applicants to apply to one or both programs, depending on the eligibility of the project.

CTT/AFFP grants offset a portion of the cost of either the construction of new facilities dispensing natural gas or alternative fuels, or the substantial reconstruction of existing facilities to provide new services or capabilities dispensing natural gas or alternative fuels. Eligible fuels for the CTT program include compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas. Eligible alternative fuels for the AFFP include biodiesel, hydrogen, methanol, natural gas, propane, and electricity. 

The TCEQ has scheduled three application workshops to review the grant requirements and the application process. Reservations are not required.

ARLINGTON: 1:30 p.m., Jan. 11, 2016
North Central Texas Council of Governments
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, TX 76011

HOUSTON: 1:30 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016
Houston-Galveston Area Council
3555 Timmons, Suite 120 
Houston, TX 77027

AUSTIN: 1:30 p.m., Jan. 14, 2016
TCEQ's Austin Office 
Building E, Room 254
12100 Park 35 Circle
Austin, TX 78753

> Learn more about the grants.
> Discover the CAPCOG Air Quality Program.
> Find other air quality programs.

Homeland Security grant process opens

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The FY 2016 State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) grant application period began in December. SHSP grant funding assists local governments with purchasing and maintaining tools and equipment, training and planning required to respond to natural disasters and terrorist incidents.

The Homeland Security Division will conduct mandatory pre-application workshops for entities seeking funding at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 16, 2015 at CAPCOG in Austin.

> Register to attend a required grant writing workshop.
> Download the grant application template.

Applications must be submitted to CAPCOG by Jan. 15, 2016 to be considered.

Last year CAPCOG facilitated the allocation of about $1.9 million to 29 regional projects supporting interoperable communications, citizen volunteer response programs, rescue and terroristic-threat-response equipment purchases, and other emergency services programs. Since 2003, $36.4 million in funds have been awarded regionally.

> Discover more about the CAPCOG Homeland Security Division.

Workshop teaches importance of economic analysis

Monday, December 07, 2015

Three economic development experts will outline and explain the advantages of conducting a successful economic impact analysis for development projects during a 2-hour workshop at the San Marcos Conference Center on Dec. 9.

The workshop, coordinated by CAPCOG, will focus on measuring economic impacts, particularly within the context of economic development incentives. It will address the alignment of economic development incentives to strategic goals, how to accurately measure the benefits and costs of an economic development project, and ongoing monitoring of economic impacts.

Chris Schreck, CAPCOG’s economic development program manager, will lead the workshop. The other featured presenters are two leading economic development practitioners in the CAPCOG region: Amy Madison, interim executive director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, and Christian Fletcher, executive director of the Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation. Madison and Fletcher will describe how economic development incentives are used and impacts are measured in their communities. They will be available to answer specific questions.

Elected officials who attend the workshop can qualify to earn credit hours towards their state mandated or voluntary continuing education.

> Register to attend the workshop.

The workshop is free for officials residing in CAPCOG’s 10-county region.

> To receive a registration code, contact Mason Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator. 

Taylor credits public participation for award winning master plan

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Creating a master plan is about more than just designing a look for an area in town. It is about creating a distinct feel and experience for both residents and visitors. It is about synergizing new growth while maintaining a sustainable atmosphere for current businesses and residents. And most importantly, it is about the people, the community and the vision to move forward.

In early October, the American Planning Association – Texas Chapter awarded the city of Taylor its Project Planning Award in recognition for exemplary planning for the creation of Taylor’s new Downtown Master Plan. And while the physical award goes to the city, the honor and the credit go to the residents.
“We are extremely proud of the community support that went into the creation of the Downtown Master Plan,” said Holli Nelson, the city’s public information officer. “People care about Taylor and where we are going and how we are going to get there.”

More than a hundred people contributed to the Downtown Master Plan during its creation, which consisted of visioning secessions, community forums, stakeholder workshops, open houses, city council meetings and more.

Taylor’s Downtown Master Plan is innovative, transferrable, comprehensive and implementable, said Cameron Walker, APA-Texas Chapter committee chair for the planning awards. It also included a good record of public participation.

“Any plan without community support is a plan that will sit on the shelf,” said Noel Bernal, Taylor assistant city manager. Master plans can take years to fulfill, but when residents and business owners back them, developments guided by master plans can move faster as those who are already invested in the area continue to grow and redevelop themselves.

Taylor’s Downtown Master Plan combined previous work from seven other plans to encompass about 30 of the city’s blocks and about 14 streets. According to the plan, its goals set out to stimulate economic development, protect the unique history of Taylor, provide entertainment, recreation, programming and events and serve the needs of visitors and residents alike over other goals — all of which were prioritized by community stakeholders. Taylor adopted the plan in April 2015.

> Riewed Taylor's Downtown Master Plan.
> Discover the American Planning Association - Texas Chapter.

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