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In the News

Department of Aging and Disability Service holds strategic planning hearings

Monday, July 27, 2015
Source: Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is seeking public input on a three-year strategic plan for aging and disability resource centers (ADRC) and their role within the no-wrong-door approach for seeking long-term care services and supports. The approach allows people to call one number for information opposed to calling multiple agencies.

DADS will host five forums and two webinars. The forums will gather ideas, thoughts and opinions about the current and future systems for accessing long-term services and supports.

DADS specifically is wanting input on the following:

  • General public awareness of the ADRC and long-term services and supports system
  • Current system success and suggested improvements
  • Person-centered planning
  • Resource requirements
  • Suggestions for sustainability
  • Suggestions for improved service to all populations
  • Future vision for the ADRC system (3 years and beyond)
  • ADRC role with respect to managed care programs (e.g., STAR+)

Participants can arrive and leave any time during any of the meetings. They will be asked to sign in, provide their name, contact information, which ADRC they are associated with, and whether they wish to provide public comment.

After an overview of the strategic planning process, the meeting will open for public comment. Each participant will get five minutes to share their comments. Comments will be recorded, reviewed and used to inform the strategic planning process. 

The meetings will be as follows:

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 4, 2015
John H. Winters Complex 
1st floor - Public Hearing Room 
701 West 51st Street 
Austin, Texas 78751

1-4 p.m., Aug. 4, 2015
Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) 
Al J. Notzon III Board Room 1st Floor 
8700 Tesoro Drive, Suite 700 
San Antonio, Texas 78217

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2015
United Way of Greater Houston 
50 Waugh Drive 
Houston, Texas 77007

3:30-6:30 p.m., Aug. 5, 2015
North Central Texas Council of Governments 
Centerpoint Two 
Metroplex Conference Room 
616 Six Flags Drive
Arlington, Texas 76011

11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), Aug. 6, 2015
Sierra Providence East Medical Center Auditorium 
3280 Joe Battle Blvd 
El Paso, TX 79938-2622

If you are planning to attend the meeting and have accessibility needs or need special accommodations, contact Laura Summers at 801-538-5082 or laura.summers@leavittpartners.com by July 30.

The webinars will take place from 3:30-5 p.m. Central Time Aug. 10 and 11.

> Register for the Aug. 10 webinar.
> Register for the Aug. 11 webinar.
> Submit comments about the strategic plan from now until Aug. 12, 2015.
> Discover the ADRC of the Capital Area.

TCEQ looks for solid waste advisory council members

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) seeks nominations for nine people, five of which must be elected officials, to serve on the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Advisory Council.

People interested in serving on the council can file an application before the Aug. 17, 2015 deadline.

The 18 elected members, who serve staggered six-year terms, review and evaluate the effects of state policies and programs on municipal solid waste management. They make recommendations on legislation to encourage the efficiency of municipal solid waste management. They also recommend policies for the use, allocation, or distribution of the planning fund; and recommend special studies and projects to further the effectiveness on municipal solid waste management and recovery for Texas. By law, members meet at least once every three months. Meetings can last a full business day and are held in Austin.

The following six positions can serve on the council until 2021:

  • a professional engineer from a private engineering firm with experience in the design and management of solid waste facilities
  • a registered waste tire processor
  • an elected official from a county with a population less than 150,000
  • a representative from a planning region
  • a solid waste professional with experience managing or operating a commercial solid waste landfill
  • a representative from a private environmental conservation organization

The remaining three positons have terms that would expire in 2017 and 2019:

  • an elected official from a municipality with a population fewer than 25,000
  • an elected official from a municipality with a population of 750,000 or more
  • an elected official from a municipality with a population between 100,000 or more but less than 750,000

The application and materials must be postmarked Aug. 17, 2015 and emailed to mswper@tceq.texas.gov or sent to Steve Hutchinson, MC-126, TCEQ, Waste Permits Division, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087. If submitting by overnight mail, please send to: Steve Hutchinson, Building F, TCEQ, Waste Permits Division, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Austin, Texas 78753.

> Learn more about how to apply or to nominate a person to the advisory council.
> Direct questions regarding the Advisory Council to Steve Hutchinson at 512-239-6716 or by e-mail.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Solid Waste Planning Program.

CAPCOG releases disaster debris planning resources

Monday, July 20, 2015

Debris generated from disasters can affect the public health, safety and welfare of a community, and the risk increases if large areas of debris are left unattended. The Capital Area Council of Governments recently completed an effort to help counties and municipalities alleviate and dispose of disaster debris in a timely and effective manner.

As part of the work during the program, CAPCOG and its regional partners created a common approach for the disaster debris management planning process that facilitates a coordinated, quick, and succinct response to such incidents. It also provides for the future establishment of a regional disaster debris management plan.

Like most homeland security plans, a disaster debris management plan lays the foundation for response before an incident occurs. Such a foundation lets responding entities construct and tailor the needs of managing and removing the debris to a particular disaster event.

“The plan allows an entity to know how the clean-up will be handled as the event occurs, so debris response efforts can begin immediately or when resources are available,” said Matt Holderread, CAPCOG Solid Waste planner.

The standardized disaster debris plan template developed by CAPCOG prepares governments for large scale events, ones which would require additional assistance, and smaller events, which an entity can manage itself. Every plan includes a section about the roles and responsibilities for government staff, residents and volunteers. It also provides guidance on how to manage the debris from its collection to its proper disposal, with various disposal options. A timeline for response as well as drafts of potential notifications to residents, and media releases are drafted as appendices to the plan.

> Discover more resources for disaster debris planning.

Plans include potential debris management sites and some additional analysis of their feasibility as such sites. They also provide information on how the federal reimbursement process works, provide documents used by FEMA for entities seeking federal reimbursement, instruct entities how to manage their debris to be approved and reimbursed by federal programs.

Several communities are working on completing their own disaster debris plans, but CAPCOG is finishing a final draft of the Burnet County plan and drafting a plan for Llano County.

Burnet’s plan is a great plan to showcase, as it outlines a number of debris collection sites and factors in several types of events to include a terrorist attack. Using GIS modeling CAPCOG estimated the damage caused by different types of disasters to determine how much debris could be generated and what level of response would be needed.

CAPCOG can conduct similar modeling for other entities seeking to create disaster debris plans and work with or for the entities to find and evaluate debris management sites.

The goal is to have a plan for every county and have those plans work cooperatively to form a regional disaster debris plan, said Ken May, CAPCOG Regional Services Division director. CAPCOG is willing to help facilitate the work to complete the plan, but also has templates available for entities wanting to do the work themselves.

> Read disaster debris guidance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
> Read The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Debris Management Guide.

Advocates needed for seniors and the disabled in long-term care facilities

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More than 230 nursing and assisted living facilities care for older Americans in the 10-county region, and the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area Council of Governments needs dedicated volunteers to be advocates for seniors living in those facilities and to serve in its ombudsman program.

 

 

 

 

The ombudsman program is recruiting volunteers who have a sense of civic duty and want to give back to the elderly community. A volunteer ombudsman assists residents and their families by ensuring a voice for those unable to speak for themselves. “Serving as an ombudsman is an important job, because seniors deserve to have their communities take proper care of them,” said Pete Moreno, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area managing lead ombudsman. “They should have the best care possible and an advocate who has a passion for helping seniors.”

Ombudsmen are specially trained and certified volunteers. They advocate for residents’ rights and quality of care by regularly visiting and observing residents in long-term care facilities. Volunteer ombudsmen also identify and investigate complaints; and educate residents, families, and staff on maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of facilities’ residents. Ombudsman services are both free and confidential.

CAPCOG is enlisting volunteers throughout the region, but the region would greatly benefit by increasing the number of ombudsmen in Llano, Lee and Fayette counties. CAPCOG’s 10-county region also includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties.

No experience is required to volunteer as an ombudsman. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and complete a free training course consisting of classroom study and training at local nursing homes. After training, volunteers serve in an internship where they work two to four hours per month in an assigned facility. Hours are flexible and determined by the volunteer. After their internship, volunteers ideally will visit a nursing or an assisted living facility in their local community once a week.

> Learn more about the Area Agency on Aging's Ombudsman Program.
> Contact Pete Moreno for more information on volunteering.

 

CAPCOG seeks EDA grant for Memorial Day disaster relief

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) is pursuing grant financing that will allow the COG to provide technical assistance in the areas of economic development and recovery, infrastructure planning, and damage assessment to local jurisdictions affected by the Memorial Day weekend floods.

CAPCOG applied in June to receive a U.S. Economic Development Administration, Economic Development Assistance grant. If awarded, the federal monies would be about $177,000 distributed over two years. The grant would allow CAPCOG to direct staff resources to assist with disaster recovery planning and development and redevelopment efforts.

Specifically, the funds could allow CAPCOG to gather information from organizations involved in taking damage assessments, so CAPCOG can perform mitigation mapping. Such mapping would benefit infrastructure reconstruction and ensure resilience is a key component of future economic development. CAPCOG would also help identify funding opportunities for local jurisdictions, so they can leverage and match various monetary sources.

As part of its economic development efforts, CAPCOG would provide an economic impact assessment to local emergency management coordinators and help coordinate medium and longer term recovery efforts with local businesses. This will help to leverage redevelopment and new development to help prevent future flood damage and assess the diversification of business to offer greater economic resiliency to areas affected.

New RNS training underway

Thursday, July 09, 2015

CAPCOG worked with CodeRED, the region’s new Regional Notification System (RNS) provider, in June to transfer data and functionality to the new application. As the transition approached, CAPCOG also coordinated 21 web-based training sessions preparing about 150 personnel from various jurisdictions to use the new RNS.

RNS is a web-based application that allows participating jurisdictions to make notifications to the general public and personnel during events that affect them, especially emergencies that require quick action to protect lives and property.  CodeRED’s RNS allows cities and counties to notify residents about emergencies using landline and cell phone calls, emails and text messages.

With the majority of training concluded, CAPCOG will continue to provide resources to familiarize RNS users with the new system and ensure users can properly send warnings to residents during disaster incidents. Participating jurisdictions that did not receive training can request it from CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division. A video webinar will be available for new users, and CAPCOG will conduct quarterly meetings with local public safety staff to facilitate the best use and improving the capabilities of the RNS region wide. CAPCOG recommends all jurisdictions served by the CodeRED RNS practice using the tool, since the system is new.

> Read more about the regional notification system.
> Discover CAPCOG's Homeland Security Division.
> Contact Aisha Henderson, CAPCOG Homeland Security regional technical communication coordinator.
 

CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy earns Lt. Governor recognition

Monday, July 06, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) graduated its 75th basic peace officer course on July 1 with 12 cadets ready to start a career in law enforcement. At the graduation ceremony, the cadets presented a letter of congratulations from Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick for reaching the milestone course number. CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy Director, Mike Jennings, and Chief Instructor, Randy Holmes, received the certificates.

“This course and its cadets exemplified why CAPCOG has reached this milestone,” Jennings said. “The cadets who enrolled in the course took all our lessons about being peace officers to heart. They performed exemplary in the classroom and during field tests, where they awed police trainers who traditionally work with in-service officers.”

CAPCOG’s peace officer training curriculum has come a long way since the program began in 1997, Jennings said. A CAPCOG basic peace officer course instructs about 150 hours of additional law enforcement material as well as the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement recommended 643 hours. Providing the extra course material, helps CAPCOG prepare every cadet to go directly to work for local law enforcement agencies and their communities.

New course material is continually added to improve cadets’ ability to serve residents upon their graduation. The 75th course cadets were the first group to complete an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Level I and Level II course, which teaches response techniques to active shooter situations, as additional training sponsored by CAPCOG.

Cadets graduating from the 75th course are being hired by San Marcos and Lockhart police departments and Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office. Other cadets are interviewing with Leander, Elgin and Austin ISD police departments; and the Texas Attorney General’s office.

> Learn more about Basic Peace Officer Courses.
> Discover CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy.

GeoMap projects approach deadline

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Cities, counties, appraisal districts and other regional partners can submit geographic information gathering projects to CAPCOG as a part of the 2016 GeoMap program until July 31.

Local jurisdictions throughout the region have saved more than $9 million by cooperatively purchasing the base mapping data contracted through the program since its inception in 2002. Savings are realized because the program eliminates redundant purchases of information and pools multiple projects together so the data can be obtained at the same time.

Aerial imagery, LiDAR data, orthoimagery, PanoramiX oblique imagery, GeoSAR Radar mapping and other data are all products that can be purchased through the 2016 GeoMap program. Such base map data sets can be used to help facilitate economic development, land-use planning, utility maintenance, transportation planning, floodplain mapping, 9-1-1 mapping and more.

> Get more information or submit programs.
> Learn more about CAPCOG's GIS Program.

CAPCOG to offer government transparency workshop

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments will provide a four-hour workshop for elected officials about the Texas Open Meetings and Public Information Acts on July 29, 2015 at the CAPCOG offices.

Attorneys from the Texas Attorney General’s Office will be joined by a Texas Municipal League attorney to provide a comprehensive and interactive presentation on the laws and how they regulate elected officials and their institutions. All three presenters will participate in an open-floor, question-and-answer panel, where elected officials can inquire about specific quandaries in regards to the two laws.

Since the training will occur after the State’s 84th Legislative Session, any updates to the Open Meetings and Public Information Acts also will be addressed during the workshop.

The course will meet the legally required training by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and count toward continuing education credits for elected officials.

> Local government officials contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator, to learn about free registration.
> Register for the course.

TCEQ stretches emission grant program deadline

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) extended the application deadline for its Texas Emission Reduction Plan, Light-Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Incentive (LDPLI).

TCEQ will stop taking applications for the program, which rebates vehicle owners for purchasing alternatively fueled automobiles, at 5 p.m. July 8. As of June 22, about $3.8 million rebate funds were still available through the program.

LDPLI gives up to $2,500 in financial incentives for the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or electric drives (plug-ins).

To apply for a rebate grant under the LDPLI, applicants must purchase or lease from a dealership or leasing company authorized to sell or lease new vehicles in Texas.

> Discover how to apply for the LDPLI.
> Learn about other Texas Emission Reduction Plan programs.
> Read more on CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

ATXFloods.com welcomes addition of all CAPCOG counties

Friday, June 19, 2015

When Austin launched TXfloods.com website in September 2012, about 100 dots denoted low-water crossings on the online map. Those points depicted mostly locations in Austin.

Today, about 800 low-water crossings are visible to the website’s visitors, and they lay across six counties — Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Lee, Travis, and Williamson — and the city of Marble Falls.

The goal of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department is for all the Capital Area Council of Governments’ counties and municipalities to participate in the website by the year’s end.

 

“Floods are not jurisdictional,” said Matt Porcher, who works for Austin’s Watershed Protection Department, Watershed Engineering Division; helped develop the website; and maintains it. Flood waters can traverse large recharge zones, he said. For instance, flooding in Blanco County affects what happens downstream in Hays and Travis counties.

People throughout the region also tend to cross city and county lines daily, making the inclusion of other jurisdictions on the online map extremely useful for commuters and other travelers. ATXFloods.com allows for drivers to check for low-water crossing closures before they get in their car to make a trip home or to work. It allows them to plan a safe travel route ahead of time compared to coming across a closed crossing.

Austin developed ATXFloods.com with the help of a Code For America grant in 2012 as a means to inform residents about low-water crossing closures and hopefully prevent vehicles from being swept away, which could cause a possible fatal incident.

“Flash flooding is a big threat in our area,” Porcher said. “A couple of people die every year from flash floods in the area, about 75 percent of those deaths happen on roadways at low-water crossings, and ATXFloods.com is a chance to prevent people from using those roadways.”

In mid-2014, Williamson County Emergency Management Coordinator and CAPCOG Homeland Security Task Force Chairman Jarred Thomas recommended the site expand to other regions. At the time, Williamson County was looking to create a similar website and Hays County already was using a blog feed to continually update residents of such closures. In late 2014, Porcher gave a presentation about Austin‘s implementation of the website to the Task Force, which he partially attributes to other jurisdictions’ making use of the site.

Since the meeting, Porcher has talked to other emergency management coordinators and brought their counties or municipalities into the system. The plan is to have Fayette County on the system in the near future. Burnet, Llano and Blanco counties hopefully will soon follow.

It takes a little bit of training and preparation before other jurisdictions can place their low-water crossings online. Each point is entered manually and statuses of low-water crossings are updated manually by many administrators throughout the region. New points can be added at any time, which is helpful during instances of non-traditional flooding.

Jurisdictions need to know how to quickly and accurately add and change the map’s information, Porcher said. They also need to update it as soon as possible to keep the integrity of ATXFloods.com viable to the public.

“We want people to have confidence that the website is accurate, so when a roadway is reopened then it should be updated as soon as practical,” he said. To avoid confusion that can occur with shift changes, Austin crews check crossings marked as closed on the website in its jurisdiction every morning.

Since its launch in September 2012, ATXFloods.com has experienced almost 3 million visitors. More than 700,000 of those visitors viewed the site from May 22 to 25.

CAPCOG radio ads encourage residents to clean up commutes

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

CAPCOG launched an air quality ad campaign to run from June through September on 11 radio stations throughout the region. The ads will air during peak drive-time commuting hours Monday through Friday and will highlight ways Central Texas residents can “clean up” their commutes, including through carpooling, vanpooling and taking advantage of funding opportunities to repair or replace vehicles that fail emissions tests.

Download or listen to the following radio outreach messages:

> Carpooling and vanpooling No. 1

> Carpooling and vanpooling No. 2

> Drive clean machines

> KUT sponsorship radio spot

> Drive clean machines: Spanish

The ads are funded by the city of Austin and Travis County. Beginning last year, CAPCOG started coordinating air quality radio advertisement purchases on behalf of local organizations in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public education efforts.

Cities, counties, and other organizations within the region can help amplify these messages’ reach by posting the audio recordings of the radio spots on their websites and social media pages. They also can share links to regional air quality information available on CAPCOG’s website. Organizations can join in future radio ad buys if interested.

> Go to aircentraltexas.org for more information.
> Discover funding opportunities for cleaner vehicles.
> Learn carpooling, vanpooling and commuter tips.

AAACAP teaches A Matter of Balance coaches

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Volunteers around the region can change older Americans' lives by becoming A Matter of Balance lay leaders who coach seniors to reduce their risk and fear of falling.

CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area regularly welcomes volunteers who want to better senior’s lives by teaching the nationally recognized program — developed by Roybal Center for Enhancement of Late-Life Function at Boston University — in their own community. 

After an eight-hour training course, volunteers can take the eight-session program back to their communities. There they will show seniors to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risk at home, and exercise to increase strength and balance.

Upcoming courses for prospective lay-leaders will take place in Jarrell on June 19 and at the CAPCOG offices in Austin on June 30. Training and materials are free.

> Interested in volunteering contact Liz Salinas, AAACAP health and wellness coordinator.
> Register for the upcoming courses.
 

CAPCOG recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Friday, June 12, 2015

With about 304,851 residents who are 60 years old or older in the Capital Area Council of Governments’ 10-county region, CAPCOG wants to promote the awareness and prevention of issues involving elder abuse.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15 and draws attention to the fact that every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.  Experts also believe for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported as many as 23.5 cases are unreported. With 10,000 people in the United States every day turning 65, the United States will have more elder adults than ever before.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) encourages individuals and organizations across our nation, states and local communities to take a stand and to raise public awareness about elder abuse. The ACL provides information, tools and resources to support efforts to shed light on the importance of preventing, identifying and responding to this serious, often hidden public health problem. CAPCOG and its Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area want to share the ACL’s information and message with every local government and organization in the region.

> Learn what you and your community can do for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging.
> Read the CAPCOG proclamation.

CAPCOG hosts school officer training

Monday, June 08, 2015

The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) is teaching a course to educate peace officers who serve as law enforcement for school districts at the CAPCOG offices from June 8 to 12.

“School resource officers play an important role in our educational system,” said Mike Jennings, the CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy director. “Not only do they work to protect the safety of students and teachers, they can help develop and shape the lives of children and prevent incidents before they happen by being a positive role model.”

By hosting NASRO at CAPCOG, school resource officers throughout the region can improve valuable law enforcement specialization that helps keep students and teachers safe. The training will further their education on a number of topics to include responding to incidents in a school setting and communicating with children.

Such skills can be beneficial to preventing incidents before they occur and helping students make responsible and lawful life decisions. School resource officers like other peace officers are a trusted part of the community they work in; however, officers who work on educational campuses have a greater chance of affecting the lives around them as they work the same beats every day and can really get to know the community they serve. This class is full; however, CAPCOG is interested in determining additional demand for its training.

> Learn about CAPCOG's Regional Law Enforcement Academy.
> Register for upcoming law enforcement in-service training opportunities.

Disaster Relief Fund available for local governments

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Source: Texas Department of Agriculture

After this weekend’s storms, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) reminded local governments that state disaster relief funds are available and how those governments should apply for them.

Cities and counties may apply for Texas Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Fund monies following a disaster declaration or for qualifying urgent infrastructure needs. Grants range between $50,000 and $350,000.

Applications from local governments must provide documentation that the applicant experienced the whole process, as follows:

  1. Local official declares a local disaster and completes disaster summary outline (DSO), which is available from Texas Division of Emergency Management (DEM).
  2. Local official requests assistance from the County Judge, who then requests assistance from the Governor’s Office.
  3. The Governor mobilizes DEM that reviews the DSO and decides whether to visit the local government’s jurisdiction and perform a preliminary damage assessment (PDA), as summarized in a PDA Worksheet.
  4. If PDA finds costs above a certain per capita amount, the Governor declares a disaster. 

Applications must have sufficient backup documentation for the budget. If applicants know insurance money covering the damage is applicable, then they should not request funds. Applicants should provide documentation that damage is not covered by insurance. 

The full PDA will include a separate sheet for each damaged site. Applicants should be able to furnish the needed level of detail if DEM visited and assessed actual damages associated with the reported storm event. Applicants also should inquire whether the Texas Governor’s letter or declaration of disaster has made it to the DEM Office of Deputy Assistant Director for Recovery, Mitigation and Standards.

> Get DEM contact information.

Applicants should have DEM to provide applicable copies of PDAs for their record and to accompany applications filed with Texas Department of Agriculture. 

They should gather information regarding the eligibility information needed to file applications with the Texas Department of Agriculture for disaster relief. Such information should show the entity has less than six months of unencumbered general operations funds available in its balance according to last available audit required by state statute or funds from other state or federal sources are not available to completely address the problem. An easy-to-understand explanation and most recent audit indicating the unrestricted fund balance must be submitted. The explanation or audit should highlight the applicable amounts of unrestricted balance, the annual general fund expenditures, monthly general fund costs, and the number of months reserve will cover.

All CDBG contract procedures and regulations apply in contract implementation; except, applicants can submit with their application letters requesting the pre-agreement stratagem and waiver of procurement requirements. These methods save considerable time and make the one-year contract period feasible. Sample letters that would be submitted with an application are available upon request.

Under the pre-agreement stratagem, TDA shall not reimburse any costs under the agreement until a Disaster Relief Fund contract is fully executed with the grantee. For non-drought disasters, TDA will consider reimbursement of eligible costs incurred from the date of the disaster event.

> Read more about the Department of Agriculture Disaster Relief Fund.
> Download the Texas CDBG Implementation Manual.
> Download the Disaster Relief application checklist.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Homeland Security Division.

TCEQ closes request for TERP Rebate grants

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) is encouraging organizations, including small businesses, to submit applications for the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Rebate Grant Program before it closes.

TCEQ will stop taking applications on the TERP Rebate Grant Program at 5 p.m., Friday, May 29, nearly a month before the original closing date.

The rebate grant is a first-come, first-serve program to upgrade and replace diesel heavy-duty vehicles and non-road equipment. Vehicles and equipment must have 75 percent of their annual usage spent in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, Williamson, and/or 34 other Texas counties.

Interested applicants should submit applications before the deadline. Applications received after Friday will not be reviewed, but may be held for later review and consideration if more funds become available.

> Find out more about the TERP Rebate Grant Program.
> Learn about other TERP grants.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

Kari’s Law ensures direct dialing to 9-1-1

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Kari’s Law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott on Friday, requires multi-line telephone systems to have 9-1-1 direct dialing. An inexpensive feature to deploy in most cases, 9-1-1 direct dialing allows for any caller to dial the numbers 9-1-1 to reach a public safety answering point without first entering another number for an outside line.

“We should be taking every possible step to make access to first responders as fast and easy as possible” said Gregg Obuch, emergency communications director for the Capital Area Emergency Communications District (CAECD), a division of Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG). “Kari’s Law will allow people in office buildings, hotels and other multi-lined phone facilities to access emergency telecommunicators via the simplest way possible – dialing 9-1-1.”

Kari’s Law is the result of Texas Senate Bill 788 filed by Senator Kevin Eltife, of Tyler, after a 9-year-old child could not reach 9-1-1 from a hotel room during a deadly assault on her mother.

Since Abbott has signed the bill into law, the CAECD is prepared to respond to inquiries from businesses and organizations with multi-line telephone systems.

“There’s a lesson virtually every parent teaches their child – if you face an emergency, call 9-1-1,” Abbott said. “I am signing Kari’s Law to ensure that whenever there is an emergency, any child and any adult who dials 9-1-1 is going to be able to connect with emergency personnel to ensure they come to the rescue of those who need help the most.”

According to Obuch, most large businesses and hotels with multi-line telephone systems in Central Texas already implemented a 9-1-1 direct-dial function, but the new law will ensure everybody who uses such a phone system can reach an emergency telecommunicator.

Every business and organization with multi-line telephone systems not using a 9-1-1 direct-dial function should contact their phone providers to request its programing changed to accommodate 9-1-1 direct dialing.

The district is available to assist any business service users in complying with Kari’s Law.

> Business service users can contact Julie Harmon, CAPCOG 9-1-1 operations coordinator.
> Read more about the CAECD.
> Discover CAPCOG's emergency communications division.

CAPCOG calls for GeoMap 2016 projects

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Capital Area Council of Governments has launched its first call for GeoMap 2016 projects. GeoMap is a data-collection program run by CAPCOG to obtain expensive, geographic information while saving local dollars. The first call will end May 29.

The cost-sharing, base map purchasing program has saved local jurisdictions in CAPCOG’s 10-county region more than $9 million since 2002.

Aerial imagery is a mainstay of the products offered, but this year CAPCOG expects LiDAR data to be a high priority for many organizations – especially in fast-developing areas. GeoMap vendors offer many unique and custom products that program participants can also purchase.

CAPCOG is pleased to guide project participation for appraisal districts, county governments, city governments and planning-related organizations.

> Discover more about the GeoMaps program.
> Submit your GeoMaps Projects.
> Contact Craig Eissler, CAPCOG GIS program manager.

EPA seeks National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program proposals

Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Source: The Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Transportation and Air Quality is soliciting proposals nationwide for projects to fund that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions in terms of tons of pollution.

The National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program looks particularly for projects from fleets operating at (or servicing) goods movement facilities in areas designated as having poor air quality. Priority for funding also may be given to projects which:

  • Result in outcomes that benefit affected communities;
  • Engage local communities with respect to the design and performance of the project; and
  • Can demonstrate the ability to promote and continue efforts to reduce emissions after the project has ended.

EPA's deadline for project submittals is 4 p.m. (ET), June 15, 2015.  Proposal packages must be submitted electronically to EPA through Grants.gov (www.grants.gov)

> Download the program request application.

Eligible diesel emission reduction solutions include verified emission control technologies, such as exhaust controls, cleaner fuels, and engine upgrades, verified idle reduction technologies, verified aerodynamic technologies and low rolling resistance tires, certified engine repowers, and/or certified vehicle or equipment replacement.

Eligible diesel vehicles, engines and equipment may include buses, Class 5 - Class 8 heavy-duty highway vehicles: marine engines; locomotives and non-road engines; equipment or vehicles used in construction; handling of cargo, including at a port or airport; and agriculture, mining or energy production, including stationary generators and pumps.

Eligible entities include regional, state, local or tribal agencies or intertribal consortia; or port authorities with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality; and nonprofit organizations or institutions that represent or provide pollution reduction or educational services to persons or organizations that own or operate diesel fleets or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

> Read more about EPA air quality grant programs.
> Discover CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program.

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