In the News
TCEQ accepts TERP rebate applications
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced it will accept grant applications for projects seeking rebates for the upgrade or replacement of diesel on-road heavy duty vehicles and select non-road equipment until May 26, 2017.
The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Rebate Grants Program is a first-come, first-serve program limited to upgrading or replacing diesel on-road heavy duty vehicles and select non-road equipment. On-road vehicles must have a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 8,500 pounds and non-road equipment must be equipped with at least a 25 horsepower engine. The vehicles and equipment also must operate within at least one of 42 Texas counties including Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson for at least 75 percent of their annual usage.
To help applicants, TCEQ created a table of pre-approved maximum rebate amounts for eligible on-road and non-road replacement and repower projects in the grant’s request for applications.
TCEQ also encouraged qualifying small businesses to apply for the grant as portion of the program’s funding is allocated for them.
TCEQ will consider applications during this grant period on a first-come, first-served basis. Entities must submit applications to the TCEQ front desk, Room 1301, 1st floor of Building F on the TCEQ premises by 5 p.m. May 26, 2017.
Those seeking rebate grants can contact TERP staff at 800-919-8377 (TERP) with application process questions and to request grant documents via the U.S. Postal Service.
PLEASE NOTE: The Rebate Grants application forms and rebate tables were changed from the draft versions released for 30-day review. Applicants must use the final application forms and refer to the final rebate tables to determine the eligible funding amounts.
Project information for Water Revolving Fund programs due
Monday, February 20, 2017
Source: Texas Water Development Board
The Texas Water Development Board seeks projects to be funded in the 2018 fiscal year through its State Revolving Fund programs’ Intended Use Plans.
Entities seeking the funding must submit a completed Project Information Form using either the Online Application or the “paper” version in Microsoft Word by 5 p.m., March 3, 2017 to be included in the initial Project Priority List for State Fiscal Year 2018.
The Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs help communities save money by providing cost-effective funding for wastewater and water infrastructure projects. Entities using these programs achieve substantial savings by receiving below-market interest rates and, in some instances, principal forgiveness. Principal forgiveness may be available for entities that qualify as disadvantaged communities and for projects with green components.
The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund also includes principal forgiveness for small systems and urgent need projects. Although these programs are accessible year round, the principal forgiveness subsidies are generally allocated to projects on the initial project priority list each year.
Communities that submitted project information forms in previous years must update their information for the 2018 fiscal year.
> Access the project information forms.
> Contact Matthew Schmidt at 512-463-8321 or by email for assistance.
> Read more about the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program.
> Read more about the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program.
City of Buda focus groups give older adults civic outlet
Friday, February 17, 2017
The City of Buda conducted two Focus Groups on Aging in January in effort to plan for meeting the needs of the city’s growing senior population. With a great turnout and lot of discussion, the groups are laying the foundation for Buda to become a more age friendly city where residents no matter their age can live, work, and play.
About 20 people attended each of the two Focus Group on Aging meetings, where they addressed issues related to transportation, recreational activities, and other older American related services. The information collected will help inform a plan to improve senior resources, said Buda City Council member Eileen Altmiller, who requested the City Council form an Aging Advisory Commission. Altmiller also serves on the CAPCOG Executive Committee and the CAPCOG Aging Advisory Council. “Sometimes the views of seniors are not adequately represented, and in Buda, we want to make sure our decisions are beneficial to the whole population,” she said.
While older Americans make up a smaller portion of Buda’s population, it’s important to plan to meet their needs, Altmiller said. Residents who are 60 years old and older are the third fastest growing population in Buda increasing by 50.65 percent between 2009 and 2014 according to U.S. Census data. The same age cohort is the fastest growing population in Hays County with a near 40 percent increase in population during the same time period.
“When communities take steps, such as Buda has done, they benefit the community and the older Americans involved in the process,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG’s Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) director. One in four older Americans make a positive impact on their community by volunteering and becoming involved in civic activities. This increased social and active engagement improves their own mental, social, and physical health through, according to the U.S. Administration for Community Living.
Altmiller hopes the city continues to support the aging community in Buda by eventually forming an Aging Advisory commission, she said. “Seniors are looking for volunteer opportunities and this could make a use of their talents. I think the benefits can be a two-way street where we can do something that help seniors such as transportation and then they can turn around and be more engaged in volunteering in the community.”
As an older adult or someone who wants to give back to the senior community, there is a number of ways to support older Americans throughout the region by volunteering with CAPCOG programs through AAACAP.
Become an advisor
CAPCOG’s Aging Advisory Council meets quarterly to discuss issues as they relate to older Americans throughout the CAPCOG ten-county region. The council advises the CAPCOG Executive Committee on older American issues and assists AAACAP with evaluating programs funded through the older Americans Act. It also works to increase awareness on aging related issues and programs.
County representatives on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee nominate residents to the Aging Advisory Council.
> Contact Patty Bordie, AAACAP director to volunteer.
> Learn more.
Become an ombudsman
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocacy and friendly support for individuals living in nursing and assisted-living facilities by investigating complaints, reporting findings and helping achieve resolutions between the individual and the facility. With more than 230 facilities in the region, volunteers are instrumental to ensuring seniors receive proper care. Volunteers must be 18 or older and complete a training course. They also must complete an internship where they work at an assigned facility for two to four hours a month.
> Contact Pete Moreno, managing lead ombudsman, to volunteer.
> Learn more.
Become a lay leader or coach
AAACAP offers a number of evidence based intervention (EBI) programs to communities throughout the region via its health and wellness program. EBI programs are proven to effectively help older adults to improve or maintain their physical, mental or emotional health. AAACAP’s EBI programs focus on preventing falls, reducing caregiver stress, and managing chronic illnesses. Each program has its own volunteer requirements for lay leaders or coaches.
> Contact Kate Gibbons, health & wellness coordinator, to volunteer.
> Learn more.
Become a benefits counselor
The Benefits Counseling Program works to answer questions about Medicare health care coverage, Medicare related issues and other long-term care public benefits for residents who are 60 years old or older and to Medicare beneficiaries of any age. Counselors are often available by phone, but they visit public locations throughout the region to help residents navigate public benefits in a one-on-one in person atmosphere.
> Contact Janet Barker, program manager, to volunteer.
> Learn more.
Office move could impact access to CAPCOG staff
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Several divisions will move their operations into CAPCOG’s new expansion at 6800 Burleson Road in in Building 310, Suite 155, on Feb. 28. The divisions moving include Administration, the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP), the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of the Capital Area, Planning and Economic Development, and Regional Services.
From Friday, Feb. 24 through Tuesday Feb. 28, it will be best to contact any personnel from the affected divisions by email. CAPCOG’s general reception line, 512-916-6000, and its front office located in suite 165 will remain open; however, other phone lines may not be answered. The AAACAP information referral hotline and the ADRC hotline will be taking voicemails on Friday, Feb. 24 and should be responding to callers by Monday, Feb. 27.
Homeland Security, the Regional Law Enforcement Academy, and Emergency Communications will remain open in suite 165.
GLOCK armorer course returns to CAPCOG
Monday, February 13, 2017
GLOCK pistols are a part of many peace officers’ everyday equipment, and even though they often remain holstered, it’s imperative that an officer’s sidearm works properly before it is needed. That is why CAPCOG is partnering with GLOCK for its now annual armorer course on March 7 to help prepare the region’s police agencies about safely using and maintaining their weapons.
The eight-hour course sponsored by the CAPCOG Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) will offer active and retired peace officers a chance to receive an armorer certification for all GLOCK model pistols except for G18/C Select-Fire models. The certifications allows departments to work on the pistols in-house without voiding the manufacturers warranty. The course will be held at CAPCOG, 6800 Burleson Road, building 310. Officers can register at capcog.org/training/class/view/glock-armorer before the Feb. 28 deadline.
The course is scheduled to discuss a wide range of topics to include: safety rules; safe action system design; field stripping and reassembly; multiple practice disassembly and reassembly of the entire pistol; and alternative parts. In 2015, the course was well attended by agencies throughout the region as well as the state including the US Probation Office, Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, and TCOLE.
Planning and Economic Development blogs regional data
Friday, February 10, 2017
CAPCOG’s Planning and Economic Development Division relaunched Data Points, its commentary on regional economic issues, as a blog at DataPoints.org. The new website will allow its readers to dive deeper into the topics featured in the digital publication. The blog format has enhanced Data Points’ presentation by allowing readers to engage with its content through dynamic visualizations, such as interactive maps and engaging graphics.
In addition to providing commentary on regional issues, Datapoints.org also features a digital form for research and data requests. For those interested in seeing CAPCOG conduct specific types of research, there is now a streamlined process to submit that information. Find the form at datapoints.org/data-requests.html. CAPCOG will continue to send the e-newsletter version of the blog to your email. Readers can subscribe at capcog.org or datapoints.org.
The division also has re-activated its twitter account, @CapcogEconomy, to promote Data Points’ articles and provide information about other economic development issues and services throughout the region.
Hays County judge voted CAPCOG chair
Wednesday, February 08, 2017
The CAPCOG Executive Committee elected Hays County Judge Bert Cobb to lead the governing body as its chair for 2017. Cobb served as the committee’s second vice chair in 2016 after joining the committee in January 2011. He also has served as the Executive Committee liaison to CAPCOG’s Law Enforcement Education Committee since November 2011. Cobb has represented Hays County as County Judge since 2011.
Other officers elected were:
- First Vice Chair – Cedar Park Council Member Corbin Van Arsdale
- Second Vice Chair – Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty
- Secretary – Leander Council Member Andrea Navarrette
- Past Chair & Parliamentarian – Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long
Environmental law course curbs illegal waste issues
Monday, February 06, 2017
When old furniture, used vehicle fluids or other household waste gets discarded into illegal dumpsites, they can become harmful and costly to cities and counties and their residents. However, experts with the Capital Area Regional Environmental Task Force (RETF) will be available to help guide local law enforcement and code compliance officers through the legal enforcement of environmental crimes with its Basic Environmental Law training course scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23 at the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins Street.
During the course, specialized instructors from throughout the state will discuss topics ranging from nuisance violations to unauthorized discharge violations and their civil versus criminal prosecution measures. Officers must register for the course at capcog.org/training/class/view/basic-environmental-law-training-course3 before the Feb. 16 deadline. The $30 registration fee includes lunch, materials and selected continuing-education credits.
Air quality calculator estimates NOx contribution
Friday, January 27, 2017
CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program launched a new emissions calculator on the Air Central Texas website to let residents calculate the impact of typical day-to-day activities on regional air pollution levels.
The calculator estimates nitrogen oxides (NOX), the key contributor to ground-level ozone air pollution and particulate matter air pollution in the region. These pollutants can make it difficult to breathe and high levels can put the region at risk for violating federal air quality standards. The calculator uses emissions data for vehicles, power plants, natural gas and propane combustion, electricity used to pump and treat water, and gasoline use in lawn care.
Residents can use the Air Central Texas emissions calculator to estimate their air pollution contribution. The calculator can be used any time at aircentraltexas.org.
Hamilton earns Phill Parmer award
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Bill Hamilton, a former member of CAPCOG’s Executive Committee and mayor of Rollingwood, has long been dedicated to serving the region by participating on CAPCOG committees and was honored for his service beginning in 2002 with its Phill Parmer Volunteer Service Award in December.
Hamilton served on the Executive Committee for six years and worked on the ad hoc building committee the last time CAPCOG moved its offices. He was a founding member of the Capital Area Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CARTPO) and has continued to serve on the Capital Area Economic Development District (CAEDD) Committee; he currently serves as vice chair. Public service is a 24-hour a day job in which people want to solve problems and sometimes they can do that before problems occur, Hamilton said. Volunteering on CAPCOG’s committees has allowed him to accomplish that.
The Phill Parmer award is named after CAPCOG’s longest serving Aging Advisory Council member from Llano County who also volunteered in the region as an ombudsman and advocated for senior issues in the legislature.
Bill Hamilton accepts the Phill Parmer award from CAPCOG Executive Director Betty Voights.
CAPCOG honors Workman for regional efforts
Monday, January 23, 2017
Texas State Representative Paul Workman received CAPCOG’s 15th Jack Griesenbeck Leadership in Regionalism Award honoring his commitment to working regionally on key issues.
Workman, whose district serves a portion of Travis County, was first elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2011, and he was among the first state representatives to join CAPCOG’s Executive Committee in 2012 as a nonvoting member. Workman has been an ally for the region during legislative sessions but he took the lead during the 2013 Legislative Session to introduce a bill that made CAPCOG the first COG to also be an emergency communications district. The legislation, on which Senator Kirk Watson partnered with the companion bill that ultimately became law, released CAPCOG from state oversight of the region’s 9-1-1 program, ensuring all applicable 9-1-1 fees are available to fund emergency communications as directed by local officials.
Workman still serves on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee.
The regionalism award is named after former Bastrop County Judge Jack Griesenbeck, CAPCOG’s first chairman, and recognizes a person who consistently advocates a regional and multijurisdictional approach through their work with local governments, nonprofits and other organizations.
Texas State Representative Paul Workman accepts the Jack Griesenbeck award from Williams County Commissioner and 2016 CAPCOG Executive Committee Chair Cynthia Long.
Legislators discuss upcoming 85th Texas session
Friday, January 20, 2017
Four state legislators, who also served on CAPCOG’s Executive Committee for 2016, provided highlights of issues likely to get attention when the 85th Session starts; Representatives Paul Workman, Jason Isaac, Eddie Rodriguez, and John Cyrier commented on issues outlined by CAPCOG as well as other topics likely to see legislative action.
“The more you can educate us, the more we can educate other members,” Cyrier said answering a question about how local elected officials can help legislators understand the roles COGs play in supporting local governments. Representative Workman noted every legislator has a COG in their district, so it is important for them to know what issues COGs face.
Commissioner Cynthia Long, CAPCOG Chair, moderated the panel and directed questions to the legislators regarding several of CAPCOG’s programs funded by the state, acknowledging that it could be a tight budget year but it’s important to maintain funding levels for solid waste management, law enforcement training, and air quality monitoring work.
During the legislative session, CAPCOG makes an extra effort to keep local elected officials informed about legislative issues that could affect COGs’ programs and services that support local communities, so they can speak at public hearings or directly to legislators. CAPCOG also provides legislators with program related data about legislative issues when requested.
COGs and especially CAPCOG have a “great track record” of providing fact based data about their programs that benefit local governments, Cyrier said. Such evidence goes a long way in educating legislators about an issue, Rodriguez added.
Long noted COGs can also be an existing mechanism to help the state with new programs. In 2003, Governor Perry made the decision to have the state’s 24 COGs manage homeland security planning. Long also opened the floor for questions.
Texas State Representatives Paul Workman, John Cyrier, Eddie Rodriguez and Jason Isaac discuss the 85th Texas legislative session during CAPCOG's December General Assembly Meeting.
In summarizing the discussion, each of the legislators joined in to list the key issues to be discussed during the 85th session:
- The state budget
- Ground water conservation and usage
- The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan
- Higher education and workforce training
- Public education
- Food security
- Child protective services
CAPCOG builds additional PSAP, office space
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
CAPCOG’s current offices in southeast Austin will be expanded significantly in 2017 to allow the City of Austin’s back-up Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to double in size, add an adjoining PSAP to be used for back-up call taking by the other PSAPs throughout the ten-county region, and to expand the training center for emergency communications. The expansion adds 17,000 SF at the Bergstrom Tech Center on Burleson Road – projected completion of work is June 2017.
Adding the emergency communications space triggers changes for the rest of CAPCOG; the offices for the Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Center, Regional Services, Planning & Economic Development, and the Administrative Services Divisions will relocate to new space near the main entrance, an area formerly occupied by LCRA. The Aging Services offices will be at the front of this space allowing easier access by clients.
CAPCOG’s public safety divisions, Homeland Security, the Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA), and Emergency Communications, will stay in the current suite of office space but in new offices relocated within that space to make room for the PSAP expansions. RLEA will benefit by getting more training and storage space which will be across the hallway from its current location.
CAPCOG will be announcing some scheduling shifts in late February to accommodate the phased construction process – all the divisions moving to the new space in Suite 155 are expected to do so by March 5 which means all meetings for criminal justice, solid waste, air quality, economic development, transportation, aging, and GIS could be moved forward or back a week, according to Betty Voights, CAPCOG’s executive director, who added that all of the changes affecting our customers will be on our website by Feb. 1.
New EPA program loans $1 billion for water projects
Monday, January 16, 2017
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made available about $1 billion in credit assistance for water infrastructure projects under the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.
The program will provide long-term, low-cost credit assistance in the form of direct loans and loan guarantees to creditworthy water projects. WIFIA provides another option for financing large infrastructure projects – generally at least $20 million – in addition to the State Revolving Funds and the bond market. WIFIA is available to state, local, and tribal governments; private entities; partnerships; and State Revolving Fund programs.
Some projects that WIFIA enables EPA to provide assistance for include:
- drinking water treatment and distribution projects
- wastewater conveyance and treatment projects
- enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities
- desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling projects
- drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects
EPA will evaluate projects using criteria such as the extent to which the project is nationally or regionally significant, helps maintain or protect public health or the environment, protects against extreme weather, and serves regions with significant water resource challenges. EPA will make selections on a competitive basis.
TWDB offers 2017 Agricultural Water Conservation Grants
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Source: Texas Water Development Board
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2017 Agricultural Water Conservation Grants. Applications are due to the TWDB no later than noon Feb. 15, 2017.
The TWDB has up to $600,000 in grant funding available. Eligible grant categories this year include:
- Agricultural water use monitoring equipment
- Demonstration and technology transfer
- Study of irrigation efficiency in Texas
For more information, contact Cameron Turner at 512-936-6090 or email@example.com.
CAPCOG hosts Criminal Justice grant workshops
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
The Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD) is accepting applications from governmental and nonprofit organizations for four grant programs which anticipate distributing $8.5 million in the ten-county CAPCOG region during the 2018 fiscal year to improve victim services, reduce crime and increase public safety. Entities seeking 2018 funds must apply to the appropriate program by 5 p.m., Feb. 20, 2017.
They also must attend one of two grant writing workshops held by CAPCOG from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 12 and 13 at 6800 Burleson Road Building 310, Suite 165 in Austin. Each workshop will cover who is eligible to apply, eligible activities, application requirements, funding periods, regulations, certifications and other rules for the following CJD funding sources:
General Victim Assistance - Direct Services, about $7.2 million is available
Violent Crimes Against Women Criminal Justice and Training Projects, $385,851 is available
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, $430,979 is available
Justice Assistance Grant, $462,612 is available
Each year, CAPCOG works with regional stakeholders to develop or update a criminal justice strategic plan and funding priorities. Because of this planning, applications received, and CJD fund allocations developed in 2016, organizations in the region will receive about $3.4 million during FY 2017.
After the CJD deadline, CAPCOG’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee will conduct applicant scoring and prioritization meetings, scheduled for March 29 and 30.
New Executive Committee to hold first 2017 meeting
Monday, January 09, 2017
CAPCOG’s new Executive Committee for 2017 will meet on Jan. 11 with five new committee members taking seats on the council of governments’ (COG) governing body after the December General Assembly elections. New to the committee are: Round Rock Council Member Frank Leffingwell, Pflugerville Mayor Victor Gonzales, San Marcos Council Member Jane Hughson, Smithville Council Member William Gordon, and Taylor Mayor Pro Tem Brandt Rydell.
The Executive Committee, which includes 25 city and county elected officials, conducts business for the COG regarding budgets, contracts, and general policies and procedures for operating the agency. The committee will also include three state legislators; returning from 2016 are Representatives Cyrier, Isaac, and Workman.
The Executive Committee convenes the second Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.
Texas Silver-Haired Legislatures seeks election candidates
Wednesday, January 04, 2017
The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) released its Notice to File for Candidacy earlier this month seeking older adults to serve the organization. Interested parties must complete and submit four required forms to the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area by Feb. 28, 2017 to file for the election.
The vision of TSHL is that applied wisdom, energy, and experience of aging will improve the lives of all Texans through education, knowledge and involvement in legislation and governmental affairs. TSHL is comprised of representatives across Texas who are 60 years of age or older elected by their peers. These legislators become directly involved in the state legislative process, working closely with Texas legislators during each legislative session. Currently, the Capital Area THSL District, which is the ten-county CAPCOG region, has six legislative positions available.
Text to 9-1-1 outreach gears up for service launch
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
As network connectivity testing for the Text to 9-1-1 service continues and the service prepares to launch in January or February, CAPCOG and its partners are completing several public outreach materials to be used region wide via social media and websites to educate residents about how and when to text 9-1-1.
Three Public Service Announcements (PSA) — two videos and an audio clip — are wrapping and will be available to distribute in late December, so they can go live with the region-wide launch of the Text to 9-1-1 service. These PSAs will include a brief, 30-second video and audio clip for airing on municipal access channels and possibly as radio and television commercials. A longer video, which provides a more robust explanation and demonstration of the services, was produced to be shared on social media and websites. A series of frequently asked questions about texting 9-1-1 and the service’s capabilities are already online at capcog.org/text911. The PSAs and other outreach materials also will be located at capcog.org/text911.
As Text to 9-1-1 outreach efforts get underway, it is important to remind residents that cellphone carriers provide texting services as a “best effort service” so a text message may not get delivered, and in an emergency residents should “Call if You Can, Text if You Can’t.”
Elgin Retail Trade Analysis helps local businesses
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
The CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division recently completed a retail trade analysis for the Elgin Economic Development Corporation (EDC) that will help the city identify business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and national corporations to meet residents’ retail needs.
At its core, the analysis studies Elgin’s retail trade supply and demand by evaluating where people who live in and around the city purchase their goods and services. The study also includes customer segmentation demographics for the same population as well as provides an economic overview, a general population demographic overview and a population growth forecast.
Municipalities such as Elgin can use a retail trade analysis to market commercial growth potential to local entrepreneurs and national big box stores by letting them know if their product or service is absent or in abundance in the area. This information is critically valuable for prospective retailers, as it helps to estimate potential market size for a new business. In particular, local and small businesses — those businesses without the resources to conduct market assessments on their own — stand to gain from community sponsored retail analyses like this one.
> Contact Chris Schreck, CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development director, about partnering with CAPCOG for a similar study or related economic development services.
> Read more about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.