In the News
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.
Labor Study to focus on educating career possibilities
Monday, December 12, 2016
The first phase of a study outlining vital statistics about the ten-county region’s labor market was presented in November to the Capital Area Economic Development District board, the region’s only economic development organization that covers the entire Metropolitan Statistical Area plus the surrounding counties.
The study shows that the region’s unemployment rate is low, but there are pockets of unemployment throughout the region especially among low skilled workers. It also showed that a significant share of new jobs were created in industries that pay less than $40,000 a year; however, there are several higher paying occupations that may require some education, such as nursing and accounting, where employers are seeking a number of workers.
“There are clearly, in general terms, positive returns to education, but a lot of that depends on the type of degree or credentials you obtain,” said Chris Schreck, CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development director, who compiled the statistics. “The data shows we need to do more to support efforts to align education and skills development with in-demand occupations if we want to sustain economic growth in the region.” Many of the region’s education and workforce organizations are already championing this cause, but the CAEDD wants to provide further support.
The CAEDD study includes a compilation of statistics such as the region’s unemployment rate, an employment by industry cluster forecast, employment by occupation group, wages by occupation group, occupation supply gaps in the region, and occupation supply gaps by education attainment. The next step at the committee’s direction will be to condense the data into a more focused statement of key issues to help draw attention to critical workforce needs that span across the Capital Area.
TWDB seeks State Water Implementation Fund for Texas project applications
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Source: Texas Water Development Board
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) opened the application period for the 2017 funding cycle of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program, which will accommodate about $500 million for projects in 2017 State Water plan.
“The first two cycles of funding through the SWIFT program were extremely successful, with the TWDB financing approximately $1.6 billion in state water plan projects,” said TWDB Board Chairman Bech Bruun. “In fact, our first SWIFT transaction was announced as the winner of the Bond Buyer's 2016 Southwest Region Deal of the Year in part because of the groundbreaking nature of the program. We are pleased to continue providing communities with this dedicated funding source.”
The TWDB is considering an important change for this cycle—the increase of subsidies offered for rural and agricultural projects. Preliminary projections indicate a subsidy level of up to 50 percent for loans. This year’s cycle will provide non-rural entities with interest subsidies that range from 16 to 35 percent depending upon the length of the loan and type of project.
The two-page preliminary SWIFT Program applications are due Feb. 3, 2017, and may be submitted via the TWDB’s online application or by paper copy.
These applications provide information the TWDB needs to prioritize projects. Projects that receive priority for financial assistance will be invited to submit a full application, which will include a financial, legal, engineering, and environmental review.
Regional homeland security exercise educates response crews
Monday, December 05, 2016
More than 30 local, state, federal, and private business emergency response agencies conducted an all hazards training exercise in early November to deploy specialized teams and equipment used in regional disaster response. The three-day event, which occurred in Lee and Travis counties, worked to improve communications, enhance partnerships and reinforce command protocols between agencies.
“Lee County and everyone involved learned some valuable takeaways from the exercise, and we all will be expanding on what we learned to continue to improve our disaster response,” said Delynn Peschke, Lee County Emergency Management Coordinator. It was the first time for the county to participate in a large scale exercise so pooling resources such as Austin Fire Department and Williamson County Hazardous Materials Response Team to work alongside the county’s volunteer firefighters demonstrated a higher level of training experience. “Training like this is invaluable for knowing what resources are available and how to facilitate their response,” Peschke said. “It also helps build relationships that strengthen communication and cooperation with other local jurisdictions and state agencies.”
Lee County hosted sites for mock incidents for two of the three days the training occurred. At the El Dorado Chemical Co. fertilizer plant in Giddings, emergency crews simulated responses to an explosion, an unexploded bomb, a hostage situation, radiation leaks, and hazardous chemical leaks. Hazardous material and mass fatality response also was simulated at City Park in Lexington.
Every scenario the teams practiced could occur somewhere in the region, said Marty Herrin, Chief of Williamson County’s Hazardous Materials Response Team who planned the exercise. Fortunately in most cases, training events are the only times specialty equipment such as a toxic chemical monitor gets used. It is critical that public safety personnel train using this equipment so when it is needed they know how it works.
Lee County also tested CAPCOG’s regional notification system that alerts residents of emergencies through phone calls, text messages and emails. Within 36 minutes, the system called, emailed and texted enough people to reach 81 percent of the households in Lee County, 64 percent of those notifications were answered. The system only contacts residents who have landline phones and those who self-registered cellphones and email addresses at WarnCentralTexas.org. “The notification system worked very well,” Peschke said. “In a real event, it is beneficial to know how fast these alerts can go out. It would be our primary way of delivering information in a real emergency.” Residents throughout the CAPCOG region can register their cellphone numbers and email addresses at WarnCentralTexas.org.
CAPCOG has begun work on an after action report to provide greater insight on how emergency teams and command staff performed during the exercise. “The report will show us where we excelled and where our response can be improved,” said Eric Carter, CAPCOG Homeland Security director. “Training for disasters is a never ending process because every situation is a little different no matter how much you plan.” A debriefing meeting will occur Dec. 16 at CAPCOG, and the after action report should be completed in January. It will then help local governments develop a plan to improve their response.
DPS, CAPCOG help policing agencies apply for NIBRS grant
Friday, December 02, 2016
More than $14 million is available through a state grant program to help Texas law enforcement agencies update their crime reporting system for submitting it to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). On Dec. 8, CAPCOG will host a National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) workshop where DPS staff will discuss the newer system’s benefits and how local agencies can apply for the grant’s funds.
The state has a goal for all local agencies to transition from the FBI’s Summary Reporting System (SRS) to the NIBRS by September 2019. NIBRS like its predecessor provides an aggregate tally of crimes, but it also helps derive circumstances and context for crimes. Crime reporting using NIBRS includes all offenses within a single incident and additional aspects about each event, such as location, time of day, and whether the incident was cleared.
During the first round of the grant program, the state awarded $1.8 million to Texas law enforcement agencies. The second application round opened Nov. 15, 2016 and will close Jan. 16, 2017.
CAPCOG puts accurate mapping in emergency responders’ palms
Monday, November 28, 2016
The CAPCOG region’s 9-1-1 County Addressing Coordinators are testing a brand new mobile application that lets emergency responders know they are responding to the correct location anywhere in the 10-county region. Developed by CAPCOG’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program with guidance from its GIS Planning Council, the Emergency Locator Map gives first responders the same mapping information as 9-1-1 call takers see on their screens when receiving a call.
“We wanted the data to be consistent across the platforms, especially in this case where we have the first responders communicating with the call takers,” said Craig Eissler, CAPCOG GIS Program manager. “The data we are using for the Emergency Locator Map is the most authoritative 9-1-1 data available about the region.”
How first responders identify address locations differ from one local agency to another. In some cases, third-party mobile mapping applications are used while in others, they are reliant on printed map books. Both can be inaccurate and use outdated information, especially since commercial and residential growth is booming throughout the region. Often peace officers and emergency medical personnel manually draw new roadways and write street names in map books to update them, which may not be printed annually. The Emergency Locator Map uses CAPCOG’s 9-1-1 addressing and street centerline data which is updated monthly — adding new subdivisions, roadways and addresses routinely. “Going to the right location is paramount,” Eissler said also noting typing in the address on a smartphone could be faster than flipping pages of a book. “We are talking about emergency situations where lives and property could be at stake. Efficiency, accuracy, and consistency is what we’re trying to accomplish.”
CAPCOG has asked its stakeholders, including the 9-1-1 Addressing County Coordinators, the GIS Planning Council, and GIS and Maps User Group (a CAPCOG advisory committee and workgroup), to evaluate the application, provide quality assurance, and recommend possible enhancements. Once those improvements are made, first responders will be asked to test the mobile application in the field and provide real-world feedback. CAPCOG hopes to use the real-world feedback, so the Emergency Locator Map will become emergency responders’ first choice of methods to respond to a scene.
Craig Eissler, CAPCOG GIS program manager, explains how the Emergency Locator Map app works during a meeting with stakeholders in October.
Ozone impact analysis earns national honor
Monday, November 21, 2016
CAPCOG earned a National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) 2016 Innovation Award in October for evaluating the cost of economic development opportunities in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) if the area fails to meet national air quality ozone standards.
The project entitled “The Potential Costs of an Ozone Nonattainment Designation to Central Texas”, estimated the economic impact between $24 and $41 billion from 2018 through 2046 if this region’s ozone levels fell outside the EPA’s acceptable standards and triggered onerous regulatory consequences. CAPCOG’s Air Quality Program and the Planning and Economic Development Division collaborated on the project for which a final report was released in September 2015.
NADO, based in Washington, DC, promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies. Its Innovation Awards recognize regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness.
Chris Schreck, Planning and Economic director, and Andrew Hoekzema, Regional Services director, stand next to NADO Innovation Awards received by CAPCOG. Their work earned CAPCOG its 10th Innovation Award.
Legislators to discuss priorities at General Assembly
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
The 85th Texas Legislature starts in January, but before it begins, State Legislators from the CAPCOG region will provide insight into the upcoming session at the CAPCOG General Assembly Meeting being held at 11:30 a.m., Dec. 14, 2016, at the Omni SouthPark Hotel, 4140 Governors Row in Austin. General Assembly Representatives also will elect the 2017 Executive Committee.
After the meeting, CAPCOG will offer an elected officials workshop covering the Texas Public Information and Open Meetings Acts. The workshop will provide an engaging training experience for newly elected officials, who require the training within 90 days of taking office. It also may serve as a valuable interactive update for veteran elected officials.
General Assembly Representatives can contact Mason Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator, to receive a code for a complimentary lunch at the meeting or to attend the workshop for free.
Hoekzema takes reins of Regional Services
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Andrew Hoekzema stepped into a new role as CAPCOG Regional Services Director Oct. 1. As the agency’s former Air Quality Program Manager, Hoekzema will continue to manage the air quality program, but also will supervise the solid waste program and other environmental and natural resource issues for the region.
Hoekzema joined CAPCOG’s Regional Services Division in 2010 as an air quality program specialist and was promoted to program manager in 2013. During his tenure, Hoekzema has increased the program’s profile and expanded the region’s air quality efforts, including serving on EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, presenting at the EPA’s 2015 International Emissions Inventory Conference, authoring an award-winning report on the potential economic costs of non-compliance with federal air quality standards, and securing an EPA Clean Air Excellence Award for the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition. Before joining CAPCOG, Hoekzema worked in the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Air Quality and Small Business and Environmental Assistance Divisions.
Kelly Claflin, a 9-year veteran of CAPCOG, also was promoted in October to Information Technology Services director. Claflin takes over as CAPCOG embarks on a 50,000-square-foot facility expansion/renovation for its offices, law enforcement academy, and regional 9-1-1 center and will oversee design and installation of all support systems for security, phones, IT, audio visual and training systems, and all digital equipment.
CJD announces $16 million available for policing agencies
Friday, November 11, 2016
Source: Office of the Governor's Criminal Justice Division
The Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division (CJD) will open two funding opportunities on Nov. 15, 2016 for law enforcement agencies — one for body cameras and digital video storage, and the other for upgrading crime reporting systems. The grant process will run concurrently closing Jan. 16, 2017.
This is the second round for the funding opportunities’ grant process and applications must be submitted through eGrants. While CJD will be making slight changes to the request for applications, interested agencies can review the previous year’s request.
About the grants
The Body Warn Camera Program will provide funding for cameras worn by frontline officers, digital video storage, and systems for the retrieval and service of the video and equipment. About $2.2 million is available through the Body Worn Camera program with a 20 percent match required for funding. Municipal police departments and county sheriff’s offices are eligible to apply. Agencies that received funding during the first round are eligible for second round funding, but preference may be given to first time applicants.
The National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Program will make about $14 million available to assist agencies in switching from the FBI’s Summary Reporting System (SRS) to the NIBRS. While SRS provides an aggregate monthly tally of crimes, NIBRS provides circumstances and context for crimes. Its reporting includes all offenses within a single incident and additional aspects about each event, such location, time of day, and whether the incident was cleared.
Costs associated with NIBRS and body worn cameras are not eligible through the Justice Assistance Grant Program or any other CJD funding source.
TCEQ extends bus grant application deadline
Wednesday, November 09, 2016
Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Texas Emissions Reduction Plan (TERP) Program extended the application deadline for the Texas Clean School Bus (TCSB) Program to 5 p.m. Dec. 15, 2016. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
More than $5.9 million in grant funds are available to cover the cost of retrofitting diesel-powered school buses with emission-reduction devices to reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust.
School buses remain the safest way to transport children, and their diesel engines are both durable and economical. However, the Texas Education Agency reports more than 40 percent of the school buses in local fleets are more than 10 years old. In the years since these vehicles were purchased, several advancements in vehicle and engine technology have helped reduce emissions from school buses.
The TCSB Program may make funding available to help school districts when purchasing and installing emissions reduction technologies such as diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalysts, and crankcase filters. School districts located in designated counties also may qualify for funding to replace existing school buses with newer, lower-emitting buses through one of several grants from TERP.
Applications submitted using application forms from previous TCSB grant rounds will not be accepted. Eligible applicants must be a public school district or charter school in the state of Texas that operate diesel-powered school buses on a daily route to and from schools.
CAPCOG hosts first-ever Air Quality Awards ceremony
Tuesday, November 08, 2016
The Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) hosted its first ever Air Central Texas (ACT) Awards in San Marcos on Nov. 4, 2017 to celebrate organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to regional air quality in Central Texas and to promote future action to support the goals of the region’s ongoing air quality planning efforts. Texas State Representative Donna Howard (Dist. 48 – Austin) delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony at which former Williamson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ron Morrison, the Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance (LSCFA), and Tom “Smitty” Smith from Public Citizen won awards.
Former Williamson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ronald Morrison posthumously received the 2016 ACT Public Sector Award for his longtime service and leadership on the Central Texas Clean Air Coalition and the Clean Air Force of Central Texas. Capital Metro and the City of Cedar Park were also nominated for the Public Sector Award.
The LSCFA received the 2016 Air Central Texas Private/Nonprofit Sector Award for their role in cleaning the air through various projects such as migrating vehicles to alternative fuels, converting much of the booming landscaping industry in Texas to propane mowers, and development of alternative fuel infrastructure. Texas Lehigh Cement Company and the Beyond Coal campaign were also nominated for the Private/Nonprofit Sector Award.
Tom “Smitty” Smith received the 2016 Bill Gill Central Texas Air Quality Leadership Award for his work as the Director of Public Citizen’s Texas office since 1985, where he organized efforts that lead to the development of the renewable energy boom across Texas and the Texas Emission Reduction Program — both reduced air pollution in the Central Texas area and other parts of the state. This award is named in honor of CAPCOG’s former Air Quality Program Manager Bill Gill, who worked on air quality throughout his career and was instrumental in the establishment and success of the region’s air quality program. Former City of Austin and CAPCOG employee Fred Blood was also nominated for this award.