HCCOG Weekly Information Bulletin
Grants Communication Exchange and Project Informational Summit
This year’s featured speakers will be Dr. Pat Mitchell, NC Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and Mr. Phil Trew, HCCOG Planning and Development Director. Representatives from major granting agencies including EDA, USDA, CDBG, and Golden LEAF have been invited to attend and make presentations to the group as well as network with managers, elected officials, planners and economic developers from the Northwestern NC Region. HCCOG will be sending out project templates to all member governments to complete prior to the event.
Please Click Here to RSVP
February 5, 2016
"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
HCCOG bids farewell to Executive Director Dr. Mickey Duvall. We've enjoyed our time with you and appreciate your leadership, vision, and advocacy. We wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors!
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HCCOG Departmental Updates
HCCOG offers a number of services for free or at a reduced cost for member governments. If you need the following, please check first with HCCOG.
- The Executive Board will meet on Monday, February 15, 2016 in the HCCOG Board Room at 7:00pm.
No additional updates at this time.
North Carolina General Assembly
- NC Legislators Discuss Economic Development in State's Rural, Urban Areas
North Carolina's rural areas do not uniformly share the same economic performance characteristics, nor do its urban areas, an economic analyst told legislators yesterday. In a presentation to the Joint Legislative Economic Development & Global Engagement Oversight Committee, economic development consultant Ted Abernathy highlighted the differences in the economic performance of both rural and urban areas across the state. While noting that nearly 85 percent of the gross state product was generated in the state's top six urban job centers, he said the jobs actually held by a particular rural county's residents can depend on commuting and proximity to urban areas, as well as other factors such as tourist activity. For the state's urban areas, he provided evidence showing that job growth is not evenly distributed or robust. Picking up on those points, legislators discussed what the General Assembly and N.C. Department of Commerce could do to assist areas losing jobs. Abernathy suggested that the commerce department could serve a quasi-consultant role for economically distressed rural areas, helping them to identify assets to build on and deficiencies to improve upon. He also noted that investments in infrastructure -- like those that municipalities typically make with water, sewer and transportation projects -- were often at the top of business' lists of considerations when choosing where to build or expand. And finally, he stressed the importance of creating communities of all sizes with the character and amenities people value, stating, "If you don't have a community where people want to be, you don't have a place where companies want to be." Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown emphasized one of Abernathy's points, saying state officials may need to focus more on water and sewer system development as a means of promoting economic development in rural areas of the state. "You've got to get infrastructure in the ground to make a difference," he said. (Source: NCLM LINC’ed IN) (posted 1/15/2016)
United States Congress
There are no new updates at this time.
EDA Accepting Construction and Technical Assistance Applications
While the EDA is working to release the formal notice about availability of FY2016 grant funds and our process by which these funds will be awarded, applicants interested in EDA programs can begin to finalize project concepts and identify key information that they will need to have a competitive and complete application. To learn more about EDA’s grant programs and opportunities, please feel free to contact High Country Council of Government’s Planning Department.
- New Rural Development Strategic Economic Community Development (SECD) USDA Initiative
- USDA Rural Development
- Overview of Programs
- National Association of Development Organizations and Rural Developments webinar from earlier this week
- Map of Area Boundaries (PDF map)
- SECD Fact Sheet (PDF) Contact: Brian Queen, Community and Economic Development Specialist
United States Department of Agriculture
4405 Bland Road, Suite 260
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-873-2072 | Fax: 919-873-2076
- ((NEW!)) 2017 NC Recreational Trails Program Grant Cycle
Grant funds can be used for a variety of trail and greenway related purposes including construction, renovation, facilities, land acquisition, and purchase of tools for construction or renovation. Requires 25% match.
Pre-Application Deadline: 2/12/2016
- NC Conservation Fund Small Grants Available
The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities Program (RCP) provides small grants through its Creating New Economies Fund (CNEF) grant program.
Closing Date: 2/15/2016 NC Conservation Fund
- North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant Applications Deadline
For 2016, PARTF grant applications are due by May 2, 2016. However, with budget planning season beginning for local governments, it is still a good time to get organized if your organization wants to apply for a PARTF grant in 2016. Contact ECC with questions or to request assistance with grant applications. Visit NCPARTF’s website for additional information concerning the grant program.
- Water Resources Fund
Closing Date: Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis with decisions made twice a year.
- Conference Call Information Session was recorded and posted here.
- Community Facility Grants for Essential Community Facilities in Rural Areas
Closing Date: TBD
Below you will find current Grant Opportunities that are available. Please contact us for assistance with applications and general questions.
- Assistance to Firefighters Grants
Closing Date: TBD
US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants
Closing Date: 2/9/2016
- ((NEW!)) Cool and Connected
EPA and USDA launch new effort to support Broadband and Main Street Redevelopment
Closing Date: 2/24/2016
USDA Rural Utilities Service
US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Sustainable Communities
- ((NEW!)) Supportive Services Demonstration for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing
HUD announced a pilot effort that will provide resources to existing eligible multifamily properties to facilitate aging in place by providing a supportive services subsidy to certain elderly restricted HUD assisted independent housing developments.
Closing Date: 4/18/2016
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- ((NEW!)) CDFA Brownfields Technical Assistance Program
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) Brownfields Technical Assistance Program is funded by a grant from the U.S. EPA to provide assistance to communities throughout the country that are looking to finance the redevelopment of brownfield sites. CDFA will provide education, resources, research and networking on revolving loan funds, tax incentives, tax increment finance and other tools available for redevelopment finance. (posted 1/29/2016)
- ((NEW!)) New State Law Mandates 48-Hour Fix Window for Potholes
(From Wataugaoline.com) In 2015 the NC Legislature passed a new measure requiring NCDOT to be more responsive to motorist complaints and issues. (Read more . . .) (Posted 1/29/2016)
- ((NEW!)) Mountains-to-Sea Trail Survey
You are invited to share your opinions and experience to help develop a plan for the future of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. The goal is to help more people enjoy the MST - on day-hikes, overnight trips and even cross-state treks - while building and protecting it for the future. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete. (posted 1/29/2016)
- ((NEW!)) Equality vs. Equity in Urban Planning
Cynthia Silva Parker was quoted by Sustainable Cities Network in an article: Infusing Equity into the Urban Planning Process. What is equity? In the simplest terms, it means fairness, which is not necessarily the same thing as equality. “It’s not about everybody getting the same thing,” Parker said. “It’s about everybody getting what they need in order to improve the quality of their situation.” One difficulty in including equity goals in planning is that the people who need them most can be hard to involve. Traditionally, planners involve stakeholders by inviting them to public meetings and asking them to read and comment on plans. This can be a time-consuming process, and people who work multiple jobs and lack transportation and child-care options are unlikely to show up at the library for a three-hour meeting. And even if they’re able to offer their time, they may not be willing. “Trust is the No. 1 thing, ‘Why are you asking, and will it make a difference,’” Parker said. “When we got started, there was a bit of interesting community jargon: ‘Planning Fatigue.’ People were tired of being asked to come to meetings, asked to share their vision, asked to draw another picture of a beautiful community, and then nothing is going to happen, or it’s going to take 15 years and they’re going to say, ‘We don’t even remember that we were part of that.'” (posted 1/29/2016)
- ((NEW!)) Mayor Orientation Presentations Now Available Online
Presentations made during the Orientation for New Mayors sessions held last month are now available on the League’s website. The presentations include those made by both League and UNC School of Government staff. After each municipal election, the League and School of Government host the sessions as a primer for mayors who have not previously served as mayor where they can learn their roles as mayors, open meeting and public records laws, presiding for the good of the group and how to work with the media. Click here to view the pdf versions of the presentations. (Source: NCLM) (posted 1/29/2016)
- ((NEW!)) Report Examines Impact of Local Parks
We have always known that local and regional public parks add significant value and benefits to their communities in terms of Conservation, Health & Wellness and Social Equity. Beyond that, local and regional park agencies are also engines of economic activity in their communities. America’s local and regional public park agencies generated nearly $140 billion in economic activity and supported almost 1 million jobs from their operations and capital spending alone in 2013. (posted 1/29/2016) (Read more . . .)
- IRS Extends Affordable Care Act Reporting Deadlines
From Coates’ Canons: Good news for employers scrambling to prepare their first set of Affordable Care Act-required health coverage information returns in time for the IRS’s deadlines! The February 1 deadline for giving information to employees and the February 28 and March 31 deadline for reporting to the IRS have been extended by two months. (posted 1/15/2016)
- NC Panel Aims for New Measures of Economic Distress
With an eye toward revamping how the state measures a community's level of economic distress, a legislative committee reviewed a report yesterday that suggested a total overhaul of the current three-tier rating system. Committee Chair Rep. Susan Martin told the Joint Legislative Economic Development & Global Engagement Oversight Committee that its charge was to make recommendations for replacing this system with a different tool to evaluate and designate areas of economic distress in North Carolina. The report that prompted this move toward an overhaul, completed last month by the legislature's Program Evaluation Division in conjunction with organizations such as the League, concluded that the current ranking system no longer accomplished its original purpose of targeting state tax credits to businesses locating in poorer areas. (See this December LINC'ed In article for more details about that report.) Presentations to the committee yesterday gave a hint as to the new direction of how the state might measure economic distress. The N.C. Department of Commerce, which would use any new formula as part of its various infrastructure investment programs, suggested to legislators the new formula should emphasize the factors that caused economic distress: a large unemployed population, low-paying jobs, a high percentage of low-wealth households, and a low level of education. Other groups suggested that the legislature adopt a more flexible tool, such as an index. And legislators themselves indicated interest in looking at data on a sub-county basis to capture pockets of economic distress that exist in all of the state's wealthiest counties. Contact: Erin Wynia (Source: NCLM LINC’ed IN) (posted 1/15/2016)
- NC Economist Mike Walden Releases His Latest Quarterly Outlook Report
One of the state’s leading economists paints an upbeat picture for North Carolina in 2016. In his latest quarterly outlook report, released this week, NC State University’s Mike Walden predicts that the state’s economy will continue to outperform the nation, generating more income and more jobs. Walden expects the state’s gross domestic product to rise 3.5 percent faster than the national rate. Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate will fall from 5.5 percent in 2015 to 5.1 percent by the end of 2016, as the state adds a net 90,000 new jobs. Walden says he doesn’t expect job growth to be evenly spread among sectors and salaries: He sees North Carolina’s fastest job growth taking place in the higher-paying financial, information and professional and business sectors and in the lower-paying leisure, hospitality and personal service sectors. While all signs point to no recession in 2016, Walden mentions two economic trends that could be negatives for consumers: While remaining affordable, oil and gasoline prices will likely stop falling and perhaps rise a little. And, if the economy continues to perform according to the Federal Reserve’s expectations, interest rates may rise to 1 percent by year’s end. For Walden’s detailed summary of the state and national economic performance in 2015, and his predictions for 2016, visit the link.
- NC Forest Service 1st Quarter 2016 BMP Newsletter
The 1st Quarter (Jan-Feb-Mar) 2016 "BMP Newsletter" is available as a 2MB PDF document from the NCFS Website. A New Year brings new resolutions. What resolutions will you make to protect water quality? Also, consider trying new BMP tools for conserving the soil and sustaining the forest resources. Visit the NC Forest Service exhibit at the 2016 Southern Farm Show at the State Fairgrounds, February 3-5, 2016.
- SBA announces 2016 Opportunities Conference in Asheville, NC
The US Small Business Administration and SBTDC have announced that they will be holding a workshop on March 14, 2016 to share information on how business owners can learn how to sell to the US government. Each year the US Government spends more than $500 billion on various products and services, yet each year thousands of contracts bypass small businesses that do not know about or understand how the government buys.
- 2016 NC Tomorrow Summit
Mark your calendars! Dates for the 2016 NC Tomorrow Summit have been set for April 18-19, 2016. The Summit is sponsored by the NC Association of Regional Councils of Governments and will again be held at the North Raleigh Hilton. Registration will open on January 1, 2016.
- 2016 National Rural Transportation Conference
The 2016 National Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conference is scheduled for June 13, 14, and 15 in Chattanooga, TN. This conference is focused on issues in rural and small metropolitan transportation planning, programs, and service delivery, with training sessions on multiple modes of transportation, tools and techniques. Built-in networking opportunities and policy updates make this conference a great opportunity for professional development for transportation and public policy officials. The conference agenda and registrations will be posted to the conference website.
- ((NEW!)) Financial Literacy Workshop The Watauga NCWorks Career Center in partnership with the Watauga County Library will be offering a Financial Literacy workshop on February 8, and 18, 2016. This session will focus on student loans and college debt. Please see flyer for details.
- ((NEW!)) 2016 Essentials of Property Tax Collection Workshop
Registration is now open for this workshop held on Thursday, February 25, 2016, in Room 163 of the Foothills Higher Education Center in Morganton, NC. Click here for additional details and to register.
- ((NEW!)) STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS
March 11, 2016, Chapel Hill, NC. This one-day SOG interactive workshop provides local elected officials an opportunity to walk through a cycle of strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation. Participants will identify how components of planning and evaluation link together, clarify roles and responsibilities for each step in the process, and begin outlining what they would like to accomplish in their own planning, performance measurement, budgeting, and evaluation processes.
- ((NEW!)) 2016 Zero Waste Conference
Register now for the 2016 Manufacturers Zero Waste Conference in Wilmington, NC, on March 22-23, 2016. The conference is a two day peer sharing event that will address a variety of zero waste to landfill programs, issues and challenges facing manufacturers and businesses in North and South Carolina. The event will be co-hosted by the Carolina Recycling Association and is being planned by the NC Division of Environmental Assistance and Customer Service, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the SC Department of Commerce. Registration is now open.
- Appalachian Gateway Communities Regional Workshops
For gateway communities interested in natural and cultural heritage tourism development.
- Southern Regional Workshop, February 9-11, 2016, Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville, AL
Area Agency on Aging
- ((HELP! Responses Needed)) The High Country Area Agency on Aging is seeking your input as we develop our 2016-2020 Area Plan. We are specifically interested in information about the needs of older adults, caregivers, or persons with disabilities within your county. The survey is available through our website’s homepage or www.surveymonkey.com/r/HC1620. Thank you in advance for your participation and for sharing this opportunity with others!
- ((ALERT!)) There are many opportunities to help serve older adults in long-term care facilities as Community Advisory Committees. The committee members are appointed by commissioners and trained by the ombudsman. The following committees have vacancies: Alleghany (2), Ashe (4), Avery (4), Mitchell (1), Wilkes Adult Care Committee (2), Wilkes Nursing Home Committee (2), Yancey (3). If you or someone you know would be willing to serve in this capacity, please contact Laura Jane Ward, Regional Ombudsman at (828) 265-5434 ext. 126 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Planning and Development
- ((NEW!)) Survey for UNC SOG Webinars
HCCOG worked with Ashe County in securing a Commerce Fellows grant from the NC Department of Commerce. Ashe County has graciously offered to let HCCOG host webinars in our office and invite all of our local governments to participate. We will definitely host webinars for Planning and Development Regulations and Open Meetings Law.
We have developed a 4-question survey to gauge interest in the Human Resources webinar and Public Records webinar. Please take the survey so we can determine whether or not to schedule these 2 webinars. Survey Deadline is February 12, 2016.
- ((NEW!))The NC Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division has released its report for January 2015. Click here for an overview of employment and unemployment numbers, a five-year snapshot of the High Country’s employment, county-specific data and more.
Appalachian State University
NC Department of Revenue
I want to take this opportunity to wish each and everyone a great and safe weekend.
Dr. Michael N. Duvall, Executive Director
High Country Council of Governments, Region D
468 New Market Boulevard
Boone, NC 28607
The material contained in this bulletin is a compilation from a number of electronic and print sources.