Riverside appoints new city administrator — Greg Mills, director of public safety, has been appointed the new Riverside city administrator.
Mission names new city administrator — Mayor Laura McConwell announced May 2 that Gerry Vernon has been selected as the new city administrator. The city council will act on this appointment May 15 and Vernon is expected to start in his new position June 3. Gerry is currently the city administrator for Junction City, Kan., and formerly was city administrator for Smithville, Mo.
Todd Pelham wins recognition — The Missouri City/County Management Association (MCMA) presented its Richard R. Noll Outstanding Assistant Award to Blue Spring’s assistant city administrator, Todd Pelham. Todd received the award, established by MCMA in 2011, at the organization's spring meeting.
Eric Johnson elected president of MCMA – The MCMA also elected 2013 leaders at its spring meeting. Eric Johnson, Blue Springs, Mo., city administrator was selected to serve as the association’s president through April 2014.
Grandview parks recognized — John Anderson Splash Park was ranked number one among splash parks in the KC Metro area for 2013 and Brumble’s Forest was rated as the top pick for playgrounds in a recent edition of “KC Going Places” magazine.
Kansas City, Mo., announces green neighborhood recognition program — Kansas City, Mo., launched a new KC Green Neighborhood Recognition Program on April 22 in honor of Earth Day. The program will recognize registered neighborhoods with a Platinum, Gold or Silver designation based on green/sustainable initiatives.
Shawnee earns silver-level recognition for bicycle-friendly businesses — The League of American Bicyclists announced on Earth Day that Shawnee joins more than 500 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. that are transforming the American workplace with bicycle-friendly practices.
Jackson County drug task force recognized — For the second consecutive year, the Jackson County Drug Task Force has been named the law enforcement unit of the year by the Missouri Narcotic Officers Association., The task force helped federal, state and local law enforcement agencies break up a major drug trafficking organization distributing drugs in multiple states across the country. The investigation has led to 25 federal indictments for cocaine distribution and illegal firearms possession.
Olathe pilots new program to enhance citizen engagement — Open Town Hall is a tool designed for residents to conveniently and effectively engage residents with government to help shape decisions that impact the entire community. The city’s budget will be the first in a variety of topics on the forum, which is piloted in conjunction with Peak Democracy.
Missouri Main Street Connection to host conference in KC in July — "GET PLUGGED IN … DOWNTOWN” will take place in Kansas City July 24–25, 2013. Award nominations are due May 22. More information is available online.
Missouri digital government summit scheduled for June in Jefferson City — This conference is designed for people who influence or participate in technology decisions in local and state government. Registration information is available online.
Board of Directors — MARC's Board of Directors will meet Tuesday, May 28. The agenda will be online one week before the meeting.
MARC’s 17th Annual Regional Assembly scheduled for June 7 — The luncheon will feature a keynote address, by Peter Block, an internationally known author whose work focuses on stewardship, empowerment, leadership and community. His topic will be “Who will care for the commons? Working together to create community.” The 2013 regional leadership awards will also be presented. The recipients are: Mike Burke and Ray Daniels, co-chairs of the Mayors’ Bistate Innovation Team and the KC Digital Drive Advisory Council; Todd Ackerson, rescue division chief for the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department; CASA of Jackson County and CASA of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties; and Eric Rogers, executive director of BikeWalkKC. The event will be held Friday, June 7, at the Sheraton Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Mo. Guests may register online.
Regional sales tax analysis now available online — In April, the MARC Board of Directors heard a report on the use of sales tax in the region, along with data from the states of Kansas and Missouri. The analysis has generated additional requests and can now be found on kceconomy.com.
Ozone season is here — The MARC Air Quality Program issues SkyCast air quality forecasts daily during ozone season between April 1 and Oct. 31, when ozone pollution in the Kansas City area may reach levels that cause health concerns. Ground-level ozone increases when emissions react with heat and sunlight. Ozone pollution can cause wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing even in healthy adults, and it can be especially harmful to children, seniors or people with breathing or heart problems. When ozone pollution levels are expected to be high, an Ozone Alert is issued to warn residents to take actions that protect their health and reduce pollution. If your community is not a member of the Air Quality Partnership, you may join 170 businesses, organizations and local governments to receive information and services. Enroll online.
The economics of sustainable development — More than 100 regional stakeholders attended MARC’s workshop on sustainable real estate development on April 24. Gary Pivo, professor of urban planning at the University of Arizona has made his presentation available online.
MARC’s new web-based salary survey tool — For many years, MARC has conducted an annual salary and fringe benefit survey. This year MARC will use a new web-based survey tool (Compensation Survey System or CSS) that will make the process much easier and give survey participants more valuable information. It will also provide greater access to salary comparison information anytime throughout the year. More than 50 local governments in the Kansas City region are expected sign up for this annual survey process. More information is available online.
GOVERNMENT INNOVATIONS FORUM/LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES NEWS
Creating Sustainable Places corridor planning enters final stages — Over the next four months, CSP will come online with four different tools that will help communities decide how they want their communities to develop. The tools include a much more complete and detailed Natural Resource Inventory (NRI) that will help communities protect and enhance community resources. CSP is also developing a visualization and case study library for sustainable development and refining its use of Envision Tomorrow to apply economic proforma analysis to development projects from site to community levels. MARC and the First Suburbs Coalition are developing a Sustainable Code Framework that will allow communities to easily investigate code strategies to address specific development issues. All of these tools will be accessible an online. More information about the Creating Sustainable Places initiative can be found online.
New public health planning tool — MARC is working with local public health departments and planners to design a guidebook and training on health impact assessments. The guidebook will be used by communities around the nation to evaluate programs and policies. Training has been scheduled for June 4 to show how communities can integrate health impact assessments into their planning processes. . For more information, contact Marlene Nagel.
STATE & NATIONAL NEWS
Local government “most trusted” by Americans in new national poll — Voters trust local government to address the issues that matter most to them more than any other level of government according to a new Mason-Dixon poll for the National League of Cities. The nationwide poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters, asking, "Which level of government do you trust the most to address issues that matter in your life: local government, state government or the federal government?" It found that 37 percent put the most trust in local governments, as opposed to 22 percent for state and 12 percent for federal. Women put more faith in local government than men. Voters with the most trust in local government and the least in the federal government are men and women between the ages of 35 and 49.
Homes hold their values better near public transportation — A study by the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors found residential properties located within a half-mile of high-frequency public transportation service held their values 42 percent better in the last recession. The study, The New Real-Estate Mantra: Location near Public Transportation, was released in late March.
Efficient rooftop solar permitting report — The Interstate Renewable Energy Council has released a report that provides realistic and effective ways a community can improve rooftop solar permitting while ensuring safe solar installations. The report is available online.
The risks of relying on user fees — In the past three years, states and cities have brought in billions of dollars in additional user fees as an alternative to raising taxes. But there are pitfalls to this form of revenue boost. If municipalities don’t use the collected monies for the services provided and instead dump the fees into the general fund, governments are subject to legal challenges that such charges are taxes. Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene write in the April issue of Governing “Two in five city officers reported that their entity raised fees in 2011. The National League of Cities also found that raising fees has been going on for much of the last two decades — in good times and bad.” The full article is available online.
ICMA’s top local-government trends and salary survey — The Municipal Year Book 2013, published y ICMA, is a comprehensive annual resource for local-government data and developments. The book combines analysis and survey-based research to highlight trends on income disparity, changes in city-government structure, food-system development, collaborative governance and much more. The report also includes detailed 2012 survey and compensation results for chief administrators. A summary article on local government with information that every manager should know about current programs and practices is available on the ICMA website.
Smart growth and livable communities —The Funders’ Network has announced round three of its Local Sustainability Matching Fund. The Fund will provide matching investments from national foundations on a competitive basis to advance discrete sustainability initiatives that demonstrate broad-based community support and engagement. Awards will be between $25,000 and $75,000 per project. Proposals must be submitted by a team of at least two partners, including the sustainability director of a city or a county and a local, place-based foundation. Applications are due May 22. More information is available online.
Sustainable Communities Research grant program — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is offering a total of $500,000 for cutting-edge research in affordable housing development and preservation; transportation and infrastructure planning; and “green” energy-efficient practices. Grants range from $75,000 to $125,000. More information is available online. The application deadline is May 29.
Make it in America Challenge grant — The Economic Development Administration (EDA) will partner with state, regional and local economies to provide infrastructure, strategic planning, capacity building, technical assistance and workforce skills training necessary to make American communities attractive for business investment. Projects must encourage in-sourcing, either through on-shoring of productive activity by U.S. firms, fostering increased foreign direct investment, or incentivizing U.S. companies to keep their businesses and jobs here at home. They must also train local workers to meet the needs of those businesses to be eligible for an award. More information is available online. The application deadline is May 31.
U.S. DOT TIGER grants — The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the availability of $473.8 million in funds to be awarded for National Infrastructure Investments. These funds will be awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant impact on metro, regional or national areas. . The application deadline is June 3.
National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge grant program — Proposals are being accepted for this annual program. More information is available online. The application deadline is July 15.